Daily Quote and Reflecting: Coping with Losses and Transitions in Life.

Daily Quote: ” Chaos is the primal state of pure energy for every true new beginning…living during these turbulent times of rapid and unexpected change is one of the most difficult tasks a person will face in the 21st Century. In adapting to new realities, people need a map  to chart a course through chaos. William Bridges

It  may just mean doing a better job at whatever you’re doing or trying new things that are more fulfilling . There are men and women who make the world better just by being the kind of people they are –and that too is a strong commitment to living life “on purpose. They have the gift of kindness or courage or loyalty or integrity. It matters very little whether they’re behind the wheel of a truck or a country doctor or bringing up a family.

Interesting discussion about athletes on ESPN sports talk by Mike and Mike a few days ago–They talked about how professional players have an attitude that does not help them get through life transitions. For example, I am going to do this thing I love forever, I don’t need the help, I am bullet proof and  will play forever. These are false ideas and significant obstacles to dealing with reality when it hits and their career is over. They setup a difficult and sometimes painful situation for getting through life’s transitions.

Another difficult area in losses or transitions is whether the unfortunate event is an on time and off time loss–I am 65 and it is time to retire (on time) or I am 25-year-old soldier and I loss both of my legs or a rookie all-star football athlete who sustains a career ending injury, or you are 44 and get fired because of circumstances or incompetence…etc. If you want more information on how to handle these situations see the National Best selling book called  Transitions by William Bridges. This book discusses the many scenarios and struggles people confront when facing loses or in the need to start over in life because of tragedies or just circumstances.   Finding one’s way is difficult so we need support and education to cope with losses and find new opportunities for creating a stable life and new identity.

Let me summarize some of the questions that Bridges and others have raised that you might ask yourself  that you can face the many transitions life:

  1. Are you being honest with yourself about the situation or circumstances you are facing?
  2. What challenges does this life transition present? What is changing? What are up and downsides to this change?
  3. What will actually be different because of this challenging situation?
  4. What losses might I experience? How can I prepare or get out ahead of these possible changes?
  5. What strengths do I have and what are my weaknesses or voids that have been created by this loss?
  6. What does success look like once I have confronted and overcome this transition or loss?

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living or don’t ask for help when we need it. We are all dreaming of some magical time over the horizon instead of enjoying the moment and using the time right in front of us to prepare for the expected or unexpected events that confront us all at some point in life.

Power of Acceptance and Choice in Changing other People’s Behavior


Daily Quote: “Acceptance is the ability and willingness to allow those that you care for to be what they choose for themselves without any requirement that they follow your advice or dreams for them. In doing this you set yourself free to love others unconditionally”. Carl Rogers  

Reflection: I have learned that if you accept yourself and others as they are you provide the other person the space and time for them to reflect on their behavior and possibly choose to change. Don’t try to change others by pressure or pushing.  When you accept somebody you love them for what they think they should be or do. You give them the gift of freedom and reap the benefits of who they become come, and learn the lesson of less control, without imposing your will and without constantly trying to change them.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Identify a behavior of a partner or fellow employee you would like to change. For the first week just make a note of the behavior and how many times it appears in your relationship and how it makes you fee. The try one of these techniques for influencing the other person to try something new.

1.  Let go of the idea that you are going to be able to change the other person’s behavior. Sit and reflect on the possibility of resistance and that change may not happen. By getting comfortable and accepting the possibility of no change you will gain a new perspective on the situation. Now contemplate how it would feel to simply ignore or live with the behavior? Is it possible you could change your own behavior and attitude to accommodate them? Remember you have the right to share your observation and give feedback on how their behavior affects you, but nagging someone to change is the quickest and surest way to completely sabotage your desire for change. Once you truly accept that they may never change, you can use this strategy without grasping and desperation. If you cannot accept the behavior, then prepare yourself for a slow but inevitable emotional erosion and distancing in the relationship.

2. Use a form of empathy to try and understand or figure out what are the payoffs for this person to keep acting this way. Once you have identified the rewards or payoffs work on breaking this chain by reinforcing the behavior you want. Try to “catch the person doing things right” is a powerful tool for changing behavior. Once you catching them moving in the desired direction using praise can reinforce the desired change that is wanted. Praise good behavior using specific focus on their effort to change. Praise in whatever form the person understands and appreciates. For example, kind words, gifts, doing things for the person, etc. Connect the good behavior to you being thrilled with them and your that relationship is being positively influenced as a result. 

