Showing posts with label Perspective. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Perspective. Show all posts

Friday, December 6, 2013

All About Action, But No Results?

Wait- it's not that same tired image of the goldfish jumping from a crowded bowl into its own unique bowl, escaping the school of common little follower fish to achieve a higher level of self-actualization...

What is going to happen to the fish, people? 
Yes. There is no rescue out of frame. The fish is a goner. 

The point? A spectacular burst of energy doesn't guarantee a good result.

Your takeaway? Think about the past year. Were there any times when you had a big burst of energy and action, but no payoff? What can you learn? Was it follow-through that failed? Was it a lack of planning or unclear goals? Maybe there was a rescue you were expecting, just out of frame? 

Sometimes the payoff is all about what you learn. December is a month of reflection. Take an honest look at where you invested in 2013 and what the return was- take an outsider's view. No judgement, no "if only". 

The good thing is that, unlike the goldfish in the image, you can use what you learn to ensure a better outcome next time. Learning forward, a key survival skill.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Want to know how to handle failure? Lessons from a pro.

Heading to the end of the year, some might be afraid to analyze their results. What if you've not achieved what you set out to do? What if you are....a FAILURE?

Well, if you let it be, it is very very simple. As always- deal with the facts, learn from them and move forward. Here's something from a blog post that Hanna's soccer coach shared with her team.
As U.S. Soccer’s Technical Director and U-18 national team coach, I’m always watching and evaluating players to assess their threshold to endure failure. 
I’m looking for which players fail and yet keep going; for which players fail and can laugh at themselves; for which players fail, go away, work on it and come back better. 
If I see a player who lacks the ability to embrace fits of failure, I worry about her long-term potential in the U.S. women’s national team program....
We fail all the darn time -- we have to in order to improve. Now that I think of it, and after more than 25 years in our program, embracing failure on a daily basis is one of our secret ingredients!   - April Heinrich

In the same article, Heinrich says:
It really is that simple: You need the desire to improve, the time spent learning/growing/failing/improving, combined with feedback from a coach, and then the repetitions and perseverance toward steps of success.  
Whether it's soccer or learning how to create a business that serves you well, the "steps to success are the same."

If you aren't happy with your performance, take a look at the prescription Heinrich's shared. Are there any ingredients you're missing?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Is the distance from "inadequate" to "competent and complimented" between your ears?

In my Facebook group for lawyers, there's a small group of active posters, so we get to know each other fairly well. Here's a post that went up recently:
Remember my I-feel-so-inadequate-and-over-my-head post from last week? Well, after fretting and researching and talking to Sezzers and other local lawyers and drafting and redrafting, I finally filed my complaint today and was complimented on it by one of my mentors AND opposing counsel! #redemption 

There's something called "impostor syndrome"- which might resonate with you. If so- it's another of those "get over it" things. The best way to do that is to recognize the pattern of thinking, and then change it. When you are having those thoughts, go through Byron Katie's The Work:

Step 1 Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.)
Step 2 Can you absolutely know that it's true? (Yes or no.)
Step 3 How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? 
 Who would you be without the thought?
Turn the thought around. Then find at least three specific, genuine examples of how each turnaround is true for you in this situation.
In this example, the turn-around thought might be:
"Yes, this is new for me, and it feels a little uncomfortable, but I know how to find the help I need in order to deliver a great result even when the issue is new." 

Get it? Next time you start doubting yourself, get out of your head, change your response, and get to work. You really don't have the time or energy to waste on thoughts like that!

If you'd like to join our Facebook group, the next time you're on Facebook, just request an invite- it's called Friends of Successfully Solo. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On gratitude, fish and a dog called Wanda

Our dog, Wanda, is the most grateful beast on the planet. It's incredibly easy to see how much she appreciates the least bit of time I spend with her. She's delighted with anything she gets in the way of treats and toys. Wanda's also incredibly forgiving, though that might just be the sign of a very short memory.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Whether it's blogging or getting healthy- start one more time than you stop- you'll get there!

I finally chose to get my bad old self into the gym again today. I'm fed up with feeling heavy. Metaphorically as well as physically. I reconnected with the goal of not being a slug. Definitely not the highest quality motivation; but I'll use whatever works. Next is to connect with the more powerful goal of what I DO want. Right now, however, moving away from a bad thing is what got me unstuck.

Today, I feel committed to stick with it; a feeling that was missing before. As background, I was incredibly consistent through last November. Worked out with a trainer 2x per week & went on my own 2-3 more times a week. Then I burned out, something I'll have to watch out for in the future. I stopped going and couldn't seem to sart up again. Until today. Last night I decided that it was time.

