Why Everyone Needs a Snapshot

At The Forte Factor, we start all of our coaching relationships by helping our clients get to know themselves better. We guide them through activities and tools to better understand what they are good at, what they love and what they value, as well as helping them identify their triggers, blind spots and biases. Knowing themselves at a deeper level enables and empowers them to get clearer about what they want and need, and, ultimately, how to make wiser decisions everywhere in their lives.

After all, you can’t work toward achieving big goals or even identifying real dreams until you know who you are and where you’re starting from.

We use the same approach for ourselves.  As coaches, we make time every day to continually expand our understanding of who we are. This encourages us to show up and be the best versions of ourselves in not only our daily lives but as your Coach.

One of our tools is a free online assessment called 3About Me. We provide this because we believe that everyone should know at least three of their talents and strengths, which can help you start to identify the places in work and life that fit you best.

So, as I was thinking about moving into a new year, I decided to revisit my 3AboutMe Talent Assessment results. Here’s the word cloud of my results from the 3AboutMe assessment I took in June 2019 (my 3 core talents are Caring, Decisive and Results-Focused; the other words are words that further explain my core 3):

My 3AboutMe word cloud

I remember looking at this a year and a half ago and thinking “pretty accurate.” My family and closest friends would say the same.

I know our world can influence changes in us, but regardless of COVID-19 and how our world has basically been flipped upside down, my 3 core words still are accurate today.

Here’s why: I remain true to who I am. I know when to turn up my strengths and when to turn them down because I know what my greatest strengths are. I know when I need to lean in to my liabilities (the other side of my strengths and the things that don’t come easily) and push myself out of my comfort zone because I know when a situation needs those attributes for the greatest or most successful outcome. I know I feel happiest, successful and accomplished when I’m doing something that is directly aligned to my natural talents because I know what my talents are and how to use them in today’s world.

You’ll find the people who are happiest with who they are the ones who know who they are and build their work and lives around what they do and like best. They are intentional about finding their fit.

I was reading a great article about the evolution of the celebration to mark the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s landing and came across this quote: “History isn’t a tree, it’s a meadow. It’s a million individual threads twining and unraveling in the wind. When you’re in the midst of it, it’s chaos. It’s only from a great distance that you can discern the shape of it…”

How perfectly this sums us up as human beings. We forget to take the time to step back, to process what’s happening, to reflect on our response and emotions and get caught up in the every day mess. But when we know who we are and can step back and fully appreciate our world, we can then connect what is best in us to that world – we can see where and how our talents can best be used. We gain greater insight into how we can show up to our world as who we really are.

Take Action
Take time to get to know the real you, the you that sometimes get pushed aside to handle the priority item(s) for the day. Especially right now, coming off a very challenging 2020. We’ve adopted mentalities and behaviors that aren’t necessarily true to who we are, but became a way of being. Recognize where those are not the true you.

A way to start is to take our free 3AboutMe Talent Assessment. It is a great place to start to develop the language around your talents and strengths, and then start to ask yourself, “where are the places in work and life that let me fully employ my unique abilities?”

Imagine what you could accomplish when you know you are aligned to your natural talents and strengths and know how to manage each of them in a way that lets you be who you really are.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Tune Out to Tune In

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Staying Optimistic and Hopeful in Down Times

Many of us believe that if we are good, good things will happen to us. Be kind, be honest and life will work out. But hard work doesn’t always lead to prosperity, and bad behavior isn’t always punished. Great and kind people can get ignored. Lousy and mean people can get ahead.

This is not a discussion of why not to be good, kind and honest, but rather how to stay hopeful and optimistic in a world that doesn’t always seem fair or go according to plan.

As we look to rebuild a new year in a better and more successful way, I find the greatest wisdom comes from the Chinese Confucian philosopher Mencius (Mengzi). He shared: though we would like the world to be stable and predictable, we find it is actually in perpetual disorder and needs constant work.

