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.

Working with a Manager with Credibility Issues?

Respect and credibility are 2 critical hidden badges that each of us carry in our workplace.  Both are earned through actions and accomplishments along with how we conduct ourselves.  What happens when you work for a manager who is well-regarded and has high credibility?  For those of us who have had such experience will know that it is a positive experience.  Conversely, working for or with a manager who has credibility issues is hard.  It is hard because it is fighting an invisible barrier and it makes working with people and teams more challenging.

What can you do if you are in that situation?  Here are some tips for you:

  1. Focus on your credibility. Focus on building your credibility.  Deliver on your commitments and be a professional.  You are responsible for building your own credibility.  Credibility is built over time through hard work, commitment and accomplishments.  Therefore, you are in control of what you are to achieve.
  2. Keep your words and actions professional. Be a professional.  Don’t succumb to gossiping or bad mouthing your manager or peers.  Be self-aware and ensure that you focus on your role, responsibilities and results.
  3. Seek out mentors to help you grow. Seeking out mentors will ensure that you have an objective outside to give you perspective and help your developmental needs.  Your focus should be how can you continually grow and learn to be better at your role and enhance your skills.  All these actions will help you to build your credibility.
  4. Stay optimistic and positive. One of the typical symptom that will appear in the group is low team morale.  Be the difference.  Be the light that shines optimism and keep working on what you are responsible for.
  5. Help your manager. You would expect your manager to help you but in this situation, helping your manager to be successful might be needed.  When the team is successful, it builds credibility for all.  It is a symbiotic relationship, everyone needs everyone to play their part for the whole to be successful.

Observing from a distance President Trump makes me feel sorry for the people that are working for him.  How hard it must be to do their job when they serve a leader who has very little credibility.  However, we don’t have to look too far to see in our workplaces, that we have managers who also suffer from credibility issues.  Instead of being helpless or raise our hands in defeat, let’s look for ways that we can still be successful.

What makes personal credibility important?

  • Power of Influence: Influence is a powerful skill to possess.  A person of influence can achieve a great deal.  Negotiations proceed smoother.  Convincing another person to participate or taken up task requires less time and effort.
  • Trustworthiness: When a person has credibility, that person is perceived as trustworthy.  For most, a great character to have or perceive to have is integrity.  When there is trust, there is mutual respect and working together is easy.  When that breaks down, it is hard as there is too much uncertainty and second guessing.  Focusing on what you need to do and watching your back make for work extremely challenging.
  • Authority: Direct or indirect authority makes working with people easier.  When you have authority whether it is in a subject matter or as part of the hierarchy, you are able to in some situation control the situation.

When you are in that situation, you will need to decide what is the path that you are going to take.  Are you going to make the situation better or make it worse?

Ask yourself:

  • What is my attitude towards my manager?
  • What is my attitude towards the work that I do?
  • What am I saying or doing that could contribute to making the situation better or worse?
  • How can I stay focus on the job?
  • What can I do towards developing my credibility? Am I delivering the outcomes or results that I have committed to?
  • How am I taking accountability for my actions or am I blaming others?
  • What are my choices?
  • What do I want to achieve or learn from this?

Working in any organisation, there will be a mix bag of managers and colleagues.  Most of the time we can’t choose who the people we work for and with will be.  The ability to manage and work with people will be key to your success.  You will need to decide what part you will play on top of your official role.  Will you be the catalyst of positive change or not?

Admittedly, there are times, no amount of positivity will help a situation, it is then, the need to find another opportunity.  But before then, focus on the learnings and skills building that this journey will take you through.


5 common perspectives that rob you of your happiness

Happy person

Have you ever noticed how some people are simply happy and calm through any situation while some are not?  Which camp do you fall into?  Are you the happy camper or the “I-am-happy-when-i-am-miserable” category?

I like to think that all of us want to be happy and content.  Truth be told we can’t be happy all the time but at least most of the time. Have you wondered why some people are just happy?  In fact, they rather annoy you with their happiness.  What makes a person happy?  What does happiness consist off?  What will contribute to happiness?  What does not contribute to happiness?

When it comes down to it, happiness is a personal choice.  It is made up of sub-conscious decisions that we make.  Some might call it personality or attitude.  Small decisions or practices over time makes a habit.  Habit over time becomes an automatic action.  How we choose to respond to a situation will determine the outcome of either finding a silver lining or just more misery.

Let’s explore the top 5 areas that robs you of your happiness.

  1. Being upset about the small stuff: Every little thing that does not go your way gets you all upset.  When things or people don’t go your way, it upsets you.  It takes you days or even weeks to get over it.  Imagine the amount of time that you have wasted being upset instead of being happy.  Every time you are upset simply means that you are stealing your “happy time”.  We all know the importance of time, hence why would you waste time to be upset?  Don’t sweat the small stuff.  It is true.  Don’t waste your time and energy.  Decide to move forward and choose to find the silver lining and be thankful.  Be thankful and grateful is the first step in being happy.  Some days, I have just thankful to be physically fit and healthy.  When there is nothing else to be grateful for, there is still your life to be thankful for.  What is the alternative?
  2. Caring what other people think of you: The most dangerous happiness stealer is the expectations of others. It is important that we care about and for people.  It is however not important what other people think of you.  Why is that?  In the end, the only person that must meet up to your expectation is you.  You cannot truly know what someone else is thinking much less what they are thinking about you.  Humans are in general self-absorb which generally means that we think more about ourselves than others.  Therefore, when someone is thinking or talking about you, it usually means that they are avoiding making the improvements on themselves.  When one finger points at another, remember there are three other fingers pointing back at you.
  3. Fear of stepping out: Fear stops you from doing what you should do.  Fear stops you from feeling happy.  There are some people who are afraid of being happy as they fear that something bad will happen.  They feel that they are not entitled to happiness.  That is clearly not true.  Each of us has the power to choose to be happy.  Don’t let fear rob you from your happiness.
  4. Control: The need to control people and situations are around you will just drive you mental.  If you can’t even control yourself, what hope is there to control others.  Let go of the need to control and you will find that just letting people be who they are, accepting people for their beauty and flaws will go so much better.
  5. Perfection: Perfection does not exist.  Waiting for perfect before you can be happy is a sure way to be unhappy.  Perfection robs you of all forms of happiness.  How can someone be happy living in this imperfect world?  Well, it’s simple, just accept that perfect does not exist.  Take everything and everyone that comes by your way as a blessing and a journey of discovery and growth.

Happiness exist in how you respond with thankfulness and gratitude.  At the heart of happiness is gratitude.  When we are thankful, you will appreciate every thing small or big as a gift.  We take so many things for granted.  For example, clean water, how precious is that?  Are we thankful that we have clean water to drink?  There are millions of people who do not have clean water.  What about the air we breathe?  Just being able to breathe is to be grateful for.  Don’t always focus on the “big” things and believe that those will bring about happiness.  It is the small stuff that without it, the big stuff won’t exist.  I have a gratitude journal and some days I don’t have anything to write until I realise that just being healthy is a point to be thankful for.

The 3 simple keys to happiness:

  • Be Grateful and Not take people or things for granted.
  • Be who God made you to be and NOT someone else.
  • Be a giver and not a taker.

Happiness is a choice and a decision that we make.  Don’t allow the “happiness robbers” to steal your happiness without a fight.

Are you Teachable?

When you were young, your mind is simply absorbing information like a sponge.  You are learning all sorts of things and it comes from actual practice or doing to observing and listening.  A child learns from all mediums whether good or bad.  A child is teachable and the more teachable a child is, the more a child will learn.  When we become adults, and perceive that we know it all, we become set in our ways and not very teachable.  When that settles in, it is almost impossible to grow and mature.  People who struggle the most with change and adapting to different situations are often those who have lost the teachable mindset.  They are no longer open to learning or to be “taught” by others.

Are you teachable?  Are you open to learning and changing?  Are you willing to humble yourself to admit that you don’t know and need to learn?  What do you need to continue to be teachable?

There are 3 key ingredients to having a teachable mindset:

  1. Humility: To be humble, to admit that you need help, to change, to learn and to grow.  To acknowledge, that “I Don’t Know” is hard for some.  Those who are arrogant and prideful will find this first step extremely difficult and will probably justify away the “I don’t know”.  Have you met anyone who will not acknowledge their lack of knowledge?  Have you met anyone who will give excuses as to why they got it wrong or made a mistake?  When we do not humble ourselves, and acknowledge that we need to learn, we stunt the growth process and will eventually end up making a fool of ourselves.  We don’t have a look hard to find in the news today who we could put into this category.
  2. Growth mindset: A growth mindset is one where the learning never stops.  Learning is a continuous process and the journey never ends. Learning and innovating is as critical as the air we breathe.  Therefore the mind is always searching for new knowledge and is teachable.
  3. Seeking out assistance: Seek out people who can teach you, to learn from.  Seek out mentors, experts in a field.  Read and study.  Join groups or networks to learn from.  Do not be afraid to ask for help.  Having a teachable mindset requires that you seek out avenues to learn from.  Like-minded people will share your desire to learn, brainstorm and explore new options and solutions.

What are the signs that you are teachable?

  • Acknowledge mistakes: You will acknowledge and apologise for the mistake.  You will take ownership and make the necessary steps to ensure that you learn from it and hopefully not make it again.  You will learn from the mistake and make the adjustments.
  • Seek out knowledge: You will have a desire to learn and your reading habits is a good sign.  People who are perpetually learning are usually those who read ferociously.  Reading materials can range from any topic or subject.  The wider the range of reading materials, the great the breadth of knowledge.  You will have mentors, coaches, networks of learning groups and so on.  People learning from one another is a great source of knowledge and wisdom.
  • Take risk: Taking risk sounds like a strange sign but our greatest lessons in life comes from risk.  When we take the risk of embarking in a new area, we are putting ourselves in very uncomfortable situation.  It is in those situations, that we humble ourselves and learn.  Failures will occur but therein lies the greatest learnings.  Don’t be afraid of taking risk or of failing.  Read my blog on Fear Cycle.
  • Open to new ideas: You will listen to other people and are open to new ideas or thoughts.  You are willing to consider your ideas are not the only ideas that could be viable.  Open to challenging your assumptions and testing out other options.  Don’t be defensive when new ideas are being discussed.  Be open to listening to all the possibilities and the final solution might be even better than the first.  The number of conflicts that we can settle if only people would be open to the ideas of others and not be bound by just one way of getting things done.

Ask yourself:

  • What is my teachable meter?
  • When confronted, what is my initial reaction? Is it negative?  Is it open to learning?  What is my response?
  • How comfortable am I to acknowledge a mistake?
  • What is my greatest barrier to learning? Is it my pride?  Is it my stubbornness?
  • What circle of friends do I have? Do I allow people around me to challenge me?  Do I only want people to agree with me?
  • What is my response when I fail? What is my mindset with failure?

If you have taken the time to ask yourself some of the questions above, it’s a great start to knowing just where you are on the “teach-ability” meter.

PS – Are you curious about coaching and what it can do for you?  Find out more here.