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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-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

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 kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

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What makes someone a follower versus a leader?

I was recently talking to a friend about the concept of why people decide to follow someone. Whether they are their leader at work, their sports coach, or some other type of role where they would be in a leadership capacity. As we started to talk about the foundational aspects of why someone would want to follow their leader, there were some common threads, and patterns that emerged during our conversation.

The first common thread was that people will follow another person they respect and perhaps admire. Another trait which was discussed was that the person could be depended upon to steer you and others they lead in the right direction. The leaders were also strong communicators, and the most successful ones, appreciated hearing alternative opinions which could be factored into their decision making. In other words, they didn’t subscribe to only have “yes” people on their team.

Having a strong conviction about your beliefs, and not being intimidated about conveying and carrying them out is another characteristic I have observed some of the best leaders embody. They also have mastered the art of being humble, and allowing those who follow them, to see them being vulnerable and authentically themselves. These are in fact some of the traits which you might think would be contrary to them being a strong leader, but in fact, it is these qualities which those they lead both respect and admire.

The balance that leaders have in being both strong and vulnerable isn’t always easy to see. Often the ones who have cracked the code on being able to demonstrate both are not only exceptional leaders, but have the ability to sustain their leadership over a longer period of time. Why? Because of the fact that they are not having to portray being someone else’s version of a leader, and can authentically embrace being themselves.

I was a guest lecturer recently in an advanced level Organizational Behavior class. My topic was focused on team dynamics, and the contributing aspects of what goes into building a strong team. Naturally the element of having a strong leader came up during this discussion. When it did, I asked the students to raise their hand if they wanted to be a leader. About half of the class raised their hand. I then asked the ones who raised their hands to give me a reason they wanted to be a leader, and this is where the discussion took a different turn.

The turn the discussion took was that when I asked the students to articulate why they wanted to be a leader, they had a much more difficult time doing so. Perhaps this was because thinking about being a leader, and becoming and being one are three entirely different scenarios. Each one can happen either intentionally or organically, and there are multiple paths to get to the same place. However, understanding why you want to lead, and knowing whether you have the right qualities to be a great leader are completely independent of one another. Yes, they can be factored into the process of becoming a leader, but the most challenging factor will be to face understanding why you want to lead others.

Not all leaders should in fact be in the role they are, and I guarantee you have seen ones who shouldn’t be. I also guarantee you have seen people who should be in a leadership role, and who perhaps have not either been given the opportunity to experience this path yet, or have not realized this is a destination and journey they should be preparing for.  In any of these scenarios is where someone who is, or who has been a leader can step in, and help to guide the future leader.

So, are there prescriptive actions a current or former leader can do to help a prospective leader? Yes, there are, and below are some suggestions to consider applying to identify, support and develop future and emerging leaders.

  • Have a conversation with the person you have identified as a potential leader to let them know you see qualities in them that would support them to head in that direction.
  • Invite someone you have identified as a potential leader to “shadow you”, and to provide them with opportunities to see your leadership style in action. This isn’t a one-time action, so consider how to integrate the “shadowing” process to be as natural as possible.
  • Introduce and include your future leader into your network. There are likely other leaders you know that they can benefit from talking and interacting with.
  • Be generous with your time investment with the person or individuals you have identified to cultivate into becoming leaders. This will be one of the best ROI’s (return on investment) you have encountered if you are fully supportive of developing and giving another person an opportunity to develop into a leader.
  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable, and be sure to share the good, bad and the ugly stories of experiences you have had, and which have all contributed to your leadership development. In general, it’s the “ugly” stories that you learned the most from.
  • Help the person to find their natural leadership style, as it may in fact be quite different from yours. If you know another leader who has a similar style to theirs, be sure to connect them.
  • Focus on identifying the leadership characteristics of the future leader(s) talents which are unique and can be further developed to help them to excel (e.g., communication, empathy, intellect, vulnerability, genuineness, strategic).

Lastly, please be patient with the future leader(s) you have identified, and remember how long it took for you to become an effective leader, and someone that others wanted to follow.

