• "I am busier than ever!”

    “I am not looking forward to September – I am busier than ever!”

    Those were the words I received from a client in a text (shared with permission). I started to ponder that he probably is not alone in that. I am guessing you probably feel 'busier' than ever.

    Dealing with an overwhelming, never-ending list of responsibilities was made even more complicated by the Pandemic of 2020-2021.

    So what do we do? Well it’s hard to solve a problem you don’t understand.

    Naming a problem is the first step toward fixing it.

    So, here’s the question: Why do you feel so busy? I want to share the 4 reasons that I mentioned on Episode 32 of our Podcast "You Can Make it So", on why maybe you do and I am happy to expand upon them in this post.

    Your Office is in your Pocket

    The working from home shift disrupted the boundaries between work and life in a profound way. But long before the pandemic, your home and pocket were increasingly becoming your office anyway. You used to go to the office, but thanks to technology, the office goes to you. Between your laptop, tablet, and phone, work follows you everywhere. So, your work is never really done.

    Add to that the fact that you can now do your work anywhere, well that is not a formula for balance. The ability to work from anywhere anytime leaves many people feeling like they’re never really on and never really off. No wonder you feel like you’re never done, because you aren’t.

    So here are some tools I have used :

    1. Put self-care on the schedule

    Self-care is vitally important. It's still hard for me to relax when I "walk away" from the office, so I set things into my schedule that demand my full attention, so I can't get distracted. A dinner with family, working on a 'hands on project', or a "serious hike" all make me leave work behind. I am still working toward enjoying unstructured time - right now it makes me very uncomfortable to have nothing on the schedule - but my hope is that by getting more comfortable with it, I can get more comfortable with actual leisure.

    2. Learn to unplug

    A big part of learning how to be engaged in the world outside of my work has been to commit to other activities and to hold myself accountable, so I'm spending time unplugged - my phone is not allowed to come with me on a hike, a dinner, or any other activity.

    During that time, I just can't work. My goal is to eventually be in a place where I don't actually need to schedule that time and to learn how to push work completely out of my mind when there's nothing I can do about it.

    3. Learn to change the way you talk to yourself

    The biggest struggle I have is feeling guilty whenever I take time for myself. I have a hard time focusing on activities that are important to non-work-related parts of my life. My first goal was to get a coach to help with it. We discussed where this feeling came from, and how to change , "You're being lazy and wasting time." into "No one can work 24 hours a day. You are not being lazy by letting your mind rest." One of the most important things to remember is that taking real breaks actually helps me be more productive when I am working.

    Messages Are At An All-Time High

    Last month, I counted up my inboxes. I have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, two email accounts, text messages, Whats Up chats – all of these are channels people can use to message me. This means that whenever I look at my phone, someone is messaging me.

    The thing about technology is that messages are always sent at the convenience of the sender, not at the convenience of the recipient, which deepens the sense of overwhelm you have because there’s rarely a time when someone isn’t trying to get your attention or ask you about something.

    It also meant deciding if I will respond right way or not. Obviously, for a few people, I do respond right away.

    Here’s my rule: The depth of the relationship should determine the speed of your response. What does that mean? It means my family, team, and perhaps very closest friends get a near-immediate response. Others get a response later when I am finished downtime.

    Too Much Task-Switching

    Constantly checking email, switching between the project you’re working on, and pausing to answer texts and take phone calls distracts you to the point where you can’t really focus enough to accomplish deep work.

    I know on days when I’m juggling between many things, I can often put in eight or ten hours and feel like I’ve accomplished nothing at all.

    The antidote to constant task-switching is to create deep periods of uninterrupted focus in your work.

    Your brain needs to focus to produce quality work and, ultimately, a good quantity of work over time.

    A concept I teach is called “Appointments with Self”… that is when you turn a moment in your calendar into an “Appointment” with a task or project and just like when you are in other appointments you do not check your phone or email – you focus. Long have I taught, and lived by a principle, and one I sincerely try and make it happen in my daily life – ONE PERSON, ONE PROBLEM, ONE PROMISE…. That is how I strive to #makeitso

    Busyness Is a Choice

    This is a hard one for me, but the truth is that busyness is a choice.

    Over the years I have tried to remove the word from my vocabulary and instead insert “productive”…. I try and make that my focus instead. I do not look at tasks as “burdens to get done” but opportunities to move the needle forward to live in a way today that will help me to thrive tomorrow.

    You’re as busy as you want to be. No more, no less.

