The Ultimate Offensive Weapon

tortilla-chipsAt breakfast this morning I announced that I am no longer buying tortilla chips.  My husband and I can’t handle having them in the house.  Period.

This may seem extreme – and if you saw my pantry, you might think that I am.  It holds no sandwich cookies, no breakfast pastries, no peanut butter with sugar added.  Most of what you’ll find there is pretty darn healthy.  It’s not that we are saints when it comes to our food choices.  It’s that I understand that it’s better for me to be an abstainer versus a moderator.

Gretchen Rubin, author of the book The Happiness Project and blog by the same name recently asserted, “More people would benefit from abstaining,” than from thinking that they can consume one or two of [insert naughty food of choice] and then simply quit.

This being true – at least for me – then it’s best to have the chips stay on the shelf at the grocery store versus having them taunt me from my pantry shelf at 8:00PM each night.

Not buying chips is what Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney describe in their book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength as an implementation plan.

It’s easier to resist the temptation to go into debt if you enter the store with a firm implementation plan, like, If I shop for clothes, I will buy only what I can pay for with the cash in my wallet.  Every time you follow this kind of rule, it becomes more routine, until eventually it seems to happen automatically and you have a lasting technique for conserving willpower: a habit.

As they go on to say, “Precommitment is the ultimate offensive weapon,” and I am precommitting to abstain from chip eating.

We’ll see how that goes.

Pursue Your Passion

It can be frustrating when others don’t share our passion about something.  When we see an injustice and want to correct it, why doesn’t everyone see it and want to shout from the rooftops with us?

We’ve each got to shout about our own thing.

Recently a friend asked that I donate to a cause.  It’s a cause I follow and care about, but it isn’t my cause.  As she asked I thought about all the good a check of the same size could do for my charity of choice, and I said, “no.”  And I did so completely guilt free.  I know she and people like her are taking care of business over there so that I can focus on what needs to be done in another place.

IMG_0229I’m thrilled that there are people who take care of abandoned and abused animals, who write eloquent letters to encourage our legislators to support equality, or who act to create services for children in our community.  To them and so many more, thank you.  While you’re working on that, I’ll worry about Africa, young mothers, clean water, and a natural food supply.

Oh, I want you to know all about the work that stirs passion in me, but I know you may not change where your money flows, how you spend your volunteer time, or what food you consume.  It’s OK.  It’s my passion, not yours.

Whatever it is that moves your heart to action, go make a difference.  Please.  We can’t all do everything, so we must do the few things that really matter to us personally.  Also remember, when I don’t get fired up about something like you do, it’s not that I don’t care.  It’s just that I’m working to make a difference somewhere else.

Lessons from Walt

The following post about Walt Disney is one of the most read pieces I’ve published.  Turns out lots of people are looking for information on Walt’s perseverance.  In any event, I’ve been reminded again how important it is for us to persevere even when we’re tired – maybe especially when we’re tired – of keeping at something.

Well, have you been trying for twenty years?  Me neither.  Keep pressing on….

Walt Disney’s Perseverance  Originally posted February 22, 2011

Travel with me back in time to 1938. It was four years past the original book release of Mary Poppins and Walt Disney made his first attempt to gain rights to transfer the beloved story to film. Mickey Mouse was a big hit and this was the year that Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released, winning Disney an Oscar (accompanied by seven miniature statues). Really, the Snow White story provides another wonderful example of perseverance, but I’ll try to stay on track.

Anyway, 1938 was a big year for Walt (understatement), so you’d think that when he approached Helen Lyndon Goff (pen name P. L. Travers) she would have been flattered at the opportunity to work with him on a film adaptation of Mary Poppins; but no. Turns out that she didn’t think a film version of her books would do justice to her story; she didn’t want it to be turned into a cartoon.

So Mr. Disney asked again… and again… and again… and again… for 20 YEARS! During that time he released animated classics like Pinocchio, Fantasia and Bambi. He opened Disneyland. He moved out of animated films with Treasure Island, Old Yeller and The Disney Club. These were the golden years of Disney and of course I can’t begin to do justice to these 20 years with a little paragraph here.

