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

A Podcast about Teams.

I’m switching things up a bit this week, and providing you with a link to Dr. Jason Koh’s podcast where he interviewed me about the type of work I do with teams.

Here is the link to the Podcast interview.

Have a terrific week everyone.

How are you projecting your image?

Something I have always enjoyed doing is to observe the actions of how people interact with one another. Particularly in professional and team scenarios. My fascination stems from seeing things that when people are interacting with others, that I’m sure they are not aware of how they are being perceived. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticizing the way they are acting, simply noticing and considering how they could be doing something differently. More to their advantage.

In the coaching work I do, I have the opportunity and honor of professionally evaluating and critiquing how both leaders, as well as team members interact with one another. The next step in this observation process is to convey back to the leader and their team what I am seeing. The majority of the time, the leader is the one asking me to conduct this work, and their team is generally unaware that I am watching how they engage with one another.

Of course, it’s much better when people are not aware of when someone is observing them, as they will more naturally act how they ordinarily would. Observing sports teams is much easier to evaluate than work teams, as you get to see the team members interacting in a concentrated scenario when they are playing or practicing their sport. However, it is possible to observe work teams, it just takes longer to do, as you need to see them in a variety of settings within their environment to accomplish this.

I remember the first time I was asked to evaluate a work team and the leader of it. The leader initiated this process, as he admitted he was not fully aware of why he was having challenges with interacting with his team, and his management peers. He also wanted to better understand what was going on. This was a brave and bold move on his behalf, as it can be intimidating to have someone knowingly observe how you are engaging with others. However, the benefits of having me conduct this work for this leader and his team far outweighed any feelings of his awkwardness. 

The results of what I observed were quite revealing, especially with one example which was the body language I was observing this leader display. One of the main body language expressions he was routinely doing, was to immediately cross his arms when he began an interaction with another person. This particular body language expression signals that you are closed off and not fully open to hearing what the other person is saying. It also conveys a form of being defensive. Neither of these body language expressions were what this leader intended to convey. In fact, just the opposite. However, he was unaware that he was doing this, as he didn’t have a mirror or video capturing him doing this during every one of his interactions with others.

Upon being made aware of this one simple action, then having awareness of this happening, and course correcting on this behavior, made an incredible difference in the engagements this leader then had with his team and leadership peers. This one simple example is something that many people do, yet are not aware of this occurring. So, you too can take notice of whether this is something you are also routinely doing.

The first sports teams I had the privilege of observing was initiated by the head coach. He had been coaching for decades, yet admittedly had no idea how his coaching style and his coaching behaviors were impacting his team. He wasn’t sure if how he was being perceived was positive, negative or perhaps neutral. However, he wanted to know which category he fit into, and more importantly, if it was in the “negative” category, that he could course correct on this.

After observing the coach for several games, it became obvious there we some things he was doing as a coach that he was unaware of. One of these observations was that he wasn’t listening to his players when they were attempting to engage with him on the sidelines. He was unaware that he was being dismissive of their attempts to talk to him. When I shared this observation with him, he was completely surprised by this. In fact, he was upset that this was happening, as he prided himself and perceived himself to be very open to communicating with others.  

By adjusting the coach’s awareness of how he was interacting with his players in a way that was contrary to how he thought he was interacting, was a “game changer” for his team going forward. Why? Because the team members and the coach were now able to actually communicate openly with one another. The results of this coach’s team performance also demonstrated the positive impact from this one small change in behavior too.

So, what can you do to see the type of image you are projecting? Here are some suggestions to “test drive”.

  • You will first need to commit to being open to having someone provide you with constructive feedback, and not consider it to be criticism and feel like you are being attacked.
  • Find someone you implicitly trust to evaluate you, and who has experience successfully leading others.
  • The image we project may or may not be something we are intentionally coordinating with our actions, and if possible, if you can observe yourself on video, this is ideal. However, you still will want someone who can neutrally provide you with feedback about what they are also seeing in person and via the video, as you still might not see what they are seeing.
  • Although you might think you don’t have a great deal of control over the image you are projecting, you actually do. In fact, the image you are projecting is multi-faceted, and involves how you speak (e.g., the tone of your voice, how fast or slow you speak, how you enunciate your words), how you stand or sit in front of others (e.g., standing up tall, versus slumping your shoulders) and what you choose to wear (e.g., generally in professional situations, always select clothing which presents the best impression of who you are, and yet doesn’t distract from your actions or how you will be communicating). This applies to both women and men.
  • Think about what type of image you want to project. When you intentionally consider this, it will be easier to accomplish it.
  • After thinking about the image you want to project, look the part of how you want to project yourself in your organization, versus not giving this factor any or enough consideration.
  • Ask someone who’s image you admire, for suggestions on how they have developed their image. I guarantee you they evolved to the image they are projecting, and you will benefit from knowing how they accomplished this.

Projecting the image you want to requires a conscientious effort to do so, and can take years to perfect. Your image can also be fluid, and evolve over time. What you want to master or become comfortable with, is that your awareness of your image matches the reality of how others perceive it.

TAGS: #Perception #Image #HowDoYouProjectYourImage #HowAreYouPerceived #Business #Management #Teams #Leadership #Leaders #SportsTeams #Coaching #TeamCoaching

Finding your motivation spark is easier than you think. Do you know how?

It’s interesting to think about how everyone is motivated differently. I also like to think about how each person has their own sources of motivation, and how the same ones which worked for them today, might not work tomorrow. Have you considered how you developed your motivational sources?

As a professional motivator, like a magician, I have lots of tricks to motivate myself. Since we established everyone has their own set of motivational triggers, only some of mine might work for others. So, is there a secret to knowing how to find yours?

The answer to this question is complex, yet does not have to be. The simple and direct answer is no. There isn’t a secret way to determine which motivational tricks will be your go to ones to get you to the place you need to be. However, like a home foundation, there are certain things you can do to help you to establish when, and what can motivate you.

One of my tricks to motivating myself each day might come as a surprise to you. I also only recently discovered this technique works for me. For the sense of drama, drum roll please…The single most motivating tip I can share with you is waking up and taking 10-15 minutes to simply sit quietly and do my best not to think about anything. Some would call this mindfulness. Call it what you like, this small thing I have been doing each morning really works…for me.

Do I set a timer to apply this motivational trick? No. That would be stressful and counterproductive. However, I do seem to range between 5-15 minutes of being quiet. I have lots of energy, but I would not consider myself to be hyper. My energy is contained and purposefully applied throughout the day. It’s not always easy to pace my energy level, but I do my best, as I’m sure you do too.

If you are wondering whether there are other motivational techniques I can share with you, of course the answer is yes.  However, I would love to also hear what techniques each of you apply.

Here are some suggestions on how you can find your motivational spark.

  • Think about the last time you were really happy. What was going on in your life to make you feel this way? Use this happy memory as a source for your motivation.
  • Do you like music? Most people do, and I’m sure they have music they listen to which serves different purposes. Upbeat music is what I listen to when I’m writing, including right now.
  • Color can have a dramatic impact on your mood, which in turn can impact your motivation levels. The brightness of a color also can have an impact on how you feel. According to scientists, if you only had one color to choose to motivate you, that color would be green. The two other colors noted were red, then blue.
  • People you interact with can have an enormous impact on your motivation. Consider that person you think about wanting to avoid when you see them. Why? Probably because you would classify them as a “Debbie Downer”, and the person who is always negative. It’s best to limit or avoid people like this to prevent them from depleting your motivation levels.
  • Seek out people who are upbeat. I actually have a running list of people in my mind I queue up with when I need a dose of their great attitudes and positive outlook on life.
  • When possible, go outside. Even better, take a walk in a park, or on the beach. Both of these places always deliver the motivation I need at that point in time.
  • Instagram is also one of my sources of motivation. I have certain imagery which can completely spark my motivation, and admittedly kittens and puppies are two of them.

Being motivated is way better than the alternative. However, not everyone is at the same level of their workmates, family or friends. Consider strongly whether the environments you find yourself in are a source for increasing or decreasing your motivation level. When you do this, it will be the first step to helping you be put back on the path you would rather be on.

Tags: #Business #Communications #Motivation #Success #Management #BeingNice #HelpingOthers #Behavior #Leadership #HR #HumanResources #Business #Teams #TeamMotivationalTips #MotivationTips

Who’s your champion?

