Archives for category: Personal Development

Ever since becoming engrossed with Tony Robbin’s Personal Power program in the early 1990’s, one of my primary life-long passions has surrounded taking charge of how my time is spent.

By focusing, and executing, on the most urgent, critical and important activities in our life, we can deliver the necessary results to propel our lives toward optimal success.

Some of my earlier blogs such as the 6 P’s about proper prior planning and High Leverage Activities reinforced the importance of taking charge of your life on this earth.

What I have found during my professional business and coaching careers is that we are responsible for our own demise when it comes to “time & life management.” The predominant culprit appears to be the dis-ease of Over-Commitment!

For a myriad of reasons, human beings seem to be unable to say “NO” when we should.

In teaching “time-management” over the past few decades, I’ve encouraged attendees to plan or commit to no more than 50% of their/your available time. Surprises, unexpected interruptions, unplanned activities, etc. will quickly absorb the remaining 50% that you thought you had available to be used at your discretion!

By Under-Committing, you have a fighting chance of actually staying in control of your precious personal time…and how it will be spent.

Victor Hugo, author of Les Miserables and The Hunchback of Notre Dame stated that “He who every morning plans the transaction of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life.  But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incidence, chaos will soon reign.”

Here’s your challenge: will you CHOOSE to…under-commit, over-deliver, eliminate chaos, and gain control???

overcommit

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In his seminal work,  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey introduced his philosophy on empathic communication…Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Dr. Covey notes that there are five types of listening: Ignoring, Pretending, Selective, Attentive and Empathic.

Exceptional communicators strive to achieve that pinnacle stage of becoming an empathic listener, i.e. “putting yourself in the other person’s proverbial shoes”. This means paying attention to the level that we truly understand their feelings and emotions.

The physical act of hearing is different that the mental act of listening. Listening with empathy requires a concerted effort to commit your undivided attention to the speaker. Sounds easy, does hard!

Fortunately, we can develop the skills to become better listeners, and communicators.

One technique that has helped me improve in this area is to conscientiously “listen with my eyes.” By maintaining comfortable and consistent eye contact with the speaker, it helps me to focus on them and to better concentrate on the message they are trying to deliver.

listen eyes

 

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Years of experience in “enduring” the employee performance review process, coupled with facilitating many training sessions to client businesses on the topic, has validated one common denominator: the Managers and Employees alike involved in this ritual have a general, mutual dislike for this obligatory activity!

Performance management entails a desire to develop individuals who have the necessary competence to achieve organizational and individual objectives.

Performance reviews are one element of this development process, with the ultimate goal being for the employee to improve the quality and efficiency of their contributions to the organization.

If conducted properly, this will serve as a springboard for elevating that employee’s productivity and morale.

The frustration surrounding the review process typically arises from a combination of factors including:

  • seeing the procedure as a task versus a development opportunity
  • unclear expectations surrounding job responsibilities
  • insincere feedback or evaluations
  • poor preparation
  • lack of diligence in documenting ongoing performance
  • inconsistent communication
  • not caring!

Give this some thought during your next round of appraisals to consider if you can possibly yield more meaningful results that will benefit both you and your team.

One of my favorite coaching areas is that of Attention Management (the artist formerly known as Time Management).

Time cannot truly be managed…there are 86,400 seconds in a day and once gone, you cannot recover them.  On the other hand, how you spend that time, your attention and focus,  can be proactively controlled given that proper personal disciplines and barriers have been established.

All to often, people spend their days hitting the ground running, operating in reactionary mode and being at the mercy of the world and people around them; instead of controlling their activities.

A surefire way to improve your effectiveness is to dedicate time to a daily action plan, either the night or early morning before your committed day starts.

Adding a quiet time or meditation period is a useful tool in this process.

Once you’ve created this daily strategy, draw upon your personal power to make every effort to stick to that plan, no matter what.  Sounds easy, does hard!

Further, ensure you include some time slots for handling the unscheduled interruptions that will come, regardless of the boundaries you’ve established!

Give it a try next week, and I’ll bet you’ll see an astonishing increase in productivity…not to mention that you’ll have less stress and feel better!!!