Don’t be upset by this. Rather, therein is our solution. A world that is capricious and unpredictable creates the continual ability to make things better. This empowers us to look at this moment in time and ask ourselves, what can I do to make this better – and feel empowered that there is always something new, good and exciting on the horizon. This is the key to shifting from despair and anger to optimism and hope – to build things better out of the ashes.

So, if it is your habit to feel defeated when things aren’t working right or when things are not going to according to your definition of “good,” how do you shift to see the good? How do you focus on what is possible and stay hopeful for change when things around you are dark, heavy and seemingly out of control?

Try these two ideas:

1. Take an inventory. I encourage my coaching clients to get clear about what is contributing to your current feelings by creating a visual display of what’s working and what’s not. On a page of paper, title the left side, “What’s Going Right” and on the right side, give it the title, “What’s Taking Me Down.” Here is the rule. For every item you add to the “Things Taking Me Down” column, you must provide at least one item in the “What’s Going Right” column. So if you have 10 items listed on the “What’s Taking me Down” column, you must provide at least 10 items on the “What’s Going Right” column.

See, many times we just have a partial view of how things really are, and in down times, we seem to focus on fears and concerns – the negative. Find a quiet moment and challenge yourself to see the other side of your life. Notice your relationships, the holidays, your health, your new habits, your blessings. It’s only when you can see a balanced and accurate picture that you can start to get control over your thoughts about this moment. Remember Mencius’s wisdom: because life is messy, the mess provides places for us to get excited and committed to making things better. So, regardless of how many things are in your right column, they provide the daily opportunity of learning, growing and getting better. This is truly something to be hopeful and optimistic about.

2. Start small, but start. From the clearer view you now have around what is affecting you, where is there something small that you could improve? It could be making one change about something you eat/don’t eat, spending 10 minutes each morning with a gratitude journal, making a call to a friend, turning off the news reminds you of what is not working in your world, or spending 10 minutes out in nature. It is your choice.

Don’t try to change everything; simply focus on one small thing. In it you see that you have influence and impact. You don’t wear yourself out or fuel a greater disappointment. We know the world is messy and complicated. So make small, little improvements. In the aggregate, not only do they add up and make a larger change, but they fuel your sense of hope and optimism as you see your ability to make improvements to things that matter.

Life is as it is. Mostly, it is complicated, messy and unpredictable. If we think it should be orderly and stable, we will be constantly disappointed and down. Instead, see the trouble spots and challenges as opportunities to improve things. Let that get you excited, optimistic and hopeful.

As you reflect on 2020 and prepare to launch into 2021, remind yourself that things won’t change overnight. But also understand that as you stay upbeat, positive and hopeful, and use those energies to see and make improvements, you will be part of the greater effort to improve our days and our world.

Take Action
Take your inventory and ensure it is balanced. Start small but start right away. Notice what you can improve and go do it. Encourage others to do the same. As we start a groundswell of hope and optimism, we give ourselves the energy to show up to our messy world, committed to always making it better.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading The Key to Really Good Relationships (When Winter Brings You Back Inside)

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A Lesson from Kids: Finding the Good

It might be that kids aren’t yet jaded with the cynical world we live in. They don’t know how to dwell on the bad. They aren’t ashamed to express their emotions in the moment they feel them.

Kids can teach us all a lesson.

Here’s a real story: A little over a year ago, one of my little guys face planted into a book shelf just as we were wrapping up our bedtime routine (it sounds as gross as it was). His immediate response was a scream of agony followed by noises of complete frustration with me as I tried to clean him off to see if we needed to go to the ER (we did). But the entire time we were at the ER? Smiles. Holding my hand tightly when he was scared but letting the doctors do what they needed to do. Saying “thank you” quietly as he slurped his popsicle. Falling asleep calmly in my arms when we finally got home.

And his big brother was just as impressive. Startled when his brother started screaming. Scared when I had him in another room and confused why he was blocked from seeing it all. Calmly getting himself ready to get in the car so we could go to the ER. Keeping both of his brothers distracted. Highlighting the adventure we were about to go on (“we’re going to the ER! To see doctors! So cool!”).

