Be A Leader With Optimism

Be A Leader With Optimism

Be a leader with Optimism

“Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” Christine Caine

This week I am adjusting my schedule to what the new norm will be. It’s been nice writing and recording on Monday mornings, but the reality is when the stay at home is lifted I most likely won’t be free Monday mornings.  So I encourage you – if you’ve started something new during the pandemic – reading – walking – writing – running whatever it is think about how and when you do it now and how and when you will do it when our lives move into the new normal.  You’ve come this far – don’t give it all up because it doesn’t fit into that schedule.  Start shifting your schedule now.  I sent out a challenge a couple of weeks ago to try and get up 10 minutes earlier every day – that’s a great place to start.  Heck – right now – even setting an alarm to get up in the morning may be a great place to start.

Proud parents of an MSU grad

This week was very special for our family.  Our daughter Mattie graduated from Michigan State.  We couldn’t be prouder.  Of course she didn’t get to walk, so my Aunt, who is probably the most positive and optimistic person I know, picked up the ball and ran with it by scheduling a Zoomuation.  The power of Zoom is not just for business and education it is a great way to connect.  Truly having experienced this yesterday I would choose Zoom over a real graduation any day.

  • not sitting for 2 hours just for the 5 seconds they announce your grads name
  • with family all over the country we were limited to who could have been able to attend
  • with the camera on we were able to focus on each other instead of breaking up into little clicks

And for Mattie instead of competing with thousands of other grads she truly got to be the center of attention.  The day was all about her.

This quote makes me think of my Aunt’s actions

“Instead of worrying about what you cannot control instead shift your energy to what you can create.” Roy Bennett

She completely created an amazing event for her niece with her optimism.

Why you should be a leader with optimism (more…)
5 Weeks of Stay At Home; Embrace the Genius of AND

5 Weeks of Stay At Home; Embrace the Genius of AND

This week marks about 5 weeks of the stay at home order here in Illinois and much of the nation.  This week I did a little personal inventory a little reflecting back on the week to see if I’m on the right track.  Remember, Steve Jobs told us we can only connect those dots looking back.  And I have to say that looking back I feel pretty good.  If I was in a job interview right now and the interviewer tried to test me by asking what 3 valuable uses of my time were during my period of unemployment.  I feel confident that I would nail it.  I’m learning about financial advising, I’ve enrolled in some free online classes – blows my mind that people don’t take advantage of these great opportunities, I’ve started this podcast – which by the way you can also start for free and I’ve gotten outside and worked on staying fit.  Also free!

The binge watching couch potato.

Not for the interviewer, but for you.  I’ve also seen the first three seasons of Money Heist – love it!  Except that they killed my favorite character – not a spoiler alert since you don’t know who my favorite is and Except that while playing a board game with the family the other night I heard Tokyo narrating my next play in my head.  “now is the time for mommy to make her move, but she’s screwed.  She missed the opportunity to play her awkward pieces and now there’s no place for her to play on this board.  The professor told us we would face this, but where is the professor now?  We haven’t heard from the professor since the coronavirus began.”  Yes,  I love this show, but I don’t love it in my head.

Jonathan Estrin says “The way we spend our time defines who we are.

So I’m sharing this story because there are so many choices right now –

You can choose the couch

OR

You can choose to dive into sharpening the saw or learning new skills

OR

Can you see the tyranny of “or” here?  If I choose one path I choose to deny myself of the other path.  Or is oppressive.  It’s why so much self improvement, so many diets, and so many new ideas fail.   Poor sad little “or”. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other or choose just one path.  As Jim Collins would say in his book Built to Last “Embrace the Genius of AND.”

Instead of being oppressed by the “Tyranny of the OR,” liberate yourself with the “Genius of the AND”— and set yourself free.  You can embrace two extremes at the same time. It is possible.  You don’t need to choose between A OR B, figure out a way to have both A AND B.  In my earlier example I have used my time for self-improvement AND I’ve been a couch potato.  Just not equal parts of both. (more…)

Gratitude Changes Everything

Gratitude Changes Everything

Gratitude changes everything.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. ~Epictetus

Today is April 20th 2020 and this week marks one month of the stay at home order here in Illinois and much of the nation.  Fear, angst, anxiety, stress, you name it I’ve felt it just like many of you I felt hopelessness, despair and depression over losing a job that I loved with my whole heart . . .and then . . . I stopped . . . and I thought for a moment about what was really going on.

I was choosing fear over faith and once I had that moment, that moment of discovery that I was in control.  That this again was another choice and I could choose to not feel fear,  I could choose to let go of anxiety.  I could choose to not feel hopeless.  I realized what a true blessing this time is.  How grateful I should be and when I changed the way I looked at things things changed. Gratitude changes everything.

This is what I now saw

This ah ha moment that I experienced reminds me of what Steve Jobs said (more…)

Stay At Home and Staying Healthy; Chili Lime Shrimp

Stay At Home and Staying Healthy; Chili Lime Shrimp

We made this chili lime shrimp recipe and really enjoyed it.  I think you will like it too.

Staying at home and staying healthy has been a challenge during this pandemic.  We’ve tried to behave, but being trapped with our food is so hard.  Those few ventures out to the store have also been a struggle. Determined to stick to our grocery list, but then . . . we accidentally venture down the vanilla Oreo’s aisle.  This recipe is quick, easy and healthy and has so many serving options.  Serve on top of pasta or rice, use as a salad topper, or our favorite way to serve them is as shrimp tacos.

Shrimp omelets are my favorite special treat.  I always make a couple of extra shrimp for the next morning.

Note:  This recipe is Whole 30 friendly.

Chili Lime Shrimp

Quick and easy and delicious
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Total Time14 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Shrimp
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb shrimp - peeled and cleaned we use the 21-25 size
  • 1/4 c olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lime juice fresh squeezed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika smoked is different than regular, try not to substitute
  • 1/2 tsp course salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes add more if you prefer
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  • Mix together the olive oil through red pepper flakes and pour over shrimp.
  • Let sit for up to 30 minutes
  • Heat skillet or grill to medium heat
    If using skillet add enough olive oil to prevent sticking
    chili lime shrimp
  • Cook about 2-3 minutes per side. Shrimp will be pink and start to curl when cooked through.
  • Serving suggestions:
    serve on pasta, rice, as a salad topper, or in taco shells
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro (optional)
The 10 Minute Challenge; Make Perfect Use of Your Time

The 10 Minute Challenge; Make Perfect Use of Your Time

The 10 Minute Challenge: Make Perfect Use of Your Time.

Reflecting back on the past couple of weeks we talked about the mindset of a leader.  Your mindset is your attitudes, beliefs and expectations and these are what drive your behaviors and your behaviors are what get you your results.  Simply put – if you want better results adopt a better mindset.

And we discussed that changing beliefs is hard because years and years of programming went into your current beliefs then we got to work on our habits – or the actions that fuel our results.

What actions?

Back to compounded interest theory.  Sure massive action may get us massive results, but is it sustainable?  Or is it even repeatable?  Small actions over time will build into massive results in a more sustainable way.  There are two buckets of habits you really need to look at

Bucket 1)  You can reach your goals by establishing new good habit or by building on the good habits you already have

Bucket 2)  And you can reach your goals by eliminating your bad habits.

So it’s not necessarily what are you going to start doing.  It may be what am I already doing that if I do more of I will attract more success or what am I doing now that if I stop doing will get me more in line with my goals and aspirations.

Today I’m going to share with you the most powerful habit to stop doing.  If you stop doing this right now.  Today! You will dramatically start to get different results in your life.  I love this one because it’s totally doable for everyone, you can start it immediately, and it requires no money just effort.  I also love it because it is a two-fer.  We are going to stop doing something today and replace it with something else so we will get two habits of the most successful leaders at once

Are you ready

This habit if you stop doing now – and I know that you are doing it.  I see it on your social media posts and its become worse since the current pandemic that we are experiencing.  Listen here and take the 10 minute challenge

Do the 10 minute challenge for 30 days and watch how much more productive your month has become.  You’ll have 300 minutes invested in your success.  An investment you are well worth!

New Actions; New Results

New Actions; New Results

If you want new results they require adopting new actions.

Changing beliefs is hard.  Years and years of programming went into your current beliefs.  Like they say with losing pregnancy weight it took you 9 months to put on the weight, give yourself at least that amount of time to take it off.  The same with your beliefs.  It will take a lot of new thinking, new programming, maybe even new friends to eliminate old beliefs that were getting in your way and adopt new beliefs that unleash your true potential.  As Brian Tracy says, “you begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.”

So now we have a leaders mindset.  We are working on replacing our limiting beliefs with positive beliefs and so we must start working on our actions.  Why?  Because again our mindset fuels our actions and our actions fuel our results.  If we want different results than what we have had then we need different actions. You’ve heard that saying – the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results.  New results require new actions.

What actions?

Listen here

Back to compounded interest theory.

Sure massive action may get us massive results, but is it sustainable?  Or is it even repeatable?  Small actions over time will build into massive results in a more sustainable way.  There’s a great book out there called Atomic Habits by James Clear – by an atomic habit he means a small habit and he says “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement”

There are two buckets of habits you really need to look at

You can reach your goals by establishing new good habit or by building on the good habits you already have and you can reach your goals by eliminating your bad habits.

So it’s not necessarily what are you going to start doing.  It may be what am I already doing that if I do more of I will attract more success or what am I doing now that if I stop doing will get me more in line with my goals and aspirations.

An Example

To illustrate, these let’s say I want to be a better leader and I know that leaders are readers.  Every January I get bit by the new year’s resolution bug and I buy a new book and dive all in.  I also really enjoy binge watching Netflix’s most popular shows and some nights watch as many as three episodes in a row.

I already have a good action – reading a book in January, but it’s not really a habit yet.  If I took this one thing and built on it until it was a habit would you agree that I would attract more success as a leader?  Of course.  So another thing we learn in Atomic Habits is that you do not rise to the levels of your goals you fall to the levels of your systems.

So, my buy a book every January wasn’t a very good system was it?  No.  What if I changed my system to sign up for a book club that sends me a book a month.  Now I have some skin in the game and may be one step closer to making this a habit.  Now what if I go one step further and dedicate 15 minutes every morning to reading first thing when I wake up.  Do you see a system forming here.  My system has a why – I desire to be a better leader.  It has a what – leaders are readers – and it has a how – have a book delivered every month and commit to reading 15 minutes every morning first thing when I wake up.

Also we can get better results by stopping habits that are in our way of success.  What about my Netflix habit in the example?  What if I stopped this habit and filled that time with new more productive activities built with a success system.  Of course I would start seeing new results.  What time wasting habits do you have?

Summary

Does this example sound too simple.  Yes – but what is simple is not easy.  Simple said not so easy do right?  This is where I think so many people get held up in the world of self improvement.  They think that the changes or the goals have to be monumental or they are not worthy so they are paralyzed with fear.  It’s too big it’s too much – so many limiting beliefs form.  But when you break it down to the small – atom sized pieces – you can start to see how the changes can be possible.

Here are two quotes from Atomic habits to sum it up.

“If you want better results, then forget about setting goals. Focus on your system instead.”

“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”

Leadership is Influence

Leadership is Influence

Leadership is influence.  Every one of us has influence.  We all lead at something:

our business

leaders of our family

perhaps our sports team

or our classrooms . . .

Maybe you haven’t had that ah-ha moment yet .  that breakthrough where you realize what you do makes a difference, your actions are impacting others.  First adopt the mindset of a leader.  Listen here

 

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

The Gift of Time: What Stay-At-Home Gave Us All

The Gift of Time: What Stay-At-Home Gave Us All

The gift of time was given to us all by stay-at-home orders. It may have been a 30 minute commute each way (plus putting on pants time). Or, like in the case 3.3 million others, all of your time because you are now unemployed.  Watching my friends, family, and former coworkers adjust to this gift it is much like watching different people win the lottery.  Some blow their winnings right away and end up worse off then they were beforehand.  Others are paralyzed with fear so do nothing, and some embrace the gift, seize the opportunity and look at how to use the gift for good.

“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.” William Penn

No more excuses!

As a business and personal coach I have worked with hundreds of people who say they want growth. The number one thing getting in their way?  You guessed it, time.  They want to be healthier, but they don’t have time.  They want to learn a new skill, but can’t find time.  In fact, lists of wants continue to grow and yet people do no excusesnot.  “I’d love to read books, listen to podcasts, take a course, or even go back to school, but I can’t find the time”, they say.  Here it is.  The gift of time was given to you.  5 hours a week minimum. No more excuses!

