Waiting to live. Are you one of these people?

When I hear people talking about how they wish they could do something or go somewhere, I have to resist telling them to make it happen. Yes, I realize that there are circumstances which would make it difficult for everyone to do everything they talk about wanting to do. However, with some planning and focus, I firmly believe anything is possible.

There is a concept of manifestation that intrigues me. I am by no means an expert on this topic, but I like the potential opportunity it provides people to achieve what they focus their mind on. Sure, it would be fabulous to be able to simply focus on something positive and have it happen, but what if it could? At least some of the time. Would you give this concept a try? I don’t think you have anything to lose except some time concentrating on what you desire to have happen.

Although it is not exactly the same, the concept of visualization seems partially related to manifesting what you want. Numerous pro athletes and high achievers leverage visualization to help them see themselves in the place they want be, or achieving what they desire to do so. If you are not familiar with the concept of visualization, it’s worth taking some time to read up on it.

Upon doing a quick Google search on what are the “best books on visualization techniques”, there were numerous ones which came up. There was one book which dated back to 1975 called ‘Seeing with the Minds Eye – The History, Techniques, and Uses of Visualization” by Mike Samuels and Nancy Samuels.  I have not read this book, but the fact it has been around for numerous decades means it has stood the test of time with its relevancy.

One of my motivational drivers is having many things to look forward to. For me, sometimes looking forward to the things I will be doing are as exciting as the activities I will be doing. When I realize I don’t have a mental play list of what I am looking forward to, I then begin the process of queuing up what I’ll be doing. For instance, this weekend I’ll be going to The Who concert at Fenway Park in Boston, and seeing the debut of an independent film on Saturday that was produced and directed by someone I know. The following week I’ll be speaking about entrepreneurship and running my business at a sold-out women’s conference and then enjoying some down time in Napa Valley, CA at the end of the week.

For some people, they feel it takes a reserve of energy to keep up with the pace of my life. However, it is the pace which fuels me and provides me with the energy I need to enjoy the things I set out to do. I realize everyone is different, and wouldn’t expect most people to keep up with me. As you may know, relaxing isn’t one of my strengths, but I’m okay with this, and have come to accept it is how I am wired. I also do not expect people to compare themselves to one another, although some do, but I do not find this to be personally helpful.

If I were to ask you if you are someone who would be in the “waiting to live” category, would you have to think about this? Or, have you given this some thought? My belief is that life can be fulfilling with many of the simple pleasures in life, but that sprinkling in fun, creative and interactive things to do is equivalent to adding spice to your food. You will laugh at this analogy if you know anything about my culinary skills, but it’s true.

Although the ‘waiting to live’ category might be fine for you, I encourage you to give some thought to whether this is how you are currently living your life. Most people who would either classify themselves, or have others do so, might realize this isn’t the category they want to be in.

Taking steps to begin moving towards enjoying your life more, isn’t always easy to do. However, with the right motivation, focus and asking others to help you, will soon steer you in the direction you want to go! Before you know it, you’ll also be having a great deal more fun and happiness in your life too. Who doesn’t want to sign up for that?

Note: For context, I wrote this article in the fall of 2019.

Tags: #Motivation #Manifestation #Visualization #Inspiration #Life #Bucketlist #Business #Work #Life #Living

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Age-nostic. Looking at your age differently, and why you should.

I have always subscribed to the saying “age is just a number”. In fact, I have thought about this more recently, as I reminded myself about two things. Don’t let my age define or limit me, and fully leverage the fact I have life experience to share with others.

During a conversation I was having this week with a friend, they were noting that they were regretful about waiting so long to do a project they are currently working on. For context, it happens to be an artistic type of project. I asked them why they waited to do the project until now, and it turns out they simply were not ready to take the project on before. Although from their perspective, their timing on completing the project isn’t ideal for them, the fact they are working on and will complete it is actually what matters.

This person was hyper focused on their age as being the reason they were regretful of not having completed the project before. I asked them if this project brought energy and joy into their life? I also asked them if they were proud of what they were working on? They confirmed that this project did bring them energy, joy and pride, and most importantly to them, it would provide them with a tangible legacy.

As I was thinking about both my age, and the person I referenced, I realized that I have a different approach to how I see the world. Not one that is based on accomplishing certain milestones at a particular age or decade, but one that is based on doing things when you are ready to do them, and have the confidence to accomplish them. This thinking has given me great personal comfort, as the type of professional work I am pursuing is taking me into unchartered territories and waters. Both of which I’m extremely excited about pursuing.

Will going forward into the unchartered waters and without any role models to look towards be easy? Of course not, but I am confident and know I have what it takes to be the pioneer and role model for others. This isn’t a description I might have embraced a decade ago, but as I have shed self-imposed restrictions which would have limited my thinking to pursue what I am going to be doing, it’s an incredibly freeing feeling!

