Feeling stuck? Einstein’s Got The Answer!

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It happened again, didn’t it?

You got up yesterday morning thinking, this is the day. This is the day you’re going to break ground and gain momentum on that long list of goals you have.

But that evening you went to bed exhausted, discouraged and no further along on that to-do list you’ve been chewing away at for the past 6 months,

You’re stuck.

And it’s okay. It happens to the best of us. The question now is how to get moving!

Luckily, you’ve got Einstein (and me) to help you out.

Quote #1: Einstein’s famous quote on the definition of insanity – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results – is a great place to start.

Before you can change you’ve got to know what you’re doing out of habit. Our habits tell us exactly what we’re going to do when faced with a challenge.  As an example let’s look at the dreaded ‘to do’ list.

Gather up your list for the last 30 days.

Next write down your goals.

Now for every task you’ve crossed off place it under one of your goals.

So what do you notice?  Are you doing what’s easy or what’s most comfortable? How many of the tasks you’ve completed will get you to your big goal or removed a roadblock that keeps you from getting closer to your big goal?

What’s been accomplished tells a story.  What’s your story?

Quote #2: Imagination is more important than knowledge.

You know as I sit here writing this post that statement seems so simple and logical. But I can tell you from first hand experience the ability to imagine a different outcome when your mind chatter says there’s no way out is tough.

It’s hard to look inside and reflect on what you’ve done and face the fact that you’ve potentially run out of options and need help jump starting your imagination.  As I mentioned in my last post asking for help in order to take care of yourself is REALLY HARD and nearly impossible without help.

Quote #3: Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree it will live its whole life thinking it’s stupid.

O.K. Stupid may be a bit harsh but the fact is if we don’t understand our own unique capabilities. Then fully embrace the idea that they are powerful and valuable. If you don’t then there’s no way you can leverage them to unleash the genius within.

When I first started as a coach I designed a system that starts with the question “what am I really good doing?” and then the next question that comes up is “how do I use my skills, talents and gifts more effectively?”  

Once you can answer these questions then you can begin leveraging your efforts.

Intellectually, we know we can do better but knowing better and doing better are two different things. Everything you need to be successful really is at your fingertips. You get stuck because you’re afraid of making a mistake or disappointing someone or failing.

There’s an old joke about a man with a dog that wouldn’t get off a nail. Every day the dog howled and howled from the pain caused by sitting on the nail.  A stranger ask the owner of the dog “so why doesn’t he get up?” The dog’s owner replied “apparently it doesn’t hurt him enough.”

It really easy to get comfortable with settling and telling yourself I’ll get to it tomorrow. In every role I’ve had… executive, HR professional, leader and coach … there’s one thing to always keep in site. Until someone is ready to get up off that nail there’s nothing you can do or say to help them.

Isn’t it time for you got off that nail?

Is Your Support for Others Blocking Your Success?


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In case of a loss of cabin pressure the oxygen mask will fall.  Take the mask and place over your nose and mouth first before helping someone else. That includes your children, the person sitting next to you or your dog.

This morning I received an email from Sharon (name changed). In the email, she said she went to the emergency room a couple of days ago.  Upon seeing the message, I picked up the phone and called to ask what happened.  As I dialed her number, my mind raced I wondered if she was alright and how could I rearrange my schedule to support her.

Just minutes before I was on the phone with a client.  She, like me, is the primary caretaker for her mother.  She tearfully told me about taking her mother to the doctor’s office only to have the doctor rush her mother to the emergency room for what turned out to be open heart surgery.

My concern all during the call was for her to learn how to take care of herself and minimize the harmful effects of stress on the body.  As I walked her through a mindfulness exercise designed to reduce the effects of negative stress and clear her mind so she could be present for her mother and siblings I gently reminded her that she can only help others when she takes care of herself first.

Sitting here right now in the aftermath it seems like I’ve been talking to a lot of people about self-care.

I dialed Sharon’s number and she immediately picked up. I asked how she was doing and what happened. To make a long story short, Sharon has a few medical issues which worsened because she wasn’t taking care of her health. As she explained how she also ended up in the ER, I felt a stab of pain in my heart and the warmth from my anger started to come over me.

