Aim High

A college professor prepared a test for his soon to be graduating seniors.  The test questions were divided into three categories and the students were instructed to choose questions from only one of the categories.  The first category of questions was the hardest and worth fifty points.  The second, which was easier, was worth forty points.  The third, the simplest, was worth thirty points.

Upon completion of the test, students who had chosen the hardest fifty-point questions were given As.  The students who had chosen the forty-point questions received Bs.  Those who settled for the easiest thirty-pointers were given Cs.

The students were frustrated with the grading of their papers and asked the professor what he was looking for.  The professor leaned over the podium, smiled, and explained, “I wasn’t testing your book knowledge.  I was testing your aim.”

An anonymous writer once commented, “Make no small plans for they have no power to stir your soul.”  Robert Kriegel put it this way, “The key is to have a dream that inspires us to go beyond our limits.”  Not only are people short on dreams but even those with dreams often set their sights low enough to protect themselves from failure.

To stay on your course for continuous self-improvement and the benefits that will be attracted to you and your business—AIM HIGH!

Evaluate Your Performance – Tips on Self Improvement

For your self-improvement to benefit you for the long term you must be regularly evaluating your performance. Here are some tips on self improvement.

One Down, Three to Go!

The first quarter of 2018 is gone.

In today’s world, danger awaits those who wait for the once-a-year performance review.

Before the second quarter gets too far away from you, I strongly recommend that you evaluate your current performance and associated results.

Right now, yes, right this second: ask yourself these very important questions to set up your personal development goals:

1. Concerning my year to date performance, how am I doing?

2. If I continue along with my current strategies and performance, how will I be doing at the end of the second quarter?

3. What am I going to do starting today to get myself back on target?

4. What new strategies and habits must I implement in order to improve my performance?

The reality is that at this very moment, you are in one of these three positions – above, on or below target.

It is time to inspect your expectations and fulfill your personal development goals before too much time and distance gets away.

Consider the exercise you go through today as an insurance policy on success.

Change is inevitable-growth is optional. Change knocks the wind out of all good plans and unless performance is reviewed regularly, growth becomes stunted.

You must remember that we get what we inspect, not just what we expect. Focused attention ALWAYS increases productivity!

Let others think small, but not you!

Let others not act, but not you!

Let others be petty, but not you!

Let others talk badly, but not you!

Let others achieve little, but not you!

Click here to get more Self Improvement Tips!

Definitions: What a Personal Business Coach May Look at for Your Self-Improvement

To better understand self-improvement coaching and what a personal business coach does, or as they are also called, personal development business coaches, I find that a great deal of the mystery around coaching can be taken away when we understand some key terms and how they are defined.

Self-improvement does not happen by itself.  All of us can improve some without a focus.  We have to do that to live, let alone to survive.  Yet, to live a happier, more fulfilling and peaceful life it is important to understand the definitions of key words that are central to the overall theme of self-improvement business coaching. In a way, these words provide some key tips on self-improvement.

Personal Foundation:  This is a structural basis to support an individual in living an exceptional life. The personal foundation is comprised of three elements:  the Who, the What, and the How.  Your personal foundation will determine where and how far you can go in your self-improvement.  The good news is that your personal foundation can be made stronger.

Personal Growth/Development:  Personal growth and development is the overall process of evolving to fully express your purpose and values.

Self:  Our “self” is who we are versus the terms we use to label ourselves.  It is our distinct personality that creates our individuality.  We draw upon this self as we are called upon to respond to the world.

Integrity:  Integrity is a state of personal wholeness, well-being, and fulfillment—not something to achieve, but rather a statement of our being.  It is a reflection of who you are in any moment and is the dynamic relationship you maintain between purpose and path.  It is vigilant development, or continual adjustment, of the fit between our calling and our conduct that allows us to sustain a high level of integrity.  Integrity, in my opinion, is one the key words in guiding us to a better life.

Values:  Values are ideals that are personally important and meaningful for you and draw you forward.  Values are inherent in each person’s makeup; we all have them.  They are specific and individual, but people can share common values.  For example, people often value honesty, openness, and respect in a conversation.

