Don’t give up.

I’ve lived long enough to experience multiple times in my life when I either gave up on something, or gave up on something at the perfectly wrong time. What I mean by the wrong time, is that I was on the verge of accomplishing something. It could have literally been within weeks. Sure, you could say I wasn’t focused or disciplined enough to follow through on a few of the projects I have in mind, but from experience, I eventually learned not to do this. 

One of the ways I learned not to give up was via having the right encouragement from others who were supporting me to pursue what I was going after. Even if the odds were clearly stacked against me to be successful. What I also learned is that I needed to figure out how to believe in myself. This factor alone would largely contribute to helping me to not give up, and to succeed.

Last week my tenacious persistence, and remaining laser focused on pursuing a project I had been working on becoming a reality for the last three years finally happened. What was even better, was that the project doubled in scope, and will allow me to work with exactly who I wanted to work with. This is despite numerous people saying what I was pursuing was unrealistic, or a pipe dream. I knew that neither of these things were true, and that the people who were saying this didn’t fully appreciate that I could make the projects come to life. 

However, in order to make the projects become a reality, I was also aware of the fact I needed to do something completely different than was expected. Leveraging my strategic, creative and communication abilities, I did this. More importantly, I can confidently say I am now on track to do even more things very few people believed was possible. Eventually I will be able to share with you more information about the projects I am referring to, but right now I am not in a position to be able to do so. 

The projects I am undertaking are literally going to pave the way, and provide new opportunities and a model for other people, and specifically for women to consider. I’m extremely excited about these facts, and the impact I will be able to have on the lives of people who would never have expected to be doing the type of project work with me they will be. 

Part of the reason the project opportunities have been granted to me, is because I have earned the right to pursue them via having just enough experience to do so. Although, more importantly, these opportunities were also offered to me because someone was willing to take a chance on me. They believe, like I believe in myself that I can have a major impact on the people I will be working with, and they are open-minded enough to say “let’s make this happen!”!

When I received the verbal commitment about these projects, I was overwhelmed with pride and happiness. I also knew that all of the extremely hard work of pursuing these projects I had put in over the last three years, was finally paying off. Now, the even harder work will begin to bring the projects to life, but knowing that I will be able to apply my expertise to the people I will be working with will be incredibly satisfying and rewarding for both me and them.  Who doesn’t love a win/win scenario?

So, if you are looking for some inspiration not to give up on something you have been either trying to pursue for a while, or potentially related to something you want to pursue, but have talked yourself out of doing so, here are some suggestions to help you get back on track.

·      Find at least one person who believes in what you are attempting to accomplish. They can either provide you with motivation, or serve as an accountability person to help you remain focused on your pursuit. 

·      If what you are attempting to do hasn’t been done before, think through, write down, and visualize what the end result of the project will look like. Refer to this information on a regular basis. Have it serve as a “script” for times when you are losing sight of your goal.

·      Take a page out of Simon Sinek’s play book, and clearly define your “why” you are pursuing what you are doing. It will make it much easier to accomplish what you are attempting to do when this simple question is clearly defined. 

·      Create a timeline for your project. Even if it might take years to accomplish what you are pursuing. Having this in place will help to serve as a way to get back on track, if this happens. 

·      Put a reminder in your calendar on a weekly basis to see where you are on your “timeline”, and be kind to yourself if you didn’t make any progress. There will be times when you might be at a standstill, or have obstacles in your way which are contributing to this. When this happens, think of them as prolonged “stop lights”. Eventually the light will turn green. 

·      If you have talked yourself out of pursuing something you want to do, but perhaps are afraid of doing, write down a list of the worst and best things that can happen when you accomplish your pursuit. Often the worst things will never happen, and imagine what it will be like when the best things do!

I’m a firm believer that everyone is capable and has the capacity of doing at least one, perhaps multiple incredible things in their lifetime. What will yours be? 

TAGS: #Motivation #Inspiration #Dontgiveup #Persistence #Business #Productivity #Empoweringothers #Believeinyourself #Makethingshappen #Pursueyourdreams #Goals #Pursueyourgoals #Leadership

People who support you versus people who take your words for themselves.

This topic is highly personal to me. As a matter of fact and context, I also wasn’t going to write about it. However, I was highly encouraged to do so based on a recent action taken by a person who either knowingly, but I hope innocently, took credit for developing content that wasn’t theirs. It was mine.

