Age-nostic. Looking at your age differently, and why you should.

I have always subscribed to the saying “age is just a number”. In fact, I have thought about this more recently, as I reminded myself about two things. Don’t let my age define or limit me, and fully leverage the fact I have life experience to share with others.

During a conversation I was having this week with a friend, they were noting that they were regretful about waiting so long to do a project they are currently working on. For context, it happens to be an artistic type of project. I asked them why they waited to do the project until now, and it turns out they simply were not ready to take the project on before. Although from their perspective, their timing on completing the project isn’t ideal for them, the fact they are working on and will complete it is actually what matters.

This person was hyper focused on their age as being the reason they were regretful of not having completed the project before. I asked them if this project brought energy and joy into their life? I also asked them if they were proud of what they were working on? They confirmed that this project did bring them energy, joy and pride, and most importantly to them, it would provide them with a tangible legacy.

As I was thinking about both my age, and the person I referenced, I realized that I have a different approach to how I see the world. Not one that is based on accomplishing certain milestones at a particular age or decade, but one that is based on doing things when you are ready to do them, and have the confidence to accomplish them. This thinking has given me great personal comfort, as the type of professional work I am pursuing is taking me into unchartered territories and waters. Both of which I’m extremely excited about pursuing.

Will going forward into the unchartered waters and without any role models to look towards be easy? Of course not, but I am confident and know I have what it takes to be the pioneer and role model for others. This isn’t a description I might have embraced a decade ago, but as I have shed self-imposed restrictions which would have limited my thinking to pursue what I am going to be doing, it’s an incredibly freeing feeling!

One of the things I also realized from the conversation I was having this week with my friend, was that by placing self-imposed, or societal restrictions on ourselves in terms of when it is the “right time” to do or accomplish something made zero sense. That’s when the concept of wrapping my brain around being ageless, or what I referred to as being agenostic came about. My definition of agenostic is that you do not subscribe to defining yourself by your chronological age, and that you act and do things that provide your mind with motivation based on not having imposed limitations on what and when you can accomplish them. 

My entire life people have always told me I had a certain positive energy and vibe that was refreshing, and my kids always joke with me that they never think of me as being a particular age.  I attribute this mainly to the fact my outlook on life is so positive and filled with enthusiasm. This is also despite many of the obstacles I have encountered. In fact, I do my best to look at obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow from, which I believe helps to contribute to my agenostic approach to life.

Is being agenostic for everyone? It can be, but, it’s really a mindset you decide to embrace. I fully embrace it, because of the benefits I find it offers me on a daily basis, and which fuels my desire to continue to think this way.

Since by nature I am highly motivated to help others, and have a heightened sense of empathy for those who need additional support in their life, I also need to take the time to remain focused on aspects which positively contribute to my agenostic thinking. So, I do have to be mindful of actions which I could take that would not contribute to supporting how I think. This includes pruning people from my personal and professional circles who are not supportive. It also includes making sure I have a strong balance in my life, and am focused on including doing things that support good health and well-being.

I have been privileged to work and be engaged with some of the most inspirational people in our society. All of these people have one thing in common, and it is that they do not allow others to put restrictions on what they are capable of accomplishing. In fact, when people place restrictions on them, they are more inclined to go well beyond and accomplish far greater things in these scenarios.

Some would say these people are highly achievement or competitively oriented, and they may be, but it’s actually more than this. It comes down to the fact they also live their life without self-imposed limiting accomplishment or experience restrictions.

If you are a leader, sports coach, trusted advisor or someone who simply wants to subscribe to benefitting from adopting an agenostic approach, here are some suggestions to help you to do so.

  • Make a list of all of the reasons or excuses you can come up with about why you can’t do or accomplish something.
  • For every item on your list, come up with at least one solution that could eliminate your reasons or excuses for not being able to accomplish something.
  • If there are reasons or excuses on your list that you cannot come up with a solution for, who could you share them with that could help you to find a solution?
  • Are you ready to free yourself from self-imposed age restrictions? What will it take for you to confidently say yes to this?
  • Besides excuses and reasons, come up with another list of how you imagine you will feel, and what your life will be like when age related restrictions are eliminated.
  • Create a list of the things you will be accomplishing, looking forward to doing and that will be bringing both energy, joy and greater satisfaction into your life when you begin experiencing doing things you restricted yourself from doing before.   
  • Visualize how you will feel, and where you will be mentally and physically when you consider adopting the concept of being agenostic.

If and when you decide to adopt the concept of embracing being age-nostic, let me know, as I’ll be looking forward to speaking with you, and hearing about all of the exciting things you have to look forward to, and that you are going to be doing in your life!

