All posts by Diane

The Fallacy of Failure

a young boy crouched on a floor with the shadow showing arms raised in triumph over the fallacy of failure

“What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

~ Robert H. Schuller

I have come across the above quote often and pondered it reflectively.  It inspires me to think big – contemplating all the many things I have dreamed of creating or being a part of.  I often feel compelled to make a list – and have done so many times.  I encourage my clients to do this as well.  But the most interesting and show stopping part of that quote for me is the idea of “failure”.

It’s easy to think of shooting for the moon when the idea of crashing down to the ground doesn’t enter the picture.  We can dream and scheme all we want, but in order to make our dreams real, we must take action.  And when we do, this idea of failure seems to have a way of creeping in despite our best attempts to move forward in spite of it.

Failure means different things to different people.  But I think the most debilitating thing about the idea of failure is having to experience or endure some kind of pain – pain of rejection, embarrassment, loss, financial ruin – not to mention its actual physical variations.

The interesting thing to me about pain is that – thankfully – it is usually finite.  It comes and it goes.  And while we don’t always have any control over whether we experience it, we do seem to play a part in how long it lasts and how uncomfortable it gets.

As a kid, getting immunizations was terrifying. I remember how worked up I would get before the needle even came close to my skin.  And I’ve watched my kids do the same thing – even screaming or wailing before contact is ever actually made.  But a few seconds later, the injections are completed before the kids even realize it.  They get off the exam table and immediately go onto other things – except perhaps when one of them needs a little more sympathy and deliberately focuses on the site of the shot and the blood on the bandage – prolonging the unpleasant experience and making it into something far more painful than it really needs to be.

I think we do the same thing when we contemplate the pain that accompanies what we believe would be “failure”.  Our minds have a way of making it far more ominous than it ever is in reality.  And if we happen to find ourselves experiencing it, we can also fall into the trap of unwittingly making it more uncomfortable than it really needs to be.  But we can also exercise resilience and determination in our ability to bounce back and focus on something that will allow us to move forward in spite of an otherwise unpleasant experience.

Because what it really comes down to is what your experience – regardless of the way it turns out – has given you, rather than cost you.  People who have accomplished extraordinary things in the world are the first to tell you that what many refer to as “failure” has plagued them time after time – and many will tell you those experiences were prerequisites for their success.  What differentiates them from those who allowed “failure” to defeat them is that they picked themselves up, figured out what they could learn, and moved forward armed with a new awareness, a new understanding, and a renewed commitment to their greatest dreams and visions.

I think we all need a shot from time to time.  A shot of humility, compassion – and humor.  A shot that will only serve to make us stronger, more determined, and far more resilient than we were before. What great thing can YOU achieve today, knowing that you simply cannot fail?

For more on the fallacy of failure, check out Seth Godin’s post on How to Fail.

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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Living the Dream

different size white ladders with the tallest ladder leading to a red and white bullseye target the represents living the dream

What do you find easier – dreaming big, or finding a way to make those dreams come true?  Most of us have more difficulty with the latter.  If you don’t, you may not be dreaming big enough.  I remember a time when one of my clients and I were musing about what makes realizing those dreams and visions so difficult.  We felt that the toughest part is connecting the vision to reality: Identifying and executing the steps that must be taken to get from here to there.

For years, I was convinced that having a vision and goals meant perceiving a clear and specific picture of what was to come and creating a plan that would ensure that certain milestones were met at designated intervals.  I was taught that goals had to be specific, measurable, and time bound (and have spent a good part of my career teaching others the same).  I would spend a significant amount of time wordsmithing these goals and creating something similar to a detailed project plan as though I could bend reality to my will.   And then life would happen and I’d get exceedingly frustrated when things didn’t fall into place the way I had planned.

