Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What Are You Hoping To Achieve?

A funny thing often happens when you try to win an argument with a partner or stakeholder in your business - you often win the battle and lose the war.

The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress

Next time you find yourself in an argument, stop and ask yourself why am I fighting? What do I hope to gain from this fight?

Why Am I Fighting?

Is it to improve the situation? I doubt it, because more times than not, an argument only causes more rifts in a relationship.

Is it because you are trying to find the best solution for the given situation? Also usually not the case.

Or is it because you have attached winning to your pride and you know that you are right?


Winning isn't about being right. Instead, winning is usually about achieving what you want to achieve - creating the outcome you desire. But, because when we argue, we let emotions drive our actions, instead of our mind, we forget what we want and end up losing not only what we want, but also put a barrier between you and the person or people you are trying to work with.

When we argue, we become sidetracked from what we set out to achieve and end up wanting only to win.

Ground Yourself in What You Want

So when you find yourself wanting more to win than anything else, wanting to prove the other person wrong no matter what, or just forgetting what caused the argument to begin with, STOP. Take a breath. And figure out what you really want long term, not just to win the argument.

Do you want the other person to feel hurt or wrong? Really, do you? Is that what you set out to achieve or is it just going to make you feel better?

Do you want to win, or would you like to find the solution that is best . . . for both of you? And, of course, will keep your relationship strong and intact?

It's not always easy to think clearly and calmly, when emotions start to flare. But the individual that can stay focused on what they want - what they want to achieve - will always end up on the winning side of any argument.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where Do I Find The Answers?

I've heard it said, "We do not see the world as it is. Rather we see it as we are."

What exactly does that mean?

To me, it means that each of us sees the world a little differently.

As such, I think the answers to the most important questions in our lives are less based on the opinions or ideas of others and more on how we see it all and who we are.

If you ask anyone that you meet what makes them happy . . . or what makes them sad, you will undoubtedly hear as many different things as there are people on this earth. Sure there are some consistent themes, family, health, and success, but everyone has their own wants and desires.

I would argue the mistake many of us make is that we look for the answers to life's toughest questions outside of ourselves. We turn to books. We turn to religion. We turn to inspiring leaders. We turn to anything that will give us the meaning and purpose we seek.

But everywhere we turn, everything we read, every story we hear is shaped by our own presence. We are less influenced by the ideas and thoughts of others than we think. But rather the ideas of others that "inspire" us are reflections of who we are and what we seek.

Each thing we read, hear or experience is shaped by the perceptions we have stepping into the situation. We aren't observers in life, we are participants.

When you read a story, it's not the first story you have ever read (or experienced), you bring to the story your own perceptions and you take away from that story only the memories that you choose to take away - usually those that align with what you already believed and accepted.

When sitting in a church, everyone is listening to the sermon that is being spoken, but not everyone is hearing and understanding the same thing. We'd like to think these things are all the same, but they aren't. Each of us is only hearing and absorbing into our consciousness, the elements that align with what we believe. If we are hopeful and happy, we will hear hope and happiness. If we are sad and wanting to feel self-deprecation, then we will find it in the words spoken before us. If we are looking for salvation, then we will find salvation. But none of these ideas came from outside of ourselves, they came from within us - because of who we are, not what was said.

The answers aren't in the sermon, they are in our own hearts.

If you wonder about this, see for yourself. Stop any two people who have listened to the same preacher, witnessed the same event, or read the same book, ask them what they took away from it. I suspect they will be stronger reflections of who they are than what was said.

So stop looking elsewhere for answers - they are inside of you already. You just haven't found them yet. But make no mistake, they are there.

Some people are able to find their own voice . . . their own vision. Others struggle with it. It's not an easy task and it often takes quiet solitude to hear your own voice. Truth is, many people can never stand the isolation or silence long enough to hear their own voice and have to hear it or see it in others to find it themselves. That's ok, but give yourself the credit you deserve - accept inspiration, but own your own vision and ideas.

Just because you might need inspiration from great writers or artists to be able to verbalize it or visualize it, doesn't mean your answers came from those individuals, only that you found your answers through their words and images.


Four years ago, I started coaching because I wanted to help people - I wanted to change the world one person at a time. But as I learned very quickly and have been reminded time and again, coaches (be it executive coaches, life coaches, or any type of coach) don't provide answers, they help people find their own answers. They ask questions that will help others find their voice and help them use their voice to be who and what they want to be.

I know it's been about nine months since I last wrote anything in this blog, but tonight I felt inspired to write down these thoughts.

As it turns out, my last entry was actually about writing a vision - what I believe is the guiding light of who we are and the source of most of our answers. I truly feel that our vision holds the answers to most any tough question we face.

Every time I see a client struggle with what to do next, how to take the next step, and they want me to provide them answers, I ask them to look inside themselves - tell them to look at their vision and see if there answers are somewhere there, staring them straight in the face.

