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Posts Tagged ‘Intentionality’

Yes, this was me, some months ago. My stylist actually called in sick twice in one week…the first time, the salon called to let me know, and rescheduled me for a couple of days later. I showed up early and waited nearly 30 minutes (there was no receptionist on duty — just stylists all with clients) before someone decided to tell me he’d called in sick, again.

I was so frustrated and upset, I was nearly in tears, but it’s not what you think. And, it’s not uncommon. I’ve heard similar stories from many of the women in my inner circle — and extended network — on numerous occasions.

It wasn’t actually about the haircut. The root of the issue (no pun intended) is this: As usual, I had a lot going on in my life, and had waited until my hair was truly out of shape, out of style, and just downright unruly before I’d called to make an appointment, which meant about another 10 days before I could actually get into the salon. It’s not as if I wasn’t aware that within a certain number of weeks of my last cut, that my hair would have grown and would need some professional attention. The issue was I had chosen to put my needs last, after my family, my business, my personal growth, etc…Commendable, maybe, but not conducive to peace or good mental health over time.

I was so looking forward to an hour of true down time, when someone else would be fully focused on me and my only responsibility was to sit upright in the chair; at that point, I needed that. So, when I finally took the time for myself and the stylist didn’t show up, I was at the end of my emotional reserves!

Ladies, tell me you haven’t been there…whether it was your hair stylist, nail technician, massage therapist, or a girlfriend you were planning to have coffee or lunch with…The stars were no longer in alignment and that respite you so desperately needed evaporated nearly in an instant, leaving you frustrated, emotional…whatever the reaction, it was likely out of proportion to the actual event.

This is one of the reasons I’m collaborating with Tracy Worley and Maureen Craig McIntosh to bring you Gracebreak Retreat. We are taking an intentional time out to reconnect with ourselves and other strong, talented, courageous women. We will discover our natural talents (potential) and strengths (performance), define or refine our core values, dig into the choices we make and the behaviors we demonstrate that either serve us or don’t! And we’ll connect with other women who share similar challenges in their lives, broadening and strengthening our inner circles and support network. And we’re doing this just outside of beautiful Bozeman, Montana.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I routinely commit to things I really don’t have time for, or do not have deep meaning for me?
  • Do I routinely put everyone else’s needs before mine?
  • When I do take time out for myself, is it usually accidental (unplanned), late at night after everyone else is asleep, or simply because I’m desperate (and then I feel guilty for taking it)?
  • When was the last time I truly took significant time out to reconnect with and nurture my own needs?

If you answered yes to any (or all) of the first three, and you need to look at a calendar or have someone give you the answer to the last one, you need to be there with us. We’ve designed this retreat specifically for you. The truth is, you cannot give what you do not have and when your reserves run dry, you are of no service to anyone, especially you!

We can’t wait to see, and serve, you there! Register today!

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Maybe you think that if you don’t think about it, pretend it’s not there, it might go away?

I assure you, it won’t! In fact, it will become bigger the longer you allow it to fester. Conflict comes with a lot of baggage — mostly our own, stuffed full over the course of our lives with a lot of stuff gathered during previous conflicts and experiences with the person in question.

Last week, two of my coaching participants were working through how to deal with some conflict that had been plaguing their work lives for some time. As we all know, what happens at work bleeds into what happens outside of work, and vice versa, so it wasn’t just something they were thinking about, dreading, 8-5, but all day.

One said he felt deflated when he left work because of what appears to be an idealogical misalignment with a coworker. He wanted to down play it, make it less significant than it actually is. The other was interested in maybe bringing me in as a facilitator without having attempted to work through it herself.

The conversations we had were direct, uncomfortable, and filled with apprehension and fear. Dealing with conflict is rarely a fun thing; rarely something we look forward to with positive expectations. But we all know, we have to deal with it somehow, some way, or it will eat at us daily until something happens.

It’s similar to dealing with acute versus chronic pain in our bodies. We can experience it every time we have an encounter with that person, which is like a slow death; or, we can commit to bringing it out in the open and working through it intentionally, and experience that discomfort all at once.

What I know is this: If we don’t deal with it in a straightforward manner, it causes us to leak energy throughout our day and over time it wears us out. It’s keeps us from performing at higher levels, from accomplishing more, from experiencing healthy, constructive relationships, and from experiencing joy…in all areas of our lives.

