Blog Post Cover: Inner Critic and Personal Growth

Inside each of us is the self-destructive internal narrative that repeats phrases like, “I’m such a loser!” when we mess up. Learning to silence the inner critic is one of the key requirements to experience breakthrough success. The best way to do that is through the three c’s for personal growth.

“Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchhill

Setting the Stage

Deep down, you know that failure isn’t final. Yet, it is an inevitable part of the struggle in life.

If you’re a parent, you’ve seen this countless times with kids. What would happen if, the first time my child tried to talk a walk, he fell over and I determined that walking must not be for him. I’d pick him up, vow to never let him fail again, and prohibit him from walking. I don’t want him to be a failure after all!

You’d call me crazy and think I’d be a bad parent … and you’d be right. When it comes to children, parents are keenly aware that temporary failure is a part of the learning process. However, parental insecurities also pass on to offspring and soon children internalize that failure is bad, and not acceptable. The first time I heard my oldest child criticize herself as a failure was kindergarten.

Let that sink in. Somehow, I taught my child before her fifth birthday, that failure was to be avoided because it was a bad reflection on her.

Ouch

All of humanity is embedded with the Inner Critic. Success happens, not just by battling the inner critic, but by overcoming it. Once you acknowledge it, you then want to dismantle the power it has in your life. How? Through the three c’s of personal developmentBlog Post Cover: Inner Critic and Personal Growth

Three Sources of Feedback

Competency

The first step in the process is competency. When I first started coaching, I labeled this as an individual’s calling. It was the answer to the question: what on earth am I here for? It’s a deep examination of you life, purpose, skills, abilities, passions, and goals in life. Your calling, as Frederick Buechner so eloquently put is the place where, “your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” You were put here for a specific purpose. You will only truly be happy when you are fulfilling that purpose. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who were looking to start a business, stay at home parents, career professionals in a variety of backgrounds. Each and every one of them had a unique purpose and we structured our time together to help them achieve clarity in their calling. Then, they were called to action.

You are too. Your calling, your greatest competency, is a gift to bless others. That new product or idea, the time with your kids, your neighborhood involvement, it all matters. Your legacy will long outlive you in the thoughts and minds of those around you. The more effectively you engage your calling, the deeper the impact you make on the world, the more significant your legacy will be. By discovering your core competency, your calling, you embrace who you are and fix your mind on completing the deepest parts of your existence.

Compassion

The second part of the process is compassion. More specifically, self-compassion. You beat the inner critic by extending grace on yourself. Several times over the last decade, I’ve posted a simple question online: do you find it harder to extend grace to others when they mess or to yourself when you mess up? While no results are ever 100% clear, and Facebook obviously isn’t a scientific platform, the results are always heavily skewed towards a struggle with ourselves. The problem is that you know your own internal moral compass. When you don’t live up to that, it’s a frustrating and embarrassing failure. When someone we love screws up, it’s a forgivable oversight, when you screw up, it’s a violation of your own personal moral code and honor.

In spite of how hard it is, the journey towards self-compassion is a necessary one. During my master’s program, my wife made me a shirt that said, “Be Tender To Yourself.” It was a reminder that just as I have forgiven others, I must also forgive myself. I spent years in counseling unable to do so. It wrecked my life. While your own journey may not see you in counseling, I’m guessing you also struggle with it.

Here are two ways to begin the journey towards greater self-compassion.

The first part of the problem is to put yourself, more pointedly your mistake, into someone else’s shoes. I’m not saying don’t accept responsibility or blame someone else. The idea is to imagine that someone else committed the error. If Bill had promised you the expense report at 7:00 last night, but got distracted dealing with a sick child’s vomit on the floor, would you refer to him as a lazy, good-for-nothing, idiot? My guess is (my sincere hope is) probably not. Instead, you’d reassure Bill that everything is okay. Extend yourself that same grace. If you’re not bothered by someone else doing it, don’t be offended when you do it.