It is important to know your values.  It is critical to know the values of those you associate with.  As a personal development business coach or when I am doing personal business coaching I strongly encourage my clients to know the values of those they associate with.

An example that comes to mind was a discussion I was in where the person was having a lot of relational disruption with a group of people who were, in his opinion, important to his business.  I asked him to articulate the values of the individuals in this group of people.  At first, he resisted.  He said, “They have good values.”  Yet as he explored it and spoke about the people it became obvious they all had the same values, but they were not his.  Interestingly, they were thieves of other people’s time and money.

The conclusion was that someone can tell you they have good values.  Yet, without a frame of reference we cannot know if they are good or not.  A group of thieves all have the same values.  And they think those are good values.  Always know the values of others.  What tips on self-improvement can we take away from this story?

Know your values.  Know the values of others.  When you do, you are less likely to put yourself in situations where you are compromising your values and your principles.  When you do compromise in those areas it diminishes your authenticity and your trust which leads us down a path to poorer relationships and more problems.

In self-improvement coaching, I always ask my clients to identify their values.  When you know your values, your self-improvement can rise to a higher level because you will make better decisions that will honor you and your gifts and talents.

In the next post we will continue with some more definitions to bring more clarity to your self-improvement.

What Are the Benefits of Working with a Personal Development Business Coach?

In a previous post, I talked about whether or not you are a candidate to work with a personal development business coach.  If you are ready to be held accountable, to collaborate and to co-create with another person, your personal development business coach, then you are quite possibly a good candidate for personal development, or as some call it, self-improvement coaching.

So, you are ready in all these areas.  You have started to look for a personal business coach.  How do you find a good self-improvement coaching?  Quite simply, find someone who understands that they are not the best coach for everyone.  This is critical.  Let me state that as for myself, I am definitely not the coach for everyone.  A good personal development business coach understands the value he can bring when he collaborates with others. And he is specific, not general in his approach.

For example, in my practice, I collaborate with only those people who are already successful in my facets of business and life, or who have been successful and are on their way back.  I have found that I work best with those types of clients.  I am better with those that have a sense of themselves, their strengths and their vulnerabilities. Find a coach who can specifically identify where they work best.  There is no right or wrong here.  There truly is a coach for everyone.

The challenge for you as a prospective client is to discover the best fit for you.  As your coach I should be providing you in each session tips on self-improvement.  For every ten people I interview for coaching I work with two or three.  I have a process that takes about four hours and about a week.  Both the prospective client and myself are determining together with guidelines and a process if we have the potential to be a good match.

During the qualifying process, the client or myself is free at any time to say, “I don’t think this is going to work.”  Very often, either the prospective client or myself will come to the realization that yes, coaching is needed, but that we aren’t a fit.  One way I go about doing that is offering my prospective client some tips on self-improvement.  If the prospect is excited about them and wants to take action, I know that the odds are more favorable for a good coaching relationship.

After all, when you seek self-improvement coaching, the personal relationship with your coach will determine not only determine your level of enthusiasm but what you are willing to undertake in order to accomplish your goals. If you see the benefits from the tips on self-improvement, but can’t see the relationship as a client, then it is time to step away before you get started.

Let’s say you have found your personal development business coach.  Now what?  You will start to develop a vision of the future and what you wish to accomplish.

  1.  You will determine your strengths because those are the areas where you can more quickly see personal growth and development in your business and your life.
  2.  You will discover how to strengthen your personal foundation. When you do, you can accomplish much more.
  3.  You will begin to understand the path or pathways that are most conducive to developing your personal foundation and subsequently yourself to take you on the path to accomplishing your vision.

These are three benefits you will see in self-improvement coaching and working with a personal development business coach.  There are many more.  The key is to start in these areas.  Do well in these areas.  When you do, you will increase the odds of your self-improvement taking you on a path to make your vision of the future a reality.

Are You Ready to Work with a Personal Business Coach?

Are you ready to work with a personal business coach?  Or, another way to say this is, are you going to be receptive to self-improvement business coaching?

Over many years of coaching I have observed that those who do well with my style of personal development business coaching, have a good personal foundation.  They have many things working for them.  They are now at a point where they want to take it to their business and life to the next level.

