The Power of Persistence by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge

Many of us are idea people. We are great with coming up with grand schemes and getting started on them with enormous enthusiasm. Yet we often persistence3fail to see these projects through, becoming bored, pessimistic or defeated because of stumbles in the road or little failures along the way.

It’s critical to learn to get past these little stumbles so that we don’t give up. When we give up, how do we know that success wasn’t just around the corner? Have you ever wondered how many pursuits you were “this close” to accomplishing when you gave up?

The key to persistence lies in two traits. The first is commitment. Too often we start a project without a real commitment to see it through. When it gets hard, we want to quit because we never were all that committed to it anyway. Take a look back at the hard things you’ve accomplished in your life. Maybe you have a long, successful marriage. I’m sure there were hard times during that marriage that made you want to give up. The reason you didn’t was that you had a true commitment to your partner and the promises you made each other. Pursue projects with true commitment, and you’ll have the strength to be persistent.

The second key to persistence is celebration. We often give up because we only look at the things that have gone wrong during the process. The mistakes and failures take a toll on. These failures take less of a toll when we spend more time thinking about the successes. In each big endeavor, we have those stumbles in the road, but we also have achievements and learning experiences. The problem is that we spend more time mourning the failures than we do celebrating the successes. Over time, the project looks like a series of failures to us, so we lose the will to keep trying.

Success is about persistence. Persistence is about mindset. Make a genuine commitment to all you do, and don’t forget to celebrate how well you’re doing it.

Getting Back on Track by Cindy Stradling by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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January always seems to be a month when many of us have to “hit the reset button”. The holidays often seem to get us off track, but we meet the new year with new confidence and goals, but may wonder how to practically get ourselves back on track. Here are some tips you can use any time of the images3year.

  1. Pull out those goals and review. When we’ve gotten off track, we’ve likely stopped thinking about our goals on a daily basis. Reviewing your goals can help bring these back to the forefront of your mind, and help you renew your commitment to meeting them.
  1. Outline the tasks. Each goal has a specific set of tasks required to get you to the finish line. Writing down these tasks helps you create a plan. Once you’re finished, put your goals and tasks where you can see them every day.
  1. Use your calendar. Schedule your tasks just like you would any business appointment. This ensures you have time in your schedule, and makes you more likely to follow through. If you have to cancel a task at the originally scheduled time, move it to another time rather than removing it altogether.
  1. Be accountable. If you have trouble holding yourself accountable for doing what you need to do, get a buddy who will make you accountable. This little push is often all we need to ensure we don’t let important tasks slide. For example, many personal trainers recommend having an exercise buddy. You’re less likely to cancel your workout if you know someone else is counting on you to be there.
  1. Measure progress. It’s easier to stay motivated when we see progress. Don’t forget to have measurable goals and to take the time to see how far you’ve come.
  1. Set small goals so that you can have regular victories. Then, celebrate those victories as a way of keeping yourself motivated to do more.

Getting off track during the holidays is normal, and we all need some down time. To ensure you’re meeting your goals, however, it’s important to get right back on track when the fun is over.

What Olympians and Athletes Know About Success by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC

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Many business people could take a lesson from athletes. Training teaches them a lot beyond physical strength and endurance. The best athletes internalize lessons about resilience that can help in all areas of life. This is one reason why so many of them go on to have successful second careers once they are no longer athletes. Here are three things intense athletic training teaches you about resilience.79482737_m

  • Muscle memory is important. Repetitive training teaches your body to do things on autopilot. Muscle memory is good for things other than sports, and it helps you to do what needs to be done even under extreme stress. For this reason, practicing the characteristics you need as a business leader is very important so that they become second nature to you.
  • You never quit. The best athletes don’t quit when they lose. They know that losing is part of training, and each time you get up and try again, you get a little better. The best athletes have the mental stamina and the drive to reach their goal, no matter how many times they fail on the way to reaching it.
  • There are takeaways from every failure. One of the reasons athletes are able to keep going after a loss is because they examine that loss and use it as training for the next match. The loss is analysed and specific adjustments put in to place based on this analysis. The knowledge that the loss will make them better contributes to the ability to get up and try again.

Taking a few lessons from athletes can help you stick to your business plan and keep moving forward even when you feel like giving up. Continued practice makes you better, and a strong passion for success can help you move forward even after a devastating setback. The setbacks are always opportunities to improve, so long as you see these that way and are willing to examine your mistakes and make plans for the future. Great athletes are equipped with more than just well-trained bodies. Their minds are equally well trained, and provide great lessons for those of us in business.

Visualization- The Lazy Man’s Tool for Success???

visualize outcomes to increase success in reaching goals

Visualization- The Lazy Man’s Tool for Success???

visualize outcomes to increase success in reaching goalsWhen I ask participants in either my sales or presentation skills training programs if they visualize, I often get a blank stare back at me.  I then go on to explain that visualization is a mental practice that can help you achieve more of what you want in your life and prepare you mentally for success.  The great news is that you can do this from anywhere, sitting on your couch or lounging in your backyard.  It requires no accessories or tools.  Whether you are mentally rehearsing your next presentation, your golf swing or asking for a raise, you are setting yourself up with a better chance for success.