#Business #Leadership #Motivation #Inspiration #Satisfaction #Life #Balance #Lifebalance #Visualization #Eliminateagerestrictions #Noexcuses #Nolimits #Nolimitations #Success #Happiness #Notdefinedbyage #Notdefinedbyyourage #GenX #GenY #GenZ #Millennials #Boomers #SportsCoach #Leader #TrustedAdvisor

Self-awareness. Have you mastered this?

Let me begin by asking you a question. Would you say that you are fascinating or frustrating to others? Perhaps you are someplace in-between? Or, maybe you don’t know. The good news is that the majority of people are on a journey to discovering their self-awareness. Starting with who they are, and then eventually reaching a point when they can appreciate how others perceive them.

Beginning to focus on who you are may seem like an easy task. The challenge is that it is easier to view others and how they come across via their self-awareness than it is our own. Why? Mainly because we don’t have someone video recording our every move, and then sitting down to do a play by play analysis of how we interacted with others. If we did, would this help us? Perhaps to some degree, but developing our self-awareness can take decades to master.

The other factor about our self-awareness is that with more life experience, it can change how we present ourselves to others, and how others perceive us. We might not appreciate the gradual development of our journey, but at some point, we will realize we have made progress.

Are there some people who naturally have more self-awareness than others, and did they have this skill at an early age? Yes, but they are in the minority. One of the factors to those whose awareness level is higher than others early on, is that they embrace early on who they are. For example, perhaps they are a really outgoing person, and yet, they have been told by some people that they are too friendly. Do these people who hear this information dial down their friendly meter? They might, but they will look to monitor this trait as part of their awareness and apply it more appropriately and situationally.

Remaining on the thread of someone who is very friendly and who is aware of the fact they can dial up and down their friendliness level, how do they know which way the dial should be turned? One of the ways they do this is to read the body language of the person or group they are in, and to determine based on the clues that are being given out. Being able to read others body language is a part of how a person can master their self-awareness, but it’s not the only element.

There is also a component that self-aware people have mastered that allows them to more accurately perceive the energy level of people they are engaging with. This is a much more difficult ability to master, and it is even more difficult to explain, as it is a feeling you get, versus something you can see. For instance, consider a time when you came across someone you work with, or are leading, and you sensed they were not having a good day. In this situation, let’s suppose their body language was not giving off any clues about how they were feeling, but you could get a sense by trusting your gut instinct that something was wrong. Perhaps you even felt your own body tighten up and begin to feel the stress they were emanating?

A third element associated with mastering self-awareness is paying attention and actually listening to what the person you are talking to is saying, but more importantly, what they are not telling you. When you engage with someone you know well, and you would normally have a free-flowing conversation with them. Have you ever noticed when in conversation with them, that they are not talking to you the way they customarily do? In this situation, being aware of this can help both you, and them by asking them questions relating to whether there is something they want to talk to you about, but are hesitating to do so.

For people who have not mastered their self-awareness yet, or who are just beginning their journey of doing so, the best thing they can do is to be open to understanding and learning how to master this skill. Although it is ideal to master this skill early on in our lives, the reality is that most people do not do so until their 30’s, and even into their 40’s and 50’s. Yes, this might seem improbable, but I can tell you that from my professional experience, I see this happening on a regular basis.

Is it a bad thing that so many people are lacking in their self-awareness? No, because as long as someone is willing to work on their self-awareness and increasing their level, this is an extremely positive attribute. It is also an indication they will be in a much better place socially, personally and professionally when they do. Especially if they are a parent, leader, mentor or sports coach or someone who is regularly engaging with other people in a teaching manner.

So, are there ways that people can begin mastering their self-awareness? You bet there are, and below are some suggestions to put you or someone you know in the direction of doing so.

  • How would you rate your own level of self-awareness on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest level? If you are at a level 3, ideally being at a 4-5 is where you want to be, and you can get there with practice.
  • Who would you rate in your professional or personal circles as someone who is at a level 5 for self-awareness?
  • Are any of the people you have rated a 5 people you could ask to help you with increasing your own level of self-awareness?
  • Can you think of a time recently when you felt your self-awareness level was higher than it typically is? What were the circumstances in this situation which made you feel like you had a higher level? Could you take elements from that situation and apply it to other scenarios to help yourself?
  • Have you ever had an opportunity to take an assessment to learn more about yourself? There are many assessments to choose from, and I’m not going to bias you on which one to select, but you can reach out to me if you want my opinion.
  • Be honest with yourself. Have you ever considered that you might not be that self-aware? If so, does it matter to you whether you increase your level, or are you satisfied with who you are, and where you are at in your life?

