Posts Taged fear

Weekend Love, October Three

Minolta DSC

Minolta DSC

Here are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently. This handful of links takes you to tools or insightful content. Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file if it fits the mood.

Have you ever thought about the upside of pressure?  Douglas Conant makes a good case when he write about 3 Important Reasons Why Pressure Is a Privilege.

As a coach, I sometimes find new leaders have a hard time with this concept: Before you can Lead Others, you need to Manage Yourself. I’m happy to see Dan McCarthy agrees.

If you’ve recently been promoted or are working on one, this article from Katy Tynan is for you: Do You Have a Manager’s Mindset?

Dan Rockwell always says a lot with a few words.  His article on How to Hold People Accountable without using Authority is no exception.

I don’t think I’ve ever done this before in a Saturday post, but this one from Jon Acuff makes sense to me.  Watch the video and read The candle, the drug dealer & the last video I’ll ask you to watch in 2015.

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Weekend Love, September Fifth

iStock_000042621008Here are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently. This handful of links takes you to tools or insightful content. Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file if it fits the mood.

When confronted with change, our first reactions range from head-in-the-sand to raging battles.  Susan Fowler asks three of the best questions for a situation like that when she writes about Thriving in the Midst of Change: Ask 3 Questions.

The opening paragraph starts, “Fascinating leaders ask questions. The rest are dullards.”  How can you not want to read the article?  Join Dan Rockwell as he answers that age-old question about How to Become a Fascinating Leader.

I know that I am not the poster child for exercise and fitness.  I do that stuff, and hate it.  Mark Sisson finally explains why.  If you are like me, you can read how you got to this state and ways to get out of it in his article on Why Getting Fit Isn’t the Best Exercise Motivation (and 10 Better Reasons to Move Today).

Bonus Video:  Brian Tracy and his daughter, Christina, discuss his new book , Find your Balance Point.  It’s a great discussion about the stuff we know but don’t do on topics like harmony, being grounded, and working from your passion.  Enjoy The Secret to Finding Balance in Your Life.

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What Will You Say in Your Commencement Address?

iStock_000015553717I spent most of this past week in San Antonio at the Direct Selling Association Convention seeing what different companies were doing for coaching and leadership development (but that’s a post for a different day).  At one luncheon, someone at the table was explaining how he were going to have to leave early so he could get to their high school to be the commencement speaker.  Everyone I could see gave a heart-felt OH.

Who among you cannot (without lying) say you never dreamt of giving a commencement address?  Yeah, it may have been a fleeting thought, but I am willing to bet that you at least had an image of yourself standing on a stage saying wise things to all of those students about to embark on adulthood.

So let’s play Back to the Future!

You have the chance to go back to your high school and give the commencement address at your graduation ceremony.

What would you tell the younger you?

How could you make the younger you listen?

I can’t begin to answer those questions for you.  Next time you have a break, jot down some key points on a notepad.  What do you think your work mates would say to these questions?

Now let’s play Back to the Future, Part 2!

You have a chance to go 20 years into the future and meet your older self.

What would you ask?

What would s/he tell you to do or not do?

The real bottom line is very simple:  Do what you would tell your other self to do.

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Weekend Love, March Twenty First

camoflage hugHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

We talk about fear as if it’s always a bad thing.  Johanna Schram writes about 6 Ideas That are Changing the Way I Experience Fear.

Are you a traditional manager or a coach manager?  Dan Rockwell makes some great distinctions in Seven Ways Coach Managers Get Things Done.

Unless you want details about making stupid arguments, skip this one one from Hubspot called 30 Ways to Lose an Argument [Infographic].  I can’t help but think about politicians as I read this.

Spoiler alert: “As I embraced being alone, I learned to enjoy my own company. I no longer felt the need to fit in socially and I found the strength to be authentic and say no to anyone or anything that made me unhappy.”  Read more in How Spending Time Alone Helped Me to Find Peace and Rediscover Happiness.

From the archives:  Spend three minutes with Brené Brown’s cartoon video as she discusses empathy in Brené Brown on Empathy.

