Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them. – Albert Einstein
There really are no limits. You can go as far as you want to with your career, your projects and your team. Yes, there are realities. That is what I think Einstein was saying – first accept the limits that exist now. From there, you have the basis on which you can go beyond them. How? You figure out what it will take to break through existing limits and move forward.
Many of the limits you identify may be self-made; created by perceptions, beliefs or the influence of others. To go beyond them, find a new story. Other limits may be very real. They need an assessment. How can you overcome them? Are they worth going for? Do you need to enlist support from others?
As you “look up”, you are fulfilling your potential. None of us are meant to be small, limited or anything less than magnificent. Look up and find your greatness.
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With the pace of life today, you do not have a lot of time available for contemplation or anticipating what’s to come as you go about your workday. You can easily find yourself in an emotionally charged situation without knowing how you got there. In this environment, what can you do to maintain your cool?
The best approach is self-management – managing your stress levels by not letting them get out of hand, developing your emotional intelligence and self-awareness, creating balance in your day and developing ways to handle your emotions, when your buttons are pushed or others’ emotions are running high. Sometimes, it’s about getting yourself out of a negative situation quickly, either to avoid it or to give yourself time to regroup before you deal with it.
Keeping your cool is essential to your effectiveness as a manager. Focusing your attention on how to do it is worthwhile and will serve you well.
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Who wrote the law that says it is acceptable to disregard a person’s space in the workplace? You would think such a law exists by the way people do it. We all have the right to be treated with respect and have our privacy honored.
Disregarding someone’s space can involve aggressive or angry behavior, taking no notice of a person’s feelings, demeaning them, intruding on their privacy, physical closeness that makes the person uncomfortable or showing disrespect. These actions are not essential to a productive workplace. When they do happen, productivity is diminished.
As a manager, you can model this respect for a person’s space. If your organization’s culture excuses bad behavior, make sure you do not. Talk with your team about emotional intelligence, diversity, the dignity of each person and what it means to respect each other.
Respecting each person’s space creates harmony, understanding, motivation and fruitful collaboration for your team.
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Do you have something pulling at you, that you don’t want to “face up” to?
Up front, I have to say I am often slow at facing up. I will avoid it for a while. It takes me some time to find an approach that I can pursue confidently.
Is there anything pulling at you now that you’d be better off facing up to? Perhaps it is an uncomfortable situation with a co-worker or team member, a feeling that you are no longer a fit with what you are doing, a problem that needs your attention or something you need to do, but have been avoiding. The ironic thing about facing up is that often it is more uncomfortable avoiding it, than it is facing it. The situation builds up in your mind and can be blown out of proportion. Very quickly, these situations become energy drains.
Facing up asks you first to reach clarity regarding the situation and identify what it is causing your discomfort. Once you have clarity, you can look at your options for handling the situation. Facing up is not the easiest thing to do. However, by doing it, you will find yourself free and able to move in a lighter energy, as you manage.
What can you face up to in the next week?
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1. Pull yourself out of your current thoughts and environment
2. Get yourself to the present moment and clearly define the situation causing your confusion
3. Breathe ten breaths
4. Create some space to think
5. Write down the facts of what is happening
6. Gather information and identify the options available to you
7. Weigh your options and the pros, cons and feasibility of each
8. Make a plan to move forward
9. Reach clarity on how you will execute the plan
10. Acknowledge that you are no longer confused!
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How is your workload? If you are overwhelmed, or not keeping up, try stopping. Bring yourself fully to the present moment to assess the situation you are in. Our world has sped up and keeping up gets more and more challenging. Someone once said to me that the world would speed up so much that we would be forced to find the still point at the center of the storm. By stopping, you can find that still point, regroup and make the choices needed to move forward, without overwhelm or too much to do.
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Do you see time as an enemy or a friend? Time is central to our existence. For time to be a friend, you have to flow with it. It can be a potent enemy if you fight it, ignore it or allow it to have power over you.
How can you flow with time? You start by doing all you can to live fully in the present moment. Only from the present moment can you deal with reality. Living in the past or future skews your perspective. A key element of flowing with time is balance. From a place of balance – emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally – you are functioning at your peak. You also need to recognize the signs of stress and know when to pull back and regroup.
Time is a construct that you can harmonize with. Granted, the speed of our world doesn’t make it easy. But that makes it even more imperative for you to stop and examine your relationship with time. Find your way to flow with time.
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Many times people abdicate their freedom of choice. The ability to choose can never be taken from you. It is only yours to give away. You may let others pressure you into choices. You may not have the time to make all the choices in front of you; so you neglect or hurry through them. It behooves you to consider your choices very carefully and make the choice that is best for you.
As a manager, your choices create the direction for your team. You choose goals, direction, process, pacing, focus areas and more. How do you make a choice? Do you have a process? Here are some suggestions for your choice and decision-making.
• When you encounter a significant choice, create some time to make it
• Lay out your options and the impacts of each
• Identify the risks and likely outcomes of each option
• If it is helpful, get some feedback from others
• Own your choice, once you make it
The power of choice is yours. Make good ones and never give this power away. Exercising your freedom of choice is essential to good managing.
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Communication is a constant in your work as a manager. Are you aware of the style you use to communicate to your team and others? Do you even have time to be aware of your communication style? Perhaps not. However, it is a worthwhile endeavor, as communication is the lifeblood of organizations and deserves your attention.
There are many styles of communication: precise and to the point, well reasoned and thought out, emotionally intelligent or forceful, to name a few. There are also various methods of communication – speaking, writing, electronic, body language.
You want to find the style that is a fit and most effective for you. Start by giving thought to what outcomes you want from your communications. Are they to keep a project going, create clarity about goals or promote collaboration, for example? In a previous blog post I focused on how your communication is heard. Being aware of this will help in determining your communication style. Then, fit this all in with the culture of your organization, the realities of your work and the nature of your team and co workers. You may use varying styles in different situations. That’s fine. The key here is developing your self-awareness of how you communicate with others.
photo: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Every once in a while, it is good to step back and take a look at what you are doing and determine if it is a fit.
Here are a few questions you can ask yourself about your current job.
• Am I using my best skills on a daily basis?
• Are the people who surround me good collaborators?
• Am I accomplishing significant things?
• Is there a flow to my work?
• Is this job leading me to what I envision my next career steps to be (gaining skills, connections and knowledge)?
• Does my work fulfill me?
You are the CEO of your career. Your choices lead you forward. Your job should be a fit with your goals and dreams.
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