To get started review this simple but powerful message from Eleanor Roosevelt–
“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words. It is expressed in the choices you make. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves.” Eleanor Roosevelt
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.
Self-Coaching –Is about discovering your strengths and gifts and taking steps to develop in positive ways to reach your full potential. I make the assumption that you already have the ability, talents and knowledge to reach your full potential but irrational thinking, shame, interference and painful experiences are blocking breakthroughs for living a more daring and fulfilling life. I developed a “process with structure” framework to support your goals and push you to not hold back or let interference block the true self you can become. The Self-Coaching principles and processes are focused on your needs and wants. A lot of people can relate to—the frustrations and emotional baggage of barriers in life, and why it is important to reflect and learn new ways to learn from these experiences, and figuring out a more positive way forward. Self-Coaching provides the opportunity to take a pause in order to really experience what you are feeling and how you can create more effective ways to handle difficult life situations in this modern era of constant communication and stimulation.
Key question in the Self-Coaching process is –How do you go about discovering your true potential and the courage to act upon and share your authentic self? In discussing that we are all infallible human beings One answer is to study and listen to Dr. Berne Brown when she so clearly points us in the right direction for living a more fulfilling life based on vulnerability, courage, openness and authenticity when she writes, “We need our lives back. It’s time to reclaim the gifts of imperfection—the courage to be real, the compassion we need to love ourselves and others, and the connection that gives true purpose and meaning to life. These are the gifts that bring love, laughter, gratitude, empathy and joy into our lives.”
Daily Quote: Being relaxed and open allows lucky people to see what’s around them and to maximize what’s around them. Richard Wiseman, author of The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles (Miramax, 2003), …Lucky people look at events differently than others. They are more observant and typically have a different mindset than unlucky folks”.
Dr. Tom Peter’s once said: Luck was the main reason for selling over 5 million books called in Search of Excellence. Most business books of genre generally 5,000 copies. When I heard this from Peters in one of his lectures I was amazed and stunted. I thought how could I bottle this thing called luck for selling the next breakthrough management book or the “pet rock” phenomena. I searched the internet and now can share with you that according to some researchers there are specific reasons why some people are lucky and others are not.
“It’s better to be lucky than smart.” “You make your own luck in life.” “Some folks are just born lucky.” In an environment marked by rising
Dr. Richard Wiseman, is head of a psychology research department at the University of Hertfordshire in England. He thinks most of us could use a little luck — at our companies, in our careers, with our investments. Richard Wiseman thinks that he can help you find and create more luck in your life. For the past eight years, he and his colleagues have studied what makes some people lucky and others not. After conducting thousands of interviews and hundreds of experiments, Wiseman says he has cracked the LUCK CODE. In an article in Fast Company he hypothesis that luck is not due to kismet, karma, or coincidence, he says. Instead, lucky folks — without even knowing it — think and behave in ways that create good fortune in their lives. In his new book,The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life: The Four Essential Principles (Miramax, 2003), Wiseman reveals four approaches to life that turn certain people into luck magnets. Wiseman’s research has uncovered four principles to create more good fortune in your life and career. And I have added a few more ideas from my reading on the subject of LUCK.
1. MAXIMIZE CHANCE OPPORTUNITIES
Lucky people are skilled at creating, noticing, and acting upon chance opportunities. They do this in various ways, which include building and maintaining a strong network, adopting a relaxed attitude to life, and being open to new experiences.
2. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT AND LISTEN TO LUCKY HUNCHES
Lucky people make effective decisions by listening to their intuition and gut feelings. They also take steps to actively boost their intuitive abilities — for example, by meditating and clearing their mind of other thoughts.
3. POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS ABOUT LIFE AND THE FUTURE
Lucky people are certain that the future will be bright. Over time, that expectation becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because it helps lucky people persist in the face of failure and positively shapes their interactions with other people.
4. TURN BAD LUCK INTO GOOD. LEMONADE STORY.
Lucky people employ various psychological techniques to cope with, and even thrive upon, the ill fortune that comes their way. For example, they spontaneously imagine how things could have been worse, they don’t dwell on the ill fortune, and they take control of the situation.
5. Resilience, not luck, is the signature of greatness.
Nietzsche wrote, “What does not kill me, makes me stronger.” We all get bad luck. The question is how to use it to turn it into “one of the best things that ever happened,” to not let it become a psychological prison.
6. Luck favors the persistent, but you can persist only if you survive. If you stay in the game long enough, good luck tends to return, but if you get knocked out, you’ll never have the chance to be lucky again. Luck favors the persistent, but you can persist only if you survive.
Aristotle once said “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act but a habit”.
