Being limitless, and tips on how to be this way as a leader or individual.

I’ve never been the type of person who imposes restrictions upon myself, or others. The funny thing about this, is how many people I have seen do this to themselves. Whether this is something they are doing intentionally is up for debate. When I encounter someone who is doing this, I will ask them if they are aware of my perception of them that this is something they are doing? 

Generally, the answer is that they are not aware of this perception, and will typically ask me for examples of them doing this. The curious thing for me, is that the examples I give them are from my perspective so obvious. More puzzling to me is that my examples appear to be ones they never have heard of before, yet when I point them out, they have an “aaahh-ha” moment of complete clarity. Why is this happening, and is it possible for people to course correct on this challenge themselves?

The answer is that yes, people can course correct, and become more aware of them seemingly being blind to not seeing how they place restrictions on themselves. However, one thing they will need to do first, is to be open-minded and willing to accept the fact they are doing this.

Let’s face a reality here. We know that not everyone is open-minded, but I will stress that everyone does have the capacity to be so. This is one of the keys to allowing yourself to become limitless in terms of how to set yourself up differently as both an individual, or leader. Potentially leaders could be constricted with being open-minded based on rules and regulations they may have imposed on them from others they need to answer to. Not always, and there are always exceptions to this.

Being open-minded and independent as a leader does not mean you have to completely compromise your desire to exercise these characteristics. Although chances are greater that you may need to be more creative and influential to obtain your goals to maintain your or other’s ability to be limitless in your thinking. This should be a challenge most leaders are familiar with, and I’m not suggesting it is easy to accomplish this. However, it will be worth the effort to pursue making this happen.

Focusing on you right now, consider a time in your life when you felt you didn’t have any restrictions imposed on your life or thinking. For context, this is in terms of your thinking and actions which could be coordinated to help you to have unlimited possibilities to pursue and achieve. Yes, responsibilities in one’s life will somewhat hinder unlimited thinking opportunities, but again the strategy is to find work arounds for them. Think of challenges as being simply obstacles that need to be overcome, and that every one of them has at least one solution to do so. This is ideally when your open-mindedness thinking is going to come into play, and yes, you can be open-minded, even if you don’t think it’s possible to be this way.

In terms of tips to help you to become more limitless with your thinking, below are some suggestions I have for you to consider applying.

  • Do you have a clear idea of what you actually want to accomplish? Is this written down anywhere, or have you expressed your vision about what you want to achieve?
  • If you have not written down a list of what you want to accomplish, this is the perfect time to do so, and yes, right after reading this story.
  • Once you have your list, write down next to the items what would be obstacles which would prevent you from accomplishing what you want to achieve.
  • The next step will be for you to come up with a third row which will provide you with solutions to overcome the obstacles you have factored in.
  • The fourth step is going to be putting your list into action, and potentially sharing it with those who it will impact. You are going to want to have others bought into what you are trying to do, and when they are, it will make it much easier to partner with them to help you to do so. Particularly if you are a leader, or sports team coach.
  • Thinking retrospectively, have there been times in your life when you limited yourself? Be honest with yourself, of course there were. This is fine, and even better to admit. More importantly is to peel back your thinking in terms of why you did this. Take some time to think this through, and consider whether there is something similar in your life you are faced with right now, and which you might be doing the exact same thing?
  • Is there a pattern you have established which has contributed to closing off your mind and life or professional world from being able to achieve what you want to because you have self-imposed restrictions on why you can’t do something? You fill in the blank on this, as I guarantee there are more restrictions you have placed upon yourself than you might have been willing to admit. This is one of the reasons why people succumb to being closed minded and introduce restrictions on what they can accomplish personally or professionally.
  • Are you fully committed to attempting to be more accepting of the fact you have not been able to allow yourself to be limitless in your thinking, yet, want to make a concerted effort in achieving being this way?
  • My final suggestion is to give yourself permission to think differently, and to slowly accept that it is possible to do so.

I have personally seen many people transform their way of thinking to be more open-minded, and yes, this does take some practice. No, you will not be an overnight success in attempting to master this, but you will get there. Even better is that once you are solidly on the path to being limitless with your thinking, I can guarantee you will have a lot more fun in your life, and be able to achieve things you never imagined would be possible.

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Motivation #Success #Tipsonbeingunlimitedinyourthinking #Unlimitedpossibilities #Sportscoach #Thinkingdifferently #Empoweringyourself #Teams #Openmindedness #Beingopenminded #Howtobeopenminded #Tiponhowtobeopenminded

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

Why you should give someone a chance or an opportunity.

 The first time I had a chance to professionally give someone an opportunity was when I was in my twenties, and it involved hiring my first employee. I can vividly recall both the excitement and trepidation I felt about making the decision to hire this person. It wasn’t because I was concerned about them being able to do the job, it was because of the fact I did not have experience with knowing how to manage another person. It turns out thirty years later I did find out that I did know how to manage someone, and they sent me a hand-written letter expressing their gratitude to me for giving them a chance, and hiring them. 

