Tag Archives: Dream

Suffering a Setback? Use it as a Springboard

 

DianeBolden_FB_03.15.17“The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.” ~ Vince Lombardi

Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final and failure is not fatal – it is the courage to continue that counts.” Thomas Edison offered, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

Their words lead me to contemplate the very meaning of the words “success” and “failure.Perhaps they are nothing more than labels we use for experiences that could very well be vital stepping stones. Both words are loaded with judgment that compels us to move closer to one and further from the other. But what if they are simply two sides of the same coin?

Consider the following events in each of these people’s lives:

  • It’s been said that Abraham Lincoln failed in business twice, had a nervous breakdown, and was defeated in eight elections.
  • Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor who thought he lacked creative ideas.
  • When he was young, Thomas Edison was told by his teacher that he was too stupid to learn anything.
  • Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda, was turned down by Toyota for an engineering job.
  • Before becoming a successful actor, John Wayne was rejected by the US Naval Academy.
  • Lucille Ball was dismissed from drama school with a note that read “Wasting her time… she’s too shy to put her best foot forward.”
  • Steven Spielberg unsuccessfully applied to film school three separate times.
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
  • Baseball legend Babe Ruth struck out 1,330 times.
  • The first novel of best-selling novelist John Grisham was rejected by 16 agents and 12 publishing houses.
  • Before going on to sell millions of copies in 27 languages, Robert M. Pirsig’s book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected by 121 publishers.
  • Deca recording company turned down the Beatles, with the reason “We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on its way out.”

This list could continue for pages. What these people have in common is that they didn’t let labels like “success” and “failure” define them. They didn’t allow the events in their lives (or their thoughts and judgments about them) to get in the way of their dreams or what they knew they were capable of. And their courage, perseverance and determination benefitted not only themselves, but countless others – many of whom came generations later.

Another of my favorite quotes is from a woman named Susan Taylor who said, “Seeds of faith are always within us; sometimes it takes a crisis to nourish and encourage their growth.” Using this same wisdom, perhaps what some call “failure” is actually a catalyst – or even a prerequisite – for what others call “success.”

What’s happening in your life right now? What if it is the very experience you need to get where you most want to go?

If you are interested in more tips for transforming your setbacks to springboards, I encourage you to check out The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom & Flow Group Intensive, an exclusive twelve-week group mastermind/coaching program/online training course kicking off the week of March 20. The program is a blend of online leadership development, small group mastermind, and one-on-one coaching, and is limited to eight people. Sign up today!

How to Create Your Ideal Job

Diane Bolden Professional Executive Coach“Whatever you do in this life, take time to sit quietly and let the world tell you what it needs from you. Take a moment to honestly understand what your gifts are – you all have them. The way you choose to live your life brings meaning to your life.” 

~ Ann Reed

I’m continually amazed by the number of people who stay in jobs they are miserable doing.

Many rationalize that they must make the best of it, but in refusing to consider the options that are often right in front of them, they may not even realize what the “best” is. When we allow ourselves to stagnate, ignoring the impulses and desires we may have to bust out of our self-created constraints, we also unintentionally block the energy that we could be freeing up in those who surround us, whether they be direct reports, peers, customers, family members, or others. We do not do the world any favors by playing small.

You possess an inborn talent that allows you to do something in a way that no one else can. 

When you find this talent and apply it to an area of opportunity or need within an organization, you can create a job for yourself that will reward you with immense satisfaction and fulfillment. You’ll find you can achieve extraordinary results with ease and accomplish things people previously thought were impossible. And you’ll serve a vital function for the organization or community of which you are a part, which will in turn give you a deep sense of meaning and purpose.

The key is to pay attention.

 Notice what you do that leads to extreme satisfaction and joy and seems to come naturally to you. It’s easy to downplay our strengths—to rationalize that they are no big deal or that everyone can do what you believe are silly little things as well as you can. The truth is that not only can everybody not do those things with the level of skill and finesse that you can, but also that not everybody would want to.

