Do something different. Leaders and coaches listen up please.

Admittedly there are a few things that frustrate me. One of them is based off a saying you have likely heard expressed. It is the expression of “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink the water.” If you have been in this scenario before, I’m certain you understand the feeling of this proverbial horse standing near or over the water trough, needing hydration, but not drinking the water. Seeing this occurring seems senseless. Even counterintuitive, although we see this happening on a regular basis.

Who are the people that fall into this category of being “that” horse? Sometime surprisingly the people you wouldn’t imagine they would be. Yes, I’m calling out those of you who are leaders in the business world, and those of you who are sports coaches at some of the highest levels of competition. It’s very likely the scenario you are presently in is due to a combination of circumstances which have brought you to the place of inaction. Others may see your inaction as being stubborn, close minded, or worse, unaware of the fact the “water” is right in front of you.

Recently I experienced a leader who seemingly just realized they were not in a good place. All the data supports making this obvious, but ironically, they were behaving as if everything was fine. Better than fine. In fact, that they didn’t seemingly have any challenges at all. Sure, this may sound implausible, but if there were an “ignore button”, they were certainly pressing it often. Possibly without realizing they were doing so. However, others they are leading were absolutely noticing this, but didn’t feel empowered to do something, or know how to approach this leader.  

When I got the call from this leader, I was shocked. Upon speaking with them briefly, it was also as if time or the circumstances they were in didn’t matter. In fact, it was as if I was speaking to an individual that had little or no awareness of the reality of the situation, they were in. This may be their way of protecting themselves from reality, but the reality is, they will need to confront reality next week. Why next week? Because they will have a new boss who is going to want them to provide answers about how they will do things differently to obtain far better results. When I asked them what their plan was to have this conversation, I was less than impressed by what I heard.

The more difficult aspect of hearing that the leader didn’t think they needed a new plan was more disconcerting. Having the experience of knowing they were going to need to have a solid, well thought through plan to make the necessary changes to impact their current circumstances seemed obvious. Yet, this appeared to be the furthest thinking from what they were expressing.

Instead, what I heard was that they were going to be making tactical maneuvers. Ones that in essence would only apply a Band-Aid to their scenario, when what they needed was to have a surgical team in place to repair the damage. The lack of awareness of what was going to be needed to positively impact their circumstances partially contributes to the situation they are in.  However, the bigger problem is that they thought with the plan they had shared with me, that all the solutions to solve their challenges were going to be met.  It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how this scenario is going to play out. At least not without doing something quite different than they are planning to do.

If you are a leader or sports coach who is currently in or may be in a situation which will call for you to do something different than you are doing, with the intent to get better results, below are some suggestions you can begin considering to apply.

  • Do you have a group of trusted advisors? Ones who will challenge you and not play the role of a “yes” person.?
  • Consider why you think that doing the same thing all the time is going to offer you the desired results you are seeking.
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how comfortable are you with change?
  • If your score isn’t close to a 10, you have some work to do. This can also offer insight into why you may be in the circumstances you are now.
  • How well do you listen to others? Chances are high that this is an area we can all improve upon. Consider testing yourself in terms of noticing whether you are listening or talking more. Practice listening more than you are talking and see what benefits you gain from this.
  • What is preventing you for doing something differently? If you don’t like change, what if you looked at change differently? Perhaps as being a positive maneuver versus one you find more comfort in resisting?
  • Stop kidding yourself. If your current circumstances aren’t where you want them to be, others are noticing. In fact, they are likely waiting for you to reach out and ask them for help.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to help others. If you are not asking for help yourself, this isn’t allowing you to fully embrace your role as a leader or sports coach. Taking actions to do something different doesn’t need to be perceived negatively. In fact, it might be exactly what you need to do. What will your doing something different be?

TAGS: #Leadership #Leader #Leaders #Sportscoach #Communication #Motivation #Teamdynamics #Business #Listening #Change #Embracingchange #Management #Strategy #Success #Leadershipsuccess

Winning. What does this take to accomplish in Business and Sports?

Anyone who has a competitive drive understands, and is generally driven to want to compete and to win. Yes, in just about every scenario, and no, second place is never satisfactory for them. However, we know that not everyone is driven to compete at the same level, and this applies to both business and sports teams. I work with both, so I get to see how they both differ in their approaches, and how there are many similarities too.

When I first started working with sports teams, I was under the impression everyone had the same level of intensity and focus in terms of wanting to win. Spoiler alert, this wasn’t the reality of what I experienced. This was both perplexing, and an amazing challenge to sort out. For context, I competed myself in both business and sports, and I was orienting my thinking based on my bias of how I thought about competing.

The interesting thing about competing is the various processes and ways you can get to a final outcome. Desirably a win, but this doesn’t always play out the way you want it to. Although, I have found that beyond someone’s skill level, one of the factors which significantly contributes to being competitive is your mind set. I know this for a fact, because although I would consider myself to be highly competitive, my approach is quite different from others to get the results I am seeking.

One of the sports team’s I was working with was having a difficult time with being able to win. I didn’t start working with them until they were partially into their season, so there were many aspects and layers to uncover to appreciate what was going on in the minds of the athletes.

Understanding how the athletes thinking was impacting their physical output and how at times it was significantly contributing to their losses, and other times, it was simply a minimal impact. However, enough of an impact which tipped the results to favor their competitor. Seeing this happen in either of these scenarios was painful to watch, and at times it felt like it was like watching a car accident happening in slow motion.

So, was there something which could be done to first address the mentality side of the athletes thinking? Yes, there was, and it was actually a very simple approach. Brace yourself for how simple this first step is. It might surprise you. What I do in these scenarios is to have a conversation with each sports coach and athlete and I ask them if they truly want to win? If there is any slight hesitation, if they don’t look me in the eye with their response, or if they can’t convincingly express to me they want and expect to win, I know we have our work cut out to do.

Yes, it might be shocking to hear there are some people on a team who are not actually thinking their team can win, and if you can get to the root of why this is happening, you can begin to diagnose what is contributing to this happening. No, it isn’t as easy as you might think to get people to admit this. Some of what they are expressing to you will require you to read between the lines, or have you listened intently to the words they are using to indirectly tell you why they think the way they do.

When I come across a person or pockets of people on a team who can express that they don’t think they can either win a particular game, or have a winning season, I actually find this refreshing. Why? Because although the people might want to win, they have to believe they can. If they don’t think they can, the unfortunate self-fulfilling prophecy kicks in, and often becomes their reality. Is this a learned behavior? Can it be course corrected, and how long might this take?

From my experience, the self-fulfilling prophecy of not winning can be interrupted, and yes, it can be addressed to mitigate the risk of it continuing to happen. Here are some suggestions on how to do this, and it can apply to both a business and sports team.

  • Stop blaming others. There is likely something you might be doing which is contributing to why you are not winning. What might this be, and what can you do about it?
  • How’s your attitude? Even if your team is a .500 team, or your team is heading towards meeting its goals, what are the aspects of each game and business goal that are making it difficult to achieve?
  • As a leader, or individual team contributor, ask yourself what can be done to have your team look like they are really working together?
  • Who inspires your team? Are they self-inspired, inspired by one another, or are there people one the team who are no longer able to provide the inspiration they once did?
  • Is your team open to having a conversation about why their performance is what it is?
  • Do people individually understand what motivates them?
  • If you are a leader, do you understand how you contribute to motivating your team?
  • Why do you want to win or accomplish your goals? Can you articulate this and convince yourself or others about your authenticity of your “why”? Try recording this, and listen to what you have to say and how you express this. Are you convinced by what you hear?

Of course, there are many more ways to approach helping a business or sports team how to get to the place they want to be, whether that includes meeting or exceeding their goals, or understanding what it takes to win, and win more often. The challenge is to admit you don’t have all the answers to get there, and might need some help. Keep in mind that it doesn’t mean you are a weak leader or sports coach by asking for help, it means you care about others, and the desired outcome collectively everyone wants to attain.

TAGS: #Winning #Success #Motivation #Teamdynamics #Leadership #Sports #Sportsteam #Business #Competition #Achievement #Howtowin #Ideasforwinning #Leader #Coach #Sportscoach

The power of possibilities.

Right now, I’m thinking about a sports team that is one game away from repeating the amazing performance and season they had last year. This time they are at home, and their opponent traveled from the west coast, so the toll of traveling and far different weather conditions will not be in their favor. Even though these factors might seem to be detrimental to their outcome, I can assure you they won’t be, and my team is prepared for this.

Some of the preparations the team has taken into consideration is making sure their individual mindsets are focused, and visualizing the outcome they want their upcoming game today to have. In other words, they are harnessing the power of the possibility of ending their season exactly the way they want to. Two of the other preparations they are taking to ensure the outcome they are anticipating is to fully appreciate the “why” and “who” they are playing their game for. They each know this, and are hyper focused on these two concepts. Although this might seem easy to do, it’s not. It’s also several of the reasons they have had such a successful season.

Of course, this teams coaches play a large role in their success too, and each of them brings their specialized talents to infuse into the collective team’s performance. The coaches consistently apply their specialized methods to their team, but two of these factors they include might be different and perhaps surprising. What are these factors? It’s humor and kindness. One of the coaches excels in each of these areas, and these are a few of what I’ll refer to as her “superpowers”. Seeing her apply them is like watching a professional ballet, as she is so poised and elegant with her application of these elements.

Perhaps you are surprised by the two factors I noted that are applied to making the team I am referring to so successful? The interesting part of this is that these are exactly the same factors that can be applied to a corporate team. Yet, they so infrequently are. However, when they are, that is what separates their performance outcomes from other teams and companies.

The team I am also referencing ,is admittedly at the greatest disadvantage on so many levels, but they never leverage this as an excuse for achievement. Many sports and corporate teams could learn a great deal from watching this team in action, but more so off the field. Why? Because they are only on the field a relatively short amount of time, and what they are putting into practice and their outcomes off the field is arguably more critical to their success. How do I know this? Because I engage in very strategic and creative conversations with one of their coaches on a regular basis, and we have done so for the last three years.

During our conversations very few topics are off limits, and many times I feel like we are two philosophers discussing anything but sports and team dynamics. Naturally we are, but the intensity of our discussions and where they lead is always intriguing. The best part, is that they always produce thought provoking options to consider relating to challenges we always have woven into our conversations. Options which are then applied soon after we talk. Almost like a “test kitchen” concept to see which ones will produce the results we were expecting.

Sometimes I wish we were recording the discussions we are having, but I think that might take away from the intensity and open-mindedness we can have without feeling constrained to speak freely. Although, it’s possible at one point we might test out whether having our conversation recorded would restrict what we are talking about. For context, none of the subjects we talk about are ones we wouldn’t openly discuss in front of others, but some of them might make others slightly uncomfortable. 

In terms of how to leverage the power of possibilities like I do on a regular basis, I have some suggestions below for you to consider.

  • On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how would you rate yourself in terms of being openminded? Hint…the more openminded you are, the easier it will be to leverage the power of possibility thinking.
  • Make a list of what you think holds you back from achieving what you or your team want to accomplish.
  • Are the items on your list realistic constraints or potentially excuses. Perhaps a mix of both? Coming to terms with especially the excuses and coming up with solutions to address not having them be excuses is going to open up the power of possibility thinking for you.
  • Commit to stop thinking “small” in terms of what you can achieve. Yes, it’s easy to do, but you first need to take steps not to do this all the time. Eventually you will want to have the goal of eliminating “small” thinking in terms of what you can achieve.
  • Do you realize that you might be more often thinking in terms of scarcity versus abundance? Reverse your thinking on this one. It will serve you well doing so.
  • When was the last time you thought about achieving something you may never have admitted out loud, or written down and looked at? Perhaps something really big and what others might think is audacious? In my opinion, I would be thrilled if you thought this way, and I am always saying to others “Go big, or go home!” Why not?
  • Do you have someone you admire that you can look to for inspiration? If not, consider what would be the qualities of someone you would admire who has achieved perhaps the things you would like to achieve too?

Leveraging the “power of possibility thinking” is something that will take time to master. Even if you are only slightly open to thinking this way, you will be amazed at what will be happening both in your life, professionally and for those that you lead when you master this concept. More importantly, you should have fun doing this, and lots of laughter along the way.

TAGS: #Leadership #Motivation #Teams #Sports #Sportsteams #Corporateteams #Executives #Sportscoaches #Communication #Achievement #Success #Leader #Business #Teamdynamics #Success #Mindset #Positivethinking

The power of really paying attention.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I have always done my best to pay full attention to whatever or whomever is in front of me. Although in reality, there have clearly been times when I wasn’t able to be fully as engaged as I could or should have been. What did I miss when I wasn’t or couldn’t pay full attention? Your guess is as good as mine, but I guarantee I missed out on some important information along the way.

Is it my fault that I wasn’t or couldn’t pay full attention during critical times when I should have been? Yes, and no. Yes, because I’ll take full ownership for not doing so, but at the same time, I’m human, clearly far from perfect, and admittedly have challenges with doing so. However, I have addressed this personally, so now I feel like I have a much higher capacity to pay attention at a very different level than in the past.

