Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

The Dreaded Slump May 31, 2011

The Dreaded Slump…  Agghhh.  And yet, we all fall prey to this momentum killer.  We’re cruising along, and bam, we wake up one day realizing our energy has tanked & our motivation is awakened only by sticks vs. sheer desire for awesome results.  Fear versus desire.  Responsibility (I have to) versus appetite (I want this so bad I can taste it).  It happens to the elite, to the amazing, to the average, to the weak…  The slump does not discriminate. 

Often, I see people hit their slump and fail to realize it.  So, they blame outside conditions & people for their “state,” all the while cycling in their own toxic, stale energy like a hamster on a wheel.  And every inch feels like a mile. 

The key is awareness.  No one is going to end your slump except for you.  And in order to do this, you have to know you are in a slump.  Pretty basic, and yet, I’ve seen talented, achievement focused people stall out for 3 changes of seasons.  Literally performing with one oar in the water and wondering why everything feels like resistance and they’re circling instead of progressing. 

We all have indicators of our slump.  Mine are different than yours, but all of us can learn to recognize our own MO and catch it early.  We blast out of the slump by changing our psychology & changing the way we work.  When the dreaded slump hits, I suggest taking a full day and redesigning your work from scratch.  What are the most impactful, meaningful projects for you to dive into?  What could your  most significant contribution be in the next 60 days?  What do you want to learn?  Master?  What inspires you, jazzes you up, and how can you integrate that into your day?  Poetic License to go crazy & come up with something that makes you yell “eureka” when you read it. 

Then – implement.  Build a more energizing path that stimulates your growth & inspires you to your peak.  Because a slump isn’t a moment of stand-still.  It’s either a wake-up call for progress or it’s regression.  Grow Or Die. 

Feel free to share your wisdom on how to kick the dreaded slump to the curb in the comments!

 

 

What Are Your Non-Negotiables? May 26, 2011

“Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power .”  Stephen Covey

We live our lives based on our values, and thus, it is leaving them undefined is a sleepy way of living.  Whether or not we have taken the time to articulate them, we intuitively know if we are in or out of alignment.  Living our lives in a way that deeply respects our values impacts every aspect of our life – our family, friends, civic life, and professional life.  Consider for a moment the stress that results when someone’s personal values are incongruent with their employer’s values.  Regardless of how effective that person is, they will always feel ill at ease with that incongruence.  Ill at ease = discontent & stressed.  The bigger the gap, the higher the cost.

Our values drive us – they make us tick. Our core values resonate deep in our DNA, and should be treated as non-negotiables in our life.  They are worthy of fierce protection.   True values come from a place of authenticity & spirit; not from a place of fear. They are about what we embrace & honor; not what we desire to avoid.

Fear based drivers do exist but they aren’t our values.  Our values are the foundation of who we are & what we want to foster in the world.  

Can our values change through our life?  I believe they can.  Just as we evolve, our values richen, deepen, & shift to support our growth.  Thus, the exercise of examining and articulating your values is worth repeating over time.  There are no right & wrong values & no stock values that are supreme over others. Your values are part of your fabric, and they give you uniqueness.   And when honored, they create a trueness, self-confidence, & peace irrespective of events around you.

 

What’s The View From Your Personal Everest? May 25, 2011

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The gap between where you are and where you dream of being may seem daunting, but remember, the gap is nothing more than your potential.  It is the distance between today and what you are destined to achieve, and closing the gap is 100% within your power if you are willing to invest the energy & discipline into redefining how you work, think, play, and act. 

People who achieve breakthrough results know a secret and they live it with total obsession.  They know they are the product of their thinking, beliefs, and energy.  They know great results don’t just happen but are seeded by revolutionary thoughts.  And, the “work” that leads to an outstanding life requires more than just doing the right things.  It requires unleashing our potential by removing limiting beliefs and thoughts, creating a killer plan, and showing up ready to play. 

Your Everest Is Within Your Reach The Moment You Decide To Embrace It.  You owe it to yourself to go after it with complete passion and fearlessness. Temporary shifts can happen in a snap.  Quantum shifts; however, require higher stakes, deeper work, more profound change. 

THe ELITE don’t wait for the right time or the right opportunity.  They create it.  They take action NOW.  They seize the moment and engage others to help them see beyond their own paradigm and hold them accountable.

 

Death by email. May 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 1:49 pm
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Newsflash:  Email is not a replacement for verbal conversation.  More and more, people are using email like OZ behind the wall.  So, here are a few hints on when to shut down the computer and select a better way to share:

1) There have been 3 emails sent between you& recipient just trying to clarify the topic.

2) Your message will require more than 2 paragraphs. 

3) Your message will contain more than 3 or more points you need someone to follow up on. (3 might be pushing it).

4) You are about to ask someone to help solve an important problem in which you need their full attention & mental engagement.  (WHen’s the last time you thoughtfully answered emails versus just whipping through them?)

5) Your message has the potential to upset, ruffle, or distress someone.

Email is awesome.  But it is just a tool.  Like all tools, it doesn’ t fit all jobs.  And it isn’t the only tool.  Phone, face-to-face, skype, text, video conferencing, webinars, photos, letters (on real paper), & meetings, and others are all viable & have their best use.  Stay conscious about how you communicate.  Remember, the objective isn’t simply to serve it out there; it’s to engage someone in the message and in a relationship with you.

 

Single Biggest Distraction May 19, 2011

Your time is one of your most important resources.  Maybe your most important.  So why do we give it away so freely? 