Creating your ideal job or opportunity is a lot like looking for the perfect candidate for a job.

Except in reverse. When companies look to hire someone, they do well to spend time identifying the specific qualifications the ideal candidate will possess. When creating the ideal opportunity, you are that ideal candidate spelling out the distinct responsibilities and kind of work that would be a perfect match for your talents.

The more specific and concrete the job description and ideal candidate description, the more likely a company will find their key player. And the more specific and concrete your picture of your ideal opportunity, the more likely it will come finding you. The clarity of your vision will compel you to act in ways that make you the ideal candidate and enable you to position yourself as a contender.

Even if all you can start doing right now is entertain the idea that perhaps there is something grander out there for you that is aligned with your talent, interests, and passion, you will begin to mobilize energy in ways you could not before.

The more you can internally make it real for yourself, the more it will outwardly come to be.

As you move toward unleashing your true talent and being open to the opportunities that begin to present themselves to you, you will see the way to lead others—inspiring them to bring out the best in themselves by showing them how it is done.

Interested in more strategies for getting clarity on your ideal work and taking steps to move toward it? Stay tuned for more information on my upcoming online course and group intensive, The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom and Flow, or click here to get on the waiting list and get first priority (with no obligation) at the limited spots that will soon be available.

How to Overcome the Fallacy of Failure

 

Diane Bolden Executive Coach“What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?”

~ Robert H. Schuller

I love the above quote because it inspires me to think big.

I often make lists of all the things that I’ve dreamt of creating or being a part of. I encourage my clients to do it too. But when I begin to contemplate actually doing the things on those lists, the concept of failure often creeps in and makes its presence known with a long, dark shadow.

It’s easy to shoot for the moon until the prospect of crashing to the ground enters the picture.

We can dream and scheme all we want, but making our dreams real requires us to act. And doing so brings us nose to nose with what is likely our most formidable opponent: fear of failure.

Failure means different things to different people.

But I think the most fear-provoking thing about the idea of failure that it leads to pain—pain of rejection, embarrassment, loss, financial ruin—not to mention its actual physical variations. The interesting thing about pain is that—thankfully—it is usually finite. It comes and it goes. And though we may not always have any control over whether we experience it, we do seem to have some say in how long it lasts and how uncomfortable it gets.

When I used get immunizations as a kid, I remember getting all worked up…

…before the needle even came close to my skin. And I’ve watched my kids do the same thing—even screaming or howling before contact was actually made. But seconds later, the injections are done before the kids even realize it. They left the exam table and went onto other things without delay—except maybe when one of them needed a little more sympathy and dwelled on the puncture or the blood on the bandage—prolonging the unpleasant experience and making it into something far more painful than it really needed to be.

I think we do the same thing when we anticipate the pain of what we consider to 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 needs to be. But we can also use resilience and determination to bounce back and focus on something that will help us move forward in spite of an otherwise unpleasant experience.

I prefer a slight variation of that opening quote that goes like this:

“What great thing would you attempt if you knew there was no such thing as failure?”

Because it really comes down to what your experienceregardless of the way it turns outhas given you, rather than cost you.  People who have accomplished extraordinary things in their lives are the first to tell you that they have had more than their share of what many refer to as “failure”. And many will tell you those experiences were, in fact, prerequisites for their success. What differentiates them from those who allowed “failure” to defeat them is that they got back up, figured out what they could learn, and moved forward, equipped with a new awareness, a new understanding, and 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?

Are you interested in more strategies for overcoming the fallacy of failure and strengthening your courage, resiliency, and momentum toward achieving your visions and aspirations? Stay tuned for more information on my upcoming online course and group intensive, The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom and Flow, or click here to get on the waiting list and get first priority (with no obligation) at the limited spots that will soon be available.

Harness the Power of Possibility in Your Work and Your Life

 

Disney - All Starts With an Idea - Diane Bolden - Professional Business Coach“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

~ Walt Disney

Over the holidays, I had the delightful experience of traveling to Disneyland with family.

