Friday, January 23, 2009

Motherhood Quote

"I think if you love what you do, and you love the choices you’ve made in your life, somehow that drives you forward to enjoy it all. Even the chaos, even the exhaustion of it, and even when it seems out of balance.” Angelia Jolie

Questions for you:

* Do you love what you do?
* Do you love the choices you are making?

If not, contact me [nicola at trueinsightscoaching dot com] to schedule a complimentary coaching consultation. No obligation. Let's explore the answers to these questions!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Imperfect Action

Coach Eva and Coach Mary, two of my current coaches in a training program I am participating in, talk often about Imperfect Action.

I get this concept - that taking imperfect action is better then taking no action at all - but I still stumble with it sometimes.

My own inner critic and perfectionist would really like for everything I do and say to be perfect the first time out. What if someone sees or notices my mistakes?

Well, I've been practicing taking Imperfect Action more and more these days as I continue to shift and grow my business and create some new, exciting programs for working moms.

One way I practice is through this blog. In the past I have not blogged as often as I think about it or would like because I have gotten caught up in wanting the post to be "perfect" (i.e. well-written, interesting to everyone, humorous, life-changing, and exempt to any typos). If I didn't feel like I had time to write the "perfect post" then I often didn't write anything.

Now I am practicing just writing what comes to mind and from my heart. Yes, I'd still like for others to feel that my entries are well-written, interesting, humorous and life-changing, but I really can't control what others will think of my writing.

As far as the entries being exempt from typos...well, I have a bit more control over that. However, the typos will still happen. In fact, I had one reader kindly point out a typo in my last entry. She was nice to only point out one, as I ended up finding a handful when I went back through it. When I got the email indicating the typo, part of me cringed. It poked that place within me that thinks if something isn't worth being done right then it's not worth being done at all. It also poked that place that says, "SH*T, now someone knows that I am not perfect!"

But there's a bigger part of me now who is willing to embrace the typo (only after I corrected it, of course) and see it in the bigger context that I AM HUMAN! I too make mistakes. Some small, like a few typos on a blog post that isn't read by a ton of people (yet!). Some bigger, like racking up credit card debt or running the brand-new van into a pole or...okay, I'll stop there.

So, today I embrace my Imperfect Actions. May each of them lead me in the direction of my own imperfectly-perfect vision and life direction.
  • What actions are you holding back from taking out of fear of not doing it perfectly?
  • What one, small action are you willing to take TODAY, even if it's imperfect, that aligns with your heart, your goals, and your vision for your brilliant life?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

How Management is Like Motherhood: Giving Others the Chance to Succeed

Have you ever delegated a certain task or responsibility to someone at work only to quickly decide that they can’t handle it? Perhaps you even have some things on your plate right now that really should be given to someone else, but you’ve been reluctant to hand it off out of fear that it won’t get done the right way.

One of the key signs of a great leader and manager is someone who can see the ability in another person and help pave the path of that person’s success. Whether it’s passing on a presentation that needs to be done or transitioning a program from your plate to theirs, your role as the leader is to check for the signs of readiness and then help set the person up for success. Sometimes that can take longer than we’d like.

I can remember once passing over the torch to one of my staff members to lead some conference prep meetings. However, I didn’t like the way she handled the first one and so I quickly took that as a sign that she wasn’t ready, that I had made a mistake, and that I should take the meetings back. And then it it dawned on me...

This was something new to her. I had been leading the meetings for years (and I am sure my first meeting wasn’t so great). It was insanity for me to assume that she’d know exactly what to do her first time or that she’d do it just like me—she wasn’t me. This was my opportunity to step into my role and support her in succeeding in the job and task I had given her.

Instead of taking the meetings away from her, I met with her to talk about what worked and didn’t work and was able to mentor her and watch her grow and improve each meeting. By the time I left the organization, she was the one mentoring those under her to run the meetings. What a missed opportunity for her and me if I can made a different choice.

Now let’s think about how this relates to our kids.

My 3.5 year old daughter has been potty trained for awhile now. However, until recently she was still wearing pull-ups to bed because she had yet to go through a night with dry pants. My husband and I had been talking to her for awhile about switching to underwear for bed, but she kept saying she would do it when she was four.

However, last month she had a couple of nights where she woke up dry. We took this as an indicator that she may be ready for the transition to underwear and talked to her about it. She was excited this time about the idea and said she was ready.

After four nights in underwear and four nights of being woken up because she had wet the bed, I was ready to throw in the towel. I was exhausted, not feeling well and cranky, and my thinking was, “she’s not ready and it will be easier on me if she’s in pull-ups” (my husband just happened to be out of town on business, so I was dealing with this solo).

However, when I suggested the pull-up option to my daughter the next night, she said, “How about I try underwear one more time?”

I realized in that moment that if I put her back in a pull-up that I’d be telling both her and me that I didn’t think she could do it and that when she was learning something new that I expected her to figure it out quickly, or it wasn’t going to happen.

But guess what DID happen? Yep, you guessed it: she's been dry in underwear ever since! She wakes up excited and proud of herself and that smile on her face is so worth the previous nights of being woken up (and potentially some that may happen in the future).

What a missed opportunity for her and me if I had made a different choice.

Think about this in your own life.
  • Are you taking the cues from your staff and/or your children that they are ready for the next step?
  • Are you providing the information, tools and guidance to help them succeed in that next step?
  • Are you allowing them room and time to practice, learn and grow into the opportunity?
  • If you aren’t, what impact is that having on you and them?

Friday, January 16, 2009

A New Way to Set New Year's Resolutions

This time of year we are always so focused on creating resolutions and goals for the year. It’s a great idea, but can also feel daunting. The numbers for success of sticking to New Year's resolutions are not promising.

According to a survey of 2,256 adults, most adults say they have made a New Year's resolution in the past, but only 17% say they typically follow through (BTW, only 12% of women say they always or often keep a resolution compared to the 22% of men who do).

So here's a different approach to consider.

First, create a year theme instead of resolutions.

I have a client who declared last year The Year of Herself (she inserted her name). The year was spent getting to know herself again, clarifying what she liked and didn't like in her life, and making both personal and professional choices that better aligned with who she really is. This year she’s decided to make it The Year of Action.

Last year I declared it The Year of Growth (and a year of growth it was!). This year I have chosen my theme as The Year of Connection.

Instead of setting the resolution to loose weight, why not declare it The Year of Health and Well-being? If you are thinking about setting the resolution to get out of debt, how about choosing the theme The Year of Freedom and Security?

Next, instead of setting goals for the entire year, think about how you would need to BE and what you want to DO within the next three months, one month, week or even day in order to live that theme.

I suggest you even start each morning by asking yourself (and listing) what you feel inspired to do that day to live your theme.

When something is not feeling quite right, you are dealing with a challenge or having a bad day, simply stop and ask yourself whether you are living your theme in that moment.

If not, make a choice to realign.

As I said before, my theme is The Year of Connection. Each day I intend to ask myself how I plan to connect that day—with myself, my family, my clients, my friends, people I meet around town, potential business partners, etc. When I start getting too focused on just getting the baths done, or feeling like I “should” return my mother’s phone call, or focusing on the idea of selling myself at a networking event (which doesn't feel good), I can reconnect to my intention of connecting. What a difference that will make.

The bath becomes an opportunity to connect with my children. The phone call becomes an opportunity to connect with my mom (but I’ll choose to call at a time that feels good to me). The networking event becomes an opportunity to connect with other interesting people and learn about their lives.

Now it’s your turn.

What’s your theme for the year? Please share!