Category Archives: coaching

obstacles

obstaclesRandall was ten years into a job that he thought he’d retire from. Everything was perfect . . . except for the past six years, when he’d been miserable.  He’d finally come to grips with his dissatisfaction on his most recent birthday, one with a zero on the end.  He’d realized it was easy to stay put in a job he didn’t like anymore.

Easy, except for all the complaining to his wife and friends.

Easy, except for his irritability that showed up in how he treated his kids.

Easy, except for the impact on his health: high blood pressure, weight gain and disturbed sleep.

Not so easy to stay put after all.

So, Randall started applying for jobs, a daunting task, given he’d not updated his resume in a decade. After numerous false starts in his job search, he found his groove. He was networking, interviewing and growing hopeful.

The perfect opportunity emerged.  It felt like the job description had been crafted expressly for him. Randall applied, was invited to interview, and knocked it out of the park. After three rounds of interviews, where he shined, he was convinced the job was his.

Until he found out that it wasn’t.

He rationalized that he didn’t want it anyway, the commute was too long, the industry wasn’t a perfect fit, and that he’d be better off without that job.

In fact, he thought, his current job wasn’t so bad after all.

Randall was full out compensating for the cognitive dissonance he felt. His desired state (new job) didn’t match his current reality (no job offer).  And his brain did what our brains are programmed to do: protect us. Except denying Randall a career where he can feel fulfilled and one that doesn’t compromise his health isn’t really what is the best for him.

Many of us, like Randall, follow our instincts to avoid similar situations.

The result?

We deny ourselves the opportunity to want what we want, to go after our dreams, and stay where it is safe.

Big dreams don’t always come to fruition the first time at bat. Or the second or the tenth.

Connect with your dreams and don’t let the inevitable setbacks hold you back.

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    fitness_assessment

    I’m starting to work with a fitness trainer.  This morning I did a comprehensive fitness assessment with my trainer and I gave it my ALL. I left nothing in me. Zero. Zilch. Nada.  I poured it all onto the mat, the treadmill, the weights.  At the end, I was exhausted and wobbly. And it felt terrific.

    I was furnished with an 11 page report that shows that, indeed, I performed to the very best of my ability. The pages confirm what I feel in my body: exhaustion and pride in a job well done.

    Here are five reasons to give it your all, but only sometimes.

    1. You show yourself (and others) what you are capable of. Giving it your all is a proving ground. Whether it is a performance, a workout, a sales record, a project well managed or something else, you will show what you’re made of when you put it all on the line.
    1. You can do more than you thought you could. You will surprise yourself. I certainly didn’t know I had 15 consecutive, well-paced push-ups (with excellent form, no less!) in me. I scored above average for women of my age on that section. Who knew! I surprised myself and you will too.
    1. In a word: Accomplishment. You will feel proud of yourself for what you’ve accomplished. Success breeds success. There is nothing like laying it all out on the pavement and feeling satisfied with a job well done to make you feel like getting up and doing it all over again – at some point in the future.
    1. Knowing that you used all of your gifts and talents. You will feel gratified knowing that you’ve put your gifts and talents to your best use. As Wayne Dyer says, “Don’t die with your music still in you.” When you give it your all, you know with complete certainty that you will not die with your music still in you. You are making the best music you possibly can.
    1. Create a solid foundation for the next time. Some call it a benchmark, others a milestone. Whatever you call it, it marks where you’ve been and what you could do when you were there. Down the road a stretch, when you’ve learned more and built more muscle (figurative or literal), you can give it your all again – and your all will be even more/bigger/faster than it is today. Without giving it your all today, you won’t be able to accurately measure your progress tomorrow.

    So go out there and give it your all. But only sometimes.

    Why only sometimes?

    In a word: burnout. It is not sustainable to work at that pace, that intensity, that level of performance for very long. Your body and mind need to recharge and refuel.  Whether I’m on the mat in the gym or on the stage speaking at a conference, I want to give it my ALL in that moment, to create something special, to raise the bar as high as it will go for an hour. It’s not sustainable to perform at that level all the time. Nor would any moments feel special.

    I want to give it my all and use all of my gifts and talents on the stage so I feel just as spent after presenting to an audience as I do after a hard core fitness assessment. Nothing left in me.

    And then?  A tall drink of water and a nap.

    When you do give it your all?

    Leave your response in the comments below.

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    tree_down_sm

    Today as I was out for my early morning run, I came across this scene:

    tree_down_sm

    Last night’s powerful thunderstorm created a new hurdle for me this morning. Literally. It reminded me of the hurdles we all face in all parts of our work and lives and how easily we can be stopped by them.

    Here’s a three step process for overcoming the next downed tree that blocks your path:

    1. Make a plan

    A bit of careful planning is the first step on getting past unexpected hurdles. It’s easy to react in the face of unanticipated roadblocks – and most of us do so much drama and theatrics. A few moments of planning will get you back in action more quickly than drama. What’s the next small action you can take to keep you on course? And then next one after that? Develop a list of action steps you can take that will each take less than 30 minutes. Small steps, repeated, are what get you to the finish line.

    2. Take action

    Now that you know what the steps are, take action. A plan without action is like a recipe without a chef. Use the plan, the recipe, and be in action. If you want to clear the hurdle rapidly, take massive action. Accomplishing some of the most immediate steps that you need to take to get past the hurdle will fuel your confidence level and you will be charged up to take on subsequent steps with gusto. Success breeds success.

    3. Get help

    Recognize that you can’t always surmount the hurdles on your own. Think realistically about the magnitude of the challenge, your resources, skills and knowledge, and the larger context in which this hurdle presents itself. Human beings are social animals and we get more done – and get it done better and faster – with the help of others. Do you need to hire a contractor, a constructor worker or a coach to help you past the hurdle? Get the assistance you need to powerfully overcome the hurdle and get back on course.
    This morning, as I ran around the lake, I climbed over the hurdle as did everyone I encountered. I didn’t see a single person who said, “Oh no. There’s a downed tree across the path. I’m giving up.”

    Not even close.

    >> A woman with a cane maneuvered over the tree trunk.

    >> A man lifted his dog (who was too big to get under it and too small to get over it) across.

    >> Cyclists dismounted and lifted their bikes over it.

    >> Countless runners took it in stride.

    What hurdle is in your path today? Make a plan, take action and get help.

    Share your thoughts in the comments.
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