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Filtering by Tag: leadership

6 Fears That Lead You to Rationalize Your Behavior- Clarity #33

Alan Andersen

The evolution of a leader includes an ever-increasing emotional intelligence, starting with self-awareness. If you lack self-awareness, you are unable to see when you step out of integrity. In other words, you are unable to see how your words, thoughts, and actions are not in alignment. This dissonance forces an auto response to spin the story — leading to compromised truth, ending with a skewed reality.

Conversely, if you’re a leader with high self-awareness, you are able to quickly discern when and where you are out of alignment with truth. You quickly see your error, admit fault, and take personal accountability. You take action to repair the crack in the relationships due to lack of judgment, and with your words and action, you own the issue at hand. The humility of the self-aware leader leaves plenty of room to learn from mistakes, be curious to what you do not yet know, and be open to feedback as a way to learn and grow.

Most people don’t intentionally rationalize. It comes from being scared, to be blunt. If you have taken the Talent Insight Report, you know that there are four fears that people struggle with and will do most anything to avoid.

  • Fear of Being Taken Advantage Of
  • Fear of Social Rejection
  • Fear of Loss of Security
  • Fear of Making Mistakes

Or how about the two fears of the successful entrepreneur:

  • Will I be found out?
  • Do I have what it takes?

Fear gets in the way of truth, and thus we must rationalize or falsify something in order to psychologically survive and bring a sense of order and control.

What do you think? What are other fears that cause leaders to rationalize?

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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5 Ways To Prepare Yourself For Success - Clarity #32

Alan Andersen

Success is getting what you want, happiness is wanting what you get. –W.P. Kinsella

I love Summer and I love sunshine! It seems this recent heat wave nearly sent my Seattle friends over the edge as evidenced in their tweets and Facebook posts. Bless our hearts. We complain about the grey and rain and yet when we finally get the sunshine we long for.. we complain and grumble.

When I wrote Clarity: Focusing on What Matters I addressed this in week #32 and challenged readers that in order to be successful you first must know how you define success. It never ceases to amaze me how many people have never taken the time to define success for themselves. Instead they go through life with someone else’s definition and find they are never satisfied or better said never fulfilled.

What do you want?

What do you really, really want? Most people answer that question with what they do not have which I think is a lost opportunity. What you really, really want you may indeed already have and by your own definition be a successful person. Shocking!

To identify what you want and be clear on your “why” does not mean you don’t have goals and should not strive for what you want that you do not have. Conversely, there is joy in realizing you just might have more than you ever imagined which will energize the journey toward more.

Take some time this summer and really think about how you define success and prepare yourself to live it and receive it.

5 ways to prepare yourself for success:

  • Define: What is it that you really want? Why?
  • Identify: Where are you at right now in your life? Who are you?
  • Motivation: What motivates you to be where you want to be? (the why)
  • Goals: What are the top 3 goals you have?
  • Preparation: Be prepared for the worst and best outcome.

Remember, you are eagle leaders and success is just who you are! Take one step toward defining your own success story before the day ends.

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Why Leaders Let Disappointment Simmer and 5 Actions you can take to be FREE! Clarity #25

Alan Andersen

I just finished reading Chapter 25 in Clarity: Focusing on What Matters and here is what struck me: When disappointment hits we have a choice to become bitter or better. It reminded me of a speech I gave on Monday about overcoming bitterness and getting rid of anger. Before you can get rid of disappointment and bitterness you have to identify it.

Trials Identify The Cracks

Trials are an opportunity to reveal cracks in the foundation of our plan, life, and vision. As a leader you need to take action and deal with your own bitterness, disappointments, and conflicts. If you don’t you let them simmer on the back burner unti it boils. It costs too much energy, time, and resources to let that happen. Here are some way to identify and address the cracks before you have a crumbling disaster on your hands.

5 Actions Steps to Overcome Disappointment

1. Know your expectations…because they lead to disappointments. If you are a leader you have high aspirations, big dreams, and crazy long term vision as part of your DNA – you can’t help it. The problem is this great strength becomes a weakness and a stumbling block when they morph into expectations. Rarely do people ever meet our expectations so instead of adjusting and communicating our expectations into understandable goals and requests, we experience disappointment. Disappointment not dealt with properly leads to bitterness. Be clear with your expectations, first with yourself, and then with others.

2. Embrace trials. Trials build character. When you experience disappointment or any other hard time you can either see the cloud or the silver lining as they say. Difficult and disappointing times reveal your character. The analogy in the Clarity book talks about the ebb and flow of the tide. The ebb times in our lives exposes what is inside us that needs to be removed. When your flaws and lack of integrity are revealed, therefore repent!

3. Repent isn’t a religious word – so do it! Repentance is a change of mind. It means you were going in one direction with a certain mindset and it’s not working. Therefore you change your belief system by engaging your mind and go a different direction. Of course, it is easier with God because there is something bigger than your own sorry self to help ya’ at, but the concept is true for all. If we are on our way to LA from Seattle and we hit Vancouver BC – there is something wrong. If you are the driver and start ranting about how you can’t believe you did it again, you shouldn’t have trusted mapquest, blah, excuse, blah – as the passenger I am going to say, no shout, “SHUT UP and pull over! Take the next offramp and turn the @!#%%$# around!”

4. Sweat the small stuff. A big part of my coaching is conflict resolution and in my 12 years of experience I am here to tell you – it is the small things that become big things. It is the dumb small thing that you are ashamed of that made you so angry that will morph over night into a huge divide. In fact, it is rarely a big huge thing because everyone would know that is a problem – it is the small thing that means so much to you. It is someone or something you care about deeply that can wound you with the smallest infraction. So you must deal with it.

5. Deal with it now! A good principle we use with our clients is 24 hours. Don’t let 24 hours go by without dealing with your anger, resentment, hard feelings. Most of the time it is a miscommunication that can be dealt with in a quick conversation. The longer you wait the longer the reconciliation will take, the more people get hurt, and the more energy and time is wasted.

Practice What You Preach

Recently, I did not follow my own advice and wisdom and let a very small issue simmer. It seemed too selfish and small to address and I was embarrassed to even talk about it with the offending party. Well, a month later I was a total mess, caused hurt to other people, and was an emotional wreck in this area. Why? Because I did not follow my values and take action. Like my friend Kim Case says, “You don’t get better, you get faster!” Yep, and that is what I am doing!

