Don’t Look Back – (5) Tips on how to always look forward.

I certainly cannot speak for anyone else, but one of the things that really motivates me is looking forward to something. Even when there is not anything monumental on the horizon, I can look forward to something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. Having something to look forward to is simple enough to accomplish. It is a highly achievable experience. When I find myself less motivated, I realize I might be thinking about the past, instead of looking toward the future, which I find to be incredibly exciting.

Taking time every now and then to reminisce about what you have done in the past, and the accomplishments you conquered, joyous experiences you relished, and perhaps even some less-than-ideal days is normal, but should not consume your thoughts. Nor should looking back be something to be tough on yourself about, as many people dwell on What IF thinking. This serves little purpose, consumes too much energy, and is a habit which we should all try to reverse.We are all guilty of What If thinking, but what if instead of focusing on the WhatIf regarding the past, we apply this thinking towards the future?

When we interrupt our negative thinking, or thinking that is less constructive, we do ourselves and others a favor by changing our attitudes towards just about everything. Thinking in terms of possibilities versus reviewing our playback tape is what highly successful and motivated people do. It really is not that difficult. The first challenge is to recognize a pattern of thinking about what has already happened, especially since you cannot rewrite what has already occurred. The good news is that you do have control over the script for what can happen next. Stop and really think about this for a minute. Yes, you do have full control. Don’t let it happen, make it happen!

Having something to look forward to is highly motivating for me, but everyone is different, so this might not, in fact, work for you.However, here are five tips to refocus your energy and attention on looking ahead instead of in the rear-view mirror.

  • Think of someone you admire. Now imagine yourself in their shoes. What are their most admirable characteristics? Are some of their traits ones that you could borrow, or implement?
  • Spend time outside. Being near or around any type of nature, or simply breathing in fresh air, can reset your thinking, and put you in a better, more positive frame of mind.
  • Do something nice for someone else. Thinking through the process of doing a kind gesture for someone else forces you to think ahead and plan out the activity, even when it is a simple action like putting a blanket on your child or significant other when he or she has fallen asleep on the couch.
  • Put together a plan. It can be almost any type of plan – a vacation, a dinner date, a birthday party, opening the pool . . . The simple act of starting a plan will create the need to look forward.
  • Get out of your routine. No matter what time of the day it is, you probably have some type of routine. Do something entirely different during your day, and start thinking now what it might be. This will give you something to look forward to, and put you in a position to have to think about doing something later.

Changing how you think about the future can create positive results. The natural endorphins released from the brain when you are thinking and doing constructive behavior will help.

I know you can do this and promise it’s worth the effort.  I have coached many people who felt the same way you do, and guided them to be able to do this well, and every day. Give it a try. T

O

What if it all works out? (7) Ways to make this happen.

Maybe it’s just me. I don’t think it is, and too many others have told me they first start with thinking about all of the reasons their plan, project, idea or dreams will not work out. Sure, there is deep psychology behind this type of thinking to explain why this happens, but what if we could change this narrative in our minds and put our mind only on the positive thinking track?

Even though my number one strength is positivity, I’ll admit to sometimes not automatically deferring to this type of thinking. At least not all of the time. However, I can generally talk myself out of going down the negative track, and quickly get back to positive thinking. You can too, and it is really important to be able to do this, as everything in your life and the work you do will be much more satisfying when you adopt this approach to thinking.

Backtracking for just a moment, think about how different your day would be if you always thought everything was going to work out in a positive way? I can’t imagine someone not wanting to sign-up for this. Well maybe a few people, and you know who you are. For the majority of people who would enjoy transforming their way of thinking to be in alignment with everything working out, let’s take a look at how to make this possible.

I’ll walk you through what I recommend as ways you can course correct when the negative talk pops up in your brain. The intent is to have you be able to override this channel, and get back to focusing on your positive outcome.

  1. Your negative thinking is just that. Negative thinking. It’s not real, and you have to remind yourself it isn’t.
  2. Everyone wants to achieve some form of success, or have as many positive outcomes as possible. If you switch your thinking to having a mindset that everything will all work out positively. Guess what? The odds are greater than 50% they will.
  3. Do you believe you deserve to fail? Of course, you don’t. Change your inner minds narrative to thinking you deserve to win or have a positive outcome, and watch what can happen. It’s truly incredible what you will experience.
  4. Enlist a trusted friend, partner, colleague or someone to help you by talking positive outcomes through with them. Hearing yourself express a positive outcome to someone helps to reinforce this thinking, and the outcome.
  5. Make a list of the things you want to have workout well. Do you have ways to influence the positive outcome beyond just thinking you want the outcome to be this way?
  6. If your list has items on it which you can help to positively influence the outcome to be in your favor, are you committed to doing what you will need to do to make this happen?
  7. Think through a couple of scenarios when the outcome didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. Did you expect to have a negative outcome? There is a high probability you did. Is there something you can do to change the outcome you didn’t want? Potentially there is, and one of them is to come up with your Plan B to alter the outcome to be in your favor.