Kids don’t get caught up in the “what ifs” or “could have beens.” They are literally present in every moment, fully participating and making the most of the ride.

Perhaps the greatest lesson kids can teach us is not necessarily just finding the good or making the most of every moment, but really being present to each of those moments, excited to see what it brings, and allowing yourself to be whomever you need to be at the moment.

I can think about how often this is a lesson I need to share with myself. How about you?

Take Action
At this point, I know it’s cliché to hear someone say “just find the good!” or “make the most of every situation!” But I think there’s a reason why it’s cliché – it works. To make the most of any situation you have to be really part of it.

So, when it happens next, ask yourself, what would the child version of me do in this situation?

You just might realize you don’t have to search for the good or how to make the most of the situation because it might be right there in front of you.

We really like this list of 5 ideas to help you increase your gratefulness.

By Kristin Allaben

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

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A Recap: Five Rules for A Really Great Life in 2020

Last year, we shared our 5 rules for a really great life in 2020.

Then 2020, well, imploded.

But our guidance still stands and, perhaps most importantly, these rules really did apply to all the challenges 2020 brought with it.

Let’s review.

Rule 1. Life has its ups and its downs. Expect them. Use the ups to help you deal with the downs. Never stay down long.

Well we certainly hit the nail on the head. Though we may not have been able to anticipate the severity of the down associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, you are equipped with the tools you need to overcome challenges in a productive and intentional way. Experience every emotion. Be fully present in each event. This is how you can celebrate the great ups and learn from the downs.

Rule 2. Never compare yourself to someone else. They are different on purpose and are better than you at some things and you are better than them at other things. Focus more on just being your best self.

This rings particularly true for working parents. How many times did you think, “how could they possibly be getting that much done with their kids at home?” Each person’s experience is different. You don’t know what’s happening behind their doors. Perhaps they have a live-in relative who was able to watch the kids. Perhaps they sought out babysitters who could be trusted to be safe and follow COVID-19 protocol. Perhaps a spouse lost their job and now they’re the primary (or possibly sole) breadwinner. Comparing your life to someone else’s is unproductive. Instead, just focus on you and what is happening in your life.

Rule 3. Make the time to know what makes you happy and stay focused on it. Get clear about your goals and stay focused on them, regardless of the distractions and interruptions you encounter.

Everyone seemed to let this go first. But the reminder is that we each have to make our lives happy, something that is independent of the events going on around us. Each moment of each day is ours to define how we want to be in it. Know what being happy means for you and commit to going after it. Make this a major goal for 2021.

Rule 4. Take nothing personally. As the expression goes, “What you think of me is none of my business.” Everyone can and will have their perspectives. Never let what others think and say distract you from being your best and truest self, and from focusing on what makes you happy.

See rule 3. Get focused on what you define as happy and successful. No one else can define that for you because it’s based on your experiences and your life situation. Once you know what happiness is to you, you’ll find other’s thoughts can’t affect you as much. In today’s comment-about-everything-and-everyone world, learn to shut off the social media noise and spend that time more focused on going after what makes you happy.

Rule 5. Make everything you touch better. My dad used to say, “It is not up to you to improve the world, just the part of it you touch.” Each day make where you are – your relationships, your work, how you show up to your world – just a little bit better. Overtime, you will make things significantly better.

This all starts with you. Get in the habit of paying greater attention to you, others and your world. Then, with expanded awareness, ask yourself, “what could I do to make this better? Make the focus on always making things better part of who you are and your approach to 2021. Own your impact. Raise your game. Believe in the value of helping others and helping our world improve.

We all need guidance. There is always going to be something we need to figure out or overcome to be sure we’re living a life that matters.