It’s obvious why everyone needs to have a person who would be considered their “champion” or biggest supporter in their life. Perhaps a different one professionally and personally. The champion I am referring to, is the type of person who truly believes in you. Regardless of the circumstances you find yourself in. Someone you can always rely upon, particularly when you may not be at the top of your “game”.

When I think about who my “champion” is, they embody all of the qualities you would ideally want this person to have, starting with believing in the core essence of who you are. This person also has an unwavering integrity and a solution minded outlook. They also are what I’ll refer to as a “clear-thinker”. What some others might call rational, especially during highly charged emotional situations. Perhaps what some might also refer to as drama.

Speaking of drama, this is not something I ever seek out to have going on in my life. Although it does appear some people seek this out, or have a magnet which draws them in to more routinely being in this state. It’s possible people with lots of drama in their life like having it occur, but from my perspective it is an unnecessary distraction from what would be more important to be focused on. For instance, addressing challenges, rather than circling around them in a drama induced frenzy, absent of any solution.

People who have drama in their lives may not realize how much energy they are having consumed when they are in their “dramatic” situation, and that if this energy was redirected, how different their circumstances might be. My interpretation of people who either attract or live a life filled with drama have learned to embrace this way of living. It appears to be a cycle they can’t break, and perhaps don’t want to. However, if they better understood the option of not having drama occurring constantly in their life, they could in fact impact their life very positively. Even reduce or eliminate the drama in their lives.

It’s possible that people who have too much drama going on, do not have a champion in their life. Or, maybe they did at one point, and the champion gave up supporting them because the person they were attempting to help did not ever accept their advice. If this was the case, I’m sure the champion went well beyond what would be reasonable to hang-in and attempt to help the person they were championing. However, they also determined eventually that the person was not going to accept their support, and ultimately, they reluctantly walked away from the lack of making any progress.

Having a champion in one’s life is a gift, and not everyone is given this gift. A champion of another person does not always intentionally become one. Sometimes this person is surprised by the fact they took on this role. This may seem odd or counterintuitive to think about, but it does happen.

An example of this occurring, is when someone becomes the champion of another person due to their empathy for the person and the circumstances they are in. Potentially circumstances they could help to influence and help the person they are championing to improve. Not always with money, but often with attention, guidance and ultimately love, or a deep appreciation for making the circumstances better for the person they are the champion for.

If you are seeking to find a champion to have in your life either personally or professionally, perhaps both, here are some suggestions for seeking them out. However, you might not have to look that hard for them, as they are likely in your life right now, and you have not been focused on seeing them.

  • Most parents play a role in being our initial champion in our lives, but not always. If you have not embraced or felt that they have contributed to playing this role, it’s possible either you did not accept them attempting to do this for you, or they didn’t have the capacity to do this for a myriad of reasons.
  • Coaches, teachers and others who you have interacted with in your life who are in their roles to support having your best interest in mind, are naturally skilled at being one of your champions. Did you seek them out in the past to do this? If not, consider why you might not have.
  • Someone you think of as your mentor or advisor can also play the role of your champion. I personally have a number of people who are in each of these roles that I rely upon for helping to champion me when I need their support. My earliest memory of a mentor champion was my summer camp counselor who always encouraged me to do my best at everything I was attempting to do. Especially new things I was learning to do.
  • Consider aspects of your life either personally or professionally that you might need additional support. Is there someone you know who has experience in those areas that can help you? If so, are you comfortable enough with reaching out to them for their support?
  • Asking someone to be your champion typically happens more organically than being architected into your life. Your champion will more likely “adopt” you, and you may or may not be fully aware of when this happens.
  • Perhaps you are someone’s champion? Does the person know you are playing this role? It’s possible they do not, or at least not yet.
  • Being another person’s champion is an incredibly noble role to play. One that requires you to be unselfish, giving of your time, energy and experience, and always there for the person, particularly in some of the most difficult circumstances you will be helping them to navigate through.

My sincere hope is that you have a champion, are one, or will be one in someone else’s life one day. Thank you to all of the champions out there who are making a difference in other people’s lives. You are all unsung heroes, and may you continue to be one. Enjoy the experience of helping and supporting others, particularly during times they need you the most to be there for them.

Tags: #Mentoring #Champion #Leadership #Management #Business #Life #Helpingothers #Makingadifference #Coaches #Teachers #Cheerleader #Coach #SportsCoach #Parent #Parents #Boss #Teacher