Did You See That?

drew breesPhoto courtesy of blackchristiannews.com

Those of you who follow the NFL will know that Drew Brees broke the All Time Passing Yards record earlier this year. By the time of this posting, he will probably have broken the All Time Passing Touchdown record as well.

The night of the game where he broke the passing record, Drew’s wife and four children were staged along the sideline so they could celebrate with him. After breaking the record, he went to the sideline to be with his family for a few minutes. There was something very simple, but very compelling that hit me while I was watching them.

Drew kissed his wife then kneeled down in front of his kids and he said, “did you see that? That was amazing, wasn’t it? I always want to you remember that you can accomplish anything you want if you are willing to work for it.”

But it wasn’t his statement about work and accomplishment that struck me. It was his willingness to state that he had done something amazing. That breaking this record was a big deal and he was proud of it.

So many of us, especially women, are hesitant to admit when we’ve done something great. We qualify it and minimalize it and sweep it under the rug. I’m not sure if we do it because we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves or if we don’t want to sound egotistical or if we don’t really think we are worthy of it. It’s probably for each and a combination of all of those reasons.

But here is my public service announcement: ITS OKAY TO CALL A BIG DEAL A BIG DEAL.

It’s okay to say, “did you see that? Did you see what I just did? It was amazing and I’m proud of it.”

If you do it correctly, no one will even once call you egotistical. Drew Brees is one of the most humble people and biggest team players you will find in the NFL. He always gives credit where credit is due. But he was willing to acknowledge that what he did was awesome.

I want to encourage each of you to use Drew’s statement to his kids as a reminder that we need to take credit for our accomplishments. It’s important for your family and friends to see you be proud of what you do and to call a big deal a big deal. And it’s important for you as well.

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Look How Far You’ve Come

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“The only time you should ever look back is to is to see how far you’ve come.”

Have you ever heard that quote? I’m not sure who said it but I think it’s an important life rule. As women, as wives, as business owners, we often get caught up in the disappointment that we aren’t further along than what we are. We worry that we aren’t where we should be. Then we fall into the deadly comparison trap. I’m here to tell you, it’s a trap that no one survives.

While most of us will believe that we aren’t further along because we aren’t smart enough, or good enough, or worthy enough, I’ve learned over the years that it’s usually just because we’ve underestimated the time it takes to get there.

Good coaches will tell you it’s important to put your blinders on and keeping looking ahead. That looking around or behind will do nothing to propel you forward. But good coaches will also tell you that it is important to look back every once in a while, just to remind yourself of how far you have come and just how much you have already accomplished.

My husband and I just celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. (That’s us in the pic above.) While we did go out to a very nice dinner before the date of our actual anniversary, we decided to do something really special for the evening of our anniversary. We ate at The Olive Garden. What? Why?

You see, when we first were dating and early in our marriage, we weren’t making any money. So, every once in a while, we would scrape together enough money and go to The Olive Garden. We always ordered the same thing…spinach and artichoke dip with unlimited salad and breadsticks. It wasn’t fancy but to us it was a real, grown up, date night out. We often spent time dreaming about our future over those breadsticks.

Over the past 20 years, our careers and our salaries have grown. And honestly, our idea of a real, grown up, date night out has evolved. But rather than spending our anniversary talking about all of the things we haven’t accomplished yet, we used it as an opportunity to honor just how far we have come.  And what better place to do it than where we got started? And it excited us even more for what the next 20 years hold.

So, the next time you are beating yourself up over not being far enough along. The next time you are frustrated and disappointed for not accomplishing enough. Take a brief moment and reflect on your journey. Acknowledge and honor just how far you’ve come and then use that as fuel to propel you forward. For while looking back will not move you closer to your future, having gratitude for the road traveled will.

I’ve Learned I Like Gritty People

Grit

One of the things you learn in business school is the importance of defining a target audience. One of the things I try to hammer home with my clients is that the definition doesn’t have to be based solely on classic demographics. Yes, it is true that I have decided that I want to serve women entrepreneurs and women in career transition but the demographics basically stop at that point. From there, I like to use characteristics like:

·       Women ready to grow their business and are tired of struggling

·       Women who are old enough or have had enough life experiences to understand what their goals and desires are

·       Women ready to be challenged to exceed what they were able to do yesterday with the support that makes that growth possible

·       Women who don’t have a plan B – meaning someone “all in” and ready to do what it takes to make their dream a reality

This last one, I have learned recently, is called grit.

According to Angela Duckworth, Ph.D. and author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, grit is defined as just that – passion and perseverance for long-term goals. Grit isn’t talent or luck. Grit is, instead, “about what some researchers call an “ultimate concern” – a goal you care about so much that it organizes and gives meaning to almost everything you do. And grit is holding steadfast to that goal. Even when you fall down. Even when you screw up. Even when progress toward that goal is halting or slow.” (http://angeladuckworth.com/qa/)

While talent often grabs headlines, Duckworth’s research shows that grit is a better predictor of success, in any environment. Why? Well, gritty people have a very high level of resilience, the willingness to engage in deliberate practice, passion, and a sense of purpose toward achieving a top-level goal. There is no coincidence that these four things also describe successful entrepreneurs.

