Giving Thanks before Experiencing Success: It is customary in most cultures to say a prayer of gratitude before enjoying a meal. Why not do the same before engaging in a challenging meeting or launching a complex project? Be in simple gratitude for the opportunity in front of you, and then picture it already completed. Give thanks for what has gotten you to where you are today, and rise above any constraints, challenges of the environment, and worries or fears that could – yet may not – create more issues. Your history of success will repeat itself!
Who Are You Listening To?: Progress comes from listening and being flexible and adaptable to discern new directions and solutions – in silence – rather than busying ourselves to such a degree that we take 20 steps to complete something, when we only needed three to get to the same place before. Too often we get distracted and lose our way by listening to our fears, misguided beliefs, the gossip and negativity around us, and/or the opinions of others. Go back to the silence to find what is purely yours.
Refueling the Tank before Running Out of Gas: For those of us who are self-imposed goal drivers, whatever pressure we put ourselves underwe need to be mindful of how easily a catastrophe related to over extension can happen. We should try and plan our days so we will not have to even watch for the red line on our personal gas tank. For example, start each day with 20 minutes of meditation, asking for guidance and grace for the day. To keep perspective throughout the day, take periodic breaks and have conversations with others to ease emotions and regain creativity and energy.
Giving Thanks Even for Disappointments: Our attitude, particularly when dealing with disappointment, can singularly take us out of the competition or flow, robbing us of the energy to stay open to possibility. While something does not go as well as we had hoped, it is important to honor our feelings of hurt, anger or upset, but not let them control us. Recognize and give thanks for a) just getting through the situation and today being okay, b) the situation not having been or gotten worse, c) what you learned to be able to do better next time, and d) the experience as preparation for an even greater challenge down the road.
Five Keys for Changing Habits to Achieve Greater Success: Mark discusses the “how to” of changing habits: a) develop a picture of success to support your habit change, b) replace an old habit with a new one, getting into a rhythm of microscopic changes, c) surround yourself with a support system of believers to the journey (and distance yourself from those who may not), d) develop recovery plans without judgment for when you revert back to the old habit, and e) exhibit patience, not expecting to control the time for the habit to change.
Understanding People’s Motivations – Inner Starters vs. Outer Starters: Inner Starters get their drive from inside – their own ideas to push the envelope, take risks, embrace competition, challenge and change for better results. These people often operate best as team leaders and in roles guiding others. Outer Starters appreciate high levels of direction, detail and continued guidance, as well as a secure and paced environment with visible rewards. Research has shown that 80% of the workforce is Outer Starters, and surprisingly so are many C-suite leaders with reputations of being high performers. A key to effectively motivating others is identifying their motivation.
Are You “We Centered” or “Me Centered”?: While an “Us vs. Them” environment may at the beginning bind a team to a common goal – beating the competition – the nature of conflict in general does not necessarily open up minds to the best ideas. Neither does being “ME centered,” focusing on our isolated needs and goals, as opposed to “WE centered,” recognizing at the onset how what we do and how we do it impacts those around us. Allowing others to become part of our engine enables shared priorities and compounds our strength to co-create solutions to challenges.
Being Adaptable without Giving Up Your Power: Being in service at all times to the desirable outcome, purpose and values of a team lets us get to the best solution for everyone, regardless of from where the ideas originate. This holds true for us as individuals, where the ultimate power in empowerment of self is not ego, but honoring our unique beliefs, values and skills when making choices.
How to Influence Others without Controlling Them: Getting things done effectively through others requires a) a win-win intention that is transparent, b) listening for understanding others’ needs, wants and fears to meet them where they are at, even when this brings you to facilitate others to claim your ideas, c) being adaptable and leveraging different skills in different situations, and d) an ability to be uncomfortable and manage silence without judgment (and even shut up to hear others’ contributions more clearly!).
Are You Ready for Success? This is one of the most overlooked critical factors in business, at home, and when we are in transition. It does not mean things have to be perfect in the process, nor that we shouldn’t prepare for the reality of setbacks. But if we manage priorities and show up fully, there is a potential for going faster than we thought. Planning helps protect an ability to say “no” to some things, so that “yes” really is a “yes” to help us keep our commitments.
What Have You Learned Lately? Every day is about learning, a process to build our muscle to understand and acknowledge success, forgive missteps, and move into the future. Teams shift their tempos when led by program managers who end meetings with a focus on what went well and how to capitalize further, compared to adding to the seemingly endless list of things to fix. Learning is not done in isolation, but through inclusion, discussion and adaptability, with heavy doses of experimenting and adventure.
The Importance of Acknowledging Success: Acknowledging our success along the way, not just at “the end” of a journey, keeps our energy and attention pointed in the right direction – forward. This is particularly powerful to navigate through our off days (which will occur) and help us show up the best that we can, plus support others as they experience setbacks. This is not about competing to be better than others, or against a negative image of ourselves; but, to build an ability to stay the course with greater ease.
