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Where do you see yourself in 5 years

 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years

Where do you see yourself in 5 years

I was recently watching an interview that Tony Robbins did regarding Tips for Getting out of a Funk.  It’s worth a watch.   He talked about setting intention, living more consciously and goal setting…in addition to some reflection on our current economy.  This had me thinking about the direction that I’m heading.  I also was recently encouraged by a coach to create a vision board.  The idea being an exercise in response to the question – “Where do you see yourself in five years” This concept of setting a trajectory is one I find so important.

If you’re curious about goal setting and vision boards, check out this cool resource.

Exploring this idea of where I be in five years has been a helpful exercise.  It makes me think about a lot more than goal setting.   I know that goal setting is important.  I have seen evidence of this in my own life time and time again, in addition to most of the clients I work with.  I think that unless we are setting strong intentions, then we may just be letting someone else lead. We can either choose to be the creators of our direction or allow our direction to be created.

Expressing goals can really change results.  According to a study by Psychology Professor Dr. Gail Matthews, 70 percent of participants who shared their goals achieved them, while 35 percent of participants who did not share or write down their goals had been unsuccessful in accomplishing them.

I think finding a direction can be challenging.  There are so many distractions available to us.  Depending on your disposition you may have what is often referred to as – “shiny object syndrome.”  This means that there are always so many things to do, to see, to be involved with, to study etc.   This constant pull in a multitude of directions can take us away from what we are truly after.  I have found the following tips helpful in creating goals and creating a five year plan.

Five tips for creating a 5 year plan

It’s more than a 5 year plan

Remember that creating a five year plan is more about just answering the question – where will you be in five years.  Hopefully it’s about establishing new patterns of intentionality so that going forward you know more about what you want, where you’re headed and how you’ll get there.   Setting a trajectory for success is about creating long lasting change, not just creating a plan.

Where were you five years ago

Often times looking at where you have come from and how you got to where you are can lead to identifying patterns.  These patterns can show up as positive or negative ways that have impacted your goals and aspirations.  Alternatively, you may identify that over recent years there has not been much intention about where you were going, which may show the necessity for more self-direction.  Keeping in mind the important concept from Marshall Goldsmith – “What got you here, won’t get you there.”

What are you willing to give up

Setting an intention for self-development or improvement in some area in life may involve giving up other things.  We only have so much time every day and setting priorities for what we want will sometimes mean letting go.  A great exercise to consider in this evaluation of what you are willing to give up is to regularly ask yourself this question –

“How is what I’m doing right now getting me one step closer to where I want to be in five years?”

How self-disciplined are you and how can this improve

Similar to asking the question of what you’re willing to give up is looking at how self-disciplined you are.  Any sort of change takes a certain level of self-discipline.  If you decide that your self-discipline needs improvement then exploring ways to practice may be helpful.  Discipline can be built in a number of ways.  For more detail, see this post on – growing self-discipline.

Letting go of limiting beliefs

Exploring what beliefs serve you and which ones don’t, will help to not only develop your five year plan but also assist in the process of manifesting this plan.  Fear often gets in the way of exploring goals that you think you may not be able to achieve.  Reducing fear and limiting beliefs will allow you to see options available and set your trajectory higher than you think.  Here are some strategies for how to let go of limiting beliefs and fear in more detail.

Challenge –

What is one thing you plan to accomplish in five years?

 Best,

Michael

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The Best Way to Improve Productivity

 

The Best Way to Improve Productivity

The Best Way to Improve Productivity

There are an endless amount of resources out there for how to improve productivity.  In my search I did not find a definitive answer to the best way to improve productivity.  I think there is an answer to this question though.  The best way to improve productivity….is your way.

Finding out ways to hack your own laziness, distraction or “busy” lifestyle is tricky.  But the most effective way to improve productivity will be the one that is most connected to you.  A place to start when identifying what kinds of practices to experiment with may be the endless lists online, such as this one on – boosting productivity in real life.   As you may notice, I even wrote one of these tips.  The tips and strategies are definitely good to start with.

Experimentation and practice is where the rubber hits the road.  The next step is exploring the strategies in a way that answers the question of – how does those strategy resonate with me?   Using strategies that are most connected to who you are will yield the best results.

There are certainly some exercises and strategies that are more about self-exploration than others.  Here is a short list of strategies that may help to improve productivity, but more importantly offer the opportunity to explore what’s holding you back, and who you are.