And yet year after year, he’d pick up the phone, send a letter, drop by – however it was that Mr. Disney courted Ms. Travers’s business – to try to get the rights to Mary Poppins.

Here’s my commentary: really? Why? How did he see the potential? Why was he so driven? Or was it just a crazy obsession because he’d been told no? And didn’t he have enough going on? Why this? We won’t know… but my mind wanders. Back to the story….

Finally, P. L. Travers gave in and the rest, as they say, is history. Mary Poppins released in 1964 as one of Disney’s most successful musicals. It won Oscars. Julie Andrews won an Oscar. The songs, editing, and visual effects added even more Oscars, resulting in a total of 13. (BTW – all this information is available on Wikipedia and Answers if you want even more information on the topic.)

As you can see, Walt Disney’s perseverance paid off. In my post yesterday, I cited this as something that I found more applicable to me personally than the “hey, look how they picked up after failure” stories. I can relate to doggedly going back to something that I think really needs to get done – just like Disney did with Mary Poppins. I know I wouldn’t have had the insight to see the potential in Mary Poppins, but I can think of things in my life that I shouldn’t give up on. For that I can learn a lesson from Walt.

Even if it takes 20 years.

Coaching Challenge: Setbacks

We all have setbacks throughout our careers and as we move toward our goals.  Sometimes it’s a deadline missed.  Other times it’s a hoped-for outcome that doesn’t come to pass.  And from time to time individuals can let us down.  Regardless of what’s happened, it’s important for each of us to take stock of what’s been learned and – more importantly – move ahead.

Have you had a recent setback that you haven’t quite gotten over yet?  Keep it in mind as we go through today’s coaching challenge.

Here we go….

  • Take time to write out what you’ve learned from this recent setback.  As much as possible, recognize the positive and those things that will provide wisdom as you continue toward your goal.
  • Once the list is complete, take a moment to be grateful. These lessons learned have made you smarter about what to do next.  Recognize this as a good thing.
  • If you find that you’re blaming someone else, decide to forgive and let it go.  Focus on what you could have done differently.  You can only change you.
  • Identify the next step you will take to move forward and make a plan to do it.
  • Going forward, decide now how you will react to the next setback you face.  Maybe you’ll set aside time to wallow and then be done.  Maybe you’ll go right into figuring out what you’ve learned.  Whatever it is, have a game plan.  There will be another setback.  Plan for it.

Finally, if resilience is something that isn’t your strength and if setbacks knock you out for quite a while, find someone to talk to about it or pick up a book on the topic.  Resilience can be learned and how you react to setbacks can make you stronger.

Coaching: Execution

We can plan and dream all we want; however, until we actually begin to DO something, that’s all that will remain – plans and dreams.  Without execution, our plans and dreams will never become reality.

What have you been putting off?  What dream seems too big to move toward?  Or too small to bother with?  Pick a plan or a dream that has been hanging out there and keep it in mind as you plan to take action.

Ready to create a little momentum?

Here we go….

What one thing can you do to move closer to your goal?  Usually this first action is small – though it may not be.

Write it down.

As you consider this first step, what must you do to make it happen?  Is there a person you need to engage?  Time that should be set aside?  Additional information needed? Considering this, does your description of your action change?

Modify this first step so it is very specifically what you need to do to move forward.  Call so-and-so.  Set aside 30 minutes next week to do X.  Spend 60 minutes researching topic A.  Get to the nuts-and-bolts of what movement toward your goal means.

Now, write down the outcome you expect to achieve from your action.  This is the meat of what will move you toward your goal and it will help you gain momentum, giving you motivation to move to the next step.

Got it?  Once you realize that outcome, what will you do next?  Take this information and define the next action after that.  And the one after that.  Make a plan to keep executing.

Before you know it, your dream will be in reach.

It’s all about execution.

