Overview: If you have ambition, you are inclined towards focusing on what you can achieve. However, there are unspoken and ever evolving unwritten rules which makes achievement more difficult to define how you actually can achieve and get ahead or where you want to be.

Kathy Murphy

I was recently talking to a leader of a sports team. I asked her this question “What do you do to both motivate and inspire your “bench players?” For clarification, the players who don’t see as much playing time, but who are also important members of the team. She told me that this is probably one of the most difficult things to do, or to do well and consistently.

After I heard this leader express that this is a challenging situation, and understandably something that most leaders face on a regular basis, I asked her “what if I had a solution to this challenge?” Naturally I piqued her curiosity, and she said “you have my full attention”. So, with this green light to proceed with my solution, I kicked off my solution explanation.

To set the stage for my solution to be shared, I asked this leader a few more questions. The next question I asked was “what happens when you are unable to inspire one of your players who regularly does not see much playing time?” I followed this question by asking “what’s your method to integrate your bench players into your team’s overall success strategy?” This last question seemed to really strike a nerve. I could also visually see that it was one she didn’t have a good answer to. However, she wasn’t the first leader I have worked with who responded this way.

Now let’s get back to discussing and responding to the first question I posed about how does someone inspire their bench or workplace team mates? As I proceeded to queue up the foundation for how I have been able to accomplish this, I also shared that this was something she could implement too. Of course, with some guidance, as I have been doing this for a while.

As part of explaining the “how” it is possible to inspire and motivate bench players, one of the factors I brought up to this leader was the number one reason people in the workplace feel good about the company they are aligned with. It’s a rather simple, but at the same time, can be extraordinary complex concept to get right. It’s that someone feels appreciated. Conversely, when people do not feel appreciated, it’s also the number one reason they leave the situation they are in.

So, if feeling appreciated is the perhaps one of the “secret” ingredients to inspiring or motivating others, is there an ideal way to accomplish this? Yes, there is, and it is one of the foundational way’s leaders can achieve the inspiration they are seeking to bring to their “bench players”.

Let’s now drill down into how I have worked with leaders to help them to achieve inspiring others.  The first thing I do is to determine what their top strength is. In full disclosure, I am a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, so I leverage the StrengthsFinder Survey Assessment to determine this. After I determine what a person’s number one strength is, I focus on helping them and their leader to understand how to properly leverage this strength. To leverage it in multiple scenarios, with the critical one being when they are not always fully engaged at the level they desire to be on their team.

When an individual can contribute their number one strength both on and off the “field” or in the workplace, this is when the “magic” of tapping into this concept begins to emerge. The person is able to both tap into a different source of their own motivation, and derive the benefits of their leader knowing how to accomplish this to. In fact, to know precisely how to both inspire and engage this individual, even if they are not playing an active role on the “field” or under the spotlight in their work place role.

Now, here is the brief version of the story I shared with the leader about one of the athletes I worked with who experienced the “pure magic” of being an inspired “bench player”. It’s important to understand that this particular player may not have initially understood that their role on the team was not going to be an active one. In fact, they may have thought due to their seniority on the team, that they would play an integral role on the field. This wasn’t the case. However, what did occur was that their “bench” position was actually far more important to contributing to their team’s success, than their limited time on the field.

How is it possible that a “bench player” could positively influence the outcome of their team’s performance? This is exactly the question that most leaders are challenged with, and I have repeatably proven that this is possible. It’s possible because when a person is able to engage in leveraging their own innate talents differently, and understand how to apply them constructively, yet outside of the way they may more traditionally do so, this is when they are both personally inspired and motivated. One more thing, they also feel appreciated too!

The biggest challenge leaders have with inspiring their “bench players” is that they may not or don’t appreciate the role they can play in this capacity. Instead of feeling like the “bench player” is going to be a challenge for them, they need to understand in fact how to tap into and leverage this person differently. Differently in the capacity of having them understand the integral role they do in fact play and contribute to the team as a bench player.

If you are a leader who is interested in learning more about how to both inspire and motivate your bench players, let’s talk. You know how to reach me, and I’ll look forward to having a conversation with you.

TAGS: #Motivation #Inspiration #Teams #Howtoinspireothers #Inspiringothers #Business #Leaders #Leveragingtalent #Leveragingstrengths #Talent #Talentdevelopment #Teamdevelopment #Sports #Coaches #Sportscoaches #Businessleaders

Kathy Murphy

For those of you who are also Brene Brown fans, you will appreciate what I will be sharing with you, as the context of what I will be revealing to you is based on over countless hours of research I have been doing during the last year. Most people are not aware of the fact I was working on this project, but it is one of the most gratifying projects I have worked on.

So, who and what was I researching? I have been interviewing sports coaches around the country, and added a coach from South Africa to the mix a few weeks ago. The coaches cover over a dozen different sports, are a mix of women and men, and they are coaching at the Professional (e.g., NFL, NBA, MLL, USTA), Olympic, College and High School levels. On average, the coaches have been in their role for a decade, and they represent a significant enough amount of States.

I am still conducting my research, but I recently analyzed the results from the coaches I have already spoken to. If I were to summarize what I am attempting to determine via this research is the coaches “why”. In other words, “why do they coach?”

If you happen to be a coach or perhaps a leader in the business world who is reading this, I guarantee you would agree that coaches and leaders share numerous characteristics. One of them is the reason why they enjoy leading others. Yes, you might be surprised by the majority of their responses, but the title of this article also provides you with a large clue about the direction the research outcome is heading.

As you are aware, the process of reflection is something that takes time. Time to devote to going through the process of being reflective, and also having a reason to do so.

Most surprisingly was the fact that the majority of the coaches had not taken the time to reflect upon or verbally convey their “why” they coach others. However, after sharing their “why” with me, all of them said they were pleasantly surprised they had not gone through this experience before, as they found it to be both therapeutic and paid tribute to all of the years they have devoted to coaching.

One of the words I repeatably heard from coaches was that coaching is similar to a “calling”. It was something they felt compelled they needed to do. Others articulated that they became a coach because of the experience and incredible life lessons they gained from their coaches, and they wanted to give this “gift” back to others.

Since being reflective does require you take time to capitalize on the advantages of doing so, why don’t more people do this? Especially leaders, people managing others and of course coaches too? It seems simple enough to do. However, it also requires being able to ask the right questions to be able to get to the deepest level possible of response reflection. It’s when you reach the true depths of being highly reflective, that you gain the positive attributes from doing so.

If you are curious about who you could be more reflective, or perhaps help someone else to be this way, I have included some suggestions below about how to accomplish doing this.