Your Turn

If you do not identify and deal with your disappointments you will become bitter. Once bitter you will either stop dreaming big or become so unrealistic in your drive to prove yourself – no one will listen, let alone follow. Get clear, repent, and move in a new direction today.

What additional tips do you have on getting rid of disappointment? I only listed 5 – there are more. Please share below.

What action will you take today?

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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What Kind Of Risk Taker Are You? Clarity #24

Alan Andersen

This is such a timely subject that I decided to include an excerpt from my book CLARITY: FOCUSING ON WHAT MATTERS. We are on week #24 and if you have not read the book or following along with our year long challenge – join in now.

Real Risk For Real Relationships

Growing up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, I had a few too many opportunities for adventure: jumping snowmobiles in the full moon, passing three logging trucks on a two-lane highway in a ’71 Vega, leaping off 40-foot cliffs into the Feather River, and countless other near death experiences. Let’s just say that some adventures were cause for a visit to the chiropractor on Monday morning.

These days, I’ve traded adventure stunts for business tactics. Perhaps you’re like me. A different type of risk defines us…until someone challenges us to look deeper, or within. We may be successful but are we wealthy in relationships?

Intimacy is necessary for rich relationships. The only way to have true intimacy is to risk your self emotionally. At this point, the risk-taker in many of us comes to a screeching halt. Thinking of exposing our inner being is enough to send half of us running!

Where is your gap?

Have you felt a gap within you? You want love, but as you pull people in, your attempt for true intimacy is sabotaged. The fear of rejection and the risk of truly being yourself unconsciously pushes love away, creating a gap.

Here’s the sad part. We medicate the gap. With work, alcohol, food, pornography, shopping, bad relationships, adrenaline sports, travel and vacations, and even the latest pharmaceutical drug marketed to us. We keep our brain just busy enough that we don’t have to connect to our heart. Our public persona is beautifully rewarded, so we keep medicating the gap. Yet our true self is never quite fulfilled and is left searching for significance and purpose.

Bridge the gap

So how do you bridge the gap toward real intimacy? Decide to build up enough emotional strength to be authentic and trust another. Maybe you start by trusting your closest friend, or maybe you start by trusting God. You must start somewhere and yes, you might get hurt. But denying truth doesn’t change its reality. Risk may bring pain, but risk also brings freedom and reward.

I want you to have the freedom to love and to be loved. When you are ready to take a risk emotionally, then you are ready to open up your heart and soul. Develop a team of safe people to support you in your new venture.

Decide to be a true risk taker, today. What risk will you take today?

Your Coach For Clarity,

The article 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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The Perils of Miscommunication. Clarity #22

Alan Andersen

When hired business to drive profit to the bottom-line, the first step we recommend is to assess what is happening with communication. To get alignment, you first must start with how do we get work done. At TLC, we make certain all team members are assessed and on the same page with their team members.

The magic is to have each member understand their own style and gain insight into their unique talents and personal blindspots. Next is to appreciate and understand their teammates’ strengths, weaknesses, and unique style. To start anywhere else, in my opinion, is a waste of money and energy not, to mention foolish. Why?

Business is Relationships

Business is all about relationships. Think about it. Businesses fail because one or more relationships did not work out (partners, customers, vendors, investors, employees). Relationships end when trust is broken. Trust is eroded if not broken immediately – usually because of a miscommunication.

Think About It

We have all had a relationship go bad, right? What happened? Something at sometime broke your trust with that person. Now think really hard about it, see if there is a miscommunication? It may have been instant or a slow erosion over time.

Here’s an example. When I was in high school, I never had a curfew because my mom trusted me and wanted to know where I was at all times. As long as I communicated I was granted freedom. Now imagine if I said, “Hey Mom, I’m going to Scott’s house” and she assumes I meant my boyfriend Scott, but when she checks up on me, I’m not there and then calls every person in my graduating class looking for me. Come to find out, I went to “Scott’s house”, the college guy I met at a party last weekend.

In my mind, I communicated perfectly per our agreement with no hint of misleading her. However, my mom is fuming and her trust in me now has a crack in it. I think she is overreacting when she asks me a million questions the next time I want to go out and so I stop telling her every detail because I don’t trust she still has that love and respect for me. Soon we are barely speaking and the relationship is compromised.

AND it happens in the workplace the same way. We think we are communicating perfectly only to find we are getting passive/aggressive attitude from someone. What do we do?

Deal with the Small Stuff

The problem in the workplace is we rarely talk about the small things that bug us. I am not advocating we nit pick and have to vent every problem; however, if we cannot overlook it and move on…it will erode trust.

I find in the workplace, small miscommunications snowball into huge big issues if not dealt with in a professional, agreed upon manner. Knowing your communication style and the style of the others is the fastest way to trust and respect. Then have a conflict resolution process that everyone agrees to and commits to upholding. It is always the small issues that cause the cancer that destroys relationships.

Start With You

Here is a resource we offer to individuals in order to find out your own communication style. For the leader of a team, we suggest you get everyone on the same page (scroll down on our Workshops page to see our “Building the Extraordinary Team” workshop) to blaze forward into a profitable 2012. Every moment you wait to communicate you compromise results. A culture of accountability and commitment must start with communication.

Where do you struggle with communication?

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Can You Gain Power and Strength via Being Meek? Clarity #20

Alan Andersen

Does anyone else watch old timeless movies this time of year? EVERY year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I watch “ELF” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” One makes me laugh and the other causes great reflection and gratefulness. This week’s Clarity reading pulls from lessons learned from “The Man From Snowy River”, another favorite. A young client of mine had never seen the movie. WHAT? You must see this sappy little movie immediately. In it the main character, Jim Craig, not only tames a powerful, dangerous and beautiful wild colt, he captures the whole mob of brumbies, (the term for feral horses in Australia – BTW) How? Only with the help of his faithful saddle horse, the real hero of the story. 