It’s Time To Do Your Dream

Think about the power of putting action behind your dream.

To walk through the possibilities, let’s start with a “small” dream – taking a vacation. For many people taking a vacation seems like a dream out of reach.

“Work will fall apart without me.”

“We can’t afford it.”

“The clean-up when I get back to the office just isn’t worth it.”

Etc. Etc. Etc.

However, when we decide to follow our dream, each of these can be rebutted and actions taken to support the desired end result.

Work will fall apart without me. First, I’m only buying this one if you’re a one-person shop. You aren’t that indispensable and if you are, then perhaps you do need to leave so that others understand all that you do – but that’s a post for another day! Back to following the dream… if this is true, steps can be made to mitigate potential problems. This is your dream! Plan in advance; recruit others to help you; hire administrative help. Whatever it takes, you’ll get creative because you have a dream.

Can’t afford it? Give something up and start putting that money aside for your get-away. My sister-in-law once pointed out that just $50 a paycheck set aside would get her to a tropical island within a year. Or maybe your trip is a gift to yourself when you get a bonus or pay off a credit card. Again, with focus you could overcome this obstacle as well.

Clean-up not worth it? Well, I’d argue that it always is; but if I can’t convince you of that here’s a creative idea for those of you who live in an email centric world. I heard about someone who put on his out-of-office replies that all emails he received during his time away were headed right to the trash bin and if it was important, please send the email after he returned. Do you love this?!

All of these things take conscious effort. Without the dream as a guide, either the vacation might not take place or the concerns may actually be realized, reinforcing that vacations are tough to take, afford and return from. The dream helps make it better all around.

Now, think about the power of putting action behind your dream. Buying a lake home. Having a baby. Retiring. Changing careers. Buying new furniture. Going to college. Starting a business. Cleaning out the garage. Volunteering in Africa. Planning a family reunion.

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do. ~Sarah Ban Breathnach

Do your dream.

Time To Execute

A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work. ~Colin Powell

Oh, yes.  We must work to achieve our dreams.  We must execute.

Have you worked in an environment that lacked execution?  A place where a lot of talking without a lot of action was the norm?  A friend of mine recently moved on to a new employer because of the lack of execution at his company.  For those of us with a propensity to action, lack of execution can be excruciating.

That said, from time to time we all fail to execute, do we not?  Procrastination is tempting when action is difficult, unpopular or boring.

In Creating a Charmed Life, author Victoria Moran reminds us to “take the next action life presents.”  This comes from the chapter Do the Next Indicated Thing – a mantra I recite when I simply don’t feel like executing.  Often, that next indicated thing is something small: wash your face before you go to bed; gather the ATM receipts before you go to the bank; plan this week’s meals before going grocery shopping; create an agenda before running a meeting.  These are the small steps taken to move toward goals.  Steps to move toward checking items off our to-do list.

It’s Monday and a perfect time to plan your execution strategy for the week.  What have you been putting off?

It’s time to execute.

What Will You Give Up?

Maybe it was a quote posted by a friend or in an email I received, but somewhere recently I was reminded that to move toward a goal oftentimes something must be given up to make it happen.

It’s been on my mind because I’ve been thinking about how, with my youngest headed back to school in a few days, I should reincorporate more structure into my day as I definitely lack discipline during the summer months.  Sure, I’ve managed to stay fairly active with exercising and I eat breakfast every day.  Other than that, my summer has lacked routine.

Also no secret is the fact that early risers and well-organized individuals get more out of their mornings and, therefore, their days.  I want to be one of those people, so I’m thinking that an early, consistent wake-up coupled with a morning routine will be just the thing to do.  The benefits will be multiple.

Unfortunately, that means I’ll have shut off the lights at an earlier hour than I’ve been.  The things I enjoy doing in the late night hours will have to go.

As I think about this, I realize that it will need to be a conscious decision to quit doing certain things in the evening so that I am able to go to bed earlier and, as a consequence, be able to get up without hitting the snooze button each AM.  If I fail to release those activities I’m sure to continue them; I’ll try to fit in too much and the result will be maintaining the status quo.

