Category Archives: Guidance

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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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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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.


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Conquering Clutter… and Other Hairy Monsters

 

Do you ever feel as though the little things you’ve left undone accumulate to the point that they close in on your space – both physically and mentally?

This video is about my experience with that phenomenon and what I decided to do about it one day.

Why conquering clutter is so important.

Just like our computers, we too can only handle so many programs running at once.  When we succumb to procrastination and do not take the time to simplify and process things that need to be taken care of, things have a way of freezing up.  In addition, our view of reality becomes warped as problems and challenges become magnified and the stories we tell ourselves about what needs to happen to get through them become frightful and intimidating.

To keep yourself from experiencing the overwhelm and frustration that comes from clutter building up in your office and in your mind, GET INTO ACTION and do what you are most afraid of.   

Key points from the video:

  • Clutter is frequently a result of not wanting to make a decision – which is often a product of not wanting to make a mistake.
  • The things we leave undone accumulate until they begin to become overwhelming.  Our space and our minds become cluttered when things take up more space than they should.
  • To bust through your clutter, go directly to the things you are most afraid of and JUMP IN!  Remember: You don’t need to get things done perfectly – you just need to get into action. 
  • Moving forward is far better than staying in the rut you might find yourself in.

“Always do what you are afraid to do.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 

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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The Weak Side of a Strength

a chain being held together to represent a weak side of a strength

 

I often conduct 360 feedback interviews for my coaching clients, which entail interviewing an assortment of people including their bosses, employees, customers, and peers to find out what the client’s perceived strengths and areas of opportunity are.  It almost never fails that the areas that get in the way of people’s effectiveness and continued success are in some way strengths overdone.

The best listeners often get so wrapped up in passively listening to others that they forget to talk or to bring their views to the forefront.  Those who have the admirable quality of being direct and letting others know where they stand can fall prey to delivering messages with a little too much force and not enough tact.  Optimism can become naiveté, and realism can become pessimism.  Thinking big can lead to overlooking the details, and those who are known for their precision are often criticized for missing the bigger picture.

Think about your unique strengths. 

What happens when you turn the volume level on them up too high?  A big part of sidestepping our pitfalls is simply becoming aware of them.  Without that, you will never know what you do not know and your strengths overdone will become your blind spots.  But when you observe yourself with awareness, you can recognize the areas that can be fine tuned and take action to keep yourself from falling into patterns that are unproductive and ineffective.

Lead with our strengths.

They are an essential part of our leadership and the uniqueness we bring to it.  It is important for us to find work that is aligned with these strengths (and to do the same for our people).  But we cannot allow our strengths to become crutches.  When we over rely on them, we are blocking other parts of ourselves that need expression.

We can begin to balance this out by recognizing others who have strengths that compliment our own and appreciating what we can learn from them.  And we can stretch ourselves beyond our comfort zone in an effort to explore parts of ourselves that do not regularly come to the table.  The more we practice these new behaviors, the better we will be able to employ them.

 

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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How Your Mindset Can Help You Overcome a Setback

Phoenix, Arizona Executive Leadership Coach Diane Bolden.

 

“Ryan, if you knew how this day was going to end, would you do it over again?” I asked him.

“Yeah.” He answered without missing a beat.

“Would you have any hesitation going snowboarding again after your wrist heals?” I inquired.

“Nah!” he replied. “Let’s come back for sure.”

This is an excerpt of a conversation I had with my son at age thirteen on the way to urgent care after his first attempt to snowboard. I was inspired by his lack of hesitation. And his courage. But most of all, with his mindset.

Mindset is the key to overcoming setbacks. Your mindset determines—to a large degree—whether you see the experience as a success or a failure. And the way you see the experience will have an enormous impact on whether or not you will try that experience again.

What’s the big deal if you don’t try an experience again?

Well, the problem isn’t so much the broken bone—in my son’s case—which will inevitably be accompanied by a certain amount of pain. The problem is letting the setback deprive you of a future that could bring you an immense amount of joy and satisfaction. And most people let seeming setbacks deprive them of joy and satisfaction more often than they realize.

It could be the proposals they poured their hearts into to that never really went anywhere. Or the promotions they were working toward for months that ended up going to someone else. Perhaps it was the first time they went out their comfort zones, only to feel as though they landed on their backside with nothing but broken bones to show for it.

Confusing Skill with Potential

You confuse skill with potential when you decide that you’ll never be good at something because you didn’t get it right the first time you tried it. Or the second time. Or the tenth time. Most people do not have a high degree of skill when they try something new. But doesn’t mean they don’t have an enormous amount of potential.

When you confuse skill with potential, you tell yourself a story that has you making an assessment of yourself based on a very limited amount of data. The story goes like this: “Boy, I was really bad at that. I’m just not cut out for it. I should leave it to other people who actually have talent.”

You allow it to keep you from trying something again. And trying something again is exactly what you need to do in order to gain the very skill you are having difficulty executing. So your story becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You miss out on the joy of ultimately mastering that skill. And so do all the people who would have benefited from what you could have accomplished if you did.

But that’ s not the only story that can get you into trouble.

