Category: Maximizing Potential

Achieving Your Goals – Get Your Foot Off the Brake!

Achieving Your Goals – Get Your Foot Off the Brake!

Have you been going through life with one foot on the gas pedal and the other one on the brake? If you learned to drive a stick shift vehicle, you needed your left foot on the clutch. Now that your life is out of first and second gears and hopefully humming along in overdrive, it is time to stop using the left foot. It’s on the brake – not the clutch! It is holding you back in success!

  • What is keeping you from shifting into overdrive for smooth sailing?
  • What fears are holding you back right now?
  • From what are you using your “braking action” to protect you?

rolling_into_2010Make 2010 the year you declare your grand goals and announce your intentions to execute the action steps to get your desired outcomes. Are you worried that you might not be able to live up to what you announce? What do you need to help you successful execute your intentions? A personal success coach? A mentor to listen and guide you? A friend who pushes without humiliating you?

This may be the year you recognize which people close to you are holding you back or putting you down. Is their negative energy draining your energy and enthusiasm for success? Recall the Law of Attraction. You get what you think about and draw to you. Is it time to seek a new group of friends – the kind that will encourage you and celebrate your successes?

Start with a simple plan:

  1. Decide what you really intend to accomplish in 2010.
  2. Assess your circle of associates (family, friends, colleagues, etc.) to determine if any of them are negative influences.
  3. Take action to reduce the negative factors (people, habits, environment, etc.) in your life.
  4. Actively seek situations and people who are like-minded and supportive and can influence you in positive ways.
  5. Confidently declare your intentions and boldly take the proper action steps for success.

Along the way – each day – when you may not be staying on the success track, ask yourself: “Is what I am doing right now getting me closer to my goals.” If not, stop the current activity and refocus on executing the actions steps that will increase your success.

Does Social Media Work For Or Against You?

Does Social Media Work For Or Against You?

Are you connected, linked, followed, following, befriended, etc.? How much time are you spending staying current with all of your social media connections? Are you becoming addicted to it?

My observation is that many people I know who are not working or do not own their own business spend a lot of time checking their social media sites and writing on walls or tweeting. For what reason? Some seem to take it so seriously – as if it were essential to their very existence.

I don’t get it! But I do get using social media for business connections. The question is: how do you manage it all and still run your business? I would like to hear your takes on this subject. I will be incorporating social media management into my “Having the Time of Your Life” Time Management Workshop. Please share with me in the Comment box. Thanks.

Want To Be An Entrepreneur?

Want To Be An Entrepreneur?

What does it mean to be an entrepreneur?  Think about it for a minute… Entrepreneur.

Does it mean:

  • Living on your schedule?
  • Going to work when you want to?
  • Having total control over your work life?
  • Having freedom to run the business the way you think it should be run?
  • Not being responsible to a boss or stockholders?
  • Doing something you love and for which you have a real passion?
  • No more commuting?
  • More time with family and friends?

This list can go on and on with all of the reasons you have decided to own your own business. It is all of this… and more. What does it mean to you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

If you are or are planning to become a entrepreneur or business owner, you will benefit from joining our Member In-Circle Community to access many resources to help you succeed. Your success matters to us.

Just register at the right side of this blog. There is no fee for basic membership access to the categories listed at the top of the page.

Thoughts About Controlling People

coaching 4The harder we try to control an individual, to make him perform or “fit a mold,” the more likely he is to rebel. Each individual wants to have his own identity, regardless of what we want him to be. For this reason, it is important to understand human behaviour and what motivates people.

We can encourage people to become 100% more influential in their lives by:

  • affirming people’s capabilities, significance and personal resourcefulness
  • proomoting closeness and trust
  • enhancing their self-esteem
  • helping them build their self-confidence

This may be the opposite of what happens in the workplace, but it is the direction in which we must move in order to have an empowed quality work team.

Anytime you can turn a liability into an assess you have a 200% gain!

Can You See What I’m Really Saying?

Can You See What I’m Really Saying?

The old adage “Your actions speak louder than your words” is as true today as it was when some wise sage proclaimed it. Whether in a family, social, educational or work setting, the unspoken language of facial expressions, posture, gestures and the like send very powerful — and often incongruent – messages.

Throughout our lives we are taught ways to behave in various situations — ways that are considered appropriate for the situation. We learn very early in life to refrain from “talking back” to authority figures. Early in our careers, we learn not to state our own opinions or ask too many questions for fear of repercussions — either immediate or as fall-out later in our careers. Just because we do not verbally respond in those situations does not mean we are not communicating our feelings or reactions. Too often, even we are unaware of the non-verbal message we are sending.

We are encouraged to “go along” with the group or situation and to form consensus and keep things moving forward. We carefully select the words we use in speeches and presentations. Yet the message is still often unclear; we may be sending mixed signals. Unless we carefully align our non-verbal communication with the words we chose to use when conveying the message, we may be defeating our own efforts to communicate clearly.

If we were only to listen to the words of a conversation, we would miss most of the meaning of the message. We leave ourselves open to interpretation from our own perspective. What pictures to you see in your mind when you read the following scenario?

