Daily Quote, Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: 6 Steps for Continuous Personal Change

Daily Quote and Reflection:

First Law of Self-Directed Coaching: ” To achieve personal growth and full potential first requires “self-awareness and acceptance”. Carl Rogers, Father of Client-Center Therapy 

Reflection: I agree with Dr.Rogers statement because if you do not know your self and are reluctant to examine and learn both your strengths and areas needing improvement life is just one activity after another. In addition, acceptance is not a state of passivity or inaction. I am not saying you can’t change the world, right wrongs, or replace evil with good but I like to focus on things I can control, thus making my life more exciting and fun.  Acceptance is, in fact, the first step to successful action. If you don’t fully accept the reality of a situation precisely the way it is, you will have difficulty getting going to change it . Moreover, if you don’t fully accept the situation, you will never really know if the situation needs changing. In the Self-Coaching Challenge I am going to provide a model for you to get going on personal changes.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Creating Your Future in next 30 days: 6 Steps for Continuous Personal Change 

CONTINUOUS CHANGE AND PERSONAL GROWTH MODEL

1. Ask yourself WHY you want to make this personal change

2. ASSESS?  Where your are NOW ( Point A)

3. WHAT? Describe in realistic and specific detail your end goal ( Point B )?

4. HOW? Creating the future (Development Plan)

5. ACTION PLAN: WHO, WHERE, BY WHEN

6. CONTINUOUS LEARNING AND FEEDBACK LOOP: Use a metric to assess your changes. Ask others how you are doing in regard to a specific change goal, like listening. Do they see the changes? Are they experiencing you in new way? What suggestions do they have for you to change even more?  Thank the for the feedback.   

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.

Daily Quote and Reflections: Just Thinking and Musing about Self–Renewal and Meaning in Life…John Gardner

Extended excerpt from a speech presented to the respected and renown consulting firm of McKinsey in 1990. Don’t miss the closing remarks on living a meaningful life because this is a great example of how to  use story telling to connect with an audience in a memorable way.

“Personal Renewal”
Delivered to McKinsey & Company, Phoenix, AZ
November 10, 1990 

” Nothing is ever finally safe. Every important battle is fought and re-fought. We need to develop a resilient, indomitable morale that enables us to face those realities and still strive with every ounce of energy to prevail. You may wonder if such a struggle — endless and of uncertain outcome — isn’t more than humans can bear. But all of history suggests that the human spirit is well fitted to cope with just that kind of world.

Remember I mentioned earlier the myth that learning is for young people. I want to give you some examples, In a piece I wrote for Reader’s Digest not long ago, I gave what seemed to me a particularly interesting true example of renewal. The man in question was 53 years old. Most of his adult life had been a losing struggle against debt and misfortune. In military service he received a battlefield injury that denied him the use of his left arm. And he was seized and held in captivity for five years. Later he held two government jobs, succeeding at neither. At 53 he was in prison — and not for the first time. There in prison, he decided to write a book, driven by Heaven knows what motive — boredom, the hope of gain, emotional release, creative impulse, who can say? And the book turned out to be one of the greatest ever written, a book that has enthralled the world for ever 350 years. The prisoner was Cervantes; the book: Don Quixote.

Another example was Pope John XXIII, a serious man who found a lot to laugh about. The son of peasant farmers, he once said “In Italy there are three roads to poverty — drinking, gambling and fanning. My family chose the slowest of the three.” When someone asked him how many people worked in the Vatican he said “Oh, about half.” He was 76 years old when he was elected Pope. Through a lifetime in the bureaucracy, the spark of spirit and imagination had remained undimmed, and when he reached the top he launched the most vigorous renewal that the Church has known in this century.

Still another example is Winston Churchill. At age 25, as a correspondent in the Boer War he became a prisoner of war and his dramatic escape made him a national hero. Elected to Parliament at 26, he performed brilliantly, held high cabinet posts with distinction and at 37 became First Lord of the Admiralty. Then he was discredited, unjustly, I believe, by the Dardanelles expedition — the defeat at Gallipoli– and lost his admiralty post. There followed 24 years of ups and downs. All too often the verdict on him was “Brilliant but erratic…not steady, not dependable.” He had only himself to blame. A friend described him as a man who jaywalked through life. He was 66 before his moment of flowering came. Someone said “It’s all right to be a late bloomer if you don’t miss the flower show.” Churchill didn’t miss it.

