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

A bridge to confidence.

Overview: Imagine if confidence was sustainable. Or, if confidence could be used only in support of making good things happen. What would your life, profession and our world look like via this type of lens?

There are few things in life that we don’t have to work to maintain in some way, yet there are many other aspects of our life we need to continuously work on. Perhaps improve, but ultimately accept and come to terms with. One of these areas is confidence.

When I was researching this topic, I was interested in finding out at what age do we become aware of being confident? As I was reviewing information, I came across a wonderful sentence in the opening of the article I was reading. It referred to the link between a person’s early self-esteem and confidence. The sentence which stood out expressed that “Self-esteem is your child’s passport to a lifetime of mental health and social happiness.”. It went on to also say that self-esteem “is the foundation of a child’s well-being and the key to success as an adult.” Wow! That’s a powerful statement.

Now imagine if everyone had an idyllic childhood which laid out the perfect foundation for us to have our self-esteem and confidence built on? Some of us do, but many of us don’t. Even if our foundation started out strong, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be weakened by events which happen in our lives. The type of events that chip away at our foundation, and without addressing these chips or cracks, add up and end up eroding our confidence foundation.

For me personally, I recall a distinct moment in time that I understood what it meant to have my confidence take a hit. It happened in a second-grade math class when I was called up in front of the class to visually show how to get to the answer of a math problem. I was randomly asked by the teacher to do this. As I stood in front of the class unaware of how to accomplish what I was asked to do, or how to articulate this, I was overwhelmed by emotions. The first one was fear, followed by embarrassment and then ultimately an enormous crack in my confidence foundation.

Ultimately, I ended up in tears in front of the class. What was worse than this, was that I did not have any experience to draw from with how to contend with the way I was feeling. However, this experience stands out in my mind as the first time my emotions were tied to my confidence.

As I think back to that day many decades ago, I believe I realized I needed to find a way to build up confidence. To come up with a solution from having to experience those type of negative emotions again. Or, at least not frequently.

Although I realized early on I was never going to be a math genius, I was OK with that. However, finding out what I was good at became something I put myself on an early journey to figure out. Of course, being so young, I didn’t realize that I was intentionally trying to solve my own challenge to having experienced what it is like to have your confidence rocked. However, as I think back, this was essentially what I was doing, and have continued to do my entire life.

You could say my first experience with having my confidence being challenged turned out well. Perhaps you also might be under the impression that I had an easy road to working on building up my confidence? This couldn’t be further from the truth, as I continued to struggle in school. Why? Because no one realized I was dyslexic. In fact, I did not officially find out I was until I was tested in college at the age of 21. Yes, finding this out made many experiences in my life come into focus in terms of having a reason why I struggled academically, yet I still persevered to obtain strong grades sheerly based on tenaciously doing do.

So, do I think there is a bridge or a way for people to increase their confidence? At any point in their lives? Yes, I do, and it is something I have like most people who have figured out the confidence equation, work on all the time. I do this, because as I mentioned earlier, confidence can be fleeting, and it needs to be nurtured to maintain it.

To describe to others how to develop or increase their confidence, I can offer the following suggestions:

  • Find one thing you are good at. It doesn’t matter what it is. Focus on becoming exceptional at it, and draw from this like it is your confidence battery.
  • I’m certain you are good at more than one thing. However, do you know what your top talents are? When I found out what mine were, it was a liberating day, and allowed me to finally be able to focus on what I was good at, versus focusing on trying to fix or become better at things I did not have a talent for.
  • Visualize yourself in a really happy place or time in your life. Consider the factors which contributed to this experience. Can you repeat aspects of this?
  • Do you surround yourself with people who build you up, or tear you down? Or, perhaps it’s a mix. What if you could edit out some of the people who chip away at your confidence? I don’t subscribe to someone saying this is impossible. It might be harder to accomplish, but it will be worth achieving.
  • Seek out one person who can be your “confidence champion”. This person is someone who never lets you down, and always helps to build back up your confidence during those times you might be struggling on your own to do so.
  • Commit to embracing that you will need to continuously work on your confidence, as like a vine, it can wither without care.