“The way we spend our time defines who we are.” Jonathan Estrin

How will you reflect back on this time?  With pride of your accomplishments and contributions?  Yesterday was the best time to start. Today is a great time to start. Tomorrow . . . next week . . . .  Start small and build.  Small improvements over time are like compounded interest.  They grow into something large.

Staying at home as been difficult, certainly regret is worse.  Don’t let another moment pass.  This is your time.  Take that first step. You can do this.  Yes you can!

Stay at Home; Obligation or Opportunity

Stay at Home; Obligation or Opportunity

You’ve been ordered to Stay at Home; the question is do you see it as an obligation or an opportunity? It’s a challenging time, absolutely.  I live in a state that has a Stay at Home Order AND the company I worked for and adored my entire adult life has just gone out of business.  The challenge is real AF.  Here’s the truth about challenges.  They bring about a world of choices.  In fact, they are the proverbial fork in the road.  They provide an opportunity for us to rise and see what we are really made of.  Is this Stay at Home Order an excuse to watch all of those missed sitcoms or is it an opportunity to discover what you are capable of achieving.

It’s a choice and you have the power to make that choice right now.  Is there something have you been putting off because your “real life” is too busy?  Perhaps this slow down is the sign you have been waiting for.  Choices you make right now, what you choose to accomplish in the next few weeks could have a significant positive impact on your life and the lives of others?Rise to the challenge

“If it doesn’t challenge you ; it won’t change you.” I encourage you to rise to the challenge. Push yourself to give your all in tackling a problem or issue and accomplishing a goal.

Here are my big 3 for doing something new

  1. FREE – there are many free options out there.  Leave your resources open to trying many new things and don’t spend any money unless you’re absolutely sure of the path you’ve chosen.  Here are some free resources for a variety of topics
      1. Fitness Nike Training Club
      2. Education Coursera
      3. Podcasting Buzzsprout
      4. Write a book Jerry Jenkins
      5. Create a website Wix
      6. Learn a new language
  2. FUN – as I mentioned earlier, the challenge is real AF, but it can be fun and be self-fulfilling.  In business we sometimes have to ask ourselves “is it the plan or is it the execution?”  You will have to ask yourself “is this not fun because it’s not coming easy or is this not fun simply because I just don’t like it?”  Find something your passionate about and the challenge will become fun.
  3. FRIEND – find people with like interests to encourage you along the way.  An easy way to do this is to search social media pages liked LinkedIn and Facebook for groups.  Last year, I found that joining a FB group for the Chicago Marathon made my training experience more enjoyable by knowing I was doing it alone.  Many challenges I was experiencing were common and even minor compared to people with the same goals as mine.  This kept me motivated and inspired to keep going.

You will get through this.   Yes you can!

18 Weeks of Marathon Training; Now What?

18 Weeks of Marathon Training; Now What?

18 weeks of training for a marathon cancelled due to the COVID-19!  18!  You’ve rearranged your schedule, skipped family events, missed out on all the fun and for what?  Notification of a race cancellation or a postponement.  Anger, frustration, hopelessness, relief, gratitude.  You name it; you’re probably feeling it.  In fact, you may have felt them all and considering the hard work and sacrifice you have made you should.  The same feelings can occur when sickness, injury or emergency derail your marathon training plans.

I know the feeling of disappointment is hard to shrug off. My favorite running event in April was postponed.  Training for this event is what gets me through some of the winter blues. We must acknowledge those feelings and then let them go. Take this advice from Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge’s Instagram post, “To the thousands of runners who with me, have devoted the last months of our lives towards this goal I would like to say: Be proud of the work you have put into this journey, keep smiling and seek your next goal on the horizon to continue running in a smooth and positive way. I hope to join the starting line with you again soon.”

Gratitude allows us to focus on the positive and appreciate what we do have and it affects your health in a positive way.  COVID-19 may have cancelled your marathon, but look for ways to be thankful.

 

Be Grateful
  1. Be grateful for your health and be proud of your accomplishment through training.
  2. You’ve shown an amazing level of commitment so don’t let the fact that there is no medal define you.  Your training defines you.  Embrace the thought that you went out and did what most people won’t. You are a badass.
  3. Be grateful for your new level of fitness and keep running.  Just not at the high intensity training level you have been doing.
  4. You have an open date on your calendar. You’ve reserved the race date; celebrate in some fashion.

“If you practice gratitude on a daily basis, then your motivation to run will last a lifetime.” Michael D’Aulerio

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