Becoming is Better than Being

Becoming is Better than Being.”

—Carol S. Dweck, Stanford University Professor of Psychology

Image of Mindest Book Cover

I consider myself a “work in progress,” a lifelong learner, and of course, a Coach, who is in the business of helping others become a better version of themselves in as many areas of life as they desire.

The book Mindset, by Carol S. Dweck describes the fixed and growth mindsets that apply to each of us to various degrees. Attributes of each include:

FIXED MINDSET GROWTH MINDSET
Skills, abilities and intelligence are static Intelligence and ability can be developed through effort
Works from a “judge and be judged” framework Learning occurs from setbacks
Avoids obstacles & challenges
Gives up earlier in the process
Often ignores feedback
Open and receptive to feedback
The success of others poses a threat to them The success of others is a model to guide their own success journey
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks You can teach an old dog new tricks

EXERCISE:

Where can you augment and fan the flames of your own growth mindset to become the best “YOU” possible?

How can you serve as a coach or mentor for others to help them become all they can be?

Body and Soul Need New Challenges

“Body and soul need new challenges.”

—Paulo Coelho, Warrior of the Light: A Manual

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Use it or Lose it!” As a former science teacher, this reminds me of the concept of entropy, which points to how things decay or fall apart if energy is not added to the system.

New challenges are tests that bring forth the efforts and energies to tackle them. It is through such exertions that we grow, and bring order to our lives.

EXERCISE:

What challenges are you currently rising to in your personal and professional worlds?

How can you initiate and proactively take on new challenges to improve your life in body and soul?

“An arrow can only be shot…”

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Flickr by SteFou!

Image from Flickr by SteFou!

How familiar are you with Newton’s Laws of Motion?  I’ll spare you the physics lesson, and point directly to his Third Law, which states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

This means that for every force, there is another force that is equal in size, but opposite in direction, which adds to the impact of the full quote for today’s thought:

“An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. So when life is dragging you back with difficulties, it means that it’s going to launch you into something great. So just focus, and keep aiming.”

EXERCISE:

How will you embrace your personal and professional difficulties, knowing you have the capacity to launch your life in the direction of your goals and objectives?

“The growth and development of people…”

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”

-Harvey S. Firestone, American businessman, founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company

Image from freightdawg.com

Image from freightdawg.com

Personal growth and development are among my top core values. Not so surprising is the fact that a very high percentage of people seeking the support of a coach share this commitment.

There is a magical power that reveals itself when we pursue our own personal growth, and support the growth of those around us.

What would be possible if each parent, teacher, and student would embrace and demonstrate these values?

EXERCISE:

How will you pursue your own development as a leader by supporting the growth and development of others today?

“Success is never owned…”

“Success is never owned; it is only rented. And the rent is due every day.”

-Zig Ziglar, American author, salesman, and motivational speaker

Photo from zazzle.com

Photo from zazzle.com

When was the last time you had a really tough day? Have you ever found yourself saying things like:

    • After all these years, I expected things to be easier.
    • It’s time for my ship to come in. Surely I’ve earned it with all my hard work.
    • I’m pretty tired. I was hoping to slow down by now.
    • Life sure feels like a roller coaster.

Virtually no one lives a charmed life or stays on top of the success ladder perpetually. Perhaps it is these everyday challenges and adversities which actually make our self-earned successes so sweet.

EXERCISE:

How can you take a “Pay as you Go” attitude to suit up and do what is necessary so that you can experience the success you’ve earned when the day is done?

“Teaching others scales right back to us.”

“Teaching others scales right back to us.”

—Seth Godin, Author

Photo from Flickr by winnifredxoxo

Photo from Flickr by winnifredxoxo

I have always had a passion for learning. As a child, I remember vividly my mother coming upstairs to read after our evening meal and some family time. Although she had only a high school education, she had the most expansive vocabulary of anyone I knew.

My own family, and my wife’s, were educators, so it was not surprising that my first career was as a teacher. After a few years, I shifted to business and found myself in teaching roles within the company. For the past 22 years, I have continued to be both student and teacher as I pursue my professional efforts as a coach.

Over the years, I’ve learned by watching others, applying what I’ve learned, and learned the most by sharing what I learned with others. The lessons always scaled back to me with even deeper meaning and impact.

EXERCISE:

How can you learn what you most desire by watching people you admire, practice what you learn, and scale these lessons back to you even more by teaching others in your professional and personal life?

As Seth Godin said in his latest book, What to Do When It’s Your Turn, “Teaching rewards us all.”

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

“Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

– Jon Acuff, New York Times Bestselling author

Photo from Flickr bykevandotorg

Photo from Flickr by kevandotorg

Have you or do you know anyone close to you who started a new job, hobby, or sport?

Although we all know cognitively that it takes time to build competency and eventually mastery, many people compare their own beginning skill level to others who have been on this or a similar journey for some time.

They see where they are limited or falling short because the comparisons they make are not equal, and actually unfair.

EXERCISE

As you strive toward excellence in any area of life, be inspired by the mastery and  capabilities of those you admire, yet compare your current capabilities only to those of what you were capable of yesterday.

Growth and comfort seldom ride the same horse

“Growth and comfort seldom ride the same horse.”

—Author Unknown

440

Image from Flickr by Montgomery County Planning Commission

When I was a small boy, I went to a carnival where I had the opportunity to ride a pony.  The initial aspect of walking in a circle at a slow pace was enjoyable – however, I found that my bottom got a bit of a jolt when we worked our way up to a trot!

At the start of a new year, very few of us wish to kick things off at a walking pace. Our goals are far more ambitious – and we must gallop forward to reach them with urgency.

Today’s quote suggests that we be prepared for a rough and sometimes bumpy ride to reach our destination before the setting sun.

Exercise:

Identify between two and three primary goals you have for 2014 where you are fully prepared for the possibility of a rough ride.

Share these goals with a coach, mentor, colleague or family member who will support your efforts to reach your destination.

From the Inside

“If an egg is broken by outside force, life ends. If broken by inside force, life begins. Great things always begin from inside.”

– Jim Kwik, learning expert

Image from Flickr by Nathan Unstead

Image from Flickr by Nathan Unstead

In many ways, the coaching process can be compared to helping individuals or organizations come out of their shells.

Just as a bird forces itself to emerge from its shell, the coaching process, with its powerful questions, taps into the power of people’s commitments to help them break free of the confines of their own limits.

Exercise:

Select one area of your life today where you plan to break out of your current constraints, to spread your wings and fly.

Press reply and let me know what happens.

“One can choose to go back toward safety, or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

“One can choose to go back toward safety, or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.”

– Abraham Maslow, psychologist

What would you do today if you were laid off from your job unexpectedly? Most of us would be jolted from our experience of relative stability into full alert, maybe even panic.

On the other hand, what if each morning, you had a new job or career, where you got to lead and influence your day? What new results and difference could you make? It’s up to you to pursue safety or growth, courage or fear. Your choice!

Exercise:

As you go throughout your day, reflect on the following thoughts:

Faced with X, I usually do Y. Instead, I’m going to choose Z which will support my growth.

Consider writing me back and let me know what “Z”s you took.