Monthly Archives: May 2011

our greatest weakness

“Our greatest weakness is the weakness of an undisciplined mind.”  Marianne Williamson

The day started off with a list of things to accomplish, energy surged as the reward of completing the list was an hour of exercise.    In a few minutes the schedule already suffered a setback.   An email that should have taken five minutes to respond to, took 45 minutes.    The only meeting of the morning was missed and that meant finding out what happened.   It wasn’t long before the items on the list weren’t the things that were going to get done.    The vision of having a whole hour to exercise shrunk to 30 minutes, then 15 and then put off until tomorrow.

Our days don’t start off with the idea that before 9:00AM all the plans for the day are ruined.   We start off with the greatest of intentions and then “IT” happens.   Something will happen to shift the day in a direction that doesn’t even remotely resemble the original things that needed to get done.   What would it be like to start and finish a day the way it was planned?

Often the disruptions to the desired goals that you had for the day really should be done.  It is those things that push you off the desired path.   Combating disruptions takes a disciplined mind.

A disciplined mind is a habit just like other routine activities in your life, it takes at first a conscious effort to create the patterns needed to stay on task.   It takes “will power” to maintain the original focus and to stay away from doing things that while interesting don’t move you towards your real goals.   Be self-disciplined and avoid being lazy.   The laziness factor is accepting that other things that enter into your day are a priority.   If the things you had planned for yourself are important to accomplish then nearly anything else that gets added should be added to the end of the list not at the top.

How do you create a disciplined mind?

1. Take action – don’t put anything off.

2. If it is important make sure it gets done.

3. If it isn’t important don’t do it.

4. Avoid being lazy.  Do it now.

It is really easy to put off what should be done and do what doesn’t need to be done.  It is easy to be lazy and hard to get what needs to be done, DONE.

If it were easy people would be able to keep a New Year’s resolution.  If it were easy people would be getting more done in less time.
If it were easy people would have the time they need to do the things they want to do.
If it were easy people would discipline their minds.

“What you have to do and the way you have to do it is incredibly simple. Whether you are willing to do it, that’s another matter.” Peter F. Drucker

 

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dedicated to …

“The only thing that stands between a man and what he wants from life is often merely the will to try it and faith to believe it is possible.”  Richard Devos

In the movie “Waiting for Superman” there are those who are dedicated to the successful reform of the education system and yet they face enormous resistance to implementing positive change.   (Yes, watch the move “Waiting for Superman” … it is very good).  Michelle Rhee is an example of a person dedicated to a mission and to making change in the education system in Washington, D.C.

You may have noticed that the most successful people are the ones who are passionately dedicated to seeing their dreams realized.   It might not have been the person with the highest intelligence that achieved the greatest results.   It may have been the unwavering desire to do something that was important, a dedication to a personal or professional objective.

Everyone is dedicated to something, personal development, recreation/leisure, financial success, fitness/health, spiritual growth, relationship, family or their career.      There are those who are dedicated to serving others and others are dedicated to being served by others.   For some people finding out what they are dedicated to is a mystery.  They know that deep within that there is something missing from their life and they would like to solve the mystery.   Discovering that something is missing in life is often triggered in mid-life from about 40-60 when a person realizes that there is something more than what they have been living.    For men it might be questioning the job that they have held for years or for women it might be a relationship concern.   No matter what it is there is a yearning to be able to dedicate energy to something that is personally meaningful for most people at some point in their life.

What do you want to dedicate your life to or part of your life to?

“What this power is, I cannot say. All I know is that it exists…and it becomes available only when you are in that state of mind in which you know exactly what you want…and are fully determined not to quit until you get it.” 
Alexander Graham Bell

the “C” factor

“Don’t wait until everything is just right.  It will never be perfect.  There will always be challenges, obstacles, and less than perfect conditions.  so what.  Get started now.  With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.”  Mark Victor Hansen

How often has someone told you that you weren’t the right person to do the job?   Being told you aren’t good enough which may start at a young age and continue on into adulthood may be one of the key factors to having a low self-image.  This low self-image shows up in life as a lack of confidence.  

