What have you learned?

what have you learned

With 2015 coming to a close and 2016 getting ready to make its presence known it is time for some reflection. Whether you have done this before or have only ever actually thought about doing it, taking some time to reflect can have a number of great benefits. There are numerous ways to reflect upon the year that was but I would like to share one way that you may find useful. It’s all about focusing on what you learned.

See, we may be able to quickly reflect about what happened in 2015 by thinking of key experiences that took place. We may simply think about them for a minute then move on to the next experience. Although this is a good start, what if you took some quality time to really ponder what you learned from those key experiences? Two very important things happen, first you document what you have learned which helps to reinforce those items and second, you now have the opportunity to set some solid goals for 2016 based on those learning’s.

Click on the image below to see a helpful tool I created. You can recreate this tool any way you want; this is just a simple example.

what have i learned

 

 

As you can see with this example, based on a Key Learning from 2015 I was able to establish a goal for 2016. It is important not to overwhelm yourself by listing tons of learnings and/or goals. You may actually go through a couple of iterations to help you narrow down and focus on those experiences that provided the greatest learnings for you. Then you can dial in on the 1 to 3 goals for 2016.

Leaders have the ability to learn from every experience. The best leaders have the ability to take those learning’s and make both themselves and those they lead better. Ironically, heroes are those that are always learning from their experiences, it makes them more effective in the future as they are in situations that require them to act and react quickly.

You are a hero and a leader. I have said it before but you don’t need a title to be a leader and most people will not be called a hero even though do heroic things. There are people around you watching what you do and what you say whether you notice it or not. You have the ability to make a positive impact every day on others. I hope you will take some time to identify what you learned in 2015 to make 2016 even better.

Here is to each of you, my heroes, to an awesome and successful 2016.

Seth

Hero boss [Converted]-01

Own It

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the statement “Own It”? Some may quickly think of key words such as accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain and other words. Others may think of a situation that reminds them about a time they were able to “Own It”; maybe it was a presentation and they owned it ( it being, they had a killer opening, the presentation flowed, questions were answered, the audience was engaged), maybe it was the lead in a play at a school and they performed to perfection because they owned it (it being, delivering lines, facial expressions, placement on stage, support for others), maybe it was being the leader of a key project at work and goals were achieved because the leader owned it (it being, the project, goals, milestones, actions, tasks, people). The truth is, success as a leader is all about this concept of “Owning It.”

own-itWhat is important to understand is that the key to success is understanding that what changes is the “it” part of this concept. See, no matter what the situation is, when it comes to the “own,” the concept is constant and never really changes. Why? Because of those key words mentioned before; accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain. As one becomes more aware of how to own they will build their confidence which is so crucial to be successful when the time comes to “own it”.

So how does one go about becoming good at living by this concept of “owning it”? It has been my personal experience that the following items are vital in achieving success with this concept of “owning it”:

Seek Clarity: When expectations, goals, directions are clear, we give ourselves a much greater chance of achieving success. Clarity also brings with it the ability to have confidence in what one is doing and it is this confidence that unlocks the power to “own it”.

Develop a Plan: Once there is clarity, it is now possible to develop a plan. The process of a developing a plan creates the feeling of ownership which is one of the best definitions of “owning it”. When there is a feeling of ownership, there is more commitment to achieve success. It is important that this plan is detailed and covers goals, expectations, actions, tasks, milestones as well as identifies those who you might need to work with.

Execute and Evaluate: No matter how good a plan is, nothing happens until action is taken. When it comes to “owning it” a leader must lead out by executing the plan. As actions are being taken, a leader must be able to effectively evaluate whether the plan is working or not. This evaluation can only take place if there was clarity up front so that an effective plan could be developed.

There are other areas that could be addressed but my goal is to provide more of an introduction into this important leadership concept to “own it”. As one learns how to live and lead by this concept there will be greater feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and confidence. These are all feelings that we as humans crave on a regular bases so take control of the “it’s” in your life by saying to yourself, I will “own it”.

rebanks_AC07_R0A-copy

Keep calm and boost productivity

This is an article I wrote for ksl.com.

When was the last time you felt like your day was productive, I mean really productive? If you are struggling to remember then you may be just like so many others in going through each day just hoping to make it rather than really being able to accomplish what you want and need to.

