February 3, 2015
Last week, we talked about our New Year Resolutions and whether or not we were over-valuing them. This week, I want to share some tips on how to EMBRACE THAT GOAL that you are not choosing, but your boss is assigning to you! Many of you are fortunate enough to have a supervisor/leader who understands your strengths and let’s you decide the who, what, when, where and how of your days. If you do have this luxury, chances are you know exactly what’s expected of you, what you have to produce at year’s end in order to be successful in your role, and you carefully craft your goals in a way that will get you to that pot of gold in an energizing and engaged fashion. (If not, we should talk!!)
For those of you who may not be as fortunate to work for a leader who provides you with this opportunity, it’s going to take some personal leadership and self re-direction to appease both your boss and yourself. Here are some tips to consider and try out immediately:
1. Pay close attention to your inner chatter.
When that goal is assigned to you (and you freak out!), immediately become aware of what you’re saying to yourself about it. Your inner dialogue will provide you with clues about the fastest way to shift your thoughts and get busy succeeding. For example, let’s say Charlie finds himself thinking, “I’ve never led a team of so many individuals to coordinate such a large-scale project. I’m not a project manager!” When we lead with strengths we learn to shift our thoughts toward what the possibilities of our succeeding can look like. So after you capture your inner chatter, you want to do the following…
2. Pick a strengths-based NEW thought.
In the example above, Charlie can pause, understand that his inner chatter is putting him into a fear-based place where success doesn’t live, and have this expanded dialogue with himself, “I’m usually the one who takes action on project issues and gets them done quickly. I’m an Activator, and that’s where I’m comfortable! How might I, though, use my talent of Arranger to work with others to begin making this happen?”
Now, in my example, Charlie is obviously aware of what he’s naturally good at and how he achieves success. You, too, can identify your talents on your own and in your own words by taking the time to become keenly aware of what you’re great at and how you operate best. However, you also can use the quick, inexpensive, and effective Strengths Finder assessment. Once Charlie has shifted his internal dialogue to a better place where solutions live, he can then…
3. Create a specific strengths-based action that will get him started.
It’s important to realize at this point that although an assignment has been given to Charlie, one he’s not crazy about and which can disengage him from his role if he’s not careful, he can take back his personal power by tailoring that goal to how he operates best. He’s going to find a way to do it so that he supports himself and appeases his boss. It probably won’t be the very best use of his talents, but he will bring more energy to the task and feel better about it.
So now that Charlie identified that he has a unique talent that he can leverage to help him get excited about this goal (even if it’s just a little bit!), he needs to immediately write down 1-3 steps he’s going to take using his talent of Arranger. One of these steps can sound like: “I will schedule a 15 minute meeting with each person on the team to identify what they’re best at and how they can be successful to this project.” Arrangers happen to be great at spotting talent in others and bringing many people together to bring things to fruition.
In this example, Charlie was not using his talent of Arranger as much as Activator, so he now needs to bring it out into the open and make it a focus for this specific project. Finally, to ensure increased energy and success with this goal, Charlie should…
4. Track his success and check-in with himself weekly.
The self-awareness should never end. Just as with any goal, we must keep them in front of us and present at all times, measuring and tweaking them. Especially with goals that do not initially hold much value for us at the onset, we have to breathe life into them consistently so we don’t push them to the back of our list. We all do this, don’t we? All of the goals we’re super excited about we tackle first, but those which are equally important, because we will be held accountable for them by our leaders, we tend to push them off for as long as possible. But, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, that tactic can hurt us more than help us.
Leading a strengths-based life is not easy. It takes moment-to-moment awareness, focus and action. But, knowledge is power, and this knowledge about ourselves, what makes us unique, and what helps us to feel successful in all we do, can truly make the difference in our own personal engagement with our roles and goals.