Powerful Leadership

Because its strength and power had been bridled, trained, and controlled, Craig’s horse could carry him where other cowboys had not dared to go. It had the potential to go wild, to return to the herd, but it was obedient and loyal to Craig, part of a two-creature team on an outrageous mission. Was the meek saddle horse any less of a brave leader than the scene-stealing, bucking black brumbie?

Strength Under Control

Meekness is not spinelessness or sentimentality. The term meek comes from the Greek word praus, which is used for a strong beast that has been tamed. In other words, strength under control. Translated, you, in control. Many times, we as leaders think we have to do the rearing-head colt-thing to get things done, yet isn’t it the humble power of a mentor we remember?

Test It For Yourself

Test it, list the qualities of someone who has influenced your life in a meaningful way. If you are like most, your list will include moral integrity, humble confidence, gentle strength, and genuine interest in the good of others, a team player who invested in you. It is not the guy who strutted in and had it all together looking down on the rest as the smartest guy in the room. We gravitate to people who have been tested in their character and in their times of weakness became strong, confident and humble. What we experience in them is the character trait of meekness.

That person is so strong, so confident they could take anyone out with their wisdom, intelligence and experience – instead they quietly and meekly serve others.

Who is a humble and meek person in your life? Someone who has influenced you with that quiet strength?

Be sure and secure copies of Clarity for the leaders in your life for Christmas. They can follow along into the new year. The gift of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters in 2012.

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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This Thanksgiving I'm Giving Thanks for Anger! Clarity #18

Alan Andersen

Seriously? What does anger and thankfulness have to do with each other?  I love all the gratitude and thankfulness pouring forth from the social media channels and ezine articles. I want to join in and say how grateful I am for a very powerful emotion: ANGER.  Weird, eh?

This week's Clarity challenge is focused on how to use anger appropriately and the danger of misdirected anger.  Yes, it's cheesy, but I'll say it anyway: anger is only one letter away from DANGER! Anger is an emotion alerting us to the fact thatsomething is not right. An injustice has occurred. The trick is slowing down the emotional flow to discern the injustice and what it is telling us needs to be righted. Here are some examples:

Relational Injustice

Anger in relationships can be a form of love when it is slow, focused and in control. Think about it: we defend that which we love the most. It is good that a dad is angry when his chid lies and cheats. Why? Because he is motivated to act towards defending his child's character and well-being for the future. It is an injustice that this child is not making good choices and if not dealt with, he or she will be lost and land in jail one day. Once again, how that anger is communicated is key. Remember stay in control and for the other person's well-being.

Social Injustice

Sometimes anger will surprise you and bubble up as you learn something for the first time. This new anger can launch you to defend and fight against an injustice you previously knew nothing about.  For example, perhaps you learn that more than 90% of women involved in prostitution are not involved by choice and would leave if they could. Or that human trafficking happens just around the corner from where you live.  You get angry and it moves you to action, perhaps developing an educational prevention program targeted toward at-risk young men who typically become pimps. You do something to right the wrong, and you are passionate about it driven by your anger. It might just lead you to your purpose and passion in life if handled correctly.

Perceived Injustice

Sometimes we don't have all the information we need, and we get angry about an assumed injustice. For instance, someone is going 55 MPH in the middle lane on the freeway, and the speed limit is 60.  You can't get around them due to construction. You are furious inside because it is not right that they go 5 miles below the speed limit. This is not RIGHT and the injustice is that you will be late. When you finally are able to get around the slow vehicle, you see an 80-year-old grandpa driving his elderly wife to the hospital but his reflexes are slower so he is cautious. DAH – the injustice was perceived.

Selfish Injustice

Anger also arises when we don't get our personal needs met.  Someone does not give you the credit you clearly deserve. You are not picked for the holiday party committee. Your husband buys himself a coffee but doesn't bring you one. Your kids claim their nanny loves them more than you. Your wife is 10 minutes late again and makes you look bad in front of your leadership team. Your anger is really about your own unmet personal need that you see as an injustice.  This is the one you can manage with more Self-Awareness and working on your personal EQ.

Next time, you feel that spike of emotion called frustration, irritation or anger, make it worth your raised blood pressure and trace it back to where you believe the injustice is and ask yourself: is it real? Perceived? Or simply all about you? Then reframe to either help meet the need of others or get your personal unmet need met in a healthy manner.

Anger will show you what you are most passionate about and what you care about most. For that you can be grateful for anger. You just have to make sure you manage it well.  Manage your anger during the holidays and learn a ton about yourself in the journey!

Please share your thoughts on anger. What has made you angry this week? Can you follow your emotion back to the injustice? Was it real, perceived, or selfish? What positive actions can it move you toward?

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Are You a Liar?

Alan Andersen

Maybe that’s too harsh. Are you a liar, or do you “just” tell white lies to get what you want?

Are you feeling defensive right now? Is a twinge of guilt washing over you as you to scan for the unsubscribe button?

This article is for leaders who believe they are people of integrity. Anyone who holds “integrity, honesty, respect” as core values, this is for you, because I believe you truly want to honor your values. Sadly, it is inevitable that we lie almost every day — to ourselves, our loved ones, our colleagues, and strangers. We consider ourselves honest, but we lie whenever it serves us.

The Stress of Lying

Why am I being so direct and harsh? Because I am seeing too many leaders buckle under stress and trade in their values for a quick fix to their problems. The more stressed you are, the more lies you tell, and the deeper is the hole you are digging for yourself.

Trust me, I have been coaching leaders for 15 years. The stress from living a lie will destroy you, and the innocent people around you. In the end, the family you want to protect and provide for is the most devastated by your lies.

Where Does It Start?

Cognitive Dissonance is a social psychology term I find fascinating. Basically, you can’t believe one thing and behave in an opposite manner. The psychological stress (or dissonance) it causes forces one or the other (the belief or the action) to change. So, you either justify the lie in your head so that you can continue to (falsely) uphold your integrity value, or you abandon the lie and start living as a person of integrity lives.

Thus lying starts with self-betrayal. You betray your own values and then begin blaming another person or circumstance for your own self-betrayal. Again, you cannot live with the stress or dissonance of betraying your own values, so your integrity goes out the window and you begin to live in your altered reality.

