Excuses. (7) Tips to stop making them.

Today is the first day of the new year. I have always felt a sense of freedom on this day. Perhaps because looking at it from an author’s and business owner perspective, it is similar to providing me with a blank screen to write something about. I find this exhilarating, but some might find it to be anything but that.

What I like about having a day like today, is also being able to take a moment to both reflect back on what I have achieved in the past year. More importantly, to focus on what lies ahead for me to strive for, and experience both personally and professionally. In terms of how I go about crafting what my year will look like, is probably not the traditional way most people would plot out what they want to accomplish.

Although my system works for me, I firmly believe you need to have your own established method or system. This is why I’m not going to jade your thinking with sharing mine with you. I could, but I know that you will be more successful if you think this through on your own. More importantly, that you create a system or method that you will be motivated to follow through with. In other words, make it simple enough to do so. This is step one in not coming up with an excuse to avoid this process.

Now, can you imagine a day without coming up with an excuse about why you can’t do something? For context, I’m referring to things you would be doing which are all in your favor, and wouldn’t have any negative consequences. With this being established, think about how much freedom you could experience and the sense of accomplishment you would enjoy if you were not constrained by your excuses? The word liberating comes to my mind when I think about this. Perhaps even a revised form of freedom you have yet to encounter in your life?

Several things I spend my time on professionally is leading and motivating people and teams. What I find when we begin working together, is noticing how many of them have what I refer to as an excuse default mode. It’s almost as if they begin their day with restrictions, and too many thoughts and reasons about how they won’t be able to do something. Fortunately, this is a habit, and habits can be broken. So, keep this in mind if you fall into this category.

Not everyone defaults to an excuse mode all the time, but I’m certain you have had days or times in your life when you felt this way. The real question is, do you like living your life both personally and professionally with excuses as the basis for your daily operational foundation? Only you can answer this, and be honest with yourself.

Given the choice, the majority of people in life would rather have a life filled with opportunities and more pleasant memories. The conundrum that prevents us from not defaulting to an excuse mode, is both a habit, and because you haven’t given yourself permission to be bold, and imagine how differently your life could be without restrictions. Or, what I refer to as excuses.

Let’s face it. Coming up with an excuse not to do or experience something doesn’t take much effort. Conversely, nor should coming up with ways that you could in fact do, or experience the things you are denying yourself or possibly others from doing. For example, let’s say you want to expand your professional network. Sure, this will take some effort, but far less than you might imagine. In fact, expanding your network can be analogous to walking. It only takes one step at a time to bring you to a different place.

As a professional example related to networking, I wanted to meet more sports coaches from around the country to better understand aspects related to team dynamics. So, I set out to accomplish this by emailing one coach I knew. In my communication, I told him about what I wanted to accomplish, and from this communication, I met an additional fifty sports coaches from around the country. Was this hard to do? Not really, and actually, it was incredibly exciting and empowering on a multitude of levels.

The point is that I could have easily come up with an excuse about how hard it might be to find fifty sports coaches to speak with, but by taking the first step of doing so, fueled and created momentum to continue to reach my goal. This example is something you can leverage, and if you are looking to start the New Year off without being in an excuse default mode, here are some suggestions to help you to accomplish this.

  • Think of yourself as a person who runs marathons. You didn’t just wake up today and say I’m going to run a marathon today. You put in a large amount of training to get to the point that you could run a marathon. So, think like a marathoner, and focus on what is in front of you, take one step at a time, and build on your distance until you reach your goal.
  • Don’t look too far out towards your “end goal”, remain focused on what you can do right now, today or this week.
  • Some people prefer to have an accountability partner. Only you know if you will benefit from having one, but most people will. Who could be your accountability partner?
  • Starting today, when the first opportunity to come up with an excuse presents itself, think about what it is going to feel like when you don’t come up with an excuse about why you can’t or don’t want to do something.
  • Consider rewarding yourself, or keeping track of how many times you avoided coming up with an excuse.
  • Before you say no, or come up with an excuse about why you can’t do or accomplish something, think through what would happen if you said “yes”.
  • Instead of conveying your excuse, ask the person if you can get back to them with an answer. During the in-between time of responding to the person, come up with only a pro list of why you should do what they asked you to do. In other words, talk yourself into doing and accomplishing what they asked you to consider doing.