Being able to pay attention at a different level has been eye opening for me. Sort of like when I got eyeglasses and no longer had to struggle to see clearly. It was a liberating feeling, and one that I wish I had been able to experience a long time ago, but I’m not someone to expend energy dwelling on something I can’t change. I learned that not dwelling on things that were out of my control was a fantastic strategy to help me to focus, and pay attention.

There are clearly different levels of paying attention, and instances when it is more critical to do so. When I think back to the times when it was critical for me to pay attention, I know that there were situations that may have had different results had my attention ability been laser focused. Obviously, there isn’t anything I can do to course correct on those experiences. Or is there?

One of the things I have come to appreciate is being able to reflect back on conversations or experiences that are indelibly etched in my mind. Conversations that had I been more present and able to focus on what was being conveyed, how I could have responded verbally or acted differently. The good news is that reflecting back on these scenarios has been both cathartic, and useful in terms of allowing me to apply my past learnings to future instances requiring my full attention.

In fact, I recently was able to benefit from now being able to be fully present, and offer someone my full attention when it was critically needed. I suspect and deep down know that had I not been able to be fully paying attention, that the outcome of the conversation would have been entirely different. Not in a positive way. However, having worked on being aware that I needed to seek support for my lack of ability to fully pay attention paid off enormously for the recipient of my full attention. I didn’t learn the outcome of that conversation for a few months after it occurred, but the results of the conversation, and me being fully present and paying attention made a tremendous difference in another person’s life. So much so, that they are now able to take from their experience and pass it along as a gift to others, and which they have already done.

Consider a time when you wish that you had been paying closer attention to what someone was telling you. Had you been paying full attention, would you have said different things, or perhaps acted differently during the conversation, or perhaps afterwards? If your response to these questions was either yes, or maybe, below are some suggestions to help you in the near future to become a better listener.

  • Slow down your thoughts while you are listening to the person or people in front of you.
  • Stop trying to anticipate what they will be saying, and focus on what they are saying before you respond.
  • I always attempt to think at the beginning of a conversation, what I want the “end game” or results of the conversation to be. I don’t state this out loud, and I may change my “end game” mid conversation.
  • Remain as open-minded as you can while you are listening to the person. Being judgmental in your commentary, or body language isn’t going to be helpful, and be aware during the conversation if you are heading into this territory. No one benefits from judgmental commentary.
  • Consider asking open-ended questions that will allow the person you are listening to have an opportunity to fully explore and cover the topic they are discussing with you.
  • If you notice that someone seems to be struggling emotionally, ask them if they would like to talk to you. Either now, or at a point in time they would be more comfortable doing so. Sometimes just offering to listen to another person can be helpful, but actually doing so will be the ultimate gift.
  • Keep your commentary to a minimum, and apply the 80/20 rule. Let the person who needs to be listened to do 80% of the talking.

When we work on and put effort into becoming better at listening and paying attention, we gain a skill that will support us well from a mental health perspective, but also from a leadership perspective. Having the skills and motivation to listen well to another person is a gift that may not be appreciated right away, or reciprocated, but it is always the right thing to do in support of another individual. Who can you pay attention and listen to today?

TAGS: #Leadership #Communication #Motivation #Teams #Business #Personaldevelopment #Mentalhealth #Makingadifference #Listening #Thepoweroflistenting #Payingattention #Thebenefitsofpayingattention #Focus #Havingfocus

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Challenges. How to make them work for you.

Depending on how you look at challenges, they could in fact be an advantage to you. Perhaps not immediately as you are dealing with one or more of them, but eventually you will figure out a way to either live with, master or perhaps get beyond your single or list of challenges.

Since it is difficult to appreciate the level of difficulty someone else is having in their life related to a challenge they may be having, we potentially might assume our own challenges are unique. Perhaps more difficult than someone else’s. In both cases you may be right, but I guarantee you that another person has a far more serious one than you are experiencing.

Sure, hearing that others have far greater challenges than you do, doesn’t make you feel any better to hear this. It’s not intended to. What I do want you to think about is perspective. The type of perspective that you either will, or should have to help you to face whatever challenge you are experiencing.

Here’s another way to think about a challenge you are facing. Consider it to be either a puzzle or a mystery that needs to be solved. Thinking about your challenge from an entirely different perspective is going to be helpful in numerous ways. The first way is that it will help to unlock your mind from dwelling on and focusing perhaps on only the downsides to the challenge you are facing right now. Have you considered that there might actually be an upside to what you are contending with?  

When I personally started looking at my own challenges from a different perspective, it was an enormous epiphany for me. One that literally changed the trajectory and outcome towards one I wasn’t sure how I was going to accomplish. For context, my challenge began when I was quite young, but it wasn’t properly recognized or addressed until multiple decades later. When my challenge was finally addressed, I found out that I was Dyslexic. Knowing this brought into perspective why all my years of educationally struggling made sense.

Finding out I was Dyslexic was also a huge gift, instead of being a burden. Why, because this determination allowed me to take a slightly different, yet enormously impactful educational path. The alternative path wasn’t to stop pursuing my college education, but to instead be able to take different courses in place of having to take a foreign language. By my college allowing me to instead focus on courses I could be set-up to be successful in, and exempted from having to take classes I would have severely struggled in, I was able to obtain my bachelor’s degree on time.

What was significant about the challenge I was facing prior to becoming exempt from having to take a foreign language, was that at the time this occurred, there was only one other person who had been granted a foreign language exemption. So, at that time, the challenge I faced was proving that I in fact had a learning disability. Sparing you from the details of accomplishing this, I became the first female in the university’s history to do so. So, in essence, with my own personal challenge of having a learning disability, and being able to pave the way for future students with disabilities to become exempt from having to take a foreign language to graduate, is one of my proudest early memories of overcoming a challenge.

Now, let’s have you think about a challenge you are facing. Or, perhaps helping someone with. Have you considered that getting past or overcoming it might in fact provide you with great pride? Perhaps a sense of accomplishment? Yes, I appreciate the concern you have that when you are in the middle of the challenge, it might feel overwhelming and beyond your comprehension of it being something you will have behind you. However, I also want you to consider the benefits of having to think through coming up with potential solutions to any challenge you face.

With few exceptions, there are usually multiple ways to overcome a challenge. Even some of the most difficult ones you may be currently facing. Or, will be in the future. Given this reality, below are some suggestions to help you consider overcoming your current or future challenges.

  • Most challenges have been faced by another person. Who do you know that has faced your challenge? If you know someone who has, ask them if you could talk to them about how they are handling, or have handled your similar challenge.
  • If you don’t know someone who has faced your challenge, ask someone close to you to help you find another person they know who has been in your situation, and then apply the advice from the bullet above.
  • Don’t limit your solutions to the conventional solution approaches. Yes, some of them will be helpful to consider, and you shouldn’t discount them, but don’t solely rely upon traditional challenge solutions.
  • Each of us was born with the ability to be imaginative. When we are faced with a challenge, perhaps multiple ones, this is an ideal time to apply your creative mind to come up with potential solutions. You might want to “warm-up” your mind to get your creative ideas flowing, but when you do, I promise you will be pleasantly surprised by the results of your ideas. Even better? Have someone you trust go through this process with you.
  • Be honest. Is the situation you are in due to circumstances you caused, or are they beyond your control? In either scenario, put the “pity party” and feeling sorry for yourself behind you. It won’t serve you well, and the sooner you get past feeling like you don’t have any solution options, the sooner you can begin thinking more clearly. When you can think more clearly, you will be able to come up with some solutions to the challenge you are facing.
  • As you are in the middle of sorting out your challenge, and eventually getting through it, you are learning extremely valuable approaches you will be able to apply to numerous other similar challenges you will inevitably be facing.

Although when you are in the midst of handling your challenges, and you are gaining valuable problem solving and coping skills, it will likely feel overwhelming. However, I can guarantee you this feeling and experience will serve you extraordinary well as a skillset to be able to count on for years to come. I can also promise you, that with each subsequent challenge you face, the next one will seem slightly less burdensome than the previous ones. In other words, challenges can be looked at as some of the best experience providers, considering the perspective of looking at them as purely learning opportunities.

TAGS: #Challenges #Overcomingchallenges #Leadership #Personaldevelopment #Business #Awareness #Selfawarenessb #Management #Dyslexic #Dyslexia #Dyslexicthinking

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Intimate teams and camaraderie. Which comes first?

Intimacy. It’s one of those words when you hear it expressed in professional settings and related to the development of business and sports teams which can conjure up associations which make people feel uncomfortable. However, it should elicit the exact opposite response.

So, why are most people uncomfortable with the concept of discussing team intimacy? One of the reasons is because our society tends not to have much experience with talking about concepts that fall into the emotion category. Especially in work and sports environments. It is also frowned upon to talk about subjects which may fall into the personal category, or are on the edge of it.

Another reason people are uncomfortable, especially managers and coaches, is that emotional development, which team intimacy falls into the category of, is not something taught in academic environments. As a result, we independently learn when we are growing up about how to apply emotions, and the appropriate ones to our social interactions. As you already know, there is a wide spectrum of people’s abilities in this area. Unfortunately, the majority of people are not at the level they may need to be.

Why are people not at the levels of where they should be in the areas of emotional intelligence and common sense? Simply put, these attributes are not equally distributed, and neither of them are academically taught. Now, toss in having to navigate and apply emotional management either as an individual team member or manager or coach, and that’s when most teams start to have challenges. Now what, and how is this remedied?

The first thing to consider is to think about why does this happen? It namely occurs because the managers and coaches are not taught how to positively leverage emotions of their team members. However, if they were, the outcomes of their team’s performance would be entirely different, and much more in their favor.

Let’s look at team intimacy from a different perspective. Whether you played on a sports team, or have been on a work team, think about which one of these were the best teams you have ever been on? What were the characteristics which made the team outstanding? If I had to pick one word to represent what is the essence of an outstanding performance team I had been on, it would be camaraderie.

Camaraderie isn’t something which is developed overnight. It takes time, and knowing how to develop it. Unfortunately, very few managers or coaches achieve the level of knowing how to do so. However, there are ones in the sports world that are shining examples of knowing how to develop teams that have incredible camaraderie and intimacy. Alabama football Coach Nick Saban is one example. Scores of content have been written about his ability to develop intimate teams. In the business world, Richard Branson is famous for developing intimate teams via the long list of Virgin brands he has crafted.

What separates Coach Saban and Sir Branson from others? Simply put, they have figured out the formula it takes to produce team camaraderie from leveraging the concept of team intimacy. They are also not afraid of harnessing human emotions to create powerful, high caliber producing teams, and so have I.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you have what it takes to create the type of team camaraderie which others admire, and wish they knew the formula for:

  • Do you have emotional based techniques which repeatedly produce high performance results for your team?
  • On a scale of 1-10, ten being the highest rating, how comfortable are you with having emotional conversations with each of your team members?
  • How would you rate your awareness of what truly motivates each team member on a scale of 1-5, with five being exceptional?
  • What was the last conversation you had with one of your team members which caused a conversational breakthrough, and which resulted in that member producing results you have not seen before?
  • Do you know how to influence the camaraderie of your team?
  • What methods of influencing the camaraderie of your team result in sustainable and increased performance metrics?
  • Would you classify your mindset as being self-growth or self-interest?
  • What was the last thing you did to develop team intimacy?
  • What are the systems, structure or processes you have in place to develop sustainable team camaraderie and intimacy?

The questions above are not easy to answer, and chances are you will want to reflect on the outcomes of your responses for a short period of time. If you are not satisfied with your answers, and the results your team is getting, perhaps it’s time to begin considering the importance of leveraging team camaraderie and intimacy in a way you never considered doing. Although there are few guarantees in life, in this case, I guarantee those who have, are the ones who are routinely outperforming your team.

The good news for you? You get to decide which type of team you want to have. I’m guessing I know which type you would prefer to be managing, coaching or be on.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Teambonding #Tipsonhowtobondateam #Sportsteam #Sportscoach #Motivation #Success #Nicksaben #Coachnicksaben #Richardbranson

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Ambition. How do you calculate (or measure) this?

Let’s begin by thinking about whether ambition is something we innately have within us, or if this is a learned skill? For me personally, ambition is a concept which I didn’t begin thinking about until my late teens. At that point, I would admit that my ambition level wasn’t as high as it should have been, but I managed to attain the goals I set out to achieve.

Sure, I was proud of my goal attainments, but I wasn’t purely satisfied with them. I knew I could accomplish more, yet I was aware that there was something holding me back from doing so. For context, it wasn’t anything that was tragic, or that was impeding my mental or physical ability, but it did have an emotional component factor. A few people in my life know what was holding me back, and eventually I reached a point when I arrived at a place in my life where I accepted and allowed myself to put my ambition drive back into gear, and motion.

Admittedly the process of having my ambition level ramp up was slower than I would have liked it to have been. However, I also embraced the minor wins I saw which contributed to reaching new levels I was striving for both personally and professionally. This was a solo journey, and perhaps if I had asked for support from others, I might have gotten to the ambition level I wanted to be at faster. Although there is something to be said for achieving something on your own timeline and via pure grit.