So, though these were our 5 rules for a great life in 2020, we’re sharing them again because these are 5 rules to have a great life. Period.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 3 Ways to Help Your Team Start 2021 Strong and Focused

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What You Don’t Know About Your Employees is Impacting Your Team’s Performance

The outside world generally knows more about your employees than you do. And realistically, there’s little surprise here. There often isn’t time to just sit and talk with employees during the day about anything other than work-related items, and there seems to be a manager-employee divide where many won’t cross that line and friend/follow each other on social channels. Yet these social channels are where so much of this expanded employee information is so readily available, like individual skills, abilities, interests and work experience.

This is a big obstacle in inspiring and engaging employees to perform at their best. Think about it: as the world moves faster and faster and requires greater performance from your employees in ever-changing roles and environments, how do you know what skills training to provide and who would be a better fit in a different role?

Our answer: an inventory of abilities.

Generally, we develop a clear understanding of what success attributes new employees bring to their workplace on their first day as it relates to performing the role they are hired for. But this is only a snapshot of what they can bring to the table. Each employee is equipped with a more robust set of skills, experiences, interests and core abilities. When you add these to the robust abilities of your existing teams, you gain the information you need to more wisely align, develop and promote employees as your world and workplace continue to evolve.

To most effectively tap into these previously unknown strengths and skills, help each employee create an inventory of abilities. This is best done through activities and assessment tools to help employees articulate their strengths and liabilities, interests, values, communication styles, favorite and least favorite aspects of their role, behavioral triggers and blind spots. When employees have a more complete understanding of their potential and their personal drivers, it helps managers see all they are capable of. Having an expanded awareness of who employees are also helps to see who they can become and how they may fit into a workplace that always needs new and different skills and abilities.

The inventory of abilities can help your organization inspire greater employee performance by greater understanding of each employee in three critical areas.

1. Alignment. Having a clear understanding of who an employee is, what they are capable of and what they are interested in doing helps improve role alignment. Employees who are well aligned to their roles feel more capable and competent which activates engagement; engagement is the driver of productivity, performance and retention. It is difficult to get A-level performance from someone who doesn’t have the ability or interest to do what the job requires.

2. Development. Upskilling or reskilling are new terms that are making their way around the workplace and refer to adding new skills or improving the skills employees have to accommodate the changes in both work and workplace. As required workplace skills and abilities change, do you know who on your team has the abilities to respond to the changes? Without this insight, you will only look to the outside talent pool to address performance needs instead of considering your existing and already familiar inside talent. This also adds time and additional resources to effectively onboard new talent, resources most organizations are already short on.

3. Advancement. Few organizations treat a promotion or advancement the way they do an initial job hire; it’s often not even considered to clearly define the expectations of the role and then assess a candidate’s behaviors, skills, education and experience as right for the role. Think about how many colleagues or employees you’ve known to be promoted even though they weren’t interested in or capable to perform what the next level required. By expanding what you know about each employee, you start to see the opportunities in employees that may not be on a linear trajectory but instead one that uses their abilities in a new and different way. For instance, an installer of a product may make a great customer service or project manager because they are intimate with the product, its applications and success attributes. Or a frontline employee may make a great company educator because of what they know and have experienced firsthand.

Each employee only brings a small portion of who they are to their current role. Help them expand what they know of themselves and learn alongside them so you can also better see who they can become as your work and workplaces changes.

Take Action
Information is power. Make a point of gathering more information about your employees from your employees; they come with greater abilities and skills that you currently know or use. Without this information, you will not be prepared to properly upskill and respond quickly and effectively as work and the workplace change.

And, contact us to learn about our Inventory of Abilities tool and approach that we use in all of our leadership, management and employee education.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading How to Get The People Thing Right for Your Business

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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

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The Key to Really Good Relationships (When Winter Brings You Back Inside)

The [forced] time together has just moved past the 9-month mark. Summer weather gave us the chance to get a little more space from each other, but now that colder weather is back, we’re all back inside and many people are struggling in their relationships.

