This is a continuation/longer version of my editorial comment that will appear in the October issue of R&R. Not a subscriber? Sign up to receive the print or digital edition here.
Here’s your challenge this month: dare to embrace the question “What if?”
Scott Humphrey, CEO of the World Floor Covering Association, walked through six different “what ifs” during his keynote speech at The Experience Convention & Expo in Vegas last month.
“If we did things differently, how would it impact the outcome?” Humphrey questioned. “Sometimes we’re too comfortable. Challenge the way you think about life.”
1) What if we focused on what we could be?
Humphrey meant it’s time to embrace the power of your potential. You could have gifts you aren’t using; you have to tap into that potential to know your true capabilities.
“We live in this realm of excuses and find all the reasons to stay exactly where we are and do nothing more than our God-given gifts,” Humphrey said. “And yet, you have the ability to do so much more.”
2) What if we quit living in the past?
Here, Humphrey said something that really got my brain spinning: “The only difference between a rut and a grave is a rut has the ends kicked out.”
“Our role as human beings,” Humphrey said, “is to lift each other up above the edge of the rut so we can see there’s more life up there.”
Are you stuck in a rut? Leave the past behind and choose a fresh start.
3) What if we started living our dreams?
Humphrey pressed leaders to step out of their comfort zones, and get “down and dirty.” He calls this “the power of purpose.”
“It’s okay to step out of your level,” Humphrey explained. “By the way, in case you think people are impressed by your title, they’re not. Some of you got it because you grew up in the family, some of you got it some other way, but the reality is titles don’t tell us much. Actions do. Real leaders live it, they don’t wear it on some name plate or some business card.”
It was at this point in the keynote Humphrey sang Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying”… if you haven’t heard the song, it’s pretty great!
4) What if we increased our effort?
Think about this – there is a one degree difference between the temperature where water boils, and the temperature where it’s still. So what would happen if you just turned up your effort even one single degree?
“The thing that made you successful will not keep you successful,” said Humphrey. “You must adapt.”
5) What if we believed one voice matters?
This is idea that every vote counts and every person matters.
Here was Humphrey’s wisdom related to the Butterfly Effect: “Everything we do has an impact, and we cannot stop it. Every person matters. Every individual matters, and every decision has a lasting impact.
This makes me think of Malala Yousafzai – the young Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012. Instead of cowering after her recovery and amidst ongoing threats, she became one of the utmost global advocates pushing for women’s rights to education. She is also the youngest person to ever receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Through her fame, she has helped rebuild 65 schools in Gaza, addressed the United Nations, and on her 18th birthday she opened a school in Lebanon to educate girls between 14 and 18 years old.
Her voice matters – yours can too.
6) What if we changed our attitude?
“What if we became a grateful nation? What if quit looking at everything that’s going wrong and started looking at everything that’s going right? What if we were thankful for living in the greatest nation of all time?” Humphrey started off this bullet point with a series of questions – those above are just a few.
It’s all in the way you look at things. Here, Humphrey told the story of a survivor of Nazi Germany, who was hidden for quite some time by a neighboring family before being found and taken to a concentration camp. The family paid the ultimate price. The survivor said as her life moved on and she moved to the U.S., she was always hesitant to let people in. Before becoming friends with anyone, she asked one simple question: “Would you hide me?” That response and attitude, for her, was the separation between an acquaintance and a true friend.
Humphrey also used the events of 9/11 as a reminder that tomorrow is not always guaranteed, so don’t open yourself up to having regrets in the end.
“We are so blessed guys, we live in the most awesome country in the history of mankind,” he said in closing. “I think if we change our attitudes to be positive, grateful… it changes the way we live, it changes our destiny.”
Humphrey sang several times during his keynote. Below, you can see the final song he sang – hope you enjoy it as much as I did!