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Filtering by Tag: coaching

Being busy does not equal being important – Clarity #29

Alan Andersen

“I’m trying to strike the word ‘busy’ from my conversations. What are some more positive replacements?”

Being busy does not equal being important. Successful people are not generally the most busy ones. The more successful a person is, the more present he is in a given situation.

Don’t be fooled by busy people. They may well be avoiding something important in their lives and probably can’t see it for what it is.

People with a clear vision and mission do not shirk from responsibility but lead confidently forward. They may “look” busy but they are “on mission.” Busy people can’t say no. Intentional people say “no” to busy things because they are compelled to say “yes” to what matters.

People use their “busy” life to hide from their “purposeful” life.

What I have found, is often times leaders are the most guilty of hiding by keeping busy because they don’t have a clear vision for their own personal life. They would rather get their fingers into everyone’s stuff, declare their direct reports incompetent, and take things back into their control, rather than to fulfill their own responsibilities of leading with purpose. In actuality, leaders are often times scared, insecure, and rudderless.

Leadership is about setting the vision, trusting and supporting the team you have put in place It’s about getting out in front of the company. But how many of us are guilty of letting that weight of responsibility send us running back to hiding from our fears of failure under the guise of “too busy?”

There’s more for you!

Here a few hints to leave busy and head toward intentional

  • Be very clear in your language. You are at choice as to whether you are busy or intentional.
  • Adjust your schedule. Add white space and margin. This means you must remove things that are not part of your vision.
  • Two words… say “no”.
  • Be disciplined with your email, phone, etc. to accomplish what matters and remove any noise and distraction you can.
  • Know your mission and vision.
  • Pay attention to your 5 key accountabilities – the things you should be doing 80% of the time.

When will we stop and take care of ourselves, and thus our responsibilities? When will we stop saying yes to things that allow us to circumvent our responsibilities because we are fearful of failure or rejection? It’s when we choose to live a life of significance instead of avoiding the true life we were meant to live. I have decided not to allow people to call me busy because I’m not. I am living a full, intentional life that is my choice and I am proud of.

Think about it. Do you admire, respect, and want to follow a leader who is running around with their hair on fire all the time? How much better to be aligned with leaders who are confident in who they are, where they are at, and what path they are leading down! Which do you want to be known for? Busy or intentional?

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Once You Find Your Purpose, Run Your Race Clarity #28

Alan Andersen

Do you know your purpose? Everyone wants to know the answer to this question. Don’t you? Leaders must seek the answer to have any lasting legacy.

My purpose is to help other people find their purpose.

To get a clear and true understanding of my purpose took a lot of time and revisions. Then, once I was finally able to articulate it, my purpose seemed so, well, plain.

I think that is why so many people miss their purpose. It’s right there before them. Yet they keep looking for something with a bigger headline. Cure Cancer! World Peace! No, your purpose statement should be simple, so clear that it might seem boring. However, living your purpose is anything but boring, it is the essence of life.

Purpose is always about helping others or being in service to another. It’s being of use for others as only you were designed to be. Like this Starbucks cup in my hand. It was created for a purpose. In this case, to hold a warm beverage.

All sorts of other wonderful things happen as a result of the cup fulfilling its purpose, though. My hands are warmed as I hold it; I am refreshed when I drink it; other people want one when they see it.

Discovering Your Life-Race

Once you discover your purpose, the next question is, how will you go about fulfilling it? Think of it as putting legs on your purpose.

I refer to it as your life-race. What race are you to run? This is so important that I write about it in my book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters, and I teach it in our Life 301 workshop.

Years ago, I used to wish I was a runner mainly because it is convenient and all my friends run marathons. Alas, poor ol' Shandel kept ending up with twisted ankles, shin-splints, and daily icing of hurt body parts.

That is until one day, a wise physical therapist told me I didn’t have a runner’s body, I had a swimmer’s body. Well, swimming isn’t convenient for a girl like me. From the hair issue to the travel dilemma, it is a pain! Still, if I am going to train to do something, I might want to consider focusing on swimming, don’t ‘cha think?

A huge lesson was learned that day. I was doing the popular, convenient, cheap thing — and it was not my thing. My race to win was a swim meet, not a marathon. The same is true with our lives. We were made to do and be something specific and spectacular. An individualized life race that is ours and that we were made to figure out, train hard, compete diligently, and win in the end. Think about your gifts, talents, strengths, and opportunities.

Are you doing life like everyone else around you, with no sense of the WHY? Are you working 80 hours a week, with no satisfaction? Or is there a deep driving purpose behind all of it that is truly and uniquely you?

What life-race are you to run? Let’s put it all together.

How Deep the Impact?

My race is to coach leaders. Here is how it works out in my world. If my purpose is to help others find their purpose, then the most impactful route I can take is to coach leaders who will pass the wisdom, skills, and tools down to their sphere of influence.  If I help five leaders find their purpose and run their life-race, and they each influence and lead five others to do the same — that is a good ROI on my time, talent and treasure. Thus, I am running my race by coaching leaders to find their purpose. What about you?

The race analogy can morph with time, while your purpose never does. My Starbucks cup originally designed to hold coffee, can hold green tea, chai tea, or hot chocolate. My body that won swim meets as a kid now swims laps (well, should be at least!) to keep me healthy and strong. In my 20s, I helped teenagers find their purpose; in my 30s I helped entrepreneurs; and in my 40s I am helping leaders of leaders. 

I influence thousands of leaders where my mom concentrated on one: me. So who has the more purposeful life? If I got married and had a child tomorrow, I would be helping future generations by being a stay-at-home mom and raising my kids to live with purpose, as my mom did.  It’s not about how big the reach; it’s about how deep the impact.

Think about what matters for a minute. What if you are missing the one person you were put on earth to help? You must get in touch with your values, what motivates you to action and then stand up and stand strong for what you believe in!

Purpose is finding out the reason you are here on earth. The answer will be to be of service to another. The solution will be to figure out your specific niche of a life-race and to run it … and win!

If not now, when?

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Are You A Defensive or Coachable Teammate? Clarity #27

Alan Andersen

Do you ever hide your weakness by over compensating with one of your strengths? Are there areas that you know you need discipline and focus, yet get defensive when people point out that area out to you?