What is the C factor?   Most people’s confidence is built up when they experience success after success after success.   A student who maintains a straight “A” average will likely believe that they can continue to get “A’s” in other areas of their life.   People who receive low grades are likely to see themselves as unable to perform and this is a belief they carry into all areas of their life.   Confidence is a belief that you can achieve a desired outcome with some level of certainty. The “C” factor is something that many people  would like to have more of.

Because confidence is a belief that is held “inside” of an individual that belief can be changed.  The reality is that confidence is a perception that is based largely on input by others.   There are things that you can do with excellence, those are things that are within your strength zone.   To increase confidence find the areas that you would consider strengths and being building up your strengths.  
1. Create a plan that will use your strengths.
2. Start with small goals at first
3. Evaluate the progress you are making.  Notice what is going well.
4. Create more challenging goal
5. Find someone who can encourage you as you improve.

What is your confidence level?  On a scale of 1-10, 1 = Low, 10 = High, what is your level of confidence.   What would it take to improve it by one.

What areas of your life would you like to be more confident in?   What is stopping you?

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” 
Eleanor Roosevelt

make your life count …

“In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”  Theodore Roosevelt

There are many, many people who are just sitting on the sidelines of the game of life.  They sit there worried about the future and what it will bring and going back to yesteryear, back to the times when it was better.  Was it really better?

There is an “entitlement” mentality that is invading the minds of far too many people.   That is the belief that they should receive something without having to pay a price.   Take for instance personal development, that is education outside of formal institutions or beyond what was taught in high school or college.    There are people who believe that once you have gotten a degree that your need for further education is done.

With the advances in technology (technology is driving a lot of change in the world that is impacting everyone) no career is without need to advance personal and professional skills.   Some people believe that if training is needed the company they are working for should provide it.   That notion is no longer true.  To stay ahead of the technology and change curve everyone should invest in themselves and add to their value.

With the speed of change there are other issues that people have to work on and that is themselves.   There are all kinds of things that are changing, things that are outside of individual control and that often increases stress in a person’s life.   Stress is an epidemic.  You see it in eating habits, you see it in relationships, you see it at work, you see it just about everywhere and it is very destructive.

The number one cause of death in America is unhealthy eating habits.   Unhealthy eating is the reason that so many Americans are overweight (not just a few pounds overweight but way overweight).  Being overweight creates a huge health risk.   There are those who would rather face surgery, take drugs (the pharmaceutical industry loves people who buy weight control drugs) or doing anything but eat less and more healthily.   The food industry has found ways to make food very cheap and at the same time very expensive.   Trading cheap calories today for doctor bills tomorrow is the path many people are on.

What should be done?    Stress can be reduced by:

1. Eating healthier and less

2. Exercising more (even for short periods of time, activity matters)

3. Get the proper amount of sleep

4. Start preparing for your future, study, develop yourself so that you are prepared for the coming changes.

5. Find ways to eliminate stress.

6. Do what matters most to you.   Find your strengths and start using more of them daily.

Don’t get caught in the waves of change.

only if …

“Change your thoughts and you change your world.”
Norman Vincent Peale

“Only if …”

You’ve heard those words from others or even perhaps yourself.   The words of “if only I did” or “if only I had” or “if only you did ” things would be better.  Those words of “if only” are words that are uttered by those who believe that they are unable to take charge of their life.   “If only”  words  are generated when there is a  dissatisfaction with the past.     “If only” is about yesterday, a moment in time that is forever gone.

While you can’t change the past you can change today.  You can start taking action on what will get you where you want to be.   Of course it would have been nice to have started yesterday but that didn’t happen.   Make today the day that you will start living fully.   Make today the last day of making excuses why you couldn’t get done what you wanted to do.

To remove the “if only” words from your vocabulary you need to set real goals for yourself.   What actions do you have to take today to get a better job?  What actions will you take today to improve your relationships?   What actions will you take today to improve your health?

“If only I had time …” said one person, “I would do start eating healthier”.  

“If only I know what I want to do can I get what I want”, said another.