  • Simon Sinek is the person attributed to having people think about what their “why” is. Someone’s why can be associated with any number of different questions, but for the sake of this article, let’s have it focus on the aspect of “why” you lead, manage, mentor, or coach (e.g., sports) others? Take a few moments to write down, or think about why you do this.
  • After you have thought about or crafted your “why” relating to the point above, consider whether you want to share this information with someone else? Perhaps your team?
  • Factor in the benefits of others knowing and appreciating what your “why” is from having reflected upon thinking about this. Can you name what they are?
  • Consider the reasons you might not have taken the time to be reflective. Were you concerned that if you did this, that it would be a negative or positive experience?
  • Can you help someone else to take advantage of the powers of being reflective in their leadership, management or sports coach role?

I’m still looking for Sports Coaches to interview, so if you fall into one of the categories I noted that meet the criteria for me to be interviewed, I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

What will you get out of this? I’ll be sharing the results of my Sports Coach Research Project with all of the Sports Coaches who participated. The coaches will gain new insights from other coaches, and can potentially apply them to their team to benefit from too. Keep in mind, many of these coaches are well known for their winning records, but more importantly, for being the type of coach that every athlete desires to be coached by.

TAGS: #Leadership #Teams #SportsCoaches #Management #Success #Reflection #Theadvantagesofbeingreflective #Business #Sports #SportsCoachResearchProject #Athlete #Athletes #BreneBrown

Overview: There are certain traits which have a higher value than others. Being adaptable in both the work place, and in life is one of them. Given the choice, I would always hire someone or want to spend time with someone who had this trait over someone who wasn’t this way. Are you adaptable? Please check out my newest show below to find out if you are, and learn tips on how to be even more adaptable.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate this holiday.

Kathy Murphy

When I first started my career, the thought of moving up to a higher level wasn’t something I was thinking about. This was due to the fact I was more concerned about mastering the work related to the role I was in. As the years progressed, I became more aware of the career advancement of others. However, at that time, it was a mystery to me about how they moved ahead in their career.

The fact I didn’t have someone mentoring me during the first decade of my career is what I would attribute to being one of the greatest missed opportunities. Although, at that time, I wasn’t aware that having a mentor was an option. If I had realized this, the approach I took towards managing my career would have been significantly different. For one thing, I would have stayed on track to pursue a career which involved having more creativity infused into my daily role.

The expression that we have a 20/20 perception from our rear-view mirror may not be entirely accurate. My reason for suggesting this, is that we often forget or edit out some of the details that contributed to the outcome of the experience. Both good and bad ones.

When it comes to managing your career from a fully intentional approach to doing so, one of the first factors I noted above is that you should seek out counsel from someone to help you to do so. Your arrangement does not have to be overly official, but it should be with an individual who has successfully navigated the type of forward progress you are seeking.

There are numerous ways to get ahead in your career, and no one perfect way of doing so. That’s the good news. The downside is that you should consider whether moving ahead and up to the loftier roles in your career are really where you aspire to be?

Many of the leaders I have worked with have often noted that some of their best years of their career were when they were either individual contributors on a team. The teams they preferred working on were ones that were fully integrated, interdependent and focused on a single goal of achievement.

Now let’s get back to addressing whether you are interested in managing your career to higher levels, and how to go about doing so. The first step we covered already, but is worth repeating. Do you truly aspire to climb up to the highest levels of management? The second matter, also worth repeating, is to address ensuring you have a mentor or someone to guide you in the process of moving up in your role.

The third critical factor to consider is whether you have set yourself up in a role that will allow you to progress. Some roles have clearly delineated paths to the top, and yet the top level for the role may not take you to where you want to end up.

Here are some suggestions for how to go about managing your way up the career ladder.

  • Consider whether a lateral move may in fact provide you with additional experience you will need to progress to the next level.
  • Is your boss aware of your interest in moving up?
  • Do you have the type of boss who will support helping you to move up in your career? Not all bosses are “pro” you.
  • In addition to your mentor, seek out others either inside your company, or within your industry who have successfully navigated their way up to a role you desire.
  • Once you find someone besides your mentor to help you with your upward career movement, ask them to help you map out both the timeline and steps to take to accomplish this. In other words, have a written plan in place.
  • Applying a well through strategy to your upward mobility career plan will also be crucial to your success formula.
  • Often timing plays a large role in when opportunities avail themselves, and sometimes your experience may not match where you need to be to make a move.
  • There is an “art” to moving up in an organization. One of the most critical portions of the artistry of doing this is to hone your influencing skills. Consider how much experience you have with influencing others, and think about the outcomes of your influence.
  • Besides having your boss support you, have you put together your other “support champions”? These people will play a role in helping to drop both verbal and written endorsements for you as you are plotting your forward progression.
  • Your “support champions” should be a blend of people at different levels, as having a balanced group of people supporting you will serve you better than only being supported from top level executives. However, some people choose strictly to only manage-up to others in higher roles.
  • Managing across is also a technique to manage-up, as you will need and want to be supported by the colleagues who will eventually be reporting to you. Don’t underestimate the value of this.

Patience is a hard trait to master, and it will take a combination of patience, timing, support and a solid plan which needs to be executed well to get you to the level you ultimately desire to be at. Good luck with the process.

No one wants to be deemed irrelevant. Yet, as a concept, it seems to creep up on us when we realize that perhaps we need to tweak or make some adjustments to our area of expertise. Or, what I’ll refer to as our “game”.

You know when you are experiencing being at the top of your relevance game, and it’s a tremendous feeling. One that perhaps you wish you could bottle and tap into when you need it. However, it doesn’t work that way. So how in fact does it work? By remaining flexible and open to the fact that making adjustments, or fine tuning are necessary, not optional.

As an example, let’s consider athletes. Not your average backyard athletes, but the elite ones at the top of their “game”. They are continuously tweaking and perfecting; as close as possible, what they do well. In fact, they work at remaining relevant with their skills for as long as they possibly can. It takes dedication, focus and being open to suggestions on how to continuously improve. You need to be comfortable with constructive feedback and know how to apply it in order to ascend to the next level. Elite athletes excel at doing this.

Another category of professionals who have to maintain their relevancy are healthcare professionals. We depend on them to continue building upon their knowledge to take care of us, especially during the Corona-19 pandemic we are all living through.

A good friend of mine is a critical care nurse. Two weeks ago, she was re-training on how to use a ventilator, as she told me that there have been some aspects of this device that have changed since she was regularly using it. Literally the lives of people depend on her having relevant knowledge of how to use equipment to keep them alive.

