Three Decades of Growth Mindset Research tells us how to Raise Smart Kids

Rule #1:

” Don’t tell your kids that they are”smart”. More than three decades of research shows that a focus on “learning process and strategies”—not on intelligence or ability—is key to success in school and in life” Carol Dweck

 A classic paper by reported in Scientific American by Claudia Mueller and Carol Dweck about “Growth Mindset” and how we talk to students  showed that praising young adolescents for their intelligence—saying they were “smart” when they did well—created a fixed mindset and its problems. It put students in a world in which people evaluate and judge intelligence and does not encourage students to challenge themselves or make the effort and risks needed to learn new things. Praising reinforces their need to show they are smart in every situation by avoiding learning challenges and not making mistakes which undermine the belief that they are “smart”.
Growth Mindset talk which praises the student’s “learning process” like their effort or willingness to seek out more challenges and use different learning strategies to improve their understanding of new material put learners on a growth mindset track and fostered resilience from mistakes and failed attempts.

 

Bottom Line Tip:

Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their persistence or strategies (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.

 

 

What would Aristotle say about the “Marshmallow Effect and Happiness?

What would Aristotle say about marshmallow effect and happiness?

The essence of instant gratification or “marshmallow” effect is summarized here: Delaying Gratification More than 40 years ago, Walter Mischel, PhD, a psychologist now at Columbia University, explored self-control in children with a simple but effective test. His experiments using the “marshmallow test,” as it came to be known, laid the groundwork for the modern study of self-control. Mischel and his colleagues presented a preschooler with a plate of treats such as marshmallows. The child was then told that the researcher had to leave the room for a few minutes, but not before giving the child a simple choice: If the child waited until the researcher returned, she could have two marshmallows. If the child simply couldn’t wait, she could ring a bell and the researcher would come back immediately, but she would only be allowed one marshmallow. In children, as well as adults, willpower can be thought of as a basic ability to delay gratification.

Aristotle would be strongly critical of the culture of “instant gratification” or eating the marshmallow in the moment. Yet in our world of instant gratification, most people want to be rewarded now not later. For example, instant gratification is so predominate in our society today because of or selfishness and technology. Yet in Aristotle’s non-tech world his view was in order to achieve a life of balance and complete virtue, people needed to make the right choices, and that involved keeping an eye on the future, on the ultimate result want for lives as a whole. Aristotle believe that people  achieve happiness not by enjoying the pleasures of the moment. Unfortunately, this is something most people are not able to overcome in themselves because of lack of will power.

As Aristotle laments, “the mass of mankind are evidently quite slavish in their tastes, preferring a life suitable to beasts… and instant pleasures (Nicomachean Ethics, 1095b 20). Later in the Ethics Aristotle draws attention to the weakness of the willpower. In many cases the overwhelming prospect of some great pleasure obscures one’s perception of what is truly good. Fortunately, this natural disposition is curable through self-awareness and training, which for Aristotle meant education and the constant aim to perfect character or what he called perfect virtue. As he puts it, “a clumsy archer may indeed get better with practice, so long as he keeps aiming for the target.”

Note also that it is not enough to think about doing the right thing, or even intend to do the right thing: we have to actually do it. Thus, it is one thing to think of giving up alcohol or smoking, or create a beautiful piece of art or heart felt poem and another thing to put together a plan to create the sustained energy, effort and time to do it. When we impose a form and structure upon the idea of happiness and actually produce a compelling change in our daily life, we are challenging our rational and intellectual abilities and emotions that if accomplished bring a sense of delayed happiness, pride and fulfillment.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Examine your life over the next 24 hours and identify one instant gratification” habit  you would like to change. Then create a SMART STEP Action Plan for change it in the next 30 days.

Growth Challenge for this Week

Have you learned this lesson for living a more constructive life?

Reflection: If any thing is sacred in life, it is the human mind, words, body and behavior being congruent. Other wise you are perceived as inauthentic and a hypocrite. So be curious and authentic when interacting with others and not judgmental or just playing nice.

Challenge: How are going to be more positive and congruent when interacting with others?

Weekly Quote and Challenge: Learning to Handle Crucibles in Life by Assessing Your Grit Factor

Weekly Quote: “Life is what happens when you’re expecting something else.”

Reflection: With all of life’s uncertainties, we need to learn and accept what life brings us and use these difficult experiences to create opportunities for personal learning and growth.