I use an excellent book called Leadership and Self-Deception with my high-performing leadership teams. It talks about how quickly we can put people “in the box” and treat them as objects instead of human beings. We have no problem lying about them and destroying them, because of the story we are telling ourselves from our own imprisoned box.

Leaders Spin and Sell the Lie

If you are stuck in the spin cycle, you will need to hire a coach to support you as courageously you journey back to your integrity. Without outside perspective we will spin stories and get others to agree with our “story.” When we are living in our own self-betrayal and out of alignment from our own values, there is a need to sell our lie to get other people to join us. When there is a common enemy to fight, there is unity; however, when we create the enemy out of our own self-betrayal we are headed down a path of mass destruction.

Now, please keep your social filters in place and use common sense as you process what I’m saying. But also challenge yourself to stop tolerating this cowardly — and I might add, narcissistic — behavior. Wouldn’t you agree that liars are cowards? I know when I lie that is what I am — a coward! It takes a brave person to confront the lies in their life and take ownership of their own behaviors.

How Does It End?

Basically, this is how it ends. You either commit to just STOP IT! Or you remove integrity from your resume and continue being a liar.

One way or another, as a leader you will be found out. In the end, truth wins out. WhiIe it takes years to build a reputation and credibility, it takes mere moments to destroy it. You can play the game for just so long and at the worse possible moment the house of cards will fall.

Choose to be brave today. Choose integrity. Stop listening to anyone who is leading you deeper into lying. Be a courageous truth teller who does not self-protect, but faces life trusting that integrity is the most valuable asset for a leader.

You are not alone. If you are stuck, reach out. We help leaders get out of the spin cycle, so don’t believe the lie you are on your own. You can be supported and on the way to being the best you! Today. Just ask.

Your Coach for Clarity,

This article Are You a Liar? originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Ten Things Leaders "Should" Do

Alan Andersen

I wrote Clarity: Focusing on What Matters for leaders who like short reads (400 words or less)  and big application. That is why I fell in love with this article by Robin Sharma as I think he has a great perspective on what authentic leadership looks like when the leader is keeping it real.

What would your life look like if you had absolutely no fear? What kinds of things would you do if you lived from a frame of reference that your thoughts literally could form your world?

How brightly would your light shine if you stepped out of the limitations that are keeping you small and stretched yourself well past your comfort zone into the place that you know, deep within, you are meant to be?

Authentic leadership is all about being the person you know in your heart you have always been destined to be. Authentic leadership does not come from your title or from the size of your paycheck. Instead, this form of leadership comes from your being and the person that you are.

Here are 10 things that authentic leaders do on a regular basis:

 1. They speak their truth. In business today, we frequently ‘swallow our truth’. We say things to please others and to look good in front of The Crowd. Authentic leaders are different. They consistently talk truth. They would never betray themselves by using words that are not aligned with who they are. This does not give anyone a license to say things that are hurtful to people. Speaking truth is simply about being clear, being honest and being authentic.

2. They lead from the heart. Business is about people. Leadership is about people. The best leaders wear their hearts on their sleeves and are not afraid to show their vulnerability. They genuinely care about other people and spend their days developing the people around them. They are like the sun: the sun gives away all it has to the plants and the trees. But in return, the plants and the trees always grow toward the sun.

3. They have rich moral fiber. Who you are speaks far more loudly than anything you could ever say. Strength of character is true power – and people can feel it a mile away. Authentic leaders work on their character. They walk their talk and are aligned with their core values. They are noble and good. And in doing so, people trust, respect and listen to them.

4, They are courageous. It takes a lot of courage to go against the crowd. It takes a lot of courage to be a visionary. It takes a lot of inner strength to do what you think is right even though it may not be easy. We live in a world where so many people walk the path of least resistance. Authentic leadership is all about taking the road less traveled and doing, not what is easy, but what is right.

5. They build teams and create communities. One of the primary things that people are looking for in their work experience is a sense of community. In the old days, we got our community from where we lived. We would have block parties and street picnics. In the new age of work, employees seek their sense of community and connection from the workplace. Authentic leaders create workplaces that foster human linkages and lasting friendships.

6. They deepen themselves. The job of the leader is to go deep. Authentic leaders know themselves intimately. They nurture a strong self-relationship. They know their weaknesses and play to their strengths. And they always spend a lot of time transcending their fears.

7. They are dreamers. Einstein said that, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” It is from our imaginations that great things are born. Authentic leaders dare to dream impossible dreams. They see what everyone else sees and then dream up new possibilities. They spend a lot of time with their eyes closed creating blueprints and fantasies that lead to better products, better services, better workplaces and deeper value. How often do you close your eyes and dream?

8. They care for themselves. Taking care of your physical dimension is a sign of self-respect. You can’t do great things at work if you don’t feel good. Authentic leaders eat well, exercise and care for the temples that are their bodies. They spend time in nature, drink plenty of water and get regular massages so that, physically, they are operating at planet-class levels of performance.

9. They commit to excellence rather than perfection. No human being is perfect. Every single one of us is a work in progress. Authentic leaders commit themselves to excellence in everything that they do. They are constantly pushing the envelope and raising their standards. They do not seek perfection and have the wisdom to know the difference. What would your life look like if you raised your standards well beyond what anyone could ever imagine of you?

10. They leave a legacy. To live in the hearts of the people around you is to never die. Success is wonderful but significance is even better. You were made to contribute and to leave a mark on the people around you. In failing to live from this frame of reference, you betray yourself. Authentic leaders are constantly building their legacies by adding deep value to everyone that they deal with and leaving the world a better place in the process.

Thank you Robin for sharing your wisdom with us!

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Communication - the real work of leadership

Alan Andersen

Communication is the real work of leadership. –Nitin Nohria

 The key to business success is relationships. Without high functioning relationships with employees, customers, vendors, and stockholders, your chances for success are nil. At the core of any relationship is a very small word and a very big concept:TRUST Without trust, communication breaks down, conflict escalates, productivity declines, business suffers, and mostly individuals suffer.

What is the source of trust, then? It’s simple, really: good communication. And we’re not talking about how people pronounce their words! Trust is being able to rely on your teammate’s character, skills, ability, and integrity. It is also, knowing and trusting the leader has well-defined roles, goals, and systems for sustainability and growth. Trust is knowing your team has your back.

