“Avoiding a problem doesn’t solve it.”
—Bonnie Jean Thornily, Illustrator
Image from www.dailymail.co.uk
The ostrich doesn’t really bury its head in the sand —it wouldn’t be able to breathe! But the female ostrich does dig holes in the dirt as nests for her eggs. Occasionally, she’ll put her head in the hole and turn her eggs.
People, on the other hand, often “bury their heads in the sand,” ignoring problems for long periods of time, hoping they will simply go away.
What issue or problem have you been avoiding, professionally or personally? Where would summoning the courage to take this issue “head on” make the biggest difference?
“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying who listens or what they think.”
-Rumi, 13th Century Persian Poet
Image from Flickr by Matt Knoth
I am currently writing a chapter for a book on personal development and soul transformation with 30 other authors. My chapter covers the concept of Personal Mastery, which has been of interest to me my entire life. I’ve even developed my own coaching program I call Personal Excellence Training, to help others reach their next level of achievement.
One key to the personal mastery journey of virtually everyone I’ve studied is the bold and often courageous pursuit of authentic gifts, talents, and interests that make their hearts sing. Their efforts at self-expression were frequently met with considerable resistance and outright criticism from their peers and the general public.
Perhaps they were simply singing their own special tune, one that was ahead of its time, that many did not yet embrace or understand.
Where in your personal or professional pursuits is it time to be even bolder and courageous, voicing your special tune regardless of whether others listen, or what they think?
“One must dare to be happy.”
-Gertrude Stein, American novelist, poet, and playwright
Image from Flickr by Blondinrikard Froberg
If I double-dared you, would you be doubly happy? The relationship between risk and reward is a topic of interest to many. Stories abound in the media, especially when you examine people who have achieved great wealth or who have lost everything—sometimes repeatedly.
But what about happiness? How does an orientation to risk-taking correlate to moving the needle on the happy meter? This idea fits perfectly with the concept of coaching, in which an individual acknowledges a personal or professional future they wish to realize.
To do so, however, requires taking the risk of leaving their current, often safe and secure realities for some more desired vision they see for themselves. Not to do so is considered by many the biggest reason for a life of regret, which no one would desire.
Where and in what ways could you take a more daring approach to your days, to lead a more interesting, exciting, and happier life?
Consider picking up a copy of Happier by Tal Ben-Shahar to examine other ideas to pursue greater happiness.
“It is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life.”
-Elizabeth Kenny, unaccredited 20th Century Australian nurse
Image from Flickr by Tambako the Jaguar
Take an inventory of your life’s greatest moments—the ones where you did or were part of something remarkable, noteworthy, and of course, memorable. What were you doing at the time? I would guess that on many of these occasions you were reaching for some goal, striving for something you desired, or operating beyond your comfort zone inspired by a high-priority commitment.
Rarely do great accomplishments occur when we simply move day-to-day, grazing on the same grasses of our personal or professional worlds.
How and in what ways can you rally your inner lion to courageously roar, chase, and pounce on the successes you desire?
“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, and brave enough to ask for it.”
Photo from Flickr by stollerdos
Most people would acknowledge that strength, intelligence and bravery are all admirable qualities. The beauty of today’s quote is in the delicate balance between the three, based on the situations and circumstances we face.
Knowing the right amount of each is critical to optimal success. Too much of one or the other can sometimes backfire.
Examine some of your highest priority commitments and projects to see whether success is dependent on your strength to stand your ground or the wisdom and bravery to invite others along to achieve a collective victory. Perhaps some blending of all three in various amounts would be even more optimal.
“Teach your daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about shattering glass ceilings.”
—Melissa Marchonna, Digital Marketer for the New York Jets
Photo from Boulder Writers Workshop
A few weeks ago my wife Wendy and I had a movie marathon. We saw four moves over the course of one weekend. One was Disney’s new, and I would say highly improved, Cinderella.
The theme of the new Cinderella was to have courage and be kind, not simply to marry the handsome prince and live “happily ever after.”
This advice is all the more timely given the fact that women still earn only 78% of what their male counterparts earn. They still hold only a modest percentage of leadership roles within the business world.
Where in your professional and personal worlds could you encourage and support your daughters, sons, friends, and colleagues to have more courage and be kinder in their efforts? What can you do to help them shatter the “glass ceilings” they may encounter, so they can live a more accomplished and satisfying life?
“Appeasement is feeding the alligator and hoping he eats you last.”
—Sir Winston Churchill, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The political definition of appeasement is “a diplomatic policy of making various forms of concessions to an enemy power in order to avoid conflict.” A notable example was between Great Britain and Nazi Germany in the late 1930s.
A more general definition involves yielding or conceding to the demands of a nation, group or person in a conciliatory effort, sometimes at the expense of justice or other principles.
Today, I suggest that you examine where and at what potential benefit or cost do you see examples of appeasement in your professional or personal lives.
Determine where you are simply feeding the alligators in your world, hoping they will eat you last. In what situations would a courageous, principled stance be the way to go?
“You can’t leave a footprint that lasts if you’re always walking on tiptoe.”
—Marion Blakely, CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association
As you close out January, take a moment to look back at 2014 and the first month of 2015. How bold and courageous have you been in the pursuit of your professional or personal goals?
Should you realize that you have been tiptoeing around and playing it too safe, determine how this year will be different.
On what issues and projects will you take a bold stance to leave lasting footprints you will look back on next year with pride?
“Life is mostly froth and bubble, two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble, courage in your own.”
—Adam Lindsay Gordon, 19th century Australian poet, jockey and politician
We all know the phrase, “Don’t sweat the small stuff…” In today’s quote, Gordon equates the small stuff with “froth and bubble,” making clear that the small stuff has little or no substance.
But what about the important stuff – the things that require our full attention and commitment?
Gordon is clear in this: be there for others when they are in need, and summon the courage to live our lives to the fullest.
Examine your own life for areas of “froth and bubble,” and choose instead to strengthen the two foundation stones of kindness and courage.
“Do one thing each day that scares you.”
—Eleanor Roosevelt, longest-serving First Lady of the United States
I’m not a big fan of being scared. I don’t care for heights, roller coasters are not on my list of fun activities, and I’m unlikely to go to scary movies. Why are such activities so popular with many people?
Facing my fears gives me a booster shot of “Aliveness.” When I examine the fears I held as I entered and pursued my career in coaching, these things happened:
- I resigned from the stability of a Fortune 500 Company, without a salary to support myself, my wife, and my two young children.
- I spent three months networking and reaching out to people I did not know, with no tangible results.
- I gave many talks and speeches (public speaking is one of most people’s fears) to numerous groups to create awareness of my services.
- I tapped into savings to secure an office instead of working from home to save money.
What one thing will you do today that scares you and will help you achieve an authentic goal and fulfill more of your highest potential?