Every time I go there, it is like stepping into an alternate reality—one where the stresses and anxieties of the week before simply dissolve and the child in me emerges.

I am mesmerized by every intricate detail so carefully attended to by the multitude of people that make Disneyland what it is—from the enchanting castles and belly-dropping rides, to the perfectly manicured gardens and the warm smiles and tireless energy of every cast member.

And I can’t help but revel in a deliciously goose-bump-building thought.

All the wonder, delight and magic of this place—as well as everything that is associated with it (the movies, cartoons, storybooks and associated media)—ALL OF THIS began with a single thought in the mind of a man who took action to make it real.

I don’t know a lot about Walt Disney, but I imagine he was gripped by an idea—a dream that captured his heart and burst inside of him until he was compelled to gather the people and resources to make it happen.

This guy had a vision that couldn’t help but be embraced by others.

It spoke to their hearts and their spirits, and allowed them to be a part of something that does the same for everyone who encounters it. Disneyland is the “happiest place on earth” because it brings out the best in everyone who experiences it. It unleashes the magic each of us carries somewhere deep within us, and the most traditional of fairy tales are about that very subject. Even the performers on the various stages throughout the park sing refrains about looking within to find our heroes. What an amazing creation!

We all get inspirations from time to time. And the more we act on them the more we seem to receive them.

Ideas are a dime a dozen. When was the last time you got one that gave you goose bumps? And what did you do to take it to the next level of creation? Were you overwhelmed, thinking it was too big, or unrealistic to actually achieve? Perhaps it is too big for one person. But what if you were able to create a vision like Walt Disney did, that resonated in the very core of people who would gladly partner with you to make it real?

You have something inside of you that is waiting to be unleashed into the world.

The very act of doing it will rock your world, and that of others as well. Maybe it isn’t a multimillion dollar theme park, or a screenplay, or an organization. But whatever it is will carry the unique essence of you—who you are—and the compilation of everything each of your individual experiences has prepared you for. And if you bring it forward with the intention of making the world a better place, you will.

Who are you to deny that you are meant for greatness?

 The beginning of every new year brings with it questions of what we most want to create in our lives and our work. If you are interested in strategies for better connecting with your vision and taking steps to bring it to fruition in a way that feeds and fulfills you, stay tuned for more information on my upcoming online course and group intensive, The Real Leader’s Guide to Freedom and Flow, or click here to get on the waiting list and get first priority (with no obligation) at the limited spots that will soon be available.

Living Your Dream

Martin_Luther_King_Memorial_11999909_bigstock

Over the history of time, there have been among us people who dared to dream big and ended up creating something magnificent as a result. What they had in common was not their station in life, their family inheritance or even necessarily a solid education. Many rose up despite odds that would suggest their lives would be quite ordinary, or insignificant, perhaps growing up amidst gangs and violence and poverty to become leaders whose life stories would inspire millions of others from all backgrounds and circumstances.

What is it that differentiates these people from the rest? And what can we all learn from them?

“Nothing happens unless first a dream.” ~ Carl Sandburg

People who do amazing things in the world often have a dream that they lovingly nurture and protect. From somewhere in the depths of their being, they know they are capable of greatness – not because they were born into it or are particularly more gifted than everyone else, but simply because it is their birthright – as it is for all of us.

Each one of us has the ability to create something extraordinary. We all have different talents and strengths, diverse styles and passions – along with a unique combination of experiences (for better or worse) that allows us to discover and apply them to create something bigger than ourselves. We may not know exactly what form it will take, but if we pay attention to the whispers and yearnings of our hearts, we begin to make out the shape of something that beckons to us.

As children, most of us received mixed messages. We may have been encouraged to follow our hearts and give life to our dreams, in addition to being conditioned to be practical, hedge our bets and take the safest route. Over time, many of us have allowed the roar of public opinion – that often tells us our dreams are frivolous, selfish and unlikely to come to fruition – to silence that small still voice within. But those among us who have risen against their odds have learned to reverse that process and believe in themselves and their dreams despite the overwhelming evidence around them that would suggest that success is improbable.

