Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Dealing with Disappointment: Six Ways to Move Forward After a Setback (by Elise Mitchell)

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This is an article I read recently by Elise Mitchell which was an encouragement to me.  I believe it will encourage you, too.  If you like it, share it with others.

“I’m sorry. We’re going a different direction.”

Years later, I still remember that crossroads moment in my career with a twinge of anger and frustration. How I wanted that opportunity! I had seen the potential for upside, planned for it carefully, and made my case to all the decision-makers. But it didn’t work out, and it stung – badly. I kept asking myself: “What went wrong? Why is this happening?” I felt hurt and at a loss to know what to do next.

I’m sure you’ve experienced something similar. Perhaps you were passed over for a promotion. Or weren’t selected for a special project team. Or you had a personal setback that cast a long shadow over your life. Maybe you failed to come through in a critical situation, like a batter who strikes out to end the World Series. Or maybe you had a moral failure. Whatever it was, it felt like a defeat, and the disappointment held you in its grip far longer than you would have liked.

What should you do when you face times like this? How can you pick yourself up and start living – and leading – again?

The Greek slave-turned-philosopher Epictetus is usually given credit for the old saying, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” It was true 2,000 years ago, and it’s true today. Thankfully, neuroscience research and technology such as the functional MRI helps us understand just how much control we actually have over our thoughts and emotions. These insights are particularly valuable for leaders trying to bounce back from disappointment, and they form the basis for the strategies that have worked well for me.

So, if your world has been rocked by a setback, regardless of whether it’s of your own making, here are six ways to move forward:

1. Experience your emotions 
There’s something to be said for giving yourself time to mourn the loss and even be a little angry if you like. If you ignore your emotions, they’ll surface at some point and often in more damaging ways.

But you can’t wallow in self-pity forever. Give yourself a deadline – a day, a week, a month – to experience your emotional response. While you’re doing so, observe how you’re feeling and why. Jot down your thoughts. Then wipe your tears one last time and get ready to move forward again.

2. Accept reality 
Now that you’re more aware of the emotions surrounding this disappointment, you can manage them more effectively and not be held hostage by them.

One of the best ways to do that is to accept reality, even if the outcome feels unfair. Many people get caught up in whether an outcome is just. This shouldn’t have happened, we tell ourselves.

Maybe so, but big decisions are often complex, and we can’t always know what factors worked against us. It could have been as simple as bad timing or one person’s opinion that affected the outcome. Just ask any athlete who has lost a game due to a referee’s call.

This also might be an opportunity to break free of self-denial. Maybe it wasn’t the referee’s call. Maybe you just missed the shot or forgot where to go on the play that was called. That doesn’t make you a bad person. It just makes you human.

Until you accept what has happened, you’ll be stuck in a state of denial where your emotions rule. You must accept “what’s so” before you can get your brain engaged to figure out “what’s next.”

3. Shift your perspective 
The next step is to shift your perspective. There are many cognitive strategies that can help you change the way you think about a situation. Three that have been valuable for me are: normalize, reprioritize and reframe.

Normalize – It’s not just you. Everybody struggles. This is especially important to remember when you scroll through the carefully curated profiles so many people present on social media. Their posts typically focus on the ups and very little of the downs in life.

It’s normal to experience setbacks. This is part of living – and leading. Expect to be challenged and disappointed. Know that you’re not alone. Everyone goes through tough times.

Reprioritize – Ask yourself how this situation ranks in the big picture of your life. In other words, on a scale of 1-10, how big of a deal is this?

I remember another difficult time in my life where I was so upset over a setback that I couldn’t get out of bed. At that moment, I would have rated the loss a 9. I began to shift my perspective by counting my blessings. I had family and friends, a roof over my head, my health, and, of course, my faith. I had many things others don’t have. When I looked at this one situation in the context of my whole life, I realized it was probably a 4, not a 9. That doesn’t mean what happened didn’t hurt, but my gratitude helped temper my disappointment.

Reframe – Consider the benefits that could arise from this situation. What new meaning could you find from it? Perhaps losing out on a promotion can provide clarity about the skills and experiences you need to earn the next one. Or maybe you realize you’re not fulfilled in your work and it’s time to change careers. Or you reflect on the loss of a parent and commit to living in a way that would make them proud.

Look for a way to reframe what happened in terms that can help you drive a positive result.

