Own Your Gifts & Talents

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”   – Thomas Edison

Who are you really?

We are all so amazing, capable, talented, and valuable. And, we often don’t realize it because: one, we define our selves by who we were in the past or based on what someone else told us about who we are; two, we don’t take the time to see our gifts and talents; and three, many of our gifts, talents, wisdom, and insight came out of our most challenging experiences and we don’t consider them successes or take the time to see the tools we gained.

It’s time to acknowledge who you are so you can bring your Whole Self to the table, play bigger, and boldly make the difference in the world that only you can make.

~

The following questions will help you see your strengths and open up possibilities for your career, business focus/niche, and mission.

Often in life it’s a combination of our training, things that we love to do (like hobbies or interests), education, successes, and the wisdom gained through our challenges that prepare us for sharing something of great value and doing something extraordinary with our lives.

Owing what we have and bringing more of who we are into our work helps us do what we value and are interested in, and also use our unique skills, talents, and insights. It makes our work more rich, rewarding and fulfilling, and success easier because we see that we have what it takes and we’re passionate about it.

So, here are your questions:

Looking back over your life, in ten year increments…

1. What were the pivotal and valuable experiences in your life?  How did they transform you and/or your life?

2.  What were your successes (and best moments)?

3.  What were your biggest challenges and what did you learn from them (what skills, talents, insights, and values, etc. did you gain through those)?

Before you start – It’s one thing to make a list, to take it up a notch, tell the story. Sometimes the biggest success isn’t what we did, it’s that we even did it. It’s also the values we expressed in doing it, what we learned, who we had to be in order to do it, etc.

Here is an example from my life. I think of first time I really spoke in public. This was way before I became a coach. I’d done a lot of personal development work and someone asked me if I was willing to share my story. The first time she asked, I said, “no”. It was probably followed with a reason or just an, “I can’t”. Even the idea of it absolutely terrified me.

I thought about it and it poked at me all week. When I saw her the next week I asked her if she’d ask me again. She asked if I could be the speaker. My eyes got big and I said, “That’s not what you asked me last time.” She thought for a moment, laughed and asked, “Are you willing to be the next speaker?” I said, “Yes, I’m willing.” I couldn’t even say I “could” but I was “willing”.

There is a lot more to the story but the point is… my “speaking in public” was big and only a small part of my success. Did I do a good job, yes, but that’s still only part. The real successes show when I dig in. What that day showed me: I am bold and driven. I am courageous and will push through my fears and do what I don’t think I can. I’m willing to do what it takes no matter what. I care more about being of service than I do about my ego. And, after I shared my story, the next person who spoke said, “So, I guess the topic is gratitude”. Wow! That story empowers me. It helps me remember who I really am. It helps me stand up, stand out, and make my difference. And, when I speak now and fear comes up, based on my success, I know what motivates me and I focus on that (being of service).

Another place to look for our skills, strengths, and wisdom and what’s important and valuable to us is through our challenges and hardships.

My mom had a strange habit of leaving me with strangers, either at homes of people I hardly knew or she and I’d go out and she’d wander off to talk with others for very long periods of time. It was a bit challenging, to say the least. And, if you know me now, one of the things you might have noticed is that I can talk to anyone. Also, I’m very easy to talk to and make most people feel very comfortable.

The first skill, talking to anyone, was a survival skill… and I’m so grateful I have it even if they way it came about was very challenging. The second, helping people feel at ease, probably has to do with empathy. I know what it feels like to be very uncomfortable so I help that to not happen with others. It’s now a strong value of mine. Both of those benefit me greatly not only in life but in my business. So sometimes our greatest education, values, and skills come from the most challenging experiences in our lives.

One last thing before moving on to your questions, we often define our selves based on who we were told we are or based on the past and who we were. This exercise is to help you define and decide who you really are. Take some time with it. Own your good.

After writing down your answers, go through them and highlight the ones with the most meaning to you. It’ll tell you a lot about you, what’s important to you, your values, what you know, and who you really are.

And… as with any exercise I share, do it your way. There is no right or wrong. Trust your self and your wisdom. Add or change any questions or the wording in the questions to make them work for you… and enjoy your self!  Mainly, just do it.  You deserve to know how great you are and the world needs what you have.

To Your Success!
Lisa

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5 Steps To Success In This Economy

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…

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Your Attitude and Your Success

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.

Bill’s success is steps away. lisa_bradley_success_coaching

But, with his negative attitude, those steps are a chasm because:  1. When I even talked about it, Bill shot me down.  He told me what wouldn’t work and why.  2. 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, these very successful and supportive entrepreneurs, why it wouldn’t work and to complain about all his problems, versus asking them for help and a solution to those problems.  It’s like the sales person that says to potential customers, “You don’t want to buy this, do you?” and then wanders around saying that selling their product isn’t possible.

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.  Don’t complain, blame, criticize, minimize or maximize the problem (and don’t hang out with others that do that either).  Decide that you will win.  Do whatever it takes to get your self positive; study success, do affirmations and practice thinking positive thoughts, learn, be around positive people, do a gratitude list.  Do whatever it takes.  Decide that you will go for it and do it, whatever it takes, take action.  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.

By the way… your attitude is a habit and like any muscle.  The more you use it, positively or negatively, the more it will grow and the easier it will become to use it either positively or negatively.  It’s not outside of your control… it’s a choice.