    Most days, this is hard to remember. The vortex of busyness draws you in deeply and regularly.

    The chaos I feel is, for the most part, internally generated. It is the pressure I put on myself. The same would be true for you. Without a new strategy and approach, it's easy to continue to:

    Overcommit and underdeliver

    Have no time for what you actually want to do

    Struggle to get time off to refuel and relax

    Worst of all, other people—other tasks, jobs, and projects—will continue to hijack your life and that of those you love.

    It’s time to change that by implementing a strategy that works.

    This Fall, I am dedicating our Mancave – which is our Group Coaching – to sharing a proven strategy to get your time, energy, and priorities working in your favor.

    If you are not familiar with Mancave –  check out details – but I want to invite you to join me on September 28, 2022 for a free live preview of Mancave and what this Fall will be all about – check out the details 

    It's a step-by-step series with tools, tips, and lessons that help you break the stress spiral and turn Busy into Productive so you can —grow your organizations, advance your careers, launch new ventures, be far more present at home, and take regular time off.

    Whatever you choose to do with it is up to you. But I encourage you to sign up for the access on September 28, 2022 and consider joining Mancave for instant access.

    And to encourage you – for those who participate in Mancave this Fall – a copy of my new book - Made for Monday - is yours as a bonous. SIGN UP for the September 28, 2022 Free preview of Mancave.

    Let's get after it - #makeitso


  • What is really behind ‘quiet quitting’?

    It is a workplace phenomenon that’s been sweeping through mainstream and social media after a recent TikTok video went viral. But what is quiet quitting? Quiet quitting, according to popular TikTokker @zkchillin, addresses many issues people have with their jobs.

    ‘You’re not outright quitting your job, but you’re quitting the idea of going above and beyond. You’re still performing your duties, but you’re no longer subscribing to the hustle culture mentality that work has to be your life — the reality is, it’s not.’

    In Episode 31 – “Quiet Quitting” on the “You Can Make It So”  Podcast on Spotify we talk about what is it, and why it may be good for both individual and organization.

    But what is really behind “quiet quitting”

    Some of the executives that I coach, as well as many leaders, at first glance see it as a people problem, or even a ‘lack of appreciation for a good job”, but that’s not the case. It is a “wake up call” to traditional employment methods that don’t work anymore. The pandemic accelerated a shift in how employees think about work. People are demanding flexibility in their jobs as they give equal or greater focus to family, travel, or passion projects. Contributing to this trend is the fact that some employees feel unfulfilled in the roles they hold today. According to one recent survey, over half of employees say their current role doesn’t make good use of their skills.

    So what type of “wake up call” is it and what can be done?

    INVEST IN PEOPLE

    Many of the individuals and companies I work with often begin discussions with me rooted in productivity. I get it, but I soon transition them to talking to me about people. Some companies feel the need to invest in policing their workforce, but it does nothing for engagement and only further sinks employee morale. And then what happens? Well I will tell you what does not happen – productivity or profitability!

    According to Gallup, companies that made a strategic investment in employee development report 11% greater profitability and are twice as likely to retain their people.

    The quiet quitter’s mindset is a symptom of a work environment where people feel stagnant or stuck. Organizations must fundamentally change the way they think about work, proving their people come first. They can start by creating access to development and internal job opportunities. Keeping people stuck in their role promotes a culture of quiet quitting. But by leveraging a talent marketplace where employees can continually personally and professionally self-improve, organizations can effectively empower employees to steer their own careers.

    I have been so impressed with the number of companies beginning to turn to Executive Coaching as a way to facilitate that, whether for their executives in skill set growth, or other team members in abilities acceleration. Let us know if we can help.

    TRY MENTORING

    Since the pandemic began, I have been encouraging the companies I work with to be attentive to an increased employee interest in mentorships. Through mentorships, employees and leaders can learn from each other without the tensions of a manager-direct report relationship.

    Today’s employees are seeking more opportunities to learn, grow, and find fulfillment in their work. To overcome quiet quitting in a hybrid world, we need to look at how organizations can proactively connect their workers, especially across functions and geographies. This mentoring should be focused on seeking to address sentiments of a lack of career development and advancement. HR teams, people managers, and senior leaders need to give their employees more flexibility, more visibility into internal growth possibilities, and pathways to pursue them

    CONCLUSION

    Recently a colleague was mentioning that his roof was leaking “again”. I asked him how often this happens and he said “every time it rains”. I smiled and said, “what are you doing about it?” His only response was “praying that it does not rain”.