“If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lost that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. And so today I still have a dream.” ~ Martin Luther King

The beginning of each year brings with it the question of what we will focus our time, energy and resources into accomplishing. It is an optimal time to reacquaint ourselves with our dreams and visions, our purpose and values, and the question of how we can become living examples of that which we most admire. You may be quite sure of what it is you would like to create, do, have or become. Or perhaps you have only small pieces of a bigger puzzle that has not yet come together.

The power of your dream will be bolstered by the degree to which your vision expands beyond your own interests to those of others around you. Spend some time contemplating where you feel most drawn and why. When you land on something that will allow your gifts to align with those of others to accomplish complementary goals, you will join forces with something much greater than yourself. It will lift you up when your energy is low and sustain you through moments of doubt and fear.

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.

“Behind every great achievement is a dreamer of great dreams.”
~ Robert K. Greenleaf

 

PinocchioPrincipleThe above article contains excerpts from my book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming the Leader You Were Born to Be, available on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

 

Photo credit: joegough

Embracing Your Vision

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

~ Walt Disney

Recently, I had the enchanting experience of going to Disneyland with my husband and kids.  It was like stepping into a different world, one where the stresses and anxieties of the previous week simply melted away and the child in me emerged.  I was swept away by every intricate detail that was so carefully attended to by the myriad of people that make Disneyland what it is – from the towering castles and belly dropping rides to the placement of each flowering plant and the energy and appearance of every cast member. 

And then I was struck by the thought that everything I was experiencing – all of the wonder and the delight and the fantasy of this place – as well as all that is associated with it – the movies, cartoons, storybooks and extended media – ALL OF THIS began with a single thought in the mind of a man who took action to make it real.  I don’t know much about Walt Disney, but I imagine he was gripped by an idea – a dream and inspiration that captured his heart and burst inside of him until he was compelled to find the people and resources to make it happen. 

This guy had a vision that couldn’t help but be embraced by others.  It spoke to their hearts and their spirits and allowed them to be a part of something that did the same for everyone who came into contact with it.  Disneyland is the “happiest place on earth” because it brings out the best in everyone who experiences it.  It unlocks the magic each of us carry at some level in our being, and the most traditional of the fairy tales are about that very subject.  Even the performers in the various stages throughout the park sing refrains about looking within to find our heroes.  What an amazing creation!

Each of us gets these inspirations from time to time.  Ideas are a dime a dozen.  When was the last time you got one that made your hair stand on end?  And what did you do to take it to the next level of creation?  Did you dismiss it?  Think it was too big, or unrealistic to actually achieve?  Perhaps it is too big for just you.  But what if you were able to create a vision like Walt Disney did, that resonated in the very core of people who would gladly come to your aid to make it real? 

You have something in you that is waiting for you to unleash it into the world.  The very act of doing it will rock your world, and that of others as well.  Maybe it isn’t a multimillion dollar theme park, or a screen play, or an organization.  But whatever it is will carry the uniqueness of you – who you are – and the compilation of everything each of your individual experiences has prepared you for.  And if you bring it forward with the intention of making the world a better place, you will. 

Who are you to deny that you are meant for greatness?

Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010.  All rights reserved.

Dream Big ~ Trust 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 to 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.

Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010.  All rights reserved.

This post is an excerpt from an article called Living Large, published in my January ezine.  To subscribe (it’s free), and to access the rest of the article, go to www.DianeBolden.com/articles.   You will receive future monthly articles as well as my free report on 10 Traps Leaders Unwittingly Create for Themselves – and How to Avoid Them.

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.  One of my clients and I were recently 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 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.   

Copyright Synchronistics Coaching & Consulting 2010.  All rights reserved.

This post is an excerpt from an article called Living Large, published in my January ezine.  To subscribe (it’s free), and to access the rest of the article, go to www.DianeBolden.com/articles.   You will receive future monthly articles as well as my free report on 10 Traps Leaders Unwittingly Create for Themselves – and How to Avoid Them.