Posts Tagged ‘Perseverance’


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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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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Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.  ~Henry David Thoreau*

This is so true; don’t you think? Consider this…how would your life be different today if you hadn’t believed in yourself?

How would your world be different today if other leaders hadn’t believed in their potential, their vision, their mission?

What if:

  • Abraham Lincoln hadn’t believed slaves should be freed?
  • John F. Kennedy, Jr., hadn’t believed a man could walk on the moon?
  • Martin Luther King hadn’t believed in the dream of equality for all?
  • Susan B. Anthony hadn’t believed women should vote?
  • Jonas Salk hadn’t believed polio could be cured?

These are just a few examples; given time, and putting our heads together, we could probably come up with a list that would span countless pages of how others’ (and our own) beliefs have changed our lives, our communities, and our world.

Regardless of what stage of life — and leadership — you may be in, know that the first step you must take to move forward is the believe in yourself, in your dream, and your ability to accomplish it.

Believe and act as if it were impossible to fail.  ~Charles F. Kettering

Do so, and success will surely follow.

Do so, and you will change the lives of more people than you can imagine, at levels you may not even be aware of.

Do so…we need you!


Note: This concludes this 12-month, focused Intentional Leadership journey. Thank you for accompanying me. Remember, it is a journey; even though our study together is ended, it doesn’t mean you must or should stop working through this process. This work, this guide, is archived for you on this site, and you are welcome to revisit it — even go through the whole process, or pieces of it, as the need arises — at any time in the future.

*From the Intentional Leadership booklet, by Giant Impact.

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This last week of month 9, we are going to focus on the power of your attitude. As Thomas Jefferson once observed,

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.

Are you familiar with the story of Christopher Gardner? If you’ve seen the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, you will recognize it. Gardner lost it all — his wife, his home, and family savings in a bad business investment. He was living on the streets with his son when he entered a competitive stock broker internship program, which, by the way, offered no pay for six months. Determined to prove himself and provide his son a good quality of life, we went on to become  a top performer for Bear Stearns, and eventually opened his own firm with offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco. He also has become a motivational speaker and philanthropist who has received numerous humanitarian awards.

Imagine what would have happened to him and his son if he had given up when he found himself on the street. We read the stories every day, and there are numerous possible outcomes to this kind of story, and few of them are good. Had he adopted a negative attitude, not only would his and his son’s lives be very different, but so would the lives of the many people he’s helped since he dusted himself off and got to work.*

I know we don’t like to spend a lot of time in consideration of the times when we’ve failed, but they are gems in terms of lessons learned. Spend some time today considering a failure you’ve experienced in your personal life and in your professional life. Describe them.

What attitude did you take in response to these failures?

What happened as a result?

Looking back on it now, how would you say your attitude served you?


*From Intentional Leadership by Giant Impact. 

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What’s going on in your life and/or work right now that you know you need to deal with, but your actions might be interpreted as preferring to ignore reality?

Get your journal out and briefly describe the situation and the challenge you face.

Dig deep and come to terms with why you don’t want to address the issue…Write it out.

Describe what could happen if you address the issue.

What impact might it have on your life? The lives of those around you? Your team? Your Organization?

Describe what can happen if you choose to not address the issue.

What are the risks, implications, consequences of not acting?

What action steps can you take in order to bring resolution to this challenge?

What would happen in your life if you consistently made choices to address issues like this?

How would that affect your attitude when you face similar situations/challenges in the future?

For me, there’s a level of satisfaction in addressing the things I don’t want to address but know that I need to. I don’t mean to confuse this with pleasure — as it isn’t necessarily fun, but there is satisfaction in tackling the hard and sometimes unpleasant stuff.

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If you’ve been in any kind of leadership role, and I suspect you have — or aspire to, since you’re reading this blog — you know what it feels like to be doubted, assaulted, ridiculed. You’ve likely faced embarrassing moments, ridicule…had your decisions and judgment questioned by others.

The question is, how do you respond? And, I do me an”respond” — meaning thoughtfully, intentionally choosing what you will do or say, rather than reacting, which is immediate, emotional, and usually thoughtless. The point is, you get to choose your attitude during these trying times.

Consider one who has gone before us…

President Truman faced his share of doubt, rejection, and failure…let’s consider his story for a few moments:

When he first proposed to his girlfriend, Bess, Wallace, she rejected him. He pursued her, anyway, and eight years later they married.

He was rejected when he tried to join the Army because his eyesight was poor. Refusing to be kept from serving his country, he memorized the eye chart so he could pass the test! He later won distinction for courageous leadership in battle.

