Oops!

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It’s going to happen.  It’s inevitable. At least once in your life you are going to fail at something.  Everybody has failed even if they refuse to admit it. Interestingly enough, some of the greatest success stories were born out of some form of failure: Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, even Oprah.  C. S. Lewis said it best “Failures are the finger posts on the road to achievement.”

Failure can be a real opportunity!

  1.  You can learn a great deal from failure IF you choose the to.  For all of us there is room for improvement; failures can bring those needed areas to light and give us the chance to grow!   Hindsight is, indeed, a great teacher. A failure can become a defining reference point when faced with a similar challenge or opportunity.
  2. Failure can make you stronger.  When some people fail they throw in the towel, give up.  Others fail and they seem to find a deep strength within to learn from it and do better next time.  Though it feels really bad in the moment but it shouldn’t stop or break you.  Getting through a challenging failure; in business, a relationship, or experience should help us to learn how really strong we are!
  3. A failure may lead to new opportunities.  Sometimes a failure can lead to a necessary ending; a new direction.  A failure can help us assess if we are on the best path for our lives. A failure, as painful as it can be, might lead you to considering fresh avenues for your life.
  4. Failures simply make the successes so much sweeter! To have grown and learned from a past failure and having  fresh success in a previously challenged area is the best feeling in the world!  The learning and hindsight gained somehow makes the challenge worth it.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm”  Winston Churchill
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead-end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” – Denis Waitley
 
Learn from failures, forgive yourself, stand up tall and move forward with fresh resolve.

I Don’t Feel Like It!

Very few people wake up in the morning and feel like taking big risks or feel like digging deep for something that has eluded them. People don’t usually feel like pushing themselves harder than they’ve pushed before or having conversations that might be uncomfortable.   Seth Godin

It’ that time again, the time where we access our past year to see what we’ve accomplished and then we begin to RE-commit to goals unmet or we set new goals.  The first of a new year tends to serve as a kind of “reset button” for us all.

We may take the time to list our fresh commitments, share them with a trusted friend or coach, or we might simply keep them private but “top of mind”.  We may commit to getting healthier, eating better, being more diligent in our spiritual life, focusing on a better marriage or relationships.  We may establish new fresh practices for our professional lives as well. All these commitments will require diligence.

I love attending my local gym in January where I am surrounded by zealous people committed to getting healthy THIS year! Every day the classes and exercise equipment are full! Day after day people make an effort to focus on their health…….for about 30 days.  By the tail end of February many of those recommitted to their health have already backed away from their goal.

Why? They didn’t FEEL like it.

Before the sun is even up I grab my bathrobe and a cup of coffee. I head downstairs to my favorite chair where I will journal, pray, and read on a daily basis; a discipline that needed to be shored up last year! Every morning I find my way to my chair until I begin to give myself permission to sleep just a little longer….and a little longer….until, once again, my diligence weakens and I lose out on this meaningful time.

Why? I didn’t FEEL like it.

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Making key changes in our way of doing life requires diligence that is not based on how we feel. I have often joked with friends saying that “I am always so happy after I work out but I have never started my day FEELING Yippee! I get to go exercise!!”  I simply do it because it has become part of my lifestyle; there were many years when this was not the case.

Aristotle says “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is therefore not an act but a habit.”  You’ve never heard an interview with an athlete where when they are asked how much they practice they answer “when I feel like it!”  Achieving our fresh goals requires commitment even when we don’t FEEL like it!

We are rounding the corner to the end of 2013. Are there goals you set last year that you’d like to recommit to?  Are there new goals you can see that you need to establish?  Are there dreams you’d like to diligently step into this year that you know will require effort on your part?

If so, then take some time to address the challenge you know you will face as you pursue fresh behavior. Will you stay the course even if you don’t FEEL like it? and when those times come how will you prepare to be proactive so that you don’t sabotage these fresh goals that matter to you?

If we don’t give ourselves permission to make decisions based on our feelings we will find a greater sense of resolve and satisfaction; it will be well worth it!

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we don’t give up.”  Galatians 6:9

Important Conversations!

” The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” George Bernard Shaw

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I have heard this quote numerous times, I find it incredibly profound every time.  It is never easy to have a difficult conversation.   No one ever wakes up in the morning eager to jump into a discussion that could have an uncertain outcome. No one naturally wants to feel uncomfortable or to create possible conflict. If they do, frankly, then may have other personal issues that need to be dealt with. No~ no one really enjoys a “Crucial Conversation”.

In the Book “Crucial Conversations” the term in the title of the book would be defined as a discussion between two or more people where the stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong.

In order to navigate relationships in your family, workplace, community, or place of worship there will be times when the need to have a direct conversation will be clearly evident, left unaddressed gaps in relationships, teamwork, or productivity will be the result.

Have you ever gotten a phone call or email that you simply ignored because in order to move forward there would need to be a conversation? Have you ever walked “around” a teammates office so that you could avoid a tough conversation? Have you ever abandoned a friendship because having a hard conversation seemed too challenging?

I have to say YES to all of these situations. In trying to asses “WHY” I would have avoided challenging conversations I would have to discern that it was because I assumed I wouldn’t fare well; that I would cause more trouble.  But often these types of conversations can bring fresh understanding, resolve conflict, and relational rebuilding.

 In considering a crucial conversation we have 3 possibilities:

1.  We can simply avoid them.

2.  We can face them and handle them poorly.

3. We can face them and handle them well.

I feel that most of us would choose either #1 or #3.  Assuming  you have picked #3, I would l like to offer a few suggestions that I have learned in my years of being a Leadership Coach. (I am not an authority by any means; I continue to be a learner!)

Prepare yourself for  the conversation.  What is the end result you desire?  What is the temperament of the individual you need to address? Are you angry? Have you already indited this person?  Can you see your part in the challenge? What words will you use to clearly communicate? Are you prepared to listen?

Set a quality time/place for the conversation. Timing is key when addressing a challenging topic.  I always tell young brides that it is NEVER wise to address challenging topic with their spouse after 8:30-9:00!! Two tired people addressing conflict will rarely provide a positive result!  Does this conversation need to be in private? Do you need a 3rd party present for accountability?

Follow up within 24 hours. It is important be sure that your crucial conversation truly created the clarity needed between every individual involved. Do an understanding check as well as a relational check. Your conversation may not result in complete agreement but see if it has cleared away the intensity of emotion or misunderstanding.

Difficult conversations are necessary as we grow in every area of our lives and the results of having them successfully will empower us to be brave enough, kind enough, and wise enough to address them well.

Are the conversations you’ve been avoiding? Situations that need to be addressed? Relationships that need reconciling? Gaps on your team at work?  Instead of focusing on how negative a crucial conversation could be, consider how much fruitfulness is to be gained. 🙂