Does your attitude really impact your success… and how much?
At a business networking event I met a man, we’ll call him Bill. He seems like a nice, smart guy with some level of success. And, he’s negative. He talks only about the problem. His response to solutions that are offered is that they won’t work and it’s just the way it is, more problems. Life is the way it is and he just has to deal with it and it’s not working. But that’s just the way it is. Here’s how Bill’s attitude made a difference in his life.
Bill has a great business idea. He has a unique and interesting marketing/advertising product that he wants to take to Bentley… but he doesn’t know how to get in touch with them. He doesn’t know his next step or how to get started, and shoots down ideas.
Sitting across the table from him is a woman who is very connected in the car world. (Me! I love classic cars. I was recently driven around the countryside in a friend’s 1927 Bentley. Sweet! I know car guys.) With a phone call or two I could introduce Bill to the right people. Those people would not only be willing to talk to him, but knowing my friends, they would also help him succeed.
But, with his negative attitude, those steps are a chasm because I’m not going to introduce him to my friends with that attitude… and even if I did, his response would probably be to tell them why it wouldn’t work and to complain about all his problems, versus asking them for help and a solution to those problems.
I tried to talk to Bill about his negativity but he doesn’t believe all this positive attitude stuff. He doesn’t “get” how it can make a difference. He doesn’t see that his attitude is not only keeping him from the financial success of his product, it’s keeping him from meeting amazing, successful people that could help him change his life.
One of the major things I do as a professional development coach is work on attitude and the belief in possibility. The above is an extreme case but most people think their dreams are impossible. They aren’t. It’s just a limiting belief. Maybe it sounds like this… “I’d love to do _____ but I’m too ______.” You fill in the blanks. I hear it all the time. Dreams are squashed before they’re even attempted.
When my clients start believing the dream they have may be possible and they start talking about it, the results are miraculous. I thought about using a less woo-woo word but they are miraculous. I often find myself in awe of how things can completely turn around and what they accomplish in a week… if they just believe that maybe it can, and start talking about what they want and taking the next indicated step.
If you’ve been stuck in any area of your life, let go of the being stuck, stop talking about it and thinking about it. Focus on and talk about what you want… the solution you desire. Start thinking about who you may know and who they know that might be able to direct and connect you. A change in your attitude can take you from failure to success… Your attitude impacts your actions and the actions of those around you… those impact your results.
It’s not the economy… it’s your life. Make a choice… dig in, get messy, go for what you want, decide maybe it can be, talk to others about your dream, and take forward action… go for extraordinary because any other choice sucks!
June 16, 2011 No Comments
Leading In Times of Challenge – How to use adversity to build and strengthen those you serve, and your self.
Think of the great leaders in history. It was their very adversity that made them strong, helped build their team, their “tribe”. This is your opportunity to go beyond your status quo and do something great for your self and those you serve. The current challenges in your business and the world offer you the playing ground to become a better leader, to help those you lead become stronger and more confident, and to build a strong community to do something worth doing, and together build something extraordinary… here’s how:
When things get challenging, like the current economy and global issues we, as leaders, take it on. We’re the leaders. We’re suppose to step out front, know what to do and perfectly lead everyone. It seems like the right thing to do but is it?
I started noticing a pattern recently. I was hearing it from my clients (executives, entrepreneurs, leaders and ministers) in their experiences, seeing it in leaders out in the world, and noticed it in my self. As we were doing what we thought we should, we were separating ourselves from our greatest leadership strengths… trust in our selves, and connection and trust in the people we lead.
So I dug in to look at the problem, to learn and better understand the challenge. I paid attention to my clients, the leaders in my life… and I looked at myself in my role as a leader. What I realized is that everything had gotten harder because we were putting more pressure on our selves. The more pressure we put on our selves, the more expectation we felt, and the more distant we felt from those we were leading. In each case I saw and heard it expressed differently but the pattern I saw was… the greater the expectation we perceived, the more we believed ‘they’ wanted something different than what we had or are or were giving.
The harder we tried, the worse we did because we’d quit connecting and hearing what was really needed, and we quit feeling supported and connected. The pressure of our own expectation of ourselves and our fear of not being enough was building a chasm. That chasm was leaving us with a feeling of not knowing what to do and not being enough, which was negatively impacting the power and outcome of our leadership… Sound familiar?
For me, I couldn’t figure out what my “tribe” wanted because in my expectation of myself and my scrambling to meet that, I had disconnected from them. And, as I wasn’t serving them as well as usual because I was trying too hard, they noticed my distance and discomfort. As a result, there was a separation from them too… for many reasons including the very human response of wondering if there was something negative I was afraid to talk about, or if the distance was something about them personally, along with the fear and stress they were already experiencing.
So instead of building this strong and cohesive team to work together through this challenge, we were all alone trying to figure out what to do… separate and alone in a group. Again… sound familiar?
(This same thing happens in friendships and love relationships when there is a problem. Instead of working together, we can start feeling there is something the other expects from us. If we feel unsure of what that expectation is and our personal insecurities come up we can get defensive, start to build resentments, or push away because we feel we’re not enough. Creating more problems, instead of working together to build solutions.)
So what do we do about it?
It’s not all up to you. You don’t have to be perfect. You do not have to do it all alone. You are part of a team. That’s the thing to remember whether you’re running a company, leading a team, supporting your congregation or are a political leader. We are a team. We are in this together. Yes, we as leaders stand out front, and we are not alone. If someone is following you, they want you to win, and they’d love to be a part of helping you succeed… if you have the interests of the group at heart. If you don’t have their best interests at heart, you’re screwed and you shouldn’t be leading anyway. If you do, use it.
Part of the reason I wrote this article (and do what I do), is that so much of what I read about topics such as this sound like a textbook and seem to forget that we’re human and that those we serve are resourceful and capable. That they want to be part of something, to belong, and they want to win. We aren’t leading helpless followers, unless we treat them as if they are and disempower them, which unfortunately was what I observed.