As I was in the process of tuning up my ambition level, I was paying close attention to others around me who had seemingly cracked the code on understanding how to be ambitious, and attain exactly what they wanted to. I noticed some factors about these individuals as I was learning from them. One of them was that they had a monomaniacal focus on going after and achieving what they wanted to. I admired this trait, but struggled to do this myself. Eventually I figured out why I struggled with this ability to focus, but it wasn’t until multiple decades into my professional life that I did, and found a solution to help me.  

The combination of focus and having a clear vision of what you want to achieve is part of the equation which contributes to being able to calculate someone’s ambition, but it only scratches the surface.

Another contributing factor to measuring ambition is understanding what you are willing to truly sacrifice to reach the goal or goals you are aiming towards. Let’s face it, the word sacrifice comes with lots of strings, and not always pleasant ones in order to make what you have to sacrifice worth it. Added to this mix is that we know there are no guarantees that when you sacrifice something, that it will be worth it. This makes doing so much harder, and this is where another element of measuring ambition comes into play.

The element is tenacity, and this is also something that is difficult to find the mental reserves and energy levels to maintain this. Doing so isn’t impossible, but having the right state of mind will contribute to whether you will succeed at having the tenacity level you will need to factor into the ambition equation.  

Self-confidence, or at least the appearance of having this was another ingredient which I noticed those who would be classified as being ambitious also possessed. The word swagger comes to mind when I visualize people who appear to be this way, and in a very positive way of representing this.

Speaking of visualizing, I would add that having a clear vision of what a person wants to achieve is critically important. In the absence of having this, it will make it much more difficult to attain the goal or goals one is seeking without this. Particularly on days when your ambition level may be waning. In other words, it is important to include as much detail in your mind about what it will look like when you attain your achievements. This includes factoring in thinking about how you will feel when you arrive at your goal.

Having outlined the majority of the elements associated with what it takes to have ambition at any level, this still presents the question of how do you measure this? Either for yourself or someone else?

In terms of measuring ambition for yourself, my feeling is that you need to have your own method for determining and agreeing upon what your own definition of ambition means. Everyone is going to have a different definition, so it’s important to consider this when you are calculating what your own level is. This brings up the point of whether having ambition is an innate skill, or one that can be developed over time. For me personally, I will vote for the latter option, and this is based on my own personal experience.

If you were to come up with a method to calculate someone else’s ambition level, one way of doing so would be to determine via asking them questions what either their current or future ambition levels might be. Here are some questions to give this a try.

  • How do you define success?
  • What are (3-5) drivers for you personally which allows you to strive to achieve a goal?
  • Why or what things would you sacrifice doing in your life to achieve a goal?
  • What motivates you when your goal looks like it’s not attainable?
  • Why is it important for you to be perceived as being ambitious?
  • What do you envision your life to look like in a decade from now?
  • On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest), what ambition level are you currently at?
  • Are you focused on increasing your ambition level, or are you satisfied with the level it is at?
  • Does being compared to others in terms of their achievements, inspire or have no impact on you?
  • What are the intangible benefits to being ambitious, and that are important to you?

Given the reality that measuring ambition might be challenging to do, if it is something you want to do, then I’m sure you will find a way to ultimately do so, and I hope that my suggestions will help you along the way.

TAGS: #Ambition #Success #Business #Achievement #Beingambitious #Measuringambition #Leadership #Motivation #Inspiration #Howtobeambitious #Elementsofambition #Management #HR #Sales #Salesmanagement #Marketing #Leader

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What are you waiting for?

I find myself frequently asking people the question “What do you want to do with your career?” When I ask this question, I am often surprised by their response, as many of them either don’t know, or have not considered thinking about their options in awhile. The next question I typically ask them is “What are you waiting for to determine what you want to do with your career going forward?”

The second question isn’t generally a question they have been asked, or at not least recently, so I often feel like I catch people off guard when I ask this question. However, for context, I ask these questions when I hear people making declarative statements about not being happy or fulfilled with the work they are doing, or the career they have chosen to pursue.

When someone shares with me their dissatisfaction with their current career, I will then ask them if they were the one who decided to pursue this career, or if they were advised to do so. More often than not, the response to this question is that someone suggested they should pursue the career they are in. Of course, the person or people who recommended a career path generally had good intentions with their advice, but not always. For example, I am amazed by how many times I have heard a sales professional tell me they feel stuck and unfulfilled in their role. When I ask them why they feel this way, the response is typically that someone told them they should go into sales to make lots of money.

Sure, making lots of money isn’t a terrible scenario to be in, but what if you are miserable in this role? Feel trapped in it? Or worse, that you don’t feel like you have any alternative options? The good news is that we always have alternative solutions, and that we might simply need to be a bit more creative with thinking about what they are.

A common thread I find in speaking with people who are in sales roles, is not that they are unhappy with their career, it is that they took the “easy route”. Or, essentially allowed someone else to influence what their career path would look like. Sometimes it feels easier to do this, but in the long run, not everyone is going to be highly satisfied in a sales role, or fill-in-the blank for whatever role you are in and feel this way too.

Thinking about what you like to do, are good at, and can make a reasonable living doing is quite the tri-fetor equation to get right. We also know many people who don’t get this right. Perhaps not the first time, but in the last few decades it has been more common for people to have multiple career types. So, if the first career you choose isn’t the right match for you, you can take solace in knowing you are in good company with many others who have already been in your situation, and likely have advice for you. However, if they don’t, I’ve got you covered and will share some options for you to consider.

Now, let’s get back to reconsidering what you are waiting for if you are not satisfied with the current occupation you are in. If someone hasn’t asked you this question, I will. “What are you waiting for to make the change to be focused on being in a career you would be more satisfied with?” If you are waiting for someone to give you permission; which you don’t need, but if it’s helpful, I’m giving you permission to begin exploring options to do something different than the career you are currently in.

What does exploring options involve? It could be as simple as thinking about what activities or hobbies do you have that bring you joy, or that you are naturally good at? When you think back to when you were less than 10 years old, what did you find held your attention? Considering these few questions can help to provide you with valuable insight into the core essence of things in your life you may not have considered, and that can have a positive influence on your path forward direction.

For me personally, I think back to when I was making my decision to choose a major in college. I chose my major based on the fact it was going to be something that would hold my interest, and also that it was a practical choice, as I could always find employment, and a variety of options in terms of how I would use my skills. My major was focused on communication, and my minor was focused on psychology, and I found that the combination makes a great deal of sense to me. Fast forward to today, and I am still actively leveraging both of these areas that I studied decades ago, and they continue to hold my attention as my career has changed over time.

Whether you are early on, or well into your current career, I want to re-emphasize that you always have options to change your career. Below are some suggestions to consider to help you to become more comfortable with making the shift towards this becoming a reality, if this is something you are committed to doing.

  • Do you know what your top abilities are? If not, there a many options out there to explore to help you to determine what they are. I have a few favorites, but I’m not going to bias your decision.
  • If you had a day to do exactly what you wanted to do every minute of that day, what would you be doing? There should be some clues provided to you by thinking about this, in terms of having a better understanding of what holds your attention. Perhaps this attention could be directed towards a different career?
  • Ask 5-10 people in your personal and professional network to tell you what they see and appreciate your talents and abilities are. Is there a pattern in the responses you are seeing?
  • When you were younger, was there a profession you always told people I want to be “x” when I grow up? Surprisingly, you may have been more aware of what you wanted to do when you were quite young. Sometimes we lose our ability to perceive ourselves well as we become older, as this information is either clouded or dismissed if your talents are not pursued or developed past an initial level of competence.
  • Have you always admired someone who seems to have an ideal career or professional expertise that is well aligned with their talents?
  • Could you see yourself having that kind of alignment with your talents either in that career or a different one?
  • The expression “the grass is always greener” may not always be true. There are people who are exceptionally happy in their career. If you know some people who fall into this group, consider asking them how they determined their career would make them so happy or satisfied?

If you have made it to this point in my article, I hope I have provided you with some inspiration to do something different about the career you are in, and perhaps unsatisfied with.  You don’t have to be in this situation, but only you can decide if you are going to do something about this. Or, if you are going to continue to wallow in your lack of contentment. Which decision will you make?

TAGS: #Business #Careerdevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Career #Leadership #Sales #Salesprofessionals #Salesprofessional #Strategy #Salespro #Salesleader #Teams #Careeradvice #Careeroptions #HRprofessional #Humanresources #HR

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Why are you on that team?

Yesterday I was watching a live sporting event, and I was intrigued by what I was anticipating on seeing. The reason I was intrigued had to do with the fact I have an allegiance to both teams, and because one of the teams isn’t performing at a level they could be. Yes, I’m being polite, but as I was watching the underperforming team, I was looking for certain clues that would provide me with insight about why their performance results were disappointing.

The thing that I really like about watching and working with sports teams is that no one ever shows up on game day and announces that they can’t wait to lose today! This is probably the single element that is highly appealing to working with a sports team versus a corporate team, as you know exactly what the motivation of each team member is. Yes, corporate teams can tell you individually and collectively that they want to be successful, but there are many elements which can impede this and their ability to make this happen.

The corporate team leader is also included in the equation of doing their best to bring out top results in their team, but there is something they lack, and which sports teams’ leaders have an advantage over them. What is it? It is a singular focus during their performance on “game day” that everyone has an opportunity to rally to bring their “A” game. Sure, there are opportunities for corporate teams to rally to do this too, but not nearly as many, and realistically they are not motivated the same way sports teams are.

As I was watching the two teams compete yesterday, I took notes on what I was seeing both teams and their coaches exhibit as behaviors which contributed to what was happening on the field. Was there a difference between the two teams? There absolutely was. Was it obvious? Let’s just say there were glimpses of what was obvious, and if you were not paying attention, you might have missed what was contributing to each teams unmeasured performance.

However, there were moments during the game performance when you could clearly see which team had an advantage over the team. I’m stating this with the thinking that if you didn’t know the team’s seasonal win/loss performance, you could see via my lens which team was going to win.  The funny part, was that what I was observing had nothing to do with their sport ability. It had to do with what I was observing from a leadership and team dynamics perspective.

In observing the team that has struggled to win this season, I began to wonder about what it must feel like for the team members to be on that team. Or, what challenges the coaches must be having in trying to recruit players to a team whose performance over the last two to three years has been dismal at best. Would I want to be on that team? Apparently, there are some athletes that do, or they are locked into a contract that makes it difficult for them to consider other options. Although we know that we always have options, and sometimes we just need to look harder to uncover them.

So, in thinking about why someone would lead or remain on a sports or corporate team that has disappointing performance metrics, I started thinking about the reasons they would do this. Perhaps they are eternal optimists and think their situation will turn around soon? Possibly they are comfortable with their scenario, even though from the outside it looks dreadful to observers. Or, maybe they have given up hope, and are just trying to get through a commitment they have made to being on that team, and because they fundamentally really like being with their teammates. Worse case, is that they don’t think they deserve to lead or to be on a better team.

In any of these potential scenarios, it’s entirely possible all of these could be different. However, the difference will have to be a collective difference that the majority of the team, or that the leader will need to rally the team to consider making changes to improve. Let’s face it, situations can only seriously change if people want them to, and are proactive about doing so. Especially since a team is made up of more than one person.

If you are leading or on a team whose performance isn’t what you want or expect it to be, there are some actions you can take to turn your situation around, and I have included some suggestions for you below to consider applying.

  • Some people are inspired by measuring their performance against others, for those individuals, mutually develop metrics they can realistically reach, so that they have some “small wins” to build off of.
  • For those individuals on your team who are not motivated by others performance, you will need to be more creative to determine what inspires them. Don’t be surprised by what they tell you that motivates them, and be sure to apply what you hear and tie it into performance metrics they can relate to.
  • Does your team truly know and appreciate each other? What have you done to develop your team in these areas?
  • As a leader, does your team know that you sincerely care about them succeeding? Do you tell or demonstrate this appropriately and on a consistent basis?
  • How is your attitude? If you are on an underperforming team, it’s likely not the best. What is something you could do every day to improve your attitude? A positive attitude can be contagious, and this is something you should be spreading.
  • Are you doing anything fun with your team that is unrelated to the sport or work you are doing? We are all kids at heart, and the majority of us still delight in doing fun activities from time to time. They don’t have to be expensive activities, you just need to leverage your creativity to accomplish this.
  • As a leader or individual team member, have you had any conversations with others on your team about how you would like the team to be better? Not just conversations that are complaint oriented, but ones that are infused with potential solutions.

With over several decades of experience, I have seen teams that others have given up on, or that were underperforming turn their team around when others didn’t think it would be possible to do so. Yes, there are plenty of other factors that will need to be integrated into your teams “turn-around” plan, but you need to ask yourself if you can do this, if you want to do this, or if you need someone from the outside to help you? Every team deserves to be a winning team, what’s holding you back from having your team claim this title?

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Success #Work #Sports #Sportsteam #Management #Teamdevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Humanresources #Hrprofessional #CEO #Teamdynamics #Motivation #Winning #Winningteams #Productiveteams #Interdependentteams #Aspirationalteam #Underperformingteam

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Happiness is contagious. Now what?

With so much attention being placed on the Pandemic, and the negative aspects of it, I felt compelled to provide you with something to think about which spins the word contagious in a favorable light. So, let’s think about the possibility of happiness being something that was contagious. Perhaps it can be?