Russell Wilson Special example of Pete Carroll’s Winning Forever Philosophy– These words describe his core– Belief in Self and Others, Open Communication, Commonsense, Calm demeanor, Caring, Trust and Respect and Great Judgment, 18-25 completions and two touchdowns, not flashy just a solid leader…
Pete Carroll–“To accomplish the grand, you have to focus on the small. To exist in the eternal perspective, you have to live in the moment.” Well said! Ate heart of
WOW, WOW, WOW………………………Talk about the domination of the Seahawks. The one-sided victory showed the power of the Pete Carroll Philosophy of Caring and Playing in the Moment. This philosophy will definitely have an impact of the rest of the NFL. If you listened carefully to the interviews after the game you heard and saw the humility and pride of teamwork. Let me summarize, the “Winning Forever” philosophy of Pete Carroll. The four words that capture the essence of the team culture are: Fundamentals, Man for Others, Caring and Respect. This means that “soft skills” as a leadership philosophy is on the ascent to building teams and producing results. The Seahawks according to all the interviews is a “team of misfits” . What does that mean? It means that most of these players were not given the recognition they thought they deserved. The team is mostly made up of 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th round draft picks and free agents. No stars just players who were committed to do the best they could with their strengths and determination to reach their potential. Now let’s break down the philosophy:
1. Fundamentals — Know you X’s and O’s…, competition, play to strengths, plan do what you need to do, practice, practice, practice the details, stay focused, alert and execute in the moment.
2. Man for Others–A tenant of Jesuit Teaching –play for others, don’t let your team members down. You need me I am here for you.
3. Caring-Respect–be there for others and take care of them. Build the trust needed to fulfill your dream. Communicate openly and honestly. Let us be who we are, take care of one another and play to our strengths. Constantly learn the lessons present to you.
4. Fun–Enjoy and embrace the moment, celebrate your victories.
Pinch Model: Mapping the Problem of Aligning Expectations and Assumptions
Research fact–Planned Renegotiation and the Pinch Model developed by John J. Sherwood and John C. Glidewell (1973, 1975) is based on the premise that relationships in a social system—a pair, a group, an organization, or a community—seldom proceed smoothly or as planned or expected. The model describes how social systems are established, become stabilized and aligned so that work can get done and how change can enter the system. When these expectations are disrupted it is called a “pinch” and if not resolved to the satisfaction of both parties can lead to uncomfortable and unproductive relationships and even interpersonal “crunches”, like termination of the relationship.
1. Stability and Productivity: This is the period where things are going as we and ours expected they would. This situation is often seen as a period of personal productivity and alignment.
2. Pinch: A pinch is something that is done or not done, that violates one of our expectations/assumptions. Pinches are private. We feel them though the one who caused the pinch may not be aware that we are disappointed or have been offended.
3. Broken promises at the heart of “Disruption of Expectations”: By not acting, we may come to doubt our initial judgment of a situation. We are not sure if we can trust our operating expectations and assumptions because we have been disappointed already. Tension and stress builds as our situation becomes increasingly unpredictable.
4. Crunch: A crunch is open conflict. Both parties are now aware that there is a problem. However, if I have been suffering silently, my crunch may be my partner’s pinch.
Crunch Management Options
Silent Ending: This is where one party terminates the relationship after the fight without any further communication. They just cut you loose and never want to talk or see you again. They abandon or shun you…
Re-Commitment: This is where we smooth things over and play nice (kiss and make-up) with each other, with the hope that the relationship will return quickly to stability and productivity. The pinch, however, remains private and unresolved. It is bound to re-appear under stress or difficult times.
Lower Expectations: By lowering our expectations and just “putting in time,” people hope to reduce the number of pinches and crunches that they are experiencing with each other. Eventually, this can lead to apathy, cynicism and superficial interactions.
Re-Negotiation: By engaging in a difficult, honest conversation after a crunch, information can be gathered, expectations and assumptions clarified and parties can either renew their commitment to their relationship or agree to disagree and explore the final option of a planned and/or agreed upon ending/transition to the relationship.
Common Ways of Dealing with Pinches
1) Let it Go
There is a Congo proverb that says, “It is best to let an offense repeat itself three times. The first may be an accident, the second a mistake. Only the third is likely to be intentional.” Many of us are living examples of this proverb, especially with the small ‘pinches’ we experience in our lives.
2) Complain to someone else
Once the ‘pinch’ has been repeated (or is really significant the first time), we often look for someone with whom we can share our experience. Our motivation for doing this is often positive. We want to release our frustration to someone else, or we are unsure if we have a legitimate reason for being frustrated. The problem is that our search for clarity often stops here and inevitably the behaviour repeats itself. This is a very common strategy in Canadian workplaces.
3) ‘Pinch’ back
After our frustration has reached a certain level and the ‘pinch’ is being remembered days later, our behaviour often changes toward that person. We begin to be hesitant or more aggressive in their company. We are on the lookout for the behaviour to repeat itself. Our initial responses are often very subtle and are not always obvious even to ourselves. We may respond to the other person’s email in a less timely way or delay in responding to work that affects them. We may become quieter in the other person’s company, withholding some of our ideas. We may become defensive in their presence as we look to protect ourselves. Not only the person who is the catalyst, but all others in the room, can invariably feel this defensive energy. In fact, it will likely become a ‘pinch’ for others.
4) Hold on to it
Often we hold on to our hurt, nursing it, reliving our ‘pinches’ in our mind, with our friends, during the day and in our thoughts at night. This thinking often results in feelings of victimization and growing resentment. Medical research says that living with these feelings will increase our stress levels and make us more vulnerable to disease.
5) ‘Crunch’ back
When we have suffered long enough, many of us will say or do something out of character. We will snap back. This is what we call open conflict; everyone who hears the exchange would believe that there is a fight.
6) Talk about it. Constructive dialogue to discuss and seek understanding about missed expectations.
A ‘pinch’ is an opportunity to have an ‘expectation conversation.’ to resolve differences and gain understanding so that the relationship can move forward in a healthy and constructive way. Unfortunately this is done far too seldom.
*Adapted and re-visioned from http://korcos.wikispaces.com/file/view/Pinch+Crunch.pdf
Daily Quote: You must begin to think of yourself as the person you want to be. Dr. David Viscott
Reflection: Once I heard someone say the most powerful thing about accomplishing goals. This wise person who I became friends with when training for the Dallas Marathon said ” When it comes to finishing the race I mean the last 5 miles of the 26,2 mile challenge–Whether you think you can or think you can’t … Your Right”. I must say he was right. I found the last 10 miles one of the biggest achievements in my athletic life. There were so many times I wanted to stop that I stopped counting. Both physically and mentally I keep running into barriers, like the 16th mile hill that seem like a mountain. As I walked up the hill I told a friend that I was going to finish this race if it was the last “fucking” thing I did. She laughed and that laugh remained a joyful motivator for the rest of the race. The one lesson I learned in fulfilling this running goal was to trust myself. I realized that my body (a knee I could barely stand on for the last 2 miles)and mind would let me know if I needed to quit. I now use this past success when facing difficult challenges and use what I learned about perseverance, practice and mental toughness to help achieve any new challenges or targets in my life. I learned the 5 C’s of trust. Commitment to a goal, Consistency and need for Practice, Camaraderie, Competitiveness with self and Caring.
Self-Coaching Challenge: Identify what you want to achieve in the area of your personal fitness? Be specific about what and how you will go about achieving your goal. Identify the end result you want to achieve. Focus on what past win can you use to motivate you to get going and stick with your plan even during times that are difficult. Good Luck and Keep Us posted on your goal and achievements. If you need help let me know. Coach Mark
Note ” Begin with the end in mind” from-Steven Covey’s book Seven Habits of Highly Successful People
“Be silent, or say something better than silence”.
“Proper words in proper places make the true definition of a style.” Jonathan Swift
Here is the story of a man who went from silence to absolute wonderful speaking style. This is the story of James Earl Jones journey of courage, persistence and how facing his fear of failure and rejection was turned into fame and excellence as a public speaker and performer –an excellent actor.
Many of us allow our fear of failure and humiliation to stop us from doing things in life. We have the abilities and skills but for some reason under pressure are overwhelmed by fear and thoughts of doubt. These buttons of anxiety are put in us by ourselves or others; these triggers when present stop us from performing at our best. All that has to happen is for us see or hear their voices and we stop trying and get stuck. For example, some speakers fall apart when they experience criticism, a negative facial expression, or a less than positive opinion, and we give up before we even get started. We’re afraid of:
• the disapproving look of others because it means rejection
• the whispers and grins because they mean judgment, and
• the absence of support because it means abandonment
Let’s look at these three triggers in relationship to James Earl Jones story of failure to even try to speak or if he did stuttering was the result.
Little James Earl was scared. His father had left the family to become a prize-fighter and actor. His mother had left to earn money as a tailor. The Great Depression had stolen his family and he was about to lose the only life he had ever known. So he remained silent and mute for many of the early developmental years he lived with his adopted grandparents.
Through these early days of abandonment and harsh treatment from his grandparents he was afraid and traumatized so as a defense he developed a stutter.
His first day of school was a disaster. His stuttering made his classmates laugh at him. It was the final straw for a frightened little boy. He closed his mouth and simply quit talking… for eight years!
James Earl was completely mute – with the exception of conversations he had with himself when he was all alone. He found solace in the written word – creating poetry to release the raging in his soul.
As is often the case, one person who saw beyond his limitations released James Earl from his self-imposed prison. That one person who believed in him was an English teacher who saw talent and potential in the silent 13-year-old. She pushed him beyond his fear by forcing him into public speaking – insisting he recite a poem in front of the class every day. Can’t you imagine his terror when he first stood in front of his classmates? What made him do it? Was it only the teacher’s insistence? No. It was a deep desire to break free from his prison and speak all the things that had sat silently in his heart during all those years. He chose to face and lean-in to the fear – and then recite his daily anyway!
He stuttered. He stammered. He endured the scornful looks of fellow students. He endured the laughing. But he continued to do it. He faced the fear and forced himself to speak. Day after day. Week after week. He hung onto the encouragement of the teacher who believed in him. And it worked. His stuttering became less.
He learned to control his voice. His victories made him look for more challenges. James Earl began to take acting lessons. His early lessons in perseverance and deliberative practice gave him the courage to push beyond the prejudices against black actors. He chose to take as many different types of roles as he could – stretching his limitations and refusing to let fear control him.
James Earl Jones is now known for his deep authoritative and penetrating voice. Perhaps you know him as the voice of Star War’s Darth Vader or as Mufasa in the Lion King. You see him almost daily on commercials. He has starred on Broadway and been in many movies. He has been the recipient of many distinguished honors and awards– the Tony, Emmy and many others.
People look at him today and see a confident actor with a deep, resonant voice. The next time you become nervous or fearful of presenting in front of others remember James Earl Jones because this may push to stretch your talents and successful performances.
My hypothesis of why James Earl Jones’ succeed in public speaking is that he chose to push beyond his fears or learned to accept these fears and just kept presenting. He chose to change the reality of a young boy who had lived in silence for eight years. He chose to face ridicule and humiliation in order to grow and develop into his full potential.
So many of us let our fears stop us. We’re afraid of how we will appear and what others will say and think about us. We’re afraid so we limit our development and possibilities for success. We exchange fear for failure. We don’t believe our fear can be conquered or just accepted. Fear will fade away in the face of acceptance, deliberative practice, persistence and construction action.
So what does this tender and emotional story have to do with the rational world of business and you becoming a more effective speaker? In two words: acceptance and courage. If we can’t confront our fears of communicating with others we probably have no hope of being a successful leader. Many people make decisions about us every day by the way we do or don’t communicate. Neurological research shows that many—if not most—of our so-called rational decisions are actually driven by our emotions. So we tell a story if we want to communicate in a way that captures peoples’ curiosity and imagination, connects with them at a deeply emotional level, is persuasive and leads to the behaviors we desire. For years he refused to speak more than a few words at a time, even to his family. In school he pretended to be mute, and communicated only in writing. He began to express himself by writing poetry.
” In high school a sympathetic teacher named Donald Crouch saw through Jones’s insecurity. He challenged each student in the class to write a poem. Jones found inspiration in the citrus fruit the federal government had distributed in the area to relieve wartime shortages. When he turned in an “Ode to Grapefruit,” written in the epic meter of Longfellow’s “Hiawatha,” the teacher pretended to believe that Jones could not have written the poem himself, and challenged him to prove it by reciting it front of the class. With his own verses committed to memory, Jones found he could speak without stuttering. Crouch encouraged Jones to compete in high-school debates and oratorical contests. One happy day in his senior year, he won both a public-speaking contest and a scholarship to the University of Michigan. “
Wow!!! What a story when was the last time you tackled a personal weakness and over came your fears?
Daily Quote: “ Success is developed and measured by an external focus and fulfillment comes from the inside and is displayed on the outside.” Victor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning
This is my favorite book for examining many of my existential questions about life and provides many insights in to how create a purposeful legacy and meaning for living the life that I want to live. This book has made a difference in millions of people’s life and is rated as one of the top ten most influential books by readers in America. The reality and first hand experiences of Viktor Frankl, a renown psychiatrist, has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for living a more meaningful and life. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he examines why some people collapse under these horrific circumstances and how others learn to cope and actual thrive in times of personal suffering or just day to day living?
In his coming to grips with the fact that we cannot avoid suffering in life but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose provides a basis for his approach to therapy called logotherapy, from the Greek word logos (“meaning”) holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud proclaimed, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
Self-Coaching Challenge: Many times students and seminar participants have asked me to answer this question –What is the best way to guarantee success in their future life? Of course if you are a follower of this blog, you know that I don’t think it is helpful to give advice or reassurance to others on the way to live their life. I am true believer when it comes to self- discovery and creating a personal vision or solutions to human problems. So in answering this type of question I usually reflect and direct them to an important process of answering a few questions for themselves.
So the challenge I present to you, as your own coach, is to stop and take some reflective time over the next answer these questions:
1. How can you be sure that you will be happy in your chosen career? 2. How can you be sure that your relationships with your spouse or partner or your family become an enduring source of support and happiness? 3. What do you want your legacy to be? Though the last question sounds a little dark because it projects you to the the end of your life, it’s not. None of us are going to get out of this thing called life without dying and leaving some kind of footprints in the sand.
Alignment of substance and style
“But I… never could make a good impromptu speech without several hours to prepare it”. ~Mark Twain
It is natural to feel apprehension before speaking in front of a group, this is called “stage fright” . At the root anxiety and fright is all about some kind of irrational thinking, such as “perfectionism” or fear of failure” which triggers your anxiety. Perfectionism can drive insecurity. And on the other hand if you adjust your thinking about the need to be “perfect” you can be energize and inspire your self up to a point, but too much concern can lead to a drop in performance.
A certain level of anxiety is actually necessary for you to perform your best. The key is to use this anxiety to your advantage, harnessing it to make your style more dynamic and animated. The physical symptoms of anxiety are very similar to that of excitement. If you can train yourself to interpret your symptoms as excitement, instead of being nervous, you are well on your way to using the anxiety to your advantage. So, how do you do this?
Controlling Stage Fright and Performance Anxiety
1. Avoid negative self-talk. For example, do not use phrases like, “They won’t listen. They’ll be hostile.” Talk like this is not only self-defeating, but it is self-fulfilling. Tell yourself instead that you will succeed. Tell yourself, “I’ve done my research. I’m prepared. I am well practiced.” These kind of statements are also self-fulfilling–in a positive way.
2. Don’t exceed your time limits for a topic. Know how much time you have been allotted and then keep to the schedule. Carefully preparing your material will allow you to cover the topic well, but also selectively customize it for your audience needs. It takes longer to say something than it does to read something. The best way to make sure you do not run over time is to follow the suggestions in step 3.
3. Practice and prepare. Practice and prepare. Once your presentation material is prepared, it is time for you to prepare. Practice is the key to feeling confident. There are several ways to do this.
–Practice with an audio or video tape. Play it back to catch mistakes you might have made. This will help you catch distracting idiosyncrasies such as touching your hair, playing with your rings, standing with your hands in your pockets, or using fill-speech like saying “you know” or “um” over and over again.
–Practice in front of a mirror. Remember to practice what you do with your hands and arms. If you use gestures when you speak, make sure they are natural and not overdone.
–After you have practiced on your own, it is good to get an “audience” to watch your presentation and provide concrete feedback on what is good, what needs to be drop or where you need improvement. An audience can be just one other person, but the more feedback you get from different perspectives the higher the likelihood of connecting and engaging your future audience. Getting constructive feedback usually results in changes that will improve your delivery and content.
–If you are trying to persuade your audience to your viewpoint, ask a friend to give you some opposing viewpoints to get a sense of what your audience may be thinking as they hear your presentation. Understanding opposing viewpoints is especially important if you allow questions after the presentation.
4. Know and read your audience. Your presentation must correlate to your audience’s interests or you will lose them. Knowing your audience will also give you a positive, confident attitude about speaking with them and provide opportunities to improvise the content to make it more relevant to audience members. Be quick on your feet and don’t get locked in to just what you want to say by being an active listener.
5. Visualize yourself succeeding. Do not just tell yourself that you will do well; picture yourself doing well! Take a deep breath, close your eyes and imagine yourself walking to the front of the audience with your shoulders back and a smile on your face. See yourself speaking while the audience nods with approval, laughs at your spontaneous humor and applauds when you finish. Carry that successful mental image with you when it is time for you to present.
6. Fake it until you make it. Your audience will not know how nervous you are. They will only know what you show or tell them. Regardless of how you feel inside, act confident. Acting confident can actually make you feel confident.
7. Don’t stress over what “could have been” or “should have been.“ Leave the presentation behind once you have finished. Allow yourself five minutes to review the “smiley” sheets and reflect on what you could have done differently, then move on. Plan constructively for your next project. Set some goals and take what you learned to make the next one even better. A good evaluation tool for yourself is to talk with members of the audience after the presentation and ask for feedback on worked and what you could do better the next time. After all, it was for them you did the presentation.
Some people make the mistake of thinking that MT is all about extorting or putting pressure on themselves (efforting) to perform up to their potential no matter what the circumstances. So let’s start with clarifying the key concepts and definition of MT.
Definition: Mental toughness is having the natural or developed ability that enables you to:
to access your strengths and skills on demand. It is a learned ability that provides a person with coping and thinking skills to handle stressful and demanding situations. As a performer it is seen when a performer can be more consistent and better than an opponent in remaining calm, focused, determined, confident, resilient, and in control under pressure.
Key psychological characteristics associated with mentally tough elite athletes Jones et al (2002) are:
” Self-Belief and self-efficacy:
• Having an unshakable belief in your ability to achieve competition goals
• Unique qualities that make you better than your opponents.
• Having an insatiable desire and internalized motivation to succeed (you really got to want it)
• Ability to bounce back from performance setbacks with increased determination to succeed.
• Remain fully focused on the task at hand in the face of competition-specific distractions
• Able to switch focus on and off as required
• Not being adversely affected by others performance or your own internal distractions (worry,
negative mind chatter)
• Composure/Handling Pressure:
• Able to regain psychological control following unexpected events or distractions
• Thriving on the pressure of competition (embracing pressure, stepping into the moment)
• Accept that anxiety is inevitable in competition and know you can cope with it
Key component of mental toughness is learning how to condition your mind to think confidently and be
able to overcome frustration/self-critical negativity (reframe self-talk into what it is you want to occur)”.
