The power of possibilities.

Right now, I’m thinking about a sports team that is one game away from repeating the amazing performance and season they had last year. This time they are at home, and their opponent traveled from the west coast, so the toll of traveling and far different weather conditions will not be in their favor. Even though these factors might seem to be detrimental to their outcome, I can assure you they won’t be, and my team is prepared for this.

Some of the preparations the team has taken into consideration is making sure their individual mindsets are focused, and visualizing the outcome they want their upcoming game today to have. In other words, they are harnessing the power of the possibility of ending their season exactly the way they want to. Two of the other preparations they are taking to ensure the outcome they are anticipating is to fully appreciate the “why” and “who” they are playing their game for. They each know this, and are hyper focused on these two concepts. Although this might seem easy to do, it’s not. It’s also several of the reasons they have had such a successful season.

Of course, this teams coaches play a large role in their success too, and each of them brings their specialized talents to infuse into the collective team’s performance. The coaches consistently apply their specialized methods to their team, but two of these factors they include might be different and perhaps surprising. What are these factors? It’s humor and kindness. One of the coaches excels in each of these areas, and these are a few of what I’ll refer to as her “superpowers”. Seeing her apply them is like watching a professional ballet, as she is so poised and elegant with her application of these elements.

Perhaps you are surprised by the two factors I noted that are applied to making the team I am referring to so successful? The interesting part of this is that these are exactly the same factors that can be applied to a corporate team. Yet, they so infrequently are. However, when they are, that is what separates their performance outcomes from other teams and companies.

The team I am also referencing ,is admittedly at the greatest disadvantage on so many levels, but they never leverage this as an excuse for achievement. Many sports and corporate teams could learn a great deal from watching this team in action, but more so off the field. Why? Because they are only on the field a relatively short amount of time, and what they are putting into practice and their outcomes off the field is arguably more critical to their success. How do I know this? Because I engage in very strategic and creative conversations with one of their coaches on a regular basis, and we have done so for the last three years.

During our conversations very few topics are off limits, and many times I feel like we are two philosophers discussing anything but sports and team dynamics. Naturally we are, but the intensity of our discussions and where they lead is always intriguing. The best part, is that they always produce thought provoking options to consider relating to challenges we always have woven into our conversations. Options which are then applied soon after we talk. Almost like a “test kitchen” concept to see which ones will produce the results we were expecting.

Sometimes I wish we were recording the discussions we are having, but I think that might take away from the intensity and open-mindedness we can have without feeling constrained to speak freely. Although, it’s possible at one point we might test out whether having our conversation recorded would restrict what we are talking about. For context, none of the subjects we talk about are ones we wouldn’t openly discuss in front of others, but some of them might make others slightly uncomfortable. 

In terms of how to leverage the power of possibilities like I do on a regular basis, I have some suggestions below for you to consider.

  • On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest, how would you rate yourself in terms of being openminded? Hint…the more openminded you are, the easier it will be to leverage the power of possibility thinking.
  • Make a list of what you think holds you back from achieving what you or your team want to accomplish.
  • Are the items on your list realistic constraints or potentially excuses. Perhaps a mix of both? Coming to terms with especially the excuses and coming up with solutions to address not having them be excuses is going to open up the power of possibility thinking for you.
  • Commit to stop thinking “small” in terms of what you can achieve. Yes, it’s easy to do, but you first need to take steps not to do this all the time. Eventually you will want to have the goal of eliminating “small” thinking in terms of what you can achieve.
  • Do you realize that you might be more often thinking in terms of scarcity versus abundance? Reverse your thinking on this one. It will serve you well doing so.
  • When was the last time you thought about achieving something you may never have admitted out loud, or written down and looked at? Perhaps something really big and what others might think is audacious? In my opinion, I would be thrilled if you thought this way, and I am always saying to others “Go big, or go home!” Why not?
  • Do you have someone you admire that you can look to for inspiration? If not, consider what would be the qualities of someone you would admire who has achieved perhaps the things you would like to achieve too?

Leveraging the “power of possibility thinking” is something that will take time to master. Even if you are only slightly open to thinking this way, you will be amazed at what will be happening both in your life, professionally and for those that you lead when you master this concept. More importantly, you should have fun doing this, and lots of laughter along the way.

TAGS: #Leadership #Motivation #Teams #Sports #Sportsteams #Corporateteams #Executives #Sportscoaches #Communication #Achievement #Success #Leader #Business #Teamdynamics #Success #Mindset #Positivethinking

Is it time to stop doing what you are doing?

