The words you say in your head, create the experience of your life.
That's it. That sums up everything we need to know about how to get the life we want.
What you think, you get!
Yes, but ... how do you get a hold of those run away voices in your head. That is a bit more challenging. In fact, authors again and again have tried to explain it.
This message has been passed down for years
In the 1930's Napolean Hill wrote Think and Grow Rich reminding us that "What the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve".
In 2006, The Secret was written with the belief, that if we imagine it (ask) and we believe it, that we will receive it.
Same message right?
Think it, believe it and it happens.
Lets use me as an example
Let me explain. I start next week on a couple of "busy" weeks. See! Already, my interpretation is that my time will be busy so I keep giving myself that message. I've already told my mind that I am going to be busy and I've made that a stressful thing.
Listen to the voices in my head
I say in my head, the same thing again and again and again. I also say it out loud to anyone who will listen. It goes something like this: On Monday I go to Grande Prairie. Tuesday I drive to Calgary, Wednesday I am in Calgary and then head to Rocky Mountain House. Thursday I present in Rocky and then on Friday I travel home. But, then I am back to Grande Prairie for 2 days the following week. It's exhausting saying that! The problem is, I find myself repeating it again and again. And the problem with that, is that those thoughts only serve to reinforce my exhaustion and busyness thus making me feel even more stressed.
Here is a different version of my story
No imagine if I say it differently. On Monday I don't have to leave until 11 am to go to Grande Prairie, so I have some time to do some things that morning. Tuesday I have the luxury have having 8 hours of travel to listen to an audio book I've been eager to hear. Wednesday I get to spend a wonderful day with my Mom who is undergoing cancer treatments. Thursday I have the opportunity to serve over 100 employees and energize them and reignite their passion for the work they do. Friday I am blessed to travel once again across our beautiful province. And the following week I once again I get to spread my message leadership does not have to come at the cost of our health, families and dreams.
Suddenly my next two weeks sound energizing, inviting and powerful.
You try it now.
1. Rewrite your story - Look at what is going on in your mind and take a moment to re-write the perspective you are in about it.
2. Discipline your mind - Every time you find your mind reciting the old story, bring your mind around to the new story you created.
3. Create a new experience - Feel the difference.
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The most successful leaders stay in flow
The best leaders, the most effective leaders and the most successful leaders are very intentional about their learning. They focus on learning and growth. The best leaders ensure they are constantly developing themselves and learning something new every single day. They keep the knowledge flowing through them and onto the people they serve.
How I do it
Every day I spend time reading. I read in the mornings and if I get a chance several other times a day. I find that my mind grows and expands the more I read. I have a book on my phone so if I am waiting some place, I can read there too. If I own the book, I mark it up. The conscious underlining and making notes in the margin deepen my learning. Here is a list of some of my favourite books.
The internet is a wonderful source of learning
I want to YouTube videos and Ted talks regularly. I read articles and blog posts. I pick other peoples brains and ask questions but help me understand things. I also sign up for free online university courses like Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence, through Coursera.
When I am challenged with something I take time to figure that out. Often that means watching a YouTube video with somebody else is already figured it out ahead of me. Where do you go to for help?
We must take time to continually learn.
Lifelong learning is vital for leaders. It is twofold for Leaders.
Be intentional about your learning
In order to do this you need to plan it. You need to schedule time in for learning and growth.
When learning and growth becomes a constant way of being for you
your leadership will excel.
Join me here
If you are ready to learn out more about yourself, join me and a group of other intentional learners who are working on Shifting Perspectives.
The way you see the problems in front of you ...
will impact the way you feel when you go home at the end of your day.
In fact, that you see it as problem, already sets you up, to go into war.
Problems are seen by most leaders as being difficult
We see problems as something that is getting in our way and that will require effort to remove. Many leaders will view problems as an indication they have done something wrong. Some will view the problems they face in their leadership as a sign. It might be a sign they aren't smart enough, good enough or capable enough. It means, in their mind, that they, or someone around them, has done something wrong, bad or worse yet, stupid. It implies judgement. Harsh judgement.
Leaders will prepare for problems, just like they are going into battle
What if it wasn't quite that arduous?
There are those that see problems differently. They see them as challenges or puzzles to be figured out. Some people even see them as learning opportunities. As such, they get curious, excited and eager to figure it out. These people are able to see the roadblock, problems, dilemmas or challenges in front of them with a whole different perspective. They are not so much labour intensive as instead, steps along the journey to a goal or to realize a vision.
Shifting your perspective on problems frees up energy to approach them rather than fight them
Rather than, "There is no way out of this" you start to get curious about "What if we weren't looking to get out?" From there, you start seeing what is right in front of your face, in a creative and fresh way.