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Why Wait for Feedback? Entrepreneur Version

FeedbackAs a direct seller, solopreneur, or entrepreneur, you probably don’t see yourself as having many opportunities to seek feedback.  After all, you don’t have any (or at least not many) employees.   First, the bad news:  when most of us ask for feedback we get an image of giving someone a loaded gun, pointing at our face, and helping them point the trigger.  Now for the good news:  It’s all in your head.  The way you treat the feedback is up to you.

Part 1 of Why Wait for Feedback? is all about the title.  Why wait?  If you ask for feedback you’ll improve your odds of getting useful feedback rather than worrying about it.  Part 2, Why Wait for Feedback: Company Version, provides some insights into ways that you can ask for and use feedback if you are in a company setting.

But what if you are an entrepreneur?  Feedback for an entrepreneur involves three groups of people.

Getting customer feedback makes you awesome.  I almost cringed when I included this one.  How many surveys have you gotten this week?  You probably can’t even log in to your bank account without them wanting to know “How did we do?”  In your case, however, you are reaching out differently.  You are not going to give a multiple-choice test designed to solicit 4’s or 5’s.  You are going to act like a coach and ask open-ended questions.  Your questions might include ones like:

  • How does our service compare to your favorite store?
  • What needs of yours aren’t we meeting?
  • What would you tell people about us?
  • What is one thing you’d like us to do better?

Ask whatever questions you need to clarify, thank them (don’t argue or commit to changing), and then ask somebody else.  When you discover the pattern in the answers, you’ll know what you want to do.

Getting Team Feedback Makes You a Leader.  Seriously.  You should see this as a no brainer item.  Find out how people want to be lead than then lead them in that manner. Then they will follow rather than leave. Some great questions to ask include:

  • Do you want em to push you, pull you, or get out of the way?
  • What do you want from me?
  • How can I support you in getting to the next stage?
  • What is one thing I can do to be a better upline (or leader)?

Again, ask whatever questions you need to ask in order to clarify, thank them (don’t argue or commit to changing), and then ask somebody else.  When you discover the pattern in the answers, make the changes to improve your leadership.

Getting vendor feedback gets you better service.  You probably think you are a great customer. They may see you as an arrogant jerk who is hard to please.  Don’t assume they love you just because they keep coming back to you for orders.  Ask your vendors.  Ask things like:

  • What can I do to make your job easier?
  • What do I need to do to improve our business relationship?
  • What do you tell people about us?
  • How can I be a better customer?

These questions are sometimes harder.  You probably don’t like to see yourself as a “servant consumer” when you think it is your right to command customer service.  Interestingly, when you become a better consumer you’ll get perks that you didn’t before.  Your vendors will give you early notice about sales.  They’ll send you free samples.  They’ll find ways to keep you as a customer.

So ask your vendors.  Find out what they tell you.  And when you understand how the people in their world see you, change accordingly.

If you want something different, you have to do something differently.  So take that first step to actively get feedback and you’ll be on the path to improving your business relationships.

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Weekend Love, March Fourteenth

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Teams and groups have been studied for decades.  Ed Batista lists nine symptoms of group strength and growth.  They provide great insights into how you want to develop your team.

I wish I could write like Jeff Goins.  He tells a story and somewhere in the middle it becomes a life lesson.  Sweet.  http://goinswriter.com/shame/?

Want to stop yourself from those knee-jerk reactions? Dana Lightman, Ph.D. is a counselor and a coach with some great insights into not letting your lizard brain take over.  Part one explains what happens and part two gives you some alternatives.  (Both are relatively short).

http://02ae535.netsolhost.com/blog/2015/02/12/tip-1-retrain-your-amygdala-part-one/

http://02ae535.netsolhost.com/blog/2015/03/12/tip-one-retrain-your-amygdala-part-two/

Black bottomed oatmeal pie.  Because it’s pi day (get it? get it?) and we should all salivate just a little over something like this.

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Why Wait for Feedback? Company Version

New Mindset New ResultsFirst, the bad news:  when most of us ask for feedback we get an image of giving someone a loaded gun, pointing at our face, and helping them point the trigger.  Now for the good news:  It’s all in your head.  The way you treat the feedback is up to you.