I guarantee you have noticed how being around others who are upbeat and generally positive in nature can impact how you think and feel. Both at that moment, and perhaps for a period of time afterwards. Of course, there isn’t a time limit on the length of how long the feeling of being happy can be sustained, but if you treated it like a battery, potentially it could be?

Using a battery as a metaphor, and if you were to wrap your mind around happiness being a battery that needs to be fueled, do you have some methods you could apply right now to increase your battery life? Don’t worry if you can’t think of something immediately, as I’ve got you covered, and will provide you with some suggestions.

The point I am trying to emphasize is that just like the feeling of being unhappy, or negative in any manner, you have complete control over how you feel. At least the majority of the time, and of course there will be some exceptions. However, the majority of the time, and for most people, they do have the power to infuse more happiness into their life than they may be currently doing.

Being intentional about anything you do in life is critical. I say this because I have seen too many people “glide” through their days and life, as if someone else is the “captain” of their life. Perhaps they do this because they think it is easier to let someone else control their personal and professional circumstances. Maybe, but I personally think this is a cop out, and I’m going to call them out on this.

Yes, taking control of your own circumstances and owning them can be hard to do. Especially if you are not practiced at doing this, and there may be numerous reasons or potentially excuses you have for this being the case. The point is to take full responsibility for how you feel and show up each day, and to stop assigning any blame to others for your circumstances. Again, I emphasize that I realize some people’s circumstances are extreme, but for the majority of people they are not.

As you might imagine, I’m not a big fan of excuses, and I learned early on in my life that when you make them, it becomes too easy to continue this negative pattern of behavior. So, one of the first things you need to do is to recognize this is a pattern, and then sincerely want to break it. Both as a habit, and to allow yourself permission to point your personal and professional circumstances in a more favorable direction. I also don’t want to hear you tell me that you may not deserve to be happy. I don’t buy into this type of thinking, and I’m telling you that everyone deserves to be happy.

Let’s think about a moment in time when you were feeling happy. Can you pinpoint either the reason or circumstances behind why you felt that way? Did you take any time to relish and embrace feeling this way? Or, was it a fleeting feeling? If your feeling was fleeting, think about what contributed to dampening your feeling.

One of the statements which I have noted before, but that is worth repeating is one I have routinely heard from my Mom. When I was struggling with extreme back pain both prior to and post-surgery, she told me that “I could choose to be happy”. She was right, and when I tried to think positively and leverage the concept of being grateful for what I had going well in my life, it was as if I could flip a switch in my brain and turn on the happy feeling. Yes, it was almost this easy, but it did take some practice to get it right.

Now, let’s tackle providing you with some suggestions on how you can benefit from happiness being a contagious element in your personal or professional life.

  • Commit to the fact you want to be happier. Especially if this isn’t something you regularly are.
  • Are there people in your daily life that are toxic? What can you do to minimize your contact with them, or ideally not have to deal with them at all?
  • Create a list of things that you know make you feel better. Refer to this list on a regular basis to fuel your “happiness battery”.
  • Turn off the news or other forms of media that deliver a steady stream of negative content. I made it a point in my life about 4 years ago to stop watching, reading or listening to the mainstream news, as it typically only reports on negative life circumstances.
  • Be intentional about what information you consume from a social media perspective.
  • Seek out, and surround yourself with more people who are optimistic. If you are not this way, you will need to be or work on being this way, as they won’t enjoy being around you if you are not. Yes, this could be hard to do, but it will be worth it, and people can change. They simply have to want to do so.
  • The power from the joy you will feel when you can fully embrace being happy for someone else.
  • Is someone else piloting your life personally or professionally? Ask yourself why this is occurring, and then put a plan together to take back control to pilot your own life.

The point of this story is that I am a firm believer in the fact that everyone has the right and ability to be happier in their lives, and to feel this way on a regular basis. I hope that if you don’t feel happy on a routine basis, that some of my suggestions will help support your intentions to feel this way. If none of the options work for you, then it might be time for you to consider talking to someone professionally, as our mental health and being happy isn’t something that only “other” people should enjoy.

TAGS: #Happiness #Howtobehappy #Seekinghappiness #Suggestionsonbeinghappy #Solutionstobehappy #Business #Success #Leadership #Motivation #Mentalhealth #Selfawareness #Contagioushappiness #Awareness #Perception #Business #Teams #Personaldevelopment

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Reputation. What’s yours worth?

Our reputations are a curious topic to dissect. Namely because they are often in a variety of different states of how you might describe them. One of the states to describe someone’s reputation is steady. Of course, you want to be on the side of having your reputation be factoring as a positive one, but the reality is that reputations can also be fluid and delicate.

Yes, reputations can be strong too, but we know that one circumstance can be detrimental to a carefully crafted reputation built over decades. Fortunately, most people’s reputations are generally in a steady state, but I would suggest it is always wise to be strengthening it. I’m certain you would agree with this, so let’s chalk this up as a category most people can agree upon.

Reputations are earned, but sometimes a person’s reputation might be based on perception. A perception that may or may not be positive, and generally by others who you would not consider to be in your inner circle. Does it matter what others outside of your inner circle think about your reputation? It depends. You will need to take a moment to consider what value you place on your current reputation.

Although the perception of your reputation can be influenced by your own actions, sometimes outside influences will either strengthen or weaken it. For example, the people you associate with personally may have an impact on your reputation. Depending on your level of self-awareness, you may or may not be aware of whether those you associate yourself with are adding value or detracting from how others perceive you. If you don’t care about this, well my caution flag is to let me know you should at a minimum acknowledge this.

When you acknowledge factors contributing to the health and well-being of your reputation, or the opposite of this, you will be in a better place to evaluate whether decisions you have made are impacting your personal or professional paths forward. In other words, only you are the “captain” of your reputation ship, and at the end of the day, you will have to own up to how or why you are in the situation you are in.

The media is famous for showcasing the demise of people’s lives, and of course most of us will not have our misjudgments splashed in front of others. However, in smaller circles that most people operate in, it will be harder to measure the effects of something you may have overtly or inadvertently done to tarnish your personal or professional brand. I think of brand and reputation as being close cousins, and all of us would prefer to have both of these in good standing.

Let’s give some thought to what your reputation can do for you. If you have a strong and positive reputation, it can open up opportunities for you, by way of people granting you upfront trust. Trust that is given based on the perception that your strong reputation is worthy of investing in. Giving others hope also factors into someone who has built up their brand, as they will perceive that you will be able to do something favorable based on your historical track record of demonstrating this before.

So, opportunity and hope are a great starting place in terms of what having a strong reputation can do for you, but what else can it do, and how can you maintain this status? Another area that a solid reputation provides you with is having a more positive future outlook. An outlook that allows you to have a lens of seeing how to strategically capitalize on all of the experience you have gained, and which has resulted in the personal brand you have crafted. Although this might seem like a minor factor, and one which is easy to master, it’s in fact one of the most difficult things to do, short of maintaining a rock-solid reputation.

As I established that we can all agree upon the fact it is ideal to have a strong reputation both personally and professionally, it is possible to have a split reputation. One that in your personal life might be quite different from your professional life. This isn’t always the case, but I have seen people with stellar professional reputations, but have seen shades of their personal lives falling far from being described this way, and vice versa. Having a split reputation isn’t ideal, as it takes a tremendous of precious energy to hold up the good side, while balancing out the perils and impact the negative side has.

Since ideally having a more robust reputation is ideal for everyone, I have some suggestions for you to consider how to continue to enhance your reputation.

  • If you had to rate whether you are internally or externally focused in terms of helping others, on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the top rating, what rating would you give yourself? Hint, helping others is one way to enhance your all-around reputation.
  • Via a research project I am working on, one of the Sports Coaches I was interviewing told me they do not recruit “jerks”. I’ll let you be the judge of what constitutes being a jerk.
  • As I’ve written about before, “nice” isn’t a four-letter word. Yes, being nice will always enhance your reputation.
  • Make sure you are aware of how you are treating others at all times. Ask yourself, would I want to be treated this way? Sometimes you have to pause before your actions speak louder than your words.
  • Acknowledging and giving credit to others when credit is due is a powerful way of building both trust and loyalty, which in turn positively contributes to your reputation.
  • Taking the time to thank others goes along with acknowledging others who have helped or supported you. Ideally the written format of a thank you note is more powerful and longer lasting than words which can be fleeting. Perhaps consider sending a micro video thank you message.

The list of what you can do to further develop your reputation is endless, and as I like to do, I’m going to challenge you with sharing with me and others additional ways to go about accomplishing this. Especially if you are in a leadership role, as this will give you another opportunity to lead by example.

TAGS: #Leadership #Reputation #Buildingyourreputation #Howtostrengthenyourrepuration #Motivation #Business #Sportscoach #Leader

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Leadership and being happy.

Yes, I feel lucky. Why? Because the state of being happy is generally something I always feel. Of course, there are exceptions, but my natural tendency to perceive the world is that the “glass is half full.” I realize that not everyone has the same outlook that I do, and I also appreciate that there are tremendous advantages because of my innate nature.

Sure, there are days when I may not be at the top of the happiness meter rating, but when I’m not, it also makes me appreciate and have perspective on the state other people feel on a regular basis.

When I was giving thought to this topic, I was surprised that I had not written about it before. Especially given that last eighteen months of everyone’s world being tipped upside down due to Covid and other non-pleasant realities. Some that we have control over, and others we do not. Fortunately, despite what some people might think, we do have more control over our respective world than they might give themselves credit for.

What I mean by this, is that everyone has choices. Perhaps not in every situation, but the majority of the time they do. Sometimes our decisions will negatively impact our future choices, but it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. In fact, having hope is one of the basic foundational aspects which can contribute to a person’s happiness level. Consider this from thinking back to a time when you made a decision which may not have been the best one. It likely caused you either to have a set-back, or was a contributor to lowering your happiness meter.

As I think back to the impact of people, and particularly leaders I have worked for, I started to notice a pattern in the leader’s demeanor. The leaders who came across as intimidating, were far less easy to approach and open up to. Conversely, the leaders who exhibited what I’ll refer to as “more human” and down to earth qualities, were the ones that I enjoyed working for, and who’s track record for business success was higher than the other type of leaders.

The other noticeable characteristic of the more successful leaders was that they outwardly appeared to be happy. This one factor alone made them easier to get along with, open up to, and trust sooner than those who didn’t have this quality. What impact did this have on the success of the business? A tremendous amount, and one of them was how they were able to establish the type of work culture you wanted to be a part of. It also made you want to help the leader to be successful, and everyone else at the company too. A true team effort, not a siloed team one that exists at many companies.

So, if you are not a naturally happy person or leader (e.g., business, sports coach), are there things you can do to change the trajectory of your outlook or alter your less than sunny disposition? Of course, there are! You simply have to be willing to want to change, and this can apply to numerous concepts. I’ll provide some suggestions on how you can go about altering your outlook, but before I do, I want to share a quick story with you.

The story is a true one, and is about a business leader I worked with. I’ll never forget the conversation we had, as I never imagined having it with him. However, what he told me at first was shocking, as I was in complete disbelief as I first heard him tell me what he said. What he told me was that he was scared to truly be who he was in his leadership role. He also expressed that he thought he needed to take on an entirely different persona in this role, and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could put on the charade of being someone who he was not.

When I asked this leader why he thought he couldn’t be himself, he said that his natural personality of being an upbeat and happy person was something he had repeatably been told wasn’t an asset. In fact, he had been told it would be a liability, and that the people he led would not take him seriously if he allowed his actual “positive” personality to shine through.  Upon hearing this, I immediately felt sad that he had been essentially negatively influenced to alter his personality based on some “so called advice” about how to be a leader.

Fast forward this conversation, and I asked this leader why he chose to accept this advice, and I asked him how it had been working for him. He told me that it wasn’t working well, and it was impacting his health and well-being. His business metrics were also being negatively impacted too. However, after having our initial conversation about him essentially exhibiting classic signs of “imposter syndrome”, mixed in with subpar advice on how to act as a leader, we continued to have conversations about how he could become more comfortable simply being himself.

If you are wondering how the story unfolded, spoiler alert, I can tell you that this leader went on to be wildly successful. People also flocked to work at his company and for him, and he is one of the happiest people I know. All because he finally embraced being the happy person he truly was.

So, as promised, below are some suggestions you can consider if you are looking to either embrace being a happier person, leader or sports coach. Why sports coaches? Because I view them as prime examples of how their leadership ability can have such a strong influence and correlation on the interactions they have with the people they lead.

  • Mindset and having a positive and open one is key. Sorry, but there are not any exceptions or shortcuts on this one.
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt, or give them a chance to succeed by helping to set them up for success. This is a quality all exceptional leaders/sports coaches possess.
  • Find ways to help other people. Especially on days you might need to pump up your happiness meter. There are numerous small things you can do on a daily basis to have this suggestion support you well.
  • Turn off the news. It generally is only providing you with negative information. This is never helpful.
  • Surround yourself with more positive people. I wrote an article about how you sometimes need to “prune” your social and business circle from time to time, as some people will creep in like weeds.
  • Seek out doing things and experiencing activities that make you happy, that are not detrimental to you (e.g., exercise, meditation, eating healthy, being outside, listen to music or an upbeat, inspirational or educational podcast).
  • How’s your attitude? Make sure you take a pulse on it from time to time, as we sometimes will need to adjust our attitude is disposition from time to time.
  • You own your happiness dial, and need to take complete ownership and not cast blame on others for the level your happiness meter is at.

