Me! Me! Me!

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Firms are fighting for the same customer thereby giving the customer the upper hand.  Each company focuses on catering to the needs of their customers to a point that they provide customized services around the needs of their customers.   Take for example, McDonald’s has it your way, in which you can choose what you want, including super sizing it.  Isn’t it great that the company wants to meet my needs and customize their services to match them?  That’s awesome!   It creates a society focusing too much on individual needs, which results in people thinking that is it is all about me.

The ME-focused society has created a challenge in which people tend to want to do things for the sake of getting the credit.   The need to be rewarded every single time is not realistic, because it creates a shift in focus from team to individual.   Who has not worked with someone who wants to be front and center and take call the credit?   They might have worked alongside everyone, but when it is time to get the credit they are in front of everyone.   Right, wrong, or indifferent, most projects are a team sport.  You need a group of people to work together to get the job done. Therefore when providing recognition, you focus on the team first.

How do we make sure the team gets the credit?

  • Highlight the delivery and what value it brings either to the organization or clients.
  • List all the names of all people who participated in the project.
  • Specify any special process or innovation that we put in place to make the solution better
  • Last but not least, unless someone has done a special job, stay focused on the team effort and commitment

At work, celebrate your people’s uniqueness, but focus on the over-arching goal and how the team accomplished such goal.   State the collective wisdom that helped accomplish the goal.   Highlight innovation and game-changing decisions that help differentiate your company.  Individuality is great, but in a team sport of having many people working on your project, you need to make sure the team feels recognized and appreciated.

5 Ways to Overcome Common Reinvention Obstacles

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I’m excited to have another guest post on my site. For most folks, we change careers at some point during our journey.   Without someone to guide us, this journey will be filled with trials and errors.   Let me introduce Hollis Thomases. She is founder of ReinventionWorks and creator of Mega Reinvention 2016, the preeminent online confab for career transformation. She’s passionate about helping people find their next future. Connect with her on Twitter @hollisthomases

RW_5 Ways to

 

I view reinvention as intention change; as deliberately pivoting away from something you know towards an unfamiliar path. I’ve reinvented myself professionally at least twice before (three times if you count the almost instantaneous pivot I had to do after my last career reinvention), and I’ve reinvented my life significantly at least once. I’m no stranger to reinvention obstacles, and I don’t shy away from them. It’s not that I love jumping hurdles, but I know well enough by now that if you plan to reinvent, you have to accept upfront that obstacles will be part of your reinvention process.

 

The reinvention journey – the path you will follow in order to transform your future – might be one of the most arduous things you deliberately choose to undertake. You will experience joy, liberation, fear, discomfort, and many, many decision trees. It’s why reinvention stories make for such great stories and movies.

 

The obstacles that will be thrown in your way vary from person to person and situation to situation, and therefore we can’t necessarily predict and prepare for them. There are some things that you can do, however, to help you overcome these obstacles.

 

  1. Get your self-reflection on. The reinvention process will force you into self-reflection, of this I am certain. Many people, however, are uncomfortable being self-reflective. Your mind may be a walled garden you have intentionally ignored for many years to protect yourself from feelings and emotions you’ve been unprepared to handle. I will tell you that now is the time to reckon yourself to this discomfort, to embrace it, and to start early. The sooner you become familiar with your sources of discomfort and the areas in which you feel weak, the better off you’ll be able to also conquer your other reinvention hurdles.

 

  1. Muster your courage. Just as you might need to talk yourself into doing something to confront an everyday fear – from taking a perilous roller coaster ride to boarding a plane to fly – you need to fortify yourself for your reinvention journey. Change is already a scary proposition for most people, but intentionally changing away from the known into the unknown can either be terrifying or exhilarating…or a little bit of both. Why not think of your reinvention journey as one big “excellent adventure,” so you’re thinking of working up your courage for something fun?!

