Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tim Duncan and The Importance of Servant Leadership


Today I'm featuring a guest blog post by Quinn McDowell, a colleague whose passion for developing strong leaders, parents and young people matches my own.

Tim Duncan will go down as one of the 10 greatest NBA players of all time. He was a three-time NCAA Collegiate All American and Naismith Player of the Year at Wake Forest and then went on to become the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. Over the course of his 17-year NBA career, he has been selected to the All-Defensive Team 14 times and the All-NBA Team 14 times. Three times, he was awarded the NBA Finals MVP and twice the NBA Regular Season MVP.

Yet, for all his accomplishments, the lasting mark of his incredible 17-year NBA career will be his unique approach to leadership. Duncan’s decision to approach his leadership role with a servant’s mindset has played a huge role in the Spurs’ extended run of success. There are several key characteristics of servant leaders that raise the level of our teams and organizations.

Servant Leaders Are Flexible

Flexibility in a team context means that one person (player, coach, or parent) does not hold the organization hostage to their personal demands. Duncan could have easily vetoed trades for more talented players or demanded the Spurs play a certain style that was tailored to his preferences.

Instead, flexible leaders are able to objectively assess a situation and determine what is best for the entire group, not just their own well-being. Practically speaking, this could mean having to give up scoring a ton of points, sharing the spotlight with other talented players or being willing to admit that someone else might be able to provide a benefit for the team that you’re incapable of.

Servant Leaders Are Not Threatened by Others

To go back to the example of Tim Duncan and the Spurs, Duncan could have felt threatened by the arrival of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobli. He could have given into the urge to hold onto his power and declare that the Spurs were “his team” and no one else’s (and by all accounts he had every right to feel that way).

Instead, he gave away his power, which allowed Parker and Ginobli to realize their potential on the court. This is one huge reason why the Spurs have been difficult to beat for the last decade. The team is stronger than any individual, and even the great Michael Jordan didn’t win any championships until he figured this out.

Success on the basketball floor is dependent on a team of individuals learning to become a cohesive unit. This cohesion is only possible when everyone feels support from their teammates. If Manu and Parker never felt that Duncan wanted them to become great, their growth as players would have been stunted.

Servant Leaders Understand Their Value

From an outside perspective it might seem that by taking this approach servant leaders are working against themselves by lessening their influence or power within a team.

In reality, just the opposite is happening. The more leaders can empower others, the more invaluable they become. Your value as a leader is directly tied to how well you can help others raise their level of performance. The truly indispensable leaders on any team are the ones that give away their power, influence, and personal prestige for the good of the team. Those kinds of leaders are rare, but those kinds of leaders make a difference, and those kind of leaders become truly irreplaceable.

Quinn McDowell is a writer, trainer and professional athlete. He has played in the NBA D-League, Australia and Spain, following his four-year career at the College of William and Mary. He is the founder of AreteHoops.com and desires to see coaches and players succeed with excellence. He currently resides in Palencia, Spain, with his wife Lindsey.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Flying without a Helicopter – A Book for Millennials, Their Parents and Their Bosses


Recently I was having a conversation about parenting with three people I love the most – my husband, daughter and son-in-law. This topic has immediate relevance for them since they had their first child in October.

Some interesting questions popped up about Alison’s growing up years…

  • What did Lee and I do to instill in her a sense of responsibility?
  • How did we prevent her from developing a sense of entitlement as an only child?
  • What did we teach her about money management so she would not expect us to pay for everything she wanted?

I had just finished reading Flying without a Helicopter by Joanie Connell, Ph.D., and was sharing some of the stories from her book.

Stories that did not paint millennials in a positive light.

Stories that surprised me because Alison falls into the millennials age group (born early 1980s to early 2000s) yet doesn't display the characteristics described by Joanie.

Many in this generation grow up protected and sheltered, entering the workforce:

  • with unrealistic expectations about opportunities 
  • unwilling or unable to accept constructive feedback about their work
  • afraid to take risks
  • with an expectation or need to be praised daily or even more often
  • without the communication skills necessary to work in teams

Joanie explains that these attitudes and behaviors are the result of “helicopter parents” who tend to hover over their children, trying to shield them from negative experiences, setbacks or failures, and make decisions on their behalf. The result is a generation of young people who have not developed the skills required for success in life and on the job.