Though we are social creatures, we don’t really do relationships all that well. Think about it: when things are going well, relationships seem to thrive. But when we get stressed by something like today’s pandemic, our worst behaviors come out, putting strain on every relationship we have. I don’t think it’s uncommon to observe that time spent with each other can start to look and sound more like professional wrestling than a loving household.

So, knowing winter will keep many of us in a tighter space with each other for the next several months, how do we relish our relationships instead of retreat from them? As a coach and a passionate believer in the power of relationships, here are four ideas to building and sustaining great relationships.

  1. Manage your emotions. The key to any great relationships is being able to stay calm even when situations around you are aggravating, frustrating or even irritating. Though you can’t control every situation or other people, you must be able to control and manage yourself. Staying calm lets you to access your best thinking and helps you see things more clearly because you’re not automatically looking for a fight. When you’re in that calmer frame of mind, the small things don’t get to you and the big things seem more manageable because you can sort through them and develop options to solve them. We find the best way to manage your emotions really starts with understanding the things or people that trigger your anger, fear, anxiety or frustration, among others. We call these unproductive emotions. Then, develop a particular technique to stay calm when confronted by these triggers, like focused breathing, writing in a gratitude journal, chatting with a friend, reading something inspirational or spending time with a hobby. These are distraction techniques that help you to not react to the trigger. Being aware of the trigger and then having a plan to deal with it is a great way to start managing your emotions.
  2. Tell the truth. All great relationships require a solid foundation – trust. Trust is built by listening to each other, showing mutual respect, being considerate, being dependable and being supportive. And when you have trust in a relationship, the people involved are able to talk to each other to do more of what works and improve the things that don’t work well. As a suggestion, have a conversation with those you are in relationship with and assess the level of trust in the relationship. Discuss ways to increase it to build a stronger foundation and a more lasting relationship. Remember to manage your emotions so you can stay calm and present in your conversations.
  3. Help others be their best selves. So many relationships require each other to be who the other needs them to be – not who they are. To be in a real relationship with someone is to want to help them discover, develop and live their potential – to find their way, to be who they really are and to live their best life. This can’t happen if we continually direct or control them into our version of a great life for them. I have realized in my many years of coaching and my own self-discovery process that finding my way is up to me but getting support from those who care about me is essential. Their support helps me stay focused and encouraged because the process of being yourself in a world that is so quick to tell you who to be is hard work. Knowing we have people who care about us encouraging, guiding and supporting builds a relationship.
  4. Always be kind. You don’t have to agree with each other to be in a good relationship, but how you disagree is what builds or destroys the relationship. The one clear rule that belongs in a relationship is to always be kind. Be kind in how you act and in what you say. Even difficult news is better received when it is delivered with kindness. Kindness is about the feelings behind the interaction. It is possible to be disappointed with a friend, client or partner and share that disappointment in a loving and kind way. After all, you are likely disappointed with a behavior or an action, not with the person. Without kindness, you can unintentionally trigger each other, launching into a battle of unproductive emotions. 

Relationships don’t have to be a challenge, despite what we’ve seen in movies and tv shows. Turn off the drama and focus on building or rebuilding the important relationships in your life. They start with you. They need you to be able to manage your emotions, tell the truth, be kind and support others. As you do this, others will learn, follow and return the behaviors.

The new year is just around the corner. This is a perfect time to rebuild or repair some damaged relationships that may have been a casualty of the election, or of being quarantined for the past few months. Regardless, the greatest gift in life is the gift of relationships. But like everything that is really valuable, they take work and effort. What helps in this is understanding what to do and how to do it. From there, all things are possible.  

Take Action
Think about the people you have a relationship with. Choose one where the relationship is not where you’d like it to be. Visualize how you want the relationship to be and do the following:

  1. Get calm by managing your emotions. What emotions are you feeling when it comes to that relationship? What is triggering those emotions? Are they productive or unproductive?
  2. Assess the level of trust and your behavior in the relationship. It’s important to remember that there are two parts to every story, and the same goes for relationships. Be aware of your role and behavior in the relationship, and be honest with yourself. What’s working? What’s not working?
  3. In a loving and kind way, invite the other person to rebuild or repair the relationship by sharing the work you’ve done so far to identify areas that are working well and areas that could be better. Engage in a conversation, not an argument. Manage your emotions.

