Friday Focus – 4/19/19

Well…did you try it? You know…Meditating? Did you make it to 5…10 minutes? If not, that’s okay…keep at it…it does take practice. As I mentioned those who are on point use medicate every day to enhance their ability to focus. So let’s just take a moment right now…just a moment…go on close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. In…Out — In…Out — In…Out. Now don’t you feel better?

Our ability to focus in this day and age is as little as 8 seconds…we have so many distractions…phones, television, email, kids, co-workers, our own thoughts, etc…all day every day. AND we are being asked to take on more and more. It’s no wonder we can’t focus. If you are not focusing, you are not productive. Without focus, you can have a tendency to change direction easily which may not be the direction you ultimately want to take.

This next week…I want you to continue your practice of meditation…every day for just 5 – 10 minutes. Work on increasing that time up to 20 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I can be easily distracted by the phone ringing or the email messages popping up on my computer. So in addition to meditation, let’s eliminate the ‘noise’. Yes, that means when you start that project or report turn off your phone – do not just silence it…turn it off. Turn off the email notifications. Both of these dings and beeps are your biggest distraction! Remove everything that is not helpful to getting what you need done! Let me know how it goes and good luck.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” – Alexander Graham Bell

Leadership Shaping Series – #4

The Art of Being Self Aware

According to Wikipedia self awareness is the capacity for introspect and the ability to recognize oneself as an individual separate from the environment and other individuals. This includes having a clear understanding of your personality and how you think. You should intimately know your strengths and weaknesses…what motivates you…what you believe in/not what others want you to believe…You should have the ability to understand the perceptions others have of you and what your reaction is to how the perceive you. Sometimes in our mind’s eye we believe or see ourselves as one thing but the fact is, this is not real.

In order to be an effective leader you will need to become self aware. By understanding who you are and what makes you tick, the how/why you react to things is critical in building strong character. Becoming self aware helps us understand why we failed or why we succeeded…and if we want to be successful wouldn’t we behave in a way that increases the opportunity for success? Take a moment to think about two scenarios…

  1. A time you failed at something…a project…a relationship
  2. A time you were successful at something…a project…a relationship

How were you behaving in each of these situations? Were you listening or doing whatever you wanted…were you shut off to suggestions or asking for more…how were you reacting…how did it make you feel? Were you truly self aware? Be sure to look at yourself objectively. This can be difficult to do…we must learn to accept and be responsible for our behavior. By becoming more self aware in each interaction we will have a clearer understanding of who we are and how we can better interact with those around us.

“I think self-awareness is probably the most important thing towards being a champion.” – Billie Jean King

Monday Motivation – 4/15/19

Why do flowers start appearing from the ground…peeking out through the cold and snowy ground! Is it for the beauty they make across a stark white canvas? Is it because we need to see that a change is coming and there is hope?

Motivation is the act of creating new ideas or strategy for your goals. Applying these ideas to your day will lift you up and become more powerful which will inspire you to do more of what you are passionate about. Sometimes we wait on things to happen instead of just stepping out of our comfort zone and getting it done! Just like those flowers popping up from the snow…it is their time to grow and act on their beauty within.

I know there are days we just don’t feel like getting out of bed, or going to the gym, or completing that report…days we are stuck! We have those ‘off days’ we can’t seem to get past. First thing is to not beat yourself up…this is a part of life. The key is to not let the days grow into weeks or months…even years. As much as we want to cover our heads and stay in bed (especially after yesterday Chicagoland!)…it is time to awaken our thoughts and throw those covers off and get up to find our purpose!

Maybe your purpose this week is to finally get to the gym so you can begin your exercise program…or maybe your purpose is to complete that project you have been procrastinating about! Or maybe when you step out today look around at the beauty poking through and take a minute to find your purpose, if only for this day. It doesn’t have to be grand…it has to be a start…you must take action. Let me know how your day has gone…leave me a comment…I am anxious to know where your mind takes you today!

Everything in the universe has a purpose. Indeed, the invisible intelligence that flows through everything in a purposeful fashion is also flowing through you. –Wayne Dyer

Friday Focus – 4/12/19

Today is the day to revisit the week…were you able to focus on the steps to meet the goals or did you get distracted on things that were non-productive? It’s easy to get distracted, especially in today’s world…there are deadlines, employee issues, soccer practice, doctor’s appointments, etc…it seems impossible to get everything done… What we need is to practice! For the next few weeks we are going to learn new ways to focus our mind so we can be more productive to meet our goals. This next week take 20 – 30 minutes out of each day (WAIT…you don’t have 20 or 30 minutes? I know you can find it! Try watching 1/2 less of TV – I promise you won’t miss anything) and meditate. Okay okay…we will start slow…this weekend practice meditating for 5 – 10 minutes a day…work yourself up to 15 – 20 minutes.

