Facing Giants

This clip is about 6 minutes long…the impact it leaves is well worth the time invested.

Do your words and attitudes limit the length you will go to achieve your goals?  Do you quite before you even try to start? Do you think you can only go 10 or 20 yards? 

My bet is on you.. YOU can make it to the end zone!  If you’re struggling with that, give us a call, we can help get you in the best field position for you to make it to your end zone – – – success!

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Being Underestimated

A recurring theme I’ve noticed in recent conversations and even on television is on the topic of underestimating people and underestimating yourself.   It really started during a conversation with a youth baseball league coach who commented on how many parents he hears telling their kids they aren’t good enough and never will be. Then I heard some people talking at a conference about how many times they were underestimated in their career.  And just this weekend on television there was more talk about what happens when somebody underestimates you.  So naturally, that got me thinking! 

Have you ever been underestimated?  I know I have.  How do you react? 

  •  Do you question yourself or your abilities?
  • Does it impact your self-confidence?
  •  Do you believe them?
  • Do you quit?
  • Do you try harder?
  • Does it motivate you to prove them wrong?
  • Do you think of other options?

Perhaps you underestimate yourself. Have any of these thoughts entered your mind? “I’m not good enough. I can’t do it. This will never work. I’m not smart enough.”  Every time you think one of these thoughts, you’re holding yourself back and you’re essentially telling yourself you’re not good enough.

Overcoming the influence of underestimation

Here are just a few thoughts on overcoming the negative influence of being underestimated:

  • Use affirmations (e.g. I AM good enough. I AM smart enough. I CAN do it.)
  • Reflect on all those things you have accomplished and where you have seen success in your life.
  • Trust yourself. If you have to, start with the small things to build your self-trust.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. (We all define success differently.)
  • Surround yourself with people who believe in the power of your dreams – they lift you up so you can soar to greater heights.


“Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” Wilma Rudolph 

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Celebrate the Success of Others

I watched The Secret Millionairelast night. There were a lot of really great stories from the show and there is one thing in particular that really struck me.  Two elderly twin-sisters, Helen and Ellen run a non-profit organization called Love Kitchen in Knoxville.  The folks at Love Kitchen prepare over 2,000 meals a week to serve the less fortunate people in their community.

The premise of the show, as you may know, is that a millionaire goes to a community and is “undercover” if you will.  This episode, a woman named Dani went to the Knoxville area and lived in a run-down apartment in a not so great part of town.  She then went about finding places to volunteer.  The people within the organizations all thought she was new to the neighborhood and looking for places to volunteer. 

When Dani went into the  Love Kitchen Helen and Ellen met her with hugs and a whole lot of love.  At the end of the show, Dani reveals herself as a millionaire.  Dani shared that at 21 she was homeless and by 23 she was a successful business woman and a millionaire.  Helen and Ellen were so excited for Dani.  They both said, “Oh good for you” and they clapped their hands in pure celebration.  Their genuine celebration of Dani’s success was so touching because the Love Kitchen was struggling and not sure how much longer they would be able to continue feeding so many people.  It was only after that excitement when Dani revealed she was making a sizable donation to the Love Kitchen.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all could genuinely celebrate the successes of others. no matter what our own circumstances are?  We all can, so let’s make a conscious effort to do it!

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Attitudes are Contagious: Is Yours Worth Catching?

Winston Churchill once said, “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” While I agree attitudes can make a big difference, I don’t think attitudes are little things! 

Think about it for a minute, if you were asked, “What is an attitude?” how would you respond? An attitude is _______ (fill in the blank). I ask this question quite a bit and I’ve received responses such as attitudes are positive or negative; an attitude is passing judgment; an attitude is a feeling, a belief, an opinion, or a bias. A definition I learned a few years ago is that, “Attitudes are habits of thought.” If that’s true, then our attitudes impact everything we do. Our habits impact the way we think, the way we think impacts our behavior, and the way we behave impacts our results or outcomes. Our attitudes predict our future behavior and they influence our social perceptions and memories.

I mentioned that I believed attitudes are habits of thought when I was speaking at a conference a while ago. One of the participants nodded in agreement then said, “When my daughter wakes up in the morning, she’s often really crabby and cranky. I tell her that she had better change her attitude before she leaves for school. She then goes to her room and comes back with a positive attitude.” Then she said, “If attitudes are habits of thought, am I setting her up to need therapy by telling her she has to change her attitude?”  We opened that up for discussion and everyone agreed that she was teaching her daughter a really powerful lesson, one that we can all benefit from, that lesson is that we control our attitudes and we can choose which attitude carries us through the day. 

If you want different results in your life, it’s not enough to change your behavior,
you must also change your attitudes!

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Hope and Faith

The other day I was reading along when these two sentences a few pages back kept going through my head, “Hope Anticipates. Faith believes.”[1]   I had to set the book down to really think about those two seemingly very simple sentences. There is something very innocent yet very powerful in those words.

I often ask clients, “Do you have faith in yourself? Do you believe you can do it?”—– Faith believes.  I remember getting ready to officially start my coaching practice and getting ready to leave my corporate career behind; people said, “you’re really taking a leap of faith.”  I never questioned that leap of faith. I knew what I wanted to do with my life and I believed I would do it. 

The word hope is used a lot these days.  We hope the economy turns around. We hope to avoid the flu. We hope….

The word hope is not a wish or a desire. With hope there is an implied expectation of a positive result. The online etymology dictionary says “some suggest a connection with hop (v) on the notion of “leaping in expectation.”[2]

How are hope and faith working in your life?
How is your faith in yourself, in your business?
Do you leap with intent and purpose?
Is hope hopping with expectation in your life?

“Hope anticipates. Faith believes.” 

[1] Quoted from Don Piper & Gail Murphy’s book: “Daily Devotions: Inspired by 90-Minutes in Heaven,” page 2.
[2] hope. (n.d.). Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved February 07, 2011, from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hope
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Confidence in your strengths

I happened to catch part of Wynton Marsalis’ interview on 60 Minutes a couple weeks ago.  Wynton Marsalis is one of the world’s greatest jazz musicians, he tours as “Wynton Marsalis with Jazz” and “Wynton Marsalis Quintet.” I’m sure there are other titles as well.

He has a fascinating background growing up in the music industry.  He’s a brilliant musician and composer.  However, what truly caught my attention was when he was asked why he doesn’t play the role of conductor.  He confidently responded, “I play 4th trumpet, that’s where I’m comfortable” and “I’m not a good conductor!”  Of course he doesn’t just play 4th trumpet, he composes, he plays other instruments, and he does solos.  It is interesting that he doesn’t conduct the group that carries his name and brand. It is interesting that ego doesn’t get in his way and that he encourages other people to shine right along with him. 

It’s a classic example of one knowing his own strengths and surrounding himself with the right people.  People who are strong where he is not, people who complement his strengths, and people who support his vision.

Are you surrounding yourself with the right people?  Do you let people know you’re comfortable not always being in the proverbial driver seat?  Sometimes we have to let other people lead.  Are you letting other people help you shine your light even brighter?

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Become a better listener

 After writing the last blog entry, “Do we listen enough” I thought I’d offer some additional tips on improving one’s listening skills:

Tips to be a better listener 

So how can we continue to develop our listening skills?  The following are just a few tips to get started:

  • Listen with respect and validation – How often do you find yourself listening to somebody and just waiting to jump on them for a fault or weakness?  I challenge you to try listening for something you can respect or validate. I’m not saying you have to agree with the person, just think about how you can respect their opinion or view.
  • Listen without thinking how you’re going to respond – When I was taking a coaching certification class, this was a big challenge.  My coach asks the most amazing questions and I put a lot of pressure on myself to have just the right question. So during the practicum piece of the certification class, I was so busy trying to come up with a great, profound question, I wasn’t listening to the person with whom I was coaching.  As a coach, as a leader, as a parent, as a team member, it’s SO important to just listen. The key is to put your own thoughts, feelings, reactions aside and to just be with the person talking. In other words, you need to attend to their words, put yourself in their shoes and keep an open mind to truly hear and feel what they are saying.
  • Listen with optimism – be open to the possibilities!  I can’t tell you how many times I hear people talk about a new proces, a new concept, some way to improve something and more often than not, it’s met with “that will never work.”  Try to focus on what’s positive, why it could work, etc… Try to listen with positive regard for capabilities, strength, and try to change the focus to something positive. Even in the worst of times, there is something positive to find.
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Do we “listen” enough?