 

  1. Tap into your creativity. Sometimes reinvention feels like one big complicated algebraic word problem (remember those? Ugh!). There’s just one problem to solve after the next after the next. Your reinvention journey will require ingenuity, creativity, and old-fashioned street smarts to get you over, through, or around the next hurdle. To unleash that power, do the kinds of things that let you free your mind and find answers (or at least the path to the answer). That might be taking a walk or taking a nap. It might be reading a good mystery novel or doodling on a pad of paper. It might be cooking a gourmet meal, or it might be lifting weights. Whatever “that” thing is for you, just do it…and do it a lot.

 

  1. Be adaptable. If “the only constant is change,” then, by its sheer nature, the reinvention process invites steadily constant change. Just when you think you may have figured something out, you’ll realize you have it wrong. There’s generally a lesson in what you got wrong, so use that lesson and adjust course. A sailor at sea cannot control the wind, so when the wind changes direction, she must adjust her sails. And when the wind dies altogether, there are motors, oars, and currents to take advantage of. Doing nothing for very long, however, isn’t a viable option.

 

  1. Seek support. No one reinvents alone. Time and again, Reinventionists talk about the support they received that allowed them to see themselves through to the end of their journey. That support comes from different places: spouses, family, friends, community groups, resource centers – even perfect strangers. When you’re reinventing, you cannot be bashful. You’ve got to get out there, let people help you, and better still, ask for help.

 

If you’re in need of help, I encourage you to check out Mega Reinvention 2016, the 100% online video conference coming this January. Its curriculum of 25+ sessions, spread out throughout the month (1/2 – 1/31/16), was designed to touch on all of these obstacles of career reinvention, particularly for people in the middle of their careers.

 

Will 2016 finally be the year of your reinvention??

Closing the Year

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The end of the year means different things to many people. For a company, it means focusing on wrapping up the books and making sure they achieve the sales target for the year. For individuals, it could mean assessing the current year and planning for the next year.   It could also mean making another New Year’s resolution, which will be tackled with much enthusiasm in January through March then dropped thereafter.

To me, the year end is a time to take stock on how I did this year.   Here is what I look for:

  • What are my greatest learnings? Focus on lessons learned and avoid the same mistakes.
  • What did I do wrong that caused the most grief or trouble? Ouch! How can I prevent it?
  • What did I do well? I need to continue that next year.
  • What relationships did I establish? How can I continue to make them better?
  • How did I add value to my mentees and the people I coach?
  • What is the most important lesson that I learned this year?
  • Which member of my inner circle added value to the team?
  • Which member of my inner circle needs to be pruned? Because they no longer add value and share the same vision.

Closing the year is a time to sit down and compare things. How did the Will of 2014 stack up against the Will of 2015?   Did I grow spiritually? Did I learn and apply my knowledge? What other areas can I improve on?   My biggest win this year is learning from the people I coach and mentor.   Their different perspectives and viewpoints helped me expand my understanding.

In closing, how was your year? What made you smile? What made you cry? I hope you’re pleased with your progress.   It is time to review and plan what you want to achieve next year. Check your multi-year plan and adjust accordingly. May 2016 bring you good health and success.

Do Not Do List – What is holding you back?

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Last week, I was teaching part three of the 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth to our constituents at our company.   As I was presenting, one topic, what came to mind is the “Do Not Do List.”   Like anyone, I often struggle as I work at overcoming some of my weaknesses in life.   This is a daily challenge and I persevere to keep at it.   So I thought it would be appropriate for me to write my blog on this topic.

What is a do not do list? It is a list of things that are holding you back.   It could be habits, practice or behaviors that prevent you from making progress.   On my list procrastinating is number one. I have the tendency to put things off because I think that I can get it done tomorrow.   This habit has caused me a lot of trouble because I failed to accomplish the things that I need to do, therefore I cannot move to the next step.