And, working through it will help you grow…as a person, friend, spouse, colleague, and leader. This is a skill that will serve you well throughout your life, because conflict will appear, again, at some point, as it inevitably does. And when it does, although it won’t be less comfortable, you can approach it with a little more skill and confidence, knowing you’ve walked through a similar fire before and survived.

 

 

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I facilitated a couple of workshops, discussing communication fundamentals and the dynamics within a particular team, yesterday. I had invited an observer into the second session, as we are considering doing some work together and she wanted to see me in action.

Afterwards, as I always do, I asked for some feedback. Her response? She noticed a drop in my energy level at a couple of points during the two-hours she observed. It was true; my energy level did drop and I was acutely aware of it. In “Strengths” terms, one of my dominant strengths had not served me well and I ended up in the “basement,” because it wasn’t on my radar, which would have allowed me to think ahead to how I would adapt when the moment hit.

The basement is where we go when our strengths are not used to full, positive potential, or when they are overused. In my case, it was Empathy, which my #8, so lots of influence on me at that level. I tend to really pick up on and identify with the tone and emotion in the room, and yesterday, there were a couple of people who seriously checked out for a portion of the session; in a small group, it’s painfully obvious to everyone around. I allowed myself to get sucked in…Not what I consider a top-notch performance for myself.

So, after receiving the feedback, I thought it through during my hour-plus drive home. Then, I spent some time discussing it with a Gallup Strengths Coach today. We talked through why it happens, how I can be more prepared for it, and what steps I can put in place to guard against allowing myself to end up in the basement, again.

It always comes full circle for me: Self-Awareness allows us the opportunity to think and act with intention, which makes it more likely we will achieve our desired outcomes.

I am thankful for the awareness and the choices I now have as a result.

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Practice!

What’s the question, you ask? The question is: How do I…? (you fill in the blank)

As a coach and mentor, I’m asked this question frequently by the people with whom I am blessed to work. The “blank” — whatever it is they are trying to do differently or learn — varies from person to person, or is sometimes the same. And, truth be told, are some of the same questions I have asked my mentors and coaches, even myself, on numerous occasions.

Having gone through an interesting reflection exercise recently, creating a success timeline for my life through an in-depth study of Think and Grow Rich (by Napoleon Hill), led by two of my mentors, Paul Martinelli and Roddy Galbraith, I realized that the answer to the question is: Practice.

Yep, it’s truly that simple.

Whatever it is, we must simply move ourselves into the action of being and doing. For example, if you find yourself lacking patience and desire to become more patient (this is one I’ve been working on for some time), you must practice being patient. This requires a level of awareness thru which you can recognize the signs and symptoms of your becoming impatient, having the ability to think into it, and make different choices about how you respond (thoughtfully and with focus on achieving a desired outcome) rather than simply reacting (typically, emotionally and immediately…with little thought given to the outcome).

Perhaps it’s learning something new we desire. This begins with a desire to learn, followed by some level of belief we can do it, and some understanding of, at least, the fundamental principles that govern whatever it is. For example, once I wanted to learn to ski. I had the desire, believed I could learn, and had some knowledge of the basics. Then, I hired a skilled, patient, instructor, with whom I spent the day. I won’t tell you it was a quick, fun, or easy process. There was growling, frustration, and tears involved (and to be perfectly frank, probably several swear words!) — on my part, not his. But, eventually, I figured it out and was able to get on and off the chair lift and make my way down the bunny hill, and stop, effectively. To actually master skiing would require my spending a lot more time, effort, and energy practicing…

I think often, as adults, we wish there were some faster, easier, less painful way to acquire new skills or change behaviors; almost as if we imagine there’s some greater being who will bestow upon us — with the swoosh of a magic wand — that which we desire, without our having to do anything to make it happen. Alas! It’s not to be!

We must practice. We must reflect and hopefully learn something from our reflection that we can apply to the process to improve the next iteration. Then, we must practice some more.

