Posts Tagged ‘Achievement’

Life Coach Lesson: Finding Value In Complaints

March 12th, 2013

ComplaintsThere is wisdom in turning a welcoming ear to complaints, in listening to negative comments – whether at home or in the workplace.  Why?  Because, like it or not, those complaints and grumblings are feedback, most probably based on a germ of truth and, certainly, they hold the seeds of a solution.

Listen carefully and objectively.  Your next big business-improvement or relationship enhancement idea could be dished out by a dissatisfied customer or friend, given to you by a grumbling employee or family member, or a complaining colleague or loved one.

As you listen, instead of responding defensively and justifying your actions or position, ask yourself:  what grain of truth is in his complaint?  What’s her dissatisfaction pointing out that I need to see more clearly and address constructively?

Don’t be put off by negative feedback.  Explore it.  You could unearth an idea, though yet disguised as a complaint, that just might enhance your profit picture and your life.

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Control Overreaction At Work and Home

March 5th, 2013

Angry Biz WomanWhen it comes to pressure in the workplace or at home, which situations trigger feelings of overload, burden, overwhelm and stress?  How do you typically react?  Do you freeze up, get angry or cranky, gossip, feel frustrated, or stop working and start complaining?  Do you overreact?

The next time pressure and overload land in your world, shift your old pattern to a more constructive response.

Consciously choose your reaction. Begin by acknowledging to yourself that wave of despair, annoyance or overwhelm as it starts to surface.  Then, take a moment and identify your preferred response.  If you need the benefit of another perspective, speak with your manager or a trusted friend.  Discuss the necessity of a shift in priorities.  Seek out their advice about ways to proceed. You can also solicit suggestions from a colleague.  Or, if need be, take a brief walk to clear your head, release tension and get a fresh perspective.

The trick to handling pressure more effectively is interrupting your auto-pilot, patterned response. Consciously choose to replace overreaction with emotional intelligence and you’ll feel the change ripple through your life.

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Life Coach Lesson: Overachievers Steal Things

February 26th, 2013

Life Coach LessonIn a year-end post by blogger Penelope Trunk called “15 Things Overachievers Do,” one of those things was they steal things. She admitted to stealing this particular blog idea from “Thought Catalogue. Forbes.com contributor TJ McCue stole the same idea from Penelope for his year-end piece “13 Things Overachievers Do.” My point: achieving great things doesn’t always mean conjuring up new ideas.

Both McCue and Trunk point out that over-achievers have a lot of great ideas, so they don’t mind if others steal them. After all, it’s not the ideas that matter, it’s the execution. And stealing ideas from others can make life easier and that’s okay.

To steal ideas, put yourself in the flow of the ever-increasing information stream. Identify industry thought-leaders or people outside your field whose accomplishments you find intriguing. Pick up their biographies or books, read their columns, watch their shows or follow their blogs.

Solutions to issues you face at work or at home can be found in the unlikeliest places.  A mind open and exposed to new or unconventional ideas is sure to find them.

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Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

February 13th, 2013

Get Beyond Your Comfort Zone“I’m continually trying to make choices that put me against my own comfort zone. As long as you’re uncomfortable, it means you’re growing.” ~Ashton Kutcher 

Defensiveness is the biggest deterrent to learning, professional and personal growth and positive change.  Most of the time we don’t recognize when we’re standing in the way of our own progress.

Here’s the number one way you can tell if you’re stopping yourself from learning and becoming more.  When someone makes a suggestion, do you respond by explaining why you do what you do?  If you do, your internal mental Border Patrol, a concept I introduced in my book, LIES That Limit, is making an argument for your status quo.  Justifying your behavior is a sure way to stay stuck in old, outdated patterns.

Another way you thwart your own growth is when you tell others they don’t understand your situation or circumstances, you’re limiting your ability to make progress with your life.

If you’re at cause for lackluster progress in your life, stop justifying your behavior and start identifying more with your vision for your life.  Tell a new story.

For more information, pick up a copy of LIES That Limit on Amazon in paperback or for Kindle.  Learn more about conquering your own Border Patrol by visiting TMGSpeaks.com and search “Border Patrol.”

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Life Coach Lesson: Understanding Your Internal Border Patrol

January 29th, 2013

Border Patrol Image - smExcerpt from LIES That Limit: Uncover The Truth Of Who You Really Are

Through conditioning we blind ourselves to the best of who we are.  We become untrusting, too busy, too intellectual, too committed to rules and ideas that, in the end, don’t serve our growth or expand awareness of our Spirit and Purpose. We collude with the internal Border Patrol, limiting our self-expression and access to what is best and right for us.  We become too afraid to touch our core, our Spirit, our own divine nature.