Well, I won’t give you any more examples. From those I’ve given I hope it’s clear to you that the door of opportunity doesn’t really close as long as you’re reasonably healthy. And I don’t just mean opportunity for high status, but opportunity to grow and enrich your life in every dimension. You just don’t know what’s ahead for you. And remember the words on the bronze plaque “Some men and women make the world better just by being the kind of people they are.” To be that kind of person would be worth all the years of living and learning. 

Many years ago I concluded a speech with a paragraph on the meaning in life. The speech was reprinted over the years, and 15 years later that final paragraph came back to me in a rather dramatic way, really a heartbreaking way. ”

A man wrote to me from Colorado saying that his 20 year-old daughter had been killed in an auto accident some weeks before and that she was carrying in her billfold a paragraph from a speech of mine. He said he was grateful because the paragraph — and the fact that she kept it close to her — told him something he might not otherwise have known about her values and concerns. I can’t imagine where or how she came across the paragraph, but here it is:

“Meaning is not something you stumble across, like the answer to a riddle or the prize in a treasure hunt. Meaning is something you build into your life. You build it out of your own past, out of your affections and loyalties, out of the experience of humankind as it is passed on to you, out of your own talent and understanding, out of the things you believe in, out of the things and people you love, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only one who can put them together into that unique pattern that will be your life. Let it be a life that has dignity and meaning for you. If it does, then the particular balance of success or failure is of less account.” 

New Poem: Why Not You?

Poem: Why Not You? by MW Hardwick 

 

Play with abandon and freedom

Choose with no regrets.

Laugh

Appreciate life’s gifts

Don’t ask–just act

Life out loud

Do what you love

Be a life-long learner

Live what is–not what should be

This is all there is-deal with it

Smile and Laugh

Think clearly –and reach for knowledge

Live your feelings fully

Where are your scars from life’s difficult times

Insideout learn from mistakes , if you never fail you are being too easy

Stop worrying—it drains energy and stops action

It’s not weakness to need others—they can be your way out of darkness

Remember reality is easier to face than the fears that come before

Push yourself and things get done…Pull yourself through is perseverance 

Find the right balance in life and leave no voids

Reach for the stars..

Why not you…reach for your potential…

End is important in all things…

Leave your mark…

Make a difference…Make a difference…

Lessons form Super Bowl…Executing a Philosophy of Winning Be Loosey-Goosey, In the Moment, Caring and Fun Loving

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

 is competition and 24/7 responsibility and accountability, be authentic , caring and competition.

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.

Part II: Change Your thoughts change your Life — Positive Self Talk

When negative events and thoughts happen, use positivity habits and words to find ways out of the negative in order to help you to control thoughts, do better, and move forward. The practice of positive self-talk is often the process that allows you to discover hidden strengths and build a “tougher mental attitude” by choosing “positivity” or negativity in any given situation.

Here are a few positivity quotes and ideas for you to use the next time you face strong negative self-talk

  1. Stop.. Breathe. Observe. Say—No! No! I can handle this and I will do the best I can.
  2. These negative thoughts won’t kill me; so confronting them makes me stronger.
  3. Reach for the moon if you miss you will still hit the stars.
  4. Don’t believe negative thoughts from the past just be the best you can be now in this moment.
  5. Your past does not have to be your future.
  6. It’s not what negative talk says to you that counts the most, it’s how you think and react to them that is really most important.
  7. Better to do something imperfectly than to sit there and do nothing.
  8. Within you is the capacity to actualize all that you need or desire.
  9. There would be nothing to frighten you if you refused to be afraid.
  10. Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.
  11. Don’t be pushed by your negative thoughts. Be led by your purpose and dreams.
  12. Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.
  13. Life is beautiful because of you.
  14. The hardest thing in this world is to live in it, be courageous and keep moving forward
  15. We shall draw from positivity itself the means of control and inspiration.

