All posts by Diane

Navigating Transitions: From Crossroads to Clarity – COME JOIN ME!

 

Are you at a crossroads, seeking more meaning and fulfillment in your work and life?

Join me on Friday June 21 at 2 pm EDT/11 am PDT for an empowering LinkedIn Live workshop designed to help you transform your insights into actionable reality.

In this dynamic session, you’ll gain valuable tools, approaches, and ideas that you can immediately implement to create positive change.

This workshop will guide you through the process of:

Understanding the Current State: Explore the widespread desire for change, as many people navigate transitions, seek new opportunities, and strive for greater fulfillment. We’ll touch on the phenomenon of the Great Resignation and what people are truly searching for.

Identifying Common Traits of Change Makers: Learn what unites those who are ready to forge new paths. Discover how letting go of the familiar and embracing uncertainty can lead to incredible opportunities for personal and professional growth.

Overcoming Barriers: Address the common obstacles that stand in the way of progress, such as busyness, resistance to change, and self-doubt. Gain insights on how to break free from unfulfilling patterns and move towards your goals with confidence.

Gaining Clarity and Creating a Vision: Learn practical strategies to slow down, check in with yourself, and connect the dots between your experiences and aspirations. Capture insights and begin honing your vision for the future.

This workshop is perfect for individuals and leaders ready to step into their potential, overcome obstacles, and craft a clear vision for their future. Whether you’re at a personal or professional crossroads, this session will provide you with the inspiration and practical guidance you need to move forward.

Join me and discover how to turn transitions into opportunities for clarity and transformation – register today!  Can’t make it on the 21st? Register anyway and I’ll send you information on any additional broadcasts.

Try Putting Possibilities Before Pragmatics

 

Think big. Ask yourself what the best-case scenario is.

What opportunities have gone unseized?

What possibilities are waiting to be ignited?

If you could wave a magic wand, what would happen?

Then ask yourself what is within your power to create, influence, or lead the charge for.

You don’t have to have all the answers, or even know all the steps.

You just need to start.

For more on creating your vision and taking steps to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be, download my special report, “Why Real Leaders Don’t Set Goals (and what they do instead)”

 

How to Keep Your Goals from Stunting Your Growth

 

Ask any corporate executive what their goals are, and they’ll likely describe targets they’re shooting for or milestones they aim to hit along the way. Goals are easy – they’re often prescribed or assigned. They’re logical and analytical and concrete.

But ask someone what their vision is, and you’ll likely get a whole different reaction.

Visions are amorphous – they require us to go beyond linear thinking to engage the heart. Vision requires us to check in with what we really want and why – to envision possibilities that we may not yet know how to achieve.

And vision is what activates the energy in people and organizations necessary to persevere through the tough stuff in service to something meaningful and compelling.

If you compare a vision to a goal, it may seem like pie in the sky.  Visions are dreamy portrayals of what is possible. Goals on the other hand are rigid and time bound and practically pragmatic. We often place too much emphasis on goals and bypass vision altogether, which leads us to constrain ourselves and put a lid on what we could otherwise conceive and achieve.

What visioning offers that goal setting hinders is the ability to think big. It allows you to transcend what you believe is possible to envision a future without knowing exactly how you will get there.

And that is really important. Because if all you do is what you already know, you will fail to create anything innovative or groundbreaking.

The Wright brothers didn’t know how they would get their creation to fly. NASA didn’t know how to put a man on the moon. Martin Luther King didn’t know how racial equality could be accomplished. In each of these cases, it was a vision that stretched their minds and informed the steps they would take to make their dreams reality.

Vision provides the guiding principle around which actions organize themselves.

It allows us to break out of our little boxes and illuminates answers and possibilities we may not have otherwise seen. We often find these answers as we go along and realize in retrospect that we never could have anticipated them.

Much like a river flows steadily toward the larger body of water that is its ultimate destination, vision propels us forward to find our way through uncertainty and unchartered territory.

