cultivating resilience

“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that’s good.”
― Elizabeth Edwards

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What if you had lost your job, were recovering from a major medical issue, were without a place to call home and saddled with a ton of debt?   How would you be feeling?  It would probably feel pretty depressing.  There are people who are facing all of those things at the same time and are still able to move forward.

The Wall Street Journal showcased Sheryl Sandberg’s journey through difficult times and Sheryl said this,

“The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days—the times that challenge you to your very core—that will determine who you are,” Ms. Sandberg said. “You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.”

The path forward for Sheryl was in writing down what she was grateful for.  Just a few things that made a positive difference in the day made a positive difference in her life.  
It is of course far easier to blame others and become a victim in difficult times.  It is easier to withdraw and seek the comfort of a variety of distractions in an attempt to have the emotional pain and stress go away.   The problem is the pain doesn’t just go away by finding ways to ignore the pain.  The pain goes away when the pain is confronted and challenged.  The pain goes away when positive action is taken and when what can be appreciated about each day is really appreciated.
Are you facing challenging times?   Are you suffering and wishing for a way out?  
Emotional resilience through gratitude, taking time to pause and just breathe some deep breaths for a few minutes, to exercise and move is a way through difficult times.   
 Take the time to practice taking charge of your emotions.  Your body will thank you and your mind will thank you.

building the life you want …

“In life, everything is built. Have you thought about it. You built who you are, how you want to be perceived, you built your character, you chose to remain where you are, you are your own creator. You can choose to be something else. You are not what you were, you can be anything you choose to build.”
― Magnus Nwagu Amudi

Do you have plans?

Would you build a building without plans?   Would you take a vacation without planning?  Would you travel to a new destination without a map?  Would you live your life without a plan or a destination?

Without plans a building would likely be built with the wrong dimensions and without thought about how the form and function would integrate and make sense to the occupants.   Without plans a vacation becomes a stressful event – “what will happen next?”.  Plans help organize and structure future outcomes.  Plans create a sense of freedom and order in what will be built.

It seems that most people spend very little time in planning their lives and things tend to emerge in the moment.   When things just happen in a free-form way many people find that it creates a lot of stress and unhappiness.  A plan offers direction and the opportunity to realize what is important.  Drifting through life means the experiences are just random happenings.  What is your life like?  A set of random occurrences or is it intentional and planned.

Examine your life and evaluate how you are doing in these areas.  Rate each category from 1 to 10 in terms of your satisfaction in those areas.  How are you doing?  What do you want to do differently?  What would make you happier?

  1. Financial goals
  2. Career
  3. Friends/Family
  4. Relationships
  5. Health/Wellness
  6. Spiritual
  7. Recreation
  8. Personal Growth

In any area that you aren’t satisfied think about ways to improve in that area.  Create a plan with some goals and a date to reach that goal.  Work on your goals a little bit each day.  At the end of each week evaluate your progress.  Ask yourself, “Am I doing better?”  “Am I feeling better about this area?”  “What do I need to do differently?”

Start today.

know it … do it …

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

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Here’s the gap, you know what to do to live a better life and you decide that doing is too hard.  Is it really?

You’ve heard the excuses and maybe you’ve made those same excuses yourself.

  • I don’t have enough time.
  • There is too much to do.
  • I have to …
  • I can’t …
  • There is something more important right now.
  • Tomorrow, I’ll do it tomorrow

I hear those excuses a lot.   How do you make progress if you know what you want and still find excuses not to?

First, get really serious about what is important to you.  Is spending another 30 minutes on Facebook really going to help you make improvements in your life?  Is watching another TV show going to help you?

Some people are hoping something magical will occur that will allow them to do what they say they want without doing any work to realize that goal.  If there are old habits that are just creating misery in your life then wouldn’t it be nice to take the time to change those old habits and create some new ones?  Most people would say, yes I want new habits.  Now, doing the work is the hard part and for some it just doesn’t get done.

If it is really important then it is really important to make the changes in your life so that you can focus on getting the results you want.  It’s time to put the excuses away and put the energy into making positive change.

It’s “I know what I want to do … I just don’t do it” that stops people from getting the results they think or believe they want.  It takes work to change a habit.

