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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

You have to tell yourself you can do it. Otherwise you won't.


 





Team Support Specialist
ActionCOACH Spokane

I took this job for inspiration. I thought working with business coaches would offer me insight into possibilities unimagined. I thought working at the front desk would be invigorating because I would meet, first hand, a different array of clients; and possibly grasp little wisps of inspiration from them as they walk past my desk.

My expectations were reaffirmed today when  I heard myself say to a client, “if there is one thing that I have learned from working here, is that you have to tell yourself you can do it.” 

Do you ever stop and wonder how your actions affect others? Does it seem silly that a 10 minute conversation can mirror so greatly my own dreams and ambitions? 

For the first time in my life, I thought to myself, “if she can do it, maybe I can do it.”  Notice my hesitant “maybe”…I still need an out. I’m not there yet. But it’s a start.

This woman, younger than me, a divorced mother of four and a business owner shared with me that she recently auditioned for a popular band. I graciously listened to the song she recorded and my heart stopped.
Standing before me was someone close to my age, pretty, youthful, business-minded, yet artistically driven sharing with me what may be her next endeavor. 

How many excuses could she have come up with as to why it’s not reasonable to pursue a career in the music industry? 

There are lots of reasons why it’s difficult; but… it could work.

I challenge each of you to start thinking that it could work. Whatever “it” is for you. 

What tiny fragments of your forgotten passions and talents are still breathing despite being smothered with grown-up responsibilities? 

Is it singing? Acting? Painting? Writing? Helping others? You could take a voice lesson. That could work. You could try out for a small part in a local theater production. That could work. 

Forget practical for right now. Forget responsible for right now. Forget should.  Yes, there are a lot of things you should be doing, but what is it you COULD be doing?

You know something? That might just work!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Be, do, have….the formula for success…


BE-DO-HAVE: Coach Ted Schmidt shares with a list of how YOU can BE SUCCESSFUL.....




By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist

ActionCOACH Spokane

Artwork courtesy of http://dribbble.com/shots/524461-Inspire
I am two people. The old Joy and the new Joy.  

When I feel like procrastinating, giving up, or I start feeling impulsive, I ask myself, “What would the “New Joy” do? 

For example, this morning I had an appointment at 7:30 am.  I was up at 6 am and showered. I was back in bed; sound asleep by 6:20 am.  When my alarm went off at 7:00 am I immediately decided to blow this appointment off and go back to sleep.  

Seconds later I asked myself, what would the “new Joy” do? 

Well, the “new Joy” got up, got dressed and made it in record time to her appointment.  The “old Joy” was less than happy.  

Why am I telling you this? 


Because there is this simple principle called BE, DO, HAVE.


In order to get the results you want to HAVE, you must DO the things that are necessary for success, and these things are usually preceded by the correct thinking or BE-ing.

Stop for a moment and think about someone you admire and who has achieved a level of success you someday wish to obtain.

What sorts of things does that person DO?  

  • Does that person blow off commitments deemed as inconvenient?  
  • Does that person make excuses for failure and blame other people for their misfortune?
  • Does that person have a negative attitude?
Let me ask you something. Have you ever worked with someone who seemed to get away with murder in the workplace? They have a miserable attitude, they sabotage their co-workers, and they are not fully involved or committed to success of the organization.  Has it ever appeared that this person puts in little effort but suffers no consequence?  Their financial situation seems abundant and their clientele satisfied; yet all their mannerisms, habits, communication style contradicts their apparent success? 

I guarantee you that the cracks will start to show.  Clients will become unhappy and financial repercussions will ensue. 

We all want short-cuts. We all want to work less and make more money. We live in a society that expects instant gratification. 

I asked Certified Business Coach Ted Schmidt what highly-successful people actually DO.   

Who do I have to BE? 

“Highly successful people make others around them better. They bring people up with them; they don’t hold them down,” explains Coach Ted. 

He offers the following insights when trying to apply the BE-DO-HAVE principle to your own life.
What do successful people DO?