How liberating would it be if more people were oriented around not being in excuse mode? Perhaps you can set an example for others and demonstrate how you have become someone who doesn’t let excuses rule or limit opportunities in their life. What are you waiting for? Your excuse free life is waiting for you, and imagine how amazing it is going to be! Happy “excuse free” New Year!

TAGS: #Leadership #Opportunities #Opportunity #SportsCoach #SportsCoaches #Communication #Business #Teams #Noexcuses #Stopmakingexcuses #Howtostopmaking excuses #7Tipstostopmakingexcuses #Tips #Motivation #Teamdynamics #Networking #7Tipstostopmakingexcuses #Excuses

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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.

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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

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Is it really everyone else’s fault?

I would like to think everyone is taught the basic elements of being a responsible person, and that there will be times in their lives when they need to assume ownership of something they did wrong. Obviously, we know no one is perfect. So, given this reality, it is acceptable to assume we all make mistakes. However, why is it that some people we know don’t ever own up to an incident being something they are at fault with?

Yes, it can be enormously frustrating when you are dealing with a person in your life that is always assigning blame to others. It’s also remarkable they have zero self-awareness of the fact they are likely the reason for the negative incident occurring. Does this sound like someone you know? Or, perhaps this might be a revelation for you, and that for the first time in your life, realize perhaps it’s not always someone else’s fault.

One of the best memories I have professionally of a colleague owning up to making a mistake, was when they admitted this during a company version of a town hall meeting. In fact, they boldly stated in the middle of the company meeting that they had something they wanted to share with the rest of the company. As you can imagine, most people were caught off guard, in a good way, by this individual’s announcement.

What did the person admit making a mistake about? They told their colleagues they had made a calculation mistake in forecasting their sales number, and that it was going to have a negative impact on the rest of the sales team. Keep in mind this was an individual salesperson, and making this pronouncement was an extremely bold move. However, the outcome from making this information available to the rest of the company had an amazingly positive impact.

The impact the mistake being made, and assuming complete ownership of it at that moment in time changed the dynamics of the company culture. How? It did so because the bravery it took for this person to own up to making a mistake, and then having others support, instead of condemning them was remarkable. The others on the sales team rallied for the rest of the month to help offset the forecast mistake, and there was a renewed sense of trust that evolved. Not only for the sales team members, but for others in the company.

By this one individual owning up to making a mistake publicly, it gave permission to others to do the same thing. It also allowed their colleagues to know that if they were in the same circumstance, that they were going to be better off not assigning blame to others. Even better, was that it would acceptable to ask for support from them, especially if they made a mistake.

If you know someone, or are unsure about whether you are the type of person who constantly assigns blame to others, and never acknowledges you are at fault, here are some suggestions to help you or someone you know, reconsider owning up to their mistakes. For context, this is instead of always blaming someone else for them, or for why you were wronged.

  • Yes, this will be hard to do, but do your best to consider the other persons perspective. There is a distinct possibility theirs isn’t entirely wrong.
  • The next time you are in a situation when you would automatically blame someone else for doing something wrong, or not the way you want it to be done, think about whether in fact you might have contributed to the mistake. Realistically there is a 50% chance you may have.
  • If you are always casting blame on others, think about how is it possible for you to be right 100% of the time. The last time I checked, I have yet to come across anyone who is perfect.
  • Even if you don’t think you are to blame for being at fault for something, consider whether there is a middle ground that you and the other person involved in the situation could agree upon.
  • Now this will be going to an extreme for you if you are the type of person who always thinks they are correct, and never at fault. However, what if you considered apologizing and letting the other person or group know that you may have contributed to the situation not turning out well? I’m sure the people on the receiving end of hearing this will be pleasantly surprised, and so will you be with their reaction to your apology.
  • Just like anything we want to become excellent at doing, practicing owning up and assuming responsibility for our mistakes, acknowledging and apologizing for them is what you will have to begin doing to not be “that person” who is never wrong.

The best leaders I have worked with are humble, empathetic and very often admit they are wrong, or that they do not have all of the right solutions. They do however, embrace working collaboratively with others to find a way to agree to a solution that will work for the majority of people. Consider the next time you are about to cast blame on someone else, what this will actually accomplish.

Tags: #Business #Leadership #Leaders #Responsibility #Ownership #PeopleManagement #Teams #Management #Personaldevelopment

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Happiness is contagious. Now what?

With so much attention being placed on the Pandemic, and the negative aspects of it, I felt compelled to provide you with something to think about which spins the word contagious in a favorable light. So, let’s think about the possibility of happiness being something that was contagious. Perhaps it can be?