There is a saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery. Although when the imitation is blatantly occurring, there is generally an opportunity to acknowledge and reference the source. Either verbally or in writing. Doing this can make a world of difference. However, it doesn’t always address the core of this matter, which is how too often people are disrespectful of other people’s creations, and claiming the work as their own.

Given the fact I am someone who communicates professionally, I am sensitive and aware of making sure my communications are clear, and my own. This wasn’t something I had to learn in a Journalism course. To me, it is a fundamental principle of doing the right thing. That is, giving credit to others, where credit or acknowledgement is due. Simple enough right? Apparently not. So now what?

Bringing this topic to light is one way to address it, and there are a number of other ways to do so. I’ll share some options of how to pursue this with you. For now, let’s remain on the thread of why someone might not give or recognize another person they should credit for their words, or work.

One of the reasons a person might not give another person due credit for their creations could be because they are unaware of the fact they are doing so. The word plagiarize comes to mind in this case. If you are reading this story now, I am going to hope this was a concept that was shared with you when you were beginning to write in school. Citing or referencing other people’s work is easy enough to do, and is always the right thing to do.

Another reason people may not give credit to others is because they don’t think they need to. Or, that if they make some small adjustments to what they are claiming to be theirs, makes it entirely different. Thank goodness I’m not a patent lawyer, as I know I wouldn’t have the patience and stamina it must take to attempt to cover all of the bases to prevent someone’s idea from being copied. However, in reality, we see this happening all of the time, as there appears to be either unspoken or undocumented loopholes which are leveraged to essentially mimic another person or company’s creation.

Other people who don’t give credit to others for their creations, and who are knowingly doing so, are compromising their values. Either knowingly or not, the outcome isn’t an enviable way of operating, and is devoid of any leadership qualities. True leaders and ethical people give credit to others. No exceptions, and no grey areas. Yes, this may sound harsh, but the reality is that there is plenty of opportunities for people not to imitate or claim the work of others as their own. More importantly to consider, is the opportunity for everyone to work slightly harder to be creative, and to come up with their own version of expressing or doing something unique.

Praising and acknowledging others work and their accomplishments should be a common practice, and the finest leaders and sports coaches do this on a regular basis. In fact, they often go out of their way to make sure that others are recognized for their work, even rewarded for it when it is appropriate.

Let’s circle back to having people in your life, at work, or on your team that support you. Can you easily cite who they are? Think about them for a moment, and the impact they have had on you. For the sake of conversation, let’s focus on the people who have supported you in a positive way. What would your life or work, or team scenario be like if they weren’t in it before, or on a regular basis? Have you had an opportunity to acknowledge them for supporting you? If not, consider doing so soon.

Now, let’s consider some of the ways you or someone you know can increase and perhaps master the art of giving credit or acknowledgement to others on a regular basis. Here are some tips to help you to get started.

  • Start each day with looking for a way to genuinely pass along a compliment to someone. Either verbally, or even better, in writing, as this will have a longer lasting impact.
  • After hearing another person present information to you, let them know why you either liked, or have concerns about what was stated. You don’t always have to agree with someone to give them credit and support for their work.
  • If you realize you have unintentionally leveraged someone else’s idea, words or concept, course correct and let them know you have done so. Yes, it might be uncomfortable doing so, but wouldn’t you rather “tear off the bandage” now, versus having the person learn about you not crediting them at some point?
  • When you are in creation mode of any type, think twice about whether what you are producing could be construed as a blatant “rip-off” of someone else’s work.
  • Think about who you are supportive of. Now think about the ways you are supportive of them, and whether you could in fact be even more supportive with a few minor adjustments? What impact will this have if you do this?
  • Being aware of either your own, or someone else’s tendencies to either be or not be supportive is an awareness level that you want to strive towards. Consider the approaches you can factor in, and how you will increase your awareness on many levels.

The person who I discovered that is leveraging my work may or may not be aware of what they are doing. However, they will be hearing from me, or perhaps others who represent me to make them aware of the fact I am not a fan of what they are doing. Will this change their behavior? I can’t say whether it will, but I do hope they will learn a lesson, and perhaps gain an appreciation for acknowledging other people’s work, and not claiming it as their own.

TAGS: #Leadership #Plagiarizing #Business #Motivation #Personaldevelopment #Sportcoach #Team #Teams #Awareness #Selfawareness

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Embracing doubt and its benefits.

From my perspective, doubts are a bit like fear. There are different levels, and some are potentially motivating, although perhaps not in the healthiest sense. Given a few contributing factors, there appears to be a more pronounced focus on mental health, and I’m a big fan of this. Especially since doubt can be a contributing factor to a person’s mental health. 