If you are not satisfied with your level of self-awareness, you have taken the first step to improve it by admitting this to yourself. Your investment in your self-awareness journey will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it, and I can assure you of this, as I see what happens on a daily basis to the people who are making this investment in themselves.

TAGS: #SelfAwareness #Awareness #Leadership #Leader #Coach #SportsCoach #Mentor #Parent #Business #ProfessionalAwareness #PersonalAwareness #MasteringSelfAwareness

Why do you make fake plans?

Can you think of a time recently that you were engaged in a conversation with someone you know, and how the topic of planning to do something came up? When this happened, you likely talked about following through and making these plans happen, but what is the percentage of time this actually happened?

Sure, most people have good intentions of following through with the plans they verbally commit to, but I’m going to suggest that these plans are fake. They are fake because if they were real, and the person really wanted to have the plans materialize, they would have acted to see them through. Although perhaps not, as maybe they didn’t follow through with the plans they talked about for a number of different reasons.

The first reason is perhaps they forgot about the conversation, or were only going along in the spirit of making the other person feel good about having another time when they would be getting together to do something. Or, is it possible that people are just lazy, and lack the diligence, energy and commitment it takes to follow through? I suspect the reason is oriented more around this possibility.

Can you think of a time when you made plans with someone, and you genuinely intended to have these plans occur, but they never did? How many times would you say this happens? My estimate of this happening is potentially higher as a percentage than I’m willing to state, but it’s not a favorable number. Although I wish it was. What would your percentage estimate be?

As I was considering some of the other reasons people in general make fake plans, and these occur both in business and in our personal lives, I was discouraged by this phenomenon. Namely because when I personally consider either these fake plans that I have tried to follow up on, how difficult it can be to get people to commit to the reality of them happening. Yes, people are busy, but it’s also a matter of being true to your word. Something that is also woven into this issue of fake planning.

Depending on your lens of looking at the problem of people making fake plans, in my experience, I have both been witness to, and subjected to other people’s verbal commitments, which were often disappointingly not committed to.  This non-committal situation is a foundational problem which has been supporting the issue with fake planning for a long time. The good news is that this problem can be addressed. Taking it a step further, I have personally acted on in my own life to prune fake planning type of people out of my life both personally and professionally.

If I were to ask you right now how many fake plans have you made lately, or let’s refer to them as opportunistic plans that have not occurred yet, would you be in the percentage category of people who are making fake plans with others? Perhaps on a regular basis. As you stop to pause to think about this, consider why you have been doing this. Have or will there be repercussions of not following through on plans you verbally committed to? Do you care, or do you accept this as it’s just that way life goes?

I chose a long time ago to not accept associating with people who are fake planners, and when I meet someone new, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt to prove to me that they don’t fall into this category. When they don’t, I’m pleasantly surprised, and always happy to find someone who has a similar conviction of being true to their word.

When spoken plans are followed through with, they tend to enrich our lives. If you are someone who is a fake planner, or perhaps know someone who is, and are interested in how to stop doing this, below are some suggestions for you or them to consider.

  • Yes, this is going to be painfully obvious, but if you make plans with someone today, follow through today on making those plans happen.
  • Consider why you are making fake plans with others. Do you have valid reasons for doing so, and are you doing this more often than not?
  • What would happen in your life if you actually followed through and made all of the fake plans you talked about occur?
  • Have you noticed that others fall into this category? The first step to breaking a habit or to change the course of action, is to acknowledge you are doing it.
  • Are you aware of some people who are amazing at following through with plans you spoke about? Could you attempt to try out some of their methods and follow through with plans like they do?
  • What if you surrounded yourself with more people who are true to their word, and follow through with what they say they are going to do?
  • Imagine how much more enriched your personal and professional life will be by being able to actually looking forward to plans that will occur?
  • Do you want to be a role model for others? Following through and not being labeled a “fake planner” is a great place to start.

What are you waiting for?

I find myself frequently asking people the question “What do you want to do with your career?” When I ask this question, I am often surprised by their response, as many of them either don’t know, or have not considered thinking about their options in awhile. The next question I typically ask them is “What are you waiting for to determine what you want to do with your career going forward?”

The second question isn’t generally a question they have been asked, or at not least recently, so I often feel like I catch people off guard when I ask this question. However, for context, I ask these questions when I hear people making declarative statements about not being happy or fulfilled with the work they are doing, or the career they have chosen to pursue.

