Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Woman's Advice to Another: It's Always Time to Speak Your Mind

Less than 100 years ago, in 1920, the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution gave women the right to vote. It would take several more decades for women to find their way into corporate America. Today, not only do women have a seat at the conference room table, but some sit at the head. Women have also caught up in terms of education: For every two men who received a college degree in 2010, three women achieved the same milestone.

Yet these "gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity," a report from the White House Council on Women and Girls said in March. "At all levels of education, women earned about 75% of what their male counterparts earned in 2009." In addition, in the corporate world, most women are still not rising all the way to the top. According to a recent study from Catalyst, a New York-based nonprofit that works to promote opportunities for women in business, only 2.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and women make up less than 15% of corporate officers.

"What's holding us back?" asked a speaker at the recent Wharton Women in Business Alumnae Conference 2011. "The opportunity is there."

The answer -- or at least part of it, according to several speakers at the conference -- is that women often don't get what they want because they simply don't ask for it. Studies reveal that women don't negotiate for salaries as often as their male counterparts, they don't network as effectively and they aren't as skilled in finding or using the essential relationships that would help them successfully climb the corporate ladder. In short, despite more than a century of speaking out, many women in business today still haven't learned to speak up.

"Women don't ask," stated Priya G. Trauber, a keynote presenter at the conference, who touched off a day-long discussion about how women could better make their voices heard. "We don't ask people to cultivate us and we don't make ourselves available to be cultivated." Trauber's views come from her work as an executive director at Morgan Stanley, where she is responsible for the bank's strategy to attract, retain and develop women throughout all areas of the company. "We have to recognize what our male counterparts have known for years -- that relationships matter, asking matters, and you have to make people see you."

Trauber cited some studies that shed light on the possible reasons for the disparities. Linda Babcock, who co-authored a book with Sara Laschever called Women Don't Ask, did a study of starting salaries of men and women coming out of graduate school programs. She found that male students earned about $4,000, or 7.6%, more than the average woman. "But when she dug deeper to figure out why this was happening, it was because only 7% of female students had negotiated a salary, whereas 57% of men had negotiated a salary," Trauber said.

The book concluded that girls are taught to be others-focused, that women settle for the salary they need rather than fighting for the amount that they are worth, and that women often struggle between being too assertive and not being assertive enough. The book also said that women don't ask for what they want or feel they deserve because they are fearful they won't be liked, whereas men perceive asking as a fun and exciting game of strategy with little downside.

Getting Connected

Women's failure to speak up also appears in "The Sponsor Effect: Breaking Through the Last Glass Ceiling," a Harvard Business Review research report that focused on the disparities between men and women in terms of sponsorship in the corporate world. The study found that men were 46% more likely to have a sponsor than women.

In fact, many women don't even know what sponsorship is or why it is important. A sponsor, Trauber noted, is a senior person who actively advocates on another's behalf and helps the person advance his or her career. A sponsor may connect the person to senior leaders in the company, promote the person's visibility, give advice on career moves or appearance and help the person find career opportunities either within or outside the company.

A sponsor differs from a mentor, who is more of a confidante who can help with career difficulties and challenges, Trauber said. "A mentor is someone who advises and helps you think through issues, problems, the good and the bad. A sponsor is someone who helps you get paid, gets you promoted, gets you hired -- they're in the room when the decisions are being made."

Sponsorship impacts career growth and advancement, the study found. When asked whether they were satisfied with their rate of career advancement, 70% of men and 68% of women who had sponsors said they were, compared with 57% of both men and women who didn't have sponsors. Men and women with sponsors were also more likely to ask for stretch assignments and were more likely to ask for a raise than those without sponsors.

Having a sponsor helped Mary Tung advance her career at aerospace giant Lockheed Martin. "The self-promotion part is a challenge for me," Tung, a deputy director of corporate international business development for the Asia Pacific region, acknowledged during a panel discussion. "I have done well in my career because I've always had a boss who was much more vocal than I and who would say that if I worked hard, [he or she] would advocate for me."