Joanie Connell achieves something unique in this book. She’s able to talk to the parents and managers as well as the millennials themselves. Her message is important. She states that she wrote the book because she’s concerned that the leaders of tomorrow will not be prepared to lead effectively.

Her book shows the way for all those involved to help young people get ready for “REAL” Life:

RESILIENT – to stay engaged and maintain a positive attitude no matt what gets in your way
EMPOWERED – to be independent and confident, able to get things done
AUTHENTIC – to be aware of yourself, know your strengths and your imperfections, and to communicate genuinely
LIMBER – to be flexible in mind and body, to be creative, resourceful and able to switch gears quickly as the situation requires

She’s organized the book into 3 sections: Problems, Solutions and Exercises. After you read the first section, you recognize with utter clarity the issues involved with this group of young people.

The rest of the book explains exactly what young workers can do to develop themselves in the critical areas…and what their parents and bosses can do to foster this growth.

I valued Connell’s truth-teller approach. Her writing style is simple, clear and conversational. Her stories and examples are powerful and memorable, drawn from her personal experience as a parent and as a consultant to a wide variety of businesses.

If you’re a parent, manager, teacher or young adult new to the workplace, grab a copy of this book and apply the recommendations. We need to ensure that our next generation of leaders have the skills they need to take risks, make good decisions and communicate effectively.



Friday, February 20, 2015

Emotional Intelligence Improves Millennial Communications at Work


Guest Post by Joanie Connell, Ph.D.

A mom confided in me she had gotten so frustrated with her 7-year-old daughter that she started crying. She said that once her daughter saw her crying, her daughter immediately stopped misbehaving and came over and held her to comfort her. The mom was beating herself up for letting that happen, but I offered a different perspective.

Look at what the daughter learned from that experience. Her behavior frustrated someone so much that it led them to cry. When someone cries it’s good to comfort them. And, the mom got over it and was fine after that. How empowering to the daughter to see how someone can get upset and get over it. How educational to understand how her behavior can affect the emotions of others and vice versa.

Emotions are at the root of human communication. In fact, it is widely believed that emotions evolved as a method to communicate. When we squelch emotions, we limit communication. The “poker face” is desirable in situations when we don’t want others to know how we feel. On the other hand, if we all walked around poker faced all the time, we wouldn't be able to interact with each other effectively. I coach business people on this frequently. To be effective communicators at work, we need to be able to express, interpret, and manage emotions.

The problem is many younger employees have been brought up in an emotion-deprived environment. Think about it. The PC movement has killed people’s ability to say what they think and feel. Schools now ban fighting and even ban words like “stupid.” When conflicts between students arise, their parents handle them. Kids are shielded from disappointment and showered with praise. “Everyone’s a winner” in sports and in the arts. By the time kids get to their first jobs, they haven’t experienced—or been allowed to express their experiences of—emotion.

Managers complain frequently that Millennial workers lack communication skills. Technology is often cited as the reason, but lack of emotional intelligence is another. How can managers help young employees develop emotional intelligence?

There are many great books, tools, and training programs out there and my new book, Flying without a Helicopter, is a great place to start. The key message is that emotions are core to communication and they need to be paid attention to. They aid us in building relationships, making decisions, and reducing conflict. Being in tune with our own and others’ emotions takes us to a whole new level of leadership in an organization. For people who have missed out on that training earlier in life, it is important for them to get it now. The good news about emotional intelligence is that it can be learned at any age.

Joanie B. Connell, Ph.D., is a talent management expert and career coach for people across job levels, ages, and industries. She works with companies to attract, develop, and retain top talent and she works with individuals to improve their success and happiness in their careers. Learn more about Joanie and her new book, Flying without a Helicopter online at flyingwithout.com.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Personal Strengths of a 12 Year-Old Boy


Ned, watching birds with his camera (photo by Charm Peterson)
Last weekend I was in charge of a bird-watching (aka “birding”) field trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The 100 participants ranged in age from 12 to 92. Talk about diversity!

Often when preteens or teens attend, they’re accompanying parents who are eager to introduce them to the world of birds.

In this instance, two 12 year-old boys brought their mothers along. I knew one of the boys, Ned, because he’s a member of our local bird club. He’s been an avid birder for two years and has accompanied my husband Lee and me for Audubon bird counts.