Some research shows that mental practice is almost as effective as physical practice and by doing both was more effective than doing each one alone.  Many athletes both novice and seasoned create very detailed mental practices engaging all their senses to enhance their performance.  Tiger Woods has been doing this since his pre-teens.

Jack Nicklaus, World Champion Golfer has said: “I never hit a shot, not even in practice, without having a very sharp in-focus picture of it in my head.”  Muhammad Ali, Heavyweight Champion used different mental practices to enhance his performance in the ring such as: affirmation; mental rehearsal; visualization; self-confirmation; and the most powerful epigram of personal worth ever uttered: “I am the greatest!”

We have learned from brain studies that our thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions.  We can train our brain through our mental practices.  This can result in increased effectiveness, improved motivation, increased confidence and simply setting yourself up for the expectation of success!

So how can you use this at work?  Great question!

Start by getting very clear about your desired outcome.  Imagine you are looking at a TV screen and you are watching yourself in the future, having already achieved what it is you are wanting to achieve.  Engage as many of your senses as you can.  Notice how you are feeling once you have achieved success.  Notice if there are other people involved, what are they doing and saying?  Practice, practice, practice!  It is good to practice just before going to bed or just when you wake up.

The next time you have an important presentation to deliver, practice it in your mind as well as physically go through your presentation.  You will be amazed at how much more you will be in “flow” and confidence you will feel. 

If you are in sales and have a new client you want to impress.  Of course, you will do your due diligence and thorough research about your potential client, but this time you are going to go one step further.  You are going to step up your sales game and spend some time before the call visualizing how the call will go.  You will see yourself connecting with the prospect and watch in your mind’s eye how you easily and effortlessly you interact with this person.  You will visualize how the call will end and see agreement to your desired outcome.  I recommend doing this several times before an important meeting.

The next time you have to engage in a difficult or challenging conversation, see yourself with the other person working things out so it is a win win for everyone.  By mentally rehearsing in such situations can help calm your nerves and help you stay more present during the actual conversation.

Doing visualization exercises doesn’t guarantee that you will get everything you want but studies have shown that results increase when they are combined with practical practice.

“Ordinary people believe only in the possible.  Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible or probable, but rather what is impossible.  And by visualizing the impossible, they begin to see it as possible.”  ~ Cherie Carter-Scott

Motivation – An Inside Job!

love living our values everyday

Motivation – An Inside Job!

The word motivation is derived from the word motive, which means the internal drives, desires, needs and wants of a person.  It is important to note is that it is “Internal” and is the process of an internal drive that causes people to take action toward their goals.  People have many different factors that can personally stimulate their behaviour.  In the workplace it can include such things as a desire for money, recognition, job satisfaction, success, teamwork, leadership and others.

The performance of employees is a product of both their abilities (e.g. skills & experience) and motivation.  An employee who is de-motivated by their circumstances is unlikely to perform well at work, whereas a motivated employee can often deliver far more than is expected from them!

I think one of the most important things a leader needs to understand is the ways in which they can arouse an employee’s interest in performance. By creating an incentive plan that fosters the desire to work and encourages employees to commit to achieving goals, will help leaders create teams that have the motivation to succeed.  Leadership is creating a powerful vision that others are motivated and empowered to work toward.  When the need to produce the vision is satisfied, employees are motivated to continue to reach other goals.

Anyone in a leadership role understands the need to lead by example, do what you want others to do. If you observe people’s behaviour you can often determine what motivates them.  There are both internal and external motivators.

love living our values everydaySo where does motivation come from?  It comes from different sources:

  • The satisfaction of doing a good job or successfully completing a difficult task or project.
  • When you love what you do every day, especially if what you do is in alignment with your values
  • People can motivate you (actually inspire you too)
  • Fear can motivate us (fear of reprimand) –this can be negative and motivating just the same (ie could take us away from danger)
  • Beliefs you hold about live can be motivating (living in possibility)
  • Seminars, trainers, books can be motivational
  • Messages in cards, songs, poems and stories can all motivate

Messages in cards, songs, poems and stories can all motivate

Is money a motivator?

In his book “Drive” Daniel Pink notes that any discussion about motivation in the workplace is a fact of life.  People need to make a living.  Contracts, salary, benefits and a few perks are only baseline rewards.  If someone’s baseline reward is not adequate or equitable, the focus will be on the unfairness of the situation and the anxiety of the situation.  As a leader you can expect to get very little motivation.  The best use of money as a motivator is to pay people enough to take the issue of money off the table.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

A theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper “A Theory of Human Motivation”.  Maslow subsequently extended the idea to include his observations of humans’ innate curiosity.  His theories parallel many other theories of human developmental psychology, some of which focus on describing the stages of growth in humans.  Maslow used the terms Physiological, Safety, Belongingness and Love, Esteem, and Self-Actualization needs to describe the pattern that human motivations generally move through. 
Source: Wikipedia

Depending on where a person is in their life could change what motivates them.

