We’re in the midst of the season when we reflect on what we are thankful for, look back on the year as it comes to an end, and set our sights on all that lies ahead. All three of these are top of mind for me. My father passed away at the beginning of October. He led a long life (93 years!) that was filled with passion and commitment to those things most important to him: his family, faith, and friends. I am thankful for all he taught me and the example he set for how to be a leader in all aspects of your life.
Looking back on the year past I see the continuing growth of a coaching practice that helps people and companies across the country, at all levels of leadership, and with a diverse set of needs. Whether I’ve worked with leaders at universities, entrepreneurs, small business owners, non-profits, or executives at major corporations, I see growth in their ability to achieve goals in their personal and professional lives. I am grateful for the opportunity to join in so many journeys, and together with the client, to have been able to make an impact.
My clients will probably say the word they hear the most from me is opportunity. I look ahead to the new year with excitement about the opportunities that lie ahead. The growth of Ressmeyer Partners and Happy Hour Coach® brings the addition of more resources (administrative and coaching) to help carry out our mission to help individuals and leadership teams be happier, fulfilled, and even more successful. In addition to one-on-one coaching, there are already projects on the calendar to deliver trainings, conference presentations, and team development. Knowing there are people willing to put in the effort to overcome the obstacles that hold them back – real and imagined – gets me excited to carry out my mission every single day.
Great things lie ahead! Contact me if you would like to have a chat and see how together we can make 2018 one of your best years yet.
“So…what are you doing with your life?”
“Are you still single?“
Are you dreading an inevitable question this holiday season? For many of us, this week kicked off a season filled with socials and family gatherings. These events can be great, often letting us catch up with those we don’t get to see as much as we’d like; they can also be a bit stressful. Perhaps you’re anticipating uncomfortable questions from curious relatives, or worried about how to talk about your difficulties at work. Maybe you’re meeting with old friends and you want to put on a good face.
At times, we all feel pressure to give the impression that we have it all or that we have it all together – but this is limiting. What does “having it all” even mean? No one has a perfect life, and if you spend your time worrying about measuring up to someone else’s standards or trying to attain the unattainable, you’ll miss the great opportunities in front of you.
So, how do you respond to questions you aren’t particularly excited to answer? How do you show up with confidence and authenticity? Here are three tips to help make the most of your interactions this holiday season.
1. Come from a place of positivity. If you’ve had a great year, this should be an easy one – but it’s easier said than done during a difficult period. Perhaps you’re having problems with your team, you are unhappy in your job, or you and your partner are in a rough patch – but try not to dwell in the negativity. Sure, vent and get it out of your system, but then look for the silver lining. Ask yourself: How can I grow from this? How can I turn this terrible job/dispute/relationship into a new opportunity? Then, when you’re asked those uncomfortable questions, you’re able to talk about how you plan to make your life’s challenges work for you. Remember: difficult situations can provide some of the best learning opportunities – and they’re often the events that propel us into action.
2. Channel your inner confidence. It’s easy to succumb to feelings of self-doubt when we aren’t happy with where we are in our lives. We might feel pressure to measure up to other people’s standards, but often, we’re the ones putting those burdens and requirements on ourselves. Remember that a lot of our self-doubt is self-inflicted – so don’t be so hard on yourself. Make a list of what you’re good at and write down the “wins” you had this year. Celebrate in those, and when you’re starting to feel doubt or negativity creeping in, go back to those highlights and remember that you can – and will – continue to have successes. Practice focusing on what’s right and not what’s wrong, and it will start to come naturally.
3. Go in with a plan. If you’re worried about questions you’ll get (“So, you STILL haven’t found a job?”), think through how you can answer in a way that is honest but doesn’t give in to negativity. If you don’t want to talk about something, prepare a sentence or two that helps you respond and change the conversation. But don’t forget to think about your longer-term plan – what steps are you going to take to change your situation so that a year from now, you’ll look forward to sharing details about your great new job or how you’ve turned things around at work? What will you do to create positive change in your life? This will help you answer tough questions, but it will also get you in the right mindset to start taking action to change the things that are holding you back.
The holidays provide invaluable opportunities to reconnect with people, and you have the power to shape these interactions. You can help create positive encounters, even if things aren’t “perfect,” by staying confident and authentic. Showing up in these situations with a positive attitude and a plan will go a long way in helping you enjoy this holiday season, as well as going into 2018 with purpose.
Being in business with a partner is that double-edged sword of an amazing opportunity balanced against the potential for disaster. It is an alliance whose genesis is often based on friendship and excitement and advances into getting in bed together in a high-stakes relationship.
A lack of intentionality to foster the alliance can lead to financial failure and broken relationships.
(The parallels with a personal or romantic relationship are obvious and well documented. Leadership coaching of this sort can be referred to as “couples counseling.” True, but get the tongue out-of-the-cheek and see how important this is.)
If you are going into business together, it is a startup. Whether you’re 25 or 50 something new is being created. Even if you’re taking over an established business, your relationship is a new one that needs special attention as it goes through the phases of creating something new. The stats are well documented for the percentage of new businesses that fail. What isn’t all that clear is how much of that is due to healthy relationships between the leaders, and how many personal relationships dissolve when things go south.
Kudos to mature businesses that are run by partners and have survived the test of time. We can learn from those and also look for ways to improve and embrace the ever-changing lifecycles they encounter.
These three strategies will help a business partnership thrive by hitting head on some of the biggest opportunities for success.
Every day is Different – Be Ready for Change
You have to be brutally aware that you, your partner, and the business are different every single day. Yes, you have your vision, mission, goals, business plan, etc. that you use as your north star that helps you navigate into the future, but things will change.
Your partner starts dating someone new. A sure-thing investor is continuing to delay a decision. Your parents are having health problems. You’ve moved to a new office. You feel like you’re carrying more of the load. That competitor seems to be doing really well. There are now more employees and your 1:1 partner relationship isn’t like it once was.
These are examples of things you really don’t have control over. Whether personal or professional, the things that happen to you impact all dimensions of your life. When uncertainty or unanticipated change happens, our instinct is to try to protect ourselves. We do this by avoiding, exhibiting self-doubt, or blaming others to help us feel more secure.
When you look at things through the lens of “protecting self” you are not in the best place to make important decisions. It leads to judgment of yourself or others that may or may not be fair or true. It isn’t constructive in trying to resolve and adapt to the inevitability of change in your business partnership.
You can control how you react to the things that are going on around you. Knowing change is inevitable helps you:
• Manage your own interpretation of the events and not blame your partner. Things that occur don’t have to have to be judged as good or bad. They happened, and now it’s time to take action moving forward in ways that serve the business.
• Point out to each other where you see change happening so you can address it together. You and your partner have blind spots and see things differently. You have the advantage of the partnership where you can – and have the responsibility – to help each other see things clearly.
• Be confident that no matter what happens not only can the challenge be managed, but it can be leveraged for even better outcomes. These are all learning opportunities.
Trust Yourself, Your Partner, The Relationship
You are together for a reason. You know that you have vision, skills, and experience that have brought you to this point. You know your partner brings a set of strengths as well. They are not the same set of attributes for both of you. Some are more developed in one of you than the other. THANK GOD! If you were identically gifted, you would be redundant, and the partnership wouldn’t make sense.
Believing that each of you has something to offer allows trust to be manifest in the partnership.
Attention to detail. Client relationship management. Financial acumen. Honesty. Conflict resolution. Vision. Communication. Strategy implementation. Business development. Talent management. Creating teams. Sales. Integrity.
These are all talents and values necessary in a successful organization. Each of you will fall somewhere along that continuum of “not good” to “crushing it” for each of these. Trusting that your partner brings something to the table and is in alignment with the overarching goals and values is crucial. Furthermore, trusting each other to step up and grow in areas where you’re not as strong sustains the long-term success.
Trusting yourself and trusting your partner leads to being able to trust the relationship. If you can be confident that you’re giving your best and your partner is as well, then you are able to focus on the relationship.
By not blaming yourself or your partner, you are able to see there is something bigger that transcends both of you. You believe your relationship (or business) is more important than each of you individually. That trust allows you to get over yourself and be able to see ways to achieve your goals alongside your partner.
Ask the Hard Questions
Hard questions have to be asked to keep things moving forward. Those questions have to be asked of you, about the other person, and about the business.
This is really hard to do because sometimes you don’t know what the answer will be. Alternatively, once the question is asked the proverbial cat-is-out-of-the-bag. Failing to ask those questions, however, does not change the answer. Nor does the problem (real or imagined) go away.
