“In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg
Are you excited about all the possibilities the New Year has to offer you? Or does the idea of new opportunities intimidate you a little bit? Maybe you’re worried that you may not be ready to open the door when opportunity knocks?
How can you prepare now so you’re ready to act when a big break comes your way? I’ve been thinking about this a lot because of what happened to my client, Sandy (her name has been changed to protect her privacy). Perhaps you can relate to her story….
When I met Sandy, she was a 25-year-old writer, with dreams of being a speechwriter for a big company. She’d been writing since she learned how and loved the idea of creating content to support inspirational people.
Yet in her personal life, Sandy was struggling. She had difficulties making friends and this was a source of deep grief and desolation. She wasn’t taking care of herself the way she should and this left her tired, rundown, and depressed. Her eating habits and exercise routines were less than desirable. She often felt overwhelmed and in constant catch-up-mode.
When her best friend was hired by a well-known company as a junior executive assistant, she immediately put in a good word for Sandy to work in the Creatives & Communication department. Sandy’s big break was at her doorstep. Opportunity was knocking on her door! But she wasn’t ready to say yes. That once in a lifetime opportunity sailed right past her because she wasn’t ready. Can you imagine the regret and disappointment she felt?
This was a wake-up call for Sandy to regroup and together we worked to set in place different daily practices. Have you experienced something similar? Have you lost golden opportunities because you weren’t ready for them?
Too often I see really talented, brilliant people overly consumed with developing their skills, or getting bogged down emotionally with issues of anxiety, lack of confidence, and feeling “less than” about themselves. Unfortunately, these distractions can make you miss important opportunities to try something new, get your foot in the door, and say yes to something that might turn out to be your “Big Break” or “the way to success”.
Do you find yourself holding back from taking opportunities because of one of the following “reasons”?
- You’re afraid of change or doubt your abilities. It can be scary to take action when you don’t feel ready. Maybe you tell yourself that you’re not good enough or you don’t have enough experience. I love this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
- You’re not in a position to take action. Maybe your life is too full of drama or clutter (physical, emotional and social). Or maybe you’re caught up in dealing with other people’s drama. All this will leave you tired, tapped out or exhausted, rather than excited to try something new. Make self-care a priority, so you have the routines needed to support your health and wellbeing.
- You don’t recognize the opportunity. When you’re too busy and have blind spots, you lack focus and attunement. Your head is in the sand or you’re looking in the wrong direction, when opportunity knocks. Practicing mindfulness will help you stay in the present, not lingering in the past or daydreaming about a future that will never come.
- You have negative self-talk. Don’t listen when you tell yourself, “I’m not up to the challenge.” “Other people could do that but not me.” “I don’t want to embarrass myself.” “I don’t want to let people down.” “I’ll fail.” If you hear these words floating in your subconscious, it’s time to challenge their validity.
If some of the reasons sound familiar, the good news is that they don’t have to keep holding you back. You can do something about it! And getting ready is more important than feeling ready!
Yet here’s an important caveat, being open to opportunities doesn’t mean you should necessarily act on every one of them. If deep down you know the opportunity isn’t a good fit for you, acknowledge that you’ve made a good choice and let it go. If however, there isn’t a good reason, don’t let fear get in your way.
Are you ready to get 2018 off to a good start so you can step through the next door of opportunity? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to partner with you and help you say “YES!” with confidence when opportunity knocks at your door.
When you were in school, did you enjoy homework? I remember the collective groan that used to echo throughout the classroom. Yet, it really is an effective way for students to grow personally and academically.
As I reflect on those years, I’m grateful now. Not only did homework help me remember the lesson, it accelerated my personal growth for it taught me to 1) be disciplined, 2) make priorities, and 3) learn how to learn. Today, I regularly use homework in my coaching practice and I’ve seen that my clients who follow-up and do it dramatically accelerate their personal growth.
Not convinced? Check out these seven reasons for doing your coaching homework and see if they don’t rev up your personal growth…
- Remain focused.
We all know the benefits of putting notes where we see them constantly. In that way, we won’t forget the task or goals we need to accomplish. It keeps us from being distracted. Coaching homework gives us something to focus on in between sessions. Working on your personal growth every day is key to becoming the person you desire to be.
- Reflect deeply.
When you delve deeper into a topic you covered in session, you often need quiet and solitude to mindfully reflect on it. When your coach gives you homework, think of it as a map to your personal growth as it helps you explore the pattern of your actions, thoughts and feelings.
- Retain through repetition.
Our brains benefit from repetitive patterns. Your personal growth depends on remembering new things. Routines, checklists, and templates save you time and ensure you retain what you’re learning.
- Reasonable expectations.
You can’t expect overnight transformation. It takes daily baby steps, rather than giant leaps once a week. Coaching homework makes big challenges seem not so intimidating. It lets you know that you’re not the only one with this issue and it reassures you that there’s a process that works.
- Recognize results.
It’s important to track your progress – even the tiniest of wins. When you start getting discouraged, you need to be able to look back and see how far you’ve come. An important part of coaching homework is recording your feelings about each step forward and owning your triumphs.
