Purpose driven. Are you?

It sure sounds noble when you are authentically able to tell someone that the type of work you are doing is either allowing you to satisfy your quest to be working on or towards a purpose. Or, seeking out what your actual purpose is. To me, this almost sounds mystical, or perhaps a bit surreal. Possibly too good to be true?

Whether someone is actually working on their purpose driven career or volunteering their time to apply it towards a cause they believe in, I think they are fortunate to feel this way. More importantly, to actively be doing something which allows them to tangibly achieve this.

Perhaps they are helping others in a variety of different methods of doing so, or they are lending their precious time to teach another person how to become better at something. It could really be a number of different scenarios which someone could associate with having a purpose driven situation.

Is there a specific time period on a person’s life when they feel they are more purpose driven?  Possibly, but they might also feel this way throughout their entire career or life, or during blocks of time over numerous decades. The point is that being a purpose-oriented person does not mean you have to dedicate your entire life or career to being this way. However, there are certainly people we can name who choose to be purpose driven throughout their career and life. Someone such as the Dali Lama comes to mind. Companies such as Patagonia and Riverford Organic Farmers are outwardly focused on who they serve, and what good they can apply to society via the services or products they have to offer.

When I was starting out in my career, I worked for Staples the Office Superstore. What I liked about their business model was that they were attempting to re-engineer the office supply industry. Staples did this because they realized that consumers were being taken advantage of, and had been paying ridiculous pricing for all of their standard office supplies. Prices in fact that were embarrassingly high, and in some cases absurd.

At the time when Staples founders Tom Stemberg and Leo Kahn set-out to retool this industry, they did so based on finding a market segment that had been exploiting consumers for decades. Both sadly and ironically, many of these stores were locally owned stores that were servicing the small to medium sized business markets. Occasionally larger companies, but those were mainly being serviced by companies such as WB Mason.

My point is that when I first started working at Staples in their headquarters office in Newton, MA, I felt that the company had a mission and purpose I could feel good about. I felt that they were like the modern-day version of your favorite childhood story correcting a situation of the “little business owner” being taken advantage of. Better yet, giving them an actual fighting chance to compete, based on the fact they were not having to allocate such high dollar amounts to purchasing their office supplies and equipment.

I can’t honestly tell you that I intentionally went to work for Staples due to the noble and purpose driven approach they embodied, but I was fortunate to learn about this concept early on in my career. In fact, it significantly altered the course of my career from that point on, but more so in the past decade when I became more reflective on the importance of being purpose driven. Yes, on a daily and regular basis.

If you are curious about how you can orient yourself to being more purpose driven either personally or professionally, I have some suggestions for you to consider to accomplish heading in this direction.

  • What is truly important to you? Is it your health, family, the environment? Start with recognizing what this is. It should be obvious, but perhaps not, if you have not taken the time to contemplate this before.
  • Once you identify what is important to you, do you have the skills, or a particular skill that will lend itself well to help you to work towards either finding a company, career or volunteer opportunity to align with?
  • Have you considered how you will feel differently when you are focusing your time and attention on being purpose driven?
  • Are there perhaps clues from your past of activities you have been involved with, or people who you know who inspired and brought out the purpose driven mentality in you?
  • If you have to list 2-5 things you are truly passionate about, what would they be? Are they things or activities, or people you regularly are involved with, or on a periodic basis?
  • When was the last time you felt that you were in 100% alignment with any kind of purpose? Is it possible you have not figured out what your purpose is yet?
  • Let’s assume you know what your best talents are. Are you using them in diversified ways, or only for a singular type of career or in your personal life some way?
  • If you were to architect your perfect day, what would it look like? Have you ever stopped to consider what this day might include you doing or who or where you would be on this day? Some of your answers might also provide insight into what would be drivers in seeking your purpose.

Everyone has a purpose. However, not everyone is fortunate enough to figure out what their purpose is early on in life. I challenge you to do this. Don’t worry about how long it might take to do this, or how difficult it might be to do so. When you figure out what your purpose is, it will be worth every ounce of energy your expended to do so. I guarantee this, and welcome you to reach out to me to discuss how I can help you to find your purpose.