The list of things you can do to contribute to increasing your happiness level is infinite, so my challenge to you is to seek out other ways you can tap into with the purpose of leveling up your happiness level. Here’s to having a new outlook on how you can be happier each day going forward.

TAGS: #Happiness #Beinghappy #Happy #Howtobehappy #Leadership #Sportscoach #Leader #Business #Success #Leadingbyexample #Impostersyndrome #Teams #Sportsteams #Influence #Positiveinfluence #Management #Strategy

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Purpose driven. Are you?

It sure sounds noble when you are authentically able to tell someone that the type of work you are doing is either allowing you to satisfy your quest to be working on or towards a purpose. Or, seeking out what your actual purpose is. To me, this almost sounds mystical, or perhaps a bit surreal. Possibly too good to be true?

Whether someone is actually working on their purpose driven career or volunteering their time to apply it towards a cause they believe in, I think they are fortunate to feel this way. More importantly, to actively be doing something which allows them to tangibly achieve this.

Perhaps they are helping others in a variety of different methods of doing so, or they are lending their precious time to teach another person how to become better at something. It could really be a number of different scenarios which someone could associate with having a purpose driven situation.

Is there a specific time period on a person’s life when they feel they are more purpose driven?  Possibly, but they might also feel this way throughout their entire career or life, or during blocks of time over numerous decades. The point is that being a purpose-oriented person does not mean you have to dedicate your entire life or career to being this way. However, there are certainly people we can name who choose to be purpose driven throughout their career and life. Someone such as the Dali Lama comes to mind. Companies such as Patagonia and Riverford Organic Farmers are outwardly focused on who they serve, and what good they can apply to society via the services or products they have to offer.

When I was starting out in my career, I worked for Staples the Office Superstore. What I liked about their business model was that they were attempting to re-engineer the office supply industry. Staples did this because they realized that consumers were being taken advantage of, and had been paying ridiculous pricing for all of their standard office supplies. Prices in fact that were embarrassingly high, and in some cases absurd.

At the time when Staples founders Tom Stemberg and Leo Kahn set-out to retool this industry, they did so based on finding a market segment that had been exploiting consumers for decades. Both sadly and ironically, many of these stores were locally owned stores that were servicing the small to medium sized business markets. Occasionally larger companies, but those were mainly being serviced by companies such as WB Mason.

My point is that when I first started working at Staples in their headquarters office in Newton, MA, I felt that the company had a mission and purpose I could feel good about. I felt that they were like the modern-day version of your favorite childhood story correcting a situation of the “little business owner” being taken advantage of. Better yet, giving them an actual fighting chance to compete, based on the fact they were not having to allocate such high dollar amounts to purchasing their office supplies and equipment.

I can’t honestly tell you that I intentionally went to work for Staples due to the noble and purpose driven approach they embodied, but I was fortunate to learn about this concept early on in my career. In fact, it significantly altered the course of my career from that point on, but more so in the past decade when I became more reflective on the importance of being purpose driven. Yes, on a daily and regular basis.

If you are curious about how you can orient yourself to being more purpose driven either personally or professionally, I have some suggestions for you to consider to accomplish heading in this direction.

  • What is truly important to you? Is it your health, family, the environment? Start with recognizing what this is. It should be obvious, but perhaps not, if you have not taken the time to contemplate this before.
  • Once you identify what is important to you, do you have the skills, or a particular skill that will lend itself well to help you to work towards either finding a company, career or volunteer opportunity to align with?
  • Have you considered how you will feel differently when you are focusing your time and attention on being purpose driven?
  • Are there perhaps clues from your past of activities you have been involved with, or people who you know who inspired and brought out the purpose driven mentality in you?
  • If you have to list 2-5 things you are truly passionate about, what would they be? Are they things or activities, or people you regularly are involved with, or on a periodic basis?
  • When was the last time you felt that you were in 100% alignment with any kind of purpose? Is it possible you have not figured out what your purpose is yet?
  • Let’s assume you know what your best talents are. Are you using them in diversified ways, or only for a singular type of career or in your personal life some way?
  • If you were to architect your perfect day, what would it look like? Have you ever stopped to consider what this day might include you doing or who or where you would be on this day? Some of your answers might also provide insight into what would be drivers in seeking your purpose.

Everyone has a purpose. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to figure out what their purpose is early on in life. I challenge you to do this. Don’t worry about how long it might take to do this, or how difficult it might be to do so. When you figure out what your purpose is, it will be worth every ounce of energy your expended to do so. I guarantee this, and welcome you to reach out to me to discuss how I can help you to find your purpose.

TAGS: #Purpose #Purposefulthinking #Inspiration #Mentoring #Leadership #Coaching #Business #Success #Purposedriven #Findyourpurpose #Findingmypurpose #Howtofindmypurpose

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Reflection – the advantage of it in business, sports & managing others

For those of you who are also Brene Brown fans, you will appreciate what I will be sharing with you, as the context of what I will be revealing to you is based on over countless hours of research I have been doing during the last year. Most people are not aware of the fact I was working on this project, but it is one of the most gratifying projects I have worked on.

So, who and what was I researching? I have been interviewing sports coaches around the country, and added a coach from South Africa to the mix a few weeks ago. The coaches cover over a dozen different sports, are a mix of women and men, and they are coaching at the Professional (e.g., NFL, NBA, MLL, USTA), Olympic, College and High School levels. On average, the coaches have been in their role for a decade, and they represent a significant enough amount of States.

I am still conducting my research, but I recently analyzed the results from the coaches I have already spoken to. If I were to summarize what I am attempting to determine via this research is the coaches “why”. In other words, “why do they coach?”

If you happen to be a coach or perhaps a leader in the business world who is reading this, I guarantee you would agree that coaches and leaders share numerous characteristics. One of them is the reason why they enjoy leading others. Yes, you might be surprised by the majority of their responses, but the title of this article also provides you with a large clue about the direction the research outcome is heading.

As you are aware, the process of reflection is something that takes time. Time to devote to going through the process of being reflective, and also having a reason to do so.

Most surprisingly was the fact that the majority of the coaches had not taken the time to reflect upon or verbally convey their “why” they coach others. However, after sharing their “why” with me, all of them said they were pleasantly surprised they had not gone through this experience before, as they found it to be both therapeutic and paid tribute to all of the years they have devoted to coaching.

One of the words I repeatably heard from coaches was that coaching is similar to a “calling”. It was something they felt compelled they needed to do. Others articulated that they became a coach because of the experience and incredible life lessons they gained from their coaches, and they wanted to give this “gift” back to others.

Since being reflective does require you take time to capitalize on the advantages of doing so, why don’t more people do this? Especially leaders, people managing others and of course coaches too? It seems simple enough to do. However, it also requires being able to ask the right questions to be able to get to the deepest level possible of response reflection. It’s when you reach the true depths of being highly reflective, that you gain the positive attributes from doing so.

If you are curious about who you could be more reflective, or perhaps help someone else to be this way, I have included some suggestions below about how to accomplish doing this.

  • Simon Sinek is the person attributed to having people think about what their “why” is. Someone’s why can be associated with any number of different questions, but for the sake of this article, let’s have it focus on the aspect of “why” you lead, manage, mentor, or coach (e.g., sports) others? Take a few moments to write down, or think about why you do this.
  • After you have thought about or crafted your “why” relating to the point above, consider whether you want to share this information with someone else? Perhaps your team?
  • Factor in the benefits of others knowing and appreciating what your “why” is from having reflected upon thinking about this. Can you name what they are?
  • Consider the reasons you might not have taken the time to be reflective. Were you concerned that if you did this, that it would be a negative or positive experience?
  • Can you help someone else to take advantage of the powers of being reflective in their leadership, management or sports coach role?

I’m still looking for Sports Coaches to interview, so if you fall into one of the categories I noted that meet the criteria for me to be interviewed, I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

What will you get out of this? I’ll be sharing the results of my Sports Coach Research Project with all of the Sports Coaches who participated. The coaches will gain new insights from other coaches, and can potentially apply them to their team to benefit from too. Keep in mind, many of these coaches are well known for their winning records, but more importantly, for being the type of coach that every athlete desires to be coached by.

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #SportsCoaches #Management #Success #Reflection #Theadvantagesofbeingreflective #Business #Sports #SportsCoachResearchProject #Athlete #Athletes #BreneBrown

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Influence. How’s yours?

There are some skills we possess which can take years to master. Having influence can be one of them, but there are people who are more naturally inclined to excel with having it than others. The people who are comfortable with possessing influence as one of their skills don’t always maximize their use of it. However, the ones that do, and leverage it for the greater good of our society really stand out.  

The list of people in our global society that I admire and who have appealing influence are ones who apply their skill to help others on a regular basis. Often unselfishly, and most of these people are not household brand names. They are the people we have in our lives who regularly apply their influence in both creative and beneficial means with the intent for others to benefit from.

Examples of the type of influence I am considering include people who are amazing at organizing others to rally for positive causes. Both locally and beyond their region when it makes sense to do so. Think of community gardens so food is truly local, beekeeping to help veterans with PTSD and causes which awaken us to becoming more socially and environmentally conscious. All of this occurring while we are individually considering how we can leverage our natural resources better. Even better, while also assisting others in need on a more regular basis.

Another example which comes to mind are the influencers who called out the inequities of education, and who looked for solutions to address this as another challenge the Pandemic exacerbated. They were able to clearly showcase how not everyone had a “level-playing-field” when it came time to home school their children. Yes, we knew this prior to Covid, but because of having to home school for a long period of time, young people without the right home-schooling infrastructure were put at a greater risk of falling behind educationally. Based on research, we know what occurs when this happens, unless the situation is addressed.

During the early days of the Pandemic in 2020, there were people I saw in the news who were rallying and coordinating others in their community to help people who were also “food insecure”. Unfortunately, we also know that food insecurity isn’t a Pandemic only challenge. However, the Pandemic certainly put a brighter spotlight on this situation to be addressed both locally and in every state in the country. One of the outcomes influencers had in this area was to attempt to change the mindset of people in their community. To actually seriously take the position of considering everyone as our neighbor and to help those in need. No exceptions.

Having worked in the technology industry for decades, I saw the type of influence leaders could have on both those they lead, and the customers who were the early adopters of the technology solutions we were promoting. As a former marketing professional, I also saw early in my career the way that public relations could shape the thinking of those we were targeting our communications to. Depending on how influential our messaging was, and whether we were able to impact influential press members about our solution as the one they would write about, played a significant role in the initial success of a product or service.

It was eye opening for me to see how powerful the right influence can shape the outcome and trajectory of your success. Granted we know strong first impressions are critical with your ability to influence others, but sometimes you might have an opportunity to circle back and make a second attempt of getting your influence pointed in the right direction. Not always, so it’s critical to be strategic with your thinking and influence execution.

If you are wondering what you can do to either enhance your influence, or begin heading in a direction to positively influence others, below are some suggestions about how to do this.

  • Authentically consider something you are passionate about. If you are not truly passionate about something, your ability to truly be influential will be reduced.
  • Are you comfortable with having your opinion be known? When you set out to influence others, you are going to need to be ready to potentially confront both verbal and written criticism. In other words, having a “thick skin” can be beneficial, but it is not a requirement.
  • It takes energy to influence others. Ask yourself if you truly have the energy it will take to follow through with your plans to be influential.
  • Being consistent with your messaging and actions are going to be critical components to your influence having the impact you want it to have. Can you commit to being consistent and ensure your messaging is going to work for you and others?
  • Is there someone you admire and can approach about how they became an influential person?
  • After identifying at least one person who is influencing people or causes in the manner you are comfortable with, ask them if you can have them help to instruct you on the area you are interested in being known for or influencing.
  • Not everyone feels comfortable taking on the role of influencing others or causes. However, influencing others doesn’t always mean you have to do this for long stretches of time. There may be situations that are more like influential sprints versus marathons.
  • Always factor in how you envision the outcome of your influence. This will make it easier to rally others when you are describing what you are accomplishing to do, and for them to determine if they can also get behind and support what you are attempting to influence.

Like a coin, influence has two sides. Make sure the influence you are choosing to have is on the side you are proud of representing. Otherwise, living with knowing your influence either doesn’t have the best intentions, or can be harmful to others is something you will have to wrap your conscious around. If your influence can have a positive impact on others, I see this as one of the best gifts we can give to one another.  Cheers to making this happen.

TAGS: #Influence #PositiveInfluence #Leadership #Management #Howtopositivelyinfluenceothers #RoleModel #PositiveSociety

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Need a crystal ball?

Many people right now are more focused on the future than they have been. For some, the future always seemed to present a clear path forward. However, right now, we are living at a time when at best, our current future is in a state of limbo, or perhaps as clear as mud.