We have all either been there, or have seen someone or a situation occurring in front of us that isn’t working out. Perhaps it’s crystal clear to us, and for the person or the people involved in the situation. Despite this, the less than desirable situation continues to play out without any signs of it stopping. Or, the possibility of it changing. In either of these scenarios, there comes a time when someone else either needs to intervene, or the person or group needs to ask for help. 

Asking for help can be difficult. Especially when the factors of pride, stubbornness, ignorance or complacency is involved. However, these are some of reasons which contribute to a situation which can go from good to bad quickly. Often when the situation takes on the trajectory of heading into the “bad” zone, it might hover there for a period of time. This can be despite others attempting to intervene and to help.

Yes, it can be enormously frustrating seeing either a person or a group of people continuing to do something which isn’t working for them. Imagine how it must feel for some of them if they realize they are in a scenario which seems to present itself as a “Ground Hog Day”, when every day is exactly the same. Worse, is that it isn’t the type of day you want it to be, but you or the team feels powerless to change what is happening. In this team situation , either one person or a few people will need to address the fact and admit it isn’t going well, and that they want it to change. 

Change is a concept which most people have a more difficult time embracing. Yet, it can be exactly what needs to happen. When change needs to be introduced into a situation which isn’t working, the steps to do this don’t always provide an overnight solution. Although there are instances when they can have a desired effect to begin the process of what I refer to as a “course correction”. My definition of a “course correction” is taking a retrospective look at a current situation and then coming up with ways to introduce changes which will have a positive outcome. An outcome that the leader and team initially intended to pursue and experience. 

Fear of change, having the courage to admit you don’t have all of the answers and becoming stuck is something I regularly see happen with leaders and their teams from a performance perspective. It’s not only hard to watch it play out, it is even more difficult to wait to see at what point will be the right point to intervene. Or, to allow the leader or the team to get to the point just before they are heading to being in an unrecoverable situation. Being a consummate optimist, I rarely think a situation is unrecoverable, but occasionally there are instances of this. 

Over time I have learned to recognize the signs of when a leader or team is heading towards a place they may not want to be going. It isn’t always obvious this is happening, but there are signs. The signs you or someone else will need to be on the lookout for whether they are being leveraged, include factors such as whether emotional intelligence is being applied, being able to interpret and understanding body language, having the ability to read and know the leader or teams energy level and how to impact them are some of the underlying signs and behaviors that are often so subtle, they are very difficult to see. These are also some of the behaviors which collectively are contributing to the dysfunction of the situation or team. 

I’ll often talk to people about how as a “Caption Obvious” statement, that no one wants to be on either a losing or dysfunctional team. Each of these type of teams and those that lead them are certainly not desirable, but it doesn’t mean they have to continue to be that way. Most of the time, if they continue to be that way, as I noted above, some type of intervention will occur. That’s the good news. The bad news is that there are instances when an intervention doesn’t occur, and this is equivalent to the analogy of the captain going down  at sea with their ship. Perhaps this could be looked at as self-sacrificing, but the outcome generally isn’t desirable. When a leader takes the position of either being the “scape goat” or is trying to fix everything themselves, both of these scenarios never result in being favorable for anyone involved. Why? Because one person does not equal a team.

Let’s circle back to having some type of intervention or course correction injected into a scenario which calls for whatever is occurring to stop happening. In this situation some initial actions need to occur. The first is to admit what either the leader or the team has been doing isn’t working. The second step is to embrace the need to do something different, and the third and fourth steps are to ask for help, and to finally commit to doing something different. Doing something different doesn’t mean it will need to be radically different, although it might need to be. However, it could be moving towards introducing a series of steps to apply the course correction needed to alter the current direction which isn’t working. 

In addition to the steps I noted above to apply to help you or your team stop doing what isn’t working for you collectively, below are some suggestions of other options you can consider.

