Give Me Clarity – and Courage

“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Though this quote by Reinhold Niebuhr is used in both serious and funny scenarios, I think it perfectly sums up a good coaching session. Coaching is focused on guiding you to gain clarity of yourself and your world so you can wisely choose an intentional or productive direction for you in work, relationships and life.

A coaching session calls a lot of things into perspective, whether you want to hear it or not. You gain clarity to see things with greater understanding. This lets you more clearly see your own goals, directions and personal expectations and learn how to align them to who you are and to what is possible.

Many times, you may enter a coaching relationship with a particular outcome or goal in mind, but through greater clarity, you realize the goal was more for others than for you. Does that sound familiar?

Keep in mind that coaching is not mentoring. Mentors give suggestions and advice. They accelerate learning in particular areas. Coaching, instead, guides you to see what is, solve your challenges and learn to identify, accept and work with what cannot be changed. You decide what success is and what it looks like for you. You, with guidance, consider your options to achieve your goals, then choose and act. Your coach is your clarity and accountability partner, helping you stay focused, clear and true to the goals you’ve defined for yourself.

Through coaching, you see, define and develop realistic, practical and achievable outcomes. That is being your life’s owner. That is being intentional in your decisions because you are clear about what is possible.

As poet e.e. cummings says, “It takes courage to grow up and be who you really are.”

Courage and clarity through some assistance and guidance. That is how a coach can help you grow up to be who you really are.

Take Action
It’s up to you how you want your coaching relationship to look, what goals you want to be accountable for, and how you define and strive to reach those goals. Contact us to schedule a free 15-minute introductory conversation to see if coaching, and our style of coaching, is the right fit for you.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Bad Days Don’t Have to be Bad

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Living Life On Purpose

By Jay Forte

Most of us move through life too quickly. We rush from one event to another, barely aware of being part of them. We fall into bed at night, remembering very little of what happened during the day. Not only do we not remember our moments, but we didn’t use them to celebrate our successes or learn from our challenges. We actually miss out on our lives.

We don’t do this on purpose. And that is the problem: we don’t do a lot “on purpose.” Most of what we do, we do out of habit. The same ride to work. The same coffee in the morning. The same food for dinner. Same old, same old. Not that doing something over and over is a bad thing, it is just that when we allow ourselves to mindlessly go through life, we miss out on really experiencing what our world – and our unique lives – can offer.

So how do you start to live more purposely and intentionally? Here are three ways to start.

  1. Take a walk down memory lane. Our memories, when we take the time to make them and revisit them, give us a deeper connection to our lives. We reconnect to who we are and what we experience. We see things more clearly and show up more intentionally.
  2. Slow down instead of speed up. Do fewer things but be more involved in them. Rushing to get things done limits both how effective you are in what you do and the quality of what you experience. Commit to being fully present to where you are and to what you are doing. You will see more, feel more and connect more to your moments.
  3. Listen to your inner voice. Most of us let the outer voices direct us through our lives. Though it is important to have input and information from those in our lives, we each truly know ourselves best. Living life on purpose also means living your life – the one you have and the one you direct. You must learn to hear and trust your inner self – it knows you best. You are accountable for your impact and happiness.

Life is best lived with intention, so do things on purpose. Communicate on purpose. Celebrate on purpose. Learn from your mistakes on purpose. As you tune in with your greatest attention, you learn the lessons of life and participate more fully in each.

Take Action
What is one area of your life that would benefit from approaching it on purpose? Start small but start today. Show up like you mean it and in the process, take note of how everything about life will improve.

 

Consider reading Living Today on Yesterday’s Beliefs

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Reflecting on the Olympics and Potential

By Jay Forte

Rarely do we get to see what potential looks like. So many people just barely scratch the surface of what they are capable of. Too many of us settle for “good enough.”

For those of us tuning in to watch the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, we get ringside seats to see of the results of focus, determination, effort and above all, potential. To have so many consecutive days of Olympic athletes is both inspiring and activating. These athletes train without limit, know their strengths, push through their own obstacles and reach their potential right in front of our eyes. These ringside seats have led to multiple recent conversations I’ve had with clients who now are more inspired to set higher goals and push a little harder to achieve them.

I was most touched and reminded of potential when I heard interviews with the American brother/sister ice dancing couple, Maia and Alex Shibutani, who earned two Bronze medals during the Olympics this year. In their interview, they focused more on talking about their goal to show up and do their absolute best, to look past the basic level of competition in the Olympics and be fully engaged and committed to what is deepest and best in them.

They knew their potential and worked to achieve it. Remarkable perspective, especially from two 20-somethings.

This dedication and perspective on being present to be their best is a theme we hear over and over as every athlete talks about drive, focus and potential.