4. Move from “no” to “not yet”
Carol Dweck’s study of resiliency in students illustrates the value of adopting a growth mindset. The key is to move from telling ourselves “no, I’ve failed” to “not yet, but I will.”

This requires us to view failure differently — as an iterative process, not as an end in itself. This mindset will help quiet the negative voice in our heads that wants us to quit when the going gets tough. If we believe we can learn from failure and have the potential to succeed, we find the strength to try again.

5. Revisit your goals
Where’s your there? Take some time to evaluate your goals and determine what has changed, and what hasn’t. Consider what your next and ultimate destinations could be in light of what has happened. Inspiring goals motivate us to move forward. Keep your eyes focused on where you want to end up.

6. Stay open
New opportunities can come when you least expect them, but you must stay open and willing to consider new things. This requires you to set aside the negative emotions and thoughts that can cloud your ability to listen intently and identify potential.

One way to jump-start this process after disappointment is to reach out to contacts you haven’t spoken with in a while and schedule a catch-up call or get-together. See what suggestions they might have for you.

Setbacks will happen. The real question is how will you respond when they do? Use these six strategies to help you bounce back from disappointment and start living – and leading – again.

(BONUS) Exercise
Here’s a simple exercise to apply these strategies. Think of a challenging situation you are facing and answer these questions:

1. Describe the emotions you are feeling.
2. State the reality of your situation.
3. Shift your perspective by using at least one of the cognitive strategies described above:
a. Normalize
b. Reprioritize
c. Reframe
4. What are you learning from this that you can improve upon going forward?
5. Have your goals changed as a result of this situation?
6. What new opportunities are you open to considering?

If you want to read this article in it’s original, click here:  Dealing with Disappointment

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Certainty in Uncertain Times

by Tony Robbins

A new city. A new job. The loss of a loved one. The loss of a dream.

Change is a part of life. Sometimes it’s positive, and other times less so. But regardless of what form it comes in, you have a choice: you can either ride the wave of change, or let it crash upon you as you struggle to remain afloat.

Sure, it’s easy to adopt a laissez faire attitude when turbulence comes your way. It’s the path of least resistance to shrug your shoulders, step back and watch as the events unfold and take their own course. But while that certainly requires less effort, it also disempowers you and precludes you from taking control over your own life.

The secret to handling change is to focus on progress. If you can make progress on a regular basis, then you feel alive. Now, you may be thinking that this is easier said than done. When you are lost, or trapped in an emotional fog, it’s hard to even make sense of what is happening, let alone understand what steps to take to move yourself forward. But by following these mandates, you can bring a sense of structure and certainty to an otherwise chaotic time, and start building something new, and perhaps even better.

MANDATE 1: CREATE A VISION

Create a vision for what it is that you truly want. If you find yourself unemployed, what does your ideal career look like? If you recently relocated to a new city, what do you want your life to look like there? If you and your partner are having trouble, what does your dream relationship with him or her look like?

The vision must excite you. It has to be compelling. It has to pull you. It should not be something that you have to push yourself toward, it should be something that you desire more than anything else so that it moves you emotionally. Envision this goal, see how it makes you feel, and then dive in.


MANDATE 2: MAKE THE RESOLUTION

Now it’s time to declare: “Okay, I am not going to just sit here and hope everything will be okay. I am going to take control of this situation.” Cut off any other possibility. If this is what you want, then burn the boats. Make the resolution that you will find a way to make things work and mentally put yourself on the path towards achieving the vision you just set forth.


MANDATE 3: FIND YOUR REASONS

Now that you have your vision, and you have dedicated yourself on a fundamental level to reaching this goal, you need to find your reasons – your purpose for wanting to achieve this result.

This is one of the most important components to making progress because without it, you will lose your emotional drive. You will inevitably face hurdles, challenges and obstacles along your journey, but the reasons will help push you through. When the stress and pressure come, your reasons will propel you along and you won’t let the fear or negative talk take over.

Your reasons can be framed in a positive or a negative manner – “If I don’t do this, this is what it will cost me,” or “If I do this, then this is what I can gain in my life.” What matters most is that your reasons resonate deeply within you. They are not superficial, but rather, stem from a powerful purpose that carries a profound emotional weight.

Just remember, when you feel stuck or lost, reasons come first, answers come second. Find the meaning behind achieving your goal, and allow that to help you get on target when things get rough.