Ned is not like most boys his age. As I watched him in action over the weekend, I was awed by his maturity and the personal strengths he exhibited.

CREATIVITY
Ned doesn't use binoculars to look at birds. While this is a must-have piece of equipment for most birders, Ned uses his camera exclusively. He’s taught himself to expertly zoom in and out to view a bird and take a picture at the same time. Pretty ingenious. I've never seen anyone else do that.

EXCELLENCE
People who are serious birders keep a list of birds they've seen. When they encounter a new species, they call it a “life bird.” Some folks count birds that they barely see because they’re eager to add to their numbers. Not Ned. He holds himself to a very high standard. He only counts birds that he can photograph. He wants documented proof that he’s seen a specific species. As handy as he is with his camera, he’s been able to get a shot of almost every new species he encounters.

SELF-DISCIPLINE
The host hotel offered a hot breakfast every morning, starting at 6:00AM. My husband Lee and I arrived at 6:10 both days. Ned was already there, by himself (his mother and buddy slept in), finishing up his morning meal. No one had to prod this kid to get up. He wanted to make the most of his time, so he arrived at the earliest possible moment. After clearing his table off, he scurried out the door to stand on the large deck just outside the breakfast room, looking for birds and capturing pictures of the sunrise.

PATIENCE
Unlike many kids who have the attention span of a gnat, Ned was able to be still for long periods at a time and just WAIT. Whether he was sitting on a bench waiting for the sunrise or out in the field waiting for birds to show up, he seemed to just enjoy the moment and relish in whatever came next.

PASSION 
Because of the number of attendees, we divided into smaller groups for the field trips. No matter which group Ned was in, he brought an infectious enthusiasm that spread to others. This young man LOVES birding. He’d rather do that than almost anything else. You won’t see him with any electronic gadgets, playing video games or texting his friends. When we’d mention species that we might see on a particular trip and it was a new bird for him, Ned’s excited face lit up the room.

Yes, Ned left quite an impression on everyone, a very positive impression. You might say he was a phenomenon.

He certainly inspired me to appreciate the beauty around me - and life in general - in a more profound way.

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Experience Transformer: Dan Sullivan’s Formula


What if this happened to you?

Your flight has arrived in Atlanta, and you’ve connected with your limo driver. You set your briefcase in the top tray of his luggage cart while he places your other bags on the lower shelf. You arrive at the limo and get in the car while he puts the luggage in the trunk. After you arrive at your hotel, you discover the briefcase is not there. When you tell the driver he forgot to pack your briefcase, he denies it was in the cart. At this point, you insist that he take you back to the airport so you can search for the briefcase. He reluctantly agrees to do so.

What thoughts would be going through your mind on the way back to the airport?

This situation actually happened to Dan Sullivan, founder of Strategic Coach.

As I heard him describe the details of this incident in episode 47 of 10xTalk podcast, I imagined the anger and frustration that I would have felt if I’d been in his place.

But Dan took a different approach. He applied the steps of his “Experience Transformer” process, which resulted in very positive outcomes.

And not just because he found his briefcase.

Even more importantly, he adjusted his perception of the experience so he took away valuable insights that influenced his handling of future situations.

Before going through his steps, first recognize that the unexpected is going to happen. That’s life.

How you respond and process the event will have a profound on your confidence and your experience for days, weeks, or months.

Ask yourself these four questions – as you’re going through the incident itself or as soon afterwards as possible.

1. What worked in the situation? What went well?
It’s important to focus on the positive first so you calm down, acknowledge the good things and keep a balanced perspective. You don’t want to allow this incident to color the rest of your day.

2. What did NOT work in the situation? What went wrong?
Recognize what your role and responsibilities were so you don’t focus on blaming others. Writing down your answers helps to de-personalize the situation, giving you distance and perspective.

3. If you could go through this experience again, knowing what you know now, how would you do it differently?
Brainstorm a series of fresh approaches because now you have experience and wisdom that you didn't have before. You free up your creativity because you've gotten past negativity.

4. What’s your “Game Plan” for next time?
Based on your responses to #3, organize your actions into a sequence so you have a new framework for responding to similar situations in the future.

