“Be your own compass.”

“Be your own compass.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by AbsolutVision

To what degree have you felt lost over the past several months?

Where did you once have clarity in your life, and to what extent do things now seem to be foggy?

Now is the time to be your own compass, to verify your “True North” and set forth with more confidence and commitment.

What are the values, beliefs, and priorities that generate the magnetic field within you, keeping you on course regardless of small or mountainous issues along the way?

EXERCISE:

How do you know when you are on the right path?

What personal or professional adjustments will you make today to better follow your own inner compass?

“The best way to ride a horse is in the direction in which it is going.”

“The best way to ride a horse is in the direction in which it is going.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Annika Treial

A fair percentage of the coaching engagements I’ve been involved in over the years have related to career transitions. Two common terms for such assignments are on-boarding and assimilation coaching.

One of the more challenging and often stressful assignments is when a new leader or team is brought in to “turn around” an organization. In such situations the company/horse and the vast number of employees/riders are headed in different directions.

These assignments almost always involve casting a more inspiring vision and enrolling others in changing direction toward a better future.

EXERCISE:

Assuming you are proactively taking steps to lead and manage your own career trajectory, what strategies and tactics can and will you take to lasso those horses and get in the saddle of those headed in a direction you would like to travel?

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.”

“Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.”

—Brian Tracy, Canadian-American motivational speaker/author

Image from Unsplash by Isaac Smith

Do yourself a big favor and set some worthy goals for the new year.

If you are like many of us, you are thinking, I do this every year, or maybe why bother?

Perhaps, like many people, you stick to your resolutions until sometime in February, when things fall apart due to bad weather, waning discipline, or competing priorities at home or work.

Whatever you do or don’t do, you can bet that changes are coming. The question to ask yourself is whether you are going to control their direction, or simply react to whatever comes your way.

EXERCISE:

Please consider improving your odds of success by adding a variety of social and structural supports. To learn more about how to do this, put the book Influencer – The Power to Change Anything on your holiday and new year reading list.

“If you do not change directions, you may end up where you are headed.

“If you do not change directions, you may end up where you are headed.”

—Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher

Image from Unsplash by Jammie Templeton

As part of my coaching discovery process, I ask prospective clients to answer a number of questions that help them fully examine the potential value of us working together.

These questions help them expand what is working, and impact what is not. For many individuals, the following question provokes considerable interest:

What do you expect to achieve in your professional
and personal life, given your current plans, strategies,
and general direction?

Given time to explore this question fully, most people see the need to change course if they are to fully realize their highest priority goals and not end up where they are currently heading.

EXERCISE:

Consider answering this question for yourself and discussing any insights and potential actions you plan to take with a friend, colleague, mentor, family member, or coach.

Feel free to reply to this post with what value you create.

“Turn in the direction of the skid.”

“Turn in the direction of the skid.”

—Driving School adage

Image from Unsplash by Meghan Schiereck

Having lived in Michigan over half my life, I’ve experienced my share of icy roads! Before front or four-wheel drive, traction control, and the latest in snow tire technology, today’s quote was the best advice and coaching to avoid or minimize accidents.

How do you try to control the many aspects of your life? How fast are you going these days? How many icy patches are you experiencing on your personal and professional roads through life?

It turns out the more we slam on the brakes and over-steer, the worse things become.

EXERCISE:

Where is it appropriate for you to fully embrace an icy patch or two in your world? How can you calmly turn into these skids to get back on the road to a better life?

“I will accept your influence, guidance, and direction if (and only if) I believe that you and I share similar goals.”

“I will accept your influence, guidance, and direction if (and only if) I believe that you and I share similar goals.”

—David Maister, former Harvard Business School professor

Image from Unsplash by Nik MacMillan

How coachable are you? How open and receptive are you to the guidance, direction and influences of others in your professional or personal life?

I begin working with all new clients with an all-day, one-on-one workshop in my office to clarify and fully align on the specific goals and objectives we intend to produce. With this up-front investment to align our objectives we can optimize the full benefit and value of our relationship.

EXERCISE:

How can and will you enhance the receptivity and coach-ability of yourself and those around you by doing the up-front work of assuring shared goals for your efforts?

If there was only the ‘right’ way to do something, Fosbury would never have flopped

“If there was only the ‘right’ way to do something, Fosbury would never have flopped.”

—John Whitmore, 20th Century South African Surfer

Image of Fosbury doing the flop

image from itv

When was the last time you asked for directions?

When was the last time you asked more than one person for directions to the same destination?

With today’s technology, we check Google maps, Waze, or other tech tools to see what is recommended. What is the fastest route? The most scenic? Which has the fewest tolls?

What is the best, or in the case of today’s quote, the “right” way to go?

Where do right and wrong apply in your personal and professional communities? Where do you find yourself on the same page, or on the other side of decisions, resulting in friction or upset?

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can and will you be far more open and accepting of other’s right to be right?

Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat

“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.”

—Jean-Paul Sartre, 20th Century French Philosopher and Playwright

Image of men rowing against a black background

Image from Unsplash by Josh Calabrese

What is your immediate interpretation of today’s quote? Is being a boat rocker a bad thing or a good thing? How much does it depends on where the boat is headed?

Most people, on many occasions, tend to go along to get along. They do not want to be seen as individuals who are not pulling their weight. If and when they do stop rowing and stand up to look around, the other rowers will often apply peer pressure to have them sit down and get back with the program.

Conformity and going with the flow just doesn’t suit the vision, values, and sense of self for many folks these days. They feel compelled to stand up and look toward an alternate horizon more in alignment with their true selves. The boat rocking may result in them jumping ship or being forced to walk the plank due to the apparent disconnect or perceived mutiny observed by the boat’s captain and crew.

EXERCISE:

Where are your personal and professional boats headed? In which situations is it warranted to put more of your legs and back into your rowing efforts, or stand up and rock the boat, to either change its direction or jump ship?

Direction is so much more important than speed

“Direction is so much more important than speed. Many are going nowhere fast.”

—Author Unknown

Image of a woman pointing the way for a man

Image from Unsplash by Thought Catalogue

In the battle between the urgent and the important aspects of life, urgency and the need to get things done fast seem to be winning.

Unfortunately for many, levels of life satisfaction and fulfillment are declining, often with considerable consequences to our health and overall well-being.

Perhaps some course corrections are in order for your personal or professional life, especially if you are pursuing paths others have mapped out for you.

EXERCISE:

Where can you slow down or even stop to look within to ask your sources of inner wisdom for directions before you gas up and head full speed ahead toward your life destiny?

The Safe Route and the Best Route

“In your life the safe route and the best route may not be the same route.”

—Author Unknown

What is your perspective or personal philosophy on these phrases?:

  • No risk no reward
  • The biggest risk is not taking any
  • Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all
  • Do one thing every day that scares you
  • Leap and the net will appear

EXERCISE:

Select the phrases that resonate the most for you and display them on a Post-it Note in a highly visible location in your personal or professional world.

What action will you take to put yourself on the best route to more fully realize your most important and meaningful life goals?

Feel free to reply to this post with the quotes you selected and the actions you plan to take.