Are you intentionally grateful?

This week as we observe Thanksgiving our celebration may be different than the past. We will still take time to focus on the things that matter most in our lives and be grateful.

That being said it is important to have a daily ritual of gratitude though out the year. Here is a practice you can adopt. At the start of each day review your appointments and be grateful for each item on your calendar. It may be a task you find difficult or conversation with aa person you dislike, find something to be grateful for as you consider the event. At the very least, you can be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. At the end of the day, list three things you in your gratitude journal to celebrate. Share one of those gratitude’s here.

The Surprising Secret to Confidence – borrow the slogan from Nike and Just Do It!

Fear of failure is what stops many of us from pursuing our dreams. The thoughts like what if it doesn’t work, what if I look stupid, what if I get laughed at, what if I go broke, have stopped many a dream in its tracks. The best cure is to take action despite that voice shouting in the back of your head. The advice Mel Robbins gives in her TED Talk fits here. She describes a method she created to motivate herself to get out of a funk and take action. Count backward from 5, when you get to 1 you get up and do what you’ve been avoiding. “Your feelings don’t matter. The only thing that matters is what you DO.”, says Robbins.

Try the 5 second technique and let me know what happens. Post your comment here.

Are you struggling to stay focused in the current crazy chaos?

Here’s three tips to help:  Create a plan, start with gratitude, celebrate your wins.

A colleague of mine often said: “Well begun is half done.” With that in mind it is important to take time to create a plan for your day. Your plan more than a list of meetings and tasks, it’s a plan to work on your priorities.

Identify the one thing you want accomplish before the end of the day to reach your long-term goal. Do that first thing in the morning. Maybe your goal is to write a book. The first thing you do every morning your write for 30 minutes. Maybe your goal is to increase your sales numbers to X. The first thing you do every morning is make X number of sales calls. Maybe your goal is to lose 8 pounds by the end of the year. Every morning you get up and exercise for 30 minutes. Post you top 3 priorities where you can see them and until those items are accomplished avoid working on anything else.

Practice gratitude. It is easy to find reasons to complain. The weather is cold and rainy. The neighbor’s dog is barking. You have the sniffles. Instead look for reasons to be grateful. There is hot and cold water in the tap. You slept in a nice warm bed. You have food in the refrigerator.

“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius

As you begin to be more grateful you can begin to celebrate the actions you took to move you closer to your goal. Create a log (written or digital) of your accomplishments each day. Then give yourself a pat on the back for taking action. Remember, there is no failure. You either win or you learn.

Do you have a tip you use to stay focused, post it here.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

Here’s one piece of advice I really appreciated – if you can’t stick your neck out in the meeting don’t stick your tongue out in the hall. Over the last few weeks this phrase has come to mind in several conversations. No one benefits when we avoid sharing our ideas and then complaining about it later on to people who were not at the meeting.

Speaking up can be scary because when we do all eyes turn toward us and judge us. What if we get it wrong, what if we appear the fool, what if no one listens or what if someone steals our idea and takes credit for it? All of these questions run through our mind outside of our conscious awareness. Our brain takes on the role of protector, just like it did in ancient times when we humans roamed the savannah looking for food. The eyes peering out of the grass were predators meant to do us harm, we didn’t want to stand out and be eaten so we took cover.

In our modern world, we no longer face the risk of dying when we step forward, but our brain hasn’t caught on. It is still warning us to play it safe and stay in the background. The good news is we can retrain our brain. It starts with small steps practiced again and again. Once we practice speaking out, we begin to realize we aren’t going to die. Maybe things will go wrong yet saying what’s one our mind is a risk worth taking. Staying silent, then gossiping later, serves no one.

Keep in mind the words of Leo Buscaglia “Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.”

Share the best advice anyone’s given you as a comment to this post.

What are you doing to navigate these stormy waters?

In recent months we’ve been bombarded with the phrase “we are all in this together.” Not only does it relate to the world at large it can also relate to the organization where we work. In speaking with a colleague earlier this week she made an interesting statement: even though we are all in this together we are in different boats. Some people are in an inflatable raft, some in a cabin cruiser or some a yacht. When we work for an organization its true as well. Think of the place you work for as the body of water and your role in the organization is the boat you are guiding to get you to the destination.

We all face stormy weather and how we navigate the storm is independent of the type of vessel you are guiding the difference is how you guide the craft. The way you pilot your boat is what will make the difference in the outcome of your day, your month, your career, not the type of boat you are steering. Without the skill, knowledge, and ability (SKA’s) to sail stormy seas, you will run aground even if you are in the most expensive yacht. Are you willing make the time to improve your SKA’s? Your investment in your SKA’s is what will give you the ability to successfully guide your boat to its destination.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Listen to podcasts or the read the blog posts of leaders in your industry.
  • Let me recommend Michelle L. Steffes podcast: Your Journey to Greatness Through Routine.  Here is a link:
  • Take time each day to disconnect from news and social media.
  • Create a plan to strengthen areas in which you already excel.
  • And of course find time for self-care using things like meditation and exercise.

What strategies do you use to continue to be your best and guide your career to its maximum potential? Post those ideas here.

Listening is a Key to Excellence

It is often the person who is a good technician that is promoted to the role of supervising others in the organization. Here is the challenge. They know the work; they are good at the work. They may not know who to relate to and motive the people they now supervise. In Stephen’s Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, habit 4 is called seek first to understand. Covey said this is the most important of all the habits; the ability to listen and understand the other person’s point of view.