This week I was personally experiencing a higher level of doubt than I am accustomed to. It was uncomfortable and truthfully, also distracting. For some reason, my mind kept going back to a place which was having me rethink some decisions I have made over the last several years. One of them happened to be about my business, and the direction I am taking it in. 

The strange thing which doesn’t contribute or make sense about the doubt I was experiencing about my business, was that several growth factors that most would say are favorable, made me feel just the opposite way. Although when I think back to another part of my business when I was changing the focus of my target market, I realized I felt the same way. This rearview mirror look and remembrance was helpful, as it helped to remind me that steady growth is not bad. Although in reality I prefer hyper growth, I know that I need to become more comfortable with a slower, more deliberate, and focused growth model. 

On a weekly basis, I am discussing doubt with others. The fascinating part for me is to see first-hand how others are handling their own challenges with this feeling. Sometimes the doubt they have makes them feel stuck and without options to make forward progress. Other people are suggesting the doubt is like a nagging pain. It’s just constantly looming in their mind, and there are days or hours during the day when it sometimes disappears, and other times when it follows them like a shadow. The third group of people who are experiencing doubt is the most interesting one. 

This third group is interesting because the doubt serves them well. One of the positive attributes is that it makes them think through and come up with alternatives to whatever situation causing this feeling, or thought process. This is a much healthier approach to handling doubt, and which can contribute to anxiety and in severe cases, depression. Certainly not everyone has doubt progressing to these levels, but I’m suggestive that it’s a good idea to be aware of the level that you, or perhaps another person is at. 

Many of the leaders, sports coaches and individuals associated with these people in these two groups, have similar challenges in terms of how they handle doubt. However, the common thread they share is that none of them took a course on how to best deal with this doubt feeling. Sure, some of these people may have watched a YouTube video, read a book, or talked to a professional about the topic of doubt, but there isn’t a certificate you can achieve to fully master eliminating having doubt as a potential feeling from your life. 

So, are there ways to consider how to embrace doubt and also derive benefits from this emotion or feeling? Yes, there are, and here are some for you to consider.

  • When you have doubt in your mind, it can serve as a great source for having an in-depth conversation with a trusted advisor. Ideally to talk through and determine if your doubt is valid, or without merit. In either scenario, you will feel much less doubt after talking through your doubt concerns with another person.
  • Very few people will tell you they have more than enough confidence. Given this, working on increasing your confidence in a variety of different ways, and to higher levels than you are currently at, and which can potentially reduce your mind from having you doubt yourself, more than you trust yourself, or have confidence to do so.
  • This is worth noting again, as having doubts can put us in a situation to either reconsider or come up with better or alternative ways to proceed when we have even a “shadow of a doubt” in our mind about something or someone. 
  • Doubt can serve to protect us in a variety of ways or situations. Think of doubt as perhaps an overactive “gut instinct”, which not everyone has fully embraced to trust more than they should. It takes practice to trust and see the results of trusting your gut instinct, so allow yourself to practice leveraging this to help minimize or potentially support the reality of the doubt you are experiencing. 
  • Some levels of doubt can in fact be motivating. Especially if they are lower to moderate levels, and you can override them, and accomplish or prove to yourself, or others that you can do whatever it is that you, or they are doubting you can achieve. 
  • Risk taking isn’t for everyone, but everyone will experience some level of it. Doubt and risk are in similar thought categories, and can be supportive of helping you to make clearer and better, more calculated decisions, which can factor in risk mitigation which will serve you and others well. 

Although it might not seem like embracing doubt will offer you or others benefits, I assure you that if you “test drive” some of the suggestions above, that you could begin to start seeing how a perceptively negative feeling can be turned into one that you might at some point look at differently. Potentially in a positive way too.

TAGS: #Embracingdoubt #Doubt #Howtodealwithdoubt #Fearanddoubt #Leadership #Leader #Sportscoach #Business #Motivation #Positivethinking #Management

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Tough decisions & conversations.

Rarely would the majority of people say that they look forward to making difficult decisions. Which are inevitably followed by either having a conversation or sending a written communication to someone. However, making tough decisions and then following through with them are a part of life, but how do we become better at doing this?

This morning I was faced with making one of these tough decisions. I didn’t sleep well last night because my mind was running through all of the different scenarios about how the decision would impact me and my family. I also thought about whether I was making an emotional decision, or one based on being rationale. The decision I was making slanted towards it being a highly emotional one, so I knew I needed to be honest with myself. Ultimately to not have my emotions win out in favor of my decision potentially negatively impacting me. Or worse, having me regret my decision.