At that point in time, I had been managed by other people, and fortunately I had some amazing bosses, and one not so amazing one. In some respects, I probably learned more from the not-so-great manager, and this was because I was cataloging in my mind things they did that I would never want to do as a manager. One of them was to be a micromanager, and unfortunately for me, they had this skill down perfectly. However, the best news about my least favorite manager was that they gave me a chance to enter a new career which I proceeded to be in for another twenty plus years. 

Upon looking back on the opportunity that manager gave me, I realized that they must have seen something in me which warranted bringing me onto their team. As I think more about why they did this, I would say it was because we were complete opposites in terms of our methods of how we interacted professionally. He was extremely introverted, and you guessed it, I was the opposite of this. My ability to interact and get along with others helped him to bridge the gap he had with interacting with all of the employees we had to work with. In some respects, I now realize that he did become better at working with people, and perhaps some of this had to do with me demonstrating how to do so. 

With few exceptions, everyone has at least one time in their life when they either can recall, or will have a situation personally or professionally to give another person a chance. Either to do something trivial, or perhaps extraordinary. 

Consider a recent scenario when you may have actually passed and did not give another person an opportunity. If you broke down the reasons why you didn’t give them a chance, was it because you were afraid they might make you look bad? Was it because you were concerned you would have to spend a great deal of time mentoring them? Or, was it because you didn’t think they would “fit in” with the team? 

If you didn’t hire someone because you didn’t think they would fit in, chances are high that this was based on a bias you may have had, but would never admit to. Or perhaps it was because you had a gut instinct that something wasn’t quite right on a number of different levels, but you may not have been able to articulate exactly what they were. It was purely a feeling you had. 

In the case of not giving someone a chance was oriented around a negative bias, I want you to seriously think about something. Did you feel intimidated by this individual? Were you concerned they might outperform you at some point? Perhaps their intelligence level was greater than yours, or possibly their EQ was obviously higher than yours? The point is, that you were afraid on some level, but may not have considered this as a factor. 

The interesting aspect of being afraid is that most of the time, our fear is based on something irrational. Although there are occasions when it is real. However, most of the time, the fear we have is in our minds, and if we took the time to potentially override this, imagine the outcome of many of our decisions. One time I heard a great acronym for fear, and I have always thought about this myself when I felt fearful. The acronym for F.E.A.R. is “false expectations appearing real”. This simple statement has course corrected many of my own decisions throughout the journey of my life, and I hope it might provide you with a new way of confronting your own fears. 

To help you increase your odds of giving another person a chance or opportunity, here are some suggestions to consider:

·      Think about how much giving the person a chance might change the trajectory of their personal or professional life. It might not be that dramatic of an impact, but then again, it might. 

·      What is the worst-case scenario of this person being given a chance, and having them fail? 

·      Look at what you can do to set the person up for success. If you are a leader, this is always something you should be doing. No exceptions. 

·      Be honest with the person about any reservations you have about giving them an opportunity, and let them mitigate any concerns you have. 

·      Nothing is permanent, and taking a chance on someone doesn’t have to be either, so err on giving one. 

·      Consider how this person might compliment, augment or even out strengths you or others on your team have. 

·      Mentoring someone can be a great on ramp, or interim option prior to fully committing to giving someone a chance if you are hesitant in doing so.

·      Do your best to override your fear of helping this person out. It might turn out to be the best decision you ever made, and hiring my first employee turned out that way. 

With few exceptions, everyone deserves to be given an opportunity. Whether it is to succeed, be included or be given more responsibility. The list is endless in terms of the benefits both that person and you will gain when you are in a position to give someone a chance. Keeping in mind, that someone likely gave you at one point or more in your life. 

TAGS: #Leadership #Personaldevelopment #Business #Teams #Mentor #Success #Opportunity #Givingsomeoneachance #Bias #Leader #Sales

Reputation. What’s yours worth?

Our reputations are a curious topic to dissect. Namely because they are often in a variety of different states of how you might describe them. One of the states to describe someone’s reputation is steady. Of course, you want to be on the side of having your reputation be factoring as a positive one, but the reality is that reputations can also be fluid and delicate.

Yes, reputations can be strong too, but we know that one circumstance can be detrimental to a carefully crafted reputation built over decades. Fortunately, most people’s reputations are generally in a steady state, but I would suggest it is always wise to be strengthening it. I’m certain you would agree with this, so let’s chalk this up as a category most people can agree upon.

Reputations are earned, but sometimes a person’s reputation might be based on perception. A perception that may or may not be positive, and generally by others who you would not consider to be in your inner circle. Does it matter what others outside of your inner circle think about your reputation? It depends. You will need to take a moment to consider what value you place on your current reputation.