- Reframe to fit.
While many of us struggle with similar issues, you have a unique learning style and speed. Coaching homework let’s you mull over the information and make it your own as you reframe it to fit your personal growth needs.
- Revisit and expand.
The first time you go through an exercise, you’ll apply it for those circumstances. As your experience widens and your abilities grow, you’ll be able to revisit an exercise with a fresh perspective and gain more from it on a deeper level.
Are you ready to ramp up your personal growth? Do you have something specific you want to work on, but you’re not sure where you should start? I would love to partner with you and share proven personal growth techniques that get results. Please feel free to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation so we can explore your options. I’m happy to meet in-person, by phone or via Skype.
Have you ever bared your feelings to someone you trusted, but they responded with a dismissive or judgmental response? Perhaps it even caused a rift in the relationship that has never healed?
That rejection can cause a life-altering pain. In order to avoid experiencing that pain again, you may adopt a people-pleasing behavior. You hide your feelings, needs and opinions, so they won’t be trampled on again. And over time you find that your inner strength has seeped away. You can’t even say “no” when you need or want to. Instead you remain quiet and acquiesce; silently berating yourself because you wish you could stand up for yourself.
Perhaps this is how you’re feeling right now. Painful life events can give you a double whammy – the initial pain and then a lingering unresolved hurt that actually redefines who you are and robs you of your power. Would you like to become more assertive as you restore your inner strength and reclaim your authentic self once again?
Let’s first examine some situations that can destroy your inner strength and rob you of power. It can happen…
- When someone says something negative, critical or judgmental about you and you remain silent or mentally agree.
- When you shift into a reactive mode and you don’t give yourself time to think and be who you really want to be.
- When you stay so busy you don’t have time to think and process life.
- When you don’t mindfully and daily reflect on what’s important to you.
- When you’re emotions are out of control or you’re discouraged and depressed.
- When you’re not getting enough sleep, proper nutrition, and exercise.
- When you isolate yourself and aren’t making meaningful connections.
All of these manifest a lack of self-love, which drains your inner strength. But you can restore your self-worth! When you retrain your brain, you’ll be able to access your inner strength and power again.
How can you replenish your inner strength and reclaim your power? Here’s a practice that can help you reconnect…
- Close your eyes and become fully aware of your breathing and your body sensations.
- Breathe deeply from your belly until your body and mind relaxes.
- Now, think of the last time you gave away your power and scan your body, noticing where you feel tense.
- Welcome whatever emotion arises and accept it with kindness.
- Ask yourself, “What past story is this emotion connected to?”
- What happened then is not your reality today, so tell yourself, “I release you,” and let it float off into the sky.
- Open your eyes and shake it off.
- Do a few somatic movements to discharge any lingering self-limiting beliefs.
- Now bring awareness to your core, and connect to all that empowers you – your strengths, talents, resilience, and good qualities.
- Focus on these empowering thoughts to restore your self-love, inner strength and power. Be convinced you can do and be anything you want.
A consistent mindfulness practice gives you the inner strength to turn toward your feelings with acceptance. When you quit ignoring and fighting them, something will shift within you. You’re self-love will reassure you that you are worthy. You are loveable. You are valuable. You do have people who care about you. You do have a meaningful purpose in life. When you feel empowered in this way, you’ll be able to stand up for yourself, speaking your truth.
If you’d like a guide to restoring your balance, please, download my free 7-Point Body Wellness Assessment. It will help you identify the areas that most need your attention right now and what you can do to bring healing and empowerment to your life.
Are you a fan of the Olympics? I’m constantly amazed at the skill and dedication these athletes bring to their events. How do they do it? More importantly, how can their example help “ordinary” people be successful in life? Of course, they train for years, but the significant key to success is that they’ve developed an essential mindset – they’ve embraced the concept that failure leads to success.
Normally, how does failure feel? Even now as you think about it, does the heavyhearted feeling come creeping back? Do you sink into your chair as you relive the embarrassment and discouragement? Many people view failure as something to be avoided at all cost.
But highly successful people, no matter what their field of expertise is, know that failure is essential for success. But knowing it and embracing it are two different things. What’s their secret? The strongest predictor that failure will lead to success is when people have resilience and perseverance. They just never give up because they know that everything they experience teaches them something and gets them one step closer to where they want to be.
This attitude toward mistakes and failure makes all the difference in the world. Those who excel in life have worked hard to develop this attitude that hardships, obstacles and challenges are opportunities for learning lessons about themselves and the world around them.
An interesting example of how failure leads to success is that of Lex Gillette. He’s a silver and gold medal winner from past long jump competitions and will be representing the U.S. in the 2016 Paralympics. He is also completely blind! He trusts his coach to set him straight for each sprint and guides him with clapping and cries of “Fly, Fly, Fly” until he reaches the spring board. (Watch it here.) Before each competition they walk around the boundaries of the sand pit to help him create a map in his mind. What powerful proof that mastering your inner game really works!