Parent (or Boss): “I want this task completed by noon. Will you get it done by then?”

Child (or Subordinate): “Yeah, I think I can do it by then. It shouldn’t be a problem.”

If the parent/boss hears only the words, rather than listening to the complete message, he misses the non-verbal message. In this scenario, the child/subordinate’s head is shaking left-to-right and back again repeatedly while the individual is saying, “Yeah,…” In North American cultures this non-verbal indicates, “No.” So when the mouth is saying “yes” and the head is saying “no,” the resulting action will probably be “no.”

The real message being sent is “No, I don’t think I can meet your deadline.” Since the message is a subconscious expression of concern, it comes out through a non-verbal form of communication. The individual consciously knows what answer the parent/boss expects to hear; therefore, he says the appropriate thing even though he does not believe it is possible to perform to the expectation. So unless the parent/boss was listening with his ears and eyes, he would not have heard the complete message.

Was the child/subordinate lying about the intent to complete the task? At least not consciously! He knows what the expected answer should be and gave it. However, he was ignoring or otherwise failing to acknowledge, what he was thinking or feeling about really being able to meet the expected deadline. Since the parent/boss failed to read the non-verbal communication, he expects the task to be completed by noon.

Why wasn’t the child/subordinate honest about the concerns?

  • First, the individual may not even be aware of this subconscious processing and reaction.
  • Secondly, it may be that based on previous experience with the parent/boss, the individual has learned expected behavior and is trying to please.
  • It is also possible he is trying to avoid the anticipated reactions or repercussions from the parent/boss.

Therefore, it is easier, and perhaps safer, to give the expected reply, even if it means suppressing your real concerns. A good communicator will use all of his senses to both send and receive messages. So the astute parent/boss would read the non-verbal messages that could include tone of voice, posture, eye contact, facial expression, etc., as well as the head shaking “no.”

At that point, an appropriate response from the parent/boss could be, “I’m not sure I understand whether or not you will have the task completed on time. I hear you saying “yes,” but your body language seems to be saying “no.” What are your concerns?” Now a safe environment for discussion can be established for problem solving.

Let’s look at the impact of non-verbal communication. Research reported in Psychology Today gave the following statistics about how we interpret the meaning of communication:

  • 7% Verbal Cues
  • 38% Vocal Cues
  • 55% Visual Cues

These facts have been substantiated in later studies. The important point here is that only 7% of the meaning of a message comes from the words. So no matter how carefully we choose the words, there is high probability that the message will not get through to the receiver without considering the non-verbal communication factors. Both the sender of a message and the receiver of the message must consciously use, listen for and observe non-verbal messages and check them for congruency with the words being said.

Now you know why your spouse, children, co-worker, etc., do not always understand your message — especially if they are giving most of their attention to something else while you are sending your message! They may not be listening for the entire message. Even the most carefully chosen words cannot guarantee communication of the message.

There are three main factors to consider in non-verbal communication:

1. Vocal Dimensions: These include the various sounds we make, as well as the tone and pitch of our voice. Pacing of words and use of pauses also impact the vocal dimension. We use various “grunts and groans” to indicate interest, agreement, disagreement, puzzlement, etc. Sounds like, “humm,” “ah”, “tsk,” “uh huh,” and the like are know as paralanguage. These sub-vocal sounds can impact the meaning of a message or send a message of its own. Filler words such as “you know” or “like” may indicate uncertainty in the speaker and detract from clear communication.

Tone and pitch can totally change the meaning of words. Higher pitched tones, louder volumes may indicate excitement, intense feelings, or strong emotion. Lower tones may indicate calmness or that one is in control of the situation. High volume may suggest the speaker is losing control, while too soft volume can signal lack of confidence.

Both pacing and inflection give meaning to words and affect how the listener receives the message. A sarcastic tone or a quick, sharp, barbed reply can totally change the meaning of a message. Whether the voice rises or drops at the end of a sentence may question or determine the meaning for the listener.

2. Body Language: An in-depth study of body language could become a life’s work. The factors to be aware of in your daily interactions are: posture, position, head motion, facial expression, eye contact and gestures. These few factors, when carefully observed and compared to the words being said, will give you much insight into the real meaning of the message. Again the thing to look for: Is the body language congruent with the spoken word?

It is important to remember that body language is a cultural issue. What it meant in our culture may be different in other cultures. If you travel or interact with people of other cultures, it is advisable to study non-verbal communication before accidentally offending others or embarrassing yourself!

3. Spatial Relationships: Again this varies by culture, so we will focus on North Americans. In our culture, we have several accepted spatial areas we should respect when communicating with others:

  • Intimate Relationship 0 – 18 inches distance
  • Personal Relationship 18 inches – 4 feet
  • Work Relationship 2 – 3 feet
  • Social Relationship 4 – 12 feet

When people use an inappropriate distance for the relationship, we feel uncomfortable. If someone hovers over us, we no longer concentrate on the task, but rather experience uncomfortable sensations, wishing they would get out of our space. Aggressive people use invasion of space as a power tactic. Timid people leave a great deal of distance between themselves and others. Many kinds of messages can be sent by the use of space.

