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Use These Questions to Keep Personal Development Resolutions Alive All Year Long: Who do you want to BE?

Each January people fill gyms and exercise clubs across the nation with hope to follow through in their New Year’s resolutions to work out. So many plans of what people want to DO fill calendars in January. Yet often our intentions of doing things differently fall by the wayside as habits pull us back to past ways of “doing” life.

  • Have you considered who you want to “be” – both in this New Year and across your life span?
  • What character qualities will people best describe you with after your life is over?
  • What legacy are you creating now, today, this year…when it comes to how you interact with people and society?

For the past 3 years, I have taken on a character trait or attitude of the heart that I desire to really BE like, and have focused on it for a month in the year. And the next year come January, I revisit that character trait and way of being, in an effort to possess that trait as a fiber of who I am.

For example, it is January, and for the 4th year, during this month I will examine the place that compassion is integrated into my behavior, self, attitudes, calendar (how I spend my time), and thoughts. When it comes to being a person of compassion, now that I have a few years of taking a month to develop this trait, how am I doing?

It has been fun to focus on character and qualities of who I want to “be” with an annual focus on one for a month each year. These 12 ways of “being” are becoming more of who I am.

With a month to consider, reflect, ponder, and learn how to “be” more like each of these 12 traits, I have found that it results in changes in what I DO and how I act and relate to people and our world.

What do you want to BE in the New Year? Here are some strategic questions to consider – both now in the beginning of the year – as well as at any point in the year. I believe these can serve as a powerful, cyclical, personal character growth tool; at least they were for me over the past years, and continue to be focusing.

January – Compassion

Who can I take the time to truly try and view the world from their perspective, seeking to understand them, while feeling in a caring way what they do?

February – Kindness

How can I show kindness to someone today, whether it is merited or not? How can I go out of my way to be nice?

March – Humility

Will I pause today and consider each person I talk with as a human being of infinite worth and value? Will I choose to interact with each individual with an authentic attitude of wondering, “What can I learn from you and your experiences?”

April – Gentleness

Will I choose to pause before I speak and act today in order to run my words and behaviors through a “gentleness filter” in order to soften the edges in my words and deeds? Can I tweek my tones, words, and body language to better display gentleness in my interactions with others and our world?

May – Patience

Am I willing to do my best and leave timing and the rest in God’s hands while I wait patiently? So much of life occurs “between things.” Will I trust that God has everything in control and that my worry or impatience serves only to frustrate me?

June – Put up with one another

Will I choose to bear with people I find exhausting or frustrating while trying to keep a positive attitude? Will I keep in mind that I may need to give grace to others – and that I will surely need it given back when I am not at my best?

July – Forgive others

Am I willing to forgive others when I feel offended because this is the right thing to do, rather than hang on to bitterness? Will I choose to forgive people, unrelated to conditions of their continued behavior?

August – Love

How can I demonstrate love and acceptance to someone today who I may not naturally and easily think to give it? And whom do I believe I love that I can do a better job of expressing my love and appreciation to? How will I overtly show love today?

September – Peace

In what area of my life would I experience more peace today if I would relinquish control (even if the level of control I am clinging to exists only in my mind)? When in my day today will I carve out and set aside 5 minutes to be still, breathe deeply, and meditate on things of beauty, wonder, and tranquility? Will I ask God for His peace to wash over me?

October – Be thankful

At what points in my days this month will I pause and express gratitude – to God each morning,  and to others throughout the day? Will I choose to verbalize gratefulness aloud as I become mindful of all of the good things today – regardless of what type of day it is?

November – Memorize God’s Word

What am I choosing to pour into my mind and heart? If I believe that out of the heart come our attitudes, words and behaviors, am I filling my heart with content I want to come rushing out at any given time?

December – Do all things as unto God

If I believe God is my Creator, will I choose to try and consciously do everything as unto Him? Can I see evidence of this belief in my decisions, actions, and relationships? Will I ask God for guidance in my decision-making and choices?

