When Setting Goals, Sustain the Momentum by Creating a Picture of the End Result!

 If you want results, you must keep your focus on your end game. With all the requests, agreements, commitments, and tasks associated with everyday living and working, the requirement to set goals, whether work-related or personal, can feel like a burden. It is easy to become distracted or lower your commitment.

How you frame your goal can go a long way toward helping you plan and achieve it.  For instance, “I will lose 15 pounds by December” can lose momentum early.  It’s daunting. Remember those New Year Eve resolutions? However, “I will fit into my skinny jeans by the end of the year,” creates a visual of how I will look when I achieve this result. That is more exciting and provides visual impact.

The same is true of work goals.  How will the assigned work goal fit into your larger career picture?  “Through this project, I am gaining project management skills and experience I need to qualify for the jobs I want to advance to the next level.” This project was assigned, but you have made it your own.

As you develop your plans, you are creating a picture or story.  It’s like taking a trip twice, first in your mind, and then physically doing so.  Checking on details, overcoming obstacles, and determining what you need can add to the anticipation rather than feeling burdensome.

When setting goals, we not only need a goal we can get excited about; we also need a way to sustain momentum; especially if it takes longer than you first anticipated.

So, What’s My Motivation?

Successful people look at goals as a means to create the life they want one step or one goal at a time.  Successful people ask themselves two clarifying questions:

  • What are the benefits of achieving this goal?

Consider a goal to run the Boston Marathon.  Training for a marathon can be grueling – requiring discipline, determination, and commitment.  Be clear on how this goal will benefit you.  (I.E., it will give you the confidence to try other things you were afraid to do, become healthier, help a charity, etc.) Listing the benefits will remind you of the reasons to continue when stopping feels easier.

Awareness of the benefits keeps your eyes on the prize and your feet on the path.

  • How will I know I have accomplished my goal?

What will change when you’ve succeeded? You must recognize what will be different.  I ask my coaching clients to write down at least five things that will be different from completing their goal.

For example, in accomplishing a career goal to lead a project, you might expect (1) to develop specific new skills (what are they?), (2) to gain experience as a project manager, (3) to become known as an expert, (4) be ready to take the next step in my “front pocket” plan (see my blog post “Your Front and Back Pocket Plans,” 2/18/19, and (5) get an increase in pay.

If you can’t think of five at first, try for three.  If you can’t think of any, ask yourself: why am I doing this?

Work the goal!

When you have answered the above two questions, and you’re enthusiastic about your goal, ask yourself these questions as you work your goal:

  • What am I learning as I take these steps?
  • Where else can I apply what I’m learning?
  • Is this goal still relevant?
  • Do the benefits I’ll receive still excite me? If not, what needs to change?
  • When I’ve completed this goal, what’s next?

Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop!

Sometimes we need to set small, easily achievable goals to clear the way for the big ones.  Besides, easy wins make us feel more confident in working on more challenging, riskier goals.

When you stretch yourself, taking significant steps, and stretching outside your comfort zone, it can be discouraging when you don’t see results right away.  Remember, it is an investment in your life.  Remind yourself, you got this far with a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, and you’re a lot farther than when you started! Dust yourself off and decide what to do next.  Get yourself a coach or mentor to help figure it out if you are stuck.

Please don’t cheat yourself by becoming too comfortable with small, easily achievable goals.   You must continue to stretch yourself in ways that could change your life; if not, you’ll get left behind. We all have untapped potential to mine.  What a beautiful life is in store for you if you choose!

 

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Developing a New Normal Moving Forward

Coronavirus has pushed a Country-wide reset button and has created the opportunity for the creation of a “new” more satisfying normal, despite its negative impact. We now have an excellent opportunity to look within ourselves, discover our innate inner wisdom on how we would prefer to live and make changes for a more compelling life.

The following are five suggestions to consider implementing and continuing after the Virus crisis is behind us.

(1) Practice Mindfulness to Create Wellness, Positive Energy, and Increased Productivity.