If you have the opportunity to observe children, I encourage you to do so, and while you’re doing that, think about this: There was a time when we didn’t know how to do any of the things we do, many of them effortlessly, today. As children, we didn’t necessarily think about how hard it might be, or whether we would fail, we just tried stuff. And we kept trying until we mastered whatever it was. We practiced.

Practice something today — intentionally — and see if it doesn’t make a difference. Then come back and post a comment so we can all learn with you.

 

 

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If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you’ll be aware that I started doing DDP Yoga nearly a year ago. It’s a DVD-based program I do at home, and have loaded on my laptop so I can yoga when I travel, as well. One of the routines is called Red Hot Core. It’s a little more than 12 minutes of core work that will leave you feeling as if your abs will never move, again!

So for 11 months now, I’ve been doing DDP Yoga fairly consistently three times a week. I’ve added in time on my stationary bike (up to 53 minutes from the 30 I started at, and at a higher level of resistance), and do my best to hit the local Pilates class at least once a week.

Today, I did two of the DDP routines — Fat Burner and Red Hot Core. I haven’t done RHC for a while, but today I did the entire routine, start to finish, with all of the reps of the various moves, without stopping. THIS IS A FIRST! Not to say that my abs weren’t twitching and trembling and threatening to “charlie horse” in the middle of it, but I did it.

I did it. All of it.

It was, as one of my mentors, Chet Scott, would say, a burst — the result of consistently doing the work, day in and day out, mundane mostly, but sticking to it because you know it’s the right thing to do…and eventually, you get the pay-off.

Funny how things work; I received this blog post in my email just a bit ago…It’s from Chet, about the burst. Today I saw the pay-off (at least in one area of my life). Hope you enjoy it.

My question to you is this: What are the mundane things you know you need to do to achieve your heart’s desires? Because that is how you get there…doing the mundane day in and day out until you have manifested your desire into being. If your desire is strong enough, if it burns within you, you will sustain the activities required to get there. Some of you know what I’m talking about.

Stick with it…you’ll see results. It will be worth it. I can speak from experience.

 

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I can’t participate in that training. My company won’t pay for it. 

Have you ever said that? I know I have, back before I realized my personal development is 100% MY responsibility. Now I know that the money, time, and energy I invest in developing me is the BEST investment I’ll ever make in my life…and the dividends are beyond amazing!

I was foolish enough to limit my learning, and by extension my potential, based on what my employer was willing to pay for. Looking back, I feel so silly. You see, I’ve learned that if you want to reach your potential, your development is your responsibility, no one else’s. And if you choose to leave it up to someone else, be prepared to live the life they design for you. When I was in that mode — leaving my development up to someone else — I ended up in some places that held no interest for me and were so far from my strength zones it wasn’t even funny!

I spent two full days in Excel training because my boss at the time, an engineer masquerading as an HR person, used Excel for everything and thought I should be an expert at it, as well. It didn’t matter that my official area of expertise, at the time, was corporate communication, and unofficially, people development! I still have the “keyboard short-cuts cheat sheet” the trainer provided, but none of it makes much sense to me.

Many years earlier in my career, I spent three months plodding my way through a web development/programming course because a different manager thought I should be responsible for all aspects of our organization’s web site — content (which made sense, based on my position), design, and the technical operations. Never mind that we had a fully-staffed design group and a web developer on staff. It was a life-sucking three months.

At both of those times in my career, my level of awareness about my potential and my responsibility for my growth obviously wasn’t very high. I didn’t realize I had choices about what I learned and how I applied it. I didn’t realize it was ok for me to spend  money on my own development (beyond all the books I bought and devoured on a regular basis). Today, I can guarantee you, I wouldn’t be wasting a moment of my life’s energy on such folly; not only do I know my passion, purpose, and calling with great clarity, I also understand my growth is my responsibility — I get to drive this bus and I am on a journey!

This self-imposed constraint was brought to my awareness last week when I sat next to a delightful young woman on my return flight from a speaking engagement in Phoenix. A recruiter for an engineering firm headquartered in Charlotte, NC, she was studying for her SHRM (Society for Human Resources Management) Professional in HR accreditation exam on the plane, which opened the door to a great conversation. 

As it turned out, she was taking the exam of her own accord; her employer wasn’t even aware she was studying for it. She planned to use her success with the exam to begin a conversation about her future with the organization and the opportunity to branch into other areas of HR beyond talent acquisition. She was confident that by investing in herself and taking the initiative to study for and earn her PHR would send the message that she has a lot more potential and drive than they might recognize.