I know for me there are plenty. I am a huge believer in working and focusing on strengths AND I believe there is a huge amount of discipline that is needed to strengthen difficult areas. We must lay aside our defensive posture so we can learn and grow in our areas on blindness. Unfortunately, many times we are lazy in our character and skill training.

Lessons From The Court

On the basketball court I love playing defense. I can be pretty good at it too. I need to be, because I can’t shoot. The only way I add value to the team is to play a hard defense and pass aggressively to my teammates. That makes me look like a great team player, but it doesn’t help the team win over the long haul. I need to be able to drive it in and score.

My defensive facade hides the fact that I am too lazy to practice my shot and not motivated enough to get a coach to help me.

And do you know what? I find myself doing the same thing in life and business: excelling at defense to cover up laziness and lack of skill.

Are you playing defense, or the full court?

At times, I believe we forget that we should be defending against the other team, not our own teammates. We are sensitive and defensive. It is rather crazy when you look at it this way, that often from a place of fear we set up a screen to protect ourselves from our own team. In both passive and aggressive ways we hid and isolate ourselves from truth that could bring healing and restoration to a huge pain in the team. The more talented we are at our defensive maneuvers, the more we fool ourselves that we are good team players – that is until we get passed the ball and it is up to us to score.

Who on your team or in your family do you need to be more vulnerable and authentic with to get past the block that is hindering your personal success and fulfillment? Who has strengths that you could benefit from and how can you lay aside your defensive posture to learn how to be the best you can be today?

Let your guard down, listen to your coach, and get help you need…TODAY!

Would love to hear your thoughts from this week’s Clarity reading?

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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6 Steps To Change Your Story

Alan Andersen

You can’t change behavior.

What you can change is your story, by understanding your motivators, which ultimately drive behavior. Lasting change will not happen if you try to change any behavior without first addressing what drives your actions. Sure, there may be a season of performing the actions in the right way, but soon your true motivations override the “trying,” and the old learned behaviors sneak back in.

Without proper motivation and changed belief systems, long-term behavioral change is nearly impossible. Fortunately, the opposite is true as well: When you have meaningful, desirable motivations, change is definitely possible. True change happens when you correctly align your internal motivators, values, and beliefs to initiate and drive the daily actions and behaviors. In fact, I would go so far to say as people are transformed when they change their beliefs! Below are a few tips on how to change your story into one that leads to transformation.

How to Change Your Story

1. Find it – Get in touch with what you are saying in your head. What is the internal dialogue you have going on? We all talk to ourselves all day long – what are you saying to you?

2. Listen to it – Listen to your story. Do you like it? Is it really what you want to be listening to all day long?

3. Challenge it – If you don’t like what you hear, think about whether your story is accurate. Challenge it by asking others to hear your story and see if it aligns with what they know are your values and the vision of the man/woman you want to be.

4. Share it – Telling your story is one of the most effective communication tools available. Who can you confide in?

5. Compare it – Ask others to share their story. Investigate the similarities and where you have incomplete information. It is essential to stay humble and curious as you listen. Be open to changing your story with the new info.

6. Start a new story – Now that you’ve figured out what’s wrong with your old story, think about what you want your new story to be. It might be helpful to start by thinking about the person you want to be every day. What’s the kind of story that person would listen to? Scrap your old story and start with this new one.

What do you think? Can your story be changed?

Your Coach,

This article 6 Steps to Change Your Story originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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On Track or Derailed? Five Reasons Goals Fail

Alan Andersen

My grandpa was a railroad engineer, so I grew up loving trains. From real ones to the models around the Christmas tree, I love to watch them roar along their clack-ity track. To this day, I love to walk along an endless railroad track balancing on the rail to see how far I can get before slipping off and then trying it again.

Because of this fondness, the thought of a train derailing is troubling. The image of that massive strength and power of those fierce engines lying helpless in a field or worse, in heap of metal, disturbs me.

Derailments are far and few between but when they happen, it's a big deal. While they are unintentional, you can count on authorities investigating to get to the source. Why? So the tragedy won’t happen again.

Why Goals Fail

1. The WHY Is Not Identified.

WHY do you want this goal? You have to start with something bigger than your goal. You must get to your purpose — “the why” you exist. Your values should dictate your goals, not the other way around. I love digging deep to identify the barriers to living your values and only set goals after your values are identified. In business, core values and purpose statement are essential for your culture and the why people work for you.

2. The WHAT Is Not Defined.

Once your WHY is identified, then you need a plan to live it out. This is your defined vision and mission. WHAT is it you want to accomplish in order to live your WHY? WHAT is needed? WHAT is wanted? WHAT will you do? In business, this is your strategic plan, from the five-year plan to the one-year goals to the quarterly theme to every single person on the team knowing their WHAT. This a big part of my work with executive teams and is absolutely key to organizations… and to you personally.

3. The HOW Is Not Clear.

Now that you know WHAT you are going to do to fulfill the WHY, it is time to get very clear on HOW you will accomplish it. Clarity and ownership is essential at this juncture. The fastest way to clarity is to get a trusted team around you to turn over every possibility, challenge the status quo, and identify every blind spot. It’s called productive conflict and will take you and/or your team to the next level.

4. The WHEN Is Not Serious.

Action steps to accomplish your goals must have a “by when” assigned to it. When the HOW is not broken down into action steps with dates attached to the steps, it is in grave danger of derailment. Solution: Calendar Management! Put the due dates in with appropriate reminders included, schedule blocks of non-negotiable time to work on the next step, and secure white space so you can think clearly. (Confession: This is my personal downfall!)

5. The WHO is not aligned.

Last but far, far from least you must get the right people in your life to help you achieve your goals. This may mean dismissing Negative Nellie or Downer Don from your circle of influence. It may require re-evaluating your culture, allowing those who do not align with your direction to exit gracefully and then attracting people who appreciate and support your WHY gratefully. Alignment of the right people doing the right thing in the right time for the right reason is sheer bliss and is actually quite simple – it’s just not easy!