It doesn’t take much to block progress.  It is far easier to sit down and take a break after all it was a hard day and “I deserve a break”.   Those small breaks become big habits.  Big habits are hard to change.   It takes more mental and physical energy to break a habit and change its course than it does to set the right course for life today.   Make today the day you will change.

“If only I could afford to … “, said one person, “if I could afford it I would do it ….”.   It is amazing what people can afford if it is important to them.   So, dispose of the “only if …” phrase and replace with “I will do ….”.  Make that your new mantra and start today.

1. Create a goal

2. Create a plan to achieve that goal.

3. Step it up … take action and make some progress each day even if it is only a little.

4. Celebrate success and acknowledge setbacks. 

What will it be, the same old excuse or will you take action today?

1.Create a personal development plan
2. Create a career plan
3. Create a financial goals plan
4. Create an exercise and fitness plan
5. Create a relationship plan
6. Create a plan for your life

What is stopping you? 

“Only as high as I reach can I grow, only as far as I can seek can I go, only as deep as I look can I see, only as much as I dream can I be.”  Karen Ravn

Coaching as a tool for those with ADHD/ADD

“I prefer to distinguish ADD as attention abundance disorder. Everything is just so interesting . . . remarkably at the same time.” — Frank Coppola, MA, ODC, ACGA

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) affects approximately 5% of the population in America.  The impact of ADHD/ADD is significant in terms of lost opportunity and decreased productivity for those impacted.   While there is no cure for ADHD/ADD there are many ways to cope with the disorder.

While coaching is an effective method to work with those to who are diagnosed with ADHD/ADD coaches are not qualified to make the diagnosis of ADHD/ADD and those who feel that they have many of the ADHD/ADD symptoms should get a reliable diagnosis to ensure that the symptoms are not caused by something else.

ADHD Categories

There are three categories of ADHD (ADHD includes ADD). 

1. Combined ADHD, which is a combination of all ADHD symptoms.

2. Inattentive ADHD (this is what most people call ADD) and shows up as having difficulty concentrating and loss of focus.

3. Hyperactive-Impulsive behavior and is recognized by high activity, high energy behavior.   These people are able to focus they just can’t sit still.

What does ADHD look like?

The symptoms that are most obvious are:

1. Difficulty paying attention, a loss of focus in a conversation, compulsive daydreaming, easily distracted, constantly shifting attention from one thing to another and not completing tasks on time, disorganization, carelessness (partially completed work, or high incidence of mistakes), inability to focus in on the conversation (switching subjects in the middle), lower social intelligence (inappropriate comments and remarks, lack of contextual sensitivity).

2. Can’t sit still, must keep moving and talking, a general restlessness.  

3. Impatient (want it now), speaking before thinking, intruding on others (with different conversations), need to be first in line

While these symptoms show up in everyone from time to time most of the time “normal” individuals are able to manage their behaviors.  The person with ADHD is going to have a history of being easily distracted, on the go and being impulsive.   In school ADHD may result in social isolation, lower grades and greater discipline problems.   The ADHD person will likely not even be aware that they are different and see themselves as normal and wonder why others are behaving as they do. 

WebMD has a quick ADHD assessment that can be taken to get a first look to see if ADHD might be what you are dealing with (you or someone you know) .

Once a reliable assessment has been made for ADHD/ADD options for treatment or coping with ADHD/ADD can be made.   While there is no cure for ADHD there are many ways to minimize the impact that ADHD can have.   One of the options for those with ADHD is to work with a coach so that the individual can start creating new positive habits.  

Coaching ADHD clients

There are numerous benefits of using a coach for people with ADHD.   A coach can work with the client to improve confidence and a positive self-image which will help in all aspects of life from career decisions to improved relationships.  Some of the topics could include:

1. Daily planning  (getting the day organized)

2. Creating small moments for focused activity (reducing hyperfocus as well).

3. Using color to create focus (as the mind is distracted, intentional distraction helps provide focus).

4. Carelessness reduction   (improve the quality of the work)

5. Accountability (non-judgmental methods to boost confidence while increasing commitment)

6. Generating positive self-esteem

7. Organization of space, clutter reduction in small steps lessening the chance of overwhelming the ADHD person.

Coping with ADHD

Getting the right amount of sleep, adequate exercise and having a good balanced diet are good first steps in managing ADHD.   Other interventions include coaching which is a great tool to help create the necessary coping mechanisms to thrive in a world that is continually getting more chaotic.    It may be that in the future that those with ADHD will be in demand as they are often highly creative and always thinking and those qualities will be what businesses and schools desire, but until then coping with ADHD and creating positive habits will help those with ADHD be successful.