A compelling vision identifies not only what you are moving toward, but also why. The bigger why provides you with inspiration you need to move beyond obstacles and other difficulties that would otherwise lead you to abandon your efforts.

You can find your vision with conscious intention and discernment. And if you are diligent in carving out the time to reflect on what is beckoning to you and give it the space to speak, your vision will find you.

For more on creating your vision and taking steps to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be, download my special report, “Why Real Leaders Don’t Set Goals (and what they do instead)”.

Harness the Power of Your Heart’s Desire

 

Consider the essence of what you most want to achieve, create, or become.  Perhaps it is not yet concrete, but rather an inkling of something that is calling to you.

Every great accomplishment begins with a dream and a vision.  It requires imagination and an openness to receive its gifts.  As Albert Einstein once told us, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.”

And imagination is big and amorphous – it’s not easily captured, quantified, or broken down.  It is something that must be welcomed and nurtured.  The reward of having done so is that it will reveal itself to you in ways that make you feel alive with possibility.

We are often encouraged to set goals before we even have a vision of what we want to accomplish. But doing so deprives us of the dream that provides the fuel necessary to achieve those goals.

There is wisdom in your desire – even if you cannot yet quantify it, break it down in tangible ways, or even articulate it. In fact, sheer inklings and aspirations can become powerful seeds for the most innovative and ground-breaking accomplishments.

What is your vision? And how can you breathe life into it?

If you’d like more on how to gain the clarity necessary to envision and chart a path to your desired future, download my special report, “Why Real Leaders Don’t Set Goals (and what they do instead)”. 

Life is meant for more than checking boxes…

 

Can you remember the last time you were so excited about something that you could feel the hair on your arms or the back of your neck stand up? Or the giddiness of a five-year-old at the prospect of visiting an amusement park?

Maybe it got you out of bed in the morning or put a little spring in your step.

When the promise of a future state brings a smile to your face or makes your heart beat a little faster, lean in. Give yourself to the dream – and the dream will give itself to you, taking on a life of its own in ways that will surprise and delight you.

Author, philosopher, and civil rights activist Howard Thurman once said, “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I couldn’t agree more.

What is calling to you right now? And how can you make the space necessary for it to reveal itself to you in all its grandeur?

Why SMART Goals are Often Dumb

 

Early in my career I (like many driven professionals) was prone to setting SMART goals. You know, “Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound”. It’s the conventional teaching we have all heard before.

But after time I came to realize that this approach leaves much to be desired – that in fact, it can actually keep us from getting where we most want to go.

Goals are something we’re encouraged to stick to. But sometimes the goals we set for ourselves no longer match the direction we find ourselves wanting to go.

When a goal no longer serves you and you stop wanting to pursue it, you may feel as though you’ve failed. However, the real failure might well be what happens when you stick to a goal that is no longer a fit with what you want, who you are, and the person you are becoming.

Getting where you want to go requires that you have an intense desire to get there. The pleasure and satisfaction of your destination — and your journey — need to be greater than the pain and discomfort you will endure to get there.

What might start as a very compelling goal may lose its appeal when your priorities change, and your very preferences and passions begin to change and evolve as well. Sometimes goals that were relevant and appropriate at one point in time will no longer serve you at another.

People grow and evolve at a pace that may not be aligned with the time frames identified in a SMART goal. When you lock yourself into achieving a particular goal, it can become a blinder that keeps you from recognizing and acting on a course of action that is far more aligned with who you really are and want to be.

If you are someone who regularly sets goals, take a moment to determine whether your current goals are working for you. Do they reflect what you really want? …how you are evolving as a person? Do they inspire you — or constrain you?

And whether you have set goals or not, consider the essence of what you most want to achieve, create, or become. Perhaps it is not yet concrete, but rather an inkling of something that is calling to you.

There is wisdom in your desire, even if you cannot yet quantify it, break it down in tangible ways, or even articulate it. In fact, sheer inklings and aspirations can become powerful seeds for the most innovative and ground-breaking accomplishments.