Someone peeks their head in your office, and you find yourself in a 5 minute conversation about Gray’s Anatomy or worse, the weather.  Your email reminder flashes every nan0-second letting you know, that yes, your email is continuing to spiral out of control.  You respond instantaneously to every page, text, phone call, email, or “wazzup” in the hallway.  You begin web research only to find that within 5 minutes, you are reading the breaking news on some sex scandal in congress.  Every meeting you attend has 10 minutes of fluff at the beginning, 5 at the end, and at least one rambling story in the middle.  And don’t even get me started on the unraveling thread of facebook, twitter, linked in, etc. 

It’s all TIME.  And it’s precious.  And it’s the thing we all say we don’t have enough of.  And yet, we give it away.

How does this happen?  It would take a PhD in psychology to unpack that answer, but the bottom line is this:  giving away our most precious resource – time – is a choice.  Whether we are conscious about that choice or not is irrelevant.  In fact, all of our explanations for why are irrelevant as they are simply justifications for allowing distractions to feast on our day. 

Now consider that research shows that it takes the human brain, our supercomputer, 15 – 20 minutes to get back into the groove.  In other words, you’re in deep thought analyzing your P&L or laying out a killer marketing piece, interruption comes, and you’re at half mast for the following 20 minutes.  It’s not just the 5 minutes of idle chit-chat you’ve lost – it’s 25 minutes.  Research also shows that the average US worker reports 6 interruptions / day (not including their constant toggling back and forth to email).  At 20 minutes each, that’s 2 hours every day that is given away to distractions that make no difference to the results you dream of creating. 

That’s staggering.  And a call to action.  For those of us worried about offending someone, this data alone should be compelling enough to get past that hangup.   If you want to know how impactful this is in your week, count your distractions every day.  Multiple by 20, divide by 60, and that is the # of hours tossed out the window.  Better yet, categorize your distractions.  This will allow you to develop a plan to handle them so you feel good about your approach & you are ready when the next distraction happens. 

If you struggle asking people to cease & desist their morning monologue about last night’s TV marathon, script it.  Say it in a way that makes you feel good & accomplishes the goal.  If that doesn’t work, try compassionate bluntness.  “I know you are busy, as am I.  These conversations really interrupt my flow of thought, and thus, I’m asking for your help in stopping them.  We can always talk about The Bachelorette at lunch…”  Tada! 

Taking back our time so that we can stay on track with our mind’s engaged & on fire is not a luxury – it is a necessity for high performance.  We all have time drains… little holes in our day that time simply evaporates.  Be honest about yours and eliminate them.

 

Possibility – Do you Dwell In Yours? May 18, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 5:29 pm
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Emily Dickenson said, “Dwell in Possibility.”  Just reading it creates expansion & oxygen.  Space for birth, growth, & newness.  The word possibility is powerful.  Within it, lives hope, courage, action, change, intention, mystery, excitement, creation, and dreaming. 

Each of us are, at our core, a possibility.  In other words, our souls are pure possibility by design.  We are called to bring something unique to the world.  And this unique offering is something that only we can bring because we are our very own blueprint.  No two the same.  Different by design. 

And yet, we have a choice each day to live life in alignment or out of alignment with our possibility.  It is as simple as that, and there isn’t a single external condition that makes it more complex.  That is simply how we choose to think about it.  In fact, external conditions become the great excuse as to why we are out of alignment & living smaller than our true possibility.  They are justifications & rationalizations that allow us to gently sleep through life.  

We have the opportunity to drench every moment – starting with this exact moment – in the possibility of ourselves, which is the  cornerstone of the possibility of our life.  They are one  in the   same.  Our gifts are only valuable to the  extent that we  share them.   

It isn’t necessarily about the grandeur of our achievements in this life as it is about the impact we made.  Did we make a difference or did we simply collect accolades & “stuff?”   

Throughout our lives, we often find ourselves at a cross-road; bumping against blocks we create & self impose. In the short-term, these blocks are fantastic motivators of change because they involve discomfort.  But over time, we grow numb to them & they literally extinguish possibility.  They create impossibility, & we unwittingly opt out of greatness.  Not making a decision is making a decision.  We make a choice every moment:  opting INTO something and OUT of something else.   Vow to choose possibility.

 

Performance Anxiety, Glittery Costumes, & Joy May 15, 2011

Last night, I watched my 6 year old daughter dance in her ballet recital. 150 girls and boys from the age of 4 to 18 shaking it down, twirling about, flying through the air, & smiling the entire show. There were “incidents,” – tripping, missed steps, accidental hip bumping, & one wardrobe malfunction; but really, these kids didn’t care. The little glitches did not embarrass them, slow them down, or change the effort they gave to the next move. And they kept smiling. I’m talking big, smile with me smiles – not just impish, my teacher told me I had to look happy smiles.

They were having a blast. 36 Dance Numbers Later, and we’re back stage listening to all of the kids talk about how amazing they did, how exciting it was to be on stage, and how cool they looked in their glittery costumes (because it is all about the costume). No one talked about the production hiccups. The mistakes. The forgotten steps. The on-stage collisions of tutus. Just the successes.

I tell people all the time that I learn as much from my children as they learn from me. Kids are a gift for a zillion reasons, one of which is that they are pure & have not yet given a piece of their lives to fear. They haven’t developed methods to put up walls, self-protect, & hide from their mistakes. They don’t really care what the 400 people in the audience think. They love the stage, & they are simply doing their best & having fun.  If we’re smart, we adults are modeling our little masters in this arena.

What would be different in our lives – workplace or otherwise – if we showed up every day with no worries about what others thought and simply give 100%?  How about if we relished in our successes, learned from our mistakes, and didn’t allow our fear to taint our effort? What would change if mistakes were simply an opportunity to modify our path forward versus something we had to bury, make excuses about, blame someone else, or find a “reason for” (the economy, too little time…). What would change if we found joy both in the moments we performed lockstep with the choreography & the moments we didn’t?