Self-Discipline and Braces

braces-1Self-discipline. Sort of a downer word, huh? Makes you think of starving yourself on a diet, or dreading doing 50 crunches before bedtime. But the benefits of this character-inducing word are multiple.

Let’s use the metaphor of braces, which my son got off his teeth last year, much to his delight. No person really wants braces, though they are a tool to straighten your teeth, which the orthodontists’ advertise, contribute to a winsome smile. All the ortho visits, all the tightening and straightening and rubber bands. All the apples you can’t bite into for a couple years. The retainers. Need I say more? It’s a season of self-discipline. Putting up with the hassle and discomfort for a season to gain something more attractive in the long run. 

And that is self-discipline in a nutshell. A person doesn’t feel a thrill when deciding to put down the doughnut or when cracking open the books to study or research. It’s uncomfortable to feel sore after a workout or to make the sales call when you most likely will get another rejection. But, enough self-discipline will equal long-term wins. It’s a case of pay me now or pay me later.

Pay me later is so much easier. But that procrastination, that “take the easy road”, doesn’t get you very far toward your brightest, healthiest, most satisfying future.  Sure, you need some accountability to make it happen, and some small rewards don’t hurt either when forming a new habit. But think braces when you want to coast, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll go through the temporal pain to get to great success!

Let’s start a conversation.  Only another week on my complimentary 45-minute Rock Your 2015 strategy session that I have reserved just for you. Let’s do it!

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Just Get Going!

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What Made Me Cry Last Week

hostageI started crying right there on the elliptical. I don’t know what came over me a few weeks ago when I was watching the news while exercising in the morning. They were showing how a hostage situation was playing out in an Australian café.

The images of hostages being set free, running to the safety of heavily-clad police SWAT teams with hands raised, hit me in the heart. The relief on their faces of being so close to death at the hand of a madman, then being allowed to escape, was so apparent in the photos and video. And my tears fell. I was so happy that no hostage was hurt nor killed.

And then I reflected, “Why am I so emotional about this?” And I got it. I’m all about helping others get to freedom. Freedom from fear, freedom from rejection, freedom from distractions, freedom from addictions, freedom from procrastination, freedom from oppression…. As a coach, I hear stories of stuck people, hostages to some inner/outer force that is holding them down. And those that know they cannot overcome on their own call me for help–and my job is to do my very best to open up options for them to consider and then actively make a plan to run toward their freedom goal. And I love that.

Are you still in your own Australian café, being a victim of your circumstances? It doesn’t have to stay that way any longer. Shoot me an email for an appointment (phone or live), and let’s strategize a way to a more abundant life at home or at work.

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How Do They Know It’s You?

pigpenI always chuckle at the Peanuts character Pigpen, maybe because I’m more of a “neat-nick” than a “messy”.  In the Great Pumpkin special, the characters are dressing up for Halloween, and Pigpen tries to disguise himself, too, with a costume. But, of course, the quintessential cloud of dust and dirt swirls around him as he moves. When his friends say hello to him, even though his face is not shown, he is puzzled and says, “How did you know it was me?”

That’s just plain funny. But it is also a lesson in self-leadership and self-awareness–and maybe in personal organization, too (some people just don’t see a mess, I’m convinced!)! What evidence are you leaving in your wake that declares that you have been there at home, at work, your church, or in your community? And is that evidence positive, or a swirling cloud of something not appealing?

Leaving your mark on others can be intentional or accidental. I’m encouraging you to take the bulls by the horn and imprint the people in your world. Your encouragement and graceful interactions leave your team and family feeling optimistic and buoyant. Your planning and organization leave your events and meetings with more productivity and impact. Or, in default mode, your lack of caution and intent can lead to safety issues, flippant remarks, tardy attendance, irritated family members, and disengaged direct reports.

