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15 Tips for a Path to Greatness

 

15 Tips for a Path to Greatness

15 Tips for a Path to Greatness

In my experience in relationships, with others and myself, I have found many qualities that stand out.  In those times when I’ve felt successful or times when I’ve looked up to others, I have seen particular qualities stand out.  These qualities seem to shine with importance.  I  have found that these qualities are ones that are present in those that I look up to or consider to be true leaders.  There may be some cross over here and a bit of redundancy, but that’s probably because those points are especially important.  Follow these tips to build a path to greatness in your life.

  1. Don’t Quit–When you think you are ready to give up, keep pushing yourself. You are capable of more. Need some more motivation? See these five key strategies on authentic motivation!

  2. Be Kind – Remember when you were told this in Kindergarten? It still applies.  This is such a basic principle that we often lose sight of. Remember that there is opportunity for this everyday – hold a door, leave a tip, express to someone their importance to you or offer a compliment.

  3. Don’t Assume – You know what they say….I hope. Our assumptions often prevent us from truly connecting with one another. Check them when they come up to see if they are really based on a current perception or something from some other time and place.

  4. Push Yourself Further Than You Think You’re Capable of Going – This is how you can build your own self efficacy. Try this in multiple areas of your life to boost confidence in relationships, fitness, finance and career.

  5. Be Uncomfortable – I had a professor in graduate school, one of my best mentors to date. He ran a class on group therapy that focused on being mindful of your present experience and expressing it authentically.  He said something once that has always stuck with me – “If you are not on the edge of your seat sweating, you are not working hard enough.”  His point was that these times of discomfort, uncertainty or insecurity are the times for action and areas we should move towards, not away from.  It’s OK to be uncomfortable, this is where we grow.

  6. Take Risks – Similar to being uncomfortable, taking risks is important. We cannot predict the future or know how are decisions will impact us, until we act! Taking risks towards growth in business, career or relationships is important.  Of course understanding the risk is important too.  Prevent “paralysis by analysis” through taking action.

  7. Take on Your FearsHow are your fears getting in your way? Challenging your fear and moving past it means facing it.  Moving towards your fear through embracing it in whatever way you see fit, is a road to development.  For example – if your fear is of never getting a raise, then maybe the opportunity is to make a case for why you should have one, and bring it your boss.

  8. Embrace Your Passions – Do you know what you are passionate about? This is part of what defines who you are.  Don’t let your passions come second, build a life around them and watch yourself flourish!

  9. Focus on Building Your Strengths – We often think we need to improve our weaknesses.  While there may be some good insight in understanding our challenges, improving our strengths is a greater predictor of success.  According to research by Gallup, identifying your top strengths and building them offers the greatest return on investment.  This is found to be true in many areas in life including work, hobby and interpersonal relationships.

  10. Lead by Example and Be Congruent – Take time to understand what your truly value. Let Your Values Show in how you live your life.  If you are unsure, consider working with a therapist or coachHave you ever dealt with a boss, teacher or mentor that seemed to act in a different way than they promoted?  How did this sit with you?  I imagine that it was harder to take them seriously.  Should you want to be a better partner, leader, boss, parent or mentor – it is necessary to be an example of what you state is important.

  11. Take Action – Our intentions, thoughts and plans are a great step but only part of a change we seek. Knowing is NOT half the battle. Remember this quote –“You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.” – C.G. Jung

  12. Challenge Authority and Ask Questions – I think I have my mother to thank for this one. This lesson was ingrained in me at an early age, which I am grateful for. Remember that just because someone is in a position of authority that this doesn’t mean that they are in a position of truth. If something doesn’t resonate with you then ask questions, do your research and discover for yourself.   Remember that it is OK to ask!  If you don’t understand something or want to challenge it, then do so.  Staying in a frame of mind of uncertainty or ignorance puts you at a disadvantage.

  13. Stand Up for Others – There are injustices all around us. We see this on a large scale when we watch then news, witnessing hunger, war, manipulation and other forms of chaos. However, we see this in our daily lives too.  At work when someone is isolated or picked on, in our social events when someone is not included or in our family’s when someone is scape-goated.  These are all opportunities to stand up for others.