One of Winston Churchill’s quotes comes to mind when I think about the topic of listening: 

 “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak;
courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” 

When we listen, we do so for a variety of reasons.  We listen with the intent to understand, to learn, to gain information, or to be entertained.  So with all these reasons, why do so many people struggle with their listening skills?  Sure, people are busy, they think they know what the other person is going to say and more often than not, they aren’t really paying attention. 

How could your personal and professional life change if you became a really good listener?  Well, for starters, it can improve productivity, it can improve your ability to influence others, and you will become a much better negotiator and persuader.

My role as a coach is to ask questions and listen to the answers.  I have to listen carefully and sometimes I have to listen to what is not being said.  It’s a skill that is continuously developing!  I sometimes want to interrupt and give my opinion or a piece of advice; however, if I interrupt, I may change the line of thinking a client is pursuing and that is not giving my client my best coaching.  When I listen I have to do so with an open mind, I have to practice what is called “active listening.” This means I listen to the words and more importantly I must listen with the intent of understanding the meaning of the message I am receiving. I cannot allow myself to be distracted, I can’t allow myself to start solving their problem, I can’t allow myself to lose focus, and I certainly can’t interrupt.

When you listen, are you practicing “active listening?”  This doesn’t mean saying, “uh-huh!”  It means you’re paying attention, you might mirror the communication (what I hear you saying is…), you’re listening with an open mind (no judgement), you’re listening with optimism, and you’re doing all of this w/out formulating your response before the person is done talking.  Yep, that takes courage alright!  How courageous will you be with your listening skills?

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Vision Boards

As I prepare to do a vision board workshop this week, I realized I haven’t blogged in a bit.  One of the things my business focused vision board needs to have on it is blogging.  So today’s blog is dedicated to vision boards!  Do you have one?  If not, you should! 

The whole idea behind vision boards is that when you surround yourself with images of what you want to become, what you want to have, where you want to live, or perhaps where you want to vacation, your life changes to meet those images. The vision board adds clarity to your desires and feelings to your vision.Over the years I’ve seen a wide variety of vision boards from picture collages on mirrors, doors, picture frames, & poster board to sketch books, to a vision board dedicated to beating cancer.  The options are limitless!  

Get Started
My vision boards are pretty simple – they are a bunch of pictures and words assembled in a collage on poster board. I have one for “life” and one that is dedicated specifically to business growth.  Elements of the business are also on my “life” vision board, after all, we have only one life!

The easiest way to get started is by thinking about what you want, who want to become, etc.. and start snipping photos and keywords or phrases from magazines. These images and words should be things that resonate with who and/or make you happy.  Collect a LOT of photos and words, then start sorting through them and laying them out on poster board. You can do a random collage of the images, or maybe you want it more organized; so you could create quadrants dedicated to different categories (e.g. relationships, career, health, financial).  It’s that simple!

Even if it’s a work in progress, your vision board should be placed somewhere you will see it every day so you can start realizing and living your vision!

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Standup for what’s right

The other day I was grocery shopping, which, by the way, is one of my very least favorite things to do.  The layout of the checkout counters leaves a bit to be desired. There are several rows, two cashier counters deep. So if you want to get to the checkout in front, you have to pass by other customers unloading their carts (or standing in line).  So, I was passing by a family and one of the kids backed into my cart, which in turn knocked over almost an entire display of candy bars and gum.

The woman whose teenage boy backed into my cart started yelling at me. The boy said, “it’s not her fault mom, I stepped into the cart.” I said, “I should have told you I was coming by, I’m sorry.”  He and I picked up the candy, he apologized, I apologized, and I went on my merry way to the checkout counter in front of them.

As they were leaving, they walked by me and the mom elbowed me, pretty hard. The boy mouthed, “pleased don’t do anything.”  The cashier asked if I was okay and if I wanted her to call security. I said I was fine.  Then as I was putting my items in the trunk the teenage boy came over to my car and said, “I apologize for my mother’s behavior. She was wrong for what she did.” I was absolultely stunned!

I told him how much I appreciated him going out of his way to apologize for his mother’s behavior.  He said, “My father has always taught me to do what is right, even if it means I have to stand alone. My mother was not right for what she did and I will probably get in trouble for talking to you but I just had to apologize because you didn’t do anything wrong. My mother is often wrong in what she does. I’m sorry she shoved you, she should not have done that and I told her she was wrong.”  I told the boy to be sure and tell his father how he did the right thing today and that his father should be very proud of him.

Do you standup for what is right, even if you end up standing alone?

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