Tag Archives: Change

Will You Change Course?

Lighthouse in the duskHere is a powerful parable about the need for flexibility and being ready to change course when needed.

The captain of a ship received a message one night, “Change your direction 15 degrees North to avoid collision”.

A little indignant, the captain replied, “I am the captain of a large ship and recommend you divert 15 degrees South”.

The captain received the reply, “We are a lighthouse”.

No matter who you are, life will require flexibility. Be ready to make an adjustment.

Will you be will to change your course?

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Quote for Apr 2nd

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.

Thomas A. Edison 

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Is the Past Impacting Your Present?

MonksIt is easy to hang on to the things that happened in the past, some are good and some are bad. Either way they are familiar and comfortable. Moving onto new ideas and new challenges can be scary so we often stay in our comfort zone and avoid change. Unfortunately, without change there is no growth or progress.

The greatest destructive power the past has is when we hang on to past hurts, slights and disappointments. These eat at us and cause more problems now, most likely the issues from lingering anger and resentment are greater than the original problem. The problems of the past are poisoning the present which will lower morale, reduce productivity and impact quality because we are not paying attention to the present.

As leaders we set the example for those around us. If we are letting the past impact the present, our team will as well. It is important to learn from the past and apply it to the present, and then let it go. Every one of us has things we wish we could do differently; the key is to learn from those situations and use the information to create a better future. Show your team how to move forward in a positive manner by how you handle your own past and how you handle their mistakes.

See the parable below for an interesting look at how the past can shape your attitude in the present.

A Story of Two Monks

Once there were two monks traveling when they arrived at a river. At the river they discovered a woman struggling to get across. Without a second thought, the older of the two monks asked the woman if she needed help, then swiftly picked her up and carried her across to the other bank.

It should be understood that for monks, especially in ancient times, any contact with the opposite sex would be strongly frowned upon, if not forbidden. The actions of the older monk greatly troubled the younger monk, who allowed his feelings to fester for several miles while they continued their journey.

Finally, the younger monk confronted the older monk, “How could you have done such a thing? We are not even supposed to be in a woman’s presence, but you touched her, carried her even!”

The older monk calmly replied, “I put that woman down miles ago, back at the river. But you are still carrying her.” The younger monk realized the older monk was indeed correct and they continued on their journey.

How do you keep the past from negatively impacting your present?

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Self-Aware Leaders

IntrospectionAs a leader do you know your strengths and weaknesses?  Have you examined the things that have helped you get to this point and that have gotten in your way?  Most of us are well aware of the things we have done wrong over the years and we can name a few strengths, and yet to move ourselves and our teams forward we must be more self-aware.  Progress only happens when there is change and forward progress happens when the right changes are made.

To become more self-aware requires a commitment and consistent practice.  You have to be willing to take hard looks at yourself and solicit feedback from the people around you.  As well, this isn’t something that you do today and it’s good for life, you need to do it on a regular basis.  Timing will depend on how fast changes are happening in your world or on how fast you want to change your life.  When looking for quick change or when dealing with a situation that is in flux you need to evaluate your situation more often.  Otherwise, use the evaluations as course corrections to keep you moving in the right direction at the right pace.

Here are five steps to take to become more self-aware:

  1. Write down five strengths and how they have helped you succeed
  2. Write down five weaknesses and how they have slowed you
  3. Get feedback from at least five people around you, your boss, subordinates, peers
    • Ask them for five strengths
    • Ask them what they would like to see you do more often and do less often
    • Compare their assessments with your own, reflect on the differences
    • Using your goals determine what is helping and what is hindering your progress

Once you have determined what you want to address make plans to change your behavior.  Set goals and start small to gain traction.  As you get more comfortable with the new habits and behaviors you can take the time to look back and see how it’s working out.  If it’s moving you forward in the direction you want to go, keep up the good work.  Otherwise, make some new adjustments to get on track.  Doing this regularly will help you grow in the right areas and move you forward.

Another benefit of these five steps is that people will see you as more open and approachable.  Your credibility goes up when you seek feedback and then make changes based on what you learned.  Demonstrating your self-awareness, being open to feedback and changing will make it easier for you to drive change in your organization.  People will respect your thoughts on their development more when they see you doing the same thing.  Change is easier when a leader is willing to change first.  Change starts with self-awareness of what must change.

What steps do you take to evaluate yourself?

 

photo from iStockPhoto.com

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Quote for Mar 12th

If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.

Gail Sheehy

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Quote for Feb 28th

Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
Thomas Jefferson

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Quote for Feb 26th

What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau 

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Are You Stuck

Man in Wheel

We are seven weeks into 2013 and how are you doing on your plans and goals for the year?  Have you gotten stuck in a rut?  Have you hit a plateau?  Are you stuck in old habits that are keeping you from moving forward towards the future you want?  If so, you are not alone.  Statistics show that 88% of people fail to meet their new year’s resolutions.  It’s not too late to get back on track.

So if you here are five steps you can take today to get unstuck:

  1. Review your goals & select 2 or 3 (max) that support your future
  2. Identify challenges / obstacles to achieving it
  3. Write down the benefits of reaching the goal
  4. Name the resources (people or tools) that will help
  5. Break them down into action items & schedule the time needed

If you follow these five steps you can refocus your attention and efforts onto achieving your goals.  To help you get moving forward again take the time to review your goals.  Ask yourself the following questions about each one:

  • Why is this on the list?
  • Is this going to help me reach my long-term goals?
  • Is this something I want for myself or something others expect of me?
  • Am I willing to commit to this at this time?
  • Will this improve my life/ health/ career/ family?
  • What is the driver behind this goal?
  • Is the driver an internal or external one?

Often we create goals for ourselves that are driven by what other people tell us or expect from us.  Evaluating your goals, both short term and long-term, in light of you situation and where you want to go with your life will help you cut out goals that are due to the expectations of others.  The goals that are driven by your deepest desires and will move you towards the future you envision for yourself are the ones that will hold your attention and you will have the energy to pursue.

Additionally by limiting the number of big goals that you have on your plate will help you manage them.  If you are trying to tackle too many important things at once you will become distracted instead of focused.  Creating a laser like focus on one item of one goal at a time will move you forward faster than bouncing from task to task.  To maintain momentum have a plan that shows all the steps needed to reach the goal.  Then when you finish one item you know what comes next.  This keeps you moving at all times.

If you have gotten stuck on a plateau take time to revisit your goals, why they mattered and decide to do something today that will get you one step closer to your goal.   Hitting a plateau gives you a chance to catch your breath, check the map and get moving again in the right direction.

How do you get yourself off of a plateau?

photo from iStockphoto.com

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Quote for Feb 21st

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.

John D. Rockefeller 

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Interesting Articles for February

Businesswoman Sitting at Desk Reading

 

I wanted to share some of the interesting articles I’ve read over the last month.  Enjoy!

What has inspired you to look at things in new ways?

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