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Posts Tagged ‘Reflection’

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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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!

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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.

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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?

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Over the course of my life, I’ve not been known as the most diplomatic person, so perhaps you’ll forgive my choice of words.

This blog was posted today from a “builder” I have been following, and whom I respect immensely. In this post, Chet Scott points out that high performers self-identify and emerge from the pack. As a manager or leader, you don’t have to search for them…they will demonstrate who they are in a number of ways, and as a manager/leader, you get what you deserve. Here are a few things to watch for:

High performers seek feedback. They want to know how they are doing and will ask for feedback from people they respect, frequently. If you don’t respond with honest, candid feedback — both positive and constructive — they will know you’re feeding them a line, and over time their respect for you will deteriorate.

High performers seek challenge. They are not satisfied with, nor willing to accept, mediocrity. These are the people who will ask for more responsibility, look for projects and opportunities to continually learn, grow, and stretch themselves. They are hungry and if you don’t feed them, they will find someone who will.

High performers seek other high performers. They don’t want to be the smartest people in the room; they actively seek out people who are ahead of them in whatever it is they seek to learn or achieve, so they can learn from those who have gone before them.

High performers don’t get hung up in the HOW. These folks are internally driven, motivated to achieve. They are inspired by WHY, and if you can connect them to the Why of what needs to be done, they will find the way — the How — to make it happen, and they will attract those resources to them.

The question now is: What kind of a team do you deserve? As Chet says, do you need to kick your own a_ _, and demonstrate what you’re capable of, so you can attract high performers? If not, you will attract who you are and they will perform at, or lower than, your level.

So do the hard work, scrutinize who you are and what you have to offer before you evaluate the performance of your team. If you seek change in your team or organization, you need to start with you.

If you don’t have a “builder” or coach to help you through this process, I strongly encourage you to find one. Speaking from experience, you won’t get there on your own.

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If you’re curious about my self-identified lack of diplomacy, here’s a little insight…

Over the course of my life, I’ve not been known as the most diplomatic person. You may find this ironic, considering my chosen career — Corporate Communication — for the past 20+ years, but it’s true. In fact, I went through a Harrison Assessment a number of years ago, and my “diplomacy” score was very low, which was brought to my attention by the VP of Marketing, with whom I worked frequently. He considered it a potential disaster waiting to happen, given my job.

Here’s how I explained it to him. The Harrison Assessment offers statements like “I enjoy diplomacy in my work.” As you go through the assessment, you note whether the statement is like you or not like you. As a professional communicator, word choice is extremely important; words matter, so choose them carefully. I think of “enjoy” in terms of pleasure, satisfaction, etc…So, while I understand and appreciate the need for diplomacy, and am perfectly capable of discerning when I need to practice it, I don’t “enjoy” it.

That’s it…

 

 

 

 

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I’ve been involved in a couple of different situations of late that have brought the principles outlined in the Drama lesson of the Empowerment Mentoring program front and center for me. Follow along, and spend a few minutes reflecting on these thoughts to see if you may be creating some unnecessary drama in your life.

The key principle that is most active around me, recently, is this: Assuming malicious intent from others OR acting with malicious intent. Specifically, assigning motives to others, in the belief that one knows what someone else is trying to accomplish in a given situation, without the benefit of having a conversation with the person to discover what is actually going on.

Have you participated in a relationship in which you made certain assumptions about another person’s motives, that later turned out to be a misunderstanding or misinterpretation? First, it’s human nature to make up stories about what’s going on around us, because we like to have closure and we have a strong need for things to make sense. So, we pull in bits and pieces of information, snatches of conversation, and we make up stories that make sense to us, based on our values, beliefs, and life experiences. This doesn’t mean that the stories we come up with are based in reality, only that they make sense to us. The problem here is the stories we concoct are often far from the truth…simply because we are missing key facts.

The other consideration is that Intent does NOT equal Impact! It’s important to consider that there are times when we speak or act  that what we intend to happen is not the outcome we get. What that means is, we are sometimes the author of some of the drama in our lives, because we are not fully self-aware or as intentional as we might be. And we also tend to make assumptions about the intent and behaviors of others in our lives.

If you’re experiencing drama in your life, I encourage you to spend some time in reflection and come to an understanding of the role you are playing in the situation.

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In many measures, being among this large a group might be a good thing, but in the case of today’s topic — Thinking — being in this particular statistic is not a good thing.

73% to 92% of people go through their day on Auto-Pilot

It should be astonishing, but if you are observant, you’ll not be surprised one bit. I say this because I believe you are not in that group. Just the fact you are here, reading this blog, is proof that you do think…you do, at least in part, go through your day with some intentionality.

I’m working through a process called the 4 Pillars of Mastery, developed by one of my Coach/Mentors, Christian Simpson. If you are interested in moving beyond your current level of achievement in life, and really propelling yourself forward, you’ll want to sign up for this (amazingly!) free program. Don’t be fooled when you do, however; it may be free in terms of a financial investment, but it’s far from free in terms of an intellectual, emotional, and introspective investment. Like anything else, you will get out of it what you put into it.

What I’m putting into it is a considerable amount of time, energy, and thought. You see, the results I’m experiencing in my life are caused solely by me; as are the results you are experiencing caused by you. So the only way I will improve my results is if I continue to improve myself at my THOUGHT level.

Today is the result of my best thinking — today. Fortunately, I have reserved the right to be smarter tomorrow, and I’m taking advantage of that reservation — every single day!

How much time do you dedicate to actual THINKING each day?

Do you have a special thinking place?

Do you use a journal, or other tools to help you thru your reflection, introspection, thought processing?

I highly encourage you to think on this today…and determine what you can do differently tomorrow to improve your results. I guarantee you, if you do this, you will win.

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