Sharon is a single parent with a son who’s now a young adult away at college. So when she mentioned she told her son and he told her “Mom you’ve got to take care of herself because I’m too far away to do it” I lost it.

I told her that I thought her actions where incredibly selfish and disrespectful to the ones who loved her. In fact I’ve come to believe not taking care of yourself is one of the most disrespectful things we can do to the people who love us.

The ability to give love and support to another is one of the most rewarding and precious gifts we have to share with another human being. Not taking care of yourself and then hiding your illness from your friends and love ones you tell us just how much you trust us and deny us the opportunity to love you.

By now I could feel that I hit a nerve and she said, “I never thought of it that way. I’m sorry.”

Again, the anger came over me and I said “we’ve had this discussion before. To say you’re sorry means nothing.  To know better and not do better belittles the trust your family and friends…  your loved ones have placed in your care.”

Self-care is a fundamental key to success. Every day I see exactly how a poorly developed sense of self care affects your performance, leadership and success.

Let me share with you a few examples where a poorly developed sense of self-care actually impedes our success.

  • Danny, an overworked district director. She has about 14 people reporting to her and like most of us more work than time to complete it all. She spends most of her time with mediocre performing employees and not insisting they perform better. As a result, Danny has effectively double her workload. In addition to her workload she’s doing the work of the mediocre employee. Plus, because she doesn’t have the bandwidth her top performers don’t see her and feel neglected. Consequently she turnover is with high performers and she can’t let go of the mediocre performers because they keep the stores running.
  • Alex has a chronic illness and from time to time has to take a lot of time off because he doesn’t fully attend to his needs. He secretly worries that his absences are viewed badly by his boss so he works twice as hard when he’s in the office.  Consequently, he overcommits and under delivers.  Everyone loves him when he’s on it but when he’s not things fall apart because he hasn’t groomed his staff to fill in for him.
  • Joe is the father of two beautiful girls whom he loves dearly. He works very long hours in the hopes of getting a promotion to Senior Director.  He likes being seen as the guy who can get it all done except he’s missing being present for his daughters as they grow up. When asked, he’s quick to tell you he’s working so hard so they will have a better life. But his heart aches when he misses a play or when his daughter scores at her soccer match.
  • Jennifer is a struggling business owner who instead of taking the time to learn how to run her business finds the desperation that comes from poor cash flow overwhelming. She doesn’t understand how bartering and giving away her services keeps her from growing her business. She barters and discounts her prices because she needs money immediately and won’t invest in learning how to get out of the cycle self-defeating actions.

Each of us really believes what we are doing is a loving act of generosity or protects what’s most valuable to us and on some level that’s true.  However, if we really want to achieve our goals and turn dreams into reality then we owe it to ourselves to reflect on our results and ask what do we need to learn to do better… be better… make others around us better.

There really is no such thing as an overnight success. The myth that you can work hard for a short period of time and become success is just that a myth.  My grandmother use to tell me if you tell a lie long enough people will believe it’s true.

Personal and professional growth happens when we reflect on how we made the decision and how our actions contributed to the results. Success is never a straight line but comes as a result of many practice sessions where we try something and adjust then try it again.  As for me, I’ve learned to take notice of my actions and then think about what did I expect and why.

If you’re results aren’t matching your expectations stop and ask 3-4 people you trust “what can I do to get better?”  Then just listen and I mean really listen without judgment, justification or head chatter.  Just take it all in and thank them for their honesty. Over time you’re find a way to get better because that’s now your intention.

The World Needs You Now!


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“To waste our human resources is a sin” says Hugh McColl, retired CEO of Bank Of America.  “As a business leader and as citizens we each talk a lot about ideas that are important to our success.  There are so many great ideas and opportunities all around us even when we can’t conceive of them.”

hugh_mccollLast week I attended the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Breakfast where Hugh McColl, retired CEO Bank Of America spoke these words as part of his keynote address.  Mr. McColl is a considered a big deal here in Charlotte.  He’s done a lot to put Charlotte on the radar globally and has been instrumental in making this a great place to live.