Are You Leveraging Your Strengths?: This question presupposes that we even know what our strengths are! A recommended process to uncover involves a) honoring our natural gifts and tendencies that come to us easily, and be open without judgment to face if we may not have been developing, b) realize what we really love to do, and c) use others as a sounding board to validate our findings with their independent observations of us. Rely on an inner world to chart your course, rather than the shifting outer world.
Leading with Heart: True leaders strive to learn their way out of paralysis and find their own voice. They are wary of copying other people’s way out of a situation, in absence of it matching who they are, what is deep in their heart. In combination with what truly is ours to do and trusting the process, our bigger purpose can be revealed – that which we can use as a litmus test to stay on course. Heart is greater than anything else, and not necessarily logical or emotional. It is THE driver behind doing what you love to do, even if there is a struggle to do it.
Making Yourself Indispensable: People who are really well networked help others without the expectation of getting anything in return. They have relationships built upon an ability to bolster and expand everyone’s input and output – value – to a set of circumstances. Sharing information drives an interdependency to then do greater things. These people do not get caught in ego trap, and realize how important it is to differentiate oneself to avoid feeling vulnerable, whether at work, in the community or at home. It is in being in service to others that makes them indispensable.
Ending the Overwhelm by Setting Priorities: We get fragmented and unproductive when we try and do too many things and carry around so much in our heads. Setting priorities paves the way to reduce stress, allowing us to enjoy living in the moment. Going with or being in the state of flow maximizes our creativity and ability to learn, plus enjoy healthy relationships with others and work effectively in teams. Getting the best bang for the buck requires us to pinpoint what is non-negotiable, as well as the “nice to do,” perhaps optional for a given period of time.
Dealing with Uncertainty: Face it, there is NO certainty in our lives, although we conjure up and try and find the evidence to convince ourselves certainty is there and that change won’t be a problem. We need to stay detached from our own conclusions, which are often not facts particularly if drawn within short term intervals. Embracing life with bold humility is an active state of willingness to trust, taking considerable courage to NOT have to control things, and maintaining healthy curiosity to wonder, ask why, learn yet not judge or compare.
Accountability and Weight Loss: Shifting from counting calories and pounds to setting the intention of being healthy and feeling good (as opposed to looking good) can open the door to realize the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual steps to heal what is behind weight management challenges. Accountability for this journey calls for gaining personal safety, and determining what is not allowing us not expand ourselves, but expand into the world to be who we really are and want to be.
Critical Thinking: Six Ways to Improve Problem Solving: Critical thinking calls for objectivity without being biased, having a global view yet not loosing sight of details, seeing a bigger future and the future impact of actions, getting perspectives from multiple angles, and understanding the true root cause behind the symptoms. Integrating these five attributes in balance allows a mindset that changes how we communicate. This enables us to pose the right questions, allowing the right answers to come to us.
What is Your Accountability Routine?: Do you wake up in the morning with a clear picture of what success looks like for your day, such that your attitude then shapes your ability to perform? Focusing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual qualities allow us to deliberating shift via affirmation. This is a process to create new beliefs and a script to follow to confidently confront negative constrictions. Instead of thinking “what if negative”, go to “what if positive.”
Accountability and Being Patient: Such a false premium is placed on “you can’t get this done fast enough,” driving pressure, lack of consciousness, and a self-fulfilling prophesy of being late, plus masking great ideas and stunting the growth people. How often we are so hard on one another as we make mistakes, particularly when we hurry to go faster in a process that doesn’t work. Being patient is an ACTIVE state involving planning, asking the right questions, centering ourselves and asking others for help.
The Intention behind the Intention: Leadership calls for identifying a higher state of excellence, the ultimate purpose that is non-negotiable and has all priorities tied to it. When guiding others to change their behavior, it is this bigger intention – desired outcome – which requires engagement, not compliance. No amount time dedicated to goals, plans, tasks, roles and responsibilities, and metrics lends to a return on investment in absence of the organization truly understand the leader’s intention – the big why – he or she does what they do, and is committed to helping others follow.
Observation – Getting Beyond Negativity: Dealing with negativity starts with our view of it – not getting caught in resentment over what happened or didn’t happen to us, but getting past the pain to observe our own reactions from a neutral place. By being as a director “watching the play,” we can rise above the circumstances and take a breath, slow down, and rise above the situation by not trying to control it, as it is controlling you and preventing an ability to be proactive and creative to move forward.
Launching 2011 Intentionally with Accountability: Intentions can become goals to accomplish; but, they are more about our way of BEING or embodying a desired set of attributes to get us to a desired outcome. What are the qualities you want to espouse in order to build and treat yourself differently? For example, pledging to make better decisions will appear in time, if at the core we remind ourselves to be understanding, trusting, compassionate and gentler with ourselves. The real magic is realizing that what you learned from going from A to Z is not what you necessarily planned for.