What would you do if you won the Lottery?

imagesYesterday I was feeling that some of the activities in my business were not working as smoothly as I would have liked. I was coming home from a trip out of town and instead of feeling “charged up” I was feeling exhausted. I know that when I feel this way something isn’t quite right. As I was talking to my wife about this situation, I was reminded of an exercise I sometimes offer in the leadership courses I teach. It is called, “What would you do if you just won the lottery?”.

In this exercise, each person is asked to consider what work they would be doing if they won the lottery. In probing the answer to this question, participants are asked, “would you continue what you are doing today?”. Not surprisingly, many people answer, “No”. Now, I don’t stop the exercise there. It would be almost cruel to leave people hanging. The next question is, “If there were no restrictions on what you could do (money, time, what other people think, etc.) what would you love to do?”. If people are having a difficult time in answering this question, I ask, “when you think back on your life, what have been the times you were most excited in your work or you felt the most proud of?” As people answer that question, I can feel them come alive.

contemplationI decided it was a good time for me to review this exercise to see if I could get a bit of insight into how I was feeling. Well, did I ever! I was immediately flooded with answers that I didn’t like. If I won the lottery, I would change the way that I work. I am involved in a number of projects that do not fit with what I love, which is to teach. I would eliminate all the projects that don’t have teaching as a primary element. With this insight, I immediately began the process of redesigning all my work. I remembered that there is nothing that I can’t change, and nothing I can’t create. By the end of the day, I was clear headed and feeling a rush of energy that I haven’t felt in a while. I also saw a number of new opportunities that would expand the reach of our work without very little time or other resources involved. All in all, a great outcome from answering a few simple questions.

Are you feeling that your work isn’t all it could be? If so, I invite you to use this exercise and see what happens. I would love to hear from you about what you discover, and any questions you may have.

Until later,


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Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

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