Now, some of you may be in a third category (almost all of us experience this!), where you’ve got that leeway to operate in a strengths-based fashion, but you also have to tackle some assignments or goals that you just don’t care for. Well, I just like to call this LIFE!! If we are able to shift ourselves into a strengths-based way of operating, despite who our supervisor is or what he/she assigns us, chances are that we will be more engaged in our work and and in our lives, and we can better manage those unwanted things that come our way daily. Am I right? Whether it’s an emergency where we have to drop everything, or our position changes overnight, or someone drops the ball and we’re asked to pick it up and make great things happen, change is constant and our glory and engagement lies in leveraging our strengths to make the very best of it (and move on!).
Bottom line: When we are able to roll up our sleeves and accomplish a worthy goal (whether we like it or not) we receive a tremendous amount of energy and exhilaration from it. And if we do so using our talents and strengths, we will always achieve greater levels of productivity, success and joy. All of us, equally, have the capacity to receive these benefits. It’s always a choice.
What will you choose?
It’s your life. Lead it well.
January 28, 2015
Now that the majority of us have likely designed a few goals or resolutions for 2015, it may be wise to sit down with them again and assess whether we are over-valuing them. Are we hoping or assuming they will make a difference for us? How do we know for sure? We don’t want to wait a few months to assess them, because statistics tell us that by then we will most likely already have failed!
Ask yourself this question.
If your boss at work offers you two opportunities to make a bonus by completing a new, critical task, which are you likely to both accept and achieve?
(A) This one that deals with going out and making tons of new contacts (oh, and you happen to LOVE building new relationships), OR
(B) this one that deals with sorting through tons of data to identify sales trends (BTW…you HATE data and sitting still!).
This is a no brainer, right? If this were a true scenario, you would immediately assign a higher value to the first option, because it is something you’ll enjoy, will energize you as you do it, and you’ll have a higher likelihood of achieving it. This could be a meaningful work-related goal for you, because you would be leveraging your strengths.
Let’s now look at a more personal example.
Like weight loss, which most people happen to create resolutions around this time of year. Take Sally, who happens to be quite content with her weight and the way she looks. She had a baby this past year and kept on some that post-baby weight, but she doesn’t mind it. You see, she was quite skinny prior to her pregnancy, and she always wanted to be a bit more voluptuous!
BUT, she started feeling the pressure from her new Mommy Fit Club that getting rid of the post-pregnancy weight was a must. She also was assuming that her husband wanted her to go back to her old, super skinny self. She caved in, and along with her other mommy friends, set a resolution to lose 15 lbs!
What do you think? Is Sally’s goal of high value to her? What do you feel the likelihood will be that she’ll either achieve her goal, or be happy after she’s lost the weight? I’m betting it won’t be high for either!
I’ve learned the hard way, just like many of you! I’m a high achiever who loves a good challenge, but because I, too, have failed at achieving some of my resolutions over the years,
I’ve learned a few things that I’d like to share with you:
Setting goals and/or resolutions is a GREAT thing to do! If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will take you there. Also, research proves that achieving a good challenge increases our levels of happiness!
Rushing your goal-setting can lead to a list of meaningless goals. Perhaps they will look good on paper or in the boardroom, but they won’t feel good inside! In fact, they may lead to feelings of in-authenticity and lack of motivation or purpose.
Goals that are tied to things that you are STRONG at (or strengthen your talents), and which contribute to your strongly-held values or vision for yourself, keep you jazzed and headed toward the finish line.
I love using the end of a year to evaluate how things went. I also love taking my time to ensure that I identify one over-arching intention for my entire year, based on how I want to FEEL; kind of like a theme (I.e., happy, stress-free, fit, intelligent, social, etc.). Finally, I sit down with my Wheel of Life (if you’d like a copy, just email me!) and really evaluate those areas where I want to create some meaningful change. In doing so, my goals will hold a high value, and my chances of achieving them (or coming real close!) is very high.
So, here are some questions you can ask yourself about each goal or resolution now to help you determine if you need to edit them a bit, get rid of them, or take the time to create new, high-value ones.
These questions will help you achieve more clarity around your goals.
1. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 = not at all, and 10 = absolutely yes!!) how important is it to ME that I achieve this goal?