Meditating is a great way to relax and focus on clearing your mind. The best way to do this is to find a quite place with no distractions and get comfortable (although not too comfortable you fall asleep). The purpose is to practice focusing on clearing your mind. Relax your body and breath in through your nose and out through your mouth concentrating on this task and nothing else. If thoughts start popping into your head…push them out. This will take a few tries…don’t get discouraged…it takes practice. To make it even easier, there are many apps out there that can help you, such as The Mindfulness App, Calm, Mindbody and what I use…Headspace. With minimal research you will find the one that works best for you! Best of luck…let’s stay focused.
Concentration can be cultivated. One can learn to exercise willpower, discipline one’s body and train one’s mind.” – Anil Ambani

Leadership Shaping Series – #3

In order to create your ‘shape’ of leadership, you must understand your style. Why is this important? As I have mentioned before, a great leader can identify with who they are and can be flexible with others by meeting them where they are. Your leadership style is personal and typically comes naturally. Most must work at shifting their style as necessary. Without self awareness, however, a leader may not be as effective as they should. There is a myth that all leaders are great. Without recognizing how we are perceive by others will surely affect results. Leadership styles include, but not limited to:

  • The Autocratic Leader or Authoritarian
  • The Facilitator or ‘hands off’
  • The Coaching Style or the trainer
  • The Transaction Leader or the status quo
  • The Situational Leader or flexibility
  • The Servant Leader or the listener/follower
  • The transformational Leader or the change agent
  • The Charismatic Leader or the friendly

Do you know which one you are? Some would say they can vacillate between styles depending on the circumstances and what they are doing or who they are interacting with. As with shoes…taking time to create your design…will lead to the style that fits.
“The best leader is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and the self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” — Theodore Roosevelt, American President

Monday Motivation – 4/8/19

Gemini Rainbow

We are driving home last evening from a hockey game when I looked up and saw this Gemini Rainbow! WOW! Why are we so fascinated by rainbows…especially a double rainbow? Maybe because they are rare or magical or just beautiful. According to some a double rainbow symbolizes a transformation in life. The first rainbow represents the material and the second the spiritual. When we see a Gemini rainbow it is meant for us to slow down to see how we can align the two in our lives. Some even say rainbows bring us promise that our trouble will soon come to pass. They bring the hope of fresh beginnings. Even others will say a rainbow signifies good luck!

Monday’s are a new beginning and an opportunity to slow down and plan for the week. When you do, you will have great success! Time goes by so fast and before you know it Friday will be upon you and you may look back and wonder where the week went and what did I accomplish. Don’t let that happen. Today is the day to organize your thoughts and decide the next step of your goals! Break down your week into sections and what you intend to accomplish in each. Commit to getting those specific things done!

Whatever meaning you want to believe the rainbow has for you, let it inspire you to slow down, plan your week and accomplish your goals! “If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy and inspires your hopes.” —Andrew Carnegie

Have a great week!

Friday Focus

Well, you made it…It’s Friday…but wait…the week’s not over yet. On Friday, many start thinking about the weekend and can’t wait for the day to be over…I know…that cocktail is calling. Don’t let those thoughts sway you from accomplishing your goals for the week. Friday’s are a day to reflect on the week…did you complete what you set out to do? If not, today you have the opportunity to get it done! At a very minimum you can organize your thoughts, your projects, and your goals. Stay focused on the tasks at hand…you won’t be sorry when Monday morning arrives and you have your week already organized. Just imagine how much more you will get done by taking the time today to reflect on your week, reorganize your desk/thoughts/goals, and plan for the next week. Not sure how to get started…

  1. Write down what is most important for you to accomplish…is it a specific project or a goal you have been tossing aside.
  2. Make a list of tasks you need to do to get to the next level.
  3. Set a deadline for next week and write it in your calendar…no really…come on…write it in down!
  4. You’re done…now you can enjoy your weekend knowing you are organized and ready to hit the ground running.
  5. Stay focused…see the results.

“Successful organizing is based on the recognition that people get organized because they, too, have a vision.” Paul Wellstone

Leadership Shaping Series – #2

The shape of leadership reminds me of shoes…there are flat ones, ballerina, pumps, stiletto, gym, sneakers, dress & boots…the list could go on. As people, we make decisions daily on which pair of shoes we are going to wear with the outfit we choose. Sometimes we even choose the shoes first and then the outfit! Some would even say that shoes are what make the outfit! As leaders, we work with many personalities every single day. This means we must get to know those we work with. Treating everyone the same will just not work. How we approach our subordinates, co-workers, and even our boss are completely different from each other. As leaders, we must choose the approach (just like shoes), that best fit the individual we are meeting with. The next person you meet with, stop, and put on the pair of shoes that best fit their personality. Come on…give it a try.

Monday Motivation

Yes! It’s time to get up and go today with enthusiasm! I know it’s tough on a Monday to get motivated especially on a beautiful sunny morning. Well, I know you can do it! As you prepare for your week consider your plan with a full sense of positive energy. If you, as a leader in your organization, are not enthusiastic about what your goals are for the week, your team members will not be either. A positive energetic attitude is contagious. You and your team will move forward this week with a passion to complete your mission. Let’s get ready for a great week!

Leadership Shaping Series – #1

Leadership sometimes is not always as it seems. Daily challenges change and can be unexpected so how we behave as individuals may change daily or with every interaction we encounter. It is important for leaders to understand their personality so they can adjust to others. Leaders are influential and by recognizing your personality style you can individually guide others to be better tomorrow than today. There are a lot of different personality tests that can be taken…do a search and you will find many! Why not download and complete one just for fun…you never know what you may find out!