One of my articles was about Daydreaming, and there are a lot of sound reasons we should all be doing more of this. Daydreaming aligns well with positive thinking, as we tend not to daydream about negative situations or outcomes. So, when you need to warm-up your positive thinking to allow your brain to wrap around providing you with more positive outcomes, start with daydreaming how it will all work out in your favor.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarketMe Too has expertise in uniting and bridging teams. This provides organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results. 

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339)987-0195.T

Figuring things out in your 20’s and 30’s to prevent your mid-life crisis

Let’s first start off by acknowledging that the majority of people coming out of college or high school do not have a clear vision about what they will be ideally doing for the next 10-20 years. What tends to happen is that after graduating from school, people begin their journey into becoming an adult, and joining what some refer to as “the real world”. You know what I’m talking about…paying for your own phone, apartment, food, transportation, student loans, etc. The list of expenses seems like they have come out of nowhere, and most people in the first 2-4 years’ post-graduation are adjusting to becoming an adult, with real life responsibilities.

In your mid-twenties, you start to think about whether the job you decided to accept and pursue is in good alignment with what you like to do, and the reality is that often it isn’t. This tends to add to your stress, although you keep plugging along, as you are not certain what you should be doing instead. You also begin to start thinking about your romantic partnering reality, and if you are not in a serious relationship, this can also cause more stress, as the majority of people are interested in having a meaningful connection with someone.

Adding to this stress, is that many woman in their mid 20’s to mid 30’s often also start to begin panicking about whether they will be able to find the right partner, and they do have cause for concern, especially if they want to have children. Unfortunately, fertility statistics are not working in women’s favor as they enter into their 30’s, and the reality is that many women are not either emotionally or financially ready to take on becoming a Mother until they surpass 30.

I realize the written picture I have painted isn’t as promising and rosy as most people would prefer it to be. However, there is a strong degree of harsh realities associated with what is happening to the young adults in their 20’s and 30’s. Fortunately there is good news though, and here is some of the advice I give to help people in these decades of their life to not only reduce their stress, but enjoy these decades more than they might currently be doing.

  • Keeping your experiences in perspective is critical. Even though you may not be in a job you want to have, live where you want to, be in the relationship you would prefer to be in, all of these things can change very quickly. Also for the better.
  • Yes, misery can enjoy company, but do your best to avoid others who are chronic complainers or drama kings or queens. They will only drag you down, and no ones needs or enjoys this type of interaction.
  • Seek out people who are doing things (e.g., hobbies, activities) or work you either enjoy doing, or aspire to be doing. The best way to change your situation, especially if you are not satisfied is to take action.
  • Volunteering your time is also a great way to realize you may be in a better off situation than you think you are, and yes, you do have time to help others. No excuses, as most of you are only responsible for taking care of yourself.
  • Challenge yourself everyday to get out of your comfort zone. Someone in their mid 20’s the other day was surprisingly shocked that I practice what I tell others, and do something every day to challenge myself. You should never stop doing this.
  • Ask for help and guidance from others, especially others who have more life experience than you do. This could be your family members, or people that are 15-20 years plus older than you, and who have volumes of strong advice or suggestions to help you. People also derive enormous satisfaction from helping others, so let them help you.
  • Come up with an action oriented and goal driven plan for the next 5-10 years of what you would like to accomplish. We are so used to having most of our lives programmed for us up until we are 18-22, but after these ages, we are on our own to come up with a plan. The funny thing about this, is you might not realize this is the case, although upon telling you this, it probably seems obvious. Make your plan flexible enough to be accomplished, and yet challenging enough so you can experience and delight in your progress being made.
  • Seeking therapy is also a strong option, as therapists can help you to get to the root cause of what is causing you to feel the way you do, especially if you are experiencing more anxiety than you are comfortable with. However, in reality, it can also take years to feel better, and there is no guarantee offered from therapists that you will feel different or any better after you have been in therapy.
  • Most people I talk to do not fully understand who they are, or what motivates them, or what their purpose is. Figuring this out is far easier than you might think, and as a certified Gallup Strengths Coach, I help people with this challenge every day. I also love doing this, and I have seen incredible results from helping people to understand better who they are and what they are good at in less time than you might think it would take. Many people I work with also have a therapist, and I laugh when they tell me that working with me is much more therapeutic, and gets actual and faster results. How ironic.