Lesson Learned created a new Wickism: Don’t allow frustration or being to self-critical undermine your confidence or mental toughness.”
Yet a recent study confirms that MT which is defined as being “hardy” is something different. The study results indicate that mental toughness is a key to success – and to getting through the ups and downs of stressful events in life. The study results clearly confirm the old dictum that when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Much like optimists vs. pessimists, hardy individuals, when compared to less hardy ones, perceive the world very differently. Where the less hardy see obstacles, the hardy see a challenge to be overcome. While the less hardy find themselves totally overwhelmed and unable to function when under stress, the hardy ones use stress as an adrenaline boost. Hardy people go where angels fear to tread; less hardy people are the types that play to lose by undermining
their performance and wishing they could just crawl into the nearest corner, roll up into a fetal position, and wait until it’s safe to come out again.
“Learning from experience helps build character and resilience, so it’s not surprising that mental toughness tends to increase with age,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of Psychtests AIM, company. “It’s not only a matter of developing better coping and problem solving skills. As we get older and have been knocked around in the school of life, we develop a stronger sense of perspective and self-efficacy; a greater belief that ‘I’ll get through this’. Think of the pain of losing someone we love, for example. Regardless of age, everyone feels hurt after it happens. But with experience, we get to a point of acceptance more quickly, and move on more readily.”
Author’s note: From the Handbook for Creating and Living a Meaningful Life: 30+ Rules of the Road . This my first post and Principle #1 for creating a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
Meaningful Life Principle # 1 : Power of First Impressions. Be Ready.
Quote: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression”.
Will Rogers , American Humorist
When interacting with others remember from the very first moment, people are taking the measure of you and you are creating an impression. This observation is backed up by very good research on the astonishing speed at which people form first impressions of others, often in seconds. And, once formed, opinions can be difficult or impossible to change. In fact, people tend to seek out information that confirms their pre-existing impressions and block out information that doesn’t — the so-called “confirmation bias.” So think hard about the impressions you want to create. If you make a good first impression If you do, others will want to keep interacting with you and will work with you and help you to succeed. So always “Be Ready” when opportunities in life are presented.
“If (a man) is brusque in his manner, others will not cooperate. If he is agitated in his words, they will awaken no echo in others. If he asks for something without having first established a (proper) relationship, it will not be given him.” Robert Bolton
The immediacy of first impressions and how they effective the decision to go forward in a conversation or a relationship has been called many things in the fields of Communication, Social Psychology and Psychology–power of first impressions, bias of confirmation, primacy effect, thin slicing etc. As a father, I tried to teach my boys the “power of first” impressions. My simple message was to look the person in the eye and give them a firm handshake. Now there is more research that confirms that it takes only a matter of seconds for a person to decide if they want to go forward with a relationship. As a matter of fact researchers have found that before you complete your answer to an interviewer’s first question (15 seconds) they have decided whether to hire you or not. WOW 15 seconds just about enough time for you to look them in the eye, exchange a firm handshake and ask them how their day is going. Is there any we can to do to overcome this powerful interpersonal law.
Until recently, little if any research had been done about what happens when we first meet someone and yet somehow this advice had been handed down from generation to generation. Psychologist and interpersonal communication experts just ignored or took this axiom for granted. Research over the past decade, now confirms the power of the first impression. In a sense, those who gave you that advice were correct –good eye contact and a firm handshake may be all it takes to create a memorable first impression. These “moments of truth” can have significant implications in the friends we make, advice we receive from a doctor, the career opportunities we are open to and the person we will fall in love with and marry.
Professor Frank Bernieri of Oregon State University, and a colleague recently collected a series of videotaped job interviews to test whether it is possible to guess the result of the interview simply from observing the interaction between the interviewer and interviewee. It was found that an observer could predict whether or not the interviewee would be offered the job from watching just the first 15 seconds of the tape – the handshake, the “hello” and very little else. What happened in those few, brief moments was enough to determine if the candidate received an offer to be hired or not. This is the power of first impressions. “First impressions are the fundamental drivers of our relationships,” says Professor Frank Bernieri. He goes on to say “In a sense, … the initial conditions can have a profound impact on the eventual outcome.