Yet she didn't always realize when that was happening. After one grueling round of buyouts and reductions, one of the vice presidents of the company asked her who her sponsor was. "I said, 'I don't know,'" she recalled. "He looked at me and said, 'Well, I'll tell you this, Mary. If you didn't have one, you wouldn't be sitting here right now.'" She eventually figured out who her sponsor was and has since learned to be more aware of such relationships. "Make sure that people know what you're doing," she advised the audience. "The key to success is not 'what you know' or 'who you know;' it's 'who knows what you know.'"

Despite the importance of sponsors, however, many women do not intentionally cultivate them, the "Sponsorship" study found. Women still need "an invitation to the party." Women also don't network as aggressively or use their relationships as effectively as men do. "Women network for social purposes, whereas men network to compete and win," Trauber summarized. "In order to gain sponsors, you have to network, and you have to network with a purpose."

Joanna Chang has noticed the difference between men's and women's networking styles in her work at Lancor, an executive search firm in San Francisco. "Men, I've observed, will hunt me down. They will call and call and email; they will find all kinds of excuses," said Chang, a conference panelist. "It's much harder work for me to reach a woman. She's not as proactive in contacting me. Men network for transaction reasons. They don't need to be BFFs [Best Friends Forever]."

The Harvard Business Review study also found that women who have sponsors don't always know how to use them most effectively. Trauber herself discovered this to be the case in her relationship with her sponsor, a vice president of the firm. She would meet with him quarterly, showing him Power Point presentations that bulleted all the good work she had done in the past few months. After their third meeting, he asked her bluntly, "'Why are you here? When you come to my office, you need to have something that you're asking me for. I don't want to have to figure out what you want me to do,'" Trauber recalled. "I learned that I needed to make that relationship matter, and it was up to me to manage the relationship, not up to him."

Learning How to Ask

The reluctance to speak up extends beyond sponsorship to all types of career development, observed panelist Kelly P. Finch, a market manager and executive vice president at PNC Bank in Philadelphia. A self-described "corporate diva," a persona she created early in her career to help give herself a voice, Finch now tries to both sponsor and mentor younger women.

"What I experience a lot is that women just don't ask for what they want," she said. "They don't actually come out and say, 'I'd like to be on a for-profit board. How do I make that happen?' [They don't] share that with people in their environment, whether it's in their own organization or among their contacts, and say, 'This is something that I'm trying to achieve.' They want it but, for some reason, they hesitate to ask. I think just making that one small change could have a pretty dramatic impact."

Learning how to "ask" reflects a larger issue of finding a voice and not being afraid to use it in the business world, noted Chang. "If you don't speak, you will not exist. It really is that simple.... Let's say you're working from home, and you're on a conference call and there are 20 people on the line. If you don't figure out how to get your voice heard in some capacity, by either forcing yourself to ask a question, making a comment or just saying, 'Yes, I got it,' then everyone is going to forget that you were on the conference call.... So the [answer to the] question of whether or not we have a voice is, yes we do -- but we have to proactively use it."

Speaking up doesn't need to be obnoxious or aggressive. Tung said that even people who are reserved can play an important role by finding a voice. She learned that if she couldn't add to the conversation during a meeting, she would take notes and keep track of all the main points being discussed. "Then, at the end, I would interject and say, 'Can I recap? Can I summarize?' You would be surprised how many people don't have that consolidated list. All of a sudden you have just added significant value to that meeting."

Sometimes it is possible to add value to a conversation by acknowledging a person's point, offering a counterpoint or simply saying, "'Yes, I agree,'" pointed out Finch. "I used to be the person who would sit in the meeting, be part of the team and be so focused on: 'Is this team getting to the goal?' that if we were moving towards the goal in a way I thought was acceptable, I felt like I didn't have to say anything," she stated. Then "my boss said to me many years ago -- and I thank him for this -- 'The reason I hired you is because I like the way you think. But if you don't share your thinking, you're not doing your job.'"

Finch acknowledges that "many times it feels like a risk to speak up," but she no longer worries about that. "One day," she said, "I woke up and realized that the risk of me not speaking was far greater than the risk of saying what I thought."

Published: March 30, 2011 in Knowledge@Wharton

If you’d really like to make fast progress towards realizing your full personal power and potential as well as develop the mindset of confidence, request your Introductory Consultation today!

Roland Gilbert

Roland N. Gilbert is Vice-President and founder of the Perennial Consulting Group a management consulting, coaching and sales force development firm that focuses on overcoming fear and other limiting beliefs and creating empowering solutions so that individuals can live out their passions!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Taking Action For Personal Success - Part IV

Over the past few weeks I’ve been discussing a topic near and dear to my heart…taking action!  In Taking Action For Personal Success – Part I, I began with how taking action is not always easy, it does take mental strength. However it is critical to our feeling of personal success and achievement. Action is doing. It is experiencing something.
In Taking Action For Personal Success – Part II, I discussed some applications from a coaching perspective that I use and you can utilize as well.  
In Taking Action For Personal Success – Part III, I discussed failure to act and how to over come this.
Today I’m going to discuss…
Personal Goals and Values
As a coach, I support my clients in creating value-based goals. Before any goal setting takes place, my client must first determine what their values are. Orienting the goals around my client‘s values will make them compelling and will pull the client forward and reach their personal success.
Most of us live full and busy lives with competing demands for our precious time and energy. We need to priorities so that only those things that really matter get our full energy. By creating goals based on our values we ensure the optimal return on our investment of time and energy, because our success will be in the areas that matter the most to us.
There are many reasons why people make goals for themselves that are not aligned with their values or are not as closely aligned with their values as other personal goals. A common reason is pressure from others such as family and friends. An example of this is the person who feels pressure to pursue a particular career because other members of the family are in that profession or it has a high status in their family and the community. Or the person who feels compelled to take on a family business or farm or to marry early.
Another reason why people make goals for themselves that are not aligned with their values is social pressure from peers. Perhaps they move in a social circle where everyone has a particular type of house or car, or perhaps a holiday house. All of a sudden they find themselves working towards a goal of buying a new house without ever thinking about whether this is what they really want in their lives, or whether it aligns with their values.
This mental strength misalignment can present itself in two ways. Firstly they can achieve the goal and then be left wondering why it doesn‘t make them as happy as they thought it might. Alternatively, it can manifest itself as setting goals that are never achieved. For example, an individual can say that his goal is to buy a more prestigious property but then spend all his spare money on other things. Not achieving the goal can then damage their self esteem, making it harder for him to set more meaningful goals in the future and reach their peak personal performance.
A common reason why people make goals is because it’s “the right thing to do.” This is why giving up smoking and going to the gym appear so frequently on lists of New Year‘s resolution. These are both admirable goals and, if pursued for the right reasons, will reap rewards. However, making a goal because it is expected of you is unlikely to result in success. Staying motivated and committed will be difficult if your goal is not aligned with your values. You will be far more likely to succeed in a goal that helps you to be aligned with your better self, and which supports your vision of the way the world should be. These sorts of goals will not only be more achievable, but will bring the most lasting joy.
Creating a Process
Once a person is in a place where they want to begin setting goals, there are any number of tools, systems and strategies that  can be provide for you to plan and document your goals. It‘s important that whatever process you choose that it supports you and doesn‘t drive you in a direction of its own making. A process or system that has values attached to it so ensure the values and you are aligned. New Year‘s resolutions are built around a particular belief and if you don't hold this belief then you will not create goals around this time. As with all techniques there is, of course, no hard and fast rule. Making and keeping goals is an art rather than a science. There are many paths to successful goal achievement.
Although there are many ways to achieve goals, there are a few "tried and true" principles that you can use to support you to achieve your goals.
1.      Keep Goals Up Front. A good question to ask a yourself when you have developed a set of goals is “How can I keep those goals in sight so that I don‘t forget about them”. You may then choose to write them down, put them in a prominent place or review them daily. You may choose to create an “affirmation” or positive statement about each goal that you repeat to yourself each morning.