Part 1 of Why Wait for Feedback? is about making a decision to take control of your future by asking for feedback rather than just waiting.  Start by being brace and the rest of the pieces will fall in line.  Here are four guidelines to help you if you work in a company setting.  Part 3 will be for entrepreneurs seeking feedback.

Think future and not past.  The goal of asking for feedback is not to evaluate the past.  You really can’t change that.  Your goal is to do something better in the future.  So forget-about-it when thinking about the past.  You really don’t care if it was good, bad or indifferent.  Your goal is to get better in the future.  Marshall Goldsmith calls this process feedforward.  It’s a core piece of his coaching method.  He also uses it as a training exercise.

Ask, ask, and ask some more.  If you only talk to one person, you’ll get their opinion.  That may not prove useful and you really can’t evaluate their idea because you have a limited basis of comparison.  Instead, try this:

  • Make a list of people you trust and want to hear from.
  • Approach them individually for a conversation. (You might even set an appointment and tell them what you want.)
  • Say to them, “I’m looking to improve my workplace performance. Would you have a suggestion of something I can do better?  What’s one thing I need to keep doing?”
  • Thank them for their feedback. Don’t agree or disagree.  Just thank them.

Work with a coach.  If you are going to ask for feedback, you will need to do something with it.  A coach can support you in sorting this out, setting plans in place, moving forward, and helping you stay accountable to your change process.

Ready, aim, fire.  The important thing is that you make some changes. Jack Canfield first suggested this mantra as part of his Success Principles.  It works.  Take action, course correct, and then act again.  You get much further than being stuck in the planning phase.

If you don’t like the direction you are taking, this feedback process will support you in finding a new one.

The reward you get for seeking feedback is beyond what you can imagine.  Ed Batista describes it this way, “the most effective leaders build a culture and establish working relationships in which critical feedback is invited rather than squelched, appreciated rather than punished. Unpleasant truths are precious gifts, and should be treated accordingly. This doesn’t make the process fun–I can still find negative feedback hard to hear, even after years of dedicating myself to the process. But I value the lessons it brings more than I resent its sting, in part because I try to be open to it without allowing it to undermine my sense of self-validation.”

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Why Wait for Feedback?

Feedback creates improvementWhenever I’ve coached someone who works in a corporate setting, one of the most dreaded time of year for them is the “periodic review.”  I’ve never met anyone who looks forward to a review—even the ones who are sure that it’s going to be positive.

On the other hand, any coach will tell you that feedback is a key part of their job.  The ICF even requires coaches as part of their core competencies to be “clear, articulate and direct in sharing and providing feedback.”  Feedback is the straight line to self-improvement, unseen insights, and corrective measures. Unless you have feedback, you won’t change.

The core disconnect is that we often see job performance as different from feedback.  My guess is that this is true for people in both company settings and solopreneurs.  Just imagine how your life would be different if:

  • You ask your vendors for feedback?
  • You ask your customers for feedback?
  • You ask your peers, direct reports, and colleagues for feedback?
  • You ask your boss for feedback after you complete every project?

In short, you seek out reviews every opportunity that you can.

The results will be stupendous!

  • You’ll get so used to people telling you what you do well and what you can change that it will become your normal operating procedure. You will be on a slope to continuous improvement.
  • Your performance blind spots will get smaller and smaller.
  • You won’t worry about a bad performance review because either it won’t happen or you are prepared for it.

Regardless of whether you are in a company or own your own business, your change process starts at the same place.

Start by being brave.  Once you start down the path of soliciting feedback, it will get easier.  You just need to take that first step.  There’s an old saying: If you eat a frog first thing in the morning the rest of your day will only get better.  Eat your frog!

If you don’t like the course you are taking, this feedback process will support you in finding a new one.  This is part one of three parts on soliciting feedback.  Part Two is oriented towards people working in a company setting.  Part Three is for solopreneurs.

When will you eat your frog?

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When Will You Cross Your Rubicon?

cross your rubiconIn 49 B.C., Julius Caesar made an irrevocable choice.  The Roman Senate ordered Caesar to either terminate his military command and return to Rome or to continue in command and give up his political aspirations.  The decision occurred on the banks of the Rubicon River:  the Senate warned Caesar that crossing the river with his army would be seen as a declaration of war.