Here is how you create your list

  • On a piece of paper, fold it in the middle.   Write weaknesses on the top left section and action item on the right side
  • List your weaknesses – these are habits, behaviors and practices that are holding you back
  • For each weakness – write it on the left side of the paper and on the right side list action items that you need to do to improve or eliminate your weakness.  More importantly, state when you will work on it.
  • List the impact of each item to your life – how much impact does it have in your life? Does it hold you back?   Mark it as High—very impactful, Mid— impactful, Minor—little impact, that holds you back
  • Prioritize – do this by marking the most impactful first. High impact to minor impact.
  • Start now – don’t wait another day. Start now and make it happen.
  • Persevere and be persistent – do not stop and be persistent.   Consistency is the key to your success.

Once you have the list, you need to change your habit and the things that you do in your life. In order to make progress, we must change our habits.     There will be days we don’t feel like working on our weaknesses, but a day wasted means we are day away from achieving our goal.   I advise that you keep at it and be persistent.

Writing is a labor of love, share this to people you now will benefit from reading it. Let me know if it works for you by commenting on my post.

 

What would you do? Unsportsmanlike conduct

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March Madness did live up to its expectation.   My two favorite teams made it to the final four. Kentucky and Wisconsin are my favorites. I had picked Kentucky to win, however Wisconsin was clearly hungrier and wanted it more.

After Wisconsin won a fierce match against Kentucky, what transpired after left me shaking my head. How could Coach Calapari let his team walk away without shaking hands with Wisconsin’s players?   I understand that the players will be upset when you lose a big game, but sportsmanship is the ultimate reason why we play the sport.     I was surprised that Coach Calapari would let some of his players walked off the court.   As a coach, he is the leader and leaders should hold their people to a high standard.

I’ve been coaching for three years and I always stress the importance to our players that we will win and lose graciously.   While we will be upset, we will honor our opponent and respect them,    because they earned the win.   I will never tolerate anyone on my team disrespecting our opponent.

What ensued made matters worse. During the press interview, one of the star players for Kentucky was heard saying profanity on live microphone.    I find that inexcusably rude and disrespectful. What did Coach Calapari teach his player? It is unimaginable that they could be high draft picks entering the NBA draft when they don’t have the basic manners needed.   I put this back on Coach Calapari’s shoulders, that he needs to step up and rectify this.   We expect better from his players and know that they need to be held to a standard like everyone else.   The loss was a huge disappointment, but the is totally unacceptable.

As a leader, you need to make sure that your team understands that they are upholding a certain standard.   That any unsportsmanlike conduct will be dealt with accordingly and no stone will be left unturned.     As an athlete, they are role models whether they like it or not.   They need to step up and be accounted for.

If you’re the head coach, what would you do? How would you provide an effective feedback?   I felt that the moment it happened was the perfect time to teach your players a lesson.   It is more impactful to deal with it right after it happens than doing a postmortem.     As Vince Lombardi says, “The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders.”     With that said, the leader should be the role model and carry the team in good and bad times.

Do your best at all times

At my daughter’s recent soccer tournament, they played a team from the same town. The team is in A flight.   Before the match, most of the players were talking about losing to the A team.   I heard them talking about it and I couldn’t help but inquire why they think that way.   I mentioned to them that if we truly believe we will lose, then we might as well stay home and not drive after a snow storm, because it is not worth it to take the risk driving after a nor’easter.    I told them that they need to prepare and be ready to play hard no matter what the situation.

As I walked back to my seat, I thought of Napoleon Hill’s quote that defeat is only a reality when we acknowledge it. Our acceptance of the defeat is what will seal the deal for us.   Our mind it the most important organ in our body; it is the central command center that dictates how we behave and go about doing things. When it gives a command to shut down, defeat is just a matter of time.   Going back to the game, our team lost to the A flight team 4-0, but they played keep-away after leading by 4.   I think how our players thought led to the harsh outcome. But, nonetheless, it is a good experience for them to match up against teams that are better trained than they are.

After lunch, my wife and I had to remind our youngest daughter that she needed to finish her book report. She had been working on this on and off for a week.   She was taking her sweet time and often left things to the last minute, which makes it very stressful for everyone.   This time around I reminded that her effort is directly correlated to the grade that she will receive. In addition, if she does not try her best there is really no point paying for a private education when the public school system is adequate.   Nonetheless, I’m not sure what we missed. The struggle continued and by 9 p.m. she was still not done.   I had a long talk with her and her sister about trying her best at all times.   What does it mean to do your best? I emphasize that it does not mean getting an “A”, but rather it means that you did all you could and will be proud to have your name associated with the work you produced.

My point for this post is that if you don’t believe in yourself and acknowledge defeat before you even start something, there is really no chance to make any progress.   Furthermore when you don’t plan and just leave everything to chance, it is difficult to expect a good result.   Nothing beats preparation, as it put you on the right path to make things happen.   It also allows you to adjust your plan accordingly.   The next time you feel like you’re not confident about a situation. ask yourself the question: Are you not capable to make it happen because you don’t believe in yourself? Or, it is just a perception that you can’t get it done. If it is the later, pause and takes a deep breath and give yourself a chance and proceed. Giving it a try is better than not trying at all.

Settling for something

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Do not settleIn a recent call with my accountability partners from a training program, we were discussing the things that we needed to accomplish for the coming weeks.   I could sense that most of us were overwhelmed because we all have day jobs while trying to hone our skills to do what we love to do, which is coaching, training and developing leaders.

The program is very demanding in that we have homework, numerous calls and accountability partners that challenge and push us outside our comfort zones.   I myself felt that it is a bit too much, but I’m thinking to myself that if this were easy, everyone would be doing it already.   If this were just plain general knowledge when it would be worth nothing. The focus really is to acquire this specialized knowledge and make ourselves marketable in the area in which we are passionate.

As we discussed during the call, one participant suggested that we reduce the number of assignments. While I’m interested in the idea, I said to myself that, if we settle, we will not achieve our goal. Joining the program meant that we wanted to stretch and challenge ourselves.   Two weeks into the program we were compromising and settling. I explained to the team why it is not a good idea to settle; I also encouraged them to just give it their best shot, because I’ll do the same.

To achieve something in life, there will be sacrifices. It could be lack of sleep, time with love ones, relaxation time, etc. We need to weigh the value of achieving that goal. How important is that goal to us? Why does it matter that we achieve it?   It is then we decide the dedication and commitment we need to get it done. Once committed, we just need to follow through and be persistent.   Nothing can be accomplished when we quit too early.   As I explained to my daughter, we take a light bulb for granted because it is there every day. If Thomas Edison quit after failing over a thousand times, we would be sitting in the dark with a gas lamp today.   Is that prospect better? Think about it. If it is easy, everyone would be doing it and there will be no value in doing it. The key to a successful career is gaining that specialized knowledge that allows you to differentiate yourself from everyone else. Differentiation is the key and you can only achieve that by continuous learning and being focused on your goal.

As Jim Rohn says, “If you are not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” To be ordinary, you’ll be in the middle of the pack. Is that what you aim to achieve? If that’s what you want, that is perfectly fine, but progress and dreams cannot be achieved in such a manner.   As John F. Kennedy said, “Once you say you’re going to settle for second, that’s what happens to you in life.”   Our mind is very powerful; when we settle, our opportunity also decreases significantly.

I see every day that people settle for less than they deserve.   They do this because they are comfortable and just want to go with the flow. The reality is that everything around us is changing and progressing. Staying in your place is not going to help you. In my opinion, they are partially living their dream, and partial can never equate to fulfillment.   I do believe that every person has potential for greatness; however, it is only possible if you push the envelope and make it happen.

Writing is a labor of love. If you like my blog, please share it with your friend. If you don’t agree, share your thoughts and comments.