A key skill in becoming a great supervisor is the ability to listen and step into the other person’s point of view without judgment. When was the last time you listened to someone without imposing your own ideas on the situation, without trying to convenience the other person your way is the right way?

Here is your assignment for today. Listen to someone for understanding, not just to the words they are using, but to the underlying message. Release the need to judge, simply listen. A key phrase to use is, “tell me more.” And remember the old adage, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Let me know how it goes by posting your comments.

Are you willing to chase your dream?

Once there was an eagle’s nest with four beautiful eggs perched on the side of a mountain. An earthquake occurred causing one of the eggs to roll out of the nest down the mountain side and landed in the middle of a chicken farm below. The chickens gathered around the egg and decided they would take care of it. One old hen volunteered to sit on the egg and soon it hatched. Out came a beautiful baby eagle. The chickens raised the eagle like all of the other baby chicks.

One day when the eagle was out playing in the yard with the other chicks he looked up into the sky and saw a group of eagles soaring above. He said out loud, “I wish I could soar like that.” The chickens laughed. “You can’t soar “they said “you’re a chicken and chickens can’t fly.” Day after day the eagle would be in the yard and noticed the family of eagles soaring above, his real family. Each time he said how much he wanted to fly like that, the chickens would laugh and tell him it wasn’t possible. As the years passed the eagle gave up on his dream and eventually died with the chickens, never knowing he was an eagle and could soar up in the air.

What’s the morale of the story? We all have dreams inside of us; we were all born to fulfill our greatest purpose. If we let those around us talk us out of our dreams, we will die never realizing what we could become. Use this post as encouragement to follow your dream, stop listening to the people around you who say it can’t be done. As Audrey Hepburn said, “Nothing is impossible, even the word itself says I’m possible.”

What is one action you can take right now to move you closer to your dream? Take it and post your action here.

How to stop negativity on your team.

You know the saying one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. At the end of last week I had the privilege of leading a virtual workshop and several of the participants asked how to stop the one person with a negative attitude from dragging down the entire team. My answer was twofold. First be the example, second you get what you tolerate.

As Albert Schweitzer once said “The three most important ways to lead people are: by example… by example… by example.” Here are two ways to lead by example:

1) Build people up by saying thank you verbally and in writing, noticing when someone goes above and beyond, and weekly check-ins with people to see how they are doing.

2) Find the good in every situation and every person. If you are finding it difficult to fin

d the silver lining, try asking the question – “what can I learn from this?” As opposed to “why is this happening?’

Stop tolerating bad behavior. Schedule a time to talk with the person and let them know you expect them to stop the complaints, gossip, and negative remarks. Let them know the impact their behavior is having on the entire team and the negative behavior will no longer be tolerated. These conversations are not easy to have but worth the time and energy you put into them. I’ve created a free resource to help, you can access by clicking here.

It can be helpful to keep in mind the words of –Henry Kissinger the 56th US Secretary of State. “The task of the leader is to get their people from where they are to where they have not been.”

Are you willing to share your best with others?

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality wheat and every season he won the award for the best grown in his county. One year a reporter from the local newspaper interviewed the farmer and learned that each Spring the man shared his seed with his neighbors so that they too could plant it in their fields.

“How can you afford to share your best wheat seed with your neighbors when they are entering their crops in the competition with yours?” the reporter asked.

“Why that’s very simple,” the farmer explained. “The wind picks up pollen from the developing wheat and carries it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior wheat, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of all the wheat, including mine. If I am to grow good wheat, I must help my neighbors grow good wheat”.

The reporter realized how the farmer’s explanation also applied to everyone’s life in the most essential way. If we want to live a meaningfully life, we will choose to enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy will choose help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

I have two questions for you. What will you do to enrich the lives of those you come in contact with today? What will you do to help your family and friends find happiness? Please share your thoughts here.

How do you handle disappointment?

A long time ago there was a farmer who had a donkey. One day the donkey was walking through a field and fell into an old abandoned well. Of course, the donkey was very upset by his predicament and started braying loudly. The farmer heard his cries and came to investigate. He wasn’t sure how to get the donkey out of the well. He called a few of his neighboring farmers and they came over to help him solve the dilemma. Since there was no way to lift the donkey out of the well, and he was an old donkey, the farmer and his friends agreed the best solution was to bury the donkey.

So, they gathered their shovels and began solving dirt into the well and onto the donkey. As you can well imagine the donkey became upset with shovels full of dirt landing on him. With each shovel full he brayed louder, shook off the dirt and stamped his hoofs. This continued well onto the evening. The farmers shoveling dirt into the well and the donkey shaking off the dirt and stepping on to the dirt that fell off him. After several hours low and behold the donkey walked out of the well. With every shovel full he shook it off and stepped up.

I was reminded of this story because I had a big disappointment in my business this week. Something that I thought would come my way in terms of new business didn’t happen. After a bit of complaining I realized I had to shake it off and step up otherwise the weight of the disappointment would bury me.

Mastering a Difficult ConversationLife is full of disappointments. We can choose to learn from it (shake it off and step up) or we can let it bury us. We won’t be able to serve our clients, our team, or our family if we become buried under the weight of disappointment. Need help seeing the lesson in a disappointment in your life? Let’s talk, schedule by clicking here.