I routinely share this powerful quote by Buckminster Fuller, an American architect, with my clients and audiences: “What is it on the planet that needs doing that I know something about that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?”

It is a reminder to look into yourself, to know your abilities and potential, and to use them to make a positive change in your world. Olympic athletes do this as they activate something deep in all of us to want to do better, be better, perform better. They remind us that we have an obligation to bring what we do best to make our difference in the world.

Watching the Winter Olympics this year presents us with three big lessons. First, spend time knowing yourself. Recognize the limits you place on yourself and what your potential is and could be if those limits are removed.

Second, find places in your world where you can raise your game and your performance, for both you and your world.

And finally, stay inspired to always bring your A-game, your best, to all that you do, including the small stuff. Each moment of each day matters.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. Soon, the 2018 Olympic Games in South Korea will end. How will the inspiration of the Games not go with it?
  2. How will you continue to be inspired, engaged and even push to reach past the limits you set for yourself — whether intentionally or not — to move toward recognizing your full potential?
  3. What is your commitment to bring your potential to all you do, to share it with your world to make it better?

The events of life are here to inspire us. Sometimes, they are challenges that force us to learn. Other times, they are success stories that remind us how capable we all are in our own ways. Your potential is not the same as mine, but there is the capacity for both of us to achieve great things when that individual potential is recognized. Watch for what the world shares with you and expects from you. In both places, watch for potential.

 

Consider reading How to Succeed in Changing Times

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Why So Serious? My New Year’s Resolution

By Kristin Allaben, Strategic Communications Specialist and Executive Assistant

We talk a lot here about being mindful and aware, and using that insight to make actionable plans to help us achieve our goals. But I find that in all the talk about achieving goals, we can sometimes become a little too serious. Sure, there’s a time to be serious, but, as the saying goes, “life is too short to be serious all the time.”

So in 2018, my New Year’s Resolution is to stop being so serious all the time, and to be more present to appreciate all of life’s moments.

My sisters have repeatedly told me that this has been the new me since I found out I was pregnant with my first son. They’ve told me – in as loving a manner as younger sisters can manage – on more than one occasion, “you’re just so much more fun now!” Who would have thought becoming a mom would make me less… “intense?” Go figure.

But it’s my goal in the New Year to not only stop and appreciate all the little things, but to also intentionally make it a priority to laugh and relax more. You can relax and roll with what happens, or be tense and worry about everything. Both are choices, but only one is productive in helping you achieve what you want.

Life is always going to present challenges. It’s how life works. But that’s also why we create goals; they help us navigate around challenges so we can achieve what matters to us.

So in an effort to make this change, and to encourage you to do the same, I’m closing this post with a meme that makes me laugh every time I see it. And not just a chuckle. A belly laugh. The kind of laugh that makes my face hurt. Regardless of the reaction it inspires in you, may it help you keep perspective as you start your work to create meaningful and achievable New Year’s resolutions.

Feel free to share this meme, and enjoy!

Consider reading Life’s Little Moments

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Committing to More Effective Communication

By Kristin Allaben, Strategic Communications Specialist & Executive Assistant

There are always lists readily available about words you should remove from your vocabulary, or words you should never say to your boss. I recently read one of these lists on Business Insider that offered one interesting takeaway: “Don’t say I can’t, say I don’t.”

It’s not the first time I’ve heard that piece of advice, but it is the first time I’ve heard it shared in a way that I can personally relate to: dessert. The writer explained that saying “I don’t eat brownies” has a much stronger impact on your self-control than saying “I can’t eat brownies.” You control the first one; you are at the effect of the second one. Choose language that empowers you.

The writer taking the time to effectively communicate why one phrase is better than another made me commit to replacing “I can’t” with “I don’t” in my vocabulary.

Bravo.

This points to a broader theme here: it’s not about the words you should or shouldn’t use, it’s about how you use them.

We toss words around with very little thought about what message they convey. Is what you’re saying meaningful for the person you’re speaking with? Is your message delivered in a way that appropriately reflects your tone, mood and intent? Most of the time, words spill out without enough intention, creating confusion or misinterpretation.

And language choice when speaking to yourself is just as impactful as the language you choose to use when speaking with a friend, family member or colleague. All too often, we can be careless and reckless with our self-talk, negatively affecting our sense of self, our confidence and belief in oneself.

Words are important. Choose them wisely. Use them with intention.

In 2018, how will you communicate more effectively? How will you stop and notice you, others and your situations and choose how and what you say more intentionally? Imagine the impact it could have in all of your relationships.

 

Consider reading Setting the Course for A Successful 2018

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Setting the Course for a Successful 2018

By Jay Forte, MBA, CPC, ELI-MP

When I was a kid, my family had a tradition to create New Year’s resolutions. After a great family dinner on New Year’s day, the table was cleared and out came the note pads and pencils to assist in our conversations about the new year. I admit that this wasn’t always so well received among my five siblings and me, but it was my dad’s process to guide the six of us to focus, develop our talents, discover our passions and live in the greatest way possible.