So, here’s the question… what would you want from your leader? Would you want them disconnected, way out front telling you what to do? Or, would you want them in the midst of the group saying, “We can do this. We can get through this together!”?
Help them, help you. Reconnect. Remind them that you are a team. Do this for yourself and for them. This is a hard time for all of you. You’ve got a good team. They’re smart, capable people. They know what’s going on in the world. They understand the realities of it. They may not like it any more than you do… and that’s the point. You’re all in this adversity together, this uncomfortable situation that you don’t like. It’s not them and you; it’s all of you. If you invite them to help and participate, it’s very likely they will.
People, especially when things are challenging, want to feel part of something. They want a mission, something to do bigger than the problem, or to face the problem together. They want a mission to focus on that makes a difference, and they want to feel/be important. This is an opportunity to give them the experience of belonging and being important. I’m not talking about a “mission statement” I’m talking about a mission. Something you all believe in, that makes you all feel good about your selves to work toward.
I started coaching the CFO of a company that had just gone through their first layoff. Moral was low, obviously profits were down. The management team was scrambling and disconnected. The employees were upset at management. Things were going from bad to worse. The company was falling apart.
As I started working with my client, he shared that part of the problem was that this company (600 employees) was family owned and operated, and that the employees felt like a family and felt betrayed. What I realized through that, is this company had great values. And, that if the management team reconnected with the employees around this value, they could create a mission of ‘being in this together’ and turn things around. They did, and that new mission, that was already there, gave the whole company a new passion and purpose. This got things moving forward again with everyone on the same team.
As the leader, what do you really want you and your team to accomplish, not just in reaction to the problem but through the problem? Adversity is our opportunity to grow. How can you lead and use this challenge to build something new of you and your team, as a whole and as individuals? How can you use and grow all of your skills and talents through this, to help all of you? How can you go from fixing a problem to working together to build something extraordinary through the situation?
Creating Your Mission
This is the opportunity for you and your “tribe” to use your present situation to go beyond the problem, even beyond your status quo and… (wait for it)… Go For Extraordinary!™
When I work with a client, whether an individual or a company, the point is not so much where they’ve come from or what the situation is, it is where they’re going and what they want to create.
Bear with me on this, I’m kind of a sci-fi geek… the best analogy I could think of is that moment in movies where leader is beaten, we think they are down for the count… but we hope… Then, they get back up to step into their power and become more. Think of that moment in The Matrix where Neo gets up, flexes and becomes the person he already was but didn’t know he was until he faced that challenge. Remember how through it all, his “tribe” believed in him and would do anything to support his success. Now it’s your turn.
So, you’re all in this together, and this is your opportunity to use this challenge as a microcosm, to face this challenge head on and be strengthened by it… together. To build something better than there was before.
Find your mission. Think of your team. What is important to you as a group? Why are you together in the first place? If you’re the type of leader that cares enough to have gotten this far through this article, there is something special about you and what you stand for. What is it? Remember I mentioned the company with the family values. What is it that brings you and your “tribe” together, not just on the surface, on a deeper level? Rally around that. Remind everyone of that.
Then build your team. Think of the individual strengths that all of you have. Think of what you want to build with them. Create a vision for yourself of how you’d like it to be. Reconnect and work with those you serve. Let them help you, as you help them. This is a ripe opportunity to rebuild your team in a new way. Come up with some ideas and some action steps of where you want to go, a new vision, stronger, better. Bring your team together to help you all.
One of the things I do as a coach and leader is to get people looking forward. It’s easy to look at what we lost and what’s not working. Our job as leaders is to get people thinking about what we want to build out of the rubble, to start planning forward and even get excited about it. An adversity like this offers an opportunity to reorganize, to build something… something better. What do you really want? What will you make of this new team of yours?
Decide what you want to build. Then bring everybody together. Talk about what you want to build… share your vision, share your mission. Then tell them you want their help. Tell them and show them, you (all of you) are a team, that each is important and together you (all of you) can work together and build something great. That this does not have to be a time of loss but of creating.
Every adversity offers us the opportunity to face the challenge and grow from it, to become more than we were… as individuals and as a group. Take on the challenge, rally your troupes, and build something extraordinary as a team… stronger and better than ever because… you helped each other go through this, you valued each other’s strengths and saw each other as capable and as winners. If you use this challenge, you might just create the most powerful team you’ve ever had and you and your leadership could be better than ever.
This is our world… let’s make it great by believing in ourselves, believing in each other, and working together to do the extraordinary!
If I can help… you know where to find me, and I’d love to. You have not chosen an easy path… and I know you can do this!!!
Also check out: Leading After a Lay-Off
March 29, 2011 No Comments
What if… the adversity you’re facing in your business/life right now is not just a problem but an opportunity that holds within it all the growth and learning opportunities to take you beyond it, and help you fulfill your potential?
Our challenges are not problems, per se; they are the solution to our problems. Yes, there is something “wrong”, something that is not working. But not something to avoid and be afraid of, not something wrong about us. Those challenges offer us…offer you…the opportunity to grow and learn, and become what and who you need to, to move forward the next step.
If we resist that lesson or growth, we stay stuck where we are. The problem stays or comes up over and over in different ways. We can try to do other things to fix our self… and the problem is still there because… the only way through, is through. The only way to truly get beyond it, is to step into it and learn what it is trying to teach us.
The challenges (this economy, divorce, addiction, etc.) are something to embrace, not feel victim of. Responding to the problem, instead of reacting to it is our next step to build our self and fulfill our personal potential (growing better financial skills & choices, building relationship and partnership tools, self power and self care versus avoidance, etc.).
