“What is the part of yourself that you left behind to become the person you are today?”
—Deborah Anacona, Founder of the MIT Leadership Center
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Imagine that you are a lobster that is not on the menu of some local restaurant.
You are swimming in the ocean, doing what lobsters do.
To get to be a two pound or larger crustacean, you had to molt many times. Over the years, you broke out of your shell due to your continuous growth.
What constraining or limiting factors did you have to leave behind to reach this point?
What parts of yourself will need to grow – and what parts must be shed – to become the person you will be tomorrow?
“Nothing is work unless you’d rather be doing something else.”
—George Halas, founder of the Chicago Bears
What would you rather be doing at this very moment? Hopefully you love learning, personal growth/development feels more like play than work, and reading The Quotable Coach every morning is an enjoyable and rewarding minute of your day.
What are the areas of your life in which you expend considerable effort because those activities fill you up rather than bring you down?
When I first began coaching, I was introduced to the word “toleration” by Thomas Leonard of Coach University. Simply defined, tolerations are things that bug us, sap our energy, and could be eliminated. Although some people have a sense of pride and even feel noble about carrying many of these burdens, there can be a considerable price to pay.
Where and how can you bring more fulfillment and satisfaction into your work and life? What are some of the tolerations you can reduce or eliminate to lead a more enjoyable life?
Consider picking up a copy of Thomas Leonard’s book, The Portable Coach to learn more about this technique.
“If you see someone without a smile today, give them one of yours.”
—Dolly Parton, American singer, songwriter, and actress
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How much time each day do you spend reading for enjoyment and personal growth? For many people the answer may be, “Not much,” with the add-on phrase, “Who has the time?”
If this is the case for you, or even if reading is a significant part of your daily routine, I suggest a wonderful smile-inducing book called, Be the Sun Not the Salt by Dr. Harry D. Cohen.
A key concept he shares is the idea of being heliotropic, which is the tendency for all living systems to be drawn to the energy that sustains its life. Throughout the 71 pages of this book, I hope you will find yourself nodding and smiling at its many nuggets of wisdom.
How and in what ways can you be more heliotropic and a more positive influence on others in your life?
Consider sharing a big genuine smile with others as a good place to start.
“More people would learn from their mistakes if they weren’t so busy denying them.”
—Dan Sullivan, founder and president of The Strategic Coach Inc.
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Having a bias for being right and making others wrong seems to be one of the fundamental challenges facing the majority of people throughout history. Although most of us prefer to consider ourselves self-aware and open-minded, we often fall into the trap of seeing the mistakes of others far more often than viewing our own shortcomings.
Instead of closing our eyes to our own responsibilities for certain failures, what if we could shift our perspective from one of embarrassment and shame to one of learning and growth? How would this support the courage it takes to be vulnerable in those moments we fall short in our efforts?
Where and on what life issue are you, or perhaps someone you know, in denial about a significant mistake? What would be the benefit if you or they would more frequently embrace the life changing magic and important lessons in such situations?
“The reinvention of daily life means marching off the edge of our maps.”
—Bob Black, American Activist
Image from Unsplash by Abyan Athif
If you happen to be a passionate advocate for your personal growth and development, you’ve probably heard of Tony Robbins.
Since the late 70s, he has impacted millions of people through his seminars, self-help books, and infomercials. He and his numerous companies earn about $6 billion in annual sales.
I recently watched his “I am Not Your Guru” documentary, which highlights his 6-day “Date with Destiny” event, in which 2,500 participants invested about $5,000 each in their own reinvention efforts toward a happier, more fulfilling life.
Fundamental to each participant’s quest was the generation of breakthrough thoughts and actions well beyond the personal maps and mental models that limit all of us.
In my opinion, he delivered on his promise and earned every penny.
Where and in what ways it is time to leave your own predictable life and venture off the maps that seem to limit your horizons?
What specific changes can you implement immediately to shift your thinking, modify a habit, or alter a daily routine to begin this reinvention process today?
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways you yourself have altered.”
Nelson Mandela, late President of South Africa
Image from Unsplash by Jeffrey Hamilton
When I was in college, I took an afternoon to go back to my elementary school in Philadelphia to visit some of the teachers who played an important role in my development and inspired me to always do my best and contribute to others.
As I walked the halls and entered each classroom, it seemed like everything had shrunk to half its size when I was a boy. I had a vivid sense of how I had grown in many ways, where I stood in bigger shoes to pursue my future path.
I was able to look my teachers in the eye as a young adult, and thank them for their contribution.
Select a handful of books that have been pivotal to your development over the years, and read at least one of them again.
I hope you will notice that while the words are the same, you are not, and that new lessons await the ever-evolving and expanding person you have become.
Consider reading a few more of your favorite books again, if you find value in this exercise.
“Dialogue is an exchange in which people think together and discover something new.”
—George Kohlrieser, American Clinical Psychologist
Image from Unsplash by Kevin Curtis
Perhaps no single skill is more important to professional and personal growth than to be a masterful communicator.
In the classic book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie suggests the following:
- Demonstrate genuine interest in others and their ideas
- Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves
- Show respect for others opinions and beliefs
- Avoid arguments, criticism, and judgment
They say two heads are better than one. What can you do to enhance your skills of dialogue to think far better with others and discover many new things through such interactions?
Consider picking up Carnegie’s book to learn more from this pioneer in the field of personal development.
“Be there for others but never leave yourself behind.”
Examine all the roles you currently hold in your personal and professional worlds. If you are like many people, you may have to use toes as well as your fingers to count everything.
In what percent of these roles are you serving and supporting others? If you find the number approaching 80, 90, or even 100 percent, consider how much energy you have at days end for the most important person in your life – YOU!
There is wisdom in the flight attendant pre-flight instruction:
Please put on your own oxygen mask before you assist others.
Take some time today to be a bit more “Self-ISH” (not selfish) by taking care of your own well-being and not leaving yourself behind, so that you can be your very best as you serve the people and organizations in your community.
“Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow.”
– Norman Vincent Peale, minister and author
Image from Flickr by Marco Gomes
In the personal development world, the phrase “breakthrough results” has become a cliché. It reminds me of one of those late-night infomercials for some special non-stick cookware or a Ginsu knife that can cut through a pop can without getting dull.
A key to these claims, as well as the claim of professional and personal breakthroughs, is that the product, system, or method must have the inherent ability or capacity to achieve a result not previously possible by other means.
Peale is suggesting that when our heartfelt commitments are involved, they will inspire and motivate us to scale the highest life fences to realize our sincerest goals.
Select at least one heartfelt professional and/or personal fence you wish to scale, and share this intention with others who are committed to your success.
With their commitment and support, you will find yourself on the other side sooner than you ever imagined.