After WWI, his business failed. He moved into a career in public service, as a judge and later was elected to the US Senate.

Although he was considered unfit to be a US President, he successfully led us through the end of WWI; he is now regarded as one of the greatest presidents!

Expected to lose the 1948 election, newspaper printed that his opponent, Thomas Dewey, had won! Imagined Truman’s delight in their misprint the next morning!

If you stay the course, and I hope you do, you will go through these trying times, over and over. You will have to filter and choose the messages you will listen to and the stories you believe. You will have the opportunity, several times a day, to choose your attitude. I hope you choose well.

Spend some time in reflection today: How do you deal with assaults on your attitude?

Describe a time when you felt as if your attitude was under attack. How did you respond?

What did you learn?

What would you do differently today, as a result?

How can your choices influence your attitude?

How can your attitude influence your choices?

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Over the course of your life, you will experience a variety of things that will have the power to influence your outlook in both positive and negative ways. As I suggested last week, as we started this month-long focus on attitude, each of us gets to choose how we interpret and react or respond to each of those events.

When I was in high school, I was active in student government, wrote for and eventually became editor of the school newspaper, and was very active in planning school events, like homecoming week. We also had a program called Jr. Miss. This was a national program, and while it might appear to be a pageant program, it is based on scholarship, personality, and talent — not on beauty, and there was no swimsuit competition!  Girls were invited to participate in the program during their Junior year of high school; the winner would spend the year representing her community at other pageants, in parades, county fairs, local events, at a variety of speaking engagements, and competing at the state level pageant (the winner of which would compete at the national competition that was held, at that time, in Mobile, Alabama).

My perspective on Jr. Miss was that it was something the popular, wealthy girls won. I had my share of friends, to be sure, and was included in a lot of things, but was never in the “in” crowd, and certainly was not from a wealthy family. But, when I received the invitation to get involved, I said, “What the heck! This looks like fun!” Of course, I never expected to win.

In fact, at the time, I was also running for student body president for my senior year of school. That was truly where my attention and energy was focused. And for a while, I was the front runner. My opponent was a girl who rubbed a lot of students the wrong way. Part way through the campaign, she switched places with the person who would have been VP, had she won, and he was much more liked by most of the school.  So, with him in the President position, and her in the VP position, the vote was much closer, and I lost by a few votes.

I was crushed! I really wanted the position. And yet, the Jr. Miss pageant process was still on-going. Because I was participating in this on a lark, as they say, you can imagine my surprise — and delight — when I actually won the Jr. Miss position!  Remember, it wasn’t what I most wanted, but I determined to make the best of it.  I choose my attitude, deciding to learn what I could, represent my community well, and sharpen some skills that I knew would serve me well later in life.

It offered me the opportunity to travel around certain regions in my state, visiting with a lot of people I never would have been in contact with in other circumstances: Community leaders, local legislators, other students, and people younger than me. I had the opportunity to speak at fairs, other pageants, in front of civic organizations, at schools, parades, and at community events. I was able to influence other young girls who were interested in growing and taking on bigger challenges. And I received scholarship funding for college, and who wouldn’t be thankful for that?!

All of these skills and experiences have served me well ever since. And I’m thankful for having had the opportunity to participate, and for all of the opportunities I’ve had since then. Had I chosen to wallow in self-pity over my defeat during the student body elections, I would have stunted my growth, at least for a while. I could have become angry, bitter, etc…I’m so thankful I didn’t.

What experiences have you had that have influenced your life and your attitude? Write them down.

Outline whether they were negative or positive and what you did or didn’t do as a result?

What gratitude do you have, or what regrets do you carry, as a result?

How do these experiences influence who you are today?

Whom are you influencing with your attitude and how you respond to the events in your life, both good and bad?

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You’ve likely heard the story that it took Thomas Edison 10,000 tries before successfully inventing the lightbulb. Some would consider that a lot of failure on the path to eventual success. He didn’t appear to take it that way. In fact, I’ve heard his response was that he hadn’t failed 9,999 times, rather, he had discovered 9,999 ways NOT to make a lightbulb! To me, that speaks of a pretty positive attitude; certainly one who would not be daunted easily by what some might consider a set-back.

Or what about the scientists at 3M who invented Post-it Notes. The story goes that they were attempting to create a sticky glue substance, not one that held lightly for a while, but was easily detached. Was what they discovered a failure? Not by a long-shot! While they weren’t immediately successful in creating what they had set out to create, they created something extremely useful and valuable. I’m sure 3M would say this “failure” was worth billions, literally!