I know we were different than a lot of families, but my dad was determined that we each live intentionally – tuned in and choosing our life direction and work on purpose (a process I continued with my three daughters and recommend to every dad). In his mind, this needed a process – a way to be ready for life. This process had three steps: Review, Rethink and Respond. 

Review

We began by reviewing the successes, challenges and failures that happened over the past year. We listed them to learn from them, and to understand what worked well and what needed improvement or attention.

Not enough people today review their personal actions to assess what did and didn’t work. As a result, people often find themselves repeating the same actions they should have already learned from. We move slowly forward only to go back and do the same thing over again.

Rethink

With information from the past year fresh in our minds, we then had to rethink: what did we want to achieve in the New Year? This step was intentionally created to encourage us to dream, invent and create what we wanted for ourselves, our family, our world. We took the time to imagine what would help us show up big to life and work, own our lives and make our impact.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to daydream? Dreaming requires you to tune out the loud and pushy technology voice of the world and tune in to your inner voice. Your voice matters most when it comes to imagining what you want to be happy and successful. Rethinking and inventing is key to living a happy, successful and responsible life.

Respond

From the list of things you considered when you took the time to rethink, now it’s time to respond. Choose what you want to happen – most people call it their goal or resolution – and build a plan to make it happen.

Though this is a great process I still follow to this day, I admit it can be challenging to turn dreams into reality. This is why an actionable plan is so important to create – it helps us close the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

Poet Mary Oliver wrote in her poem The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

What progress do you want to make on this question in 2018? Use review, rethink and respond to guide you.

 

Original article “Setting A Course for A Successful 2017” first appeared on LinkedIn, December 15, 2016.

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2018 is around the corner. What Will You Do To Make Your Year Amazing?

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

What do you want to achieve in 2018? What new things will the New Year bring?

The greatest benefit to being a coach is that I’ve learned to ask questions that help create work and life clarity for myself and for others. So as a new year approaches, consider asking yourself these questions to define your goals and make the most out of the New Year.

  1. What am I good at and passionate about?
  2. What places in work and life need what I do and like best?
  3. Presume it is at the end of 2018 and you are reflecting back, thinking how amazing 2018 was. What happened during the year to make you think this?
  4. If you could have just one thing come true for you in 2018, what would it be? What is your first step to working toward achieve it?
  5. What would it take for you to focus more intentionally on living and working at your potential?

Notice that the questions have two purposes. The first is to get you to stop, notice and consider what you want. The second is to get you thinking of how you might start to achieve it. Most of us don’t take the time or make the effort to clearly define a meaningful goal or direction, so our lives roll on, year to year, without us making the progress on what we want or effectively tapping into our potential.

So, as a new year approaches, get good at making time to ask yourself the meaningful questions – the ones that give you direction, inspiration and energy – to define what you want and give you the courage to go get it.

Over the next few months, I’ll share techniques and information I use with my coaching clients, including guidance that helps them define what they want and how to make progress on achieving it. This information will help you grow into the best version of yourself in the New Year.

Whether you’re looking for a change in work or life, my approach to coaching provides you with unique insights to help you make wise work and life choices to start your year off right.

So think about what you want in the New Year and what you need to do to make it happen. Check back here for guidance and insights to help you visualize what you want and develop a plan to achieve it.

New Year, New You. It is up to you to make it happen.

 

Consider reading Setting A Course for A Successful 2018

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You Can’t Improve On Something You Don’t Measure

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

If you want to manage your spending, you need to track what you spend and where.

If you want to be more kind, generous and loving, you need to track when you exhibit these behaviors.

If you want to improve your skills, you study, practice and take a test – it gives an assessment of your skills.

In all of these scenarios, the common denominator is information: tracking your behavior to provide you with insights you can assess to determine how you want or need to move forward.

As a result, when you look at your life and decide what you want to achieve, learn or improve on, learning to measure is critical. 

I was a financial professional in the early part of my career, and quickly became aware of the value of numbers. Numbers are the financial representation of the quality of the organization’s decisions – the decision to hire, promote, engage or fire. The decision of what to sell and how much to sell it for. All of these are daily decisions that affect the organization’s financial performance. The numbers are the metrics that assess the decisions and drive the performance.

But metrics don’t need to be solely used in financial situations. In fact, there are ways to track metrics in your daily life to help you stay focused on achieving your goals.

Let’s say your goal is to improve your health over the next 30 days. As you start to develop the steps to move toward this goal, include a way to measure your progress. For instance, you could have a goal to walk for 20 minutes, 4 times a week. This is measureable. You could have a goal to run 4 times a week at a 9-minute mile pace. Again, measureable.