I could hang out with those closest to you for a couple hours and get a read on who you are and how you lead your life. It’s that apparent that we leave a footprint wherever we go. After thinking, “Whoa!” be the person you want talked about in your eulogy some day. Leave no doubt that everyone knows who you are and what you stand for!

Please share this blogpost and head over to the Growing Forward website at to sign up for Target Practice e-inspiration.

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Make Every Moment Extraordinary

stanley cupSo, I was watching this commercial this morning… This group of guys went to Las Vegas and decided to live it up. The way they did it is to pretend they won the Stanley Cup or some other championship. They grabbed a plant-holder from the hotel lobby and toted it around to all sorts of clubs and venues, getting everyone to celebrate their mock success. People held the “cup” and danced, and the guys lived large, until they, exhausted, went back to their hotel, put the plants back in the plant-holder and went to bed.

The lesson from the commercial can be pertinent for you today: you can make every moment into something bigger than it is. I don’t mean to be a drama king/queen. Instead, you can take the ordinary routines and tasks and relational interactions and turn them one notch closer to extraordinary.

“Extraordinary” can be the specific, personal praise/encouragement you give a colleague or family member. It can be getting your typical tasks done with more flair or more speed. It can be the creative ideas you use to transform a boring staff meeting. It can be setting a goal so high that it motivates you to see if you can attain it.

Don’t settle for ordinary routines and ruts. Ramp it up with “just a little bit extra”, and you will be more appreciated for the zest you add to others’ lives–and your own. to subscribe to Target Practice e-news inspirations like this one.

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Eyes Forward

owl eyesWhen walking/hiking, are you the kind of person who looks down a lot, watching your step to avoid tripping, and missing the scenery around you? Or are you the type that looks around and notices everything, savoring the details of God’s creation or what’s new and noteworthy to compliment? Sadly, I tend to do a little more of the former than the latter.

Here’s the challenge: Don’t be so absorbed with what is right in front of you, that you miss out on the enjoyment of what you are headed toward. If we aren’t careful, we gravitate toward myopia (my problems, my issues, my schedule…). First of all, this makes us succumb to selfishness, and second, we cannot be truly aware of the needs around us that we can do something about.

So, look up. Eyes forward. Eagerly anticipate what is around the next bend in the road, or what you are supposed to learn from this current circumstance. Set some goals for the year ahead so that you practice expansive thinking. Be a “noticer.” Life will go from black and white to color pretty quickly.

Share this post with a friend who needs encouragement today!

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Why We are OK with Arriving Late

lateI really dislike being late for any appointment or activity. I like to arrive a little early to get the lay of the land, allow my brain to transition from the last thing I was doing to this thing (to be fully present), and make a connection or two with those around me.

But there are many, many people (and myself, on occasion) that seem to be OK with arriving late. So, I pondered: why wouldn’t we all want that peaceful state that I described above? Why do we not plan ahead of the time we know we must leave for an activity or appointment in order to get their on time or early? Why do we do that “one more thing” instead of getting in the car or heading down the hallway to the conference room?

I think it’s not enough respect for the people we are meeting. John Maxwell says that we need to put a “10” on everyone’s foreheads, giving them super-high value, not making them earn 9 ranks by starting them at a “1” when we meet them for the first time, or for the first time that day.

If we were to meet someone who could change our life (like a surgeon or a dignitary or venture capitalist), would we be late for that appointment? Probably not. Why? Because we have assigned them very high value and don’t want to look foolish by de-valuing them by our tardiness. So, why are we OK with making others wait–people who planned out their time to make meeting with us a priority? They assigned our time together valuable.

This is not meant to be judgmental–but instead a challenge.  Raise your respect and honor in your heart for those you are scheduled to meet with, and see if that makes a difference in your planning for greeting them on time, and also in your expectancy of what will happen by that relational connection. And when you are unavoidably late or haven’t raised their value to the appropriate level, apologize profusely, making it a point to not do it again, and somehow add value back to them in another way.

Let’s change the culture! Oops, gotta run take my son to lunch to Be On Time!

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