Research shows that Significant Emotional Experiences (SEE) or what we now call traumatic experiences can result in post-traumatic growth or problems depending on our perception, grit and resilience. Positive learning following SES starts by acknowledging that life is not based on certainty facing and embracing ambiguity as a fundamental principle of human existence. It also requires self-awareness to acknowledge your personal responsibility for the choices you make and learning about what you control or don’t control in life. You cannot go through life without getting knocked down and experiencing suffering and pain. The question is how you will respond, and whether you will come back stronger than ever (resilience). Rather than living a depressed and angry life, suppressing the realities and crucibles of life I recommend you turn them into opportunities by challenging yourself to learn and grow from these inevitable twists and turns of life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Make an assessment  of your “grit” developed by Dr. Duckworth and her collegues  then identify what you need to do to develop more grit. Also, identify the crucibles and difficulties you are now facing and how are you handling the situation. Make a plan for learning and start today to adjust your thinking that these difficult and SEE experiences won’t happen to you.

Note: Defining “grit”

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Angela Duckworth 

 

Daily Self-Coaching Challenge # 1 : Over coming Self-Doubt

Daily Quote: What you are thinking, what shapes your mind is in the end, what makes the biggest difference of all.   Willie Mays
Reflection:  Your toughness is made up of equal parts belief about your ability and willingness to change, persistence and deliberative practice of new strategies and full reflection on your experience. The toughest opponent of all is the negativity and skeptic or sarcastic alien inside your head.  
Here are 4 tips for overcoming negativity in your life.
1. Believe it or not, passions grow out of your values. Make early, wise choices to value what (and who) is good, trustworthy, and praiseworthy.
2.Think straight, talk straight and do the straight or right thing to grow your character and live by your values and principles
3. Find a passion. Pick a hobby, own it: running, photography, juggling, tennis, writing, poetry, art or whatever interests you. Get your 10,000 hours of perfect practice in early and change your life.
4.Don’t bother comparing yourself to others—this only leads to frustration, anger, and disappointment.
Self-Coaching Challenge: What’s the one thing you would do right now if you had more confidence? What are you going to do to gain more self-confidence and mental toughness or grit in trying to achieve your goals and dreams for living a more fulfilling and constructive life?

Having Problems with Goal Setting ? Try using Mental Contrasting Technique.

Daily Quote and Challenge:

” Mental contrasting when used by those with high expectations of success leads to increased goal commitment and energization.” Gabriele Oettingen,

In using mental contrasting or visualization technique to reach a personal change goal it is important to identify and picture how you will FEEL once you have attained your goal. To execute mental contrasting answer these two critical questions:

  1. What does success look like ?

 

2. How will you know when you have reached your goal?

 

My Message for 2014 College Graduates–“Live to Learn then Learn to Live”

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. Mahatma Ghandi 

Although I was not asked to give a commencement speech this year, here is what I would have tried to convey to the 2014 college graduates: Your accomplishes during college have been many and lessons for life abound if you were paying attention, so congrats to you and your family on this very special day.

A lot of professors give talks titled The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question:

What wisdom would you impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If you died or vanished tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

Reflection:  As with every ending there are mixed feelings of sadness and happiness and some anxiety about what the future brings. During my 70+ years of living I have learned many things and missed other things,  but one thing for sure I will always hold dear is my love for learning. 

Learning to me is beneficial in every aspect. It is beneficial for overall progress in society; it can raise the levels of civic action and participation; on an individual level it can boost our curiosity, critical thinking and challenge our stereotypes and narrow thinking. Well let me just say it straight out– it can help in every way, literally. The good news is that learning after formal schooling is usually free and self-directed, this type of learning can help us keep current and keep growing.  Actually learning is my favorite thinking to do in life because it is what makes us human.

Your new beginning will be more successful if you keep in mind this maxim by Ben Franklin “time lost is never found again”; so don’t waste your time being pessimistic, critical of yourself or others and “sleep walking through life” grab life by the horns and always be a “life-long Learner” 

My formal educational experiences provided me with seven critical things:

1. The gift of life long learning–  “learning how to learn”

2. Need to be curious in life–always acknowledge you don’t know somethings and can learn by listening and asking questions.