My admiration is immense for my friend and all of the other healthcare professionals who are taking care of people, especially during this time period. We all know they are risking their lives to do this, and that they must maintain their care knowledge relevancy to do this. We count on them to do so, and fortunately they are delivering their expertise at the top of their games every day. Thank you for doing this, and for choosing to do so.  

So, what is it that allows some people to retain their relevancy, while others either consciously or unconsciously let it slip away? Determination and dedication are two of these factors, and ones we easily associate with elite athletes and healthcare professionals. Are there other ways that if your profession does not deem it necessary for you to maintain your relevancy you can do so? Naturally this is a rhetorical question, and here are some suggestions for how to remain relevant.

  • If you are in a profession which requires you to maintain licenses’, consider yourself fortunate, as you have a built-in system of checks and balances to keep you focused on remaining relevant in your profession. Make sure to keep your licenses current.
  • A number of professions refer to their craft as a “practice”. Even if your profession doesn’t apply this terminology, make sure you think about what you are doing to consciously practice your skills, especially the ones you might not be using on a regular basis.
  • Challenge yourself to keep up with the trends in your industry. Some industries trends don’t change frequently, but there are other ones which will require you to devote time each week or month to learn about the trends impacting your industry. Many of which will allow you to remain relevant in your career.
  • Invest in your learning. This doesn’t mean you need to take out your credit card to do this, but it does mean to find ways to learn more about your craft (e.g., on-line, or through talking to others in your industry) about what new things they are doing to remain relevant.
  • Consider teaching others in your industry. Look for opportunities to talk about or show others how you do your work. Make sure you consider applying a “hands-on” aspect to your learning if it is a topic which lends itself to being able to do this. Showing someone how to do something and then allowing them to mimic this is a powerful way to teach others.
  • Ask other people what they are doing to remain relevant. I guarantee you they will offer you a few “golden nuggets” of advice that will be invaluable to maintaining your relevancy.
  • Set new standards for yourself on maintaining your relevancy. Do this by looking around and finding people in your same profession or area of expertise who are at the top of their game. Then set out to see what you can do to mimic aspects of what they are doing, keeping in mind that imitation is the highest form of flattery.

Now that you are armed with new ways to maintain or regain your relevancy, what are you waiting for? Go out and make your relevancy something that becomes an integral part of who you are, and how you define yourself.

I was thinking about how to simply describe what I do professionally recently. In the simplest form, I would tell you that I am a “People Farmer”. Yes, this may sound odd, but since I love analogies, this one really resonated with me. Why? Because like people, farming is complex and multi-dimensional.

Although I have not spoken directly to any farmers recently, I would imagine they take great pride in seeing their work come to life. I’m thinking mainly of farmers who plant and grow things. If you have ever planted something, you would likely agree with me that there is immense satisfaction in seeing something you grew from a seed, and then turn into something that takes on a completely different appearance.

When I think about the work I do with people, I have often considered taking a photo of them when I first start working with them, and then one after I have been coaching them for a while. Do you think they would see a difference in how they look? Actually, I do. As a matter of fact, I have a number of people and teams I have worked with that look far differently after I have been working with them. Although I am not a personal trainer who would have the benefit of seeing their client literally reshape their body, there are aspects of how people who are developed via coaching look differently. Hold onto this thought.

Consider someone you know who has lots of confidence. Do they project confidence in their photos? Most of the time I’m sure they do. How about people who are generally known to be happy? Can you tell from their photos whether they are having a really great day and are happy? Yes, most of the time, even if they have a more serious expression on their face.

My point is that with coaching, and like farming, there is equally great care and focus applied to the development of both. Like farming, the intention of coaching is to help develop what is being focused on to go beyond and become stronger and more capable than they are when coaching was initiated. Developing people takes time. As a coach, you need to be able to focus on finding multiple ways to draw and bring forth the talents of who you are coaching. It’s not easy, but in my humble opinion, it is one of the most rewarding experiences you can humanly have.

As a parent, I look at my role as both a care taker, as well as a coach. They are different roles, and both are critically important. For some, both roles come naturally, and I believe they both come naturally to me. It doesn’t mean I am the best parent in the world, it just means I thoroughly enjoy both roles immensely. In full disclosure, I rely solely upon my instincts to guide me in my roles versus having read countless books on each topic. I’m not saying I would not have benefitted from having read books on these topics, I’m simply acknowledging I did not feel the need to rely upon them.

We are now living in a time when more people are classifying themselves as Coaches. I think this is wonderful! As I have written about before, I strongly support the philosophy that we all need coaches and people to mentor us . Yes, these can in fact be quite different types of people, and they might also use different methods to work with us, but the end result is that we will benefit from working with each of them.

Do I have a Coach? I sure do. As a matter of fact, I have a handful of them at any point in time. Some of them are formal Coaches, but most are informal ones that I consult with periodically. All of my Coaches are different types, and I am constantly learning new ways from them to apply and enhance my development expertise to be applied to the people and teams (e.g., Sports and Work) I engage with.

If you or your team think having one Coach is enough, have you considered what it would be like to have a Coach who focuses solely on developing you and your talents differently? Perhaps in a way your current coach hasn’t been trained on how to do so? Please give this some thought. Also consider whether engaging with a Coach who focuses on developing you or your teams’ innate talents, with the goal of taking them from great to superior, would be of value to you or your team.  

Kathy Murphy

Many people right now are more focused on the future than they have been. For some, the future always seemed to present a clear path forward. However, right now, we are living at a time when at best, our current future is in a state of limbo, or perhaps as clear as mud.

Uncertainty can evoke a heightened sense of anxiety, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, the present time with our future outlook in the state it is presents us with an opportunity. An opportunity to reframe, reconsider and reimagine how we would like our future to be shaped. The fact most people in the US are in some form quarantine right now, allows us to have contemplative time we do not ordinarily have.

I have always been fascinated with people who are classified as futurists, as they mesmerize me with the way they describe the “what if” or “what could be” happening in the future.  I’m not a futurist, but have been often classified as a “creative” or “muse”. Coming from a lineage of inventors and creatives in my family, I am using the downtime I have now to retool a number of things in my life. I consider this time a great gift, and one that I encourage others to perceive as well.

Yes, many people right now are clearly suffering. Statistically around twenty-five percent of our country has lost their job. Neither of these are experiences people normally want to have. However, having a different perspective on what is happening to all of us collectively right now, as a society is one of the gifts this time period is bestowing upon us.

It’s easy to be negative during times of despair. However, this is precisely the time when we all need to dig a little deeper, with the intent of finding the “silver lining” we can all benefit from seeing.

If you are struggling to imagine how your life could be better right now, given the fact you might be in a situation you never imagined being in, here are some suggestions on how to take back some control in your life.