By following these steps, you’ll see the quality of life improve for both of you.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading Don’t Go Back to Normal. Instead, Focus on Becoming Better

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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!

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Ready or Not, 2021, Here We Come!

What. Was. That?

I think that’s the general sentiment about 2020 and we still have a few weeks to go. It has been a year no one will forget. Nothing went the way it was supposed to. Big goals were pushed aside while we tried to figure out how to just get the bare minimum done. Simple tasks, like going to the grocery store, required planning and significant mental awareness. And that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Needless to say, I can’t tell you the number of people who have told me they’re planning something special (albeit with only their immediate family in attendance) to celebrate the end of this year. People who don’t usually celebrate the New Year are planning to celebrate this year. We can’t seem to get 2020 out of here fast enough.

But once it’s gone and we see “2021” as the calendar year, then what? What will you do differently? How can the toughest of years make you wiser, better, stronger and more focused?

Changing the calendar year is a start, for sure, a very strong mental one at that. But what will be different about 2021 for you other than it’s not 2020?

Before you say, “here I come, 2021!”, you need to create a solid foundation to be ready for the new year and all it will bring. Being comfortable dealing with change, redirecting anxiety and uncertainty to optimism and learning how to stay calm when presented with anything but a calm situation – all things 2020 challenged us with.

How can you do this? By working with a coach.

Working with a coach can help you get ready to make the most of 2021 in whatever way that looks for you. Through various tools, coaches help you better understand yourself and your situations, create achievable goals and navigate through the challenges and obstacles that stop you from achieving those goals. Whether the situation you’re facing is a personal one or professional, coaches help you discover, develop and live what is best in you, equipping you with exactly what you need to achieve the things that matter to you.

Here are 3 reasons why you should work with a coach to get ready for 2021:

1. What end is up? If you can confidently say you are more organized, more together and self-aware than ever before, congratulations! But for the majority of the public, 2020 was not so kind. Anxiety was through the roof. Uncertainty plagued even the most confident. Few are entering 2021 with their heads on [completely] straight. Working with a coach will help you get clear of your priorities, redefine goals and figure out where to start. After all, if you’re not sure where to start, how can you get going?

2. I will do / be XYZ. This year, most of us had to put aside big goals we wanted to achieve and instead focus on survival (literally and figuratively). In fact, a lot of parents have left the workforce to assist in childcare and remote learning because juggling the responsibilities of work and home (when everyone is always home) was becoming too challenging; you can’t give 100% in 5 directions all the time. At some point, something will fall. Working with a coach will help you revisit your goals and work on redefining and prioritizing them to make them actionable and achievable and, as a bonus, get and keep you motivated to do it. If you don’t have a goal, what direction are you moving in? And if you don’t have an accountability partner, how will you stay committed and on track?

3. Build (or rebuild) confidence, self-esteem and motivation. When you find yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in, especially when it’s out of your control, it can wreak havoc on your confidence and self-esteem. You question how you got there in the first place or how you let it get to the point it did. 2020 challenged everyone’s confidence. The parents who had family schedules perfectly planned and aligned were basically handed a blank calendar and told “try again.” The person working hard for the promotion they wanted found themselves challenged with just getting up in the morning to log in to work. The grandparents who want nothing more than to snuggle their grandkids having to settle for Zoom or Facetime and virtual hugs. It does a lot to the mind when everything you used to take for granted is pulled out from under you. Working with a coach will help you learn how to gracefully accept and navigate change – even the big changes that catch you off guard – and build (or rebuild) your confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and happiness so you can do and be better each day

Working with a coach creates time to focus on you. After all, there are many around you who need you to be calm, focused and present, each of which has been challenged by so many things this year. As you discover your strengths and liabilities, passions and triggers, you develop an inventory of abilities. Think of it like your toolbox; you have the right tools readily available to you to use in any situation that will make you feel confident, competent and capable.

