Your Red Cardinal Rising

January 21, 2010 at 9:01 AM | Posted in goals, leadership, opportunities | Leave a comment
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I was walking downstairs when a loud crash startled me. I looked out the window to see a beautiful red Cardinal lying on its side on the porch. Apparently, he had flown into the window and knocked himself senseless. I sat beside the window trying to decide if I needed to hold a Cardinal funeral or if he would come around and fly away.

Mr. Cardinal tried to push himself on to his feet, he flopped around for a bit, laid still, tried again. He finally got back onto his feet. Then he stood there not moving except to blink. He was so close I could see the individual feathers, how the colors melted in to one another, and the fold in his eyelid when he blinked. He stood there for 15- 20 minutes, sometimes closing his eyes for 4 – 5 minutes at a time.

I started to wonder what he was thinking about. From a physical perspective he certainly could have been stunned, cartoon stars running a circle around his head, he might have had a concussion. And he had the fight to get back on his feet.

I’ve been there before. Thinking something was going to happen, flying blissfully along only to have it ripped away completely. It feels like you’ve run into a window. You can be stunned. Standing their blinking, trying to figure out what just happened. Just getting back on you feet is a bit of an issue.

I think most of us have had this happen at some point in our business. It’s easy to feel stunned when something doesn’t go exactly as you had planned. Like the Cardinal you need to get back on your feet. Take a few minutes to regroup, shake the stars out of your head.

Those who have taken some kind of hit, gotten back on their feet, found another way and triumphed exemplify true character and courage. Leaders do this every day. You can do this.

For every one of us that seemingly disastrous moment will look different. What is a disaster to you is a bump in the road to me and vice versa. You don’t have to do it alone. Friends and peers can provide support and encouragement.

Get back on your feet and take one step at a time. After a bit that ‘disaster’ won’t look so awful, it may actually feel like a gift. A gift that has allowed you to use courage, cunning, leadership and character to reach your goal! Think about all that you have learned from that moment.

I sat watching Mr. Cardinal. Slowly he started to turn his head from side to side. He moved around to face the front yard. With a loud chirp he flew off!

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Change your assumptions

January 13, 2010 at 5:16 PM | Posted in change, goals, opportunities | 2 Comments
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I was talking to my coach today, as a business owner I have a coach. Her insights, intuition, ability to push me and test my ideas are truly invaluable.

I was wrestling with a decision this morning and contacted my coach for some assistance. We discussed the decision, potential outcomes, drawbacks, etc. and assumptions. That is the key word- assumptions. I realized that I was using a very limited set of assumptions to attempt to make the decision.

Note I was making assumptions. I was taking something for granted, specifically that certain events had to follow one another in a very specific order. That assumption was making my decision very difficult. My coach challenged me to change the assumption. After all, I wasn’t using facts I was just guessing.

As soon as I changed my assumption my attitude about the entire decision changed.   All of a sudden it was much easier to see a very positive outcome and the fit within my business.

I didn’t have to check my assumptions with other people, to make sure that they met other goals; I had the power to change my assumption. We don’t always have the luxury of changing our assumptions without checking with others. That is, also, the beauty of assumptions- you can go find the information so your assumption is no longer a guess- you then have a fact with which to work.

Back to my morning decision-

I changed my assumption and it felt like an entire world opened up to me. Do you have assumptions you could change? Look at things from a different perspective. Turn your assumption upside down. Maybe there is a much easier way of getting from point A to point B- there certainly was for me!

The King of Bursts of Action

January 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Posted in goals, time management | Leave a comment
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I was listening to an old Susan Hite radio showBuild Up to Breakthrough April 18, 2009, and it really drove home the need for consistent action. We frequently hear about folks that are an ‘overnight success’. Rarely is there anything ‘overnight’ about their success.

If you dig into the stories you find they have been chugging away at some business or idea for years and, suddenly, it broke through to the mainstream. Another thing I’ve found is that the latest ‘overnight success’ worked 20 hours a day for the last 6 months to create their ‘overnight’ success, to the detriment of relationships, health etc.

There are some individuals who go from nothing to magnificent over night and they are very, very rare. We all dream of being that person! Who knows it might be you!

Most of us must Build Up to Breakthrough- a term Jim Collins uses in his book Good to Great. Consistent, steady, focused action over a period of time will lead to the results you desire. The keys are:

  • consistent action
  • steady action
  • and a well defined goal

One of my clients was the King of Bursts of Action. (Note: This is not a title you should strive to achieve!) He did have well defined goals. For 3 days he would work like crazy to reach his goal. Then he was off to the next goal. He never followed through on the actions to reach the original goal.

Spurts of action don’t create the momentum with your clients, the name recognition with meeting planners or the consistency needed to reach your goal. They do create a sense of failure and a herky jerky feeling to your work that can be exhausting.

The ‘King’ changed his plan of attack. He started focusing on his original goal, created a plan of action that he followed over an extended period of time. His actions were consistent and focused. Within a relatively short amount of time he started to see results. He had a strong sense of accomplishment and found that he could continue following through with actions to meet the original goal while implementing actions to meet another goal. He even up-leveled his original goal!

He was utilizing his time in a more effective, efficient manner, seeing results and feeling a strong sense of accomplishment. Now he is the King of Consistent, Steady Action. (Note: This IS a title you should strive to achieve!)

The consistent, steady action he takes creates the build up that leads to his breakthrough. It’s a similar concept to getting ready for a large test. You can prepare a bit at a time over a few weeks or you can cram for 8 hours the night before the big exam. Cramming leaves you exhausted, stressed out, drained and certainly doesn’t ensure a positive outcome on the test. Studying just a few hours a week over time helps ensure that you digest the information, decreases stress and you don’t have to pull an all nighter!

My personal choice is steady, consistent action. Build Up to Breakthrough!

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