The benefits of losing.

If I have said this once, I have said it hundreds of times. No sports team ever shows up on game day and says, “let’s lose today”. This same sentiment can apply to work scenarios too, albeit there are some additional layers of complications that doesn’t make this statement as simple or straightforward. However, it is applicable. Although in work scenarios, this statement may not be applied one hundred percent of the time, much to the chagrin of those leading the employees.

The comparison between sports teams and work teams is something I truly enjoy doing. Yes, this is partially due to working with both team types, but also because there is so much to learn from both of them. Now toss in the cross-pollination from the learnings, and that’s where everything begins to start to become more interesting.

I chose the word interesting, because I am always pleasantly surprised by how similar sports and work teams are to one another. The obvious common denominator is that people are at the core of both scenarios, and both are led by typically a few leaders. Although where the people comparison differs, is in the age decade that the sports teams are in, compared to work teams. The sports teams age decade is more homogenous and typically all female or male teams, versus the work teams being far more diverse in both categories.

Another interesting comparative difference between the two types of teams is that there are more opportunities for less experienced leaders of sports teams. An exception to this would be that some work teams in the start-up phase, or smaller, family-owned businesses might have less experienced leaders. Are the less experienced leaders at a disadvantage then the more experienced leaders in both categories. Yes, and no. Yes, if they seek counsel from more seasoned leaders, and no, if the less experienced leaders are willing to admit they will likely require more support than they might realize.

Although work and sports teams have different metrics to determine their performance, the sports teams have a more straightforward method of determining their outcome results. Work teams also are generally working on quarterly based results, while sports teams may not all be playing in all four quarters of the year. This also has both advantages and disadvantages. An advantage is that the sports teams comparatively are operating on more of a “sprint” style, versus the work teams who are running marathons. Preparing for both styles is far different, and also comes with a separate mindset approach. One isn’t better or more favorable than the other, they are just different.

Having experienced for most of my career what it is like to be focused on quarterly results, I learned how to pace myself and ramp quickly for results at the beginning of a quarter. Typically, my team would then have to shift into maintaining and then potentially have to figure out a strategy to surge on the performance results in collaboration with the sales teams towards the end of the quarter. Admittedly, there were times that the frantic feeling of having to collaborate extraordinarily well with the sales team was something I enjoyed doing. Although it could also be exhausting and highly stressed induced.

Comparatively, sports teams are in this situation on a game-by-game basis, so their cycle to focus on what it will take to win is different, but also similar. The similarity is that like the work teams, they are extraordinarily dependent on one another to perform at their peak level in every game. We have all seen plenty of examples of some of our favorite college or professional athletes who exhibit being able to perform at a peak level consistently, but this doesn’t apply to everyone on the team. So, can one or two peak performers on both work and sports teams make a difference? Yes, I think they can, but this is where the concept of taking a look at the benefits of losing comes into focus.

As I stated earlier, no one shows up on game day and says, “let’s lose today.” The athletes may think their chance of winning is limited, but most of them are going to put all their energy into having the game outcome be favorable. Ideally with a win, but a tie in some cases will also give them points towards their final season performance numbers. Granted although we can agree that winning can be more desirable, teams can in fact equally benefit from losing. Here are some benefits to a team losing.

  • When a team loses, more emphasis is put into evaluating where were the trouble spots that prevented them from winning, versus a winning team focusing less on this.
  • Losing isn’t satisfying to anyone except the winning team and its fans. However, it can help the losing team to look for opportunities related to how they can work differently and more effectively together.
  • Experiencing adversity can be a great motivator towards change, and if the change is oriented towards being constructive, it can help a team to fuel its team dynamics in a positive way.
  • No matter how stubborn a leader is, eventually if they are consistently experiencing defeat, they will inevitably seek support from others to help them. Or, help will be given to them. Although this doesn’t always mean they will accept the help if the leader is reluctantly having to accept it. Even if it is in their best interest for them and their team.
  • Upon repeated defeats, some leaders will eventually figure out whether they are unselfish enough to admit they don’t have all the answers. This doesn’t always mean they will seek more experienced counsel, but it does offer a glimmer of hope they will admit their leadership approach isn’t working.
  • Although there are teams who have long stretches of losses, at some point, circumstances will change that will have others making decisions for the leader who they have lost confidence in. This doesn’t always happen at a desirable pace for most fans, the athletes, or the support staff of the team, but it will invariably get to this point.
  • The feeling and memory of losing can remain with you longer than the amazing feeling achieved by winning. How a leader and their team handle both aspects can be what separates them from heading towards the path of turning their performance results around, or continuing on the same path. Knowing how to achieve this is critical, with emphasis placed on the word “how”.