TAGS: #Purpose #Purposefulthinking #Inspiration #Mentoring #Leadership #Coaching #Business #Success #Purposedriven #Findyourpurpose #Findingmypurpose #Howtofindmypurpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you inspire “bench” players or work place team members?

I was recently talking to a leader of a sports team. I asked her this question “What do you do to both motivate and inspire your “bench players?” For clarification, the players who don’t see as much playing time, but who are also important members of the team. She told me that this is probably one of the most difficult things to do, or to do well and consistently.

After I heard this leader express that this is a challenging situation, and understandably something that most leaders face on a regular basis, I asked her “what if I had a solution to this challenge?” Naturally I piqued her curiosity, and she said “you have my full attention”. So, with this green light to proceed with my solution, I kicked off my solution explanation.

To set the stage for my solution to be shared, I asked this leader a few more questions. The next question I asked was “what happens when you are unable to inspire one of your players who regularly does not see much playing time?” I followed this question by asking “what’s your method to integrate your bench players into your team’s overall success strategy?” This last question seemed to really strike a nerve. I could also visually see that it was one she didn’t have a good answer to. However, she wasn’t the first leader I have worked with who responded this way.

Now let’s get back to discussing and responding to the first question I posed about how does someone inspire their bench or workplace team mates? As I proceeded to queue up the foundation for how I have been able to accomplish this, I also shared that this was something she could implement too. Of course, with some guidance, as I have been doing this for a while.

As part of explaining the “how” it is possible to inspire and motivate bench players, one of the factors I brought up to this leader was the number one reason people in the workplace feel good about the company they are aligned with. It’s a rather simple, but at the same time, can be extraordinary complex concept to get right. It’s that someone feels appreciated. Conversely, when people do not feel appreciated, it’s also the number one reason they leave the situation they are in.

So, if feeling appreciated is the perhaps one of the “secret” ingredients to inspiring or motivating others, is there an ideal way to accomplish this? Yes, there is, and it is one of the foundational way’s leaders can achieve the inspiration they are seeking to bring to their “bench players”.

Let’s now drill down into how I have worked with leaders to help them to achieve inspiring others.  The first thing I do is to determine what their top strength is. In full disclosure, I am a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, so I leverage the StrengthsFinder Survey Assessment to determine this. After I determine what a person’s number one strength is, I focus on helping them and their leader to understand how to properly leverage this strength. To leverage it in multiple scenarios, with the critical one being when they are not always fully engaged at the level they desire to be on their team.

When an individual can contribute their number one strength both on and off the “field” or in the workplace, this is when the “magic” of tapping into this concept begins to emerge. The person is able to both tap into a different source of their own motivation, and derive the benefits of their leader knowing how to accomplish this to. In fact, to know precisely how to both inspire and engage this individual, even if they are not playing an active role on the “field” or under the spotlight in their work place role.

Now, here is the brief version of the story I shared with the leader about one of the athletes I worked with who experienced the “pure magic” of being an inspired “bench player”. It’s important to understand that this particular player may not have initially understood that their role on the team was not going to be an active one. In fact, they may have thought due to their seniority on the team, that they would play an integral role on the field. This wasn’t the case. However, what did occur was that their “bench” position was actually far more important to contributing to their team’s success, than their limited time on the field.

How is it possible that a “bench player” could positively influence the outcome of their team’s performance? This is exactly the question that most leaders are challenged with, and I have repeatably proven that this is possible. It’s possible because when a person is able to engage in leveraging their own innate talents differently, and understand how to apply them constructively, yet outside of the way they may more traditionally do so, this is when they are both personally inspired and motivated. One more thing, they also feel appreciated too!

The biggest challenge leaders have with inspiring their “bench players” is that they may not or don’t appreciate the role they can play in this capacity. Instead of feeling like the “bench player” is going to be a challenge for them, they need to understand in fact how to tap into and leverage this person differently. Differently in the capacity of having them understand the integral role they do in fact play and contribute to the team as a bench player.