I wish I could tell you there is a magic formula for figuring things out in your 20’s and 30’s. There isn’t, but these are a few of the suggestions I give people who ask me for advice on this topic. Let me know if some of them help you out, or if you have suggestions I can share with others which have helped you. This is my “thanksgiving” gift to you. Happy Thanksgiving…if you happen to celebrate this holiday.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. Market Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Think of me as a “people are like diamonds – polisher”.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Post acquisition hangover? There’s a cure.

When I was talking to my daughter about writing about this topic, she asked me if I was familiar with a concept she recently learned in business school called Post Merger Syndrome (PMS). What an appropriate acronym. I had not heard about this, but I sure have lived through it. Generally, when I am writing about a topic, I tend to do some minor research on the subject, but only minor research, as I do not want to be significantly influenced by other people’s thinking on the topic.

Since I have worked at more than a dozen companies during my career, I have had the fortune of experiencing just about every aspect of the acquisition process. At one company I was at, I was on the executive team which was responsible for integrating acquired companies into the culture of the company. Since the company was on an acquisition spree, there were times I was working with 2-3 new companies and helping them to comfortably fold into being part of the acquiring company. As you might imagine, culture plays an enormous role in the success of blending companies, and I have written about the importance of having a strong company culture .

I’m often asked to comment on what is the most difficult aspect of the acquisition process. Hands down, I can tell you it is the post acquisition phase. Going through the acquisition phase is exhausting, and sometimes feels like it is never going to end, and often it does, but not because the acquisition went through, but because the acquisition did not come to fruition and go through the process successfully. There are so many factors which can stall out, or derail an acquisition, so the fact they do go through is sometimes just short of a small miracle.

Post any acquisition I have been through, there is both a huge sense of relieve, but also a sense of what I would refer to as a feeling like the air was let out of your balloon. Let’s face it, not everyone monetarily gains from going through the acquisition process, and yet there are many people who worked really long and arduous hours to make the deal happen. Then when the deal goes through, it’s back to reality, and going back to perhaps the flow of its just a job kind of feeling.

So, is it possible to either not experience a post acquisition hangover, or feel better post the acquisition than you did before the whole experience occurred? Sure it is, but there are some realities you need to be aware of to help you navigate through this. Here are my tips on how to either avoid your post acquisition hangover, or find the post acquisition remedy you might be looking for.

  • Post the acquisition, make sure you make time to personally celebrate the accomplishment. I’m talking about doing this alone, and taking time to be retrospective about everything you just went through to be part of making this process happen.
  • Doing a post mortem on the experience with the team involved with the acquisition process is critical. There are so many lessons which will be too easily forgotten or dismissed as lessons you learned, and which can help you to make the post acquisition process less taxing on you both mentally and physically.
  • Mentally and physically you need to build in time to take time to wind down from the acquisition Too many people I have seen have made the mistake of not doing this, and they do not last too long after the acquisition takes place in either the role they played, or the new one they took on. If you utilize the analogy of exercising, think of how it is just as important to warm-up as it is to cool down. This is essentially the same concept. Skip one of these, and you know what can happen.
  • Career and project based opportunities from the acquisition will be prevalent for those who are savvy enough to see them. Keep your eyes open for them, and don’t be shy about letting others know you want to leverage the opportunities which can work in your favor. Just be sure to clearly articulate how both parties can benefit from the opportunities you are capitalizing on.
  • Get to know and understand the culture of the team you either acquired, or were acquired by. It is critical to do this early on in the process, and to integrate the teams together. Using another analogy, it is similar to how families are blended together during a marriage. It takes time, and you have to work at it, and often you will need external help to assist with this process. Don’t rule out bringing someone from the outside to help you navigate through this. It can really make a difference.
  • Whatever you do, don’t become labeled as the chronic complainer who does not appear to be adjusting well to the acquisition. Adaptability and flexibility are going to be two of the greatest strengths to exhibit and possess post the acquisition. As the saying goes, become part of the solution.
  • Being associated with the company you either acquired, or were acquired by may or may not be a long term or ideal match for either one of you. Literally make a simple pros and cons list, and you will quickly see which one is the winner. Ideally give yourself a few quarters for the dust to settle on the acquisition, and then go through the pros/cons exercise. The list may have dramatically changed, and should give you a better sense of whether remaining at the combined company is in your best interest.