It’s about knowing we are capable, that there is a solution and “using” the problem as our opportunity to grow. Using the “bad situation” to our advantage… using it to grow our strength, our skills, our capabilities, our confidence, and our personal success and spiritual tools. Growing these one step at a time in the area most needed, the one bugging you the most, now so that we grow into all that we are meant to be.
I love using nature as a metaphor… Imagine a flower.
First, you’re just a seed in the ground. Hanging out in the dirt, just being. Time goes by, and you start having this desire of wanting to be more, somewhere in you, you know you are meant to grow. You keep thinking about it. Then one day you crack open! What the…!
Then things start growing out of you, roots and a stem…what the heck! Then you pop into daylight…Whoa! Ouch! And then the first leaf starts…a bump, a weird growth on your side. You don’t know what it is… is it good, is it bad? And you keep growing and getting stronger and bigger…each step of the way, making way for the next, even fall and winter, every step preparing you for the next phase of you being what you are meant to be.
…But what if, when that first root came out, it scared you, and you spent all you energy trying to hold it in. What if you were the first seed around to crack open and you were embarrassed because you felt different or broken, and you tried to stop growing. What if you thought, “I don’t know how to do that” so you resisted your natural instincts and intuition of what to do. Or that first flower started to bloom, like the other flowers around you, and you thought “I’m not good enough to do that” and you held closed, not showing your magnificence… Sound familiar? Take a deep breath.
The thing is, each step along the way, like the flower, will bring you to the next place. Each step is necessary for your fulfillment. Every root and leaf might have felt new and wrong and frightening, and every bit was necessary for that flower to fulfill it’s potential.
No matter how big or frightening what you’re facing is, it is an opportunity for you to become all you are meant to be.
We all have areas in our life where we get stuck, where we stop our selves from fulfilling our potential. Instead of doing the things we fear or feel less-than (not capable of) we avoid in whatever way we do (tv, booze, busyness, eating, etc.), and we don’t build that skill, talent, or muscle to get through it. Then we can’t do the next thing. We’re stuck. We also break down our self confidence, our personal power, our faith, our belief in the rightness of things and that we can handle whatever comes up.
We can get stuck in any area. It can be over something like an opportunity to speak in front of 10’s of thousands of people, standing up for what we believe in at work, trying a bold new way of doing when everyone is doing something else, breaking out of our status quo. It can be about feeling not good enough as you are (too young, old, tall, short, etc.). It can be having a conversation we’re afraid of, doing what we long to but feel too small to or knowing it’s not “normal”. It can be our finances. It can be feeling stuck in our business or our relationship or our weight. It can be just trusting that we’re great, going for what we want when it doesn’t feel feasible, or being who we want to be. It is anywhere in life where we feel stuck or powerless, where we are complaining, blaming and reacting versus responding and feeling we have a choice and making that choice.
What’s that quote again? “What we resist, persists.” Whatever we don’t face, whatever we don’t learn, whatever skill we don’t acquire, whatever we don’t accept and do what we can with, it will keep us stuck, it will keep things not working. And, the good news…
Within the challenge in front of you, is your opportunity to fulfill your potential.
January 20, 2011 No Comments
It’s the end of another year. Was it successful? Have you thought about you’re your year, your successes and what you accomplished and learned this year? Have you thought about how you grew as a person or business person, and what new skills you have? How will you set solid goals for next year, if you haven’t answered those questions?
1. To acknowledging our self and our accomplishments, because who wants to work hard and have their work taken for granted? Not many of us, but we do it to our selves all the time. Harvesting feels good, it lets us see our growth and therefore empowers.
2. To clearly see who we’ve become and grown into so that next years goals and vision are bigger, not our old comfortable status quo, something new and exciting to us. Seeing how we’ve changed lets us know that we can do that next big thing.
3. To learn what worked and what didn’t. Harvesting is about looking at our “crop” so to speak and seeing if we’re happy with it. Are we growing what we wanted? It’s so easy in life to set a direction, move toward it, and not check in later to see if it’s right for us.
Harvesting is about celebrating all that you’ve done and all that you’ve become, and then clearly looking at your harvest before setting out and making next years goals and vision (which will be January’s topic). Both will lead to a more powerful and successful future.
Think of farming… you plant your crops, you work hard at helping them thrive, and then you pick them. You get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The Harvest is walking back through your year, your project, your…whatever. I do it with my coaching clients at the end of their coaching program to help them see what they’ve accomplished, how much they’ve changed, what tools worked and didn’t work for them, and how to take and use all of that to build their future.
- The value of a goal is not just the result, it’s also who you become in going for that goal or dream… in going for something extraordinary.
Your Harvest. Look back on your year…
So often, we will have a lofty goal or something new we should be doing in our business. Let’s say the goal is blogging. Our first step might be to just learn about blogging, look at some different blogs and read up on them. The second might be to learn about the different blogging tools we can use. The next, taking a class or jumping in and trying it. We might have done all this and still not be blogging, or not to the extent we want to. And what happens is, that’s what we focus on. We often don’t focus on all those steps along the way, all that we learned and accomplished. We focus on what we haven’t done. How we aren’t blogging every day.
A couple problems with that, again, yes, who wants to work when their work is taken for granted… and there is another big one. We tend to not to let our accomplishment empower us…
As a coach, as my clients learn and grow and move forward, I point out those accomplishments so that when it’s time for their next big stretch, they know they can do it… they clearly see they have in the past and that empowers their present.
Dig in, think about your last year… what did you accomplish? What did you learn? What new skills do you have now? Were you tenacious about something, showing you can stick to it no matter what? What did you gather – friends, knowledge, social networking people and skills? What did you create along the way? How much money did you make? Did you reach a goal you set? And what about those things that that you just felt really good about and then as time went on you forgot? What about those good things that happened, those flukes and “miracles” (often times when we put those in context we see how we had something to do with them)? What do you feel proud of your self for?