If you’d like more on how to gain the clarity necessary to envision and chart a path to your desired future, download my special report, “Why Real Leaders Don’t Set Goals (and what they do instead)”.

From DOING to DONE: The Power of Simplicity & Focus

 

You’ve carved out the time, eliminated the distractions, and sat yourself down to finally do that important work you’ve been meaning to get to.  But you just can’t get yourself to start.

Suddenly, all manner of things become more appealing… checking your inbox, thinking about what you’ll eat for lunch (or dinner), reorganizing the piles on your desk.

Before you know it, your time is up, and you feel like you haven’t really accomplished much.

If that sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. I’ve been there too. And I work with executives all the time who have similar experiences.

One of the most common assumptions people have that keeps them from executing is that they won’t be able to do justice to the work in the time they have.  And when projects are large, sometimes they don’t even know where to start.

A confused mind is not a productive one. So, see if you can make things as simple as possible.

Break it down.

And ask yourself, “In the time that I have right now, what does DONE look like?”

Maybe you don’t have to have the whole problem solved or project completed. Perhaps you just need to do some research to find the answers to a few questions, make a couple of calls, or break out the steps you need to take moving forward.

If you can make the expectations you have of yourself realistic, you may find yourself more inclined to jump in (and less prone to distraction or derailment).

This is consistent with Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation, which has been a solid operating principle since the 1960’s.  There are three components:

1.) The level of perceived satisfaction you’ll have when you achieve a goal.
Check in with your why. What is it about making progress on this thing you’ve set time aside for that is rewarding? How can you make it meaningful to you?

2.) Your belief that the effort you put in will allow you to perform.
If your definition of DONE is about moving the needle incrementally forward versus having everything finished (or perfect), you can proceed with greater confidence.

3.) The degree to which your performance will allow you reach your desired outcome. If you know the actions you take in the time you have will bring you closer to your ultimate goal, your desire to take that step will increase. (This is why many digital surveys feature progress bars that show how close you are to finishing.)

Never underestimate the power of simplicity. Sometimes you can do more when you focus on less.

Here’s to moving forward!

Diane

Sometimes the Smallest Changes Spark the Biggest Transformations

“How do you like your new office?” my friend asked. I had moved from a small building to a larger one and managed to find a nice little space on the second floor at the top of a winding staircase.

It didn’t take long for me to realize it was likely the ONLY small office, surrounded by much larger suites filled with employees of organizations far bigger than my own.

“I love it. It’s beautiful and quiet… Maybe too quiet sometimes,” I added.

My friend looked puzzled.

I missed walking down the halls of my old building, seeing warm smiles on familiar faces, and engaging in an occasional bit of banter.

“It’s strange,” I told her. People don’t seem to make eye contact. Everyone stares straight ahead and silently goes about their business. It’s like an unwritten code or something.”

“An introvert’s dream.” She replied.

She was right. Kind of.

As an introvert myself, I must admit I’m not one who actively seeks conversation. But something was missing. I just wasn’t feeling very connected.

A few days later I was washing my hands in the lady’s room. A woman came out of the stall and proceeded to the sink next to mine. Something welled up in me. Before I knew what I was doing, I heard myself break the silence, suddenly blurting out a clumsy greeting.

“How are you today?”

She looked up, somewhat startled, and stared blankly at me. For a moment, I was reminded of how it felt to be an awkward teenager.

“I’m fine,” she replied after what seemed an eternity. “How are you?”

“I’m great. I’m kind of new here, and I noticed that people don’t really talk to each other much – it’s like an elevator where everyone faces forward and never interacts. And I started to do that too. But I thought it might be nice to try something different today.”

Her face softened, and her eyes brightened. “Yeah, you’re right. I’m just running all the time from thing to thing and so preoccupied.”

“I know that feeling,” I responded, thinking of how many times I was kind of relieved to not have to engage with anyone.

“It really is nice to just be able to talk like yourself, isn’t’ it?” she said.

I found her choice of words interesting. We both relaxed a bit and became a little more conscious. After exchanging names and talking ever so briefly, we each went our way.