What’s in the way of accessing your true nature?  LIES – Labels, Illusions, Excuses and Stories.  You allow LIES – the cultural story about what’s true, real, and important – to come between you and your Spirit.  LIES dull the connection to your core and your calling.  LIES enforced by The Border Patrol make you afraid to let your Spirit rule your life, guide your actions and decisions, and keep you aligned with the truth of who you really are.

Convincingly, The Border Patrol will say, “If you start talking about this weird, woo-woo stuff, you’ll lose everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve and acquire.”  The Border Patrol will persuade you to stay out of that foreign territory of Spirit and Purpose and keep your feet planted firmly on the ground.  It will tell you to leave all that nonsense alone, and threaten you with, “If you don’t, you’ll become an outcast, ridiculed and humiliated for your beliefs – rejected by the people who love you.”

Adopting the ways of the world, what you mistakenly call life takes center stage.  Your connection with your core Self is lost.  Soon, you forget you’re the creative force in your life.  You give up authorship.  You lose faith in your ability to be sure of who you are, why you’re here, and what’s right for you.  The controlling, self-sabotaging power of The Border Patrol takes the driver’s seat in your mind.

The Border Patrol is expert at generating fear of losing love.  In reality, no one could ever love you less than this internal agent of oppression.  When speaking to you, The Border Patrol’s words seem logical, make sense and sound reasonable and protective.  After all, you don’t want to jeopardize your safety and security.  But, what you don’t understand is its cunning, loveless nature.  Blindly, you yield to the authority of The Border Patrol, agreeing to live LIES in exchange for a false sense of security.

Talk about selling your soul to the devil!

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Leadership Quality That Breeds Success

January 22nd, 2013

Leadership Quality That Breeds SuccessCharles, a senior-level coaching client, told me that early in his career, his mentor advised him to be smart enough to be humble, versus proving how smart he is.

No matter the job level of the person he’s interacting with, Charles’ mode of operation is always to be collegial and collaborative.

Here are the principles that guide his behavior and his leadership style:

  • He works with people versus them working for him.
  • He demonstrates respect for everyone’s point of view, even when he disagrees.
  • He looks to learn something from everyone, even if it’s simply what their interests and passions are.
  • To make space for others to share what they know, he often asks, “What do you think?”  “What does your experience say we should do in this case?”

Charles’ smart-enough-to-be-humble leadership style helps the people in his organization feel valued.  They’re also not afraid to be open and honest when interacting with him.  In today’s business climate, where innovation and creativity are required, keeping the lines of communication flowing is critical because you never know from where that next great business idea will come.

Are you smart enough to be humble?

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Power Comes From Listening More and Talking Less

October 23rd, 2012

Listen more. Talk less.

Try this for just one day and notice the impact on you and on others.  Listen more.  Listen to understand.  Listen to learn.  Listen to empathize.  Listen to validate.

Don’t worry.  You won’t become invisible, powerless or less impactful.  In fact, you will become more visible because you’ll stand out as someone who cares in a world full of people who are busy pushing their agenda, selling their ideas, jockeying for position.

You may find these three techniques helpful to listen actively for far more effective communication.

Mirror the speaker’s message.  In other words, accurately restate the content and emotional tone of the speaker’s message by paraphrasing what you heard.  This is a good way to demonstrate that you understand what was said.  And, it allows the speaker to clarify important points, you may have missed or misunderstood.

Empathize with the speaker’s feelings or emotional state.  Let the speaker know that you hear how they are feeling about the topic of discussion.  Name the emotion you believe the speaker is experiencing.  Use phrases like you sound happy or sad, scared, angry, concerned, etc. Or, I image you’re feeling frustrated, joyful, etc.

Validate the speaker’s point of view.  Confirm that you understand the situation through her eyes and can appreciate why he or she feels the way they do, even if you don’t agree.  To practice validation, use phrases such as… “I can see why you say that…”  Or, “Given what you’ve said, I understand why you conclude…”

Talk less and listen more.  Then, notice how many people – at home and at work – will compliment you for being such a great listener, for caring or for affording them the opportunity to talk through something that was concerning them.

Emotionally intelligent people engage in active listening.  To power up your effectiveness as a communicator and your credibility as someone who genuinely cares, try it and watch your personal and/or executive presence emerge.

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Boost Trust in Your Relationships

October 16th, 2012

Are your relationships resting on a strong foundation of trust?  If so, you may be among the 49% of people in the US who say they have a high level of trust in others.

But, here’s the rub:  if 49% trust others that means 51% aren’t so trusting.  What’s that about?  While I can’t account for the whole story, I believe I have a useful perspective on part of it because trust is at the heart of what makes relationships work.

When trust is present in a relationship there is a sense of ease, reliability and predictability.  The presence of trust helps us to relax and feel safe.  We need trust in our relationships – at home, in the workplace, in our communities.  Trust is its own social capital and it’s value – priceless.

