Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Write it down: Keep track of your successes each day

How often do you question your efforts to make any progress towards personal or professional goals you have set?  Many professionals I have coached initially find themselves bogged down in self-doubt and negative focus.  When asked to review their progress they will list a litany of all of the things they have not done and note how discouraged they feel. 

When asked to identify what they have accomplished over the past week they struggle to recall any positive actions.

Here is a simple action that can be invaluable when you fall into this trap.

Take an inventory of your accomplishments each day. Set aside a few moments each day to identify successes and positive steps you have taken that you find noteworthy and write them down, then review your inventory each week.

It is easy to get distracted by all of the things that go wrong in your day and week. You never want to lose sight of your accomplishments and significant efforts. Your ability to be mindful of what you have achieved will provide impetus for continued effort and ultimate success.  

Contact Jim to learn more about how to begin living your "no-limits" life.

But I never planned on being a hat check girl in a Chinese deli!

So how did I get here?

By luck?  By accident? By trusting in the good intentions of others?

If you believed you were going to be an astronaut and ended up working as a Hat Check Girl in a Chinese Deli, chances are you never designed and followed an action plan that was based on your skills, your values, your goals.

Mindless focus and behavior often places us at the mercy of luck, accidents and the good or bad intention of others.

Take a moment to identify a personal or professional goal. Identify the steps it would take to reach that goal. Commit to taking the initial step towards that goal and set a completion deadline. Share this deadline with someone you trust.  Periodically share your progress towards this step with that person to assure accountability.

Use It Or Lose It

How many times have you sat through an exhilarating and compelling presentation/self-help workshop and walked away motivated and self-assured of achieving success?

You may try out a few learned techniques/strategies for a few days or weeks, but if you approximate the typical adult you will quickly fall back into long held patterns of behavior.

Habit will dictate what we do in a variety of settings over the course of our lives. We are often unaware of how comfortable these habits are. They often go unnoticed in the work place as well as in our personal lives. They lead us towards behaviors that are automatic and based in comfort rather than behaviors that lead to success and productivity.

If you want to implement new and improved behaviors follow the answer to the question,

"How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall?" 

"Practice, Practice, Practice!"

If you are excited by something you have learned and you feel it has value in your life,  make it a habit.  Create a new habit that offers higher returns on you efforts.

Commit time and effort each week to practicing the new pattern of action. Schedule it into your weekly routine and adhere to the schedule. Make sure to review and assess your progress and the overall value of the new behavior. We are more likely to continue a behavior if we are clear of what the benefit is.

We will quickly extinguish a behavior when it has little reward.

Contact Jim to learn more about how to begin living your "no-limits" life.

How Do We Change?

Often, with resistance and resentment, cautiously, slowly, apprehensively and with uncertainty and confusion. Productive change comes from commitment and resolve, from intentional activity, energy, enthusiasm and resilience.

The process of change is packed with a multitude of emotions and behaviors that are both beneficial and detrimental. Ah the Ying and the Yang of life.

Yet we change because we must on occasion, because we can on others. More importantly we change because we have the opportunity to choose and affect a better way of living and thriving.

There are experts who believe they understand the process of change and suggest that following their guide exactly as they direct it will lead to successful and rewarding change and they are probably right at times.

I work from a belief that we are more likely to act upon and sustain productive effort when we respond to ideas, structures and values that we embrace as our own and hold to be true.

As a coach, I embrace this principle and encourage individuals to explore and develop goals/aspirations/dreams and action plans that emanate from their own driving principles, passions and views of themselves and the world they live in.

My role as a coach is to walk along as a part of the journey, stimulating thought, creativity and intentional behavior, problem solving, exploring and removing road blocks and celebrating the successes along the path rather than directing the steps.

Change is process of time and movement and must be embraced.