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Resolutions are Ridiculous!

This is the year I am going to… get in shape, lose weight, quit smoking, make six figures, be more assertive, be kinder, have more patience, etc.

Good ideas, great intentions and likely you were incredibly committed at the time of saying them but predictably you will give up on your resolutions within a matter of days (or weeks). It’s not just you. Studies show very few people actually achieve their resolutions. Why is that?

Because it (whatever the resolution is) doesn’t fit into the model of the future you currently have. You see we all have a model of the future that we put out in front of us and then we forget that we created the model.

In reality, there is no future. It is a mental construct. There is only this moment of now and then the next and the next. But we humans don’t live like that. We are tremendous storytellers. We LOVE a good story. So we create stories about the future that become our model of the future.

This is only a problem because we base the stories of the future on the past. It’s how our brain works. When you make a resolution (or set any goal) you do it without regard to the past-based future that you have already unconsciously created.  It is already in the way before the resolution gets out of your mouth.

What do you do?

If you want to set yourself up to accomplish your resolution, you first have to get clear about the story you have already put in your future. Then you have to determine what structures are already in place in the present to fulfill on your past-based future.

Once you get clear about those two things, then you can start to create a new future that is not based on the past.  You can redesign your life consistent with accomplishing the created future.

Here is an example:

Sally makes a resolution to lose twenty pounds. Sally chooses what program to follow and is super committed to succeeding. The past-based future that she unconsciously created is all the times in the past she has dieted, how difficult it is to lose weight, the sacrifice required, the amount of time she needs to devote to it and so on.

The structures she has in place to achieve this past-based future are things like conversations with friends/family/co-workers about how hard it is, a jam packed schedule so she eats food on the go and doesn’t have time to exercise, unhealthy foods in her house, etc.

Without erasing the story from her future, Sally is doomed to fail because we always take actions in the present consistent with the future we anticipate.

If you want 2014 to be a breakout year for you, if you are tired of getting incrementally better and want something more or if you know you have the potential to be exceptional but keep winding up with mediocre results…

Contact me for a free strategy session to see what it’s going to take to create a new future. Space is limited so contact me today!

What is your face saying?

I was walking through a store today and for some reason I started noticing the facial expressions of the people around me. It was amazing how much I was assessing and interpreting based strictly on their facial expressions.

It got me thinking about how unconscious most of us are to the expression on our faces as we move through life. We are however acutely aware of others’ facial expressions. In fact, humans gather a great deal of information from faces.  There are nuances and complexities we are sensitive to far beyond if someone is smiling or not.

If you are frequently being misinterpreted or feel that people get the wrong impression about you it is likely that you are communicating something with your face that is speaking louder than what you are saying.

When I am giving a speech or conducting a training program I am extremely conscious of the facial expressions of the audience. If I see a look that I interpret as consternation or confusion, I check in with the person to confirm my assessment so I can clarify the information I am presenting. Very often, I am wrong. They report that they were thinking or having a breakthrough in some area of their life and were unaware of their facial expression.

Sometimes people don’t mean what their face is communicating.

I recommend becoming aware of two things:

1. What is your face communicating?  Is it consistent with what’s coming out of your mouth?   Start to pay attention to your facial expressions and it always helps to smile more.

2.  How are you interpreting the facial expressions of others?  Do you give more weight to what someone is saying or to what his or her face is communicating? Check out your assessment with them to see if it is accurate.

Want to explore this concept further?  Sign up for a free strategy session.

5 Simple Strategies to De-stress Your Holidays

If you are like most people the holiday season brings a lot of added stress and anxiety to your life.  There is so much pressure to get it right; to have it be perfect (whatever that means).

Let’s face it; you already have a full life. Adding twenty to a hundred new items on your to do list is going to add stress.  Between sending cards, shopping for presents, preparing the house, baking, getting a tree, decorating and everything else that is traditionally expected at the holidays it can be quite maddening.  I know lots of it is fun and there is joy and all that but it can be challenging to experience the “good stuff” of the season when there is so freaking much to do.

Then add on top of all that spending time with family and friends, one or two who perhaps push your buttons because they are critical or have different political views or any number of other reasons and it can be a recipe for disaster.

The key to getting your sanity back and actually experiencing the joy of the season is communication. Seriously, it’s communication.  I know you think it is time management or something else but it’s not. Communication starts with your thoughts and everything you communicate comes from there; what you say, what you do, all of it comes from your thoughts (which includes your deeply held beliefs, attitudes and worldview).

Since you don’t need another thing to do right now I am going to forgo the explanation and just give you some simple strategies that will immediately make things better.

1.  Get Clear about what you want the holidays to be like and why (Are you doing things just because your grandmother did them that way? Do you have unrealistic expectations?)

2. Stop shoulding on yourself and others (“I should bake 12 dozen cookies for Johnnie’s school,” “My husband should look forward to spending time with my family,” “I should be able to handle all this myself.”) You don’t like it when people do it to you; stop doing it to others.

3. Don’t assume. Have conversations with the people you spend the holidays with and find out what they want the holidays to be like. Don’t assume everyone wants the same thing.

4.  ASK FOR HELP. The Lone Ranger is a myth (and even he had Tonto). Make requests of people to assist you. If they say no, reevaluate whether the thing truly needs to get done. Let go of the crazy notion that for it to be done right you have to do it.

5. Be authentic. If you love the holidays, then love them, however if you don’t love them (or even like them) then that’s ok too. There is no “one right way” to do the holidays. Faking it causes additional stress.

I decided a long time ago to stop decorating my house for the holidays. I am not good at it, I never liked doing it and I hated taking everything down on New Year’s Day. That one decision to stop decorating freed me up enormously. People say stuff to me about it every year. I always invite them to come and decorate it for me. So far, no one has taken me up on it!

Wishing you the kind of holiday you most want!

What’s it costing you?

Ineffective communication and miscommunication costs businesses millions and millions of dollars each year. Everything from incorrect orders, to inefficient processes, to people becoming disengaged and reducing productivity, to delivering something to a wrong address – these are just a few examples of how miscommunication and ineffective communication negatively impact the bottom line in business.  I am sure you can think of many more examples and if you are like most people you can clearly see how expensive miscommunication and ineffective communication really are.

But what about the cost to YOU of miscommunication and ineffective communication? When we talk about it in terms of “business” it becomes sort of acceptable; it’s just the way it is. It’s business after all and we expect there to be certain unavoidable costs.

However, when we look at the cost to you personally, it’s not so acceptable.  Miscommunication and ineffective communication are the cause of some of the most difficult and challenging issues you face. For example, the divorce rate is over fifty percent. Lack of communication and/or miscommunication is a huge contributing factor in the break up of any relationship. Another example is the high rate of dissatisfaction at work.  Virtually every issue that is listed as the reason given for job dissatisfaction can be rectified through effective communication.

So I ask again, what is it costing you? Are you frustrated and stressed? Frustration and stress lead to a number of health issues.  Are you dissatisfied or unfulfilled? Every minute that you live unfulfilled or dissatisfied is a waste of your life energy. You can’t get that time back. As one of my coaches used to say, “This is NOT your practice life!”  

Learning strategies to communicate effectively can alleviate stress, frustration, dissatisfaction and feelings of being unfulfilled as well as a myriad of other issues.  

Stop waiting for things to get better. Stop making excuses and blaming others for the way things are. Stop tolerating all the pettiness and bullshit and do something about it.

You only have one life as far as we know. Learn how to communicate more effectively now. The return on investment is phenomenal. Don’t just take my word for it. Sign up for a free strategy session and let’s discover what’s needed to change the direction of your life.

Seriously, what’s it going to cost you if you do nothing?  

Setting Goals is B.S.