Imagine if you used this approach with someone on your team or with a family member when mistakes are made. Instead of engaging in blaming, defending or other non-productive behaviors, together you review what happened and prepare for handling the situation differently (and more effectively) in the future.

This approach is similar to the 5 Magic Questions in the Reflection step of our ProStar Coach system. It really works!

Listen to the full 30-minute podcast to learn the fine points of Dan’s exercise and use these steps the next time you’re going through an unexpected, undesirable situation.

“Your brain really loves this kind of thinking because it integrates an experience into a lesson.” 
- Dan Sullivan

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Judy Robinett: A True Power Connector

A few years ago I got a phone call from a woman I’d connected with on Twitter. She had been following my blog and the blog of my business partner, Denny Coates, and said she was very impressed with our content. She said we were the kind of people she liked to connect with. Of course, I liked her immediately!

She proceeded to ask lots of questions about our focus and business, expressing genuine interest along the way.

Then she told me she wanted to introduce me to a couple of people she’d recently met on LinkedIn. True to her word, she followed up afterwards with emails to me and these individuals, explaining why she thought we should know each other.

She said she considered herself a “power connector” and took great joy in bringing people together.

After that initial conversation, she emailed me regularly, sending articles she thought I’d be interested in and recommending associations that could lead to some positive new contacts.

I was impressed. But then we lost touch for a while.

Fast forward to November 17, 2014, when she was the featured guest on my favorite podcast, I Love Marketing.

When I saw her name – JUDY ROBINETT – I made listening to that interview a top priority because I just knew it would be packed with valuable content. And it was.

Judy delivered a wealth of actionable ideas, and even the hosts, Joe Polish and Dean Jackson (master connectors themselves), were taking notes.

I clicked over to Amazon and ordered her book, How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits, before the end of the interview. If she delivered this much useful information in just an hour, I was confident that much more awaited me in her book.

And I was right.

In fact, I was astonished at the comprehensive, yet simple, system she maps out in her book.

Even if you don’t aspire to be an over-the-top power connector like Judy, her book contains absolutely the best approach I’ve seen for helping you think strategically about forming alliances with others.

An often-repeated theme throughout the book is to adopt a “giver” mindset. She advises you to seek first how you can add value, value, value and more value to others before asking for anything.

She exemplified this approach in her initial call to me, and she’s continued refining the process ever since. In fact, her book reflects 25 years of practice and refinement. She has emerged as a true master of her system.

The core idea is 5+50+100. 

You make a list of all your current connections and then organize the top 155 into 3 power circles.

Top 5. Your innermost circle is composed of the individuals closest to you, usually close family, friends and business associates. These are people you’d trust your life with.

Key 50. These are friends and associates you can call on for help or advice—and they know they can do the same with you.

Vital 100. You want this group to be diverse, with a wide variety of locations and roles.

Judy provides all the details for preparing, connecting, engaging, providing value and deepening these relationships. She explains exactly how to build a robust network that’s deep, wide and diverse.

Throughout the book, she provides examples of how she has implemented her own system over the years. She has ingrained these skills to the point that she automatically looks for ways to connect people with others who can help them solve their most pressing problem or need.

No one operates in a vacuum. You need positive relationships to get things done, whether it’s running your own business, leading a team, or tackling a challenging project. Judy’s book teaches you how to achieve the kinds of meaningful relationships and connections that positively impact everyone involved.

“Every person has a gift to give and receive, and every person has problems that he or she needs help to solve. When you engage with others by looking for their gifts and problems, and when you seek to understand and add value consistently, you will build the kind of profound relationships that will enrich both of your lives and businesses.”  
– Judy Robinett in How to Be a Power Connector

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Jeff Wolf and Seven Disciplines of a Leader

When I was first put in a position of supervising others, I received no formal training in leadership. I had excelled as a teacher, and a natural progression was to move into an administrative position. I made a lot of mistakes as I tried to discover the best ways to motivate and empower people to give their best effort.

This is not unique to the field of education. Many outstanding individual performers – whether it’s in sales, engineering or accounting – are often promoted to supervisor or manager because of their technical expertise.

The problem is, in far too many cases, they aren't adequately prepared to lead others. They know how to complete the technical aspects of their work, but they have no clue how to help those now in their charge to become outstanding, too.