The world is going to send what it is going to send. You can’t control that. What you can control is how you show up to what it sends. To do this in a successful way, you need to know and manage yourself, understand where you are and where you want to be, and, with guidance of a coach, bring all the pieces together to land on your feet and make the things that are important to you happen.

So, whether a parent, employee, manager, boss, spouse, partner or friend, engaging and working with a coach can help you show up more successfully by activating and using what is already great in you.

We can’t wait to work with you. Let’s make 2021 your year.

Take Action
When you take accountability for your life, you subconsciously take control. You decide what your life should look like, and you make it happen. You decide how you want to feel and you make it happen. You decide what you want and don’t want and make it real.

Be your best self in 2021. We’re ready to help.

By Kristin Allaben

Consider reading Reassess What’s Really Important

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The Holidays are Coming and You Still Have to Work at Home

The holidays have always been associated with some type of stress. Whether it’s worrying about meeting end-of-year deadlines, financial burdens or navigating the personalities of family members, there’s always something in the back of our minds that can upset this period’s intention of celebration and joy.

And this year, with the presence of COVID-19, work and school can now be done at home, so a new stressor emerges: how will you accommodate the holidays and the changes to your house and schedule, and still get your work and schoolwork done?

Your office may be in the guest room that will now be taken over by a visiting relative. Your corner of the family or living room that was your office set up now may need to move to accommodate the holiday decorations. Your routine of getting to emails early before everyone is up may be now shared with a visiting relative who likes to rise with the sun.

Just when you thought you created a routine that actually works, the holidays are now the latest thing challenging them.

Consider the following ways to remain calm, adapt, get your work done and still manage to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Get present by taking a few breaths to relax your mind, disconnect from your emotions and give yourself the ability to look at your situation. You can’t solve anything if your mind is anxious, angry, frustrated or irritated. In those states, you use your energy to be upset instead of finding a solution. So, get yourself calm. Developing a breathing or meditation practice are ways to separate yourself from your situation so you can come back to it calmer and more present to deal with it.
  2. The holidays are a period of great celebration and joy. Remember what it feels like to get the house ready for the holidays? The foods, the decorations, the lights, the traditions. Regardless of how crazy the world is, holidays bring us back to some of our fondest memories. They remind us that life and its events are to be celebrated.
  3. Remind yourself that any inconvenience is only temporary. Though the holidays may interrupt your schedule, they come and go. Remember how much fun it is decorating but how good it feels to have the space back when it is over. Review your work expectations over the next 2 months to develop a plan. If you see interruptions in your ability to deliver on your expectations, address it early with your team and manager. You are not alone in making your home office shift back into some shared space brought on by the holidays.
  4. Communication is essential. As you learned how to make working and schooling from home happen, work as a family to discuss how you can make holidays happen in your space. Consider using family meetings to address the changes that will affect the house based on the holiday. Expand the communication to be sure everyone feels heard and included.

2020 has indeed been a year of changes, but with every change, notice that you’ve been able to adapt. Adaptability is truly a skill to be developed. The more you build a practice of responding instead of reacting to the things that happen around you, the greater the options you will create to make a success out of what happens.

Take Action
Start the conversation now about what the holiday plans are and how they will affect work and school. Consider using a family meeting to hear thoughts and perspectives from everyone. Keep the focus on the holiday’s celebration purpose to encourage excitement and to develop the stamina to accommodate yet one more change, albeit temporary. Focus on the holiday’s celebration, excitement and joy.

The holidays come and go, but they have the power to dull the challenges of the real world, even for a moment. Let yourself fee the excitement and joy of the season. Be present to it all.

By Jay Forte

Consider reading 4 Tips to Not Be Bad at Working from Home

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