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Face Challenges Head On

Facing a challenging situation? Contemplate how to proceed, and take swift action

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As more people are out and about, you’ve got some decisions to make. Things in your life and likely in your work have changed since March, 2020.  You’re facing some challenges, and accompanying decisions, with a dwindling amount of time to move forward.

The late Earl Nightingale, renowned motivational speaker and author, once said you can’t get to second base if you won’t take your foot off first. You can’t attain what you want if you remain “one of the timid feeders in the lagoon” who fears to venture out into the deep blue sea.

Action is Invigorating

If you’re facing a challenging situation, after contemplating how you’re going to proceed, your next step, invariably, will be to take action:

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* Use the phone now and call whomever you need to contact.
* Buy the plane, train, or boat ticket and meet the people you need to see.

If your challenge involves spending money, review your budget and if you have the means, move the requisite funds into place. If you don’t have adequate funds, list possible ways to help you acquire them.

Identify things that are no longer valid or in the way. Then, without remorse, remove them from your life. If you need motivation, announce your intentions to somebody else, or commit yourself on paper.

Deadly Sin or Divine Aspiration

Like clockwork, when you decide to tackle a challenge, someone will come along and try to tell you not to do it. That someone could be a board member, a key staff person, a vendor, or one of your long term members

“It can’t be done.”
“It shouldn’t be done.”
“You can’t do it.”
“You shouldn’t do it.”
“You’re going to fail.”

Don’t be surprised if you hear these kinds of admonitions. The typical person dislikes change, doesn’t see the possibilities that you see, and can’t envision a successful conclusion. Hence, you can’t take a quick survey of others and expect any meaningful input.

It is valuable, however, if trusted peers point out specific hazards to your goals. For example, if others can offer relevant, factual information that you need to know to fully understand what it will take to achieve your goals, then more power to them and to you.

If you understand the impediments that you face, you’re better off than if you proceed blindly. When you understand the pitfalls and still commit to proceeding full speed ahead, then the choice is indeed yours, and it’s a grand one.

Let’s Get Unreasonable

Some say that nothing of lasting value is accomplished by reasonable men (and of course, women too). It is the unreasonable people — the discontented, the dreamers who still keep their feet firmly planted on solid ground, or the visionaries — who improve peoples’ lives, or, in rare instances, help to advance society.

The reasonable man or woman can talk himself or herself out of anything, no matter how great the merit of the venture or cause. You probably could stand to be bit more unreasonable when it comes to your challenges.

Don’t Take on too Much at Once

Concurrently, executives and high achievers in general face the problem of taking on too much. They’ve been so effective at accomplishing things in the course of their career that they start to think they are capable of accomplishing even more. Their productivity causes these otherwise worthy individuals to create longer and more involved to-do lists than the rest of us.

Many people unconsciously ensure that they’ll never get to the end of their list by continuously adding more tasks after accomplishing even just a few. Over-achievers seem to derive some kind of motivation from never completing everything on the list for a given day.

This kind of approach to managing one’s to-do list is fraught with problems. It is both rewarding and appropriate when you cross off everything on your list and feel complete about your achievements. When you’re able to finish your lists 2 to 4 times a week, you actually come back to work the next morning with more energy, focus, and direction than you might presume.

Completions Yield Satisfaction

Conversely, when you leave the office with unfinished tasks for that day’s to-do list, you unconsciously engender a situation in which you never quite feel complete or satisfied, and you find yourself in a perpetual “striving” mode.

In the short run, it’s okay to leave unfinished tasks, especially when you’re on a specific campaign or project. In the long run, however, continuously over-extending your daily to-do list can have a harmful, de-motivating effect on your life.

It’s understandable that highly ambitious career types want to achieve as much as they can and, if employed by others, desire to greatly benefit their organization.

If you’re not careful, however, and you attempt to accomplish one major task after another instead of alternating large and small tasks, your productivity will actually suffer, as trying to tackle one major task after another can be mindnumbing.

Keen Choices

So, choose to tackle a handful of key tasks each day, alternating them with minor tasks so that you can maintain a fairly high level of energy and allow yourself to leave the workplace with a sense of completion.

You’ll work more effectively the next day, as well as throughout the course of your week, month, year, and career. You’ll engender a most definite sense of accomplishment while experiencing, at the least, recurring feelings of work-life balance.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Business

Get Coached, Get Better

If you feel as if your career progression is not sufficent, you likely need a career coach

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No boss, coworker, peer, spouse, parent, relative, friend, or anyone else, will accompany you through each job. You alone will be with yourself every step of your career journey; you’re it! You’re the only one who can increase the your career prospects, the quality of your relationships, your self-confidence, and your peace of mind.