If you are a leader who is interested in learning more about how to both inspire and motivate your bench players, let’s talk. You know how to reach me, and I’ll look forward to having a conversation with you.

TAGS: #Motivation #Inspiration #Teams #Howtoinspireothers #Inspiringothers #Business #Leaders #Leveragingtalent #Leveragingstrengths #Talent #Talentdevelopment #Teamdevelopment #Sports #Coaches #Sportscoaches #Businessleaders

Reflection – the advantage of it in business, sports & managing others

For those of you who are also Brene Brown fans, you will appreciate what I will be sharing with you, as the context of what I will be revealing to you is based on over countless hours of research I have been doing during the last year. Most people are not aware of the fact I was working on this project, but it is one of the most gratifying projects I have worked on.

So, who and what was I researching? I have been interviewing sports coaches around the country, and added a coach from South Africa to the mix a few weeks ago. The coaches cover over a dozen different sports, are a mix of women and men, and they are coaching at the Professional (e.g., NFL, NBA, MLL, USTA), Olympic, College and High School levels. On average, the coaches have been in their role for a decade, and they represent a significant enough amount of States.

I am still conducting my research, but I recently analyzed the results from the coaches I have already spoken to. If I were to summarize what I am attempting to determine via this research is the coaches “why”. In other words, “why do they coach?”

If you happen to be a coach or perhaps a leader in the business world who is reading this, I guarantee you would agree that coaches and leaders share numerous characteristics. One of them is the reason why they enjoy leading others. Yes, you might be surprised by the majority of their responses, but the title of this article also provides you with a large clue about the direction the research outcome is heading.

As you are aware, the process of reflection is something that takes time. Time to devote to going through the process of being reflective, and also having a reason to do so.

Most surprisingly was the fact that the majority of the coaches had not taken the time to reflect upon or verbally convey their “why” they coach others. However, after sharing their “why” with me, all of them said they were pleasantly surprised they had not gone through this experience before, as they found it to be both therapeutic and paid tribute to all of the years they have devoted to coaching.

One of the words I repeatably heard from coaches was that coaching is similar to a “calling”. It was something they felt compelled they needed to do. Others articulated that they became a coach because of the experience and incredible life lessons they gained from their coaches, and they wanted to give this “gift” back to others.

Since being reflective does require you take time to capitalize on the advantages of doing so, why don’t more people do this? Especially leaders, people managing others and of course coaches too? It seems simple enough to do. However, it also requires being able to ask the right questions to be able to get to the deepest level possible of response reflection. It’s when you reach the true depths of being highly reflective, that you gain the positive attributes from doing so.

If you are curious about who you could be more reflective, or perhaps help someone else to be this way, I have included some suggestions below about how to accomplish doing this.

  • Simon Sinek is the person attributed to having people think about what their “why” is. Someone’s why can be associated with any number of different questions, but for the sake of this article, let’s have it focus on the aspect of “why” you lead, manage, mentor, or coach (e.g., sports) others? Take a few moments to write down, or think about why you do this.
  • After you have thought about or crafted your “why” relating to the point above, consider whether you want to share this information with someone else? Perhaps your team?
  • Factor in the benefits of others knowing and appreciating what your “why” is from having reflected upon thinking about this. Can you name what they are?
  • Consider the reasons you might not have taken the time to be reflective. Were you concerned that if you did this, that it would be a negative or positive experience?
  • Can you help someone else to take advantage of the powers of being reflective in their leadership, management or sports coach role?

I’m still looking for Sports Coaches to interview, so if you fall into one of the categories I noted that meet the criteria for me to be interviewed, I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

What will you get out of this? I’ll be sharing the results of my Sports Coach Research Project with all of the Sports Coaches who participated. The coaches will gain new insights from other coaches, and can potentially apply them to their team to benefit from too. Keep in mind, many of these coaches are well known for their winning records, but more importantly, for being the type of coach that every athlete desires to be coached by.

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #SportsCoaches #Management #Success #Reflection #Theadvantagesofbeingreflective #Business #Sports #SportsCoachResearchProject #Athlete #Athletes #BreneBrown

Pivoting – When is the right time?