The part of us that wants to identify a course of action that mitigates risk and controls all the variables is akin to a manager, whose responsibility is to plan, direct, organize, and control.  The challenge is that preconceived ideas of what must be and all that has to happen to bring it to fruition can never take into account all the unexpected twists and turns that each day throws at us.  So, the manager in each of us needs to take its orders from a higher authority.

This higher authority is our inner leader.  The leader lives in the present, takes its cues from its inner and outer environment, and speaks to the hearts as well as the heads of its people.  It is often that part of us that rises up and recognizes when we must make a change in course in order to realize our greater visions.  It blends concrete data with intuitive hunches and moves much more fluidly.

The manager in each of us often wants to fix things and tends to place more attention on what is wrong than what is right.  It is so concerned with problems that it has a way of identifying with them and unwittingly propagating them.  The manager would have us set goals about the behaviors we want to stop, and the things about ourselves that aren’t good enough.  These goals almost always fail because they lead us to identify with the very state we wish to rise above.  We enter into them from a state of lack, and though our behaviors may temporarily change in accordance with detailed plans we have outlined for ourselves, our thoughts about who we are and what’s wrong keep us tethered and ultimately lead us to act in ways that reinforce old habits and patterns.

The leader focuses on possibilities and speaks to that part of ourselves and others that has the capability and potential to achieve it.  It sees through the eyes of someone who has already realized their goals and visions rather than identifying with the experience of not having been able to do something in the past.  The leader in each of us knows that action follows thought and invests time in identifying limiting beliefs and trading them for something more empowering.  Rather than moving away from an undesirable place, it focuses on moving toward that which it desires to create.

With the leader in charge, the manager’s willfulness is balanced with willingness – willingness to change and adapt even the best laid plans, to reach higher, and to trust that something greater than ourselves will help us get where we most need to go.

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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Lightening Your Load: Mind Over Matter

a profile image of a young woman with her hair blowing in the wind and feeling the lightening of the load

Have you ever noticed that your experience  directly reflects  your state of mind?  When our minds are cluttered, our surroundings have a way of mirroring that.  Feelings of being scattered are often accompanied by piles of unfinished business everywhere you look or lists and notes of things to do that seem to multiply.  When you feel heavy and bogged down, everything you do will feel harder and more cumbersome.

You may think that the way you feel is a result of your experiences, and that is true — the more you have to do, the more overwhelmed you will feel.  But the reverse also applies — the more overwhelmed you feel, the more you are likely to approach things in a way that draws them out — perhaps by procrastinating, making things more complicated than they need to be, or using more energy to resist and worry than it would take to actually get things done.  If we become fixated on evidence that suggests we can never rise above the way we are feeling, we trap ourselves in vicious circles where we will continue to see that which we long to rise above and feel the frustration of not being able to break free.

In fact, our frame of mind with everything we do will have a direct effect on whether the experience of doing it will be exhilarating  and satisfying or frustrating and heavy.  The stories we tell ourselves have a way of coming true – “There’s just way too much to do and not enough time to do it.  I’m too busy  to do anything fun, to take time out for my family, friends or myself, to ever get beyond the day to day and into those things I dream about…”  The way out of the traps we set for ourselves is to start not with our experiences, but our thoughts. 

One day a while back, I turned into my driveway and caught sight of the hedges that needed trimming.  “Wouldn’t it be fun to drop everything and go cut those right now – to just get out there and work in the yard for awhile?” I found myself thinking.  And then I laughed as I realized that this task that seemed so enjoyable compared to the list of things on my plate at that moment was one of the very things I was dreading a few weekends ago.  The task itself hadn’t changed, just the way I was thinking about it.

And it hit me that perhaps there was a way to transform all the things I needed to do that day  — which were really bringing me down — into experiences that could be lighter and simpler — and maybe even fun.  The key had to be in the way that I approached them – in what I was believing about them, and what I was focusing on as I did them.  As I became aware of my attitude toward the tasks at hand, I realized that I was more fixated on checking the box than I was on enjoying the experience.  And I was also swept up in the belief that the work ahead of me was going to be hard, onerous and complicated.