Daily Quote and Reflection: YOUR PERSONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Daily Quote: “KEEP AWAY FROM THOSE WHO TRY TO BELITTLE YOUR AMBITIONS. SMALL PEOPLE ALWAYS DO THAT, BUT THE REALLY GREAT ONES MAKE YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU TOO CAN BECOME GREAT.” MARK TWAIN

REFLECTION: SO TRUE. I DO NOT NEED TO ADD MY 2 CENTS!

SELF-COACHING CHALLENGE: ESTABLISHING YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXERCISE.

Instructions:  Many organizations have a Board of Directors to provide policy guidance and direction.  On this Board of Directors are key individuals who contribute to the formulation of the organization’s vision/mission, goals and operating policies.

If you take a moment to reflect…you will realize that you have a “Personal Board of Directors” that has influenced you, at one time or another, during your life.

Spend the next 10 minutes trying to recall each of the members of your “board”.  Write their names DOWN AND IDENTIFY HOW THEY HAVE BEEN INFLUENTIAL IN YOUR LIFE.

After identifying the members of your “Board of Directors” and answer the following questions:

1.  Who provides emotional support?  Who do you turn to when times are tough or to share your successes?

2. Who provides emotional challenge?  Who helps you see reality when your emotions are dominant?

3. Who provides a nice balance to your strengths and weakness?  Who do you turn to when you are stumped or need ideas?

4. Who provides inspiration and stimulates you to do your absolute best?

5. Who provides comic relief?  Who do you have fun with?

6. Who can level with you and provide caring confrontation and feedback without you getting defensive?

7. Who sees the world through the same set of eyes and point of view and can provide support when you are down or stuck?

8. How many are older than you? ………………younger than you?

9. How many are males?……………………females?

10. Who do you absolutely trust and you feel comfortable with so that you can be vulnerable with and self-disclose inner secrets and dreams?

Now …who are willing to call or contact to tell them that they have had an impact on your life?  Pick one person…..and do it tonight!

Do the rest of your contacts by the end of the month.

 

Daily Quote and Reflection: Learning Self- Control and Self-Mastery to Live a Life On Purpose

Daily Quote: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started”. Mark Twain

Reflection: All the “stars are aligned” and at that moment someone ask you this question–If you could get paid for something you really love and are skilled at doing it (master). What would you do? What is holding you back? How do you want to get started? What is your commitment level on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high)? What do you need to see or what has to happen for you to turn love and dream into action?

If you want to be really good at something, it’s going to involve relentlessly pushing past your comfort zone and a significant amount of practice and dedication, usually 10,000 hours, of practicing the right things known and accepting self-doubts and potentially bad things that happen in living a self-directed life. This is true as long as you want to continue to improve, or even maintain a high level of excellence. The reward is that being really good at something, called mastery, is earned through hard work and still can be immensely satisfying once accomplished. Watch this video on self-control which impacts the ability to mastery and personal  changes.

Here, then, are the seven keys to achieving mastery found to be most effective:

  1. Pursue what you love. Passion and conviction” are incredible motivators. They fuel dreams, focus, resilience, and perseverance.
  2. Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
  3. Deliberative Practice.    Without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appear to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
  4. Seek expert coaching and feedback, in small steps and small doses. The clearer and more concise and focused the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments to your thinking and behavior . Too much feedback, given continuously can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, loss of confidence and interference with constructive learning.
  5. Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense practice not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also helps to embed concepts, behaviors and overall acceleration of learning. It’s also during rest that the right-side of the brain becomes more effective and dominate, which can lead to long-term memory gains and behavioral or creative breakthroughs.
  6. Establish practice leading to new behaviors and habits. Self-discipline and will power are difficult to access without training and practice.ResearcherRoy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of the right amount and kind of will power sustain dramatic personal change. The best way to insure you’ll take on new learning challenges and difficult tasks is to build rituals and new habits — specific, times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to waste energy thinking about them or forcing yourself to do things.
  7. Learn to accept life’s uncertainty, develop mental toughness, be resilient and learn to utilize relax and release techniques. In doing these actions you can access the right focus to live your life on purpose and with meaning.

Self-Challenge: What  are going to do so that you can do the thing you love to do in life? What does your plan look like? When are you going to start? How can the keys to self-mastery help you get where you want to go?