The First Step — Today


So what is one thing you could do today to get yourself back on track? For me, it is calendar management. I need to block some time out, and so I am going to go do that right now. How about you? You are all smart leaders on this list. Listen to your gut and take two minutes — set the timer on your phone to commit and calendar your one thing! Right now!

Your Coach,

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Prune Now or Pay Later

Alan Andersen

In my last post, I shared about an abundant harvest from my fruit trees, and how I realized that to get results next year I need to learn how to prune them this fall.

Yes, pruning can be painful. But it’s essential to future growth. Here’s what I’ve discovered. To get the results I want, I have to invest. My time, money, and energy.

The worst thing you can do is to just cut to cut because that’s what everyone else especially your forum mates are doing. To hack away at the PNL because you have to produce profit now! You’ll end up doing what I did recently. Not good.

There was an overgrown bush in my flower garden. I got in there just to thin it out a bit. Well, I had no vision, and I certainly didn’t seek counsel, except in a veiled self-reassuring question to my mom, “Don’t you think I should trim that overgrown bush down a bit?” So with my long green pruner in hand, I started “trimming” and I whacked off one wrong branch too quickly. Long story short, I had to cut the entire bush down to the base. I just hope I didn’t kill it and it will come back in the spring.

That’s what happens without vision and expertise.

If you’re dealing with something that’s valuable, you can’t be an amateur about it. My fruit producers are precious to me. So I need to hire someone who knows and loves trees so much that they have vision for their future. Someone who with knowledge, wisdom and experience can make each cut confidently and carefully in the spirit of long-term growth, sustainability, and, yes, fruitful results.

Now, I am not saying every budget line should NOT be evaluated. In fact as we roll into 4th Quarter I would recommend it! What I am saying is you need vision first.

Yet as leaders we Google “prune business” and off we go. And of course, we are either too cheap to get help (that can be me), or we are too prideful and think we can figure it out (that’s me too).

What’s the price of this strategy? Unlike my bush whacking, the cuts you make affect people — a lot of them. And nine months from now, you get only half the fruit you could have gotten had you invested little now. Yes, the danger is you will never know what profit you sacrificed because you did not prune. You see what’s in front of you and you see “profit” without even considering the opportunity you missed because you didn’t take time to ask hard questions, cut precious items, and challenge past success. It is time to prepare for the 2013 harvest today — and it starts with your willingness to prune.

Is this making sense? Share your thoughts. In the next post I’ll talk about the essential key to successful pruning. Right now I’m going to go sharpen my shears.

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Alan Andersen

Finally, after four years, my fruit trees have produced results! It’s as if the recession that hit the economy had also walloped my orchard. Now, with a wonderfully abundant crop of fruit, I have been able to restock my freezer, share with my neighbors, and eat to my heart’s content. Way better than the four apples and eight peaches I harvested the year before!

Now I must prune.

Here is the conundrum in business and in life. After a time of fruitfulness, results, and profitability, you must prune. And it hurts.

Prior to this year, I never bothered to prune my fruit trees. I just cut down the “suckers” and cut off the “runners” and walked away. Now that I have seen what they can do, I want more. What will it take to have more fruit next year?

The same question can apply to your business. If you want better results in 2013, you need to re-evaluate operations now. The question is, how?

The Down Side of Bush Whacking

Yes, pruning can be painful. But it’s essential to future growth. Here’s what I’ve discovered. To get the results I want, I have to invest. My time, money, and energy.

The worst thing you can do is to just cut to cut because that’s what your peers are doing. To hack away at the PNL because you have to produce profit now! You’ll end up doing what I did on Saturday. Not good.

There was an overgrown bush in my flower garden. I got in there just to thin it out a bit. Well, I had no vision, and I certainly didn’t seek counsel, except in a veiled self-reassuring question to my mom, “Don’t you think I should trim that overgrown bush down a bit?” So with my long green pruner in hand, I started “trimming” and I whacked off one wrong branch too quickly. Long story short, I had to cut the entire bush down to the base. I just hope I didn’t kill it and it will come back in the spring.

That’s what happens without vision and expertise.

If you’re dealing with something that’s valuable, you can’t be an amateur about it. My fruit producers are precious to me. So I need to hire someone who knows and loves trees so much that they have vision for their future. Someone who with knowledge, wisdom and experience can make each cut confidently and carefully in the spirit of long-term growth, sustainability, and, yes, fruitful results.

Now, I am not saying every budget line should NOT be evaluated. In fact as we roll into Q4 I would recommend it! What I am saying is you need vision first.

Yet as leaders we Google how to “prune” and off we go. And of course, we are either too cheap to get help (that’s me), or we are to prideful and think we can figure it out (that’s me too).

What’s the price of this strategy? Unlike my bush whacking, the cuts you make affect people — a lot of them. And nine months from now, you get only half the fruit you could have gotten had you invested.

The Core of the Issue

No doubt about it. The season of pruning, whether in our personal and business worlds, is awkward, isn’t it? Most of us avoid it. But if you don’t intentionally prune, then life and circumstances will force you to do it. Then when we do end up doing it, we make a mess of things when we try to do it alone.

Where to start? It’s been my experience that you need to start in an area most leaders are weak at. You have to celebrate (and taste if you will) the fruit of your labors. Then you will have more courage to contemplate the VISION for the upcoming year.

To give you a sample of where to start pruning, begin to ask yourself a series of questions. (If you’re reading this for your personal life, just change the wording!)

  • What is the core purpose and value of this business?
  • What unique value does it add to the customer?
  • In your company, what/who produces the best results and why ?
  • Where are you not getting maximum ROI?
  • What areas are you settling for good vs. going for great?
  • What are three things that worked for you in the past that need to be re-examined for the future?

How do you prune? Get back to the core of who you are and why you are here. Revisit your values and strategic life plan. Mostly, you need to ask for help from your team, your family and your coach. What are your blinds pots? Where are you settling for a few dozen peaches when there are hundreds available to you.

This is the time to invest in your leadership, your team and your business. It’s time to evaluate, prune, and plan. Most of you know that pruning is stage 5 in our coaching process. Putting The Process into book form has been on my to-do list forever — as I continue to prune my own life, I will get the dang book written one day.