What is the next level, you ask?  It is a good question.  There are hundreds of paths to self-improvement and they all lead to the same place.  So, it really doesn’t matter which path you take.  What matters is that you take a path and commit to it.  That’s where I come in to support others in going on their chosen pathway.

I am not here to fix anyone.  I am not here to help anyone.  Yet, I am here to give others my unconditional support.  A fix it mentality in coaching or the “I am here to help” offering, for me, is starting from a negative.  The implication is that something is wrong.  The truth is there is something wrong, or that can be improved in all of us.  That includes myself.

To me, the best path for self-improvement business coaching has four key elements.

  1.  Unconditional support
  2.  Accountability for the things the client wants to be held accountable for
  3.  Collaboration:  This is not about me and you.  It is about us.
  4.  Co-creation of pathways to accelerate the process of the client’s successful

performance.

Now that I have listed the components for successful self-improvement business coaching I want to get back to the original question, “What is the next level?”

The next level for virtually everyone is greater peace of mind and happiness.  You may say, and rightly so, this doesn’t make sense.  Don’t most people want more success in their businesses and lives financially?  Yes, in a sense.  No one has ever hired me and said, “I want to earn less money and have a diminished lifestyle?  All of them would like to earn more, sometimes it is very little, sometimes it is a great deal more.  Yet, the one thing they almost always agree on is that they want a better lifestyle.

And a better lifestyle, which comprises your business and personal life comes from understanding who you are and what can bring you greater peace and happiness.  Very often, when we focus on what the ultimate goal is, greater peace and happiness, we end up doing things that improve our lives and lifestyle significantly in other areas.

Ultimately, if you are looking for a better lifestyle and identifying steps to accelerate the process of your successful performance, you are a good candidate for collaborating with a personal business coach.

Self-Improvement: It Is All About Your Personal Foundation

As a personal business coach, I have observed that your level of self-improvement will not exceed the strength of your personal foundation. What is your personal foundation?

An individual’s personal foundation is his or her structural basis that supports him or her in living an exceptional life. Just as a house must be built on a strong personal foundation to avoid collapsing under stress, so must your life. A house’s foundation is made up of earth, cement, and steel. Your personal foundation is also made up of three major elements. The are the What, the Who and the How.

Let’s look at the “What.” The “What” is self-improvement business coaching is the package that person presents to the world. It is “What” the world sees when it looks at us. This element is also composed of several sub parts as well. We can include such things as behavior, the public self, what we show others. The “What” can be related to the “body” part of the body, mind and spirit.

The ”Who” part of you is easily understood as the real you, the core of who you are in reality, not in presentation of the “What.” As a personal development business coach, I find that discovering the “Who” is the key to unlocking an individual’s self-improvement. The “Who” often drives the “What,” but it is not always consistent with it. The “Who” can also be identified with the “spirit” part of the body, mind and spirit analogy in the previous paragraph.

The “How,” the third component of personal foundation is the set of processes, methods, and values that drive our behavior–“How” we do the things we do, and “How” we are “Who” we are. The fuel for the “How” of us is the “Who,” which essentially yields -the “What.” If you put his into an equation it would look like this: “Who” + “How” = “What.” The “What” equates to the “mind” part of body, mind, and spirit.

The “What,” the “Who,” and the “How” are the components of personal foundation that I start with as a personal development business coach. When looking at your own self-improvement start with these three areas. Know your “What,” “Who,” and “How.” They are the keys to unlocking your future growth and personal development.

Proven Use of Team Roles

Dr. Meredith Belbin defined a team role as “a tendency to behave, contribute an interrelate with others in aparticular way.”

He named nine such team roles that underlie team success. It is important to emphasize that these are not set instone behavioral patterns of individuals, rather these are preferences and attitudes team members will assume in agiven team situation.

Therefore a certain individual might perform a certain role within one team and accomplish a different role within another team. Often however individuals do have a tendency to fill a certain rolewithin all the teams that they are a part of or at least strive to fill this preferred role.

