“Don’t focus on only one growth path.”

“Don’t focus on only one growth path.”

—Author Unknown

Image from Unsplash by Vladislav Babienko

To what degree are you a one-dimensional or multi-dimensional person?

Take a close look at how you spend your days and who you spend them with.

In which of these communities are you experiencing the greatest engagement and growth?

Alternatively, where do you feel stuck, stopped, or even regressing?

Over the past several months, some of my clients and many people in my professional networks have seen their growth thwarted. Many of us have had our cheese moved by the pandemic and its economic consequences. Many are exploring other options, or are engaged in what I like to call a dual strategy – pursuing alternative and supplemental career options.

Beyond the working world, many of them are also taking the time to invest in personal and professional growth efforts, to better themselves and others.

EXERCISE:

Consider downloading a copy of Seth Godin’s book, The Bootstrapper’s Bible, to see how you might pursue the idea of starting and growing your own business. The book was originally written in 2004 and while a bit dated, contains many of the fundamentals to get you going.

“It is named the WEB for a good reason.”

“It is named the web for a good reason.”

—David Foster Wallace, late American Novelist

Image from Unsplash by Robert Anasch

Did you know that spiderwebs don’t just intercept prey but actually attract it?

Many people—including me—have believed that spiders simply set up their traps in a promising area that insects travel and wait to see what happens.

It turns out that many spiders build webs using designs that actively attract other insects. They don’t just trap the unlucky.

How often and in what ways are you lured and trapped by the seductive aspects of the worldwide web?

In what negative ways does it consume pieces of your life without you knowing?

EXERCISE:

What are some good strategies for avoiding and breaking free from the addictive, alluring man-made web?

“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

“Being a nice person can be an effective strategy.”

—Eric Barker, Author of BARKING UP THE WRONG TREE

Image from Unsplash by Tim Mossholder

During my senior year of high school I worked as a Deli-man at the local Jewish delicatessen. My responsibilities included serving a high volume of customers  delicacies such as pastrami, corned beef, and smoked fish for Sunday brunch, from 3pm Saturday to 3am Sunday.

I was 18 years old. The majority of the other deli-men were in their fifties or sixties. It turned out that being able to slice lox razor-thin was paramount to being a brain surgeon in this community, and these veterans were simply the best.

One downside of this work was the significant number of challenging customers who saw themselves as superior to everyone else, and demanded “only the best.”

When those customers entered the store, most of the veteran deli staff quickly took their 30-minute breaks, leaving ME to the wolves, and most of these customers strongly objected to an 18-year-old rookie taking care of them.

Clearly, fighting fire with fire was never going to work, so I took the kill them with kindness approach, and in time, won them over.

EXERCISE:

Where and with whom in your personal or professional communities would being the nice person you are be the best strategy to follow?

“Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.”

“Success is not to be pursued. It is to be attracted by the person you become.”

—Jim Rohn, 20th Century American motivational speaker

Image from jimrohn.com

Jim Rohn, who passed away in 2009, was a personal development pioneer.

His over 6,000 seminars, countless books, tapes, learning programs and, of course inspirational quotes, have influenced millions.

Many of his wisest lessons were focused on our abilities to work on ourselves and contribute to others in our various communities.

One of his many students was a young, broke, down-and-out Tony Robbins, who has said many times that Rohn was the man who turned his life around. Tony, as we all know, has been working on himself for decades, and has paid forward similar lessons to millions.

EXERCISE:

What are the strategies, habits, and behaviors that help you continue your personal best journey?

What additional approaches can you incorporate in your days to both contribute to others and attract the success you desire?

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

“There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.”

—Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd President of the United States

Image created in Canva

As part of my customized Personal Excellence Training — which sets the stage for the majority of coaching engagements — I introduce a self-coaching tool called “The Pivot Point.”

This technique uses the concept of “creative tension” described by Robert Fritz in his book, The Path of Least Resistance.

Essentially, the pivot point involves asking yourself — or perhaps a group — these three questions:

  1. What is the current reality?
  2. What is the vision or goal?
  3. What actions can and will I/we take to move forward?

The leverage of our vision provides the impetus to move forward, and creates the opportunity to better our situation.

EXERCISE:

Select at least one personal or professional front-burner issue or project to try out the Pivot Point technique. Please consider replying to this post to let me know how things go.

To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory

“To keep a warm heart in winter is a real victory.”

—Marty Rubin, Canadian author of The Boiled Frog Syndrome

Image of baked potato in foil

Image from Livestrong

We are currently in the grips of winter here in Michigan, and today’s quote reminded me of a story a friend shared at a holiday luncheon.

As a little girl, she would often wait outside in the cold for the school bus. To keep her warm, her mom would bake small potatoes in aluminum foil and slip them in her pockets to hold through her mittens, making her wait a bit more comfortable. Once in her seat, she had the extra benefit of a tasty snack to eat on her way to school.

To this day, she attributes this heartwarming story from childhood for her current fondness for hash brown potatoes for breakfast.

EXERCISE:

What heartwarming strategies can you employ to show your love and care for others this winter, and all year long? If you happen to have one of your own heartwarming stories, please hit reply and send it my way!

It takes two to argue

“It takes two to argue: One to initiate, and the other to take the bait.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding a fishing rod

Image from Unsplash by Carl Heyerdahl

One of my favorite clients is an avid fisherman. Bring up the topic of fishing and he lights up with excitement. He is full of stories of the nuances and mysteries that result in success.

He is an expert on the many lures and baits that entice fish to bite, which result in a strategic “win” for him, and at least the temporary “lose” for the fish. On many occasions, he releases the fish – which rarely occurs in arguments between two people.

EXERCISE:

How do various people in your personal or professional worlds lure you into arguments? What are some ways you can be far more aware of their strategies, to resist the bait and swim on through your day?

Play the Tiles You Get

“Play the tiles you get.”

—Grandma Nelly

Image of a Scrabble tile holder

Image from Flickr by Joe King

In her book, 365 Days of Wonder, R.J. Palacio shares a charming story of her grandparents. Both avid Scrabble players, they played every day for more than 50 years.

Her grandfather, known as being the “intellectual,” almost always lost to his wife, who was primarily a homemaker, not the lawyer who graduated from Columbia.

Grandma Nelly was quite smart in her own right. She loved crossword puzzles. She had a miraculous ability to make the most of the tiles she was given rather than waiting to use the highest value tiles on double or triple word spaces. That was grandpa’s strategy.

EXERCISE:

In what areas of life are you waiting to get better tiles? What would be the value and benefit of learning to play the ones you currently have, and those you receive each day?

economize or agonize

“He who will not economize will have to agonize.”

—Confucius, ancient Chinese Philosopher

Image of rocks balanced on a plane

Image from LinkedIn

Over many years of coaching, I’ve noticed several interesting trends.

In general, my clients in their twenties, thirties, and forties are most often on a highly intentional growth trajectory. They want to build wealth, pursue success, and increase their standard of living. This almost always involves accumulating possessions, and often increases the demands and complexity of their lives.

As they reach their fifties, sixties, and seventies, they seem to be more focused on scaling back, simplification, and greater balance. It is often because their many years of living in the fast lane, carrying too much stuff and stress, has become more of a burden than they care to shoulder going forward.

EXERCISE:

Where would a “less is more” strategy, regardless of your stage of life, provide you the added freedom and peace of mind you desire?