In the meanwhile, I would love to help you in any way I can. Let me know how I can serve you and your team as you prepare for the fruitfulness of 2013.

Your Coach,

This article Fruitful Thoughts on Pruning originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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What’s Your Personal Foundation?

Alan Andersen

Who doesn’t want to accomplish more in life? Don’t most of us want more time? More money? More love? More satisfaction? Yet, isn’t our tendency to go for it rather than simply having it all come to us?

A strong personal foundation includes 10 distinct stepping stones which, when linked together, provide a solid yet personalized base on which to build one’s life. And, in a world which sometimes appears to be built on quicksand, we all need a personal foundation on which to depend.

These 10 stepping stones of a Personal Foundation are:

  1. A past which you have fully completed.
  2. A life which is based fully on integrity.
  3. Needs which have been identified and fully met.
  4. Boundaries which are ample and automatic.
  5. Standards which bring out your best.
  6. An absence of tolerations.
  7. Choosing to come from a positive place.
  8. A family which nurtures you.
  9. A community which develops you.
  10. A life fully oriented around your true values.

Anyone who is living a meaningful life must have a strong personal foundation so they can afford to look up at the stars instead of down at their feet. Having a strong personal foundation allows a person to fully use their skills and resources, because instead of constantly worrying about the fundamentals of their life, they are free to focus on the task at hand. The process of building a personal foundation also teaches a person how to eliminate and prevent many common problems that are usually thought of as an expected part of life.

A skyscraper doesn’t start at street level. In fact, the taller the building, the deeper the foundation. This holds true for people, too.

What is YOUR personal foundation? If you need help defining your values and purpose, we are here to help! Visit us at

Your Coach,

The article What's Your Personal Foundation? previously appeared at True Life Coaching, a subsidiary of Shandel Group. If you enjoyed this post, read Shandel's book, Clarity: Focusing on What Matters.

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Can Leaders Get Bottom Line Results Being Kind?

Alan Andersen

Kindness in business sounds weak and weird. It's not like there is a weekly reality show following the lives of kind business leaders changing the world. No, the role models are the icon leaders who appear charismatic in public, but in reality are tyrannical narcissists. They may look good on the cover of Forbes, but they're a nightmare to their subordinates cleaning up the broken glass and shrapnel they leave behind.

However, social media is actually forcing a change toward authenticity and vulnerability. Websites like are rating the CEO and everything else about the company. Leaders are not getting away with poor behavior like they used to.

So I'm curious. What would the rating of your character and your leadership presence be?

Why Kindness?

If you don't rank a 9 or 10, then my suggestion is to begin the journey into true authentic kindness. Here is why I am challenging you in this area.

Most of us who are out front leading are strong willed, driven, and focused; we get results. It is a necessary trait. In no way do we want to change it. However, the back side of that greatness is an impatient side that is harsh, critical, and down right mean when you are not getting the outcomes you are driving forth. Do you get criticized all the time for being impatient?

I don't know about you but I've been working on being “patient” since my third grade report card, and I constantly feel I'm failing in this area.

Patience Is Defense, Kindness Offense

What's the relationship between patience and kinds? Here is my take. Patience is a defense move. It is not doing or saying the things I know will be destructive and controlling and waiting. Hard and necessary. Kindness is an offense play. It is proactive. It takes initiative. It is intentional. It is something I can practice and get good at.

Do you think people respect a leader who is disrespectful of them? They may work when you are around and they may do the minimum required to keep their job (aka just enough to fly under your wrath radar.) Until a better job comes along.

It is kindness, not harshness, that gets people to follow and respect you. People work hard and long for a leader who truly cares for them and who demonstrates it by kindness and respect with dignity. It doesn't mean that kind leaders do not require their people to stretch themselves nor does it mean kind leaders are slow to discipline, speak truth and hold staff accountable. In reality, they do it more because they want their people to grow in skills and abilities.

Think about it: kind parents don't give in to their children; they train and discipline them daily because of the love and vision they have for them. Speaking truth with love and compassion is one of the greatest forms of kindness.

How to Be Kind

You already know how to be kind. But here are some reminders.

* Think before you speak. Be gentle with your words.

* Be considerate of others. Open doors, look people in the eye, be polite.

* See people as humans not objects. Once we make someone an object we treat them as such. Each person has their own story of hurt, pain, and need. Get to know their story.

* Be friendly. Seriously, just walk down the hall and smile at someone as you say hello. Speak to someone in the elevator and genuinely care.

* Positively reframe situations and see what is right in the situation first. It's natural for quick problem-solvers to go after the thing that's wrong and fix it. I promise, you can get to that, but discipline yourself to see what is right in something before attacking the problem. You will get better results.

* Offer encouragement and words that add value to life vs. harsh words that strip value from others.

* Remember that communication is 93% nonverbal. People know if you care, so don't be fake. Look for something you can genuinely say and mean.

* It starts with you. If you are having a visceral response to a discussion of kindness, you are probably too hard on yourself. It sounds sappy, but practice being kind to yourself. Truthfully, driving yourself with negative self-talk and an “it's never good enough” attitude is draining the life out of everyone around you. Stop it!

Long-term Results

Kindness will lead to long-term profit, and if practiced in tandem with true leadership and accountability skills, you will see the results on the bottom line. I have found that kindness is a key character trait in every strong leader who last for many years and leaves a legacy that inspires through the generations.

True Life Coaching will be offering more thoughts on kindness this month at our blog. We would love to hear your success stories about trying one of the helpful hints. And please, leave more hints on how we can grow in kindness, or shout outs to any leader you know that practices true kindness. Nothing weak or weird about that!

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Four Steps to Conquer F.E.A.R.

Alan Andersen

We’ve been talking about fear. I shared the success story of my seven-year-old nephew, Ronnie, who conquered his fear of joining a swim team, and is now enjoying success and is feeling pretty good! So I thought I’d share with you the four steps to conquering F.E.A.R. Here’s how:

Fear Is a Feeling So Name It

What exactly is it that you actually fear? When fear is vague and undefined, it cannot be conquered — so name it. What is it that you are anxious about happening or not happening? Call it by name. I fear _____­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­_.