Before, when our busy lives created high stress, there was little time to pause, breathe, and reflect on what was important in the Now. When we are so busy doing “stuff,” living loses meaning. A friend once shared with me that he wanted to watch the sunset with his small son, but he had emails to read. Emails will always be demanding our attention. Our children do not stay small for long.  Which of the two are more meaningful?

Now, things are quiet. Mindfulness reduces stress, anxiety, and fear, allowing the body to relax and energizes the mind by being focused on what is happening this moment, not thinking about the past or concerned about the future. Our immune system responds by becoming more robust, and our bodies healthier.

One Mindfulness tool to increase productivity and reduce distractions is Chunk!  Chunking is setting aside time to complete one task.  For example, schedule 30 minutes on your calendar to check emails once at 9 am and a second time at 5 pm daily.  During those times, you would concentrate solely on emails.  Chunking works for anything you want to do, from exercising to executing a program. Chunk time can vary based on how long you believe a task will take or the time you wish to devote to it.

(2)  We Can’t Control Everything.

Yes, the Virus is scary, but we cannot personally eradicate it from the Country. We can, however, do things we can control.  WHO suggests we limit checking the news to once or twice a day. Practice social distancing, etc. Being mindful (there’s that word again!) of what is essential at the moment.

When back to Normal as possible lives, instead of worrying over things, we have no control over, focus on what you can influence.

Practicing Mindfulness can take many forms.   Since there are many books and articles on this topic, and I am always looking for new ideas, I just ordered “Zen as F*ck: A Journal for Practicing the Mindful Art of Not Giving a Sh*t” by Monica Sweeney. I chose this one because there were over 3,000 ratings. I figured a lot of folks liked it, and I would check it out.

(3)  What Have You Put Off That You Can Do Now To Improve Your Experience?

There are many paths of thinking to answer that question. Today, I am focusing on learning new skills, acquiring wisdom, and immersing yourself in things that bring you joy.

Research indicates that adult cell phone users spent 3.5 hours each day on the mobile Internet in 2019 (1,277.5 hours). They estimate it will be over 4 hours in 2021 (1,450+ hours).  On the other hand, ten thousand hours spent on developing a skill will make you an expert.

Would it make sense to reduce those hours spent on the phone and redirect it to learning a subject that interests you or reading a book or taking a walk or (you decide)?

Another path would be to take a digital detox from social media. I have done that in the past, and it is rejuvenating. Recently, I have begun to stand outside at night and hear silence—such an incredible sound.

What would bring you peace, joy, or satisfaction?

(4)  Take Time To Remember Who You Are And What Makes You Happy.

During this time, we have a fantastic opportunity to take the time to know ourselves again.

When we are overwhelmed with work, commitments, and social media, we forget who we are. We can feel lost and dissatisfied.  With the economy at a momentary standstill, we can take this time to reacquaint ourselves with who we are, make changes to be happier, and create a “New Normal” going forward.

There are many paths to understanding why you do what you do. Insights lead to strategies to change habits or live and work differently.  Meditation, self-reflection, and journaling are some ways to become more self-aware.  Another way is taking on-line assessments proven through the years as to their efficacy and validity.

One assessment is the Keirsey Assessment I recommend, which helps people to gain insights about their personality and how they interact with others. A link to this assessment is

https://www.16personalities.com/

My clients have had significant insights using this tool on why they react in situations and which have led to making changes, some very small, that carry a remarkable impact on their interaction with others.

Lastly,

(5)  We Always Have A Choice.

In every moment, we have a choice to be fearful or joyful, anxious or peaceful.  Instead of reacting in situations, chose to respond. Pause, breathe deeply, and then consider, would you rather be at peace, or would you rather be anxious or fearful?

When we are anxious, angry, or stressed, our minds focus on the problem, limiting us to see only one or two solutions, neither the best answer. When calm, you will come up with more solutions you wouldn’t have when stressed.

 

Coronavirus has affected us as a Nation. We can still take charge of our lives and make choices on how we want to live our lives now and after we have moved beyond it.