History records Julius Caesar’s decision to cross the Rubicon and change history.  Once he made his decision and started the march to Rome, there was no going back.  He took away all of his choices.  Once he crossed the Rubicon, taking the army to Rome was his only choice.  And while he only lived five more years, his mark on history is written in indelible ink.

What would happen to your life if you decided to cross your personal Rubicon?  When you make a decision that you can’t take back, your life changes.

  • You have passion where you wavered before.
  • Your path forward become really, really clear.
  • You can articulate your purpose without hesitation or equivocation.

Your unflappable commitment is not to an action.  It’s to your vision.  When I say that I love my wife, it doesn’t mean that we won’t argue.  It means that I am committed to going beyond a squabble every single time.

My business commitment is to growing leaders and unlocking coaching moments.  That’s my course even if I don’t get it right 100% of the time.

You must do four things to cross your Rubicon.

Tell the most important people in your life.  Speak your commitment to your spouse, children, and close friends.  You don’t make irreversible decisions and then not tell people.  Make it impossible to back down.

Move forward.  You no longer can stand still or go in reverse.  You have to move forward.  Every day, what will you do to move forward?

Dig deeper.  We’re not talking about a hobby or something that would be nice in your spare time.  Commitment is a long-term game.  It’s about finding, refining, and fulfilling the deeper meaning in your life.  To find this type of commitment, you are becoming a lifelong learner.  You are going to grow beyond your imagination.

Surrender all doubt.  Doubt becomes a useless thought when you can’t uncommit.  Why waste the energy?

Your life changes when you cross your river.  You’ll have to find a strategy and tactics to continue moving ahead.  You’ll need to build a success team of supporters, mentors, and a coach.

When will you cross your Rubicon?

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Being the Change Agent for Coaching

Like it or not, you are the one who will be changing the culture in your business.  What you want done differently is not going to happen without your attention. The more you act, the more you will encounter resistance.

We have to get product our the door; let’s worry about this later.

It’s not working fast enough.

It’s interfering with other processes.

Did you really want no one to notice that you are changing their world?  Did you think they were going to like everything?  And deep, deep, down: would you prefer to be ignored? 

Free Prize InsideThe painful part is there is no straight path to success.  The simple news, however, is that the more you do, the more success you will have.  Good ideas always win.  Seth Godin is a prolific and insightful writer.  Here are a couple of his earlier ideas on how to be an innovator.  This is your opportunity to find some motivation and tactics to keep you moving forward.

WebThink SOFT INNOVATION.  Soft innovations are those clever, insightful, useful small ideas that just about anyone can think up.  Do enough of them and you and create a culture shift. A few years ago, Seth Godin wrote a book call, Free Prize Inside.  While it sounds like a new Cracker Jack slogan, it is much, much more.  If you want to offer a free prize to your customers, you have to get company support first.  And companies resist change.  So, become a soft innovator.  Buy the book and read “Section 2, Selling the Idea.”  These sixty pages will help you understand what is going on in the company and the role you can play.  Godin introduces a conceptual tool, The Fulcrum of Innovation, which is the same across almost all organizations and helps you create a strategy of soft innovation.  There are also 17 tactics to help you along the way. Seventeen is a lot of tactics.  This is your manual of success.

linchpinResists your Resistance.  When pushed, your tendency is to hide.  It’s okay.  We all do it.  There is a neurological reason for it happening.  Right on top of your spinal cord is your basil ganglia, most commonly known as your lizard brain. Scientists estimate that it takes .07 seconds for our lizard brain to react when threatened.  Unfortunately, the rest of our brain—the cognitive portion, takes longer to react. One of Seth Godin’s more recent books, Linchpin, looks at the lizard brain and how it controls our reactions.  You became a change agent for a reason.  Read the chapter in Linchpin about the resistance.  You will understand why you want to crumble in the face of resistance; how you can easily undermine yourself; and what you can do to hold off those fears long enough for your rational brain to take over.

No one said change was easy.  You are the champion for an idea that needs action.  You don’t need to be a lone voice in the wilderness. Use resources like these from Seth Godin to unlock the coach inside you.

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