One of the things I also realized from the conversation I was having this week with my friend, was that by placing self-imposed, or societal restrictions on ourselves in terms of when it is the “right time” to do or accomplish something made zero sense. That’s when the concept of wrapping my brain around being ageless, or what I referred to as being agenostic came about. My definition of agenostic is that you do not subscribe to defining yourself by your chronological age, and that you act and do things that provide your mind with motivation based on not having imposed limitations on what and when you can accomplish them. 

My entire life people have always told me I had a certain positive energy and vibe that was refreshing, and my kids always joke with me that they never think of me as being a particular age.  I attribute this mainly to the fact my outlook on life is so positive and filled with enthusiasm. This is also despite many of the obstacles I have encountered. In fact, I do my best to look at obstacles as opportunities to learn and grow from, which I believe helps to contribute to my agenostic approach to life.

Is being agenostic for everyone? It can be, but, it’s really a mindset you decide to embrace. I fully embrace it, because of the benefits I find it offers me on a daily basis, and which fuels my desire to continue to think this way.

Since by nature I am highly motivated to help others, and have a heightened sense of empathy for those who need additional support in their life, I also need to take the time to remain focused on aspects which positively contribute to my agenostic thinking. So, I do have to be mindful of actions which I could take that would not contribute to supporting how I think. This includes pruning people from my personal and professional circles who are not supportive. It also includes making sure I have a strong balance in my life, and am focused on including doing things that support good health and well-being.

I have been privileged to work and be engaged with some of the most inspirational people in our society. All of these people have one thing in common, and it is that they do not allow others to put restrictions on what they are capable of accomplishing. In fact, when people place restrictions on them, they are more inclined to go well beyond and accomplish far greater things in these scenarios.

Some would say these people are highly achievement or competitively oriented, and they may be, but it’s actually more than this. It comes down to the fact they also live their life without self-imposed limiting accomplishment or experience restrictions.

If you are a leader, sports coach, trusted advisor or someone who simply wants to subscribe to benefitting from adopting an agenostic approach, here are some suggestions to help you to do so.

  • Make a list of all of the reasons or excuses you can come up with about why you can’t do or accomplish something.
  • For every item on your list, come up with at least one solution that could eliminate your reasons or excuses for not being able to accomplish something.
  • If there are reasons or excuses on your list that you cannot come up with a solution for, who could you share them with that could help you to find a solution?
  • Are you ready to free yourself from self-imposed age restrictions? What will it take for you to confidently say yes to this?
  • Besides excuses and reasons, come up with another list of how you imagine you will feel, and what your life will be like when age related restrictions are eliminated.
  • Create a list of the things you will be accomplishing, looking forward to doing and that will be bringing both energy, joy and greater satisfaction into your life when you begin experiencing doing things you restricted yourself from doing before.   
  • Visualize how you will feel, and where you will be mentally and physically when you consider adopting the concept of being agenostic.

If and when you decide to adopt the concept of embracing being age-nostic, let me know, as I’ll be looking forward to speaking with you, and hearing about all of the exciting things you have to look forward to, and that you are going to be doing in your life!

#Business #Leadership #Motivation #Inspiration #Satisfaction #Life #Balance #Lifebalance #Visualization #Eliminateagerestrictions #Noexcuses #Nolimits #Nolimitations #Success #Happiness #Notdefinedbyage #Notdefinedbyyourage #GenX #GenY #GenZ #Millennials #Boomers #SportsCoach #Leader #TrustedAdvisor

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Making your company “sticky” – Employee retention redefined.

Most people are not entrepreneurs. However, we are presently living in a period where many employees appear to be both dreaming about, and taking action towards either self-employment, or searching for a “unicorn” company. In other words, the type of company that ticks off all of the aspects of what an ideal company would be like to be employed by. Does this company exist?

Perhaps because the definition of what an ideal company to work for is harder to define, or even harder to find if you do come up with a definition, is there a happy medium that employees would be content with? This puts both the employee and the employer in a difficult stand-off, but not an impossible one.

One of the challenges companies face with retaining employees is the employee’s dissatisfaction with feeling like they are truly serving a purpose by working there. Let’s face it, in reality it will be a stretch for many companies to be able to define and align their company with offering all of their employees a heartfelt purpose for working there. Or is it?

Sure, some companies will have obvious reasons you will want to work there, and it could be based on the mission or the product or services they are offering others, but what if your company doesn’t fall into these categories? The good news is that despite the fact a company many not have an intriguing reason for attracting and retaining employees to be there, there is something else they should be considering. A consideration that a number of sports teams and their coaches have cracked the code on.