Work With a Coach

I was fortunate early in my career to recognize the need to retain a career coach. In a nutshell, a career coach can help:

* diagnose and sort out your situation and opportunities

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* offer new strategies for coping with office politics and competition from other firms

* show you vital stress management skills

* discover or capitalize on new opportunities

A good coach provides new tools to chart your goals and career path, and improve communication. Your career coach can be your positive personal, behind-the-scenes confidant, consultant, and resource.

The Benefit From a Career Coach

If you lack self-confidence, or feel as if your career progression is not on the right track, or are faced with any of the following, then it’s likely you need a career coach:

1. Organizational changes within your organization especially if they have a direct impact on you.

2. Acquisitions or mergers.

3. Expansion into new markets.

4. Diversification into new products or services.

5. Increased competition to your firm from other firms trying to take over your market share.

6. Increased management or supervisory responsibility.

7. Increased leadership opportunities.

8. A recent or soon-to-be available promotion.

9. A new boss, or leadership shake-up above you.

10. Changes in your role or assignments within your company.

11. In-company competition and power plays, corporate intrigue, jockeying for position, or turf protection.

12. Blockades of your progress by internal feuds or informal political processes.

13. Increased media exposure or public speaking requirements.

14. Increased production or sales quotas.

15. A new project you must lead or participate in developing.

For several years I worked with a career coach – we met only once quarterly for two hours but I would depart supercharged.

An Employment Contract

You coach might be able to guide you on the topic of employment contracts. The notion of generating an employment contract has been around for decades, yet most career professionals to this day know what an employment contract is, how to draw one up, or how to ensure that they only work with a contract in force.

Among other things, my coach advised me on the importance of establishing a contract. When I first heard this, I was amazed. “You mean that I am to march into my boss’s office and suggest that we develop a contract that defines both the company’s and my responsibilities over the next twelve months?” Yes. Exactly!

In all industries, the most valuable people work with a contract. This is true in the NBA, Fortune 500 companies; philanthropic groups; the highest levels of government; and civic, social, and charitable organizations. The top talent works under an employment contract.

A Huge Boost

Among other things, having an employment contract is a great confidence booster. Essentially, it defines your working conditions for the length of a specified term. It establishes your compensation rate. It practically secures your employment.

What’s more, the contract enhances your confidence while you’re writing it, and it gives you practice in assertiveness. This occurs when you first introduce the subject with your prospective or current employer and when you actually conduct the session to consummate the contract negotiation.

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Business

Hear Me Roar

Top achievers are not dramatically different from you or me; they have useful skills and outlooks …that we can acquire

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Deborah Benton, author of Lions Don’t Need to Roar, is a leadership expert. She has observed hundreds of CEOs, COOs, and company presidents, seeking to find what enables them to accomplish so much.

In her book, she notes that while it’s essential to exhibit competence in one’s position, inspire confidence in others, act accordingly at business functions, and become adept at maneuvering within the firm, it takes something more to make it to the top as a strong leader.

Benton says, “Top people are not magical, blessed, or dramatically different from you or me. They simply have skills and outlooks that the rest of us don’t have, but can get.” Here are some important tips for those who seek to stand out as strong leaders within their organizations:

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Continually Explore New Options

With al of the advances in every profession and the new forms of competition springing from everywhere, to “coast” today is to “roast.” Top achievers in every profession understand that staying put can be risky, so they take decisive action.

In their book, Surfing the Edge of Chaos: The Laws of Nature and the New Laws of Business, authors Richard Pascale, Mark Millemann, and Linda Gioja argue that “equilibrium is a precursor to death.”

The individuals who get things done have the guts to speak in front of others and take calculated risks (recognizing that the experience will be invaluable).

Could this mean that on the path to high achievement, now and then you’re going to fail? The notion of taking calculated risks runs deep among the career achievers.

Be a People Person

A popular stereotype holds that high-achievers tend to be stodgy types. However, Benton finds the situation to be the opposite. Such career professionals laugh and smile often, are fond of telling stories (as long as they convey a point), and know how and when to physically touch others.

They’re also well-skilled in the ability to ask for favors, and they realize how important that makes others feel.

Regardless of how much society advances technologically, those individuals who stand out as strong leaders will take risks, learn from errors, and advance because of their strong ability to interact with others.

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