Hugh McColl described how success acts like a virtuous cycle.   Over his lifetime, McColl learned that the virtuous cycle works best when we don’t waste our human resources (translate educate children and adults). He learned this while a Marine.  It was during his military service that he learned about the consequences of wasting the talents of people. A segregated military during war times taught him that the difference between winning and losing is all in the talent of the people around you.

McColl spoke about helping others reach their potential but also that each of us must be willing to prepare ourselves and when opportunity presents itself- step up.  The problem is opportunity doesn’t always come with a glowing sign saying

“This is Your Opportunity! Take It!

I am convinced we don’t reach our potential or achieve our destiny of success because of a lack of ideas or opportunities. We fail because we can’t choose an idea and commit to it. Success requires courage. It’s the kind of courage where you dare to dream, go as far as you can see and press on in spite of all the reasons to wait.

However, we have so many great reasons for waiting.

  • We wait until we have more time.
  • We wait to avoid looking bad.
  • We wait because we fear we can’t live up to all our commitments.
  • We wait because we might disappoint others.
  • We wait because the path to success isn’t clear.
  • We wait because it means changing.
  • We wait because even when we have become a master at our craft we still feel like a student and students don’t lead.
  • Finally, we wait because the instant gratification of today’s success is stronger than the delayed gratification that comes from the promise of success.

For years, I’ve talked about a shift in the workplace. It’s not just what work is done but how, when and where we work. The old ways aren’t working and many people just keeping their heads down, working hard and following the old plan until one day they look up and realize the old plan doesn’t work anymore.

Excelling in the new workplace requires courage. 

 I encourage, teach and guide people how to excel in the new workplace so they can stop sitting on the sidelines waiting.  Just like all the students honored by this program, it’s time you embraced your new possibilities.  The world needs you, me, all of us. And there’s no greater feeling than being confident and certain that no matter what happens you can use your talents to achieve your financial goals.

Ask yourself, “What will gain by not waiting any longer?”

 The answer just may motivate you to stop waiting.  If you like this post, share it with your connections.  Ask them what they’re waiting on. Second, consider helping a student go to college.  Click here and make a donation to the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund. Lastly, if you’re tired of waiting and what to learn how to excel in the new workplace give me a call.

Bad Meetings, Bad Leadership and Silence


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The Staff Meeting

It was a regular staff meeting. After 2 hours of reports and talking about missed deadlines, falling customer service scores, lost clients and declining revenues I was ready to end this misery.  As I looked around the room I knew what everybody was thinking.  We’ve been talking about it for months and now good people were losing faith and starting to leave. 

We’ve talked about what needs to happen behind Mark’s back. A few of us have even tried to tell him both publicly and privately for months about our ideas but to no avail.  Mark just wasn’t listening to us.

Our patience was thin and Mark, our fearless leader, couldn’t seem to figure out how to turn this mess around.

Now we were at the end of the meeting and Mark announces he’s hired another consultant to facilitate our retreat.  As I looked around the room I could see it on everyone face. 

“OMG! Not again!”


You can change the names in this story but worthless meetings happen all too often.  Patrick Lencioni wrote about it in his book called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  Peter Block talks about it in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging.  The bottom line is all too often we find ourselves disengaged and demotivated because of poor leadership skills.  Now before you blame all the bad bosses (and there certainly a lot of them out there) considerable blame has to be placed squarely in your lap.

Being a leader means influencing others to take action but also being accountable and responsible for our own actions. Too often we give away our power because we believe without a title we can’t influence people and events.  As a result we see situations like the meeting described above as a waste of time and without “Mark’s” permission no way to make real progress.

When I found myself wasting time in meetings I get antsy and irritable. If I sit there too long my energy builds up and I find it hard to sit still.  I remember looking around and seeing others withdraw and the level of frustration rose.

It’s in those moments I stopped, took a deep breath and ask myself “What’s getting in the way?”

In hindsight, I was stumped because I didn’t know how to say something that will make it better. So instead I said nothing.   The funny thing is we can learn high impact communication techniques but too often we don’t. So we just keep doing what we’ve been doing, having “ain’t it awful” conversations hoping it will change.

Next time do something different.

  1.  Ponder what you’re really committed to achieving.  Often times we’re committed to how things happen more than the outcome.  If you can focus on the desired outcome looking for a way to get there new opportunities open up.
  2. Focus on gaining agreement.
    1. Check to see if there’s agreement to the desired outcome.  In working with groups I find a fundamental problem is there’s no agreement on the components or tactics.
    2. Check to see if we agree on the measures of success.  Does each person understand how to measure progress and what flags a problem?  Is there agreement on who’s responsible for what measures?  In one recent conversation, I asked my client to just check if her staff understands on what numbers were important to watch.  To her surprise they didn’t know and so many of their decisions were based upon what was urgent for the day.

In closing, silence is an extraordinarily powerful tool if used correctly.  But being silent and allowing your colleagues to withdraw is a fatal flaw.  You can opt to speak up or you can decide to sit back and do nothing. If you choose not use your strengths to create success in the workplace how can you expect to be rewarded well?

The choice is yours alone. I am convinced you can learn how to make a difference but nobody can give you the courage to try.

Resistance! The Enemy of Success


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 “Resistance is faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, harder to kick than crack cocaine.” Steven Pressfield

who what why photoHave you even experienced an undefined unhappiness that you can’t quite put your finger on?

It shows up when you’re trying to move to a different level of performance or live out your purpose.

Or a restlessness that comes over you when you’re about to start a project?

Sometimes your mind freezes up and you can’t seem to concentrate.  If you’ve ever experienced any of these symptoms you’ve experienced resistance.

Resistance hides in your thoughts and subconscious.  Its head chatter that justifies stalling, presents logical reasons to delay or simply dismisses your dreams or makes you believe they are unattainable.

How does resistance show itself?

  1. Play ol’ simple procrastination.  “I’ll do it tomorrow or someday when” seems to be the most common
  2. Delaying tactics: “I’m getting ready.” “As soon as I get done with
  3. Acceptance by others are thoughts like “What will others think?” or “Who do I think I am to believe I can….”
  4. 4.       Readiness: “It’ll take too long to get it done”, “You’ve been successful doing what you’ve been doing.” “Just keep doing what you’ve been doing until you get a plan.”
  5. 5.       Self-doubt: “I’m not ready… someone more qualified should take the lead” or as many of my women clients say “If it were meant for me someone would pick me?”
  6. 6.       Simply and plain fear of making a mistake sounds like “What if I’m wrong?” or “How will I handle the success” or one of my favorites “I don’t have a plan to keep things from getting out of control”.
  7. Many people suffer from “terrifying possibilities syndrome”.  They work hard and achieving their goal is within reach.  What they don’t understand is when you’re that close, resistance pulls out all the stops to keep you from closing the deal.
  8. Sometimes I see resistance as trivializing the importance or impact of what they know and can do. The rational mind holds resistance in the form of “it’s not important”, or “if it were meant for me then it would happen.”

It doesn’t matter which form resistance takes the impact is always the same.  Resistance creates psychological impasses that block you from moving forward. The good news is if you can harness the power and energy consumed by resistance it can act as a springboard for dramatic change.  This is true whether the resistance is at a personal or organizational level. To breakthrough you have to use your personal leadership skills to define a new vision for your professional or personal life.

In the next four posts I’ll share exactly what I’ve discovered about each of these resistance tactics and a few ways you can overcome them.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, post or send your comments to me at denise@coachhr.com about how resistance has held you back and how it shows up in your life.

Can You Just Get to The Point!


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two women talking in front of computer

The last two weeks have been pretty hectic.  There really must be something going on because I’ve been spending time with people who like to tell stories and go into great detail about what happened to whom, when, where, how.  You’ve probably experienced the same thing.  Someone who just goes into great detail in their story and you just want to say… So get to the point already or as my kids used to say… I need to know that why?

It could be the drama that attracts them. Perhaps they want to distract you (or themselves) from a difficult issue. They could also be a sequential thinker or a ‘detail-oriented’ person. There are plenty of reasons WHY some people just like to talk, but in this post we’re going to look at specific things you can ASK or SAY to get them to the point – fast!

When it’s a colleague, customer or client you’ve got a bit more latitude to be direct than if the storyteller is your boss. But with everyone working harder often doing the job of two or more people there are times when you just don’t have time to hear the ENTIRE story.  So what do you do when you need them to get to the point?

Take a deep breath and say firmly, “I don’t intend to me rude but I’m going to interrupt you here…” and then ask:

8 Easy Questions to Get a Chatty Cathy or Blabbermouth Boris to the Point!

  1. “So, tell me what finally happens.”
  2. “In a nutshell, what’s the issue/goal here?”
  3. “So, what would you like to handle first/now?”
  4. “Can you give me your goal/issue in one sentence?”
  5. “If you were to take a helicopter view, what do you need me to know?”
  6. “What are the key points that you need to tell me so I can help you?”
  7. “If you could sum the situation up in one word or phrase, what would that be?”

Lastly number 8.  I used this one with my staff for years.  There are times when we all just need to vent and that include your boss.  Use this one with a bit of light heartedness.  “How can I help you? Do you want to spend time venting or get things sorted?”  Works every time and sends a signal you care but only to a point.

The Trick: Not allowing the emotion surrounding your irritation not getting to you.  You need to remain focused and confident. By all means try a ‘soft’ interruption first, but if this doesn’t work take a deep breath and – if necessary – cut right across them. With some folks this is the only thing that will work.

Watch out for: Sometimes a story contains essential elements that need to be told. Or perhaps they need to feel heard and have a safe place to ‘vent’. Or they may simply be a person who likes details or to work through their thoughts sequentially. You’ll need to use your coaching skills and trust your gut – which of course gets easier with practice and experience!

Improve your skills:  When I practice these skills with my clients the first thing they say “I couldn’t say any of these.” It seems rude or it might make them angry.” I’m here to tell you, you can do it and no these 8 questions are not rude unless you say them with irritation or anger.

And that’s the key, how safe we feel determines whether you feel comfortable asking others to get to the point.  Ask yourself, “what is it about this person or conversation that’s holding me back?” Most of the time what’s holding you back is your perception of being rude or inappropriate to interrupt someone. Practice with someone you trust and soon you’ll be adding time to your schedule.

Do you have a tip or technique that gets others to the heart of the matter? What’s the worse way you’ve seen someone interrupt a conversation just to get to the point?  I’d love to hear how you gracefully or maybe not so gracefully help others to get to the point.

OMG! Coaching Doesn’t Work!


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frustrated womanAre you shocked I said it!  Well, think how I felt when I got a call from an operations director and her opening statement was “Coaching doesn’t work!  I’ve tried coaching my ops manager for six weeks and her performance still hasn’t improved.”

We continued to talk and within a few minutes identified what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.  But the whole incident got to me thinking …Why don’t we see better results from coaching?

After a bit of pondering I thought of 4 big things that are needed to increase the effectiveness of coaching.

  1. Embrace the value of the soft skills needed for leadership.  Ask anyone what is leadership and you’re likely to hear “it’s hard to define but I know it when I see it.” That’s because it’s the “soft skills” that makes the difference.  Technical skills may get the job done its soft skills like listening, presentation ideas, sales, process improvement, analytical skills, trust building and likeability that enables everyone to work together towards a common goal.  For coaching to work, you must develop soft skills are as important and technical skills. Don’t believe me? How would you feel if your top performer’s communication skills were so bad they pissed off everyone in the department?
  2. Coaching requires vulnerability.  We all consciously or subconsciously understand if we aren’t seen as capable, competent and valuable there’s an impact on our livelihood.  Coaching works when you have to be able to share aspect of your life that aren’t always acceptable at work.  Let’s face it, if you’re struggling to figure out how to spend more time with your family, you can be branded as not career oriented.  If you haven’t learned how to handle the stress of the job; your boss may sideline you on high value projects in an effort to “protect” you. If you disagree with your boss’ you may be branded as uncooperative or unwilling/unable to receive feedback.  These realities carry risk with them and for most people protect themselves from these risks.
  3. Resistance is part of change.  Coaching pushes you out of your comfort zone and when that happens people resist. And sometimes resistance ain’t pretty.  When you’re responsible for getting work done on a tight timeline embracing resistance is the last thing you want.  Resistance feels like it slows things down and can be exhausting to manage.   Yet breaking down resistance in a positive way is an essential part of coaching.
  4. Coaching requires self-awareness.  At its foundation, coaching requires you to understand how your biases impact your judgment and decision making.  There’s a phenomenon known as the “halo” effect.  Basically its when our perception on one personality trait influences how we view a person’s entire personality or performance.  For example, if we think a person matches our perception of a great leader we tend to overlook their flaws.  I am often heard saying “the hardest person to listen to is someone we’ve dubbed as a jerk.  But even a broke clock is right twice a day.” Being fully engaged with someone whom you decided has nothing to say is hard.  And the same is true of someone whom you’ve decided is a high performer.  In either case, your belief about them colors what you think of their ideas and potential for success. Coaching requires that you pay attention and be fully present with an individual probing to understand how they make decisions.   If you’re not aware of your own biases its easy to create a story in your head about the person which may not have any bearing on them today.

Bottom line coaching doesn’t work when we fail to consider these four aspects.  It is an effective tool when the conditions are right.  Review each of the four tips.  Did you notice each of them has more to do with you than the person you are coaching?

Coaches, whether their niche is personal, lifestyle or business, understand that every client is an opportunity to teach but also to learn more about how you make decisions.  So if you’re going to be coaching… just remember to get ready to spend more time examining your own stuff.

I talked about 4 things that affect coaching.  What do you think?  Share any ideas you may have on the topic.

Mastering The Stress of Success


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Florida TreesSome people see life as full of stress. It doesn’t matter whether they are achieving their goals or not they have a way of seeing life as stressful. They don’t mind telling you about how much they are doing and how much still has to be done.

Every conversation is filled with achievements and what’s left on the “to do” list. Outwardly they are the picture of success and yet their mind is filled with thoughts of worry and dread.

The gospel singing group Mary, Mary has a song call God In Me. The song talks about how others see our success but behind closed doors you drop to your knees asking for peace. Living with success can be just plain stressful.

This post is from Elizabeth Root. She tells the story of how she found herself achieving all her goals and yet the stress of success was causing her to be ill. N Joy…

Throughout my life one thing that was difficult to do was living with the stress caused by my success. I remember when my daughter was 3 years old and I was working a full time job. On top of that we moved in to our new house that I began renovating.

To say the least I had a lot on my plate!

It was all really good stuff. It seemed like all of my goals were getting accomplished at one time. I’d waited a long time for this to happen and I wanted it all done today. As a result, I felt became productive yet scattered!

After a few sleepless nights, I began talking to some of my seemingly “balanced” friends. They recommended I meditate.

All I could think was “Oh great! Another thing I had to find time to do!”

Then, I remembered a book I read in the late 1990’s called Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Full Catastrophe Living was Jon Kabat-Zinn first book and he wrote it to assist people whose lives were out of control and the stress was causing them to become very ill.

I could relate to that feeling of being out of control and stressed so I re-read the book.

Mindfulness is different from meditation. Whereas meditation is a practice of quieting the mind for extended periods of time mindfulness is being present in the moment. It is an attitude of paying attention to what is happening and how you’re responding consciously, unconsciously and emotionally right now.

The seven attitudinal factors that make mindfulness possible are: non-judging, patience, beginner’s mind, trust, non-striving, acceptance, and letting go.

I learned that if I wanted to consistently have peace of mind in the face of hardships, obstacles and setbacks I must keep an awareness of how I really want to live.

One day, as I was leaving my daughter’s pre-school on my way to an important meeting I realized the mindfulness training was working. Instead of rushing and thinking only about my “to do” list I began to notice the beautiful day. As I turned down a road I had taken many times before I noticed a beautiful big old tree right in the middle of an expansive field of green.