I wish I’d had Jeff Wolf’s new book, Seven Disciplines of a Leader: How to Help Your People, Team, and Organization Achieve Maximum Effectiveness when I got promoted.

There’s no shortage of books on the topic of leadership. But many are theoretical and don’t give specific “how-to” advice. You can learn about leadership, but you don’t get a clear roadmap for exactly what to do.

Seven Disciplines provides those kinds of specifics…and so much more.

Jeff Wolf’s advice is credible and practical because he draws from his own experience as a senior executive and his decades of work coaching hundreds of leaders in all kinds of industries. The client stories he shares throughout the book bring each of the 7 disciplines to life.

These disciplines as well 11 related practices can be developed and applied whether you’re a leader in the workplace, a volunteer organization, or a professional association. The skills carry over into effective parenting, too.

Jeff serves as your personal coach for leadership development. That’s because of the book’s structure. You can select a chapter that deals with a skill you want to develop. You’ll find out what to do and how to do it, with real-life examples. And then he guides you to take action steps through a “Takeaway” section.

He also tells you the truth about what’s required to actually change your behavior. With his Daily Discipline Activities, you schedule 30 minutes each day to focus and practice that one skill until it becomes a habit. Based on our company's experience with clients during the past 25 years, I believe his advice is spot-on.

“Practice 3: Understand the Value of Coaching” was a favorite chapter. Too often, what’s taught in training doesn’t “stick.” Even those companies that invest in leadership development programs typically overlook a key element for ensuring a lasting impact. They lack “a coaching component to reinforce the skills learned in these classes. Why is coaching so important? Because personal coaching not only changes the behavior of participants, but aids them in real-time on-the-job situations.”

Whether you’re a novice or veteran leader, you can use Seven Disciplines of a Leader as a blueprint for your development. If you follow the specific guidelines and complete the thought-provoking exercises, you’ll become more conscious of the behaviors required to inspire others to do their best work.

“The world will belong to passionate, driven leaders—people who not only have an enormous amount of energy but who can energize those whom they lead.” 
- Jack Welch, American business leader (1935- )

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Do You Talk Too Much about Yourself?

I’d arrived a few minutes at the beauty salon for my hair appointment. While I was waiting for my stylist to arrive, I couldn’t help overhearing the only other stylist who was there with a client.

“Sheila” was talking non-stop about a worker’s compensation situation involving her brother. He had been seriously injured on the job a year ago and had not worked since. Things were finally reaching a resolution, and Sheila was giving her client a blow-by-blow account of everything that had been taking place.

Soon my stylist “Beth” arrived, and we started having our own conversation when I sat down in her chair. But not for long.

Right after Sheila’s client left, she came into Beth’s area and started repeating the same story she’d just relayed to her client. I noticed that Beth gave minimal responses and after Sheila’s next appointment arrived, I found out why.

Beth told me that for the past year, Sheila has been obsessed with talking to everyone within earshot about this situation. It saddened me to discover that she’s so pre-occupied with this one challenge that she never attempts to actually engage others in a real conversation. It hasn't occur to her to stop talking about herself long enough to inquire what’s going on with her clients and coworkers.

We all face difficulties and challenges. That’s part of life.

We all need encouragement and support to get through the rough spots.

But even during those times, you can look for opportunities to connect with others in a meaningful way.

Because continually talking about you and your life pushes people away. No one will want to listen to you for long if you focus exclusively on yourself.

Instead, set aside your own pain or situation for a few minutes and ask questions about how they are doing. You’ll derive these benefits:

1. You show another human being you’re genuinely interested in their wellbeing. Learning about the ups and downs in their lives can help you put your own challenges in perspective.

2. When you shift your focus to someone else with the intention of really hearing what they have to say, you stop thinking about yourself and your own problems, at least temporarily. You’re more available mentally and emotionally to respond to the needs of another person.

3. You become more aware that the world does not revolve around you. You can start thinking of ways that you can be of service to others.

Do you have a “Sheila” in your life? Do you find yourself avoiding this person?

I know I do.

In my limited time on earth, I prefer to interact with individuals who are not self-absorbed, who do not talk incessantly about themselves and who want to learn what’s happening in the lives of those around them.

Encountering someone like Sheila reminds me how I do and do not want to be around others, because one of my goals is to contribute something of value with each interaction.

