Finding Contentment

Being content is a wonderful place to be. To me it implies perfect inner piece, a state of mind where "It's all good."

But are we ever really there? Can we ever be?

Yes, we can, but like all things worthwhile, being content requires work ... inner work of the mind and soul.

Finding and maintaining contentment requires constantly cultivating an attitude of gratitude. It requires a mindset change, which is harder for some to do than for others, although most of us to some degree long for something that we do not have.

We can all learn to be content.

One approach to develop your contentment "muscle" is by being aware of how many times you complain about your circumstances. To change your mindset, try one of the following this week:

  1. Each day this week write down 10 things you are thankful for. The catch: Don't repeat any of your items.
  2. Keep a complaint journal each day for all the complaints (thoughts or spoken words) you have about your life. At the end of the week look at your journal and write down something you could be thankful for to counteract each of your complaints.

Finding contentment takes practice but it can be done with a little discipline by retraining ourselves to be thankful in all of the little things. No matter who we are, we've all got something to be thankful for.

What techniques do you have to develop an attitude of gratitude? Share your thoughts with us in a comment by clicking the comment link below!

Change Your Perspective, Change Your Life

Having the right perspective works wonders for our outlook on life. An accurate perspective overrides emotional responses, brings forth optimism in bad circumstances and gives us confidence to move forward. How accurate is your perspective?

It isn't always easy to gain an appropriate perspective when we are in the thick of an emotional or stressful situation, but it is possible. When you find yourself rattled, following are four types of perspectives you can use to reframe a situation:

  • The Big Picture - How does this relate to the whole of my life? How important is this in the grand scheme of things?
  • The Objective Bystander - What would a person not emotionally attached say about my situation?
  • The Comprehensive Exam - How might all of the other people involved see things differently?
  • The Whole Truth - What do you need to know to be confident in moving forward?

Sit down with your situation in mind and thoughtfully write out the answers to these questions. If you still need some help, gaining perspective is a key reason people seek to work with a professional coach.

If you can't get an unbiased and trusted opinion, the above questions don't resonate with you, or you don't want to hire a coach, take my mom's advice and just tell yourself "Things could always be worse." That's another way to reframe!

On the other hand, if you are considering hiring a coach, why don't you contact me for a free consultation? You'll be glad you did. Click the following link to schedule your appointment now -->

Me vs. Me: The Battlefield of the Mind

Have you ever felt as if you weren't normal because you seemed to fight with yourself all the time? For instance, you might battle between making a quick decision and wanting more data. Or you may be the life of the party and then later wish you hadn't been so trusting when you divulged all of those funny stories about yourself.

Worry no more about having a split personality.

There is nothing wrong with you, you just have inner or "Me-Me" conflict.

I often see conflicting behavioral and/or motivational styles on my clients' assessments and experience plenty of my own inner conflict between goal achievement (tasks) and relationship building (people).

The good news for the mindful conflicted soul is that inner conflict makes it easier to see things from a variety of perspectives.

Embrace your inner conflict as a strength that helps you adapt easier than others!

When it comes to personalities, with or without inner conflict, the most important thing is knowing ourselves inside and out so we can adapt our behavior when necessary to obtain the best outcomes. Self-knowledge is power, especially in the heat of the battle of life.

How well do you know your instinctive behavioral patterns? What are you doing with that knowledge to leverage who you are, where you are? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.

If you want to learn more, a complimentary consultation might benefit either you or your team. What are you waiting for? Click the link below to schedule your consultation today.

Leadership Development Carnival - November 2011

The November 2011 Leadership Development Carnival is now available for your reading pleasure, hosted over at Dan McCarthy's Great Leadership blog!  Great leadership indeed!

While there is no theme this month, the 45 posts from leading leadership bloggers on the web will give you quite the menu of options to help you develop in your role as a leader. I'm happy to say that I made Dan's list this month...and even more excited to know that only 50% of blog posts submitted to the carnival get selected.  Happy reading! 

Learning Through Teaching: Schooled By the Class

How satisified are you with your job? If you are one of the bored majority, have you ever thought about how you might make your job a little more fulfilling rather than relying on someone else to do it for you? Try this: Look at your job from a student's perspective, as a classroom for learning new things about life and leadership. Then find someone to whom you can teach your new lessons.