Let’s agree on one thing. There is no such thing as true perfection. If there was, then why haven’t more people attained it in every area of their life that matters to them? Sure, we have all seen examples of what would be considered nearly perfect, but at the end of the day, everyone will likely have a different definition of what this really means. So, as a foundation for agreement, let’s begin by starting out with agreeing that perfection is subjective.

When I was considering what to write about today, I thought about how many people recently are referring to themselves professionally as transformation experts. Without exploring their credentials, I would venture to guess that most of these people have been through an experience which impacted them significantly. Hopefully it was a positive one, but I’m certain many of them were not. I also hope they have the right credentials to help others with the transformation they are promising.  

Regardless of your age, I guarantee everyone reading this has had a minimum of one transformational experience. The kind of experience which has shaped your thinking, and perhaps your actions. As you pause to consider what would be the major experience in your life that was transformative, have you factored in how it has impacted your profession, how you live your life, or the relationships you have? Or, have you thought about whether the experience either strengthened, weakened or significantly altered your personal or professional goals?

Chances are in your favor that the transformative experience you had impacted a part of your life that made you reflect upon why it happened to you. Depending on the level of the positive or negative influence the experience had on you will impact the length of time it will take to process what happened. If it was a positive experience, it will be easier to have a clearer appreciation of how to benefit from what happened. Conversely, if the situation was a negative one, and you experienced any type of trauma, the timeline for being able to have clarity on seeing any positive outcome will take appreciably much longer.

In either scenario of experiencing any type of transformation, the end point will result in you coming to terms with which way to pivot directionally forward. Unfortunately, some people will become what I call “stuck”. Perhaps they will need professional help to move forward, but this isn’t always necessarily. However, it is perfectly acceptable to seek help if you are not able to get past the experience you had. Even if it was a positive one, there are people who still get stuck with not knowing how to leverage and benefit from the pivot they can and should be making.

Personally, I had not thought about the term pivot until I was decades into my career. Had I done so, it would have prevented many sleepless nights agonizing over how to deal with, and make the best of either a bad, or good situation. Luckily, since I began to embrace pivoting as my new way of being able to move forward with greater ease, it has opened up possibilities I would never have considered. For example, I would not be writing about this topic right now, if I had not been encouraged to take my professional experience and share it with others via a much broader platform. In other words, I’m referring to the teams I was leading, and the people I was mentoring on a consistent basis over the years who were in a closed environment, on a smaller platform, yet benefiting from my pivoting experiences.

There are numerous benefits to embracing the concept of pivoting and the way you currently look at your life personally or professionally. If you are wondering how to go about testing out pivoting in your life, below are some potential ways to get you started on becoming more comfortable doing so.

  • Ask yourself if you truly enjoy being “stuck”, and not making forward progress?
  • Is there someone in your life who is holding you back from being able to pivot and move forward? Realistically, you are likely the only one holding yourself back.
  • Think about a time you were able to benefit from pivoting your thinking. What was the outcome, and would you do this over again?
  • Consider a current experience you have had which you have not pivoted from. Now think about whether your pro and con list is going to be longer when you take the time to write this out. When you see your pro list, it will likely be longer than your con list. Commit to putting a plan together to begin pivoting forward to make the pros on your list a reality.
  • Can you honestly admit there is never a good time to pivot? Challenge your own thinking on this. It might be difficult, but the first step is to attempt to look at your scenario via a different lens. When you do this, you will begin to see new ways you will be able to benefit from moving forward, or in a better direction.

I can assure you I have always benefitted from the concept of pivoting, and each time I have done so, it has been easier to accomplish. The expression “we can be our own worst enemies” is something I think about when I’m tempted not to pivot. Each time I consider this, it eases my mind into thinking about possibilities versus remaining in a place I would rather not be. I hope my suggestions will allow you to benefit from adding pivoting as a strategy to continue to benefit from both your negative and positive experiences.

TAGS: #Vulnerability #Pivoting #Benefitsofpivoting #Mindset #Leadership #Management #Success #Teams #Movingforward #Strategy #Openmind #Beingopenminded #Transformation #Motivation