Feeling trapped by a title or industry?

Perhaps it’s the ongoing Pandemic, but I feel like I have hit a wall with being trapped inside for too long. The more challenging part of this realization, is that I don’t see my personal situation changing any day soon. Yes, I know it will, and that plenty of others feel this way too, but patience is not one of my specialties. Results are, which makes feeling like I am trapped even tougher.

Ok, thanks for letting me vent. I feel better now, and can get on with talking about another form of feeling, or being trapped professionally and what you can do about this. For me, having a solution, even just one, makes me feel empowered and able to conquer any obstacle in my way. In terms of a person who is feeling defined by the work they do, or the industry they are in was something I was having a conversation about this morning.

The conversation was in fact energizing. It also made me consider some alternatives to how I could offer advice to others who might be feeling trapped. Either personally or professionally by the role they play in an organization.

Although you might not consider people at the top of an organization would feel trapped or isolated in their roles, I can tell you for a fact and through experience this isn’t the case. Many top executives or leaders have experienced a sense of being defined by their roles, the organization they work for, or the industry they are in. Many of them are proud of having achieved the roles they are in, but many of these same people are not experiencing the satisfaction you might imagine they would be.

I was reading an article the other day and came across an interesting title. The title was Chief Wellness Officer. The role was loosely defined, and underscored the fact this was not a human resource role. I found that to be interesting, but given the mental health crisis occurring in our society currently, and the fact it is being exacerbated by the Pandemic, I thought this newly defined role was refreshing to learn about. Also, quite timely.

Although the definition of the Chief Wellness Officer role wasn’t clearly defined, it struck me as a moment in time when reality and the needs of employees were catching up to be in synch. Now, the challenge will be to see this role better defined and implemented.

Let’s circle back to the situation you might be in where you are feeling unfairly defined by your title. If you are in a supportive role, there is a greater chance you are feeling trapped in playing a follower role, versus a leadership one. However, not everyone is meant to take on the role of a leader, but if you think you are, and you not in this role yet, I guarantee you know what I am referring to. Now, let’s imagine for a moment no one had a title. What would this type of work environment look like, and how would it exist without structure and by well-defined rules to play by? It might be completely chaotic, or it might flow well. Most would say it would be chaotic, but I would bet they have not experienced the type of work environment which would make them think differently.

If you are wondering how to do what I’ll refer to as reassemble the direction of your title or the industry you are in, one of the things you will need to do is to embody one word. That word is “pivot”. It’s become one of my favorite words. One in fact I have embraced and lived by as a guiding support the last four years as a business entrepreneur. I’ll credit a wise woman name Anita Brearton for introducing me to both this word, and the concept of it. Thank you, Anita, for sharing this with me at exactly the time I needed to hear it.

Although by definition the word pivot is clearly defined, the exact direction you go in from your pivot will depend. It will depend on how you want to leverage your skills, your knowledge and your network to help you to head you in a more preferable direction. I like the word pivot because it factors in leveraging all of your acquired experience and then taking it into the direction of your preference. Whether that be into a new role with a completely different type of title, or potentially a different industry.

Since I generally provide suggestions in each of my articles, I’ll continue with this tradition. Here are some ways you can pivot in your current title or industry.

  • Clearly define and write down why you want to change from the role or industry you are in.
  • Do you feel held back, incomplete, underutilized or invisible in the role you are playing? Consider the factors contributing to this. Are the majority of the reasons based on circumstances beyond your current control (e.g., You want to own a surf shop and you live in Oklahoma)?
  • It’s easier to cast blame on others for why you are potentially stuck or trapped in your role or industry. Honestly think about whether this may or may not be true.
  • Are you leveraging your network to help you to pivot? Have you expressed to anyone that this is something you want to do?
  • You know the old adage of “Those without a plan, are setting themselves up to fail”. Make sure you have some version of a plan to set yourself up for success.