Notice how we feel when someone we do not know gets too close. Also notice what we do in our vehicles. When someone cuts us off in traffic, we get angry. They have invaded our personal space. We take our personal space and extent it outside of our vehicle as if it were our bodies. And if we observe people inside their vehicles, we see that they seem to think the glass is one way — looking out only! Space is very important to individuals, but needs vary greatly by culture.

With fifty-five per cent of the message being sent non-verbally, it is critical for good communication that we understand jut what non-verbal communication is and the positive and negative impact it has on achieving a shared understanding. When observing non-verbal behavioral signs, remember to take a gestalt approach. Look at the whole situation and person rather than taking a cue from one signal without regard to the whole.

Become a people-watcher. Listen and watch accompanying non-verbal behavior. Look for the variety of facial expressions and body movements that send messages. It is fascinating. Even more fascinating is seeing how many people totally ignore the powerful non-verbal messages that color their conversations. There is so much being said silently or indirectly. Is it any wonder that we suffer from massive communication breakdowns?

It’s Time to Give Yourself Permission

Remember when you were younger and needed a “permission slip” for missing school or leaving the classroom or to go on a field trip? Now that you are an adult, you may no longer need a written “permission slip” to do the things you want to do, but I am betting that there are many things you don’t do because you don’t give yourself permission!

How about these:cell phone use

  1. Permission to take a day off – without feeling guilty.
  2. Permission to not check your email or BlackBerry if you do give yourself a day off!
  3. Permission to say “no.”
  4. Permission to go to bed early or sleep in (or stay up really late!)
  5. Permission to do something others may think is out of character for you.

Now is the time to give yourself permission to lighten up and enjoy life more! It will reduce your stress and lighten your load.

Focus On Significance – Not Success

Focus On Significance – Not Success

“The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance, and then even the small steps will take on a greater meaning.” ~ Oprah

We do tend to focus on “success.” Probably because it is measurable. Either you met your goal or you didn’t. You you are somewhere along the continum of progress toward meeting the goal.

Oprah is suggesting that you need to focus more on the significance of what you are doing, rather than just the end result. I think she has a good point. Often you overlook the steps you have taken to get to a certain point along the path of success.

This ties into my recommendation to “Celebrate Success” as part of your goal execution process. Celebrate a successful end result, of course. But also celebrate little successes along the way. This will keep you and others motivated to continue.

If the going gets tough, find something to celebrate to realign the focus. Focusing on the positive will encourage you to stay on your plan to the desired outcome.

If you are challenged by sticking to your plan, check out our “Get What You Say You Want-Goals” Program. This behavioral approach to setting and executing your goals could make the difference between success and what you have been doing in the past!

The Challenge of Vacation

The Challenge of Vacation

I have been on a “sail-batical” for most of the past six months. It was a test: a test of my skills and courage; a test of my ability to work from a virtual office; a test to see if I can live in a space of 48 feet by 14 feet (with a v-shape eliminating floor space; a test if I could live with a limited wardrobe in a 12 inch wide closet!

But the real test was could I keep my mind and spirit busy in such an enviroment. Trust me, it is hard to keep you mind on work when living in the Caribbean islands! However, everyone needs to take some real time for rest and relaxation.

  • Are you one of those who is too busy to take time off?
  • If you do take time off, do you short change yourself with long week-ends instead of a couple of weeks together?

Our minds need the break. Our bodies need the break. It takes a few days just to wind down before you begin to relax. Then your metabolism resets itself and actually allows you to relax internally as well as mentally. Take some time to unwind and rest. The work will always be there, but your friends and family may not. Or you may not if you push yourself too hard all of the time.

Part of success planning is planning ways to boost your personal health. The most important part is disconnecting from your electronic tethers and let yourself rest. Make this summer a time to regenerate yourself.sunset

Sharing Leadership Roles

presentation 1” Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal. “   ~  Vince Lombardi

While some people are more inclined to step up to leadership roles, everyone can develop leadership skills, if desired. Many times an individual just needs steady reinforcement of their ability. This can happen through coaching and mentoring. Or it could happen from being put in a situation where they have to lead and have the support of others.

While not every behavioral style is comfortable being in front of a group or taking the responsibility for success of the team, even the quiet, conscientious person has the ability to lead. It will be in a different way.

Regardless of one’s leadership style, it is important to give everyone an opportunity to develop their leadership strengths and put them to practice. Bring less experienced employees into the role by giving small leadership assignments to help them increase their confidence and comfort.

When a few others accept parts of the project and take the lead in those areas, you are developing talent. At the same time you are giving yourself more time to mentor and coach those future leaders.

The Impact of Modeling Behavior

coaching 3We can change the way people view us and influence their behavior through role modeling. By modeling a more positive behavior and self-image, we can set examples for others. We can become the role model for the ideal leader or team member. We can be better role models in our families and communities. The benefit to us is an enhanced self-image.

Too often individuals believe they can improve their position of power among peers and feel better about themselves if they belittle others. By putting down others, they build themselves up – but only in their minds! Others observing such behavior have less repect for the “stronger” individual.

Ask yourself:

  • What image do you project to others?
  • What could you do to improve it?
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