A lot of people who are working on their personal development and growth have big dreams and big goals and that is great.
However, it can become a problem when your dreams are so big that it stresses you out and leads you to inaction - not an uncommon problem.
If big picture thinking is crippling you, then aim lower and focus on small actions you can take today to move you further down the road on your journey.
Your growth will come from your action and not your thinking.
Gratitude is one of those ideas that is so talked about in the coaching and personal development space that it almost feels too cliché to discuss.
Like most clichés, it gets repeated so often because it is so important. But like many truisms we hear frequently, just because we hear it or say it, doesn't mean we practice it.
Thanksgiving is a day where some people actually try to step into gratitude and practice it - even if only for a moment.
What I tell people about gratitude is simple. In our day to day lives we can think about all the stuff we don't yet have and the pain it causes us, or we can think about the stuff we do have that we should be grateful for. Both things are true, but where you put your focus changes your day to day life immensely.
Think about all the decisions, coincidences, gifts from God or the universe that have shaped and blessed your life.
Maybe it is the fact that you were born in the West where you can brush your teeth without fear of dying from a disease in your water. Maybe it's the detour or night out you almost didn't take that led you to meet the person that changed your life.
You can focus on those things or you can focus on stuff that pisses you off. Your choice.
As cliché as it is, gratitude truly is the antidote to anger and sadness.
Action item: Go back into your memory and remember one of the most special moments in your life. It could be one of those coincidences, a night of passion and love, a landmark day, etc. Play this memory in your head like a movie and step into the memory like you are there again. Feel what you felt. See what you saw. Smell what you smelled. Spend a few minutes of your day back in that moment and take that feeling into the rest of your day.
I’m not a reality TV watcher, but somehow a recent argument between Kim Kardashian and Kanye West got served to me by YouTube and I found it fascinating. Their famous argument is something that EVERYONE in a relationship is going to go through, so we can all learn from what is going on with this celebrity couple.
Here’s the often unspoken truth about personal development: When you grow as an individual, it’s going to put strain on your relationships - often to disastrous results.
For background’s sake, Kanye West is one of the most prolific rappers on Earth who has previously promoted all the trappings of rap music - derogatory language, objectification of women, self-worth derived from material things, and so on.
Recently and famously he has re-devoted his life to his Christian faith. He has sworn off creating negative content and music for “the culture” and is only going to make music that celebrates his love of Jesus Christ.
When an individual makes a dramatic turn like this, it is unavoidable that there will be conflict with those who have loved the old you. Kanye’s wife, Kim Kardashian, expressed this beautifully in an argument over whether or not she should dress sexy for other men to see when she said “your transformation doesn’t mean I’m in the same spot with you.”
In the Western business world, being late is a grave sin. It can lose you jobs, lose you clients, and generally tank your career and even your personal relationships.
This perspective that dominates the Western world has many benefits. It makes the trains run on time. It’s respectful to whoever your next meeting is with. It makes coordinating schedules relatively easy. It’s great for people who live in worlds with deadlines.
People who love planners, organization, and order generally thrive in our culture - especially in business.
Some people take this so seriously, that people will fire people, not hire people, and destroy relationships with people over tardiness or missed meetings.
What’s interesting is that while we here in America think that’s just the way things are, there are cultures and individuals around the world that view time differently. Here, we might consider those people lazy or call them loafers, but we should just recognize it for what it is: a difference in how we experience the world.
My mom and I were recently talking about whether or not someone who is trying to lose weight should weigh themselves every day or not.
She took the new popular position that no you shouldn’t. And I get why. True weight loss is pretty slow (maybe dropping 1 or 2 pounds per week if you are doing it healthily and normally). Seeing moderate changes along the way are discouraging for her and others who don’t want to see the slow progress of weight loss. Or worse, people who give themselves cheat days don’t want to see the damage that their 6 beers and basket of fries did to their goals.