3. Learning to be more “open “minded and not “fixed” in my ways or the view of the world

5. The motivational spark to overcome obstacles and keep improving by “getting better” Never give-up…Never give-up

6. Respect and dignity for others—tolerance is the glue of relationships

7. Being self-aware and responsible for my own choices and behavior

Self-Coaching Challenge: So the challenge facing you as you start your new beginning is to reflect on your learning in school and figuring out your next chapter. For some this is just letting life come at them and hoping they will be ready to apply things from their education; for others it will be struggling to define and figure out the next steps; but no matter how you attack your next phase in life be clear on one thing, so as to avoid some pain and difficulties, be a life-long learner by taking advantage of training and professional development courses offered by your employer and start today document your accomplishments and create  a career portfolio because you are responsible for your career and reaching your potential. Promise me and yourself today that you will sit down in the next 24-48 hours and define what success in life will look like for you. For me it has not been defined by money or material stuff ( I always had enough to get by)– it is doing that which fulfills me–by making a difference in creating a better world to live in for all.

Finally, “remember that when it comes to learning there are no mistakes, only lessons. Respect others, trust your choices, and everything is possible; and if you face difficult times stop take a deep breath and as Marcus Aurellus once said: “Look within; within is the fountain of all good.”  

 

Mindset for Self-Coaching— 4 Critical Elements for Getting Started.

4 tips on how to see ourselves from other people’s point of view.

Daily Quote:

“We never see ourselves as others see us…”  Eric Hoffer 

” O would some power the gift to give us the ability to see ourselves as others see us. ” Robert Burns, Scot Poet (1759 – 1796)   

Self-Reflection: How do we see ourselves? Effective self-coaching involves seeing ourselves as mixture of our ability to think clearly, see ourselves as others see us and being open to learning and change. Many times in life our mental set about ourselves and how we impact other people can be taken for granted or mis-perceived. Many times in our busy day to day activities we are operating in a vacuum or on automatic pilot and in order to move forward and continue growing we must work on developing open and flexible ways to gather more information. Our ability to develop this open perspective toward ourselves is the foundation for all self-coaching. This open approach to personal change allows us to use self-coaching tools, such as feedback to not only adjust our thinking but to enhance our effectiveness to change habits and behavior.

For example, the art and science of public speaking or presenting are learned, as well as the skills to handle different situations and audiences. When this is recognized you can use deliberative practice tools by yourself or in conjunction with a good coach or teacher to figure out the steps to do something better by using your time and space to practice and learn more constructive ways to reach our full potential as a fully functioning person. With time and good support, every person can discover their own ways to become a more effective and efficient communicator.

1. Reflection

Self-coaching also involves an ongoing process of reflection. We need to view our lives as an ongoing exercise in experiential learning, and we need to obtain the necessary critical distance to be able to observe and reflect upon our experiences, while also fully inhabiting those experiences in the moment. The precise steps we take in this process will look different for each of us, and they will vary over time, but it’s critical to regularly engage ourselves in conversation and to develop the habitual practices that support this reflection.

2. Self-Awareness

An important product of this reflection is increased self-awareness, by which I mean both a heightened in-the-moment perception of how we respond to various situations and a deeper understanding over time of who we are as individuals. Our immediate perception of our physical and emotional responses to situations is often blunted–it’s only in retrospect that we fully understand what we were feeling. Honing this in-the-moment awareness of our responses allows us to expand the range of options available to us and to make choices that will best support our goals in any given situation.

Over time this heightened perception contributes to a deeper understanding of ourselves. We learn more about our tendencies and preferences, and patterns in our behavior (with certain people, in certain settings, at certain moments) begin to reveal themselves. We can then capitalize on these patterns, exploiting those that work to our advantage and challenging (or avoiding) those that work to our disadvantage.

3. Committment to Personal Change

At some level self-coaching is all about change. Changing how we spend our time so we’re more fulfilled, and changing our behavior so we’re more effective. Doing more of what’s working in our lives, and doing less of–or stopping entirely–what’s not helping us reach our desire results.  We may even want to change the direction of our lives in a more comprehensive way, and all large changes result from a series of small smart steps using the Plus1 performance technique.

4.  Clarity of Personal Values and Vision 

Our self-coaching efforts occur within a context defined by our personal values and our vision for ourselves. If self-coaching is a sequence of steps to help us effect positive change in our lives, then our values and our vision are the source of meaning and purpose in our lives, the underlying rationale for the changes we seek to make.