Just let this flow. I like to use bullet points. I find it’s hard to start but once I start they poor out, then I get stuck again, then it flows again. It’s just a process. Just trust your way of doing it. You can’t do it wrong. Just start listing your successes… personal and professional.
2. What Were You’re Breakthroughs and Stretches?
Some of these are those big bold breakthroughs, and sometimes these are those things that felt like failures at the time but now that you look back you learned a lot and grew a lot. This is more the internal stuff or the lessons about your process.
What did you do last year that you hadn’t before? What did you learn, maybe about your self, your life, business? What were some of those work/life lessons you learned that knocked you down and you got back up? What were some beliefs you had about you, business life, money, etc. that changed?
3. What’s Changed In Your Business and Your Life?
This is the big picture and the results. This is the place to look at the impact all of the above had on you, your business, and your life. It’s easy to make changes and not realize the change… not acknowledge what you’ve done or how far you’ve come. It’s important to see how far you’ve come. This is that opportunity to really acknowledge what you’ve done and where it’s gotten you.
Between last year and this year, what’s different? What changed? How is your business better? How is your life better? How are you a better person?
4. What Worked, and What Didn’t? What’s Serving Me, and What’s Not?
Now that you’re on that solid ground of knowing what you’ve accomplished and the impact of it, it’s time to dissect a bit. Check in and make sure you’re going in the right direction, that things are working, that the things you’re doing are working for you.
Your answers to this question will really help you when it’s time to set your goals for next year. Think of the farming metaphor again… the farmer looking at his crop. Did he grow as many carrots as he wanted? Did he like the flavor? Do they bring in the money he wanted? Are they good for the land? What needs to change? What could he try? What did he try that didn’t work? All with thoughts of growing a better crop next year.
Now look at your “crop” closely, with the thought of being more successful next year… What were your failures, what didn’t work? What have you been doing that isn’t serving you? Did you put your time and energy into things that didn’t pan out? Were there things that created the desired result but felt like more work than they were worth? Maybe you found a new method of getting customers but found that they aren’t the type of people you want to work with – so the method worked but next year you’ll need to tweak something. Are you trying to do something because you think you should and you just can’t get it to work? Are you wasting your time on something?
5. Celebrate! Enjoy Your Harvest.
What would you like to acknowledge yourself for? You worked hard, I know that because a slacker would not still be reading.
When New Year Eve and that stroke of midnight comes, say and feel a moment of gratitude for all you’ve done and all it’s created. Building a business, being a leader, and making a difference are not easy. You have chosen a path worth walking, acknowledge your self for it… for who you are and what you’ve done.
See you in January when we Set Our Compelling Visions for 2011.
Go For Extraordinary!™
December 15, 2010 1 Comment
If you’re an entrepreneur, executive, business owner, service provider or in sales the economy right now may be affecting your business but whether or not your business succeeds or fails is up to you, not the economy. That’s good news.
In every economy there are businesses within the same industry that fail and businesses that come out ahead. The difference is often you. Are you feeling stuck and paralyzed by outside influences, like the economy, or have you decide that you will do what it takes and be successful, no matter what.
There are two responses to what’s going on right now, either fear or opportunity. Either you feel overwhelmed and shrink or you see what you’re made of, what you can do and strengthen yourself to meet those outside influences (Yahoo!). It’s all perspective and choice. In every economy there are people that come out ahead, that make money and do great. Why not have it be you that succeeds!
Your Attitude. It starts with your attitude. It’s not just about pushing harder, it’s about coming up with good ideas, following through on them, and doing so in a way that works. With a negative attitude, with a belief that things are bad and won’t work, none of that is possible. So, to create a successful business and be a winner start from within and follow up with action.
Empower yourself by what you think and say and do… these tips may seem too simple but give them a try and see if they make a difference in your life and your business. These are tools I use with my clients (and myself) to go from being stuck to excitement and success. When I started using these with my clients I was astounded at the raves from those clients and results they were getting. If you practice (not perfection, practice) these, and keep progressing forward using them, your life and your business will change.
Step #1 - Start Your Day by Reading Something Positive. Before you start looking at your To Do List, take fifteen minutes or an hour to read something positive, a book on success, prosperity, spirituality, wealth, positive thinking, a book that teaches about your industry - something to get you in a positive frame of mind first thing in the morning. Some of my current recommendations are:
- Think and Grow Rich – Napoleon Hill
- The Magic of Thinking Big – David Schwartz
- Secrets of Six Figure Woman – Barbara Stanny
- You Can Heal Your Life – Louise Hay
- The Dynamic Laws of Prosperity – Catherine Ponder
Read something that inspires and empowers you, that makes you feel good, like you could conquer the world, or at least your world. Start your day on a positive note.
Step #2 – Decide What You’ll Accomplish Each Day. I’ve noticed with my clients that when things get challenging and they get stressed they start doing busy work instead of going for it, they start feeling overwhelmed and freeze. So, after raising your attitude and outlook by your positive reading, decide where you want to go next with your business, what you need to do to be successful and what you’ll do today to get there. Set goals and make a plan for your day. Decide what you want to do, where you want to go, and how successful you want to be.
Okay, your attitude is better, the next step is the doing.
Step #3 – Take Action – Do What It Takes To Succeed. Do what you need to do today. You’ll feel better. Do something that will give you a sense of accomplishment and that will make a difference in your life and for your business. Make some sales calls, go to a networking event and network, do that thing that you’ve been putting off… Do Something. Show yourself that you mean business, that you’re going for it, and that you are going to get it. Be a success today!
Having a positive attitude is very important and it needs to be followed by directed action to create your good (success, prosperity, wealth, happiness). It’s taking your power back instead of feeling controlled by outside influences. Create what you want, not what you think is possible based on the economy or any other outside influence. Decide what you want to create and take the action to do it.