What if all that changed?  What if instead of believing I had to get everything done perfectly, I just played at things, took myself a little less seriously, and lightened up a bit?  And what if instead of believing I needed to get it ALL done, I just focused on what was most important — most aligned with the highest priorities in my day and in my life? And what if instead of driving solely toward the outcome, I allowed myself to be fully present in every moment that led up to it? Hmm.

Marcel Proust once said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”  And I have also heard it said that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

There is no better time to apply this than during the holiday season, when all too often the spirit of giving, joy, celebration and miracles gives way to stress, fatigue and overwhelm as harried people run themselves ragged trying to check a bunch of boxes and take care of their regular responsibilities and routines in addition to a multitude of additional tasks that often feel more cumbersome than joyful.  The paradox is that even things we do that are meant to be fun can become overwhelming when our focus shifts from the joy of doing them to the desire to get them done and behind us.

The fundamental shift must come not in what we do, or even how we do it, but what we are thinking, believing and allowing ourselves to feel about what we are doing.  To this end, setting an intention or statement of our desired experience can be very powerful.  If what we want is greater freedom and joy, more meaning and satisfaction and heightened effectiveness, we must align our thoughts around enjoying those experiences before we even start.  And we need to become diligently aware of the degree to which our thoughts stay aligned with our overarching intention.  When they drift, we can come back to them, remember what we really want, and align ourselves with the state we wish to be in once again.

In this way, we break the vicious cycle of allowing our experiences to bring us down in ways that result in more lousy experiences  —  and begin anew.  We consciously align our thoughts with what we most want, rather than letting them denigrate into the negative emotional states we seek to rise above.  Our actions align with our thoughts, and we find ourselves coming up with creative ways to simplify, get focused on what is most important and get it done while enjoying ourselves in the process – and sharing our joy with everyone around us.

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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Miracles in Disguise

 

pages of a book that forms the shape of a heart to indicate miracles in disguise In past, I have had a couple of clients who unexpectedly lost their jobs after working for over twenty years with the same company.  The funny thing is that both of these people knew they were ready for something greater before it happened.  In our coaching meetings, they would often talk about wanting to strike out in new directions, take on bigger challenges, live and lead in deeper and bolder ways than before.   And neither of these people would have likely sought out new opportunities if things hadn’t worked out the way they did.

In the midst of the changes, it’s likely that they both felt as though their universes were falling apart as all that was familiar came to a close and they were thrust into a world where nothing was certain.  They were brought face to face with the question, “What do I most want for myself now?” and challenged to take action that would lead them in new directions.

More and more it seems people are asking that question with fervor – “What do I most want for myself now?”  Some feel they are ready for new adventures.  Others long for deeper connections with people.  Many just want to experience the same passion for their work and their lives that they did when they were younger – to feel a part of something bigger than themselves – to work at something worth working for, and to bring more of their true talent and gifts into the world.

And the world needs those talents and gifts more now than ever.  When we come to a place where we are willing to truly open ourselves up to that question of what we most want – we set into motion a series of events that allow us to move closer to the answers we seek.  And sometimes they come in packages that we didn’t anticipate and don’t immediately appreciate.

But as we look back on our lives, we can begin to see that the very things that frustrated and pushed us to our limits were exactly what we needed to be able to know more about who we are and what we are here to do. 

As I reflect on the myriad of disappointments I’ve experienced over the course of my life, I have begun to appreciate them and even become grateful for them.  I recall jobs and promotions I thought I wanted more than anything that would have kept me from experiences that allowed me to get to where I am now.  I remember times in my life where it seemed the bottom had dropped out that stripped me to my core and required me to be honest with myself.  And I also recall people who pushed my buttons, irritated or challenged me in one way or another that led me to exercise courage, patience, tolerance – and in some cases assertiveness – that I needed to develop in myself.