MANDATE 4: MAKE IT PART OF EVERY DAY

Think back to something you wanted more than anything, something you were so hungry for that you felt a deep emotional need for it, something that you were intensely clear about it, and thought about every single day. You just didn’t know how to make it happen. Then suddenly, you attracted the right situation or the right people, and everything just came together.

Why did that happen? Is it the Law of Attraction? Not exactly.

There’s a part of your brain called the RAS – reticular activating system – and it determines what you notice in the world. When you set a goal, become extraordinarily clear on it, and have strong enough reasons behind your intent, you trigger the RAS. Your brain then becomes incredibly acute at noticing anything that comes into your world that could help you move forward.

Invest yourself fully in your vision. Make it a key part of your focus every single day. Then start to take note of what pops up in your life. The opportunities and key insights that arise may just surprise you.

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MANDATE 5: RAISE YOUR STANDARDS

Ultimately, if you want to create real change in your life, you have to raise your standards.

How many years ago did you come up with what you could or couldn’t do in your life? Take a look at any area in your life where you have a limitation and ask yourself when you decided to accept that. For many of us, it’s these self-imposed limitations that prevent us from making any real progress in our lives. We have convinced ourselves that our status quo is exactly what we deserve, and we in turn, base our identities around that – wherever people have their identity attached to, they live.

If you want to create a new life for yourself, then you have to raise your standards. You have to let go of the limiting beliefs that keep you locked in complacency. Make progress a “must” for you. Refuse to settle for anything less. This will take practice, it’s not something that happens overnight. But the more often you adopt the thoughts, behaviors and rituals of a new identity, the more powerful your brain will become at finding ways to bring you there.


MANDATE 6: ADOPT RITUALS

You have to back up your standards by what makes those standards real – rituals. Rituals are little things that you do each day that eventually build up so much momentum that it becomes a clear path to your vision.

If you are unhappy with your status quo, and feel that creating the life you desire is just a massive challenge, then break it down to bite-sized steps. Condition your body and emotions with a few small rituals. Maybe that means going for a short run in the morning. Or taking the time to make a healthy breakfast. Maybe it means incorporating incantations into your day. Or catching up with one good friend every week. It could even be doing something kind for someone else once a day.

Rituals are where the power is. They define us. They help us put our standards into action. Remember, when challenging periods come our way, we have the choice – to relinquish control, or to take action.

Creating the life you want is not an overnight event. It’s in the little things. It’s having a vision. It’s making it compelling. It’s seeing it and feeling it with absolute emotion. It’s caring about other people. It’s calling to say “I love you” for no reason. It’s about taking every opportunity to connect. To be playful. To honor and cherish your loved ones.

Change, no matter how devastating, does not have to define your life. You get to make that decision. And if you adhere to these mandates, then no matter how lost you may feel, you will be able to start designing the life you want, and living the life you deserve.

To read the full article on the website, click here:  Certainty in Uncertain Times

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Climbing the Steps of Leadership

Walking up Steps

Becoming a leader is a process.  In fact, there are five levels of leadership that we have to pass through to become what I call a Senior Leader.  However, we must begin somewhere!

Following are several truths we must embrace as we progress through the various levels, stages and seasons of leadership:

  1.  The higher you go, the longer it takes.  Don’t think you will arrive quickly.  In fact, things that usually sprout up quickly also wither quickly.  Learn from mentors and allow time, experience and failures to do their work in you.  Your best years are probably after your 45 years old.
  2. The higher you go, the higher level of commitment it takes from you.  Often, we start out with the commitment to do the right thing as a leader – make good decisions, produce results – but as we go higher we find there must be a greater commitment to become the right kind of leader – honest, hold to your values, do the right thing even when it  hurts – this takes a higher level of commitment.
  3. The higher you go, the greater the growth in you, your followers and your organization.  As we rise to a higher and higher level of leadership we gain more experience in people skills, producing fruit and making the right decisions that increases our personal growth as a leader and person, and also the ability to lead others to the next level which multiplies our growth, influence and productivity.
  4. You never leave your previous levels.  One level  of leadership builds upon the previous one.  Don’t forget the lessons learned at the previous levels as you will find you may need them again.  Don’t take short-cuts.  All that we learned in primary school benefits us in high school which benefits us in university.  The same as we progress through the various levels of leadership.
  5. As a leader, you will not be on the same level as your followers.  Your focus is different.  Your priorities are different.  You see things from a different perspective as a leader.
  6. However, you must work hard to carry your followers and fellow-leaders up to the next level with you.  You can’t leave them behind.  You must share your experiences, victories and defeats with them so they, too, can rise up to the next level as you grow.