Are you gritty enough?

Women are starting their own businesses at a frantic pace right now. I always ask those who have recently started or are thinking of starting a business to articulate their “why”. I ask this for a couple of reasons.

1.       If your why is strong and compelling enough, you will always find the how.

2.       Being an entrepreneur is full of ups and downs. The ups are really high and the downs are really low. Without a compelling why, it will be very difficult to persevere through the lows.

And without grit, it may be really difficult to survive the lows. “People who really are gritty often can, in a sentence of 10 words or fewer, articulate what everything they are doing is all about.” (Costco Connection, pg. 47, September 2018). It’s about having a guiding North Star that keeps you from being easily discouraged by setbacks.

If you are gritty – then you were built to be successful, including as an entrepreneur. If you aren’t gritty, the good news is that Duckworth’s research shows that it can be cultivated. One method that Duckworth suggests is by mentoring others to be persistent and to hang in there during challenging times. This can be done in a family environment with your partner/spouse, children, siblings, etc., as well as within a work environment. Duckworth believes that cultivating grit in others strengthens our own grittiness by reminding us of lessons we may have otherwise forgotten. When we are given the opportunity to advise and encourage others, we draw our attention back to what we can do ourselves.

If you would like to find out how gritty you are, visit Angela Duckworth’s website and take her quiz. You might be surprised at just how gritty you are!

And, if you are a gritty, woman entrepreneur that shares characteristics with my current clients, then reach out to let me know how I can help support you in realizing your “ultimate concern.” (Minerva Management Partners)

“Expand Your Vocabulary; Expand Your Life” – Tony Robbins

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I’m always looking to add new tools to my coaching bag. I crave learning new techniques and approaches that help me help my clients realize the best in themselves. And this is no exception.

We all know the power of words. The ironic part is that our words actually have less impact on others than they do our own beliefs. In fact, the words we use from moment to moment actually shape our destiny as they can change the way we think and feel in an instant.

I recently did a deep dive on the subject of transformational vocabulary. Transformational vocabulary is a technology developed by Tony Robbins to employ habitual vocabulary, or the words we consistently use, to amplify or lower the intensity of our emotional states. This is a great way to create an empowering alternative to limiting patterns we’ve developed in our lives.

It works like this. Our brain is constantly creating shortcuts to make decisions more quickly. These shortcuts become our belief system. And this belief system is created from the series of generalizations of our life experience. In other words, our brain uses our previous experiences to come to conclusions faster. So, if X in our life has resulted in Y on more than one occasion, then the minute our brain detects X, it immediately goes to Y. The upside is quick decisions. The downside is that not only can these generalizations be empowering, they can also be disempowering.

Robbins teaches that because the belief or generalization is made up of words, when you change one word, you can actually change the meaning. The minute you take your experience of life and put it into a word, it becomes what you call it. The label you put on your experience actually becomes your experience.

There are more than 3,000 words in the English language to express emotions. However, most people only use about 12. That’s a whole lot of life experiences to fit into such a limited, habitual, vocabulary. Because of this, we either distort, delete, or generalize what we are really experiencing. We have to in order to make absolutely every experience fit within those 12 words. The really interesting thing is, if you don’t have a word for your experience, you will make it difficult to actually experience what’s happening. For example, if you say things like “hate is not even in my vocabulary”, then it will be almost impossible for you to experience hate.

So, by expanding our vocabulary, we can actually expand our life or our life experiences. Try this exercise. Think of 3 words you habitually use to describe negative emotions or experiences. Then come up with 3 alternatives. See, you’ve already doubled the words you can use to describe a negative experience! Having more words available gives you the ability to more accurately describe what’s going on and therefore will adjust your intensity level. For example, if you normally use furious or angry every time you get upset, then you may not even realize that what you are really experiencing is just annoyance and therefore will have inappropriately made the experience more intense. Make sense?

Now do the same with 3 positive words. Find 3 alternatives to those words that actually intensify the feeling. See if using these new words produce a more powerful, positive experience.

Developing and enhancing the scope and quality of our transformational vocabulary instantly expands our emotional experiences. The words that you use habitually shape your beliefs, the way you think, and what you do. What words can you add to completely change the way you think and feel in a moment?

Grow Through What You Go Through

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We had a sermon on this topic a few weeks back at church. And to be honest, the timing was perfect. While the majority of my life is flowing beautifully, there are a couple of areas that I wish I was experiencing less struggle.

Life can be a struggle. And some of us seem to have to struggle more than others. In fact, there are times when we feel like, “enough already.” We complain that it isn’t fair. We complain that it never works out for us. We complain that the cards are stacked against us.

But, what if, instead of complaining, we show appreciation for the challenge? You see, being fixated on the obstacle keeps us from seeing the purpose of the journey and keeps us from getting through the struggle to victory. Because every obstacle and struggle is just a life lesson that allows us to progress forward. Sometimes it is a lesson we have to learn and sometimes it’s a lesson for others to learn through us. And not seeing the lesson keeps us stuck where we are. We have to learn and appreciate the lesson before the struggle has served its purpose.