What’s your excuse?

 

expectations or agreements

“Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be and
he will become as he can and should be.”
― Stephen R. Covey

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Have you ever been told you didn’t meet expectations?   What did that feel like?   Were you even aware of those expectations?   Expectations are somewhat like a barb wired fence, as careful as you can be sometimes you’ll get caught on the sharpened barb.

People place expectations on others without explaining or providing the content for those expectations.   That leaves you to guess what others think you should do and that often leads to conflict, or in the workplace, demotivation.

Why do expectations lead to conflict?   Expectations are those things that if you are able to meet are rarely acknowledged.  Expectations that are missed are usually commented on and often in a negative fashion.  In the best case you often hear nothing positive and in the worst case you end up feeling upset, angry or frustrated.

A better approach would be to create agreements.   Agreements are co-created and include a commitment and a target for achieving the outcome.  Agreements can be managed where expectations are just that, an expectation that something will get done.  When an agreement isn’t met then the parties to the agreement can talk about what didn’t or did work out.

In what parts of your life are expectations causing problems?   How could an agreement be created that would replace those expectations?

 

what’s missing?

“If you think something is missing in your life, it is probably YOU…”
― Robert Holden

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Have you ever had that feeling that something is missing in your life?  Have you taken the time to find it?

For some people life is a struggle.  It’s not that it has to be a struggle it is just the way they believe things are.   I’ve heard, “I just can’t do this kind of work.”, and they lament the very fact that the work is challenging instead of looking at how they could make those challenges smaller.  They could learn more or dig into the material that they don’t understand and find ways to learn the material.   In other words they could chose to attack work rather than letting work attack them.

“I don’t have enough time to do all the things I want to do.” and I’ll guess that you’ve uttered those words when the amount of things in life just seem overwhelming.   The list of things to do just keeps growing and it is starting to crowd out what you really want to do.   I’ll ask those people, “what do you really want to be doing? or what is most important to be  done now.”   After a few minutes a list of important things becomes visible and the unimportant things also become visible.  From there it is a choice – “what do you want to do with what you have on the list?”   Prioritization and making sure that the list of things to do are the things that matter most.   Figure that out and there is time for you.

Are you struggling?   Not just having a difficult time but really struggling to be your best self.  What are you doing about it?  What is missing in your life?

For some people it is motivation and they aren’t finding the energy to do something.   When you’re not motivated what do you do about it?   What keeps you in the game?

Do you have problems just getting started on something?   Is it easier to wait, for another few minutes, hours and then days?  Pretty soon that project, that idea, or inspiration just falls into the heap of the undone and unnoticed.

Where are you?   Do you have all the things in life that you want to have?   What’s missing?

 

 

directions or destination

“Leadership is a process where a leader has a purpose oriented destination and lets the followers find the best way to get there with a common vision and goal.”
― Debasish Mridha

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In your organization are you given directions or a destination?

What is more powerful, the directions or the destination?

Too often people are given directions on how to do things rather than being given a destination to head towards.  Give people the power to determine the direction.  Give people a powerful destination and people with engage with enthusiasm to reach the goal.

 

succeed and win

“This is not the end, this is not even the beginning of the end, this is just perhaps the end of the beginning.”
― Winston S. Churchill

Do you feel that you are successful?

Are you winning the daily battles?

Are you winning in your version of life?

What does it mean to win?

How do you set and reset the bar of excellence in your life?

What kind of goals are you setting each day?

To win each day is to focus on noticing what is most important right now.  What is important now?  (WIN – what’s important now).

For many people doing what is not important now is consuming their time.  At work how many important things are left undone because the focus is on answering or reviewing emails, answering a text message or following a lonely path through Facebook.

To WIN means setting real and tangible goals that are important each day.  Just a few important things, the most important things, are to be the focal point of the day.

What am I doing that leads to greater satisfaction?

What am I doing that leads to greater productivity?

What am I doing that will make a lasting difference?

What motivates and inspires you?   Are you doing those things in some way each day?

Success is winning the day.  Winning the day means focusing on what is the most important to focus on right now.   Build in the opportunity to be successful each day.   Be the initiator of great work by doing what is most important now.