The Self-Awareness Guy


Let Go of What Doesn’t Work

A lot of people go through their personal and professional lives doing the same things they've always done. It's not that they're unintelligent or apathetic, it's just that humans tend to be creatures of habit. We learn something as children and then we do it for the remainder of our lives.

The wonderful thing is that you have self-awareness. You are able to take a look at yourself, keep what works well and learn new skills to improve what needs attention. You can actually modify and improve your thinking and behavior to get better results. Here's an idea to start the process:

  1. Pick a thought or behavior that's not working for you.
  2. Brainstorm ideas of what you could do instead that would lead in a more positive direction.
  3. Pick the one item from your brainstorm that makes the most sense to start working on.
  4. Start working on the item you chose and practice until you're good at it.
  5. If you need to adjust or pick a different item do so.
  6. Start the process again for the next thing that you want to work on in your life.

The key to growing and becoming a more effective person is to realize that you have the potential to change anything you want in your life as long as you're willing to put in the effort to consciously work on it. What area of your life will you let go?



How to Fix a Problem in Your Relationship

Many couples reach challenging points in their relationship and don’t know what to do about them. We repeat an endless cycle of getting hurt, hurting back and perpetuating the hurt through our actions. This often happens even in dating situations and marriages where both people are kind, intelligent and caring. So what is it that causes this conflict and what can we do about it. Here are some of the causes of conflict:

  • