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Smart Goals Equal Attainable Goals

Alan Andersen

Last week Shandel Group Coach Alan Andersen shared with us about goal-setting. If you perform a simple online search on this topic, articles and blog are numerous! This is clearly a topic people are into reading about! How about you? Ever wonder how to set goals, especially ones that revolve around a particular project? Today we are sharing a blog from Smart Goals Never Fail that can break down into manageable parts what can often be perceived as overwhelming. Enjoy!

How to Find Time for that Important Project

I started following the Michael Hyatt blog a while back, and he constantly posts good stuff, especially relevant to goal setting. Actually, if you google “goal setting”, Michael Hyatt’s post called A Beginner’s Guide to Goal Setting is result #4. In one post he talks about how to find time for that important side project that you’ve been meaning to work on. I figure that many of you reading this blog set goals, and there is a high chance that one of your goals involves a project, or side business, or “evil plan” (as Hugh Macleod would call it) that you want to work on, so I thought I would share this post. Here are the 7 things Michael Hyatt says you should do to find time for your project in your busy life:

  1. Accept reality. You only have 168 hours a week—the same as everyone else, including presidents, captains of industry, and the homeless man you passed on the way to work. Time is finite. You can’t borrow, beg, or steal more of it.

    Starting and finishing that important project is not about time management as much as it is about priority management. It’s not so much about efficiency as it is about courage.

    The question is this: How important is this project compared to everything else in your life?

  2. Get off your but. No, not your butt, your but—that excuse that keeps you mired in the status quo.
    • “I could do it, BUT I just started a new job.”
    • “I could do it, BUT I just don’t have the energy.”
    • “I could do it, BUT I have small children.”

    In order to move forward, you have to accept responsibility for where you arenow. Your current situation is the result of choices you have made—not all bad, by the way, but yours nonetheless.

    The question is this: Are you ready to make new choices? Yes or no. (It’s okay to choose No. Just be intentional.)

  3. Set a clear goal. The momentum begins to shift when you chose a different destination. The way to turn a dream into a goal is to put a due date on it. This one act will often create the urgency you need to get going.And while you are at it, make the goal S.M.A.R.T. You can read more about that, in “The Beginner’s Guide to Goal-Setting.”

    The question is this: What do you want? Can you clearly articulate it? Can you see it?

  4. Understand what’s at stake. The is perhaps the most important ingredient in finding the time for that important project. You have to connect why your why.The way to overcome inertia (or keep going when you want to quit) is to understand clearly what you gain if you do your project and what you lose if you don’t.

    The question is this: Why is this important to you? Write down your reasons as a series of bullets. Keep them handy—you’re going to need them.

  5. Schedule time on your calendar. This is where the rubber meets the road. What gets scheduled gets done. You literally have to block out time on your calendar to focus on your project. It won’t happen otherwise.

    I literally set these up as appointments with myself. If anyone else looks on my calendar, they see that I am busy—and I am busy. I have set aside this time to work on my project.

    The question is this: When will you set aside time to begin? Or re-start? Or finish?

  6. Keep your commitments. Too often, we sacrifice the important on the altar of the urgent. We can always do it later, right? Wrong. The key is to honor your commitment to your project as though it were an uber-important meeting with an uber-important person.

    I just faced this again today. Someone wanted to book an appointment with me when I had scheduled time to work on my pet project. I said, “No, I’m sorry. I can’t meet then. I already have a commitment.” I didn’t provide any detail. My response was enough. And guess what? We found another time.

    The question is this: Do you really want to get this project done or not? Are you brave enough to say No to other demands, so you can say Yes to this?

  7. Make time to celebrate. Honestly, I am not very good at this. I’m better than I used to be, but no where near where I want to be. As a recovering Type-A personality, as soon as I check something off, I refocus on the next objective. Ultimately doesn’t serve me or the people I work with well.

    It’s important not only to acknowledge what you have accomplished but thank the people who helped you. Otherwise, you wear out your team and eventually yourself. (Don’t ask me how I know this.)

Yes, it really is possible to find time for those important projects you want to accomplish. You just have to be intentional and use the right strategy.

Let us know how we at Shandel Group can assist you as you consider the goals in your life!

This article was originally posted at Smart Goals Never Fail.

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Do you trust yourself? Truly trust yourself? - Clarity #30

Alan Andersen

Do you trust yourself? In week #30 of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters, asking the question today takes on an entirely new meaning.

Trust is a word that is often taken for granted. It is a very delicate “thing” because it is either growing or eroding. That is why I am continually challenging leaders to invest in their self trust, the leadership team trust, and the organization’s trust. It makes or break … EVERYTHING!

Leaders Trust Themselves

Leaders who trust themselves are calm, confident and humble. They just know the right thing to do and they trust they will make the right decisions along the way. Leaders who compromise their values, lose sight of their priorities, and gain at the cost of others are the ones who loose first their self trust and then the trust of those around them.

“Leaders who have learned to trust themselves take great pains to live lives of integrity. They do not compromise their values, they have accountability to others, and they do not think higher of themselves than they should but instead they have a very clear vision of themselves. – Clarity page 76

So back to my question, well…do you trust yourself? I am about to take a 4 week sabbatical and travel in Europe. It took many honest scary answers with myself around trust. Do I trust myself to fully unplug? Do I trust that I can get back in the game when I get home? Then the conversation moved to others. Do I trust my assistant to act in my absence? Do I trust my clients to be gracious with me and stick with me? Lastly, Do I trust my business will not go down the tubes and loose all future clients and all those other irrational thoughts? I may as well ask, Do I trust God? 

Once I got to YES to all of the above – I was ready to go. I didn’t get there until I realized health is one of my values and to honor it and myself I must do this. I had to humble myself, realize the world is not going to end because I don’t blog, twitter, or answer the phone. My part is bring my greatness for the long haul but resting and rejuicing my creativity.

How about you do you trust yourself? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your comments

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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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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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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Ahhh…Relief! Clarity #23

Alan Andersen

My favorite emotion is relief and I wrote extensively about it in Clarity on Week 23. Love is a choice or I would choose love, but think about the glorious feeling around the word relief. Like when you can’t find your child in the store and, after 5 minutes, see the feet pop out from the clothes rack. SHEW! Or running around the house for 30 minutes, now how late for a business meeting and then finally finding your keys.

Can you agree?

Relief is glorious and yet it should never be used a substitute for needed change. Many of us don’t change until we have to and so we thrive on relief when things “work out anyway.” I am telling you that is a lack of integrity that I must address often and I welcome you to do the same thing. What in your life needs to change today? Are you taking action that will lead to real growth or are you just trying to get a reprieve and settling for a lesser life so you can stay comfortable?

Relief for relief’s sake will derail your long-term success. You will choose behaviors that compromise your values just to “keep the peace” and simply react to life like a pinball.

Tools to take control

It is time for you to take control of your life and here in this podcast on relief that will help you get there. On the podcast, I give you a few ideas on how to get your emotions and your values back in line. Enjoy!

Would love to know what you think of the podcast? What questions would you suggest we tackle in upcoming episodes?

Your Coach For Clarity,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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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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Have You Ever Been Accused of Not Living in the Present? Clarity #21

Alan Andersen

Gratitude keeps you in the here and now. It has you reflect on what is happening all around you in the present moment. Most leaders have vision for the future and have a natural ability to see ahead. This trips them up about what is going on today. Having a daily routine to keep you in the present is one of the most powerful things you can do. A tool we have put in place to assist our leaders and gratitude folks is the quote of the day.

Reflection Time is Key

It is my hope that a simple quote will stop your brain and have you reflect. Pausing in your day to remember what’s most important and to write down something you are grateful for. Then each week take time to plan your week. Did you read Week #21 of Clarity: Focusing on What Matters? The title says it all -”Jumping Off the Hamster Wheel”. Clarity is designed to give you a weekly inspiration to help you prepare for your week. Then once a month, find a half day or full day to get away and examine where you are and where you are headed.

You only get to live this day today. Being present is a gift you give the key people in your life and yourself. What can you do today to stay present and enjoy the here and now?

Please share how you stay present and focused on a daily or weekly basis.

Your Coach,

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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6 Profound Ways To Be A Positive Person

Alan Andersen

Have you ever tried to smile while being negative or critical? It just doesn’t work. Smiling has incredible benefits, from helping you live longer, to enhancing your immune system, to making you more attractive! WOW!

6 Profound Ways To Be A Positive Person Who S.M.I.L.E.S.

1. Story Management

We all have a story that is running through our heads.  It is your inner chatter, your personal narrative, and your self-talk that every event and every fact is filtered through before you take an action.

What I find is that people are telling awful, critical stories to themselves. When we look at how we are speaking to our “self” versus the way we say things to others, it is clear that we would never speak the things outloud that we are telling to our “self.”

Take a moment and listen to your story. Does it makes you smile or cringe? Then take steps to change the story if you are not pleased with what you discover.

2. Make it Matter

Positive people make their tragedies and suffering matter. They have seasons of darkness, pain, and heartache, and yet they keep finding the light, the good, the meaning as they refuse to give into self-pity.

Aristotle said “Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”

Positive people are those who have learned the art of turning their pain into their purpose. They are the eagles who rise above adversity to make it matter.

3. Intentions – state them

Positive people are moving forward in life. They know their intentions and they are moving in the direction of the future. They do not get bogged down in their to-do list and they do not dwell on the past or get paralyzed in the present. There is movement toward a bright future.

It’s a little sacrilegious but I think setting goals can be a negative and harmful experience for people at certain times in their lives. It can be discouraging and hopeless, but you can always have positive intentions that you pursue with earnest. Now let’s be clear, I teach people how to goal set, and I make a living helping people reach their goals, yet at the same time I believe there is something better. I believe that all people greatly benefit from having stated (and written down) intentions.

This shift worked incredibly for my frazzled friend who has 4 kids and was headed into Summer with a laundry list of things she wanted to do with and teach her kids. It seemed overwhelming and her story was, “It’s never going to happen, so why try?” I invited her to change her language to intentions and get out of the details into the desired outcomes. The exercise shifted her entire mindset. She accomplished more than she intended to and had joy in the journey of achieving her “goals.

4. Live your values

This is a drum I loudly beat to everyone I know. Your values are the rudder that steer your life. Positive people do not compromise their values, even when it hurts. Even when there is a personal cost, they stand by their values and honor them.

The most miserable people I know are always complaining about something but they are not standing for anything. Honoring your values takes work but the benefits of living out what you believe pays huge dividends.

Your first step in living your values is to define your top 5 core values. Because of my great passion around this subject, our September Life 301 workshop is designed to walk you through defining your values to live with purpose.

5. Excellence – not perfection

Perfectionism is the breeding ground of negativity. How many things can you actually be perfect in and if you are not perfect, then what? Whose definition of perfection are you using as a standard? If you find yourself saying, “I know, I’m a perfectionist”, I strongly suggest you start changing that story immediately. When you hold yourself to that level of perfection you inadvertently hold others to it as well. That is suffocating!

Excellence is what we can all achieve. Do your best. Celebrate your best. Live your best life. My little slogan is … Be the best you can be today.  RIGHT NOW! Be the Best RIGHT NOW!

Anything less than excellence is laziness and/or fear which then what drives us to perfection or trying nothing. Let it go and BE your best. DO your best. LIVE your best life now!

6. Smile and Be Grateful

Seriously, just smile more. Smile because you are grateful. You have so much to be thankful for, so smile and name those things. Smile when you walk down the street. Smile as you do the dishes. Smile when you make your coffee in the morning. Smile. Smile at your kids. Smile at your spouse. Smile at your boss. Smile as you encourage others. Smile. Put a reminder on your smart phone to remind you to smile and maybe one of the others above.

Above all else today be grateful and you won’t be able to help but smile!

Share below what makes you smile.

Your Coach,

This article 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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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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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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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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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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The cost of enjoying your life? What price are you willing to pay?

Alan Andersen

This is a muse. I usually write pointed business, leadership and life coaching tips. Today, I share my journey to enjoy my life in 2012. On my planning retreat for 2012, I spent some time journaling and getting very clear on what was ahead for me in the new year. Inspiration hit with the 2012 Gratitude Challenge and there are now 50 people committed to recording 2,012 things they are thankful for this year (6 a day btw). The next day, the catalyst for launching the True Life Quote of the Day birthed a beautiful daily inspiration for the growing number of followers. However, I was still struggling with my theme, my inspiring challenge so I prayed. And the answer came effortlessly, ENJOY. And it freaked me out! What does that mean? It sounds so nice why am I freaking out?

ENJOY as a challenge

Well for sure it is a divine challenge as it certainly is not from me. First of all, I had no idea I wasn’t enjoying my life. I live a pretty exciting life full of purpose and intention and enjoy great influence with incredible people. But this challenge is different. It’s about ME as a person not as leader. Am I truly enjoying myself? Am I finding joy? On the outside, yes and on the surface inside yes and even deep down I have peace and joy because of my spiritual life and deep faith. However, am I experiencing it at my core and can I say I have that gut feel of enjoyment every day?

The Question


Things I enjoy!

Well do you, Shandel, do you enjoy your life? The answer is yes with some “buts” and “ands” so obviously there is sooooo much more for me. I feel this challenge is a call to enjoy things I have not allowed myself to enjoy in the past. The grateful challenge is key for this as the things I am enjoying seem trivial and often missed. Like my red boots or my niece’s laugh when she wears her pink boots to be like me.

Then there are things I realize I don’t enjoy which freaks me eating. I realized I don’t enjoy eating, I want to and try but its a mess. Most people are like SAY WHAT? No eating is either pleasurable and I am cursing myself that I am going to gain weight eating this glorious food or eating healthy food longing for a cookie! That is so messed up! But I didn’t really see that was the story in my head until I said, AM I ENJOYING THIS?

The Secret

The secret for me is I have to slow down, make space, and be present with not just my relationships with other people but with myself. I love to multi-task and get stuff done! However, I notice that I don’t enjoy either task so why not slow down…enjoy each task even if I don’t want to do it and then go on to the next one and enjoy it. Rest, Indulge, BE.

The Struggle

The struggle for me is I don’t feel I am very good at enjoying myself. I realize I haven’t been practicing so maybe that is why I suck at it. Thus, this week I have been practicing. Its pretty funny when you realize you have failed at enjoying …. yet I am okay with it. I am enjoying failing at enjoying because I realize how beautiful it truly is to enjoy your life, yourself, and your tiny moments.

There is a Cost

I have to admit for me to enjoy means I have to say no. I have to let others down. I have to be okay in my own skin and trust God. It requires me to believe others will give me grace as I give it to myself. I’m just saying its not easy and I need help. So you may be hearing more about this adventure and how you can help me. For now, I guess I will stop the muse and not answer the 135 emails from the day and go enjoy the final pages of my book instead.

Enjoying Life Even If It Kills Me,

This article originally appeared at True Life Coaching

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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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