Even if you are not a competitive person, most people will agree that winning is far more fun than losing. Although, understanding and appreciating the benefits of losing can be far greater in terms of applying it successfully to other areas of one’s life.

TAGS: #Leaders #Teams #Motivation #Leadership #Business #Winning #Sportsteams #Sportsleaders  #Teamdynamics #Collaboration #Learning #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment

Who are you? A simple, yet complex question.

When we are very young, it’s not uncommon to either have someone express to you what they think you will or should be doing professionally when you grow up. Perhaps you also had your own ideas of what that might include? Chances are also good, that what you thought you might want to do when you became an adult may have been absent of considering monetary factors.

In fact, when you were young and thinking about what you might like to “do” when you become an adult, it likely may have appeared to be slightly whimsical? Possibly even fun or exciting to think about the reality of being in that line of work. Some of the more traditional career options were potentially ones you thought about, and I’m going to venture to guess that your choice or choices had very little to do with concerning yourself about whether it would be a logical choice.

For a moment, suspend the idea of applying logic to a decision, and purely think about the emotional aspect of your thoughts. When you do this, you are far more likely to authentically tap into considering doing something that would make you happy. Perhaps even feel fulfilled, but when you are very young and thinking about potential career options, the beauty of this is that there are aspects of making these considerations which you were not second guessing, or heavily influenced by. Sure, there will be some exceptions, but do you remember the first time you told someone you wanted to do “fill-in-the-blank” when you grow up?

Personally, I distinctly recall telling someone what I wanted to do, and it was to design interiors. Specifically, campers or boats. For a point of reference, I didn’t have either of these items in reality, but I did have a version of these items in a toy format (e.g., my Barbie camper, and a small toy plastic boat). I would routinely take the boat to the beach and float it in the ocean and tidal pools, but I would leave the camper at home so it didn’t get sandy. I was fascinated with the possibilities of thinking about how much fun it would be to design the interiors of smaller spaces not traditionally used as a permanent home.

Now the question you might be asking yourself is why didn’t I pursue becoming an interior designer or architect? I actually did consider this when it was the right time to do so, but since math wasn’t a strong suit of mine at the time, this factor alone prevented me from pursuing this option. However, this isn’t where this part of the story ends, and in fact it is a great jumping off point to orient back to understanding who you are.

About ten years ago I had an experience which changed and provided me with an opportunity to re-think the question of who am I, what am I good at, and what do I want to do next? In reality, this is a lot to consider, and it takes both patience and persistence to pursue figuring out and determining an answer to this question. Yet, that’s exactly what I did. The best news is that I can precisely, confidently and credibly answer the question of “who I am” when someone asks me this question. Are you ready or willing to be able to do the same thing?

Before I proceed, I want to comment that I am I’m always surprised by how many people are hesitant to take the time to explore and navigate understanding who they are, what motivates them, what makes them happy and how do they want to apply their skills in a meaningful and purposeful way. Is this you, or someone else you know?

If you would like some tips to apply or share, below are some ideas I have for you to get started on helping you to be able to sort out who you are, or perhaps on your way to becoming.

  • Make a list of things that make you happy that you have control over applying to your life, and a list of things that diminish making you happy. From the second part of the list, what can you do to either reduce or eliminate that item?
  • Are there people in your life that contribute to enhancing or detracting from it? Is it possible to prune out the people who are not enhancing your life? Are you prepared to do this soon or now?
  • Can you credibly answer the question that you are 100% certain you know and can tell another person who you truly are? More importantly, do you know why, or can you factually back up why you are who you say you are?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how important is it for you to be able to articulate, appreciate and understand who you are? If this is important to you, yet you haven’t done anything to support being able to both understand and explain to yourself or others who you are, are you willing to put effort into accomplishing this?
  • Looking forward, what can you do today to propel yourself towards being in a better place from a mental health perspective. No one is immune from improving this area of their life.
  • If you were to be interviewed with the purpose of aligning who you are, with opportunities in your life that would align well with who you are, how would you describe yourself?
  • Is it possible for you to help someone else describe or understand better who they are? When you can you offer to help them with this exercise? Helping someone else, might help you to get started sorting this out.