  • Although most of us are not allowed to go anywhere except for the grocery store and pharmacy, it doesn’t mean we can’t go anywhere. Or, perhaps not physically. However, it does mean if you have internet access, there are amazing websites that offer ways for you to experience virtually what they have to offer. As an example, here is a link to twelve virtual museum tours.
  • I don’t have any musical talent, but many people do. If you do, consider sharing your gift of being musical with others by inviting them to a virtual “concert”. Starring you! Don’t forget to invite me please.
  • A number of people have talents that lend themselves well to sharing with others (e.g., drawing, painting, DJing, cooking, sewing, code writing, wood working, sculpting, physical fitness instruction, repairing things). This list could be an enormous one, so I’m asking you to consider how you can share your talents with others. Although I don’t consider my writing to be a special talent, I do consider it something I can at least share with others.
  • Many people are living alone right now. Consider giving them a call, or perhaps Zooming with them for a virtual chat to engage with them socially. Both parties will gain enormous benefit from this. Make a list of people you can queue up with each week to do this, and consider doing this even when we are not quarantined.
  • If you are someone who has been called a “futurist”, consider sharing your outlook with the rest of us who would love to hear about how you are perceiving our future to be shaping up.
  • If you are not an organized person, this is the perfect time to take back some control in your life. I literally started with the top drawer in my bedroom dresser. I liked the results so much, that I continued to organize the rest of my drawers. Now I love opening up the drawers and seeing how organized everything looks!
  • Reach out to people on LinkedIn, or in any of your social networks that you have always wanted to reach out to. It could be for the purposes of learning more about the career they are in, or to plant the seed to connect again with them once our world gets back to our “new normal”, and we are all back at work.
  • Although you may have lost your job, there are still many people who are working. Ask them how you can help them and offer to do something for them with the extra time you have, especially people working on the “front lines” of our pandemic. It could be offering to go shopping for them, walk their dog or make something for them.
  • Think about your future differently. You have the time to do that right now. Write down, draw or talk to someone about how you would like to reshape or head the direction of your future in. You have nothing to lose doing this, and possibly everything to gain.
  • Take time to let others in your life know that you appreciate them. Write them a note, tell them, send them a video expressing how you feel positively about them. Yes, they will appreciate you doing this, and you could start a positive chain reaction and be the example for others to do this too.

We can all use a dose of positivity in our lives right now. Despite the fact many people’s circumstances may appear to be bleak, I can assure you this situation is only temporary, and we will at some point be back to a place where this time is a distant memory. Make the best use of the time you have right now. I know I’m trying to do so, so please join me in doing that too.  

Kathy Murphy

Each day every one of us has an opportunity to positively impact the life of someone else. Yet, when I see some people’s actions, I am disappointed with how many people miss or are not aware of the ability to do so. Consider thinking about this today, and some of the actions you may have taken. If you could, would you want to apply a do over to any of them?

Being consciously aware of our actions, and thinking about how we always have a choice about which direction to apply our impact is critical. So, why don’t more people seemingly do this? Is it because no one gave them permission to help versus hurt someone with their impact? Perhaps the modeling they had growing up wasn’t constructive, and they are mimicking what they witnessed? Or, possibly they are not aware of their destructive choices and actions, and the outcome of them.

Yes, it may seem ridiculous that some people are unaware of their impact, but I guarantee you that this is happening more than we might like to admit. What is contributing to more people having a negative impact on others? Many factors, and ones we are all contending with. Let’s start with an easy one. Social media. I picked this one, as you are hopefully positively benefitting from the impact of it by reading this article.

For some, it appears they consciously or perhaps unconsciously leverage the power of social media as a weapon, versus a gift. I prefer to have the tool of social media work favorably for others. That’s my way of positively having an impact on a global audience.

Let’s take the concept of impact into the work place. Or, for those of you who love sports, let’s apply this to your favorite sports platform. In either scenario, there are numerous opportunities for both the leaders of each scenario to widely and favorably impact their groups every day. The easiest way for them to do this is to verbally or in writing let their team members know they appreciate the work they are doing. As you know this doesn’t cost anything to do, and most would refer to this as praise. When praise is authentically given, it has an enormous positive impact on others.

So, what are some of the other ways people can have a positive impact on those they interact with? Here are some suggestions to get you started, and moving in the direction of potentially counter acting any negative impact you unknowingly are causing.

  • Everyone has a degree of empathy. Some more than others. However, regardless of the amount you have, if you notice someone is having a tough day or moment, tell them you are aware of this. Also, ask them if there is anything you can do to help them.
  • Giving someone an opportunity to be listened to, and truly heard can be enough to have a positive impact.
  • Carve out more time to help someone. It could be as little as 5 minutes, but it could make a world of difference in their lives, or in the work they are doing, or with something they are trying to master in the sports realm.
  • Look around. Do you see who might need some additional support? If so, then either directly offer to help them, or talk about who else can be involved with doing this. You don’t always have to take on the full responsibility of helping someone. There are times when it is better to also involve someone else in the effort of doing this.

Let’s assume you are having a positive impact on others on a daily or regular basis. What if you are dealing with someone in your life, on your team or in your workplace that is having a negative impact on others? Here are some suggestions for how to contend with them, and to potentially turn them around. At a minimum, to make an attempt to do so.

  • Ironically, many who are not having a desired impact on others are often unaware of their behavior. Yes, it will take courage, and perhaps more than one conversation, but someone needs to confront this individual. If you are in a workplace and work at a company who has a Human Resource (HR) professional, seek out their assistance or obtain guidance from them prior to your conversation. If you do not have access to an HR person, Google will be your best friend to provide advice on how best to initiate the conversation with the individual, and what questions to ask them.
  • On or coaching a sports team? The common thread between sports and work scenarios is communication. Strong and clear communication with someone who is having a non-desirable impact is the first step in changing this behavior. In other words, having the person acknowledge and then understand via talking how their impact is not having the type of outcome they think it is having. Will this be an easy conversation? No. Will it have an immediate positive impact? Yes, and no, but the first goal will be to get the person to a neutral place and in a non-judgmental frame of mind to have the eventual desired positive outcome from having them acknowledge their negative impact.

Since I always like to challenge both myself and others, my request is for you to keep a running tally (e.g., positive or negative impact) for a minimum of a day, ideally for a week, on your work place or sports team interactions. The goal will be to help you to determine whether you are having more positive or negative outcomes on others. You know which category you want to be in, so go make this happen.

Kathy Murphy

While on a virtual meeting the other day, I was talking to a someone who is in the healthcare industry. He is also an expert in mental health, and works with many people between the ages of 18-23. During our conversation, he revealed how people in this age range are struggling with their anxiety levels right now. He also acknowledged it wasn’t simply this age range that is struggling. Unfortunately, I was not surprised by this news.