My question to you is this: Whose responsibility is your development? 

In the past 2.5 years, I have invested enough cash to have purchased a new Volvo XC60, and countless hours in learning, with coaches, mentors, and others in like-minded, growth-oriented communities and programs. I can honestly say that the person I was at the beginning of 2012 very nearly no longer exists in comparison with the person who is typing this blog. My life is extremely different, fuller, more satisfying, with great promise to continue getting better each day.

I don’t say this to impress you, but to impress upon you how important it is to take responsibility for your development, financially as well as regards time and energy. It will open doors for you that you probably can’t even imagine today. It will change your life in amazing ways.

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Yes, it’s true: I stink. The smell of sweat on my body is ripe today, and I am reveling in it!

I know, it sounds gross, but those of you who know how it feels to push oneself past the limits of what we thought we were physically capable of will understand what I mean.

I have been doing DDP Yoga pretty consistently (at least 3x weekly) since last July, which has challenged me on many levels. And, I can see and feel the difference it’s made for me, so far. But I reached a point where I needed help to get to the next level, so I’ve been going to a local Pilates class and the instructor is pushing me into new positions and repetitive motions I didn’t think I was capable of.

While I am certainly not old, my coming to consistent exercise has happened much later in life than it does for many. I’m thankful I’ve finally gotten to it. It’s teaching me so many things about myself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Here are a few of those lessons:

We are creative, resourceful, and whole beings. This is one of the basic foundations of the coaching profession. Each of us has everything we need to be successful in whatever we endeavor to do (assuming we are gifted in those areas). We simply don’t reach deep enough to discover what we are truly capable of.

As a “whole” being, meaning Body, Mind, and Spirit, I understand now what difference it makes to take care of our physical being. I cannot do the things I am called to do if I do not have the energy or stamina to physically do the actual work. My brain works better when my body is fit. I sleep better — recharging my body and resetting my brain — when I exercise. I am significantly more confident in what I have to offer and how I deliver it when I feel good in my own skin.


10300679_10154121452395174_7750278747470352175_nI am strong. 
I’ve always been strong emotionally and intellectually. Now, I am becoming strong physically. I recently had the opportunity to do a brutal, butt-kicking work-out with the Igniting Souls Community, and I kept up fairly well. I was even able to do the rope pull by myself one time. Think of the kind of rope you’d see on a tug boat for attaching to other things, attached to a weighted sled, which you pull to you (laying flat on your back, hand-over-hand above your head for about 50 feet), then push the sled back to its starting point. (These are a couple of my Igniting Souls cohorts — pushing the sled back)

Persistence pays.  This will come as no surprise to anyone who has accomplished anything, because any accomplishment with any significance comes only to those who persist. Nothing worth having comes easily or freely. There is always a bump (or three or twelve) in the road, there is always a cost (often twice as much as you anticipated), and things often take much longer than we think they should (the Law of Gender — incubation period for any kind of seed — is at play here, and there are some things we cannot know how long will take to grow). Success comes to those who have a definite purpose, plans for acquiring the object of their desire, and are willing to do the work every day to get to where they dream of being, even when it looks and feels as if they are not making progress.

I didn’t gain an extra 20 pounds or acquire a few extra inches on my body overnight and no matter what I do today, I will not be 20 pounds lighter or a few inches smaller tomorrow…but if I keep at what I’m doing, I will be over time. In fact, I am down about 10 pounds and enough in inches that I’ve dropped two sizes in clothing.

Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. This is why I pay for it; “it” being coaches, mentors, and a self-proclaimed Pilates Diva! I pay for time, energy, attention, encouragement, and wisdom from people who have traveled these paths before and are getting the kinds of results I desire. No one else will do this for me; I must invest in myself and add value to myself before anyone else would even consider it.

So my challenge to you today is this: How are you investing in you?

What is the “it” that you should be paying for?

When will you take that next step, the first one that will move you that much closer to your dream, and invest in your future?

Share your answers in the comments box below; I truly want to hear from you.

In the meantime, have an intentional day; I’m off to the shower!

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