  14. Ask How You Can Support Others – Want to become more successful? Start asking others how you can help them instead of how they can help you. Just like building any relationship, supporting others builds rapport and a sense of trust. Not only will this come back to you but you get the chance to see others do well (see numbers two and 13).

  15. Embrace Abundance – I could easily do an entire post on this….maybe I will. Our focus on what lacks, what isn’t working, what we are scared of, what isn’t available to us; is all a mindset. This can be countered with a simple shift in perspective.  What if we believed in collaboration instead of competition?  What if we were convinced that there is plenty of opportunity, clients, resources, love, support, money etc. out there?  Try it out, give yourself a challenge, and see what happens.

Thanks!

Michael

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The Pace of Change

 

The Pace of Change

Maintaining change takes time, and you will probably experience some hiccups along the way.  As you may have heard, change is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  But what does this mean?  To me it means that to be successful with change there needs to be regular diligent practice over longer periods of time.  This isn’t the only key to maintaining change, but a key component.  Remember that to reach a change of pace you need to understand the pace of change.

I recently entered into a 100 day challenge, which I wrote about a few weeks ago.   This challenge is around being very intentional with my mornings.  This has proved to be an effective strategy in implementing a new change.  I have learned a lot about my strengths and challenges and what things push me back towards old habits.  I have taken an approach of diligence and curiosity though, not embracing failure when things didn’t go the way I expected.  This took some getting used to though.  Today is day 85 and by now my routine feels pretty normal, I’m enjoying it.

Any change in behavior or pattern takes time.  To help drive home the point of maintaining a successful change over time, I’ve created a reminder.  The reminder is to pace yourself.  To help you remember, consider this device –


P.A.C.E.

P – Patience

A – Acceptance

C – Control

E – Empathy


Interestingly, the terms patience, acceptance, control and empathy are all very important should you want to be successful with a change. Let me explain –

Patience – Since we know that change takes time, patience is of the utmost importance.  Often time’s changes are not successful because we don’t practice long enough, or wait out the new pattern long enough for it to truly set in.  Being patient in your process as you create a new way of being will lead you to continue on and not give up prior to completion.

Acceptance – In the midst of a new lifestyle, some days will be great, others not so much.  Accept this.  The fact that you’re having a bad day or that your practice in implementing a change was not as great as yesterdays, does not mean failure.  Some challenges may get in our way when we are in the midst of a change.  It is important to accept what may be out of our control.

Control – Very connected to acceptance, knowing what is in our control and what isn’t, is an important part of the path towards change.  However, the reason I separate acceptance from control is that ultimately we are in control of perception, just not the event that precedes it.  What this means is that when we are faced with challenges, we always get to control our own perception and interpretation towards the situation.  We have the choice to be victims or masters of our challenges.

Empathy – Times of change can be hard.  Having empathy for yourself through the process of change is crucial.  So what does self-empathy mean? It means staying connected to yourself in the process and allowing yourself to make mistakes along the way and knowing that it is ok.   Allowing yourself to make mistakes along the way and not giving up is a recipe for long lasting change.  For example, there will be times when you plan to implement a change or practice a new behavior and you get set back by old patterns and ways of being. Its ok to have setbacks, just don’t let those setbacks be translated into a quitting mindset.  Having empathy towards yourself will help to increase the likelihood of not giving up at setback and ultimately reaching your goals.

So next time you are facing a change or working through a goal, consider pacing yourself.

Questions to consider

What changes are you working towards?

How can you implement the PACE acronym in making your desired change successful?

What holds you back from taking action?

Please feel free to comment below with any answers to these questions, new ideas or other questions.

Best,

Michael

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Self Care

Self Care

 

Self care does not often come up as being a priority in our world of high expectations, busy schedules, constant distractions and technological bombardment. However, there is a shift happening with the awareness about the importance of self care.

As we build our understanding about the biology and neuroscience behind behavior, emotions, productivity, focus and fatigue we continue to bridge the gap between body and mind.  Some research implies that self care not only has an impact on one’s ability to perform but also an impact on organizations as a whole, as it relates to overall function.