A first impression is your initial contact and gauge for analyzing and judging another human being. This power of “thin-slicing” methodology is based on the theory that we make a reasonably accurate assessment of a person from observing just a few seconds, or a “thin slice”, of their behavior. From the evidence gleaned in not much more than a few glances, we decide whether we like another person, whether they’re trying to connect with us, and if they’re friend or foe. If you’ve ever changed seats on an airplane or train to avoid someone, because there was something “not quite right about them”, you’ve used your ability to thin-slice. In that instance, you were probably aware of a gut instinct – you may have felt as if your sense of perception was heightened because there was the possibility of something strange happening – but we thin-slice people in all kinds of situations, not just when we feel uneasy or threatened. Bar hopping to find a hookup is another common example of impulsive thin-slicing decisions. These early assessments that we make of people set us up to look for certain behaviors or non-verbal cues. This information is locked-in and sets us on a course of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we have decided that a person is a certain type of person, who thinks, feels and behaves a certain way, we pay more attention to evidence that confirms our initial thoughts and supports our implicit impressions of this person. This cognitive phenomenon is known as the “confirmation bias”. For example, after meeting a business friend’s new partner you might decide they are a little removed and not engaging. From then on, you will be on the look out for other signs of what you see as arrogant or dismissive behavior. noticing when they talk only about themselves, their possessions such as cars or condo in Naples, or they are so self-centered they don’t inquire or ask you or other people any questions about their interests or life situation. You won’t necessarily notice other more friendly or accepting gestures or comments because you have made your mind-up that are egotist. We seek out the information that confirms we are right, and we ignore or discount evidence that might suggest we are wrong or misguided about our snap judgment.
First Impression judgments and confirmation bias are at the heart of many recent works, including Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (see below) and Gerd Gigerenzer’s Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of the Unconscious. One thing all these writers and researchers agree on is that our ability for making such immediate judgments is largely unknowable, and when we begin to question exactly what it is that made us choose a certain way, we begin to second-guess ourselves, and get things wrong. The researchers have found that when people are asked to deliberate before they make a decision they tend not to be as good as they are if they do it unconsciously and quickly.
Although our rapid cognition is fairly accurate, it’s still possible for us to misread someone the first time we meet them. No matter how shrewd you might think you are – we are subject to all kinds of cognitive biases, which stretch and distort our judgment. “There’s a classic study where participants are shown a short film of a woman coming home from work,” says Bernieri. “Sometimes the woman was labelled ‘Jane the waitress’, sometimes she was called ‘Jane the librarian’. After viewing the short film, researchers asked the viewers to relate what they’d seen, they ‘remembered’ details consistent with the woman’s job. If Jane had been introduced as a librarian, people remembered her wearing glasses, even though she hadn’t been. Our assumptions about how a waitress might behave or the way a librarian might look are so strong that we pay more attention to them than the person or evidence in front of us. Indeed, our assumptions and expectations influence the way that we see and judge others.”For example, if I’ve heard from a client that you are a difficult person, then I might have already decided I’m not going to like you and the interaction will be difficult and stressful. Then, when I meet you, I’m going to behave in a more defensive and critical way towards you, which, in turn, is going to get you to behave in a difficult way towards me.”
Stay tuned on more about Creating and Living a Meaningful Life.
Dr. Gottman is a highly respected authority on predicting whether your relationship with your partner is healthy or in need of a tune-up. This quiz highlights elements of what Dr. Gottman refers to as your “love map.” In his workshops, Dr. Gottman discusses the step-by-step process of making sure that you nurture your friendship with your partner. In a survey of 200 couples attending a weekend workshop, Dr. Gottman found that the best predictor of passion and romance in a relationship was…you guessed it…the quality of the friendship!
Check the quality of the friendship by clicking this free quiz. http://www.gottman.com/how-well-do-you-know-your-partner/
Enjoy this check-up quiz and remember if things aren’t going well you have the power to change them. Coach Mark
Part 1–In this post I am presenting an important concept for your Self-Coaching experience– Identifying what are the important but not urgent activities in your life that provide the biggest payoff in managing an a limited resource “time” and how time impacts an important quality of life resource–your daily energy. Time is a fixed amount for all of us–168 hours per week. So energy is our currency for life and without this energy, we can`t perform or enjoy doing much in our life, even as we try to manage extend time. Learn more at: Natural News webpage article on Energy and Life Balance.
Questions and Reflection: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff that life is made of.” – Benjamin Franklin
“It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau
Here are some ideas on time and energy management that I think will help you to see that at its essence time management means choice, prioritizing, decision making on what’s important to you. It is a critical building block in becoming more emotionally intelligent and increasing self-management expertise for living a more satisfying and meaningful life.
What are the most important things in your life? Do they get as much care, emphasis, and time as you’d like to give them? Far from the traditional “be-more-efficient” time-management book with shortcut techniques, First Things First shows you how to look at your use of time totally differently. Using this book will help you create balance between your personal and professional responsibilities by putting first things first and acting on them. Covey and Merrill try to convey an organizing process that helps you reflect on what is important. You achieve this by structuring and making decisions about what tasks in life are important to focus on to achieve your goals and mission in life. You focus on what is important, not merely what is urgent. First you divide tasks into 4 quadrants:
- Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects, revenue collected policies in force, quotas etc).
- Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning, relationships like teeth cleaning to prevent cavities; planning the yearly budget and building trusted and long-term relationships.
- Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters like ringing cell phone
- Not Urgent, Not Important (trivia, time wasters, like watching TV)
Most people spend most of their time in quadrants 1 and 3, while quadrant 2 is where quality of life and work happens. The authors point out that “Doing more things faster (efficiency) is no substitute for doing the right things (effectivness). They points you toward the real meaningful human needs–“to live, to love, to learn, to leave a legacy”–and how to balance your time to achieve a meaningful life, not just get things done.
Time management is good. Setting goals is good. But all of these things are only good if your goals are actually meaningful and important for you in living a productive and satisfying life. If you spend all your time creating to-do lists, and carefully plotting out weekly goals … but your goal is to get a “bigger house or a Porsche ” while your children are struggling to find their way at school or life and you’re miserable at work, something is out of sync.
This book is all about making sure that what you do is what you really want to do. It’s about a higher level of time and self-management called living a Meaningful and Constructive life. So they’re not saying the other time management systems are bad. They explicitly say that each has its place in life! However, if you work very hard every day to climb a ladder, and find after many years that the ladder you’ve climbed was against the wrong wall, then you’ll be very disappointed. You should always make sure you are working for a goal that you really feel is important at a basic moral level.
This isn’t a book to just plow through in a few hours or days and see what you remember. It’s asking you to really think about why you do things in life. Is it because your parents harassed you when you were young, and you want to get a flashy car to prove you’re something? Do you try to out-do your co-workers even if it hurts your home life? Sometimes these answers don’t come easily. If they did, I imagine we wouldn’t need a book to help us sort them out.
This is a good book to read slowly and reflect on. I often use this book as a resource when things seem to be getting hectic or out of control. The basic concept is easy enough to understand. Divide your “to do list” based on what category they fall into – Quadrant 1, 2, 3,or 4; then execute against these priorities.
Sounds easy, yes? But how many of us get sucked into a ton of “urgent” but really not important tasks for all sorts of reasons? It’s the planning – the Quadrant II time – that can help fix those issues. But we have to make time to plan. If your life is full of urgent demands, it may seem impossible to do this. But it can be done.
I know, I know this is a hard idea to wrap your mind around because we all only have 24 hrs a day. You might say “Well but I have 3 kids at home”. True! So in your life, you made children your priority. You wanted kids! So embrace that, and accept that as your personal mission and long-term commitment. Put aside other less important things like the Porsche car you want. We all make choices in life about what is important to us. When we make those choices, we should accept that, be happy with that, and find ways to emphasize our time in those areas. You have to choose to spend the time on things that are important and you love – not to divide your time up among various things urgent and pressing.
This is the main lesson in managing time. If you say you do not have time for something; like call your mother then it is important to realize you are making a decision that she is not part of what you decided is important in life. You have chosen to focus on what is most important – don’t try to do or be all things to all people. That is living your with all urgent and not necessarily important and meaningful activities. Trust me it doesn’t work and the stress will burn you out.
In Part 2 of this paper I will provide more ideas about the importance of energy vs time management in this hectic world we are all trying to navigate.
Stress or Irritation (Pinch) – A pinch is a frustration or anger trigger that occur when one person, violates another’s needs, wants, expectations, boundaries, values, beliefs etc.
The offended person reacts with either a knot in the stomach or a small alien popping out of their chest to right the wrong caused by their frustration. Along with these physical sensations comes an irrational thought from the primitive part of their brain that over-rides the executive and rational part of their brain. Their thinking goes like this: This person has offended or dis-respected me and should not have done/said that! Or in some cases, we think, this person should be more responsive or courteous to me. In these situations we feel disappointed, frustrated or angry because our expectations are not being met.
Coaching Tip: Use alignment principle to manage stress and unmet expectations: Living with respect and empathy as core values means: not settling for less than what you think or know you deserve in a situation or relationship. To be proactive ask for what you want and need from others rather than assuming others know what you expect or want. When interacting with others speak your truth, even though it might create conflict or tension. Behave in alignment with your personal values. Make choices based on what you believe, and not what others tell you to do. This approach will bring clarity to the interaction and may produce a better outcome.
I’d like to address a problem that is so common that it seems silly to even mention it…
It’s the idea that too often we use our powerful minds and emotions to cause ourselves to FAIL rather than SUCCEED in communicating and presenting our ideas and self to others.
Fear of Failure can actually become a HABIT that leads to career derailment and failure.
Let me ask you a question:
Have you ever been in a presentation situation where you looked out at the audience and went blank or experienced an anxiety attack and could not perform at the “top of your game”?
Of course… we all have to one extent or another…
Being nervous before a performance, especially in front of an audience is UNIVERSAL. We’ve all been there so many times that the question doesn’t even need to be asked. Here are the three questions that you need to answer to increase your impact 10x:
What can we learn to overcome these fears?
How do we go about trying to increase our impact and reducing our fears?
To read about the 6 magical secrets to creating Sticky Presentations and becoming more effective speaker send me your e-mail to thewick.wordpress.com/us