    If we don’t acknowledge and respond to the shift which quiet quitting is imposing, then employees will continue to scrutinize whether their time and effort is worth giving to their current employer. Quiet quitting is a wake-up call to create work place environments in which our people can truly be at their best. 

    Let me know if we can help. Let’s #makeitso 

     


  • How To Take Control Of Your Schedule

    With school getting ready to begin, and Fall season routine resuming, families are trying to get back on a schedule. For so many, as much as they want flexibility, they need the structure and flow that the school year brings. For some if they don’t have a schedule, they will most likely go down rabbit holes and hurt themselves on tangents.

    I know that not everyone has the same bend; however, after years of coaching, it’s clear how time management is so crucial to thriving. I often hear from clients, “There Are Not Enough Hours In The Day!” or “I Feel Like The Madness Will Never Stop!” And while many are overworked and expected to do too much, we won’t know unless we have control of our schedules and this comes, as my friend David Meltzer says, when we are "students of our calendars". When you control your schedule, you can then have constructive professional conversations. When you know what is happening weekly, you can sit down with your family and determine if you’ve overcommitted. But you won’t know any of this unless you:

    USE A TRACKING METHOD

    Time is a lot like money; if you don’t track it, it’s easy to misuse it. Whether it’s the calendar on your phone or something else, it is essential to have a planner; having one place where you write down obligations is vital. By writing down an appointment, it becomes memorable (Plus, On The Phone, You Can Set Reminders). When you track your time and review it you’ll discover patterns. From those patterns, you’ll be able to identify what you’ve made a priority. When you create a tracking method, it slows you down so you can make better decisions about what you do and when it needs to get done.

    DEVELOP SOME ACCOUNTABILITY

    You don’t have to share your calendar or report to someone regularly, but inviting someone to check in and ask the question, “How Is Your Flow Going?” can be extremely helpful. Their accountability will remind you to review what you write down and determine whether you have a healthy balance. Don’t be afraid to ask people to help you maintain focus. One of the opportunities I give to my one to one clients is to discuss their calendars and priorities with me. Even doing this quaterly with many has produced signficiant increases in productivity (and happiness too). If I can help let me know

    OWN YOUR DOWN TIME

    Probably one of the biggest reasons schedules gets out of whack is that people are not pacing themselves. Yes, there will be naturally busy seasons, but most often we get tired when we are not protecting downtime. And when we get tired that’s when we double book and mess up priorities. It is critical to guard your days off and use them to rest and refuel. Make sure you plan vacations and time away with regularity. Success is a marathon and we don’t need you treating it like a sprint.

    DEFINE PRODUCTIVITY

    I struggle with this the most. I’m not the type of guy who likes to sit on a beach taking in the sun. I don’t like to sit still and if the day flies by and I don’t feel like I accomplished anything I feel disappointed. I’m working with my own Coach on this and reminding myself that being productive doesn’t mean accomplishing a thousand tasks. Being effective means staying healthy and being available for the long run. If you struggle with managing your time and expectations, make sure you talk to someone and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

    Once you lose your time, there is no getting it back. Whether you are hitting a transition or a busy season, make sure you are tracking your hours. Have people help you focus on what matters most, and be sure to schedule some recovery days.

    Your personal and professional lives both have people who need you. They need you to find a pace, so you are not burning out or running frantic. Plus, when we slow things down and take in the people, experiences, projects and things around us with calmness, we’ll discover the joy that comes with living in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow.  #makeitso.


  • Do You Know What You Want?

    Do you know what you want?

    Not on a surface level like money, fast cars, or fame.

    Do you know what you want on a deep, fundamental level–where your life is meaningful, purpose-driven, and fulfilling?

    If you’re like most people, you don’t. Or you think you do, but can’t put it into words.

    Several years ago while attending a conference in Detroit, I overheard a conversation between two business men who were determining their next steps in a business deal. They seemed confident about their choice, the numbers rang true, the project seemed acceptable, but they started second guessing their choice and said something that struck me "I know this meets our goals, but is this what we want?" 

    Goals are great, but most people make goals based on what they think they should want. I talk about this on our Podcast alot. 

    When your goal doesn’t resonate with you on a deep level, one of three things happens:

    You give up.

    You chose not to be committed to making the sacrifices it’ will take to get you there.

    Or you do reach your goal, but “success” feels empty.