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Sportscoach #Followingleaders #Leaderstofollow #Whypeoplefollowaleader #Leadershipdevelopment #Business #Management #Organizationalbehavior #Developingleaders #Howtodevelopleaders #Tipsonbeingaleader #Tipsondevelopingleaders

Setbacks. Why you need them.

During the last two weeks, a sports team I am working with experienced what would be classified as several textbook definition setbacks. When they occurred, they were in the process of learning about how to capitalize on their teams’ outcomes. As they were going through this experience, it wasn’t a comfortable situation for any of them. However, it was exactly what they needed to go through at that time.

Fast forward to this week, and the team decided it needed to do something differently. Not only because the way they were operating wasn’t working, but because the team dysfunction level was unbearable. You could feel it, and see it in their performance. Yet, until they encountered their second dramatic performance setback, they were not ready to do something different.

When this team reached what would be classified as “rock bottom”, was when they decided it was time to try what they were potentially resisting, or not fully feeling like they could embrace. At this point, they had nothing to lose, and potentially everything to gain from facing their setbacks head on. This included openly talking about them, learning from them, and deciding to collectively try a different approach to how they were functioning as a team. In other words, to begin acting like one.

Yes, it sounds obvious that a team should act like a team and be supportive of one another, but there are numerous factors which can contribute to this not happening. For instance, when a team’s communication breaks down, or when they don’t treat each other well, or act respectful of one another as both people and teammates.

The first sign of this or any team breaking down and heading towards a place they don’t want to end up, is when they begin playing as individuals. This happens in the workforce too. You can literally watch a team and see they are not functioning and supporting one another to be successful. You will also see individuals trying to stand out, or do what they think they need to independently do to support their team. This never works, as we all know that a team is at their best when they are deliberately working together, and trust that each member is ideally doing their part. It’s critical to note and be reminded that no single person on the team is responsible for the outcome of the team’s performance.

When communication and trust are both lacking, it’s nearly impossible for a team’s dynamics to be strong. However, each of these elements can be addressed, and when they are, the team can begin to heal, and repair and restore the camaraderie levels they are ideally seeking to reach.

Facing adversity and not working together to do so is one of the basic elements which contributes to a team’s setback. I give the team I am working with a great deal of credit for understanding and admitting they were collectively not doing their part to be a team. So, when they decided this week to do something about addressing this, is when I literally saw a different team on the field. As a matter of fact, I told them they looked and acted like a completely new team, and one that was committed to turning their setbacks around. They did exactly that, and logged their first home win that day.

Now, the real work of helping this team to maintain its focus on leveraging what they learned from their setbacks is going to be what makes the difference in the rest of their seasons performance results. They will be applying what they have been working on this past week to improve their team dynamics, and this will transfer into their actions on and off the field. Ultimately, they will be putting into practice and testing this afternoon what they have learned, and I strongly believe their setbacks will provide them with the inspiration to attain the results they are collaboratively working towards.

If you are an individual or on a team who has experienced setbacks, and who hasn’t, below are some suggestions you can apply to course correct on the outcome you would prefer to experience.

  • Consider what contributed to your setback. What role did you, or each team member play in having it occur? This should be discussed as a group, and lead by the Coach or Manager.
  • Discuss what you learned from your setback(s). Focus on being constructive with what is being communicated, and set ground rules that do not allow people to single out and publicly attack or embarrass someone.
  • Make sure that everyone has a voice. Some people on the team might feel more comfortable with writing down and then having someone else read what they want to express.
  • When trust breaks down, you need a delicate method and time to be in your favor to restore it. One of the things I recommend that team’s do, is to each write down what they like about every person they work with. It could be unrelated to their actual team contribution (e.g., they make me laugh), and then the next step is to then gather together and have each person read out loud what they wrote. This information can also be shared in writing too, so that it has a longer lasting impact.
  • Factor in doing something together that is independent of what your team normally does together, and which could allow them to have some fun. There a plenty of low-cost options and ideas to apply, so be creative. Having some fun together instead of dreading being with one another can be a catalyst to reset your team dynamic setbacks.

The bottom line about setbacks is that they can’t always be avoided, and when they do occur, they can actually work in our favor. That is, if you have the right mindset to capitalize on turning them into both learning, growth and opportunities to improve and recalibrate your teams’ dynamics.

