I was mesmerized watching the Chicago Police Department’s face-off with the NATO Summit protesters. It was a hot, humid day and officers were heavily clad in protective equipment weighing approximately 30 pounds.  The officers were taunted by the protesters and at times pelted with unpleasant objects, but they remained calm and patiently inched (literally!) the protesters toward the buses that would carry them out ofChicago.  Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was there, in the midst of his officers, demonstrating true leadership.

Like clockwork, officers were rotated so that those who were face-to-face with the protesters were relieved frequently by those who were refreshed and calm, ready to deal with whatever may happen.  They successfully moved the protesters to the buses with a peaceful ending.  It was brilliant.  Later, I realized it was also the perfect inspiration and model for making changes in our lives.

In today’s hectic world, most of us are frantically multi-tasking with the weight (probably more than 30 pounds!) of our own burdens and challenges.  We keep plowing ahead focused on the goal, never taking a break because we don’t think we have the time. We have big dreams, but take no action to make them come true, or we or our detractors have a million reasons why it can’t be done.  We are tired, stressed, and frustrated and already thinking about what’s next, or we’ve just given up.

Starting today, let’s learn fromChicago’s finest.  Refresh and relax on a regular basis, you’ll be better prepared to face the challenges.  It may be as simple as getting yourself a latte, or visiting your favorite website, practicing your golf swing, visiting a colleague or a quick walk around the block. It can be as easy as taking a few deep breaths.

Set your intention and take small steps to achieve your goals. By ever-so-slowly moving forward, theChicagopolice were able to peacefully move a large group of resistant protesters.  Take one step to making your dream come true, a phone call, a class, some research it will move you that much closer to success. 

Be a leader in your life.  Superintendent McCarthy inspired his officers and millions of people around the world because he met the challenge face-to-face.   It’s easy to sit back and let life happen to you, instead take the initiative to meet your own challenges and succeed. It’s easier than you may think,one inch at a time.