The Glory of the Start

This is Steve Shallenberger, welcoming you to this podcast series hosted by Becoming Your Best Global Leadership.

We talk a lot about the inspired principle and impact of never giving up, this human will power to push forward. No doubt, this is one of the key principles of success in life. It makes such a difference. However, today, we’re going to talk about the other end of the spectrum, which is as important as never giving up, ‘The Glory of the Start’. And that’s what we’re gonna talk about today. Now, both of these are important, the Glory of the Start. Now, why would we ever choose that set of words?

What does glory mean or glorifying? It means to praise, to extol, exalt, revere reverence. That is appropriate here, as we think about the start. Because this is the thing, this quality changes the world. The ability, on a consistent basis, to start on the course. Of realizing important things. Realizing our dreams or other things that are vital for our success. Here are a few other words that describe this: something that represents as admirable, to ennoble, or elevate the dignity. That represents what this glory of the start is.

Here’s a few more; the noun, high, renowned or honor. I think that is what should happen for those people that have this habit in their life, to start the things that are important. Another one I like is magnificence or great beauty. It is a thing of beauty to start things. It might be simple or it might be significant, the thing that we were doing. But this first step, that’s a big one.

Another one of the descriptions of verbs is to take great pride or pleasure in. We should because we hear a lot of quotes about starting. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step,” or “You don’t have to be great to start, you have to start to be great.” Well, there’s a lot of truth in that one. There’s actually a whole book written about the art of the start.

A highly successful leader had on his desk a plaque that said the following, “Do it and do it now.” I love these thoughts about it because this is the most important part of any project is to get it going. You know, it is important to study things out. Yet, there comes a time to move and start making things happen, and that is where the real glory is. To do the necessary research or studying things out is helpful before we get going. But, we do want to stay away from paralysis by analysis. So, this is the difference to someone that’s gonna make things happen is to do the appropriate preparation, but then to get that going.

A few years ago, a friend of mine, Rick and I were visiting. Rick is a great believer in people and I mentioned that we had completed the book, “Becoming Your Best.” Then he mentioned, indicated that this was a tremendous accomplishment to make such a dream a reality. Then Rick added, and this is a surprising comment to me, he said, “I wish I had a nickel for every person that told me they were going to write a book, but they never did.” Wow!

This represents a large majority of people. As a matter of fact, it’s symbolic of many projects that we have in life. We have something we’d like to accomplish, but often there are many things standing in the way. And often, first and foremost is ourselves. So how do we break through? How do we take something we want to do and to make it a reality? By taking that, being in the habit of taking that glorious first step? Or it might be in the daily grind of things, how do we avoid procrastination? Move to getting things done? Or how do you form the habit to make this glory of the start a regular part of your life?

And I like that terminology because that’s what it is. It might be simple and small, and under the radar. But every time you start something that you know is important in your life, that’s a glorious thing, that’s grand. Now, there’s no doubt that sometimes the hardest step is the first one. For example, think about in your own life different projects you may have had. It’s to finish a proposal or to make a call, especially an unpleasant one. Or one that is important or it’s to make 20 calls today in prospecting customers. Or it’s to launch a new product, or division. You may not have somebody overlooking your shoulder on this. But nonetheless, you know what’s out there along with everything else that you have to do. I had one friend that was in one of our seminars three years ago, his was to get married. He was already 33 years old so he put this to get married.

Another might be to read a book. So you have all these things, and so how can you be sure that the glory of the start is a regular part of your life? And how can you be a mover and shaker on doing those kinds of things? I’d like to recommend a couple of ideas that helps us to make this an important part of our life. And like we want to have a big part of our life never giving up, always getting back up when we’re knocked down. Well, also starting things the front end of this is as important.

So here you go:

#1. Have a clear vision, especially about ideas of the important directions in your life. Another dimension of this first one is then once we have this vision, so for example, as a youth going to college and getting a degree for me was a big deal. Another for me was to go on a mission. And these ended up then making a lot of other choices for me as I started working on these vision, you know, on this particular vision for me.

#2. Next, is having clearly written and motivating yearly goals. So these then are the ideas about the best things to do this year in conjunction with your vision whatever it might be. And we can update these, our vision and goals of course as we realize them.

#3. The third element of this tremendous trio is to do pre-week planning. These then become the ideas of what matters most this week.