When someone shares with me their dissatisfaction with their current career, I will then ask them if they were the one who decided to pursue this career, or if they were advised to do so. More often than not, the response to this question is that someone suggested they should pursue the career they are in. Of course, the person or people who recommended a career path generally had good intentions with their advice, but not always. For example, I am amazed by how many times I have heard a sales professional tell me they feel stuck and unfulfilled in their role. When I ask them why they feel this way, the response is typically that someone told them they should go into sales to make lots of money.

Sure, making lots of money isn’t a terrible scenario to be in, but what if you are miserable in this role? Feel trapped in it? Or worse, that you don’t feel like you have any alternative options? The good news is that we always have alternative solutions, and that we might simply need to be a bit more creative with thinking about what they are.

A common thread I find in speaking with people who are in sales roles, is not that they are unhappy with their career, it is that they took the “easy route”. Or, essentially allowed someone else to influence what their career path would look like. Sometimes it feels easier to do this, but in the long run, not everyone is going to be highly satisfied in a sales role, or fill-in-the blank for whatever role you are in and feel this way too.

Thinking about what you like to do, are good at, and can make a reasonable living doing is quite the tri-fetor equation to get right. We also know many people who don’t get this right. Perhaps not the first time, but in the last few decades it has been more common for people to have multiple career types. So, if the first career you choose isn’t the right match for you, you can take solace in knowing you are in good company with many others who have already been in your situation, and likely have advice for you. However, if they don’t, I’ve got you covered and will share some options for you to consider.

Now, let’s get back to reconsidering what you are waiting for if you are not satisfied with the current occupation you are in. If someone hasn’t asked you this question, I will. “What are you waiting for to make the change to be focused on being in a career you would be more satisfied with?” If you are waiting for someone to give you permission; which you don’t need, but if it’s helpful, I’m giving you permission to begin exploring options to do something different than the career you are currently in.

What does exploring options involve? It could be as simple as thinking about what activities or hobbies do you have that bring you joy, or that you are naturally good at? When you think back to when you were less than 10 years old, what did you find held your attention? Considering these few questions can help to provide you with valuable insight into the core essence of things in your life you may not have considered, and that can have a positive influence on your path forward direction.

For me personally, I think back to when I was making my decision to choose a major in college. I chose my major based on the fact it was going to be something that would hold my interest, and also that it was a practical choice, as I could always find employment, and a variety of options in terms of how I would use my skills. My major was focused on communication, and my minor was focused on psychology, and I found that the combination makes a great deal of sense to me. Fast forward to today, and I am still actively leveraging both of these areas that I studied decades ago, and they continue to hold my attention as my career has changed over time.

Whether you are early on, or well into your current career, I want to re-emphasize that you always have options to change your career. Below are some suggestions to consider to help you to become more comfortable with making the shift towards this becoming a reality, if this is something you are committed to doing.

  • Do you know what your top abilities are? If not, there a many options out there to explore to help you to determine what they are. I have a few favorites, but I’m not going to bias your decision.
  • If you had a day to do exactly what you wanted to do every minute of that day, what would you be doing? There should be some clues provided to you by thinking about this, in terms of having a better understanding of what holds your attention. Perhaps this attention could be directed towards a different career?
  • Ask 5-10 people in your personal and professional network to tell you what they see and appreciate your talents and abilities are. Is there a pattern in the responses you are seeing?
  • When you were younger, was there a profession you always told people I want to be “x” when I grow up? Surprisingly, you may have been more aware of what you wanted to do when you were quite young. Sometimes we lose our ability to perceive ourselves well as we become older, as this information is either clouded or dismissed if your talents are not pursued or developed past an initial level of competence.
  • Have you always admired someone who seems to have an ideal career or professional expertise that is well aligned with their talents?
  • Could you see yourself having that kind of alignment with your talents either in that career or a different one?
  • The expression “the grass is always greener” may not always be true. There are people who are exceptionally happy in their career. If you know some people who fall into this group, consider asking them how they determined their career would make them so happy or satisfied?

If you have made it to this point in my article, I hope I have provided you with some inspiration to do something different about the career you are in, and perhaps unsatisfied with.  You don’t have to be in this situation, but only you can decide if you are going to do something about this. Or, if you are going to continue to wallow in your lack of contentment. Which decision will you make?

TAGS: #Business #Careerdevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Career #Leadership #Sales #Salesprofessionals #Salesprofessional #Strategy #Salespro #Salesleader #Teams #Careeradvice #Careeroptions #HRprofessional #Humanresources #HR

Why are you on that team?

Yesterday I was watching a live sporting event, and I was intrigued by what I was anticipating on seeing. The reason I was intrigued had to do with the fact I have an allegiance to both teams, and because one of the teams isn’t performing at a level they could be. Yes, I’m being polite, but as I was watching the underperforming team, I was looking for certain clues that would provide me with insight about why their performance results were disappointing.

