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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