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

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.

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!