The thing that I really like about watching and working with sports teams is that no one ever shows up on game day and announces that they can’t wait to lose today! This is probably the single element that is highly appealing to working with a sports team versus a corporate team, as you know exactly what the motivation of each team member is. Yes, corporate teams can tell you individually and collectively that they want to be successful, but there are many elements which can impede this and their ability to make this happen.

The corporate team leader is also included in the equation of doing their best to bring out top results in their team, but there is something they lack, and which sports teams’ leaders have an advantage over them. What is it? It is a singular focus during their performance on “game day” that everyone has an opportunity to rally to bring their “A” game. Sure, there are opportunities for corporate teams to rally to do this too, but not nearly as many, and realistically they are not motivated the same way sports teams are.

As I was watching the two teams compete yesterday, I took notes on what I was seeing both teams and their coaches exhibit as behaviors which contributed to what was happening on the field. Was there a difference between the two teams? There absolutely was. Was it obvious? Let’s just say there were glimpses of what was obvious, and if you were not paying attention, you might have missed what was contributing to each teams unmeasured performance.

However, there were moments during the game performance when you could clearly see which team had an advantage over the team. I’m stating this with the thinking that if you didn’t know the team’s seasonal win/loss performance, you could see via my lens which team was going to win.  The funny part, was that what I was observing had nothing to do with their sport ability. It had to do with what I was observing from a leadership and team dynamics perspective.

In observing the team that has struggled to win this season, I began to wonder about what it must feel like for the team members to be on that team. Or, what challenges the coaches must be having in trying to recruit players to a team whose performance over the last two to three years has been dismal at best. Would I want to be on that team? Apparently, there are some athletes that do, or they are locked into a contract that makes it difficult for them to consider other options. Although we know that we always have options, and sometimes we just need to look harder to uncover them.

So, in thinking about why someone would lead or remain on a sports or corporate team that has disappointing performance metrics, I started thinking about the reasons they would do this. Perhaps they are eternal optimists and think their situation will turn around soon? Possibly they are comfortable with their scenario, even though from the outside it looks dreadful to observers. Or, maybe they have given up hope, and are just trying to get through a commitment they have made to being on that team, and because they fundamentally really like being with their teammates. Worse case, is that they don’t think they deserve to lead or to be on a better team.

In any of these potential scenarios, it’s entirely possible all of these could be different. However, the difference will have to be a collective difference that the majority of the team, or that the leader will need to rally the team to consider making changes to improve. Let’s face it, situations can only seriously change if people want them to, and are proactive about doing so. Especially since a team is made up of more than one person.

If you are leading or on a team whose performance isn’t what you want or expect it to be, there are some actions you can take to turn your situation around, and I have included some suggestions for you below to consider applying.

  • Some people are inspired by measuring their performance against others, for those individuals, mutually develop metrics they can realistically reach, so that they have some “small wins” to build off of.
  • For those individuals on your team who are not motivated by others performance, you will need to be more creative to determine what inspires them. Don’t be surprised by what they tell you that motivates them, and be sure to apply what you hear and tie it into performance metrics they can relate to.
  • Does your team truly know and appreciate each other? What have you done to develop your team in these areas?
  • As a leader, does your team know that you sincerely care about them succeeding? Do you tell or demonstrate this appropriately and on a consistent basis?
  • How is your attitude? If you are on an underperforming team, it’s likely not the best. What is something you could do every day to improve your attitude? A positive attitude can be contagious, and this is something you should be spreading.
  • Are you doing anything fun with your team that is unrelated to the sport or work you are doing? We are all kids at heart, and the majority of us still delight in doing fun activities from time to time. They don’t have to be expensive activities, you just need to leverage your creativity to accomplish this.
  • As a leader or individual team member, have you had any conversations with others on your team about how you would like the team to be better? Not just conversations that are complaint oriented, but ones that are infused with potential solutions.

With over several decades of experience, I have seen teams that others have given up on, or that were underperforming turn their team around when others didn’t think it would be possible to do so. Yes, there are plenty of other factors that will need to be integrated into your teams “turn-around” plan, but you need to ask yourself if you can do this, if you want to do this, or if you need someone from the outside to help you? Every team deserves to be a winning team, what’s holding you back from having your team claim this title?

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #Success #Work #Sports #Sportsteam #Management #Teamdevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Humanresources #Hrprofessional #CEO #Teamdynamics #Motivation #Winning #Winningteams #Productiveteams #Interdependentteams #Aspirationalteam #Underperformingteam