IDEA: You may want to copy the url to this blog post and paste it in a few automated calendar reminders to yourself that are set to pop up with the change of each month this year. That way you can remain mindful of refocusing your personal development efforts across the year by reviewing the questions for each month.

By Dr. Heidi Scott     Author, speaker, professor, & consultant      http://www.LearningPursuits.com

*Content for this article is based on Colossians 3:12-17

 

 

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Have you ever?

Leadership Artform: Asking the “right” questions to discover passion & increase motivation & engagement

A. Have you ever seen a team of individuals who brought an uncanny zest and zeal to their work? Have you witnessed a team of people who work together toward a clear and specific goal where every person is skilled, trained, AND loves their role? Have you ever been able to sit back and watch the focused intensity of people engaged in work where their passions are stirred and relied upon? OR
B. Have you ever watched a team of individuals come together (or work independently) with a lethargic, “Eeyore complex” as they approached a work project? Have you ever witnessed people moving through the motions of work with little interest or care for the process or results of their contributions?

Generally, people are drawn toward organizations, teams, and work groups where an innate synergy reveals itself in many intangible yet very real ways. I know I would want to engage in work with a group described above in the A. scenario.

We gravitate to work where we are valued. We are drawn toward leaders (employers, managers, team leaders) who demonstrate a desire to know us and our strengths and our passions – and then value these things in us and put them to work.

Most good-willed people desire to contribute to their work in meaningful and important ways. And most often, when we are working in our “passion zone” we bring our best selves to work and contribute in ways that add exceedingly great value to the end result and bottom line.

So as leaders, how do we motivate the people we lead?

Authenticity – it rings true. As leaders we need to know that inauthentic behavior, when we do not do what we say is important, can be spotted in us a mile away by those we lead. So before we can say, “Yeah, I want to get the most and best work out of those I lead…if helping them find their passion will allow me to leverage their passion which equates to better output and performance…show me how to do that!” we need to look at what drives US. As leaders, we need to self-reflect and understand our own passions. We need to work to incorporate our passions in our work.

When we possess authenticity in living our passions in our work, and when we find new levels of motivation in our work because our passions are involved, then we are at a place where we can authentically work with our team members to bring out the best of who they are. Only then are we able to enter into some informal coaching conversations where our role centers on asking the right questions of our team members.

4 Keys to Motivating Your Team Members
1. Know your passion. What drives you? What aspects of work do you love? What comes naturally and somewhat easily to you? What makes you respond internally with thoughts of, “I love doing this kind of work!”? More than money, what intrinsic passion is part of who you are that motivates you in your work? Think less about specific tasks and more about the common theme of overarching concepts. For example, it is less about, “Boy, do I sure love to write quarterly reports!” and more about, “I sure love hunting and searching for all of the detail needed to put together a complete and accurate quarterly report!”
2. Fuel your fire. How can you incorporate your unique passion in your work? What parts of your current responsibilities require you to use your passion? Can you begin to do more of those things? What might a conversation with your boss sound like where you communicate what that magical blend of work for you is where your passion is tapped into and you execute with excellence? (What manager doesn’t want to see his or her team members execute with excellence?!) How can you mentally focus on the fun involved in your work where your passion area is utilized?
3. Help others discover their passions. Often, when we approach conversations with someone about their passions, our skill has nothing to do with us having the right answers; our skill resides in asking the right questions. For example, some of the following may help someone begin to connect the dots of their experiences and begin to discover their passions. What 3-4 events or projects do you remember working in that you loved? What about your work on each of those projects sticks out to you? Can you describe one type of responsibility you would like to be tasked with in your current work? How can you describe aspects of that responsibility that resonate with you? Can you articulate now (or think on in the coming days) what 3-4 things you know you need in your work to bring out your best contributions? As you think about your past top three work-related projects, which would you say stirred your passion? We must remember that the individual we are communicating with holds the keys to discovering and articulating their passion. When they “own” this discovery, they generally begin to create ideas on how to involve their areas of passion in their work.
4. Motivate your people to work with excellence as their passions are leveraged. The great thing about this step is that as a leader, you do not have to “do” much in driving the motivation of your team members when you help them tap into their areas of passion. Once you and your team members have gained clarity on their passions, then together you begin to craft ways to incorporate their passion into their work. What ideas can you come up with as to how your passion may be more tapped into in your work? A simple question like this invites freedom and responsibility on the team member to think outside the box regarding how personal passions can be intertwined in work. Sometimes this may involve a shift of responsibilities. However, more often it involves you as a leader acknowledging the passions of each valuable and skilled team member, and then providing a bit of flexibility and encouragement for each person to utilize their passion in ways that may have not been recognized before.