Successful Leaders are open, and they do this by choosing to see options
You can do this too. Start to step back from problems and see them as challenges. Begin to look at new ways of viewing challenges. Look for ways to get a fresh view. Suddenly solutions you hadn't thought of will begin to appear. You will also begin to feel more and more success come easily rather than strenuously.
Join me for a FREE Webinar to help you start shifting your perspectives
Here are 3 lessons I learned from speaking at the AASCF (Alberta Association for Services for Children and Families) conference in Edmonton.
Lesson #1 - Don't try to conform
Ah, my rocks. Rock painting started out as an activity for my daughter and I to do last summer o a camping trip. What do you do with a 16-year-old for a week camping by the river with limited cell services? I thought maybe rock painting might be fun. We took a trip gathering a bunch of rock and enjoyed goofing around with each other. I started painting them, but she lost interest pretty quick. She enjoyed watching my interest though that did not end with the closing of our week. As summer progressed, I became fascinated with gathering rocks and painting them. Throughout the fall, my family more than tolerated our kitchen table strewn with rocks, they encouraged me. That's all fine and good, when it is your family. But seriously? Who would care? Who would like them?
After reaching out tentatively to favourable responses, I decided to take them with me as tokens of gratitude from my booth at the conference. Now lets see, there were pens of course, shopping bags, shopping cart tokens, flashlights, candies, stress balls and .... at my table, home made painted rocks. Hmmmm.
The rocks were a hit!
By noon, all 60 rocks that I had envisioned lugging back home with me were gone. What impressed me most, was the meaning they had to people. From simply the meaning of rocks in people's lives to the messages on them, people told me stories. "My friend tells me that all the time" says one lady about the bright yellow rock embossed with an even brighter orange sunshine, reminding the reader, to Bring the Sunshine. A man holds one and with an ache in his heart, tells me, "My son needs to hear this message" You are Enough. Another visitor asks if she can take one for a youth she is seeing later and chooses Just be You. One lady ready for a new stage in her life took with her the eraser shaped pink rock Fresh Start.
Had I worried (more than I actually did) about what others would think of my rocks and they they weren't professional enough, all of those people would not have been touched in a way they needed in that moment. Conforming to the way others do things brings mediocrity. Being fully and authentically me brings gifts I hadn't even considered. In the end, it wasn't about me.
Question: Do you try to fit in, blend in or conform?
What could you do that would make you stand out as an individual who has their own set of beliefs, ideals and ways of doing things?
Lesson #2 - Confidence comes from within
My session called Leadership GRIT didn't start until 9:45 on Friday morning. The "always be prepared" part in me went to my room to set up early. It was a good thing. A couple of mishaps (not enough seats) were fixed and I had time to spare. I could have started rehearsing my session again, going over notes and ensuring the slide show was just right, but I didn't. Instead, I went within.
I have learned that the best way to build confidence is by putting myself out there. In doing somewhat risky things, I get more comfortable at them and feel braver, more confident and capable. I've also learned that in order to do that, I need the right mental chatter going on in my head.
By replacing "I dunno if this is going to go so well" or "Man am I ever nervous" with "I am a confident and capable speaker" and "I share a powerful, clear message" my confidence begins to soar. I assumed the "super woman" pose. I walked around the empty conference room tall and confident. And I spoke to myself again, and again and again. I've got this. I am an impactful speaker. I make a difference in people's lives. In essence, I followed Amy Cuddy's suggestions in her 2012 Ted Talk about what your body language tells you combined with positive self-talk. The results ... Feedback says (and my heart tells me) I did a damn good session. I did my best, and that is exactly what I wanted. The best I could offer.
Question: Do you wait for others to tell you that you are good, smart, knowledgeable or capable?
What can you do to develop internal confidence in you?
Lesson #3 - Be human, be real
I share a lot in my sessions about me, my experience as a leader and many lessons from my own life of parenting, marriage and community. Sometimes I wonder, if too much. Yet it is often through my own pain, tear, or self appreciating humor that I realize people "get it". The real life stories help people to get it in their own life. I am certainly not "holier than though". I fail. I make mistakes. I have challenges. I also try to learn from them and through them. I then share those lessons in hopes it will help others through similar situations. Here is what people provided for feedback after the session that demonstrate to me, that being real, is exactly what people need:
My lesson is that we need real people in the world and we need to learn from real people.
Question: Do you put a mask or persona on so that people will see the "perfect" you?
Where could you be more open with your faults, mistakes and learnings, that might help others?
Some pictures from the conference
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.