    I have worked with entrepreneurs, and others, who are successful on paper. But despite their success, they weren’t fulfilled by the life—or business—they’d spent so much time and energy building. Without clarity, they were adrift in business and life–regardless of how many on-paper “successes” they achieved. They had this nagging feeling that there’s more to life.

    How could you avoid this fate?

    By first clarifying your Core Value, then developing habits (not goals) that each day get you closer to Thriving in that Core Value.

    Determining your Core Value is naming that one underlying value that unites everything you stand for. It is the thred that runs through  what matters most to you, and the most fundamental piece of what, in your eyes, a life well lived must include. It acts as a compass pointing you toward your true north, where what you do is aligned with who you are. When everything you do is perfectly aligned with your Core Value, you’ll never feel adrift in life or business again.

    Let me give you a personal example.

    Earlier in my life I made the decision to leave job that required me to work 60-80 hours a week. Stress over a large number of personel, budgets, keeping external groups happy and attending numerous public activities were taking their tole. I liked the job itself, I loved the people, respected the company, just not the stress. In fact it led me to have a cardiac event at one point in my life. Having the freedom to spend my time coaching and creating content to help people discover meaningful, purpose-driven work and reaching their potential by building a life, and a business, around what resonates with them is more fulfilling than any fancy salary or title. Why did I do this ? Because previously I had discerned that my Core Value was Productive Freedom.

    Before I make a decision or take advantage of an opportunity, I ask myself:

    “Does this get me one step closer to, or one step further away from, a life aligned with my Core Value?”

    It hasn’t led me astray yet.

    Now doing this is not as simple as asking "Mother Google". Clarifying your Core Value means taking a step back from the busyness, digging deep, and like any task, you need the right tools. 

    If you’re ready to take the next steps and want to learn more about how you can build a fulfilling life and business around your Core Value, drop me a line, I would love to work with you  to #makeitso


  • Summer of Success - “You Can Make it So” Podcast

    Year ago, in a previous role,  I reported to a "Board of Directors". They helped to review my work, provide counsel, give feedback and occasionally, if I am really honest, cause me a little stress. But as I look back on my experience with them, I was grateful, because they were a forum for my ideas to experience a sober second thought. Since starting my own practice, I do not have a formal "Board of Directors", but I have learned from the experience of having one. I believe that the road to "success" is paved not with good intentions, but with wise advice.

    So for a portion of the months of July and August, I am turning to my "Board of Directors" and sharing with my Podcast listeners some of the voices I listen to. Each of them brings unique wisdom "to the board table." There are a few others who sit on my "board of directors", and they will join us in future epsiodes, but here is whose on "the Agenda for this meeting"......

    July 19th - Episode 25 - Jim Reid, Author of 'Leading To Greatness’ | Former Chief HR Officer at Rogers Communications. Named by Report on Business Magazine as one of the 50 Best Executives in Canada. Check it out here

    July 26th - Episode 26 - Tom Storey, one of the top 35 Realtors in Canada under 35 years old and is consistently in the top 1% of all Realtors in the Toronto marketplace. Tom has spoken all over North America about the Real Estate industry and on strategy. Check it out here

    August 2nd - Episode 27 - Norm Bacal, led one of Canada's prestigious law firms and was known as one of the most successful film finance lawyers in the country. He is a TEDx Speaker, best selling author, business consultant.  Check it out here

    August 9th - Episode 28 - David Meltzer, is the Co-founder of Sports 1 Marketing and formerly served as CEO of the renowned Leigh Steinberg Sports & Entertainment agency, which was the inspiration for the movie Jerry Maguire. He is a three-time international best-selling author, a Top 100 Business Coach, and very successful entrepreneur. Check it Out here 

    August 16th - Episode 29 - Howard Behar, former President of Starbucks North America, and was the founding President of Starbucks International. He is a best selling Author of two books and speaker worldwide on Servant Leadership.  Check it Our here

    By the way, copies of selected books by our guests will be available to our Full Service Clients as part of 22 Books in 2022. and as a Full Service Coaching Client you will have access to additional materials from our guests in your #Makeitso Platform.

    In the Summer, it can be easy to let leisure turn into lazy, but with these episodes we will let these months encourage us to avoid that with the challenge and wisdom found within these episodes - designed to help you "live in a way today that will help you thrive tomorrow". 

    Let's Get After it - #makeitso


  • What Really Does Progress Look Like?

    Progress is a funny. It typically comes up with my clients often when they hit road blocks over their apparent lack of improvement. They feel as though they aren’t improving as fast as they’d like, and are getting frustrated.

    So I ask them, “What does progress look like?”  It was a question I myself had to struggle with recently following a slight injury during a workout. My shoulder was hurt and for the first time in my life I had to go see a Physiotherapist. Being very new at it all, I honestly thought that I might need 3-4 sessions and back to 100% I would be. When a 12 week plan of care was described to me I truly wondered about it all.

    The first couple of weeks were fantastic. I mean, the sessions and follow up wasn’t exactly easy, but I felt I was making clear progress. Each time I went I sensed some more mobility. So I assumed it would continue, nay, it didn’t.

    Every motion was torture. My arms felt heavier. The exercises were impossible. It was all I could do to drag myself around my office. Each time I set off thinking, this time it’ll be different. And it wasn’t. I went from optimism that in 4 sessions I would be fine, to full of pessimism at about even 12 weeks. But then it changed. All of sudden things were suddenly easier again. Much easier. I had made a (smallish but) significant quantum leap in my fitness.

    And that’s one of the secrets of progress. It isn’t linear at all. 

    We experience a period of improvement, and think it’s great. But then it tails off. It feels like we’ve stalled. It can even feel like we’ve gone backwards! But what is really happening is that we are mentally and physically putting the final pieces in place so that we can enjoy the quantum leap to a new level of improvement.

    The plateau period feels bad, there’s no doubt about it, and we can have no idea of how long it will last. But we can be certain of one thing. If we are doing the right things in the right way, we WILL improve. 

    A new book by the psychologist Paul Bloom, called The Sweet Spot, speaks a great deal about finding the moment where growth occur. His thesis is that often it happens through pain, (and my time at the physiotherapist can atest to that), but he also says this growth (or progress), happens only if we are consistent and if we are less focussed on the thresholds of others, and more so on our own target and outcome.

    Consistency

    If you want to understand Progress, then you must comprehend consistency. Small, seemingly inconsistent improvements, made consistently over time, will create huge results. See, progress is infectious. If you start eating healthier, you start sleeping better. If you have more energy, you start producing better work. When you produce great work, you’re given opportunities to be the best. Soon, you become the best.

    If you want truly big success, make “progress” the ultimate priority, but make “consistency” your runway. Everything else will take off from there.

    Your Threshold

    In his autobiography, billionaire Warren Buffet shared the following insight about living a good life:

    “The big question about how people behave is whether they’ve got an Inner Scorecard or an Outer Scorecard. It helps if you can be satisfied with an Inner Scorecard.”

    When you live your life by an outer scorecard, you give your power to others. “Pleasing other people” becomes your life goal. People are harsh critics; they can be judgmental, blunt, even cruel. Living your life according to their standards is a recipe for an empty, hollow life.

    Instead, choose to live by an inner scorecard — doing things that make you happy.  Do not let them judge if you are making progress – let your inner scorecard make the determination. Yes listen to others input, and get the advice of sage counselors along the way, but focus on your inner scorecard. Do things that make you proud — don’t do things that make you ashamed, or to please other people. Trying to get everyone to like you isn’t a worthy goal, yet it’s one countless people across the world focus on every day.

    So let us go back to “What does progress look like?”  Well maybe this is a good definition “Progress, is to move from where you are now towards to an improved or advanced place.” Be consistent with it and allow your threshold to determine that "improved or advanced place". Get the counsel of others as you set the target, and even someone to accompany along the way to help you get there, but you set the terms and then go ahead be consistent and #makeitso.

    P.S. Take a listen to this week's Podcast on "What is Ugly Progress"  it is Episode #22 of the "You Can Make It So" Podcast

     


  • Discerning between "Good Progress" and "Bad Progress"

    I am giving a talk at a roundtable this week. It is a big deal only because this is the first time since Covid 19 that it will be "in person". A welcome event, but a nervous activity. When you have been in hiatius and are out of practice for something by over 2 years, you wonder if you still remember how to do it well. So to prepare, I took some time away from my desk, my routine and my residence and went to a local library near my home here in Toronto. I thought it would be an uneventful step - not so much - let me tell you why.

    As I walked in, the smell of the Balzac Coffee was super distracting. Maybe it was my small breakfast, or my weak will power, but I decided a minute to get a coffee (and maybe a pastrie) would be alright. I stood in line and the young man ahead of me, who had ordered, struggled to find his wallet. His discovery that it was not on him caused him to become ashen in colour and akward in gesture. I stepped forward and said "what did you order?" His announcement of a rather small order led me to say "that is fine, I will cover it". You would think I had saved his life. His reply, and what followed, though shook mine. "I will pay you back...some how I will". I smiled and said "its all good... enjoy." He quickly insisted: "Sir, I wanted to give you the money." I smiled and said, "its alright, just pay it forward." He took his coffee and scone and off he went. I ordered the same, and went to find a table not far into the narthex of the library. There is a quiet corner near some light provided by the spans of windows.