Plan your work

Action = Priorities

Your genuine priorities are exhibited by what you focus on and how you actually “spend” your valuable time.

Those actions and decisions have, thus far, lead you to where you are (or aren’t) today.

For passions that are truly a personal priority for you, you can find a way to make them become a reality (and given the dynamic nature of our lives, that vision can, and will, frequently change).

Your ultimate desires will be the ones that command your attention and awareness.  These are the activities in your life that matter the most to you.  This is where you MUST invest your time, interest and energy.

A sound prioritization process should provide you with the ability to determine what actions will bring both joy and fulfillment into your life, and into the lives of others!

As a leader, I’ve observed that a key differentiator which separates superstar performers from average employees is their desire for continuous self-development.

By definition, lifelong learning is the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.

My personal self-improvement pursuit includes:

  • voracious reading of business books and magazines
  • consistently applying automobile university (listening to books on CD while driving)
  • attending live seminars
  • utilizing the amazing and unlimited content of the internet
  • challenging myself physically with new and diverse sporting activities

Consider being a “role model of possibility!”  Becoming all that you can be by striving to always keep growing can set an example that will change other people’s lives.

As Marshall Goldsmith eloquently stated, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”.

 

lifelong learning

 

 

Maintaining a positive work environment goes a long way toward improved productivity, energy, employee retention…and having fun at what you’re doing.

Leadership includes an obligation to create enthusiasm, despite what may be occurring in either your personal life, professional world, or both!  On some days, you may have life challenges that potentially drain you and make it hard to “plug it in” as that high energy role model.

When I find myself approaching a less-than-desirable emotional state, realizing the negative effect that has on myself as well as those around me, I attempt to catch myself and quickly “recalibrate.”

This entails a simple ten second “time-out” where I relax my body, take a few deep breaths, and change my thought pattern toward all that I have and all that I am blessed with.

The quote below is a good reminder for anyone when they find themselves going in a negative direction.

Koenig

 

 

 

 

One of my favorite coaching areas is that of Attention Management (the artist formerly known as Time Management).

Time cannot truly be managed…there are 86,400 seconds in a day and once gone, you cannot recover them.  On the other hand, how you spend that time, your attention and focus,  can be proactively controlled given that proper personal disciplines and barriers have been established.

All to often, people spend their days hitting the ground running, operating in reactionary mode and being at the mercy of the world and people around them; instead of controlling their activities.

A surefire way to improve your effectiveness is to dedicate time to a daily action plan, either the night or early morning before your committed day starts.

Adding a quiet time or meditation period is a useful tool in this process.

Once you’ve created this daily strategy, draw upon your personal power to make every effort to stick to that plan, no matter what.  Sounds easy, does hard!

Further, ensure you include some time slots for handling the unscheduled interruptions that will come, regardless of the boundaries you’ve established!

Give it a try next week, and I’ll be you’ll see an astonishing increase in productivity…not to mention that you’ll have less stress and feel better!!!

Plan your work

 

readers

Despite being the last President not to have a college degree, Harry Truman was an extremely educated person, much the result of being a lifelong, avid reader.

For many years, I chose not to read.  However, I encountered caring leaders along my career path who challenged me to keep growing and learning, often through books they would suggest.

After learning that lesson, I’ve frequently “paid that strategy forward” with several of my peers and friends, and have seen many transformations from non-reader to learning addict!

As in my case, if you find that you are too lazy or too easily distracted to read, you can always listen to audio books in your car and painlessly attend, what the late Zig Ziglar called, “automobile university” while driving.

Ironically, my own personal development in the early 1990’s started with listening to Tony Robbins’ Personal Power tapes.  It’s ironic that Mr. Robbins credited much of his early success to becoming a voracious reader, getting his hands on as much written knowledge and experience as possible.

By the way, it’s never too late to start on your self-improvement and self-development.  Dr. Seuss reminded us of this profound truth in a very simple way:

“The more that you read

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn

The more places you will go.”

With all this in mind, what’s keeping you from expanding your mental horizons???

By the way, if you need some ideas on where to begin your reading efforts, I’d recommend checking out Tom Butler-Bowdon’s “50 Success Classics” to get ideas about how to start this journey!