Daily Quote: The Mindset and Four critical skills of Mentally Tough people

Daily Quote: ” In terms of instilling the values of mental toughness and self-confidence focus, will power, good habits and perseverance are the skills that will sustain you through tough times and temporary discouragement. Mark W. Hardwick 

1.  MT people accept the past and learn from their mistakes

Mentally strong people don’t waste time ruminating on the past and wishing things could be different. They accept their past and learned from it. However, they don’t constantly relive bad incidents or experiences. They don’t fantasize about the good old days. They focus on living in the “here and now” and making realistic and specific  plans for the future.

2. MT people are  life long learners. They accept responsibility for their choices and control what they can control. (short memories) Being MT means not dwelling on mistakes or bad decisions they just try not to repeat same mistake by moving on and doing better the next time a similar situation presents itself. They are life long learners.

3. MT people are change agents. They embrace change and uncertainty.  When doing things they remain open and flexible to changing their position or action at any moment to succeed at what they are doing. They don’t shy away from taking calculated risks.

Mentally strong people don’t try to avoid change. Instead, they welcome positive change and are willing to be flexible. They understand that change is inevitable and believe in their abilities to adapt.

4. MT people have a reality and optimistic Mind Set. They don’t waste time on energy on things they can’t control. They also have the ability to have a short memory when things go wrong. You won’t hear a mentally strong person complaining over line calls by opponents or fretting traffic jams. Instead, they focus on what they can control in their lives. They recognize that sometimes, the only thing they can control is their attitude.

Self-Doubt –Learn to Use the Challenge Response of Self-Efficacy

” Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations…remember self-belief does not necessarily ensure success, but self-disbelief assuredly spawns failure…People who regard themselves as highly efficacious act, think, and feel differently from those who perceive themselves as in-efficacious. They produce their own future, rather than simply foretell it…People with high assurance in their capabilities approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided.” Dr. Albert Bandura 
From Social Foundations of Thought and Action: A Social Cognitive Theory., 1986.

A concise summary by psychology.about.com describes why the theory of self-efficacy is so important in the psychology of self is because  self-efficacy can have an impact on everything from psychological states to behavior to motivation. Most people can identify goals they want to accomplish, things they would like to change in their behavior, and things they would like to achieve. However, most people also realize that putting these plans into action is not quite so simple. Bandura and others have found that an individual’s self-efficacy plays a major role in how goals, tasks, and challenges are approached.

” People with a strong sense of self-efficacy:

  • View challenging problems as tasks to be mastered
  • Develop deeper interest in the activities in which they participate
  • Form a stronger sense of commitment to their interests and activities
  • Recover quickly from setbacks and disappointments

People with a weak sense of self-efficacy:

  • Avoid challenging tasks
  • Believe that difficult tasks and situations are beyond their capabilities
  • Focus on personal failings and negative outcomes
  • Quickly lose confidence in personal abilities”
Self-Doubt is a difficult burden to carry around everyday. The next time you have self-doubt challenge this negative thought or opinion about you. To survive and thrive in this life means that you need to find your own inner compass of strength and build unshakable confidence and BELIEF about who you are and what your strengths are for building a fulfilling and meaningful life. Don’t let other people define who you are and how you need to live your life.

MISTAKE #1: Accepting Other People’s  “Wrong Opinion” of You

In our desire to please people and get along, most people early in life decide it is more to their benefit to accept a bad opinion of themselves from a  parent, peer or teacher. – even if it’s not true, so as to be accepted and stay out of trouble.

“You’re terrible at sports because your feet are too big.”
“You don’t have the creativity to be an artist.”
“Your too weak to get stay the course and make a living as an actor.”
“Just give up the this dream of being a musician you don’t have a good ear and are tone-deaf. Find something more practical to do.”

I’ve noticed that many people accept these statements even when they don’t agree with them.

Then they go out and do something they don’t believe in and try to live the life set-out for them or encouraged by others. They do this even if they are not interested or passionate about the suggestions. Living a life chosen by others is a terrible choice because it makes you feel dependent and reduces your ability to live an autonomous and responsible life. You always have the excuse “I am just doing what you recommended for me to do.” I am sure these advice givers had good intentions but they robbed you of learning first hand what was best for you to do given your strengths and self-desires. This backdoor excuse reduces your ability to make decisions and reduces your ability to take ownership for your life.

