I’m Feeling Good

I’m going to be honest: I didn’t mind the quarantine.

There were days when it was overwhelming, sure, and there were certainly days when I thought steam would truly come out of my ears. But having my family at home, watching my boys develop amazing relationships with each other, and knowing my family was safe together, was pretty amazing.

But as I sat down to write out the Christmas cards this week, it hit me: we’ve missed so much.

Maybe it was because Thanksgiving seemed like just another day. Maybe it’s because my husband and I were reminiscing with the boys about what we each used to do as kids around the holidays. Maybe it’s because it’s my littlest guy’s first Christmas when he’s aware enough to understand what’s going on. Maybe it’s because Christmas shopping just felt like a chore this year instead of something exciting.

Whatever the reason, I found myself in a low energy for a bit. I just felt sad. I felt sad for my kids. I felt sad for my parents and in-laws. I felt sad for my husband. I felt sad for me.

But I didn’t dwell there.

Feeling sad or frustrated is human; it’s normal to feel every emotion. I’ve written quite a bit about allowing yourself to really feel and experience every emotion you have. They are yours so you get to feel them.

Some emotions are productive and make you feel amazing. Others are unproductive and take your energy down to zero. For those negative emotions and energy (we call them “unproductive”), visit, don’t move in. Staying sad or frustrated about things you can’t control will lead to days of unhappiness.

But here’s something to think about: even difficult days can be happy. For that to happen, we just need to acknowledge the unhappy and look to replace it with something better.

So, I got refocused. I got re-centered. I played some music and one of my favorites came on: Michael Buble’s “Feeling Good.”

“It’s a new dawn,
It’s a new day,
It’s a new life for me
And I’m feeling good”

And I found myself agreeing.

Every morning, regardless of how chaotic it is or hangry the participants are, is a new day.

And 2021 has the promise of a new year, the chance to rebuild and redefine the life we want to lead.

So, I’m feeling good.

Take Action
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the changes to your life this year, let yourself feel every emotion. Frustrated? Absolutely. Sad? Probably. Anxious? Yep.

Write down what you’re feeling and why. Putting words to the emotions you feel helps you wrap your head around what’s going on and can help you to literally see how to move forward.

Then, write down one good thing that happened today. Just one thing. Maybe your coffee was absolutely perfect this morning. Maybe the kids gave you an hour of uninterrupted time during the day. Maybe the weather was stunning. Maybe you didn’t hit snooze and got up with plenty of time for a workout and am nice, unrushed hot shower.

What’s the one thing that made you feel good today?

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Why Presence Really Matters Most This Year

Return to the Blog

Try, Try Again

Re-emerge. Rebuild. Stronger. Better. More focused.

These are the things we say to people and they’ve gone through tough times, or when they find themselves in the middle of it.

“You’ll come out better than this.”

“You’ll be stronger after all of this.”

“You’ll rebuild.”

“You’ll be more focused.”

It’s basically a mantra. We (as humans) try to find ways to make someone feel better for experiencing something hard.

2020 was not an easy year for anyone. Jobs were lost. Friends and loved ones were lost. We had lots of confusing and conflicting leadership and guidelines. It was a year that really tested all of us and pushed many of us to our limits.

So, we can all remain disappointed about what happened or didn’t happen in 2020, or we can see a chance to shift our mindset to change what we can change, or, if we can’t change it, change how we think about it.

So, in that light, 2021 is a year to rebuild. It’s a year to be stronger and better. It’s a year to be more focused. 2021 is the year we come out of the ashes. We re-emerge to be a better version of ourselves and inspire those around us to do the same.

We will find a way forward. Gracefully and gradually, we will come out of all this. After all, life always finds a way. It starts with your personal commitment to get yourself moving forward, no matter where you are.

Get up.

Get clear.

Get moving.

Take Action
Here’s an activity for you. Take a few minutes today to set yourself up for a focused and better you 2021.

Answer these questions:

  1. What are three words you’d use to describe your past year?
  2. What are three words you’d identify as descriptors for your 2021?
  3. If you could accomplish one big thing in 2021, what would it be?

Start with the end in mind: a great, remarkable and amazing 2021.

2020 certainly challenged us, but the way we move forward, the way we emerge out of the ashes, is to know where we’re going.

So, where are you going this year?

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Seeing Through the Fog

Return to the Blog

Seeing Through the Fog

Yes, it has been difficult to imagine what next week will look like, let alone thinking about a new year. So how do we start to focus on rebuilding and rethinking what we want to accomplish, achieve or create in 2021?

Visualize.

Visualization is the process of picturing what you want. The ability to visualize helps create clarity. Stephen Covey shared in Habit #2 of his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, “begin with the end in mind.” Getting clear about what you want or what success means to you is a key part of building a plan and achieving it.