    My work began, writing and reading. Then, came a moment that shook me. I looked out the window. There was the young man. He had obviously finished his coffee and scone. But something else. He had found his wallet. He went upto a stranger in what seemed to be a gesture of kindness, and then walked back into the coffee shop, returning moments later with a coffee and a scone. He handed it to this individual who externally demonstrated traits of homelesseness.  I am sure the sound that I heard was that of my chin hitting my table top... "he paid it forward", I audibly announced.

    So often in our lives the measurement of Progress is hitting the goal ahead. This is good. But when the goal is met - then what? As I have mentioned before, "Goals get you there but Habits Hold you there." This young man had his goal of "caffeine and a scone met". His day could have continued forward. His progress would have been "good". But to him, an instilled habit told him that if he did not do what he said he would, then it would be "bad progress". His habit? To not forget where his "success" came from. In this case, generosity from an equally cafeine starved pilgrim on the journey.

    If we have forgotten where our "success" has come from, where our "richness" was derived from, where our "possession" originated from, then we have not progressed. This young man achieved his goal - he got his coffee and his scone. But his day was not a success because he walked away with them, his success came because of what he did - he paid it forward.

    Discerning between "Good Progress" and "Bad Progress" is a measurement not so much of the outcome, but the result. What will do you with success? Why do you desire the success? How will get to the success? And who will you remember when you hit success?. The answers to these questions deserve some reflection and pondering, if for no other reason, then they may indeed motivate your success faster and make the sense of success longer and more satisfying in the end.

    This week - ponder the above questions in light of your answers to these......

    Personally – where do you want to be?

    Professionally – where do you want to land?

    Experientially – where do want to see and know thriving?

    Spiritually – where do you want to be rooted?

    But then add one more - Name the people you want your progress to benefit. 

    These will be all be pivotal questions as we continue in the month of June, and the six month mark of 2022.

    #makeitso 

    P.S. Take a Listen to Episode 21 "What is Bad Progress" - on our weekly Podcast - "You Can Make it So"

     

     


  • Are you making progress or just changing?

    When I was a young boy, my dad was often fond of saying; “that is a top shelf move”. Now, let me give you the background. You see the top shelf was always the place where the valuable stuff went in our house. In part, because it was hard for us as kids to get to them, but it was also a goal. When we desired a “toy” or something, my dad would buy it for us and put it on the top shelf. When we had done the things that went along with “earning” the “toy” we desired, we would hear him say “that is a top shelf move”. In time with enough of those actions, well we got what was on the top shelf! It was an invaluable lesson – work for the top shelf !!  I have been truly blessed to work as a Coach where I have met some of the most dedicated and talented people – truly as my dad would say – “Top Shelf People”.

    Many of these "top shelf people", I have also had the opportunity to help mentor the companies they lead, and continue to do so currently. One of the things that I tell them is that just because a business or organization is getting bigger does not mean it is progressing. A serious challenge for businesses large and small is to progress—and not just change.

    In business, “change” can relate to initiating something significant which can include anything from altering work culture to embracing diversity to modifying an individual’s work tasks. The goal of “initiating significant change” is solid, and many times well founded, but it does not always mean it is “Good Progress”.

    "Good Progress" is when the initiative is leading toward not such a productive altering, but one that is faithful to the wider vision, to the greater culture and the longer lasting success you, or your organization wish to experience. In business for something not to just be ‘change’ but rather be ‘good progress’ – I suggest it must have the following:

    Vision

    Perhaps the greatest sign of "Good Progress" is the ability to see in the development, the big picture of where the organization or team is headed, what it's capable of, and what it will take to get there. Does your change have in mind a wider, bigger, larger, longer lasting picture of your company, your organization or your team or does it just "fix" a problem you are seeing today?

    Inspiration

    As important as having a vision is, the ability to convey that vision to others is vital. "Good Progress" means maintaining a positive yet realistic presence within the organization helping team members stay motivated and engaged, and remember what it is that they are working for. Do you take the vision of the progress you wish to make and keep it before those you serve, and those who aide you in service?