“Genuine wisdom is usually conspicuous through modesty and silence. – Napoleon Hill

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Three Steps for Building a New Habit


When you decide to make a change, you've taken an important step. Now you need to follow through on your commitment.

But there’s a problem.

As you begin this undertaking, you find that your old way of doing things kicks in more often than the new way. That’s because your brain is literally wired – it has physical connections – for the familiar pattern you’ve been using.

It’s like putting on a pair of old, comfortable shoes. Breaking in a new pair takes time and can be somewhat painful for a while.

When you want to change a habit, you have to move through this “Crunch Point” until the new, awkward way starts feeling natural.

Following a three-step process can facilitate the change process.

The first step is FOCUS. You may have several areas you could work on, but success comes from working on just ONE habit at a time and learning how to do it the right way. Trying to address several changes at once simply doesn't work.

After identifying what to work on and how to do it right, you’re ready to take the next step: ACTION. You apply what you learned. And not just once or twice. Dozens or even hundreds of times. It takes a lot of repetition and practice to rewire the brain circuit so the behavior becomes comfortable.

You can accelerate the rewiring process by using the third step, REFLECTION, to learn from your experience. Instead of simply repeating the behavior, you think about what happened. The lessons your take away will refine your skill. Each time you repeat the new behavior, you answer a series of five questions:
  1. What happened?
  2. Why did it happen that way?
  3. What were the consequences?
  4. What would you do differently in the future?
  5. What are your next steps?
Completion of these three steps - Focus, Action and Reflection - is what we refer to as a “rep,” or repetition of the desired behavior. Learning what to do, then practicing the behavior in real life, followed by learning from the experience.


You repeat this cycle of focus, action and reflection many times until the behavior becomes automatic. It takes many reps to reach the ultimate goal…a new, established habit.

As with any skill, the key to ingraining it is practice, practice and more practice – a lot of repetition over time.

To keep you on track, enlist the help of an accountability coach who will make sure you follow through on your commitments and stay on track.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Support Coaching Is Essential for New Habits


“Mastering any kind of skill takes time, effort and patience. Along the way, there’s much you can do to help someone stay on track.” 
– Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D. in Support Coaching

Do you know someone who’s trying to break a bad habit or form a new, positive one?

Think back to when you’ve attempted to make such a change. It’s not easy.

People will experience setbacks and failures as they work to adopt a new way that’s different from their familiar, comfortable pattern. Along the way, they’re likely to feel discouraged, frustrated, and disappointed with the lack of progress.

There’s a risk they’ll give up because the change sometimes feels too hard. They question if it’s worth the effort.

As a caring person, you’d probably like to help. But maybe you’re not sure what to do.

I can tell you from personal experience that offering advice, giving criticism or pointing out flaws – no matter how well-intentioned your motive – will not be welcomed or appreciated.

One of the best things you can do is become their “Support Coach.” And you don’t even have to get “certified” to serve in this role!

But you do have to know the kinds of things you can do that will be perceived as helpful...from their perspective.

A few surefire tips…

1 – Listen.

That’s right. Get the other person talking. What’s going well? What’s holding you back? 

Most people are absorbed in their own lives. Very few are interested in learning about the struggles of a fellow human being. You’ll stand out by just taking time to truly hear what’s going on in their head and heart.

2 – Encourage.

Offering encouragement starts with listening, and then builds on it. You affirm past successes and offer a balanced perspective. You ask what kind of support they’d like from you…and then you deliver.

3 – Guide learning from experience.

If we don’t learn from what happens to us, we’re likely to repeat the same mistakes going forward. Asking someone to think about what happened, why it happened that way, and what the consequences were draws out important insights that can be applied the next time.

There's additional value you add as a support coach, things that communicate you care about their progress as they’re working to make a change or deal with challenges.

My business partner of 24 years, Denny Coates, and I have created some new resources to show how you can become an effective support coach.

And they’re FREE!


Access 9 short videos and an ebook on Support Coaching.

Then apply what you learn.

The people who are trying so hard to make positive changes will appreciate the ways you show that you’re in their corner.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Power of Persistence

The principles in Napoleon Hill’s classic, Think and Grow Rich can certainly be applied to the accumulation of money.

But they also represent an outstanding roadmap for accomplishing any worthwhile achievements in your life.