But how can you get clear when your world is still so covered in so much uncertainty by the unresolved pandemic? Here is where another great coaching skill can serve you well – imagining.

Imagining is the process of allowing yourself to create, dream or invent whatever you want. It has no regard to what is currently possible, ignoring any restrictions or unknown factors. It simply allows you to focus on what you truly want to be, achieve, etc.

Think about it this way: you are walking along a beach and you see something shiny. You reach down to pick it up and realize it is an old lamp. You rub it to see the exterior more clearly and a genie appears. The genie offers you one wish.

So now ask yourself: if you could have whatever you want, what would it be? (This is a great activity for a family, a couple or a workplace team, as well.)

Imagining is important for two reasons.

First, it reminds you that no matter how tough things are, you are still the creator of your life. Though you may have to revise some of your imagined ideas when it comes time to implementation, you still have more control over this process than the fog makes you think. The fog robs you of your ability to feel empowered, engaged and in control, taking away your energy. With no energy and a feeling of no control, it limits your ability to dream, stay focused and achieve the things that matter. The fog makes you give up.

Second, imagining gets you excited. When things are dark, obscure and uncertain, imagining a new beginning, a better outcome or even a new direction amplifies your energy. You get charged up and it inspires a feeling that all (or at least more) things are possible. That energy is necessary to see through the fog so you can start building your plan to achieve what you want.

Take Action
Seeing through the fog is your key to landing on your feet and building something great in 2021. This starts now. You’ve spent enough time in the fog. Now it’s time to have a strategy and a plan to see through it to a new, better and healthier year. Visualize what you want. Imagine it’s possible. And with that clarity, back into the things you can start today that will get you moving and achieving.

A year from now, you will look back at this moment and feel energized that no matter what work or life sends, you have the tools to see your way through it to a place that matters to you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Ready or Not, 2021, Here We Come!

Return to the Blog

3 Ways to Help Your Team Start 2021 Strong and Focused

A new year is associated with so many good things. It’s a chance to start fresh. It’s a chance to try something new. It’s a chance to identify what could be better and create a plan to make it happen. And that’s what so many of us will be doing as we approach the countdown on December 31, ready to ring in 2021 with welcome arms.

After all, 2020 was certainly filled with some unique challenges. A variety of natural disasters, weather, a hostile election year and, to top it all off, COVID-19, which was not only a challenge in itself, but the ramifications it created sent many companies reeling.

So how can you inspire the fresh start feeling of a new year with your employees when 2021 will still reek of the challenges from 2020?

It’s actually pretty easy: relationships.

Relationships are the driver of employee engagement as employees want and need connection, support and guidance from their managers and their peers. If you could only focus on one thing in 2021, make it relationships.

So, as a new year welcomes you and your team to the workplace – in whatever way work is done – here are three relationship-focused things you can do to help your employees (and you) start your year off strong, focused and engaged.

1. Reconnect personally with your team. Make it a point to really get to know your employees. To effectively manage and coach your employees, it is important to know their strengths, interests and values. It is important to know what engages and disengages them about their jobs and the organization. It is critical to know how they best communicate and learn, and what are their most and least favorite aspects of their jobs.

Another element is to get to know them outside of work – what are their hobbies? How is their family? Is there anything they’re worried about? Are they struggling with anything? Is there anything you can do to help? Though some employees may prefer not to share too much personal information, the fact that you asked goes a long way, especially now when so many people may be grappling with challenges of COVID-19, like foreclosures, concern for high-risk family members or access to enough food, to name a few. Gather important information about each of your employees to understand them better and to know how to best connect with them and coach them. Employees want time with their managers – use this increased time to get to know them and to develop a plan to connect with them more effectively going forward.

Remember: people quit people before they quite companies.

2. Include your team in creating shared goals. Goals are important. They provide direction, clarity and focus. And by including employees in the creation of goals, or more specifically team goals, they feel more included, valued and part of the organization. They know you are interested in what they think. A workplace culture that asks employees for input not only benefits from greater employee loyalty, but also from expanded ideas that come from empowering and expecting employees to actively think throughout their days. An added bonus: those employees share their working experience with others, attracting other top talent and top performers to join your team (a huge benefit since networking will look drastically different as we all navigate the continued effects of COVID-19 on how we do business).

3. Commit to sharing more performance information. You want your employees to be more focused and engaged, but few feel that way when they work in the dark. They can’t connect their work to its impact or value with information about why they’re doing what they’re doing isn’t made clear. By improving your relationship with your employees, you create the space to have more candid and honest conversations about performance. Now, feedback is welcomed as it is delivered from a place of care, support and guidance, instead of reprimand. Invoive employees in creating their own performance expectations that help them amplify their strengths and connect with areas that interest and excite them. Again, these are things you don’t know if you have not first taken the time or made the effort to better understand each employee. An added bonus: employees take ownership of things that benefit them and the organization. They learn and grow and the organization improves.