Personal Development and Productivity

Take a vacation 

This may seem counter intuitive since taking a vacation is not necessarily the most “productive” of activities. However, letting go of some of the demands and hustle for a few days can help you to re-identify what is truly important, as well as give you a boost of energy when you return.

Create a daily practice

When looking at habits and common traits of successful people, one thing is usually consistent, they have some sort of regular practice. Having a daily practice helps to create mindfulness, discipline and routine – all things that impact productivity.

Practice discipline, everyday

Similar to the daily practice, focusing on ways to practice discipline can help to build routine and productivity in many areas in life. Discipline can be practiced in a number of ways through fitness, healthy eating, work duties, behavior in relationships, self-reflection and many other aspects in life.  The practice of the discipline itself may be just as important as the goal related to it.

Get up and move

You may have heard the recent commentary about sitting being the new smoking. There is substantial research to back up the idea of sedentary lifestyle greatly impacting health, wellbeing and productivity.   Exploring ways that help you to enjoy regular daily movement will make these little breaks easier to commit to and more likely to stick.  Again, this is about personal exploration of what works for you.

Explore your passions and purpose

Understanding what you are passionate about will help in building strategy around all of the previously mentioned tips. If you aren’t sure, that’s ok, start experimenting.  Start with these two questions –

  • What would I love to do every day if I had an unlimited amount of money?
  • If I had unlimited resources and I could only do one thing to help the world, what would it be?

How have you enhanced your own productivity? 

Thanks,

Michael

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Growing Self-Discipline

Growing Self-Discipline

Growing Self-Discipline

Discipline has been on my mind lots in the last few weeks, so I thought I would do some exploring.  I am currently experimenting with a month long restricted diet (Whole30), definitely an act of discipline.  However, not in a bad way.  Most of the time when I explore ways of eating, exercise routines or other practices I find it interesting and at least somewhat eye opening in some way.  Usually I find that there are discoveries to be found when pursuing an act of growing self-discipline.

I found that it my life, practicing martial arts has been a continually evolving way to build self-discipline.  Certainly there are many ways to build self-discipline, but the question may be – why?  There are many findings on the impact of self-discipline across many aspects of the human experience.   The advantages of having good discipline start when are young.

In a longitudinal study by The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania found that self-discipline accounted for twice as much variance as IQ in final grades of eight grade students.  These habits and their results may have significant impact on children’s ability to be successful later in life.

A study in The Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology showed that implementing a school based martial arts program had a positive impact on children’s cognitive self-regulation, an aspect of self-discipline.

According to Alphie Kohn it may be more valuable for children to be able to build the capacity to choose when to exercise self-discipline as well as what kind of self-discipline, and that this ability to choose may be more valuable than the self-discipline itself.

However the impact of discipline is not just found in kids.  In a study by The Department of Psychology, Washington University in St. Louis, MO it was found that enhancing self-discipline and self-concept may improve subjective memory in older adults.

According to a study in The Journal of Depression and Anxiety, low self-discipline has been associated with anxiety and depressive disorders.


5 Tips for Growing Self-Discipline

  • Take your time – Building any new habit takes time. Taking small steps slowly over time will great the greatest recipe for success.  Remember that creating significant change is a process.
  • SMART goals – Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely will be the easiest to keep track of and the most likely to be achieved, leading to greater confidence and success overall.
  • Find your practice – Building self-discipline, will be most effective if the practice is something that you really enjoy doing. Finding a practice within the category that you are trying to create discipline around will help to build momentum and success overall.  You may find that creating discipline that is at least somewhat connected to your purpose or passion will be easiest.
  • Record your process – Explore the ups and downs of what it is like to create a new discipline in your life. This will be helpful in examining what works, what doesn’t and accomplishments along the way.
  • Practice creating routine – Practicing some kind of routine, even if it is outside the context of your goal will help in building the mindset of being more self-disciplined.  There are always opportunities to create new routines every day, take advantage of this.

How have you created self-discipline in your life?

Best,

Michael

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Building Motivation to Change

Building Motivation to Change

Building Motivation to Change

Motivation to change is an individualized experience.  What motivates us most is the unique combination of our passion and purpose.  I describe this as Authentic Motivation.  What this means is that when we are looking at building motivation to change we need to first tap into what is our truest sense of authentic self.