2. Do I want to achieve this goal for me or for someone else?
3. WHY is this important to me? (It’s really important to answer this!)
4. Which of my life/career values is this assigned to? (A bigger question is: Do you know what your deeply-held values are?)
5. If I don’t achieve it, how will I feel?
6. If I do achieve it, how will I have grown/changed for the better?
Here’s the bottom line, folks, we either grow or die! If our goals/resolutions don’t help us grow into those individuals we hope to become, then we shouldn’t have them! And, if the ones we have are lukewarm or hold no true value for us, they are worthless.
Now, most of us have MANY goals which are assigned to us by our supervisors. How do we make them of high-value to us if they are not? Make sure to join me next week as we tackle this challenge.
It’s your life. Lead it well.
October 22, 2014
I can’t believe it’s already “holiday” time! So, not only does that ignite within me the desire to begin creating lots of lists (gifts to give, recipes to cook, cards to make, etc.), but I’m also thinking about what I’ve accomplished this year, and what I still hope to accomplish during my fiscal year (almost half way there!). How about you? I don’t mean to stress you out, but simply to encourage you to look at how far you’ve come and assess whether the goals you’ve set are truly the ones you will, or still hope to achieve. Goals can serve two purposes energetically, they can either fuel us and move us forward with great momentum, or they can weigh us down. The only way to ensure that they don’t do the latter is to take the time to check-in with ourselves and our goals, and continue to give them energy. When we don’t do this, it could be a sign that we are caught in the trap of just setting annual goals, because we are “supposed” to, or we “have” to. There is hardly any positive energy associated with “supposed to,” but there is LOTS of good “ju ju” associated with “want to!” Now is a great time to SWOT it out for yourself; complete a simple analysis–check-in– to see where you’re strong, where you can do better, what opportunities still remain, and what to watch out for, or just let go of (yes, we are allowed to let go of our goals!).
I’m sure you’ve seen this:
This is an effective business tool for strategic plans, and I find that it also works wonders for our personal development. Here are some questions to ask yourself when completing it:
Where I am doing really well? What’s working? What’s getting me 80% of my results via 20% of my time and energy?
What are my strengths and how am I leveraging them? How can I better leverage them now? (If you know your strengths via StrengthsFinder – http://gallupstrengthscenter.com– list them here! Looking at how you’re strategically using your strengths daily can help to keep you on track!)
What’s not working so well and why? Which weaknesses can I manage better? How? Which weaknesses are better ignored? (Remember that investing in your strengths–what you’re naturally talented in–will always get you better results faster!)
What opportunities are on the horizon that I can take advantage of? What didn’t I know or see that now excites me? What’s my low hanging fruit?
What can prevent me from achieving my goals? What do I need to address and/or pay more attention to? Again…What may I need to let go of, due to threats? Are these threats worth my time, energy and worry? (Same with weaknesses!)
Based on your SWOT analysis, take a look at your goals and re-assess them. I guarantee you’ll feel much better about where you are and what you are able to achieve. Mostly, though, you’ll feel better about the decisions you’ll make now. Finally, celebrate all that you’ve achieved so far!
It’s your life. Lead it well!
October 9, 2014
I just purchased a book for my husband, The Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell, who is heralded as a superb storyteller. This gift is supposed to be a surprise, but I guess it won’t be after I post this blog! In his book, Campbell recounts his conversations with many amazing individuals he was close to about their life’s quests and explorations. When I heard about it, it reminded me of my husband’s journey, which he’s still living out fully today. In fact, as I write this he’s incommunicado, on a live-a-board ship, diving with Tiger sharks! He’s all about exploring and creating his story in every moment, so I thought it was a perfect gift for him. Taking this leap was not easy for him–for any of us. Leaving a solid 15-year sales career to live his childhood passion of being the next Jacques Cousteau could never be easy. But, what a ride! It’s an exhilarating story, one with a lot yet to be written. I tell him all the time, “This is another chapter in your autobiography!” He laughs and responds, “Yep, our grand kids will get a kick out of this chapter!” This is an invested, deeply meaningful journey, and I do hope he does write about it one day!