Replacing your actions by changing the words that may define your day will have an incredibly awesome impact on your day. See the truth of the matter is that when we are productive we are happier; we feel better about ourselves; we treat others with more respect; we desire to achieve our goals; we have more energy; and we see life differently.

However, the opposite is true as well. When we are not productive we do not see ourselves in a positive light; we feel down; we are less patient; we are not as fun to be around; and we just do not enjoy life as much.

So how can one become more productive each day? Try replacing key words that start with the letter ‘P’ each day and see what happens.

Replace panic with preparation. How many times do we get to the end of the day and realize that we have not done one or more things that we had to get done? We feel our heart rate increase, maybe our anxiety and/or anger levels begin to rise and it seems almost impossible to go to sleep. This happens when panic sets in and it can happen often.Is-It-Time-to-Replace-My-Water-Heater-300x300

If you take just a couple of minutes each morning and night to prepare for what is ahead, you will see that feeling of panic go away. When you prepare, you are creating a plan of what needs to be done. You may use an app on your smartphone, you may write things down, but the key is to prepare so you don’t panic.

Replace pretend with purpose. We have all pretended in our life. For some it is pretending to be someone else, for others it maybe that they pretend to be somewhere when they are actually somewhere else and for others it maybe that they pretend to accomplish things. They may go throughout their day pretending everything is great when it is not. They may pretend that life is full of nothing but beauty but when they close their front door, the fall into isolation, depression and sadness. When there is no real purpose, then the default is to pretend.

To be more productive each day, wake-up with a purpose. Look at what you created during your preparation time and make things happen. Purpose empowers us where as there is no power in pretending.

Replace problems with priorities. Whether we realize it or not, we are always prioritizing. The reality is, we have gotten so good at prioritizing we often don’t even have to think twice. This may be good at times but often it can cause more problems, especially when you are trying to be more productive.

As you prepare for your day, set priorities to help keep you on track so that you minimize the potential for problems. Decide what are the tasks that must be done, they are vital and cannot wait until tomorrow. Stay focused and get those done without distraction. Then move on to your next prioritized tasks. If you do not prioritize, you will encounter problems.

Replace pain with positivity. No one really enjoys pain but we do like it when things are going our way and when there is positivity in our life. The more we are focused on staying positive the less time or energy we have to be focused on the pain of not being productive.

The pain spoken of is often emotional as we tend to be hard on ourselves when we are not living up to our potential. Thus, the more we can focus our energy on staying positive, the more we will see our pain minimized. Staying positive is not always easy but as you train yourself to focus on what is going well and you focus on what it will be like to accomplish your goals for the day, you will increase your motivation and not allow anything to stop you.

Replace punishment with prizes. Don’t forget to reward yourself when you are productive. Set up some type of prize that you will give yourself once you have achieved your goals for the day.

We are always so quick to punish ourselves when we do not achieve what we wanted or if we fall short. We have no problem allowing ourselves to feel down and frustrated but we are not quick to reward ourselves.

It is amazing how easy it is to fall into the procrastination tornado. Whether it is sitting down just to watch that one show or to update your social media, if you have not prepared for the day and set your priorities, you will encounter the problem of procrastination that leads to serious pain, punishment and panic.

Setting up small prizes can do wonders in helping you be more productive each day. For example, if you are someone who loves a great smoothie, don’t keep buying them just to buy them, use that as a reward. If you fall short, don’t buy a smoothie, save it as a prize for reaching your daily goal. It may sound small but in order to change habits, you must change the trigger.

Replace procrastination with productivity. Finally, the more productive you make each day, the less time you have to procrastinate. It is amazing how easy it is to fall into the procrastination tornado. Whether it is sitting down just to watch that one show or to update your social media, if you have not prepared for the day and set your priorities, you will encounter the problem of procrastination that leads to serious pain, punishment and panic.

It is very difficult to be productive when we are in panic mode. What we end up being is reactive rather than proactive. Focus on the things that you know will help you be productive. Every person is different so there is no one size fits all so try new things to see what works for you.

Now, keep calm and boost productivity. If you do the things listed here you will stay in control and that is key to achieving success. Don’t get so frustrated that you throw in the towel. Reset if you need to but don’t allow another day to go by that you do not increase your productivity. You are the only one that can control this so own it and make something great happen. You can do it.

Source: http://www.ksl.com/?nid=210&sid=30175363