Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Personal Growth’

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Image  This photo was taken in the courtyard of the Presidential Palace in Guatemala City, as we prepared for a ceremony including John Maxwell, Guatemala Prospera, and the Guatemalan President.

Exactly a year ago this week, I was in Guatemala City, one of 150 John C. Maxwell Certified Coaches teaching a Transformational Leadership process to ~19,000 leaders within the seven streams of influence. All of those leaders committed to taking a small group of people through the Transformational Leadership process over the course of 30 weeks. That’s right — 30 weeks! During that time, they would study and apply each of The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, as described by John in his book of the same name, as well as 15 Values, as defined by the Guatemalan people based on what they thought would be crucial in changing the culture in their country.

Today, those 19,000 leaders have taught and influenced nearly ~200,000 citizens within their country, and the work continues.

Make no mistake, that trip changed thousands of lives, not the least of which were the Coaches who traveled to a far-off land to give of themselves to people they’ve never met, and may never see, again. It certainly changed mine, in ways I find it hard to articulate, even today, one year later.

I’ve learned, without question, what it means to offer something of significance to someone else; some thing that will change lives in unimaginable, possibly indescribable ways. As I sit in my office today, in West Virginia, I think fondly of my week with such amazing people doing such amazing, life-giving work. I long to be there with them, again.

The good news is, I am confident that opportunity will come again, and perhaps even sooner than I imagine. Since our time in Guatemala City last June, the John Maxwell Team has been invited to do the same work in several other countries in Central America.

To my fellow coaches, the leaders of the John Maxwell Team, the talented translators who shared their time and language, and the people of Guatemala who welcomed us into their country, offices, churches, and businesses…Thank You. I am blessed by you. I look forward to being with you all, again, soon.

If this appeals to you, watch this short video on our trip to Guatemala. And if you long to taste significance and are interested in joining this amazing team, here’s your invitation. I hope you join our tribe! Be sure to tell them I sent you!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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!

Read Full Post »

It’s funny how things pop up, isn’t it? Some people call it coincidence, but I’m not one of them. I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe all things happen for a reason, whether we are privileged to peer behind the curtain and discover the reason or not, and a lot of energy is involved.

So, as I’m thinking about this a great deal lately, you might imagine the smile on my face when one of my mentors, Chet Scott’s latest blog post popped into my inbox. Here’s the link. 

I must be channeling Chet. To say that he’s often in my thoughts is an understatement. Chet has what I refer to as “clear vision.” He’s one of those people truly gifted at stepping outside what’s going on and cutting thru all the crap (Chet would simply say “shit”) to what’s really happening. I appreciate that about him, as well as in others when I see it demonstrated. Perhaps because I do it, as well (based on feedback from numerous sources over the years, not my own wishful thinking).

Everything in the universe is made of energy which continuously moves into and out of form; it cannot be created or destroyed…really, simply channeled. It flows between objects and people and between people and people.

So, other people’s energy affects how you navigate in the world. It truly does matter with whom you spend your time. This is why it’s so critical, especially when you are trying to effect change in your life, that you surround yourself with a like-minded community. Seth Godin would call it a tribe…those people who share your values, are on a similar path, passionate about some common idea or thing, and who lift you up, encourage, and support you, who complement you where you are weak.

Take inventory of those around you today. Determine if some of the people in your life have passed their “use by” date, and make the necessary changes you need to make in whom you surround yourself with. Your very future depends on it.

Read Full Post »

Yes, it’s true. I went to prison 10 days ago — the Ohio State Reformatory, in Mansfield. You may be familiar with it if you’ve watched The Shawshank Redemption. 

In getting there, I traveled a number of roads I’d never been down before, both literally and figuratively. I went down those roads with a sense of expectation, of anticipation of profound discovery, knowing I would be confronting the physical prison and my personal prison. As the van drove down the highway, getting ever closer to its destination, I wondered “am I ready for this?”

Am I ready for this?

Is anyone ever ready to confront themselves and scrutinize the self-limiting beliefs that have held them back for years? Is anyone ever ready to scrutinize the self-imposed constraints they’ve placed on what they will or won’t do in their lives? Is anyone ever ready to walk into a cold, dank, musty, rotting place, filled with the ghosts (I’m told they are real in this place, but cannot say I felt or saw any) of those who were literally locked behind those bars?

The focus of the experience was to recognize our personal prisons, often realized through day jobs that fill our bank accounts (to some degree) while emptying our souls, and develop a plan for creating our dream jobs. I spent some time alone in a cell, laughing, crying, wondering, and reflecting on my life. Oddly, as I sat on the rusting springs of a “bed,” I could see muted light coming through the glass block windows across from my cell; I could hear birds singing.

IMG_0595While in my cell, I wrote a good deal, in my journal, in response to some questions posed by one of my mentors/coaches who facilitated the experience, and in a letter to me from my future self. This letter will be mailed to me at some point in the next year; I will be absolutely surprised by what it says, as I have no memory of what I wrote!

On the figurative side, I discovered much about  myself. My prison is no longer a day job; although I consider myself blessed to have escaped from more than one that was not the place for me. What a blessing to fully understand one’s purpose in life! No, my prison is truly self-constructed, bars created from beliefs about who I am and how I show up in relationships and what those beliefs and behaviors mean for what I will experience and accomplish in my life.

Self-awareness is the starting point for making any meaningful change in one’s life. Higher levels of awareness allow you to make choices, intentionally, with thought given to your desired outcomes. I’m working at a higher level of awareness now, and intentionally thinking and moving differently within the important relationships in my life. For now, at least, those particular prison bars have been erased.

While it’s unlikely you will travel to, or spend any time in prison any time soon, I encourage you to spend some time with pen and paper in reflection. Consider what imprisons you. What’s keeping you from fully living into your passion and purpose? What small step can you take, with that new awareness, to change your reality?

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »