Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development
I ran track in high school for awhile, and I loved high jumping. What excited and scared me most was knowing that I had to raise the bar if I wanted to win. For that to happen I must have cleared the previous height, but I knew the next level would be more difficult.
During a track meet the bar was set higher than I had cleared before. On my third attempt I gave it everything I had and cleared the bar but injured my ankle, forcing me to drop out of the meet.
My ankle eventually healed and I started to compete again, but I never jumped as high as I did the day I got hurt. I had convinced myself that if I couldn’t get past a certain height as a member of the varsity track team I might as well not even try to compete. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I realized that my problem wasn’t that I had reached the pinnacle of my athletic ability, but rather I didn’t want to raise the bar for fear of suffering another injury.
To this day, whenever I...
As a psychologist and executive coach, I am always interested to observe the way people demonstrate either good or bad habits in the way they conduct business. I remember well a time I was shopping at a well known chain store when I witnessed first-hand how those in leadership should NOT manage their employees.
The customer service specialist who was assisting me ran into a snag while trying to complete my transaction. After having pushed almost every button, she exhausted her personal knowledge base of solutions and had to request assistance from her store manager. By this time, it was obvious that she was feeling embarrassed and moderately anxious.
When the manager arrived he had a scowl on his face and looked put out by the request for help. Without acknowledging his employee, or me (the customer spending money in his store), he abruptly punched some numbers into the computer, made a poorly veiled critical comment to his employee and stomped away. It was quite evident that...
I was reading an article on the internet called the Top 100 April Fool’s Day Hoaxes of All Time and it was very entertaining. My favorite was about BBC TV conducting a prank interview with a London University professor who claimed to have created the technology to transmit odors through television. His invention was aptly named “Smellovision.” He performed a demonstration using coffee beans and onions and asked viewers to report if they detected the aromas. According to the article, numerous people reported being able to smell the coffee and onions and some even said the onion made their eyes water!
We laugh at their gullibility, but we should also pay attention to the fact that our brains can play tricks on us. Sometimes we need to evaluate the thoughts we think and make sure they are based in truth and reality, because our thoughts direct our perceptions and feelings, which results in our actions. So, our thoughts play a primary role when it comes to our...
One of the most powerful skills a leader should strive to master is communication. He or she may have brilliant ideas and the vision to solve problems and accomplish daunting missions, but if the ideas and direction can’t be communicated effectively to others, the mission may produce weak results and fall short of the goal. When that occurs, low morale among the ranks usually follows.
I recently came across a list in New Man Magazine of nine principles of communication every leader should adopt. To be the kind of leader that not only gets results, but also earns the respect and loyalty of those you work with, you will want to learn and consistently apply these principles.
1. Dispense information freely to build esprit de corps. People are much more willing to enthusiastically participate when they know what they’re doing, why and how. Leaders who play close to the vest in order to maintain the appearance of power tend to alienate their teams.
2. Go out of...
You’ve probably heard the saying, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” While that traditional wisdom is meant for weather trends, I think we can stretch it to apply to some relationships as well. Do you know anyone who “comes in like a lion” – roaring and ready to devour anyone who gets in their way? Would you like to be able to hold your own when talking with them and possibly calm the situation?
Here are some tips for dealing with “lions” in your life:
Begin with yourself – your attitude, your response. Look past the behavior and see the person as a whole and valuable human being who may be acting out feelings of fear, frustration, anger, hurt or insecurity. Understand that there may be valid reasons for those feelings and try to exercise empathy. This will help you control your response when someone is coming on strong. It’s more natural to retaliate if you feel you’re being attacked, but...
Have you ever felt overwhelmed by an irrational fear – so much so that it prevented you from doing something you wanted to do? Believe it or not, this is a common problem faced by many people daily.
Fear has the power to hold you back from taking risks, following your dreams, or becoming successful at anything you attempt to do. If you allow it to control you for long enough, it can eventually erode your quality of life and keep you locked in a prison of inactivity and regret.
What many people fail to realize is that fear is nothing more than a conditioned response. It’s a natural reaction to any situation that is perceived as threatening. Although not easy, there are things you can do on a regular basis to overcome irrational fear. Review the tips below and make the decision to begin putting them into practice today.
1) Check your expectations
One major contributor of fear is the prevalence of negative expectations. Do you usually find yourself...
Empathy is simply defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. We can sometimes feel as though we already have too many feelings of our own, and that taking on the burden of feeling what others are going through will be overwhelming.
Interestingly, the opposite seems to be true. Let’s use an example most of us can relate to. You are driving to work when suddenly a car pulls out of a parking lot right in front of you, and you have to brake hard to avoid a collision. As your pulse races and you try to steady your breathing, how do you respond? Your answer to that depends largely on your ability and your desire to empathize with others.
The absence of empathy makes it difficult to understand another person’s perspective, so your response to the near-miss in traffic will likely be anger and hostility. Defensiveness assumes that the other driver willfully did something dangerous that could have caused a crash and that there is no excuse. The anger...
Have you ever seen a Puffer Fish? They’re unimpressive little fish who blow themselves up to big, round, scary-looking creatures when they feel threatened. Some people do a pretty good imitation of the little Puffer when they feel threatened, too.
People who feel inadequate and insecure often try to compensate by trying to appear more significant than they feel. They may brag or exaggerate about what they’ve accomplished or who they know. They demand attention and often interpret other people’s actions or opinions as personal offenses. They often put down other people in order to make themselves feel better. Overcompensating for feelings of inadequacy has actually become a rather popular pastime as social media has greatly expanded the opportunity for people to be puffed up about something and elicit support, sympathy and attention. It feels safer to express anger to the world than to speak face to face with a perceived offender.
Offline and in person, most of us...
Great leaders don’t often start out with a plan to make themselves great. In fact, it may surprise you how little great leaders think of themselves at all. Focusing on making an individual person great is a very small goal, but an individual with a willingness to sacrifice for something bigger can ignite passion in others and cause great things to happen.
We recently celebrated the memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and I was reminded of some of the ways he demonstrated great leadership. Here are five passions that drive some people to greatness and how we see them in action through the leadership of Rev. Dr. King.
Passion #1: To fix a problem – Some of the most significant achievements in history began when someone said, “This isn’t how things should be.” In 1955 an African American woman, Rosa Parks, was arrested for violating racial segregation laws in Montgomery, Alabama, because she refused to give up her seat on a bus for a...
Do you have plans to spend some time with the people you care about the most? If not, stop what you are doing right now and think about something special you can do with your kids, spouse, significant other or friend that you will really enjoy.
Sometimes our most special memories happen when there’s nothing special going on at all. I know Saturday mornings can be busy with household chores, but taking an hour to snuggle on the couch to watch cartoons with your kids can become a lasting memory. On the other hand, stepping away from the TV to take a moonlight walk with your spouse can bring you closer through unhurried conversation.
Coffee dates with friends can be very effective therapy for a stressed out mom or hardworking student. Men can experience some great bonding time by working together on a project. If you have a repair to do on your house or car, consider calling a buddy or a teenage guy to be your helper.
Life is jam-packed with obligations, work and...