Friday, January 26, 2018

If You Can Answer 5 Questions, This Will Be Your Most Productive Year Yet!

In our last post, we talked about the idea of changing your mindset in order to imagine new possibilities.  If you didn’t get to read it, take a look.  Now, let’s take that a step further.  Let’s say you have yourself in a place where you’re operating primarily in a growth mindset.  Mindsets are great, but there have been many great thoughts that have languished in the minds of individuals who have never gone to the next step.  That next step is a growth plan.  You wouldn’t build a house without a set of plans that were meticulously followed.  Why try and build your life any other way?  

If you want to get someplace significant and see your dreams become reality in 2018, an effective and simple step is to write down and keep up with your growth plan.  The importance of writing it down and keeping up with it cannot be overstated.  Ideas in your head give you a general direction, but they will not get you to where you imagine you want to be.  In fact, over time, being guided by an idea will create frustration and you will begin to despise the very idea that began as an inspiring vision for your life. It’s not the idea’s fault.  It’s yours.  But, you can fix the problem.  You can start by answering these five questions.
  1. How are things now?  This question speaks to the need for assessment.  You’re not just closing your eyes and picking at random or spinning a wheel to choose areas of growth.  Set aside some time and really think this through.  Chances are, you know some key areas in which you need to grow.  
  2. How do I want things to be?  This is the question of vision.  While it's essential to assess the current state, the next step is declaring what you want the new reality to be.  Only you can paint a picture of what you want your future to look like.  But pictures don't paint themselves.  They require your effort.
  3. What will things look like this time next year?  Vision is a picture of the future and it's essential.  But vision is not specific.  This is the point where you have to set specific goals.  Oh, and make sure they are SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, time-bound).  Most of us set silly goals because we don't put them through the SMART filter.
  4. What do I have to do right now?  You can’t do everything you want to do, but you can do anything you want to do.  This question speaks to the need to narrow your focus and choose small, concrete steps.  If you did a good job answering the questions above, chances are you have a good list of areas in which you want to see growth.  Well, the next question narrows that down to specifics.  If you want to reach a goal by the end of the year, what step do you need to take by the end of the month?
  5. Who will help me get there? This is probably the biggest missing piece from most growth plans.  If you’re the kind of motivated and growth-minded individual who would actually go through the steps to create a personal growth plan, you probably believe you can execute and complete it on your own.  You are wrong.  No man (or woman) is an island. You need to invite others into the process with you and give them permission to keep you accountable.  People who care about you will help you this way if you just ask.

Remember, the answers to all these questions need to be written down and you’ve got to keep up with it.  Keep these answers close to you.  See them often.  Schedule times to assess your progress.  If you have a good plan and you’re intentional about following that plan, you absolutely will see the growth you desire.  If you feel like you need some help with all this, our Goal Setting Workshop is next week and will walk you through this proces step-by-step and in more detail.  If you need that help, get registered and get on the path you want to be on.  You can do it!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

2018 Goal Setting Workshop

If you can answer 5 questions in three hours, this will be your most productive year ever!

Through this group coaching experience, you will gain perspective, create vision, set goals, build action steps, and write an accountability plan for 2018. Not only will you build a plan for 2018, you will learn a skill you can duplicate in other areas of your life for years to come. 

Registration is only $49 per individual or $79 per married couple and includes a Success Notebook and a catered dinner! There will be about 1 hour of pre-work to be completed prior to the event and all registrants must complete the pre-work prior to the event. 

Date: Friday, February 2
Time: 6pm-9:30 (Dinner starts at 5:30)
Location:  My home in Broken Arrow, OK

Space is limited to just 10 people, so reserve your spot today!


Individual Registration ($49): 

Couples Registration ($79): 

Friday, December 29, 2017

How Changing Your Mindset Can Change Your Life

It’s January.  It’s a new year full of new possibilities.  Want to know the fastest and most effective way to unlock those new possibilities?  It all starts with the way you think.  Yes, the way you think.  The truth is, you can write down a list of goals that will set the world on fire, but if you are still stuck in the same old self-defeating thought patterns, it’s likely those goals won’t be reached.  Why do you think most people fail in their “New Year Resolutions”?  There are a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is trying to insert new actions into a life with old, stale thinking.  The bottom line is that if you learn to think differently and imagine new possibilities, that change in thinking will enable you to get some serious traction on those goals.

In her book, “Mindset”, Carol Dweck writes brilliantly about what she calls the ‘fixed mindset’ versus the ‘growth mindset’. Understanding these mindsets and adjusting accordingly, may make all the difference in how effective and satisfied you are in 2018. 

First, let’s look at the fixed mindset.  This is a mindset that believes intelligence is static. People in this camp believe “they are the way they are”.  They see no real hope for any significant development of who they are.  Now, it’s important to say that believing this is believing a lie.  But, simply saying this is a lie and don’t believe it is not sufficient.  Let me explain why you must work to get out of and stay out of this fixed mindset. 

Although people with a fixed mindset generally believe they are the way they are, this does not mean they have less of a desire for a positive self-image than anyone else.  So, of course, they want to perform well and look smart.  This desire, coupled with the fixed mindset, leads to some negative tendencies to be front and center.  Just to name a few, people in this space tend to avoid challenges, give up easily when facing obstacles, see high effort as generally fruitless, ignore useful negative feedback and feel threatened by the success of others.  As a result of these patterns of behavior, they may plateau early in life and achieve less than their full potential.  This, of course, ‘confirms’ their deterministic view of the world.