2.     Lookout for Hijackers. Goals and actions must work together. If a person has a goal of spending more time with his or her family, and they then consider taking on a job that includes huge amounts of interstate travel, then their goal is likely to be hijacked. Keeping goals upfront is a good way for you to avoid this. Another way is for you to ask “How will this decision support my goals?” or “Will this take me closer or further from my goals?” Remember, everyone has every right to put aside goals that no longer serve them. The support that I offer is gently…and sometimes not so gently…leading them through a thought process which compares their actions to their goals so that they don‘t inadvertently sabotage them. After they go through this process, they can then choose to let a goal drop away for other reasons.
3.     Sprint, Don’t Walk – Remember that goals are a series of sprints not a marathon.  That is, you give it all got for a “short” burst, then take a “breather.”  This short burst can be to your first milestone or short-term goal.  Swaying from time to time happens to all of us. It is the journey that counts. One of the reasons why clients shy away from setting goals is that they fear that they will be criticized for not reaching milestones. It‘s essential that they know that their support, coach, friend will never criticize or judge them, but will provide support to them when they fall over the inevitable hurdles that get between them and their goals. Setting a combination of short and long term goals is important. Long-term goals provide a vision; short-term steps along the way help us to remain focused and to feel a sense of achievement.
4.     Remain Flexible. Don’t be so rigid in reaching your personal goals that you close yourself off from opportunities that suddenly present themselves. As you achieve success you’ll move from the realm of the “known” and discover things that they “didn‘t know they didn‘t know”. This new information creates an impacts on your future goals. It is a natural and positive thing for individuals to alter personal goals or to simply let them go. The difference between failure to meet a goal, and simply letting the goal go, because it no longer serves you, comes back to your values. By keeping focused on your values you can feel free to rework goals when necessary to match your evolving “reality”.
5.     Support: Some goals can be achieved alone, but some require the support of others. For example, a goal to keep a house more tidy and inviting requires the support of everyone who lives there, not you. Similarly, there are many workplace goals that require the consent of a number of players. When supporting my client to make goals, I often ask whether the goal requires the cooperation of others and helping them to develop strategies to either gain the support of the other players or alternatively to reshape the goal.
6. Structures: You’re much more likely to achieve goals if you have structures in place to support them. When my clients are making goals I have two roles. One role is to encourage and “enthuse” them; the other is to make sure that they maximize the chance of success by putting in place a structure. A typical question is “What can you put in place to make this goal easier to achieve?”
7.      Phrase Goals in the Positive, instead of the negative. You will have much more success in achieving goals if you feel you are being pulled towards something positive rather than pushing away from something negative. There are a number of ways that I support my clients to work from ‘what they want’, as opposed to ‘what they don’t want’ or want to leave behind. One strategy is to reframe and use positive language. For example, if you say, “I want to leave my dull and unrewarding job and get a better one”, I would respond, “OK, what kind of job DO you want that would make you feel fulfilled and excited to get up each day for work.”
8. Accountability. Some clients want me to be a strong accountability partner. They expect me to remember their goals and to question them about milestones. Other clients may find this like a boss or babysitter. Many only wan to discuss goals with me in their own time and don’t want to return if things are going well. It’s important to determine the level of accountability YOU require and then go get it. As a coach I never assume that my role is to hold someone to account for goals unless my client specifically requests this. If someone comes to you with their personal goals a good question to ask is “How can I best support you to achieve these goals?” or “Would you like me to be an accountability partner for these goals? How would you see that working?”
9.     Getting Attached: Often we get locked into a goal, feeling perhaps that the goal is “a must have.” If we do not achieve the goal we may feel like a failure. Here is an opportunity to reframe the situation so that you can go for the goal and not get locked into it. You will be free to set much bigger and higher goals with a relaxed state of mind. If you focus only on the end result you’ll miss the journey. You won‘t be present and as a result may not notice that you need to alter the route or simply readjust the goal.
10.  Celebrate! It is so important to celebrate the achievement of personal goals and personal success. Celebrate the achievement with your friends, family, coworkers and encourage them to celebrate their achievements as well. Encourage them and yourself to celebrate the small steps. A great question to ask when goal setting is “How are you going to celebrate reaching this magnificent goal?”
I’ll be continuing this topic next week.  Until then please share your thoughts in the comments below
Roland Gilbert
If you’d really like to make fast progress towards realizing your full personal power and potential as well as develop the mindset of confidence, request your Introductory Consultation today!

Roland Gilbert

Roland N. Gilbert is Vice-President and founder of the Perennial Consulting Group a management consulting, coaching and sales force development firm that focuses on overcoming fear and other limiting beliefs and creating empowering solutions so that individuals can live out their passions!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The 6 Laws of Mental Strength And Personal Success

I find it helpful…at least for myself, to go back and review these laws on a regular basis’s.  You see whether you are aware of these laws or not doesn't matter…they are still at work in your life and have a tremendous affect on achieving your personal goals and reaching peak performance in your area of interest.
These laws are like any other Natural/Universal Law, you can’t see the “law”, but you do see the result of the law…the affect.   Remember, just because you can’t see gravity doesn’t mean it’s not affecting your life.
So here are The 6 Laws of Mental Strength:
1. Thoughts are Real Energy 
 This has been proven scientifically.  We have EEG’s, brain probes and other scientific instruments to read the energy in our thoughts.  So think about this…if thoughts are real energy – which they are – what else in nature is real energy?  Electricity, moving objects (kinetic energy), objects resting (potential energy), heat…etc.  All these have energy and with they can be use constructively or destructively – how are you using your thoughts

2. The Mind is Sending and Receiving Station of Thoughts 

 Just like a 2-way radio can both transmit and receive our mind also sends and receives thoughts.  If you tune you radio to a specific station, let’s say the news.  You’ll receive all the messages about disperse and tragedy.  If however you focus or “tune” to a station that has a bit more uplifting message, that’s what you’ll get.  The key here is you receive what you are tuned into receiving.  The opposite is true as well.  If you are constantly worried about sickness, disease and poverty you will be sending out those messages and someone who is “tuned” to that same station will connect with you.  And you wander why you’re surrounded by such negative people?  What station are you tuned into?

3. Thoughts that are Emotionalized are Magnetized and Attract Similar and Like Thoughts

Ever wake up in the morning and stub your toe?  How was the rest of the day?  Not so good right?  This is because as soon as you stubbed your toe your mind was flooded with all sorts of non-supportive thoughts (to having a good day).  One thought lead to another and to another…and so on.   This happen when we get into an argument with someone.  The thoughts we think (during this high energy exchange) attracts all sorts of negative thoughts from the past.  The problem is that we do this with ourselves internally. We can have a thought of “How am I going to pay the bills” If this thought has enough emotion behind it, it will cascade into many, many, many other negative thoughts.  The good news is the opposite is true as well.  Stop for a moment and think of a puppy playing around.  Did a smile come to your face?  Did other “kind and gentle” thoughts follow?  Well unless you don’t like puppies I suspect you did, didn't you?  So….which thoughts do you want to energize?

4. We are Always Experiencing Thoughts and We Have to Ability to Either Entertain Them or      Dismiss Them

This law is about personal power.  You and only you are the thinker of your thoughts.  You and only you are the receiver of your thoughts. If you don’t like the thought….throw it away.  They are your thought for gosh sakes!   This law is SO crucial for personal success…this law is about taking responsibility for your thoughts, actions and results…after all thoughts are real energy right?

5. We Have the Power and Ability to Insert any Thought We Want into Our Mind 

This law dovetails  right into the preceding law.  If you don’t like the thoughts you are thinking…think different ones.  You are the thinker of the thought…you are the dreamer of the dream.  Make it a magnificent one!  As the last two lines in the poem Invictus say “I am the master of my fate:I am the captain of my soul.”

6. Our Inner-World and Outer-World are Connected and We Live in Both Worlds Simultaneously 

We have the Inner world of thoughts, emotions, beliefs and values, judgments  and the Outer world of circumstances, affects, results.  Our Inner world absolutely affects our Outer world …thoughts are real energy.  And we know that our Outer world affects out Inner world.  We all have experienced some news over the past month that created a undesirable emotion and feeling within us.  We you think about achieving personal success on the Inner world and think it with emotion…we get success in the Outer world.  When we get personal success in the Outer world we think and feel success in the Inner world.

So now you have a basic understanding of the fundamental mental strength laws…how are you going to use them?
I’d like to give a few contemplation exercises for this week.  Contemplation is when you sit and think about a single thought and it’s implication to your life.  You take one single idea and look at it from every angle, turn it around, upside down…you take this thought and deeply think about it’s implication on your life.
I would suggest as a personal goal to one of these thoughts per day and spend at least 3 times a day for minutes of 5 minuets sitting in contemplation.
  • I am in possession of an amazing instrument of power (your mind) that is transforming my life now that I’m learning how to use it.
  • My personal vibration determines the circumstances and situations that happen to me and my thoughts and beliefs create my personal vibration.
  • My power to think thoughts is my power to create my life & I have the power to think whatever thought I choose.
By taking time contemplate the above ideas you will start a new way of thinking. And when you think differently, you act differently…and when you act differently you get different results.  And you do want different results don’t you?
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
If you’d really like to make fast progress towards realizing your full personal power and potential as well as develop the mindset of confidence, request your Introductory Consultation today!

Roland Gilbert

Roland N. Gilbert is Vice-President and founder of the Perennial Consulting Group a management consulting, coaching and sales force development firm that focuses on overcoming fear and other limiting beliefs and creating empowering solutions so that individuals can live out their passions!

Are We Missing Out on Life’s Opportunities?

If we are, life doesn’t refund us our time!
I have a feeling that with the number of years I have been seeing people in the counselling work that I do, and the number of people I have met socially since I stepped off the regular work ladder and started to do other things, that there is a pattern emerging! All things being equal of course, and no such thing as NORMAL, but it would seem that those of us who are happiest are those who are either totally content with what life has handed them and want no more, or those who are not totally content and are doing something about it. Of course that then leaves those who are not content who are doing NOTHING about it!
When we are born we have no self esteem, we do not have a picture of ourselves, we cannot assess ourselves. As we grow older, other people help us to do that sometimes badly! How many times have carers, parents, friends, partners, spouses really made inroads on our inner selves by putting us down, being overly critical and unkind? making us see ourselves as they see us at that moment in time. Yes, it may just be a moment in time for them, but it CAN last forever for us! (If we allow it!)
I believe the pattern of our life can very well be described by learning to walk, the falls, the pain, the anger, the frustration, the lack of balance, did we EVER think we would make it? Yet, look at us now! We go through all of this as we grow older and learn, hopefully from the type of mistakes we make. We adjust, gain the art of balancing, and make improvements as we get older. At least that is the best way to do things. Some just go on and on, doing the same things continually through their lives and wondering and despairing at, why they get the same results!
Think of the cake illustration. No way is any cake going to be any different unless we change the ingredients, and we make cake every day with the way we handle the same situations over and over again. So you aren’t happy? Then MAKE SOME CHANGES! Most times it lies with the way we handle things, and our attitude towards others, small changes there can bring about remarkable results. Every man and woman not satisfied with a relationship should perhaps realise that we obviously get locked into routine behaviour and then wonder why nothing improves, its because the first recipe is not working! Try something else!
How many of us make a conscious effort to build our partners up, commend them, show appreciation for the pleasant things they do (No one is ALL bad!) and try to encourage them? Do those things go unspoken? Why? We can all be very verbal when it comes to criticism, rejection and humiliation! Why don’t THOSE things go unspoken?
If we build someone up we are banking money for ourselves as far as that relationship goes in most cases,the changes can be quite dramatic. If that is what you want, surely it is worth a try?
If you’d really like to make fast progress towards realizing your full personal power and potential as well as develop the mindset of confidence, request your Introductory Consultation today!

Roland Gilbert

Roland N. Gilbert is Vice-President and founder of the Perennial Consulting Group a management consulting, coaching and sales force development firm that focuses on overcoming fear and other limiting beliefs and creating empowering solutions so that individuals can live out their passions!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Taking Action For Personal Success - Part III

Last week I continued with this topic of taking action for personal success. In Taking Action For Personal Success – personal successPart I, I began with how creating action is not always easy, it does take mental strength. However it is critical to our feeling of personal success and achievement. Action is doing. It is experiencing something.
In Taking Action For Personal Success – Part II, I discussed some application from a coaching perspective that I use and you can utilize as well.  Today I’m going to continue with…
Failure to Act
If you find yourself not willing to take action, or that you do commit to action but don‘t follow through, then there may be something blocking you from wanting to move forward. This is a strong indication that you may not be ready for the next step, at least at an unconsciousness level.
When this happens, ask yourself “What is holding me back, why do I not want to take action?” The answer is the first tip/hint of a limiting belief(s) that are interfering with your consciousness personal goals.  Remember, the consciousness mind is the goal setter and the unconsciousness mind is the goals getter.
I have had clients that have a limiting belief of “This coaching thing is not going to work, it’s easier to just not change.” When this belief is uncovered,  it usually has to do with that I’m inadvertently pushing them in directions that’s not right for them, or not challenging them enough, or not recognizing and acknowledging the significant but small steps that they are making. I’ll then ask the question “What‘s the best way that I can support you now to move into action?” This question usually loosens up the limiting belief and then it can be handled.
The Past Does Not Equals Future
Each of us remembers certain events in our past as big dramatic stories of our lives. We often focus on why we are in our current situation and provide all the details leading to this situation. The implication is often that the state we are in now is an inevitable result of past actions and activities. Unfortunately the next logical step in this mode of thinking is that things have to stay the way they are and can‘t change for the better.
At some point you may be telling yourself, a friend or even a coach a detailed story about major events of your life. For example, in order to discuss seeking more fulfillment in your work, you may feel the need to tell someone how you got into your current job, why you are in this particular job and what main obstacles have prevented you from moving beyond the present job.
Often times these stories provide an important context for you to orient yourself and the listener to your future plans. However, sometimes these stories are a way of restricting forward movement. If you keep talking about the past, this is a red flag! Be alert enough and determine if you’re stuck there. Sometimes, looking back at the past and to continue to look back may be the very thing which is preventing you from moving forward.
If this is the case KPC® (Knowledge, Power, Control), is a great mental strength tools that can resolve and neutralizing this issue.
Keep in mind that the information you are describing may be a mixture of both facts and personal interpretation. Specifically, when it comes to explaining all the reasons why you are where you are in your life. Be aware enough that you have developed your story to explain the way things are now. While all of the reasons feel “real” to you, they have all been constructed after the event. Contrary to popular belief, hindsight is not 20/20! We all look at the story of our past through the window of our present circumstances.  If the event is dramatic enough the story or explanation is called a “Black Swan.” No…not the movie :-)
The Black Swan Theory or Theory of Black Swan Events is a metaphor that encapsulates the concept that The event is a surprise (to the observer) and has a major impact. After the fact, the event is rationalized by hindsight.
The theory was developed by Nassim Nicholas Taleb to explain:
1. The disproportionate role of high-impact, hard to predict, and rare events that are beyond the realm of normal expectations in history, science, finance and technology
2. The non-computability of the probability of the consequential rare events using scientific methods (owing to the very nature of small probabilities)
3. The psychological biases that make people individually and collectively blind to uncertainty and unaware of the massive role of the rare event in historical affairs.
