Message from Trump on who he really is.

My Take: When people show and tell you who they are belief them. Don’t normalize what they say or do. Don’t make excuses for them or rationalize their behavior. Just accept what they are saying and doing as the person they really are. They are either self-aware, competent, and comfortable in their own skin or just insecure, immature, ego-manics incapable of telling the truth. Trump is simply a delusional ASSHOLE who thinks he is above the law and that the rest of us are fools. Period. End of story. This is the guy we as Americans elected. Really !!! Is this guy who  want to be our leader. Please wake-up and rethink what we as Americans want from our leaders before it is too late.

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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 

 

Learn these two critical communication skills for Connecting with Others.

 

Daily Quote: ” Sometimes the most unique connection and learning happens when others are encouraged to talk about themselves. Questioning and active listening are the best and most appreciated way to show others you care”. Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Reflection: Questions can be an effective way for you to show others that you curious about them and want to get to know them better. Effective questioning and active listening promote unique connections, progress and possibilities, and typically lead to two-communications, discoveries, understanding, and solutions.

A powerful question, for example, might be, “What are your goals for this year?” “What are the critical responsibilities for job”? “How do you show gratitude for others support”? and “What do you think our customers need to refer us to other companies”?

When the right questions are asked we can connect with others and have the possibility for problem solving and opportunity finding.

In the following, I will discuss some ways of questioning that lead to connections and  open-up conversations. Also we will examine the other side of the coin where the wrong type of questions shut down conversations and move others away from us.

Let’s review a few types of questions to see which ones work better in developing rapport and connections with others.

  1. Open ended questions. Are used so the other person can explain or provide more information which creates more of a two-way conversation and unique connect. Most open questions start with What? or How? Questions. For example –What are we going to do with our credit card debts? How are we going to pay for the kid’s college tuition?  Another way to open a conversation up is to say – “tell me” more about your ambition to be a doctor…
  2. Closed questions. Are questions that  can be answer with a simple “yes” or “no” and actually close down dialogue between to people. For example, Are you going to the game today?
  3. Exploration questions.   These types of questions generally, start with What? How? Where? or When? They facilitate exploration and provide an opportunity for learning more about the other person who you are interacting with. They provide more opportunity to gather information and lead to more understanding which is the basis of empathy.
  4. Judgmental questions. By contrast, a question that is classified as a “judging” make others defensive and less forth coming. Questions like this are more closed-minded, snarky and critical which lead to withdrawal a very little productive dialogue. They focus on problems rather than solutions and often lead to unproductive outcomes. Judging questions lead to negative energy and stop conversation before it has a chance to really get started. For example, “Are you responsible for this mess?  Or “Why aren’t we selling more in this quarter? By the way most people find Why? very difficult to answer and most of the time “just make shit up” to get the person off their back And so on.

Self-Coaching Challenge. Ask a colleague to make note of the kind and frequency of questions you ask at your next staff meeting. After you get the feedback decide what you are going to do to improve the openness and flow of your questions.

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge: Think Straight and Develop Your Grit

Daily Quote: What you are thinking, what shapes your mind is in, is what makes the biggest difference of all.   Willie Mays

 Reflection:  

Your toughness and grit is made up of equal parts belief, persistence and deliberative practice and experience. The toughest opponent of all is the negativity and skeptic or sarcastic one inside your head.  Below see the  4 tips for overcoming negativity and build grit into your character and daily actions:

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

3. Find a passion. Pick a hobby, own it: running, photography, juggling, tennis, writing, art and whatever. 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 heartbreak, 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?

 

Poem–Reflections On Loneman Creek and Common Ground

 

Reflections on Solitude and Common Ground by MW Hardwick 

This is the place for rest and relaxation

The hills and natural grass fulfilled my need for solitude

Alone with nature

You come to it over the low water crossing

Of  “Loneman Creek”  its freshness dripping along toward

A small but beautiful flowing dam—called shorty”

This house  designed by us in the Hill country of Texas

To be a refuge from the constant turmoil of life

An eye for light and sunshine accentuated  by 12 foot ceilings and

over 66 windows (some from the Yale Law library) in 1200 sq ft

Bringing the inner space and outdoor together in one continuous flow

This was our wound licking place,

a place safe for nesting now,

away from the pains of external life.

It is the opening of my eyes and my heart

It is the vision of restoration and loss of innocence

seen now as the reality of suffering and pain, and truth they hold.

It is the heart after years

of bruising and trying to fix the unfixable

speaking out loud in the clear air of  Loneman Creek.

One question remains why now and why us?

If I could look back with clear eyes–

what does it all mean and where do I stand?

I promise myself to the rolling hills and ash juniper

and to the shaky foundation of the “sun downer” from which

beautiful sunsets are viewed at the day’s end

and the warm southwest breeze to heal my sorrow and lift our  future–of a hopeful tomorrow…

an invitation for who knows what …

This is the bright home in which we escaped to live,

this is where I ask my soul to speak to me, our friends to come,

this is where we want to leave things barely touch by us,

to love all the things nature——it has taken me so long to learn to love…

Who knows what…what…life has in store for you and me.

The visible nature and invisible peace working together in this place called–

COMMON GROUND. Common Ground. common ground…

Don’t over think it…just enjoy, embrace life’s precious moments…

 

 

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.