Below, I share my personal vision with anyone who is reading this. I share it as part of my growth and invite those in my life to challenge me to become everything that I have set out to become. I wrote it nearly nearly seven years ago and, except for a very few, small changes, it still holds truth for me. With everything that has gone on in my life, it still guides me and gives me purpose. I share it because I can't be my vision without doing so.


- I will be trustworthy and I will be impeccable with my word.

- I will love Garret and Turner always – being the best Dad that I can be. I will honor their spirits as they grow and mature – providing both roots and wings for the rest of their lives.

- I will live a loving life – caring for those whose lives I come in contact with, today, tomorrow and forever.

- I will be open and honest in the way I conduct my life and invite others to open up to me through the establishment of trusting relationships.

- I will be a better leader for myself and a better leader for all whose lives I touch.

- I will focus on maintaining spirit in my life – focusing on the energy that spiritual thoughts bring to my life.

- I will live an honest life – honest with myself and those around me – and I will work everyday to stamp out the lies that hurt me.

- I will treat others as I wish to be treated. I will respond to others actions the way that I wish they respond to mine.

- I will live in the now – I will live for today – not focusing on the past or worrying about things out of my control in the future.

- I will be open to trusting those that I choose to be a part of my life.

- I will grow – taking the time necessary to develop the whole me – physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually.

- I will treat each day like it is the first day of the rest of my life – and live it like it could be my last.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Build a Personal Vision

"The first thing is to love your sport. Never do it to please someone else. It has to be yours."
Peggy Flemming (1968 Olympic Gold Medalist)

Building a personal vision sounds hard, doesn't it? That's because we rarely stop long enough to figure out what we really want. We don't do it for three primary reasons. First, it scares the hell out of us to think about our happiness and what makes us happy. Second, we think we are too busy living our lives to take the time necessary to stop and figure out what we want out of life. And finally, the last major reason we avoid doing the work to build our vision is because we think that by writing it down, it will be written in stone - and when it doesn't happen, we feel like we've failed. As long as we don't write it down and don't face it everyday, we will always be able to blame someone or something else for not having our vision - we are afraid of what committing actually means.

Nothing could be further from the truth - our vision grows with us. It doesn't have to be permanent and it certainly doesn't have to be anything we fear. So, before we can make our desired future a reality, it must first exist in the real world, tangibly - not in your head, but written down in a place and in way that you can see it, touch and feel it, each and every day of your life.

So, we're going to make it simple to build your personal vision. . .


Let's start by getting a piece of paper, the bigger the better - I recommend a poster board that is at least 24"x36". You have a lot to put on it and it will need room to grow, over time - as you grow. Get some Sharpies (lots of colors), some paste, a pair of scissors and lots of newspapers, magazines and even old junk mail.

You can start anyway you want, but what I recommend is taking a little of time and think about what you want your life to look like - what you want your life to be. And how you hope your life will have been when it is all over. And how you want your friends and family to feel about you when you are gone.

I've included some questions to think about to help you do this. You can answer them individually, or just read them and let them soak into your thoughts.

Then, just start writing on the poster board with the Sharpies (in as many different colors as you have), every thing that comes to mind. Fill it with your thoughts and your dreams writing them out as randomly or as organized as they come to you.

- You've been given a gift - instead of going strait to heaven, you get to hear what all of your friends and family are saying about you at your funeral. What do you hope to hear?
- What people, things, hobbies, jobs and activities make you feel good about yourself?
- What were your favorite things to do when you were younger? Think about all the major stages of your life. What are your favorite things now?
- What things do you want to do, but either don't know how or are afraid of trying? What is your "Bucket List"?
- Have you ever been so intensely working in or on something that you completely lost track of time? What was it?
- Who in your life do you respect the most? Who inspires you? Who do you turn to when you need help? Why?
- What are your God's given talents in life? What are you best at? What things do others come to you for help with?
- If you had the opportunity to teach something or pass along a message to a large group, what would it be?
- What would you not give up in your life? Looking back, what things, people or events in your life would you most regret if you had not had the opportunity to experience?
- What are your core values - the non-negotiables in your life?
- What were some challenges, difficulties and hardships you've overcome or are in the process of overcoming? How did you do it?
- What causes do you strongly believe in? Connect with?
- How do you give back to the world - your friends, and your family, your community and total strangers.

Now, you've got words, phrases, ideas, and principals that shape your thought process right in front of you. But let's not stop here. Let's bring your ideas to life - make them jump out at you everyday.

Let's make your ideas a visual collage that will capture your imagination!!!

Finally, get out your magazines, old newspapers, old pictures, and any other images that you can find (including those you print off of the internet). Go through everything you have, cutting out images, headlines, phrases (anything you can find) that encapsulate your words and start pasting them all over the board.

Make them overlap, like the ideas in your head. Organize them if you would like. Or make them completely random, it doesn't matter. The key is that it is your Vision - no one else's. There is no right and there is no wrong.

This poster is your Personal Vision!!!
Whether you are having a good day or a bad one, look at it everyday. Let it get inside you and remind you what matters most to. Use the images to guide you through your decisions everyday. And make sure that you live each day, doing what you can to make each it become more than your vision - make it become your reality.