Remember: Belbin asserts that when a team is performing at its best, one finds that each team member has clear responsibilities. Also noticeable is that every Belbin role needed to achieve the team’s goalis being performed fully and well. However it is likely that a team will fall short of its full potential not because skillsare lacking but because the Belbin roles aren’t harmonized across the team.

Balanced Teams

Teams become unbalanced when all team members carry out the same behavioral team role. When team members have similar strengths and weaknesses this can create problems. If the strengths arethe same they may compete instead of collaborate.

With this information in mind, the team leader together with the team can implement the model and investigatethe team members preferred roles as well as explore the roles which are missing.

By understanding your role within a particular team, you can develop your strengths and manage yourweaknesses as a team member, and so improve your contribution to the team.

Belbin’s Team Roles Model

Belbin identified nine team roles and he categorized those roles into three groups:

  • Action Oriented
  • People Oriented
  • Thought Oriented

The nine team roles divided into the three groups are:

Action Oriented Roles:

Shaper (SH)

Shapers are people who challenge the team to improve. The Shaper is the one who shakes thingsup to make sure that all possibilities are considered and that the team does not become complacent.

Implementer (IMP)

Implementers are the people who get things done. They turn the team’s ideas and concepts into practical actions and plans.

Completer-Finisher (CF)

Completer-Finishers are the people who see that projects are completed thoroughly.

People Oriented Roles:

Coordinator (CO)

Coordinators are the ones who take on the traditional team-leader role and have also been referred to asthe delegate.

Team Worker (TW)

Team Workers are the people who provide support and make sure that people within the team are working togethereffectively.

Resource Investigator (RI)

Resource Investigators are innovative and curious. They explore available options; develop contacts, and negotiate for resources on behalf of the team.

Thought Oriented Roles:

Plant (PL)

The Plant is the creative innovator who comes up with new ideas and approaches. They thriveon praise but criticism is especially hard for them to deal with.

Monitor-Evaluator (ME)

Monitor-Evaluators are best at analyzing and evaluating ideas that other people (oftenPlants) come up with. These people are shrewd and objective and they carefully weigh the pros and cons of all theoptions before coming to a decision.

Specialist (SP)

Specialists are people who have specialized knowledge that is needed to get the job done. Theypride themselves on their skills and abilities, and they work to maintain their professional status.
In finding roles for actual or potential team members keep the above in mind. When a person has guidance on what role or roles (you can play more than one at a time) he or she can play for a team they will have clarity. With clarity they can take steps and provide thinking to fulfill their role, thus helping the team. They now have purpose.

And with purpose, it is much easier for a team member to contribute to achieving the team’s goals. Also, I have found this process to be liberating. You have a specific role or roles and you understand, instead of worrying, how you can make a positive contribution to achieving what the team is tasked to accomplish.

The Having A Challenge Executing A Strategy?

To move forward in business, you or your organization must be good at execution. It sounds so simple, yet time and again the execution of a strategy or change fails. How come?

Any time you seek to execute a change in strategy you are asking yourself and other to change your human behavior. It may be the behavior of a few, a team or an entire organization.

The answer to good execution of strategy is to change the behavior of the people, to change the human element. You can have written goals, tactics and deadlines. These are good but they are only “on paper” change.

Without commitment and proven practices to follow to execute the strategy or change “on paper” you will fail to change the one component necessary to success. That element is human behavior.

Behavioral change strategies are very challenging. You can’t just put them down “on paper” and order, let alone expect them to happen. Behavioral change has a better chance of success when the system is changed and people are held accountable for their behavior.

The last part to successfully executing a new strategy is to start with something small. Too often, I see organizations try to fix everything. When they do it is like throwing everything into a blender. The result, very often, is chaos and failure.

I have talked about ways to overcome the challenge of executing a new strategy or incorporating change. It is good to have written goals where everyone can see them. There must be commitment to proven practices. People must be willing to embrace a new system and to be held accountable. Lastly, start with a small strategy or change, experience some success and build on it.

Take all of the above and add a fanatical discipline to make sure these things take place. For without discipline there is very little chance of successfully executing a strategy or change. Success in implementing a strategy or change will come from having the discipline to execute

What Is Your Lid?