Although the perception of your reputation can be influenced by your own actions, sometimes outside influences will either strengthen or weaken it. For example, the people you associate with personally may have an impact on your reputation. Depending on your level of self-awareness, you may or may not be aware of whether those you associate yourself with are adding value or detracting from how others perceive you. If you don’t care about this, well my caution flag is to let me know you should at a minimum acknowledge this.

When you acknowledge factors contributing to the health and well-being of your reputation, or the opposite of this, you will be in a better place to evaluate whether decisions you have made are impacting your personal or professional paths forward. In other words, only you are the “captain” of your reputation ship, and at the end of the day, you will have to own up to how or why you are in the situation you are in.

The media is famous for showcasing the demise of people’s lives, and of course most of us will not have our misjudgments splashed in front of others. However, in smaller circles that most people operate in, it will be harder to measure the effects of something you may have overtly or inadvertently done to tarnish your personal or professional brand. I think of brand and reputation as being close cousins, and all of us would prefer to have both of these in good standing.

Let’s give some thought to what your reputation can do for you. If you have a strong and positive reputation, it can open up opportunities for you, by way of people granting you upfront trust. Trust that is given based on the perception that your strong reputation is worthy of investing in. Giving others hope also factors into someone who has built up their brand, as they will perceive that you will be able to do something favorable based on your historical track record of demonstrating this before.

So, opportunity and hope are a great starting place in terms of what having a strong reputation can do for you, but what else can it do, and how can you maintain this status? Another area that a solid reputation provides you with is having a more positive future outlook. An outlook that allows you to have a lens of seeing how to strategically capitalize on all of the experience you have gained, and which has resulted in the personal brand you have crafted. Although this might seem like a minor factor, and one which is easy to master, it’s in fact one of the most difficult things to do, short of maintaining a rock-solid reputation.

As I established that we can all agree upon the fact it is ideal to have a strong reputation both personally and professionally, it is possible to have a split reputation. One that in your personal life might be quite different from your professional life. This isn’t always the case, but I have seen people with stellar professional reputations, but have seen shades of their personal lives falling far from being described this way, and vice versa. Having a split reputation isn’t ideal, as it takes a tremendous of precious energy to hold up the good side, while balancing out the perils and impact the negative side has.

Since ideally having a more robust reputation is ideal for everyone, I have some suggestions for you to consider how to continue to enhance your reputation.

  • If you had to rate whether you are internally or externally focused in terms of helping others, on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the top rating, what rating would you give yourself? Hint, helping others is one way to enhance your all-around reputation.
  • Via a research project I am working on, one of the Sports Coaches I was interviewing told me they do not recruit “jerks”. I’ll let you be the judge of what constitutes being a jerk.
  • As I’ve written about before, “nice” isn’t a four-letter word. Yes, being nice will always enhance your reputation.
  • Make sure you are aware of how you are treating others at all times. Ask yourself, would I want to be treated this way? Sometimes you have to pause before your actions speak louder than your words.
  • Acknowledging and giving credit to others when credit is due is a powerful way of building both trust and loyalty, which in turn positively contributes to your reputation.
  • Taking the time to thank others goes along with acknowledging others who have helped or supported you. Ideally the written format of a thank you note is more powerful and longer lasting than words which can be fleeting. Perhaps consider sending a micro video thank you message.

The list of what you can do to further develop your reputation is endless, and as I like to do, I’m going to challenge you with sharing with me and others additional ways to go about accomplishing this. Especially if you are in a leadership role, as this will give you another opportunity to lead by example.

TAGS: #Leadership #Reputation #Buildingyourreputation #Howtostrengthenyourrepuration #Motivation #Business #Sportscoach #Leader

Who’s your CEO mentor?

Chief Executive Officers play a number of different roles in an organization. One of them may not be formally factored into their role, or exercised as often as it should be. I’m talking about the importance of being someone’s mentor. Yes, you, and yes, I realize you are busy. However, whether you realize it or not, or if you have not mentored someone in a while, perhaps you forgot about the fact you might get more out of this experience than the person you are mentoring.

I’m referring to the number one benefit of being able to assist and provide insightful guidance and direction to your mentee. Potentially in an entirely different manner than you would to your direct staff, and also those you lead on a daily basis in your CEO role.

Of course, I realize that CEO’s schedules are some of the most difficult to find an opening on, but without exception, it will be non-negotiable for you to find time each week on your schedule for the person or the individual’s you will be mentoring. I say will be mentoring, because after reading this article, either you, or someone who would like to be mentored by you will be connecting with one another.

As someone who naturally enjoys mentoring others, I can appreciate not everyone might be comfortable taking on the responsibility to do this. However, if you are the CEO, or in a leadership role, I need to remind you that you have a perhaps unwritten obligation to impart and share your experience with others. Possibly even unconventional mentees, such as ones who are at the very beginning of their careers. Or, perhaps in an entirely different industry. It’s also probable, you might find yourself mentoring a newly minted CEO. They certainly would benefit from your experience.