Create your New Normal!

Be safe, and stay healthy.

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Sticking To The Basics

Keeping It Basic

Jim Rohn, author of “What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence,” once said, “Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals.”

All the commitments, information to absorb, and things to complete can be all-consuming, stressful, and overwhelming. I’ve noticed, however, when reading how successful people thrive. I was amazed by how easy they made it. There is nothing mysterious; they stick to the basics.

You can simplify your work life by sticking to these four basic rules.

Rule # 1 – Keep the end result in mind.

Rule # 2 – Some results are more important than others.

Rule # 3 – If something keeps falling to the bottom of the list, let it go!

Rule # 4 – If you can’t figure out what to do next, remember Rule # 1!

A coaching client reduced his workweek from 80 to 50 hours while increasing his productivity by putting these four rules into practice.

Rule # 1 – Keep the end result in mind.

As a child, I couldn’t wait to look at maps my parents brought home as we were preparing to take a trip.  I would trace the route with my finger imagining all the different adventures we would have as we traveled to our destination.  It was fun to dream and more fun to experience.

Today, with a heavy schedule, it’s essential to have that map firmly pictured in your mind – your internal map of where you are now and where you want to be. (Read my April 2019 blog “Use GPS to Map Out Your Goals)  Each day as you face many choices and paths by referring back to your map, you can ask yourself: What do I want to achieve today, this week, this month that will move me toward my destination?

Most likely, you’ll take side trips or perhaps change directions completely.  Knowing that you are working toward being a premiere program manager, CPA, or coach goddess, will aid you in clearing away the confusing clutter in making choices that support you in achieving your goals.  Sometimes the trip is lots of fun, and sometimes the stretch can be quite stressful. One thing is for sure—it’s an adventure!

Rule # 2 – Some results are more important than others.

A few years ago, a friend was assigned a big project.  He was very excited.  It was a stretch for him, exactly what he needed to move forward to attaining his ultimate career objective.  About a month after beginning work on this project, he told me he was discouraged because he hadn’t gotten very far.  He admitted that even though he had completed his previous project, he found himself still cleaning up his documentation.  Doing this felt safe and comfortable while diving into the new project felt very uncomfortable. I asked him, “In the big picture view of reaching your career goal, which of the two is more important—neat and tidy documentation or doing a good job on the new key project?”

Where do you spend your time—on the results that will make you thrive or on what feels safe?  Ask yourself, “How important is what I’m doing right now (on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being least and ten extremely important) to achieving my goal?”  “How do I know this is more important than the other things on my plate?” By answering these questions, you can prioritize your tasks more effectively.

Rule # 3 – If something keeps falling to the bottom of the list, let it go!

 When working with an overwhelmed coaching client, we made a list of everything she had on her plate to determine her focus.  There were at least 30 items she insisted must be completed no matter what.  I asked her to prioritize all the tasks. She then committed to achieving the tasks in order of priority (most critical/important to least).  Every week we reviewed her list and added any new items, prioritized by importance.

After a few weeks, she noticed some things kept falling to the bottom.  She also saw that those things that were at the bottom might be “nice to do” but were not necessary to her success.  Not only did she have a shift in focusing on what was important, but she also totally deleted ten items! A weight lifted off her shoulders, and she felt more energized and engaged in her work.

What can you let go of to focus on what is most important to you?

Rule # 4 – If you can’t figure out what to do next, remember Rule # 1!

No matter how disciplined you are, it’s easy to become over-committed at work, especially if you enjoy your work.  It’s like going into your favorite candy store and wanting to try every new flavor! The downside is when you are over-stretched, meeting your commitments can become complicated, standards lowered, and life gets out of balance. Then you may feel like you’re merely surviving rather than experiencing the ideal state of thriving.

Just stick to the basics, and you can thrive!

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Loretta Staples, a Strategy Consultant, now Therapist, once stated, “If you are clear about what you want, the world responds with clarity.” Whether you’re taking a vacation, building a dream home, or managing a large project, periodically identifying where you are now to where you want to be, helps you focus firmly on the results you want to achieve.  Call them milestones or checkpoints; they serve an essential purpose—time to reflect on how far you have come, what you still need to do, and if you’re currently on track.