I could add numerous other suggestions, but at some point, if you are going to seek and change a situation you are in, you have to be the one in charge of doing so. Yes, you can ask and should seek support, but ultimately only you can be the one to put your foot on the accelerator to move forward. Just make sure you have enough fuel or that your battery life is charged up enough to take you to where you ultimately want to go. I’ll see you there!

TAGS: #Leadership #Management #CareerAdvice #Motivation #ChangeManagement #PeopleDevelopment #Business #AnitaBrearton #Success #Howtopivot #Pivotingyourcareer #Pivotingyourexperience #Mindset #Professionalnetwork #Pandemic #Feelingtrapped #Feelingtrappedinyourrole

Asking for favors and not reciprocating?

Don’t get me wrong. I love helping people, and when someone asks me for a favor, the majority of the time I say yes. However, when I was recently asked a favor by someone, and then a second and third one, curiously there wasn’t any offer by the person to reciprocate. Not even a verbal one. I probably wouldn’t have noticed this pattern, had the third “favor” not followed the second one so swiftly.

Yes, there can be a fine line between helping others, and getting taken advantage of. However, it doesn’t have to be this way, and this is the point I am conveying. I want people to become more aware of when, how often and what type of “favors” they are asking for. More importantly, I want them to also be cognizant of the fact they can offer to do something in exchange for the favor they are asking.

Returning favors do not have to be equal in value. In fact, they should be in alignment with something that you can easily do for the person who granted you the favor of your original request for help.

When I began thinking about the imbalance of favor requesting, I was beginning to see a pattern emerge. I also started thinking about who was asking for these favors, and why I was their choice of who they requested. For clarification purposes, all of the people who have requested favors from me are business-oriented favors based on my expertise. So, it made sense for people to request them from me.

The common thread by people who were asking for favors was that they trusted me. They also knew I would not disappoint them, and that they could count on me to help them with their request. My hope from all of the favors I have granted other people, is that if in fact I am not the recipient of a returned favor, that they pay the favor forward to someone else. Although, once in a while it would be refreshing to unexpectantly experience reciprocity.

If you are at either end of the spectrum when it comes to asking for or doing favors for others, I encourage you to think about whether there is a middle ground? Perhaps this doesn’t matter, and in full disclosure, the majority of the time, I experience a sense of joy in helping others, and more so when we have a balance in our lives. This pertains to requesting and doing favors too.

To stir your brain around whether you fall into one category or the other, I believe it is fair to acknowledge that people who are doing lots of favors for others know they are in this category. So, my suggestions below are intended to benefit those who may not have recognized they are in the category of always asking for favors. Or, that perhaps not reciprocating as much as they should be.

  • Everyone needs help from time to time. However, are you always asking others to help you, when in fact you could do (fill in the blank) yourself? This pertains to both your personal and professional life.
  • In the last week, how many favors have you asked from other people? If you don’t know, consider keeping track of the amount of favors you ask for. Then take a look at the list a week later.
  • Upon reviewing your list of requested favors, were you able to reciprocate any favors for the requestors? Or, could you do this in the near future?
  • Consider why you are always asking for favors? You might not in fact have realized this is something you might be chronically doing. Hint – this isn’t a behavior that many other people have a high tolerance level to engage with.
  • When you asked someone for a favor recently, did you ask them if there is something you can do in return for them? Not everything in life has to be quid pro quo, but it would be beneficial and score you some karma points by at least asking if you can help the person you have asked to help you.
  • There are times in everyone’s life when they need more assistance than others. Although consider whether you are in one of these phases, or if your life or professional circumstances appear to be dictating you are more often needing support via favors from others. If this is the case, there are likely other contributing factors which have placed you into this vicious cycle.
  • Think about the last few people you asked favors from. Now consider reaching back to each of them and asking them what you could help them with that would make a difference for them. They might not be able to provide you with an immediate answer, so let them think about this. The most important part of doing this is to follow-up and reach back out a second time to see if they came up with a way for you to return a favor for them.