Building your confidence bridge can actually be fun, although it will take hard work to accomplish. However, when we have confidence, it can positively impact our lives in numerous ways that will be worth putting in the effort to do so. One of them is being happier and healthier. Now go out and start building that bridge, and be proud of showing the world what it looks like.

TAGS: #Confidence #Personaldevelopment #Mentalhealth #Positivity #Benefitstobeingconfident #Howtobemoreconfident #Business #Motivation #Life #Profession #Success #Fear #Dyslexic #Dyslexia #Business #Leadership #Communication #Management #Strategy #Success #Teams #Motivation

Authentic teams. Is yours?

Whether you are currently leading or on a team now, many of you will have a strong opinion about how you would classify your team with a one-word adjective. If authentic isn’t the first one that comes to mind, don’t worry. You are not alone. However, being on an authentic team can be one of the best experiences you can have. Whether it is a sports or workplace team.

I’m currently working on a research project which involves speaking to leaders of teams. What they have in common is that they are all leaders of sports teams. Different types of sports teams, led by women and men, and from all over the United States. The experience of these coaches ranges from a few years to multiple decades, and from the professional sports level to the high school level.

My research project is in the process of wrapping up, and I have not officially begun to analyze the data, but one thing about all of these teams is certain. The leaders are all authentic leaders, and those being led by them are exceptionally fortunate.

Having worked in the corporate world for decades, I am fascinated by the parallel comparisons of the elements included in what consists of winning sports teams, and high-performance corporate teams. From personal observational experience, two of the factors in common these different types of teams have is how the leader thinks about and manages their team.

When I think back to the business leaders I worked for, admired or interacted with, the word authentic person would be the adjective I would use to describe them. Nothing about them was fake. They were also all extremely humble, many of them were self-deprecating, and all of them viewed every member on their team as being incredibly valuable. You also felt this in their presence, and in how they demonstrated their leadership traits.

More importantly, the leaders of both sports and business teams always put the needs of their team first. What else separates these authentic leaders from everyone else? Plenty. Here are some examples to be on the lookout for to help you identify whether you, or the person who leads you falls into this category.

  • They continually invest in their management and leadership knowledge.
  • They are not concerned about admitting they may be wrong about a decision.
  • They are the ones to accept the blame and not cast it on others when something goes wrong.
  • Investing their knowledge in others is paramount to why they lead others, with the intent of helping them to get to whatever the next level of achievement or performance is.
  • Sharing their knowledge with other leaders or coaches is something they regularly do. They are not fearful of imparting their knowledge on others who would perceivably be their competition, because they are confident in their own abilities, as well as the teams they lead.
  • These leaders literally glow when they talk about the teams they lead. Their pride in the people they are responsible for is contagious, and makes you want to be on any team they lead.
  • Another attribute all of these authentic leaders have in common, is their true passion for the work they are doing. Almost to the point of it being what some would refer to as a “calling”.
  • If you were to ask these leaders would they consider doing something else professionally, the majority of them will tell you they have not considered doing anything else. This is also quite evident based on the lengthy tenure of some of the sports coaches interviewed in the research project I am leading.
  • The majority of the leaders will also tell you they were heavily influenced by one or two people to become a leader themselves.
  • All of the leaders I have ever spoken to, including the ones in the sports coach research project noted that they pursued their path because it provided them with a way of giving back to others what they had experienced under the leader who influenced them.

Although the sports coach research project is still underway, it will be wrapping up soon. At least the first phase of it. I can’t wait to dive in and begin analyzing the results of the findings from the interviews that were conducted. One thing I can assure you about what I will find is that both sports coaches and leaders in business will be able to benefit from the research findings. More importantly, so will the tens of thousands of people who are led by these leaders once the research data becomes available.