In addition to being grateful for all the many blessings in my life, I find myself grateful for my unanswered prayers – the ones that would have had me going in a direction that wouldn’t have served me or others in quite the same way.  I am grateful for the difficult people in my life, who have challenged me to look at things (including myself) differently and find new ways of relating.  I thank God for the trials I didn’t think I could endure and the resilience and courage I was able to tap into because of them.  And, I am grateful that over time I have been able to laugh at the things that happen to me as well as all the people who have been there (or somewhere similar before) who have laughed (and sometimes cried) right along with me.

I am grateful for every client I have ever worked with who has given me the opportunity to learn from their experiences – to see one more example of the strange and wonderful ways that miracles manifest themselves in everyday life.

I wish for you – and myself – the ability to always appreciate the blessings that constantly surround us – the ones that lift us up as well as the ones that seem to strike us down.  And to open ourselves up to the ways in which every one of them has the transformational power to bring us closer to our most precious dreams and visions.

“There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.

~ Albert Einstein

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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Leveraging Chaos

 

computer animated profile that shows the profile breaking apart and leveraging chaosLike many, I was brought up to think that things happened in a linear way – first this, then that, one building block upon another in a specific order, cause and effect.  I have since realized that when one has a larger vision and experiences this vision as though it has already happened, a chain of events is triggered that results in what may appear to be a disjointed series of events that is in reality very connected.  

This can be compared to watching a movie of a glass shattering in reverse motion.  The pieces come from all directions, seemingly unrelated, to assemble into a perfect whole.  Each piece is absolutely necessary, in and of itself incomplete and incomprehensibly connected to a bigger picture.

There are ups and downs and what may feel like divergent paths from that which we may have previously anticipated.  However, these seemingly divergent paths are absolutely necessary for us to experience the totality of our vision.  Sometimes a part of the healing process involves the experience of pain, or other symptoms.  While we may point to these as signs that there is illness present, we could more accurately see them as evidence of our healing.

We may not realize the significance or relevance of these experiences until much later, when looking in retrospect we become aware of the distinct reason that we needed to endure any given challenge, setback, delay, or what originally felt like an irrelevant nuisance.  These obstacles give us a greater perspective on who we are, a larger appreciation for where we have been and where we are going, and a compassion for others who experience the same things we have along the way.

In dealing with these little challenges, we realize that we are far greater than we thought we were.  And as leaders, we can help others appreciate and leverage their own chaos as well.

“Chaos often breeds life, when order breeds habit.”

~ Henry B. Adams

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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What Does the Disruption of Higher Education Have to Do with Business and Leadership?

Did you know that research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and Stanford Research Center has all concluded that 85 percent of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills? And 18 months after being hired, 54 percent were discharged, and in 89 percent of cases it was because of attitude rather than skill.

In a 2013 study, 93 percent of employers agreed that candidates who demonstrate a capacity to think critically, communicate clearly, and solve complex problems are more important than their undergraduate major.

According to a 2016 survey of employers, the skill cited as most desirable in recent college graduates is the very human quality of “leadership.” More than 80 percent of respondents said they looked for evidence of leadership on candidates’ resumes followed by “ability to work in a team,” at nearly 79 percent. Written communication and problem solving came in at 70 percent. Technical skills ranked in the middle of the survey, below strong work ethic and initiative.

But in an annual survey by Express Employment conducted in April of 2017, employers were asked to rank 20 factors they consider when making hiring decisions. Consistent with the results of the past several years, education was ranked dead last.

Similarly, in their 2011 study, Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses, professors Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa found that “at least” 45 percent of the undergraduates they surveyed showed “exceedingly small or empirically nonexistent” gains in critical thinking, complex reasoning and written communication during their first two years in college. After four years, 36 percent of their sample still showed no improvement at all. It was said, “They might graduate, but they are failing to develop the higher-order cognitive skills that it is widely assumed college students should master.”