We all have a deep source of motivation that is available anyplace, anytime all you need to do is look and connect with it

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily” ~ Zig Ziglar”

Procrastination ~ Good or Bad???

procrastination - today, tomorrow, yesterday, now

Procrastination ~ Good or Bad???

Definition: The act of replacing high-priority or important actions with tasks of lower priority, or doing something from which one brings enjoyment, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time. – Wikipedia

procrastination - today, tomorrow, yesterday, nowIf you are someone who procrastinates, you will be pleased to know there are two types of procrastinators, active and passive.

Active procrastinators purposely delay tasks because they are more focused and productive when they work under pressure.  They know how to use their energy, and the adrenaline rush to fuel them to meet their deadlines, just in time.

Passive procrastinators are often paralyzed by indecision, worry and can often interfere with your relationships.  Passive procrastinators live with anxiety, guilt and stress over the frequent missed opportunities and deadlines.

We often paint procrastinators with the same brush and consider it a negative trait.  The most important point here is to identify the type of procrastinator you are and then decide if there is value in you changing.  There may not be and you can continue the way you are.

We are all leaders in our own lives and whether you hold a leadership position or not it is important to fully understand yourself.  It is worth the time to explore the impact that procrastination has on your life and the lives of your team.  By making a list of the Costs and the Benefits of procrastination can provide you with the information to make the decision if it is worth taking the necessary steps to change.  Effective leaders “walk their talk” and need to understand the example they are setting for their team.

A few examples of these benefits include:

  • Avoidance of possible failure ( or success)
  • People stop expecting you to do things – reduced anxiety
  • Sometimes problems simply solve themselves
  • You get to only do the tasks you enjoy

If you decide that you want to change, our Alliance partner Mark Ellwood has created an accountability website that can support you.  It is a website where you can post the activities you want to achieve and through the website you can connect with an accountability buddy.  Visit the website:  http://www.buddyhive.com/

Mark has the following tips to help you overcome procrastination (there are more on his website):

 

Unpleasant tasks

Situation: Tasks that are rarely turn out to be as bad as you think.

Tip: Do tasks first. Early in the day is usually the best time to schedule them.   reward yourself once they are completed

Complex Projects

Situation: Something looms ahead of you: starting a small business, getting a job, preparing the annual budget. The job is too big or will take too long to do now, so you put it off.

Tip: Larger jobs are easier to manage if broken into smaller tasks. Start with even the smallest task.

Fear of failure (lack of self confidence)

Situation: Sometimes people want to avoid the consequences of failure, so they delay. (People also suffer from fear of success!)

Tip: Have a clear mental picture of the completed task and how you and others will feel at that time.  Focusing on the end result, not just the process.

Perfectionism

Situation: Projects delayed due to people wanting everything to be perfect.

Tip: Clearly defined deadlines with accountability to others will support you.

Tip: Recognize that sometimes 80% for you may well be 100% for someone else. Know when less detail is required and only provide what is needed

A New Year – New Goals or New Excuses?

smart goals - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-based

A New Year – New Goals or New Excuses?

It is time to take stock on how you performed in the past 12 months.  How did you do?

Often people set goals every January with the very best intentions of achieving them. We have all learned over the years the importance of writing our goals down, having clear outcomes and setting milestones to help us step by step to success.

 So what happens?  Often a strong start then nothing!

smart goals - specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, time-basedHaving written goals is only part of the equation.  One of the most important elements of setting powerful goals is to tie them to your values and get connected to why you want to achieve the goal in the first place.  By taking the time to ask yourself questions like: “Why is this important?” “What difference with this make?” will give you the fuel you need when the going gets tough.

And the going will get tough at times, especially if it is something that takes you out of your comfort zone.

SMART goals have been taught to leaders, managers and employees for many years and while they are somewhat effective, there are other components that go a long way to help keep you on track.  Listed below are a few questions to help to ensure success.

Ask yourself:

Do the results I will achieve once I achieve my goal energize me?

How passionate am I to achieve my goal?

How personally committed to my results?

Is my intention clear?

Will I be in integrity with my commitments? (say what I will do and do what I say)

What structure have I put in place to support me? (a way to measure milestones)

What is the opportunity for growth?  What difference will that make in my life?

Do I have an unstoppable attitude?  How do I know?

How do I intend to track my program?

Have I created a step by step action plan?

Who can support me in achieving my goal?

What are any possible obstacles?  What can I put in place to be sure they don’t stop me?

At the end of the day there is only two things you can have – Reasons or Results.  You can have the results you set out to achieve or the reasons why you didn’t achieve them.  It is really about self leadership.

You choose.

Often the smallest steps forward can make a huge difference.  If you think about a horse race, the winner wins by a nose, or in the Olympics it can be a few seconds that makes all the difference.

What little step can you talk today to move you closer to your goal?

In December 2013, what do you want to look back on?  A year of results or reasons?  I suspect you want results!!!