The second way to engage in self-compassion is through humor. When you screw up, learning to laugh at yourself is a vital and necessary step. Spilled your orange juice? Instead of criticizing yourself for being an idiot, make a comment on how far it got. “Man, this time I was able to get it on the floor, the walls, and the ceiling. I really am talented!” Shifting your perspective, and in the process finding a way to compliment yourself, destroys the power of the inner critic.

Community

The final piece of the puzzle is community. In community, you can discover who you really are. Friends, parents, coworkers, a spouse or life partner, a trusted boss, mentor, and former professor all have insights into what makes you, you.

Seek authentic feedback from others. What are your strengths and weaknesses? How can those who know you best affirm your calling? What does your support network look like? By examining the community you participate in, you can assess that you are on the right path. During coaching, you can also use that time to change or adapt your community. If you try to assemble your feedback team and realize that no one supports you then you need new friends! Having a well-rounded, supportive, diverse community is key to your success, and the only way to make sure you have one is analyze it! Community grounds and surrounds us in the difficult moments of life, giving us the energy and strength to carry on.

This is an excerpt of my upcoming Shift. To receive news and alerts about its upcoming release, subscribe to my newsletter.

To get help through coaching, contact me.

Blog Post Cover: Car Robbery with overlay text "deal with it"

Recently, my wife and I were enjoying some coffee in the morning when we noticed headlights pull into our driveway. This isn’t too unusual or a call for alarm as we live three blocks from her parent’s house. They will sometimes stop by in the morning to see the kids before school.

However, three minutes after noticing the lights, they hadn’t come to the door. Then, we heard the sharp screel of an angle grinder, followed immediately by our car alarm going off. 

As I ran outside, there were three individuals attempting to steal our catalytic converter and turn it in for recycling money. I found out from the cops that it’s a popular crime, and one hard to track. Most of the time, car alarms don’t go off. We were able to escape any major injury or damage to the car as we called the cops and they sped off.

However, one phrase has been a recurring phrase for us in the house following the event is: “Deal with it.”

Deal With It.

While they didn’t get anything of value, it was a huge invasion of privacy. Worse than that, there were two individuals I could plainly see, one providing lookout in the car and the other cutting away beneath our vehicle. What I couldn’t see, was the third individual lurking around the corner who charged me when I stepped out my front door to see what was going on. Narrowly escaping, I pushed my wife and kids back inside to the safety of our home and called the cops once we were alerted to the danger.

That night, I noticed that I had a lot of anxiety. Worried they would come back and attempt to finish their theft, or worse, left me unable to sleep. The next several days were all stressful as we tried to process not just the attempted theft, but the invasion of privacy and safety as well.

As we process the event and deal with the consequences and trauma of the event, I realize how many times in life we don’t “deal with it” when problems arise.

At Work

Work situations are ripe with circumstances and experiences that haven’t been dealt with.

  • A coworker makes an inappropriate joke or demeaning remark and is never called out for it. Instead, he assumes everyone agrees with him since nothing was said.
  • A manager ridicules an employee unfairly and abusively. The “leadership style is defended because “that’s just the way he is.”
  • A brewing team conflict is allowed to simmer because of the false belief that product launch and marketing execution is more important than team health.

At Home

  • A series of pet-peeves builds mounting frustration towards a full-blown argument where harsh words are used.
  • The pressure of increased sales at work diminishes the quality of life at home, leading to personal withdrawal and isolation.
  • The busyness of life limits personal connection time and family bonding, leading to a fractured family unit and unspoken angst.

You get the point. You’ve also likely been there. Perhaps you even are there now. But high performers know that you can only be as strong as your weakest area of life. If you’re struggling to deal with any aspect of conflict, drama, or trauma, your success will falter and your breakthroughs will be limited.

Instead, based on the experience of the recent attempted robbery, here are three ways to help you process conflict in your life so you can deal with it appropriately.

1.) Give your emotions space.

The first step towards healing for Elise and I was to give our emotions space. We first had to acknowledge what we were feeling: sadness, anger, fear, frustration, anxiety, panic, and worry were quick to come out. Blog Post Cover: Car Robbery with overlay text "deal with it"

Give yourself the emotional range to deal with difficult problems and learn how to overcome them.

Strong leaders know they need to raise their emotional intelligence. Through consistent and deliberate practice, they engage their emotions and learn to master and express them appropriately.

2.) Share in deep conversation

You can’t deal with problems if you don’t talk about them. Once we acknowledged our emotions, we shared a conversation based around healing. What did it mean for us to deal with this situation effectively? How could we overcome those negative emotions and find hope? What did the other person need? How could we support them?

Elise and I intentionally set aside time to listen, reflect, and engage each other at a deep level.

3.) Create a better tomorrow.

The good news is that we are all okay. The better news is that we can work for a better tomorrow. This experience provided us with the opportunity to look at our house in a new light and discover what made it a good target. Poor outside lighting contributed to the criminals picking our house. So too, did several other factors. We were able to see those, remedy them, and create a safer environment for our family.

In life and work, we can do the same. Interpersonal conflict doesn’t have to be the norm. In fact, it shouldn’t be. In his book Thrive By Design, Don Rheem tells us that we are wired to perform better in teams. Those around us should make us better. If they aren’t, we have issues to address. By addressing them, we make the team better. When we make the team better, we get better. When you get better, you can attain peak performance. By reaching peak performance, you can skyrocket your success.

It is inevitable that conflict, disagreement, and discord will arise in life. However, we don’t have to live in it constantly. Instead, we can rise above it by giving our emotions space, engaging in deep conversation, and working towards a better future.

National Small Business Week 2020 Blog Post Cover

It’s National Small Business Week 2020!

To register, go to the SBA website. The event is free and designed to help you grow your small business.

National Small Business Week 2020

To help celebrate this week, and the vital role small businesses play in the local economy, here are some stats for you:

I got my start as a small business owner somewhere around age 10. I wish I would’ve known then how much I loved it. My mom’s boss needed help around his yard and I became his yard person. Every Saturday I’d rake leaves, mow the lawn, chop wood, and clean up debris. 

My next small business came working at a tractor salvage yard working alongside my dad. From age 15 to 21 I worked every summer and most weekends helping farmers get their equipment running. 

I’ve also spent time in franchise-owned small businesses, nursing home facilities, and owning my own LLC. My entire career has been in and around small businesses and their owners. Their commitment to not just meet a need for their family, but their community has always inspired me.

Recently, was having a conversation with a small business owner around some of their plans for future growth and expansion. The ingenuity, creativity, and innovation from the heart of this individual energized me. The world needs more of this, especially now.

Which is why 2020 has hurt so many people.

Planning for Quarter Four

There are, at the time of publication, 100 days left in 2020. Many of us, if not all of us, have had the craziest year we’ve ever imagined.

Celebrate! You have survived more than you ever thought possible.

Rejoice! You have found a new level of creativity, clarity, and calling.

Commend yourself! You have discovered grit, tenacity, and mental toughness much greater than you originally gave yourself credit for. National Small Business Week 2020 Blog Post Cover

And I want to encourage you to keep going.

The world needs you, your voice, your passion, your experience, your expertise, your product, and your smile.

With the next 100 days, you have a choice.

Quit now, with all you’ve already gone through.

-OR-

Push through and find extraordinary success.

Two weeks ago, one of my clients recently made a goal for 2020: to grow their business by 25%. They are clear and focused. We identified necessary tasks, potential obstacles, and the daily habits that would be necessary to make this happen.

Last week, when we checked in on that goal, they had already made significant progress.

Plant + Preparation = Success

A plan, plus the proper preparation, equals success.

Will you reach all of your goals in 100 days? Probably not. In fact, I hope not. Otherwise, your goals are too small.

But what could you accomplish in 100 days?

To lose one pound of fat a week (seven days), you must be in a calory deficit of 500 calories per day. This means that in 100 days you could lose more than 14 pounds. How much more energy would you have without 14 unnecessary pounds weighing you down?

If you sent three email requests for an introduction, in 100 days you could have up to 300 new contacts on your phone.

If you woke up thirty minutes early to read a challenging book, in 100 days you would spend an extra 50 hours in personal growth.

Each of these on their own would speed up your path to success. Combine some, or complete them all, and 100 days from now you will hardly recognize your current self.

Whatever your goals are, you get there by creating a plan. If you want help speeding up that plan, or have questions on which way to go, I’m here to help.

If you’re already on that plan, stay the course. Voices will start to creep in telling you to slow down, veer off course, or distract yourself with the next shiny object. Ignore those voices. Use them as fuel and motivation that you’re on the right path.

Plan Ahead.

Think Boldly.

Act Courageously.

Live Successfully.

Podcast Cover Art

Episode 21 – My Interview with Mitch Matthews.

Welcome to the LeaderQuest Podcast. This season will consist of interviews conducted for the Building With Purpose Conference I held back in May. This is Episode 20 – My Interview with Michael Warden.

If you failed to register for the full course, stay tuned for the rest of season two! I’ve got interviews coming up with each of the contributors. You’ll be able to glean wisdom from them and apply them in ways to grow yourself and your business.

For the conference, I assembled a diverse team of business professionals to examine the stay at home order and how we can achieve maximum productivity and success while in quarantine. The conference focused on the front of a newly issued stay-at-home order. Now, four months later, it seems all the more timely as the economy is looking to reopen.

This is Episode 21 – My Interview with Mitch Matthews. Podcast Cover Art with overlay text "interview with Mitch Matthews"

More About Mitch

In this episode, I’m having a conversation with Mitch Matthews. He is a life and business coach focusing on success, performance, and chasing dreams. Having worked personally with Mitch and seeing the effects he’s had on my business, I was thrilled to have him at the conference. His wisdom, insight, and passion for life and contagious.

You can connect with him here.

Be sure to subscribe, leave a comment, and share with someone who could benefit.

What’s one takeaway you have from Episode 21 and my interview with Mitch from the Building With Purpose Conference? How will you take control of your business’s future?

Mitch’s passion for life and the empowerment of others is infectious. In the midst of COVID, many businesses are struggling. Many are questioning how to chase their dreams. Mitch is clear proof that you can do just that, with a deep sense of awe and wonder in life.

Want more leadership tips? Be sure to check out the blogor #NextSteps Coaching on YouTube.

Podcast Cover Art, Justin giving an interview

Episode 19 – My Interview with Sally Thoun.

Welcome to the LeaderQuest Podcast. This season will consist of interviews conducted for the Building With Purpose Conference I held back in May. This is Episode 19 – My Interview with Sally Thoun.

If you failed to register for the full course, stay tuned for the rest of season two! I’ve got interviews coming up with each of the contributors. You’ll be able to glean wisdom from them and apply them in ways to grow yourself and your business.

For the conference, I assembled a diverse team of business professionals to examine the stay at home order and how we can achieve maximum productivity and success while in quarantine. The conference focused on the front of a newly issued stay-at-home order. Now, four months later, it seems all the more timely as the economy is looking to reopen.

This is Episode 19 – My Interview with Sally Thoun. Podcast Cover Art, Justin giving an interview

My Interview with Sally Thoun

In this episode, I’m having a conversation with Sally Thoun. She is a digital marketer focusing on small businesses. Her specialty is helping brick and mortar locations move into the digital world by increasing their web presence, ranking in SEO, and generating organic traffic.

Personally, I can say that I implemented some of the advice she gave and have seen some great results. She is an expert that knows her stuff and works hard for her clients. Different than other digital marketers she is carving herself out a niche on client-centered results.

Be sure to subscribe, leave a comment, and share with someone who could benefit.

What’s one takeaway you have from Episode 18 and my interview with Sally from the Building With Purpose Conference? How will you take control of your business’s future?

I love the wisdom and sense of calm she brings to the table. In the midst of COVID, many businesses are struggling. The world, already digital, has seen a dramatic rise in online engagement. Zoom meetings, distance education, and #TigerKing have consumed us all over the last several months. The businesses that didn’t adapt (or refuse still) won’t survive. Sally’s wisdom can help ease your fears and give you a greater presence as you transition your business online.

Want more leadership tips? Be sure to check out the blogor #NextSteps Coaching on YouTube.