·         Write down goals

·         Use their time productively

·         Delegate

·         Stay focused on their goals

·         Prepare

·         Work hard

·         Always do their best

·         Project confidence

·         Follow through on commitments

·         Communicate effectively

·         Show up on time


“Successful people are confident and comfortable in their own skin and have gained confidence by learning from their mistakes and not repeating them,” says Coach Ted.  “If you want to be perceived as professional, you need to start BEING a professional in the way you act, dress, and speak.”

Coach Ted sums up the BE-DO-HAVE principle: “If you want to be successful surround yourself with successful people!” 

Special thanks to Coach Ted Schmidt for sharing his valuable insights with me for this posting. Be sure to read Coach Ted's blog and visit him on Facebook.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

False Expectations Appearing Real: Conquering Fear


By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist 

If you told me I have two choices: One that will probably end catastrophically in disaster with only a 1% chance of success and the other will most certainly lead to success (but is significantly less risky and exciting) there is a 99.9% chance I will always choose the least-logical option. 

If I bet on horses, I'd pick the long-shot every time.


Why?

If the odds are against you, and you win, you WIN BIG. 

If you fail…then wasn’t that really your expectation in the first place?

It’s a win-win. Even if you lose. 


Except, , this is really called is self-sabotage fueled by fear of the unknown. 

It’s not really fear or success; it’s fear of trying to be successful and failing. 


It’s like walking through the same dark, creature-infested forest searching in circles for a way out; but you know every inch of the forest. You know which shadows are tree branches and which are hungry carnivores. 

It’s familiar. 



But that clearing for which you say you are searching...that is unfamiliar territory!

Sure the sun shines brightly and fragrant flowers abundantly bloom....but...what if.... the sun is too bright...what if... it’s so bright you go blind....what if.. you have an anaphylactic reaction to a bee...what if... something unforeseen is hiding  that is ten times more dangerous than any creature in your familiar forest? 

So you keep walking. In circles. You say you’re searching for a way out, but really, you’re just making excuses. Excuses to stay where you’re comfortable because you’re scared of the unknown. 


So what do you do? 

I don’t know. I have recently just glimpsed the clearing through the trees. I have only considered venturing out into the unknown. But I’m not ready yet. 

Not entirely.

I am just beginning to realize that when opportunities are pounding at my door, I pretend I don’t notice.  I cower like an agoraphobic. And you know what the worst part of it all is? It’s a choice. 


Acquiescing to fear is a choice. That can be a hard pill to swallow because then who is to blame? There is a lot of people we think are to blame, but unfortunately, the only person bearing accountability is ourselves. 


Really think about where you want to go in life. Think about your passions. Think about your talents. Recognize that droning, driveling voice that screams a litany of reasons for self-doubt every time you think about your goals. 

Then take a moment and remind yourself that fear is only false expectations appearing real. 
 
Below are some links to other articles/sites dealing with the concept of fear:

Monday, May 21, 2012

Your talents and contributions are only important if you make them important!


 

I was going to write a blog posting about the difference between experience and expertise. Because I am a fan of alliteration, and experience and expertise both begin with the same letter, this phrase was mentioned in our morning team meeting and immediately caught my attention. 

By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist
ActionCOACH Spokane



But as the afternoon clouds move in, I don’t feel nearly excited about either experience or expertise or some witty way in which I was going to pair up the two for your benefit. 

Instead, I am at a loss for a topic that I find inspiring today. It’s truly a gray Monday afternoon and really a nap sounds like an ideal option. 

Isn’t that the problem with motivational blogs? They are all sunshine and roses but they never really address the crapiness of it all. Tell me how to handle the mundane.  The routine. The ordinary. 

That’s what throws me for a loop.  

How do you focus your time and energy on your goals and dreams even while you are doing the grunt work?
I don’t know. I haven’t figured it out yet. 

I feel like the first step is to do something related to your strengths. For example, writing a blog post. Although my day is filled to the brim with endless open-items, projects, errands, deadlines, etc., I still must find time, even a moment, to do something productive that reinvigorates me. 

It would be really easy to say that I am too busy to write a blog post. It would be really easy to convince myself that I am too moody, tired, grumpy, annoyed, and generally disgruntled by the lack of sunshine today and  that there is no way I have the mental focus to write. 

The harder thing to do was to sit down and write something. Anything. This blog site is up to 527 hits! That’s amazing!  