    Flexibility

    "Good Progress" also means being adaptable when the situation calls for it. Nothing ever goes according to plan - whether you encounter minor roadblocks or large obstacles, you will need to be prepared to stop, reassess, and determine a new course of action.  Sometimes we believe progress is a single step, but "Good Progress" in fact is many strides. Some of these steps and strides go well, and others, well not so much. Are you ready and flexible? Do you embrace that as you commence? Are you ready to revisit the altering step you wish to take and refine it some more?

    Continuous Improvement

    Like with Flexibility, "Good Progress" will always be “underway”. It is not one single step, chapter or moment. It must be willing to find ways to develop new skills or improve upon a weakness, be able to identify and implement strategies for helping the organization as a whole grow, and, perhaps most importantly, be able to look inward and identify the areas the one beginning the “change” may need to work on - and then act on them. Are you ready for this continuous improvement not only in the idea or concept, but also in the means of how it is delivered – the people involved – including you?

    Moving our focus from “change” to “good progress” - that is a top shelf move. It can be an intense time for a business, its leaders and all those associated with it. Often the one beginning the “change” can be tempted to just tell people what to do, but if it contains the above qualities then the people we desire to inspire to action (lead, do business with, etc.) must believe that our ideas, our products, our services, our leadership and our initiatives will help them to move forward – then it will really be “Good Progress.”

    #makeitso

    By the way – check out Episode 20 of our Podcast “You Can Make It So” on "What is Good Progress?"  - go ahead take a listen! 


  • 7 Ways to Stay Motivated As You Make Progress

    One of the reasons people give up too soon on their goals and dreams is because it can feel like it’s taking longer than it should to see the expected results.

    You could be moving along as fast as possible towards your goal but because you have a big goal, it could feel like it’s taking an eternity to get nowhere! 

    I am reminded of the story of the “Bamboo Tree”:

    For five years after a bamboo seed is planted, it seems like not much is happening. On the surface, only a tiny shoot sprouts from the seed, and it stays like that. Little would you know that an elaborate system is taking root all this time underground, weaving deep within the Earth and creating a complex foundational network. At the end of these five years, the bamboo suddenly starts growing over three feet every day until it is around 100 feet tall—making it seem like the fastest growing plant out there.

    No matter what you’re trying to “grow”—be it a professional development goal, a project you’ve been championing, or progress towards a promotion—if you’ve been putting in hard work without seeing any immediate results, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your efforts have been in vain. Just consider the things you have gained along the way, like building an arsenal of relevant skills, expanding your network of contacts, and redefining your priorities for your aspirations. These are the roots that will give you the strength to succeed when you ultimately do reach your goal.

    But what do you do, when you HAVE set yourself some goals? When you DO KNOW where you would like to be? Except it feels like nothing is happening.

    You cannot see any signs that you are making progress. You feel like you are still at the starting gate, not making progress and your goal seems unreachable?

    How do you stay motivated to keep going, to stop telling yourself you should never have tried?

    How do you stop your negative talk that deciding to go after a progress was a silly idea?

    There are 7 Ways to Stay Motivated As You Make Progress

     

    You notice the small not just the large – We often look for the obvious or the large signs of progress – but what about the small ones? Are you getting up/going to bed earlier? Have you stopped buying that daily coffee to save some money? Are you saying no to invitations that take you away from your goal? Are you eating healthier/exercising more to increase your energy while working towards your goal? Have you reduced your time on social media or watching TV, so you have better focus? These small changes are slowly steering you to where you want to be. Notice them – they are signs of progress.

    Your circle is changing – Is your social or professional circle changing? Are you striking up more conversations with people on similar path in life? Do you find yourself being drawn into conversations with people who you feel understand your goals? Talking with others who are willing to talk things through with you? It is one of the reasons many join our Mancave sessions - connecting with people who inspire you on your new path - notice them – they are signs of progress.

    You’re willing to modify – As you receive more information, and talk with more people, you are more likely to discover new resources and new ways of hitting your objective. Maybe it is a new piece of technology, or some shared experience from someone who has followed a similar path, or maybe some sound advice from a mentor or coach? Discovering new information helps you to refine how to reach your goal. - Notice them – they are signs of progress.

    You are Not giving up – There is probably only one thing harder than progress – it is perseverance. Yes, setbacks dampen your spirit, but usually only momentarily. Often, when you really look at what did not work, you realise that it is an opportunity to learn. You are using setbacks as lessons without even realising it - notice them – they are signs of progress.