History can teach us many lessons, not the least of which is with determination, commitment, and oversight you CAN do the impossible. Let’s look at Stonehenge, England, for example.  Built approximately 5,000 years ago, its Neolithic builders somehow floated, hauled, and dragged 30 16-foot high stones, the largest weighing 50 tons, from Wales to Stonehenge – a staggering 250 miles!

There are no written records to show how it was built (scientists are still trying to figure that out) or why.  One thing is for sure; the builders had to carefully plan how to transport these gigantic stones and erect them. To make sure they were on target, they also had to check and re-check their progress against their envisioned results along the way; or as my grandma would say, “take stock.”  To do otherwise was to ensure failure.

In today’s world, to achieve results, successful people must take stock along the way.

Taking stock is a 3-step process!

Those creative builders had a clear picture of what they wanted to create. To turn it into reality, as we need to do today, they took stock periodically as they moved their plan forward—a 3-step process— (1) where am I now, (2) what do I need now to continue moving forward and (3) am I still on target?

Sometimes this process is painful, especially when discovering you took a wrong turn or two.  Isn’t it much more economical, money and time-wise, to have periodic checkpoints and make small corrections along the way rather than wait until the end and find you need a massive redo?

Taking stock can mean the difference between success and failure.

Step One:  Where am I now?

Taking a periodic checkpoint to see what you’ve accomplished and how far you’ve come gives you a sense of what needs to happen next to close the gap between now and where you want to be.  Just like those ancient builders, ask yourself, thought-provoking questions:

  • What did I do well?
  • What changes do I need to make?
  • How far have I come?
  • Am I where I expected to be, am I ahead of schedule, or am I behind schedule?

Step Two:  What do I need now to continue? 

Ancient builders had to be resourceful and creative.  They didn’t have Home Depot to find the right tools.  They determined what jobs they needed to do, looked at what was available, and often repurposed their tools to fit the situations at hand.  And if they didn’t have what they needed, they invented it!   Neolithic laborers used pieces of antlers to dig through the chalky ground and create massive earthworks at Stonehenge.  Can you imagine?  Amazing stuff!

What do you need to continue toward your goals, such as determining the resources required and where to find them? Perhaps, as the ancients did, you can use your skills and tools in ways you did not think of before.  Be creative.  You can always get a coach or mentor to help you think outside the box or ask colleagues to brainstorm with you.

Step Three:  Am I still on target?

 Keep your eyes on the prize.  With what you have done so far, are you still aimed in the right direction?  To be successful and thrive, you need to stretch and reach outside of your comfort zone to achieve the desired results.  People sabotage themselves by becoming distracted or focused on doing merely quick and easy things.

If you’re behind where you first wanted to be at this checkpoint, could you be sabotaging yourself?  If so, determine what it will take to get back on course.  Again, having a coach or mentor may help or asking colleagues to be your supporters will make it less daunting. Either of these could also be an accountability partner to help keep you on track.

Yet, as we discover more about what we can do and what we like, the target may change, or, at least, bend a bit to the left or right.  If this is the case, what do you need to do to set a new course?

Stop whining and get moving!

Being a recovering procrastinator, from time to time, I need to remind myself to stop whining and get moving!  Life is hectic, fast-moving, and loaded with things to do—all excuses for not doing what will make me and you succeed.  Successful people focus on those things that will make them thrive rather than those things that make them busy.  Which do you choose?

Be a thriver, not a survivor!  OK, I made up a new word, but it works for me.  Let it work for you!

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End of Year Debrief

Each year I update my End of Year Debrief as a reminder to savor your accomplishments during this year and prepare for next year.

This year has been a blur! Because we can get mired down in all the details of emails, deadlines, and projects, going into the New Year is a great time to think about what you have accomplished in 2019 and what you want to focus on in 2020. Answering the ten questions below, you can begin 2020 with a BANG!