Thank you for taking time to read this blog.  If you find it helpful, please share it with others.

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Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

The Awkwardness of Leadership

amelia_earhart

Here’s an interesting observation about leadership:  There is a tension about leading – on the one hand we would like to think becoming a leader will bring a measure of personal satisfaction, peace and cordial relationships and respect from others – and yes it does, but on the other hand there also comes a constant dis-satisfaction as a leader, and sometimes a disruption of relationships!  Why is this true?

Three Truths about Leadership

1.  Leadership means discomfort.  If you’re going to be an effective leader you must live outside your comfort zone.  The nature of a leader is they are always pushing forward into new territory, taking risks and learning and doing something new.  This creates a tension between satisfaction, pleasure and apprehension of where your bold move will turn out or now!  As  leader, especially as you are “on your way up” a  leader, you are often in “over your head” – beyond your level of experience.  If you are a leader or are moving into leadership expect to be uncomfortable a lot of the time.

2.  Leadership means dis-satisfaction.  Dis-satisfaction is a tool to move the leader to greater things and higher levels.  One the one hand a leader is satisfied with the level that he/she has achieved and the positive changes that have occurred through his/her leadership, but on the other hand he/she is not satisfied with that level.  A leader cannot rest until they can see more and more, better and better good things accomplished through his/her leadership.  If you are a leader or are growing along the path of a leader be prepared to on the one hand live a very satisfied life, but on the other hand to live in dis-satisfaction as well.

3.  Leadership means disruption.  The status-quo is never the goal of a leader.  The leader disrupts the normal way of doing things to present a new or better way.  The leader doesn’t disrupt for the sake of being contentious, but he’s always looking to the future and what could be done to bring about more positive results in the world.  Sometimes a leader disrupts processes or policies that have been set in place for a long time (traditions).  Sometimes a leader disrupts relationships with he/she is trying to move the organization or business forward and there are those who resist.  If you are a leader or on the pathway to leadership be prepared to sometimes face difficulties with traditions, policies or people.  Be gentle with them and always try to lead by love and compassion, but expect that not everyone will want to walk with you as you make a new path to the future.

The above photograph is of Amelia Earhart, who was a pioneer in aviation.  She challenged the normal way of doing things during her lifetime (1897-1937).  She wasn’t satisfied with the status quo and keep pushing forward and paved the way for others to follow.

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Family, Leadership, Personal Development, Uncategorized

Developing Skills With People, Session 1

People 1

Everyone must associate with people.  It’s very rare to find a person who is a complete recluse.  Most of us relate to people on a daily basis on a casual, personal and business level.

For me, personally, I’m an introvert.  I like to to be alone.  However, even after being alone for awhile I long for people.  I’ve worked with people for more than 35 years in a professional capacity.  As a pastor and director of an international organization with staff from many, many different countries I’ve worked with people from every kind of background and personality.  Because of my work over the years I’ve had to become a student of human nature and how to work with all kinds of people.

I will be the first to acknowledge my lack of skills to work with people.  I lack people skills in many ways, thus the even greater need for me to learn about human nature and how to relate to people on a personal level as well as professional level.

As a leader or just a regular human being, we must develop our skills with people.  Many of our problems in life and work are the result of us lacking in people skills.  

This blog is Session 1 in what will become a several-part short course on video. However, I’ll also put the basic content of each session in my blog.

Who should take this short-course?

  1.  Leaders or up-and-coming leaders who want to develop their people skills.
  2. Regular people – husbands, wives, parents, workers, youth – who want to grow.

What will you receive from this short-course?

  1. You will learn 10 characteristics of human nature.
  2. You will learn how you, as a leader, or good friend or acquaintance can become a positive influence to others in your sphere of influence.
  3. You will learn how to add value to those around you, including your boss or staff.
  4. You will learn how to discern and respond to people’s needs.

Stay tuned for future installments:  Ten Characteristics of People and how you can add value to others.

If you think this will be beneficial to others, please share it.

 

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