I feel fantastic, did an hour of cardio using a play list that keeps me at a good level of energy. I need to remember this feeling; it will help me get back in again tomorrow.  Here's what else I'll use to get back on track:
  • I told the woman at the front desk I'd see her again tomorrow
  • I declared that I was back to the trainers and regulars who know me (sheepishly but with no excuses)
  • I'm making this public commitment to you
  • I'm blocking time on my calendar
  • I'm pondering a reward for sticking to it through April- a wicked good reward, at that!
  • & lastly, I'm thinking about my own coaching plan for the next months,  what is my focus, who is my coach going to be? I definitely do better with a coach on board. (go figure...)
I wish I could say that once I set a goal, I stay on track 100%.  It just ain't so. Sometimes priorities change as time gets crunched; sometimes I'm fooled into thinking it's easier to slide. Which, by the way, is never true! Sliding is a temporary relief but it doesn't pay off over time.

When it comes to change efforts, as long as you start one more time than you stop, progress will be made. If you're certain of the value of your goal, don't waste a minute wondering why it's so hard to get into gear.  Squash any thoughts about ground you might have lost or opportunities that passed you by. What matters is where you are today. Your energy belongs with your intention.

Take a moment to choose an area where you've felt stuck. Identify the first three things you need to do to change the situation. Next, either get into action immediately or make an appointment with yourself to take the first step. Create your support system. Go public.

The simple act of starting again will serve you well. Before you know it, you'll be looking back and appreciating just how far you've come! And this time, I'll bet you stay in motion longer than you ever have before.

C'mon. Ready? Set? GO!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ramp Up by Gearing Down?

Stephen Covey would call it "sharpening the saw". I call it "rejuvenate & refocus". Whatever you call it, take the time to take care of yourself this month. Celebrate the progress you made this year, and then start ramping up- perhaps by gearing down.

Here's what I'm not doing this month:
  • Getting all tied up in what I'm told I "should" & shouldn't" be doing vis a vis online marketing and relationship building (turns out this was a significant energy drain for me, entirely self-inflicted)
  • Feeling forced to post, tweet or update my status and stressed about making each interaction "valuable" and unique
  • Changing my website copy
  • Filing anything to read later, email or paper
  • Worrying about holiday cards, shopping or baking I'm never going to get to
  • Feeling guilty about "wasting" time
  • Making commitments that interfere with my rejuvenate/refocus priorities
  • Regretting anything I can't change
Here's what I am up to this month:
  • Coaching, doing some extra pro bono
  • Throwing things out
  • Learning - reading list below
  • Playing with ideas
  • Thinking about what's important, what isn't; what works for me, what doesn't  (yup, not planning, not making lists, just thinking about my focus)
  • Figuring out how to get healthier - is 2009 the year of ice skating?
  • Connecting with people I miss and people who inspire me
  • Staying in the now
  • Wasting time
  • Blocking January so I know what it looks like (& don't have to worry about it while I'm in this December hiatus)
My current reading list:
  • Meatball Sundae & Tribes, by Seth Godin. I've skimmed them, but I want to read and rethink my business at the same time.
  • Reality Check, Guy Kawasaki's latest, which I've already sent to two clients because it was such a great fit for our coaching topics. I love this book, I want to spend time with it. (It's fun! It's educational!)
  • Change or Die, by Alan Deutschman. I want to check in briefly for another look at his methods and examples of change. Some great "keys" to changing. Validates coaching.
  • The Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam. OK, this is pure fun and inspiration! I'm hugely interested in changing all of my speaking materials to visuals. Not as easy as you might think. This book's about visual thinking. Solving problems and selling ideas with pictures. If all of the text on my website is replaced by hand-drawn stick figures next year, it's because of this book.
  • What Got You Here Won't Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith.  Great book on leadership, great format, actionable, solid examples. I want to revisit for inspiration and ideas. Anything he writes is good stuff.
  • Something new on self-confidence. I do a lot of work on confidence, in one way or another, and I'd like to see if there's anything new out there.  Haven't researched it yet, this might be a book or an ecourse, not sure. Ideas? Let me know.
Give yourself permission (and a mandate) to be good to yourself as the year ends, even if it means ignoring the "shoulds" in your life today. Do what it takes to start the new year with a big intention and lots of energy.

You deserve the best!  Barbara

Monday, December 8, 2008

Are you in the wrong story? Time to begin a rewrite.