Doing favors for others can be really therapeutic, especially given the fact the Pandemic world we are living in right now is causing extra stress and burdens in many people’s lives. Because of this, please do your part to be on the end of granting favors and reducing the amount of favors you are asking from others.

Tags: #Favors #HelpingOthers #Business #Success #Leadership #CareerAdvice #Mentoring #PersonalDevelopment #BusinessTips #Reciprocity

Why do we follow leaders?

I’m not known for talking about politics, and in fact I don’t talk about them for obvious reasons. However, similar to business and sports team leaders, the people in these positions all play an important role in our society. Although their respective assents to their leadership roles are generally remarkably, and curiously different. 

Take for example just about any CEO or leader of a sports team organization. Or, a head sports team coach. If you were to ask them where they went to leadership school, most would look at you oddly. Why? Because there are limited ways for leaders to obtain their skills from an educational perspective. Skills that are truly meaningful.

In other words, leaders learn how to lead from actual experience of leading others. Not by simply reading about how to lead others. I’m not disparaging the wonderful leadership books out there, I’m just stating that I have yet to come across a leader who said they learned everything they needed to become an amazing leader via reading about the topic.

Similar to a trade role (e.g., plumber, electrician, welder), leaders gain the majority of their skills by practicing and applying them in a physical way. Although trade persons are highly skilled, they do not have to master the soft skills that effective leaders need to gain. Unless of course they are the owner of the company. Then I would place those individuals in the same category as business and sports team leaders.

The most impactful skills that leaders need to acquire and master are ones which are more difficult to measure. I’m referring to the skills of communication, influence and emotional intelligence (e.g., EQ). Granted I want to stress that the EQ skill isn’t something one can learn, as this is one of the skills in the innate category. You are either fortunate to have lots of it, or not enough for your or others liking. Having common sense is also one of the beneficial skills the top leaders possess. However, it’s one of the other skills you either have, or you don’t.

Of course, all leaders start out as followers. The interesting factor to consider is at what point is the cross over to leadership made? Depending on the type of leadership role, it could in fact take years before someone steps into that role. However, we have all seen instances where an individual is placed into a leadership role they are ill prepared to take on. Everyone suffers when this occurs. With a few exceptions.

One of the exceptions is that the newly minted leader is supported by others to buffer their learning curve. The supporters will play the role of advising the majority of the new leaders decisions, until they reach a point when they can make more of the decisions on their own. However, without this arrangement in place as an exception, the new under prepared leader will experience a steep and often painful learning curve themselves, and for those they lead. I guarantee you have seen this. Perhaps you have even had the misfortune of being led by this individual? The good news is that most of these ill prepared leaders will be filtered out, and replaced by an actual experienced leader. Although not always.

At what point do people know they are ready to lead and make the crossover into leadership? Below are some ways you will know when the time is right for you to make this leap.

  • Gaining experience takes time. Most leaders will need a minimum of a decade worth of experience to have had enough opportunities to learn, and to have made enough mistakes along the way to be effective when they step into their role. With this said, having 15-20 years of experience is even better.
  • You have had the opportunity to learn about multiple facets of the business, or acquire deep knowledge about the sports team you are leading. Additionally, you have had a minimum number of roles (e.g., 2-4) to provide you with insight only gained from having exposure to critical functions which impact the company, or sports team you will be leading.
  • You are at a point where you are able to mentor others.
  • People you respect and who are in leadership roles begin seeking you out for advice or your opinion on how to handle different situations.
  • You are able to see the big picture, and can effectively communicate strategically as well as persuasively to your peers and leadership members above your current role. 
  • You have made enough calculated mistakes and recovered from them without tarnishing your reputation.
  • Others trust your judgement and are comfortable with letting you make critical decisions, as you have solid track record for demonstrating this.
  • Not everyone who can step into a leadership role wants to do so. In fact, many shy away from the enormous responsibilities that go along with being the leader. It’s not a role for the faint of heart, or those who have difficulty with making, sticking to and applying decisions to be carried out effectively.