The tree had always been there – for at least 100 years – yet I had not been present enough to see it. Now, as I was mindful of my present moment, I was able to see the beauty and strength that the tree represented and it made me happy.

The rest of my day was a lot better because of that.


I teach many of my clients mindfulness techniques along with my 5 step process called G.R.A.C.E. to not only Get Unstuck but to achieve a new level of success, productivity, and new found freedom. True success comes from your ability to lead powerfully but calmly. My clients close the knowing doing-gap in record time. They find peace in the most stressful situations and ultimately achieve more of what they really want to achieve in record time. If you want to achieve more in 12 weeks than others get done in 12 months email me at denise@coachhr.com Be present, be well.

Reflections on Life and Getting Stuck


Hit the pause button

So let me be honest for a moment.  This week has been a watershed for me.  It’s the end of July and for the whole month I’ve been taking a look at me, my lifestyle and my business. The whole idea of leadership from the inside out is knowing when to hit the pause button, reflect on what’s happening and why you’re getting the results you’ve achieved.

 If I’m really honest with myself  I have to say I lost my focus and allowed the distractions to dictate my tasks.  It’s easy to do after all life happens and keeps us moving from one priority to another.   Sometimes we get distracted because we underestimate the downstream effects of decisions.

Now I know exactly how it happened.  You’d think I’d know better but even I can fall into the trap of believing I’m capable of handling everything that comes my way.  But there are other traps that got in my way too.

  1. Overusing my strengths and passion – I have a high motivation to learn and play with new ideas.  For me, playing with new ideas and processes is relaxing and fun.  I love devouring information and turning that information into insights.  It has served me well because I use those insights with a creative twist in my speeches and work with clients.   It cuts their learning time and minimizes the risk of failure.  Unfortunately, I can play and experiment with new ideas and lose focus on completing the more mundane activities that are important and have a significant contribution to my overall success.
  2. Enabling helplessness versus empowering independence– Many know I take care of mom full time and this year she’s had an unusually high number of medical issues which have required me to spend a lot of time and money on her health care. She loves being pampered.  When she gets sick it is really easy for me to start doing everything for her and not requiring her to do for herself.  If you are a caretaker then you know this dance well.  Bosses sometimes suffer from this too. When you find yourself involved in the details instead of managing the bigger game then you’re probably enabling someone to be weak or fail.   
  3. Losing sight of the bigger picture – If you don’t know what you want to achieve, why it’s important to you and measure your progress regularly then it’s easy to get lost in the whirl of daily busyness.  One of the practices I have and encourage my clients to adopt is to write down your vision of success and keep it somewhere you can see it every single day. Use it to determine your priorities and measure your progress for the week. 
  4. Staying stuck too long –Being stuck is like treading water. Lots of activity but you’re not going anywhere. Being stuck is seductive.  Good enough becomes good enough.  The longer you stay stuck the harder it is to get back on track. Then one day you can’t remember your goals and your dreams become a distant memory.  Living in a space where everything is good enough becomes comfortable until everything falls apart.

What snapped me out of being stuck were my friends and past clients noticed I hadn’t posted anything in a month or so and wondered why. They called and reached out to me asking “what’s up?”  Then I spoke with Donna Maria who reminded me only I can handle my business.  It’s something you can’t delegate to others and I am totally responsible for doing the practical things required to achieve my goals.  God makes the way but I have to do the work and walk through the door.

Next week I’ll be talking more about getting stuck and what you can do to get moving again.  There’s only 5 months left in 2013.  Do you need a jumpstart and to learn how to get unstuck?  If so, join me September 27-29 where you can take the weekend and figure out how to get unstuck. For more information go to http://www.coachhr.com/build-your-personal-power-field/

“Denise Cooper is a reinvention strategist and success coach.  She works with people who have lost their mojo – that wonderful feeling of success that comes from doing what you love to do. Tired of feeling unfilled at work, facing what seems like an unmanageable challenge or got a habit that’s blocking you from achieving the next level of success? Contact Denise at denise@coachhr.com to schedule time to discuss your personalized course for success.”