In Act 2 of Steven Sondheim's musical, Into the Woods, the Baker's Wife finds herself kissing Cinderella's Prince Charming- and she turns to the audience and sings:
This is ridiculous, what am I doing here? I'm in the wrong story.
For the past two years, I've been working with someone who was stuck in the wrong story. No Prince Charming involved, but there is a happy ending. I've been sitting on this post because the story seems too perfect- but in fact, I am blown away by the perfection of it. I offer it to those of you who might need a boost of possibility. Once again, it's true. Name changed to protect the lawyer, but, hey- if you want to talk to her, get in touch with me!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Roll with the Punches - be more productive and less stressed!

At 6:30pm last night, my happy, relaxed kid turned into a sobbing, hopeless mess. All it took was a phone call from a friend who had a question about homework. Homework that she'd forgotten. Her reaction was that she couldn't possibly get it done. Hanna went from zero to failure in about 5 seconds!

We sat down together for a reality check. She had 2 1/2 hours before her usual retreat to bed. She had everything she needed to do the work and she knew what to do. Finally, turning the assignment in late would result in just a 5 point reduction in her score- and it would be her first offense.  The meltdown resulted from the simple fact that it was unexpected. We'd just come home from a fun day and she wanted to relax. In that moment, when her plans were disrupted, she felt completely out of control.

OK- parental confession, it's all my fault! In an attempt to avoid that kind of anxiety, I've been a little too hung up on planning ahead. I've been so successful at avoiding suprises that Hanna has no experience in how to deal with them. In fact, MY first reaction was annoyance, because she'd said she'd finished her homework. But isn't knowing how to handle yourself when faced with unexpected events even more important than being an expert at preventing them?  Hanna & I need to exercise our "roll with the punches" muscles.

Roll with the punches is defined as "to adjust to difficult events as they happen". The term is based on boxing, from the literal meaning roll with the punches, to step back or to one side as you are being hit, so that you don't receive the full force of the attack. Sounds like a good idea to me.

Here are three questions that will help you roll with the punches:
  1. What is true about the situation?
  2. What's the worst thing that can happen? 
  3. What does it make sense to do? What will serve me best?
After walking through the questions, take a deep breath and relax. Changing the past isn't an option. What's important is how you respond in the moment. Consider putting your pajamas on, it worked for Hanna!

Emotional flexibility and the ability to "roll with the punches" is a gift I'm going to work hard to give my daughter. How about you? Would you be more productive if you had more control over how you react? Here's the good news - you already do.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Good question: What's the first step to creating a "vision" of what youwant?

Now that the real presidential election is over, pretend you are running. The office is "President of [your name here]'s Life".  Successful candidates paint a vision of what life will be like after they're in office. You need to create a compelling reason for you to win, an ideal vision for [your name here]'s life.

That's a problem. Visioning doesn't come naturally to grownups. We're rewarded if we think logically and realistically. Our self-censorship skills are overdeveloped. I was lucky to work with Chic Thompson, a recognized creativity expert, on a consulting project. Chic talked about studies that showed that creativity peaks when we're six years old, and then declines until we retire, at which point it starts to rise again. You're impaired when it comes to your ability to imagine your "ideal" life. So, naturally, you could use some guidance, right?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Mission: Possible!

Here's a gift for you: 

It's Ben Zander's 10 minute closing presentation at Davos, and it is inspiring. Zander wrote The Art of Possibility, which is a fantastic book about living into your possibility. Too many good ideas in there for one post. Watch the video.

Waaay back when Fast Company first came out, I loved their "Job Titles of the Future Column". Jobs like "Chief Inspiration Officer" and "Minister of Order and Reason" were a much better fit for me than "Director, Planning & Analysis" or "Senior Manager, Strategy Practice". The ideal title I came up with was something like, "Champion of the What If's, Why Not's & (the respectful) So What's." As a coach, that title fits, especially if you add a little "now let's get on with it" flavor to the mix.

What I want for you is to be open to possibility, to choose your possibility, and to get past anything that is in the way of achieving it. Simple but not easy.  Hope you love the video!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rabid Soccer Parents & Effective Communication

Long soccer weekend. My daughter plays on a U-11 travel team. It's an average team, which isn't surprising given that they have new players who've not played travel before and a contingent of girls who don't attend practice regularly and miss games due to other sports they play. What really differentiates this team is a parent dynamic. There is a group of 2-3 parents who vehemently feel that the coaches are not competent and need to make major changes.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

In over your head?

One of the things I talk most about with clients is how to respond when their first thought is "this is something I don't know anything about."  Usually the feelings that accompany the thought are fear and overwhelm, which just makes it worse. The fact is, if you have a process to handle new-to-you issues, you're going to be just fine.

