Category Archives: Coaching

Growing Up vs. Growing Old

With each passing year, I can’t help but ponder about the age-old question of “Am I wiser or just older with time?” I would like to believe that I am growing wiser or just a little more grown up with time.
Growing old and growing up are very different. The outcome or result is clear for all to see. One of it does not involve any choice or thought but the other requires discipline, focus and hard work. One demonstrates matured judgment and decision-making while the other is like a life living in a time capsule making decisions and handling situations as a 20-year-old when you are a 40-year-old.
Growing old happens to everyone whether we like it or not. We don’t have a choice. Let me just say that your body grows, peaks and then its all downhill from there on. I wish I was kidding but we know the reality of this life. We start out being helpless like a baby and we pretty much end in the same condition except not as cute.
Growing Up on the other hand is entirely in our hands. It is based on the choices, decisions and actions that we take. The choice to learn, to change our words, thoughts and actions for the better and to contribute to others. The growing up that we need to do is centered around our emotional and mental aspects.

Keys to Growing Up

1. Learning never stops: The awareness and curiousity to want to explore, take risk, get out of your comfort zone and experience what life has to offer. The intentional focus on to continually learn and grow not just in knowledge but also in experience. You must have the desire to always want to improve and be better. Not satisfied with the comfort zone.
2. Tough decisions: There are moments when the hard and tough decisions must be made. Short vs. Long term moments that will define your next steps. Tough decisions will always involve deliberation and not just emotionally charge decision-making process. To be able to see all angles and different views before deciding are required. To have the courage to make the decision and not to avoid. The courage to make a stand even if it is not popular.
3. Sacrifices must be made: Along with making the tough decisions, sacrifices will have to be made to achieve what we want. Nothing comes on a silver platter, to achieve anything worthwhile, hard work and sacrifices are required. What are you willing to sacrifice? A student must sacrifice certain activities if they want to achieve academic excellence. An employee must sacrifice some “home” time if they want to climb the corporate ladder. A professional athlete must sacrifice a lot to be an Olympian.
4. Growing up is a choice: We are all given choices in this life. We either choose to grow up or just cruise in life. We choose to either be a giver or taker in this life. We choose who to befriend and spend time with. Life is full of choices and the choices that we make will result in the person that we become. Therefore, to be mature or wise is a choice. We choose to learn from our mistakes, failures, success and difficulties in the life so that we become smarter, stronger, wiser and more resilient. We choose to accept responsibilities or blame others. We choose how we want to grow up.
5. Practice makes permanence: That’s right, practice makes permanence and NOT perfect. No matter how long and hard I practice my golf, it will be “my” golf swing and never the “perfect” golf swing. The permanence of my golf swing becomes muscle memory and in an ideal situation, I would be swinging without thinking too much about it. Life is a series of practices. We are in a constant motion of practicing what we do until it becomes a habit or permanent routine. Our minds are wired to be lazy and hence once a habit is formed, we will just follow it. We must be conscious of our habits and thoughts and know that we can change those that we want to with a deliberate and purposeful decision and actions that follow.
6. Commitment to growth: We need to be committed to the growth process. This ties in with the learning mindset. We must be committed to growing up and not just growing old.

Signs you are growing old and NOT growing up

1.  You are self-focus: Your view of your role in this world is centered around you and you only. It’s all about ME. Much like a child, you only want what you want, and you want it now. It does not matter to you what the cost is to those around you or to the much greater environment that you live in.
2. Instant gratification: The way in which you respond to situations or people around you demonstrate that it is all about getting what you want NOW. It is about getting rich, fast. Getting to where you want to go, Now. Desiring whatever you see, Now. There is no long-term thought process. It is all about achieving short-term needs.
3. Taking people for granted: You don’t show or appreciate people around you. You consider them as a necessary means to an end when you need them. You have yet to learn to appreciate and love people. You do not value relationships and connections beyond using them to achieve your goals.
4. Always comparing never achieving: You are always driven by comparing what you have e.g. house, car, job, money, holidays etc. with others and never being contend. You have not learned that it is not about what you possess but it’s about how you impact others. Life is about giving and making a difference and not an accumulation of things that you can never take with you when you die.
5. Taking and Never Giving: You are always expecting people to give to you. You are always taking from people around you and never giving anything in return. You are not sharing what you have. You are certainly not giving a thought to someone in need. It is all about what you can get for yourself.

Time to take stock

It is always good to take stock of where you are. Self-awareness is an important attribute to have. It requires an honest and open reflection of yourself. Know who you are and what you are here to accomplish. Ask yourself:
• Am I growing in experience and knowledge?
• What improvements do I see from the decisions that I am making?
• Are people coming to me to ask for advice?
• How do I view my purpose in my family, workplace and the greater world? Am I fulfilling it?
• What am I doing to learn more?
• Am I challenging myself to get out of my comfort zone?

There is no better time than now to decide to continually grow up and not just let time dictate your growing old.

Vision that Drives You

“If You Are Working On Something That You Really Care About, You Don’t Have To Be Pushed. The Vision Pulls You.”- Steve Jobs

Vision.  Have you ever thought about just how critical vision is to your life?  Not only in the literal sense of being able to see what’s in front of you but also the invisible vision of seeing the beauty and wonder of life around you.  Your eyes are not the only vision enabled organ.  In fact you are able to “see” with your mind, heart and touch.  You are able to visualize a memory, a thought and a feeling.  We are visual creatures and therefore we dream in pictures.  We see our purpose or calling in visions of what our life will enable and the impact it will make.

It is therefore all that more important to know what your purpose and goals are in order for you to draw a vision of what it would look like as well as how to achieve it.  It is like putting all the Lego pieces together in order to build something.  It all starts with what we imagine the outcome to be.  We start by knowing what we want to end up with.  We start with a picture of the final product.  We then break it down in to each individual piece that is required.  We then put the pieces together.  The pieces might not and usually does not all come together at the first attempt.  In fact it might take more attempts than we would like to admit but the end result, if we do not give up will be an achievement that you will be proud of.  It is all because you dreamt it and persevered to build it.

Start with the vision.  How do we go about having a vision?

I would like to suggest that it starts with asking and answering these questions:

  • What drives me?
  • What am I passionate about?
  • What am I good at? What am I not good at?
  • What would you regret not doing?
  • What keeps you up at night?
  • What change or impact moves you strongest?

Putting the pieces together.

Just like Lego or Ikea products, it all starts with the plan or vision.  Then the pieces that you would need to put together.  What are the pieces?  Pieces would consist of:

  • Resources: What do you need to achieve the vision?
  • Time: How would you allocate time and energy?  How to prioritise time?
  • People: Who do you need to help achieve the vision?  Identify people who are able to help in each stage.
  • Focus: Prioritise and focus.  Without focus, you will not be able to start or complete.

Expect mistakes and failed attempts.

It is important that we have the right perspective of how things are going to pan out.  You might be the small minority that gets it right the first time.  However, more often than not, it will take many attempts and learning from mistakes before getting to the point that you are seeing all the pieces put together in a manner that it resembles what you had envisioned.  All too often, we fall into the trap that success will come automatically just because that’s the expectation.  Having the right expectation is important as part of building the plans that will not only anticipate but also overcome challenges as it comes along.  No journey is without speed bumps and potholes.  Don’t let set back stops you from persevering and finishing the vision.

Let your vision grow.

Once you have accomplish one vision, allow the vision to grow and mature.  Vision is a starting point and then it will grow and expand as our experience grows.  It grows and mature as we grow and mature.  Vision is a living “organism”.  It is not stagnant and unchanging.  In fact it is a guide for you to achieve at this point in time but not necessarily forever.

Don’t live a life without going after at least one thing that is important to you.

You are unique and therefore your contribution to this world can only be achieved by you alone.

Make an impact with different categories of Goals.

We know all about goals.  We understand its purpose and importance.  Have you ever considered whether there are different categories or types of goals?  Depending on the desired outcome, different types of goals should be considered.  Different categories of goals would also require different types of questions to be asked and answered.

I find that there are 3 basic categories of goals.

  1. Reflective or Assessment type goals. This type of goals aim to achieve changes as a result of assessment from past results and actions.  Therefore there are 4 key questions that needs to be answered:
  • “What would I change?”. Questions that focus on assessment of a performance and what development changes needs to place.
  • “What went well and what did not?”. Questions that focuses around objectively identifying the positives and negatives.  Reflecting on what was good and what bad.
  • “How could I be better?”. Questions that focuses around improvements whether its increasing sales performance or improving running times etc.
  • “What do I need to stop or start doing?”. Questions that would focus around actions or behavior that should be changed or stop altogether and new actions that needs to be taken.

 

  1. The “Future or Impossible” goals:
  • “What if?”. Questions that would bring about future oriented goals.  For example,
    • What if I could do whatever I loved, what would it be?
    • What if I could change one thing, what would it be?
    • What if there were no risk in doing something, would I do it.
  • “No limits”. Questions that would help you to explore options that far beyond your current perspective.  Questions such as
    • If you could do anything you want, what would it be?
    • If you had no fear, what would you do?
    • What do you love doing that you would do if not for …?
  • “Dream”. Questions would center around your greatest dream or passion.
    • What have you been dreaming of doing?
    • What are you most passionate about and would do if …?

 

  1. The “present reality” goals:  Goals that are measured by achieving them in the now and in the moment.  These are the most goals and they would consist of answering questions:
  • “How much and time bound” Questions that would lead to goals that are very specific and time sensitive.  For example,
    • How much weight do I want to lose in the next week?
    • What do I need to do to achieve that outcome in the next week?
  • “Resource requirements” considerations and questions. Questions that would have assistance and structure support in order to achieve the goal.  For example,
    • what assistance do I need to achieve the goal?
    • What additional resources do I need to ask for?
    • What is the budget requirements?
  • “Fix-It”
    • What do I need to fix now?
    • What do I need to modify?
    • What changes to the process do I need to make?
  • “What To do next” Questions that would focus on the next steps.  Questions such as,
    • What would you do next?
    • What are the next steps in this process?

A simple and structured way to identify and ask the relevant questions to achieve the outcomes that you desire.  This will also help you focus on the goals that you want to achieve without being a little haphazard with the questions that you are asking yourself or your team.

Help! I want to give it my best but…

In everything that I do, I have a desire to do it to the best of my abilities. That is the hope and goal. However, is that really the case? Sadly, I can’t truly say that I have given my best effort in everything. I now know better. I know that the goal isn’t so much about in everything that I do, but in the areas of my priorities that I want to give it my best.

The truth of the matter lies in 2 “a-ha moments”:
1. Not everything in my life is weighted equally in importance or value. Not everything requires perfection. Not everything requires equal time and attention. For example, I don’t need to give my best effort in stacking the dishes in the dishwasher. Just sufficient “stacking” will do.

2. Only what is most meaningful will I choose to spend my time and energy on. I will want to ensure that what is most important to me, gets my full attention, time and effort. I will give up other areas in order to allocate enough time to complete the projects that are important to me.  For example, I will give up playing golf in order for me to have more time to complete a project that is more important to me.

Unless we are clear in our minds and hearts around the above 2 aspects, we will constantly be in a battle of feeling good or guilty. Guilty for not achieving or guilty for not giving it your best. So what can we do to ensure that we do give it our best when it matters?

Daring to do the best in requires 3 key factors:
1. Intention to succeed. You must be intentional. You must have goals and have plans in place. Change can only take place when we are purposeful and intentional in our approach and determination. Ask yourself:
a. How badly do I want to change?
b. What is going to make this attempt at change different from all the other times?
c. What changes do I need to make?
d. What goals am I going to set?
e. What plans do I have to put in place to achieve those goals?
f. Who am I going to share this plan with?
g. Who is going to help me be accountable?
h. Who am I going to assign as my cheerleader when the going gets tough?

Be intentional in setting up clear goals and action plans.

2. Disciple to overcome. Discipline is required in anything that we want to strive for. Nothing worth getting ever comes easy. Discipline also implies that sacrifices will have to be made in order to achieve something greater. Every successful person will demonstrate discipline in their actions. Discipline will mean that you will need to give up something in return. You might have to sacrifice some comfort in order to achieve your goals. Ask yourself:
a. What am I willing to sacrifice in order to achieve my goal?
b. What comfort am I will to give up?
c. What would happen if I gave up something in return to spending more time on achieving my goals?

Discipline requires determination, commitment and willing sacrifices.

