There’s an old saying- “An old man can see backward better than a young man can see forward.”
What can we learn from the old man? How does writing your own eulogy sound? Come on, stay with me on this…
How would your eulogy sound if you died today? “He had such promise.”“She wanted to be a senator, but...” “He dreamed of ___, too bad he died before he could do it.”
How would your perfect eulogy sound? What would your legacy be? How many lives would you want to have positively affected? Did you achieve the dreams you had when you were young? Did you fulfill your life’s purpose?
Stonewall Jackson said on his deathbed- “Let me cross the river and rest under the tree.” What would you most regret not doing before you “rested under the tree?”
I submit that nothing, absolutely nothing, is stopping you from leading the life of your dreams but yourself!
We should all leave with no regrets. Wouldn’t it be better to try and (so called) fail then to regret not trying? How would it feel to leave a truly positive mark on the world before you go? Well, you can!
Here’s an exercise for you. Make a list right now of 10 things that you really want to do before you die. Yep, your bucket list…but with a higher purpose than things like “visit Toledo.” The list could include things as simple as “inspire one person” or as noble as “start a nonprofit foundation.” The key is to commit to something!
Now write your eulogy based upon this list. Think about how people would remember you. Yeah, this can get pretty raw and that’s the point. You need to face your current reality in order to change your course. Remember, it is never too late to work on fulfilling your dreams. Start today!
I’ve been using this eulogy exercise for many years to keep my goals fresh and to stay focused on my big picture - my life’s work. It forces me to slow down and take inventory of the trajectory of my life. I don’t want to wait to take inventory when I’m on my death bed. Do you?
One thing on my “list” is my mission to serve people through coaching. If I can inspire just one person to be a better leader and person I will have achieved my goal. Hopefully this article will help. My eulogy is counting on it!
My daughter and I share a love of Greek and Roman mythology. We are currently reading “The Mark of Athena,” the third installment of Rick Riordan’s “The Heroes of Olympus.” It is such great material and rich with modern interpretations of the stories.
Percy Jackson, a demigod (son of Poseidon and a mortal) and one of the main heroes in the book series, is confronted with a particularly challenging quest. Following a confrontation with another demigod in which Percy very well could have been killed, he begins to question his power…and himself. Eerily like many leaders in top organizations I work with on a daily basis.
“Percy didn’t feel powerful. The more heroic stuff he did, the more he realized how limited he was. He felt like a fraud. ‘I’m not as great as you think,’ he wanted to warn his friends. Maybe that’s why he had started to fear suffocation. It wasn’t so much drowning in the earth or the sea, but the feeling that he was sinking into too many expectations, literally getting in over his head.”
When I read Percy’s rumination I flashed back to a conversation I had with a CEO of an organization last year. Much of the business’s growth had been meteoric and his “reputation” had grown with similar speed -- to almost cult like proportions.
His ego reveled in being held in such high regard, but through our discussions he acknowledged he was quaking inside, “Just waiting for them to see who I really am and for it all to fall apart!”
As his external world seemed to improve his internal world deteriorated. This leader found himself closing down and trying to control more and more. He was less open to comments from his executive team, often making unilateral decisions without consulting them. He discounted information that he did not agree with. He was cutting himself off -- suffocating himself!
He began to lose touch with the values that anchored his initial success, replacing them with others’ expectations. His compass no longer pointed to his “true north,” and he began to lose his way.
We see it constantly in the news -- General Patraeus, Eliot Spitzer, and the Secret Service detail in Columbia, to name just a few leaders (or those considered leaders in their field). They drowned in others’ expectations or projections of greatness, leading to poor judgment and a belief to some extent of being “above the law.”
When a CEO (or any leader) loses their way, it has a ripple effect throughout the organization, their family, and their entire community! The collateral damage is immense.
Who else do you know who responds to feelings of vulnerability and inadequacy with greater levels of denial, self-importance, and constriction? We all know someone who fits that profile...they might even be staring at us in the mirror in the morning.