TAGS: #Teams #Teamdynamics #Leadership #Teamsetbacks #Success #Motivation #Teamwork #Workforce #Business #Sports #Sportsteam #Sportsteams #Sportscoach #Coach #Manager #Leader

You own your awareness. How much is that worth?

It might seem difficult to imagine that a person could be unaware of who they truly are. Or, that they are also potentially blind to how others perceive them. However, I guarantee you know someone who could be described this way, and perhaps you might be this person?

I often get asked the question is there an age or decade when the majority of people will become aware of who they are, and what talents and personality attributes they possess? The reality is that there isn’t a specific age when everyone determines this information, and in fact, some people will go through decades in their life without having an awareness of who they are.

Are the people who are completely unaware of who they are at a disadvantage to those who know and have a clear appreciation for who they are? In my opinion, yes, they are. Although they may be perfectly comfortable being this way, and have accepted and come to terms with whatever personal or professional state they are in.

If you are not someone who is comfortable or satisfied with your current personal or professional situation, it likely is due to a number of factors. One of them relates to who you have had in your life that has provided you with guidance and options to consider different paths to pursue. Another one is who you have chosen to align yourself with both personally and professionally. Sometimes this is a conscious decision, and other times it is situational, and could be based on your formative or current circumstances.

A third factor which contributes to someone’s awareness level is their willingness to take ownership of understanding who they are. This could mean accomplishing this on their own, or with help from others. Perhaps a combination. The point is that at some stage in a person’s life they become willing to explore and understand who they are as an individual. Once this is achieved, it is at that point when they will have a greater sense of how to leverage this information to their benefit.

Without having a solid understanding of who you are as a person, and possessing full awareness of what your talents and attributes are, how will you be able to ensure that the goals you have for yourself both personally and professionally can be achieved? Sure, you might have some methods for how to accomplish this, but what if you truly understood and intentionally invested in knowing who you are from a core level?

Let’s assume you would want to understand who you are beyond a surface level. More importantly, how to align your innate talents to your benefit. Can this be done? Absolutely, and when you pursue and accomplish this, the difference in your life will create an entirely new set of lenses on how you look at your world. How do I know this? Because I personally experienced this ten years ago, and it was literally personally and professionally life changing. I’m going to leave you with this thought in terms of wondering how I accomplished this, and if you are interested enough in learning more about my situation, I have a strong sense you will reach out to me.

If your curiosity has been peeked by my experience, I do have some tips I can share with you to help you to consider options for exploring how to become more self-aware. Or, how you can help someone else who wishes to pursue this.   

  • Be honest. On a scale of 1-10 (10 the highest), what level of self-awareness would you rate yourself? Now think about, what level would you like to be at?
  • Do you have enough of a curiosity to invest your time and attention into understanding and appreciating who you are at a more in-depth level than you currently are?
  • How would you rate your level of being open-minded on a scale of 1-10 (10 the highest)? Hint, the higher level of your open-mindedness will contribute to helping you to gain and embrace your self-awareness level increasing in your favor.
  • Are you motivated enough to want to better understand and leverage and align your talents differently than you have been? If so, there are numerous self-awareness options for you to consider, and start with your favorite search engine to begin this process. I have my own favorite one, but I’ll only share this with you if you are genuinely interested in knowing what it is.
  • If money wasn’t a factor in your life, what would you personally or professionally be doing instead? Hint. The answers to this question can offer great insights.
  • How do you like to spend your time, and how much time do you prefer to spend alone or with others? Knowing this can also offer valuable clues into what motivates you, and knowing what motivates you and aligning this with your self-awareness can put you into potentially a new and better personal and professional direction.
  • Ask 2-4 people you trust how they perceive you. Ask them to describe who they perceive you to be in three statements, or words that can offer a different or new perspective on who you are from their perspective. Knowing this information will help to provide you with others lens on who you are, and it may or may not be how you perceive yourself. Keep in mind that others can often see our talents better than we can.

