You Probably Tie Your Shoes Wrong – What Does That Mean?

I am a marathoner. I am a marathoner in the sense that I have run marathons in the past. My theory is that once you run a marathon you are forever a marathoner. The fact that I have not run one in a few years doesn’t really matter. Throughout all of my marathon training I learned many valuable lessons. One lesson, however, stands above all the rest:

I have been tying my shoes wrong for most of my life. 

Chances are that you are too…regardless of age, educational background, or the amount of silver spoons that were in your mouth when you were born. I want to teach you how to tie your shoes correctly. This is what we do at ryaneller.com, we change lives one shoelace at a time.

Once I learned this neat trick, I started thinking about all of the other things I might be wrong about. This turned my world upside down! I found out that I also open my bananas incorrectly. What??

Throughout this self-discovery process I started thinking about how my misconceptions about shoes and bananas was directly related to leadership. I want to share these with you, because of course, I know you care!

1. Ask Questions: Ask questions about things you have known your whole life.  Just because you were taught something as a child does not mean it is correct. Start to rethink the things you assume are 100% true.

2. Be Open to New Ideas. You don’t have to be a pessimist, or even a realist about the things you know. When someone provides you with a new way to look at something, try to look from their viewpoint.

3. Do Some Research. If I would have watched the video above years ago, I wouldn’t have so many untied shoes in my life. Start looking for ways to improve upon all of the things you know. Read books, watch videos, listen to seminars.

I hope these lessons help you along on your journey. What types of things have you learned that completely changed your viewpoint? Please share in the comments below!

Be Committed…Like This Cat

There will come a time while chasing your dreams that you must commit to your passion. A time when you focus all of your efforts on your goal and pursue it with unwavering certainty, regardless of your outcome. Be committed to your cause, your goal, your dream and make it a reality, regardless of the outcome.

What To Do When Words Fail

I love to talk. I enjoy talking so much that I have made a career around it. When I get going, I am like the Fed Ex Fast Talking Guy:

However, there are times when words fail. When tragedy strikes. When the world stands still. When our beautiful language fails to comprehend the moment.

During these times we should be silent. We should stand tall and be confident in our Creator. We love each other and help the brokenhearted. We take action for those who are weak.

When words fail:

Be strong.

Be loving.

Be there for others.

 

The Source of All Your Problems

I can’t say this enough:

We are all 100% responsible for our actions. 

That’s it. Plain and simple. You are responsible for your mistakes. I am responsible for my shortcomings. No one else. When bad things start to happen in our lives, it is easy to point fingers and place blame on others.

I shouldn’t have failed that class. The professor was too hard and didn’t like me.

I am not getting promoted because my boss only works closely with the “good ‘ole boys.”

It’s not my fault that I didn’t get the bill in on time, the system is broken.

The sooner we can all start taking ownership of our actions, mistakes, and shortcomings, the sooner we can start truly living. You make your own luck in this world. You strap up your sleeves, work hard, and take advantage of your opportunities when they present themselves.

The great news:

When you are 100% responsible for your actions, you can start creating positive outcomes. 

This is your life, and it is a very short one. Take ownership of it now.

3 Leadership Lessons I Learned At Yoga Class

I am a self-proclaimed bucket lister. I check buckets left and right. Like a regular ‘ole bucket inspector at a bucket factory.  One bucket I checked that I thoroughly enjoyed was:

70. Take a yoga class – X (June 28th, 2011, Tulsa)

Yoga-Bucket-List

(This is not a picture of me in yoga class)

My sweet mother gave me a month’s worth of classes at a yoga studio in Tulsa for my birthday. She genuinely wanted to see me check a bucket off my list! She also wanted to see me be able to touch my toes, something I have never been able to do…not even at birth. At least that is how I remember it.

So, I showed up for yoga class in my spandex tights and no t-shirt (surprisingly, that is not what they wear there) ready to stretch my abilities. I learned a few things during that month attending yoga, and I want to share them with you. That is what a blog is all about, right?

Top 3 Leadership Lessons I Learned at Yoga Class

1. Yoga is Really, Really Hard – I came in to yoga thinking I would be able to stretch a little and make some kumbaya sounds and then move on. I could not be more wrong. It takes complete bodily control and focus to be able to accomplish the positions. The yoga masters make yoga look easy because they have spent years upon years perfecting their art.