Best-selling author Bob Proctor has studied and taught Hill’s 13 success principles for 40 years. The two habits he’s developed over the years are worth adopting:

1. Read a few lines from the book every day. No matter what challenge he faces in life, he’s found the solution inside the pages of this book.

2. Read the chapter on PERSISTENCE every day for 30 days at least twice a year.

Solid advice! Consider this wisdom from that chapter…

“Persistence is the direct result of habit. The mind absorbs and becomes a part of the daily experiences upon which it feeds. Fear, the worst of all enemies, can be effectively cured by forced repetition of acts of courage.”
We don’t automatically have a “stick-to-it-no-matter-what” approach to difficult situations we encounter.

I know a young man who got part-time jobs during high school to earn spending money. But he quit each of them after a short period of time because they required actions that inconvenienced him. His parents bailed him out by giving him money and allowing him to break his commitments without consequence.

To form the habit of persistence, you have to decide that you’ll keep trying, no matter how uncomfortable the situation becomes.

Even when you don’t feel like taking the actions you committed to.

Especially when you don’t feel like taking them.

That’s why Hill refers to “forced repetition.”

You commit, and then you follow through. No matter what.

One of the enduring strengths of Hill’s writing is the specific guidance he provides for implementing each principle.

Here are the four things you need to have in order to develop the habit of persistence…

1. “A definite purpose backed by burning desire for its fulfillment.”
What drives and motivates you in life? When you know your
WHY and feel it to the core of your being, you will not let temporary setbacks and disappointments discourage you for long.

2. “A definite plan, expressed in continuous action.”
Vague ideas or wishes won’t inspire you to do the hard things on a regular basis. A clear vision of where you want to go and the steps required to get there can keep you on track.

3. “A mind closed tightly against all negative and discouraging influences, including negative suggestions of relatives, friends and acquaintances.”
If you’re determined to achieve something great, be prepared for criticism and unwanted advice. You need to develop a strong belief in yourself in order to withstand pressure from others who don’t share or agree with your goals.

4. “A friendly alliance with one or more persons who will encourage one to follow through with both plan and purpose.”
As much as possible, surround yourself with people who believe in you and sincerely want to see you succeed. They can encourage you when you encounter rough spots and help you stay focused on your goals.

Is there an area of your life where could you achieve greater success if you committed to making a sustained effort, no matter what?

Friday, August 8, 2014

How to Network Like a Fox

I've been in business since 1982 and have read dozens of books about networking over the years. Usually I’d get a nugget here and there, but then I was left to cobble together my own plan.

In her Network Like a Fox is refreshingly different.

Inside the covers of this value-packed book by Nancy Fox is an entire strategy mapped out for the taking.

Fox’s recommended approaches are closely aligned with my own values, focusing on what you can do for other people and not what they’ll do for you. She also stresses the importance of LISTENING – not just to hear what the person is saying but also to connect the dots, to read between the lines, for opportunities to introduce that person to others. So few people are great listeners that you’ll truly stand out if you do this well (that’s been my experience, too).

Fox’s style is engaging, practical and direct. She gives step-by-step instructions that are easy to understand. No fluff or vague concepts. For example, she describes specific how-to’s like:
  • What to say on LinkedIn to new connections
  • How to meet and make a positive impression with “top tier” people
  • 3 ways to follow up after meeting new people at events
The dozens of case studies throughout the book provide convincing evidence that her ideas work in the real world. What I like about all her examples is they are everyday people you can relate to.

Her 3 steps for networking a room are worth the price of the book alone. She tells you how to:
  1. Prepare in advance before the event so you don’t feel overwhelmed entering a room where you know no one
  2. Start a conversation with a stranger, and 
  3. Gracefully move from one conversation to another during the event.
One of the most valuable take-aways for me was her Grow Zone Profiler. Identifying the characteristics of 4 ideal archetypes (Client, Prospect, Referrer and Introducer/Connector) gave me much great clarity about who I should focus my networking efforts on.

I also appreciated that Fox includes topics that other authors ignore or shy away from, like the key role SELF-CONFIDENCE plays in effective networking and the importance of your SIGNIFICANT OTHER in your success.

Nancy Fox is the ultimate truth-teller and challenges the reader like a good coach would. If you’re ready to be coached on how to up-level your networking, you will love this book.