Uncertainty can evoke a heightened sense of anxiety, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, the present time with our future outlook in the state it is presents us with an opportunity. An opportunity to reframe, reconsider and reimagine how we would like our future to be shaped. The fact most people in the US are in some form quarantine right now, allows us to have contemplative time we do not ordinarily have.

I have always been fascinated with people who are classified as futurists, as they mesmerize me with the way they describe the “what if” or “what could be” happening in the future.  I’m not a futurist, but have been often classified as a “creative” or “muse”. Coming from a lineage of inventors and creatives in my family, I am using the downtime I have now to retool a number of things in my life. I consider this time a great gift, and one that I encourage others to perceive as well.

Yes, many people right now are clearly suffering. Statistically around twenty-five percent of our country has lost their job. Neither of these are experiences people normally want to have. However, having a different perspective on what is happening to all of us collectively right now, as a society is one of the gifts this time period is bestowing upon us.

It’s easy to be negative during times of despair. However, this is precisely the time when we all need to dig a little deeper, with the intent of finding the “silver lining” we can all benefit from seeing.

If you are struggling to imagine how your life could be better right now, given the fact you might be in a situation you never imagined being in, here are some suggestions on how to take back some control in your life.

  • Although most of us are not allowed to go anywhere except for the grocery store and pharmacy, it doesn’t mean we can’t go anywhere. Or, perhaps not physically. However, it does mean if you have internet access, there are amazing websites that offer ways for you to experience virtually what they have to offer. As an example, here is a link to twelve virtual museum tours
  • I don’t have any musical talent, but many people do. If you do, consider sharing your gift of being musical with others by inviting them to a virtual “concert”. Starring you! Don’t forget to invite me please.
  • A number of people have talents that lend themselves well to sharing with others (e.g., drawing, painting, DJing, cooking, sewing, code writing, wood working, sculpting, physical fitness instruction, repairing things). This list could be an enormous one, so I’m asking you to consider how you can share your talents with others. Although I don’t consider my writing to be a special talent, I do consider it something I can at least share with others.
  • Many people are living alone right now. Consider giving them a call, or perhaps Zooming with them for a virtual chat to engage with them socially. Both parties will gain enormous benefit from this. Make a list of people you can queue up with each week to do this, and consider doing this even when we are not quarantined.
  • If you are someone who has been called a “futurist”, consider sharing your outlook with the rest of us who would love to hear about how you are perceiving our future to be shaping up.
  • If you are not an organized person, this is the perfect time to take back some control in your life. I literally started with the top drawer in my bedroom dresser. I liked the results so much, that I continued to organize the rest of my drawers. Now I love opening up the drawers and seeing how organized everything looks!
  • Reach out to people on LinkedIn, or in any of your social networks that you have always wanted to reach out to. It could be for the purposes of learning more about the career they are in, or to plant the seed to connect again with them once our world gets back to our “new normal”, and we are all back at work.
  • Although you may have lost your job, there are still many people who are working. Ask them how you can help them and offer to do something for them with the extra time you have, especially people working on the “front lines” of our pandemic. It could be offering to go shopping for them, walk their dog or make something for them.
  • Think about your future differently. You have the time to do that right now. Write down, draw or talk to someone about how you would like to reshape or head the direction of your future in. You have nothing to lose doing this, and possibly everything to gain.
  • Take time to let others in your life know that you appreciate them. Write them a note, tell them, send them a video expressing how you feel positively about them. Yes, they will appreciate you doing this, and you could start a positive chain reaction and be the example for others to do this too.

We can all use a dose of positivity in our lives right now. Despite the fact many people’s circumstances may appear to be bleak, I can assure you this situation is only temporary, and we will at some point be back to a place where this time is a distant memory. Make the best use of the time you have right now. I know I’m trying to do so, so please join me in doing that too.  

 Tags: #pandemic #optimism #inspiration #business #hope #motivation #leadership #quarantined #imagination #future #crystalball

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How are your people management skills?

Thinking back to the first time I was responsible for managing someone, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of being the best boss possible boss I could be. This of course was despite my limited experience in this area. However, when I factored in thinking about the myriad of opportunities to practice managing someone, while being the boss, it became less of an intimidating situation. Perhaps for both of us.

Fast forward in time close to thirty years since having first managed the person I was referring to. The fact I recently heard from this person after three decades was an incredible moment, and not one I expected to occur. What was even more surprising was the fact this person sent me a thank you note for being their boss! It goes to show you there is no time limit on thanking someone, and this is a topic I have previously written about.

In the note from the person I first managed, they shared with me that I was a highly supportive and nurturing boss, and that they were surprised I took a chance on hiring them. They also commented on how hiring them changed their life, and influenced the career direction they ended up pursuing. I never knew any of these facts until recently. My point is that even when I was a freshly minted boss, it was possible to have a positive impact on managing someone and their career.

Until I received the email via a LinkedIn message from this person, I had not considered how early in my career my people management skills would continue to be an asset to both me, and the people I have had the responsibility and honor of managing. Being completely honest, there were times when I recall managing this person that I was unsure of whether I was able to properly guide them. However, each time I felt that way, I had a conversation with myself to remind me that managing someone is actually a two-way process. This made me feel much better when I acknowledged that I was only half of the equation and the outcome results.

When I stopped to consider where I sourced my own people management skills from, I would have to say some of them were modeled by my parents. For the first five to six years of my career, I also learned through observing my bosses how to manage others. Of course, some of my bosses were far better at people management skills than others. Understanding both optimal and sub optimal ways of applying or learning these skills will serve you equally well.

Below are some of my acquired and own methods for how to improve your people management skills.

  • This can apply to both work and life situations, and is a foundational piece of advice to launch from. I know you have heard this before, but it’s not always practiced as well as it should be. Without exception, always treat the person you are managing the way you would want to be treated.
  • People are constantly surprising us with what they do and say. Sometimes this is a positive experience, but if it’s not, consider asking the person “Why did they do or say what they did?” When you ask someone to provide insight to better understand their behavior, it generally offers a teachable moment for you to help them see how they could have handled the situation differently.
  • How often do you praise someone? Often times managers neglect considering how a simple thank you, or positive acknowledgment of a small accomplishment can make someone’s day.
  • Have you considered what adjectives people would use to describe your human engagement skills? Sometimes our perceptions are quite different than the reality of how we are appearing to interact with others. Chances are if this is the case, you may not be aware that this is an area for course correction. If this is a problem area for you, it could also be why you have not, or might not advance into upper management roles.
  • Consider what you have done either in the past, or recently to improve your people management skills. Have you proactively worked on being self-aware of the importance of doing this?
  • Think about people who you would classify as having naturally gifted abilities in managing other people well. Is it possible for you to be mentored by them? Remember the importance of having a mentor, and this applies to all stages of your career. 
  • There are tremendous benefits granted to those who master being highly skilled people managers. They are often fast tracked in their careers, are more satisfied professionally with their roles, have a larger professional network to tap into when they need to do so, and are considered for roles over other people who might be more qualified technically, but are lacking in their human management skills.

This is a rich and ever evolving topic. It is also a subject that you will always benefit from any investment you make in yourself to improve how you interact with others, either personally or professionally.

Tags: #Success #Mentorship #PeopleManagementSkills #Business #Howtodevelopyourpeoplemanagementskills #Business #Sales #Management #Leadership #HumanResources #HumanCapital #Tipsonhowtoimprovepeoplemanagementskills #Strategy

Being friendly. Are you really?

I’m sure many of you have experienced the passing of one of your furry loved ones. Our furry loved one passed away this week. His name was Ollie, and he was a nine-year-old Goldendoodle. Ollie was by my side the majority of any day. Family, friends and clients all knew about Ollie and his many entertaining idiosyncrasies. My favorite one was his ability to walk upstairs backwards, and yes, we have this on video.  

Never did I imagine how gut wrenchingly sad I would feel after Ollie passed. Of course, the reality is I didn’t ever want to think about this day happening. Who would?

As I was reflecting on Ollie’s life, I thought about one of the aspects of his personality that was so endearing. It was the fact he was always happy, and happy to see you. Even if he just saw you five minutes ago and you left the room and came back. He also knew when you needed to be cheered up, and precisely how to do so. This is a remarkable quality that he had, and I realize many other dogs, and some others pets do too.

To say that I am going to miss Ollie would be a gross understatement, and yet, at the same time, I remind myself about how fortunate I was to have him in my life. Not everyone has had the opportunity to experience what it is like to have a pet in their lives that makes them feel the pure joy and love they bestow upon you. However, I wish everyone could have this experience.

Switching gears and refocusing our attention back on the question I posed about whether you are a friendly person, do you know if you truly are one? Perhaps you have been told by others that you are? Or, maybe you think you are, but this hasn’t been overtly confirmed by many others. At least not verbally.

Let’s face it. We know that not everyone is in fact friendly, and I’m sure we could also agree upon the fact there are various levels of being this way. One of the things I often consider as it relates to whether people are friendly, is whether this is a trait that we are born with? Or, perhaps one that we develop as an attribute of our personality as it evolves?

Focusing on yourself, think back to when you were a pre-teen. Do you have memories of being a friendly person? Yes, I will acknowledge its possible people’s circumstances in life may in fact interfere with them being as friendly as they could, but let’s take this out of the measurement equation.

According to some research I did, there have been studies which set out to determine if you could measure a person’s level of friendliness. In fact, there was a study done in the early 1980’s by J.M. Reisman called SACRAL, and it was designed to interpret and measure people’s level of friendliness. It included a 40-item questionnaire that both college students and children participated in.

The net result of the SACRAL study was that the majority of people rated themselves as friendly. However, the scores suggested otherwise, and that not everyone is in fact friendly. This isn’t earth shattering news, but was interesting to know there is a methodology to rate and interpret people’s level of friendliness.

Although I did seek to find more recent studies about measuring friendliness, there didn’t appear to be much data. So, I looked further back in time, and found another study published in 1968. It was conducted by Karl B. Zucker and Daniel C. Jordan, and was called “The Paired Hands Test: A technique for measuring friendliness”. According to what I read, this test is still considered to be a quick, objective and easily administered technique to reliably and with validity be used as a friendliness measurement tool.

Now that we know there are in fact tools to measure friendliness, below are some other ways you can determine if you, or others you know, or encounter are friendly.

  • Are you naturally curious about others, and when you meet them, do you truly ask them questions that allow you to get to know them better? Hint. If you are friendly, you would do this on a regular basis.
  • Although not everyone may feel their sixth sense or intuition is fully operational at all times, the majority of people can sense whether another person is friendly by both their body and verbal language. In other words, we might refer to someone having a friendly vibe. This is a fairly easy one to determine.
  • Another aspect which can contribute to the level of someone’s friendliness, is how genuine they are. Yes, this can be a subjective measurement, and will again require you to rely upon your instincts to help you to determine this when you first meet someone. However, as you get to know a person, it will be obvious whether they are or are not a genuine person. Genuine people would be classified as friendly.
  • Yes, we can all have days when we are not ourselves, and perhaps be described as moody. However, friendly people typically are seldomly moody.
  • You will also notice that most friendly people are also often kind people, and will regularly do nice things for other people. Often the nice things friendly people do for others may not even be seen or known about by others. Why? Because friendly people are not driven by needing to be rewarded for being and acting this way.

If you don’t think you are a friendly person, or have wondered why others who are that way, and behave the way they do, I hope my insight above can help you to understand friendly people better. Perhaps you could get to know more of them, as I’m 100% confident we could all benefit from having more friendly people in our lives.

One more thing. I want to conclude by saying that I sincerely hope that you have an opportunity to have an “Ollie” in your life at some point too. I’m sure going to miss him, but I have a sense he will forever be with me in my heart and soul.

Tags: #Dogs #Pets #Friendly #Friendliness #Genuineness #Relationships #Inspiration #Deathofapet #Passingofapet #Grievingapetsloss

Are you misunderstood?

What if you woke up today and had the experience all day that everything you did, and everyone you encountered fully appreciated and understood and was in support of what you were doing and what you were saying? Wouldn’t this be a wonderful day? I’m certain some of you may have encountered this experience, but was it sustainable?

Most of us have routines we rely upon to get us through the day, week or month. Even if it isn’t a formal routine, the majority of humans are creatures of habit. For me personally, I know I have a morning routine I like to go through. It includes reading, a short meditation (e.g., under 11 minutes), having a cup of coffee and breakfast, creating my list of items to accomplish for the day, and walking my dog. This all happens prior to diving into my other routines and before I start my work day.

To accomplish my routine, I normally get up before other people in my family. I do this so I can appreciate the quiet time in the morning. I also believe this time especially prepares me well for the rest of what lies ahead on my schedule.

Some of my family members don’t know that I have this routine, and if they did, and now they will, they may or may not be surprised by it. Since my family knows me well, they know I am not fazed by what other people think. Or, that I would be concerned about other people’s opinions of their perception of me. I’ve always been this way, and I attribute it to having an innate level of confidence that allows me to be this way.

Not being constrained by what other people think is truly freeing. My Mom loves to tell the story of when I was in elementary school, how I would always put outfits together that in her opinion were highly questionable from a fashion sense. At that point in my life, I didn’t even know what the word “fashion” meant. All I was concerned about was whether I liked the colors, patterns and way the clothes I picked out made me feel happy.