The hard questions have to be asked.
Is this business what we were hoping it would be? Am I enjoying what I am doing? Do I still want to be doing this? What is the value my partner brings to the company? What do I need to do to contribute more effectively? How do we want to solve problems moving forward? What can each of us do to help the other succeed?
These are incredibly hard questions to ask oneself, or to discuss with your partner. It takes trust, honesty, and confidence to have fruitful conversations around critical questions.
One of the biggest obstacles to being able to ask the hard questions is a real or perceived imbalance of power within the partnership. Inevitably, a partner assumes control overall, or one or the other might dominate in certain dimensions of the relationship. Playing to your strengths is essential, and that makes a partnership work. However, you are both there for a reason, and each of you should want and be able to ask the hard questions.
To help level the playing field, and to be sure to include the positive as well as the negative, here are Five Questions you can both use to help set the foundation for effective communication and to start asking he hard questions.
1. What contribution to the business have I made in the past few months that I am most proud of?
2. What contribution has my partner made most recently that I think is really great?
3. What can my partner do to help me be better at what I do?
4. What can my partner do to help the company be even better?
5. What do I want to do differently to help make even more of a difference in the company in the upcoming months?
Answer these questions for yourself and have your partner do likewise. Then discuss them together. You may want this to be facilitated until you get used to doing it!
Being in a partnership is hard work and also so rewarding. Through the acknowledgment that change is inevitable; by trusting yourself, your partner and the relationship; and by asking the hard questions you can help increase the likelihood of success.
“40%-50% of executives fail, quit, or are pushed out during the first 18 months in a new position.”
My friend and best-selling Amazon author, Lee Eisenstaedt, opens his book Being a Leader With Courage with this eye-popping statistic, and throughout the book provides great insight into why this happens and gives direction for how to avoid it.
When he shared the stat again at a workshop he recently led, it struck me with greater impact. Several of my clients are in new roles, and are consciously and aggressively working to not have this be their fate. They are not leaving it up to chance, and they want to guarantee success in their roles.
So many leaders, however, don’t seek outside support at this critical juncture in their careers.
What is it about leaders who seek executive coaching?
I’ve identified three characteristics that set apart individuals wanting to be successful.
1. Have the Confidence You Can Be Even Better
If you’ve moved up the ladder you already have success. Even though you have ongoing fears of failure, the imposter syndrome, and other stories your Gremlin tells you, you have had success. You, as a successful leader, are also self-aware and confident enough to know you can do more. But it is scary.
I’m frequently asked what I consider the most important characteristic of leadership, and unhesitatingly I say confidence. It’s not the arrogant confidence of “I deserve this” but the ability to look at what has brought you to this point and feeling good about it. What are my strengths? What do I bring to the table? What is the value I have created? Now that things have changed, how can I deliver value in the context of my new role?
When you look at yourself with humble confidence, you also realize you can be even more effective. You know there are blind spots. You have seen characteristics of others you would like to emulate. You realize there’s a reason you haven’t developed all the skills you’d like, and now is the time to start.
This is confident, objective self-awareness that doesn’t make you feel weak, but presents the opportunity to be even better. Be honest and confident.
2. See Life as Being More Than Just Your Job
Your life is already complicated. As you move into a new role things will be different. Admit it. Embrace it. Work on it. You cannot just gloss over it as an entitlement or a linear progression.
You’re moving into a big new job and you have a big title with lots of responsibilities. And, you are a parent, someone’s child, a friend, partner, sibling, an aunt or uncle. With these personal roles, come the realities of life: aging parents, difficult children, financial challenges, breakups, illness, transitions, and more.
Along with the rush of moving into a big new job, you are also shaking up virtually every other aspect of your life. All of those relationships and challenges you are dealing with already are going to be exacerbated by a different work rhythm, new stressors, and different demands on your time and energy.
You cannot be as effective as you like if you ignore or minimize these external factors and fail to understand how they affect your ability to be successful at work. Failing to fully be aware of this leads to disruption across all dimensions of your life and an increased likelihood of failure.
Successful leaders hit this head on knowing all aspects of their life are being impacted and need to be addressed.
3. Know You Can’t Do It Alone
It would be great if just becoming aware of how change will impact you would be enough to help you succeed. “I can suck it up.” “It will all fall into place over time.” “I can ignore what’s happening at home because they knew this was what we agreed to.” Unfortunately, there is a very real possibility that it won’t work out if it’s just ignored and there isn’t a strategy to be successful.
It’s also nearly impossible to do it alone.
Family members and close friends with whom you can be very honest about what’s going on is a necessary part of your support system. Unfortunately, they are all connected to the outcome in some way. The decisions you do or don’t make will impact them in some way. The advice and support they offer is not entirely objective. After all, they want you to be successful, but also don’t want to hurt your feelings, are carrying memories of a past struggle, or are afraid of what might lie ahead.
Who can you be 100% honest with about your fears or struggles with staying on track? To whom can you admit to you need help with a certain skill set? (You’re the boss, shouldn’t you know that?) Where can you learn the techniques to adjust your leadership style in order to have the impact you know you want to have? Where can you openly grapple with the impact a difficult personal situation is having on your job performance?
These questions are not rhetorical. They are real-life challenges clients bring to a coaching engagement where fears are admitted, problems are solved, and strategies to move forward are developed and executed.
Having things not work out in the first 18 months is no fun for anyone. Having confidence in your ability to grow, acknowledging the way all aspects of your life interact, and knowing an independent third party can help move things in a positive direction more quickly than you can on your own will go a long way to helping you achieve happiness, success, and fulfillment.
The Secret to Capitalizing on September – The Bonus Month.
Summer’s over. The routine is back in full swing, but Q4 hasn’t begun yet.
September is your bonus month!
Feeling that drop in temperature and changes in the daylight patterns and shadows takes me right back to the end of summer as a kid. Leaving the mountains of Pennsylvania and heading back to Long Island for the new school year had the painful stab of the end of summer fun, as well as a flutter of anxious excitement of something new.
Here’s the secret to capitalizing on this gift of September. Simply ask yourself this question: “How do I want to feel on December 31st?” Don’t misunderstand, this isn’t about rushing through the next 4 months, it’s about slowing down and using them – especially the September Bonus Month – to reach your goals of 2016.
Here are three ideas for how to use your September Bonus month:
GIVE: We are all so blessed. Too often the tendency is to wait until Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Tax Time to make charitable commitments. Do it now! Give extra during your bonus month, or plan now how much you will give between now and the end of the year and start contributing. The value is as much for the giver as the recipient, and by starting now you will be less likely to cut back because of the end-of-year expenses – or the number looks too big in a single lump.
And, you don’t want to be “that guy” who only gives at holiday time.
GROW: Whether personally or professionally, use September to focus on you, your relationships, and your business. Don’t let the sadness of summer being over or the fears of the Q4 crunch whittle away these amazing four weeks! Kick off a healthy living effort now. Look at those hard realities about your career and job satisfaction. Mend relationships before the holidays so you can enjoy those times more fully. Look at your business and ask yourself how you want to feel about it on December 31st, and decide what steps you can take now.
On New Years’ Eve do you want to be anticipating the New Year with enthusiasm and excitement or fear and frustration?
ENJOY: We spend too much time looking at “what’s wrong rather than what’s right”, and therefore stress out and chew up our days and weeks without even being aware of it. Use this month to shift your energy and get ready for the inevitable craziness that lies ahead. More people say Fall is their favorite season than any other, so enjoy! Embrace the smells and tastes of Fall (not everything has to be pumpkin spice!). Take the time for family and for yourself. Reflect, play, read, take a class, and enthusiastically jump all over those focused personal or business goals.
You can enjoy this month by pushing hard on those areas of your life you know will make you feel great on December 31st!
We all want these good things to happen, but it’s really hard to do it alone. Engage in activities that you might not usually choose in order to mix it up and grow. Find those around you who can help you create a plan for your Bonus September, hold you accountable to make it happen – and celebrate it with you!
Leave your comments below on how you will take advantage of your Bonus Month!
There’s lots of talk about re-inventing yourself for a new career, your 2nd half, an encore career, etc.
My thought – don’t bother.
Ouch! Does that mean if you’re feeling stuck you shouldn’t try for something else?
Whoa! But isn’t that exactly what you did, Tim? Didn’t you leave a corporate role to become a coach? Isn’t that a “reinvention?”
There are two reasons I prefer not to use the term reinvention when I work with people looking to make a career transition.
1. Reinvention Sounds Very Daunting
People making a change are not always operating from a position of strength or confidence. A late-in-your-career layoff can be devastating. Making a significant career change because of a lifecycle disruption (think caring for aging parents or an ill partner) is hard enough. Feeling like you have to invent something as well can be frightening and overwhelming.
The career people have developed is typically not a true invention, but rather a sequence of decisions that led them to this point. Or, as I like to call it, an Accidental Life.
If inventing something is defined as originating or creating a product out of one’s own ingenuity, you may feel you are starting from scratch. That’s a tall order for someone who might not be in a really good place.
2. Reinvention Minimizes What You Have to Offer
You are more than the job title or career you are leaving behind. If you believe you have to start over, everything you have done to this point is minimized. You do have skills and talents that led to successes and accomplishments. They served you in one way to this point; in the future they will serve differently.
Leaving a career as an salesperson, executive, nurse, attorney, or hospitality worker does not mean that is all that you were, and you have to start all over. In each of these positions you might have also been communicator, leader, problem solver, or counselor along with a host of other strengths and skills.
Those are all skills you have honed and applied in the past. No need to reinvent! The next step is to identify and create something using what you already bring to the table. It’s not as daunting a leap, and it maximizes your natural and developed gifts, strengths, and passion.
For me, I looked back at my true skills, and what I really liked to do. I acknowledged there were things I wasn’t as good at, and if I didn’t need those skills moving forward I would instead focus on my strengths, and invest in those.
When you look honestly and your strengths and gifts – and pat yourself on the back for what you really bring to the table – you are able to shift your energy and see new opportunities. Sure it will take work to move from nursing to being a small business owner, or from being a restaurant manager to running operations at a retail establishment, but it’s not reinvention.
It’s uncovering and leveraging what you have, and confidently moving forward to make it happen.
“I’m not good enough so I won’t even try.” “They’ll find out I’m a fake.”
“I could never succeed making that change.” “I’ll embarrass myself.”
Those thoughts and that voice in your head saying those things is your inner critic – Gremlin – that tells you you’re not good looking enough, smart enough, you’ll never be able to do that, you picked the wrong career path so just suck it up, etc. It’s been with you forever and is such a familiar voice that it’s hard not to think that’s who you are. It’s not true.
Your gremlin is not you; it is merely part of you.
There are three steps you can take to let your gremlin know you’re done with letting it hold you back.
1. Name Your Gremlin
After you acknowledge that there is that inner critic that is judging you, and not serving you, it’s time to give it a name. When you do this you are bringing it out of the shadows, and making it clear it is only part of you and not your entire being.
So, name your Gremlin! Spend some time with it. It can be anything: a name (Hank), an inanimate object (Tree), or an animal (Bear), or whatever. The only rule is it cannot be the name of a person in your life you don’t like or has hurt you, because that will make it hard to distinguish the gremlin from that person.
2. Confuse your Gremlin
I ask my clients to make a list of 60 of their strengths. Yes, 60! There’s always push back saying that that’s impossible. But they do it. (I do say that when you hit 50 or so, they can ask family or friends to help out.)
The results range from “I’m funny” to “I’m a caring parent,” to “I’m a problem solver,” to “I’m an excellent financial planner,” and so on.
When you do this, you realize you have all these strengths that have led to a list of accomplishments and successes a mile long! And, when you create this list, you are confusing your gremlin. Your gremlin likes to look at what might go wrong, rather than acknowledging the truth: you have a lot of accomplishments.
What the gremlin is saying to you just isn’t true and you have the data points to prove it!
3. Control your Gremlin
When you have named it and found contrary evidence to what it’s saying, you can control it.
When you start to hear that voice saying it’s going to be too hard, or you’ll embarrass yourself, or you’ll never succeed at it, just say, “Shut up Gremlin!”
If it’s still criticizing you and causing doubt, remember your list of accomplishments, and tell him again, “Wait a minute, Gremlin, I have all these successes that prove I have and can do amazing things. You’re wrong!”
Or you can politely say, “Thank you, but I don’t need your input right now.”
You will never get rid of your Gremlin. It has been with you forever, and will continue to be. It has been with you during hard times and is a familiar presence and voice. But, it is not serving you now. It holds you back from being who you are meant to be, and from doing what you’re meant to do.
Becoming aware of and then naming, confusing, and controlling your gremlin can lead to very rapid change and the ability to move forward with confidence.