So, is there a particular method for finding a mentee or CEO mentor? Not really, as there are numerous approaches someone could take to find one or the other. For example, asking people in your network if they could connect you to their CEO would be one way to get started. In fact, it might be easier to ask a CEO to mentor you, than a CEO to approach you to ask if you would like to be mentored by them.

I consider it one of the highest honors when someone asks me to be their mentor. I also take full responsibility for being completely engaged and willing to be vulnerable with sharing what I have learned with the people I have, and am currently mentoring. Although it may be uncomfortable, no topic is off limits to those I am mentoring. Of course, not everyone might subscribe to this level of openness, but I consider it to be one of my signature mentoring style characteristics.

Since I am the type of person who is very comfortable with ambiguity, I also can appreciate that others may not be. Don’t get me wrong, I also like a certain amount of structure, but I also have a high level of flexibility which affords me being able to have a less structured mentoring approach. Some might call it casual, but I think of it as being authentic, and it supports my level of how I enjoy interacting with others. Especially those I am mentoring.

If you were to dissect my career, one of your findings would be that the greatest joy I have found in leading others was to be looked at as someone they could trust, want to follow and most importantly learn from and model their professional behavior after. Some of my greatest and most precious memories come from when I helped someone I was mentoring, and when they have what I’ll call a “light-bulb” moment. In other words, by working together, my mentee reaches a moment in time when they are able to figure out and learn from me, but are able to customize what they have learned, and apply it to their respective situation they are working on.

Given the fact most CEO’s reading this article will not likely, or in general reach out to a mentee, I ask you to consider doing the following:

  • Please be open to a request or multiple ones from people who might want to be mentored by you.
  • You clearly establish what the guidelines entail for being mentored by you.
  • Determine what aspects of your experiences are going to be the most impactful for the person or people you are mentoring.
  • Considering you are likely goal oriented, factor in what the goal or goals will be for your mentee. Please keep in mind that some mentees may be part of your mentoring experience for various lengths of time. Some may in fact be mentored by you for years, while others might only require a short mentoring stint with you.
  • Mentoring someone is both an honor and privilege, and realistically, someone either formally or informally mentored you. If they didn’t, consider yourself to be fortunate to have arrived in your role without the enormous benefits mentoring can provide someone.

If you are wondering how to approach a CEO to mentor you, one of my earlier suggestions was to ask someone who might know a CEO if they would introduce you to them. If you do not know anyone who knows a CEO, here are some possible ways of finding and reaching out to one.

  • Factor in whether you will gain more benefit from a CEO who is at a small company, mid-size one, or at a large enterprise.
  • Determine if you would benefit more from someone who is in your industry, or whether there would potentially be more to learn from someone outside of it.
  • Is the geographic location of where the CEO is a factor? Will you have difficulties due to drastic time zone differences, or perhaps cultural ones depending on which country you each live in?  
  • Does it matter how much CEO experience they have to you?
  • Would it matter if the CEO is a male or a female?
  • With the basic considerations behind you, you can begin your CEO mentor research on-line. Most of you reading this are on LinkedIn, but if you are not, I highly recommend you start there.
  • Depending on how many people you have in your LinkedIn network, may hinder or support your quest to find your CEO mentor. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have many people in your network. Chances are good someone in it has access to at least one CEO. Begin there, and first ask for an introduction to your connection who knows this person.
  • Once you have identified which CEO’s you want to approach to mentor you; please limit it to one or two, and then craft your note to ask them if they would consider mentoring you.
  • Make sure your mentoring inquiry note to the CEO is well thought through in terms of your ask. One of the main things to focus on is your “why” you would like to be mentored by them.
  • Also factor in what you may have to offer the CEO. If you are considerably younger, or perhaps in a different industry or geography, think about the unique perspectives you could offer them based on your generational and current industry or location experience.
  • When the CEO agrees to mentor you, and you embark upon your mentoring journey, keep in mind to be both authentic and respectful of the opportunity to engage and learn from one another.
  • Please leave your biases and pre-conceived notions about one another at the door. I guarantee you will be surprised by each other’s knowledge.

Although mentoring is often considered a one-way situation, it should be a bi-directional learning opportunity for both the mentor and mentee. Not all of the time, but as often as possible, as we can always learn someone from another person. Enjoy the journey as both a mentor and mentee.

Tags: #Leadership #Mentoring #Business #Howtofindamentor #CEOMentors #CEOsthatMentor #WhyallCEOsShouldbeMentors #Teams #Management #PersonalDevelopment #ProfessionalDevelopment #Peopledevelopment #Humandevelopment #FindingaCEOtoMentorYou