Unfortunately I know the moment I make an excuse as to why this blog should not be a priority, it’s all downhill from there. 

How many goals, dreams, aspirations, fanciful whims have you let rot beneath a piles of suffocating excuses destroying their importance? 

Your talents and contributions are only important if you make them important. 

Otherwise to everyone else, they are just ordinary.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Your Reticular Activating System: Is it set for success and happiness? Look for misery and you'll only see misery and misfortune...

 

 

By Joy Mizzoni
Team Support Specialist
ActionCOACH Spokane


Do you know about your reticular activating system (RAS)? “Setting Your RAS” is another little ActionCOACH idiom heard on a constant basis. 

Simply, your RAS decides what you pay attention to and what you ignore. Sure there is a more scientific explanation involving neurons, atoms, and gray matter…. but we will just ignore that for right now. 

How this applies to success is basic: what you think about is what you get. 


If all you think about is how miserable, unpleasant, untrustworthy most people are and how nothing ever goes your way, and you always hit every single stoplight, and nothing in in life is fair, and everyone has it better than you, and your job sucks, and your ass is fat, and all men are jerks, and you’re always broke, and your feet smell, and life just stinks and you hate the world and wish everyone would die, then guess what?

You will never notice the sweet smell of lilac floating in the summer air because your nose is pointed at your feet.


Okay, for those of you who still don’t know what the heck I’m talking about here, I’m going to use the standard car scenario which is far less colorful than my explanation but it should clear up a few things.  

Today you just purchased a brand new, shiny, red car. You thought to yourself, wow, this is a brand new model, unique and eye-catching! I don’t think I have even seen anyone driving one of these yet!  Your tires squeal as you fly off the dealer lot in your new ride. You’re driving, you’re smiling, you’re, wait, what’s that? That car over there, at that stop light, it looks, it looks just like this one? Oh well. That was probably the only one because you are sure you have NEVER seen this make and model of car around town. So you continue on your way, stereo up, and pull into the grocery store. What the heck is THAT? Not another car just like mine….


Now just because you never NOTICED that same care before doesn’t mean you never SAW it before. You just ignored it. You weren’t aware. Your RAS wasn’t set on “shiny red car.”  

If your RAS is set on opportunities, happiness, and good fortune you will NOTICE opportunities for happiness and good fortune that were always there…you just never SAW them before. 

How can you set your RAS for success?  If you’re like me, it won’t happen overnight. 

Now, you have to get to a point where you are AWARE of where your RAS is set. Unless you accept that self-awareness is critical; all my awesome advice is moot. Before you do anything, anything at all….and I mean anything…ANYTHING…you have to spend a few days or weeks becoming aware of what you think about, what you say to yourself, what bothers you, what holds you back. 

YOU MUST GET OFF AUTOMATIC PILOT! 


Even if it’s only for a few moments here and there. Read my last post (click here) about how small things matter. Small things matter. I’m not lying. Think of it this way, a few rain drops on a summer day are refreshing; a torrential downpour is not. Rain drops are rain drops. Get it? 

I would like to invite you to set your RAS for happiness with me.  Below is what I try to do consistently. I would like to say that means every day, but let’s just strive for “occasionally” right now.

Scenario 1: I don’t feel like getting out of bed and going to work because I am stressed and overwhelmed.

My first waking thoughts are an overwhelming mushroom cloud of errands, tasks, projects, empty gas tanks, children, work demands, laundry, dinner, daycare, dance recitals, bank accounts, gym workouts, car repairs, housework, meetings, deadlines; all exploding into my head at one time.  This happens as soon as the realization hits me that I MUST get out of bed right now. Hitting the snooze button one more time is not an option. 

Solution: “An Enemy Called Average” By John Mason is your best friend. 


Read it. Read it again. Read it some more. Then, read it again

ActionCOACH Spokane uses this book in their 90-day planning workshops and I review one chapter every Friday with my mentor Coach Jim Munro.

There is a reason why I was so passionate about starting this blog – because if I can take small steps towards changing my crappy attitude than anyone receptive to change can as well. 

When I find myself struggling to face the real world, I say to myself:

 “Never start your day in neutral.”


