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.

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.  

Poem–On Kindness by MW Hardwick

ON KINDNESS    

Feeling safe with others and comfortable with self

Is a gift to remember and pass on…

Having a sense of trust to speak our minds,
Be open and not hidden behind a false persona

Feeling accepted –just as you are …
Warts and all,

Provides a model for being unselfish
Learn this lesson early in life …

By showing respect, kindness  and consideration for others

By honoring differences and uniqueness in self and others.

By giving others a break and expecting no returns

By learning kindness and living to give… but do it now …Don’t wait…

Remember what Dr Suess said:

“A person is a person, no matter how small…”                                                                                 

Everyone matters and deserves to be seen.

Never forget to respect each other’s differences.

We are all are just trying to figure this out …

figure this out…figure this…out…  

 

Sources: Inspiration for this poem came from George Saunders speech and book about kindness.

1. http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/george-saunderss-advice-to-graduates/?_php

2 . http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/24/george-saunders-commencem_n_5200836.html 

Self-Coaching Challenge–How can you get more engaged in your work this coming Monday

Engagement at work; what does it mean and is it important? My definition is that it is a commitment to invest time in accomplishing something that is meaningful and important to me. It involves expenditure of energy, time and emotional commitment to a cause or issue that matters deeply to your values and purpose in life.  Does the work you do get your juices flowing?

What do surveys mean when they try to measure engagement? After seeing the 2013 Gallup State of the Global Workplace Report that only 13% of employees worldwide are engaged in their work. I wondered what that means in regard to employee satisfaction, recruiting and retention of talent in the workplace. Another study the 2014 Deloitte Human Capital Trends research shows that 78% of business leaders rate retention and engagement as important issues to solve in the coming year. These trends by the way have remained essentially unchanged for a decade. So this raises the question of whether the concept of engagement matters when it comes to managing and developing a positive and effective workplace culture that ultimately impacts the “bottom line”  of productivity, profitability and of successful companies. Or does this struggle to measure engagement a windmill that matters but we don’t know how to define it and track its impact on “quality of worklife” and organizational success.

So that led to ask what does engagement really mean to people—commitment, loyalty, max effort, doing your best…or does it mean a willingness to put-in discretionary effort… to go the extra mile… or give 110%.

Challenge: Reflect on what engagement means to you. In the next 24 hours pick an engagement activity to try out at work tomorrow.

What is the new behavior you are going to try out?  What were the effects you experienced in trying out this new behavior?

Choosing Self-Coaching: Means Commitment to Openness and Authenticity

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 and Reflections: What are your answers to the “big” questions about Living?

Quote:  “The one thing you can’t take away from me is the way I choose to respond to what you do to me. The last of one’s freeoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given circumstance…Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Viktor E. FranklMan’s Search for Meaning

Reflection: Why am I Living? Victor Frankl challenges us about the meaning in life when he says: Survival for what and What?  Those who survived the ordeal of concentration camps in WWII created a future orientation rather than a self-center orientation. They created in their minds eye a future desire for reconnection with someone or something outside of themselves. This ability to find a mission outside of yourself is called, Self-Transcendance and says is the secret for creating a meaningful purpose in life.

Self-Coaching Challenge : Over this weekend take a few moments of alone time to wrestle withe these questions and then capture your thinking in your Personal Learning Journal. Then build a plan to translate you thoughts and insights into concrete actions for living a more fulfilling and meaningful life.

 

New Poem: Choose the World You Want to Live in.

Choose the World You live-in
Live-in the World You Choose.
– Mark W. Hardwick Ph.D.

                                                                                        

Choose the world you want to live in–by MW Hardwick 

Positive energy, clear focus

Happiness in the “here and now”

Past is past and lessons are learned

Move on and enjoy the comfort of the present

Deep breath counting, relaxed body, mind’s alert and wise

Smile on face and Eyes twinkle,

This focus serves us well.

