Doubt or Faith

Are you living in doubt or living in faith?

This question was posed today during a Christmas pageant. Since it caused me pause, I thought I’d share it with you.  While I think the intent of the question was grounded in Christian faith, I think it applies to faith in yourself, faith in others, along with your religious or spiritual faith.

A friend of mine recently turned down the job of her dreams because she didn’t think she could handle the position.  Those of us who know her, know she would be a rock star in that position. She allowed her doubt to hold her back.  That offer may or may not ever come again.  If she had stronger faith in herself and her abilities, she might have made a different decision.

We’ve all experienced some level of doubt.  Did the doubt paralyze you? Did it prevent you from trying something new? If you had more faith would you have done things differently?

Don’t let your doubts prevent you from achieving your goals!

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This afternoon I was out and about running errands.  At one store there was a teenage boy looking all “bad-ass” with his thick chains, his pants hanging low, his cap on sideways, and walking with all the swagger a teenage boy can muster.  Meanwhile, a little boy was sitting in the middle of the aisle quietly crying because he was lost and couldn’t find his mommy.  This teenage boy (who I will full on admit, I rolled my eyes at when I first saw him), sat down on the floor and asked the little boy if he could help him find his mommy.  The little boys eyes lit up and he said, “YOU would help me?”  The teenager assured him he would help.

The teenager asked the little boy some questions about what his mom looked like, where he remembered seeing her, what her name was, and so forth.  When the teenager was done asking questions, he got up, took the little boy’s hand and off they went to find the mother (who by the way was incredibly grateful)!

As much as I like to think I don’t pass judgement, I did.  I thought this teenager was just another punk.  And instead, he was a kind young man willing take time out of his day to help a little boy who was lost.

Just a few moments later there were two teenage boys looking like they had just come from church and they were acting like fools.  They were making fun of people, they were knocking items off shelves, and people were avoiding walking down any aisle they were in for fear of being verbally attacked. They were eventually asked to leave the store by two security officers.

As we go about our days, it is sometimes difficult to completely avoid making assumptions or judging people in the split seconds we may be exposed to them.  The events that happened today while I was simply out running errands was a good reminder that first impressions can sometimes be wrong.

We don’t know where our first impressions come from
or precisely what they mean, so we don’t always
appreciate their fragility.
–Malcom Gladwell

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Giving credit for success

If you’re a football fan, and perhaps, even if you’re not a football fan, you know that Reggie Bush, for the first time in his career, rushed for over 1,000 yards in the regular football season for the Miami Dolphins.  I happened to catch a little bit of Reggie’s gig as co-host on Live with Kelly this morning when they were talking about Reggie’s gift to his offensive line.  He gave each member of his offensive line a brand new Segway.  He knew that without his teammates, in particular, the offensive line, that he would never have been able to achieve his record breaking year.  They protect him and they fend off the opposing team so he can do his job.

Are you giving proper credit to the people helping you with your success?  While you may not be in a position to spend thousands of dollars, surely, there is something you can do to express gratitude for your success.

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I have always been fascinated by human behavior.  Sometimes I’m intrigued, sometimes I’m fascinated, and sometimes I’m dumb-founded!  Today, this morning, I was dumb-founded (I actually wrote this in October and just found it in my draft file).  Here’s my story:

I needed to get gasoline for my lawnmower so rather than drive my car 8 blocks to the gas station, I decided to ride my bike.  I put my little 3 gallon gas can on the handle bars of my bike and off I cycled.  I realize I’m not dressed very business like, I have a big baggy zip-up hoody over a white t-shirt, running pants, a bandanna on my head, and beat up running shoes on my feet.

Here are just some of the comments people made while driving by:

  • LOSER!
  • Get a JOB!
  • Ran out of gas, huh?
  • If you ran out of gas, you’re too stupid to own a car

And while I was at the gas station putting gasoline in my little 3 gallon gas can, a young teenager came over to me and asked if I needed a bigger gas can because he lived just a few doors down and he would even fill it up for me. He said, “I know people are really struggling right now, and if you need gas for your car, that isn’t going to get you very far.”  I was touched by his kindness and with a big smile on my face said, “I’m only getting gas for my lawnmower!”  He laughed, then apologized for making an assumption that I was getting gas for my car.

What assumptions do you make about others that aren’t necessarily correct assumptions?

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Success smells like…

I had a phone conversation today with a man who is looking for a coach and has interviewed several people because he’s looking for, in his words, “somebody awesome to work with.”  The conversation was pretty typical for a coaching consultation where we discussed goals, results, and philosophies.  He said, “Michelle, it comes down to this. I want more success.” So naturally, I asked…

“What does success smell, feel, and taste like to you?”

After a very long pause he nervously giggled and said, “I thought I heard you ask me what success SMELLS like?”  I told him that was indeed part of my question.

He didn’t know how to even begin formulating an answer to my question. Success, to him, meant more money and more opportunity.  When I pushed him to think deeper than dollars and opportunities it helped him put his definition of success into something very real and much more tangible; that is something he can visualize.

He could feel success in the material of the couch he would own, he could taste success by the Kobe beef he would eat, and he could smell success by the ocean he could sail on whenever he wanted to.

What does your personal success smell, taste, and feel like?  When you can get closer to your definition of success, the more likely  you are to achieve it.

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What’s your story?

I attended a networking event today and during the introduction period, we were asked to answer the question: “Why do you do what you do?”  I have to say, many people where underwhelming in their statements of why they do what they do.  A few people, however really stood out because they were able to share a piece of their story.  Here are a couple examples:

  • One woman who is an organizer and decluttering expert shared how her father was a hoarder. She talked about how he felt about it and her family’s experience upon his death.  It is that experience that prompted her to start her business and it is that experience that drives her.
  • Another person shared experiences of her clients and how her expertise was able to impact their world.
  • One of the chiropractor’s shared her story of how several years ago, chiropractic care helped her get out of her wheelchair and she’s been pain free and out of the chair ever since.

Some people were animated and excited about answering the question, “why do you do what you do?” The excitement comes across in their story. They all have great mindsets and attitudes about “why they do what they do” and they are able to express it confidently.

Others couldn’t answer the question in the time-frame allotted, some stumbled over their words, while others indicated they do it because that’s what they do.

My point here is this… if you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner and you’re not passionate and/or excited about what you do, and you can’t express it; why should anyone else be excited to be your client?

So, what’s your story?  Why do you do what you do?

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Get Organized Using the 3 D’s…

Today my time management skills were tested when I conducted a 10-minute workshop on time management!  I actually finished with 30 seconds to spare.  Anyway, some of what I talked about in the workshop, I thought I’d share here…

You all know time management isn’t really a time management issue, right?  People know they should do the most important things first; yet so many people don’t do what they know they should be doing.  Why do you think that is?  Some answers include: fear, procrastination, disorganization.  It’s that last one I’ll briefly discuss here.  If you have “stuff” piled up and cluttering your desk and your drawers…. get yourself organized by using the 3 D’s of Time Management!  The 3 D’s are:

  • DO
  • DUMP

In terms of getting organized, you want to take action on items that fall into the DO category.  You need to create some sub folders for doing things. Try creating a series of folders called: Today, This Week, Next Week, and This Month.  Keep on top of those folders. 

DUMP – what kind of things are you holding on to?  Are you keeping things that support your vision, values, and goals?  You want to dump those things that are not in alignment with who you are, where you’re going, or with what’s important to you both personally and professionally. 

The 3rd D is DELEGATE!  I know plenty of people who think they don’t have anyone to delegate to.  Well, I will challenge that by saying think outside the box in terms of what and to whom you can delegate things.  I’ll write more on delegation in another blog post!

The really cool thing about mastering the 3 D’s is that they can apply to physical stuff as well as your emails and electronic documents.  You can use the 3 D’s to GET organized and to STAY organized.

Coach’s Challenge
Today your challenge is to go through at least one stack of your “stuff” and tryout the three D’s.  To make the challenge even greater, try touching each of those pieces of papers or emails only once as you categorize them into the 3 D’s of Time Management.