I asked what was the single reason, or most referenced concern people said was causing their anxiety. His response surprised me slightly, but it does make sense. He noted that it is the increased lack of knowing what is going to happen in their respective lives that is spiking their anxiety levels.

Right now, all of us are living at a time when the word combo of “precarious situation” could be used to describe also how we feel. In plain English, uncertainty is what is currently ruling our days.

However, like many other feelings, uncertainty can be corralled. We can also apply more control than you realize, to help us reduce our anxiety levels. For starters, doing this takes looking at our respective scenarios from a different perspective from what you are facing. The questions I want you to honestly answer are: Are you willing to do this? What is the worst thing that would happen if you don’t? Perhaps you will continue to feel more anxious? I’m certain no one wants to feel a higher level than they presently do.

As an external optimist, I believe my skill set in this area are needed more than ever right now. I also feel fortunate to be My ability to contribute helping others feel less anxious is intended to purely help others feel a reduced sense of lack of control. If I am able to simply help one person, then I am grateful for being able to do so.

When I choose the name of my first book called “Wisdom Whisperer”, I intentionally did this. Why? Because the information I am sharing with others I consider to be wisdom others can benefit from…should they decide to listen. Hence the reference to “whispering” versus overtly shouting out what I am conveying.

The good news I was referencing about being able to control or reduce our anxiety levels, is with the intent of doing so without medication.  The reality is that I am not a healthcare professional, so I cannot prescribe medication. From a science and medical perspective, there are levels of anxiety that require medication, but most people can control theirs without it. However, if you require anxiety medication and it helps you, even temporarily, consider yourself fortunate to have found a solution. Especially in the time period we are in.

For those of you who believe you do not need to seek medication as a solution, here are some ideas for you to consider exploring and trying to see if they can help you to take back control of your anxiety level. Many of these will be ones you have heard of before. Perhaps even using currently, but for those who have not had to deal with anxiety before, this list is for you. Thank you to my professional mental health connection for suggesting these solutions.

  • Think about anything other than what is contributing to your anxiety. For many of you, watching, listening or reading about Covid 19 for any length of time, every day, and for excessive periods of time is not helping you. Reduce your intake of the news reports.
  • If you live alone, please make time to talk to your friends on the phone or via a video conference. Texting is Ok, but seeing the other person or multiple people you can talk to will make you feel much better. I had my second virtual “party” on Saturday night. For a number of my friends, it was the first time they had experienced the beneficial positive feeling and power of getting together and talking this way. A number of them said it simulated better than they expected what a real party would be like.
  • Exercise. Any type counts. More importantly, try to do some type that you enjoy, and that could even feel like it is fun! Dancing around counts, so crank up your favorite music and start dancing.
  • Distract yourself with learning how to do something you have always said…I have always wanted to learn how to (fill-in-the-blank).
  • Change your diet. This is a great time to manipulate how you feel by feeling better by actually making an attempt to eat more healthy food. We all know that sugar is not our friend…although I know it tastes really good. Start by trying to cut down on the amount of sugar you eat every day. It will be easier than you think. One thing I did was to eat a piece of fruit, instead of having some ice cream.
  • Do something nice for someone else. You know the expression “It is always better to give than to receive”. My neighbor just texted me and said she has an open bottle of wine she used a small amount of in a recipe. She doesn’t like red wine, so she asked if I wanted to have the rest of the bottle. This has to be the best morning offer I have received in years! Although, I won’t be enjoying the wine until dinner tonight.
  • Loan your time and teach somebody how to do a skill you have mastered. Perhaps ask someone you know to teach you what they are a pro at doing, and then ask them if you can reciprocate. Or, introduce them to someone you know who can teach them a new skill.
  • Keep in mind that your anxiety level will decrease, and that now you have some basic techniques to help you to bring it down.

Please think of this list a catalyst. One intended to serve as a reminder about how to decrease our anxiety levels. My one request? If you made it to the end of this article, please share with me or others at least one of your own techniques to reduce anxiety. Thank you in advance for doing so, and stay healthy my friends, both physically and mentally.

With undertones in the media and in conversations with people the last few days, it appears we are inching towards our state and perhaps our country being fully quarantined. Does this bother me? Not really, and I have a number of reasons why.

My first reason is due to the fact I see infinite possibilities with having time I did not expect to have to work on projects that even on a digital list, I felt were accumulating dust. My second reason is I also have time to catch up with people who are usually in transit, or on the other side of the world.  I now know where they are, and can get in touch with them! The third reason is I feel much more creative and full of hope about what is ahead for all of us.

Now, back to discussing being adaptable. Is this a trait that can be taught? Sure. Although some people are naturally more adaptable than others. I bet you can also name a few people who are this way. Are they people you enjoy working with or having in your life? Of course, they are. They tend to be the type of people who go with the flow. In the current state our world is in, we need to call upon more of these people to help us. Especially, to help the people who are the opposite of them.

Being flexible is one of the many words to also describe people who are adaptable. In my professional opinion and through observations, when someone is flexible, it also provides them with more opportunities.  Both professionally and personally.

A fantastic workplace example of someone who exhibited adaptability characteristics was a person I was once interviewing. We ended eventually hiring this person, but they were our second-choice candidate. The first person ended up declining our offer, and we went back to the second candidate who was thrilled to have an offer extended to him. He needed to be flexible with our terms of hiring, and he was. This made choosing him as a second-choice candidate feel like an even better decision. He also demonstrated continued flexibility as an employee, and his early signs of being this way represented him authentically.  

Are there ways you can either become or be perceived to be more adaptable? Absolutely. Here are some suggestions on how to go about doing so:

  • The next time someone asks you to help them, do so, and without any excuses.
  • Give other people an opportunity to be in the spotlight at work, or put them in the spotlight by being a spokesperson for how valuable their contributions are to your team.
  • Consider doing that “task” others are always asking you to do on your team that you always avoid doing. Surprise them and show them that you aren’t “Captain No”.
  • Agree to meet in the middle. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, as long as it doesn’t get you in trouble or harm others.
  • Think about why you might not be adaptable. Is it because you are stubborn? Do you think your reputation might be tarnished or improved with being more flexible? Perhaps you are afraid to fail? Or, worse, succeed?
  • Have you always been inflexible? Is this a label you want to have applied to you?
  • Consider someone you know who would be described as being adaptable. What are the reasons others would classify them this way? Can you try modeling and applying one or more of these qualities to how you go about your life or the work you do?
  • It will take time and practice to become more flexible, just like it does when you begin to workout at the gym. It’s the same concept with personality adaptability.