I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering.” — Steven Wright, comedian

10 ways to improve employee engagement

“We cannot be satisfied with things as they are. We cannot be satisfied to drift, to rest on our oars, to glide over a sea whose depths are shaken by subterranean upheavals.”  John F. Kennedy
 
Reports of employee engagement at levels of just 31% suggest a serious malady in America’s workforce.    While there are many reasons  why people will “check-out” during the work day and surf the internet, do personal work or waste time getting them re-engaged in work is a substantial challenge.
 
How engaged are you in work or school or whatever you are doing?  On a  scale of 1-10, where 1 = little or no engagement to 10 fully and passionately engaged, where are you?   How engaged in life are you?   Tell me, write it down … tell someone else … how engaged are you in living your life?
 
Here are ten ways to become more engaged.  These ideas come from Steve Chandler’s book “100 Ways to Motivate others”
 
1. Be the cause, not the effect.
Be the author of your life today.    The other way is to be the victim of what happens in the day.   One way to stay out of the negativity of the mainstream press is to turn off the news.    Yes, just turn it off, you can live without it.  Start creating and living instead of worrying about the next disaster.
 
2. Focus on results.
How often to people focus on what didn’t get done and then start making excuses as to “why it didn’t happen on time”.   How does that help anything?   What was accomplished?  What was learned in the process?   What if you could do it over again, what would you do different?   The point is learn along the way and focus on what was done rather than what was left undone.
 
That would make sense wouldn’t it.  Aren’t you move motivated when you hear positive things, when you are given encouragement, when you are noticed, when you are heard and when you do the right thing?  
 
4. Use 10 minutes to the max
Do that 10 minute thing you have been putting off, do it now, focus and do it with intensity.   Now that one thing is off of your plate or someone else’s plate.  How does that feel?
 
5. Be enthusiastic
Haven’t you been around someone who is full of positive energy, what was that like?   That energy seems to rub off and before you know it you’re energy filled.  So, today march into work or any place that you will be working with others and add energy to it – others will become infected with your positive energy.
 
You notice the person who is smiling don’t you.   It makes you smile.  Think about it what happens when you see a big smiling face, doesn’t that cause you to smile.   Or try not to smile, what happens, that big grin just shows up. 
 
7. Give up being right
What happens when you know that one person insists on being right “all of the time” no matter what and no matter when?  How do you feel when you are around that person?   What if you are that person?   What would happen if you could believe there is another perspective besides yours?  Try it!
 
8. Show them the way
A leader shows the way and not just once but as many times as it takes for people to “get it”.   It may take multiple ways, different angles, different approaches and with a different twist.   Not everyone can listen to a story and get it.  Not everyone learns the same way so send the message out in ways that engage all the different learning styles.    You’ll know it when they are telling the story and getting it right.
 
 9.  Lighten up
We live in a more competitive world, there is more pressure to get things done, to make a profit and to be constantly in motion.   This creates stress and stress decreases engagement, so lighten up.   Encourage people to stop and take a break, allow them to decompress, to share their real thoughts without judging them.   Let them be authentic and that will go a long ways from preventing burn-out and burn-up.  
 
10.  Stay focused.
It is easy to get caught up in the distractions of work or life.   Things are moving faster and they are more complex so it is easy to get distracted especially when there are gadgets calling for our attention – a new email, a new story, a new text message, an urgent call (or so it seems).   Make sure each day is filled with intense focus so that you can get the results you need.
 
 
 

Nothing in the world can take the place of perseverance.

Talent will not;
Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not;
Unrewarded genius is almost legendary;

Education will not;
The world is full of educated derelicts.

Perseverance and Determination alone are omnipotent.”

-US President Calvin Coolidge