This give-and-take between priorities takes place all the time.  In order to be thin, calories must go.  To be debt-free, purchases have to be delayed or skipped.  If you want to take on a new job, the old one has to be left behind.

We can say we want to do or achieve something but until we make the commitment to let go of what’s holding us back, the likelihood of seeing that happen will be decreased.

So, what are you willing to give up to get what you want?

Today’s Choices

We know the benefit of setting long-term goals.  It’s easy to understand how our dreams can set a path for short-term goal setting, creating the road from here to there.  We know and understand… and then the time comes to make a decision.

It seems that if we set a goal for our future, short-term decisions should be easy. They’re not.  It may make our choices more clear, but that is often very different than easy.

Over the last few weeks making an easy, convenient choice has tempted my husband and me.  It even seemed like a reasonable choice to make.  But as we quit simply chatting about it and dug into what we should choose to do, it became clear (again) that making that easy, convenient choice didn’t support our long-term goals.


I really would love for the path to my dreams to be easy and convenient.  Evidently that isn’t going to be the case.  It will, however, be exciting and worth it when our dreams become reality.

It’s only going to happen if we make the right choices today.

Coaching: Habits

While we all likely have bad habits we’d like to get rid of, the focus this week has been on creating new habits versus modifying old ones.  If you would like to explore ideas on how to change your current habits, pick up a copy of The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business to learn more.  For now, let’s look ahead to see how some new habits can be added to our daily routine.

Here we go….

What new habit or habits would you like to create?  Maybe you’d like to get to work on time, workout every day, get out of the office by a certain time, or incorporate healthy snacks into your day.  Pick one habit and then let’s go through the process of setting up a new habit.

First, what will be your cue?  As I learned about cues, I realized that these are very similar to primers, which have been discussed here before.  What can you put in your way to kick off the habit?  Setting an alarm on your phone?  Having a reminder pop up on your computer?  Setting an apple on your desk?  Pick whatever will work for you and your new habit.

Skipping ahead in the process, now think about what your reward will be.  It has to be a good one, a real reward for you.  If you make it to work on time, then you can grab your favorite coffee.  If you workout every day for a week, then you can reward yourself with $25 going into a clothing fund.  Whatever it is, be sure that it’s something that’s good for you.  It can be simple.  We brush our teeth every day because of that minty tingle that we get when we’re through.

Finally, do the routine.  Do it daily and as you do, keep your mind on the reward.  If it’s easy for you, great!  If it’s hard, be sure to apply the belief that you CAN make it happen.  If you tell yourself every day that you’ll never be able to get to work on time… you’ll be right.

Create a cue.  Do the routine.  Reward yourself.  And believe.

Creating New Habits

Oftentimes habits are seen as negative as we think about all the bad habits we have (or think we have).  That aside, habits are necessary.  What if you had to actually make a decision regarding whether to brush your teeth today?  Or had to think about each step in the process of backing your car out of the driveway like you did when you were a beginner?  If our lives weren’t routine we’d be exhausted from all the willpower needed to navigate through the day.

When we encounter a new task, our brains light up as we navigate the unknown.  The more we do the task, the less brainpower it takes.  Because of this, on our commute we’re able to think about what we need to get done at work for the day instead of paying attention to each driving maneuver we make on the way there.

Any task that converts to a habit draws less on our willpower, leaving more for us to use in other ways.  So, how to create a new habit?  According to The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, it’s as simple and as difficult as this:

Want to exercise more? Choose a cue, such as going to the gym as soon as you wake up, and a reward, such as a smoothie after each workout.  Then think about the smoothie, or about the endorphin rush you’ll feel.  Allow yourself to anticipate the reward.  Eventually, that craving will make it easier to push through the gym doors every day.

Cravings are what drive habits.  And figuring out how to spark a craving makes creating a new habit easier.