We’re creating in our life the right focus versus the wrong focus. This then allows us to start getting great clarity. These ideas which produces the focus, which allows us to move to the glory of the start.

I’ll illustrate this. If you can envision starting at the high level 30,000 feet. Bringing it down now to reality, what am I gonna do this year and then what am I gonna do this week. Taking a few minutes during the weekend to actually plan out through your roles. Through the lens of your roles what actions can I take that are most important this week. That helps me realize then these yearly goals and the vision. It’s an inspirational process, but it moves you from in action to action. It moves you to the glory of the start, but now we have to figure out how to get it going.

This is the next part is you’ve gone through this process, we see the big picture, it’s an inspiring picture for us. We now move it down to our yearly goals again. By roles in the various areas of our life, so that we have a balanced focus on achieving greatness within our own life. Then what will we do this week thinking about the actions by the roles. So that is the first thing you can do, those three things, that trio. That is the huge things that move that moves us to the glory of the start.

Now, the next thing that does is taking a few minutes with this plan in front of us. Because when you do pre-week planning, you can actually look at your “Becoming Your Best” planner and you have the roles at the top. And so, okay, here are the actions. Well, then you’re gonna answer when will I do it. And now this is moving setting you up to win. And so as you day in and day out, look at your plan and you can transfer this to an electronic one as well. But nonetheless what you do is the night before is we start focusing in and then that morning we chair-fly on what our plan is that’s been setup.

We actually see ourselves accomplishing this before it ever happens physically. We see the possible challenges coming up. We can close our eyes and walk through the actions that are on the sheet and now, we see ourselves starting things. We see ourselves starting proposals that we know we’re going to complete. We’re not gonna give up until we get it done on a timely basis. This is the will power part, but we see ourselves making certain calls, they may be pleasant they may not be. We see ourselves doing exercise. This is part of the plan and now we’re setup to win.

One last third element that maybe helpful in this is it doesn’t hurt to have an accountability coach. Your partner that you can share your goals with and set a time to periodically report how things are going. So what are you gonna commit to? It might be exercise or another person. For example, I was watching one of our “Becoming Your Best” seminars, sitting in the back. I became an accountability coach with one of the participants. It was fun. And so, we set a date to report in a month. Mine was to do a certain type of exercise twice a week for the next four weeks. Hers was to do pre-week planning. So we are going to report happens to be September 11th which is our birthday. So it’s on my mind, I’m thinking of this is an example of doing that. These things then help us get setup to do it.

So let me illustrate how this can be done with three real life examples. I’m gonna choose the one of setting this up with Sandy and the person, my accountability coach. And so, number one is to exercise for me. I, of course, have regular exercise, what’s my vision? So let’s take it back to what we’ve talked about. It is to be physically fit. I wanna be in good health, that’s the vision. So I am physically fit. What are my goals this year? My goals are to exercise 750 miles, 5,000 sit ups, and pushups and to participate in a certain type of more rigorous exercise called the “Ron Williams Build and Burn.” That is a 45-minute very intense exercise.

And so, that is the annual goal. On a weekly plan basis, so what I do is I sit down during the weekend, I setup my week. Think of the roles in each area, professional, what am I gonna do with my professional goals, my work, community, as a husband with my family, self. Part of the self is then exercise five times. There’s the goal and now when will I do it? I look at it and the ”Ron Williams’ build and burn,” Tuesday and Thursday. I see the time, it’s gonna take at least 45 minutes.

The other part is not as rigorous, but it is walk two miles three times a week. So it’s laid out. Now, all’s I have to do is the day before. So I see the week, this fits, I can do it. If not, let’s say that I have an early morning meeting or if I’m gonna be traveling for two days, then I have to juggle these so that they can fit. Well, then as I get to that day the night before, I’ll look at it, I see it happening, I close my eyes, I know I have to have everything ready that morning, and it happens. That is the glory of the start. I do it.

All’s I have to do for example with that ”Ron Williams’ build and burn,” is I have the television there, the screen is up, I put out the equipment that’s necessary. All’s I have to do is push the button. There is the glory and it has started. And then I’m into it and I’m not stopping. Same thing on walking the two miles. All’s I have to do is see myself, I have the clothes laid out, there’s my shoes, I have the stuff on, I walk out the door, I see where it is at the schedule. All’s I have to do is walk down my driveway, that is the glory of the start. I’m not turning back and I’m gonna have fun doing it because I’ll listen to things while I’m out there, I’ll memorize and it’s a grand time.