When you think about a sports team, you might first consider who the team is lead and coached by. You might then consider the type of sport they play, and where their team is located. All things not being equal, I’ll keep this analogy simple, as I see and want to share some dramatic parallels to sports teams being compared to companies.

The first parallel is that both sports teams and companies all have a defined leader. The second comparison is that in both scenarios, the people all need to work together. They also need to do their best work to have a quality outcome. So, how is it that some teams and companies are able to consistently outperform others? Are they stronger, smarter, more talented, being paid more, or are they more motivated or in better health? Perhaps, but none of these are the reasons some teams and companies will have better retention than others.

One of the reasons that sports teams and some companies have figured out and cracked the code on being successful with employee retention has nothing to do with a tangible aspect. It has to do with how the athletes and employees feel about how much they are appreciated by their coach or leader. Is it really that simple? Actually, it is, but the hard part is figuring out how to make athletes and employees feel appreciated.

Let’s dial-up the “way back” machine and take all of us back to when we were first entering school. One of the things most of us were taught, or witnessed, was that it was important to be nice to others. To apply simple manners and to be respectful of one another. Do any of these things cost any money? No, but they are some of the foundational aspects of what contributes to why athletes and employees remain at their company. Even thrive.

When a person feels they are treated well, are respected by their surrounding team members, are being invested in by their coach or leader (e.g., via attention, challenging them, communicating and listening to them, teaching and mentoring them) this matters. Or, if a person feels that they are contributing in their own way to a collective goal or mission, this will make all of the difference in a teams or a company’s retention levels. So, what’s the problem? The problem is that this formula isn’t either understood, or appears to be a mystery or magic trick for sports teams and companies who are having retention challenges. Is this your team or company?

You don’t have to pay attention to the news to know about the Great Resignation, you simply can talk to anyone in your personal or professional circle and you will learn about someone who is part of this scenario. Perhaps you are even someone contributing to it? If you are contributing to this scenario, or if you are a sports team or employer trying to figure out how to retain your greatest asset (e.g., team members, employees), I have some suggestions for you.

For sports team members/employees:

  • Other than making a living, what research did you do to determine your team or employer was the right fit for you? Have you defined what the “right fit” is for you?
  • If you haven’t defined what your values are, it would be a great time to do this too, as you can then have a higher percentage of them aligning with the team you will be joining.
  • Can you play a role in being a mentor or finding a mentor on your team or at your company?
  • If having a flexible schedule is important to you, but not for your company, could you reach a compromise?
  • Are there projects or opportunities within your company that would be an incentive for you to be engaged with? Sometimes doing activities/projects outside of what we are professionally focused on, can help to inspire you to want to continue working there.
  • When was the last time you had a meaningful conversation with your coach or boss? If your answer was never, can you imagine attempting to have this type of conversation?
  • Is personal balance in your life compromised because you either feel compelled, or have to work constantly? Or, you feel this way because your mind is occupied by work or your team 24/7? Is this your challenge to contend with, or is the team or company culture contributing to this? Maybe both? Only you can control your balance.
  • Do you know how to strike a balance between your personal and team/work scenario? Sometimes it’s easier to apply the blame on external factors, when it’s you that are the actual culprit for not investing in learning how to find balance in your life.

Employers/Sports Teams:

  • What investments have you made, or programs have you recently offered that would make your company or team more attractive to be a part of?
  • What are you doing to make your employees feel valued and appreciated?
  • Have you asked your team or employees what matters to them, and what beyond a paycheck and benefits are reasons they are associated with your team or company?
  • How would you rate your ability to inspire and motivate your team or employees on a regular basis?
  • How comfortable are you with having vulnerable and meaningful conversations with your team or employees? If your comfort level is low, have you considered what you can do to increase your level?
  • What do you really know about your team or employees beyond what their resume or they have told you? Chances are good that this is an area you could significantly improve upon, and with many options which could be considered to do so.
  • If you were to design a blueprint for the ideal company to work at, can you honestly say that you know what the ideal company blueprint would include? Start by coming up with 5-10 ideas that you can brainstorm on with others.

We all can agree that making your team or company a “sticky” or ideal place to work won’t happen overnight. However, making the investment in figuring out the equation to do so will be beyond worth it, as it will provide you and those impacted with the satisfaction of being on a team or at a company that isn’t just a placeholder on their team or work resume. Imagine being on this team or working at that type of company. It does exist, and I hope you find it, or create it.

TAGS: #Employeeretention #Teams #Leadership #Leader #Sportscoach #Coach #Management #Employeeretentiontips #Teamretentiontips #Motivation #Worklifebalance #Balance #Vulernable #Vulnerability #Communication #Thegreatresignation #Employeerention #Howtoretainemployees #Howtoretainemployeesduringthegreatresignation #HR #CEO #President #Humanresources #Peopledevelopment #Business

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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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Self-awareness. Have you mastered this?