What do these studies have in common?

They all point to the attributes necessary to thrive in business today – attributes that appear to be lacking in many college graduates, and qualities that in my experience tend to differentiate the best leaders from all the rest.

These statistics are all quoted in a new book called Leveraged Learning: The Age of Opportunity for Lifelong Learners and Experts with Something to Teach, written by one of my mentors, Danny Iny, who I believe is a brilliant visionary. In this ground-breaking work, Danny addresses the problems prevalent in higher education today that are leading to a major disruption – one that brings opportunities for lifelong learners as well as experts who have something to teach.

He’s posting the entire book online for free, and you can go read it now.

Most business leaders have engaged in learning outside of their college degree programs, whether for specialization, or to learn to increase their personal and professional effectiveness.

The problem is not all programs are alike. There is a glut of them available, and many are simply a firehose of information that scratches the surface and often feels like a cookie cutter approach that doesn’t lead to any lasting change (let alone transfer of knowledge).

When I sought to create a program that would allow me to teach the concepts I wrote about in The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader in a manner that would allow people to truly integrate them into their leadership and their lives, I turned to Danny Iny to ensure that I could create something that would be different than anything else that is out there – something transformational.

I wanted to create an experience that would allow people to cultivate the kind of qualities that aren’t often taught in business school (or most schools for that matter), but that are vital to leadership effectiveness:

  • How to rekindle the passion, meaning and joy in your work (and life) that will allow you to truly inspire and energize your workplace to bring their very best to everything they do
  • How to minimize the stress, pressure and overwhelm that comes with being a high achiever – without sacrificing performance
  • How to make a bigger impact and contribution in a way that is aligned with who you really are and help others to do the same
  • How to improve your ability to lead and influence others toward lasting change
  • How to navigate through uncertainty and ambiguity
  • How to bounce back from setbacks or disappointments (and leverage the experience in ways that will get you further than you could have without them)

Danny Iny is a wizard when it comes to helping people learn and create the kinds of programs that deliver on their promises. If you are in an organization that designs and delivers training programs for your people (or your customers), I highly recommend checking out Danny’s book to gain insight on how to do that in the most impactful and effective manner.

And if you are a high achieving executive who would benefit by learning to minimize stress, pressure and overwhelm so you can access your authentic leadership genius, I’ll be offering my next iteration of my leadership development program early next year, and opening enrollment in the next few months.

More on that coming soon…

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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Dream Big ~ Trust Big

a little boy with a rocket on his back moving forward to dream big

Are you dreaming big enough?  If so, you may often feel overwhelmed by the seeming magnitude of what lies before you.

As we entertain dreams, visions and goals that seem so large that they become daunting, we must not be intimidated by the seeming length or difficulty of the journey ahead of us.  I was reminded of this years ago on a skiing trip.  After an hour or so, the years that had passed since my last skiing excursion no longer seemed significant and my adventurous side led me to a very difficult black run, full of moguls and steep angles.  Once I embarked upon the run, I realized I was in way over my head.  At that moment the temperature dropped suddenly and a fog rolled in that was so thick that I could not see more than three feet ahead of me.  I began to panic.  I wanted more than ever to reach the bottom of the slope and became more fixated on having the run behind me than on the thrill of the experience itself.

As soon as my attention and focus went from the snow in front of me to the bottom of the steep slope, I lost control and came crashing to the ground, losing my skis and feeling the slap of the hard cold ground beneath me.  I managed to somehow get up and put my skis back on, but before long my focus would shift and the same thing would happen again.  It was only when I resigned myself to pay attention to what was right in front of me that my body knew how to navigate each mogul.  When I let go of having to know exactly how I would get down that mountain and trust that I could make it a few feet at a time, I had everything I needed to succeed.