It’s important at the very beginning of self-coaching to identify the critical values that drive our action and to establish a vision of the future. Where you want to be after your self-coaching experience? Values and vision are the underpinning for self-coaching success because they ground us in what is important in our lives and where we we want to go. These values and vision will be rechecked through your self-coaching actives and will be refined by the end of your experience. Although we will be working on many of the elements that roll-up into a vision or provide clarity on your priority values in life through smart-step activities and structured exercises I think having an overall direction and “big picture” for self-coaching  is critical for your success.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Over the next week reflect on these 4 elements for Self-Coaching. Use the scale 1 -not ready to 10 absolutely ready. After your evaluation commit to either finding a coach to get get you started or if you are ready for self-coaching do something to get started, like reading articles or a book on self-coaching.  

Daily Quote, Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: Sorting Out the Strengths and Blind Spots of Your Leadership Style

Daily Quote: “Leaders are people who do the right things; managers are people who do things right.” Warren Bennis – “The Dean of Leadership Gurus. 

” Leadership is the lifting of a man’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a man’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a man’s personality beyond its normal limitations.” – Peter Drucker

 

Reflection: Searching for answers about Leadership

As an up and coming manager and leader in your organization, you have just received feedback on your leadership style. Some of the feedback rings true for you, while other feedback, especially on your blind spots doesn’t fit the picture you have as yourself as a leader.

Searching the internet and web on Leadership can be confusing because of the large  amount of writing and theorizing on  the concept of leadership. I have found a resource from Korn/Ferry research center that will save you time and money on helping you identify your leadership style. Korn Ferry writers and researchers J. Evelyn Orr and Guangrong Dai found that four primary patterns of leadership account for 70 percent of managers and executives. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses that play out in different ways on the job. Matching leadership type to job expectations and role assignments can help you make more reflective career planning choices and proactively choose to build a plan for development that is based on increasing self-awareness through self-directed career coaching.

The authors begin their article with these profound questions, that I hope you will answer. will inspire you to explore as you read and reflect on the concept of Leadership Styles. They ask you to reflect on whether you are: “Task-oriented or people-oriented? Democratic or autocratic? Hands-on or laissez-faire?

They go -on to say  that often descriptions like this are artificially dichotomous (black or white, right or wrong). ” These types of classifications do not identify the shades of grey that is the reality for most of us. An analysis of managers’ and executives’ actual skill profiles reveals four real-world leadership types that are not so black-and-white. Seeing the gray is a good thing. Here’s why: People identify their strengths fairly accurately, but gloss over their weaknesses. The four leadership types that Korn/Ferry research has uncovered reflect leaders as they are, warts and all. So those who recognize their strengths in one type can then spot
their probable corresponding weaknesses. Simple self-awareness of the 4 patterns can help leaders improve and
with work on overcoming some of the limits of their leadership type and thus improve their leadership skills and practices.”

Want to read more:

1. http://www.kornferryinstitute.com/sites/all/files//documents/briefings-magazine-download/The%20leadership%20reality%20check%20.pdf

2. A review of the literature on many significant Leadership Theories and Models  http://www.valuesbasedleadershipjournal.com/issues/vol3issue1/gurus_on_leadership.php

 

 Self-Coaching Challenge: 

1. Read the above article written by Korn Ferry researchers and select the one style that fits the image of yourself as a leader.
2. Match-up from data from your 360 feedback or select three colleagues to read the article and provide feedback on which style of leadership fits or describes you the most accurately.
3. Is there a mismatch between you self-perception and how others see you? Reflect on the gaps and determine what needs work to bring your perception and others view of your leadership style into alignment.
4. Develop a thirty-day plan to work on the areas needing improvement or your blind spots.

 

The Sterling Effect: How to Change Thinking about Ongoing Ignorance about Racism

What do you say to a person spouting ignorance about race? Just let them talk or confront their irrationality? Promote more education and understanding on projects that unite us? Try to understand the complexities of our own unique American history?

Recently, I was reflecting on this ongoing racism in America and then I remembered a conversation by James Baldwin to Studs Turkel that provided me with information and insight to this ongoing conflict in America. Don’t miss this this audio tape–

http://www.udel.edu/History/suisman/206_08-Fall/1-07%20James%20Baldwin,%201961.mp3

White Southern person says “it is just the way I was raise and you Yankees don’t get it”. This is not only an ignorant statement it is a way to try and forgive oneself and gives up the power of independent and critical thinking. You can change your thinking if you chose to.  Studs Terkel was best known for his work documenting the stories of everyday Americans, illuminating the undercurrents of the American psyche. James Baldwin’s lyrically hypnotic novels capture the struggles of the American black experience(s), wrestling with the intricacies of human identity in such a way that shakes readers to the core. Baldwin was perhaps best known for his ability to explore the nuance of typically taboo  interracial relationships, homosexuality, complexities within spiritual communities and his ability to articulate both anger at injustice and an ongoing belief in the underlining unity of humanity.