TAGS: #Business #Leadership #Authenticity #Beingauthentic #Characteristicsofauthenticleaders #Authenticteams #Authenticleader #SportsTeams #SportsCoaches #Coaches #BusinessLeaders #WhatGreatLeadersHaveInCommon #Management B252

What’s your growth plan?

For some people, the thought of putting a growth plan in place might seem difficult to do. Conversely, for others, they couldn’t imagine not having one. Especially one that may be refined at the beginning of a new year. Do you fall into one of these categories or possibly in-between?

Although Stephen Covey may not be known as a self-growth champion, he is certainly well revered for helping millions of people become organized and focused on creating daily or longer-term actions to be focused on. Sure, you could potentially consider action plans to be associated with a growth plan, but my take on a growth plan is slightly different.

When I think about crafting a growth plan for myself, I consider a number of different factors prior to launching into this project. One of them is to factor in what my values are. Typically, I choose around five values to weave into my growth plan. The second thing I do is to think about what I want to accomplish in the year ahead. I also break down this list into smaller time increments so that I am able to see steady progress.

As I am contemplating the items I want to include in my growth plan, I will also think about whether my goals are purely self-serving, or if in fact I have some which will positively impact others. Having goals which will impact others is important to me, as it supports my value of giving back to others. It also personally supports another goal I had not considered until about three years ago when I was experiencing suicidal level pain from a back injury. Which I was fortunate enough to have back surgery to address this challenge. The goal I am referring to is to craft something tangible that I can leave behind as my legacy one day. I’m referring to my content that I develop and share with others.

For the last several years I have published one book a year, and as of December, I began writing my sixth book in the Wisdom Whisperer series. When Covid came into our lives in the first quarter of 2020, it impacted my plans to launch and promote my second book called Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer. Sure, I could have altered my plans to promote my book differently, but instead I chose to hold back and re-launch my book in 2021.

Publishing one book per year is one of my goals which is both something I personally want to achieve as part of my growth plan. It is also a way for me to give back, and impact others by sharing my experience with them via my writing. For those of you who prefer audio or video, I’ve got you covered in my plans too, as I’m working on an audio recording of my first book this year. Prefer watching video? I’ll be back in the TV recording studio to record my 26th Murf & E Unfiltered show this month.

You might be surprised to know that one of my growth plan goals this year is to leverage my TV content, as I have admittedly not done a good job with promoting it. However, about a dozen of my shows are available via my YouTube channel in case you want to check some of them out.

Now that I have shared a few of the steps I factor into developing my own growth plan, below are some other ways you can approach developing your own, as I am a firm believer everyone should have one.

  • Brainstorming what your growth plan will look like can be one of the first steps in your process for assembling one. You can informally do this alone, or with someone who you trust to support making this happen.
  • The statement “talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words” both make sense, as it is easy to verbally express your plans and goals. However, stating them out loud doesn’t always support committing to them, unless of course you recorded them, and have proof you said them.
  • It is a more supportive approach to write your growth plans down. You choose whether you prefer paper or a digital format. Either is fine. The point is to have physical evidence of your commitment to your growth plan.
  • Once you have determined what you want to accomplish as part of your growth plan, apply a timeline to each of the elements. As I mentioned previously, you might want to break down into smaller increments some of the growth plans you have. This can make it easier to achieve them, and see your steady progress.
  • Consider whether your growth plans are in support of your values. If they are not, you will be conflicted with wanting to pursue them. Don’t self-sabotage your ability to achieve your plans because of this misalignment. 
  • If you have never put a growth plan in place, I applaud you for doing so the first time. Once you have put one in place, you will find it much easier the next time to do so.
  • Some growth plans will need to be modified. This is perfectly acceptable. However, I suggest you put careful thought into why you need to modify your plan, and consider putting more structured thinking into how to achieve the goal with your modified plan.

By crafting a growth plan, you will set yourself on a path to achieve more than you would have accomplished without this plan in place. There is tremendous satisfaction we can experience when we are at various points during the year, and look back on what aspects of our growth plan we have achieved. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be achievement oriented, I guarantee you will want to at a minimum attempt to put your annual growth plan in place.  You have nothing to lose by doing this, and so much to gain. Good luck!