It’s this cycle of “Cue – Routine – Reward,” topped off with craving the reward, which fuels all our habits.  Good or bad.

Finally, we need to believe it can be done.  Without this important piece, our new habits fall apart when we encounter stress.

Create a cue.  Do the routine.  Reward yourself.  And believe.

Creatures Of Habit

What new habits would you like to have in your life?

If you’re a frequent reader of this blog, it’s no surprise to you that human brains fascinate me.  I missed my calling and should have been a psychologist in a laboratory pouring over research and brain scans.  So just a few chapters into Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, I’m hooked.

Duhigg tells the story of a man who lost a portion of his brain to a virus and because of this, lost his short-term memory.  If you were to meet him and have a conversation, 10 minutes later you would be new to him again and he would reintroduce himself to you, the memory totally gone.  He could, however, still learn new habits.

Tasks repeated routinely – such as his daily walk or making breakfast – could be completed successfully.  This was possible even though he couldn’t tell researchers where he lived or even how to get to the kitchen from another room.  He couldn’t explain how or why he did what he did, but he could do these things, nonetheless.

Of course, we’re the same way, too.  Why do we choose the same soda every time we are at a vending machine?  Sure, at one point we made a conscious decision but now it’s habit.  As is how we load the dishwasher.  Or the route we run.  Or what time we go to bed.  Or if we brush our teeth before or after showering.   As told in The Power of Habit:

One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.

This is all interesting stuff, but what can it mean for us as individuals?  It has me thinking about my habits that exist but also has me contemplating what habits I’d like to create.

Ending where we started, what new habits would you like to create in your life?  More on how to do that – and why we would want to – tomorrow.

Exploring The Power Of Habit

An apple a day…

Writing posts for this blog has become second nature after doing it so long.  A habit, you might say.  And yet… well, I find it interesting that during this week when I intended to write about habits that I completely forgot about writing a post until well into the afternoon yesterday.

In any event, I’ve been thinking about habits – both good and bad – as I have Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business on my reading list and have been checking out various articles on the topic.  In just about every mention of the book, the example of the American habit of brushing teeth comes up.

It’s amazing to me that 100 years ago hardly anyone brushed his or her teeth.  Seems hard to imagine, doesn’t it?  But it’s true.  It wasn’t a habit that we had, collectively, at the time.  It took a brilliant marketer to figure out how to make it a habit for a nation – and for generations.  What an impact.

If the habits of an entire country can be changed, I imagine that the habits in my life could be changed as well.  Bad habits could be discarded.  Good habits could be created.  Even more intriguing, if one individual could persuade so many people to change their habits, maybe there’s a way that I could influence the habits of other people as well.  And given that, who has influenced my habits?

This is all relevant because anything that we do out of habit draws less from our willpower, leaving more of that available to us for the tough stuff we need to get through every day.

So what is a habit and what should become one?  We’ll learn more about that together this week.

Coaching Challenge: Sharpen The Saw

According to Stephen Covey, sharpening the saw is what we do to renew ourselves – our resources, energy and health.  Many years ago when I had a Covey planner, there was a place to note what had been done each day to sharpen the saw.  Every day!  Do you do something to renew yourself each and every day?  No?  Me either.

Perhaps it will be enough to engage in personal renewal once a week at first, then expand as these new exercises become habit.  Today let’s focus on a few ideas to sharpen our proverbial saws.

Here we go….