My decision ended up siding with being practical, and what you might consider to be the more rationally based decision. However, I can’t tell you that I necessarily feel better having made the decision I made. Although, from a timing perspective, I know in my heart it is the right decision. One that will allow me to be more focused on all of the opportunities and life circumstances facing me right now. I’m sharing this scenario with you because I value being authentic, and vulnerable. Although at the same time it can be incredibly intimidating to do this.

If you know me well, you know I’m not the type of person who is easily influenced by others. In fact, just the opposite, as I tend to have a strong belief and conviction for trusting my gut when I’m making decisions. Although what was different about this decision, was that I truly needed to listen and factor in other people’s input, which I knew would give me the perspective that part of this emotional decision was going to potentially cloud. I’m glad I did, as I know that doing something uncomfortable is what will benefit me the next time I’m in this scenario.

When I think about another scenario involving making a tough decision and having an even more difficult conversation, I had one of these yesterday. Perhaps it was getting through successfully to the other side of that situation which allowed me to navigate my other challenging decision this morning. I think it did, and the point is that yesterday’s scenario was part of being the foundation I needed to help me this morning.

Of course, I realize everyone faces difficult decisions on a regular basis. The challenge is how to best prepare ourselves to make it to the other side of the scenario? Without regret, and in fact feeling good about how the situation played out.

As a leader in any situation (e.g., family, business, sports team), you are continuously having to make decisions which you will likely agree that are not all easy to make. I recall speaking with one sports coach leader who told me about a decision he had to make to suspend his best player from his team a few weeks prior to their team going into the final playoffs. Generally, everyone will agree that one player does not make a team, but one player can have a positive or negative impact on the team. In this case, the absence of this player was going to have a negative impact, because the flow of the team was going to be disrupted at a crucial time when they didn’t need this to happen.

The suspended player did come back to play with the team, but there were many lessons learned from this situation. Both by the player, team members and the coach. Ultimately the team did end up winning the championship, but I’m certain they will never forget how the decisions that the athlete and coach made impacted everyone.

In business, I have seen countless number of leaders have to make gut wrenching decisions about how do they balance growing the business, while having to make headcount reductions. Yes, this may seem counterintuitive, but it happens more often than people outside of hyper growth companies would be aware of. It’s certainly one of the strategies for growth, but the pressure it puts on the team isn’t always favorable or sustainable. However, the leader who has to ultimately make the decision that this is the best course of action, has to make this generally unpopular move at least once in their career.

Although making any decision can be difficult, the communication aspect might in fact be more challenging. Namely because most will agree that getting the communication part of the decision right is critical, and not always easy to do. There is a delicate balance of explaining why you made the decision, what the outcome will be, and how the impact of it is going to affect others. Sometimes difficult decisions can lead to much better scenarios, and generally they should, but we know this isn’t always the case.

Since no one is immune from having to make decisions, and we know that some decisions will be much more challenging than others, below are some suggestions to consider. Both in terms of how to contemplate and decide, and some ways to effectively communicate your decision.

  • I have always benefitted from having a pro and cons list. If I feel that I am going to be biased with one of the columns, I will ask someone who I know can be objective to help me with this exercise.
  • Although having a pro and con list might make it more evident which will be the better decision, when a decision is emotionally charged, it can still be challenging to decide. However, you will need to challenge yourself with being as neutral or reasonable as possible, with the outcome of which decision will serve you or others the best.
  • Keep in mind that there will eventually be relief for you when a decision is made. I can’t promise you that you will feel immediately good about the decision, but at some point, you will have enough hindsight to be able to determine that you made the best decision at that point in time.
  • When you are communicating your decision, it is best to be both authentic and brief.
  • Don’t be tempted to cast any blame or make excuses about why you made your decision. If you do, it will be apparent that you made your decision solely based on an emotional decision, and this isn’t generally going to be in your favor to do so. Of course, there are exceptions.
  • If you can take even a few moments or hours and to sit and contemplate your decision, do so. It will provide you with additional clarity in both the decision itself, and make it easier to express why you made your decision.

The next time you have to make a decision, whether it is an easy or difficult one, I hope the suggestions above will serve to guide and motivate you in feeling good about the method of doing so. I also promise you that although it might not ever be easy to make tough decisions, each and every one will contribute in a multitude of ways to the life you are living.

TAGS: #Decisions #Communication #Leadership #Sportscoach #Teams #Motivation #Toughdecisions #Authentic #Business #Sports

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One day in someone else’s shoes.