Moving into a leadership role is a privilege, and not one to be casually entered into.  In fact, I can tell you that you will intuitively know when you are ready to take on becoming the leader. If you can’t trust your gut instinct with this decision, then it’s not likely your time to step out of the follower role yet. 

Tags: #Business #Success #Leadership #Teams #Sportsteams #Headcoaches #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Headsportscoach #HeadSportscoaches #Strategy #Management #BusinessManagement

Impact. What’s yours?

Math has never been one of my talents, and calculating someone’s impact potentially is associated with a mathematical formula. Having acknowledged this, I would rather interpret impact via other methods. In this situation, my interpretation is more closely associated with emotional intelligence and common sense. For fun, let’s toss in awareness too.

The explosion of social media use has certainly amped up the awareness people have on the Sir Issacs Newton’s three laws of motion. You can look this one up if you are not familiar with it, but when I was considering another factor contributing to a person’s impact, this scientific principle came into my mind. In the simplest way of describing this concept, it has to do with the basic science theory of by doing something, you get a reaction. Perhaps not the reaction you want, but generally a type of reaction will occur.

Some forms of impact are calculated. In the case of social media, people are generally trying to have an impact. Whether they are strategically planning the impact or not, there is a subconscious element of them wanting to have some reaction and impact based on their activity.

If a person is plotting to have a positive impact, then all the more power to them. However, we know there are unfortunately people in our physical and digital worlds who are intentionally scheming to have a negative impact. In my opinion, this is purely wasted energy, and sad that people do this. Especially since they have the capacity to instead have a positive impact, but choose to go in the other direction.

When you think of a brand, which one or two comes to mind? Generally, they will be one that elicited an emotional response. A response tapping into one of our six basic and core human desires (e.g., anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and shame). I would add the following to this list and include feeling safe, loved and hopeful. The next time you see your favorite brand, consider which of the core human desires they are tapping into. I assure you it is one of them.

Having an impact on another person, or multiple people, when the intention of doing so is positive, should be the goal. I believe it is, and I am immensely grateful and supportive of people who are in this world who do this. Particularly ones who do not appear to have a selfish agenda or hidden motive behind their actions.

Someone asked me the other day why I continue to write my books and produce my business tv show. In other words, they were wondering what my motivation is. I asked them what they thought it was, as I was curious about what their interpretation of my actions happened to be.

For the record I am not influenced by what others think, but from time to time I like to hear what others consider my impact to be. Mainly as a method of having an instant feedback system. Granted I am aware of who I am asking, and typically I will only ask people who I know will be brutally honest with me. This isn’t always easy to do. However, I consider it necessary to keep a pulse on whether my impact is heading in the direction I intend it to be.

If you are looking to have a positive impact on either a person, or many people, below are some suggestions I have you can consider applying to do so.

  • Think about yourself as a brand. Which of the core human desires do you regularly elicit when someone interacts with you, or based on your actions which impact a wider audience?
  • Have you ever stopped to think about whether your impact is positive or negative? Hint. It is likely a mix, but only you will know the percentage of what the mix is.
  • If your impact is leaning towards being more negative, is this something you want to address?
  • If your impact is negative and you want to address changing your impact to be more positive, have you factored in ways you can do this? Perhaps you will need a partner to help you do this.
  • If you intentionally want to have a positive impact on others, think about what steps you will need to take to make this happen. I always start with writing what I want to accomplish on a list. Why? Because putting something in writing feels more like a commitment versus simply talking about it.
  • Factor in what will be your measurement system for knowing whether you are having an impact. You do not need to share this with anyone, but being aware of your influence can be both motivational and provide a tangible way of defining what impact level is.

Those of you who are considered to be achievement and goal-oriented people have most likely thought about what impact they are having on others. Perhaps not. The point is everyone has the ability to have an impact on someone or something. If you haven’t figured out how to do this, and want to do so, I hope my suggestions above will kick start you in this direction.