This get’s the covers off of my head. 

Then as soon as my feet touch the floor I say to myself: 

“Every morning when your feet hit the floor you should be thinking on the offensive, moving forward, taking control of your day and your life.”   


These are direct quotes from this book. 

What this does is sets your RAS to focus on what you CAN control today opposed to how chaotic things may seem first thing on a Monday morning. 

I start my day with my RAS set on the offensive; not the defensive. 

Scenario 2: The drive to work:  Having a positive attitude is really easy to maintain for like 20 minutes.


So in order to keep my RAS set to controlling my day instead of letting my day control me, I ensure that I listen to something positive on the way to work. I have a very long commute in the morning I try to find something on the radio that reinforces my mindset. This could be anything from public radio, a spiritual speaker, or even a bit of humor. For me, I listen to two stations, both spiritually based because the concepts they speak about (accountability, kindness, family, change, goals) are generally applicable to achieving success by making good choices. See, my RAS is set to look for positive reinforcement so I rarely run into fire, brimstone or damnation. 

I stay away from the news, financial reports; anything that is stressful, chaotic, negative or sad.
Finally, when I arrive at work I have already started the day setting my RAS towards thoughts and influences that are in direct line with achieving my goals.  

Some people just like being miserable, cranky and down on their luck. Others, I think, like me, just didn’t realize there was another way of thinking. Or perhaps my RAS has been set to “poor me” for so long that  a myriad of opportunities and talents where always there, I just failed to notice them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

N.I.C.E….Nothing Inside Me Cares Enough To Say Anything….


In an effort to effectively prioritize and produce results, I promised myself that I could work on a blog post only after I had finished some other, less exciting projects. Specifically, I committed to finishing this lengthy PowerPoint presentation today (not due until next week) and the reward for not procrastinating would be, well, this blog post. 

Long story short, I stopped working on the presentation dead in my tracks to write this blog post for you.


But, the redeeming moral of the story, is that, well, this blog post happens to be about the presentation that is sitting half done on my desk this very moment. 

For those of you who read my very first posting (click here…hint hint) the purpose of this bog is to share practical information for improving your life.  I say “life” because although I support “business” coaches — not “life” coaches — business is your life...whether you own a business, dream of starting your own business, or just want to be employee of the month.  And for those of you lucky enough to have a trust fund just spewing money into your bank account, then these tips will help you with your life. 

Most of us want to become better people. Most of us want to make smarter decisions. Most of us want to hear HOW to do this. 

 

See, that’s the thing with most self-help books and good old standbys like Stephen Covey. I have read 7 Habits twice AND listened to the audio CD. Guess what? Win-win my ass.  Sure, theoretically it’s brilliant and it definitely is the bible of popular jargon such as ‘synergy’ and ‘sharpen your saw’ but it never seemed applicable to the mundane, day-to-day experiences that trip us up. 

Remember, it’s the little things that make the difference. It’s the little things you think no one will notice that make or break your goals.

 

I learned a valuable lesson in the military. Yes, your humble writer spent four long, tedious, tumultuous years in the Air Force. Yes, I was a member of PETA and a vegetarian during that time too. Yes, I had a problem with authority. And YES I was honorably discharged.  

In the military, you aren’t allowed to wear dangle earrings and there is a laundry list of other dress-related regulations that seem inconsequential especially when you wake up late. But I swear to you, EVERY TIME I said to myself, ‘ah no one will notice’ someone did; and let me tell you, I mean EVERY TIME! 

Point being, the information I am sharing with you may seem little, trite, trivial, inconsequential. But TRUST ME, it’s the little things that matter. 

 

Which brings me to the concept of not being nice. According to this awesome presentation I am working on for Coach Ted Schmidt, the ActionCOACH Spokane definition of nice is as follows:

N.I.C.E....

  • Nothing

  • Inside Me

  • Cares

  • Enough

Think about that. Think about all the times you never spoke up in situations because you didn’t want to offend someone. What where the consequences? How could things have turned out differently if you had held that person accountable for their actions?  

This concept isn’t just about your own fear of the other person’s anger. It’s about the other person too.   It’s about caring enough about the other person to give them the input or information they need to be successful – or to avoid further or future pain.  We don’t typically stand by silently as we watch people we care about sabotage their efforts, or do we?  