(Oh, and since it’s our 18th wedding anniversary this weekend, let me use this platform to wish my husband, Billy, a Happy Anniversary. Love you, honey!)
Though his transition into entrepreneurship was kind of a big deal for us, we all don’t have to have a major transition happen in our lives in order for us to feel or express our story’s power and have it continue to expand us. And, we all don’t just have one story, either! This thought process brought me back to my new program that I just launched this past week, Journey to Wellbeing. I feel so blessed to be walking side-by-side with many individuals who are diving deep into their stories–their journeys to more balanced, conscious, healthy, joyful and meaningful lives. Although it’s only been a week, what I love most is getting a glimpse into their stories, one week at a time. And, since this program’s foundation is journaling, I love the idea that they can begin to capture and/or create their stories, just one sentence at a time. I don’t know about you, but its always a person’s story that instantly connects me to them. It’s what remains when everything falls away. Author, Anne Lamont shares that the thought of writing her first book was terrifying, until one day one of her mentors suggested she write just one sentence every day until she finished. That’s exactly what she did. What would you say is your Hero’s Journey? Have you thought about it? Have you shared it with others? Have you dumped it out of your head and onto paper? Can journaling help you capture it, or would writing one sentence a day be an inspiring starting point for you as it was for Anne Lamont?
We are all hero’s in our own right–in our own lives. Capture it. Own it. Share it.
September 10, 2014
Maybe you’ve experienced this funny phenomenon as well! I never put much thought into it except to giggle over it, but yesterday it certainly caught my attention. As I was going for a power walk I noticed how all of the lizards on the sidewalks just hang out on the sidelines and only dare to cross the very moment my foot lifts to take another step. It’s actually quite scary, since every step I take I feel like I’m going to squish one of these little guys! However, they always seem to make it across! I’m thinking they’re stupid and careless, but what do they know that I don’t?
My thoughts then quickly shifted to us humans and our tendencies to stay on the sidelines— sometimes for way too long. What is it about lizards that make them act so quickly and go all in when the danger is at its peak?
Well, our “lizard brain” tends to either freeze, fight, or flight when we feel in danger. It’s that primal, instinctive part of our brain that is always trying to protect us. Certainly, those big visions we want to go after can be just as frightening as they can be exciting. And I wonder how throwing ourselves into the perceived danger can get us that much closer to where we want to go, and sometimes, where we know we need to be. Achieving “success” also can be fearful in and of itself, because then we may wonder what happens when we “get there”? We may ask, “How will my life change, and can I live up to that change?” Perhaps, instead, we should be asking ourselves, “What if I never change? Will I be content with my life staying as is?”
If you find yourself in that scenario, like a lizard looking up at a big shoe about to drop, consider asking yourself:
What about this fear is true?
Is this just my lizard brain trying to protect me?
What’s the worst that could happen if I felt the fear and did it anyway?
Without fear would it be as meaningful?
How could our lives shift dramatically toward our vision if we actually began to embrace fear, as if it were a marker that we were on our true path?
Gosh…I get excited thinking about It. Do you?
What are you fearing right now that’s keeping you on the sidelines?
I guess it’s no coincidence that lately I’ve been surrounded by so many amazing individuals who are breaking through their fears and finding major breakthroughs on the other side. I find that it’s much easier to go all in when you’re not the only one doing it!
As the amazing Brené Brown says, “You can’t find courage without walking through vulnerability.” You think those little lizards aren’t vulnerable when they jump out in front of a huge, scary sneaker? They survive over and over, and so can we.
Are you fear FULL? Embrace it and move toward your dreams.
July 21, 2014
Wow! Is it already Week 8 of Summer of Well-Being? I am so grateful to our guest bloggers for their wonderful content, and I hope each of you is taking advantage of their knowledge and suggestions, and trying a few on for size. I’m excited about our guest this week, Leoncio Alvarez, from MUNCH This!, who will take some delicious recipes and show us how to make them healthier! Super cool, yes? Make sure to join us on Thursday for his blog.