I’m quite different. If I have a weight goal, I want to know exactly what is happening. Was my day of eating good or bad? Am I eating something that is making me hold on to weight the days I am eating it? If I sleep less does it affect my weight drop or gain overnight? If I cheated and ate something bad how much did it set me back? And there are numerous other questions that I can only know the answer to if I am gathering data.
There's a fine line between knowing yourself and creating limiting identities or beliefs.
In the coaching world and the corporate HR world there is a lot of hype around personality types, enneagrams, introversion/extroversion, and other tools used to put people in neatly ordered boxes.
These tests can be useful for us individuals because it helps us feel understood, can point us in the right direction for our current skill set, and even point out our weaknesses and limitations so we can improve.
Managers and executives like these tests because they help them put people into boxes and order us appropriately so that we flourish under their leadership.
So on the surface everyone wins with these tools.
Like everything, there is a downside and these tests often become a problem for people. It becomes a problem because when you put people into behavioral boxes, they tend to accept their new confines and their growth becomes stifled.
For those that don’t watch sports, Adam Vinatieri is a 46 year old kicker in the NFL who is widely regarded as the greatest kicker to ever play the game. Much to my town of Indianapolis’ chagrin, the last two games he has missed a career worst number of kicks. Out of 8 kicks, most of them being routine kicks, he has only made 3. That would be bad for a struggling high school kicker, let alone the best to ever play the game.
Most people think that Vinatieri hit some age wall where he suddenly can’t make a routine chip shot - as if his leg deteriorated to the point of being inaccurate from short distances overnight. As such, many think it’s time for him to retire.
In reality, if you go grab Vinatieri when he is 60, I bet he’ll be able to kick 10 extra points in a row without the kind of problems he is having now. It’s not his age. It’s just a typical slump. Slumps happen to everyone, but when you are a baseball player or a kicker in the NFL, your slumps are obvious, measurable and compounding.
The real question is - why do slumps happen and how on Earth do we make them stop?
It is well known that popular styles of exercise like CrossFit or Yoga have developed cult like religious followings.
It has also recently been thoroughly reported that religion is on a decline in America with the thoroughly-reported “rise of the nones” - a spike in people identifying their religion as “none.”
As my clients know, or fans of Tony Robbins know, anything that improves your state and meets your six human needs at a high level is going to create a happier, more fulfilled human being with fervor for whatever it is that is meeting those needs.
CrossFit, Yoga, SoulCycle and other secular very often are doing a far better job at meeting people’s human needs than the previous standard bearer of fulfillment: religion. This isn’t an investigation into the truth of God or the afterlife, but a practical look at why you love your workout or your church - OR why you may have given up on one or the other. Whether it is your workout or your religious life, you’re only going to be happier if they are doing these things for you:
Whether you are in business or in sports, it's important to know that hiring someone immensely talented and successful is not always the best thing for your organization.
If you follow sports, you know the story of Antonio Brown. If not, know that he is one of the best to ever his play his position in his sport. Despite his talent and his measurable success on the field, his last team gave him away and essentially burned millions of dollars just to get him out of their locker room and save their team culture.
Another team, perhaps driven by desperation or hubris, brought Brown in - hoping that their situation would be different or that their leadership was strong enough to maintain harmony when adding a big personality.
This isn't exclusive to sports. I've seen businesses, especially sales organizations, hurt their company culture to accommodate a sale person or a hot shot executive with amazing metrics time and time again.
Coaching is a relatively new field, so as you look to hire your first coach, you might be surprised with how many variations of coaches there are to choose from.
There are life coaches, executive coaches, business coaches, career coaches, confidence coaches, fitness and nutrition coaches, swag coaches, female empowerment coaches, life stage based coaches, and so on. While some of these are self-explanatory, you still might be a little confused on which coach you want to spend your money on and invest your time with. The good news is, a good coach can help you with almost anything and the primary differences are boiled down to marketing.
Here’s why I think you should consider a life coach above all (granted, I’m biased) as well as a look at some of the other types of coaches that are out there:
Your life coach.