In this short and layered conversation, Baldwin recalls listening to Bessie Smith in Switzerland while writing his first novel, Go Tell It On the Mountain,  an autobiographical look at growing up in a conservative church in Harlem.  He boldly discusses race and racism, the invisibility of the black experience among most white Americans, and the deep need for an education that truly explores the historical interweaving of black and white Americans. “Education,” Baldwin states, “demands a certain daring, a certain independence of the mind.”  He talks of how the racism has harmed the nation in ways we are only beginning to recognize.

Terkel and Baldwin close the discussion by touching on his novel Nobody Knows My Name, noting the interdependence of human knowledge and freedom:

”To know your name, you’re going to have to know mine,” Baldwin

Learning Breakthrough: Focus on Growth Mindset to Reach your Full Potential

Daily Quote: “Becoming is better than being… never stop growing and believing in your potential to become a fully functioning person.”” Carl Rogers

Back in 1973 almost 41 years to the date, I made a critical decision that changed my professional life. I decided that I loved to teach and facilitate other people’s growth and development and that being an Administrator in Higher Education was to reactive and mundane for my liking. When you have a potential mindset, you can better understand that many things in live remain fixed until we see them with the new eyes of positive change and personal growth. For example, IQ, EQ, and other skills like presentations, listening and leadership can be developed. When we learn to focus on improvement and the processes of self-development instead of being concerned about whether we are talented in some activity or do we have the talent to perform. When people work hard to bring about their best through deliberative practice, effort and hard work we see improvement toward their goal to what ever it is. All of sudden they become better or seem to smarter at the activity they are trying to perfect. Based on years of research by Stanford University’s Dr. Dweck, Lisa Blackwell Ph.D., and their colleagues, we know that students who learn this mindset show greater motivation in school, better grades, and higher test scores.
What does research say about the relationship between growth mindset and fixed mindset on performance? Your belief (self-efficacy) in your self and the possibilities and potential for change have a high positive relationship to improved performance.
Mindsets Predict Motivation and Achievement
In one study, Blackwell and her colleagues “ followed hundreds of students making the transition to 7th grade. They found that students with a growth mindset were more motivated to learn and exert effort, and outperformed those with a fixed mindset in math—a gap that continued to increase over the two-year period. Those with the two mindsets had entered 7th grade with similar past achievement, but because of their different mindsets their math grades pulled apart during this challenging time. (Blackwell, L.S., Trzesniewski, K.H., & Dweck, C.S. (2007). In another study, also with adolescents, Blackwell and her colleagues divided students into two groups for a workshop on the brain and study skills. Half of them, the control group, were taught about the stages of memory; the other half received training in the growth and potential mindset (how the brain grows with learning to make you smarter) and how to apply this idea to their academic schoolwork”.
Summary: the growth mindset group outperformed the control group by a level of three times better and their practice, effort and engagement was significantly higher than the fixed mindset group. Even after training was over the growth potential-mindset group showed a clear improvement in their grades.
Bottom line is that the potential and belief mindset increased achievement scores, effort expended on improvement (increased practice time), as well as greater resilience to snap-back after failures and setbacks and overall increased life satisfaction scores.
Research shows that the Brain is Malleable

Cognitive psychology and neuroscience research supports the hypothesis that positive change on mental set from fixed to a growth mindset is possible because the brain is malleable and demonstrates plasticity.
For example, neuroscientists tracked students during their teenage years. For many students, they found substantial changes in performance on verbal and non-verbal IQ tests. Using neuro-imaging, they found corresponding changes in the density of neurons in the relevant brain areas for these students. In other words, an increase in neuronal connections in the brain accompanied an increase in IQ-test performance, while a decrease in neuronal connections in the brain accompanied a decrease in IQ-test performance. If you want to learn more about this breakthrough research and how to apply the findings with your kids checkout Carol Dweck’s groundbreaking software product and book Mindset: The New Psychologyof Success.