The remedy is a loving, tough, trusting, outside advisor. A person who calls it like they see it and says the things that a person often doesn’t want to hear. Luckily, Percy Jackson had his demigod friends as trusted advisors to help him find his way.
Who do you have?
Commit to getting your own advisor (it could be an executive coach, a mentor, or a trusted friend), or you may run the risk of becoming a self destructive high performer. Leadership is a challenging path that all of us need help navigating. Make sure that you have a support system that will keep you from a path like Percy’s.
Oh, and that CEO I had the discussion with…he’s still looking for work.
Our Founder and CEO, Drayton Boylston, is once again honored to be presenting at WBECS this year with the likes of John Maxwell, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other esteemed colleagues. Please join us for 30 complimentary pre summit sessions. All sessions are "no pitch," which we love. Pure content. Pure growth.
One of the primary goals of The Executive Coaching University is to promote the best practices in our profession. Additionally, we want to raise the awareness and standards of coaching worldwide.
With that desire, we have partnered with the well respected World Business and Executive Coaching Summit to bring the leaders in the coaching industry together to provide a no charge, no pitch, educational experience.
WBECS offers an outstanding professional growth opportunity. It brings together the thought leaders of the coaching world to share their knowledge and experience with practicing, and aspiring, coaches.
The presenters are diverse and first rate. They include:
John C. Maxwell: One of the top coaches on the concept of leadership.
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith: One of the top thought leaders in the field of management.
Frances Hesselbein: Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient and President of the Drucker Foundation.
Last year, hundreds of professional coaches gave testimonials as to the value of the conference. That is why we not only endorse this conference but will also be providing a discount for you to attend the full summit. We will send you details about this next month. For now, be sure to register for the complimentary pre-summit series here: http://wbecs.com/partner/a/wbecs2014/a2113
You’ll be able to attend all 30 sessions live or listen to the recordings at your convenience.
My inbox sat at 1,405 emails, my calendar was over flowing, and my task list was miles long. I was in a state of overwhelm. Certainly not in a state of happiness...
Sound familiar? I bet it does…
If I only had the time to catch up. If only I had the time to be happy…
With most of us over scheduling and multitasking, how can anything really get our attention, much less, our focus? Especially our focus on what is truly important. “Busyness” has taken over. At what cost? Where has our happiness gone?
I spent time with a client the other day who, from an outside perspective, you would think has it “all.” Beautiful home with a panoramic view of the ocean, fancy car, high status, lots of money. With one question I stopped him in his tracks; “Are you happy?” It was like I hit him with a two-by-four. The conversation went dead silent. After a long pause he answered “No.”
I harken back to when I was “slapped in the face” by life. Within one day my life as I knew it was forever changed. I never saw it coming. My ambition as an athlete, my thriving career, my beautiful home, didn’t mean a thing. I had lost my health and immediately nothing else mattered. All that mattered was that I made it through the day. All that mattered was finding a glimpse of happiness through the pain.
Life changes on a dime, so my question to you is “Are you ready?” and more importantly, “Are you happy?” Isn’t that what we are trying to achieve will all of our efforts? Have we lost sight of that? I know I did and didn’t even realize it.
Right now take inventory of your level of happiness. On a scale of 1-10 what is it? If you are like most it needs some work. I challenge you to ask yourself, “What one step can I take today to create a little more happiness in my life?”
Trust me, it’s worth it. You’re worth it. If you don’t take care of yourself and focus on finding your happiness you may well get a big wakeup call like I did.
Give yourself the gift of happiness once again. It’s a choice. Slow down and make it.
You kept reading after seeing that title for a reason. What is it?
Do you feel lost? Do you lack purpose? If so, you are not alone…
How many people do you know that jump out of bed each morning - completely excited about starting their day…focused on fulfilling their mission in life?
Not many, eh? Hmmm…how about yourself?
What is your mission in life?
Yes, it's a heavy question, but one worth asking yourself. Have you spent time thinking about what gifts you possess and how to utilize those gifts to the best of your ability? Or, are you just going through the motions each day? Could you possibly be one of the people who say- “I just want to make it through the day?”
Really?! Is that why we are put on this planet…to make it through the day?
As I work with organizations to formulate their long term strategic plans I am struck by what a great job we do in the corporate world regarding defining an organization’s mission, yet how little we do about this as individuals. In reality, what could be more important for us to figure out?
Think of what it would mean for you to know each day what you stand for and what your mission in life is. Take the time to explore what is important to you and use that knowledge to create the perfect path for yourself.
Here's the challenge - commit one hour this week to work on your mission. Just one hour. If you think this is too much to ask then you may well continue to be one of the lost…
Think about what you love to do. Think about the last time you were in “the zone.” What were you doing? When you start to focus on what brings you the most joy you will soon discover why you are here. It’s kind of funny how that aligns.
Where there is passion, there is purpose!
Be patient with yourself. A person rarely discovers their mission in a lightning bolt fashion. It takes time and multiple iterations. It is not a linear process. Give yourself the space to let your mission reveal itself. Remember, it’s always been with you…you just haven’t let it emerge yet.
Post your thoughts below…share what you discovered. Who knows, you may provide great motivation for others to follow your lead. You could go from feeling lost to helping others discover their purpose. Who knows…that could be your mission!
As you take ownership of your life you will discover that feeling lost is a choice, not your destiny.
I had a wonderful conversation with one of my new clients (currently at the mid-manager level) the other day about what he needed to do to take that next step, evolve from mid-management to the upper echelons of his corporation.
He was very frustrated, feeling- “I have done everything they have asked of me! I know the product inside and out...but they keep passing me by!”
While this individual had mastered the technical aspects of his job, and of those he managed, he was consistently passed over for promotion consideration. Know anyone like that?
Here’s the rub – my client is excellent at being a technocrat, but his interpersonal and leadership skills require much attention – thus the reason he was referred to me!
My client needs to incorporate the following skills to take that next step. Maybe you do too…
· Active interest in what others have to say.
· Active listening (and looking – reading body language) for understanding.
· “Hovering Attention” – being able to pay attention to what is being said while also tracking the process of what isn’t being said.
· Creating solutions cooperatively.
· Increased comfort with the “crucial conversations” – understanding the transformational power of these interactions.
· Using the “velvet whip” when needed to accelerate and reinforce accountability.
· See oneself (and revel in it!) as one who facilitates the human growth of all those around you – not as a taskmaster.
Take a look at the most influential mentors and leaders you have had in your life and/or career. I would wager they demonstrated each of the above and more.
These are all skills world class coaches possess and utilize to help others achieve their highest levels of self – production, expression, satisfaction, etc.
These are also the skills all world class leaders possess and utilize to inspire others and bring their vision to the world.
Ask yourself “Do I possess these skills? Do those around me see me as a world class leader?”
If not, what are you waiting for – to lose out on another promotion like my client?
No more excuses – get trained in coaching skills…now! See your career opportunities explode!
It’s true. You may not know it. You may not want to own it. But it is true.
All of the following facts come from the scientific community; folks who study the brain. Here’s the reality:
We have 60,000 thoughts a day.
95% of these thoughts are the same ones we had yesterday.
71% of these thoughts are NEGATIVE!
The reality is…we are talking ourselves into failure!
YOU are your greatest foe.
YOU own your thoughts.
YOU can change them!
It’s all about awareness…
Here are some techniques to shift this destructive cycle:
Own it! Say to yourself: “I own my thoughts, no one else.” This is a major shift which brings the power and ownership back to you. You, no one else, owns your thoughts. Look inside for the answers, not outside.
Start acknowledging each negative thought you have. Stop (mentally) and soak in the thought. Don’t avoid it. Stuffing it back inside is like continually putting pop back into a bottle. At some point it is going to explode. The same will happen with you.
Close your eyes (stay with me here, this really works). Imagine clouds floating in the sky. Now place your negative thought on a cloud. Send it good thoughts. Thank it for the awareness lesson it provided. Tell it you don’t need it any longer. Watch it drift away.