TAGS: #Brand #Business #Productivity #Self-awareness #Sales #Marketing #Leadership #Teams #Management #Impact #Brandimpact #Personalbranding #Communication #Perception #PersonsalPerception

Preparing for what’s next.

Let’s face it. Having a crystal ball would help us in many ways. However, there may in fact be certain things we don’t want to know about. Although knowing some information ahead of time might help us to be better prepared emotionally. That would be the upside, but there is a downside too.

Due to the fact we don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future, or at least I don’t, how I look ahead and prepare for what’s in front of me isn’t a perfect science. However, let’s say my system is a work in progress and continuously being refined. I would say it’s better to have a system in place than not. Or, at least I find comfort in attempting to have plans in place, or a contingency plan.

When I talk to business leaders and sports coaches, I am always fascinated with their different approaches to how they lead and guide others. Especially in times of adversity.

Adversity is something no one is immune from experiencing. Especially teams as they can be more complicated to deal with versus comparing them to an individual and how they handle adversity. We all know that when you have multiple factors involved in a scenario, it tends to complicate the situation. However, there are ways to simplify and confront a team dealing with a difficult situation.

One of my favorite business memories was when I was working with a sales team who was struggling to meet their numbers. I’ll contrast this with a sports team I was also working with who was rebuilding their team, and the challenges that were present.

In both of the team scenarios, neither one had an adversity contingency plan. This is fairly common, as most teams will strictly be focused on achievement and the process of everything going well. As we know, this isn’t realistic, and precisely why teams and their leaders get into trouble when adversity shows up.

By discussing with each team leader how we were going to handle adversity if it occurred, I prepared both teams in an entirely different manner than they were accustomed to. At first there was some reluctance on both team’s leader/coach to the approach I was recommending, as they thought it would be detrimental to think about something negative occurring.

There is a phrase that I’ll make less crude, and refer to as “life happens”. We know it does, but we are not always willing to embrace the fact that things may not go the way we want them to. However, when we have a contingency plan that can prepare us for a situation that takes us off track, it is mentally much easier to deal with the adverse circumstances when they do occur. In fact, how often do plans typically play out one hundred percent the way you expect them to?

Let’s go back to the two different teams I was referencing. They both eventually conceded and agreed to putting a contingency plan in place. In fact, they put multiple ones in place in order to handle a number of adverse situations they may encounter. Once the contingency plans were in place, both the leader and coach admitted that crafting their respective contingency plans was easier for them to do then they had originally expected.

There is another expression attributed to Benjamin Franklin that I will often cite, and which is related to this topic. It is “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Yes, this might seem slightly harsh, but it has served me and many others extremely well. Especially when an adverse situation occurred.

So, if you are curious about some techniques you can apply to help you or your team prepare for what’s next, below are some ideas for you to consider.

  • Make a list of the positive outcomes expected from your team.
  • Using your positive team outcome list, create a second column and include one or two potential reasons the outcome may not be reached.
  • Leveraging your two columns above, create a third column. This column will include a proposed solution to handle the potential adverse outcomes of your plans.
  • Some of your contingency plans may in fact be able to cover multiple scenarios.
  • If possible, it is recommended you include your team in the contingency planning.
  • If you do not include your team in the contingency planning, make sure you convey to them you have a plan in place if they get off track from their expected positive outcomes.
  • Ideally, you will want to role play the contingency plans. This is because, if you have to put them in place, it will be a more fluid experience for the team since they have knowledge of what is expected of them to do in the contingency planning scenario.
  • Mindset plays a large role in helping your teams to get through adversity. Make sure you have thought about what plan you have in place to leverage your team’s positive mindset when you need to do so in adverse scenarios.

If you are wondering whether these two teams had to enact their contingency plans, I can assure you they did. More than once in fact. However, they were incredibly relieved they had them in place. Even better? They both achieved and exceeded their initial plans, despite the unplanned and encountered adversity along the way.

Tags: #Business #Success #Adversity #ContingencyPlanning #Leadership #Management #BusinessManagement #Strategy