I recently read an article on how to find your life’s work.  This person had a series of steps where you could identify what your life’s work is, in 20 minutes.  It was a writing exercise that basically looked at brainstorming ideas until you wrote one down that moved you to tears.  I really liked this idea because it is a way to tap into what you truly connect with.  This idea will not only act as guidance towards work but also give you motivation to get there.

When considering how to make a change, motivation is the biggest factor.  We can set goals, have intentions, mark our calendars, get coaching, join a group or engage in many other strategies, but if we don’t have a grasp on what our biggest WHY is then we may not get to where we want to go.  Working towards change through authentic motivation will lead you to reaching goals faster and more easily.

4 tips on building motivation to change

 

  • Explore your strengths – Discovering where your talents are may help lead you to finding out what motivates you. We of course are drawn to things we are good at.  Unsure about what your strengths are?  Consider asking one person in five different areas of your life – family, work, significant other, religious affiliation and friendships.  Taking this inventory may bring up themes of strengths that you have that you may not have realized.

 

  • Identify what energizes you – Start taking note. For a period of three weeks take note of every time you feel excited, energized or strongly driven in a particular area.  This may not just be work related but could be in any area in life.  After you have a list of items, see what themes emerge.  These themes may be areas that you can work from when building motivation to change a particular area of your life.

 

  • Take a stand – Start to consider where you put significance in your life. What do you really have a strong opinion about? What area of your life do you have a strong passion in?  What do people tell you regarding what seems to be important you?  You can take the same inventory from step #1 to discover where your passions are.  Understanding what you are passionate about will help you to build authentic motivation.

 

  • Get additional resources – Still having trouble determining how to create authentic motivation? Download this free tip sheet on Authentic Motivation.  This will walk you through the importance of R.E.P.S. (Reflection, Evaluation, Persistence and Significance).  This strategy will help you to create the motivation you need to make real change.

 

Where do you find motivation?

Share any ideas or comments below.

Best,

Michael

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Telling Your Story

Telling Your Story

Telling Your Story

I recently wrote a guest post for The Cheerful Word on what it means to take a deeper look at your life story.  I also just came back from a few days in WI, where I grew up.  This trip had me thinking about my story and what informs my success, experience, challenges, relationships etc.   Since I recently wrote about the power of telling your story, I thought I would take a shot at telling some of my story.

In this post you’ll learn a bit about my background, my family and the Midwest.  If you haven’t been to the Midwest, then you should go.  Yes, I know it’s not on the way to anything.  However, lots of good pockets of entertaining cities as well as beautiful countryside and friendly people.  If you do go, don’t go in the winter time.  The summers are great though.   The picture for this post is actually right down the street from the farm I grew up on.  So, why does this matter for this post?  I am telling this story because I think the lessons are valuable things to highlight regarding personal development and self-improvement.  Since this blog is all about individual and organizational self-improvement, I thought this would be a good fit.

Once a year my grandmother hosts a party “Christmas in July” (actually August this year).   It used to be a Christmas party actually held in December but due to conflict with weather, we moved it.  It’s mostly family and close friends that have been friends with the family for decades, some many decades.  It’s a great chance to reconnect with people I don’t get to see often, but have spent time with for most of my life.

Whenever I go home I also have the opportunity to connect with some of my oldest friends, which is great. Through this process of reconnecting with old friends and family members, I was thinking I have much to be grateful for.  Below are some highlighted areas of gratitude and lessons I appreciate.  My guess is that this will resonate with some of you.

Some of the things I’m grateful for that I was reminded of while back in WI this last weekend –

Work Ethic – Whenever I go back to “the farm” (my family still owns the farm I grew up on) there are endless requests for help.  Although some may argue, this is actually something I’m grateful for.  Having grown up on a farm where there is always something to work on, taught me how to work hard and I think gave me a positive work ethic.  This is a quality that I see as being crucial in all the role models I have had over the years and in those that are truly successful.  Hard work pays off, always.

Humor – My friends and family are hilarious…or at least we think so.  Whenever there is a larger gathering there are usually no dull moments.   Humor can be so helpful in de-stressing, changing perspective or shifting the tone of a day.  I can often get too analytical and serious with things.  I am so grateful for my friends and family, who always put a smile on my face.