It’s just something to think about. 

 

Now, for those of you who read my last blog post (click here..hint hint) about how I recently blurted out something inappropriate to a client (in front of my boss) I am not saying this is an opportunity to start telling people what you really think of them. I’m just suggesting that the concept of N.I.C.E. may be something we should all explore a little further and see if, in fact, because we are too nice, we ourselves are not being accountable. 

I’ll be honest, I am not quite sure how to apply this concept yet since it is fairly new to me. 


But perhaps together we can figure out how we can start caring enough about ourselves and our goals to stop being so N.I.C.E. all the damn time. 

 

 

 



Monday, May 14, 2012

Pause, breathe, think…all with your mouth closed.




I am not one who typically thinks before she speaks. I tend to be a little nervous, slightly shy, yet high strung.  This is a formula for nervously rattling away via impulse to fill awkward silences as opposed to wooing my colleagues and acquaintances with well-articulated thoughtful responses.  I would like to blame these mannerisms on my culture and upbringing. I would like to attribute it to my artistic colorful personality; I am, after all, uniquely me and that hasn’t always been a bad thing. 

I know I talk fast. I get going and I forget to breathe. And then I start talking with my hands.  My arms will never remain completely still during a conversation and I’m not even about to try.  But I am open to learning how to lower my voice, take a deep breath and pause before I say whatever highly inappropriate thing just popped into my rambling, rambunctious brain. 

As they say, there is a time and place for everything and typically, mixed company does not fall into either of those categories. 

For example, last week a gentleman arrived at our office for his weekly career counseling appointment with one of our business coaches. He had spent many years as a corrections officer in a prison and was now searching for his true passion which involved elements of both creative and salutary purpose. While he was waiting to meet with his coach, our conversation went something like this…..

He expressed the satisfaction he receives from helping others. This was one aspect of the prison system he found very rewarding; when an inmate turned their life around. Then he made the comment, “everyone deserves a second chance.”

Now, normally, this is where most people would pause and say something polite reinforcing this sentiment, especially in a professional environment like ActionCOACH Spokane. 




Do you know what comes out of my mouth?

“Yeah, except for sex offenders.”

Hoping to stop the conversation in its tracks I apologized profusely, but it was too late. 

Oh, did I mention that my boss was standing right there this entire time? 

As Coach Jim effortlessly guided the conversation to less-futile territory, I knew there was a lesson to be learned from this; not one completely unfamiliar to me either. 

Pause before you speak. 

As you may have guessed, Friday, in my weekly coaching session “Coach”  kindly provided me with some helpful tips to improve my communication style. 

This was the communication strategy he outlined for yours truly:

Before you open your mouth:

  1. Breathe.

  2. Pause (count to three silently)

  3. Think about the impact of what you said (or did) 72 hours down the road. Do you like it?

     

Not bad advice eh?  

Common sense you may say? 

Really?

When’s the last time you said something really stupid in front of YOUR boss?

I thought so.The common theme in my blogs is simplicity doesn’t equate to easy.  Common sense also doesn’t equal “easy”. 

Isn’t it common sense to put down the cupcakes and get to the gym? 

I thought so. 

So before you pick up that cupcake or say something horribly inappropriate to a client, remember it’s as simple as one, two, three. 

Breathe, pause and remember the 72-hour rule; and don’t forget….this philosophy also applies to cupcakes.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

"D" stands for....


Have you ever found yourself in a situation where, despite your best efforts, your diligent determination, it was damned if you do, damned if you don’t?  Yet, others around you can do no wrong? 

I’ll be honest. I had a rough five years at my last job. I worked at an accounting firm with very bright and kind-hearted individuals. I made a lot of mistakes; I used a lot of excuses and blame. I didn’t exactly grasp the idea of choices in the way I am beginning to now.  I was far from employee of the month. But despite my short-comings they paid me well and never fired me. 

In retrospect, a lot of the problems had to do with two fundamental issues: my below the line behavior and my employers lack of communication skills.  Or, shall I say, my lack of sharing their communication style.
In an office 18 people, 17 of them had the same communication style, the same social mannerisms, the same strengths, the same propensities. Then, there was me. An artist surrounded by accountants. 