The key is how we choose to look at and respond to the things that happen to us. I’d say these two examples demonstrate some folks who have chosen to approach their lives and work with a positive attitude.

Two weeks ago, I was in Orlando, Florida, with the John Maxwell Team, and we were blessed to have Nick Vujicic with he. He spent a considerable amount of time sharing his story with us. If anyone were to have an excuse for having a negative attitude, Nick would likely get a pass. He was born without arms and legs. Today, at 30, he is happily married and has a 6-month old son. He travels the world bringing awareness to a variety of issues that touch his heart, motivating others, and displaying the value and fruits one may harvest if one faces life with a positive attitude. He swims, has been surfing, sky-diving, and, again, travels the world. He has an undeniable zest for life and is not willing to let anything stand in the way of achieving his heart’s desire.

If you ever have the chance to see or hear him speak, I highly encourage you to do it! His attitude is contagious in a very good way.

Personally, he is a reminder to me that very little in life is truly impossible. His story reminds me that although I will face adversity in my life, and I may not be immediately successful in everything I endeavor to do, there really is nothing holding me back except for me. I find, it’s an effective attitude adjustment.

Today, as we begin these four weeks focused on attitude, it’s good to have a baseline to measure from. Take a close look are your attitude in both your personal and professional lives. What is working well for you?

What do you need to change?

How is your attitude impacting the people around you?

As John Maxwell often says, in every relationship, you have the opportunity to be a plus or a minus. What do you choose?

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Dear Faithful readers: Please forgive me for missing my usual blog post on Friday, which would have been D5 of W4, of this 8th month of our Intentional Leadership journey, focused on change. Something that one couldn’t have anticipated happened early Friday morning that demanded my attention and kept me otherwise fully engaged all day. I apologize for missing a step in our process.

However, I’m confident that by now, at the end of our 8th month on this journey, that you are in the swing of our Friday routine and would likely be on track with taking  a proactive approach to planning your weekend, without my weekly reminder.

My Friday was supposed to be spent immersed in a full-day off-site team-building and vision-defining meeting. Again, something unexpected happened to derail that plan. Saturday required some follow-up to the Friday events, and some quality time, alone, with my husband. It was delightful!

Today, I spent some time with my son and mother-in-law at the WV State Honey Festival! Now, I am catching up with you and preparing for the week ahead. I will be traveling, again (have had a lot of opportunities to travel these past six weeks) this week, to The Greenbrier Resort for the WV State Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Business Summit. This is a great event each year, as it allows me to catch up with friends and associates from around the state whom I don’t have the opportunity to see very often, and to meet new people I’m not yet aware of. It will be a time of reminiscing, learning, and divine appointments. Have to say, I had some amazing meetings, conversations, and connections with a few folks last year; I trust this year will be just as rewarding.

I also need to prepare for this week’s Empowerment Mentoring lesson on Comfort Zone — and how being in our comfort zone isn’t always a good thing.

I hope you don’t mind my taking this space to do my usual month-end wrap-up on Change.

As I’m sure you’re aware, the only constant in today’s world is change; it is an unavoidable reality of life. As a leader, we must take responsibility for anticipating change, understanding its implications, and guiding our people through it. This requires a blend of qualities and skills…bravery, flexibility, determination, casting a clear vision, providing frequent communication, and consistent behavior.

As you know — and maybe you feel this way, as well — many people abhor change, would rather go through all kinds of other unpleasantries, or even give up on their potential to avoid it. You will be tested in this arena, needing to put forth all of your abilities and talents to overcome the resistance of the status quo. This can be a grueling, thankless journey, but if you are driven to be a leader, it’s the path you have chosen.

Change and growth go hand-in-hand. If you aren’t growing, you aren’t going anywhere. If you stay the same, you will become stagnant, and we all know, nothing grows in stagnant pools.

I encourage you to embrace change. Plunge forward with courage. Help others see the possibilities in the future, through the path of change. Remember, if you are going through change and you have some level of confusion, it’s a good thing! Yes, a good thing. If you are going through change and you aren’t confused, it means you already know what you need to or have given up trying to understand it. If you are confused, it means you are going through a growth process.

Embrace change! If you don’t, won’t, or can’t…give up on leadership — you can’t lead if you can’t navigate change.

Now, having said that, I trust that since you’ve made it through this 8th month of our journey so far, you won’t give in to complacency. So, I’ll “see” you on Monday, as we move into our 9th month, focused on Attitude.

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