For my nephew, the fear was that the older kids would make fun of him for not being a good swimmer. That was the last thing I expected to come out of his mouth, but that was what was keeping him from jumping in with both feet. Now it had a name: Fear of humiliation.

Excavate the Root

Next, you need to ask, How did the fear originate? Is there validity to this fear, or is it a “what if” fear? You must dig deep into the root issue of the fear.

I drilled my nephew with investigative questions to see if bigger kids had ever abused or harassed him. He assured me that no, he just imagined they would make fun of him, and that paralyzed him. Perception is reality — unless it is questioned with truth.

Ascertain the Truth / Reality

What IS the truth? Is this fear irrational, made up, or a control issue of some sort? Maybe you have been hurt before and you need to work through forgiveness or another unrelated issue. OR is it a “what if” that has validity to it? One way to go forward is to think through the worst-case scenarios and how you can live with the outcome. Is the risk in the 90 percent or the 10 percent probability? Get to the truth so you can make an intentional decision.

My nephew had to walk through the probability of the kids actually making fun of him. There might be someone who mocked him, but what was the chance? I challenged him by asking whether he would be mean like that to littler kids. (He was horrified — of course not!)

Replace Fear with Its Opposite

Once the fear is named, the next step is to find the opposite so that you can start retraining your mind. What truth do you need to tell yourself to overcome the fear? In general, the opposite of fear is faith. So you may ask what can you put your faith in to help you get from one side to the other. You see, faith is believing in what you cannot see to be true. “Chances are the bigger kids will not make fun of me.” Fear is believing you can control what you cannot see; it fools you into believing that by worrying you can change reality.

For my nephew, once we worked through the steps, he repeated out loud, “I am not listening to you, fear.” He replaced it with “I am an adventurous boy, a brave leader, and God will help me.” Did I mention his swim coach said he was even better than some of the older kids who had been swimming for a few years? He now has this incredible new opportunity and is already reaping the rewards — because he faced his fear!

Now It’s Your Turn

As you face and replace your fear, what are you now able to turn toward? Opportunity, reward, joy, love — what matters most to you? What do you fear and what do you desire more than that fear?

Name five things you fear right now. Now pick one to conquer by working the four steps. I would love to hear about it on Facebook or in the comments. Let’s conquer this together.

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Busting Out of the Box of Misery

Alan Andersen

Research tells us that 90 percent of what we worry about never comes true. Think of all we miss out on in life — because of the 10 percent! Is it worth it? I think not. I’ve encountered so many people whose greatest strengths had yet to be discovered because fear keeps them in a safe, controlled box. That box is called misery.

That’s one thing I love about entrepreneurs. We are notorious for taking tons of risks and thinking outside the box. However, do not think for one moment we don’t wrestle every day with our fears. In fact, the entrepreneurs who are truly successful are the ones who face and conquer their fears — not avoid them. In fact, in my experience of coaching 500-plus entrepreneurs, the key to their success is becoming aware of and addressing their fears — not avoiding them. They have learned that the reward is worth the risk of busting out of the box of misery.

What reward are you looking for? What is it you desire more than your comfortable box of misery? Don’t let fear stop you from all the rewards that come from busting through your fears.

If you read my newsletter or last week’s blog you heard how my nephew faced his fears about swim team. Now it is time for you to conquer yours! Next time, I’ll share the four steps to conquering F.E.A.R.!

Just say no to misery!

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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What are you ready for in this next season of life?

Alan Andersen

Fall is my favorite time of year. I love it all. The turning of the leaves, the duraflame in the fireplace, the football games all bundled up, the warm days and chilly nights and the familiar feeling of going back to school that still lingers in my 40 year old body.

I have to say it was a fantastic summer AND I am ready for a new season, how about you? I'm ready for the what's next and the next level that awaits me personally and professionally. What are you ready for?

Ready or Not – Jump in!

Maybe you can't see what is next, that's okay many of us don't but we want it. I am always in search for more clarity and focus regarding the season I am in and what the future holds. Truth is…it is a daily journey. The key is to have an intentional desire for more and the discipline to take the next step.

Do Something!

There is nothing that brings me more joy than to walk alongside coachable people who want to live an intentional life with clarity and focus. In July, we began a journey together through my newest book Clarity: Focusing on What Matters. The book is perfect for the ADHD leader or busy person because you only read 2 pages, 400 words or less each WEEK! For goodness sakes all of us can do that!

Each week, we provide additional tools, insights, and how to's here on the blog. We just finished Week #11 and next week will kick off the Fall Season with Week #12.

It's not too late!

Jump on in and get involved. If you just bought the book you can get into the stream because we have 40 more weeks together.

If you want to get caught up and follow along with the book. Just follow this formula (now just put the number that corresponds with the week you are reading in the book. For example week 1 (which is my favorite writing in the book)

Share the thing you love the most about Fall below.  I love to hear!

Your Coach For Clarity!

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Alan Andersen

A sign of a humble person is one who can take responsibility, own their mistakes, and sincerely apologize. Sounds easy until you are the one in the middle of the conflict and you have no idea what you did wrong. Yet, how you handle the situation can cost you – in business, opportunities, relationships and peace of mind.

Okay, so you were going about your business as usual when you begin to get this sense that something is not right with this employee, or this team, or this vendor, or this client.
You are not sure what went wrong, but something is wrong, and you are clueless as to what the problem is. What you do in that next moment is key.

Mega Filters

Unfortunately, many of us try to go inside our heads and figure out the problem. After much analysis, we’re still clueless, but by then another urgent matter has demanded our attention, and nothing gets done.

Here is the maddening part. What I find with countless communication/ conflict resolution situation is, the trouble usually started with a very small thing, such as miscommunication that in hindsight is ridiculously insignificant.

In fact, most likely the offended party knows it was a very small thing. They tried to let it go, but for some reason it just got under their skin and festered into a mega filter that they now see everything through.

To ever have closure, that small little thing must be dealt with, and it can be painful.

Pain Points Aren’t Petty

I often get push-back from folks who want to just address symptoms so they can get relief. “Why do we have to deal with these petty issues from the past? Can’t we just move on?”

Um, no. Not until we address the pain point.