Understanding thoroughly who we are, what we are good at, what motivates us and makes us happy is something I wish everyone will be able to achieve in their life. As someone who has mastered this exercise of self-awareness myself, I can assure you it is one of the best and most empowering and liberating gifts you can give to yourself.

TAGS: #Selfawareness #Personaldevelopment #Confidence #Empowerment #Leadership #Business #Motivation #Helpingothers #Whoareyou #Understandingwhoyouare

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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You own your awareness. How much is that worth?

It might seem difficult to imagine that a person could be unaware of who they truly are. Or, that they are also potentially blind to how others perceive them. However, I guarantee you know someone who could be described this way, and perhaps you might be this person?

I often get asked the question is there an age or decade when the majority of people will become aware of who they are, and what talents and personality attributes they possess? The reality is that there isn’t a specific age when everyone determines this information, and in fact, some people will go through decades in their life without having an awareness of who they are.

Are the people who are completely unaware of who they are at a disadvantage to those who know and have a clear appreciation for who they are? In my opinion, yes, they are. Although they may be perfectly comfortable being this way, and have accepted and come to terms with whatever personal or professional state they are in.

If you are not someone who is comfortable or satisfied with your current personal or professional situation, it likely is due to a number of factors. One of them relates to who you have had in your life that has provided you with guidance and options to consider different paths to pursue. Another one is who you have chosen to align yourself with both personally and professionally. Sometimes this is a conscious decision, and other times it is situational, and could be based on your formative or current circumstances.

A third factor which contributes to someone’s awareness level is their willingness to take ownership of understanding who they are. This could mean accomplishing this on their own, or with help from others. Perhaps a combination. The point is that at some stage in a person’s life they become willing to explore and understand who they are as an individual. Once this is achieved, it is at that point when they will have a greater sense of how to leverage this information to their benefit.

Without having a solid understanding of who you are as a person, and possessing full awareness of what your talents and attributes are, how will you be able to ensure that the goals you have for yourself both personally and professionally can be achieved? Sure, you might have some methods for how to accomplish this, but what if you truly understood and intentionally invested in knowing who you are from a core level?

Let’s assume you would want to understand who you are beyond a surface level. More importantly, how to align your innate talents to your benefit. Can this be done? Absolutely, and when you pursue and accomplish this, the difference in your life will create an entirely new set of lenses on how you look at your world. How do I know this? Because I personally experienced this ten years ago, and it was literally personally and professionally life changing. I’m going to leave you with this thought in terms of wondering how I accomplished this, and if you are interested enough in learning more about my situation, I have a strong sense you will reach out to me.

If your curiosity has been peeked by my experience, I do have some tips I can share with you to help you to consider options for exploring how to become more self-aware. Or, how you can help someone else who wishes to pursue this.   

  • Be honest. On a scale of 1-10 (10 the highest), what level of self-awareness would you rate yourself? Now think about, what level would you like to be at?
  • Do you have enough of a curiosity to invest your time and attention into understanding and appreciating who you are at a more in-depth level than you currently are?
  • How would you rate your level of being open-minded on a scale of 1-10 (10 the highest)? Hint, the higher level of your open-mindedness will contribute to helping you to gain and embrace your self-awareness level increasing in your favor.
  • Are you motivated enough to want to better understand and leverage and align your talents differently than you have been? If so, there are numerous self-awareness options for you to consider, and start with your favorite search engine to begin this process. I have my own favorite one, but I’ll only share this with you if you are genuinely interested in knowing what it is.
  • If money wasn’t a factor in your life, what would you personally or professionally be doing instead? Hint. The answers to this question can offer great insights.
  • How do you like to spend your time, and how much time do you prefer to spend alone or with others? Knowing this can also offer valuable clues into what motivates you, and knowing what motivates you and aligning this with your self-awareness can put you into potentially a new and better personal and professional direction.
  • Ask 2-4 people you trust how they perceive you. Ask them to describe who they perceive you to be in three statements, or words that can offer a different or new perspective on who you are from their perspective. Knowing this information will help to provide you with others lens on who you are, and it may or may not be how you perceive yourself. Keep in mind that others can often see our talents better than we can.