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Sometimes people get so close to their own issues, their own experiences, their own circumstances, and their own problems that they completely lose perspective.  Sometimes the lost perspective results in taking your eye off your goals, sometimes it causes you to focus so much on an obstacle that you can’t look past it and sometimes it just gets you off course.

Here are a few ideas to change your perspective:

  • Ask yourself, “will this matter in a week, in a month, in a year?”  or, as a friend of mine asks herself, “Is this earth shattering?”  Take a moment and evaluate if the energy you are putting into a problem is worth the investment of your time. 
  • Take a break.  Sometimes you get so focused on a problem that you can’t think straight about it.  Step back, walk away, and clear your head.  Come back to the problem with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
  • Ask “why” over and over again.  We’ve all had “that kid” in our family who always asks why? Well, be that kid.  Ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing and keep asking why until you get to the nitty gritty – is what you’re doing in-line with the future you want? Why?

Of course, hiring a coach is a great way to find a new perspective too!  I’d love to hear from you, what do you do when you need a new perspective on something?

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Strengths and Talents

Would you agree that you have strengths and you have weaknesses? Everyone does, whether they want to admit it or not is an entirely different story!  I am a big believer in identifying your strengths and weakness and focusing on the strengths.  The only time I suggest working on your weakness is if it is preventing you from doing something or achieving something.   

In a soon to be released book, “Why Selling Sucks!“, Jay Niblick makes the argument that you don’t have strengths and weaknesses; rather you have talents and non-talents.  Your weakness comes into play when you rely on your non-talents to achieve your goals. 

I really appreciate Jay’s approach as it makes sense that your talents would be your strengths, when you use them.  It begs the question, are you trying to make a non-talent work for you? Or are you using all of your talents to navigate your way to success?

Your Challenge
Write down your top 5 talents (strengths) and compare that to your goal achievement plan; how do your goals and your talents line up?

Related blog posts: Confidence in your strengths

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Common Courtesy

A woman contacted me on the premise of telling me she read some of my articles posted on a leadership blog I write for and wanted to discuss them.  So she calls me and the very first thing out of her mouth is, “Do you use assessments in your business?”  As I began responding to her question she rambled on and on about the assessments she uses in her consulting business and that I should use them too… Despite my many attempts, she would not let me talk, and since I had no interest in the assessments she uses, I hung up! (I very rarely hang up on people and every time I’ve ever hung up on somebody, I feel horrible about it.) 

This woman displayed no common courtesy whatsoever.  As I was feeling horrible for hanging up on her, these thoughts were going through my head: She was dishonest on why she really wanted to talk with me.  If she knew anything about me she would know I don’t call my coaching practice a business. If she wanted to sell me assessments, she should have told me that up-front.  When I call somebody I usually say, “hello, is this still a good time to talk?”  At the very least, I ask, “how are you?”  And when I ask a question, I actually listen to the answer.  And then….

…She called me back and as soon as I picked up the phone said, “We must have been disconnected, where did we leave off?” After a slight pause, she said, “Oh right, I was talking about all of my assessments. So what do you think?”  I took a deep breath and politely told her I already have a pool of assessments I use and that I’m very happy with them.  She lit into me telling me I wasted her time.  At this point, I was very firm with her and said, “Now just wait a minute!  YOU wasted my time!  You told me you wanted to discuss MY articles and that is clearly not why you called.  When you asked me if I use assessments YOU never let me answer the question and you wouldn’t let me speak.  Had you let me answer your question, you would have known I was not interested in what you are selling.”  She had a few choice words and hung up!  And I just laughed – what else can you do?

I believe there is a lesson in every situation and sometimes the lesson is just a simple reminder.  Here’s what I take from this phone call:

  • Be honest about why you want to have a conversation with somebody
  • Small talk is courteous (How are you, is this a good time talk, etc…)
  • When you ask a question, stop talking and listen for the answer
  • If you don’t want an answer to your question — don’t ask your question
  • Don’t let somebody else prompt you to behave rudely – rise above it

May your day be filled with common courtesy!

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