Tim recently discussed inner critics and his coaching practice in an interview with Forbes.
Ressmeyer Partners is a Chicago-based life, leadership, and executive coaching company serving clients around the globe. Happy Hour Coach® is a service that provides impactful group coaching “in the spirit of a happy hour.” Tim Ressmeyer, Ph.D. is a certified professional coach and Founding Partner, and can be reached at email@example.com.
I’ve had what feels like an insane number of conversations since the start of the year with leaders struggling with their teams.
This would be a much better company if there weren’t people here!
The “people” are a very difficult part of the management equation, but it is controllable. You can’t control external factors like the economy, mergers and acquisitions, budget cuts, clients changing their mind, etc. But you can control how you create, manage, and support your team to prepare them for success even in the face of obstacles.
Stop struggling with poor team performance
Building effective teams is hard. That’s why so many executives share with me the following frustrations: Many employees – even at senior levels — lack the ability to build and participate on teams effectively. Interpersonal dynamics create lots of friction and hassles that are time consuming and challenging to overcome. It is rare for team members to know how to set expectations and create engagement in ways that produce great results while strengthening relationships.
15 Questions to Evaluate Your Team’s Alignment and Performance Level
Despite a plethora of books about building effective teams, leading and participating on teams remains a significant challenge in most workplaces. Following are fifteen questions team leaders and participants should be asking in order to maximize their team performance:
What is the specific, measurable goal that defines team success?
1. How aligned are the values of each team member with each other and the organization?
2. How does the team recruit absolutely top-notch people?
3. How clear are expectations about what each and every team member is supposed to be doing and achieving?
4. How well do team members know and trust each other?
5. How clear is the path to results?
6. What are opportunities for early and ongoing small wins?
7. How well does the team anticipate, avoid, and mitigate risks?
8. Is communication open, honest, and transparent among team members?
9. How well does the team acknowledge each other as well as celebrate success?
10. How effectively does the team clear up and move forward after setbacks?
11. Does the team know the conversations to move things forward from vision to result?
12. Do team leaders know what motivates each member?
13. How well does the team handle transitions of team members out of the team?
14. How well does the team help new team members ramp up and achieve performance quickly?
15. How effectively does the team learn about how it can work together better?
These are crucial questions, and the answers are not always obvious.
So what can I do about it? Assess where you are right now.
There are plenty of simplistic books and manuals that make the best-seller lists about teams. However, these rarely have the depth or practical grounding to make teams really work.
Use this chart to assess your current team members – by name!
Here you can download a simple assessment to evaluate the conversations different team members are having, and whether those move the team forward, backwards, or hold it at a standstill. I guarantee it will open up some new ideas about making your teams more effective and efficient.
A robust, deep, and practical approach
Ressmeyer Partners has a 15-part methodology that helps teams be successful from start to finish. In fact, it was even used on a project that created a successful team made up of tenured faculty from universities around the world. It has improved performance on teams in professional services, technology, finance, and non-profits.
The secret to the success of our approach is that it is deep. It helps your team look at fifteen unique dimensions of performance, and can be delivered through training, coaching, facilitation, or a combination – whichever is most convenient for you.
Some quick physics:
The Law of Motion declares unless acted upon by another force,
an object will stay in its current state. That means it will either stay at rest – indefinitely. Or stay in motion – indefinitely. The concept of Inertia posits that whether in motion or at rest, all objects resist changes in their state of motion.
Something external causes us to start or stop.
I had the privilege of talking with one of the most brilliant marketers in the country, and he stressed the need to understand – and use – the concept of inertia in our businesses. His counsel has driven exponential growth in business of all sizes, and it all begins with understanding these basic laws of physics. To paraphrase, this is the first question he asks: what are you already doing that you can build on, rather than trying to start from scratch? If you have an element of your business that’s already working, albeit not as well as you would like, it’s wiser to put your focus on developing and improving that, rather than creating something brand new. It’s an object that’s already in motion! It wants to keep going.
You have Newton and Galileo on your side!
You will want to apply this to your life, especially as you face the New Year. Whether you make a formal list of resolutions or just have a couple things that are top of mind you want to do differently, the law of motion can help you achieve success.
If you try to start something new from a standstill, the success rate will be low. In fact, one study found 25% of Americans don’t even stick with resolutions for 7 days! That’s sad, and the rapid drop off rate continues in the following weeks.