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Coping with Life Difficulties and Losses

A Self-Coaching “Smart-Step” approach to Coping with anxiety and difficult times

Daily Quote: ” When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”.–Viktor Frankl 

Through out life we will encounter good and bad times. With the rapid pace of living  we all experience change as a way of life. Some of us learn to roll with the punches and find ways to get through our daily ups and downs. Others get “stuck” and have a difficult time functioning at an acceptable level. And still others find themselves anxious or increasingly depressed over a problem, concern, or worry for a long time. So we all react differently to change and try to find individual ways to cope. In my experience with clients, I have found some ways that are more effective than others to cope and push try to relief. Below I will provide two Self-Coaching tools that provide a practical framework and a mental set for dealing with these personal obstacles to live a life of constructive action. I suggest you write them down in your personal journal or on a 3x 5 index card so that when you find yourself on the edge or overwhelmed with worry and  insecure thinking, you read these tips to get you through the difficult situations you find yourself in. If necessary, read them over and over again, mantra like.

1.) I will let life be what it is. I won’t “make stuff up” too upset my balance and positive outlook. Sure there are obstacles and inconveniences but no awfulness and shoulds’ in life. Try using positive self-talk like the following: This too shall pass…it could have been much worst…this is inconvenient and unexpected so consciously  STOP. Take a deep BREATH. SMILE and Move ON. 
Sometimes, when the phone rings and the voice or message at the other end knocks you for a loop, you may feel shock, out of control or overwhelmed with what life has just delivered you. And yet you need to keep going on because sometimes there are no solutions or answers to life’s difficulties. Rather than reading these events as “awful” and “unsolvable”, a more constructive approach to terrible news is to notice and accept how you are feeling, if sad, be sad; if you start to cry just cry; if angry; be angry and then redirect your attention to something more useful. For example, find a tissue to wipe your tears, if you are standing sit-down, go for a long slow walk etc. Redirection physically can be a powerful constructive act.  Just remember this event as just a moment in life–not good or bad, just life.  Mentally reject the inner voice that tells you this is awful and you can’ go on. Don’t fight the fear or focus on it;  just notice it and accept it. Acknowledge these events are real, unwanted and  inconvenient obstacles that just need to be handled the best way you know how. With heighten emotions and unclear thinking about loss and fear driven thinking your insecurity and confusion will rise and you may find yourself slowed downed–but this is event is not the end of life or awful! What feels to be hopeless and overwhelming is only an emotional flooding created by this unexpected circumstance. Keep in mind your tool to STOP. Breath. Smile. Keep Moving and trust yourself to handle this situation.

2. Not every problem has a solution, and sometimes you have to just keep going and accept that maybe or maybe not an answer or understanding will appear. 
In time, some problems can be solved or understood. On the other hand, some problems will never be solved and you need to learn to live with this uncertainty and ambiguity of not knowing. Unfortunately, this is not easy to do, but begins with clear and positive thinking (3-1 rule of positivity) not with doubts, fears and negative thoughts. It is your irrational demand for answers and certainty in dealing with life’s problems and ambiguities that generate irrational thoughts, fretting behavior and other unhealthy symptoms such as nervousness, losing control, anxiety and feeling sick.

As you practice these new mental sets,  it helps to remind yourself of the countless problems and worries that have come and gone in your life. How many problems have you solved? One thousand? Ten thousand? or Hundred thousand? Many times you have faced problems and figured-out, how to survive these difficulties  by re-framing, re-strategizing, or over just letting time take its course. Right? Trust yourself and be more gentle and self compassionate because life difficulties eventually become part of your biography and you move on. Remember you have more fuel in the tank than you think you do.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Using Perseverance to Overcome Obstacles and Negative Thinking

Daily Quote: “Always continue the climb. It is possible for you to do whatever you choose, if you first get to know who you are and are willing to work with a power that is greater than ourselves to do it”.  Ella Wheeler Wilcox

                                                                                                       Another one by Michael Jordan

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give-up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it”.

Reflection: Perseverance is not an innate skill you are born with, it is learned and nurtured through life experiences. You can learn to challenge yourself by accepting the notion that sometimes you will make bad choices, take the wrong road or fail at a task or goal you are trying to achieve. The lesson to learn is that you never have to accept these things as enevitable. You have tomorrow to try a new way or learn a skill or task anew.  This called perseverance or resilience. I think it is in the willingness to keep trying that you learn to grow and develop all your potentials. If an activity is to easy there is no growth because you become bored or disinterested. On the other hand if you can find the “learning spot” where an activity pushes you to do more the challenge increases your motivation and energy to push ahead.