Now, let’s contrast this with the growth mindset.  People who hold this mindset believe that intelligence can be developed, that the brain is like a muscle that can be trained.  This leads to a desire to grow and improve.  Unlike their fixed mindset counterparts, these people believe their self-image is not tied to success or how they look to others.  For them, failure is not something to be avoided, but an opportunity to learn and grow.  So whatever happens, they win.  Generally, people in this mindset embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as a pathway to mastery, learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.  All this gives them a greater and greater sense of free will. 

So, it should be clear that the growth mindset is greater than the fixed mindset in every way.  However, this is real life and we all know that almost no one will have a 100% fixed mindset or a 100% growth mindset.  Most of us have some of both going on simultaneously.   If you’re hoping to operate in a growth mindset that may sound like bad news, but remember, free will is a gift at your disposal, so it is very possible to develop a worldview that’s ever-evolving from more of a fixed mindset to more of a growth mindset.  This is true even if you are on the older side of life and are “set in your ways”.  Dweck’s research indicates that both children and adults of all ages can be taught to change their mindsets. 

This is where a good coach can help you in 2018.  When you’re ready to get started changing that old self-defeating mindset, a great step is to get engaged with a coach who will challenge your thinking, ask you the hard questions and help you learn to think differently and imagine new possibilities.  Here’s to a happy and growth-filled new year!

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Power of the Pause

Are you a motivated individual?  Are you always moving forward?  Are you always working on the next goal?  Do you get pleasure from the hustle of creating your future?  If you’re nodding yes right now, I’m glad for you.  Those are generally good qualities to possess.  You’re well on your way to achieving your dreams.  However, let me ask you another set of questions.  Which day of the week do you generally take off to rest?  How often do you find quiet places to reflect?  What do your personal retreats look like?  How much do you value rest and reflection?  If you’re staring blankly at these words wondering why anyone would ask such silly questions, we need to talk.  You, my friend, need to understand the power of the pause.

But, why?  Why would you need to stop, rest and reflect?  You don’t get any work done that way.  You’re either taking ground or losing ground, right?  Wrong.  If you’re under the impression that you can just push, push, push and continue to take ground, you’ve bought into a lie.  Have you heard the Law of Diminishing Returns?  The Law of Diminishing Returns simply states that every individual will hit a point in time when productivity will drop off significantly and will not return, no matter how many hours worked and how hard that individual tries to push through the wall they feel they’ve hit.  Daily, you’ll usually hit this wall at the 8-10-hour point.  On a weekly basis, after 5-6 days.  Beyond that, you’ll need to experiment and figure you’re monthly and yearly rhythms.  Think of your life like a road trip.  Driving hard may get you to your destination, but every road-trip is filled with pauses to cool down and refuel.

If you’re a hard driver and have thought of rest and reflection as wasted time, let me share two truths that those of us who do take pauses have learned.

Truth #1: Magic happens when you create space to dream and reflect.  A great mentor of mine told me years ago, “Life happens in the margins.”  He was right.  What are the margins?  They are the buffer times in your schedule and your life.  If you have every minute scheduled, all the time, you have no margin and that’s no kind of life.  When you create these margins in your life, you’re creating space to dream and reflect.  Imagine how much more you could accomplish if you had a regular flood of new and creative thoughts come to you.  This is why you get some of your greatest ideas in the shower.  It’s because the shower may be the only place you ever stop working!  That’s the magic that happens when you create space to dream and reflect.  Have you ever taken a walk down streets you normally drive?  If you do, you’ll notice all kinds of things you’ve never seen before.  That mom and pop business that doesn’t have a flashy sign.  The beautiful fountain that’s slightly obscured by a strip mall.  A lone home in the middle of a retail district.  You gain a greater perspective when you slow down.  You see things that were previously hidden from sight.  Your best ideas will be hidden from you if you continue to drive hard all the time.  Slow down and create space in your life to dream and reflect.

Truth #2.  Energy naturally returns and increases through these times of rest and reflection.  Are you tired?  If you never pause, rest and reflect, the answer is certainly yes.  If you’re in the camp with so many others who desperately want more energy, let me tell you something.  A good night's sleep or a few hours unplugged from your work will give you 10x more energy than that 4-pack of Red Bull you use as a crutch.  You can’t argue with God’s design.  You’re an amazingly complex machine, but you were born with the design that requires rest.  Just like any other machine with a design, if you use it like it was intended to be used, it performs. If you use it in a way contrary to its design, it breaks down.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done nothing for nearly an entire day, feeling like I had no energy, only to magically feel my physical and mental energy hit 100% sometime in the late afternoon.  The only thing I did to replenish that energy was nothing.  We are made to rest and reflect.  If we don’t we are not using our bodies and minds as they were designed by our Creator.  No wonder we’re tired, sluggish and stuck. 

It’s counter-intuitive, but if you want max energy and max creativity, you must step back, rest and reflect.  It’s the power of the pause.  It’s real and you cannot ignore it.

Agree or disagree?  I'd like to know.  And I'd like to know why.  Please, leave a comment.