When building a team, trust enables you to maximize the skills and talents of each individual and then bring those talents together to do something bigger than any one person can do alone. The one thing that gets in the way of having a high performing team is the lack of productive conflict, which leads to a lack of commitment and accountability. If you are not having productive conflict about ideas and issues you lack trust and simply stated are not a high functioning team.

The best tools to build trust and ensure good communication is through industry standard scientifically based assessments of behavior, motivation, and communication style. In our company, we use the TTI Talent Insights assessment to make sure all of our teammates know each other’s style and adapt their style to open up communication to the team.


When there is trust and stellar communication, you will find higher job satisfaction, decreased turnover, less interpersonal conflict, greater efficiency and productivity, commitment and ownership of the job, a greater sense of reward at work.


Remember trust is indeed earned and it is either growing or eroding. It is not something you “get” and then forget. It must be invested in and worked on daily, weekly, monthly, annually in order to maintain and grow it.

 Steps to Start the Process:

1. Know your own leadership style. Take a TTI Talent Insight and get a certified coach to debrief it with you. Be clear on your strengths and aware of your blind spots.

 2. Focus on Emotional Intelligence. The number one attribute of leadership is emotional intelligence: The wisdom of knowing how people are individually wired and how you can build a team from strengths that supplement your gifts.

3. Build a team. As soon as you can begin to let go! Let other people help you and give them authority equal to their responsibility. Continually invest in your people. It is tempting to overlook this in start up mode but if you are a natural task master you will only get so far so add to your wonderful talent of systems and processes the discipline of building a culture of trust and communication.

4. It all starts with you! If not now, when?

When you have trust you can then have clarity. With clarity and focus on the right thing, the right way, while focusing on key relationships, it will result in faster growth that breeds long-lasting results. 

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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How Gratitude Transforms You

Alan Andersen

While on a cruise to Mexico, I read a spiritual book called One Thousand Gifts. First chapter in, my list of the 1000 things had begun. It was uncanny, how just being observant to what is and being thankful for small things (such as having someone else make my bed, the smell of suntan lotion, the white foam on a wave) changed my perspective on things. As I continued to read the book, I kept adding to my list hourly — intentionally looking for things I may not have previously seen as “gifts.” It took me three full days to finish my list and in that short time…

It Transformed Me

You may argue the fact that I was on vacation or maybe it was the sunshine and the margaritas. I thought the same thing, so I started the list again when I got home. 

There is something about having a number as a goal that makes it a transforming game. The discipline of making yourself keep track encourages you to look throughout your day for little gifts that scream gratitude! My list includes everything from my mom’s voice and the steam from my morning tea to the breakdown of the car and the disappointment of a cancelled trip. Even the hard and stressful things you experience take on new meaning when you look at them with new eyes.

Why Leaders Struggle

People rarely leave jobs where they are appreciated. When there is a genuine appreciation of a person’s talents and contributions, there is low turn over, better outcomes and greater efficiency. Leaders primarily struggle with gratitude because they have already moved on to the next challenge. Their mind is moving the ball down the field to the goal line. Thus, they forget to vocalize their appreciation or recognize what good is happening all around them, because they are already down the road to the next fire.

Consider the firefighters who put out a huge fire. As they are dealing with the last of the hot embers and beginning to clean up, suddenly another fire breaks out across town. Leaving a clean-up crew behind to finish the job, they race across town and save a child just in the nick of time. Of course, they are held up by all the media attention and reporters; thus they return to the firehouse pumped up on adrenaline ready for more. What are the chances they go back to the clean-up crew and thank them for what a great job they did? It’s not that they are not grateful, they just got busy doing another life threatening feat.

What We Want From Our Leader

We want our leader to be out in front taking on challenges, putting out fires, and fixing what’s not going right. That is their strength and unique ability.

AND we also want them to take a few moments to reflect on what has been successful thus far, vocalize their gratitude for the diversity of talent and contribution of their team, and celebrate progress being made along the way.

It is usually not a natural thing for a leader (although wonderful when it is) to be intentional about vocalizing their praise and appreciation. Yet, it is transforming when they do. It transforms them as a leader and it absolutely transforms the people and the culture. Let’s be honest: it will only happen if there is intentionality. If you want it to work, it requires a measurable goal to track to with a meaningful return.

Who Is In?

If you are in, I’d like to know below. I want to follow your success and learn from your list. Your gratitude items may help me look for something I would have missed otherwise. Come on, you busy people, it’s less than six items a day! This project has even inspired me to start a daily email “quote of the day” so I will remind you. 

The transformation only happens, though, when you are consistent. Being consistent forces you to change your perspective and look for things that you would usually pass over. 

Maybe at Thanksgiving, we can share our transformation stories. I can’t wait!

Your Coach Is Grateful for You!

This article How Gratitude Transforms You originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Is Humble Confidence an Oxymoron?

Alan Andersen

I cringed the other day, when yet another friend told yet another story of an egotistical boss. I was relieved for her because she had been recruited away, leaving him alone with his arrogant attitude and inflated speeches. I actually feel sorry for the guy. He is blinded to how his behavior is ruining the culture of his business. In his mind, it’s always someone else’s fault and fires at will. Makes me sad.

In contrast, isn’t it refreshing when you see an organization and its leadership truly investing in their people? Whose leader truly wants to lead and care for his or her employees? If you find that person, you will find the makings of a unique company culture … one with little to no turnover, profit on the bottom line, and real joy in the workplace!

Focused and Flexible

Recently, I worked with a start-up company to discover their core purpose and values. One of the values that made it to the top was the descriptive combo of words, “Humble Leadership.” Together those words sizzle with meaning. They also seem like an oxymoron.

Confidence is a strong word. Yet it is rooted in words like belief, trust, faith, reliance. It means that you have a strong belief that you (and others) will behave, act, respond in a way that is right, effective, and certain. That doesn’t sound humble, right?

Yet, the most refreshing leaders to be around are ones that embody humble confidence. I bet you can think of one now. Someone you respected and wanted to follow. They listened to you and sought your input as part of the team, yet had a strong sense of where they were going. You felt your opinion not only matter, it helped in a meaningful way to fulfill the organization’s mission. I often describe this trait in action as “Focused and Flexible.”