That’s a good example. Okay. Our exercise, it’s one that is a real challenge for people, but that’s how we can glorify and every day starting that, and then it starts becoming a habit. Well, I mentioned I’d give a couple of more examples. This next one is Liddy. [SP] I met Liddy two and a half years ago in Rwanda. Rwanda is an amazing country. It’s the second fastest growing economy in Africa, very safe place, great leadership in the country and this is a country on the move.

Liddy is between 35 and 40 years old. She’s wonderful. I love the light in her eyes. She has a publishing company there, but she, two and a half years ago when we met she said, “I have something I’ve been wanting to do.” And I said, “What’s that?” And she said, “I’ve been wanting to start a set of schools.” And she told me about what the dream was, “Should I’ve had this dream for a number of years, I haven’t been able to get to it.” So she actually went to our Breakthrough Leadership Conference there in Rwanda. We had the chance to identify that vision, we set it into a set of goals, what are you gonna do this year. By the end of the conference we actually setup not only process pre-week planning but who would do what and when.

And so, she had this… the idea is clear in her mind which allowed her to create the focus. She did setup an accountability partner, and I had the chance to be in Rwanda a few months ago. It was so fun to see Liddy again and she picked me up from the hotel and gave me a ride to one of our conferences. And she said, “I want you to know that we now have two schools that are operational.” And then she shared some of the other things she wants to do. Well, she glorified in her start. She actually set a date, she followed through, she did these things that we’re talking about.

This is the glory of the start. It’s a happy time and it gives you confidence that you can get it done next time and next time and next time. Well, that’s where it starts in the course and there’s a lot of challenges that will come up. That’s where the ”never give up” comes into play. That’s where we use our exercise, our will power, and our stick-to-itiveness. We adapt, we side step, we make changes, but we move forward until we have accomplished something great.

Now, here’s the last example today. I was thinking about this and I mentioned the book of “Becoming Your Best.” This had been something I’d planned on for some time. So how did I get this? How did I turn this into a reality, “The Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders.”? The vision was clear, I did want take this 40 years of research and put it into a place that people could use it. Leaders could apply these valuable principles, that have been used for centuries, to create sustainable excellence. That was the vision then with Rob, our first son was going to get out of the airforce I said, “Now is the time.”

I made it part of the goal. The question is then how am I gonna move into action? How do I get this started? Well, being aware that there’s a lot of things like you that are going on in my life, how am I gonna keep it from being pushed aside? So in my plan of attack, I called a friend I said, “John, this is John Wilkinson, “I am going to write a book and I’d like to have you be of help to me. And here’s how you can help, I would like to have you meet with me every week and we will go over one part of each chapter. We’ll start with Chapter 1 and we’ll send three or four weeks on each chapter, and then we’ll complete it, and then I’ll move on.” Well, that is exactly what we did.

We actually took it down to the level, setup the plan for the year. He agreed, we setup the plan of how it would do, how we’d make this go forward. Then on my pre-week plan and slotted it in and we setup two hours at a time, and it was a great experience for both of us. And, of course, the book then became a reality. Little by little, it took shape and then it became a manuscript. We sent it out to 120 people throughout the whole nation to review. We got feedback and then we look for the publisher. That’s when we are able to have the great fortune of working with McGraw-Hill. Also a wonderful agent, and the rest is history. We’ve been so blessed and fortunate that it’s become a national and international bestseller. It is fulfilling what we hope that might do. Well, that’s how we got it going.

Every great accomplishment starts at the beginning. Once in the course then we stay the course. We don’t give up. We’ll make the adjustments along the way to realize your inspired vision and goals. Whether it’s on a daily basis or whether it’s a big project or a dream. It is developing this habit to be great and glorifying the start. Making that a big part and the core is also not giving up. This is the mighty combo, glorifying the start, never give up, and you’re on your way down the road of realizing your dreams. It is a matter of time.

It has been a delight to be with you today on this podcast. I’d love to hear any of your feedback or thoughts on this particular subject. Ideas that you have, what your experience been on starting and also finishing.

This is Steve Shallenberger with Becoming Your Best Global Leadership, wishing you a great day!



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