It’s easy to be critical of others, and far too many people resort to being more critical than they might realize. I have own personal theories on why this occurs, and I have very low tolerance for being around or involved with people who behave this way.

Sure, there are times when you might have some constructive feedback which could be given to the person you are mentioning, but when the conversation doesn’t proceed in the direction of this occurring, in my opinion, this is one of the many reasons our society has been socially challenged. Imagine for a moment if you could be a part of changing the trajectory of this occurring? You can be, and it starts with a commitment to wanting to do so.

I have never met a perfect person. I’m also far from being this way, but when I hear other people talking about others in a less than favorable way, I always wonder if they perhaps think they are someone better than another person? I also think about whether they have considered the factors contributing to the reasons the person they are critiquing might be in the situation they are in?

Chances are strong that people who critique others in a negative way, and who do not proactively do something to help the person they are commenting on, may oddly be unaware of what they are doing. I realize this may sound preposterous, but consider the fact they may not actually have the level of self-awareness they need to stop doing this. Let alone, realize they are not accomplishing anything constructive either.

So, are there some people who are naturally able to imagine what it would be like to be walking in someone else’s shoes? Actually, there are, and most of them are leaders. Not always leaders in the traditional sense of being one, but they possess many of the characteristics of strong ones. There has been a long-standing debate about whether leaders are born, or created? In my opinion, I believe it can be either, and potentially a blend of both.

Among many of the things we can learn from and be taught by leaders is their ability to understand and relate well to other people. At a base foundation, to appreciate another person at an entirely different level than others. Also, to see qualities in other people which they can polish and help them to bring forward. They accomplish this by authentically interacting with each person, and finding a common thread which allows them to initiate and foster a trusting relationship. Although this may sound overly simplistic and easy to accomplish, it’s not.  

The people who I would classify as leaders, and many of them are also sports coaches, approach interacting with people differently. Are they taught how to do this? Not really, as this trait is largely innate.

For those of you who are leaders, and even if you are not classified as one, traditionally or non-traditionally, and you have not yet mastered the art of authentically interacting well with others, there are some things you can do to mimic some of the characteristics of doing this. One of them is to be open-minded. Of course, saying and doing this are completely separate things, but this is one of the traits the majority of leaders share in common. Possessing this trait also allows a leader to be more approachable, and have others want to support them.

People who are open-minded will also often possess a heightened sense of empathy. Their empathy will provide them with having an appreciation for what another person is dealing with. This level of understanding naturally translates to having them be able to consider options and suggestions to help another person, versus being critical of them. Either verbally to another person, or in their own mind. When a person can literally imagine what it is like to “walk in another person’s shoes”, they have the ability to not only help another person, but considerably make a difference in that person’s life. Although perhaps not always in a dramatic way.

If you are presently someone who is aspiring to become a leader, or if you are a leader, yet may not have mastered the art of being able to know what it is like to “walk in someone else’s shoes”, I have some suggestions for you.

  • Ask yourself if you are truly willing to allow yourself to be open-minded?
  • If you hesitated with considering being open-minded, think about what is contributing to why you might struggle with being this way.
  • Even if you are open-minded, it is something which takes practice to continue to be this way. What are you doing to put yourself in a position to practice this?
  • This is a tough question, and even harder to truthfully answer. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how much do you like other people?
  • Consider how you feel when you help to improve others lives. What are you doing on a regular basis to contribute to accomplishing this?
  • Factor in thinking about why it is important for you to lead others. Craft a list of both the pros and cons of doing so.
  • Hint: If your pros and cons list has a longer list of cons, leadership may not be for you.
  • Genuine leaders put others before themselves, but also make sure they continue to invest in themselves (e.g., physically, mentally, potentially spiritually) to be the best leader they can be.
  • Many leaders and sports coaches have shared with me that doing what they do is similar to having it be a “calling”, and that they cannot imagine not being in their role. Do you feel this way?
  • Have you actually ever had the opportunity to “walk in someone else’s shoes?”

If you have had the chance to proverbially “walk in someone else’s shoes”, I’m sure it was a moment and experience in your life that dramatically changed your ability to lead others. Or, more importantly to be the type of person we could all benefit from having more of in our lives.

#Leadership #Leader #Leaders #Areleadersbornordeveloped #Sportscoach #Empathy #Beingauthentic #Success #Helpingothers #Makingadifference #Tipsonhowtolead #Openminded #Beingopenminded #Authenticity #Management

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