  • Physical renewal: If exercise still seems like something that you simply can’t make time for, begin with taking 10,000 steps a day.  Pedometers are inexpensive and easy to conceal.  Instead of sitting while you take a call, pace.  While waiting for your kid to finish music lessons, walk.  Take an oath to move instead of sit.
  • Mental Renewal
    • For those readers of faith, prayer can be a time for mental and spiritual renewal.  Meditation and yoga can provide the same benefits.  In Creating a Charmed Life, Victoria Moran advocates “taking ten” each day, stating that “the surest way to access [your] energy… is through silence, through taking a specified amount of time each day for mediation, prayer, journal writing, or inspirational reading.” Later she continues, “Even if your busyness tells you that you can’t afford to take quiet time, know that you can’t afford not to.”
    • In addition to prayer and meditation, reading revives us mentally as well.  Finish up those books you started.  Go grab or download that book that’s been on your reading list for far too long.  Subscribe to a magazine that has to do with your industry or business.  Read them.
  • Spiritual Renewal: As you’ve seen here more than once before, the authors of Creating Your Best Life tell us that “researchers who studied adult men in Michigan found that those who volunteered their time, money, and energy felt happier than—and also outlived—their less altruistic peers.”  Give of your time and you receive benefits beyond what you would ever imagine.

Maybe you truly can’t find time to sharpen your saw every day.  But every day that you can will be a day that you will be more effective in all that you do.

Coaching Challenge: Focus

It’s the rare individual who is always focused on what he or she has to do, so I’m going to go with the assumption that we could all improve in this area.  That means that I’m going to throw out some challenges instead of having you simply think about your focus.  C’mon!  We all need to quit putting off something.  Time to quit thinking and start doing!

Here we go…

  • Scrub your to-do list.  What’s been on there the longest?  Dig deep and figure out why you’re avoiding that task.  Do what you need to do to get it done or give the task to someone else.  No to-do list?  Create one.
  • Identify something that you always delay doing – like my example of house cleaning.  Create or find a monitoring system to help keep you honest and timely with that chore.  Use it.
  • Think about the biggest thing you’ve been avoiding.  Identify how it ties to your long-term goals.  Remember why it landed on your list in the first place.  Think about who your procrastination impacts and who will be impacted when you complete the goal.  Recognize the motivation this creates and take advantage of it to get it done.
  • Spend the next week paying attention to when you lose your focus.  Is it in a certain environment?  At a regular time-of-day?  Schedule time for your biggest to-dos to match when you are at your best.

Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. ~Pablo Picasso

Focusing On A Deadline

One way to ensure we stay focused is to be up against a deadline.  It doesn’t matter if the deadline is given to us or if we create it ourselves, but it must be inflexible as I wrote about back in December of last year.

The Power Of A Deadline

I had the absolute pleasure of hosting a girlfriend gathering last night.  As I maneuvered the floor cleaner across the tile before they arrived, I joked about how inviting people over is a great way to get the house cleaned up.  Amazing what a little pressure and a deadline will do for our motivation, isn’t it?

It’s the same in business. When I was a project manager I found that I needed to set deadlines in order to keep myself and others on task. Even now as an entrepreneur I must find ways to hold myself accountable to be sure I move forward with the work that needs to be done.

Turns out research supports this need as well. A study mentioned in Willpower by Baumeister and Tierney shows that students with a propensity to procrastinate will push out completing work when they know a deadline is flexible. To the point, even, of leaving so much work until the end that the project cannot be completed.

Which brings us back to me cleaning my floors yesterday afternoon… I had an inflexible deadline because I knew someone would walk through the door around 7:00 PM and I knew exactly what I needed to get done before that time. So I did. Did my floors need cleaning before yesterday?  With three people and three dogs living in the house, most certainly!  But by having a deadline I finally prioritized the work.

Funny, I also finished getting my expenses into QuickBooks yesterday.  I have a meeting with my accountant today. See a pattern?

Deadlines are not just given to us by others. They are something we can create on our own, complete with accountability and the rigidity needed to make them powerful.

What work have you been putting off? Perhaps it’s time to give yourself a deadline.

Got To Focus!

Maybe you’re someone who’s able to ignore all the noise around you and really focus on what needs to be done.  With a sick kid who is coughing and watching T.V. in the other room, I’m working hard to focus on simply thinking, let alone getting some work done.  You guessed it; sometimes I have trouble with focus.

In my defense, as a mom I should pay attention to the hacking kid on the couch.  On the other hand, I could easily use him as an excuse to get very little done today.  And an excuse it would be!