John Maxwell, in his book, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”, talks about the Law of the Lid. In short, the ceiling for your leadership ability will depend on the level of your personal development. All of the 21 Laws are interrelated. So a leadership experience may seem to lean more on one law than another but in truth, there are several laws at work at any one time.

In reflecting of the Law of the Lid and its relevance in my life I found my thoughts going back to when I was in Cub Scouts. I was eight or nine years old at the time. In my small town, we did not have a movie theater. The fund raiser for our Cub Scout pack was to sponsor a movie show in the high school gym. My hometown of Chappaqua, New York, which at the time had about 2,000 residents is quite hilly and the school district encompassed approximately nine square miles.

To sell tickets to the show, you had to go door to door between houses that could be up to a tenth of a mile or more apart from each other. Also, there were some elevation changes of up to 150 feet making the process of going door to door, even for a young boy, a rigorous physical challenge.

My mother and father were very supportive. That was good! I was excited about selling tickets but I had one problem. All my competition had bicycles. That was something that we could not afford. The good news was that if you sold the most tickets you won a brand new Schwinn 3 speed bike which at the time was the bike to have. Also, just for a historical context, this was not an era where parents drove their little Cub Scouts around to homes. As a kid you either walked or rode a bicycle.

Since I did not have a bike, I would have to walk door to door and it would take me much longer to reach people who, hopefully, had not already purchased tickets to the movie show. Also, my motivation to have a bike, and the Schwinn in particular, drove me to walk and walk and walk some more. On the weekends, I would start in the morning with a peanut butter sandwich my mother had packed and set off to see who I could sell tickets to.

This went on for several weekends. I walked as much as I could. I met many very nice people and in the process I got to know my hometown.

Then the big moment arrived. The movie was going to be shown at the high school gym and they would announce the top three finishers in ticket sales. When they called my name as the top ticket seller and the winner of the Schwinn bicycle I was stunned and elated. Also, I had doubled the ticket sales of the second and third place finishers, both of whom had bikes.

If I had put a lid on what I could accomplish because I did not have a bicycle, or thought that it wasn’t worth trying because it wasn’t fair that I had to walk, I never would have won the contest. Fortunately, at nine years old, I did not have the context to see that there could be a very real lid, no bicycle, on what I could accomplish. At nine, I did not understand the Law of the Lid. Yet, as I have gone through business and life, I am reminded that when I raise my lid more opportunity flows into my business and life. For greater success, raise your lid.

Benefits Of Working With A Coach

Coaching is proven to work when two factors are present:
• The client is willing to learn, grow, and take action
• There is a gap between where he is now and where he wants to be.
That`s all is necessary for a successful coaching relationship where you can develop the right strategy, implement an action plan, and achieve your goals. Anything is possible within the coaching relationship. With a coach you can:

Take More, Better and Smarter Actions
The first task together is to find out exactly what you really want for yourself. Once you create objectives that are clear in with your personal values and professional vision, you are much more likely to naturally and consistently take actions to reach them.

Have A Balanced Life, Which Works Well
Professional success is maximized when you enjoy a sense of personal fulfillment and life balance. You need to be selfish yet responsible, and how to care out enough time so your life outside of work is exactly the way you want it to be.

Make Better Decisions
It helps you become focused as you share ideas with coach. The coach understands you and be subjective enough to want a lot for you, yet objective enough not be biased or self-serving. You`ll also find that just talking about your options with someone who really listens is often enough to clarify things.

Reach For More- Much More
When you have a partner you trust, you will reach for much more because you can afford to. Are you ready to think big and really live your life fully? The coach is a partner who will enable you to take your life wherever you want it to go.

Make And Keep More Money
Most people are worth a lot more than they are making. Are you happy with your financial situation? If not, the coach can look at your beliefs about money and address whatever is keeping you from experiencing financial abundance.

Have More Sustainable Energy
Together the coach and you can identify the things that drain your energy, and create a long- term strategy to eliminate them. In addition, the coach will focus on the things that give you energy, and explore how to maximize their impact. When you`re happy, productive, and free from tolerations and problems, life is a lot more fun!