Try doing this for just one day. See how you feel. See if your thoughts start to change. If you keep this up you will DEFINTELY change your thoughts, which in turn leads to a change in your actions.
If you truly want to change your patterns of behavior you first have to change your thoughts. They are the building blocks for everything.
This negative self talk is your ego’s way of trying to keep you small. Don’t let it! YOU own your thoughts, not your ego. Take back ownership of them, and…
TALK YOURSELF INTO SUCCESS!
P.S. - If I see any of your words on a cloud I will make sure they continue on their journey. ;-)
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Executives of companies are intelligent, confident, innovative, and efficient. They inspire people and lead them to move mountains. Stress is not even in their vocabulary. So the term "Executive Coach" almost seems to be an oxymoron. How could these supermen/superwomen need to be coached? If they do, isn't that a sign of weakness? Executive Coaching is for Wimps.
As the CEO of a rapidly growing company, I know those thoughts crossed my mind when my COO brought it up as an idea. It seemed to have the stigma of a person going to a shrink and not wanting to talk about it. At the same time, I was intrigued. Behind every great athlete is a great coach. Could it possibly be the same for great executives?
It has been a year and a half since I had those thoughts. I have been working with an executive coach on a weekly basis since then. As a busy executive, the experience has proven to be invaluable and has changed my company and my life. A strong executive coach is not only a one-person board of directors with whom you can vet out strategic and tactical approaches; he/she is also an individual that constantly pushes an executive to perform at a higher and higher level every day.
Executive coaches focus on the individual to ensure that he/she is on top of their game on a daily basis, not just in preparation for the quarterly board meeting. As with any investment, what has been the return so far? In my company, the following tangible results have been achieved directly or indirectly by working with our executive coach: • A rock-solid foundation of values, vision, and mission. • A re-organized company that is customer-centric with self-directed, empowered teams. • More effective leaders – ratings of the leadership capabilities of our executive team increased significantly. • Improved employee satisfaction – increased over 9% in our latest survey. • Improved customer satisfaction and product quality. • Increased profitability by 28%. • Developed and improved sales capability. • Launched five new products. • Ranked as one of the fastest growing technology companies in North America.
Our executive coach now works on a weekly basis with each of my executive staff members and on a regular basis with managers and staff.
Is Executive Coaching for Wimps? No!
Executive Coaching is for those who are courageous and confident enough to push for individual excellence and performance every day.
"Nothing happens without personal transformation." ~W. E. Deming
Do you have a certain “point of pain” in your life or career?
Are you ready for more happiness and fulfillment in life and work?
Want a better work/life integration?
Have a desire to take the next step in your career and need to polish your leadership skills?
Need a “sounding board” who can give you a seasoned outside perspective?
Need assistance as a female executive navigating your unique challenges?
Find yourself at your wits end trying to figure out your Millennials and need some help connecting with them?
Which one of these fits your need? Something else?
We admire your courage to start investigating whether coaching will help you. We know it can help most folks…not all, but most. You see, the key is whether you are ready to change. If you’re not, please don’t waste time going down the coaching path. It won’t work. If you are ready, then let’s talk and see if we are a good fit.
We have coached and trained thousands of people in 39 countries and pride ourselves in serving others through coaching. We stand ready to assist you in your desire to grow personally and professionally.
If you’re ready, don’t delay…take action now! It all starts with a conversation. We will be your guide.
You can start your journey by taking our Coaching Quiz at the top of this page.
Please listen to the Executive 911 recording below. This was originally a bonus gift for people who purchased Drayton's book, Coming UnScrooged (thus the reference to it in the beginning of the recording).
The Executive Coaching University is one of the leading Executive Coaching Training and Leadership Development firms in the world. We have trained thousands of individuals in 39 countries in our proprietary MasterMind Executive Coaching Process™ as well as many other leadership skills. Our programs are approved by the International Coach Federation (ICF), Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) in the UK.