He hasn’t gotten to where he is without his share of failures, however. And he makes this interesting observation, “Failing at something is essential. You go through some sort of hardship, and it helps catapult you to a higher level. I’ve had a number of failures in my life, and I’ve been able to tap into that inner strength in order to come back and be resilient. I see failures as stepping stones and things that I’ve had to do to get to my destination.”
Interestingly, Michelle Segar, a motivation scientist and director of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research and Policy Center at the University of Michigan, noted that once a person fails, “you don’t have that fear over your head anymore, then you can really focus.”
Another study interviewed 10 Olympic gold medalists and found that they all consider failure to be essential to winning their gold medals. “The majority of participants stated that if they had not underperformed at a previous Olympics, they would not have won their gold medals.”
The researchers hypothesize that learning from previous failure happened in two ways: 1) the athletes focus on why they feel distressing emotions, not on the emotions themselves, and 2) they distance themselves psychologically from the negative experience. They think about what went wrong and use it to propel themselves toward success in the future.
The only way to truly fail is to give up and do nothing —failing to properly prepare, failing to give it your all or failing to learn from past experiences. Would you like to learn how to reframe your thoughts so that every failure leads to success? Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) is a highly effective set of tools for accomplishing this. Please join us for the fall session of our Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP Class. Click here to learn more or contact me with any questions. It’s going to be a life-changing experience!
“A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done.” ~ Ralph Lauren
Have you ever eaten a dish of food that was ho-hum and boring, and then someone adds a secret ingredient that really gives it a zing of excellence? In life and business, the secret ingredient that gives you a zing and makes you stand out are strong convictions.
When you’re strongly convinced that what you do and say matter and that what you offer is of great value to others, your energy shifts and you become more attractive and persuasive. The people you work with feel more at ease. It engenders a feeling of security. It helps everyone concentrate on doing their best work, because they see that everything is under control.
In contrast, uncertainty – the opposite of conviction –is perceived by the brain as a threat. It actually causes a release of the stress hormone cortisol, which disrupts your memory, and puts your physical, emotional and mental health at risk.
How can you model strong convictions in your leadership without alienating others? If you lack conviction, you can gain it through introspection and self-awareness. If you already have strong convictions, you can learn to express them in a pleasantly persuasive and compelling manner. As you read the following section, give yourself a rating on the scale of 1 to 10 for each one, so as to determine your strengths and weaknesses.
“The Seven B’s of Strong Convictions” that will make your leadership skills outstanding:
Be informed. Know your topic forwards and backwards. When you have an excellent grasp of a subject, you can be absolutely convinced that you’ve chosen the best course of action. You can effectively apply what you know about the subject to real life situations.
Be strong. Make a stand for what you believe to be important and you won’t be swayed by everything that comes along. Use your strength for the good of others. Have the courage to make difficult decisions, take responsibility and do what’s best for the people you’re leading. This means you don’t give up when the going gets tough. You’re willing to take the bullet for your people. You back them up, never shifting blame. Leaders with true conviction are able to encourage others to openly speak up and share their viewpoints even if what they say is hard to hear.
Be tuned-in to your intuition. Your intuition or “gut instincts” are like a sixth sense where you quickly read a situation because you recognize subtle cues. It’s not the same as jumping to conclusions. Rather it takes time and mindful effort to increase your emotional intelligence. Once you learn to identify when you’re being influenced by unfounded assumptions or unresolved emotions stemming from unrelated experiences, you can filter these out. Then you’ll be able to trust your intuition and stop second guessing yourself or playing the “what if” game.
Be positive. See the good in everyone and everything, even in difficult times. Positive thinking gives your brain a chance to focus on stress-free thoughts, quieting fears and irrational thinking. Learn to choose a positive state, and you’ll be amazed at how it boosts your energy level.
Be passionate. Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability to make things happen. Of course, realistically we all have limitations. But the trick is not to accept any limitation without constantly testing their boundaries. Maybe you can’t do it today, but with training, increased knowledge and experience you can do it tomorrow. Don’t give up on your dream.
Be humble. Jump in and do the dirty work when it’s needed. Only ask your followers to do what you’re willing to do. Support, inspire and encourage those around you. Through your actions, prove that you walk the talk, never adopting the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude.
Be friends with change. Change is not your enemy. It’s natural to want to feel in control rather than being at the mercy of what life throws at you. Life happens. It’s not a personal failure when you can’t control what happens. However, how your react to it is totally within your control. Focus on that.
When you act with conviction, everyone around you unconsciously absorbs this belief and emotional state. Whether you’re leading a team at work, or you want to increase your self-confidence and grow as a person, or even if you want to be a better role model for your children, conviction is essential to your success. It creates a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Get a jumpstart on fine-tuning your conviction by attending our special talk: Choose Life Enhancing Beliefs on Thursday, August 25th. Nando Raynolds and I will be meeting with you at 600 Siskiyou, Ashland, Oregon to share how NLP can expand your abilities for happiness and excellence. Learn more about it by clicking here or contact me for more details. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.