  • Start with evaluating your mindset. Is it open enough to be willing to consider doing something differently than you are currently doing which has contributed to the situation you as a leader, or your team are in?
  • Is there someone you know that has been in your situation? If so, consider reaching out to them and ask them if they would be willing to provide you with their own ideas about how they stopped doing what wasn’t working, and tried something else which produced the results they were looking for. 
  • If you are the leader, what are the factors which contributed to having you been in the less than desirable situation you or your team are in? Without placing blame on others, what are the factors you may have been contributing to your negative scenario?
  • Sometimes leaders and teams are not set-up for success. This doesn’t mean they can’t be successful. It simply is an early warning indicator that either the leader, members of the team or a combination will need to agree they will need to determine what the factors are which could be brought in to help them to be successful. This will require a high level of collaboration and trust, and if the leader or team is struggling, this is going to present an enormous challenge, but it isn’t one that can’t be overcome. It will take both time and patience, and no, there isn’t an overnight solution.
  • Sometimes others who have nothing to do with your situation, or who are not close to your less than desirable scenario, will have clear insights into solutions which can be applied to help you. Do you know someone or a few people who might be able to offer you their valuable insights?
  • Consider if the situation you are in is a reoccurring pattern or behavior. If it is, do you have the ability to be reflective enough to see what is contributing to it? If you do, are there instances when you are heading towards doing something you should stop doing when you can prevent yourself from continuing to be on this less than desirable path?
  • Although others may not agree, I do believe that hope can be a strategy, and that it is needed in circumstances that seem hopeless. So, if a leader or their team has even the slightest bit of hope their circumstances can be different, this can be the catalyst required to positively change the direction they are currently heading. 

Leaders and their teams are oriented towards being successful. However, there are times when they are not, but this doesn’t mean they can’t or won’t be successful under a different set of circumstances. The most important thing to keep in mind, is that if someone is willing to change and stop doing what isn’t working for them, that is the point in time when the opportunity to be on a successful path will become a realistic possibility. 

#Teams #Leadership #Leaders #SportsCoach #Leadershipstrategies #Hope #Tipsforteamsuccess #Dysfunctionalteam #Business #Strategy #Thinkingdifferently #Change #Askingforhelp #Teamsintrouble #Fixingteams #Helpingteams #Howtohelpateam #Management #Carreradvice #Personaldevelopment #Teamdevelopment #Communication #Motivation #Confidence #Strategy

Choosing words that matter.

Even a small word such as yes can make a difference in someone’s life when it is stated at the right time and to the correct person. Consider the last time you expressed this word, and what the context of using it was. Now that you have hindsight on having said “yes”, was this the optimal word to have chosen? Or, would you have rather expressed another word?

It’s not always easy to cobble together words that will have a positive impact, and some people are clearly better at doing this than others. Does it take practice to be able to do this? For most people it does, but there are people who have the ability to be both articulate, succinct

and expressive in a way that will the majority of time have a positive impact based on what they have expressed. I’m sure you also can name someone who does this well.

We don’t always have the chance to practice stating something that will have a positive impact on someone, and even when we have an opportunity to write and then convey our message, it might not achieve its intended purpose. Although the chances of it doing so in writing might be slightly higher because of the reality that you can edit your message, we know there are no guarantees. Which is exactly why choosing the right word or words and stating them to others can be so difficult. Yet, having the ability to do so is certainly worth striving to achieve.

When the right words are conveyed to either another person or a group, it’s always interesting to learn post the message delivery about the variety of impacts and interpretations the listeners had. About half of the listeners will be in agreement with what they heard, while the remaining half will have varying degrees of either taking action on, needing more time to digest the information or potentially not have any impact on them.

When people in a group setting are hearing words expressed to them that are intended to have a positive impact, and the impact doesn’t affect them the way the speaker thought it would, places both the message conveyer and listeners into an interesting place. One that isn’t always ideal, yet provides an opportunity to also dissect what went wrong with the message delivery.

A recent conversation I was having with a leader related to actually not leveraging an opportunity to have the power of their words impact their team. Instead of conveying upfront what they intended the outcome of a situation to be, they opted not to express what they anticipated the results would be. So, the outcome which resulted was highly disappointing to the team, but the leader was in a neutral state, and this caused unintended consequences.

Upon having a post-mortem conversation with this leader about their decision not to leverage words to inspire or express their intentions to the team about how they were perceiving the outcome of the opportunity the team was involved with, was what I refer to as an “ahh-ha” moment. The fact of the matter is that there was a missed opportunity to state up front how the leader would have leveraged the power of expressing what they were thinking, and it was completely different than how the team was thinking and reacted without any explanation. Given this scenario, this is what I refer to as a perfect “course correction” situation. One that provided the chance to leverage the power of words to do so, yet didn’t occur.

At this moment in time, there isn’t closure on the example noted, but there is a next step. The next step is to have a conversation with the leader about how to fully appreciate and apply the power of words to both their own and their teams benefit. Will the initial time they do this have the intended impact they are expecting? I believe it will, and yes, it will take them practice to become better at doing this. However, it’s exactly what they need to do as a leader, and their team also needs them to do. In fact, the team expects this from their leader, and it is an enormous missed opportunity when this doesn’t happen.

If you are a leader or sports team coach or someone who hasn’t been benefitting from the practice of choosing words that matter, below are some suggestions to get you started.