As an adult, I still tend to dress this way with complete abandon of what others will think of my fashion choices. I eventually realized that fashion was an extension and expression of who you are, or could be, and learning this was a complete delight. Can you relate to this? Perhaps another analogy would be more suitable, but you get my point.

So, are there ways to be better understood? Of course, there are, and I’ll share with you some ways to help you to feel more this way.

  • How would you describe yourself in a few sentences or paragraphs?
  • What would be the key words you would use to express what makes you be you?
  • Have you considered what motivates you? Break this down into categories such as your life, work or with the team you are on. Can you see patterns in these category comparisons?
  • If you feel misunderstood, have you thought about whether you feel this way due to a situation you are in, or would you say you always feel this way? If you feel this way situationally, have you factored in whether you are misunderstood because others don’t really know you, or value the skills or experience you bring to the scenario?
  • Have you fairly given others an opportunity to get to know you? Is it possible you have not expressed or communicated enough with others about who you are? Perhaps they are judging you unfairly based on a lack of fully appreciating who you are?
  • In a team situation, do you have someone on the team who would always advocate for you? In other words, do you have an internal champion or someone who will always represent you favorably to others?
  • If you don’t have someone who would play the role of your “champion” or personal public relations representative, is there someone you know that could do so?
  • Finding someone to be your “champion” is easier than you might think, as it is likely someone who already holds you in high regard. Having a conversation with this “champion” about your need for them to help support you, even temporarily can turn around the perceptions of others who don’t understand you quickly. I’ve seen this happen repeatably.
  • Visualize what it will be like from all the aspects of your life that you feel misunderstood, and what it will be like when everyone finally understands who you are. Better yet, imagine how amazing you will feel when you get to the place of feeling understood. Even if at first it is simply in one situation.

One of my aspirations in life is to have everyone I encounter feel fully understood and appreciated by others. If you know me, I hope I have been able to help you with this challenge if it is one you were facing. If I don’t know you, I’m hoping the tips I shared with you above can start you on your way to feeling understood by others.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at or (339) 987-0195.

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Are you unknowingly disappointing others?

If you have been the recipient of ever hearing “I’m disappointed …” in any given situation, these few words can be worse than many other detrimental outcomes or experiences a person can have. Especially when the person hearing this news is being led by another. Or perhaps if they felt like they were caught off guard by this information.

Even if someone expects to hear they have disappointed someone, it can really sting, and hearing these words themselves can be worse than any repercussions that might ensue. Typically for this sentiment to be expressed, the message being conveyed shouldn’t be a surprise, but when it is, there are other unfortunate factors contributing to this reality. One of them has to do with the recipient being either inexperienced, or potentially not being given the initial support required to avoid this message being delivered.

Another leading cause to hearing you have disappointed someone is the fact you may be unaware of either how your performance isn’t meeting the requirements of your leader or Sports Coach. Or your perception is disconnected from the reality of how others are perceiving your expected performance output. Being unaware doesn’t give you a pass or excuse from how or why you have disappointed someone, but it does give you and the person you heard this from a place to begin your next conversation.

The conversation you would be having will likely entail a timeline of the circumstances which led up to hearing about you disappointing someone. It should also include discussing whether your performance outcome was clearly understood. For instance, in a sales contract scenario this would be called an “upfront contract”. Also included in this conversation should be what led to having you derail from tracking towards having a successful outcome? There may have been multiple contributors, but both parties knowing this can also add to better understanding why there wasn’t a checkpoint to catch this derailment earlier?

As many of us have painfully experienced at some point in our leadership careers, we may have assumed what we thought was clearly understood and expected from someone or a team we are leading, but it wasn’t. Either the information relating to what was expected was unclear, or the person or team didn’t ask enough questions to have the outcome be clear. In either of these instances, both sides are at fault. Especially the leader if they didn’t do their part of properly overseeing the person or team along the course of either a project or seasonal outcome.

We can appreciate that taking a hands-off approach is certainly a type of leadership style. However, there should be some well understood rules of engagement for this management style to work well. It is also the responsibility of the leader to potentially adjust this style if at some point it appears not to be effective. The adjustment doesn’t have to be a severe one, but it should be reflective of how well the person or team they are leading is responding to this style.

Many people will tell you that hearing or learning about the fact they have disappointed someone can be crushing to hear this emotionally. When they hear, learn about, or read about the fact they have done this, the next steps in this scenario are critical for both the leader and recipients. Especially if both parties are interested in changing the direction they are currently heading. Depending on the severity of the disappointment will influence whether there will be potential to change the future opportunities which may or may not be granted.

Taking an optimistic approach to a scenario where a person or team disappointed their leader or sports coach, it will be imperative for both parties to accept the fact they will need to hit the imaginary “reset button”. In other words, to give a clear restarting point. A place of neutrality and a realistic expectation that the “disappointment” can be turned around. I’m not suggesting this is going to be easy, as the element of trust was likely damaged due to this outcome. However, also taking the approach that there are plenty of circumstances for people to make mistakes and to be forgiven for doing so, and given another chance will need to be part of having a potentially better outcome.

If you are wondering where to start after you and the person or team has hit the “reset button”, below are some suggestions for you to consider.

  • After you have identified the point or points when the derailment caused the disappointment, come up with a plan which will both better support and prevent this from reoccurring.
  • Agree to having more open and honest conversations about expected outcomes. Any areas which are even slightly “grey” should be brought into the black and white clarity area.
  • Having regular times to communicate formally committed to on a schedule will be required for an agreed upon period, or it might need to become part of the “system” you craft to set others up for success as a leader or sports coach.
  • Being consistent in all areas of how people work together should be agreed to, and they should all be reasonably attainable and not put in place to be punitive.
  • Are there other people who should have been part of the success of the situation, team or person that caused the disappointment? If so, what will it take to reasonably include them in your “revised” success plan?
  • Factor in whether you need to toggle between being both a leader/sports coach and mentor to “course correct”? This will likely be required, particularly if the person or team was unaware of how they caused or contributed to the disappointing situation initially occurring.

When someone is unknowingly disappointing others, they may not be fully at fault for doing so. Then again, they might be. In either scenario, there is always an opportunity to learn and benefit from the professional growth that will occur from addressing what happened. Make sure you are also mentally in a strong place to support this growth for those you are leading when you need to embark upon this journey.

TAGS: #Leadership #Leader #Business #Sports #Success #Professionaldevelopment #Leadershipdevelopment #Strategy #Teamdynamics #Coach #Sportscoach #Teams

Unacceptable leadership habits and behaviors. Have you seen any lately?

I’m not typically focused on the negative aspects related to human behavior and leadership attributes. However, I was reminded of this topic by someone who I’ll call my muse. I was surprised they brought this topic up, but since they did, I wanted to dive into it. Especially since over the last several decades some of the unacceptable habits and behaviors have either become tolerable, or people have become numb to their prevalence.

Although there are numerous less than desirable habits and behaviors that exist, I’m going to focus on some of the ones which in my opinion contribute to the demise of a leader, or the team they lead. The first habit is being self-absorbed. Or expressed in a politically correct way of calling this out, suggesting the leader is highly unaware of who they are, and how their interactions with those they lead are not positively contributing to the health of the team or organization they lead. Many of us have experienced this type of leader, yet the real challenge is, who can alter this behavior?

Ultimately a person’s behavior must be changed by them. Of course, they must first recognize their behavior is having a negative impact on those they lead, but often they are seemingly blind to this. Is it possible for them to understand or recognize this? It is, but unfortunately there will be a fair number of professional casualties involved before they do. Perhaps you have heard the expression “the last straw”? This will often be what contributes to the “tipping point” of redirecting the leader to be either reluctantly redirected or become aware they need to behave differently. This generally happens when they realize there isn’t anyone else they can point the finger towards contributing to the toxic environment they have created and found themselves in the middle of.

An inflated ego and putting yourself first in all circumstances is another behavior which left unchecked, will also contribute to the demise of a leader and their organization. There are several paths they could have taken to arrive at this point, and one of them is because others are afraid of confronting them. This of course doesn’t serve anyone well. The surprising thing is that when someone finally does confront this type of negative leadership behavior, the leader is often confused about who you are talking about. Or, they will become immediately defensive, which is more typical. Contending with either of these responses successfully will depend on the leader’s ability to be open minded enough to listen to what you must share with them. As challenging as this sounds, they must also appreciate you have their best interest in mind when you are having this conversation with them.

Another unacceptable habit is continuously interrupting someone. Yes, I get it. Sometimes the leader is really excited about what they have to say, but the bottom line, is that this is rude behavior. It also suggests what they have to say is more important than what you are communicating. When you continuously experience interacting with a person who behaves this way, it’s easy to shut down on them, and not want to interact with them. It can also be exhausting, and you get the sense they are not truly listening. My experience with this type of leader is that either they are unaware of the fact they are doing this, don’t care, or think they have the right to behave this way because of their title. They don’t.

One of the other unacceptable behavior areas I have noticed falls under the category of communication. What appears to seemingly become an acceptable practice, is that I have experienced leaders choosing to either use words which are offensive, derogatory or “dumbed-down expressions” (e.g., continuously using swears or slang words when there are plenty of other more impactful and intelligent words to choose from). What a leader may not be aware of when their communication “style” falls short of being professional, is that they are directly contributing towards degrading the respect from those they are leading and earned at one point. When you hear another person speaking disparagingly about another person, especially when they are a leader, it causes you to pause and consider whether perhaps you have been a recipient of this behavior too?

The final unacceptable habit or behavior which can contribute to a leader’s demise, and a toxic environment is being less than generous.  Less than generous with praise, your time, your mentoring ability and focusing more on the performance metrics than the health and well-being of those you are leading. Sure, not all leader’s emotional intelligence or empathy levels may be where they should be, but both areas can be either off set by others on their team, or the leader recognizing these are not strong attributes of theirs. In fact, they can verbally let others know this, and not as an excuse, but to convey they are aware of their tendencies. However, these tendencies shouldn’t be the overruling factor in terms of giving them a pass for being this way and that it is acceptable. It’s not, and they need to understand and appreciate this, and recognize the others on their team who excel in these areas.

The list of unacceptable habits behaviors can sometimes seem as if they are overtaking the positive ones that we would all rather be experiencing and focused on. However, if you are either realizing you might have some of these habits or behaviors, or know someone who does, I have some suggestions for you to consider.

  • If the team you are leading is struggling in any way, could you be contributing to why this is occurring? Perhaps it’s time to think this is a possibility.
  • Do you routinely think about what more you can be doing to help the people you are leading? Or are you more concerned about the optics in terms of how others are perceiving you?
  • When was the last time you paused to think about whether it might be time to overhaul or work on strengthening any of your leadership qualities? Hint. The next step is to come up with a plan to do so, and to execute on this plan.
  • Being defensive never serves anyone well. Are you willing to understand what your triggers are to acting this way, and working towards decreasing this behavior? Perhaps having the goal of striking it from your interactive repertoire?
  • Are there acceptable habits and behaviors you have which can help to offset your negative ones? This will factor in considering that you would be working towards addressing your negative ones, with the goal of eliminating them.
  • If self-awareness isn’t one of your current leadership abilities, can you commit to developing yourself in this area? It’s never too late to do so.

Sure, we would all prefer to be or have leaders and sports coaches who are guiding us who exhibit all the favorable traits and behavioral characteristics that appear to be “fairy-tale” like. However, there are achievable levels for leaders to strive towards and reach. Will you be one of these leaders or sports coaches?

TAGS: #Leader #Leadership #Leaders #Business #Management #Organizationalbehavior #Habits #Motivation #Awareness #Selfawareness #Teams #Teamdynamics #Sports #Sportscoaches #Performance #Success

Having choices and making decisions. 

I have always had a strong fascination with having conversations with others about the choices they have to make, and ultimately, the decision they make relating to their options. When I am involved with being part of this process, my intention is to guide, offer suggestions, but not to cajole the person towards a particular outcome. The exception to this is when they ask me, and truly want to know what decision path I would choose if I was in their situation. 

Being a trusted advisor, I have a role that puts me this “exception” scenario regularly. So, I have had to become comfortable with sharing my advice, but more importantly, providing in-depth details in terms of “why” and “how” I would go about this process. If I didn’t do this, I would be doing a disservice to the person I am advising, and this is independent of who they are. 

Although people ask for advice, we know it doesn’t always mean they will take it. Consider the expression “You can lead a horse to water if it is thirsty, but you can’t make it drink the water.” The same situation applies when advice is being given. It can be frustrating to the person giving advice when time after time their advice is dismissed, or bypassed, and the person they were advising ends up making either less than desirable choices, or has blatant and avoidable negative outcomes. 

Contrary to what seems obvious, sometimes people can benefit from these outcomes, providing the choices and decisions they are making are not going to be dangerous or permanently irreversible. In these scenarios, more often the person you are leading or interacting with is an experiential learner, so they need to find out and experience first-hand what the outcome of their decision will result in. 

Of course, some choices can be temporary, although we understand some may not be. Ideally, we are all better off when we have at least one or better yet, multiple choices. We usually do, but the challenge for some who are inexperienced, or perhaps stubborn, may be insistent that they know what is best for them. Yet, the outcome doesn’t result in what would have been best for them. 

