What do you do with a bad shot?

A few days ago I played golf with a group of friends.  On the first tee one of my friends hit a very poor drive. As she walked off the tee box, I heard her say, “It’s okay.  It is a beautiful day and I’m here with friends enjoying the outdoors.  I will do better next time.” Her next shot was near perfect. She continued to have a good round of golf.

Here is the lesson I took away.  Poor beginnings don’t have to be the predictor of the outcome.  Every day we face obstacles. Our plans don’t always work out. It is not what happens to us, it is our thoughts and our response that make the difference.  She could have let that first bad shot ruin her game.  Instead she brushed it off and focused on what she was enjoying.  In every adversity there is an opportunity. Make the choice to respond and not react.

Where is your focus?

As a young girl, attending summer camp, we sang a song with the following lyrics:  It’s a poor man who can’t see the beauty in the sun and the wind and the rain.  And it’s a sad man who can love his neighbor and always finds cause to complain.  The lyrics remind us of two things: our lives are enriched when we notice beauty all around us and diminished when we search for reasons to dislike and complain about others. We only need to look for it.

 

As Jack Canfield reminds us: “Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them.” We have a choice. We can focus on the beauty in life, or we can concentrate on the ugliness. Make the choice to seek the things that bring you happiness.

3 Point Check List for Focus

Life is full of distractions that can take us away from working on our goals. That is why as David du Chemin, photographer, author, adventurer reminds us: Guard your time fiercely. Be generous with it but intentional about it.

This blog post will give you 3 ideas to implement to help with focus.

Ask why? Goals give us the opportunity to define what we want. The most important question to ask when setting your goal is why do I want to do this? We need a big enough why to continue to do the work required to reach the goal, after the excitement of setting the goal leaves us. Not every task associated with accomplishing your goal will be fun or easy. Coming back to your why helps you get those mundane jobs done.

Keep your goal visible. Post your goal on a sticky note at your desk or workstation, as wallpaper on your computer monitor or written on the white board in your office. Keep your goal in front of you as a reminder of where you want to be or what you want to become.

Avoid multi-tasking. 98% of us can only concentrate on one cognitive task at a time. Close out all the programs on your computer except the one you are using to work on your goal. Silence your phone. E-mail and social media will wait until you’ve finished your work. You can return calls or texts. Research done by Gloria Mark at the University of California; Irvine found that for every interruption it takes us a little more than 20 minutes to regain our focus.

What would add to the list? Post it here.

3 Best Ways to Live With Intention

A new year is often time for reflection. We take a look back and think about what we want to be different in the year ahead. We create new plans, new goals and begin with hope for a new future. We know things don’t always go as planned, our goals aren’t always achieved and sometimes our hopes are dashed. Yet we celebrate a new year with anticipation that this year can be different, can be better. One of the ways to make this happen is to live with intention. As Kristin Armstrong, three-time Olympic gold medalist reminds us: We either live with intention or exist by default. Make 2021 your year to live on purpose.

Here are three ways you can build intention into every day: practice gratitude, mindfulness, and focus. I will cover each of these in the next three posts, this post I’m going to focus on gratitude.


Even when things are at there worst look for things to be thankful for. One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day. Begin your day by acknowledging what’s going right in your life and the people you appreciate. Recite out loud affirmations such as:

I am so thankful that the universe is working for my greater good.

I am grateful for another chance to live my life.

I’m grateful for the air I breathe and the blood flowing through my body.

I appreciate the help and support of the people who have helped me along with way.

Take a few minutes right now to create and write down a few gratitude affirmations that appeal to you. Next put them in a place you where you will see them shortly after you wake up in the morning so you can repeat them as you begin your day.

I’d love to know one or two of the affirmations that you create, post them here and begin 2021 by being intentionally grateful.

What change will you make in the new year?

As we mark the end of another year, one filled with challenges and anxiety, we anticipate 2021 will be better. It will be better if we follow the advice left on an Anglican Bishop’s tombstone in the basement of Westminster Abbey. It reads as follows:

“When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change. So I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country, but it too seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now I realize as I lie on my deathbed, if I had only changed myself first, then by example I might have changed my family, from their inspiration and encouragement I would then have been able to better my country, and who knows, I might have even changed the world.”

As you think about the next 12 months what is one change you can make to create a positive difference in your life? My one change is to incorporate a meditation practice at the end of my workday. I’d love to know what your one change will be, post it here.

What is your response to a red light?

What is your response to a red light? Is it something like – just my luck, I am always stuck in traffic, if that person ahead of me would have been a little faster…? Or is it something like this – great I can take a moment and relax, look at the sunshine, or the rain drops on my windshield, I can take a breath and give thanks for all the good things in my life.

If your response is like the first one, adopt the attitude of the second, for our response is a choice and the more times we choose to be frustrated and angry the more we are frustrated and angry. If we choose peace, calm and gratitude our lives become filled with moments of serenity.

Years ago I clipped the following out of a magazine:

If I Had My Life Over by Nadine Stair


If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously.

I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.


You see, I’m one of those people who lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have.


If I had my life to live over, I would start barefoot earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall. I would go to more dances. I would ride more merry-go-rounds. I would pick more daisies.


Let me know how you respond to traffic lights? Post here.

Reframe Failure into Feedback

In my post two weeks ago, I talked about how fear of failure can stop us from taking action on our dreams. When you take action and your plans fail, reframe failure into feedback.  You now have information to make adjustments and take a new course of action.

 

You’ve most likely heard the story of Thomas Edison and how he reframed each attempt to create the incandescent light bulb.  When his colleague remarked about another failure Edison remarked “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work.” Lucky for us he was willing to see it as feedback and didn’t give up.

Success is failure in progress. – Albert Einstein

Describe a time when you have or could use failure as feedback.  Post it here.

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.

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:https://ipvconsulting.com/podcastpage/
  • 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.