Small Things Make a Big Difference–guest blog by Chris Baker

Small Things Make a Big Difference–guest blog by Chris Baker

How are you doing?

Is 2021 panning out the way you hoped?

If you set a goal or made a New Year’s Resolution, how is that going?

I ask these questions because it is important to know what you are doing that will take you from where you are now to where you want to be. Of course, there are 3 keys to this being successful:

  1. Having a clear picture of where you want to go
  2. Being realistic and taking responsibility for where you are now
  3. Measuring and reviewing your progress on a daily basis

While this looks like a simple process, and it is, I urge you not to mistake this for meaning that it is easy, because it isn’t. You make ask: what is the difference between simple and easy? Simple means it is not complicated. If you follow the process it will work. Easy means you don’t need to concentrate or give it your full attention, and this definitely is not the case when you are pursuing your dreams.

Most people above the age of 11 or 12 do not have a clear picture of what they want from their life. You see, we are conditioned to accept things the way they are, and we are taught to play safe so that we don’t get hurt or, God forbid, fail! You should know that this is NOT the way that I think, nor the way that I teach my coaching clients to think. This is a closed, finite mindset which will probably lead to a life of regret where you say: “If only”, “what if” etc.

Remember this: You are where you are now as a result of the actions you have taken in the past. Every action has a consequence and you control what actions you take–so choose wisely. In the past I have been guilty of “sugar coating” my situation, believing that I was where I was because other people had done me wrong. This simply isn’t true. Yes, other people may not have your best interests at heart and therefore they may make decisions that affect you–but is everything a result of other people’s actions? No!

It is also true that most people do not review their current status daily and, if they do, they rarely accept responsibility for where they are. One of the best ways to do this is to start a journal. This doesn’t have to be a long and arduous task. Start by writing down what you are grateful for each day and what impact you had on others. Note what tasks you achieved and how this made you feel. Over time you can expand this if you want to, but the main thing is to be consistent and be honest with yourself.

Small daily actions repeated consistently over time will have a massive impact on the direction your life takes. What actions you need to take on a daily basis will depend on your departure point (where you are now) and your destination point (where you want to be)–so now is the time to get clear on what these points are so that you can starting putting into action the steps that you choose to take.

Your future is in your hands; so choose wisely, my friend. Go out and make a positive impact in the world and live the life that you choose.

Chris Baker
Founder – Release Your Unconscious
Developing Tomorrows Leaders Today”
407-347-7681
10 Monday Mindset Motivators–and All Week Long

10 Monday Mindset Motivators–and All Week Long

To be on the “top of your game” every day, you must have your thought patterns in the right place. Your thoughts turn into feelings with turn into actions and then into your results. 

What kind of mindset could you adopt, to better assure this will be a successful Monday (or any day!)?

  • I will not take myself so seriously. It’s OK to make mistakes; don’t put so much pressure on yourself as to be overwhelmed or in a negative space mentally/emotionally. Say, “This is temporary; there’s light at the end of this tunnel.”
  • I will take a break when I start to feel my energy dip.  “Put yourself in time-out.” You reach points of diminishing returns when you insist on pushing through and being productive when you are on empty.
  • I will stay on top of my goals/priorities. Go into another week/day feeling clear on “the plan” of what you want to accomplish. Make a short list of priorities. Clean off your desk and close your computer tabs, except for materials/resources you will need that relate to those priorities. Don’t waste time; begin ready for the day and focus!
  •  I will not letting my feelings control/define me. Adopt as much of a relaxed/at peace mindset as possible, knowing that you have the ability to take things as they come. Worry is destructive and gets you nowhere fast.
  • I will choose to be positive and solution-oriented.   Assuming good intentions of your family and colleagues puts you in a posture of curiosity and positivity. Choose happiness over the alternatives. You are not a victim and “everything is figure-out-able.”
  • I will not let fear take me down. Even if you have moments of impostor syndrome, you have a reservoir of confidence to tap into, based on your experience and wisdom. Self-talk: “I’m ready to take this on!” and  “I’m making a difference!”
  • I will be proactive vs. reactive. If it’s a task, show initiative and go after it, asking for help along the way. Don’t wait for a fire to be lit around you before you step up. Speak out a creative possibility. Have the difficult conversation before things get worse. Maintain an action mindset.
  • I will do something today to keep growing forward. Make time today and every day to learn, whether it be listening to a podcast while getting ready for work or while working out, carving out time to watch an inspirational video, or picking out a self-leadership book (or technical resource) to dive into. Be a little better today than you were yesterday.
  • I will have faith and hope that things will get better. This anticipation of brighter days pulls you forward into another day/week. A loss of hope leads to depression, which mires you in a pit of despair. Find things to look forward to: hobbies, trips, appointments with people that inspire you, conversations with God, etc.
  • I will put myself in others’ shoes. Everyone experiences hardship in their lives. You have no idea what they are going through. Assume they need encouragement and support—and give it liberally. Empathize with their situation and give grace. When you see things from others’ perspective, it softens yours; together, you might just collaborate to a win-win solution for both of you.