Yes, I know whatever what you said was misinterpreted in a way you didn’t meant. Yes, I understand that the offense was not your intention. Yes, I know you don’t like dealing with all these people and their emotions.

However, if you want to stop wasting energy maneuvering around “the issue,” if you want to truly bring to an end the draining politics of dealing with “that person” you are going to have to deal with where the wound originated.

Padding the Problem Is Putting It Off

The whole thing is like the time I got a miniscule sliver of glass in my foot. I didn’t deal with it correctly, and it turned into a huge drama.

I should have known better than to go to the garage in bare feet. I took a whopping total of six steps. But next thing I know, I have this searing pain. Sure enough I could feel something in the ball of my foot.

Try as I might, I couldn’t hold my foot, a flashlight, and tweezers all at once, so I was unsuccessful in finding the invisible sliver of glass. I tried all the home remedies I could think of. I had to, because I had a ten-mile hike scheduled for the next day. I had been the instigator of it – no way was I missing it.

When nothing succeeded, I went to bed hoping it would work itself out in the night.

Messy, and Freeing

It didn’t. Dropping tweezers, BandAids, and a soaking bucket into my backpack, I headed to the trailhead. The first adult I saw I nearly tackled and pleaded for help in getting out my painful irritant. No luck. Three more people gathered around to help. They all claimed they could not see anything. It must have worked itself in deeper. So we padded the area with moleskin and hoped for the best. For the next two days, most of the time I didn’t feel pain. Every once in a while the little glass sliver would shoot a reminder it was still there. But although I could only wear my boots and I couldn’t run, I was able to walk – inconvenient but good enough.

Then back home, I was working around the house when I stepped and up my leg shot the worse pain I’ve ever felt. It nearly doubled me over.

Luckily my mom was visiting and ran to my rescue. Like only a mom can do, she took the offending foot in her hands and endured my yanking and yelling. Persevering with her sterile needle, she dug until she dislodged that piece of glass.

It was painful and messy, and the little hole required time to heal – but I was free and I knew it. The irritating pain was gone, and it never came back.

It Can Cost You

Leaders, many times you have to deal with the small but painful stuff to get the results you want. Why? Because the “little stuff” is costing you too much.

I estimate that on an average leadership team, 30 to 40 hours get eaten up a week by emotionally draining office politics and work-arounds. Not only is it an expensive problem, it is a sad waste of human capital and greatness.

And at home, it can cost you happy memories, emotional growth, and character development. And in some cases, it can cost you your family.

Please deal with the small issues. Yes, you will probably need to invest money, time, and energy into resolving them.

Would love to hear your success conflict resolution story below!

Your Coach for Clarity,

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11 Years of Truth-telling, Life-giving Coaching: Reflections on our Anniversary

Alan Andersen

On this exact day in 2000, I started True Life Coaching in the heart of Time Square in NYC.

Today, I am in the heart of San Francisco reflecting on 11 years and investigating our biggest opportunity to date.

Here is what I am celebrating today:

Transformed Lives

Starting with mine. It has been such an honor to serve amazing clients and see lives changed on a consistent basis.  This day is about being so thankful for a purpose filled life and all those who make it possible.  Oh how my cup overflows with…


Publicly, I'd like to draw attention to my faithful executive assistant, friend and cousin – Jennifer Bookamer.  Jenny has been with me for a majority of that time and without her partnership and patience I would have gotten a real “job” years ago.  Thank you Jenny!

Over 11 years, what has changed?

Everything and nothing. We have revamped and challenged how we go about doing business each year.  We add and delete product and services every 18 months.  We never stop learning and always keep growing.  Our ideal client grows and evolves with us. I'm not afraid to grow, but who we are will not change.

The coolest part of True Life Coaching is that our vision, purpose, and values have remained focused, consistent, and intact since day one.  Here is who we are:

We desire that every leader wisely and profoundly impact their sphere of influence.

We exist to inspire leadership and life at the next level. Whatever that might mean for the individual, team or organization in front of us.

We do very serious result oriented work in a very WITTY manner –  Wisdom, Integrity, Truth-telling, Totally FUN (key!), You-centered.

Celebrate True Life with me by living your true life!

What great memory do you have of when you knew you were living your true life?

Thank you for your support!

This article previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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Joy and criticism cannot co-exist. Do you have enough joy? Clarity #6

Alan Andersen

Photo courtesy of Ran Slaten

Photo courtesy of Ran Slaten

Joy and criticism cannot co-exist. I remember the day those convicting 5 words hit me hard and caused a huge shift.  Think about it.  Can you have that peaceful wonderful joy while you are being judgmental and critical of others?

Is your leadership style marked by joy or judgment?

Yesterday, I coached an incredibly talented leader who was super frustrated with folks above him and below him. He had every right to be and yet I sensed a critical spirit that had to be addressed first. Confronting his judgments, we started to dig into truth, I sensed he was checking out.

I asked him what that inner voice was telling him, searching for what his story was, if you will. What I got was a bunch of negative self-talk criticism that brought him to tears as he articulated what he was hearing that inner critic bark.

The truth is when you choose to be judgmental and criticize, you turn in your joy card.

Here he started with judgment toward others, but actually he was critical of himself. I gently spoke truth back to him to expose that inner critic was only looking at one small facet of this situation in front of him. We put the rest of the facts into his story and soon he had relief and joy. He could see the filter was false and was able to reframe the leadership opportunity and respond in a way he could be proud of …and me too!

S.T.O.P. the negative critic and become a joy giver and receiver!

This week is about stopping the inner critic. As we follow the weekly readings of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters, there are four hints on how to STOP the negativity in week 6. We will cover a few later this week, but why not download Clarity on your Kindle or ipad or pick up a copy today. Join in now on the Summer of Clarity and share below the ways you stop the critic. Comments makes me happy!

Your Coach for Clarity!

This article previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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Leadership and Unmet Needs – They Could be Taking you Off Course

Alan Andersen

Last week, I was meeting with a client who was desperately trying to find himself in the midst of impressive business growth.  As we dug deep into what he believed was his values, we found half of his seeming “values” were actually unmet needs.  No wonder he was terribly crazy successful yet felt lost and wondering.