Are you starting to feel my pain? 

I was an oddity. My need for verbal reassurance, social interaction, color, uniqueness, and niceties were viewed as weaknesses.  It was deemed unprofessional and bothersome that I couldn’t hide my emotions when being yelled at by one of the partners. While other firm members could easily go back to work within minutes after being snipped or sniped at, for me, it took hours. I would take it so personally I would sit at my computer shaking, holding back tears. 

Yes, I was the emotional mess of the office.  

When confronted in an aggressive manner I would trip over my words like a drunken sailor.
I was viewed as a poor communicator. 

I always felt like the guppy swimming with sharks. Whoever perpetuated the stereotype of the meek, mild-manner accountant deserves cement shoes as far as I am concerned. 

Unfortunately I wish I knew then, what I am learning now about communication styles. Perhaps I could have adjusted my own communication style to garner better results.  (See what that was? That was called “Above-the-line” behavior.  It’s my responsibility to adapt my communication style to the situation; not the other way around.)

One of the most valuable communication assessments ActionCOACH Spokane uses for both their clients and employees is called a DISC assessment. Now this assessment only addresses surface behaviors; i.e. how you adapt your communication style while in the workplace as opposed to your natural style. It doesn’t delve much below the surface, but do you really want your boss knowing how screwed up you really are? Nope. I didn’t think so. 

Simply put, the DISC assessment creates a profile based on four quadrants: Dominant, Influential, Steady, Conscientious. 

Below is a snapshot of why you care that I am telling you this and why knowing a person’s DISC profile can help you play to that person’s preferences and overall type: 

With Dominant people
  • Build respect to avoid conflict
  • Focus on facts and ideas rather than the people
  • Have evidence to support your argument
  • Be quick, focused, and to the point
  • Ask what not how
  • Talk about how problems will hinder accomplishments
  • Show them how they can succeed
With Influential people
  • Be social and friendly with them, building the relationship
  • Listen to them talk about their ideas
  • Help them find ways to translate the talk into useful action
  • Don’t spend much time on the details
  • Motivate them to follow through to complete tasks
  • Recognize their accomplishments
With Steady people
  • Be genuinely interest in them as a person
  • Create a human working environment for them
  • Give them time to adjust to change
  • Clearly define goals for them and provide ongoing support
  • Recognize and appreciate their achievements
  • Avoid hurry and pressure
  • Present new ideas carefully
With Conscientious people
  • Warn them in time and generally avoid surprises
  • Be prepared. Don't ad-lib with them if you can
  • Be logical, accurate and use clear data
  • Show how things fit into the bigger picture
  • Be specific in disagreement and focus on the facts
  • Be patient, persistent and diplomatic
So that is your introduction to the DISC profile assessment. For more information, email me at Spokane@actioncoach.com.  

If you are wondering, your humble blog author is a very high “I” and “S” profile.  Yes that does mean I will require the equivalent of a parade and mariachi band in terms of encouragement.  

Communication Series...Introduction


True communication is the response you get.
And how many bloody noses have you walked away with?


The word finesse isn’t really in my vocabulary. I could never be a guru, or a cult leader. No one is going to sign over their worldly possessions to me because of my trance-inducing rhetoric. While we’re at it, timing isn’t really my forte either.  

My communication style typically consists of shouting the word “duck” while throwing something to express my dissatisfaction with the situation. Although this may be effective in most New York Sicilian Households, out here in the Inland Northwest (okay, AND in most professional environments) this tactic is less than effective. 

Because the point of this blog is simply to pass on useful information that most every reader can utilize, I thought what better topic to start a series on than communication. 

Everyone communicates. Business owners, employees, customers, family, heck, even the animal kingdom communicates. We communicate by body languages, eye movement, and so on. It is a fundamental capability to survive in this world.  And guess what I have tons of information about? 

Yep. Communication. I have articles, I have assessments, I have graphs, I have a plethora piled high of information we share with our clients and in our workshops. Therefore, this blog post is the first communication in a series of blog posts about communication. 

Have I communicated myself clearly? (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!)



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