Leaders can’t assume that something that looks easy actually is easy. The best leaders make difficult tasks look easy through years of hard work and dedication.

2. Becoming Flexible Hurts – I didn’t think stretching and holding poses would make me sore the following day. I found this out as I slowly walked up stairs like an 80-year-old man. To become flexible I had to endure some pain.

Leaders strive for flexibility, but rarely put in the effort to achieve the freedom. Leaders must learn to fight through the pain and grow from it for the future.

3. I’m Not Good at Yoga – Like I stated earlier, I am not flexible. I am in good shape, fairly athletic and strong, but not flexible. My wife has also never been to yoga, and she excelled. It was very natural to her. I kept looking over at her a glaring because she was making me look so bad. I once even tried to scissor kick her during a yoga move. 

Leaders can’t compare themselves to everyone else, especially when trying something new. Someday could I become as good as Kristin at yoga? Sure. But not on my first visit. It was not my strong suit, but I was trying anyways.

Those are my three lessons learned! Have you ever been to yoga? What did you learn through the process? Have you ever tried to scissor-kick your wife during a yoga move?

What Blogging Means to Me and Why You Should Be Blogging

February 10, 2013. I have blogged every day since February 10 of this year. That is 115 days in a row! I think this officially places blogging in my top 5 “Consecutive Days of Accomplishing Something,” or CDAS for short. My top 5:

1. Eating (I rarely go a few hours without eating)
2. Sleeping
3. The Great Facebook Streak of 2005-2013
4. Perfect Attendance at Creek Elementary 1989-1994
5. Blogging

My most viewed blog post over the past 115 days…281 Awesome Bucket List Items You Should Add To Your List with 527 views. My least visited post…Happy Memorial Day with a whopping 1 page view. I have had 12,879 page views over that time span.

I don’t blog for the stats or even for the sake of the streak, but I blog for me. Blogging every day requires dedication as some days I have blogged close to midnight after a busy day. Writing new content day after day forces me to become creative and think outside of my comfort zone.

Most of the time I am blogging about the things that I am trying to figure out in my life, like yesterday’s post about becoming a better leader. I typically write to reinforce my beliefs or strengths, and to improve on my imperfections. I am trying to become a better writer, story-teller, and motivator. I am consistently working on living the most inspired version of life I can possible live.

I encourage you to start blogging. Create a free account on WordPress.com and start typing what comes to your mind. Start writing about what you are passionate about, whether it be leadership, white-water rafting, or even cooking. You might be surprised about what you discover about yourself and the opportunities that become available to you once you share your ideas.

I love following blogs! Please leave your blog address in the comment section and I will gladly follow.

Ryan

You Only Need To Do These Two Things To Become a Better Leader Today

I have been on the road facilitate team-building and leadership workshops this week, and I have challenged each group to do the same two things to become a better leader within the day.

1. Focus on a strength you do well and make a concerted effort to become better for the rest of the day.

2. Focus on something you need to improve upon and learn how to make yourself better by the end of the day.

If you can work on those two items for the rest of the day…you can become a better leader. Try the same thing tomorrow…and you will hopefully improve before the end of the week. Keep this up for a few weeks and it may just become a habit.

What two items are you working on today?

12 Rules for Bringing Out The Best in People

These 12 rules are excerpted from the excellent book Bringing Out The Best in People by Alan Loy McGinnis. I would encourage you to read this book if you really want to make an impact with your team or close-knit group.

  1. Expect the best from the people you lead.
  2. Make a thorough study of the other person’s needs.
  3. Establish high standards of excellence.
  4. Create an environment where failure is not fatal.
  5. If they are going anywhere near where you want to go, climb on other people’s bandwagons.
  6. Employ models to encourage success.
  7. Recognize and applaud achievement.
  8. Employ a mixture of positive and negative reinforcement.
  9. Appeal sparingly to the competitive urge.
  10. Place a premium on collaboration.
  11. Build into the group an allowance for storms.
  12. Take steps to keep your own motivation high.

Which rule do you do the best, and which rule do you need to work on to improve your skills?