It’s not the economy… it’s your life.  Make a choice… dig in, get messy, go for what you want, decide it can be, talk to others about your dream, and take forward action… go for extraordinary because any other choice sucks!

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Leading In Times of Challenge

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?

 

You, the leader.  You’re not in this alone.

 

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.

 

 

Your Team      

 

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

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Using Your Adversity as Your Ally… in life and business.

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?

I’ve heard Carl Jung’s line “what you resist, persists” many times and I didn’t really get it until this week, or not to the extent that I do now.

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…!

That would be seriously scary, I think.

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 magnificenceSound 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.

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Harvest Your 2010 Successes, for an Extraordinary 2011

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?

There are three big reasons to stop and harvest our successes: 

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…

 1.  What Were Your Accomplishments and Successes? 

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.

Congratulations!

See you in January when we Set Our Compelling Visions for 2011.

Go For Extraordinary!™
Lisa

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Getting Extraordinary Results in Your Business

What if business doesn’t have to be that hard?  What if there is an easier, more empowering and powerful way to do your business and get extraordinary results?  Are you willing to find out?

A miracle... or just normal?

 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…   

Stop.
Breathe.
Trust.
   

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. 

Love You,
Lis’ 

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

 

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The Power of Appreciation – Using Thanksgiving and Gratitude To Build Your Business.

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!
Lisa

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Leading Your Team After a Lay-Off

If you own a company or manage a team within one and have had to lay off employees here are some tips to help you turn adversity into opportunity… to use the lay off to strengthen your team and your position with them.

Any adversity offers us a chance to grow, especially when it’s a group facing a challenge together. Think of those times in your life where you’ve really connected with a group of people through a challenge or catastrophe. Think of the bond that’s built. This is your opportunity to build that with your team.

Here are some tips.

Tip #1. Remember that you are a team, and you’re going through this together. You need to remember that, and you need to remind them of that. This is a hard time for all of you. You’ve got a good team. They’re smart people. They know what’s going on in the world. They know people are getting laid off. 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.

Tip #2. Talk to them, and let them talk to you. Let them know that you aren’t liking it either. Don’t blame the company, don’t complain, just let them know, “I’m upset that we needed to let them go too. This is challenging.” Say more than that but you get the gist. Sometimes we need to be reminded (both management and employees) that none of us like it and we are all in it together.

Let them talk about it too. So many times through things like this, more stress is created because no one is talking which is scary and it makes us wonder. Have an open door policy about this. It’s not just about them wondering what’s going on, aren’t you wondering how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking too? Make it okay to talk about it. Sometimes in work we forget were human… not just human but capable human beings. We can handle it… and it helps to handle it together.

Tip #3. Lead. Many times after a lay off, people are left to just wonder what’s next because the business just seems to continue forward a bit like a funeral march. This is your time to shine. Be a leader. Remind all of you that choices have to be made. The reality is, companies are going out of business. The lay off is to keep yours running. You are the lucky ones. But don’t just talk it… do it. The next part is to start living that, to work on doing more than surviving, work on thriving. It’s your job to lead that.

A long time ago I was demoted. It was very political. You know how those things go. They gave my team to someone else to manage. A few months later, the same thing happened to someone else in the company. We were talking one day. She surprised me. She said, “I wouldn’t have known how to handle it, if I hadn’t watched you. You didn’t complain, blame, lash out, or criticize. You just kept your head high and did your job.”

Be that kind of leader to your team, someone they believe in and have a reason to follow. Which does not mean being perfect, just be someone you feel good about being. It makes all of you feel better and creates loyalty.

Tip #4. Build your new team. Remember that good team of yours? Those people you have left. Have them be your team, your helpers to reorganize. They know their jobs and the department/company. Don’t do it alone, it’s not good for you or for them. Let this time build you as a team. Let your remaining team members know that they are an integral part of the whole, instead of just hanging on to their jobs in hopes that they aren’t next to go.

One of the biggest things I do as a coach is to get you looking forward. It’s easy to look at what we lost and what’s not working. My job is to get you thinking about what you want to build next, get you to start planning forward and even get excited about it. An adversity like this offers an opportunity to reorganize, to build something… maybe even something better. What do you really want? What will you make of this new team of yours?

Tip #5. Vision and Create. Now that you’ve read these but before you do any of these steps… think of 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 to it be. This is a ripe opportunity to rebuild your team in a new way. Come up with some ideas and some action steps.

What’s interesting, often in corporations people aren’t as busy as they’d like to be. They are bored. People want to feel useful and work at something that feels like it’s worth doing. Creating a leaner, more powerful team that really values it’s members may be the best thing to happen to your group.

A personal note to you. I know this is hard. These are challenging times. Make the best of it for yourself. Focus forward on what you want to create. Remember each adversity offers an opportunity, and make the most of what you have. Keep your eye on your vision, not just of getting through this but of making something great of it. Now go do it. Build that new team of yours, with their help.

Go For Extraordinary!
Lisa

If you feel stuck through any of this and want help, call me 206.937.1037 or email me at Lisa@LisaKBradley.com. We can do a single coaching session to get you focused on the opportunity you have in front of you to build something good. We’ll come up with a plan and action steps for you. If you’d like help with talking with your team, have me come and do a Mastermind Session with all of you. I’ll support you in coming up with a plan and actions, and build a powerful team. We can get you thinking forward, empowered, inspired to take on the world in a new way.

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