Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do

In this video Tony Robbins challenges us to think about why we do what we do.  Decisions shape destiny.  Great section where Mr. Robbins, in a respectful and honest way, challenges former Vice President Al Gore on what are the defining factors in achievement.  You will feel challenged to be different and start now.

Tony Robbins: Why we do what we do | Video on

The Beginners Mindset

Boston Celtics Time Out - ByRMTip21 Flickr 667x408How can the athlete get the most out of their coaches?  Kevin Eastman, assistant coach of the Boston Celtics, suggest players have a beginners mindset.

In his article called The Beginners, Kevin is talking about the veteran player’s mindset that coaches want. I believe this beginners mindset applies to all players, especially those under 30 who have had some success.

Here are some quotes from the article:

…beginners are open; experts are closed. Experts are closed to new ideas, closed to new ways, closed to a different concept, generally closed from everything except what they’re already comfortable with or want to keep doing.
… Beginners are always open to new ideas, new ways to do things, new ways to improve.

Why does it matter and how does the beginners mindset help both players and coaches?

Where this comes into play is when we are teaching and coaching our players. We want them to trust that we have spent countless hours and years perfecting our way of doing things and that they are the best ways for our team that year. The players and teams that never reach success are the ones that challenge, oppose, or distrust everything their coaches put out there for them.
…We want our players’ minds to be open and ready to absorb and execute what we have thoroughly thought through and believe to be the best for our team that year!

Attitude and approach matter.



Don’t Sabotage Yourself

Shared Office Man Thinking at desk 400x294Often we say we want something and then we take actions that are exactly what not to do.  Getting in our way or coming up with reasons why we won’t be successful so why try, are what psychologists call “self-handicapping.”

Self-handicapping is defined in Wikipedia as, a method of preserving self-esteem through the use of obstacles created, or claimed, by the individual in anticipation of a failing performance. Individuals don’t make an effort or invent barriers to being successful so they can maintain public and private self-images of competence. It is a widespread behaviour amongst humans that has been observed in a variety of cultures and geographic areas.

Feeling good about yourself is a powerful force for many people and getting real can be a challenge.  We pretend things will get better and workout somehow.  The way to get there is “getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.”

Susan David, a faculty member at Harvard University, has four steps to overcoming self-handicapping in her article called Don’t Sabotage Yourself on HBR blog.  The steps are:

  1. Watch for the warning signs. Drawing down your efforts, generating lists of excuses, or distracting yourself (music, alcohol, etc.) are signs that you’re engaging in self-handicapping. A mentor or colleague can often help steer you back on course.
  2. Use “what-ifs” and “if-onlys” to help you generate goals instead of excuses. Research shows that the thinking people engage in during self-handicapping can just as easily be flipped to be motivational. When you ponder what could have gone better, or recognize obstacles in your way, you generate valuable information. Identify factors within your control, and see what you can do about them.
  3. Recognize and manage your negative emotions. Research shows that when we use our “if-onlys” to motivate rather than excuse ourselves, we will also likely experience negative emotions, such as disappointment and self-directed anger . If you can notice these emotions and be kind to yourself in working through them, you’re more likely to be able to move into positive, empowering behavior.
  4. Go for mastery. Self-handicapping is most likely to kick in when we are trying to perform well in order to avoid negative feedback from external sources, such as criticism from colleagues. When we focus instead on developing mastery in a domain we care about, we tap into our inherent motivation to learn and grow. Recognize what matters to you, and brainstorm ideas to get yourself moving in that direction.

Getting uncomfortable is a valuable skill especially in a tight economy.  What opportunities are we talking ourselves out of because we don’t want to risk failure?  I am not talking about betting everything you have on a role of the dice.  You can take intelligent risks and apply the four steps.

My challenge for you is to list three actions that could be accomplished within 24 ours that you want to do but haven’t, for whatever reason.  It could be the phone call to set up a lunch or meeting with a prospect or adviser.  It could be addressing a financial issue you have been ignoring.  It could be an uncomfortable but relatively low risk personal or professional conversation you have been putting off.

Pick one, select the date, time, and location when you will take action, and write it down.  Now all you have to do is have integrity in the moment to do what you scheduled.  What you want to notice is how you feel after you do it.  The more you do this, the more you will accomplish and the more psychic energy you will free up.

Let me know how it went and what worked best for you.

Three Requirements for Consulting Success

Helping Hand -

Photo credit: Wikipedia

In this article in Forbes, Jim Moffatt, CEO of Deloitte Consulting says, “To be successful as a consultant, you must be different; you must be strong; and you must be committed.”

The first requirement is key – be different.  You must answer two questions:

1) What do you do? 2) How is that different than others doing the same thing?

Answering these question gets you started and makes you focus on meeting a need in the market. You have to know this to ensure you don’t end up “competing for consulting work on price.”

You need to know how you can translate your difference into solving a client’s problem in an elegant way.  You need to consider your interpersonal skills.  In “What Got You Here Won’t Get You ThereMarshall Goldsmith reminds us that successful people sometimes have blind spots about a part of our personality that is preventing us from getting to the next level.  Work on this as well, and watch what happens.

Second, to be strong build a team through a partner or ally and together you can grow.  Build a team that is flexible to work under changing conditions, are results oriented enough to figure out the right actions to take and then act.

Third, be committed to customer satisfaction, continuous improvement, and business development.  You need to understand why what you deliver is vital and how it add value; to keep sharpening the saw or you will become obsolete; and let your passion for solving problems be your calling card.

Six Rules of Etiquette For The Open Office

More companies are taking the open office concept further with first-come, first-served work areas.

This trend was discussed in the Wall Street Journal Online article “Warming Up to the Officeless Office”. A “survey of 950 companies, the International Facility Management Association, a trade group for office-facility managers, found 60% had some unassigned workspaces in their offices,” the article said.
Open office
The article goes on to suggest six rules for office etiquette.  They are:

  1. No sneaking up
  2. No loitering
  3. Use your ‘indoor voice’
  4. Never eavesdrop
  5. Limit chit-chat
  6. Use headphones

Anne Kreamer in her article “Workers, Take Off Your Headphones” suggests caution working with headphones on.  She says it isolates you from the informal office life and informal conversations going on around you.  Use headphones during times requiring intense focus but don’t have them on all the time.