Let’s face it. Superpowers are not easy to come by, and certainly not everyone can master and have this one applied when others are describing them. Maybe not all the time, but perhaps some of the time.

As I noted in the hiring example above, I have questions that I have used and asked candidates to help me determine whether adaptability is one of their traits. These same questions can be configured to apply them to people you interact with on a social basis too. If you are interested in finding out what they are, please let me know.

Kathy Murphy

There is a lot to admire when someone is at the top of their game. Whether it is in business or in sports. Typically, what they are doing looks like they are doing it with ease, and a finesse which is often hard to describe. Do you know someone like this, and do you know how they got there?

I’ll grant you credit for being able to name a few things which have made the people you admire, and who are at the top of their game, but I bet you will be surprised by some of the other reasons. Why? Because the truth is there is no one particular way for anyone to be at the apex of their “game” or profession. However, there are some fundamental and common denominators which most top performers have in common.

If you were to take a look into the lives of top athletes, you will find one of the most common traits they have is a desire to always be competing at something. They thrive when they are challenged to strive and to do what it takes to win. Achievement is a byproduct of being competitive, but it doesn’t always mean winning. However, being focused on achievement is also another trait athletes have in common. Neither being competitive or achievement focused should be surprising elements of successful athletes, but some of the other reasons might surprise you.

After working with and being around athletes and top business people for decades, the single item they all possess is the desire to always be learning. The type of learning they individually do varies significantly, but most of the time it is related to the work they are doing. Both athletes and business people can benefit from understanding and applying leadership principles, and this is one of the areas they are often focused on learning more about.  

Since there are various types of leadership approaches and styles, most will focus on one that is most suitable for their personality and the environment they are in. Considering leadership takes place both on and off the court, and in and outside of the office, it is a skill which needs continuous refinement and practice. It is also why you find many successful athletes pursuing second careers as high achieving executives. This of course applies to both men and women.

Another common reason top performers attain their levels of success has to do with their ability to focus on the big picture. To be able to do this requires a certain amount of strategic ability. Although some strategy can be taught, the best strategists are innately gifted in this area. Learning about strategy and how and when to apply it is also one of the other factors contributing to people’s success at the height of their respective careers, but not always.

Top performers are also supported as they are perfecting their skills by many others, and they also have the ability to recognize which ones will contribute significantly to their success. Again, this is a skill honed by years of subtlety observing how other people’s skills can contribute to making your skills stronger. This isn’t taught, but it is something top performers are able to recognize and extract from those who coach, support, work and play with and manage them.

If you are tasked with determining who will become a top performer, or seeking those who are what I will refer to as being “under the radar” as a top performer on the performance field or in the working world, here are some questions to ask to find out if you are in front of a top performer in the making:

  • How have or do you stand out from others?
  • What motivates you to strive for top performance?
  • Tell me about your leadership philosophy.
  • Talk to me about the types of content which inspires you to grow.
  • What does achievement mean to you?
  • How would you describe the feeling of being competitive?
  • What vision do you have for yourself and others you play/work with?
  • Do you know how to inspire others? If so, how do you do this?
  • Do you know which people to include or exclude from your circle of excellence?
  • What happens when your performance isn’t consistent? Do you know how to course correct this?
  • How engaged are you with your teammates/colleagues/leadership group?

I could add numerous other questions, but some or all of these should be helpful in identifying top performers in the making. More importantly is to be sure not to only lean on reviewing pure performance stats, as there will be many top performers who may not have the typical stats or the traditional professional experience yet to identify them.

Keep in mind that many top performers begin to shine later in their sports and professional careers, so it is critical to not rule people out who are the “under the radar” top performers in the making.

I’m always amazed that what appears to be so obvious, and in plain sight, seems to be invisible to many. Especially those who are responsible for leading corporations, managing teams and coaching athletic teams. Are you wondering what am I referring to? Good you should be.

The unfair advantage you have are the people you lead or coach. Why? Because as you already know, together they can be a powerful force to achieve everything and beyond what you would like them to. However, your challenge is figuring out the code to unlock your team’s full potential. I have figured out how to do this, and repeatedly.

What I am amazed by is why more people are not asking me to help them with this method of unlocking their team’s potential. Perhaps they aren’t convinced this is possible. Even with data. Maybe it’s because they do not consider investing in discovering their team’s greatest abilities as the investment that keeps on providing an ROI beyond their imaginations? Or, worse? Perhaps they don’t believe their team’s collective strength has the power to go beyond their current achievements?

I’m certain there are numerous reasons teams are overlooked from an investment perspective.  What if they weren’t? What if their leaders and coaches invested in them, and capitalized on their collective abilities on a daily basis, and saw results within days? Yes, this is possible.  The best part is that as time progresses, the teams which have had their strengths unlocked, continue to steadily increase the results they were initially expected to deliver.

So, are you wondering how I go about unlocking team’s potential? I do so by what I call an exercise named Team Strengths Reveal (TSR)Ô. Via a series of steps, with the first one identifying what each team members top (5) strengths are. I then focus each team member on leveraging their top strength to contribute to the team’s performance. I also borrow from a categorization concept outlined in Destination Unstoppable by Maureen Monte. What happens is that I assign each person on the team a role which is aligned with their top strength, and teach them how to leverage it.

Aligning a person’s top strength with how they can contribute to the overall team strength is part of what gives a team an unfair advantage. Why? Because other teams can’t see this invisible strength the team has. The TSR team is also capitalizing every day to hit performance metrics, but much more.

Some of the other unfair advantages the teams I work with have are that they are more motivated, united and engaged than they were prior to and after I have worked with them. By having leaders and coaches understand how to leverage each team member’s strengths, and teaching them how to harness them collectively, is what separates them from teams who do not know one another’s strengths. When a team is focused on leveraging their collective strengths, it’s equivalent to having a new formula for success you did not know existed.

When you observe a team that is working or playing together who is capitalizing on their strengths, you will notice they interact differently than other teams. Their leaders and coaches will also tell you the effects of a team leveraging their strengths is unlike any other methods they have seen applied, with such successful outcomes. Teams who are aware of one another’s strengths have a different level of respect and understanding of each other. The outcome is they interact together in a way they wouldn’t be able to achieve without this awareness.

Beyond the work or sports team the individuals are on, the people who know what their strengths are, find they are more focused, happier and productive in their lives outside of their respective teams. Their families and friends notice this too. How do I know? They tell me, and it’s one of the best feelings to know you have made a sustainable and lasting difference in someone else’s life.

Are you ready to give your work or sports team an unfair advantage? When you are, please let me know, and we will begin making this happen for them.

