Archives for posts with tag: humility

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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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Dear Dr. Scott, I’m working in one of the virtual groups in your online Masters class. I’m at my wit’s end trying to complete our group tasks for this first week of working together. To be honest, it’s really challenging to “collaborate” with the group when there are only 2 of the 6 of us present online in our virtual group’s wor- space! I have tried to engage our members. I have emailed them. I have posted requests for folks to jump in to the dialogue. But the clock is ticking and I’m getting ticked, too! What advice do you have about how I should proceed? It’s just very stressful trying to work with people who are not willing to participate.

Signed, Freakin’ Frustrated Frenzy in Florida


As our planet “shrinks” through virtual group work, what are some keys to building effective virtual work groups?

So I teach graduate students online. There are often virtual group projects assigned. Through the years I have seen some groups flourish and some tank. Typically, these people have never met face-to-face, and even during the project never speak voice-to-voice. Sometimes I receive a plea from a student like the email above (based upon a true story!).

What are the keys to successfully working in a virtual group? Whether for an online course (which a growing number of people across the globe partake in weekly), or a business virtual group – what are some concrete steps to building an effective virtual work group?

1.     Connect with group members as individuals; try to establish a sense of a personal relationship right away – rather than focusing solely on the tasks at hand. Ensure clarity of purpose and who the group members are right away. And most importantly in this first step, conscientiously communicate respect and value toward each person and the experiences and depth each person brings to the group.

2.     Be willing to be authentically vulnerable. By approaching conversations as a humble contributor (rather than a know-it-all), you add to a positive chemistry where insights and perspectives of others are genuinely encouraged. Operating without assumptions for why other group members do what they do helps you remain open to discovery – and encourages others to share openly rather than defend any shortcomings.

3.     Verbalize agreements in the team setting. Even in a virtual, text-only setting, committing to actions and timelines – and then following through! – builds trust in the virtual group. There’s not much beyond being dependable and pleasant that the group may know about you in the fully virtual, text-only group; following through on agreements sets the team up for continued effective work toward its common goal.

4.     When life gets out of control as it sometimes does, or when “it” happens and you can’t follow-through or engage with your virtual group as intended or planned, are you willing to “own” your behaviors? If you willingly address your shortcomings and include plans for how you intend to avoid this in the future, you help your group get over your short-lived failure. (Believe me, they most likely already know about your shortcoming! Being silent about it only causes them to doubt that you are aware of how you negatively impacted the group.) “Owning” your behavior drives the level of trust up – which is so critical for the success of a virtual group.

5.     Express appreciation for the efforts, contributions, and personhood of your group members. It is amazing how a little bit of verbal appreciation goes such a long way! Celebrate the value that each person contributes; celebrate the mini and major milestones of the group’s progress.

These keys to build real trust in a virtual group also work in building a trusting culture in a group that meets face-to-face. The difference is that in the virtual setting, you just have to be a bit more focused on investing in your group’s positive momentum  – because you can’t rely on “sensing” feelings through voice tone and body language and facial expressions! In the virtual group it becomes tricky at best to check your perceptions.

Going back to the email I received from my graduate student, Freakin’ Frustrated Frenzy in Florida, it was somewhat funny to see the debacle unfold as it came to light that the assumed “missing” and “unengaged” group members were not missing or unengaged at all! They had (all) mistakenly been dialoguing in a different area of the online work-space for the group…and had been wondering where the “other 2” group members were! No one was dis-engaged…they were just a bit confused on the correct virtual location in which to work together!

Part of the 5th key above to build trust in a virtual group includes the strategy of operating without assumptions in trying to understand the motives and behaviors of others. One of my favorite statements when it comes to communication – whether virtual or face-to-face – is: Assumptions get you nearly every time!

By Dr. Heidi Scott – Leadership and Organizational Development Specialist (who for fun teaches undergrad Communication and graduate Leadership!)