I hope some of these tips will help you, and let me know if they do. Or, let me know if you need some additional ones to help you with your challenge. By the way, congratulations to all those on the “other side” of the acquisition experience.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

 

Ten Reasons Being a Mature Worker Has Advantages

When I first began my business career, I rarely thought about what it might be like for me and where I would be working when I was 40 or older. I was so focused on what was directly in front of me, it was difficult to think too far ahead.

I knew I wanted to advance, but I did not have a vision for exactly what that meant. In speaking with many of today’s twenty- and thirty-somethings, I realized they have a better sense of having plotted out where they are headed.  Of course, this is not always the case.

In the last 20 years, society has put enormous pressure on younger people to know from an early age what they want to be doing in their careers. This is incredibly unfair and unrealistic. The decade immediately following college should be a time to explore various career options, travel, and obtain a better sense of your skill set as well as what you like and do not like to do.

By the time you reach your 30s, you have generally settled into an industry which you may or may not be satisfied with. You have also, by this time, hopefully have had an opportunity to work with people who are a variety of ages.

Unfortunately, if you are in the technology industry, you will not see too many people past the age of 50. Over 50, most are either a “C” level executive, or on the software development, testing, and customer support side of the business. Perhaps in non-technology industries you will have an opportunity to work with more mature colleagues. There is much to learn from them.

What most people do not realize is how valuable employees with years of experience are, or how to fully tap into their potential. Our society has done a decent job of on-boarding new and younger employees.  Where society has failed is knowing how best to leverage the talent of the workforce over 50.  Or 60.  Or 70.

Last week, I had an opportunity to witness an incredible team effort.  The average age of the people working together was around 70.  All of them were women. They worked for well over a month making homemade holiday gifts to be sold at a community fair. The proceeds were being donated to both the local school system, as well as the village church and community hall where the event was to take place.

When I walked in on the morning of the holiday event, where all of the incredible handmade items were on display, I felt as if I had been transported to a different and magical world. The sheer beauty of the handmade items was stunning. They were a testament to a team of people working together who had donated their skills and time.

Could a group of people who were younger have accomplished the same thing this group of women in their 70s, 80s and 90s did? Sure! Age should not be a limitation in either the workplace or in life if someone is determined to participate.

However, due to age discrimination, and this happens to younger people, too, many of our more mature workers are forced out of the work place. This is such a shame.

Here are ten reasons for why older workers rock, along with the benefits of being a more mature worker.

 

  1. Understanding what has been done in the past can be incredibly helpful in directing what the priorities should be. Mature employees have experience with knowing what has worked, and what has not. Knowing what not to focus on because it will waste time is an enormously valuable skill.

 

  1. Time is our most precious commodity. Due to experience, most mature workers have become exceptionally good at managing their time, and know how to maximize accomplishing goals with a more disciplined approach.

 

  1. Mature workers, in general, tend to be dependable, and have built up a work ethic which is both commendable, and the type of mindset and behavior that is great modeling for younger generations.

 

  1. Having experienced a number of failures already in their life, as people mature, they can be much less afraid of making mistakes and taking risks, contrary to other thinking.

 

  1. Communication skills generally improve over time, and because of this, mature workers do a better job of being able to articulate information relating to the work they are doing, the challenges they are experiencing, or interacting with customers who can sometimes be difficult to deal with.

 

  1. Focusing on tasks or on developing a longer-range strategy becomes much easier to accomplish as you mature. You tend to take more of a longer-term perspective when taking strategy into account, and this is very valuable.

 

  1. Knowing how to handle more interactions with both people and situations is something gained from being exposed to a variety of scenarios over one’s career.

 

  1. Having the ability to be retrospective on most matters can be quite beneficial in terms of getting beyond challenging matters sooner.

 

  1. Patience is generally a skill developed over time. Having the ability to be patient and not too quick to react, can help a company to remain on course and make small adjustments versus reactive decisions that typically do not serve companies well in the long term.

 

  1. Although there is a perception people only have high energy when they are younger, mature employees might in fact have more energy. Less of their focus is on concerns such as social pressure, college loans, raising young children, have passed.

Points to ponder:

  • Has your perspective on what it means to be a mature worker changed?
  • Are you willing and/or able to reduce ageism in the work place?
  • Are you ready to hire mature workers at your company?
  • Will you add them to your team, making it more balanced?

The best performing teams I have seen, are the ones that are generationally balanced. Is yours?

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon, and has had numerous strong reviews.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally.

If you want better results with what you are doing, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.