This approach can will crush your confidence instantly.Why? Because to be confident, you need to trust yourself to make decisions and be able to tell yourself the truth. This dependency approach thus limits self-awareness and self efficacy. This approach of dismissing responsibility for choices is the root cause of self-doubt. This decision to believe others can do major damage to your confidence and emotion health and the ability to life an independent and reality based life.

Case in point: An employee I worked with was disappointed and upset about her lack of promotion to Supervisor on an important audit for the firm. She just wasn’t getting the best assignments because the Manager’s had decided she didn’t have the experience and ability to hand supervision of others. (yet).

What’s the message you think the Manager on the Furr’s audit is sending?” I asked her.

That I’m not good enough or smart enough to supervise others,” she said.

And how ARE you perceiving your skills and abilities to handle this assignment?” I asked her.

I’m not myself at all. I’m always nervous when interacting with others I am not trusting my training or instincts and I’m messing up even the simplest work papers and discussions with other colleagues or the client.” she said.

So what is the issue self-doubt, lack of communication or lack of training to learn the way to do these things – guess what?

This employee came from one of the best accounting schools in the country where she obtained B grades. She didn’t lose confidence because her manager didn’t allow her to supervise others or get good assignments. She lost it because she KNOWS she is a smart and competent auditor, but decided to believe and buy-in to a different view of herself by managers in her firm. When you lose self-belief or buy-in do other viewpoints about your abilities its ‘game over’ for your motivation and confidence.

Your self-belief or self-efficacy is your basic tool for success and overcoming barriers in your life.Question what you KNOW to be true, and you’ll do terrible damage to your career and your self belief. Now I know what you’re thinking.

“Mark, if I have a boss who thinks I’m not smart or experienced enough to be included as the supervisor on a project, then how dare I second-guess him or convince him I am ready. “

Easy. Ask him what he needs to see from her to show him she is ready to supervise this audit assignment. After he responds, set-up a mutual agreed to performance and training plan to get the experiences and training needed for your success. Be more assertive about your skills and abilities. That’s what your manager is hoping for, and anything less is a disservice to both of you. Your boss may be the smartest person alive, but even he doesn’t have a crystal ball and cannot predict the future. Heck, even Michael Jordan got cut from his high school basketball team.

Remember, human beings are not built to persist and their belief in themselves and be crushed very easily by people they respect and look-up to. Unfortunately, many of us give up at the first sign of struggle, and the biggest struggle of all is believing in yourself even when no one else does.

You can change and in changing prove to others your competence and confidence to succeed where they thought you couldn’t. You can persevere and believe and with belief comes confidence and a positive self-fulfilling prophecy can be set in motion to change other people’s view and opinion of your abilities.

Want to get Start on Mindfulness and Meditation–Try the 5 R Approach its Simple and Works

Follow the 5 R’s for a mindful and simple meditation experience

by FRANK FORENCICH on NOVEMBER 7, 2013

Note: the following is from the upcoming book Beautiful Practice: A whole-life approach to health, performance and the human predicament. (estimated publication: February 2014) by Frank Forencich 

Daily Quote: “The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character and will… An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence”. William James

Frank Forencich goes on to say: “Confused by all the different and complex approaches to meditation? Here is a simple and powerful process : Focus the light of your attention on your breath and keep it there. When your attention wanders, bring it back to your breathing target with compassion and without judgment. (To put it in the simplest possible terms, this form of meditation is sometimes called “aim and sustain.”) This is the foundation practice for developing attentional stability and is the basis for other, more advanced forms of meditation”.

There are many meditation teachers of course and many variations on this theme. Here is one that you might find useful. It’s built on a series of prompts, each word beginning with the letter R. This makes it simple and easy to remember.

This meditation works best when led by a teacher. Students set up a relaxed position and settle in. Once everyone is comfortable, the teacher reads the following script in a calm voice, pausing and editing as desired:

1. Relax your entire body… every cell, every system, every joint, every limb, every organ, every vessel. Relax the core of your body, your abdomen and your torso. Relax into your breath.