    You choose who you listen to – When reaching your goal is taking longer than expected, there will be lots of questions, opinions and (unwanted) feedback. When you are focused are reaching your goal, you learn to ignore the comments and simply keep moving and working towards your goal. This may lead you to reassess how much information you tell some people. You start to realise you need to conserve your energy as you continue moving - notice them – they are signs of progress. 

    You choose to be happy – Knowing where we want to go is better than wondering – working on your goal, creates inner satisfaction. Even though your life circumstances are not as you wish them to be right now, you remain quietly confident there will be a positive result - notice them – they are signs of progress.. 

    You say “#Makeitso” Daily - Despite the setbacks, your focus remains the same. You have set yourself a challenge - be determined to #Makeitso. You have moments when you just get up and you get after it - notice them – they are signs of progress !

    Above all, what is important to remember is working towards a goal is a time to be kind to yourself. To give yourself a pat on the back and congratulate yourself. Deciding to make a change is progress. Taking steps toward action or change is progress. Riding the highs and lows of your journey is progress. These are all signs you are indeed making progress towards your goal. Do not just glare at the “big signs”, take hold of the “small ones” too. Notice them – they are signs of progress!

    #makeitso

    By the way – check out Episode 19 of our Podcast “You Can Make It So” on "What is Progress and Why It is Important, plus 4 reasons you might NOT be making any - go ahead take a listen! 


  • Progress begins with a basic

    Recently, during a quiet weekend, I received a frantic text from a client whose company I serve as a consultant; it simply read: “Got a 911 matter – call me”. I dropped what I was doing, and sure enough called. It was a pretty urgent matter. A pivotal customer was about to leave because an employee of my client had dropped the ball in a major way. Now what?

    Well, we problem solved and some 12 hours later, the emergency was solved. I have been reflecting on what saved it – and it came down to a basic we sometimes forget - the foundations of a good relationship are built on communication.

    Each month in this Blog, and on our Podcast, in our group coaching platform Mancave, and with my One to One coaching clients, I try and focus on a theme – in June it is Progress – but before we can make progress we have to ensure the basics. So let’s tackle a key element - good relationships are built on communication.

    Hear, don’t just Listen  

    Most of us, especially us guys, are ready to draw conclusions once we’ve got the gist of what someone is saying. We believe “we know” what someone wants or how we can best serve them. We tend to prefer to be "the mechanic", rather than the "service advisor",  we like to "fix it". However, “hearing”, not just “listening” is fundamentally key.  So often as we are “listening”, we are filled with distractions and making our own conclusions on the next best steps. Instead, make sure you aren’t distracted (e.g. by your phone or laptop or by a previous task or just the desire to "get it fixed") while someone else is speaking. Let them know you’re paying attention by asking relevant questions. Ensure you are truly getting the gist by paraphrasing what they are saying. It may take some deliberate practice to do this, but this practice is worth it. A little hearing can go a long way toward making others feel respected and supported. If you haven’t been a good at “hearing” in the past, it’s never too late to begin honing your skills.   

    Be Clear and Concise

    People will be more attentive to you if most of what you’re speaking about is relevant and concise. Be mindful of everyone’s time. Are you looking for feedback or collaboration? Are you presenting something new or reminding them of something past? Having discipline around what you say and how you say it makes engagement more meaningful.  

    Preparation will allow you to be short and to the point.  Be determined that your goals are specific and attainable. Being specific is crucial for healthy relationships and making sure there aren’t miscommunications. If you haven’t clearly communicated your expectations, people will start filling in the blanks themselves and there’s no guarantee they’ll get it right.  

    Don’t Forget About the Goals of Others  

    Sometimes as leaders we have become stellar at hearing and communicating clearly, but we forget about the goals of others. Having this flexibility shows that you want to accommodate their needs, but even more crucial to the long term relationship, that you value them and see their unique personal worth.  Be curious, ask questions, and be attentive to what people are saying and what they are asking for.  

    In the case of my client, he had worked diligently over years with his customer, and on his own skillset, establishing both a good relationship and clear communication patterns. The progress he has made was preparing him for this day. Even a major “fumble in the end zone”, which required some cleaning up, did not call for  a “hail mary”, or a "new strategy", it just required creativity and reminders of a well-established precedent of service.

    Communication isn’t a skill we can just master and move on from. It’s a daily commitment to learning and improving. So often we think "progress", means something new all the time (a constant reinventing), but so often it means beginning with a basic and moving on (making progress) from there.

    Practice won’t make you perfect, but it will make progress.

    #makeitso