It is a habit of the brain. The Perseverance Factor is a practical way for overcoming unexpected failures, challenges, and unlucky setbacks in life. Remember your brain is driven by plasticity and you can increase perseverance and resilience by changing the way you think about problems and difficult obstacles in life. Perseverance or the resilience habit challenges your negative self-talk and basic beliefs that cause us to give-up and quit trying to accomplish our goals. Perseverance has been examined in many research studies in cognitive psychology, particularly the work of Aaron Beck, Father of  Cognitive Behavior Therapy  and Martin Seligman, the Founder of Positive Psychology movement.

Self-Coaching Challenge: How to create “flexible optimism”

Commit to challenge self-criticisms and negative thoughts by using positive self-talk. Try the 5 step cognitive tool of:

STOP-Deep Breathing–Challenge Thinking- Reframe- Act. This is not a feel good quick fix or psycho babble cliché. It works and you need to be patient and persevere when using this CBT tool.

Now think back to an actual situation where your  thoughts  upset you and you end choosing to self-limiting and self-sabotaging behavior and don’t do what you wanted to do. For example: ‘You are on your daily run and see the police ahead involved with some situation and you say yourself this is going to be awful, I’m going to be stopped by them and that worries me…’- (and then you turn and run another way to avoid them. Here is a better way to handle this troubling situation by using what cognitive psychologist call “Thought Stopping”

1. As you notice yourself saying these negative automatic thoughts, you can stop them mid-stream by saying to yourself “STOP”.

2. You might also wear a rubber band around your wrist, giving it a little pull each time you notice you are allowing negative thinking to take over or flood your mind. It will make you more aware of how often, and in what situation, you are having the negative thoughts.

3. Challenge the negative thought: Challenge the thoughts, examine them to see if they’re valid. Ask –‘Where’s the evidence for negative thought? Is there another way to look at it?’. Example: ‘Actually, it’s just the police doing their job, I don’t actually know what’s going to happen, all I can do is be who I am and this is going to be okay because they are protecting our neighborhood

4. Reframe situation and thoughts. For example, say I can cope with this situation if  they stop me and want to talk that is okay. I will be safe.  Don’t torture yourself with negative thoughts just be yourself and say this is okay I seen police do their job before and it doesn’t involve me.

5. Act-Calmly go about your business, Say I can do this I have done it before… 

Summary: STOP–Take a Deep Breath  –Challenge Thinking– Reframe Thinking Using Positive thoughts and then Act. 

Good Luck and let us know how this new approach worked for you.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Want more Positive Energy practice Renewal and Recovery

Daily Quote: “The richest, happiest, and most productive lives are characterized by the ability to fully engage in the challenge at hand, but also to disengage periodically and seek renewal”–Dr. James Loehr and Schwarz, The Power of Full Engagement

Reflection:  Dr. Loehr and Scwartz quote reminded me of some of the posts I have written on the power of self-renewal and recovery. It is my opinion that the ideas of engagement, renewal and recovery are all linked to the level of our happiness. So I recommend now an then to take the time to do a personal audit of how you are spending your time and how do these daily activities impact your energy and vitality for living a more productive and higher quality of life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Identify the best thing you have done for yourself in the last month. It could be as simple as waking-up earlier on Monday – Friday and spending the first 30 min. exercising, eating a great breakfast with the kids and 30 min. of mindfulness or meditating before reporting in for work. If you have difficulty identifying something , then it is even more important for you to STOP and take a look at how you are using your time.

Try this exercise identify how you use your time. We all have only 168 hours per week. This week keep track of how many hours are spent in these life activity categories:

Work ____, Family _______, Exercise______, School or Community Volunteering ________,Sleeping______

Fun and Recreation_________ ( Chatting with Friends, Reading for Pleasure, Music, Reading writing poetry etc_____

Spiritual, Religious ____________ Learning new skills_________Other_________. Total 168.

Reflective questions:

How do you feel about your allotment of time overall– 1 very satisfied to 10 unsatisfied/need changes.

Are there any key activities that are left out of your time allotment review?

What are the changes you are committed to make?

What kind of support will you need to make these changes?

How would the changes improve your quality of life?

When are you going to start making these changes?

Self-Mastery and Skill Development Using the Plus 1 Mastery Process for Change

The Plus 1 Mastery Process for Personal Change

Here is the learning process: Tell me… show me… let me practice… coach me.