Pain and Inadequacy

What’s the opposite of humble confidence? I believe it is shame-based leadership. In my experience, most leaders wrestle with the normal nagging thoughts, “Do I have what it takes?” or “Will I be found out one day?” I write about that in my book, Clarity.

An epiphany came when I was studying for a talk on shame and looked it up on my iPhone, of all places. Apple succinctly defines shame as “A painful emotion resulting from an awareness of inadequacy or guilt.” Here’s the thing: When the questions above are not answered with humble confidence, then the leader (usually an entrepreneur) sets out to silence that voice by “proving” him or herself, leading to behavior that brings shame.

If you want to know if you suffer from shame, then sit down and make a list of the areas you have pain in because of a sense of inadequacy, or any area where you feel guilt. I know it can be a painful process. But it’s the first step to facing the truth to move toward the relief of humble confidence.

One other note: Do not isolate yourself in this process! Bring it to your community, whether that’s your coach, EO/YPO forum, trusted peers, or so on.

Personal Humility, Professional Will

Of course, all of this certainly isn’t a new concept. In fact, I remember when Jim Collins’s classic book Good to Great came out, I devoured it. I focused especially on the secret sauce of a Level 5 leader. These people “blend extreme personal humility with intense professional will.”

Let’s review Collins’s five attributes that epitomize the Level 5 Leader:

1. They are self-confident enough to set up their successors for success.

2. They are humble and modest.

3. They have “unwavering resolve.”

4. They display a “workmanlike diligence — more plow horse than show horse.”

5. They give credit to others for their success and take full responsibility for poor results.

I have to be real right now. I know very few people who truly desire to lead as Level 5 leaders. Many CEOs don’t have the needed patience, self-discipline and heart to lead with humility and confidence. Having said that, I am fully confident that with training and desire, it is more than possible for future Level 5 leaders to get to the top level if they invest in others around them. As an executive coach, I get to see change every day in people who truly want to make a difference in this world.

How about you? Are you leader who has resolve, displays diligence, gives credit and takes responsibility. Or are you one whose eye is on personal gain? The key is having an accurate view of yourself. Coaching can help with this, but whether or not you get assistance, realize you need a team to get you to the next level.

Then you are a part of an elite group who truly want to lead.

Be humble, be confident, be the best you can be today!

Your Coach,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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What If Your Team Were More Like the Blue Angels Than…

Alan Andersen

Building Teams and the importance of trust and confidence with all team members - these are a passion of mine and I am inspired when work groups are functional, like each other, and over deliver on their results.

How would you rate your leadership team’s effectiveness? Are you compromising great results for good ones because you don’t want to deal with the issues? Is your team a joy to watch like the Blue Angels, or is it a nightmare that you wish would just go away? Be bold and courageous and build your team!

I love the Blues!

In my experience, U.S. Navy Blue Angels are one of the best evidences of team work. Last week I was on vacation near Pensacola where they are stationed. They were kicking off their season in a week, so invited the public to watch their practice shows along with friends and family. What an incredible experience for me.

I took this picture and was in awe at the precision. Can you imagine if you didn’t trust the guy on the left to:

1. Be skilled at what he does.

2. Follow through on exactly what he said he was going to do. (18 inches and no closer!)

3. Tell me, or if you will, confront me, if I have a blindspot and/or am underperforming (dude, you’re too far to the right – tighten up)

4. Like me as a person and want me to succeed and shine.

5. Listen to “The Boss” in the #1 plane for the instruction so we all are precisely performing as we agreed upon.

6. Communicate with me what he was going to do, when he was done doing it, and what he was going to do next.

7. Debrief honestly – celebrate the wins and be clear about how to improve next time.

Obviously, I could go on and on but when I watch them fly I am re-energized to be excellent at my job in supporting leaders to build extraordinary, high-functioning teams.

As I left the practice show totally inspired and driving like I was a pilot screaming down a rural Florida street to some Top Gun song, I slammed on the brakes at the name of this housing development.

It was called Chandelle, which is the original spelling of my name, Shandel. You see, my dad changed my name the day after I was born to Shandel because he loved airplanes. A Chandelle is a steep climb to gain altitude and then change direction of flight. In WWII, I am told it was the fastest way to get to a higher altitude while changing direction. Well, you can see why this moment was memorable.

Bringing it all together upon my return is super fun. I was made to help teams turn their focus in the right direction and gain altitude toward their ultimate mission and strategic goal. What a fun way to come back into reality to share with all of you my heart for teams and my passion for the Blues!

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Tips on Communicating with High Compliance Folks

Alan Andersen

Last week, I had the opportunity to film a debrief on our new TTI Talent Insight assessment. We are going to produce a DVD to assist folks in debriefing their own reports. Super fun time. Pictured here is one of my favorite analogies explaining the difference between High Compliance (affectionately called Hi C) and Low Compliance (Low C) and how differently they solve problems.

Some folks are better planners and analyze before they start a project and others like to just do it and figure it out as they go.

I thought I would pass on some tips from the report on communicating with the Compliance folks in your life.

Here are a few tips:

When communicating with a high Compliance you will find them to be dependent, neat, conservative, perfectionist, careful and compliant.

You would be wise to:

1. First prepare your “case” in advance.

2. Stick to business.

3. Be accurate and realistic.

Factors that will create tension or dissatisfaction:

1. Being giddy, casual, informal, loud.

2. Pushing too hard or being unrealistic with deadlines.

3. Being disorganized or messy.

Just a few tips to help you communicate with the task-oriented introverts in your life.

What tips do you have for us extroverts who need your coaching?

Your Coach For Clarity,

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Who Wants Behavior Change? Here's How!

Alan Andersen

On my wall hangs proof that I am a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst. I spend 90% of my time helping people discover and alter behaviors that are getting in the way of their own success and that of people they influence. I make a living observing and understanding human behavior and guess what? You can’t change behavior.

What you can change is your story, by understanding your motivators, which ultimately drive behavior. If you want to try to change any behavior without first addressing what drives your actions, lasting change won’t happen. 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!