Understanding and knowing who you are can be the greatest gift you can give to yourself or another person. In honor of Mother’s Day coming up this week, if you are a Mom, aspire to be one, or have a Mom or have someone in your life who plays this role, do yourself and them a favor and consider giving either them, or yourself the gift of self-awareness. It will be one of the greatest gifts you or they can experience, and it is a priceless one too.

TAGS: #Self-awareness #WhoamI #Whoareyou #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment #Talentdevelopment #Leadership #Teams #Teamdynamics #Business #Awareness #UnderstandingwhoIam #Mothersday #Happymothersday

Are you fascinating or frustrating to others?

 For some reason I love the word fascinating, and I like the meaning of it even better. It embodies so many different description facets of a person or an experience, and in my opinion, the best part is when you get to hear aspects about the person or their experience being fascinating.

Based on the premise that most people would not classify themselves as being a fascinating person, I’m certain that no one would deny wanting to be this way. Nor would they shy away from others considering them to be this way either. In fact, it could be a notable attainment for a person to have this description associated with them.

Since the word fascinating can be widely interpreted, and can also be subjective, the one thing I believe we can agree upon, is the fact it is a positive way to express how you could describe another person. Given this presumption, when was the last time you applied this word to describing someone you either know, recently met, or would like to get to know?

Having an individual or people in my life that I can describe as being fascinating is something I have always sought out. My awareness for realizing this was when I was quite young, and before I became a teenager. Thinking back to the first realization that I had just met and encountered a person who was unlike anyone else I had ever met before was thrilling. It also ignited a continued life-long interest in wanting to meet more people like the first one I met. Who was the first person I met like this? It was actually a family member, and an uncle.

My uncle was a creative person. To say that he looked at the world via a different lens than anyone else I had ever experienced would be an understatement, and this was so intriguing to me. I had the good fortune of working for him when I was in college, and I learned a tremendous amount from him by simply observing his behavior and seeing how he made decisions. Not all of his decisions were good ones, but I learned just as much from experiencing the less ideal ones, as the brilliant ones he made.

For the sake of consideration, who can you name right now that you would classify as being interesting or frustrating? Are they someone you know well? Are they someone you would like to know and admire for who they are and what they do? Or, have you ever yourself thought about whether in fact you might be deemed a fascinating or frustrating person in the eyes of others?

Let’s assume that you don’t want to be classified as a frustrating person, and that you either want to know more fascinating people, or perhaps aspire to being one yourself. How would you go about achieving either of these? Good question, and yes, there are ways you can go about attaining a designation of being fascinating, or including more people like this into your life. However, it’s going to take some time and thought about how to achieve this.

If you want to aspire to either being fascinating, or include more fascinating people in your life, here are some suggestions to help fast-track you towards accomplishing one, or both of these options.

  • How would you rate your self-awareness on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest)?
  • Having a higher level of self-awareness is going to be the place to work towards to help you achieve becoming a more fascinating individual. Why? Because with self-awareness comes confidence, and with confidence comes having the freedom to try and do more things in your life, which in turn can contribute to your fascination level or attainment.
  • Becoming self-aware takes time, and it might be something you need support to accomplish doing. If you need support, there are plenty of options to explore to help you to master this.
  • Being truly authentically yourself is also one of the foundational aspects to achieving becoming a fascinating person.  When you are able to authentically be yourself, you are more content with who you are. You are more approachable as a person, and any level of anxiety and fear you have in your life will be significantly reduced because you are not expending negative energy towards supporting these feelings.
  • When you have more positive energy to apply to your life every day, you are able to accomplish more things, which in turn fuels more aspects of your life to be deemed as being productive, fun and potentially fascinating. Either personally acknowledged, or allowing others to perceive you this way.
  • Come up with your own definition of what or who you deem to be fascinating. Are any of the descriptions ones you can attain, or are working towards?
  • Who are the people you deem to be fascinating? Are any of them ones you can eventually include in your life? If not, perhaps they will serve to motivate you?

I understand that not everyone aspires to being classified as fascinating, and I’m confident no one wants to be labeled as frustrating.  Perhaps somewhere in-between is where you might be more comfortable?  With either of these options, I hope the one you decide upon suits you well.