A recap:

  1. Reconnect personally with your team: What is one thing you can do to connect more personally with each member of your team?
  2. Include your team in creating shared goals for 2021: How will you involve your team in the creation of shared goals?
  3. Commit to sharing more performance information: What information will you share in 2021 and how will you share it?

Take Action
As the New Year approaches, commit to enhancing the relationships with your employees. It really all comes down to communication – both listening and talking. Ask questions, be supportive, engage them in organizational goals and share performance feedback more regularly. Observe, ask, listen and guide. That is what employees want from you. And, in return, they work hard, bring their best performance and stay loyal to the organization.

Start the new year off strong. Make relationships your priority.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How To Keep Your Team Energized When Some Now Work Remotely

Return to the Blog

3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Have a Great 2019

By Jay Forte

A new year is just ahead. The best way to continue your successes, or make important changes, is to reflect on 2018 and to use its lessons to see and do things differently in 2019.

I personally find the best way to reflect on most things is by asking questions. Questions guide you to explore and investigate, both of which are important to give you the information you need to determine your direction and plan for a new and great year.

Here are three questions I spend time with at the start of the new year that help me develop greater clarity and a plan to make the most of my time, effort, energy and impact.

1. What are my strengths?

We each come equipped with unique and amazing abilities. These abilities help us to be great at some things and not great at others. Having a successful year requires that I know and lead with my strengths. This knowledge helps me identify the areas in work and life that need what I am best at – I feel capable, confident and competent. Without this information, I may find myself in areas I struggle in, which leads to disengagement, disappointment and frustration – not the way to have a great 2019. Discover, develop and live your strengths in 2019.

2. What is a good day for me?

Each day, we get a blank canvas to add to it in a way that matters to us. We own our choices. Taking the time to reflect on what a good day is for me prepares me; I know what makes a good day for me so I can intentionally look to achieve it. Without this information, I move through life with less intention and therefore don’t make the things happen that really matter to me. Notice the language there as it means I take accountability for having a good day. I work to make good things happen for me, on purpose. Only you know what makes a good day for you; work with intention to make it happen, resulting in a better 2019. Define what makes a good day for you and build a plan to have it.

3. How can I make a difference?

I believe we are here to do more than just show up each day. We are not here just for ourselves; we each have a higher purpose – a requirement to know ourselves and to bring our best to our world to make a difference. Our uniqueness is what enables each of us to contribute something that only we can contribute, and by its contribution, we make our world better. It may be in how we teach, coach or parent. It may be in our ideas or thinking. It may be in our empathy and in the quality of our relationships. It is ours to discover and to live. Reflect on what difference you are here to make in 2019.

A new year is a great time for reflection, and questions are a good way to start the thinking and reflection process. Having a plan helps you navigate the speed and amount of daily change.

Be aware of what you want for yourself as you approach a new year. You are your life’s owner – you have the ability and responsibility to define what you want and the abilities to go get it.

Take action
How will you use these three questions to prepare for – and have – a great 2019?

 

Consider reading Want to Change the World? Engage a Coach.

Return to the Blog

What Does A Good Holiday Look Like For You?

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

The holidays can truly be amazing – or they can stress you out. There is an unspoken pressure to put up decorations, spend money on gifts and attend or host parties.

Frequently, we let marketers, media and the habits of others tell us how and what to celebrate. We get bullied into shopping on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and coming up with a gift list for people we rarely think of all year. We feel the need to outdo our neighbors with decorations and to fill our calendars with limitless parties and gatherings.

So this year, I challenge you to define what a great holiday looks like for you.

There are many holiday traditions that warm your heart, celebrate important things and bring out the best in you and others. Think of the traditional holiday shows, gathering with friends and family, the decorations and the special foods.

But there are also the stressful holiday traditions, those that complicate life, guilt you into spending what you don’t have, to eat unhealthy things and leave you feeling run down and worn out by the time the holidays move on.

Just for a moment, throw out all holiday traditions you have. Pretend you have a clear slate to start over, to decide what you want to do and how to do it. Your goal: create what you define as a great holiday for you.

To do this, summarize all of your holiday habits and traditions. Which are productive and meaningful? Which ones are stressful and done just because you have always done them? What could you replace the stressful ones with to better remind you of the reason for the holiday?

Have an open conversation with the important people in your life about what you want for your holidays. Be open to hearing what they want. Then, work together to redefine your traditions, those that bring you up, inspire you and activate your love of others and life.

When you’re done, you’ll have a redefined version of a happy holiday, one that you and everyone around you will enjoy so much more.

 

Consider reading The Greatness in the Small Things

Return to the Blog

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

Return to the Blog

RSS feed
Connect with us on Facebook
TWITTER
Follow Me
Connect with us on LinkedIn