In these challenging times, it can feel like things are out of your control. We might wonder what we as individuals can do about the economic cycle or decisions made by organizations bigger than we are. But the truth is that we are always in charge of one thing and that is ourselves. Even in difficult times, there is hope within us.
I once coached a woman who was in a period of intense transition. She’d been let go from a position she loved. It was unexpected and the sudden change was overwhelming. It’s natural to feel a loss when we suffer disappointments like losing a job. But if we linger in the disappointment, it can lead us away from our goals.
When she came to me for coaching, this woman had already been sending out job applications and she was disappointed in the results. Our first step together was to rebuild her self-esteem. Together, we reviewed her skills and personality traits, and began fostering her ability to lead...
We’ve all seen what happens if we are negative. Our thinking narrows, making us more and more fearful. We experience stress and all of the medical conditions that can result.
Think about a time when you were experiencing high stress. Did you find it hard to concentrate? How did that negative state of mind affect your productivity?
Most of us prefer to be positive. After all, it feels good to be happy, and we all like to be near those who are light-hearted. But did you know that the impact of being positive goes way beyond mood?
According to Barbara Fredrickson at the University of Michigan, people who think positively see more possibilities and it doesn’t end there. Because they see more possibilities, they have an enhanced ability to build new skills and develop resources they can use later in life. You can read about it for yourself in “The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions” paper".
Some of the best lessons in life come from the youngest among us. As adults, all we need to do is watch and learn. In fact, we'd do well to copy some of the attitudes and behaviours of children. Recently, we were in Newfoundland visiting family and we took our three-year-old granddaughter out for pizza at a popular restaurant. Waiting for food to arrive can be difficult for children. In most restaurants, there are a few children getting antsy and starting to fuss. That's human nature when a person is bored. Children feel boredom sooner than most.
But this pizza joint was different. Although the place was filled with children, none of them were fussing. Every child in the place was busy and happy. Here's the reason why--they were being creative. A waitress came to our table and took our order. Then she asked our granddaughter if she'd like to make a pizza of her own. Wow, you should have seen our granddaughter's face. She said yes with enthusiasm and they...
There are many kinds of thinking–big-picture thinking, focused thinking, strategic thinking, bottom-line thinking to name a few. My favourite is creative thinking because the outcome is always fresh and surprising.
You know you're in the process of creative thinking when you find yourself scrambling around in unfamiliar territory looking for the best way forward. All that uncertainty can feel uncomfortable, I know. Creative thinking reaches beyond standard answers.
Not long ago, I was challenged to come up with an innovative way of celebrating the training completed by a board of directors. My client saw what had been accomplished and wanted to encourage more, but they wanted to do it in an exciting way. They didn't want rolled parchment tied with a golden bow or gift certificates.
According to Steve Jobs, "Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because...
James is at the dinner table with his wife, Cheryl. She can see he's distressed and asks if he's okay. The answer is larger than she expected. As far as she knew, James was happy in his job.
“Cheryl, I don’t know what’s wrong. I’ve worked long and hard for the company. I’ve been loyal and I've given my all. In the past, I was rewarded for my performance, but they’ve passed me over for a promotion again. Guess I better find another company that appreciates my experience and effort.’”
Only three years ago, James was excited about his future. He'd been promoted to a manager position at the manufacturing company where he works. They'd valued his university degree, but they'd valued his 10 years of experience even more.
James was ready for the learning curve his new role demanded. Never afraid of work, he committed countless hours to management courses and self-study. After all, he'd never held a leadership position before. He knew he had...
Several of our friends keep koi fish in their outdoor ponds. One friend has a pond surrounding his patio. Because they recognize our friend as the one who feeds them, the koi swim towards him whenever he comes onto his patio.
The fascinating thing about koi is they grow to fit the size of their environment. Keep them in a bowl and they will grow to 3 inches. Place them in a small pond and they will grow to 1.5 feet. In a large lake, they can grow up to 3 feet.
Like koi, our growth potential can be small or large. But unlike Koi, our environment is not forced upon us. We create our environment by the choices we make. When we choose familiarity over challenges, we place ourselves in a small pond.
When we embrace the unknown and open ourselves to challenges, we place ourselves in a large lake.
There was a time when I placed myself in a small pond. In an effort to remain comfortable, I limited my choices. Then I recognized what was happening and let go of that limiting reality. Today, I...
Leadership is not just about ourselves. It's about spreading the word and bringing new leaders into the mix. But how can you spot leadership potential in others?
As John C. Maxwell says in his book titled, "What Successful People Know About Leadership", the single-most powerful way to achieve success is to find good people and help them grow.
This is true whether you're concerned with non-profit leadership or leadership in the for profit world.
Based on his forty years' of experience, John has learned to recognize leadership potential. As he reminds us in his book, people with leadership potential share seven exceptional characteristics:
“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” - Author, Stephen King
Many years ago, a person that I know said something about talent that has stuck in my mind. He said that all of us have been created with equal ability to become unequal.
The truth is, we are not all created with the same level of talent. Some of us have a sharper ear for music. Some of can add columns of numbers in our heads. As individuals, we all have unique abilities. But there’s one thing we all have in equal measure. We all have the ability to use, or not use, the talents we’ve been given.
There’s an old story about a wealthy ranch owner and talents. Although talents in this story actually represent an ancient unit of money, the story works equally well if we use the modern meaning of the word.
As the story goes, the wealthy ranch owner was preparing for a business trip. He knew he’d be...
Many of us take the start of a new year as an opportunity to consider where we've been, where we are, and where we'd like to go. We think of success as a destination. But what if it's less about a place than a person? What if success is about something we already have--our own inner potential?
I like to call this pursuing the greatness within. By greatness I don't mean awards on the wall, things that other people give to us, although those are meaningful in a different way. In this blog, I'm referring to what happens when we place the onus on ourselves.
The pursuit of greatness is not a matter of destiny. It's a matter of choice. Each of us decides whether we'll work to discover and share our unique greatness. Pursuing greatness leads to living a life of significance. As Henry David Thoreau said, “One is not born into the world to do everything, but to do something.”
Many of us are still working to discover, develop and share what that something is. Some of us may not...
Do you like what you’re doing right now? Is this your passion? If not, why are you doing it?
In order to find our purpose and passion in life, we must become aware of who we are. Finding our passion helps us reach our potential.
It starts with knowing yourself. This includes your strengths and blind spots, your interests and opportunities. You must be able to gauge not only where you have been, but where you are going. Otherwise, you are liable to get lost.
John Maxwell tells us, “You have to know who you are to grow to your potential. But you have to grow in order to know who you are.” To grow, he suggests we focus on what is REAL: relationships, equipping, attitude and leadership.
His passion and self-awareness helped John Maxwell become an internationally recognized expert in leadership development. Fortune 500 companies, international government leaders and many other organizations rely on John Maxwell for inspiration and advice.
Living your passion gives you...