Weekly Quote and Growth Mindset Challenge

Weekly Quote for Growth Mindset: “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for…We can discover meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating good work or doing a deed for others; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone in a positive way; and (3) by the attitude we take toward life experiences and unavoidable suffering (learning).” Viktor Frankl

Coaching Challenge: Make your meaning by learning something new everyday and making the effort to do the best you can every moment by challenging yourself to overcome difficulties and learn the lessons provide you in every situation and every difficult interaction in life.

Having Problems with Goal Setting ? Try using Mental Contrasting Technique.

Daily Quote and Challenge:

” Mental contrasting when used by those with high expectations of success leads to increased goal commitment and energization.” Gabriele Oettingen,

In using mental contrasting or visualization technique to reach a personal change goal it is important to identify and picture how you will FEEL once you have attained your goal. To execute mental contrasting answer these two critical questions:

  1. What does success look like ?


2. How will you know when you have reached your goal?


Reaction to Failures–Develop more Self-Compassion and Resilience.

Daily Quote: ” When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realize that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on with our lives”. P. J. Abdul Kalam

Reflection: Self-critical people don’t allow themselves the indulgence of believing in luck. They take responsibility for everything. They think winners make their own luck. They don’t see luck as a genuine feature of human existence. We are robbing ourselves of genuine and fair consolation by believing that we are entirely in control – and therefore entirely to blame when we fall on our face. We are not losers in a game that was fair. We are unfortunates in an often highly random inconvenient and at times an unlucky event.

When you experience disappoint or failure it is difficult to accept and sometimes heartbreaking. A tough defeat or loss can leave you down in the dumps and exhausted. You can’t see how you can move forward and sometimes feel “stuck” or loss. This approach to failure or loss is not the only way to react. These feelings and reactions are not the whole truth; they are merely how it feels when disappointment and self-criticism has distorted reality and other perceptions. The loss or failure has served –up a big hit to your belief in yourself and an erosion of confidence. You need time to recover and release the pressure of bent-up feelings. You need to clear the brain of negative thoughts through meditation, sleep and rest. Learn to hug and nurture yourself. We have grown too good at accepting criticism and blaming ourselves for mistakes and failures. Learn to shut out the voice of negativity and stop beating yourself-up by being more forgiving and self-compassionate.

Self-compassion is different from saying you are not responsible or totally innocent. It’s being more gentle and understanding about why you failed. You’ve been disappointed, but you deserve to exist with respect,dignity and to be understood and forgiven. In essence self-compassion is necessary function that allows us to accept ourselves and move forward from failure and loss in a more healthy way so to build that part of our character called resilience.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Over the next 24 hours think of a recent disappointment and loss that has knocked you down. Then, reflect on what you said to yourself and how you could have responded with more self-compassion.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Learn the Power of Reflection to Increase Self-Awareness

Daily Quote: “This is the key to life: the ability to reflect, the ability to know yourself, the ability to pause for a second before reacting automatically. If you can truly know yourself, you will begin the journey of transformation.” Deepak Chopra

Reflection: If you are open to new ways to improve  your life both at work or home, you might want to try the Self-Coaching technique of “Self-Awareness through Reflection”. Increasing you ability to be more Self-Aware will keep you from living life on “autopilot” or feeling “stuck” by just moving through daily activities and tasks like this is all there is in life. This approach to living is boring and self-deflating to say the least. Self-Awareness and reflection is gaining in popularity because new neuroscience research on the brain’s ability to grow and expand. The Brain is more like a muscle than a fixed structure. The potential for expansion and learning through out life is getting more attention because it is important in helping you shape your thoughts and behavior which impact decisions about career, relationships, and your life.

Basically, Self Awareness and Reflection is the ability to process and gain understanding of what your experiences teach you about who you are and how to live a more fulfilling life. Self-awareness is important because it provides the opportunity to assess your strengths, recognize what is working for you and learn how others perceive and measure your competencies and capabilities. Learning how others react and perceive you helps to uncover “blindspots” which many times are the barriers for living a more productive and optimum life. A simple illustration of this is to overrate yourself as strong leader and get a false sense of pride out of it, only to be devastated when you receive feedback from your team that this not how they experience  and perceive you.

So in essence self-awareness is the capacity to reason about experiences and to use information about your effect on others to enhance one’s thoughts, plans, and life experience. Its chief components include recognizing personally relevant information about yourself from reflection and others, and using that information to create  a plan for personal changes and self-development.

If this doesn’t sound important, I will remind you of the fact that tens of thousands of individuals derail themselves by not acknowledging personal and professional behaviors and decisions that are not aligned with reality. They make wrong decisions about what jobs to take, what work environments to enter, who to work with, and by overrating their abilities and underrating their deficiencies lose touch with reality and become “stuck” and depressed about their lives. The good news is like so many personality and brain functions,you can develop new ways to think and behave that are more aligned with your goals to live a more meaningful and constructive life.

Your main tool for accomplishing these changes is to become more aware by using reflection and introspection. The key is to evaluate were you are now and where you would like to go in the future. Then reflect on the gaps between now and future and determine what needs to be changed.  For these changes to happen, self awareness and reflection plans must be clear, concrete and time-bound. This reflection process is a deliberate, time-consuming process that requires you to study yourself and others feedback to you so that you can assess yourself accurately.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Here is a methodology that I have used to coach executives and managers develop their self-awareness.

