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On a recent Saturday, outdoor conditions were good for another step in my preparation to participate in a 10K on July 4. Temperature was mild and humidity was high. So I “geared up” for a 5.6 mile outdoor run: water bottle belt, loose clothing, energy gel and stop watch. As I took the first step, I pressed the start function on my watch and my workout began. At two miles my pace and breathing were not in a “rhythm” and I begin to think whether I would still go the full distance. I started using some of my self-initiated “keep going” techniques I learned as a basketball/softball player. Self talk….I can do this….a few more steps…..breathe deeply…..I can do this! At several points along the route, I could have quit; stopped; turned back; reversed direction. But my choice was to keep going!
It was my choice to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It was my choice to continue though my muscles were tiring. It was my choice to go the distance! Napoleon Hill has said….."Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit." Had my choice on that day been to quit, I would have missed the reward, physically and emotionally, of accomplishing the goal! I would have missed the sights and sounds along the way. I would have missed the great release of endorphins! I would have missed the reward that was released by refusing to quit!
Choice! A powerful life skill we all possess! A powerful skill we often underestimate. We make choices each day; consciously and subconsciously. The choices we make shape a moment, a day, a ministry, a job, a relationship. How will you use this life skill today? What reward will you experience by refusing to quit? It’s your choice!
According to Wikipedia, “sweat equity is a term used to describe the contribution made to a project by people who contribute their time and effort.” I was reminded of this recently after a session at the gym! It was one of those “all out, sweat pouring” workouts! I made a contribution to a “project”, i.e. workout, and experienced the reward of exhilaration, satisfaction and contributing to my overall well-being!
As I left the gym, I begin to mentally brainstorm….how does this apply to life? Working with others? Leadership? Management? Perhaps a better question is… how often does a person consider the level of investment in proportion to the outcome? I often state in training and consulting environments the following: “The level of benefit you experience will be partially determined by your level of investment.” My fitness level is determined by the amount of time and energy I invest. That application can also be connected with leadership, supervision, life balance, etc. I pose the following questions for your own mental brainstorming session!
What next steps are necessary for you to increase your level of investment in one area of your life? How can you be a more effective leader with a different level of sweat equity? What results can you experience by more intentional contributions? What are your goals? What investments are you making to realize the goals? How can the services of Take the Next Step help you attain your goals?
Pat Summitt, head coach of the Tennessee Women’s Basketball team has said, “Everyday you’ve got to get better and you’ve got to be invested. A National Championship is the goal—but one game at a time.”
What will it take to renew your level of investment today?
Your Thoughts Are Showing!
We are what we think! Researchers have discovered the average person has approximately 50,000 thoughts per day! And over 90 percent of those are replays from the day before….and the day before….and the day before! Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that our self-talk flows out of our heart: “for as he thinks within himself, so he is.” (Apologetics Study Bible). Our thoughts are the one thing in life we totally control! How can we manage self-talk so that we are consistently enhancing our relationship with God, family and others? One solution: use a coach approach for mental discipline!
A coach approach is the use of powerful questions to get you where you want to be! Powerful questions are those that require you to think for yourself. They are open-ended; i.e. requires more response than “yes” or “no.” Powerful questions can help uncover needs, evoke dreams, and open conversations.
Consider hiring a personal life coach who can help you identify where you are, where you want to go and how to get there. Email Jane at email@example.com and schedule a complimentary coaching session! Remember, your thoughts are showing!
“very nearly but not exactly or entirely”
What picture is inserted in your mind… an incomplete project, unfinished business or near disaster? Perhaps it prompts feelings of inadequacy, failure or just short of reaching a goal. There are many “almost” pictures in my mental gallery! As a junior at Ft. Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, NY, I was a member of the school bowling team. During the year, we participated in a major tournament at Madison Square Gardens. I almost bowled a total score that would have resulted in my name being engraved on a plaque in the Gardens. I almost bowled a 300 game. I almost finished in the top five of all participants. The number I missed all three of those categories: 6! My teammates and I didn’t dwell on the “almost” in a disappointing manner! We chose to make it fun. On the return home, we boarded the 6th car of the subway, counted 6 steps to a door, sat in the 6th seat…..! You get the picture! Rather than focusing on what was not achieved, I chose to focus on what was achieved and challenged myself to improve for the next tournament.