Whether you’re looking to grow your business, make a career change, or get your finances in order, there are two simple ways to use inertia to your advantage in the upcoming year.
Use The Force in 2016
ACTION 1: Build on the steps you’ve already taken.
Odds are you’re already actively working on some of these key areas, even if only in the smallest way.
Let’s say you really want to make a career change. You’re just not as happy as you want to be and you don’t want to look back at the end of 2016 and feel the way you do right now. And … it’s a lot like you felt at the end of 2014.
Putting “Job Search” on your Resolutions List and feeling like you are kicking off something brand new is daunting. Instead, remind yourself of the things that you are already doing in this area. Maybe you’ve already spoken to someone in a different company. Maybe you’ve had a cursory conversation with a coach. Maybe you’ve gotten on a recruiter’s mailing list. Maybe you’ve read a book on re-inventing yourself, or planning something new for your “second half”. Guess what, you’re already in motion!
Now, your list of resolutions isn’t:
You will need a full-blown strategy to really make it happen, so add to your resolutions:
Reminding yourself of what you are already doing allows you to pat yourself on the back realizing you have been doing something, and takes full advantage of Newton’s Law of Motion to keep that object in motion.
What if you really are starting from scratch?
ACTION 2: Take a step now.
Great! Your resolution is something you really want to do: get in shape, quit smoking, be super successful in my new job that starts 1/4/16.
The object is at rest. You need an unbalanced force to start it. TAKE A STEP NOW! Before January 1, 2016. Do just a couple things in the next two weeks to create the forward moving inertia so that when the ball drops in Times Square, you are already in motion.
Baby steps are fine
If the goal is getting in shape, make sure your gym membership is already purchased, you have gym time blocked in your Outlook calendar for January, and you are all set with gear. If you really want to jump start it, sneak out to the gym one or two times this year and get some of the kinks and awkwardness out of the way.
If your goal is to hit the ground running in the new job, you can use the balance of 2015 to contact that former boss or mentor to let her know what’s up and ask them to be part of your “personal board of advisors”. You can ask for a stocking stuffer subscription to Harvard Business Review or Crain’s. You can spend some time reflecting on what has really worked for you in the past – and what hasn’t – and be honest about what you bring to the table, and where you can use support.
Thank you to marketing guru Charles Gaudet for helping me remember, objects in motion want to stay in motion, and objects at rest want to stay at rest.
Keep moving forward with what you are already doing – the Force is with you!
“You are on a default path to somewhere.”
I remind my clients of this frequently. Whether in a stable situation, in transition, or trying to figure out what’s next… You WILL wind up somewhere!
I also talk about the notion of an “accidental career.” This is where you’ve made incremental decisions at various points over the course of your career: “That is a company I want to work for.” “That’s a great salary offer!” “That company is located in a place I’d like to live.” “I need a job, so I might as well take this one.”
Those decisions are likely the best ones with the information available in the moment. Except for the select few, who at an early age know exactly what they want to do and have laser focus on getting there. Most have made incremental decisions that have led you to where you are right now.
How did I get here?
It has likely served you well. You have been successful on many counts. You have a title and a position of importance. You have been able to provide for yourself and your family well. You have been able to use your gifts and skills.
But, are you truly happy and fulfilled?
If you have lived elements of an “accidental career” and also accept the notion you are “on a default path to somewhere,” it can be unsettling. As you get older, has it become your “accidental life?” You start to ask the questions “Is this all there is?” “How long can I ride this out?” “What’s next?”
Is it where you want to be?
The exciting thing is my clients also come to realize, “You’re right where you’re supposed to be!” Everything that has happened to you to this point in time – accidental or intentional – has created who and what you are in this very moment. You can’t go back and change anything, and you can decide what your next steps will be!
It is very freeing to realize you can create that path ahead.
Getting off that default path and creating the intentional path can be uncomfortable and difficult to chart. Doing it alone, or even with family and friends whose intentions are good, you are tied in to old stories and expectations. And, it’s hard to be free to be honest – and to dream.
Through a reflective and structured program of looking at your past & present, uncovering strengths & values and clarifying passion & goals, we WILL be able to map that course and put intention ahead of accident.
Let’s shift gears and start taking control of your path…contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a conversation about how coaching can help you create that path.
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