I guarantee you have noticed how being around others who are upbeat and generally positive in nature can impact how you think and feel. Both at that moment, and perhaps for a period of time afterwards. Of course, there isn’t a time limit on the length of how long the feeling of being happy can be sustained, but if you treated it like a battery, potentially it could be?

Using a battery as a metaphor, and if you were to wrap your mind around happiness being a battery that needs to be fueled, do you have some methods you could apply right now to increase your battery life? Don’t worry if you can’t think of something immediately, as I’ve got you covered, and will provide you with some suggestions.

The point I am trying to emphasize is that just like the feeling of being unhappy, or negative in any manner, you have complete control over how you feel. At least the majority of the time, and of course there will be some exceptions. However, the majority of the time, and for most people, they do have the power to infuse more happiness into their life than they may be currently doing.

Being intentional about anything you do in life is critical. I say this because I have seen too many people “glide” through their days and life, as if someone else is the “captain” of their life. Perhaps they do this because they think it is easier to let someone else control their personal and professional circumstances. Maybe, but I personally think this is a cop out, and I’m going to call them out on this.

Yes, taking control of your own circumstances and owning them can be hard to do. Especially if you are not practiced at doing this, and there may be numerous reasons or potentially excuses you have for this being the case. The point is to take full responsibility for how you feel and show up each day, and to stop assigning any blame to others for your circumstances. Again, I emphasize that I realize some people’s circumstances are extreme, but for the majority of people they are not.

As you might imagine, I’m not a big fan of excuses, and I learned early on in my life that when you make them, it becomes too easy to continue this negative pattern of behavior. So, one of the first things you need to do is to recognize this is a pattern, and then sincerely want to break it. Both as a habit, and to allow yourself permission to point your personal and professional circumstances in a more favorable direction. I also don’t want to hear you tell me that you may not deserve to be happy. I don’t buy into this type of thinking, and I’m telling you that everyone deserves to be happy.

Let’s think about a moment in time when you were feeling happy. Can you pinpoint either the reason or circumstances behind why you felt that way? Did you take any time to relish and embrace feeling this way? Or, was it a fleeting feeling? If your feeling was fleeting, think about what contributed to dampening your feeling.

One of the statements which I have noted before, but that is worth repeating is one I have routinely heard from my Mom. When I was struggling with extreme back pain both prior to and post-surgery, she told me that “I could choose to be happy”. She was right, and when I tried to think positively and leverage the concept of being grateful for what I had going well in my life, it was as if I could flip a switch in my brain and turn on the happy feeling. Yes, it was almost this easy, but it did take some practice to get it right.

Now, let’s tackle providing you with some suggestions on how you can benefit from happiness being a contagious element in your personal or professional life.

  • Commit to the fact you want to be happier. Especially if this isn’t something you regularly are.
  • Are there people in your daily life that are toxic? What can you do to minimize your contact with them, or ideally not have to deal with them at all?
  • Create a list of things that you know make you feel better. Refer to this list on a regular basis to fuel your “happiness battery”.
  • Turn off the news or other forms of media that deliver a steady stream of negative content. I made it a point in my life about 4 years ago to stop watching, reading or listening to the mainstream news, as it typically only reports on negative life circumstances.
  • Be intentional about what information you consume from a social media perspective.
  • Seek out, and surround yourself with more people who are optimistic. If you are not this way, you will need to be or work on being this way, as they won’t enjoy being around you if you are not. Yes, this could be hard to do, but it will be worth it, and people can change. They simply have to want to do so.
  • The power from the joy you will feel when you can fully embrace being happy for someone else.
  • Is someone else piloting your life personally or professionally? Ask yourself why this is occurring, and then put a plan together to take back control to pilot your own life.

The point of this story is that I am a firm believer in the fact that everyone has the right and ability to be happier in their lives, and to feel this way on a regular basis. I hope that if you don’t feel happy on a routine basis, that some of my suggestions will help support your intentions to feel this way. If none of the options work for you, then it might be time for you to consider talking to someone professionally, as our mental health and being happy isn’t something that only “other” people should enjoy.

TAGS: #Happiness #Howtobehappy #Seekinghappiness #Suggestionsonbeinghappy #Solutionstobehappy #Business #Success #Leadership #Motivation #Mentalhealth #Selfawareness #Contagioushappiness #Awareness #Perception #Business #Teams #Personaldevelopment

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