What happens when you do not honor your values?  Then you are ruled by needs, stress, addictions, past regrets and the shoulds” in life. No wonder we quickly feel the drain of joy out of life.  Life is too short to leave vitality, purpose and legacy on the table, while you strive for that proverbial carrot – stop – and start living!

What is draining your best?  Could it be things that do not matter in the long run?  Challenge yourself.

Invest the time and energy to discover your core values.  If you are not living your values, you are living someone else's!  There are huge benefits to discovering and living your values and if you aren't doing it today you will have regret tonight.

Your Coach for Clarity!

This article previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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The Top 10 Things To Help Your Business & Personal Life Become Healthier & More Successful

Alan Andersen

There are always things we can do to make our life better or easier or closer to our “dream” life. These changes or “choices” can affect our business and professional life in profound ways. In many ways, they can make us and our business simply but powerfully more “attractive.” This list is a sample of some ways and areas that will help us to get closer to our “ideal” life, and to become more “irresistibly attractive” personally and in our profession!

1. Assess Your Health & “Get Healthy”- Inside And Out.

Simple enough? Look in the mirror. Look at the bathroom scales. How is your energy level? Your diet? Your blood pressure? Your stress level? Know what your current health “status” is by *SEEING YOUR DOCTOR,* and start correcting things that limit your quality of life. Get healthy by CHOICE before you are asked/forced to due to a *preventable* or treatable problem.

2. *Honestly* Examine Your Current Financial Situation.

What are you “worth?” How much debt do you have? Do you have a budget? Savings reserve? Plan for retirement? Is your business *really* making money, or has it turned into just an expensive “hobby?” Get out all the “books,” checkbooks, etc. Use a professional planner or consultant if necessary. Correct overspending and *reduce consumer debt*. Cut down on unnecessary overhead/expenses! Increase profits, or make plans to do so. Have a 6-12 month “reserve” of money and *good* “disability” and medical insurance for yourself and any family members living with you. Don’t “assume” anything!

3. Get Rid Of Any “Garbage” Or “Unfinished Business” From Your Past!

Yes, is difficult to forgive and “let go” of old hurts, pain, and other unpleasant memories. AND, it is essential to do that if you don’t want those “old tapes” to drain your emotional & physical energy in the “present”. People tend to let some of that old “baggage” influence their present lies, & it is going to be always in a negative or unhealthy way. Write down who or what you are still “hanging onto,” and decide what it would take to “let it go” for *good*! Seek out a coach or other professional to help if you cannot do this on your own. It is *vital* to resolve the past for us to be able to grow and really live in the present, and move ahead and embrace the future.

4. Make A Monthly And Annual Goals Plan Or List.

Decide what you are lacking that you need or want. Write it down as an achievement or goal to reach by the next month or 3 months or year! Make the goals reasonable yet challenging. Let your reach exceed your grasp, and work toward it daily in steps you can handle. If you need help, hire a coach, or ask your coach to help you specifically in that area.

5. Upgrade Your Personal Standards And Your “Boundaries” If Necessary.

Know what your values and standards are. Make them as high as you can given your goals, your needs, and your personal and business situation. Make sure you have set “boundaries” or “rules” for people in your life around what you will and will not accept from them. This can be done in a calm and non-threatening, yet firm manner. If you are stuck or having problems with this, ask a close friend for help, or if the lack of boundaries and high standards is affecting your life badly, consider hiring a coach!

6. Stop Tolerating!

All of the small to large annoyances, insults, things we do to ourselves, and things people “do to us,” are not helping us have a quality life. Make a “laundry list” of all that you are “putting up with” currently. ANY toleration is going to affect you and have at least a small adverse affect on your life unless you either eliminate it or “reframe” how you perceive it or respond to it. To have a quality life and to be healthy, we need all the energy we can get. We do enough things to ourselves that “drain” us…we don’t need other people or things draining us as well!

7. Be 100% Honest When Speaking With Others.

Holding back how you *really* feel when communicating does more damage to ourselves, as well as to the relationships we have with others, as almost anything else. It takes courage and “practice” (by just DOING IT!) to learn how to do this and to do it in a non-aggressive and non-judgmental way. It is a skill or “trait” however, that is essential to having a truly healthy and “integrity-based” business and personal life. Being totally honest respects yourself and others.

8. Listen 2-3 Times More To Others Than You Currently Do.

Listening is an art. Almost everyone likes to talk, and to be “heard.” In business and personal relationships, learning how to listen well is very important to understanding other’s problems and what they really need from you or want to tell you. In coaching, if a coach can say that he/she listens to their client 75-80% of the time, and talks the rest of the time, they are probably hearing and helping their client much more than a coach who talks 50-75% of the time and listens only 25-50%. It is not easy for many people to develop this skill, and it is important. The way to learn it is to be quiet more…and listen more. No other way.

9. Assess-Re-evaluate Your Career And Career Goals.

Are you doing what you *really* want to do for a living? Do you get satisfaction and enough financial remuneration from your job to satisfy your needs so that you feel you are respected, impacting people, and doing what you were “meant” to do? Are you excited and “drawn” to your profession? Were you ever? If you come up with unsettling answers to these questions, it is time to make some plans for moving “up,” moving out, or changing your job description, hours, etc. A coach or career counselor can help you with this if you cannot work it out on your own. Most people need to feel good about their jobs to feel good about themselves and others. If you do not, find out why, and start looking into other options, actions, and choices.

10. Decide To Think & Talk In The “Present” At Least 80% Of The Time.

The past is gone, and we have NO control over the future. Living in the “now” or present, and thinking in the present, is both healthy and more productive. If we can use self discipline and practice, so that we do not talk or think about the past or the future more than 20% of the time, we will be much happier in many areas of our lives. The past can have many good memories, but often when people think or talk about the past it is not about positive things, rather the “bad” or negative “stuff.” The future is a dream still. It is a waste of energy and time to stay in the past or in the future much more than 20% of our total waking hours mentally or when talking. If we live minute to minute, hour to hour, there will be much less chance of dwelling into the past or dreaming too much-far into the future. We do a lot of that anyhow when we dream in our sleep!