2. Release your expectations and sceptic inside … Release your explanations and your commentary…Release your predictions, your calculations and your speculations… Release your ruminations about the past and your worries about the future.

3. Relinquish  and Reduce your attachment to thoughts, ideas, outcomes and points of view… Relinquish your defenses and your judgments…. Relinquish your opinions and your attitudes…reduce your pressure to be perfect and just accept what comes-up.

4. Receive your experience and focus on the  present moment, and all that comes with it… Feel what you’re feeling; experience what you’re experiencing… Allow your body and spirit to be one… Receive the vulnerability, insecurity, the uncertainty, the ambiguity and the emotion of the moment…Receive the gifts and show gratitude for other people’s help, care and love. Show gratitude for the kindness, support and compassion that has come your way…. Receive the totality of your life in whatever form it takes. (Note: see Rumi’s poem The Guest House.)

5. Return your attention to your breath.

Repeat this sequence as many times as desired. As you’ll discover, this guided practice is a form of relaxing work; it guides us through the process with an active, reversed effort. This sets us up to stabilize our attention and further develop our mindfulness.

Try it and let me know how it goes.

Part1: New Year Resolutions–What does Evidence -Based Research Reveal About Secrets of Willpower

The start of a New Year is always special. For me there is always a feeling of renewal as we look to a new year, a reflection back to the year that has passed and a new beginning. I have a sense of excitement for keeping things that are working, making changes or adopting new habits to make the year even better than the last year. However, do you ever find yourself making New Year’s resolutions and setting goals only to abandon them as the New Year tick docks away.

So I decided to check the research and selected the nationwide survey done in 2013 by Opinion Corporation of Princeton, New Jersey which I found to be very interesting and insightful on this topic of setting and completing resolutions. The bottom line is that 3 out of 4 people are not successful in completing their resolutions In addition, according to this research study, if you are happy you probably don’t set any resolutions. Unhappy people set resolutions more than happy especially in regard to money goals, 59% to 41%. So if you do not complete your goals for the New Year you are not alone.

So the question becomes what are some of the secrets and ways to set and fulfill your New Year Resolutions?

Studies now show that self-control is a limited resource that may be strengthened by the foods we eat. Laughter and conjuring up powerful memories may also help boost a person’s self-control. And, some research suggests, we can improve self-control through practice, testing ourselves on small tasks in order to strengthen our willpower for bigger challenges.

Learning to bring your behavior under control even with arbitrary rules does build character in that it makes you better able to achieve the things you want to achieve later on,” said Dr. Baumeister. “Self-control is a limited resource and is depleted more you use it.. People make all these different New Year’s resolutions, but they are all pulling off from the same pool of your willpower. It’s better to make one resolution and stick to it than make five.”

In Part 2 on New Year Resolutions we will discuss techniques and tools to support your goal of personal change for 2014. Stay tune. Coach Mark

Daily Quote, Reflection and Self-Coaching Challenge: Begin With the End In Mind…

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

Announcing the “SPARK” Framework for Self-Coaching available in 2014

 S.P.A.R.K. Framework and Underpinnings: The Fully Functioning Person

” The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change…If we value independence, if we are disturbed by the growing conformity of knowledge, of values, of attitudes, which our present system induces, then we may wish to set up conditions of learning which make for uniqueness, for self-direction, and for self-initiated learning.” Dr. Carl Rogers

Dr. Carl Rogers, father of Client-Centered Therapy (1961), believed that every person could achieve their goals wishes, and desires in life. When they did so self-actualization took place. This humanistic approach for Rogers was based on the belief that most people when provided the right conditions, support and structure are able to become more self-directed learners, self-aware, and self-actualized. These person’s were called fully functioning persons. This means that the person is in touch with the here and now, their subjective experiences and feelings, their strengths and weaknesses and a belief in continuous learning, growing and changing in life.

In many ways Rogers, regarded the fully functioning person as an ideal and one that people do not necessarily or ultimately achieve.

It is wrong to think of this as an end or completion of life’s journey; rather it is a process of always becoming and changing.

Rogers identified five characteristics of the fully functioning person:

1. Open to experience

    : both positive and negative emotions accepted. Negative feelings are not denied, but worked through (rather than resort to ego defence mechanisms).