Perhaps you think there is no time to reflect on what you had done; only think about what you have to finish now.  The strength of reflection is to learn what you did well and be proud of that and identify what you could have done better and how you might do things differently.

So, I am asking you to take some time and answer the questions below.

  1. What are the ten things I am most proud of accomplishing this year?
  2. What motivates me?
  3. What learnings can I apply to make work simpler?
  4. What would I do differently?
  5. What problems or issues am I tired of having?
  6. What actions do I need to do to fix them?
  7. How can I do more of the things I enjoy doing and less of what I dislike?

Charting a course for 2020, please take some time to think about:

  1. When I look back on 2020 next December, what would I want to have accomplished and experienced?
  2. What do I want to focus on in the first quarter of 2020?
  • How will I remain on course for 2020?
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We receive more information on our cell phones in a week than previous generations did in their lifetime. What do we do with all that information from the Internet, meetings, social media, email? It feeds chaos and creates overwhelm.

What can you do to take back control of your day? Implementing just one of the following ten tips can help you change an unproductive day into a productive one.

Ten Tips to Tame Unruly Chaos

  1. Understand the distinction between being efficient and being effective. Efficient means completing many tasks mostly right (multi-tasking can cause more rework than you might think.  A blog for another day.) Effective requires doing the right things right. What are the right tasks to accomplish your objectives?
  2. List everything on your plate, personal and work-related. Ask yourself, “what evidence do I have that this task is necessary?” Not everything is essential or necessary. Eliminate the busywork.
  3. Take control of your calendar. Over-booking doesn’t serve anyone. Schedule time for planned work activities, allowing time for unexpected tasks or activities.
  4. List three things you want to accomplish today and schedule time to complete them.
  5. Honor the appointments you schedule with yourself as you honor meetings with others.
  6. Turn off any technology that distracts you from completing work requiring your full attention. Protect this critical “think” time.
  7. Over-committing can lead to mediocre results. Your value is determined by how well you achieve your commitments, not by how many things you say yes to.
  8. Look at how you do your work. What isn’t working for you? Determine what routines need to change to become more effective in completing your right tasks. Small changes can lead to significant results.
  9. Always document agreed-upon actions whether in a group meeting, one on one via telephone, or face to face. It is natural for people to forget or reinterpret agreements if they are not written down.
  10. Under-promise and over-deliver. If you meet your commitments, you are successful. If you produce faster than expected, you are a hero!

Take charge of your success. The more tips you utilize, the more control you will have.

Good luck with taming the Chaos Beast!

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As humans, we make a lot of assumptions. However, when assigned a new project, the clearer we are on “what” we need to do, the “how” to do it is much easier to plan and execute.  We need to reduce assumptions and replace them with facts and clear direction.

Understanding Your Assignment

Beginning with these eight fundamental questions, you will obtain a clearer understanding of the parameters of your project:

  1. What objectives does this project support? Context is important. The more you know about how this project fits into the bigger picture, the better.
  2. What are the objectives or results I need to achieve? In other words, how will I know I have completed the project.
  3. What are the measurements I need to use to know I am on track? How will I know if I am at 50%, 60%, etc.? What is the evidence?
  4. What resources are available to me—training, people, etc.?
  5. What is my level of authority? I have the responsibility to complete this project, but I also need the ability to make and enforce decisions to get the job done.
  6. Is there an escalation process in place I need to use if there are problems?
  7. Who else needs to know I am working on this project, such as stakeholders or other organizations?
  8. How will I communicate my progress—emails, texts, face to face, etc. and how often?

When Delegating Work

If you are a leader, answering these questions when delegating work to a team member helps you define the framework for how this work will get done.  Based on answering the questions above, you can then determine who the best person is to handle this work.

Thinking through these basic questions provide the basis for a strong support structure for clear, concise communication, consistency, and increased certainty for success.

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There are three steps to creating a brand that resonates with your audience:

  • What’s My Story – what you want others to know about you.
  • Packaging My Story – your consistent message that conveys your brand
  • Telling My Story – courteous, clear, and concise communication.

Last month, I posted “What’s Your Brand,” about the steps to take to clarify, polish, or build your brand. In this step, self-reflection is critical. With life being so busy, we can lose track of who we are and what we bring to the table.

Today. I am writing about the next two steps—packaging and telling your story.

Packaging My Story

The first thing to remember is to think like an entrepreneur and create a portfolio of your offerings and identify who you want to know about what you offer. Since not everyone will be interested, identify your specific audience, and craft your message for them.

When you developed your story, you should have discovered your strengths. Show how you use them to solve problems and strategize how to work around any weaknesses you have identified.

Document, document, document! It is easy to forget accomplishments, compliments from clients, etc. A record of your value will provide the information you need when you ask for a raise or a promotion.

Create a simple marketing plan on how you will let others know your capabilities, such as a resume, status report, blog, social media, etc.

Without communicating your brand effectively, you can miss opportunities.

Here is an example:

A Director position became available that my client was working towards for several years. She had worked diligently with excellent results handling multiple departments, large teams, and challenging customers, and felt she had filled all the qualifications for that role. She thought she had it in the bag because her neighbor, who she knew personally for a long time, had recently become her leader.  She felt he knew her well enough to know what she could do. However, he promoted someone else. She was stunned and extremely disappointed.

At her next meeting with him, she asked him why she did not get the job?  She told him about her experience and results.  Because she had never shared this information with him or anyone, her name did not come up for consideration for the position. When I asked my client why she had not kept people updated on her work and successes, she replied they should know what she is doing.  I said bluntly, only if they are psychic.  Her hard work provided results, but her efforts were mostly invisible.

Other clients told me their leaders should know what they are doing. They won’t know unless you tell them!

The last step is Telling Your Story!

You now have a clear brand and packaged it into a consistent story. In other words, to tell your story, Thoughts, Words, and Actions must be in alignment.

To tell your story effectively, you need to believe in your brand! Fake it until you make it can work in some instances, but believing in yourself is crucial, not only in your work life but in your personal life as well. Become that story!

Practice shameless promotion—this is NOT bragging! People are too busy to notice everything you do. Let them know the facts about what you are doing, either through action or communication.

Be brief and precise when communicating your value. Ask yourself, what would I want to have my “audience” take away? Remind yourself that professionalism and courtesy are the foundation of credibility.

Things to Remember on Personal Branding

  • Branding “I, Inc.” is your story, so tell it well.
  • Not everyone needs to get your message; focus on the right audience.
  • Your brand must be clear and consistent; otherwise, it can confuse your audience.
  • Lose your cool; lose your cred, especially during conflicts. Civility raises your reputation.
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What’s Your Brand?

Nike has the “Swoosh”, which represents speed, movement, power, and motivation, and Evernote, an app that stores your written notes on a laptop, uses the figure of an elephant’s head, because “an elephant never forgets, and you won’t either utilizing this app. (Economics Times, July 24, 2017)

Products aren’t the only entities that have brands. Everyone has a brand, whether you know it or not. The troubling aspect of your brand is that it is not just who you think you are, but also who others think you are due to your words, actions, and body language. Frequently, what you think and what others perceive is different, because, like nature, the brain hates a vacuum. If a person’s perception is unclear, they will fill in the blanks and define your brand for you. In other words, if you don’t control your brand; others will manage it for you.

The critical thing to remember is that people’s perception is your reality, and how well you tell your story will determine how successful you are. The clearer, consistent, and transparent your brand is, the better your colleagues, friends, and the community at large will know and understand who you are and your capabilities.

The first step in perfecting your brand is succinctly communicating what you want others to know about you and the value you bring.

