“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be, and you help them become what they are capable of being.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Nothing is more frustrating than trying to teach someone something, and they just don’t get it or take action on it. After all, the job of a leader is to get people to do something, not simply to know something. You can get people to act by a variety of methods: demanding, coercing, guilting, shaming, pleading, motivating, inspiring, convincing, reasoning, tricking, etc. However, the best ways to get people to do something focus on helping them see outside the box – to think expansively about themselves, others, and the opportunities in front of them.
As a leader, it’s imperative that you know the challenges your team or clients face. (For the purposes of clarity, within this article, I’ll refer to those that you lead as your “followers”.) Here are three common, but very critical, life and business skills that followers, especially Millenials and Gen Xers, need to improve today, plus suggestions on how you get them to see outside the box on each one…
1. Clear communication skills. Many people grow up in families plagued by communication gaps, so it’s not surprising that they lack communication skills as adults. People often imagine that they know what the other person means. Between the two extremes – droning on without revealing anything or speaking cryptically and leaving out critical information – there is a sweet spot of communicating with clarity and completeness of thought.
Help your followers see that clear communication stems from respect for others, acknowledging that everyone has something of value to offer. When they understand they have a common purpose, they’ll want to give all the relevant information others need to excel in their portion of the job.
2. Self-worth and self-motivation. People internalize too much – they confuse doing something with being something. As a result, they don’t trust themselves; they constantly wait for others to tell them what to do. Through your words and actions, you can intentionally plant seeds of growth that replace their limiting doubts.
Help your followers develop mindfulness, so they can assess themselves accurately. Let them see that you believe in them. As you guide them from the sidelines, reinforce that each step forward is important. This will add to their self-confidence and self-trust.
3. Critical thinking. Critical or analytical thinking requires a person to slow down and gather information and then see its importance in relation to other information. It involves recognizing the cause and effect of a certain course of action. It takes a lot of effort to weed out irrelevant information and distill the important information into actionable and insightful recommendations.
Help your followers become more curious by encouraging them to have the self-discipline to dig deeply. They do this by asking “why?” over and over, until the subject is thoroughly understood. Make sure they ask “why?” from their own standpoint and also from an opposing viewpoint. This will help them become aware of any biases they might have.
These simple, but powerful, suggestions can help you get your followers to finally take action and do something with the training you give. Are you striving to improve your leadership skills? What challenges you the most? Please come over to my Facebook page and share your thoughts. Also, in September, my colleague Louise Santiago and I are hosting “Women, Wisdom & Presence – Evolving our presence in the world” in Mindo, Ecuador. Together, we’ll explore how to recognize, name, and support the leader within. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
Where are you headed in life? Are you on the right path? Are you feeling lost? Is it time for a course correction? Every so often it’s beneficial to ask questions like these so you can assess your wellbeing, dreams and desires…and then change what isn’t working for you any longer.
Take a moment to experience how your body reacts to the following seventeen areas of life. Does each one make feel free and joyful, or do some of them make you experience pain, loss or other negative effects?
- Growth & learning
- Daily relaxation
This exploratory exercise helps you identify the areas of life that are making you feel lost. It takes courage to give attention to these feelings, but it’s the first step to feeling whole again. Over the last few years, I’ve been coaching people to extraordinary personal success. Along the way, I’ve gleaned some life lessons that you can use to create more joy in these lost areas of your life. Here are three of them that make the biggest impact:
1. Be the boss…take responsibility…make the hard choices. I’ve found that so many people struggle with taking ownership of their own lives. Somewhere along the way, they’ve given away their power to things that don’t serve them anymore. They don’t feel like they control their own lives.
But at some point, you have to realize you chose those things…the job, the family, the life. You may not be able to change your past, but if you want your future to reflect your desires, start managing your life.
I don’t mean quitting your job, divorcing your spouse and abandoning your children. Instead of following the whims of your past, mindfully shift your thoughts and experiences to ones that bring you joy. No matter what the circumstance is, you can change your focus. Rather than fixating on an annoyance, look for the positive in each experience. As you make this your new way of being, you’ll find that the former irritations and annoyances bother you little, if at all.