Tools To Change

That’s one reason I use an online behavior assessment to help people understand their innate style and propensities. However, I always use it in conjunction with a motivator assessment as well. With the combination of the two, you learn so much about what motivates you and how to change your reality to match up with the vision you have for your life.

Here are a few free tips on understanding and changing your motivators.

Change Your Story: Ignite Your Motivators

When I work with clients or a leadership team, I often talk about “changing your story.” We all have an internal dialogue or story playing in our heads all day, every day. It consists of your beliefs, motivations, thoughts, and opinions—which manifest as the filter through which you sift all information. Whenever we want to change our behavior or our feelings, we must start by changing our story.

Last year I was working with a leadership team in a company that was losing money, running inefficient meetings, and knowing they could not continue in this stressed-out, dysfunctional state one day longer. They each had their own story and it was time to get it out on the table for all to hear. All team members agreed to be open to do the work to gain the much-needed alignment by engaging in healthy conflict.

For two long days, we went deep to expose broken trust, resolve toxic conflict, and improve communication. It was intense, but the team walked out committed to new behavioral norms and guidelines to build trust back into the culture. The results were immediate, as everyone left refreshed and committed to change. It was all “Kumbaya” and “Hakuna Matata” for the next few months.

However, as time went by, what we found is that only those who did the internal work were truly transformed.

It takes focus, courage, and effort to live in the new story and norms were tested. The ones that continued in their coaching process until the shift was fully ingrained truly challenged and changed their behavior. Sadly, others on the team just went through the motions and accepted the information in their head just to get that relief from the pressure. But they never let it alter their beliefs. What causes this? Typically, the fear of facing our story. When we don’t, we can just blame others and life for lack of change. As a result, our behaviors change for a season, but not for a lifetime.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

We can all change, but it takes a consistent challenging of our story. Like my client, Allie, who was transformed as she challenged her story. She continually encouraged her team to stick to their core value and “insist on integrity ”as they had all agreed.

Another senior executive, Bob, sadly was unwilling to address his own blind spots and engage in his real areas for growth. While the team progressed with their commitments, he was left behind grumbling and complaining, holding the team back from their highest potential. Unfortunately, his lack of courage to address his own issues made the whole team play at a lower level,which, sad for Bob but gladly for the company, they were unwilling to do.
Are you willing to do the work for lasting change?

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.

Start Your Change Now

So, are you ready for a new story? If you are ready to start changing or assessing your motivations – and, subsequently, your behaviors – I would love to help by giving you a personalized behavior and motivational assessment. With the combination of the two, you will learn so much about your story, what motivates you, and how to change your reality to match up with the vision you have for your life.

Looking forward to helping you change!

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Your Words Matter! 7 Tips to Better Communication. Clarity #14

Alan Andersen

Have you ever been mismanaged? This is often a question I ask as I kick off each “Building The Extraordinary Team” workshop. Without fail, every person raises his or her hand. If I am working with the leadership team, I follow up that question with, “How many of you have been the one who mismanaged?” Again all hands meekly go up.

Communication is at the root of nearly every management issue.

What is your leadership style?

Most leaders do not know or cannot articulate their personal leadership style. Let me challenge you: Do you know what your leadership style is and successfully navigate within it? Let's just take one small area – words. Are you in tune with your words and how powerful your nonverbal language is to those around you?

Your Words Matter

Jeane J. Kirkpatrick once said, “Words can destroy. What we call each other ultimately becomes what we think of each other, and it matters.”

Now that I have your attention. What can you do to grow in kindness and effectiveness around your words?

The number one thing I can recommend is to know your style first and then the myriad of styles you interact with every day. An immediate action you can take is to take the online Behavior and Motivator assessments. I highly recommend this as a first step in learning what your style is and how you are being perceived by the key people in your life.

Because, a huge part of emotional intelligence and self-awareness is knowing the power of your words. I suggest you start with using your words to encourage and build up those in your sphere of influence. Then add to your words the nonverbal aspects of communication.

Here are a 7 tips to get started:

  1. Know your leadership style. Order the DISC and PIAV assessments via the Next Level Communication Course and the True Life Motivator Course.
  2. Eye contact. Looking people in the eye tells them you are confident and you care about them. 
  3. Listen. Communication is a two way street. Try and listen and ask questions as much as you speak.
  4. Ask meaningful questions. Avoid asking questions that could be answered with a “yes” or “no”.
  5. Write it out first. If you struggle with finding the words write it out first. It will help you organize your thoughts. THEN go talk face to face.
  6. Be an encourager. People love compliments. Give them out freely!
  7. Grow in your self-awareness. Give yourself positive feedback regarding your interactions. Thinking about your last communication – what did you do well?

Who in your life has used their words to motivate and influence you? A mentor? A teacher? Tell me about them.

For more ideas and insights, check out week #14 in Clarity: Focusing on What Matters.

Your Coach for Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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Take the Time to Invest in Yourself by Investing in Others. Clarity #17

Alan Andersen

As a leader, what are you missing that would help you achieve “the next level'?  Chances are it is a person. Even more likely it is a person who is in the next room or down the hall from you at this very moment!  Yet, we sit stressed and maxed out as they sit underutilized and bored.  They desire meaning, mentoring and challenge, while we desire initiative and productivity. Still both parties sit in their comfortable and familiar rut. This is a very poor utilization of assets and leaves huge profits on the table.

The Art of Investing

Think of your time as you would your money. A wise person thinks in a long-term manner about their money and how to spend and/or invest it for the greatest ROI (return on investment.) Consider the focus, time, and energy you devote to making, saving, and investing money for a specifically defined purpose. Now, that is exactly how you need to approach the time you invest in the people in your sphere of influence; and it is an art.  A skill that must be learned and then uniquely applied according to each individual who can share in accomplishing the goal.  

Steps on Investing in Others

1. You must have clarity about what you are trying to accomplish. What outcomes you want to focus on and why does it matter? Is the vision compelling enough to get others involved and want to share in the ownership? 

2. Focus on the few things only you and you alone can do. What are the unique strengths that you bring to the vision that no one else possesses on the team?  What are the other things or tasks you are currently doing (and yes, we know you can do them well) but others could do just as good if not better? Make a list and identify the ones that steal the most time.