Nature – Being in a rural environment just feels more relaxing sometimes.  Even though my family’s farm is filled with work, it is also filled with a sense of relaxation and beauty.  Not being surrounded by commerce, vehicles and constant advertising is a great way to refuel and gather a new sense of energy.   It can be so easy to get swept away with the “to do” lists and constant distraction from media, technology and fast moving pace we set ourselves at.   Being closer to nature often allows me to take a step back, take a deep breath and remain grounded.

These are a just a few pieces of my story that I am grateful for.

What lessons or pieces of gratitude do you have from your story?

Share or comment below.

Thanks,

Michael

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Purpose, Passion and Leadership

 

Purpose Passion and Leadership

Purpose Passion and Leadership

I was recently with a client and we were discussing coping methods.  Coping methods are ways to deal with challenges that we face as well as ways we can help to reduce troublesome symptoms we are dealing with. There are many traditional coping strategies – breathing techniques, exercise, meditation, walking, art, distraction methods, spending time with others etc.  Some of these techniques work well for some people while other techniques just don’t seem to fit.   In my experience, the ultimate coping method is always the one that is most in line with the individual.  This means that for a coping strategy to be most effective it has to connect with the person’s passion or purpose.  What I want to address today is how passion and purpose is connected to leadership.

So what do mental health coping methods have to do with leadership?  More than you think.  Leadership is in the midst of a shift.  This is mostly well known, however, old ways of leading still seem to be prevalent within some organizations.  What we are finding through research and effective training programs is that true leadership comes from inspiration, not from authoritarian demands or unapproachable hierarchy that pushes work downstream without consideration of how it impacts others.  True leaders are followed by those that are happy to be working for them because they feel inspired to do so.  Effective leaders build the next generation of leaders within any system and work in a way that is fueled by purpose and resonance with the mission at hand.

According to research by the Center for Creative Leadership, survey results show that 84% of respondents in organizations see leadership changing in the last 10 years.  The focus is shifting from an individual outcomes perspective to that of collaboration, teamwork and longer term objectives.

Another article by HR Magazine emphasizes that leadership is shifting towards less hierarchy and more inclusiveness and understanding of the needs of others.  To build an inclusive environment, one needs to lead through effective listening, empathy and to be leading through inspiration rather than demand.

Even in some environments where leadership may looked at as a harsher more demand oriented situation, this is not always the case.  For example, I was recently listening to one of Tim Ferriss’s podcast interviews where he interviewed General Stan McChrystal about his experience in the military.   One of the questions was  regarding what was one of General McChrystal’s pet peeves about how military life is depicted in the media.  His answer was great!  General McChrystal went on to discuss how even though he knew the stereotypical “hard” leaders in the military, that were cold, demanding and difficult to approach, this type of leader was less common.   He went on to report that the most effective leaders, and the majority, led by inspiring their teams and those they were leading.

So the question remains what do coping methods have to do with leadership?  Stick with me, we are on the way.   Since we know that the most effective leadership methods have to do with inspiring and engaging others rather than cold, hard demands, then the first question is this –

How do we build leaders that inspire?

One answer to this is found in the search for finding ones ideal coping method.   To be able to lead through inspiration means leaders have to understand what inspires them.  Being inspirational is achieved through truly knowing your own passion and purpose and then pursuing it.  Through creating congruence between what we value and how it is being expressed, we can explore our passion and purpose.  The days of “do what I say not what I do” are fading away.  Understanding what we are passionate about not only gives us an opportunity to be better leaders but also helps us to cope with stress and challenges more effectively.  If we combine our contagious passion with our ability to self-regulate, people will be truly inspired.

Finding ones passion and purpose may be complicated.  We may have some passions that are present in our professional lives and some that are more active in our non-work life.  For instance, an organizational leader may have a passion for sales in the work world but also have a passion for lifting weights in his non-work life.  This person may also know that they function at a higher level when they are actively pursuing both passions, in a sales role at work while using weight lifting as their non-work passion.  This example of weight lifting may be this person’s coping strategy in dealing with work stress, conflict or anxiety.  This person’s pursuit of this coping method not only impacts their ability to function outside of work, but makes them happier and more productive while in their work role.

Understanding what we are passionate about in and outside of work is important – and certainly impactful in both directions.   Focusing on our strengths and where we exceed, in addition to tapping into what helps us stay balanced, will create a great expression of our passion and purpose, and allow us to become true leaders.

I’ll leave you with these questions below –

What is your passion or purpose?

How did you discover it?

How do you actively pursue it?

Best,

Michael