You cannot survive what you are experiencing if you allow it to crush you and your spirit. And as my minister reminded us, not being crushed is our responsibility and no one else’s. It is our decision whether we will be crushed or we will grow.

Growth only happens outside of our comfort zone. Growth only happens as a result of struggling through something. That struggle prepares us for the next step. The step that is better than where we are today.

So, the next time you are struggling – the next time you are facing something you are not sure you can endure, rest easy in the fact that it’s part of the journey. It’s part of the process for getting to an ideal place. Rest easy and know that God will give you the peace and creativity to find a better, and meaningful, way through to the other side.

Don’t allow your spirit to be crushed but instead listen closely to learn what or how you are to grow through what you are going through.

 

Problems vs. Situations

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Life lessons are all around us if you are open to receiving them. Last year on our family vacation to St. Lucia, I learned the importance and benefits of unplugging. (You can read all about it here: “What I Learned from Unplugging”.

This year on our trip to Jamaica, I learned something that I immediately knew I needed to share with you. John and I have been to Jamaica before and one of the things that makes that location so special is the people. Jamaicans just have an envious demeanor and outlook on life. That laid-back, “no worries mon” attitude is contagious while there.

At dinner on our first night, we had the pleasure of meeting this wonderful young lady named Arlene. (That’s me with Arlene in the picture.) She works at the restaurant and was a complete joy to be in the company of. I can’t remember if it was our daughter or her friend that asked Arlene why Jamaicans always seem so happy. Arlene shared this analogy.

She said that Jamaicans are generally happy because of the way they deal with challenges. You see, most challenges fall into one of two categories – problems or situations. Now, situations are those challenges that have a solution. For instance, if your wine glass is empty, you just fill it back up again. Easy. Ain’t nothing but a situation.

Now problems, on the other hand, are challenges that really can’t be solved in a satisfactory manner. Using the wine glass example again, she said a problem would be that your wine glass is empty because you dropped it and it broke. Even if you were able to pick up every single piece of glass and glue it all back together, its never going to hold wine without leaking. No matter how much effort you put into it, it will never be the same again. So, really there is no reason to put the effort into it. Easy. Just move on.

Now I know that this doesn’t work for every challenge that appears in our lives but what a brilliant way to look at those smaller challenges that we usually get the most worked up over.

So, the next time you have a challenge or something that is just pulling you down decide if it’s a problem or a situation. If it’s a situation, then stop stewing over why and how, and fix it. No worries mon. And if it’s a problem, stop stewing over why and how, let it go and walk away. No worries mon.

It’s a beautiful way to approach life.

If You Believe, So Will They

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Are you ready? I have another volleyball story. But this time it’s about me, not my daughter.

My husband and I sit at the scorer’s table for every match. Him to keep the official scorebook. And, me, to do libero tracking. We make a good team and most of the referees who work our matches enjoy working with us.

Recently, my husband was out of town and unable to make a match. I arranged for someone to sub for him so the scorebook would be covered. Long story short, there was some mis-communication and the sub didn’t make it. We had no-one to keep the scorebook…except for me. The only problem with me keeping the book is that I have never done so before.

Now, I have been playing volleyball for over 30 years so am intimately familiar with the sport. Since I get the sport, I was fairly confident that I could figure out how to do the book. So, I sucked it up, swallowed my nervousness, and got to work setting up the sheet for our match. (And frantically looking through past matches in the book to see if I could figure out how it is done.)

A few minutes later, the referees walked in. Both were people that my husband and I have worked with before. They both approached the scorer’s table and said, “we are so happy to see you and so glad the book will actually be done right tonight.” No pressure, right.

Since I was sitting there looking like I was in charge they just assumed that I knew how to do the book. And I wasn’t going to correct them at this point.

Normally the home team keeps the official book and we were the visiting team that night. Shortly into the first set the home team scorebook keeper missed that the home team was out of rotation. The referee closest to me walked over to the table, told her that I was now going to keep the official book, and then asked her to sit right next to me so that I could teach her how to do it. What? I’d never done the book before so I certainly wasn’t officially “qualified” to teach her but I went with it.

The evening went well. I now officially know how to do the book…and so does the girl from the other team. So, what’s the point of me telling you all of this?

So many of my clients, and quite honestly, me, suffer from imposter syndrome. We never feel ready or qualified to put out into the world that we are experts at anything. That little voice in our head constantly screams that we don’t have enough experience or asks who are we to say we know what we are doing. But 95% of the time, we do know what we are doing. There are always going to be people more qualified or more experienced than we are but it doesn’t mean we don’t know what we are doing and shouldn’t be ready to step into our personal expertise. We aren’t talking about pretending to be a heart surgeon if we’ve never gone to medical school. We’re talking about stepping into and owning what you already are and how you want to serve people. Whether that’s a business owner, a coach, a personal that specializes in a particular niche, etc.

You see, if you believe in yourself even a little bit and then build on it from there. If you trust in yourself enough to know that if you run into unfamiliar territory your life’s experiences and intelligence will allow you to figure it out – they will begin to believe in you too.