When you are guiding and leading someone who appears to be asking for support, but your experience with them has resulted in them doing the opposite from what was discussed, you each have a choice to make. The choice is to let this person the next time they ask for guidance that they don’t appear to need your advice. You then calmly share with them that their “track record” or history of asking for your advice hasn’t been leveraged, and that time after time they determined that their choice and ultimately their decision should override your guidance. Since they appear to only be interested in hearing your advice, versus leveraging it, let the person know that you will not be offering advice to them. Or, not until you determine your advice will be objectively considered. Not blatantly and routinely dismissed. 

In the scenario of the person who continues to ask for advice, yet not take it, at some point they will come to a juncture of realizing why they were asking you for advice. Especially if they were not considering your advice. Or, the outcomes from their choices resulted in less than desirable results, and which impacted them negatively from a long-term perspective. Either personally or professionally. Often this individual’s pride or lack of “big picture” awareness and strategy is what lands them in this scenario. Yes, this can be very frustrating for both parties involved, but more so for the person experiencing the negative outcomes from their choices. 

If you are leading others who would benefit from your advice in terms of making better choices and decisions, yet they have determined they know better, there are other options for you to consider exploring. Here are some for you to think about. 

  • Letting someone fail can sometimes be the greatest “gift”, and for those that are “experiential learners”, this is often a productive technique to have them consider an alternative approach from you. 
  • When someone has asked you for advice, ask them upfront if they truly want your advice? You can also ask them if you are one of many people they are having conversations with relating to the topic you are discussing? Sometimes the person you are leading needs multiple options to choose from. Don’t take this personally, it might simply be the style that helps them to decide. 
  • During your conversation with the person you are advising, ask them to verbally walk you through how they perceive the choices they have will result in a favorable decision or outcome? 
  • Often people neglect to fully think through the full consequences relating to their options. When you play the role of guiding them to fully consider how their options can play out, they may realize that some are far superior to others. 
  • Despite the fact the person asking you for advice may assume you have experience relating to what they are asking you about, it is far better to let them know you do not have actual experience relating to what they are asking for you to advise them about. In this scenario, your advice is going to be based on an accumulation of other experience, and it may or may not be what they need to help them. In other words, it’s OK not to always have an answer, and you are more credible when you admit you don’t. 
  • If you know someone who could provide better guidance, ask the person you are leading or interacting with if it would be possible to consult with them first, and with the intent of circling back to them with more beneficial information. Of course, you would want to do this in strict confidence, and not breech the trust of the person you are advising.

Offering guidance and advice to others or teams (e.g., business and sports) is an honor. It should also be taken very seriously, and presented with great care and concern for the outcome of the person you are engaging with. When you take this approach, you will be doing both those you are advising an opportunity to benefit from your guidance, but ultimately to learn from it too.

TAGS: #Leadership #Sports #Sportscoaches #Business #Makingdecisions #Makingchoices #Teams #Teamdynamics #Leadershipdevelopment #Businessadvice #Awareness #Motivation #Professionaldevelopment #Purpose #Sales #Communication #Management

Think human, not gender.

I was having a conversation with someone yesterday about a variety of topics, and the subjects of diversity, equity and inclusion came up. Typically, when someone asks me about this topic, I am always curious about what this trio of three powerful words means to them? Interestingly, no two descriptions are ever the same, which could explain why organizations and their leaders struggle with putting the right resources behind them.

From a foundational perspective, I see these topics being about humans. Yes, we can all agree that as humans, we have many differences, but fundamentally we also have very similar and basic needs. One of these needs it to be offered an opportunity to be viewed not based on what our gender is, but instead as a person. A person who desires to be given opportunities based on what we bring to the proverbial “table” from a skillset perspective. Another need is to be given a brave voice, and to have someone listen to what we have to say. Even if someone doesn’t agree with our words. The third need is to be allowed to express from our view how and why we think the way we do, and without judgement.

The third need of being “neutral” and not passing immediate judgement on another human is particularly difficult to master. However, consider if it was something everyone worked on? I can imagine how our world would be a much kinder place to live in, and perhaps we would have the ability to also be more understanding of others, and less judgmental.

In the last six months, I have gone to three funerals. One of them was my Dad’s, and the other two were the Dad’s funerals of very dear and long-term friends of mine. None of our Dad’s ever met, and they were all quite different from one another. Especially from an ethnic and religious perspective. However, despite these factors, if they had met, I am certain they would have all really enjoyed meeting and getting to know one another. I say this based on the fact I had so much in common with their daughters, and I attribute this to the influence our Dad’s had on our formative thinking prior to us meeting.

When I think back to having met my friends multiple decades ago, and who’s Dad’s also recently passed away, I take great comfort in knowing our Dad’s would be proud of how each of us has and will continue to be contributing to our society. All three of us are women entrepreneurs, and I’m confident our Dad’s indirectly steered all of us in this direction. My Dad wasn’t an entrepreneur like my two friends Dad’s were, but a gift he gave me was to always let me know that I could do anything I choose to do. With one criterion that needed to be met. I needed to treat everyone the exact way I would want to be treated.

Although my Dad never overtly told me about his criterion, he demonstrated to me daily what it meant to be a good human. So, from this modeling, it made it relatively easy for me to put what I saw into action. Sometimes people would tell me “You are too nice”. When I would hear this, I didn’t take this as an insult, I took it as a compliment. I believe from their perspective they were concerned I might be taken advantage of if I was “too nice”. What they didn’t factor in, is that I was fully aware of how I was acting and was in complete control of how I behaved. More importantly, that based on my behavior of treating everyone I interacted well with, that I would never have to explain “why” I made the decisions I did.

Being “nice” doesn’t mean you are less capable or do not possess the inherent qualities of a leader. In fact, in my opinion, the best leaders and team’s I have been on have been led by a human who I would describe as “nice”. These leaders also had some of the most happy and productive teams, and it was an honor to support them. Can you think of a leader who you would describe this way?

If you are curious about how you might be able to increase your skills in “thinking human and not gender” I have some suggestions for you to consider.

  • When you first meet someone and find out what they do professionally, do you immediately think, what path did they take to get there? If you are not thinking this way, you have an amazing opportunity to learn what this path looked like to gain a new perspective on what it took to get there.
  • If you were able to hire someone who is the “best” person you could hire, could you honestly hire that person without any DEI biases?
  • Assuming you have some biases, how do you think they were developed, and why have you held onto them?
  • Take a few moments to be reflective on potentially biases you might have but haven’t considered the “why” behind them.
  • Is it possible for you to work on becoming more comfortable with the biases you have identified?
  • If becoming “Switzerland-like” (neutral) in your DEI thinking could be accomplished, what will it take for you to get to this place?

Independent of whether you are a leader, sports coach, or individual contributor on a team, having a personal goal of being first more aware of your biases, and then committing to addressing them with the intent of banishing them will serve everyone well. Yes, this is a generalization, but I am confident if more people took this approach, we could help to solve many of the DEI challenges we have been encountering for centuries.

TAGS: #DEI #Leadership #Leader #Humanbehavior #Professionaldevelopment #Teamdynamics #Motivation #Addressingdei #Solutionsfordei #Business #Teams #Sportscoach #Sportsteam #Humans #People

Keep showing up. Even if it’s that last thing you want to do.

Without exception, I’m certain if you are reading this article now, you have experienced a time when you didn’t want to be where you were. Or, didn’t feel as if you could bring yourself to show up or that you couldn’t imagine one more day doing what you were going to do. This applies to both work and life scenarios, and both provide built-in opportunities to encourage you to hang in there. Sometimes for other people who are depending on you to do so.

We all have days, or sometimes longer periods of time when we are either re-evaluating our decisions or confused by them. Sometimes when we are in professional or personal scenarios that don’t appear to be in our favor, we question how did we end up here? You may not be able to pinpoint the time when your situation began to go in a different direction, as sometimes there is a subtle shift which makes it difficult to recognize. However, at some point you do realize that you are no longer where you want to be personally or professionally. This can either be cause for concern, or a wakeup call that you need to be doing something different.

Professionally I am always impressed by people who have what I’ll refer to as stamina. Stamina which seemingly allows them to remain in careers or on team’s which don’t outwardly appear to be working for them. Perhaps it is easier for others to see this, or potentially the person themselves is hitting the “ignore” button. Or, realistically, they may not feel as if they have a choice. Feeling like you don’t have a choice is a difficult place to be, and I’ve been there.

I remember the first time I wanted to quit a sports team I was on. My reasons for quitting had nothing to do with the other people on the team. I wanted to leave the team because I didn’t think I was able to significantly contribute to it based on my skills at that point in time. I was new to the sport, and it felt like everyone else was miles ahead of me.

On the day when I had made up my mind to leave the team, a funny thing happened. It was on this day that my coach approached me and told me he was really impressed with how hard I had been working to improve my skills on the field. For reference, the sport was soccer. I was shocked to hear him tell me this, as I internally was thinking I wasn’t progressing, and was dragging the team down. Hearing this changed my decision to remain on the team, and it made me work even harder so I could contribute and add more value to the team.

The lesson I learned from hearing just one dose of positive encouragement changed how I began looking at other choices I would later be confronting. Namely when I was working in corporate America. The industry I ventured into wasn’t my first choice to pursue, and I have often regretted having made the choice to remain in it for as long as I did. Although I was very skilled at what I did professionally, I always felt a bit like a fraud. Mainly due to the fact I felt like I had to outwardly appear as if I was passionate about the work I was doing, while in reality, I felt like my soul was slowly being chipped away at on a daily basis. When I finally reached a point when I could no longer tolerate this feeling, I made the decision not to quit, but to change the trajectory of where I was heading. It was one of the best decisions I have made in decades.

Making the decision to pivot and change the trajectory of where I was going to take my professional skills didn’t happen overnight. I also took the time to realize and appreciate that had I not endured decades of doing something well that I didn’t enjoy, there were aspects of what I did that I loved. What I realized I loved doing was developing people, and the team’s I was responsible for leading. Although developing others wasn’t always in the job description for my roles, being responsible for leading others was, and I took this very seriously.

As I began to transition into my new career, I was aware of the fact there were going to be people who didn’t agree with what I would be doing. Knowing this fueled my desire to succeed, and to demonstrate I could in fact also be successful going in a completely different direction. One that I felt was in much better alignment with my innate skills. Skills which I could finally leverage daily, and which allowed me to shine, and simultaneously help others to do too.

One unexpected yet hopeful outcome from my career transition, is I have found there is nothing better or more motivating than hearing from someone that they are happy I chose to pursue the type of work I am doing now. I’m also able to admit that I am finally proud of the work I have embraced pursuing.

Thinking back to the day I almost quit the soccer team I was on, but had my mind changed by a single comment from my coach, I realized the parallel comparison in that experience with the one I am professionally having now. The best part is I can authentically share with you that I am thrilled to show up to work every day, and that I am driven to become even more skilled and better at what I do. The best part for me personally in stating this, is that my top goal is in strong alignment with my top talent (e.g., Positivity). It’s because of this realized and applied alignment, that I have been able to focus and channel this talent towards having a widespread positive impact on others professionally. Yet, I couldn’t have imagined being able to do this just a decade ago.

If you are in a situation where you need some inspiration to keep pursuing what you are doing professionally, or potentially consider other options, below are some suggestions I have to offer.

  • Independent of what you have heard or think, you always have options. You might need support from a friend, mentor, or trusted advisor to help you to recognize what they are, so make sure you explore them.
  • There is no such thing as perfection. For those who are in constant pursuit of this, they will more often than not be disappointed themselves and by others until they realize that sometimes it is the imperfections in any given scenario that can make a job, team you are on an acceptable option for a short-term time period.
  • Often the most difficult challenges we will encounter are going to be the ones which will allow us to grow and progress towards the next level of where we want to be. Take time to gain perspective on which challenges you have encountered and grown from, and which ones you may be avoiding, or do not have access to experiencing yet, and which not having them, will prevent you from future growth.
  • Sure, everyone would love to have more stress-free days professionally or personally, but as the saying goes “we can’t appreciate the sunny days as much without the dreary and rainy days”. Experiencing less stress can generally be helpful, but at the same time, consider that a small amount of it can also fuel you to remain in pursuit and achievement of your goals.
  • There is another saying, “half the battle is just showing up.” Sometimes this is perfectly true, and often, the situation you are dreading going into, is much less dreadful than you make it out to be in your mind. Keep this in perspective.
  • If you find yourself in a professional situation or on a work or sports team that you don’t want to be on, please spare the others from your negative emotions and verbal statements about not wanting to be there. No one wants to hear this, and the more they do, the more it will have an adverse impact on both of you, those that you work with, lead, or interact with.

Some people appear to be more dramatic than others in terms of expressing their negative sentiments. Remember to leave the drama up to the professionals in the theatre profession, as this will serve everyone much better, and no one wants to be around a drama queen or king.

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Business #Sports #Sportscoach #Motivation #Communication #Teamdynamics #Management #Organizationalbehavior #Professionaldevelopment #Personaldevelopment #dontquit #Perseverance