Sure, accumulating material things can be fun, especially when you get a good deal on them. However, at some point, you will probably realize you might not need as many of the items you have acquired. I had this epiphany when I took my first trip, and it happened to be a business trip.

After I returned from my trip to Manhattan, I started thinking about how much fun I had taking a look at the photos of where I had been, and the people I ventured to do business with. I also realized that I did not purchase any items while I was away to bring back with me as part of my trip. This was probably because my focus was on business not adventure. Although upon thinking about the experience I had, my trip was far more adventurous than I originally gave it credit.

One of the topics I enjoy talking to people about is the experiences they have. This makes perfect sense, as when was the last conversation you had with someone about all the “stuff” they have acquired? I can tell you it’s been awhile since I had this type of conversation, and I’m relieved by this.

Right now, I’m on a trip, and part of the excitement about my trip is the fact I do not have an agenda. Although typically my days are heavily scheduled and planned well in advance, sometimes it is refreshing not to have an agenda, and to simply go with the flow and see where your day takes you.

Yesterday I was walking around on the island I am visiting for my birthday weekend, and I happened to meet a scallop fisherman. He was the captain of a hundred-foot vessel, and was at the dock due to the fact the sea had twenty foot waves. I have never spoken to someone who has this specific profession, although I have talked to people who are professional fishing and lobster people. All of these people have fascinating stories about their profession, and are eager to share them with you. You just have to ask them to do so.

The scallop fisherman was very willing to answer the questions I had for him about why he was docked, when he would be heading back out to sea again, how the mechanics of the boat work to catch scallops, and about the rules and regulations he and his crew have to adhere to in their profession. One of the things he told me is that his annual season is about to end, and that his next season will begin in April. What this means is that his annual scallop fishing quota will be reset, and he can go back to fishing in areas he has not been able to fish in during the last six months.

During my conversation with the scallop boat captain, I realized how much fun I was having talking to him about something I knew very little about. Talking to him was similar to a watching a documentary on the trials and tribulations related to the industry he was in, but far more interesting. Why? Because I was able to steer the narrative and learn from him based on the questions I asked him.

The experience I had speaking to the captain was incredibly invigorating for me. One of the coolest things about this conversation was that I was having an unplanned and highly energetic conversation with someone who was so passionate about their profession. This is a perfect example of what it means to think about having more experiences versus acquiring stuff.

Your memories and the amount of experiences you have are going to make your life and work far more satisfying than purchasing the next shiny gadget you have in mind to acquire.

Giving people experiences versus buying them stuff is also a concept worth giving more thought about. We remember and can place a higher value on our life when we have the opportunity to enjoy and participate in experiences versus reminiscing about the things we have. So, when you have a chance to give someone or yourself an experience versus buying a thing, think twice about which one you will gain the greatest investment from. This should be an easy decision. Perhaps not, if you have not taken the time before to consider the importance of experiences versus stuff. Now go out and start enriching your life via new experiences.

Kathy Murphy

When was the last time you weighed the pros and cons of investing your money in experiences versus material things? If you have not thought about this debate lately, I encourage you to do so, starting today. This applies to both work and life.

The full article will be posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

Overview: Dogs wagging their tail can mean a number of things. Hopefully it means they are happy to see you. Sometimes they wag their tail because they are scared or nervous. Seeing a dog’s tail wag and interpreting what it means can be similar to comparing it to a happiness index. Are people happy to see you? What are the signs they are?

Kathy Murphy

What if the word “can’t” wasn’t in your vocabulary? Are you the type of person that when they hear this word this…oh yes I can! If so, consider yourself fortunate, as this is one of the words which derails dreams and keeps people from doing extraordinary things in their life. How do I know? Well, I’m one of the types of people who hit the “ignore” button when I hear this word.

Sure, there are reasons why when someone is told they “can’t” do something they automatically default to feeling dejected, but what if you didn’t hear this word, and instead heard “yes”, you can do that? Of course, there are things which would be absurd to tell someone they cannot do something, so I am qualifying this concept to apply to rationale actions and activities.

Think about the last time you heard someone tell you that you couldn’t do what you wanted to do, or needed their permission to do. How did it make you feel? Did you immediately give up and think there was no path forward? Or, did you immediately start thinking about what your Plan B, C, D, etc. would be? For those of you in the sales profession, you are much more accustomed to being able to hear the words no, and not always accept it as the final decision. You are trained to come back with other methods to hear the word “yes”, or essentially you can.

Since salespeople are trained to convince others their solution or pitch is the best option, can non-sales people learn how to take a page out of the salespersons playbook to hear “yes” or you can more often? Of course, you can! However, the question is do you really want to? Or, are you comfortable with more of the same, and not pushing into unchartered territory to really go after what you want?

I have often talked about how people in general are resistant to change. In fact, we are biologically programmed to be more conservative and risk adverse naturally to protect ourselves physically. However, this can also apply to mentally shielding ourselves from taking risk when we hear we can’t do something.

If someone granted you permission to live your life and operate in a professional environment sans the word “can’t”, what would be the first thing you do? Would you go back to your boss or team and have a different conversation from the last one which shut down your idea or request to do something? What would the impact of hearing “yes” you “can” do for you?

We know how impactful words can be. Especially harsh words. However, what if more of the words we heard expressed when we were pursuing something resulted in hearing exactly what we wanted to hear? Can you imagine being able to handle this? Are you smiling? You should be, because your professional scenario could be entirely different than it is now if “can’t” wasn’t a word your heard or had to react to.

So, what can you do to hear “can” or “yes” more often? Here are some suggestions to put to the test:

  1. Always have at a minimum a secondary plan in place, and assume your Plan A might not be accepted. Even if you think your Plan A is the best plan in the world, others might not see it that way.
  2. Consider whether what you are proposing is only self-serving, or whether you have thought about whether you are actually solving a problem or challenge or providing a better solution if there is an existing one.
  3. Do you really want to hear yes, or are you expecting to hear “no”, or “you can’t” do that? Often, we go into requesting what we want with a weak proposition, or one that is confusing and not verbally expressed in a way which could be misinterpreted negatively and would make it difficult to say yes to. Always be crystal clear.
  4. Practice your pitch or request if it is something you have to obtain the go ahead from another person or a group. Actors always rehearse before they perform in front of an audience, so you should too. Essentially you are putting on a performance, and you want it to get rave reviews.
  5. Are you conditioned not to go after what you want because you have heard “no” or “you can’t” so often? Make a list of the times you have heard no or your can’t. Categorize the responses into how much of an impact hearing a negative statement impacted your current professional or personal situation. Use a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest level of negative impact.
  6. Take a glance at how many 5’s you have heard. Be honest. Not all of the “no’s” or “cant’s” are going to be worthy of a 5 rating. However, some will be.
  7. Based on each of your categories or requests to hear a “yes”, did you give up after one attempt? Or, did you try two or three more times to receive a different answer? Consider J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series. She is the perfect example of someone pursuing her plan until she received the response she was looking for. Do you have what it takes to be that persistent? It’s possible in some instances it’s going to take this type of tenacity to get the results you are after.