If you need to catch up on all Summer of Well-Being blogs, you’ll find them here.
This past weekend I decided to tackle a wellness goal that I have been wanting to try for quite some time, but never made the time for it. When I noticed that Summer of Well-Being guest blogger, Mary Trontz, was offering a 3-day cleanse, I knew this was the time. There are many ways to cleanse and different systems offered. I chose the 3-Day Refresh by Shakeology, because it does most of the work for me with little prep or hassle. Because my hubby also is participating in the Summer of Well-Being, we decided to do this challenge together, and today is our last day! Today, day 3, I’m really feeling the positive effects, and I can’t wait to see the full results tomorrow!
So, what have I noticed?
I’ve been more tired than usual. My body is definitely detoxing and saying, “Whoa, woman! What are you doing?” We decided start over the weekend to allow ourselves time to rest. That’s been helpful!
Staying hydrated is necessary for energy, and also to help us feel more full. In this case, I’m following guest blogger, Davis Mitchell’s advice of drinking a minimum of half my body weight in ounces.
Some headaches, which I feel may be due to detoxing and releasing my coffee habit.
And, some moments of bloating and nausea.
Mostly, the first two days I noticed how easy it would be to give up after day 1! It has taken a lot of will power and positive self talk to keep me going, especially when I’m cooking normal meals for my kiddos! But, tackling this with a buddy definitely helps!
So, how do you stick with a goal when the going gets tough?
Although I’m proud that I have almost reached my goal and have managed to stay focused and on point, I really enjoy learning from others what helps them to reach their goals, especially when the going gets tough.
This weekend I spent some time watching the British Open. Both my step-father and son are avid golfers, and so my liking to golf has grown over the years. It was very exciting to witness 25-year-old, Rory McIlroy win the Open (again), and three out of the four major crowns in golf. When asked what he told himself to keep his mind positive and focused on the goal, he said that he repeatedly told himself two words over and over…PROCESS and SPOT.
Easy and effective, and that’s why I felt compelled to share it with you today.
He tells himself that golf, and winning a tournament, is a process. It’s not the outcome of one hole, or in my case, one day of cleansing; it’s in sticking with the plan and getting through. At every hole, he would say to himself, “spot” as a reminder that his only role in that very moment (moment-to-moment) was to focus on the next spot; where he needed to place the ball. For me, during my cleanse, my spot was the next hour. What do I need to do to be prepared for the next hour? Taking it moment by moment–spotting– was really helpful.
If you haven’t yet found a way to get through your well-being goals, or any goals for that matter, maybe this easy tip from a young, extraordinary athlete can help you get there. Also, to develop your athlete’s mind, make sure to catch guest blogger, Mike Rosenfeld’s vlog, if you haven’t already!
Our well-being is most definitely a process; a life-long one. I hope that the process for you has been a positive and joyful one! And, remember, if you’re not feeling challenged, you may need to step up your effort a bit. I know you can do it!
Have a magnificent week!
February 2, 2011
As a life-long dancer the first thing I picture when I hear the words “Kick up some dirt” is a person dancing wildly, no holds barred, on the beach, or at a backyard hoedown. Yet this month (and everyday, really) it can hold another meaning, one that signifies resilience, persistence and laser focus (kinda sounds like a dancer’s life as well!).
With still so much energy behind this new year–2011–and all of the ideas, excitement and light with which we christened it still tangible, I am questioning what it truly takes to get to where we want to go… to light up and deliver results.
What does it take and why don’t we always follow through?
In coaching with others about Energy Leadership we talk quite a bit about our default tendencies–those thoughts, beliefs, actions (and non-actions!) that we have either learned over time, or created to protect ourselves, which over the years have become entrenched into our psyche. Many times, unless we really look for them we don’t know they exist and that they hold us back. However, if we are the introspective kind and have a good idea as to what and why we do the things we do, I would dare to claim that we have the high likelihood of really creating a breakthrough if we are truly committed to making it happen.
