What Do You Stand For?

convictions“Conviction” is a word best described as “what you stand for” in your life. We all have them, and they drive our behaviors in all our relationships and in how we spend our time and money. Have you ever given some thought to what your driving convictions are?

Here’s an exercise to do. Ask yourself what motivates you to take action at work to solve a problem, or how you use your discretionary time, or what really gets you irritated when it is NOT happening around you. That most likely is a conviction that has become bedrock in your life.

After that, try to describe it with one sentence, and make it a personal sentence that starts with “I”. Then, show evidence of that conviction by writing down 5 behaviors along that theme. Sometimes people do this from another angle: start with the motivating behaviors first, find patterns, and then label it as the conviction.

My example might be helpful:

Conviction: Improvement/Maximizing

Descriptor: I desire to take everything I’m associated with to the next level of excellence, adding more value.

5 behaviors that best reflect it:

  1. Staying alert to all facets of my organization and immediately thinking of positive changes to bolster it
  2. Keeping a personal self-improvement plan current and expanding
  3. Helping those I coach take their lives/roles to the next level through resourcing them
  4. Thinking creatively about how to freshen up a rut
  5. Expanding outputs of what I learn as broadly as possible

Now, live your life in alignment with your convictions to bring out your best self! It’s your sweetest spot!

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You Are Writing Your Story

writing450Every day, you are writing your autobiography, whether you are putting pen to paper in a journal or not. Every action, every word, every minute spent–all are a part of your history as soon as they come from you. And people are reading you….

So, what kind of book is yours going to be? A tragedy? A drama? A comedy? Probably our lives entail all of those at one time or another, but what would characterize your life overall?

I want to encourage you to think twice before saying that impulsive thought that might be a bit judgmental or harsh–so that you leave good text with that recipient. Think twice before spending your time with mindless pursuits that leave you emptier–so that you then choose to put other people in the priority slots of time. Think twice before posting that picture on social media that is off-color and shows disrespect–so that others can still be influenced by the goodness of your heart and not turned away.

Yesterday’s script is written, and unfortunately, there are no erasers for bad decisions. You can, however, be the hero in your story by asking forgiveness and making it right, which ups people’s respect for you. Tomorrow’s script has yet to be penned. Be a best-seller!


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Good Enough?

good enoughWhen someone says, “Good Enough”, there can be a positive or a negative connotation to it, depending on the attitude behind it.

On one hand, it’s good to say that your effort is good enough if you are a perfectionist, and you struggle with completing projects because it typically must pass the perfection test before you call it done and show it to the world. Perfectionism is a trap, and too high a standards for peaceful living. And it can also lead to too-high-an-expectation on others. So, you now say Good Enough, and it’s still probably better than most people’s best work.

On the other hand, it shows an attitude of mediocrity to say Good Enough as a substitute for Excellent. Giving an half-hearted effort, cutting corners, not stretching yourself–these will never make you stand out at work, nor gain you the respect of your family and friends. In this case, you may need to step up your game and pursue excellence to become the high performer you were made to be.

So, which is it for you? And was this blog Good Enough in explaining it?

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Receiving Always Precedes Giving

Give-and-Receive-LoveOdd statement, right? We always hear how it’s more blessed to give than to receive, and that is very true. But have you ever met someone (a subtle way to say, Myself!) who had trouble receiving a compliment, a gift, or assistance with a project? There just seemed to be a block from allowing love to get into their heart.

Not being able to receive love has at its root a dysfunctional self-concept. For some, it’s pride: “I don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want any special attention. I can do it myself.” For others, it’s a poor self-image: “I don’t deserve that compliment. I just want to be by myself. I’m not worthy of loving.”  And it robs the rest of the world from giving to you, which would fill their tank!

But how can you love your neighbor (a foundational commandment) if you don’t allow love to flow to yourself? I think that the reason some people are so mean to others is that they haven’t allowed their own hearts to be melted by the love of others, because of their negative self-talk. That blockade must be removed. And the sun will shine into your soul.

This is a big issue to deal with, with a people-helper like a counselor, who can dig for the root of the inability to receive. Imagine how much more good will flow out of you when it’s going both ways!

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Changing Your First Impulse

first-impression-rs-story-topI don’t know about you, but often my first impulse in any situation leans toward selfishness, looking out for Number One, self-gratification. That is a pattern I want to keep working on to change for the rest of my life.

What I want, and probably what you want, more of is a desire to think of others’ needs before my own, right out of the chute. Instead of getting defensive or demanding or manipulating my way through an interaction, I want to ask more questions to learn how to bless and serve those with whom I’m speaking. Sure, my “story” is valid, but I want to promote others’ stories, which then adds to my story in a much more fulfilling way.

So, changing your first impulse starts with a new question. From “What’s in it for me?” to “How can I come alongside you?” That’s my motto of coaching, and I want it to permeate my personal life, too. That first impulse must not be judgmental either, but one of curiosity, in order to love others where they are at–not “vote them off the island.”

Wanna work on this together?

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Be a Make-it-Happen Person

you-make-it-happenCan someone at work or a family member or a friend come to you with a request and completely trust that you will get it done? If so, you are a go-to person! “Make-it-happen” people always have a position at work because they almost become indispensable.

Need a resource? They can put their hands on it. Need a contact to get that project moved along? They know just who you should call. Need a tip on personal wellness? They spew it out without even thinking twice.

You can always become more of a go-to person. It starts with being more others-focused and less self-focused. That kind of attitude makes you approachable, for starters, and it also makes you ready to help someone get unstuck and closer to their goals. No one wants a go-to person, who gripes the whole time they are getting it done.

A second way to make it happen for people with a dilemma or need is to become more of a noticer. In order to be ready to point someone to a solution, you have to know where the solutions are. Notice, or be more aware of, specific web sites, people who solve specific problems, books/magazines targeted to issues, research in your field, and current local news stories that might just answer a question for someone.

Finally, be persistent. Don’t just toss out advice and walk away. Help the asker get closer to their solution by helping them find a phone number, or making an introduction, or standing behind them as they search on their computer or tablet.  Literally, you are empowering them to make it happen, by being their catalyst.

People will consider you an invaluable resource and a key growth-agent in their lives by taking this one character trait to the next level. Make it happen!

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Be Gentle With Yourself

frowning-faceHave you ever bawled yourself out for dropping or spilling or forgetting something? Of course you have, and I do it way too much myself. So what, right?

Wrong! Destructive self-talk is like telling God He made junk when He made you. When we berate ourselves, we start believing we didn’t just make a mistake, but that we are a mistake. We must not let our inner critic to have free reign in our minds. A good test to evaluate whether something is too harsh is, Would you have used that same tone and word-choice if you were speaking to someone else, like a small child? If the answer is No, then it’s inappropriate to speak it internally.

The good news is that you can transform your self-talk from negative to positive by staying mindful of it. When you mess up, you make a split-second decision to substitute a phrase that is gentle on yourself instead of critical. Something like, “Oops! I won’t do that again.” or pull a Captain Obvious and say, “Guess I was carrying too much.” It’s especially important to go gentle on yourself when you are under incredible stress, or the stress compounds and makes the situation harder to bear.

This doesn’t mean giving yourself a pass for being rude to others or making huge mistakes that hurt your company. It just means that we don’t need to sabotage ourselves with our negative self-talk, which will ooze out onto others as disrespect. Put the error in perspective, breathe, and give yourself a break. Then clean up the spill.

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