I think that is how life is too.  When we feel dismayed at not having everything figured out right off the bat, we can ask ourselves what we can do right now that will lead us closer to our goals and trust that we will be given exactly what we need to continue our journeys right when we need it.  Sometimes conditions are not right for us to proceed full speed ahead, and circumstances take a turn that feel frustrating.  Often the skills we need are those that can only be developed through a series of challenges that require us to move out of our comfort zones.  We may see these events as setbacks and annoying diversions without realizing their perfect place in the larger orchestration of a course of events we are engaged in that has much greater implications than what we originally envisioned.

Perhaps the whispers of our heart and the calls to greatness that we feel within our souls are essential components of a larger, collective plan that we each play a vital part in.  As we rise up to play these parts fully and wholeheartedly, we can revel in the beauty of its mysterious unfolding.  In the process, we will discover ourselves to be greater than we thought we were and use each moment of our lives to create something extraordinary for ourselves and others.

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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In the Shadow of a Daunting Task

 

chess pieces with the shadow of a crown that implicates overcoming challenges in the shadow of a daunting taskDo  you ever get to a place where you’ve just run out of energy and feel like you simply can’t do another thing?  For many, this seems to happen around 3pm or so – or right after lunch.  I used to think it was just a biological phenomenon – perhaps the effect of having to digest food, or needing to eat some.  I’ve tried chocolate, but it never quite works as well as I’d like it to – and it just leaves me wanting more.

One afternoon, I felt like I hit a wall.  And I did.  It was physical as well as mental.  I actually felt the wall go up as I contemplated a list I recently made of all that I hope to accomplish in the coming weeks and months and tried to figure out where (and how) to start.  The sensation originated in my stomach and rose slowly up my chest, kind of like heartburn.  Then it sunk heavily like a boulder thrown into a pond, covering my mind with muddy residue.  My impulse was to escape.  So I left my computer and took a short break, slumping into an overstuffed chair and closing my eyes for a minute.

As I sat there, I began to think about my state and see if I could identify its cause.  It was not an unfamiliar feeling.  I had experienced it another time after our dog tore into a bag of garbage containing remnants of the previous evening’s dinner and spread it all over the yard – and again right after I opened the box containing my new wireless printer and sat staring with an aching head at instructions that may as well have been in a different language.  And then I realized that it wasn’t the work ahead of me that was causing me the angst as much as what I was believing about it.

At bedtime, when my kids were young, they would get scared by shapes in their room that they couldn’t make out.  In the absence of information, they created their own stories about what they were seeing, which usually involved some kind of monster or other unwelcome guest.  But once the lights were flipped on and they realized the shadows were simply the product of a jacket thrown over the back of a chair or a teddy bear with a large hat, they settled back into their beds and slept peacefully.

I think we do this all the time with the projects and tasks we face on a regular basis – and sadly, also with our grandest dreams and visions.  In the light of day, we see them glimmer with promise and possibility.  But in the dark, our doubts and fears creep in and have a way of distorting things.  This is the point where the skeptics welcome the optimists to reality.  But it isn’t reality at all.  It is an illusion that has been created by a frightened mind.

The stories we tell ourselves in the dark are those of peril and potential failure.  In the absence of knowing exactly what it will take to accomplish the task, project or dream and whether we will be able to execute it, we begin to identify with our doubt, which amplifies the enormity that lies before us.  The shadow of a task magnified becomes a feat that feels insurmountable.  But flip on the lights and challenge the assumptions that make a creation feel heavy, and it becomes a collection of smaller pieces that can be gradually assembled over time.  As Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Whenever I feel that heaviness that comes with completing a task, I know that I have entered my dark room.  In the absence of light, I am prone to question my ability and my nerve, compare myself to others, and amplify the work it will take to finish that task (especially the bigger tasks!).  The darkness has a way of casting shadows on everything else that needs to get done as well. But in the light, I realize all I need to do is one step at a time – and then another step – and then another step.  And each seemingly insurmountable task can be broken down into a simpler component that I can get through with even just a little effort.  I can breathe through my fear and move into each experience, letting go of the outcome and enjoying the process itself.