Let me begin by asking you a question. Would you say that you are fascinating or frustrating to others? Perhaps you are someplace in-between? Or, maybe you don’t know. The good news is that the majority of people are on a journey to discovering their self-awareness. Starting with who they are, and then eventually reaching a point when they can appreciate how others perceive them.

Beginning to focus on who you are may seem like an easy task. The challenge is that it is easier to view others and how they come across via their self-awareness than it is our own. Why? Mainly because we don’t have someone video recording our every move, and then sitting down to do a play by play analysis of how we interacted with others. If we did, would this help us? Perhaps to some degree, but developing our self-awareness can take decades to master.

The other factor about our self-awareness is that with more life experience, it can change how we present ourselves to others, and how others perceive us. We might not appreciate the gradual development of our journey, but at some point, we will realize we have made progress.

Are there some people who naturally have more self-awareness than others, and did they have this skill at an early age? Yes, but they are in the minority. One of the factors to those whose awareness level is higher than others early on, is that they embrace early on who they are. For example, perhaps they are a really outgoing person, and yet, they have been told by some people that they are too friendly. Do these people who hear this information dial down their friendly meter? They might, but they will look to monitor this trait as part of their awareness and apply it more appropriately and situationally.

Remaining on the thread of someone who is very friendly and who is aware of the fact they can dial up and down their friendliness level, how do they know which way the dial should be turned? One of the ways they do this is to read the body language of the person or group they are in, and to determine based on the clues that are being given out. Being able to read others body language is a part of how a person can master their self-awareness, but it’s not the only element.

There is also a component that self-aware people have mastered that allows them to more accurately perceive the energy level of people they are engaging with. This is a much more difficult ability to master, and it is even more difficult to explain, as it is a feeling you get, versus something you can see. For instance, consider a time when you came across someone you work with, or are leading, and you sensed they were not having a good day. In this situation, let’s suppose their body language was not giving off any clues about how they were feeling, but you could get a sense by trusting your gut instinct that something was wrong. Perhaps you even felt your own body tighten up and begin to feel the stress they were emanating?

A third element associated with mastering self-awareness is paying attention and actually listening to what the person you are talking to is saying, but more importantly, what they are not telling you. When you engage with someone you know well, and you would normally have a free-flowing conversation with them. Have you ever noticed when in conversation with them, that they are not talking to you the way they customarily do? In this situation, being aware of this can help both you, and them by asking them questions relating to whether there is something they want to talk to you about, but are hesitating to do so.

For people who have not mastered their self-awareness yet, or who are just beginning their journey of doing so, the best thing they can do is to be open to understanding and learning how to master this skill. Although it is ideal to master this skill early on in our lives, the reality is that most people do not do so until their 30’s, and even into their 40’s and 50’s. Yes, this might seem improbable, but I can tell you that from my professional experience, I see this happening on a regular basis.

Is it a bad thing that so many people are lacking in their self-awareness? No, because as long as someone is willing to work on their self-awareness and increasing their level, this is an extremely positive attribute. It is also an indication they will be in a much better place socially, personally and professionally when they do. Especially if they are a parent, leader, mentor or sports coach or someone who is regularly engaging with other people in a teaching manner.

So, are there ways that people can begin mastering their self-awareness? You bet there are, and below are some suggestions to put you or someone you know in the direction of doing so.

  • How would you rate your own level of self-awareness on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest level? If you are at a level 3, ideally being at a 4-5 is where you want to be, and you can get there with practice.
  • Who would you rate in your professional or personal circles as someone who is at a level 5 for self-awareness?
  • Are any of the people you have rated a 5 people you could ask to help you with increasing your own level of self-awareness?
  • Can you think of a time recently when you felt your self-awareness level was higher than it typically is? What were the circumstances in this situation which made you feel like you had a higher level? Could you take elements from that situation and apply it to other scenarios to help yourself?
  • Have you ever had an opportunity to take an assessment to learn more about yourself? There are many assessments to choose from, and I’m not going to bias you on which one to select, but you can reach out to me if you want my opinion.
  • Be honest with yourself. Have you ever considered that you might not be that self-aware? If so, does it matter to you whether you increase your level, or are you satisfied with who you are, and where you are at in your life?

If you are not satisfied with your level of self-awareness, you have taken the first step to improve it by admitting this to yourself. Your investment in your self-awareness journey will be worth every ounce of effort you put into it, and I can assure you of this, as I see what happens on a daily basis to the people who are making this investment in themselves.

TAGS: #SelfAwareness #Awareness #Leadership #Leader #Coach #SportsCoach #Mentor #Parent #Business #ProfessionalAwareness #PersonalAwareness #MasteringSelfAwareness

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