Softing pain, problems and fears melt away…

This is pleasure of living in the world you choose…

Choose wisely and living is happier…happier…

New Poem–Connections “and that is the way it is…”

Connections–And that is the Way it is– by MW Hardwick 

If you’re uncertain about life that is okay
Experiences push you to confront and accept yourself

A boys’ life rich with imagination, questions and challenges

Sometimes I thought that
Nothing could touch me or reach me,
When dribbling my peach like leather ball on the gravel

Or standing at the foul line fingers in the groves

Arc of the ball go through the net

Hearing the …swish…

Imaging the winning shot…

Wouldn’t you rather
Be doing this than sitting down
For dinner of cream tuna, peas and toast

Or hearing the latest from Cronkide
All of us listening…to and waiting for

“that is the way it is” … “that is the way it is…”  DEC 5TH, 1959

Almost as powerful as my connection with the ball…

Approaching life as a game…I made my enjoyment greater than my effort.

Daily Quote and Reflection: Making a Difference

Daily Quote: “Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does”.  William James

Reflection: The big question is–What could and would I do to make a difference in others lives? How can I serve others? 

When you switch your thinking from doing something because you have to, in order to get paid, to doing something because it offers meaning and goodness for others will dramatically shift your experience in life. We all have a deep desire to be useful to something bigger than ourselves. We want to make a difference and impact both because we benefit when our family, community, humanity thrives and also because we have an intrinsic need to fulfill our potential. Serving others calls us to fulfill our potential by making a difference.

When you ask the question: How can I serve others? Your very best self rises to the surface. Living and working out of your strengths and best qualities develops them and strengthens them so that your whole life expands. You become more selfless and more capable of serving. 

The great thing about this question is that it will eventually lead you down a path of making a difference. When you are showing the best parts of yourself and developing that more and more opportunities to help others will show up on your radar screen. If you don’t know your talents  this question will lead you to them. It will show you what you have to offer.

Self-Coaching Challenge: On this Thanksgiving weekend reflect on the question–How can I serve others? Jot down in your Personal Development Journal how you can make this self

 

 

Daily Quote and Reflection: Ralph Waldo Emerson on Success

Daily Quote:

” To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children,
to leave the world a better place,
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived,
this is to have succeeded”. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

 Reflection: If you are struggling to find a purpose in life this quote will get you going.It’s message clear, concise and compelling. Especially his focus on making one life better and leaving world a better place.

Self-Coaching Challenge: 

” If you want to fill your cup with knowledge, you must first empty your cup of your knowledge”. Confucius  

If you want to discover your purpose or meaning in life, you must first empty your mind of all the false assumptions and absolute beliefs. Some of these beliefs you have been taught by parents, teachers or spiritual leaders and others you have just made up to get by in life. 

So how to discover your purpose in life? While there are many ways to do this, here is one of the simplest ways to accomplish this challenge  The more open you are to this process, and the more you expect it to work, the faster your positive “self-fulling” proposition will kick-in for you. 

Here’s what to do:

  1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up blank document in your word processor .
  2. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
  3. Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
  4. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you energized and you feel in your gut. This is your purpose.
  5. Post your purpose statement in a visible place by your computer or on your mirror at home.
  6. Verbal repetition and affirm through practice will help you keep your purpose top of the mind as you go through a busy day. 

New Poem: An Awakening–MW Hardwick

An Awaking—By MW Hardwick

Today,  I saw beneath the bright blue sky  
the dancing of star like angles on the calm water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is not the memory of the pass
nor the  future of what may come…

It is an awakening to my truth –the living the moment         

Is this all there is… my reality the vision of what is now…
With eyes wide-open seen life for what it is–the joy of the moment held tight.

It is the heart pounding in rhythm to this moment
No  words  to capture  the brisk, clear air of the moment.

It is a moment of all moments………Stay awake I say quietly to the moment.

It is a moment of all moments………

It is my heaven
astonishing as it seems,
opened at last to me…,
to love and enjoy ————this moment of moments.