2. Existential living: in touch with different experiences as they occur in life, avoiding prejudging and preconceptions. Being able to live and fully appreciate the present, not always looking back to the past or forward to the future (i.e. living for the moment).

3. Trust in feelings: feeling, instincts and gut-reactions are paid attention to and trusted. People’s own decisions are the right ones and we should trust ourselves to make the right choices.

4. Creativity and Openness: the ability to adjust and change and seek new experiences.

5. Fulfilled life: person is happy and satisfied with life, and always looking for new challenges and experiences.

For Rogers, fully functioning people are well-adjusted, well-balanced and interesting to know. Often such people are high achievers in society. Critics claim that the fully functioning person is a product and myth of Western culture. In other cultures, such as Eastern cultures, the achievement of the group is valued more highly than the achievement of any one person.

Announcing an exciting personal and leadership development modules for 2014:

The Self-Coaching Guided Mastery Process: S.P.A.R.K.  

 

 S--tructure withProcess and Plus-One Approach for personal development

Purpose for living a Meaningful and fulfilling Life  

Awareness of Inner and Emotional Self 3 through Awareness

R-elationships with Self and Others

Know and Do what you need to do to reach full potential

** Stay tuned I am going to be rolling-out the S.P.A.R.K:  Structure with Process methodology and Modules for Self-Coaching in the first quarter of 2014.

 

Daily Quote and Reflection–What works best: More Data and Rational Thinking or Better use of Heart or Gut

 Daily Quote: “A path is only a path, and there is no affront, to oneself or to others, in dropping it if

that is what your heart tells you . . . Look at every path closely and deliberately.

Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself alone, one question . . .

Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t it is of no use.”

— Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan 

Reflection: Carlos Castaneda is arguing for us to have more patience and persistence when purpose our purpose in life. Then, he is challenging us to be smart about how long we need to pursue a “path” that isn’t working for us. The burden of his insightful quote and message is for us to know our strengths and direction for living a purposeful life. In others have some measures to indicate whether our direction is working. The petty of his quote is that he does not mention data or knowledge as the most important measurement. His advice is to use our “heart” as the way to evaluate if our direction is working. If by “heart” he means measuring and staying in touch with our passion, intuition and “gut feelings” I agree fully with him.

Everyone has intuitive experiences but few know how to use intuition effectively because we tend to talk about intuition as a single ability where, in fact, there are several levels of intuitive abilities.  They are not the same and not useful in the same ways.  For example, the most common intuitive experience is the common “gut feeling”.  A gut feeling is an intuitive reaction to something either positively or negatively.  When we experience a gut feeling it is an indicator that we are on the right track or that something is wrong. The big question you need to be aware of when a decision based on your “heart” or “gut” is whether we can trust our feelings more than our rational thinking to make a decision? I suggest that we listen to our gut feeling and use it as an indicator but not necessarily they ultimate decision maker. Stop and listen to you uncomfortable feelings. Then step back and take a break which allows you to be more aware of other possible alternatives and weigh the consequences of our pending decision. Ask yourself what you are or not seeing on your chosen path? Get clarity on what is working or not working for you?  What is blocking or interfering with you reaching your goals?

Self-Coaching Challenge: In your coaching process use your journal to explore whether your purpose or path is working for you and what you need to do or change if it isn’t working. Learning to make non-emotional decisions based on life experiences and some relaxation exercises and mediation have proven best for me. The key to the ability to use your unconscious and intuitive skills is practice and awareness that it is trying to tell you something. Just learn to listen, then decide and act with 100% commitment. 

Self-Coaching: Power of Questioning for Connecting

“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think…true knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing. Socrates

Have you ever experienced the Socratic way of learning–and self-discovery? You begin by asking your inner-self questions to challenge your present thinking and behaving. This produces more self-awareness and understanding of who you are and what you want to become in living a life of making difference. It also can support your teaching and presentation style by challenging learners to think and discover questions that can then make your communication or presentation more relevant to their life.