Step #4 – Take That Action That You’ve Been Putting Off! If you’re not at the very top of your game, leading in your industry, there are things that you could be doing that you’re not and you know it. Pick one that inspires you, that will expect more of you than you are giving now and do it. Choose something that you know would benefit your business. We can feel insecure, we get scared, we don’t think we’re good enough to do that next thing, to reach to that next level, but now is the time, the economy is giving us the opportunity to be more than we thought we could. Stretch yourself. Go for it.
Now that you’ve created a great day for yourself, appreciate yourself and all your hard work, and take stock of all the good that is.
Step #5a – Write a Nightly Gratitude List – One of the best things to get you into a better mental space, knowing that good is possible, is to focus on the good that already is. Think about all you have – your skills, your friends, your opportunities, all the good in your life and business… your customers/clients past, present and future. List what you do have. To have a quick shift write a list of “100 Things I’m Grateful For.”
Then every night before you fall asleep write a list of *10 Things I’m Grateful For* so your subconscious mind thinks of all your good while you sleep. You’ll sleep better and wake in the morning feeling better. (Won’t that help your business… and all of your life?)
Step #5b – Acknowledge Your Successes – Along with what your grateful for, write what you did today to build your business and make your life better? Before you go to sleep appreciate and value yourself, write a list of *5 of My Successes Today* so you are focusing on what you have done versus the things that you didn’t do. There will always be things we didn’t do but focusing on them breaks us down. Focusing on what we did empowers us to do more and do it better. And again, you’ll sleep better and you’ll start focusing on what you are doing. You’ll see the power you have to change your world and your business, you’ll feel better and want to do more because you’re appreciating and valuing you.
In every situation we have the opportunity to build ourselves up to meet the situation or to be beaten by it. This is a great time to build new tools and create new habits for yourself. Try these for a week and pay attention to any differences in your business and life. If they work and support you now, imagine how great they’ll work when the economy swings back around.
You can turn this challenging time into your adventure… don’t you want to know what you’re made of? Don’t you want to live to your potential? What could you do now, that you haven’t done before? We all want to fulfill our potential, to see what we’re made of and what we’re capable of. The economy is giving you your chance, what you do with it is up to you…
December 8, 2010 1 Comment
Last year, I was in Vancouver for a long vacation weekend. The man I was dating and I were spending a lovely holiday day wandering Granville Island. Fun, laughter, me being my friendly self…
A woman in a Gingerbread Woman costume comes up. I loved it and my friend took a great picture of us. The Gingerbread Woman is totally in character. There is a person dressed as a Wolf across the street checking her out… like he was hungry for lunch. She looked sadly at me and said, “It’s hard being a cookie.” We laughed, I gave her a hug, and we were off on our way. It was one of those ‘extraordinary moments’ in life.
A little while later, I noticed that my purse felt light. I looked and I couldn’t find my camera. I wracked my brain and we started looking for it. We looked everywhere for the next 20 plus minutes. No luck. My friend being from New York decided it was probably a set up. Gingerbread Woman gets close to us, wolf distracts us, camera or wallet is gone. It made sense and we’d looked everywhere… and I mean everywhere. And we asked everywhere we’d been. It was starting to look like the Gingerbread Woman had taken my camera.
Well, this is me. I did not want to believe that she would do that. I believe people are good, even though everything pointed to something else. It was the Gingerbread woman, I refused to allow my world to be tainted that way. Well, I told him that. He humored me. And we decided to take one more go around. We separated to do one more go around…
Then I did something interesting. I still don’t know how it came to me… I stood, closed my eyes, took a deep breath. In my mind I said and knew, “I am connected to everything.” And I could picture it, being connected to everything. My feet connected to the ground under me, connected to the sidewalk, to the road, to every building and thing on it. “That being the case, if my camera is here, I know where it is.” I took another big breath, opened my eyes and started walking.
It reminded me a bit of being a kid messing around with a divining rod to find water. I didn’t know what I was doing. I just knew I didn’t want my camera to be stolen and all that would leave me with.
I just walked where I felt drawn. I chose a direction. I decided to cross the street. In about a block I walked in front of a shop. There was something in the window that caught my eye, just something. It wasn’t anything but it held my attention. I looked up and in and made brief eye contact with the shopkeeper. I kept walking on… and then I felt…well, it was like an energetic tug on the back of me. I stopped. I oddly felt a little embarrassed because I’d just walked by the shop, but turned around and went in. I just had this feeling, that I can’t even describe…I just knew to walk in there.
I walked in feeling very odd because I hadn’t been in that shop that day, but asked, “Did you by any chance find a camera.”
Her response was strange, “What’s your favorite animal?” She had my camera and they’d been looking at the pictures in it, trying to find out whose camera it was. “You should have a card or something with your number on it or something.” Whoa!
I was stunned. My camera was there. We had *not* gone into that shop. There was no “reason” for me to go into that shop and ask.
When I found my friend, he was stunned. Every once in a while on the whole way home and after, he would shake his head and look at me, and make a comment. He didn’t know what to think. I’d just smile.
Okay… now to using this in business.
In my business I can get so stuck in “trying to figure it out”. One of the problems is that I don’t know “how” I found my camera… well, I know what I did. I know it worked. But “how” did it work.
That’s the problem. It’s been hard for me to own that I do know, and I was part of the solution. What I did worked. With things like that, I forget that I do know how, that I did do something. No matter how hard I tried to find my camera that day from a place of common sense, I couldn’t find it. We’d looked conservatively 20 minutes but it could have been 40 or more, and Granville Island isn’t that big. We’d also asked for a lot of help. Nothing.
It took me stopping the search, trusting my self, knowing that I know, and taking the action that felt right.
This is what I do with my clients. They choose what results they want. We come up with a basic strategy of what to do next, and they take that next indicated step, and the next. Time after time, if they follow through, I am AMAZED at their results, how quickly and big. It took one of my clients less than two months to do something she’d been working at and “figuring” with lots of help “figuring” for nine years with no forward motion.