The information you gather during this time provides you with insights into what’s working and what’s not. Ultimately, the idea is that this information helps you see what you should continue to do (what’s working) and what you need to improve on (what’s not working).

Measurement helps you stay on track. You close the gap from where you are to what you want.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you quantify one goal you have to make it more measureable?
  2. How will you ensure that each end goal or performance goal includes a way for you to assess your progress?
  3. When you help others define and achieve their goals, how will you help them be clear about the specific measurements?

Most of us miss our goals because we can’t measure them. Give yourself some metrics that are specific and easy to measure, then assess and evaluate your progress to help you determine where you stand as you work toward your goal.

 

Consider reading Create a Personal Report Card.

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Try This Instead

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

You make a commitment to get to the gym early each morning, but in the last two weeks, you only made it there twice.

You make a commitment to do a better job with your spending habits, but in the last week, you impulse bought four items that will take a few months to pay off.

You make a commitment to lose 20 pounds before an upcoming trip, but it’s now a week away and you haven’t lost any weight.

For some, these examples may raise questions of commitment. For others, it makes you wonder if the goals were too large or unrealistic for a specific time frame.

When your goals are well-intended but your achievement plan is unreasonable, you increase the likelihood of failure. And, for many, once you hit the failure wall, then the goal gets abandoned. Over my career, I’ve heard a number of people say, “be stubborn about your goals, but be flexible about your methods.” That applies here.

To set yourself up for success, consider the phrase, try this instead. As you look at your goal, break it into smaller parts. This helps you make incremental, but consistent, movement toward your goal, helping you achieve it.

When you feel yourself wandering away from a meaningful goal, ask yourself: what is something smaller I could do instead?

When you feel like your energy for the goal is waning, ask yourself: what is something I can do instead to get me energized and back on track?

When you feel like your progress isn’t in line with the effort, ask yourself: what should I try instead so I get the results I want?

Setting goals in both work and life is important, but be sure they are realistic. Then, constantly assess the effectiveness of your approach as you work on achieving your goal. If you find yourself missing your goal or getting disappointed, down or disengaged, progress will stop. When this happens, recalibrate your approach by asking yourself, what can I try instead? Smaller, more reasonable steps may be just what is needed to keep you moving forward to achieve your important goals.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. What goals do you have that need rethinking or recalibrating?
  2. What areas do you aim to overachieve in yet actually find yourself underachieving?
  3. Think about a goal that never seems to be achieved. What could you do instead – as a new approach – that will help move you forward?

Coaching is another way to help you stay on top of your goals. Coaches provide guidance, support and accountability, all things that can help you define your goals and stay on track to achieve them.

Talk to a certified professional coach to help you build goals and plans that are achievable.

 

Consider reading Create a Personal Report Card.

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Create A Personal Report Card

By Jay Forte

So many people have good intentions to make a change in their lives. They think about it. They talk about it. They actually start to do something and then, for many, it falls apart. Why does this happen?

  1. They lack goal clarity. Basically, they aren’t really sure what they want to achieve. A clear goal is required to know which direction is forward, sideways and backward. Clarity is key.
  2. They lack an accountability partner. Sometimes, you need someone to lean on or to help you stay committed to your commitments and goals. This is why many people look to gym buddies at the start of a new workout plan. Whether it’s a workplace coach, a friend or a family member, consider sharing your goal and ask them to help keep you committed to your achievement plan.
  3. They don’t measure or keep track of goals and progress. How will you know what progress you are making if you use generic and non-measurable terms like “do better,” “improve,” “work harder” or provide no metrics or measurements at all? Measurement is critical to the achievement of all goals. It allows you to assess whether your progress is at, ahead or behind expectation.

Before you start to move forward on making any change in your life, think about creating a personal report card to keep you moving forward on your goals.

A personal report card could include a spreadsheet of goals and your current progress or performance on each, tracked on a daily, weekly or monthly schedule. For example, you may have a goal of meditating and taking time to do some self-discovery work every day, so your goal is 30 days for the month. Seeing that you completed this 12 times in the month creates a review point for you. If you only did it 12 times, how important was the goal to you? If it was important, what stopped you from meeting your goal of 30 days?

Regularly comparing your progress against a goal provides information about what’s working and what’s not, giving you information from which to make wiser and better next decisions – to do more of what’s working and to improve on what’s not working.

When it comes to goals, measurements matter.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. How can you create clear and measurable goals?
  2. What method will work best for you to measure your progress on your goals?
  3. What is one thing you can do right now to make progress on your goals?

As poet Mary Oliver asks in her poem, The Summer Day, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” How can creating clear and measurable goals help you have that “wild and precious life?”


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