We are all students in the classroom of life. Teaching others is the best way to learn and become a better leader...on so many levels. When was the last time you intentionally learned something new? When was the last time you taught someone else what you learned?

I spent a lot of hours in a literal classroom this past year as I took on the adventure of being an adjunct "professor", teaching Management Theory to MBA students at a local college. I'm in the middle of teaching my third cohort now, with many to follow. Here are some lessons I learned that we can all learn from:

Lesson # 1 -We can be our best and our worst simultaneously when we try something new. While we should always strive to improve on our current body of work, our best effort at a new endeavor is still worthy of celebration. What achievement can you celebrate today?

Lesson #2 - When times becomes chaotic, slow down to speed up. While this seems counter-intuitive, slowing down to plan so we can respond rather than react reduces stress and increases productivity. When was the last time you stopped doing to plan?

Lesson #3 - Inefficiencies abound without a formal new-hire onboarding process. My experiences as an adjunct professor give me recent first hand experience to the importance of a formal new-hire process. What is your process for starting a new job or hiring a new leader?

Whether you are an official teacher/professor or not, when you start viewing life as a classroom, it will get more interesting for you. What life lessons have you learned recently? What can you do in the future to apply what you've learned? Share you comments below and then turn your learning into practice and put it into action today.

Note: If you'd like some help designing action steps to move forward, click here today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Do It Now! 5 Steps to Tackle Procrastination

What are you procrastinating in your life?  Most of us have something on our "to do" list that we keep putting off for one reason or another, resulting in stress, productivity loss and dissatisfaction in our lives. It doesn't have to be that way.
Today I'll share 5 useful steps you can take to tackle procrastination in your life:  

  1. Want it done. Really want it done. How strong is your desire to complete the goal/task/project? Give it a number on a scale of 1-10. If your desire ranks less than 8, either find a way to make it important to you or ditch it.
  2. Craft a plan. With deadlines. Create step by step plans to achieve your goal. Attach meaningful deadlines to the steps so you will know the impact of achievement or procrastination ion on your goal.
  3. Take baby steps. Each step should be small so you can focus on the task at hand without getting overwhelmed. List your steps as specific actions rather than generalities.
  4. Strive for "good enough", not perfect. Many people delay project efforts because they think it will be too much work. Perfectionism is the enemy here. Decide ahead of time what is good enough and go with it.
  5. Partner up. Accountability is key in getting things done. Partner with someone who will ask you how you are doing on your goals. Who might you partner with?

Overcoming procrastination is possible with discipline and determination. How might you overcome your procrastination via the 5 steps listed above? When will you start?

What would you add to my list? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

Need help tackling your procrastination habit? Click HERE to schedule your complimentary consultation today!

Procrastination and Productivity

Good may be the enemy of great, but procrastination is just the enemy. Procrastination is one of the biggest time wasters in life and its cycle of delay-avoid-panic-produce enables us to live the reactionary life of a "firefighter", putting out proverbial fires and doing work only when it has to be done.

What are you procrastinating with right now? Have you ever thought about how it affects you?

Procrastination contributes to stress, emotional energy drain, lack of creativity and reduced quality of work, all of which reduce productivity. Revisit the last time you put off doing something important for a long time. Picture in your mind how your body felt once the deadline approached and you weren't even close to completion.

As you reflect, consider the following:

  • How many times before the work was done did you think about the "thing" when you weren't working on the "thing"?
  • When you remembered your undone project, how much energy drained out of you?
  • What else could you have done with all that wasted time and energy?

We need to just do "it". Nike was on to something with their slogan. I wonder if they knew that this mantra could be the solution to many people's productivity woes.

For an increase in productivity, pay attention this week to how many times you say to yourself "I'll do it later" or "I need to do that". If the task is one you can do in less than two minutes, do yourself a favor by telling yourself "Do it now"...and just do it. Changing your mantra might just change your life.

What is your favorite way of procrastinating? How do you beat it? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think!

Making the Most of Your Team: The "I" in Team

We've all heard the phrase "There is no "I" in team". Actually, there is - YOU! If you lead a team, you are its most important component and success or failure rests and depends upon you. I've challenged many a leader to look in the mirror and see how their actions or inaction might be contributing to the very things they complain about.