First, it’s opening up to the possibility that things can work, they can have what they want. This is where I put a lot of attention with people. We don’t try because we don’t believe it will work. Then, taking action and paying attention to what’s working and what’s not when they do. Again, it’s a lot of me pointing out that it is working. I’ve found we really tend to focus on the part of the path that isn’t working. And, continuing to follow what has that ‘right’ feeling, that tug for them. As long as they keep moving forward remarkable business results happen.
Whether it’s Stephen Covey’s “start with the end in mind”, Einstein’s quote about not being able to solve a problem with the same consciousness it was created, the ideas in “The Secret”, or David Schwartz talking about an “I’m-positive-I-can attitude”. There is something that happens when we stop, trust our self, not just our brain but our whole self, and believe that it can work.
Yes, my experience sounds quite woo-woo, but was it? The most vital things we do, we do naturally… breathing, our blood flowing, our heart beating, feeling love. So why in business do we go into our head and try to figure it out? Okay, okay… we can spend all day with answers to that question. Let’s not. Let’s ask better questions…
- What if it could work easily?
- How can I tap into that most intelligent and powerful part of my Self this minute and use it? Then trust what feels right, the tug?
Sometimes it’s a random idea of something to try, or a person to call. A story will come up, like this one did for me today. Sometimes it’s overhearing a conversation and making a comment. Tune in to that tug. (see my comment at the end of this post to hear two of my tugs.)
Just like you trust when your body wants to breath. Take a minute to do that. If you hold your breath just for a second, there is that feeling of wanting to breath. It’s a good practice. This is simple but profound… because what could you do with this kind of power? One of the great things about this power, it’s a good power we can trust. It doesn’t work unless it feels right to us, unless it fits with our soul’s values.
I would love to tell you just how I knew to do what I did that day, how I miraculously found my camera, how we could all repeat what I did, and have things turn out that perfect every day. I can’t. And I don’t think that’s the answer. The answer is… believe that it can happen, check in with your highest, biggest Self (not your brain) however you do that today, as best as we can, and trust our Self…and take action.
…this is funny. I don’t know how to end this. I was ‘trying to figure it out’. Now I’m sitting here laughing… I think I’ll take my own advice…
Oh…(interesting!)… the ending… I don’t have your answer… you do. I’m just the inspiration. Don’t do it my way, do it your way. We keep looking for the answer outside our self… you’re answer is within. The dreams and desires that you have are yours alone, unique. The fulfillment of them is just as unique. Let your remarkable results be easy. Don’t use your brain to figure it out. Trust your Self. Trust there is a way, and that the next step is right in front of you. Take that step, and the next…
I did not read anywhere to stop and connect with the energy of the sidewalk… in fact, my intellectual brain would never have come up with that. I don’t know where the idea came from. I just stopped and trusted my Self and took the action I felt drawn to. Now it’s your turn… Stop. Breath. Trust Your Self. Take Your action.
This works for Corporations as well as individuals. For more inspiration in doing things your way, trusting you, and getting extraordinary business results…
- Check out the book “Big Think Strategy: How to Leverage Bold Ideas and Leave Small Thinking Behind” By Bernd H. Schmitt, Harvard Business School Press
December 6, 2010 1 Comment
Are your wanting to take your self and your business to the next level but for some reason it just isn’t working?
When we think about ourselves or an area of our businesses we can either think about what we want to create and how we’ll do that – appreciating what is and adding value to it. Or, think about what we don’t have and what’s wrong, depreciating the good we have.
In the back, or front, of many people’s minds are, “not good enough” thoughts. Whether those thoughts are about their business, their product, their service, their skills in a certain area or themselves… and of course, that’s on a relative level – you might be making $1 million a year and be feeling not good enough to make or do more. It’s hard to sell your product, service, or your self if you’re feeling and believing that some part of it or you is not good enough to go to that next level.
The thing is, we are the creators of our thoughts, our thoughts lead to our beliefs, our beliefs to our actions… What we believe and feel about our selves is our choice, one thought at a time. It may not seem like it. It may seem our beliefs are steeped in facts. It may seem that our history proves those beliefs but our histories are built on a series of choices, based upon our thoughts and beliefs. And, the way we look at our past is based on our perspective. Those beliefs and perspectives are all based on us, and the thoughts we choose to think moment to moment. Our history isn’t our destiny, it is just what we created in the past with what we believed and the choices we made. We have the choice and the power to build something new right now.
Have you heard of the story of Bunker Bean? It was a novel written about 100 years ago. The story tells about a man who had low self-esteem and doesn’t do well in life. Then Bunker made a new friend, a medium, whom he believed in. This friend told him that the down part of his life would soon be over. He also told him that he had been Napoleon in a past life. Well, Bunker Bean feeling so powerful and good about himself went from there, with new beliefs about himself, made new choices, took bigger actions, and became much more successful. Everything in his life changed for the better… he studied Napoleon and imitated him… he also realized that he himself possessed some of those good qualities that Napoleon had possessed.
Bunker went from feeling not-good-enough, to feeling possibility. He went from thinking about what he didn’t possess within himself, to thinking about what he did. He went from thinking about what he hadn’t done, to thinking what he could do, and finding out how to do it. That’s thinking like a winner.
Today, are you thinking about what you don’t have, what you’ve never done, what doesn’t work and deciding you can’t or aren’t good enough? You could think about:
- What you will do?
- What you will learn and grow to get there?
- The good, skills, talent and experience you already possess?
- Who can help you – whether in person or reading a book about someone?
- What steps you will take today to move your forward?