That’s right, I said it. Setting goals is B.S. (Barely Sufficient)

There is so much hype to set goals and objectives as we move into the New Year . It is as if people have magical thinking when it comes to goal setting. There is nothing wrong with setting goals however the act of setting them is insufficient for actually reaching the goals.

The main problem with goal setting is that once you set your goal you think the next step is to figure out what problems you need to solve or what needs to be fixed or what barriers you need to overcome to get to your goal. It goes something like this… “In 2014 I am going to double my income (goal). I am going to have to get more disciplined and focused in order to reach my goal (fixing).” That kind of thinking is the cause of not getting to your goal. It becomes this arduous process of sucking it up, putting your nose to the grindstone and forcing an outcome.

When you do it right, setting goals and creating the pathway to getting there can be exciting, invigorating and fun. No doubt you have had this experience from time to time in your life. Creating something, i.e., a goal, is not about fixing something that already exists to make it better. Rather, creating is about bringing something that doesn’t exist into reality.

A good example is the compact disc (CD). The CD was invented during the height of the cassette tape popularity. The inventors of the CD did not “fix” the cassette tape, nor did they go around destroying the cassette tapes in order to create the CD.  The CD was invented independent of the cassette tape and because it was so awesome, it made cassette tapes obsolete.

Instead of merely setting a goal for 2014, ask yourself, “What do you want to create, i.e., what do you want to bring into existence?”  Then begin spending time thinking about what you are creating, dwelling in the world of what you are creating.  Imagine that you achieved it, what actions would you have taken to accomplish it?

Focus on what you are creating. Keep your attention on bringing it into being. Deal with stuff that comes up as part of the creative process; just things that need to get handled (not barriers to your creation). Every creation has design constraints. Airplanes were invented inside the constraints of aerodynamics and gravity. The constraints are not barriers unless you say they are.  So, what are YOU creating in 2014?

For support in developing your creation and pathway, contact Lisa Giruzzi to schedule a free strategy session.

 

“If you want something done right….

You have to do it yourself.” I hear this all the time. It is a common complaint. Another version is, “It’s just easier to do it myself than to explain it to someone.”

These statements are either given as an excuse not to delegate or as a put down of another person, i.e., the other person is not capable of doing it the right way.

Truly, it’s an indication that there is a communication problem. If you can’t describe to another person what you want done in a way that makes sense to them and makes it clear how you want it done, clearly you need to work on your communication.

Most people respond by saying, “It’s not me; it’s them!”  No, it’s you. You are responsible for your communication. You are not just responsible for what you say, you are also responsible for how the other person hears or interprets what you are saying. 

You can get your message across clearly and have the other person “get it” (and actually have them take the action you want them to take). It is possible. It is not rocket science; it’s communication.

Most people do not know how to communicate this way, which is why it occurs as “easier to just do it yourself.” But in the long run it is not easier. In fact, it makes your job far more difficult. For one thing, you end up doing far too much which creates an enormous amount of stress and frustration. Another reason is that you make the people around you feel inadequate and talked down to. This does not lead to anything good. If you are a manager and not delegating then you are robbing your people of the chance to learn new skills to grow as an employee.

If you have heard yourself say some version of “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” then I highly recommend working on your communication. There are simple, yet powerful strategies that I can teach you to enhance your communication effectiveness. Contact me for a free strategy session or invest in one of my products.

Don’t wait until you are completely burned out from doing too much.

Ugh!! These Kids Today…

How to Resolve Intergenerational Communication Issues in the Workplace With Ease

The key to resolving Intergenerational Communication Issues is to first discover what are your underlying attitudes and beliefs about the other generations at your workplace?

Do you ever think any of these thoughts or have any of these beliefs:

  • These “kids” think they know everything
  • This younger generation has a sense of entitlement
  • “They” don’t listen
  • The older people in the office don’t respect me and discount my opinion
  • They shouldn’t be texting, on their cell phone, tweeting, on FaceBook, etc.
  • Young people don’t have a good work ethic and aren’t invested in the company
  • The boomer generation thinks just because they have been here a long time they know the best way to get things done

If you said yes to even one of these (or something like it) it is negatively impacting your ability to communicate effectively with your colleagues from different generations.

