leadership incorporated blog

May 17, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: Is this your biggest mistake?

Over the past week, I’ve been hearing lots of talk about how far off success, money, and getting back to normal seem.

I’m talking to people who are standing on the edge of the pool, afraid to jump in because they don’t have a clear view of what their goals are and they fear going in the wrong direction and putting even more distance between them and the success they want and need.

I’m also hearing from those who know what they’re going after but feel like they’ve dived into one of those Endless workout pools — they keep swimming and swimming but the current keeps them from moving — and the struggle is starting to fatigue them.

The single biggest mistake I see almost everyone making now is putting distance between themselves and what they want — seeing themselves as separate from their goals and objectives.

We can learn a tremendous amount from people who are where we want to be. What do they do that’s different than what we are doing?

Here are 4 things that are true in all situations, which you can emulate:

People who are already where you want to be have jumped into the pool. You need to jump in and commit to a direction. Any movement is forward movement. Even if you choose a direction and end up correcting and doing a full 180, you will have learned something and will move more quickly into the right direction than by standing on the edge and waiting for a sign.

People who are already where you want to be are working in the present tense. Years ago, one of my clients was transitioning into consulting work. For months he spoke of consulting in the future tense and no work came. When he started to say “I am a consultant” and started to speak the language of his area of expertise in the present tense, work started to happen almost immediately. This is the Act-as-if Principle. It’s powerful.

People who are already where you want to be focus on the process. When we focus on the goal (and our lack of having it) we can lose our focus on the steps we need to take to reach the goal. What milestones do you need to reach to get where you want to go? Focus on reaching those and the goal takes care of itself.

People who are already where you want to be have daily habits that support their success. You know what works and what doesn’t, but especially in challenging times, we get pushed off our center. We stop trusting what we know, we look for shortcuts that end up being wild goose chases, we believe false promises and urban myths of what we have to do, and we fear putting the effort  toward what we know works…because what will it mean if it doesn’t???

Come back to your center. Develop your own list of Success Habits — and follow them consistently.They probably have something to do with self-care, relationship building and maintenance, follow-through, excellence in work habits, organization and focus.

Let me know how it goes.

May 3, 2010

Inspired to Succeed: Disheartened? Here’s how to stay in the game.

Have you ever heard of the Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race? It’s the longest footrace in the world, from the Ascot Speedway in Los Angeles and finishing at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The athletes have to work harder than they have ever worked before. Most days it seems like the race will never end. They are dealing with challenges they’ve never faced. More is being asked of them than they know if they have resources for. It makes a marathon feel like a stroll around the block. At times they aren’t sure if they will survive the test.

Does this sound at all like you’re feeling right about now?

If so, you’re not alone — whether you are the CEO of an organization trying to thrive in this economy or in transition trying to find work in this economy or anywhere in between.

All week I’ve had conversations about how spent everyone feels.

Here’s a game-changing reframe.

Work is a sport. You are the athlete.

What is sport? A person or team attempting to meet a particular challenge successfully and competitively.

Sound like what you do everyday?

And why would we want to see our work in this way?

Reframing our challenges in this context can give us new approaches, tools, and perspectives that can transform not only our outcome but the process itself.

So, what can we learn from an athlete’s approach that might help us?

1. Athletes play to win. Athletes know why they’re doing what they’re doing. They are aware they’re in the game by choice. They have a drive to win. There’s something they want to be able to do or feel they’ve accomplished. They may want to prove something to themselves. Regardless, it’s always a positive, not a negative. They’re playing to win rather than playing not to lose.

2. Athletes work the mind game. They know belief in yourself is critical. They know the power of positive and negative thought and so are intentional in their thinking. (Ask me about a life-changing tool for developing this ability.)

3. Athletes know their body is their primary instrument of success. They understand it and take care of it, making sure to get appropriate rest, nutrition, stretching, and whatever else their body needs to perform at its peak. This is every bit as true in business as in sport. No matter what we’re doing: pitching new business, leading a meeting, writing a proposal, putting together a budget, composing email — we can?t do it without our bodies. Particularly when we are pushing ourselves beyond our prior capacity, we need our body’s support. Treat it like the athlete it is. It makes a difference in your focus, your stamina, and your end result.

4. Athletes learn and adapt. They listen to their bodies, their coaches, their trainers, the weather. We, too, have a constant flow of valuable information which can affect our performance available to us. Listen to the people around you. Especially those you tend to tune out. Also, listen to your body and intuition. That knot in your stomach. The tightness in your chest. The energy when things are cranking and you’re in the zone. It will tell you when you’re being lied to. When you’re wasting your time. When you’re heading in the right direction. When you’ve made a wrong turn.

5. Athletes set their own best pace. No one else can do this for you. Setting your pace requires holding an awareness of both the entirety of the challenge ahead and the present moment simultaneously. It means having a plan that you stick to with consistency, even when unexpected challenges arise.

6. Athletes enjoy the process. To go the distance you must find a way to enjoy even the most difficult parts of the process.

7. The greatest athletes don’t focus on winning. They focus instead on making each step count. John Wooden, legendary coach for the UCLA Bruins never once told his players to win a game. Yet they were the winningest team in the history of college basketball. Wooden focused them on the details, practicing and perfecting each move. If you do this, make the components of what you do count, make sure they are meaningful and purposeful, make each step the best it can be, all those steps put together can’t help but lead you to the excellence and success that you have in mind.

welcome to the team,


June 1, 2009

Devastating mistakes businesses make in today’s economy: #1

Cutting with a blowtorch instead of a laser. In the epidemic rush to cut staff, it’s shortsighted to let essential talent go. As a result, over 50% of workforce adjustments do not achieve their intended objectives. Too often, the company finds itself without the resources to recover and build for the future.

Solution: Think before you cut. Don’t automatically assume that a layoff is the best way to reduce operating costs. And don’t offer incentives for leaving. The best people will go, knowing they can find other work. The weakest will remain.

Sharon Rich is the founder of Leadership Incorporated and Layoff BounceBack. Her companies offer coaching and training programs designed to empower organizations and individuals in transition to create successful futures.

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