Return to the picture that was inserted in your mind as your eyes read “almost.” Where is your focus? What does it say about your viewpoint? Attitude? Does the focus hold you back or move you forward? What steps can you take to move from “almost attaining” to “I’ve got it”? Take The Next Step offers coaching services that can help you achieve “I’ve got it!” For more information, email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. (And yes! The picture is the actual bowling bag and ball from the “almost” experience!)
Clutter and Passion
Noun: Collection of things lying about in an untidy mass.
Verb: Crowd (something) untidily; fill with clutter.
Walking into my office one morning, it suddenly hit me why I had been unable to make progress on two projects. All I had to do was look at my cluttered desk and realize I had tolerated the untidy mass too long! It was a visual of being overwhelmed and allowing the "stuff" of life to keep me drained. The beautiful wood of the desk, which could not be seen, had become a place holder for "piles" rather than a place to be productive.
According to the online Urban dictionary, "passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind body and soul into something as is possible." When we choose to allow the "stuff" of life to continually suppress our passion, we have little ambition and desire to move forward. I knew my next step would be to declutter the desk!
I am normally very organized and not prone to much untidy mass. But occasionally it happens...over time... "I'll do that after my next trip" choice.... "I can tolerate that one more week” mindset which culminates in a "collection of things lying about in an untidy mass." The basic task of decluttering my desk refueled my enthusiasm and created energy. What are you tolerating that is creating clutter and draining your passion? How is that impacting your life? What choices will you make to tidy up the mess and reenergize?
"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." --Nelson Mandela
In my world of professional coaching, one of the skills vital to be effective is to be fully present with the client(s). To do that, I must be mindful of my surroundings, quiet the chatter in my brain, and practice intentional listening. That blocks out distractions that might prevent me from being present in the moment with the person. The focus shifts from me to them so I can provide an effective coaching session. That same “fully present” skill can be practiced by anyone. Dan Cathey of Chick Fil A once said “we have our customers for a moment we must deliver good customer service.” In staff training, they learn to be “fully present” for that moment and deliver. They understand being “fully present” is not about a quantity of time; it is about a quality of time. It requires us to be intentionally invested in the moment whether 5 seconds, 5 minutes or longer. Check yourself regarding your “fully present” practice by answering these questions: How often do you miss a moment and pass someone by? How often do you stay focused on a situation and do not share a smile? How often are you about your own business in conversations and don’t grasp what the others are really saying? I wrote The Bread Box, Life by the Slice, to be an encouragement to others to live life one slice at a time; i.e. be fully present at any given time. My hope is that readers will laugh, think, be challenged and refreshed.
Living life by the slice helps us:
◊ keep life in perspective
◊ manage boundaries
◊ experience a new level of joy and contentment!
It can create synergy for making your life your business and your business part of your life rather than ALL of your life! Want to live life by the slice? Practice being fully present and see what you experience!
Fully Present Exercise
Required: 2, 3 x 5 cards, timer (use smart phone) and 4 minutes of face time with another person Exercise:
Each person draws an image or writes word/phrase about a favorite toy growing up.
Decide who will be the listener first.
Set the timer for 60 seconds (be sure there is an audible sound at the end of 60 seconds).
Press “go” and the “talker” tells the story of what they have drawn or written on their card while the “listener” is fully present and engaged in listening.
When the timer sounds, roles are switched for the next 60 seconds.
At the end of the second 60 seconds, set the timer for 2 minutes and press go. Each person shares what they experienced; challenges, distractions, how it felt for someone to be fully present with them.
What did you learn about yourself?