I know you think “they” are the problem. Consider it is your attitude and beliefs that are really the problem. When you lump people into categories and start communicating with them as if your attitudes and beliefs are true, then your communication comes across as condescending, dismissive, arrogant and disrespectful.

You act as if you already know which doesn’t give you a chance to learn.  By categorizing people you strip them of their uniqueness and prevent them from surprising you.

Many of you are thinking, your situation is different; the people you work with really are the way you say they are. You have proof and agreement from your co-workers, blah, blah, blah.  That’s the same thinking that keeps every stereotype and prejudice in existence.

Ask yourself:

  • How do you like being judged by other’s standards?
  • Do you like being lumped into a category and then treated like everyone else?
  • Are you happy when others assume things about you rather than ask?

That’s what you are doing to other people when you come to a conclusion about them.  Human beings are complex and rarely fit into a single category.

Look, there are real differences between the generations. Life has changed significantly over the last 50-60 years and this has influenced each generations’ perspective. Priorities have changed; attitudes about work/life balance have changed. Don’t let the differences be a problem.

The thing most people forget is that each generation has created the one that follows it AND we created it out of a strong desire to make things better for them. We wanted life (and the workplace) to be better for our children.  WE ALL CREATED THEM! 

If you saw the differences as an opportunity rather than as a barrier, you might just be surprised at how easy it is to communicate regardless of the generation. Get curious about what has each person operate at his or her best.  ASK QUESTIONS so that you learn about them rather than think you already know.

Get rid of your “shoulds” and recognize your opinions are just one possible way of looking at it. Perhaps a different perspective might make your work experience more satisfying?

If you would like a workshop or training program at your organization on this topic, contact Lisa Giruzzi

The Hidden Cost of Maybe

Maybe often seems like the sensible answer, neither yes nor no.  It’s a safe answer, isn’t it?  Maybe can take many forms. Statements such as “I’ll think about it,” “I have to check my calendar,” “I don’t want to commit then disappoint,” “I don’t want to make a mistake,” I’ll wait and see,” keep us from choosing either yes or no. These statements all seem reasonable.

That’s the point.  “Maybe” puts the reasons of your life in charge of the outcome. In other words, the hidden cost of maybe is that it takes YOU out of the driver’s seat of your life and you become a passenger along for the ride.

This is not a little cost. This is BIG.  Consider that each time you say “maybe,” or fail to choose, you weaken yourself.  It is one more time when the circumstances of your life win. One more time the reasons – no matter how good – are more powerful than you are.  Alas, you couldn’t do what you wanted because _________ (fill in the blank).

Another way that maybe weakens you is that it splits you in two. You have reasons for and against and you don’t choose, the reasons do.  You are not powerfully committed to either camp.  Your actions are hesitant; you tread lightly, waiting to see. When actions are tentative, results are too.

Lack of confidence, insecurity, not wanting to make mistakes, be wrong, look foolish, fail, hurt someone’s feelings, etc. are all expressions of fear.  Fear is generally at the root of maybe. Conquering this fear with decisive action empowers you and allows you to be in charge of your life.  You become stronger, build confidence, and learn to trust your resourcefulness.  You stop fearing the outcome because you know that you are well equipped to handle whatever happens.

And yes, sometimes you’ll fail but even that has freedom in it.  When you can own that you did it, not the economy, not the weather, not the myriad of circumstances in your life, it was you… the one in charge.

Do you have difficulty choosing? Do you get stuck in maybe? If so, you are a good candidate for Lisa’s coaching program. Contact her today to schedule your free strategy session.