Taking an Experience Personally

When you take an experience personally, you make it more about you than anything or anyone else. Your universe constricts and you become the center of it. You feel hurt and rejected, or angry and resentful. You replay events in your mind and question what you did to screw things up. You think, “if only I would have done this, or been more like that, things would have gone better.”

You become so fixated in feeling wronged or victimized that you render yourself powerless. In an effort to avoid being hurt again, you may hedge your bets, fly under the radar, try not to get your hopes up. And this act of withholding keeps you from doing the very thing that could allow you to succeed next time.

Often, setbacks have nothing to do with you as a person.

You lost a big client. Yet in retrospect, you realize the client was a huge pain in your rear end, sucking up time and energy that you could have dedicated to someone you really love to work with. And if you take it personally, you’ll keep your perfect client from seeing the very thing in you that could cinch the deal.

What If It Was Personal?

But what if it did have to do with you? What if you came on too strong? Or too meek? Or if there was something you could have done to get that promotion, keep that client, succeed with that proposal? Well, if you take it personally you may never have the courage, the confidence and the open mind it takes to solicit or receive the feedback you need and to act on it in a way that allows you to succeed next time.

There is a difference between taking things personally and learning what you could do differently next time. Taking things personally causes you to contract. And learning allows you to expand. Which will you choose?

Conclusion

My 13-year-old son reminded me of the importance of mindset in my own life.

Though it’s not likely that snowboarding will be in my future, there is a good chance that I will fall the next time I try something new. When I do, I will remember how his lack of regret and eagerness to try again kept him from an unproductive mindset.

And I will pick myself up, tend to my broken bones, and allow myself to enjoy the joy and satisfaction that comes from getting back on the slopes.

Aligning your mindset with your desired outcome is an essential and often overlooked practice – a major focus of The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom & Flow Group IntensiveFor more information, visit The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom & Flow Group Intensive.

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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3 Steps for Escaping the Hamster Wheel to Create Freedom & Flow

hamster on wheel

 

Do you find yourself running from one thing to the next with little time to really think about what you are doing and why?

If you answered yes, you are not alone.

Many high achieving professionals feel as though they have way more to do than they have time to do it. Their ambition, drive and passion have served them well, and gotten them to a nice place, but still they know they are capable of more. More visibility, more opportunity, more income, and dare I say – more freedom to enjoy their careers and their lives.

The daily grind has a way of keeping us tethered to the ground, feeling as though our best is just around the corner, if only we can get through what’s in front of us, which is often an accumulation of projects, events and other commitments that ends up growing far faster than it shrinks. Every once in a while, it becomes apparent that something’s got to give.

But who has time to slow down when there is so much more to get done?

The fantasy many of us have bought into is that if we just work longer and harder, we will get there. And despite our longing to find balance and the sweet spot that will finally allow us to relax and be more effective, we often act in ways that bring greater levels of anxiety and toil. As leaders, we also unwittingly create entire cultures of people who emulate our frenetic behavior in the name of getting ahead.

The hamster in the wheel doesn’t realize he isn’t getting anywhere.

And before he can, he must realize that he is, in fact, in a wheel. Our wheels are much more sophisticated and deceiving than those of the hamster. Because initially, our wheels do get us somewhere. It’s just that over time, they lose traction and become stuck in comfortable ruts. And we don’t realize when we’re stuck, because it doesn’t seem possible to be standing still when you are running like hell.

Are you ready to stop the madness and take things up a notch?

Can you conceive of finding a better way to do things? How badly do you want it? Bad enough to try something that goes against every compulsion you currently have to keep doing what you’ve been doing all along?

Consider the prerequisite for successful change.

Have you ever noticed that when you upgrade software, the program often needs to uninstall or extract something before it can successfully run? Gardeners know that new blossoms proliferate when the old flowers and branches have been pruned. Bargain shoppers know that stores sell older merchandise at a significant discount to get it off the shelves to make room for what’s coming in the new season.

How about you?

What tried and true ways of doing things have lost their leverage?

How willing are you to recognize that perhaps there is a better way of doing things than what you’ve done up to this point? All change begins with awareness that is coupled with desire. To move beyond your madness, try the following:

  • Pay attention to the times during the day that you feel the most anxious, stressed, or tense. Recognize the pattern of thought or behavior you are engaging in that may be causing this discomfort. This may be a prime area for you to make a shift.
  • Ask yourself some discerning questions such as, “What small, but powerful change could I make today that would allow me to be more effective and make the most of my opportunities?”
  • Notice what catches your attention in the coming days. The answers to your questions will reveal themselves to you, but you must open yourself up to them and be willing to listen.

Once you begin to notice that the patterns and triggers that create the highest degree of anxiety, stress and pressure – and the impact they are having in your life, they begin to lose their hold on you. When you open yourself to new ways of doing things, you move from a point of view to a higher viewing point – one that allows you to see solutions that may have previously evaded you. Allowing yourself to envision and believe in a new way of doing things will transform your frustration into fuel and help you summon the courage you need to overcome obstacles along the way.

If you are interested in specific strategies for breaking through old habits and patterns that no longer serve you so that you can create more freedom and flow in your work and your life, check out The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom & Flow Group Intensive.

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:

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