In attempting to change behavior it is important to look at an “old true and tried” principle of learning called the law of frequency. The law of frequency suggests that the more a person practices the correct and desired behavior, the higher the probability there is to use the desired behavior.  This principle is often called “drill and practice”. Most coaches and movie directors use this technique to encourage their players or actors to practice under many different situations until they get it right and the behavior feels natural.  Remember, practice makes permanent only, perfect practice makes perfect.

The key building block in using the law of frequency in training is to create what we call the PlusOne Mastery Learning Sequence:

  • The sequence starts by learning and understanding the specific skill you are trying to change one step at a time while adding each new step to the preceding learned steps until all steps are mastered.
  • The “chucking principle” is a key component of the Mastery Learning sequence. This principle suggests that a complex skill can be learned most efficiently when the skill is broken down into small parts.  Each part is mastered separately and then the parts are practiced together adding one “chunk” at a time until all of the chunks are integrated and the complex skill is mastered
  • Once learned the skill set is enhanced by putting in-place a continuous improvement process which involves a feedback loop on where you are now by examining what you are doing well and what improvements you need to stay at the mastery level.
  • Learning and using this simple and straight forward “Plus 1 Mastery” process will improve your self-awareness of effective behavioral patterns and can help identify areas for improvement so that you can overcome and transcend present limits of leadership styles into a strength based approach for continuous professional development.

 

 

 

Avoid Derailing your Career: Pay attention to Blindspots and Other People’s Perceptions.

How other people see us impacts our identity, reputation and sense of worth. It can also derail a promising career. Here are some examples from my Leadership Coaching experience–Some people may see you as a “softie” because of your hypersensitivity to any comments that you perceive as criticism. This leads to less feedback because they are afraid of offending you and this leads to less feedback and others avoiding being straight with you. Others may see you as hot, impulsive, explosive, to quick to react emotionally or overwhelm them with your arguments. This leads to people seeing you as a bully or intimidating  because you are experienced as having always to  win with your idea or point of view. This type of style can be improved by being more open to other points of view and actively listening to understand people’s position and feelings.  Also, some withhold feedback because you are seen as to strong, rude or very opinionated; not getting feedback in any of these situations leaves you with many “blinspots” that can stall your career and raise undue tension and conflict in your management team.

These blindspots are not to be considered personality flaws but only areas for more training and development of your interpersonal communication skills. Blindspots generally signal a need for more self-understanding because people are experiencing you in a way that is not productive for you or your organization. A blindspot  area could also include issues that others are deliberately withholding information from you and this might lead to your inability to manage and lead the team.

Self-Coaching Challenge:  To reduce the blind spots that may de-rail your career or interpersonal relationships you need to seek more input and information from others. To do this you need to model and support more listening and less judgmental feedback. Modeling openness and support for  more individual disclosure, reduces fear and therefore encourages honest feedback to flourish.  The extent to which an individual seeks feedback, and the issues on which feedback is sought, must always be at the individual’s own discretion. Some people are more resilient than others – care needs to be taken to avoid causing emotional upset. The process of soliciting serious and deep feedback relates to the process of ‘self-development and growth as a leader.

If you are committed to seek more feedback the question becomes– how do you go about getting it?

Sometimes people describe blind spots as perception disconnects – when the people around us don’t perceive our words and behaviors in the way we intended. We might believe that our calm, composed demeanor is a serious advantage in a high-stress workplace. Unfortunately, our co-workers perceive us as robotic, uncaring and even bully. Our goal might be to appear decisive and candid, but others actually think we’re abrupt and insensitive. Are we energetic and driven? Or relentless and annoying?  Are we methodical and systematic? Or inflexible and overly cautious? Sometimes there’s a very fine line there. But, at the end of the day, perceptions trump intentions. Despite our goals and the impressions we intend to make, our career success is determined by our reputations and the perceptions of us held by others.

Over the next three weeks take time to inform others that you want more feedback. Ask a close associate to observe and provide feedback on your blind spots– Be careful to be concrete in your request–by saying something like this– during the next few staffing meetings would you mind observing and documenting my ability and manner of listening or not  with team members and after the meeting we can talk about what worked, what didn’t work and how I might improve my listening skills.

Remember in trying to get feedback and uncover your blind spots you need to be supportive when this person provides their feedback on areas for improvement. Good Luck and be sure and share with us how it your personal development goes.