This method of Socratic questioning illuminates the importance of questioning in self-awareness and clear thinking.  Socrates stated that questioning was the only defensible form of teaching. It illuminates the difference between systematic and fragmented thinking. It teaches us to dig beneath the surface of our ideas and not just memorize stuff for a presentation or interpersonal communication. It teaches us the value of developing questioning minds to cultivate deep learning. The Art of Socratic questioning is intimately connected with learning because  questioning is important to the excellence of thought.

The word “Socratic” adds to the art of questioning because it signals depth and interest in assessing the truth or information about our self and others in the situations they are confronting. Many people are afraid that by asking questions they will look weak, ignorant, or unsure. They like to give the impression that they are decisive and in command of the relevant issues. They fear that asking questions might introduce uncertainty or show them as uninformed or incompetent. They like being perceived as the expert. In fact, asking questions is a sign of strength and intelligence – not a sign of weakness or uncertainty. Great leaders constantly ask questions of themselves and many different people to show they are aware of different points of view and that they do not have all the answers. Some people are in such a hurry to get things done that they do not stop to ask questions because it might slow them down. They risk rushing headlong into making poor decisions and then taking the wrong actions in complex situations.

As politicians, peers, friends, family members, colleagues, or managers how do we avoid making these split second  decisions? One technique is to stop and check assumptions, weigh the alternatives and potential consequences by first asking questions. Start with very basic, broad questions then move to more specific areas to clarify your understanding. Open questions are excellent – they give the other people a chance to weigh-in and open up the discussion, so as to arrive at a better decision. Examples, of open questions are: • What obstacles keep the government from bailing out home owners? •  What are the factors that caused our recent economic melt down? • How can we reduce a further melt down of the economy? • Where does an individual or bank’s authority and responsibility end and government authority through regulation begin to override risky individual choices• Tell me more about your personal experiences in securing a business loan? Questions for a meaningful conversation need not be scripted because as we actively listen and tune-in to responses we can spontaneously formulate more in-depth or probing questions. Be patient in your responses and never interrupt the speaker. The desire to state our ideas, insights, points of view and wisdom is hard to resist. The method of asking questions to deepen our understanding and provides more clarity of the issues before identifying the root issue in making critical decisions and taking action.

Asking questions is a very effective method to build trust and shows your interest in getting other people’s viewpoint of the problem and finding the best alternative for constructive action. A word of caution-questions maybe be perceived as an interrogation and threatening rather than as a friendly way to connect unless you show interest in the responses. Try to pose each question in a calm way so that the learning climate is experienced as positive by all those involved in the discussion. Be especially cognizant of your non-verbal symbols such as, finger pointing or  jab your index finger like the “critical parent”. Try to speak and use positive and welcoming hand jesters, such as open palms.

Try to practice asking more opened questions in conversations will make a person feel understood and indicate that you care what they have to say. Instead of telling someone what you think or immediately providing advise – ask them a question and you will be perceived as caring, open, and engaging person.

Questions help us to teach as well as to learn. If you are open too new thinking and renewal the lesson’s life offers will enhance your ability to develop and grow your decision-making processes and effectiveness. If it is obvious that asking questions is such a powerful way of learning why do we stop and asking questions? For some people the reason is that they think that they have learned all there is to know on a subject–the “know-it-all style or they see it as a WAY OF SUCCEEDING STATUS TO OTHERS THUS TAKING AWAY THEIR INFLUENCE OR CONTROL OF THE SITUATION. Others like to hear themselves talk or thinking leading is dominating the conversation. Some people become bored, lazy or worn down by fighting the same battles for change year in and year out. They want to maintain their comfort level by holding onto old and tried and true “mental maps”, assumptions and solution or ideas which they believe are correct and unchanging. For example, cutting taxes leads to a strong economy. They try old solutions that might or might not fit the new circumstances.This approach leads them to be stuck in the past. And many times they end up failing by trying to maintain the status quo and their comfort level.

Self-Coaching Challenge: This week spend time with your team in reviewing the importance of questioning and practicing it when discussing an important issue. Ask yourself about how this changed the discussion? What went differently? Did asking questions improve your team’s collaborative behavior? Was the outcome of the decision-making process better or about the same before you institutes and rewarded more questioning?  Remember–Being able to ask yourself or your team tough questions and then to forge an answer everyone can live with increases self-awareness, personal growth and team effectiveness.