TAGS: #Confidence #Business #Selfawareness #Beingauthentic #Authenticity #Personaldevelopment #Humandevelopment #Awareness #Beinggenuine #Howtobefascinating #Howtobeinteresting #Confidence #Careeradvice

Don’t let others define who you are.

I remember hearing when I was very young people telling me to be myself. However, they didn’t define what this meant, and I was too young to consider asking them to explain what they meant. Since I realized that hearing this statement seemed to be a reoccurring one, at some point, I believe I internalized and came up with my own definition of what this meant.

For context, my family includes a number of creative people. Even and inventor. By observing various family members, and appreciating the talents they had, and how they appeared to be comfortable with them, they were appreciably strong role models. Seeing them embrace what they were good at, even if others didn’t fully understand what they were doing.

One of my earliest memories of applying the concept of authentically being myself was when I was old enough to pick out my own clothes to wear. This seems simple enough, yet what I was surprised by was the reaction I got from people when I first started doing this. The reason I was surprised, had to do with the fact I was putting colors and patterns together that were not traditionally combined. At least at that point in time. I saw no issue in doing this, and in fact, I enjoyed both the challenge and fun it was to do this. I realize now that I was intrigued by other people thinking that what I was doing was different.

When I became aware that doing something different than what others were doing was ok to do, is when I began to embrace and develop a confidence in myself that had not been there before. I was too young to have any appreciable hobbies at that time, but I intuitively realized what I was doing was something I could build upon. I would draw an analogy to this of developing an early foundation of defining who I would evolve into as a person.

Upon being retrospective on this topic, I realize that I could have gone in a completely different direction in terms of having others define who I am, or would become. I also realized that I had an early awareness of the fact I was fully in charge of how I could and wanted to define myself as an individual. More importantly, not to let others do this in any way. This thinking has served me extraordinarily well, as it has allowed me to authentically be myself in both personal and professional scenarios. More importantly without having to craft different personas. Something which I have observed many others doing.

Speaking of different personas, one of my observations about why some people struggle with not being able to embrace who they are, is because they give too much value to what others have to say or think about them. A good question to ask yourself or someone who might find themselves in this situation, is to have them explain why they do this. It’s possible they are not aware of the fact they have let others define who they are, or should be, as it can actually be easier in some ways to do this. Why? Because you don’t have to commit to figuring out who you truly are. Or, you can simply take on the characteristics or qualities others who have influenced your thinking, that you should act a certain way. From my perspective, this sounds exhausting, yet surprisingly, many people are unaware of the fact they have done this.

So, if you aspire to be authentically who you are, what are some techniques you can apply to do this? I’m anticipating you might want to know this, and I’ve got some suggestions for you below.

  • If you don’t believe you are authentically yourself, who do you want to be?
  • If you were to “design” or “architect” exactly who you think you want to be, what would be the characteristic elements involved with crafting this person include?
  • Consider your base personality, and the essence of at your core who you are. Are you truly leveraging it to the fullest? Or, would you say there are reasons you are not doing so based on the influence of others?
  • Are there people or circumstances in your life which are contributing to not allowing you to be who you truly are, or aspire to be?
  • What or who can help you to change your circumstances that are preventing you from allowing you to define who you want to be? There are always multiple options and solutions, so don’t allow excuses of not having options or people to help you to stand in the way.
  • What it is going to take to allow you to believe you deserve to authentically be who you are? Let’s start with looking in the mirror, as chances are it’s you who are holding yourself hostage to this type of preventative thinking.
  • Factor in how different and more enjoyable your life will be when you stop allowing others to define who you are, and you finally embrace your authenticity. Seriously, this can happen, even if it is in incremental steps and takes longer than you think it should.
  • Finally, imagine what it will feel like when you can truly be who you are…every single day, and in every single situation in your personal and professional life.

Individuality and expressing who you are shouldn’t be reserved for only some people, and conformity shouldn’t be the norm that everyone has to subscribe to. I love the statement of “just be yourself because everyone else is taken”. Let’s see what you can do, or if you can help someone else who isn’t authentically themselves yet. Taking on this challenge will be so worth it!

TAGS: #Confidence #Selfawareness #Selfaware #Authenticity #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment #Motivation #Helpingothers #Teamdynamics #Leadership #Business