You may be in an important relationship where you want to strengthen trust.  It’s not bad, but it certainly could be better.  Or, perhaps you’re forming new relationships – in your love life, in a new or extended family, on in your professional life.  Or you may be facing the uphill challenge of needing to repair trust and credibility in a damaged or broken relationship.

When clients talk with me about their challenges with building or repairing trust, and ask how to proceed, my recommendation is often the same.  It’s a straightforward, simple suggestion:  going forward, keep your word.  Say what you mean.  Promise only what you intend to deliver.

Even when you’re uncomfortable saying “No,” don’t agree to anything you know you’re not going to do because you don’t want to, don’t have the authority to execute, or because of some other constraint you won’t or can’t follow-through.

Broken agreements are at the heart of most damaged and dysfunctional relationships, both in the workplace and at home.  If you’re not going to keep a commitment you made, tell the affected person or parties, as soon as possible.  Offer a sincere apology for not following through on what you said.

Keeping your word is an act of honor and accountability.  It makes you stand out as trust-worthy when people know they can count on you to keep the promises you make, and when you can’t, they know you’ll give them the respect of informing them directly and early.

Boost the trust level in your relationships.  The trust you earn by keeping your word will open doors and keep them open.

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Are You C-Suite Ready?

October 9th, 2012

While personal styles among those who occupy the C-suite can vary dramatically, from the reserved and analytical to the warm, outgoing people person, exceptional leaders – those who get results in the short run and long-term – all share a special set of common characteristics.  And, it’s not technical competence, nor the gift of exceptional intellect.

Daniel Goleman says, “…the most effective leaders are alike in one crucial way:  They all have a high degree of emotional intelligence.”  EQ – emotional intelligence – makes it more likely that you’re C-suite ready and will thrive once there.

Goleman’s work suggests that strong IQ and technical capabilities are necessary in that they help you gain the attention of those who make the hiring and promotion decisions.  IQ and technical competence open doors.  But, it’s your EQ – your level of emotional intelligence – that can derail your ascendency or help you excel and shine.

To get a quick read on your current level of EQ, for each component below, answer the following questions.  Rate yourself – 1 if you’re at the lower end of the continuum and up to a 5 at the highest end.

These questions are designed simply to make you think and help you self-assess.

  1. Are you self-aware? To what degree do you recognize and understand your moods, emotions, drives and impact on others?
  2. Do you self-regulate? To what degree are you able to control your impulses?  Do you to think before acting?
  3. Do you motivate?  To what degree are you energetic, passionate, persistent, and work to achieve goals for their own sake, not simply for money, acclaim or status?
  4. Are you empathetic?  To what degree do you understand and take into account the emotional makeup and reality of others?
  5. Are you socially skillful? To what degree are you able to build rapport, find common ground, maintain relationships, and influence others to move in a particular direction?

This “quick and dirty” self-assessment can help you get a feel for your current level of EQ.  Add up your scores and divide by 5 to find out where you are on the continuum.

No matter where you are, you can strengthen your competency in any or all of the EQ components identified by Goleman if you commit to doing so.   Set clear goals with relevant actions steps.  Practice the behaviors that will produce the change you want.  Along the way, get other’s perspective on how you’re doing.  Ask for feedforward from colleagues, direct reports, senior leaders and coaches.

With dedication and persistence, you can strengthen your EQ, be C-suite ready and flourish once there.

To learn more about Daniel Goleman and Emotional Intelligence, Google Daniel Goleman or click here.

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You’re Busy, Busy, Busy! But How Productive Are You?

October 2nd, 2012

Are you among the many people for whom working long hours, multitasking and pressing to meet deadlines have become a way of life?

In the short-term, these are practical solutions.  But, research tells us that this pattern, over the long-term, increases stress levels and results in lower levels of productivity.  Eventually, even though you’re plenty busy, you begin to accomplish less.

To accomplish more, you have to find ways to leverage your time and resources more effectively.  Here are 3 quick and simple strategies that can help you accomplish more, with less stress.

Organize your work life – email, files, drawers and desktop.  Doing so will enable you to more readily find what it is you need, saving valuable minutes, as well as the cost – time and dollars of unnecessary redos and purchases.  Just as physical mail and papers can be placed in project folders, so can email.  That puts their access at the ready.

Tackle your most challenging tasks when you’re at your best.  For example, if you’re a morning person, take on important projects that require thought during those hours.

Activity logs can provide important insight into how you spend your time.  For one week, jot down how you use your time.  Each time you begin a new activity, make a note of what it is and how much time it required.  This will help you get a handle on whether you’re spending your time on high-value, high priority tasks or wasting more time than needed on low-priority meetings, interruptions or other distractions.

Good time management requires self-awareness and self-management.  The payback in productivity will be well worth the effort.

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