Circling back to my original concept of living in a world where “can’t” isn’t part of our vocabulary, can you now imagine based on having some suggestions that you might consider giving this mindset a try? I hope you do, as it can seriously be a game changer for the direction your career and life are headed. 

Kathy Murphy

If someone were to ask you what is the main reason people seek you out, would you be able to tell them why you think they do? When was the last time someone sought you out? I’m referring to the type of seeking when someone tells you that you are the only person they think who can fill-in-the-blank.

How did it feel when you heard someone say this to you? Were you surprised, happy, honored or did you want to run in the opposite direction or hit the make yourself invisible button? When you consider the last time someone came to you for guidance, consider what type of advice they were looking for. Is this a common request you receive from others? Or, would you classify the types of reasons people seek you out as being diverse?

Depending on the scenario you are in, and whether it is at work or outside of work, the type of guidance people are asking you for may be different. For the sake of focus, let’s choose the office as the place people what to engage with you. Is there a pattern to the type of information you are talking to them about? Are the people all members or your team, or are they from various departments and management levels?

Generally, if people from various management levels are coming to you for guidance, consider yourself for starters to be a tremendously good listener. You are also someone who others perceive to be discreet, and someone they can confide in. The seekers also perceive you to be quite knowledgeable and capable of giving them credible advice. Consider this an honor, and something which is referred to as a “trusted advisor”.

If your hook is being a “trusted advisor”, who do you go to, and at what point in work scenarios or your career have you sought out this individual? It’s possible there are multiple people you consider to hold this designation. Why? Because since you are one for others, it is easier for you to identify others who are similar to you, and who can provide you with the guidance you need.

Charismatic people have a gift over others who would not be described this way. However, they can also take on the burden of many people leaning on them for advice due to their favorable nature of interacting with others. The advice I give to people with this “gift” is to make sure they guard against the feeling of burn out from others continuously tapping into them.

If you are wondering how to determine what your hook is, here are (5) ways you can go about determining what it might be.

  1. Think about the last 2-4 times someone came to you for advice. Were they all asking for the same type of advice?
  2. If the advice people were asking you for was similar, how would you classify and categorize the advice? Was it leadership advice? Did it have to do with communication? Or, was it related to how to accomplish something you could help them to determine how to do so?
  3. Let’s say the type of advice people you are asking about is varied. That’s not a bad thing, as people see you as a multi-dimensional person who can help them with numerous challenges. However, I suspect there is still a theme you could apply to the type of advice people are asking you about. Can you come up with a theme?
  4. Ask the next person who seeks you out to help them, why they did so. This will help to reveal additional insights into perhaps how others perceive you. You can repeat this question with others to see if there is a distinct or any type of pattern and clues as to what your “hook” is.
  5. If the suggestions above are not providing you with clues or a definitive reason or reasons people are coming to you, ask a few people who are your trusted advisors to tell you what they think your hook happens to be. Are they telling you the same thing, or something entirely different?

When you determine what your hook is, this can be part of what I call your personal value proposition. The better we understand how and why others want to engage with us, the more opportunities we will have to help them, and in turn, put more coins into our Karma bank.  

The fact that I’m publishing my second book in my mind is
short of another small miracle. In the introduction of my first book Wisdom
Whisperer, I talked about how I had to overcome Imposter Syndrome, and leverage
my top StrengthsFinder 2.0 strength of positivity to become an entrepreneur and
author. Mission accomplished!

Think about the last time you received disappointing news or were disappointed by someone, something or yourself. Chances are the news put a damper on your day or spirits, and perhaps you continued to dwell on the disappointment, whether you wanted to or not.

Disappointments of any type are never fun to deal with, but how you handle them can be a game changer, literally. A fundamental thing to keep in mind when it comes to disappointments is that you have more control over them than you perhaps think you do. How is this possible? It’s possible because the way you deal with the news or situation is completely under your control, you simply have to embrace this fact.

Just about every day when I talk to people about how their day is going, I can sense when they are contending with something that happened to them which was less than desirable. Or, perhaps not the expected outcome they anticipated. Generally, if they are open to discussing what is on their mind, and it has to do with something negative, you can see a sense of relief on their face by discussing what is mentally beating them up.

Athletes are often very tough on themselves when something they did or that negatively happened to their team occurred. When this happens, I have seen them almost physically go into what I will refer to as neutral gear. My analogy of going into neutral gear isn’t the place they want to be, as it is a place where they get stuck, or park themselves into a place they cannot get out of. When this happens, they tend to lose focus, become less competitive than they normally are, and their performance is noticeably negatively impacted. This same thing can also happen to professionals in the workforce too.

So, how do I recommend to the athlete or professional person who is stuck in neutral gear how to get out of this gear and move onto first gear? Here are (5) things I teach them to do:

  1. Acknowledge the disappointment, but commit to moving on and not dwelling on it.
  2. Apply the 6-8-2 method used by many professional trainers and athletes. Breathe in for six seconds, breathe out for eight second and repeat this again. While doing this focus on what is disappointing you, and mentally tell yourself to release and move on from this thinking.
  3. Write down what you are disappointed about. Then write down one to two ways you can either deal with the disappointment, or turn the disappointment into a learning opportunity you can gain value from.
  4. Share your disappointment with someone else. Doing this allows you to release your mind from continuously thinking about the situation. By sharing your thinking about what has disappointed you, the listener also gains from the learning, and has a feedback opportunity. Their feedback might have some strong and valid suggestions on how to deal with your disappointment differently.
  5. Leverage the negative energy invested in your disappointment to fuel doing something better, or more positive for you or someone else.

I am not saying doing all five of the above things will magically make you feel better, but doing one or more of them will in fact allow you to move beyond your mind trapping you in neutral gear. In both work and sports, no one wants to be stuck in neutral gear, as you need to be continuously moving forward to make progress.

When you do not dwell on your disappointments, you will find that when they do occur, you will have developed the ability to make dealing with them much easier. Keep this in mind the next time disappointment strikes, and don’t let it get the best of you. You’re in control.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: My second book has been published! It is called                  Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer . This book and my first one Wisdom Whisperer are both available on Amazon. They make great gifts, and everyone needs a Mentor!