  • 3. Ask for what you want using this technique: When you do…. I feel…. because… How do you feel and what can we do about it.  “I want you to arrange your schedule so that you are sure to be on time to meet me.” “If you are unavoidably delayed, I want you to call me and let me know what’s going on, so I can decide whether to go without you.” Then back off and do not dwell on the subject. If you have already been telling the person, calmly and clearly, what you want and that it frustrates you, then you might want to try another technique. If you feel you can no longer suffer in silence, look for a way to work around their annoying behavior. For example, if you have a colleagur or friend who is always late for meetings. Would it work to simply tell the person a time to meet you that is a half-hour earlier than necessary? Is there something that could be purchased that would solve the problem, for example, if your complaint is that the person will not clean the litter box like they promised, can you buy a self-cleaning one? If they won’t dust, can you afford maid service? 

Daily Quote: Self-Coaching Learning Acceptance and Facing Reality

Daily Quotes : Thomas Aquinas instructs that the purpose of a fulfilling and meaningful life is to “carry each other’s burdens.” And as Walter Cronkite use to say in signing off his nightly newscast “And that’s the way it is”.

Reflection: One of these quotes takes us away from being self-centered and directs us toward a worthy purpose or mission in life; the other keeps us grounded in the idea that things happen and we need to accept them.  I see acceptance as the ability to see something the way it is and saying   I need to step-up and do something about it. A significant part of denying and not accepting reality is the inability to deal with the frustration , fear and pain of what is happening to you. For example, one of tenants of a strong and lasting friendship is the commitment each person makes to help the other endure suffering or pain.  Possible outcomes of this type of support is to help your friend or spouse to come out the other side with personal learning, to regain balance or understand how to let go peacefully or deal with the situation head-on.  At other times, the growth that comes through pain is only experienced as we share our thinking and feelings of pain with someone else.  Dr. Viktor Frankl, the German psychiatrist and author of Man’s Search for Meaning, who spent a few years in Nazi concentration camps called this ability human triumph.  “Human triumph” is the ability to turn suffering and pain into acceptance by changing our thinking and attitude toward unchangeable fate or events.  This ability puts us in control of even seemingly uncontrollable situations.  It provides internal peace and an inner compass so that we are not tossed about by external waves of change. When reality slaps us in the face and shakes us up and confronts our notion of what reality should be. Reality usually wins. Many have trouble accepting this proposition and use denial and avoidance of this truth to hold off the inevitable, that is accepting their situation.

Self-Coaching Challenge: The way through this dilemma is to ask yourself, What am I not accepting as the truth about this situation?  Your answer to this question is the first step to solving this problem and constructive action.

It provides us with what Rotter calls inner “locus of control”.  When we discipline ourselves in the pursuit of a higher purpose, a new self appears and emerges.  This action is empowering because it releases energy and power we hold to shape our own circumstances.  What is the right thing to do in this situation?

Willingness to sacrifice self in the pursuit of a greater good.  It is important to remember that assisting others who need a hand up or support is more empowering and fulfilling for the helper.

Self-Coaching: “Structure with Process” model and 3 A’s for Personal Development

Self-Coaching is all about reaching and fulfilling your potential, by uncovering strengths and blind spots that block fulfillment of meaning and purpose in life. It requires the hard work of self-awareness, setting goals in critical life spaces and living a more deeply committed and connected life based on values, beliefs and constructive action.” MWH  

Self-Coaching requires a more open and flexible way of thinking and acting which means more living on purpose and trust of self and others. Sure, life can have difficulties and is sometimes be unfair but not jumping-in with both feet can leave us “sleep walking” and on automatic pilot which leads to boredom, loneliness, and an unproductive life rather than a spontaneous and open life.

Some will feel this is a reckless way to live, but that’s only because they have so little trust in their ability to respond to life from a source other than control and narrow mental maps. But once you step out of control’s grip and realize a whole new world of excitement and adventure is awaiting you; you have crossed the Rubicon for living a meaningful and self-directed life. Yet in order to live this self-direct life will require new learning and hard work. The core of this new approach is based on what I call the 3A’s of personal change and development.

It begins with the three A’s of change–awareness, acceptance and action—

  • Awareness. In order to dismantle insecurity, you must first be aware of how it manifests itself in your life. Insecurity speaks in the form of doubts, fears, and negatives. These are tip-offs to insecurity and it pays to be on the lookout for this type of thinking. The power question to answer for this first A is –Know yourself–Clearly seeing who you are and what you feel and do. Know Yourself gives you the “what” – when you Know Yourself, you know who you are, your strengths and challenges, you know what you are doing, what you want, and what to change.Emotions are relevant data, and knowing yourself allows you the freedom to accurately collect information that will help you answer these two essential power questions:
  • Acceptance. Changing your attitude and challenging fears and insecurity will often cause some discomfort. You may feel unsure, intimidated, or anxious. It’s important that you’re willing to accept some degree of discomfort if you’re going to break the habit of insecurity. Just keep in mind that it’s not at all unusual for change to feel initially uncomfortable. This isn’t because change is bad, it’s only because insecurity likes to cling to the tried and true “status quo.”
  • Action. Choose to change! You can think about changing your attitude. You can think about being more open, resilient and more adaptable, but unless you actually change your thoughts and attitudes, you’re just spinning wheels.