3. Find people that have the strengths and abilities to do the tasks you have identified. Before you approach them, work through all the fears you have about delegating, letting go, and giving up control. You may need your coach for this portion.

4. Connect with the person you would like to delegate your tasks to and make sure you have plenty of time to talk it out and get buy in.  Share your vision and your goal of investing in the person's professional and personal growth by passing on these specific tasks. Press for push back, find all the holes together, make sure you have healthy conflict to vet out all their fears and share your concerns as well.

5. Train the person on how you currently do the task.

A: Show/tell them how to do it.

B: Do it with them.

C: Observe them as they do it for you.

D: Coach them as they do it without you.

E: Trust them as they do it alone.

F: Check in often and create space for continuous improvement.

You have just invested in one of your people and they are feeling empowered and trusted. Equally as important, you have just opened up a huge amount of time to operate in your strength and talent which you alone do best. It is now time to do it again and again until you are only operating in your strengths!

What do you think about investing in yourself by investing in others?

For more content on this subject, check out week #16 in Clarity:Focusing on What Matters Most

It's Simple, It's Just Not Easy!

Your Coach For Clarity,

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When Your Values Are Violated This Should Be Your First Response. Clarity #16

Alan Andersen

We all possess a personal set of core values that drives our lives. It is what some call their North Star or Internal Compass. The way successful people navigate effectively and efficiently through life is by orienting their life around their values. They do not compromise them, they know them by heart, and make every decision with their top 5 values in mind.

Tips To Honor Your Values

When a value is violated there is a prick to your conscience and you know instantly there is something wrong.  At this precise moment you must HONOR that value. How? STOP everything until you know what went wrong.

Stand up for what matters most

You honor your values when you stand up for what you believe is right and do not go along with something that runs against your core values.  Now I am not saying you make everyone else agree with you nor do you have to go into a verbal battle with every person who has a differing opinion. You simply don't back down and, when pressed, you humbly state your position without shame or compromise.

For example, if everyone is talking about wanting to cheat on their spouse and they say to you, “Come on Joe, you know you want to,” you can either honor your value and respond, “Actually I do not want to, my family is the most important thing to me on this Earth.” or you can compromise it by going along with the jokes and agreeing with your laughter even if you tell yourself,  ”I would never do that.” 

Know the Hierarchy

You honor your core values by knowing the top 5 in order of importance by heart. So key is this point, that I run every client, be it professional, corporate team, or personal, through two assessments. The most telling of the two is called the PIAV (Motivators).  It clearly serves as a tool to help demonstrate the power of the hierarchy.  I use it in every conflict resolution.

Here's a quick example: if you and I share in common our top 5 values of Collaboration, Efficiency, Results, Love, Adventure, then in theory we should be on the same page at all times. However, If my #1 is Collaboraion and #5 is Efficiency and yours are flipped with Collaboration being #5 and Efficiency being #1, we will have conflict. Imagine leaving a meeting where everyone was heard and valued but we ran 2 hours overtime and did not finish the agenda items. I am going to feel great leaving that meeting because my #1 value was met and so I am confident we can now function efficiently. You will leave very disappointed and probably upset because your #1 was totally dishonored.  You believe that when things run efficiently then everyone will collaborate more willingly to get things done. 

Make Solid Decisions

You honor your values when you make decisions that are in line with your core values. The most indecisive people I know are actually not aware that they have too many things they desire and have not yet defined what is most important. They just flip flop and are wishy washy driving themselves and others crazy.

This example may help. When helping the Life 301 students define their values I ask them to pick one value, either taste or health before going into Qdoba or some other Burrito Bar and see how easy it is to sail through the line. Now try to have both of those as #1 and there you have the person that everyone is staring at! Don't be that guy – know your values.

Start Today

The next time you have the sense that something is not quite right, stop and see if one of your values are being violated and then instantly get back to the core 5. If you do not have your values defined you've come to the right place. You can have your team or family go through a workshop or get 1:1 Coaching.

As you journey through Clarity: Focusing on What Matters you will find many tips and helpful ways to live by your values. We are on week #16 and so join in today - your life is waiting.

I would love hear below your views on values.

Your Coach For Clarity,

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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Leadership is about laser focus

Alan Andersen

Mary Beth King is one of our Shandel Group coaches that has a decade of proven success. She and I share the same heart and methodology for coaching leaders to their next level. 

Join her in this conversation about leadership and learn a few things about Leadership and Laser Focus. Clarity fans will love this one.

Join Mary Beth’s conversation…


Yes, strategically choosing to give time and energy to nothing but the goals.

What goals?

The goals that come from the leaders above and from personal leadership within.

Goals are over-arching and complex:

  • the company’s vision statement
  • the expected profit for the division
  • the two-year project
  • the date of the triathlon

 What gets in their way?

 Everything that is not the goal. Everything is a potential distraction.

 That sounds cold-hearted.

 Not if one of your goals includes being warm-hearted.

 Should it?

 There are no should’s for the leader. There are the goals and the focus.

 Where does the focus come from?

 Focus is born out of integrity.

 But why focus? It sounds rigid and inflexible.

 Not if your goals include flexibility.

 Why focus?

 Focus handles distractions. They melt away.


 When focused, the leader knows what to do and what not to do.

Knowing what not to do makes it clear what to do.

Many a leader has crashed simply due to lack of focus.

Distractions can be very compelling. Even dressed up to look like part of the goal.

I can’t focus like that.

There’s one of those demanding little voices inside that:

  • compares the leader with others
  • judges the leader incompetent
  • tries to crowd the leader’s plate with too many tasks

How can the leader get more focus and move beyond their own doubts?

Leaders get focus and combat doubts when they:

  • clarify their goals
  • create reminders
  • compare each potential task to the goals
  • choose those tasks that align

 That sounds easy.

 Simple, yes. Easy, no.

Gaining focus also means checking out the back burners for important tasks that are being ignored.

How far back?

All the way.

Leading is about focus.

Focus keeps the leader’s “doing” aligned with the leader’s goals.

Focus is the leader’s power to ignore negative internal messages.

Focus gets things done. Well.

Focus leads to success and it models the pathway to get there.

Focus lets the leader sleep at night. It’s part of the goals.

 I can focus. 

Mary Beth King

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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