What do you do when your client's issue is not really your area of expertise?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Jack's Memorial Service

Is it possible to attend a memorial service without reflecting on how happy you are with your own life? Last night, I went to a service for my neighbor, Jack. He was 79 and died of heart problems at the end of a good day, spent just as he liked it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Do you have enough in reserve?

This morning, the 4th and nearly last day of my daughter, Hanna's, soccer camp- we couldn't find the ankle pad for her shin guard. She's grown out of everything, we're down to one set of guards, and this one was incomplete. MUCH gnashing of teeth. MUCH grumbling. NEARLY tears. And the car pool approacheth...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Attitude for lawyers: The bucks stop here.

I'm working with someone who has grown her business impressively by being very strategic about where she places her resources. She has a business plan, she has a framework to ensure her decisions are sound, she's persistent, her results have been solid- yet she recently put the brakes on a growth initiative.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Stuck? Choose a goal, create 3 action steps, & MOVE IT!

Here we are about to close the books on January. By now, you have a good handle on your 2007 results; what would you like to change this year? (yup, this is a variation on a theme you've seen here before, check back to August, 2007)

If you're on track and moving towards your 2008 goals- great job!Stop reading now. If you're stuck,

Friday, January 4, 2008

Can't change? Baloney.

2 new books I've discovered that crystallize why we don't do what we know we should, and what to do about it:

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Do you sabotage yourself?

OK. Interesting piece made it through the spam filters today. All it said was "Good Morning, Barbara. Get rid of that self-esteem once and for all." No mention of any magic pills or the size of any body parts I don't have, no offer of a loan, no request for help recovering a family fortune in Nigeria...

It was interesting but a little creepy, because who hasn't struggled with self-esteem at some point?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ta Duh- Don't waste a minute, lessons from 9/11

On the day in question, I went to work at my office at Merrill Lynch's US Private Client headquarters in Plainsboro, NJ. My 2 year-old was home with our babysitter. My husband went to his job in Manhattan. As with anyone in financial services in NJ, I worked with a lot of folks in NYC; they were at the World Financial Center, across from the WTC. I was on the phone with someone as he watched the first plane, and then, impossibly- the second plane hit the Towers. We didn't understand the magnitude until hours later. How strange it seems now, knowing all that happened- that we just hung up casually, because there was a message coming through the building's PA and he wanted to hear it.

Time stood still in Plainsboro, we all knew so many people in the area- many of us had worked downtown, had lunch at the plaza, shopped in the mall underground. We were just stunned as the information came out. We tried to reach people in NYC, watched our computers to see what was happening, and finally we closed the office and everyone headed home.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New attitude: "What's perfect about that?" aka Kayak Story #3

Wrapping up the kayak thing...after lunch I had to get the car out of the garage and then get the kayaks back on the rack while in the middle of a narrow, busy street. Getting them off was waaaay easier than getting them on. I am eternally grateful for Donald & Steve, the garage guys who more or less saved my ass. As it were. Boats didn't have a scratch, the crunch was from the rack, made it home without losing any of them, all was well, sigh of relief.

Last kayak lesson- it's your choice, how you respond to a situation that seems disastrous. As long as you can stop that little voice of doom in your head, you can recover from just about anything. No need to waste time.

Life coaching has a concept about "making things perfect". It seems like rationalization, maybe it is- but it's incredibly useful. Instead of focusing on everything that went wrong- ask yourself "what's perfect about this?". (slap yourself if you head straight to sarcasm!) Let's try it.

Barbara, what's perfect about wedging your car with 3 kayaks in a parking garage and all of the ensuing embarassment, hassle and stress? (I've downplayed how upset I was; I enjoy feeling like an idiot just about as much as I would enjoy seeing a rattlesnake nestled in my cereal bowl on my birthday, before my first cup of coffee.)

What's perfect? I have FINALLY put to rest my former "most embarassing" story and I never again have to (vividly) remember how I felt after dumping a beer down an ex-boyfriend's back. Michael P. Black. The last time I saw him. A party. 1979. On the embarassing idiot scale, that was nothing compared to this. The memory made me laugh, and I got over the boats and was able to relate the saga as a funny story much sooner than if I'd hung onto the "feeling stupid, can't believe I did that" stuff.

Just another way to help you make the choices that help you struggle less. Look for the "perfect" in the situation. Try it more than once, use it if it works for you. Have more fun.

Next time, back to business - it's September, are you on target to achieve your 2007 goals?