These 10 mindset motivators could be printed up and put on your dashboard, monitor, office door, or journal. Speak them into your life daily to set your intentions for the day. Brighter week ahead!

Want to chat about how coaching might lessen your stress and increase your peace of mind and productivity? Let’s see if the time is right for you. I’m at growingforward@paulcasey.org

6 Reasons to Evaluate When Considering Moving On

6 Reasons to Evaluate When Considering Moving On

You’ve got that restless feeling. Your job doesn’t give you that same positive feeling that it used to. Problems seem to outweigh victories. You have tried to hang in there, but it does seem like thoughts of looking for something new are increasing these days. You need a filter to help you sort out those thoughts, because maybe it’s just COVID or just a “season” of drudgery that WILL have an end and you simply need to have perseverance and ride it out. Other times, it’s time to move on, and you go into planning your exit.

Here are some filters that you can use or modify as a checklist for “should I stay or should I go?“. Maybe you can use it with friends who are wrestling with this issue.

  1. When no longer learning and growing. Yes, your personal growth plan is truly on you, but oftentimes your supervisor no longer gives you stretching assignments that challenge your and push you to the next level. There aren’t enough moments of WOW, it was hard, but I did it, and the organization is better for it. Things have gotten too routine and you find yourself almost bored, complacent and going through the motions.
  2. When you are dreading going to work. A sense of dread usually means the job is not fun anymore. Not that every part of jobs are supposed to be fun. But the positive moments are few and far between, and there’s no excitement to be drawn into. You might be also feeling that you just don’t want to do the draining parts of the job anymore, or you have experienced a long period of burnout, which alters your perspective.
  3. When you ethically can’t buy into the leadership’s vision or practices. This one’s a biggie. You hear of a policy or procedure or a strategic plan that has a lack of alignment with your personal core values, and by staying, you feel complicit with the vision with which you disagree. You have tried to speak up, but your voice didn’t change anything.  Living in dissonance for too long hurts your productivity and starts to cause a bad attitude that you don’t want to model.
  4. When you feel unsupported by management. Each one of us needs a steady dose of encouragement, affirmation, recognition and emotional support. If you are “empty” due to no one above you being your cheerleader/champion, you start to shrivel up like a plant without water.  Being thrown under the bus or being ignored don’t give you hope that it’s going to get any better. You must have trust to thrive.
  5. When the impact that you were hired to do has been accomplished. Here’s a positive one. You can go out on top because you have evaluated what you had set out to do, and you got ‘er done. And others on the team also have seen that you hit a home run. With no clear next step after that finish line, you can look for another race to run.
  6. When a new, long-term opportunity (in line with your values and vision) presents itself. This one may occur in conjunction with one of the other five, but it may happen suddenly and dangle itself in front of you. Think to yourself, “Will this new position allow me to contribute more to an organization, using my strengths and talents?” And, “Looking around my life for a good foundation for a jump, am I ready to take it on?”

I’m hoping that when you play the Pro’s and Con’s game, that you’ll add these criteria to your decision filter. Again, it could be a funk that you need to ride out, controlling what you can control and initiating change, or maybe all the dominoes are lining up for an exit. Either way, you have the power to KGF: Keep Growing Forward.  Need a team-builder for your group, to bring it back to life during COVID restrictions? Let’s talk about a virtual or modified-LIVE team-building experience. I’m at growingforward@paulcasey.org 

 

10 Life Lessons from my High Adventure Course Experience

10 Life Lessons from my High Adventure Course Experience

There I was, looking up at the structure of ropes and logs and wires. I think it was about 60 feet high, but it could have been 100 for all I knew, standing beneath it. And they said it’d be fun. This will be a stretching experience, I told myself. Something to check off the bucket list. I was on vacation and this was the High Adventure Course. Let’s do it!

Whatever quest is the next one in front of you–new relationship, new business idea, new job or promotion, new change in your life–the lessons I learned on the course can also be ones you can apply to your endeavor.

  1. Fully commit. I told my daughter that I’d do the experience with her, and I paid the money to reserve my slot on the course. I was all-in. You can’t steal second base without taking your foot off first base. Declare your intention, and put some skin in the game.
  2. Draw off your support system. I got reassurance and cheerleading from the course staff from the moment I started to the moment I hit the ground at the end. My daughter and her best friend gave me Way-to-go’s for the 2 hours as well. A car honked its horn when I was at the highest point, and a bell was rung when I jumped off the platform to end the experience. I could call for STAFF! any time I was confused about how to move forward. Basically, change is easier when you have support alongside you. Who’s on your support team to encourage you to take your next step?
  3. Listen to the guardrails wisdom. Before climbing the stairs, I got the safety and procedures talk: how to clip and and clip out, how to dismount at the end. I was all ears, believe me. People have gone before you in whatever initiative you are moving towards. Read about their journey. Take them to lunch and ask questions. Do your research. Find out the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
  4. Trust the tried-and-true tools that you possess. I got very familiar with my harness and how it would support me. I learned that I could hang onto anything I could see, like the ever-present wire that ran from platform to platform. And I understood that I couldn’t really fall because of the fail-safes that had been designed. You, too, have your personal skillset and strengths to bring to bear on your change effort, and you can purchase other automations or guidebooks or equipment or methodologies that others have used to be successful.
  5. Ask for navigation advice. As soon as I got up to level 2, I asked the staff where the easiest place to start was. At other points of confusion, I called out for how to make it across an obstacle–and they even gave me “cheats” to assure my progress would continue. Who can you contact when you get stuck? A mentor? A coach? A wise friend?
  6. Make a plan. I sized up each path/obstacle before clipping off the platform and onto the wire. You can storyboard your goal, establishing baby steps to keep your vision clear. Set deadlines and don’t blow them off.
  7. Have a backup plan. I learned by experience that I couldn’t clip onto the new obstacle wire if the other clip wasn’t secured. While momentarily frustrating, it was reassuring. You will be moving forward and one day, something won’t go according to plan. What will you do? Yes, it’s frustrating to stall for a bit, but keep options open for a pivot, and you’ll be back on track.
  8. Don’t force it. While I liked the sound of the click by jamming my click-it into its home, I learned it’s simply a magnet and there’s no need to use force. It could actually damage the $500 piece of equipment. Sometimes in your journey, there will be a brick wall that you simply cannot smash through with your grit and perseverance because it isn’t meant to be. Don’t waste time with the square peg in the round hole.  Find the square hole. Think, What would this be like if it were easy?
  9. Be flexible.  Each platform introduced a new obstacle. I couldn’t use the same strategy exactly as I had on the previous obstacle. Nor can you. What got you this far won’t normally get you to the finish line. All you can count on is change. Blessed are the flexible for they will never be bent out of shape.
  10. Level up. With an hour to go, I had “mastered” level 2, and it was time to join my daughter up on level 3: 20 feet higher up. Why not? I pushed myself with more difficult obstacles and got through a bunch of them when time expired. Stretch yourself to new heights. Take a calculated risk. Make the call. Say YES to an opportunity. Hit SEND. Get your idea on the table. Often you’ll be successful. Other times, you will learn how to iterate on your original plan. Either way, you win.
  11. BONUS lesson: Take the leap of faith, and enjoy the view! When asked if I’d do the jump off level 3 instead of taking the stairs down, I said yes. Scary stuff, but I survived, the bell rang, and I was happy I had done it. C’mon, go for it! You will definitely go to a place you haven’t gone before, and there’s an adrenaline rush that accompanies your decision.

If I can be an encourager for you in the change you are thinking of pursuing, reach out for positive support in the form of coaching–or simply being in the Growing Forward tribe of people who want to achieve their highest potential. I’m at growingforward@paulcasey.org. 

What Adversity Can Lead To

What Adversity Can Lead To

While hiking our highest “peak” of our local “mountain” a couple weeks ago, I reflected on how, while it was difficult going uphill for cardio-vascular reasons, some of the downhill portions gave me more trouble.  I’m not as nimble as I used to be, and I had to step more carefully on sandy or gravel areas that were steeper declines so that my feet wouldn’t slide (and I’d end up taking a header!). The unsure footing slowed my descent and completely restricted my focus on the beauty of the views around me until I got past those spots.

Same with our lives. When we go through uncertainty of massive proportions like now in our world, it’s unsure footing for living life. We thought we had more control than we probably did. The ground gets shaky beneath us, and we take evasive measures to cope with the change thrust upon us. Consequences of this are:

  1. Adversity can slow our progress toward the vision and goals we had originally set for ourselves (and organization). Our “flow” state, systems, and processes are now altered, and the adjustments needed have tweaked our productivity in the direction of the measures we had set. Notice i said: “slows”. Life and business are more about our direction than perfection. Still making progress? That is something that is usually within your control, even if it’s incremental. Is the next step you take in the trajectory of your goals? Then right-size your expectations and keep gingerly taking that step–always ready to iterate on your decisions if they don’t work as well as you’d hoped. 

2.  Adversity can also take our eyes off the relationships we do have, and other things we are grateful for, as we “do life and business.”  If we aren’t careful, we start “cursing the darkness” instead of “lighting a candle” (Chinese proverb) on the things that truly are going well, despite setbacks. Relish what you do have instead of resenting what you are missing right now. Don’t miss the view: your garden’s flowers, your family’s laughter, the lyrics of your favorite song, the taste of occasional takeout meals. Make a habit of speaking or recording your gratitude every morning and every evening. It’s difficult to be angry and grateful at the same time.

I didn’t fall on that hike, despite a few mini-slips. Shake off your mini-slips as you make sense of your new reality. Take stock of the assets you still possess, and re-calibrate your goals for the 2nd half of 2020.  And, if you need help with that goal-calibration, that’s what coaches are for! I’m so grateful for the clarity my coach gives me with piercing questions that get to the heart of the decisions I’m making. Even if it’s not doing coaching with me, invest in yourself and get a coach! For now, let’s keep in touch! Join my Target Practice list at www.paulcasey.org; the request will pop up. The Growing Forward tribe is waiting for you!

Return to Terminal or Exit Airport–Your Choice

Return to Terminal or Exit Airport–Your Choice

It’s been a while since I’ve been at an airport, but the last time I was there, I noticed two signs: one said Return to Terminal, and the other said Exit Airport. My mind wandered while on the shuttle, as I thought about how each of us has those two signs constantly in front of us when we go through dark days and uncomfortable circumstances. How so?

Each time we go through something tough, we need to learn the lessons that can make us stronger for the long run-lessons that strengthen our character or our perseverance, or that make us able to help someone else who is going through something similar to what we have. We can’t waste our pain. When we “go through” the pain to the other side with the right attitude toward it, we find ourselves in a better place to stand taller and to help others in their journey (an ultimate sign of recovery). And it’s as if God says, “Ok, you can exit the airport. You maximized the circumstance. You gleaned the small nugget of good that you needed to, and now it’s onto living your life more fully, more authentically. Well done.”

However the other sign also stares us in the face when we get bad news. Return to Terminal represents the looping back to the pain day after day, choosing to stay down and take no action (by the way, grieving loss IS action!).  It’s like Groundhog Day without purpose. We start developing “learned helplessness” saying that we’re the only one facing this struggle (personal), it always happens to us (pervasive), and it’s going to last forever (permanent).  We choose to not look for lessons or for anything to be grateful about. Our emotions continue to spiral downward, and we return to terminal—interesting word…terminal…sounds like it’s game-over when choosing this path. Here it’s like God says, “Guess you haven’t learned the lesson yet. Still languishing, huh? Can’t wait for you to get past this so that you can thrive again. Go ahead. I’m here for you. I’ll wait.”

So, here you are…in traffic, looking at those two signs: Return to Terminal and Exit Airport in your current challenge. What’s it going to be? Your turn signal is on….yeah, good choice.

Need a guide to help you make good choices? A coach can help. I’m there to help you process your decisions and make you think about your options. It’s an outside perspective on your life. And I want to be there for your success. Reach out at growingforward@paulcasey.org. Or simply watch the little nuggets of inspiration I dish up for you over on YouTube

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