How to Get Unstuck
When you keep living in the past or feel they are getting stuck in the past, you can use a number of techniques to shift your thinking forward. One way to simply ask yourself:
  • How would I like it to look/be?
  • What would I like in my life right now?
  • What have you learned about me from this past experience?
  • How can I apply the learning from this to my current situation?
Often this will do the trick.
If you find yourself continually dwelling in the explanations of the past rather than thinking about and answering questions about the future, this is the time for coach.  After all…if you keep doing the things you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting things you’ve always gotten…and this is the cause of the “past” dialogue.  A coach can help sort this out and assist you in getting refocused on the future.
Focusing on Strengths
Unfortunately in life there are some individuals are all too willing to focus on their weaknesses and shortcomings and very few people willing to focus on strengths. Some people mistakenly think that the goal of life is to eliminate their shortcomings.  This simply denies themselves the opportunity to excel and shine and what they are good at.
Others think that it is their duty in life to point out the shortcomings in others. These people have accepted the myth of “constructive criticism.” The reality is that “constructive criticism” is never constructive at all.  Sure there are ways to provide feedback, but constructive criticism is simply a persons opinion, and depending who they are, have no real basics for this comments.
We have also become trained in believing that knowing someone‘s weaknesses is the way to help them develop and grow. We ask people to make their weaknesses strengths and we even believe at times that we should be good at everything – no weaknesses. This perspective is damaging. Every person has strengths that are unique to them. It is what makes them special. To build on these strengths is to grow their uniqueness.
Here‘s an important mental strength secret: What we focus on grows. If we focus on our strengths, they will take us to great places, if we focus on our weaknesses, they will dominate your life and prevent you from moving forward and reaching personal success.
One of the best ways to move into action is to focus on your strengths and to acknowledge them. Your ‘weaknesses’ are only ever an issue if they prevent you from building on your strengths and achieving peak personal performance.
We all have weaknesses – however, unless they prevent us from achieving our goals, they are not worth the focus of a coaching session. In fact, they are not worth focusing on at all.
Did you know that the writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was a terrible speller?
It didn‘t prevent him from writing The Great Gatsby, one of the most important novels in American literature, read by millions the world over. So why would you know about it? It simply doesn‘t matter.
If Fitzgerald had focused on overcoming his spelling, instead of on writing novels, what a waste to the world (and to himself) this would have been.
Setting Goals
Anyone who has accomplished anything worthwhile has consciously or unconsciously followed through on a goal. Goals have the power to keep us focused on a purpose. They support us through difficult times when it may be tempting to give up. Personal goals create a future pull and pushed us to stay focused so we can achieve them.
One of the ways that a I support my client’s in creating in action is by supporting them to set and achieve goals. A person who wants to get the most out of life often has a number of goals simmering at the same time, in their personal and business life.
The extent to which individuals set goals and the level of detail of those goals varies enormously. Some people have a very general sense or vision of the direction that they want their lives to go and want support in making very short term goals that head them in that general direction. Other people respond well to elaborate goals and plans with detailed milestones and points of accountability leading for 5 or 10 years into the future.
Whatever the structure or form the goal takes, it’s essential to find someone that can provide a level of support and accountability that you not would otherwise have.
Roland Gilbert
If you’d really like to make fast progress towards realizing your full personal power and potential as well as develop the mindset of confidence, request your Introductory Consultation today!

Roland Gilbert

Roland N. Gilbert is Vice-President and founder of the Perennial Consulting Group a management consulting, coaching and sales force development firm that focuses on overcoming fear and other limiting beliefs and creating empowering solutions so that individuals can live out their passions!