Unfortunately, he’s not the only thing vying for my attention this morning.  Those things that I must focus on seem less interesting than the shiny objects I long to be distracted by.

So I’m digging in, checking one thing after another off of my to-do list, and thinking that if I spend this week blogging about focus perhaps it will help me to focus.

We shall see.

Lost Confidence? It Pays To Remember Why…

In order to be our best selves we need to be confident: confident about our decisions, confident about the path we choose to take, and confident in our beliefs, values and dreams.  As soon as our confidence starts to waver, that’s when we question all these things.

How to remain confident?  Now, that can be a struggle.

Really, there are so many things that come at us to weaken confidence.  Who hasn’t come to a bold, determined decision only to have it immediately picked apart?  If the person picking is important to us, our confidence can wane quickly – sometimes bringing us back to “square one” in the decision making process.

You know I believe in listening to and acting on feedback.  That said, we must work through our own decisions and be confident in them as we move forward.

So again, how can that be done?

I’m not going to pretend to have the answers but I can provide a helpful tip: an important piece in keeping confident is remembering why it is that this specific decision was made in the first place.  When decisions are made there’s always a reason, oftentimes a very good, well-thought-out reason.  We’ve got to remember that.

Why did you leave your job to start a new business?

Why did you recommit to your current job when you decided to stay?

What was it that compelled you to sign up for a marathon?

Why are you pursuing your degree?

We all have days when our confidence slips.  Remembering the deliberate choices made that brought this exact moment and experience to us can help bring our confidence up again.

Coaching: Diligence

A short but full week, the topic of being diligent isn’t exactly a fun one.  Diligence requires willpower, tenacity, and a continued inner strength.  Staying diligent can wear us down, of course; but the payoff will be sweet!

So let’s dive into how to be more diligent.  Grab a pen and paper so you can take notes, answer questions, and set a few goals around being more diligent.

Here we go….

Where have you lost your ambition for a goal?  How important is reaching that goal to you?  If it’s still important, what can you do to reignite your ambition and gain diligence while seeking the goal?  A few ideas:

  • Remind yourself what the long-term payoff will be; what the vision is that you are hoping to achieve.  Tie that short-term aspiration to your long-term goal.
  • What is it that you are moving toward?  If your goal is about moving away from something or some behavior, it’s more difficult to stay motivated.  Find a way to rewrite your goal so that it is about what you will do versus what you will not do.
  • Make it measureable.  You can’t achieve what you cannot measure.
  • Click on the “goal setting” tag on this blog and you’ll find many posts on how to set a better goal.  I guess it’s one of my favorite topics.

On the topic of maintenance, diligence can get a little harder.  After all, we’ve made it!  Time to relax a bit and enjoy, right?  Probably not.  The main thing here is to remember, again, the big picture.  Did you lose weight to gain it back?  Of course not.  Are you planning for this promotion to be your last one?  Probably not.  Whatever it is that you achieved, you had a long-term vision of what achieving that goal would do for you, what the payoff would be.  Remember that and you’ll (hopefully) be motivated to remain diligent.

Need a little more motivation?  Perseverance was one of the first topics for this blog.  A few of those past posts are: Persistant Puppy,
 Walt Disney’s Perseverance,
 A Little Nut, and
 Perseverance’s Parts.

Keep At It

Sometimes it can be hard to keep at something.  We wake up without enough sleep or take time off and have a hard time re-entering or simply get worn down.  When called upon to continue to pursue something when results haven’t been what we hoped for it can be tough.

Keep at it.

I was reminded this morning about the power of diligence and how continued effort is rewarded more often than not.  I need to be reminded of this – and maybe you do, too – because goal-pursuit can be difficult.  It can take longer than hoped or expected.  It can, frankly, be less than rewarding.

Keep at it.

This is the time when I pull out all those willpower tricks I’ve shared with you here: keep track of what I’ve done, find an accountability partner, get back in the game, etc.

And yes, I keep at it.

Check out this week’s Coaching Tip on giving trust to others!