To Ask or Not Ask

“You’ve got to ask. Asking is, in my opinion, the world’s most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness.” ~ Percy Ross, Philanthropist and Entrepreneur

Somewhere along the way, being a “lone ranger” became revered. Going solo became the ideal. The irony is, it is virtually impossible to accomplish anything alone. There is always someone who contributed to the accomplishment.

Additionally, truly successful people ask for help. Ever watch an awards show? The winners stand at the microphone and thank everyone who helped them achieve their successes. You never hear anyone stand up there and say, “I did it all by myself.”

Being free to ask for what you need or want is powerful. Most people love having the opportunity to say yes to helping or contributing to someone’s success. Don’t you love it when you can help someone? When you know you made a difference in someone’s life? Doesn’t it feel awesome? Why would you want to rob someone of that feeling? Let people contribute to you and everyone wins.*

I wrote the above in 2009 for my book 31 Days to Transform Your Life and to this day it intrigues me to see how much people resist asking for help or support. It’s as if there is some prize at the end of our life for having done it alone.

I have found this especially true in the workplace. The fear of looking bad or incompetent seems to supersede the ability to ask for help.  I mean, I get it. I have dealt with this my whole life too. As I stated above, this is a cultural message we get from birth, “Be strong and self-sufficient,” “Don’t let anybody see you sweat.”

It’s weird though because as the latest neuroscience research is showing, human beings have a real need to connect and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Not asking for support or help goes along with our upbringing but against our nature.

I have been experimenting with asking for the last 10 years or so since I started my business. It is amazing how many yes’s I have gotten. I have had people mentor me, give me advice, discounts and all kinds of things simply by asking. That’s not to say, I haven’t gotten no’s, I have. However, I have noticed I feel more empowered and energized when I ask then when I don’t regardless of the answer.

Remember:  “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.” Nora Roberts, Author

If you find you are a “Do it all myself and suffer” person and want to see what else is possible, contact me for a free strategy session. I have an opening in my coaching practice.

*Excerpt from 31 Days to Transform Your Life, Written by Lisa Giruzzi, Published 2009

 

Where are YOU shut down?

Here in the US we just experienced a federal government shut down and it is easy to point fingers, “Those people in Congress don’t know what they’re doing,” “Why can’t they come to an agreement?” or some version of that.

I think it is more valuable to look inside your own life and ask, “Where am I shut down?”  By “shut down” I mean not open to a conversation for a new point of view, not willing to consider that your perspective is wrong or not working. Or said another way, so sure you are right that you have stopped listening to others. All you hear is blah, blah, blah when anyone with a different perspective speaks and you’re just waiting for your turn to talk (by the way, it’s likely that all your opposition hears is blah, blah, blah when you speak too).

If you are like the hundreds of people I have worked with over the past 25 plus years, you probably are thinking, “Not me. I know other people like that but me, I am open minded.” And you probably are in lots of places however, I promise you, in the places where you are not producing the results you want, not experiencing satisfaction and fulfillment, not free to be, YOU ARE SHUT DOWN.

We all have those places in our lives. The things we are so sure about. The things we would bet our lives on. I recommend examining those areas. You do not necessarily have to give up your point of view if it is working, i.e., your point of view is producing the results you want in your life.

If you are like most people you are likely unwilling to examine those areas. Why? It’s how you know yourself and giving up the deeply held belief would be a threat to your identity.  I’d like you to consider the key to breakthrough results in your personal and professional results is letting go of the beliefs you are most unwilling to. It’s what is holding you back.

You may not know how to stop believing it. For you, it IS a certain way. First, you have to be willing to let it go. Then it is helpful to have an objective individual (like a coach) work with you to discover the impact of the belief on your life and then to create a new way to look at it. This is not positive thinking or as I like to say, “Putting frosting on dog food.” It requires an authentic discovery about what your shut down is costing you.

If you are someone who is genuinely up to the task of examining what doesn’t work and ready to produce outstanding results, contact me for a free consultation. I work with a select few individuals each year. Let me know if you want to apply to be one of them.

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