Archive for Career Ruts

Risk Taking Rocks!

Moving On Can Be Moving Up

This is a call to “reawaken risk taking”  in your daily lives.  Just a few random thoughts on how to jump start risk taking in your organization or your personal life.

1) Get good at possibility thinking. Think of what CAN be done versus the roadblocks. There is nothing like running into a wall of resistance. Monitoring the number of times that we say it can’t be done or we’ve already tried that and it didn’t work can go a really long way. Simply modifying, “it can’t work” to something more open ended like “what would it take to get it done?” will generate a lot more creativity and discussion. You may stumble on something new that will work in the course of a conversation. 

2) Remove the cross department angst. Stop worrying about who gets credit. There’s no faster way to lose credibility than to be worrying about trophies and who gets the prize.   Just do the right thing and let credit manage itself.

3) The path to success requires pushing through your comfort zone. Growth doesn’t generally occur in what we’ve always done. Stretch and roll up your sleeves. Think big.  Most people will say their highest growth opportunity resulted from a roll that they feared or a decision that had them “shaking in their boots.”

4) Set a goal and go after it. With good intent, we tend to make things complicated. We are engineers(analyzers) for goodness sake and we want the 20 page document as our security blanket. Keeping a simple goal that people can connect with gives your vision a lot more mileage.  

5) Get back to the basics. Speak up and make some decisions even if they are tough to make.  Minimize the number of decision makers if possible.  Be very deliberate on the criteria required to make the decision and don’t procrastinate for the sake of delaying a decision. Some delays speed you up. Be clear with yourself and your teams.

 How are you or your teams internalizing the challenge of risk taking?  Please share.  I’ll continue to update you on any cool things I hear.

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Nelson Mandela's Prison, Robben Island

This is an inspirational piece to remind us that we all have the power to be our best.    Thought management is critical to this process and it will  require ”freeing of the mind.”  Drop me a comment regarding your thoughts on this topic.  I’d especially like to hear what’s shackling you and keeping you from being your best.  This is a great week to get off your “buts”  (as in excuses).


Freedom escapes us more times than not

Even without the ties that physically bind.

No chains on our feet. No prison walls.

Yet we are seriously constrained by our mind.

Freedom escapes us

During our strenuous efforts to please.

We seek to gain the satisfaction of others,

And in turn, cause ourselves to bleed.

Freedom escapes us

Too easily in our day to day.

And small decisions made hour by hour.

Choosing the opposite of our truth,

In a effort to suit others,

Results in relinquishing our power.

Freedom Escapes Us.

And what does power have to do with being free?

If we imprison our passions and dreams,

The power of being true to ourselves will slowly deplete.

We then live a story that is a replica.

And our gift to this world is not complete.

Freedom Escapes Us.

Written by Barbara H. McAllister ©

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Is Procrastination getting in the Way of your Destination?

Procrastination most often is one of the show stoppers between us moving forward on those things we should be completing or staying stuck in the “same ole same.”   

Procrastination is common for many of us and according to Pier Steel, a human resources professor at the Univ. of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, 95% of us procrastinate  with 15% to 20% being chronic offenders.*  His study also shares that people who procrastinate underperform in every area of their lives from health to finance. What this screams out loud is that because we are all prone to it, we should really beef up our ability to manage through procrastination.

Knowing the end result or negative impact of procrastination helps in our ability to manage this challenge.  Procrastination can result in: missed opportunities, increased stress, poor performance, and wasted time that will delay your progress towards your goals.  It is often rooted in distractions, fear of failure and lack of self confidence.   Sadly, each time you put off tasks, you are strengthening your habits around procrastination. 

Try doing the following in managing procrastination:

1)   Be clear on what it is you are giving up by procrastinating. In many cases, it is your dream job, advanced education and growth opportunities and/or reducing your quality of life.

2)   Eliminate your distractions.  What’s pulling you away from the prioritized tasks?  This may include shifting some of the hours spent on facebook or TV to hours spent on key tasks that are on the path towards your life goals.

3)   Address the “thinking” behind your procrastination at the root.  We are what we think. Are your thoughts getting in the way of your success?

4)   Make a complete list of all of the things you have been procrastinating on.  Commit to completing 1-2 items per week or an appropriate schedule that you can accomplish and stick to like glue to keep things moving.  Set up small celebrations and/or rewards that will keep you encouraged to continue moving forward.

5)   Enlist a coach or friend. Share your list with them and ask them to aid you in staying accountable to your list.

Don’t let procrastination get in the way of your destination.  We become our habits and procrastination is not something we want to become because “procrastinators underperform in every area of their lives.”

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It’s Plan Time. Develop A Plan for You!

In the next couple of months, many companies and organizations alike will kick off their 2010 planning and budget process.   Many of us are quite familiar with this process as we have either led these strategic planning processes for our organizations or we’ve provided necessary input many times over.

 While we do this for our companies and our big projects at work, many of us do not prioritize this very important annual exercise for ourselves and neither do we apply the same level of diligence in the planning for our very own personal goals or our longer term vision for ourselves.

What if you were asked about your company’s plan for the next quarter and in the same conversation asked about your own personal goals for the next quarter?  Many of us would be fluent on the company’s goals but would flounder on our personal goals.

Just supposed we took the same care and diligence this year to perform a strategic planning session for 2010 for us, for our personal goals.  What if we stopped to assess our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats in the way of our personal success?  What if we simply stopped ourselves to reawaken the vision within us that we’ve allowed to stay buried underneath layers and layers of fear?  What if we took some positive steps in the direction of  realigning our day to day activities towards those tasks and habits that will move us closer to our longer term personal goals and dreams?

Try the following steps as a part of your upcoming budget and planning process for you!

1)  First, draw up your vision board or key vision themes of what you want success to look like in a finite period of time.  Start with over the next year just to ensure the goals are tangible.  You may want to ask yourself some key questions that will aid you with your vision.  Ex.  What would I be doing if I knew I could not fail?  What am I crazy passionate about?  If I am being successful in 2010, what would that look like?

 2)  What are 3 things I can do in the next quarter that would move me closer towards my success goals? 

 3)   What does my support structure need to look like that will enable a faster speed and steady path toward achieving my goals?  Who or what things do I need to move out of the way that are no longer serving me?  Are there habits that need to be broken or new habits that I need to create to aid me in my journey towards getting closer to my end state goals?

 Once you’ve completed these 3 steps, consider enlisting a coach or a support buddy that will keep you on your toes and inquire frequently about your progress.  You do not want to share your vision with just anyone.  Make sure it’s someone you trust versus a vision buster. 

 This will be a great first start towards you moving closer to your dreams and I wish you well as you start this very important journey. 

 Unless you have a definite, precise, clear set of goals, you are not going to realize the maximum potential that lies within you. -Zig Ziglar

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