Understanding and knowing who you are can be the greatest gift you can give to yourself or another person. In honor of Mother’s Day coming up this week, if you are a Mom, aspire to be one, or have a Mom or have someone in your life who plays this role, do yourself and them a favor and consider giving either them, or yourself the gift of self-awareness. It will be one of the greatest gifts you or they can experience, and it is a priceless one too.

TAGS: #Self-awareness #WhoamI #Whoareyou #Personaldevelopment #Professionaldevelopment #Talentdevelopment #Leadership #Teams #Teamdynamics #Business #Awareness #UnderstandingwhoIam #Mothersday #Happymothersday

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Are you fascinating or frustrating to others?

 For some reason I love the word fascinating, and I like the meaning of it even better. It embodies so many different description facets of a person or an experience, and in my opinion, the best part is when you get to hear aspects about the person or their experience being fascinating.

Based on the premise that most people would not classify themselves as being a fascinating person, I’m certain that no one would deny wanting to be this way. Nor would they shy away from others considering them to be this way either. In fact, it could be a notable attainment for a person to have this description associated with them.

Since the word fascinating can be widely interpreted, and can also be subjective, the one thing I believe we can agree upon, is the fact it is a positive way to express how you could describe another person. Given this presumption, when was the last time you applied this word to describing someone you either know, recently met, or would like to get to know?

Having an individual or people in my life that I can describe as being fascinating is something I have always sought out. My awareness for realizing this was when I was quite young, and before I became a teenager. Thinking back to the first realization that I had just met and encountered a person who was unlike anyone else I had ever met before was thrilling. It also ignited a continued life-long interest in wanting to meet more people like the first one I met. Who was the first person I met like this? It was actually a family member, and an uncle.

My uncle was a creative person. To say that he looked at the world via a different lens than anyone else I had ever experienced would be an understatement, and this was so intriguing to me. I had the good fortune of working for him when I was in college, and I learned a tremendous amount from him by simply observing his behavior and seeing how he made decisions. Not all of his decisions were good ones, but I learned just as much from experiencing the less ideal ones, as the brilliant ones he made.

For the sake of consideration, who can you name right now that you would classify as being interesting or frustrating? Are they someone you know well? Are they someone you would like to know and admire for who they are and what they do? Or, have you ever yourself thought about whether in fact you might be deemed a fascinating or frustrating person in the eyes of others?

Let’s assume that you don’t want to be classified as a frustrating person, and that you either want to know more fascinating people, or perhaps aspire to being one yourself. How would you go about achieving either of these? Good question, and yes, there are ways you can go about attaining a designation of being fascinating, or including more people like this into your life. However, it’s going to take some time and thought about how to achieve this.

If you want to aspire to either being fascinating, or include more fascinating people in your life, here are some suggestions to help fast-track you towards accomplishing one, or both of these options.

  • How would you rate your self-awareness on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest)?
  • Having a higher level of self-awareness is going to be the place to work towards to help you achieve becoming a more fascinating individual. Why? Because with self-awareness comes confidence, and with confidence comes having the freedom to try and do more things in your life, which in turn can contribute to your fascination level or attainment.
  • Becoming self-aware takes time, and it might be something you need support to accomplish doing. If you need support, there are plenty of options to explore to help you to master this.
  • Being truly authentically yourself is also one of the foundational aspects to achieving becoming a fascinating person.  When you are able to authentically be yourself, you are more content with who you are. You are more approachable as a person, and any level of anxiety and fear you have in your life will be significantly reduced because you are not expending negative energy towards supporting these feelings.
  • When you have more positive energy to apply to your life every day, you are able to accomplish more things, which in turn fuels more aspects of your life to be deemed as being productive, fun and potentially fascinating. Either personally acknowledged, or allowing others to perceive you this way.
  • Come up with your own definition of what or who you deem to be fascinating. Are any of the descriptions ones you can attain, or are working towards?
  • Who are the people you deem to be fascinating? Are any of them ones you can eventually include in your life? If not, perhaps they will serve to motivate you?

I understand that not everyone aspires to being classified as fascinating, and I’m confident no one wants to be labeled as frustrating.  Perhaps somewhere in-between is where you might be more comfortable?  With either of these options, I hope the one you decide upon suits you well.

TAGS: #Confidence #Business #Selfawareness #Beingauthentic #Authenticity #Personaldevelopment #Humandevelopment #Awareness #Beinggenuine #Howtobefascinating #Howtobeinteresting #Confidence #Careeradvice

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