It took Bunker Bean having someone tell him that he’d been someone powerful and important in his past. So, what do you need to believe about yourself and what you’re capable of? What if I told you that you, a member of the human race, are related to the most powerful people that are or ever have been. That you are capable of that greatness too? What if you knew, you have within and available to you what the most successful people in the world have. You do. Simply speaking, think of how amazing it is that we learn to walk, to talk, to communicate… add to that all the things that you’ve done in your life. Make a list. Add them up. Remind your self how special and capable you are. See that you can do what’s next, and then the next thing, and soon when you look back you will have a different history.
YOU are magnificent! YOU are capable of making the world a better place! YOU are capable of great things! YOU are someone so special. OWN IT! USE IT! Go For Extraordinary!
So, what’s your next step? Go take it… Go do something equal to how great you are so you know it!
December 1, 2010 No Comments
When things are challenging, like the current times, we can get focused on what’s wrong in our businesses and what we don’t have. Here’s a Thanksgiving tip to help you turn your business around, and help you enjoy your holiday more. The Power of Appreciation.
What is appreciation? Is it just a word or a positive thought? No, think of it this way… You buy a house. Let’s say it’s a good, solid house but not in great repair. Now, you have the opportunity to appreciate or depreciate it.
You can feel bad that you couldn’t get a better house. You can look at it, focus on all the things wrong with it, all the work that needs to be done, get overwhelmed, see it as a problem and too hard. You then let the lawn go, park cars in the yard, let it fall apart. You’ve seen the houses, you know what I mean. It decreases in value. You then have less than you started with.
Your other option is to feel glad that you got a house and know that this house can be great. It may even be a step to a better house. You can focus on all that’s right with it. Pay attention to what’s good about it. Is the foundation good? Is there something about it that you really like? Maybe it’s a room or a certain feature. Focus on what’s good, create a vision for yourself of what it could be, what you could do with it and start making those changes. As you do, make the most of it by continuing to appreciate it. Noticing how much better it’s getting and how much closer it’s moving you toward your next goal. Also appreciating you for what you’re doing to make it better, what skills you’re learning and who you’re being by your being thankful. You’re property appreciates… and so do you.
So, what about you and your business (or maybe it’s your work history, skills and resume, or even your current job) are you appreciating what you have? Are you taking the good that is and adding value? When was the last time you really focused on all that is good about it… or you? When was the last time you really took stock?
We can get so caught up in all that there is to do, all that we don’t have, and we can get overwhelmed or frantic. Instead of writing a “To Do List” how about writing a “Look What I’ve Accomplished and Built List” a list of all the positives and assets in you and your business (or job/past skills and job experience).
After you’ve created that list, take some time to really sit with all the good that you’ve built. Think of the skills and talents you’ve grown, and who you’ve become in the process. I’m visual so I like to think of it like with the house… I imagine walking from room to room putting your attention on what’s right. What do you have? A website? Some skills…which ones? Really look. How about your connections, past clients/customers, contacts, people that you have or could partner with? What else?
Get caught up and excited in appreciation of what you have, get excited about it. Now see where you can add value. What can you do to make it even better? What skills or traits do you want to grow to make your self even more valuable…to get you where you want to go?
Thanksgiving is a time for being thankful… I like to use life lessons in business, and business lessons in life. Appreciate what you have and what you have built… of your business, of your self, of your life. Find and pay attention to your value and see what happens.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with blessings and love!
November 24, 2010 No Comments
Have you ever found your self searching, trying to figure out what you wanted to do with your life, your business, your career, your blog, or whatever it was. I have. Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to say and who I want to say it to through my blog.
I went for a walk along the beach today and it came to me… I have been trying to “find” my voice. Like it was something outside of me and that if I could just find it…
I’ve been keeping mine quiet because I was trying to stick it in a box, putting parameters on it… trying to figure out which parts of me to share in my “business” blog. There are a couple explatives I’d like to share now but we don’t know each other well enough yet… I was holding back my spirit and my humanity but aren’t those just the things we need in business, to bring our whole selves? Yes!
We can get so caught in the “shoulds” and “the way things are” or “the way it’s always been done” and put ourselves in that little box, confine our voice, dampen our passion and our Spirit. What does that do to us and what does that do to our world?
Our voices need to be heard… and our humanity and Spirit; that bold fiery part of us that is alive and willing to do what is right and just and best for all, needs to be supported, exercised, strengthened… allowed.
What I decided is that the way to “find my voice” is to use my voice… yours too. Let them out of the box.
Use your voice. This is our world and this is your life… and it is what we make of it. We can be controlled by outside influences that say we should follow, stay in line. We can be controlled by inside influences that tell us we “should do it right” or be perfect or that we must follow and fit it. But it is time to speak up, speak out and stand for something… to make the world and our world as great as it can be. Use your voice… you know what you want to say, you know what is right… if you’re not sure, start talking and listen to what you have to say.
Years ago I managed a clinic. When I started asking the opinions and insights of my receptionist and my nurses on important business decisions they started to flourish. They took more responsibility for their job and for their part of the whole. Their confidence and self esteem went up. Of course, the clinic ran great.
How do you turn that to you? We get so caught up in following or doing what we think we should, we don’t listen to ourselves. So, start listening… the way I listened to my employees and let them know what they had to say was valuable.
- When you get that internal niggle that says “this isn’t right” stop and listen.
- The next step is to act on what you know by making choices and speaking out based on that niggle. Whether that is saying no to a second serving, not going along with business practices like Enron, or giving a compliment when the desire comes up.
It’s like an intenea. Whatever station we’re tuned to, that’s what comes in louder. It’s not that the other stations aren’t there, we’re just not focused on them. If you tune into you, tune in to the powerful part of you, that message will become clearer and stronger. This is as true for outside influences versus you personal voice, as well as listening to that powerful, positive part of you versus the negative part of you. What we tune into gets stronger the more we listen to it. Try it for a week, then another, see what happens and how much stronger your voice gets and how much easier it gets to do what is yours to do.