2. Distinguish healthy habits from mindless routines. Pay attention to how your daily habits may be shutting you off from new experiences. For example, when you work for yourself, you sit at home in front of a computer a lot. This creates tunnel vision. If you don’t go out to lunch with friends; if you don’t leave the house; if you don’t get outside stimuli…life begins to stagnate. Your daily routine imprisons you, without you even realizing it.
Look for ways to shake things up…eat a different breakfast, try a different exercise routine, accept more invitations to get out. Become more mindful and self-aware of what you say “yes” or “no” to. In that way, you make each decision a choice, not just a reflexive habit that may not be serving you any more.
3. Ask for and accept help…often. Independence is especially prized in Western culture. But think about this: what dreams could you pursue, if you relied more on others who want to help? Let go of that voice that says you have to do it by yourself. (If you’re curious about exploring a coaching partnership, but you still have reservations, please reach out to me with any questions.)
When you’re feeling lost, it’s important to actively choose systems for living that help you become the person you want to be. If you’d like to dig more deeply into assessing your state of wellness, I invite you to download my free 7-Point Wellness Assessment. It’s one of the tools I use in my coaching practice to start clients on the journey to finding their personal truth.
Is your closet full of unfinished projects? Are your shelves covered with training courses you started, but never completed? Do you have relationships that are unfulfilling and stagnant? How often do you feel really excited and motivated to try something new, but as you begin, fear creeps in and stops you from taking the next step necessary to moving forward? If this is the case, your life motivation is lacking harmony between action and fear.
As I discussed in a previous blog post, our perception of fear of failure is one of the biggest thought patterns we must heal. Fear is simply an indicator that you’re entering an area that brings you discomfort because of lack of knowledge or your own limiting beliefs are manifesting themselves. (We’re not discussing the type of fear that is based on real threats to your safety.) This fear is letting you know that this is where you must open yourself up for further growth in life. Action is not at odds with fear, but is really a powerful collaborator with fear. When you develop a healthy balance between action and fear, you become unstoppable. How do you achieve this harmony?
Five skills to create collaboration and balance between action and fear.
Fear and action are both forms of energy. So, by shifting your perspective, you can transform the fear energy into courage and optimism. Then you can tap into the power of that positive energy in five ways:
- Focus on the positive.Often we only focus on the end goal. Unfortunately, this sets you up for discouragement if you don’t meet the perfect schedule or deadline you’ve created for yourself. The fear creeps in as a defeatist attitude – “I messed up. I’m never going to… Why try anymore.” Instead, look at what you’ve already accomplished even if it seems small. Find joy in every evidence of progress and don’t allow the negative thoughts to zap your power. Be happy with where you are today, not thinking about how much further you must go to achieve your goal.
- Set milestone markers along the way.Life is a journey, so enjoy the trip. You wouldn’t drive across the United States in one day. You set markers like, “We’re going to stop in Wyoming tonight and we’ll be in St. Louis by Monday.” We need markers for our life goals too. And as you reach each milestone you should reflect mindfully and feel a sense of accomplishment for the progress you’ve made, which in turn builds life motivation and dispels fears.
- Celebrate your victories. Don’t let these milestones pass by without making a big deal about them. Celebrate your victory and make it a permanent memory – one that you can recall when the going gets tough. You’ll remember that you did it then, so you can do it now.
- Pat yourself on the back.You would commend a friend for a job well done, wouldn’t you? Don’t withhold that praise from yourself. Generously give yourself some well-deserved approval. It’s not being egotistical. We need to acknowledge and feel good about our accomplishments to build our self-esteem and confidence.
- Fuel the momentum. Momentum fuels motivation. It gives you a sense of anticipation that you really can achieve your goal. Each time you feel fearful, address the fear, either through increased knowledge or awareness, and you’ll free yourself to rise above and ride the new wave of excitement leading to your inevitable success.
You can shift your perception of fear. It doesn’t have to be a stumbling block. You can view it as a building block for life motivation and momentum. In our FREE talk on July 7th: Choose Your State of Mind, Nando Raynolds and I will show you how to use NLP to do this easily. It will be held in Medford, Oregon at 6:30 PM to 8PM. Learn more about it by clicking here or contact me for more details.