  • Consider what words inspire you. Write them down, and begin practicing using them in sentences on a one-on-one basis with people you regularly interact with.
  • Do some research and listen and read about others who are inspirational speakers.
  • Pay closer attention during conversations to appreciate who is having a positive impact on you based on how they are conveying their message to you.
  • Words can be like weapons, and have unintended negative consequences. So, make sure that the words you choose are meant to be supportive and not punitive.
  • Work on finding your communication style and comfort zone when it is time to convey your words to others. You don’t have to imitate others styles, as it will be both hard to do, and isn’t likely your natural communication style.
  • Always think about what the intended end goal of your communication will be, as sometimes your communication and the words you choose will have different purposes.
  • Factor in making sure that your body language is in alignment with what your words are expressing.
  • Appreciate and be highly responsible for the words you choose to express to others, as they might have a lifelong impact on them.

I’m excited about the opportunity I have today to see the leader I referenced above, and to have a second chance of helping them to leverage their words. Words that I know they want to positively impact the intended outcome for their team today. Let’s hope the suggestions above are ones that will benefit both you and the team you lead. Or, to have a positive impact on any future conversations you are having with others.

TAGS: #Leaders #Sportscoaches #Communication #Powerfulcommunication #Leadership #Motivation #Inspiration #Business #Sports #Sportsteams #Thepowerofwords #Influence #Theimpactofwords #Professionaldevelopment #Personaldevelopment #Growthmindset

Stubborn? It’s not a good look. 

I’ve always been an optimist. So, when I hear someone expressing that something isn’t possible, my mind immediately begins to diverge into two directions. The first one is to think about why this was stated, and the second path has me considering whether all of the options have been explored to create an opportunity to make something possible.

My skepticism about whether all potential options have been investigated and applied may come from my family heritage of having an “inventors-like” mind. Or, possibly because of my innate curiosity about imagining why a solution has not been developed to attempt what others think can’t be achieved. Which, leads me to wondering if stubbornness could in fact be one of the reasons?

Fortunately, most people are not classified as being stubborn, but we all know someone who might have this adjective associated with them on a regular basis. Possibly without them being aware that others clearly see them being this way more often than not. The person who is unaware of themselves being stubborn might actually think they are just like everyone else. What they don’t realize is that being stubborn generally isn’t working in their favor.

An example of someone who is being stubborn could be that they are unwilling to consider, take or apply practical advice which could be highly adventitious to them. It can be highly frustrating in this scenario, especially when not taking the advice can have less than desirable consequences. However, we also need to factor in that some people learn via experiences, and failing to take advice and the outcome from this could actually result in a positive outcome for them. How? Because afterwards they could appreciate the value of considering to listen to, and ideally applying sound advice the next time a similar scenario arises. 

Perhaps you have heard the expression “you can lead a horse to water when they are thirsty, but you can’t make it drink it.” This expression is ideally aligned with people who are stubborn, because they often do the exact opposite of what they should be doing, primarily due to their stubbornness.  I personally have encountered a number of people who would be far happier, have an easier outcome in numerous scenarios, and much less stress if they would first recognize that their on-going stubbornness is one of the core reasons for many of their challenges and why they are often highly frustrated. 

Telling someone they are stubborn seldomly has any positive impact on someone changing from this disposition. It might make you feel better expressing this sentiment to them, but that’s not going to lead either of you anywhere you will want to end up. So, are there techniques that can be applied to help someone who is stubborn? Especially someone who is unaware of how they are presenting and interacting with others? Yes, there are, and below are some suggestions to ask them, or have them potentially consider. 

·      What is your definition of being stubborn?

·      Ask yourself why you are often considered by others to be stubborn?

·      Is being stubborn an easy excuse of your “why” you are not doing or achieving something you could be?

·      Have you thought about how being stubborn is impacting your relationships with others?

·      Could you potentially be unaware of the fact others consider you to be stubborn, and think you are acting differently than how you are being perceived?

·      Why wouldn’t you accept help, advice or guidance from someone more experienced or knowledgeable than you are that could positively impact you both personally, professionally or both?

·      Do you have an example of someone who others consider to be stubborn, and can’t see how you could be compared to them?

·      Providing you acknowledge you are stubborn; can you imagine the benefits of being less or not perceived as being a stubborn person? This applies to both your personal and professional life, as you might not be as stubborn, or stubborn in one of these scenarios. 

If redirecting energy from a trait such as stubbornness into more productive outcomes is possible, are you, or someone else you know ready to re-develop your person to experience the benefits of doing so? Or, will your stubbornness prevent you from being more happy, less frustrated and experiencing a higher quality overall mental health and well-being?