When I stop to think about it, cleaning up the garbage the dog scattered around the yard wasn’t nearly so miserable as I thought it would be.  And setting up the printer wasn’t either.  The other, higher aspirations can be approached in a lighter, simpler manner as well.  With this in mind, I will keep on accomplishing my tasks… one step at a time.

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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From Frustration to Fruition

 

Do you ever find yourself in a place where, despite your best efforts, nothing seems to be working out the way you want it to?  an outline of a key for success that indicates frustration to fruition

Maybe you have an amazing idea that you just can’t seem to get off the ground.  Perhaps you have made progress toward a goal and suddenly feel stymied and blocked or unable to gain the resources or support you need to move forward.  You might be navigating some kind of transition that has left you wondering whether that next thing for you is ever going to materialize.

When obstacles seem to be coming from all directions and you just keep running into walls, it’s easy to lose hope and become consumed with frustration. 

Sometimes it seems that the only options are to throw in the towel or buckle down and try harder.  We are conditioned as a society to do the latter, and sometimes that is what it takes to bust through the barriers that confront us.  But when we continue to run into setback after setback, it may serve us better to stop for awhile and survey the territory before we take action again — as we may find that what we thought was a frustrating delay is actually integral to getting us where we want to go.

Have you ever had a customer that wanted something that required a great deal of preparation but didn’t want to take the time to build the necessary foundation?  If you proceeded as directed,  in time the solution could go up in smoke leaving that customer worse off than they were before — or in the very best case, less than satisfied.   But the customer wasn’t interested in hearing about why the delays were necessary and instead kept pushing and pushing for results.

Sometimes when we force things to happen, we are like that customer who doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and insists on powering up the engines before they are finished being built.   He creates so much noise and distraction that it makes it difficult to focus on what truly needs to happen in order to get back on course.  That’s what our frustration and anxiety does to us when we get caught up in it.

There is a part of you that knows exactly what you need to do to succeed in any given area – a part of you that has knowledge of a bigger picture and all the moving parts necessary to bring your grandest goals and visions to fruition.   

While the part of you that is like the impatient customer that wants what he wants, this bigger part of you knows intuitively that things are happening in just the right way to yield the best results.  The bigger part of you can only communicate to you in nonlinear ways — through feelings and flashes of insight that leave your logical mind wanting more details.  And it only communicates in the present moment.

To tap this bigger part of yourself, you must learn to become attuned to what is going on in this moment, trusting that in the midst of frustrating delays and setbacks there may be something right in front of you that needs your attention.  If you do not give it your attention you may continue to experience even more resistance and frustration.  But if you move into it, you will find exactly what you need in order to move forward.

When I was writing my book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader, I hit a wall and experienced the dreaded writer’s block.  I powered through it, forcing myself to write in spite of my lack of inspiration.  Before long I realized that I simply couldn’t continue and put the manuscript away for awhile.  In the months that followed, I had a number of experiences that were critical to writing the book.  When my inspiration was renewed and it was time to return to my writing, I ended up throwing away everything I made myself write under my own duress, as it was flat, mechanical and uninspired.  I replaced it with stories about the previous months’ experiences.  As I wrote, the words seemed to fly onto the page and I was back in my flow again.

You too may be in a state where before you are ready to move onto the next phase of your greatest vision, goal or initiative, you must experience something that will give you just what you need to succeed.  So when you feel that frustration, see if you can look at your situation with eyes that see beyond what appears to be limitation and perceive the gifts it is bringing you.  It could be the very springboard you need to get you back in your game.

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


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Are You at a Crossroads?

looking at a tree and crossroads

Are you at a crossroads in your life or your career?