If you know someone who could benefit from finding out how coaching can assist in this process, please check out some of our coaching options here. We can also customize a coaching package that is just right for their needs!

Your Coach,

This article previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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Educated Far Above Our Level of Execution

Alan Andersen

“We are educated far above our level of execution.”

Yesterday I answered a comment by Joe on Linked In with the above statement I have adapted from wise people before me.  Most leaders know the truth of what they are “suppose” to do.  Most leaders know exactly what they “should” do. Most have the answers inside their head but something draws them away from from what they “need” to do. Most have heard it before and in their head say, “I know, I know.”

Why do we know so much in our head and yet keep doing the same thing over and over?  My theory is while we know it in our head, we reject it with our heart.  Somewhere our negative self-talk, skewed beliefs regarding our value / worth, and other noise overwhelms the truth we have inside.  Now, of course, there are times that we get busy and just forget to live the principles we espouse and with a little kick we get back on our path.  I'm confronting willful resistance to what you know is best for you.

To face the truth we must be first see reality and truth from a different lens. Thus we must get to higher ground.  Get the eagle's view on life.  See the forest through the trees. Rise above our own jellyfish mentality of just getting through the day and LIVE what we know.

There are two words I disrespect – “I know.”  Well at least when they are in response to a truth someone shares with you.  What I would respect instead is “I know that to be true and I have chosen to disregard it, remind me of what I know to be true.”

You were meant for higher living and that takes discipline and it helps to have a truth-teller in your life.  Who is your truth-teller that will speak what you know to be true in your life?  Will you thank them today?  I would love to hear your success stories or even current struggles on overcoming the “supposed to,” “shoulds” and “need to's.”

If you have taken my Life 301 class you know that we don't do anything we don't WANT to do.  So what do you WANT to be different?

Your Coach,

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True Connection – Is It Redefined?

Alan Andersen

In the last two months, I've been immersed even deeper into the whole social media world. Dr. Bret Simmons has encouraged me to consistently blog, Paul Anderson has convinced me LinkedIn is a must, and Abbi PR tells me I am doing ok on Twitter and Facebook right now, but it's time to get up to speed on Hoot Suite.

Last weekend, I tried to deep dive into Wordcamp and had to leave as it was way over my head!  While I was there I started a LinkedIn Group and still trying to decide what to do next.  This week I experienced my first “tweet up” thanks to @debra11!

I have invested at least 100 hours in all of this social media stuff and for what end….


… and it's worth it!

We have redefined how we connect. We have made it easy, global, and fast.  We are connecting to people we would never meet in the “old school.”  The opportunity to influence people and engage them in a meaningful way is ours for the taking.  Are you participating? Are you using your influence to connect with every tech option there is?

Good.  AND still there is nothing like a real live face to face connection.  True connection is what we do when we are together sharing life.   You can't just hide behind social media, it takes getting out in front of people and truly connecting with them.

A few tips on connecting:

Be sincerely interested. There is nothing worse than someone asking you for coffee with the guise of just getting together when they have their entire agenda waiting to launch at you. If you want to sell me tell me before you “have coffee” with me just to connect.

Be curious. There is nothing better than to have someone be truly curious about you and ask good questions to connect more deeply with you.

Be both a learner and a teacher. It is truly annoying to listen to someone who has it all figured out and just wants to teach you a thing or two.  In the same vein to have someone just take from you .  Neither is true connection so offer a few things that might be helpful to the person and leave recognizing what you have learned.

Be helpful.  Truly, connection is about mutual helping one another. How can you help someone today?

I am so grateful to connect with you here today.  What is true connection to you?

Your Coach,

This article True Connection – Is It Redefined? previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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Alan Andersen

Every summer, our family camps at Bucks Lake, where I enjoy a week of watching the eagles perch, fly, and hunt. I love the way their beady little eyes go back and forth, searching, scanning until they see it, then the eyes become intensely focused. (No doubt where the term “eagle eye” came from!)

Leaders need clarity on who they are (values), where they are going (vision) and how they will get there (mission).  There are folks who search for meaning with great energy but don’t allow for moments of silence to reflect and focus. Without that clarity, they never really see what truly matters.

How this has anything to do with jellyfish, well, you need to read this excerpt from my new book and figure it out.

Week 1 from Clarity

Have you ever been frustrated by people whose lives seem so smooth and easy, while you are working diligently only to encounter trial after trial?

When I was fresh out of college, I posed that question to my wise mentor. Answering my jealousy over the easy life of my peers, he explained that there are two types of people: jellyfish and eagles. Building upon his words, I have used this analogy throughout the years to encourage greatness in others.

Consider the jellyfish. Sure, it gets blown and tossed by the tide of the sea, but basically it just floats along. It lives on what comes its way. There’s not too much conflict, and no need for adventure. Just enough movement to stay with the current until it dies.

There may be a few exceptional jellyfish that stand out, but a jellyfish is a jellyfish – content blobs existing in the sea. For a jellyfish, there is nothing wrong with that. Nothing else is expected of a jellyfish.

Now consider the eagle. Food doesn’t just come bobbing by for the eagle – it has to go get it. Have you ever watched how many times an eagle will dive for its dinner? Relentless! For goodness sakes, on the first day of flight school, the baby eagle gets dropped out of the nest!

While they have an incredible view from the top of the world, they often perch alone because of their choice for higher living. The trials and difficulties of the eagle are what breed the character we admire: courage, vigor, and freedom. Nothing is abnormal about the challenging adventure they live – that’s an eagle’s life. Nothing less should be expected.

Unlike the animal kingdom, humans have a choice in how they want to live and who they want to be. You choose your attitude and your behavior. It doesn’t matter if jellyfish parents raised you; you can learn to be an eagle. I’ve seen organizations with jellyfish CEOs and eagle janitors. It’s not your position; it’s your attitude.

The challenge is when you naively see yourself soaring like an eagle, but you are blind to your jellyfish lifestyle. Anyone can be an eagle, but you must commit to pay the personal cost of higher living and consistent integrity. Choose today to find higher ground and learn the way of an eagle.

Your Coach,

This article Are You an Eagle or a Jellyfish? previously appeared at True Life Coaching

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