3. Focus on the prize. Staying focus on the prize will help you to avoid distractions. Keeping your focus is hard especially when the demands of this world is so varied and constant. Making the decision to go for your goal requires that you constantly review, reflect and refocus. It is important as part of the goals that you have set, you are clear on the benefits or rewards of achieving the goal. Questions to ask:
a. What do I get out of achieving the goal?
b. What deeper purpose am I serving?
c. What impact am I making?
d. Who and what will this benefit?
e. How life changing will this change be?

Every winner keeps an eye on the prize.
The answer to being the best lies in being intentional, discipline and focus. It will require sacrifices and hard work. The reward is always meaningful.

No matter where the outcome, so long as you know that you have given it the best, you are already rewarded with learnings, experiences and growth.

6 things that are stopping you from help

Do you need help? Are you in a situation where a little help would be good? Do you offer help to someone who is struggling? Have you been in a situation or season of life where you need help? Have you asked for help? What is stopping you from asking or getting help?

Know you need help but…

In my coaching world, one of the most common situation that I am faced with is when someone needs help but for various reasons does not make the commitment to get the help. I think that there are 3 main reasons which stops or prevents someone from asking for help:

  • Fear: fear is always a barrier. Fear that by asking for help would imply that I am not good or smart or capable enough to do the job.
  • Perception: there is a myth that I am able to do everything well. I am super human with all the necessary competencies to perform my role well. That is clearly not true. Each of us has our unique set of abilities and personalities that will make us good at some things but not others.
  • Weak: weakness is asking for help. It is a sign of being weak or being a failure. This is probably the worst of all the myths.

In some areas, getting help is expected. Take any sport. No professional athlete has ever been successful without a team of coaches, medical team and so on. It is an acceptable norm that constant learning and improvement is a necessity and therefore seeking the best coach or trainer is a must. Think about how many coaches or mentors each professional sports person has had in their sporting career.

In the same context, in the workplace all successful executives have had great coaches and mentors to guide and lead them. However, something strange then happens downstream. Most people never get the coaching, training and improvement programs that coud help them further grow and be successful in their role. It is only reserved for those earmarked with high potential. What about the 80% of the work force that is running the business? Do they not require improvement? There are various forms of development that would not require extensive investment. As an example, mentor- mentee relationship is extremely valuable and the only cost involved in time from both party.

There are 6 things to you need to stop doing in order to start getting the help that you need:
1. Stop giving excuses. Stop giving excuses for not looking or getting help. Time and money are the two most common excuses. Imagine what your life would look like if you had taken the time and money to develop a certain skill or to overcome a certain fear. What would the benefit be then? What is the cost to you for not doing what you know you should be?
2. Stop Putting it aside. Putting something in back burner or not prioritising it will not make the weakness or issue go away. In fact it is just making the problem bigger over time. Sweeping it under the carpet will only make the carpet bulge up over time and it will be harder to clean it later on.
3. Stop hoping that the situation will change. Situation rarely changes, it is usually the person who changes. A wise person will learn and grow through each circumstances. Thereby learning the skills to go through the situation.
4. Stop blaming others. It is so easy to blame others for your struggles. You could blame your company or manager for not giving you the training that you need. You could blame the people around for putting in the hours or for being good at what they do which in turn makes you look less successful. The list goes on. Nothing good ever comes from blaming others. Take ownership and accountability and make your plans to grow.
5. Stop accepting the status quo. The difference between a successful person and not so successful lies in focus and goals. We can go through the day and just flow with it or we could dictate how the flow goes. Start by making a decision that you want to change and develop further.  Start with setting goals.  Simple goals are all that is required. What are the 3 things that I must do today? What is the one important purposeful thing that I want to make sure that I complete today?
6. Stop not accepting or asking for help. Help is just around the corner if we ask and there are times, people offer their help. Take it and be thankful.

Where are you today with getting or asking for help? Are you gritting your teeth and continuing on the path of self-reliant? Are you too proud to ask for help? If you are in anyone of those 6 areas, dismiss those myth and start getting the help that you need. There are books, training courses and people who are able to help. Don’t shy away any longer. The long-term impact can be significant.

PS: Get in touch with me for a free 30 minute exploration session to learn more about coaching and what it can do for you.