And in that moment, the trajectory of my day (and perhaps that of days to come) was changed.

As I reflected on the interaction later, I realized how easy it is for all of us to just take as given the circumstances we find ourselves in – the social norms, the cultural conditioning, the perceived constraints of our day-to-day lives.

Some of those norms serve us. But every once in a while, you might recognize one you’d like to bump up against and challenge in some small, perhaps even unperceivable way.

Do it. You may find you’re not the only one who wants to break through those unwritten rules.

Sometimes the smallest changes spark the biggest transformations – even if only in yourself.

Here’s to busting out of your box!

Sometimes Falling Back Allows You to Move Forward

Do you ever find yourself falling back into old habits, despite your efforts to break free of them?

When you become aware of a behavior that is no longer serving you, catching yourself engaging in it despite that knowledge can be particularly frustrating.

But I believe it’s worth celebrating. Why?

Because now you are no longer acting on autopilot.

The beauty of a habit is that you can get to the point of doing something without ever having to think about it. That works great when you are trying to take better care of yourself – work out more, eat healthier, do something that allows you to grow in some way.

But when you are engaging in a habit that is not serving you, you are unwittingly sabotaging yourself – UNTIL you realize what you are doing.

When you begin to become aware of a habit that is no longer aligned with what you most want, the awareness in and of itself will begin to free you.

You may fall back into old patterns, but the fact that you realized it – and that it was PAINFUL will reduce the chances you’ll continue to repeat it.

You will have interrupted the automatic nature of the behavior to insert a pause. And in that pause, you can connect to yourself and reaffirm what you most want.

The first step to making a change is awareness. And sometimes that awareness is of what is no longer working. When that awareness is painful, it’ll increase the chances that you’ll make a different choice next time – one that will be far more satisfying.

So don’t beat yourself when you fall into old habits. Sometimes backward movements allow you build up the power and intention to propel you forward with greater force and momentum.

Here’s to falling forward!

Busyness Is Not Good Business

 

Ever feel like you’re running harder than ever but not really getting anywhere? If the road you’re on won’t get you to your desired destination, moving faster won’t do you any favors.

When you put more importance on the tactics than you do on your vision/goal – and cling to a plan without continually reevaluating it, you’ve sacrificed the strategic in the name of the operational.

As an executive coach, this is one of the major challenges I work with executives to overcome. Operational is clean. It has defined edges and finite solutions. You can check the boxes and feel a sense of closure and control with an operational approach.

Strategic on the other hand can be a bit messier. It involves stepping into uncertainty to address challenges and opportunities that are new and unfamiliar.

There is usually no one right answer. It often involves taking steps out of your comfort zone. And it requires that you slow down instead of speeding up, something that most of us tend to resist because slowing down flies in the face of what we’ve been conditioned to do.

To avoid this discomfort, many executives prefer being busy to being strategic. It gives them the illusion of being productive and the burst of adrenaline that is a nice (yet ultimately unsatisfying and addictive) placebo for real progress.

But busyness isn’t going to help you hit the target necessary to advance your business (or your career).

Because until you slow down long enough to assess your environment and allow your intuitive mind to partner with your rational mind, you may not even realize what your true target is, let alone how to get there.

Malcolm Gladwell echoed the wisdom of Albert Einstein his iconic book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. He wrote, “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.”

Knowledge is the product of absorbing information. Understanding is the product of insight. And insight comes from the integration of information with experience, from slowing down long enough to practice reflection and discernment.

So the next time you feel compelled to speed up, try slowing down.

Take some time to check in with yourself to identify what is most important to you right now. Reflect on the changing nature of your environment and see if you can tune into ways to proactively interact with it. Give your very best ideas a chance to land softly in the space between your thoughts.

And when you get those insights, act on them – even (and maybe especially) if they nudge you to move in new directions and do things you haven’t done before.

Don’t be afraid to deviate from your routine or stray from your plan – to strategically blaze a trail into the future you must be willing to break away from the constraints of your past.

Here’s to boldly creating your future!

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