There’s no doubt that some people are more adaptable and resilient, when it comes to life’s challenges, while others are challenged by the simplest break in their routine. The underlying variable that determines whether you are adaptable or not is your level of insecurity. What is insecurity? Insecurity is a learned habit of vulnerability. Let me explain. Insecurity is an inevitable by-product of living in an imperfect world. Since no one grows up in a perfect world, no one gets to escape illness, suffering, frustration, and so on. To some extent, we all have insecurity–it’s part of the human condition. Simply stated, insecurity is the anticipation of vulnerability.

Depending on your baseline level of insecurity, too much change can bring on feelings of vulnerability, loss of control, stress, tension, anxiety, or even a depressed mood. Since, we all have some degree of insecurity and fear, we most likely have had the experience of being overwhelmed with painful and challenging situations: your spouse is abuse and does not respect you, you did not win the sale, your boss is all about self-promotion and not rewarding you for good work , you need knee a breast biopsy, your mother called and she needs money, your just loss your license for a DWI–when bad things take over your daily living , even the most resilient can be brought to their knees. The longer that such a struggle persists, the more depleted you feel—physically as well as emotionally. The depleting effects of stress are felt not only emotionally, but also physically. Your perception of reality can be altered by brain chemistry and thinking not by the overwhelming circumstances of your life, but by your interpretation of these circumstances.

This is a critical point—it’s not life that depletes us, it’s how we interpret and react to our lives! Sure it’s hard to manage bad times, but I have a friend who maintains a posture of resilience and optimism in spite of the agonizing ordeal of chemotherapy. And yet I have patients who become distraught if their five-year-old isn’t invited to a birthday party. Bottom line: the ability to tolerate change is directly proportional to your degree of insecurity and to your attitude. Here’s why.
If you are easily challenged by life and find yourself stuck, you need to recognize the importance of actively choosing to break the habit of insecure thinking and perception. Just because you have a emotional reactions to life’s difficult problems does not mean you have to remain in this downward spiral and depression about life. You can choose to do something about how you handle your life and your challenges. 

Follow-up on Questions about Personal Change,Vulnerability and Getting Unstuck

Yesterday, I gave you a mental toughness and personal change  assignment: to answer some difficult questions about change and vulnerability. How many of you challenged yourself to reflect on what Dr. Brown and I were trying share with you?

If you didn’t challenge yourself why not?  Now you can ask yourself why you ignore or discounted the tough questions that could help you live a better or more meaningful life. I also asked you to notice when you’re not being authentic about your emotional life. A lot of you were quite shocked to realize just how fake you can be with key people in your life This awareness is the first step towards the self-discovery of self-acceptance. The second step is to start telling yourself the truth about your life by being honest. That means admitting what you really think or feel – both to yourself and others.When you do this, your whole emotional life changes. Learning how to accept yourself is one of the cornerstones of mental toughness, emotional well-being and living a better “quality of life”.

When you challenge yourself to reflect on your behavior and then act to change them one-step at a time, many of your old ways of doing things smooth out without you even trying to change. Being a motivated, secure, happy person does not come without some hard work and deliberative practice to change. This type of personal change does not come easy. Ask anyone who has battle an addiction. There are no magic “wands “ to wave and then everything is okay. To change you must acknowledge and then commit to creating more self-awareness and self-acceptance because they are the key elements you to internalize and motivate you to act on changing things in your life and getting UNSTUCK. Here are some tips to help you overcome the obstacles for not getting started on your personal change project.

Whether you call it plus 1 mastery, discovery learning, sequential or Smart-Step learning, or something else, the truth is the same; personal change and development requires commitment, ownership, time, patience and flexible plan.  But above all personal change requires reflection then action. Expertise comes in steps and stages, as you build self-awareness and experience to support your goals.

So what can you do if you don’t have the will power or strategy for challenging personal change? Well I wish I could tell you there was a single perfect way to solve this challenge but there’s not.