TAGS: #Leadership #Business #Success #Professionaldevelopment #Sports #Teams #Leaders #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Traits #Stubborn #Stubbornness #Overcomingstubborness #Solutions #Awareness #Selfawareness #Benefitsofbeinglessstubborn

Who are you? A simple, yet complex question.

When we are very young, it’s not uncommon to either have someone express to you what they think you will or should be doing professionally when you grow up. Perhaps you also had your own ideas of what that might include? Chances are also good, that what you thought you might want to do when you became an adult may have been absent of considering monetary factors.

In fact, when you were young and thinking about what you might like to “do” when you become an adult, it likely may have appeared to be slightly whimsical? Possibly even fun or exciting to think about the reality of being in that line of work. Some of the more traditional career options were potentially ones you thought about, and I’m going to venture to guess that your choice or choices had very little to do with concerning yourself about whether it would be a logical choice.

For a moment, suspend the idea of applying logic to a decision, and purely think about the emotional aspect of your thoughts. When you do this, you are far more likely to authentically tap into considering doing something that would make you happy. Perhaps even feel fulfilled, but when you are very young and thinking about potential career options, the beauty of this is that there are aspects of making these considerations which you were not second guessing, or heavily influenced by. Sure, there will be some exceptions, but do you remember the first time you told someone you wanted to do “fill-in-the-blank” when you grow up?

Personally, I distinctly recall telling someone what I wanted to do, and it was to design interiors. Specifically, campers or boats. For a point of reference, I didn’t have either of these items in reality, but I did have a version of these items in a toy format (e.g., my Barbie camper, and a small toy plastic boat). I would routinely take the boat to the beach and float it in the ocean and tidal pools, but I would leave the camper at home so it didn’t get sandy. I was fascinated with the possibilities of thinking about how much fun it would be to design the interiors of smaller spaces not traditionally used as a permanent home.

Now the question you might be asking yourself is why didn’t I pursue becoming an interior designer or architect? I actually did consider this when it was the right time to do so, but since math wasn’t a strong suit of mine at the time, this factor alone prevented me from pursuing this option. However, this isn’t where this part of the story ends, and in fact it is a great jumping off point to orient back to understanding who you are.

About ten years ago I had an experience which changed and provided me with an opportunity to re-think the question of who am I, what am I good at, and what do I want to do next? In reality, this is a lot to consider, and it takes both patience and persistence to pursue figuring out and determining an answer to this question. Yet, that’s exactly what I did. The best news is that I can precisely, confidently and credibly answer the question of “who I am” when someone asks me this question. Are you ready or willing to be able to do the same thing?

Before I proceed, I want to comment that I am I’m always surprised by how many people are hesitant to take the time to explore and navigate understanding who they are, what motivates them, what makes them happy and how do they want to apply their skills in a meaningful and purposeful way. Is this you, or someone else you know?

If you would like some tips to apply or share, below are some ideas I have for you to get started on helping you to be able to sort out who you are, or perhaps on your way to becoming.

  • Make a list of things that make you happy that you have control over applying to your life, and a list of things that diminish making you happy. From the second part of the list, what can you do to either reduce or eliminate that item?
  • Are there people in your life that contribute to enhancing or detracting from it? Is it possible to prune out the people who are not enhancing your life? Are you prepared to do this soon or now?
  • Can you credibly answer the question that you are 100% certain you know and can tell another person who you truly are? More importantly, do you know why, or can you factually back up why you are who you say you are?
  • On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, how important is it for you to be able to articulate, appreciate and understand who you are? If this is important to you, yet you haven’t done anything to support being able to both understand and explain to yourself or others who you are, are you willing to put effort into accomplishing this?
  • Looking forward, what can you do today to propel yourself towards being in a better place from a mental health perspective. No one is immune from improving this area of their life.
  • If you were to be interviewed with the purpose of aligning who you are, with opportunities in your life that would align well with who you are, how would you describe yourself?
  • Is it possible for you to help someone else describe or understand better who they are? When you can you offer to help them with this exercise? Helping someone else, might help you to get started sorting this out.

Understanding thoroughly who we are, what we are good at, what motivates us and makes us happy is something I wish everyone will be able to achieve in their life. As someone who has mastered this exercise of self-awareness myself, I can assure you it is one of the best and most empowering and liberating gifts you can give to yourself.

TAGS: #Selfawareness #Personaldevelopment #Confidence #Empowerment #Leadership #Business #Motivation #Helpingothers #Whoareyou #Understandingwhoyouare