Often times stress leads to conflict.  When we are stressed our patience is more limited.  So when we have conflict with loved ones, co-workers or the general public, our ability to respond appropriately is reduced.  The solution to this may be to take time out to care for yourself, so that you can reduce stress.

This is not surprising news.  When we feel better, can think clearly and are less stressed, we are more effective human beings.   So, regardless of what you do and what industry you are in, consider making your own care a priority.

I know that in my work, the better I feel the better I am at my work and relationships.   Since I initiated a more regimented self care routine, I have gained more clarity, productivity and a calmer presence.  But you shouldn’t take my word for it, or the research available.  Experiment, and see what you find when you start making yourself a priority!

Ways to Take Time Out for Yourself

Physical – Lifting weights, running, walking, snowboarding/skiing, surfing, take a class (spinning, cross fit, yoga, martial arts, Zumba etc.), hike, bike and sex.

Relational – Spend time with your family, partner and friends, go to a concert, get involved in a regular hobby or group oriented activity or sport.

Reflective – Journal, meditation, listen to music, go for a walk, deep breathing exercise, read.

General Health – 8+ hours of sleep per night, drink lots of water, eat nutritious whole foods.

What other ways can you take care of yourself?

Challenge of the Week!

  • List out your weekly self-care routine or goal.
  • Tag someone on social media that you think is interested in the challenge.
  • Share this post with the person you tagged.
  • Feel good about expanding awareness of why we should be taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of each other!

Cheers,

Michael

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The Importance of Gratitude

The Importance Gratitude

 

I was on a flight last week heading out to California for what I expected to be a very transformational conference, and it was.  I was excited to be going in the first place but returned with even more gratitude.  The conference was called – The Most Awesome Conference, and indeed it was.  It was put on by a group of savvy therapists, consultants and business strategists.  This conference was unique, not only did we get to hear presentations on important strategies of running a business but we got to participate in creating new ways to market, promote and manage our business.  The amount of connection and support I felt from this weekend conference was intense. I was reminded of the importance of gratitude.  It is with this gratitude that I continue to be propelled forward.

I would like to give thanks to the following people for putting together such a great weekend full of learning, laughter and action! A special thanks to – Joe Sanok of Practice of the Practice, Kelly & Miranda of Zynnyme, Dr. Julie Hanks, Jo Muirhead, Mari Lee of Growth Counseling, Ernesto  Segismundo of Fylmit.com, and all the wonderful attendees of The Most Awesome Conference!

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from them and to have had the chance to share ideas and explore how to build the field of counseling, coaching and consulting.

I reference this story for a few reasons –

  • It is important to me to be thankful.
  • Gratitude can improve our lives socially, psychologically, and even physically.
  • Gratitude impacts others, thus impacting the world!

Three reasons why expressing gratitude may be beneficial to you

  1. According to Robert Emmons, a leading researcher on gratitude, there are a number of benefits from offering regular gratitude including – stronger immune system, higher levels of positive emotions, more forgiving attitude and less feelings of isolation.

  2. Gratitude can have an impact on your relationships. According to John Gottman, a leading expert in marital relationships, it is very important for a couple to maintain a ratio of more positive interactions than negative, for the marriage to be successful.

  3. Gratitude has an impact on others around you. If you want to make a difference in how you interact with others, consider adding an element of gratitude. This shift in interaction style may have a great impact on your relationships and communication.  Others are more likely to respond to gratitude than discontent.

When I think of the times in my life that have been particularly challenging, one of the things that brings me back from feeling like nothing is working, is to be thankful for all that I have.   The truth is that when we cut out all the things we have from the things we need, most of us are richer than we think.

So the question at times may be – “What am I grateful for?”  This may be an easier or harder question to answer, depending on the day. However, just like everything, if you practice it becomes easier.  So, please see the following challenge –

Challenge of the Week!

  • Think of someone or something you are grateful for and why.
  • Express this gratitude by writing a small thank you message and tagging them via social media.
  • Share this post.
  • Move through the day with ease.

Thankfully,

Michael