Tags: #Goals #Business #Success #Growthplans #Growthplanning #Self-achievement #Leadership #Motivation #Goals #Goalplanning #Achievement #Achievinggoals #Sales #Marketing #Teams

Values. Can you name yours?

Although we all have them, our values may not be something we think about on a regular basis. In fact, if I were to ask you to list what your values were right now, could you do so without hesitation?

When we are placed into the position of thinking about and then naming our values, I have seen some people be able to do this within minutes, while others have taken in excess of over an hour to convey them to me. I’m not exaggerating the timeline on this, and I was impressed by both the speed at which someone could tell me their values, as well as the care in which people took to deliberate on what they are.

I think of values as providing us with guidelines on how we conduct ourselves, make decisions and prioritize how we allocate our resources (e.g., time, attention) based on having clearly defined ones. Having them can simplify our lives, and shouldn’t cause conflict, but sometimes they do. Particularly when your values are not in alignment with others.

When our values are misaligned with those we interact with (e.g., family, work, team), it can cause high levels of stress. Conversely, it can also quickly lead to deciding about how to reduce or eliminate the stress by providing you with a clear path forward when you are not willing to compromise your values. Yes, the outcome of your decision may not be in your favor, but there are circumstances where a middle ground of compromise may not present itself.

As I think about the people in my life who have clearly stated, or I could guess what their values are based on their actions, I wonder if they realize how they are broadcasting them? Of course, the values they have are ones I admire. Otherwise I would not be associating with them, and I have had to disconnect from some people in my life whose values were not in alignment with my own, and I guarantee you have done the same.

One of my friends wrote about a micromanager boss he had. Upon reading about one interaction he had with this boss, it brought back a PTSD flashback to several of these types of bosses I have unfortunately had. In my opinion, there is no room for this type of management style.  It is incredibly harmful to both the individual experiencing it, and the effects can cascade beyond the person who is being impacted. What type of value would be represented by someone with micromanagement characteristics? Not one I am supportive of, and due to their actions, and my own values, I easily made the decision to part ways with the bosses who behaved this way.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to consider what your values are, I encourage you to do so. In fact, there are a number of suggestions I have to offer you to make going through this exercise well worth your time. Here they are:

  • Are there consequences to the type of values you have? If there are, consider how you will negotiate a forward path, or whether your values will continue to provide you with challenges that you are willing to confront and accept the outcome from.
  • Commit to writing down what your values are. Your list does not have to be exhaustive, but it should have between 3-10 values noted.
  • If you know what your values are, have they changed over time, or have they remained the same. If they have changed, what were the circumstances which caused them to change? Honestly consider whether your values were enhanced or degraded?
  • Most people strive to simplify their lives, even if it is only in some areas of it. Knowing what your values are will help you to achieve this.
  • No one needs to know what your values are. However, I have found that when I have shared mine with others, they are honored with the fact I did so, and all of them either reciprocated with what theirs were, or said they were inspired to think about being able to express theirs with ease.
  • Your values can be informally woven into conversations. For instance, expressing your values can serve you well in situations where you need to be able to articulate information about yourself when the questions or conversation you are having does not offer direct questions which would allow you to express this information.
  • Consider how expressing your values in an interview might work in your favor. If they don’t, you will be fortunate to learn this early on that you will be out of synch with your potential boss and company.
  • In personal scenarios, you can learn a lot about a person by asking them questions that will have them reveal their values. You can either ask them directly what their values are, or indirectly via other questions that will reveal this information (e.g., What are your thoughts on XYZ?).

Knowing what your values are can be a source of strength, and provide a clear path to helping you to make decisions of various levels of importance. You should also be proud of your values. If you are not proud of them, that’s a whole other topic which I’ll write about another time.

TAGS: #Business #Teams #Success #Values #DecisionMaking #ConsequencesofValues #Micromanagement #Management