So, how do we build this commitment?
Yes, it is true that less than half of all individuals who create a new year’s resolution break them by month six, but I’m more interested in studying the smaller percentage who are “Fireworks,” as Katy Perry would describe them, because not only do they NOT break their resolutions, they reach them, BIG TIME! I love it in Katie Perry’s song, Firework, when she sings “Make them go Ah, Ah, Ah as you shoot across the sky!”
When others marvel at what you’ve accomplished (Ahhh!),
and even better,when YOU marvel at what you’ve accomplished,
you’ve done something not many do often.
Perhaps a quick poll can help shed some more light.
What would you say you hear more often from yourself and others?
- “Gosh, I just haven’t had the time or energy to work on my goal. Maybe tomorrow!” – OR-
- “You’re never going to believe what I accomplished today! It took all the energy I could find, but I’ve got a fire in my belly!”
I’d love to get your feedback on this… a quick pulse of what you’re seeing out there. Please check in.
So, back to finding that commitment, as well as resiliency, persistence and laser focus.
What does it take to master them?
Consider this 5 step plan of action to get you on your way:
- Dig Deep.
If you haven’t spent much time looking within start now. Try it for one week. Simply keep a journal to track your actions or non-actions and the possible reasons behind them. What are your thoughts, beliefs, and fears related to them? What fires you up or waters you down and why? I guarantee you’ll know yourself better than you did 7 days prior. Jack Canfield uses a great visual to signify all of those “default tendencies” we tend not to see. Imagine the tip of an iceberg above the ocean, now go below the ocean in your mind to uncover the larger part of the iceberg…the part we don’t see that’s at least 5 times the size of the tip. This part underwater, what we don’t see, is likened to our subconscious. Let’s begin chipping away at that massive obstruction and start living more consciously!
- Identify ONE Breakthrough Goal.
A Breakthrough goal is something that you normally would avoid committing to. It doesn’t have to be BIG or complicated, but something that will require you to get out of your box. Pick only one; this is key. Don’t set out to change your entire life. All Breakthrough goals are made up of many smaller goals, so consider creating a mind map of your Breakthrough goal. Pick that first small step to focus on and simply keep the larger goal where you can see it daily, off in the distance.
- Create a NEW Default. We evolve just as time evolves. Yes, habits are hard to break, but PLEASE break them if they are not doing you any good! You have the power to create a new habit…a new default tendency, one that will move you forward and will not define you. How do you create a new habit or routine? Bring it up from your subconscious to your conscious. Acknowledge it. Speak to it. Thank it for its service. Tell it it’s time to go bye, bye! Define your NEW habit, and bring it to life by giving it your undivided attention. LOVE on it!
My quote for the day from my Ask and it is Given card deck applies nicely to this: “Like learning to understand the basics of mathematics and then having the successful experience of understanding the results of their applications, once you have a formula for understanding your world that is always consistent, it will yield consistent results for you.
- Kick up some dirt! Yes, this is the hard part. You know where you want to go, you’ve dug out the unwanted from deep down and placed lots of conscious energy around your new normal. Now the work begins. Kick up some dirt every day. Would you go today without brushing your teeth or taking a shower (Ok…maybe you shouldn’t answer this. LOL!)? Your new normal needs to become a priority, just like your other routine activities. Define a way to hold yourself accountable.
Stephen Covey helps to lead the way in this thought via Habit 3 of this 7 Habits of Highly Effective People…Put First Things First! Make this a FIRST in your life to watch it truly become a new default tendency. This new habit will take you from dependence to independence, or self-mastery.
- Kick up the celebration! Revel in your accomplishments daily. Share your success, even if it’s only with your pet, the best of listeners! No goal achieved is too small. Creating an environment of excitement and joy helps to expand your energy field, therefore attracting back to you more of what you want and need.
Revel in the newness. The new year, new default tendencies, new successes.
Have fun with the process,