I LOVE people development. I know that when I am able to help others discover their passions and then design plans to better incorporate those areas of passion into their lives and work – that is when I am at my best. This personal passion of mine to develop people and help them contribute to work and life in ways that resonate with the core of who they are connects to my other passion of helping teams improve their performance.

If you are a leader who wants to discover how to first, find and leverage your own passions to improve work performance, and then learn how to help your team members to do this, I would love to help! Shifting a work culture to a coaching culture may be a large-scale change. Because managing this type of culture change is what I do, I would love the opportunity to assist you with this.

Dr. Heidi Scott, the Leader’s Coach http://www.LearningPursuits.com

“How do you know when you need to leave an organization because of a values mis-match from the C-level, even if you are a leader who enjoys the department you lead and your client interactions?” This was a recent question asked to me by a high-level leader in a large organization on the other side of the nation. She wanted to know if we could talk and if I could advise her.

Advise her about this in a coaching session? No. Ask her the right questions in a coaching session? Yes – or at least I’d give it my best shot.

Values mis-match at work? These coaching questions may be of help.

When you discover that the espoused values of the “CEO and company” are different than what you signed on for, and that your values aren’t aligned to them, it’s time for some soul searching and contemplation. Regardless of what values are hanging on the wall in a corporate mission statement, you just know in your gut when there’s a values mis-match.

Some questions to help you discover what to do may include a few of the following:

  1. Are you operating on assumptions about the values that the C-level is embracing by its behaviors? Or have you inquired with “them” to check your perceptions?
  2. Are the corporate values being lived out ethically, legally, or morally wrong? If the answer is yes to any one of these, is it safe for you to continue working in that organization?
  3. Are you able to shelter the people you lead within the organization from the poor values being embraced at the C-level? If so, does this exhaust you to an unhealthy point, or is it a challenge that leaves you engaged and motivated most of the time?
  4. Where is your point where you know it’s time to move on? Is that point related to your physical, emotional, or mental exhaustion? Is there a point where a loss of joy will indicate it’s time to exit?
  5. If the values mis-match is not one that could land you in jail, does it make financial sense for you to jump ship now, or do you need to wait for a more opportune time? Do you need to begin looking for the next career place to step? Or do you need to have your next career move lined up before you leave where you are?
  6. If for a week you mentally “pretend” that you are sticking it out where you are indefinitely, what does that feel like in your gut? During a week of not entertaining the question of leaving, are you spurred on to thinking of creative ways to modify the culture or make it much more than simply tolerable?
  7. And if you take a week and mentally plan on leaving your current company to work in one where there is a strong values match, how do you wake up feeling each day? Does it bring stress or relief – and why?

A great coaching session rarely ends with coachees having gained perfectly clear “answers” to challenges. But if a person leaves the coaching session with the right issues to ponder and consider, he or she will usually discover the right steps of action to take. And those will most often be the right ones because they emerged through marinating thought – and (hopefully!) will resonate with the heart.

Is it time for you to proactively change the culture and espoused values of the company you work in to more positive ones? Or is it time for you to seek a better fit between the values you esteem and those of the organization you work for?

Dr. Heidi Scott, the Leader’s Coach    http://www.LearningPursuits.com