Here are five steps to get you going in the right direction:

  1. Commit to keeping a a daily journal  (online or off) so as to identify progress and barriers you need to overcome. Do not become discouraged by setbacks or failures. Just learn the lessons from these experiences and apply your learning to adjust your goals and behavior.
  2. Never…never give-up trying to change or discovering a better way to live your life. Remember life is not a dress rehearsal and seldom get a second chance.
  3. Create a SMART plan that helps you know where you’re at and where you’re going. And don’t stress about how long it may take you.  Keep “working the plan” and keep updating the plan when things are not working or situational factors or feedback say you need to change direction to make progress. One day you’ll look back and be surprised at how far you have been able to move from where you are now to where you want to go.
  4. Remember that becoming a master in any field takes 10,000 hours of deliberative practice. So be patient and gentle with your criticism and employ positive self-talk to get through tough times.
  5. Find and hire a coach who can set you on a course of deliberative practice. Because consistent and perfect practice makes us a master of performance. .Find someone who understands where you are today and where you want to go. Then proceed in real time in different situations to make the changes in you want in your behavior.

Want to receive an Introduction to Self-Coaching module for free and more info on our online coaching services send your e-mail address thewick.wordpress.com/us

Thanks, Coach Dr. Mark


Six Key Questions for Assessing Organization and Team Readiness for Coaching and Development?

To accurately assess your organization’s  for “coaching and personal development” it is important to look at your current level of leadership and development attitudes and realities. You can start a discussion about leadership and change in your team or organization by asking questions such as:

• What’s our assessment of the organization’s approach to “soft skills” education and coaching?

• Where do I and others need to be more effective leaders and coaches?

• What is encouraging and helping promote and foster leaders and coaches — for individual development and for broader organization growth?

• What is impeding, creating barriers or discouraging open communication and personal development for individuals and for the broader organization?

• What would you recommend changing or enhancing so as to help encourage, promote

and foster leadership development in your team?

• What do we do when someone comes to us with a request for leadership or managerial development? What could we do differently?

Want Successful Relationships with Difficult People?–Pay Attention to Situational factors not Personality Conflicts.

Quote:” 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.”

I Ching: Book of Changes China 600 B.C.   

Reflections and Ideas: Interpersonal conflicts can make or break a workplace project’s  success. The more difficult the relationships the more we often try to ignore or run away from them. Many times we see the relationships as secondary to the rational goals of the project or initiative. It has been observed by some management consultants that at the core relationships usually make or break our plans. The reason for this is that business has a powerful bias toward rational thinking and factual analysis in completing the task at hand. Many times in business it’s about analytics and the substance of the task– and of course it is. But very quickly, relationship issues start to affect how well we handle the substantive issues.” So if you’re having problems with a colleague, it’s important to address them head-on. But simply changing your own attitude isn’t enough. Self-help tips about how to change yourself or positive affirmations like, “I am a good person so I can fix this. With some of these suggestions we just aggravate the situation because we never understand the root cause for our interpersonal problem. But how long can you do that before your frustration causes angry outbursts and effects your other relationships and job performance.

Tools to Try.

he answer, instead, is to change your mental-mind set and the relationship structure by confronting it through active listening, empathy and caring confrontation techniques. For example, getting more of an objective view point on the conflict or just taking a pause to  evaluate your expectations and interactions – even going so far as to ask a colleague to observe and capture your conversations and provide feedback is worth the time and effort to get clarity  and capture the nuances of what you say and how you act with the other person. I believe you can’t come up with a Smart-Step plan without understanding  how each person’s behavior and body language is impacting and eliciting reactions and behavior the other person doesn’t like or agree with. Figuring out the root causes and engaging in caring confrontation discussions about how to solve the problems in a cooperative and dynamic way are ways to unlock these unproductive relationships.

For instance, you may find yourself in a pattern of forcefully advocating for a position with your colleague, which he strongly opposes. But if you step back to ask about her concerns and what she’s trying to say and accomplish – and begin to address those goals –she might not feel the need to oppose and argue you so much. We all need tools to help look at situational factors, style and relationship patterns; without trying  some new approaches it is difficult to unfreeze our self-fulling prophecy that this individual is not a team player or is just a “jerk” who doesn’t like you and likes to cause problems.

 Most research into relationships and interpersonal conflicts show that people tend to think in terms of motives, character and personalities, despite the fact it’s more often due to situational factors rather than due to character or personality conflicts. For example, your assertiveness with a less assertive and open person might be perceived as aggressiveness and bullying. To keep  relationships growing as leaders it is your responsibility to flex your style and be sensitive to the other person’s needs and concerns. No matter how well established, in order to turn relationships you can not see them as permanent and intractable. Instead – with time and practice – you can change and improve the way you listen and solve problems.

What are your strategies for dealing with difficult co-workers? How do you work to build strong relationships? In conflict situations what do you do resolve them?