Below are six actions you can take:

  1. Determine what problems you solve. For example, you are the “go-to” person to lead large projects because you can determine and manage all the project’s aspects and align them in the most productive configuration.
  2. Create a list of words you believe describe you, such as patient, good listener, collaborator, analytical.
  3. Ask friends and colleagues for a list of three words that come up for them when they think of your name, even if unfavorable. Do NOT berate them for words you feel do not represent you.  Their honesty is a gift that you can use to work on areas that need to be polished.
  4. I recommend taking the StrengthFinder’s 2.0 Assessment, to determine your top five strengths that are always evident no matter what you do. The online assessment at https://bit.ly/2IpbKcw is available for a nominal fee. If you believe you are a good leader, this assessment will break down what strengths you have that support that belief.
  5. Ask yourself what you like doing. I think that “finding your passion” can be over-rated. Finding what you prefer doing is much more realistic and doable. In every job, there are tasks we enjoy doing, and those we would prefer not performing. In one column, write a list of what you like doing in your job and don’t like doing in another column. Look for opportunities to do more of what you want (so that you become known in those areas), and less of what you don’t like.
  6. Google your digital presence. Are there any instances where you may show up negatively? Check all your social media. Employers and recruiters google candidates as part of their vetting process. You would be surprised what can show up from years before!

Business is so fast-paced that it is easy to forget who you are and how you show up.  By following these six steps, you will be able to shape your story where what you want people to know about you and what they perceive is the same!

Next month, I will write about “Packaging” your story (brand) clearly and consistently, and, lastly,  “Telling” your story so that it is memorable.

You can also go to https://executivepotentialplus.com/publications/ for a copy of “What Are They Thinking, Branding I. Inc.”, rather than waiting for the next installment.

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What amazing things would you do if you thought you could? 

I was going to write about branding this month, but I believe this is an essential first step.

I recently came across a book in my library, I read some time ago, “Unstoppable” by Cynthia Kersey, which contains 45 stories of people like you and me who, after being told their dream was impossible; they did it anyway.

Stories like these reinforce my belief that obstacles are opportunities in disguise.

A few fantastic stories from “Unstoppable:”

Ray Charles’s teachers said, “You can’t play the piano, and God knows you can’t sing. You’d better learn how to weave chairs so you can support yourself.” What would the world have missed if Ray had believed them?

It didn’t stop Oprah Winfrey knowing that Phil Donahue was number one in the daytime talk show market, and look what she has accomplished!

How many people become discouraged and drop ideas or miss opportunities because someone said they couldn’t possibly succeed?

If you didn’t ‘know’ it was impossible, what could you do?

Two more stunning stories from “Unstoppable.”

George Dantzig, a mathematics graduate student, was late for class.  He quickly copied two math problems from the blackboard he thought were homework assignments.  For several days he worked on the math problems continuously thinking they were harder than usual.  He finally solved them and turned them in.  Six weeks later, his professor was pounding on his door.  What George thought was a homework assignment was two well-known math problems that leading mathematicians up to that time had not been able to solve.  George did!  Why?  Because he didn’t know he couldn’t!

Pam Lontos was desperate for a job.  She applied at a small radio station and got a commission-only sales job.  She didn’t know large companies only bought advertising airtime from established stations with large audiences, so she called on them anyway.  She didn’t know that January was a slow sales month, but she earned the biggest January commission check ever written for radio sales in Dallas.  When she became the sales manager, she didn’t know it was unthinkable to leapfrog from that position to vice president of sales; but she did it in two years instead of the usual ten.  Why?  Because she didn’t know she couldn’t!

As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you are right.”

Suggested Actions to Take

Listen to your self-talk.  Is it whispering sweet nothings, such as “I could never do that!”? Redefine your version of impossible by redefining what could be possible starting with “I can,” and see what changes in what you think is possible.

Read “Unstoppable” by Cynthia Kersey or other books about people determined to follow their dreams regardless of what others said, which can inspire your can-do belief in yourself.

Reflect on those challenging goals you thought were not possible or difficult to attain, and decide to make them possible.  What resources do you need to make them happen? Do you need a coach, a mentor, certifications?  What do you need others to know about your quest?

 

Again, I ask you, “What amazing things would you accomplish in your life if you thought you could?”

 

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