Do you feel like something amazing is ready to bust through but not sure exactly what it is, or how it will take form?  Does it scare you? Do you find that things you used to be really good at are no longer satisfying or even interesting?  Have you been daydreaming or even just longing for something different but not sure where to start?  It might feel disconcerting and even overwhelming.  Maybe you think you need to change jobs or even careers.

Or perhaps you just feel you need a change of scene – different projects, new challenges, new opportunities.  You might have already experienced some kind of significant change and are still reeling from it, not sure what to do next.

Is there a great idea brewing that you just haven’t had the time (or the courage) to explore?  Is something new and different beckoning?  Perhaps you’ve put it on the back burner and tried to dismiss recurring daydreams to go back to the tried and true, but it just doesn’t seem to work for you anymore.  In fact, it could be becoming downright miserable.  And though you continue to resist the feeling that there’s got to be more than this, you can’t help but wonder if it might be true.

If any of this resonates with you, you are on the verge of an exciting, energizing, transformation.  But it may or may not feel exciting and energizing.  Right now it could just be disconcerting and uncomfortable.  And you may not know exactly what to do about it.

What if you were not alone? 

Would it help to know that many people are feeling the same way?  Some of them have just quit their jobs because they were miserable.  Some have been laid off.  Others are at the pinnacles of their careers, by all appearances wildly successful but dying on the inside.   Some are at the helms of corporations or large organizations, wanting to take things in new, exciting directions but not sure where to go or how to get there.  Others are inside organizations, acutely aware of what is possible and what is not working, but not sure it is their place to volunteer their thoughts and ideas or fearful that doing so is just too risky.  Still more are entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, writers, and other creative, innovative, and resourceful people that are playing (or wrestling) with the idea of entering unchartered territory.

The good news is, you don’t have to go off the deep end.

Though change is knocking at your door (and may already have come through it), you don’t necessarily have to tear everything down and start over again.  You just need to learn to see things differently – your opportunities, your challenges, your very self.  And you need to learn to tap the reserves and the brilliance that is within you.  Everything you have done up to this point has prepared you for what you are about to do.  The world is waiting for it.

Because you are human, you will resist it.

It may overwhelm you because you can’t figure it out.  As hard as you try to create a solid plan for moving through it and making sense of it, you will most likely continue to be baffled.  Because it is not a matter for your head.  You need to trust in something bigger than that — the same way that great visionaries, inventors, scientists, writers, artists, musicians and leaders have throughout the history of time.  Your head and your ego will create illusions that will terrify you.  They will weigh you down and exhaust you.  Under their influence, you’ll talk yourself out of your greatest ideas, dreams and visions before you can even get your key in the ignition.

What has helped me (and is still helping me) is enlisting the support of other people who are in the same place.

People who are dreaming and searching and even suffering, people who are knee deep in their own fear and resistance and trudging through it, people who are REAL and not afraid to let others see that they don’t have all the answers but are STILL SHOWING UP, doing what they are called to do each day, and asking powerful questions that get them closer to finding their answers.  These people inspire me.  They support and challenge me.  And they give me the courage to keep at it.

Do you have someone in your life that helps you in that way? 

If you don’t, FIND someone.  It isn’t as hard as you think.  Start by being honest with yourself about where you are and what you want.  Challenge the fears and assumptions that keep you from sharing that side of yourself with people.  You may be surprised to find there might be someone right next to you who is feeling the same way you are and will welcome the opportunity to confide in you.

What I have discovered and rediscovered is that the moment I connect with someone in a similar place that I am in, I become infused with the very wisdom and answers I need myself. 

In the act of sharing it with others, I am able to benefit from it too.  Similarly, those I have connected with in the past have unlocked their own wisdom and found their answers as they endeavored to tell me things we both needed to hear.

Being at a crossroads means you are on the verge of an exciting, energizing transformation. Embrace the journey – all of these moments, good and bad are opportunities for growth.

 

Implications for Real Leaders

The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.

To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.


First Name:

Last name:

Email: