Woman doing Yoga in sunset with blog title superimposed

We’re one day into the new year.

Be honest: how are those resolutions going?

I had a conversation with someone yesterday who was committed to being healthy in the new year but was already leery of how close Valentine’s Day was.

On new years day, they were worried about how a holiday 45 days in the future, was going to effect today.

Less than one day.

That’s exactly how long it took to waiver on their commitment.

Don’t Be A Statistic

According to some research, upwards of80 percent of us will fail at our new year resolutions by February. Our commitments to eat better, sleep more, focus on the right things, exercise, and spend more time with loved ones are often token words.

We know the right answer, but we fail to experience the transformation we long for.

Why?

First, there is a lack of clarity. “Losing weight” is pretty vague. Instead, plan on losing “ten pounds by March 1.” It’s clear, definable, and action-oriented.Woman doing Yoga in sunset with blog title superimposed

Second, it’s an arbitrary date. While January 1 looks nice, it’s no more an effective date July 7 or September 10. In fact, based on the (usually) poor weather conditions and limited sunlight, it may actually be a worse time to start your goals.

Third, those committed to self-improvement do it as soon as they discover a weakness. In my work with high-performers, I can always tell the level of seriousness in a potential client by how they treat their self-improvement. Those who are ready usually take little to no prompting from me. We’ll talk about a subject, figure out an action plan, and they are off and running. In contrast, those that take a while to decide, need to spend some time “thinking about it” or “will get back to me” never actually make real change. They like the idea of change, they know they should change, but they rarely (if ever) do.

Think Different

In August of 1997, Steve Jobs urged us to “Think Different.” 

It worked for Apple. It works for us too.

If you want to be someone that breaks the trend of failed new years resolutions, here are my top three tips to “Think Different” and experience success.

1.) Set clear, definable goals.

2.) Do one thing every day to get better.

3.) Get clear on your why, not just your what.

While it may have taken my friend one day to falter, that doesn’t have to be the case with you. 

Be the exception.

Be different.

Think different.

Do different.

Experience Success.

 

Blog Post Title: Leadership Health and Integrity Part 2

I learned the necessity of emotional intelligence like a child learning to walk. There was lots of hand-holding, many more tremendous crashes (often public),  and more than a few bumps and bruises. 

The Leader’s Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is like playing the piano. The greater the range, the greater the player.

As a pianist, my musical accomplishment is limited to chopsticks. On a good day, I might be able to find middle C.

For my wife, after some tinkering, she can learn to play fairly complex songs. She can tune her guitar, sing along as she plays, and is good enough to teach our children.

A world-class pianist can play amazing complex songs. The piano seems to come alive in their hands. Every technique is mastered. Each hammering of the kBlog Post Title: Leadership Health and Integrity Part 2eys is intentional. Everything ringing with a divine sound. 

Emotional Intelligence works the same way. Emotionally immature people have a very limited range of keys to play from. Usually, they are the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. A situation arises, and their keystrokes are limited. Everything triggers them to respond in simplistic ways. 

I knew a man like this once. Though physically mature, the emotional range was limited. Within a split-second, he could go from happiness to anger. Worse than that (as someone who claimed to be a leader), there was little desire to change.

“I’m just this way. I’ve always been this way, I’ll always be this way. “

This limiting belief and limited emotional capacity will limit his leadership capacity.

Expanding The Emotional Range

Expanding emotional range happens with practice. Like each new key on the keyboard that a pianist can play, emotional range equips the leader for more situations.

Think of a strong emotion like anger. Those with limited emotional capacity experience lots of anger. The lack of self-awareness leads to them repeatedly pounding the same key over and over again.

They get cut off in traffic and are angry.

The restaurant takes too long to cook their food and they are angry.

Their child leaves their shoes in the middle of the floor and they are angry.

They are passed over for a promotion and are angry.

Their favorite team loses in the championship game and they are angry.

Bothered by the amount of trash in the local park, they are angry.

Like a new piano player, they keep hitting the same note. Always angry, always looking for a reason to explode, always at the ready to let everyone know how they feel.

In contrast to this, there are ranges of anger: annoyance, frustration, furious, exasperated, and bitter are a few examples. Each is a different key to more adequately express the current emotion.

Do your child’s shoes in the middle of the floor really make you angry or are you annoyed because you tripped over them?

Does the missed promotion make you exasperated because you worked hard and thought you earned it?

The more keys that are available to us as leaders, the better we can navigate the situations around us.

Continual Growth

The thing about leadership is that it is never a finished journey. New experiences and new insights lead to new emotional experiences.

This means new words.

New emotional keys we get to play.

And our viewpoint determines our destination.

Are these obstacles, or opportunities?

Join us next week as we continue our look at the seven areas of leadership health.

 

Looking to grow your Emotional Intelligence? Take the Test.

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The Culture Challenge

Leaders set the standard. Recently, I read an article (excerpt below) that reminded me about the vital importance of leadership culture. This week, we’re talking about the culture challenge faced in leadership, and ways to overcome and transform poor culture.

“The culture inside the Nebraska locker room isn’t OK.

Scott Frost made that apparent during the bye week, when on his radio show he said there was a “portion” of the team not ready to play at Minnesota, where the Gophers blew out the Huskers.

He went all in and called out his team Saturday, saying his team is ‘just OK’ and that he’s not ‘going to be happy with just OK.'” (source)

As a fan of all things Nebraska, this has been a particularly painful football season. While most of the last twenty years has been a disappointment for one of college football’s most storied and proud programs, this one hurts deeply.

Why?

The expectations were different. The season was supposed to be different. The outcome was supposed to be different.

Year two of a coach’s tenure is supposed to see improvement. Year two of Scott Frost’s tenure at Nebraska, his alma mater, was supposed to be glorious.

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The Culture Challenge

Instead, eight games into the season, analysts are reporting how the culture is, ‘just okay.’

Just Okay Is Not Okay

When talking about culture, on the field or in a company, just okay is not okay. Fighting okay is a big part of the culture challenge faced by leaders.

Leaders set the standard of conduct. They set behavior expectations, acceptable methods of social interaction, as well as the vision and direction of an organization. When someone, or a group of someones, fails to live up to those standards, it is up to the leadership to change the culture.

There are, of course, many ways to do this. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to unpack the importance of culture in leadership. We’ll examine how to create a new culture if you’re in a startup, and how to change a bad culture.

For now, here are three principles to use no matter what your current circumstance is.

1.) Set a Clear and Compelling Vision

Like a masterpiece painting, a healthy culture is a product of vision and hard work. Longing for a great culture and actually having one are two different things. 

As a leader, spend time intentionally investing in the culture and direction of your company, team, and surrounding people.

What does the workday “feel like?

How do people act?

What’s the end goal?

How does your department handle promotions? Confrontations? Missed sales goals or development targets?

If you can’t articulate your culture clearly and simply, it needs more work. Worse yet, if it doesn’t inspire others to be better, it will ultimately bring harm.

The goal is to articulate the what and why of the organization in a way that shapes, inspires, and transforms.

2.) Inspire Others to Greatness

Once the vision is clear and compelling it should inspire those that hear it. It should be a place where people outside of the organization say, “I want to work for them.

Inside the organization, there should be tangible feelings of joy, clarity, and a desire for growth. This doesn’t mean that people necessarily want to work longer hours, but it means that they want to work harder in the hours they do work. Why? Because their work has meaning and purpose. They know that they are contributing to something greater, something beyond themselves.

The goal is to call forth the highest level of character achievement and belonging.

3.) Take Immediate Action

Violations of the culture will happen. Eventually, someone will know that a tardy might go unnoticed and regularly start showing up late. Part of a healthy culture is dealing with problems that arise quickly, fairly, and with the goal of restoration. Discipline happens to correct behavior and hold the standard high, not to deliver punishment.

Tardiness is corrected not by docking pay, but by showing them what is missed or at stake when they fail to show up on time. Poor attitude with customers doesn’t mean demotion, it means providing better training to help them deal with the stress of other people’s bad attitudes. 

The goal is to restore the person to their own personal standard of morals, to the team, and to the vision and culture set in the company.

Transforming Culture

The challenge presented to Scott Frost is daunting. Not only does he have to instill his good culture, but he also has to overcome the bad culture he inherited. On top of that, he has to rewrite twenty years of poor standards.

For many of us, we face similar situations. Family histories, company profits, and personal standards all confront us on a daily basis. Some we inherit, others we create. All need to be transformed and redeemed.

Creating a compelling, inspiring, and consistent culture is not easy. But it is worth it.

Overwhelmed and Underperforming

Two years ago, if I could describe my life in two words, it was overwhelmed and underperforming.

Have you ever felt that way?

I was close to finishing my doctoral thesis.

My (part-time) job was steadily growing in hours and responsibility, leaving the time commitment much closer to full-time.

My kids were getting older and starting new activities.

Both my coaching and personal training businesses were growing.

My workdays started at 4 am and often ended after 7 pm, leaving little time for self-improvement, relaxation, or hobbies.

I knew something had to change.

A New Direction

I’ve followed Michael Hyatt and his brand since 2012. Each iteration and direction has helped me refine my own path. But it was at this point two years ago I decided to try his Full Focus Planner.

In all honesty, this has been the single biggest game-changer for me. I get more done, in less time. I also have greater clarity, passion, and discipline.

In fact, I love it so much, I made a YouTube series on how I’ve been using it.

But, if you’re looking for a quick recipe guide to success on how to increase your productivity, maximize your time, and gain progress on your goals, I’m here to help.

3 Steps To Lessen Overwhelm and Increase Performance.

The following three things have allowed me to go from “overwhelmed and underperforming” to “thriving and successful” in a rapid amount of time.

1.) Create Clarity on Your Goals.

 I’ve written before on the importance of goals. This takes it one step further. Not all goals are created equally. Not all are of equal importance. 

I have a goal to both grow my business and be present for my family. When those goals are in conflict with each other, I choose the family time.

Goal clarity is about being clear on your top priorities.

But it’s also about being able to define your goals. 

This last week, I spent half a day creating a clarity document on metrics for my business outside of financial goals. I now have requirements for how many people I want to read the blog, share it, and leave a comment.

But this is also true for every social media account that I have.

Speaking of which, you reading this gets me one step closer to my goal and I rrrreeeaaaaallllly appreciate it. Could you help me get one step closer and share it somewhere?

2.) Simplify Your To-Do List.

Not all goals are created equal.

But neither are tasks on the to-do list. 

The problem when you just write to-do’s down on a sheet of paper is that they all look equal. In reality, there are only a few things you can do each day that would substantially advance your career, personal life, business, or relationships.

Focus on those.

Personally, I choose three tasks a day and design my day around those. While I may need to “check off” ten or more times in a day, I only focus on the three most important.

Think of it this way. What will advance your business (career, start-up, relationship, fill-in-the-blank) more: Sending the Invoice for payment due or organizing your closet (desk, backpack, car, etc…)?

Are both important? Yes.

Do both tasks need to be done? Yes

But which one will set you back or cause greater levels of stress if not done? Chances are, it’s the invoice. Because without the money from that job you might have to sell those clothes, that backpack, or the car.

Focus First on what matters most.

I find that scheduling my big three works well. I have the first task completed by 11 am, the second by 2 pm, and the third by 5 pm. This gives me time to focus on each one, and still get to those smaller items.

3.) Delegate and Delete.

As a chronic workaholic and typical Enneagram Type 3, I love long task lists. It makes me feel accomplished. If I don’t get twenty things checked off in a day, I feel like I wasted my time.

But recently, I’ve also discovered the joy in two amazingly powerful words: delegate and delete. 

Here’s how I choose to do something myself, delegate it out or delete it from my list.

1.) Am I the only one capable of doing this? OR Am I the most qualified? If yes, I do it.

If the above answer is no:

2.) If this doesn’t get done, will someone miss it or will my business fail in some way? If Yes, delegate it to get it done. If no, delete it.

In these two simple questions, I am now free to focus on what matters most to my goals and still get an amazing amount of stuff done.

What sorts of questions would you ask of someone struggling being overwhelmed and underperforming?

Have any tips?

Leave a comment below!

Goalless Drifter

After my college graduation, I had a conversation with my older brother about what was next in life. Everyone, it seemed, had a keen interest in me up to that point. They always wanted to know I wanted to be when I grew up, what college I was going to, and what I was going to major in.

But I never had one conversation about what happened after that. How do I start a successful marriage (I didn’t do that one well)? How do I grow in emotional health (took a lot of trips to the therapist’s office)? How do I pass on key values to my children (still figuring that one out…)?

The problem was that no one had taught me how to set goals for what came after graduation.

I wasted a lot of time (and hurt a lot of people) because I was a goalless drifter.

People without goals are people without a future.

Ready, Set, Goal!

One key to sustainable success is the daily habit of setting, reviewing, and reestablishing goals.

One of my practices is to use Michael Hyatt’sFull Focus Planner . I’ve used it for over a year now and absolutely love both the structure and order it gives me, while also allowing a great deal of freedom in the process.

I’ve also discovered the power of paper and what it means to write goals down. It’s easy to think, “My goal is…” because we often forget it. But by writing goals down, it not only gives us a visual reminder of what we’re trying to accomplish but cements it into our brain better.

 

By getting clear and specific on what we are aiming at, we gain a strategic advantage to sustainable success. The key discipline though is to make our goals S.M.A.R.T.E.R.

S.M.A.R.T.E.R Goals

When you’re ready to say, “Ready, Set, Goal!” you must begin by making sure you have the right format.

S: Specific. Make sure the goals you set are clear on the intended destination. Don’t think, “Lose weight.” Instead write, “I want to lose twenty pounds.”

M: Measurable. Similar to specific, measurable makes sure that what you’re aiming for can actually be hit. Avoid using jargon or filler words in your goal-setting times. Don’t think, “Be more productive.” Instead, write that you want to, “Use my time wisely by spending no more than thirty minutes a day on social media.” Ouch. That one may hurt a bit, but it’s measurable. You can use apps or the integrated Apple Screen Time (if you’re an iPhone user) to track how you’re spending your time on your phone.

A: Actionable. Start your goals with action-oriented verbs (as opposed to “to-be” verbs). This focuses your attention on what needs to be accomplished. Don’t write, “Be better at date nights.” Instead, try, “Take my spouse on one date night every week.” Now you know how to take action to accomplish your goal.

R: Realistic. This one can be challenging, and we’ll talk about short and long term goals in a second. But realism is important in goal setting. Too often, goals fail because they either don’t inspire us or are unattainable. Realistic goals should do both. “Complete my ebook and submit to the publisher by the end of quarter three.” This goal meets the first three points and is entirely realistic (even if you’re not very far into your book). However creating a goal like, “Establish the first hotel chain on the moon by the end of the year” meets the first three steps in the process, but not the last one. To take action that inspires, your goal must be reasonable.

T: Timely. Put some hustle in it. This is where I work hard with my clients to push ourselves on our goals. Strive for greatness and see what you can do. If your goal is to gain three new speaking opportunities for your business, fantastic! But put yourself under a time constraint to reach that goal. “Acquire three new speaking opportunities by the end of August.” It’s clear, concise, and gives you a visible target to know if you’ve hit your goal. It also pushes you to keep working and avoid drifting from your goal. The end of August is coming up quick after all.

E: Exciting. Your goals should scare you a little bit. If not, you’ll never grow. This is honestly one of my big descriptors for the clients that I work with. We always work a little scared. If you’re making $50,000 a year and want to work with me, and your goal is to make $50,000 next year as well, we probably won’t be a good fit. You still might have some great goals, but I want my clients to push themselves. My clients are making $50,000 but want to make $125,000. They know they need to get serious about pursuing their dreams.

And it works in all areas of life too. Want a better marriage? Don’t take your spouse on four dates a year, take them on two a week. That shows me you’re serious about reprioritizing your schedule to thrive in your relationship.

R: Relevant. This one matters, but more in the daily habits of life. I regularly review my goals to make sure they are still what I want. Every year, I sit down and try to project out a year to set goals throughout. A number of times I’ve set a goal in January, gotten to May, and then realized it was no longer relevant. That’s not a bad thing! Those goals pushed me and stretched me in new ways that have forever changed me. But in that growth process, I realized that I needed to rechart my course and set a new destination.

Don’t be afraid to reevaluate your goals and start a new direction. That’s the fun part of goal setting.

Clear goals

+

Daily Habits

=

Lasting Success!

 

If you’re wanting to know where to start, I’m launching a Habit and Performance Mastermind Group. To find out more, set some goals in a supportive community, and take your life to the next level, click this link.