  1. Block off 30 minutes at the end of the day for reflection time.
  2. Select an one area of your personality that is not working for you or you would like to improve. Commit to reviewing and getting feedback on this area, such as your ability to listen to others or how you react to pressure or stress at home or work.
  3. Spend the designated time introspecting on the personality area you selected. As you reflect, think of real life examples where listening has been important for making decisions. Then, identify who was there and how you behaved in listen to their opinions or advice. Make the example as concrete and vivid as you can. Then, ask yourself some critical questions: In what way did you listen or not listen to others? Did you interrupt other people when they were talking? How long does it take you to criticize or reject ideas presented by others? When you are supposed to be listening are you really taking time to understand what the other person is saying or are building a rebuttal argument? to rebut you new information and what type of information is it easy or hard for you to learn? Are you a visual learner or auditory? Could you restate what the other person was trying to communicate to you to their satisfaction? Do you listen better in groups or individually? How did this interaction workout? What would you do differently to improve the outcome of the interaction?
  4. Reflect and Record your reflective observations in a journal. When capturing you reflections be sure to write down your thoughts and evaluate whether your behavior is following the 3-1 positivity ratio we have talked about in past posts. Having  a Self-Coaching journal will be useful to see how this negativity and lack positivity reflection keep you “stuck”.
  5. Develop a specific action plan to change your thinking so you can your behavior for the better.
  6. Then identify other areas of your thinking and behavior or habits you would like to change.

When doing more reflection I have one cautionary point –most of us are not very good at evaluating ourselves and consequently fail to be accurate in their assessment; they engage in self-deception. You can combat this tendency by thinking of multiple examples, rather than just one situation to review for each personality characteristic you study. You can also check the validity of your observations by asking trusted others for their thoughts and feedback about your level of competency on the characteristic you are trying to improve.

Daily Quote and Self-Coaching Challenge– Discover what Successful and Fulfilled People have in Common

Daily Quote: “Imagine discovering what successful people have in common, distilling it into a set of simple practices, and using them to transform your life”. This is the opening of the highly acclaimed book Success Built to Last by Poras, Emery and Thompson (2007 Pearson Education, Inc.)

After reading the book and reviewing their one-on-one interviews and conversations with hundreds of people (famous and unknown) from around the world who achieved lasting impact without obvious power or extraordinary abilities. This book provides ideas and many different ways of how to find meaning in your life and work without providing an absolute magic formula or silver bullet. So I would like to “plus one” their concept of “success” to the next level. The point is whether there is a difference that makes a difference between success and fulfillment.  Remember all these people started out as ordinary and found ways to develop their abilities and learn to fight through failures and mistakes to follow their passions.

Reflection: My aha after reading this book was to figure out the difference between “success and fulfillment” . Then I found this comforting quote from world renown psychiatrist, Victor Frankl “ Success is developed and measured by an external focus and fulfillment comes from the inside and is displayed on the outside.”

Self-Coaching Challenge: The big opportunity and challenge for you is to read this book and discover how you can find true meaning and fulfillment in your life and work. This challenge will not be easy and yet the journey will be worth the effort. All you need to do is start.

What are You Grateful For? Learning to Practice Loving Kindness Meditation

Daily Quote: “It certainly does me no harm to say “thank you” and to feel grateful at every possible occasion.”  MWH

“May you know the fearlessness of an open heart. May you never meet anyone you consider a stranger, and know that no matter what, you are not alone. May you have compassion for others’ suffering and joy in their delights. May you be free to give and receive love.” Sharon Salzberg 

Now let’s spend some time activating a sense of gratitude or appreciation for what we have and achieved in life.  There’s so much that is amazing and joyful in life.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Write down 5 things that you are grateful for today.  Reflect on how you feel and what you value after writing the list.  Your challenge is to continue for 30 days, everyday writing down just a few things you are grateful for.

Here’s my list:

  1. My wonderful and caring wife of 49 years whom I am lucky to share my life with.
  2. My 3 boys who were a joy to raise and share moments with.
  3. My body, for being healthy and hardy after 71 years.
  4. My tennis buddies who help me sustain an active life in retirement.4.
  5. The internet, for allowing me to connect with so many people each day through my blog. thewick@wordpress.com

Daily Quote–Picasso and Growth Mindset a Self- Coaching Challenge

Daily Quote:

“I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

Reflection: Many neurologists and psychologist are just catching up to Picasso’s early understanding and keys to his learning.On of the key tenants of the “Growth Mindset” is that everyone can learn everything. It just takes effort, openness and understanding of how the brain works. I have become a real enthusiast of the Growth Mindset after reading after reading Dr. Carol Dweck’s book called the Growth Mindset.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Take the time to assess the last time you had a setback. My failure was __________________________________________________________________________________________

Then ask yourself some tough questions about that perceived failure:

What were the root causes for the failure?

How did I react to feedback about the failed project?

How could I have handled the situation better or differently?

What are some new strategies and tactics can I learn to rebound from failures, and emerge stronger to handle similar interactions or situations in the future?

I am I committed to become more resilient and learn from setbacks?

After reviewing you answers create a thirty-day action plan for becoming more resilient to failures and how to learn from them.a thirty day development action plan for