- Also, in moments of choice, practice asking for what you want or voicing your opinion. In little choices as well as big. How often do we just go along with something, do something we don’t really want to just because. “What would you like to do?” “I don’t know, what would you like to do?” The more we listen to and value or opinion and act on it, the stronger we become and the easier it is to hear that voice.
Listen to your self. Listen to what you have to say. Define your choices and your life by what comes from within. Show your self that your voice, your opinion and choice matter… build a life that helps you to flourish.
“If you do not extress your original ideas,
if you do not listen to your own being,
you will have betrayed yourself.”
Trust your voice and use it. Build the kind of life and world you want to live in!
And me, what did I do about finding my voice? One of the things I realized is that looking outside my self for what I was writing was definately not esteeming or empowering. In doing that I was being critical of my self and I was feeling resistant to blogging. It makes sense. Why would I want to do something when I was being criticized, not trusted or believed in, before I even started. So… I came to it with new thoughts and beliefs. I’m going to do it my way and trust that.
The more I write and grow those skills, along with studying blogging, the better I’ll become at mixing my own voice with what works business wise. And the first thing I need to do is trust me. When I do that, it’s easier to grow and get better. Start where I am with what I have… and get better as I go.
This is a post script, I’m thinking about facebook and using my voice there more too. What came to me is how we question what we have to share, and how much garbage is posted. There is so much more interesting, thought provoking, individual and community building information and conversation to share. Listen to your voice, and your heart, and share what is true to you, what’s important to you. Yes, it vulnerable, and it creates a better world… whether that is your world or our world. Talk about what’s important to you, share your views… know that what you have to say is important…
Here’s a great bit of wisdom from the author Pam Grout from “Living Big”. “Don’t we have anything better to read (talk/write) about. If the 7 million readers of “Ladies’ Home Journal” would all wonder instead, “what can I do to imporve my own soul?” or “How could I make our schools more loving?” the big problems we’re so afraid of would be solved in a year. Seven million people focusing on issues like that would be an unstoppable force.”
Trust your self. Trust your voice. We need you… and more importantly… you need you.
“Be someone amazing… be your self!”
Lisa K Bradley
Go For Extraordinary!
If you’re thinking about blogging, check out “18 Stupid Mistakes Bloggers Make in their First Year” by Christine Kane for some great tips and treasures. And, for help with how to gain readers, check out http://www.theresasheridan.com/blog/16-top-places-to-list-your-blog-and-build-your-community/
And if you want want to get inspired about speaking up and standing for what you believe… earlier today I watched the film “Flow“. [Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis. Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.] I highly recommend it.
November 17, 2010 1 Comment
Are you committed to your success or are you committed to…something else?
One measure, look at the results of your business and life. Do you have what you want? Is it the life and the work that you dream of?
WARNING: Before we go on, know that you might read the next paragraph and think, “That’s not me. I don’t do that.” But before you quit reading, consider whether you are having the results in your business and are reaching the level of success you want. If the answer is no, then read on…especially if you don’t want to!
The second measure, ask yourself if you are you spending your time building and creating what you want? Do you have a plan and goals; are you taking steps each day to build your dream, to create the success you want? Or… and this is where it gets uncomfortable… or, are you spending your time making excuses, blaming, complaining, telling your story about why it didn’t or doesn’t work, using the economy as an excuse, or just avoiding thinking about it at all?
That might be uncomfortable to read. What’s more uncomfortable is to have your dreams fail because you aren’t facing what isn’t working. The reality is this: either you are building what you want, or you’re trying to become comfortable with what’s not working by focusing elsewhere.
It is up to you to decide… do you want the success and life you desire or do you want the excuse? You can’t have both. This may sound harsh but I’d rather get in your face now, get you uncomfortable with what’s not working so that you’ll make the changes you need to, to have the life you desire.
Maybe you believe that you can’t, that you don’t know how, that you’re not good enough, etc. Whatever your limiting belief is, I’m here to tell you that it’s not true. You have everything within you and available to you. You just need to take the first step, then the next. So, let’s get to the solution. The way to change anything is to change what you think, say and do. That’s it.
1. Listen to yourself. What are you saying, in the world and in your head? Are you talking success or failure? Are you talking and thinking, “I can” and “It’s possible”? You’re not going to find solutions if you’re not looking for them. If your thoughts are on “I can’t” you’re not looking for solutions, you’re looking for excuses. You are smart and capable, so you’ll find whatever you’re looking for.
2. Get really uncomfortable and face what isn’t working. What do you want that you don’t have? Success? Great relationships? Enough money? Time to play? What aren’t you doing that you need to be doing? Are you showing up and following through or not? Are you being the person, on a daily basis, that will get you the success and the life that you want? If you’re not, face it.
3. DECIDE that you are going to do what it takes to change. Change won’t happen until you decide to make it happen. Get to the point that you say, “I hate this! I want something different! I’m going to do something about it!” Then…
4. Change your thoughts and words to support your success. There is a catch to this though. With all the self help and spiritual tools out there, people are learning to make the uncomfortable comfortable. So use your thoughts and words not to make yourself comfortable with what isn’t working, but to believe in yourself and believe that what you desire is possible. Thoughts and words are often just habitual so stay conscious and practice thinking and talking like a winner until it become a habit, then keep doing it.
5. Do something. I’ve found that we usually know what to do, at least the next step. The trick is doing it. Do what you know you need to do today. The next step that’s right in front of you, do it. When you’ve done that, what’s next? Do that.
6. Go for it! Take the risk. Do what you really want to do. I know it’s not easy to really go for what you want, to step out on that limb, to close that sale, to change careers, to talk to that successful stranger. It’s risky… but do you really want an easy life? Or, do you want a life filled with great experiences in which you are fully alive, believing in yourself, and making your dreams happen.
Now that you have the prescription, use it to create the life and success you want. This sounds hard until you start doing it. But imagine going for what you really want instead of settling, finding out that you are the person you always knew you could be!
November 3, 2010 No Comments