Whether you inherited a team because of a role transition or desire to inject new life into your current team, following are some steps you can take to motivate and inspire your team to peak performance.

1. Know what they know...or don't know. How well do they understand their purpose and direction, roles and expectation? What are their priorities?

2. Know who they are ...individually. What do you know about each team member's background, goals, accomplishments or organizational contributions? Do you know what motivates them?

3. Know how they are ... collectively. What are their strengths? What causes strife within the group?

Team success starts with you, the "I" in your team. What will you do this week to take a step towards a more motivated and productive team?
Share what you will do by clicking the comment link below, then come back and tell us how things changed for you. We'd love to hear from you!

Related posts in this series:

Part 1: Hire 'em And Leave 'em: A Recipe for Failure
Part 2: Survive the Role Transition: Be Strategic
Part 3: Making A Change: Assess, Then Act
Part 4: Overwhelmed and Underprepared? Examine the Facts

Want a more productive or cohesive team?
Click HERE to schedule your complimentary consultation today!

As a Certified Behavioral and Values Analyst, my assessments combined with group training and personal coaching can help you and your group achieve peak performance by better understanding your team's dynamics.

Overwhelmed and Under Prepared? Examine the Facts!

You just accepted a new job, new role or expanded responsibilities within your current position. You try to make everything a priority so nothing becomes a priority and you find yourself scattered and stressed. Unfortunately, this scenario describes many leaders transitioning into new roles. Can you relate?

No matter which situation describes the reason for your overwhelm and confusion, you'll benefit by putting a microscope on your company or department's culture, industry and current business situation so you can better prioritize and make the most impact with the least effort. This exercise is an important element of any structured leadership onboarding program.

Following are three steps you can take to gain a better understanding about your company and its current situation so you can streamline your efforts.

1. Create a checklist to learn about your organization and its culture. Obtain copies of mission/value statements, business plans or performance objectives. Research the industry. Interview key employees to learn informal and formal channels of influence. What is the group culture like? How do decisions REALLY get made?

2. Outline your direct areas of responsibility. What projects, processes and people groups are your responsibility? What is the status of each (e.g. well-oiled machine, needs minor repairs or needs an overhaul)?

3. Design a prioritized action plan with your new knowledge and determine to follow it.

It is possible to make a change and have some control over the process. It just takes a little intentionality ... and a little knowledge.

How well do you know your entity's challenges, how your company really works, communicates and makes decisions? What has been your experience in role transitions?

Click the comment button below and share your experiences with us.  We'd love to hear from you!

Related posts in this series:

Part 1: Hire 'em And Leave 'em: A Recipe for Failure
Part 2: Survive the Role Transition: Be Strategic
Part 3: Making A Change: Assess, Then Act 

Need help assessing your culture or creating goals to move forward? Contact me today for a complimentary consultation to see how assessments or our role transition coaching might be the perfect tools for you!

Making a Change? Assess, Then Act

Self-knowledge plays a significant role in a leader's effectiveness. Knowing ourselves intimately so we can recognize our strengths, values and shortcomings enables us to lead authentically with confidence, and equips us to adapt swiftly to new roles.  

How well do you know what makes you "tick"? If a new job opportunity came your way, how sure would you be that it was the right job for you? How quickly would you be able to identify the skills you need to learn and the skills you need to "lose" that might hinder you in your new role?  

Following are three steps you can take to leverage knowledge about yourself and your situation in order to become more effective.  

1. Objectively assess yourself and your current situation. What would your perfect work environment be? What motivates you? What talents do you bring to the table?  

2. Identify the gaps between who you are and what your situation or new role requires. If your new situation could speak for itself, what would it say it needed from you? What would need to change with you to deliver on the situation's "request"?  

3. Create an action plan for closing any gaps between you and your new role/situation.  

Don't take change or new responsibilities lightly. Assess yourself and the situation before you take action. If you do, you'll save yourself a lot of time and frustration in the long run - for everyone. 

NOTE: To view the first post in this series, "Survive the Role Transition: Be Strategic", click here.

Need help identifying your strengths or getting started in a new role? Contact me today for a complimentary consultation to see how assessments or role transition coaching might help take your skills to the next level.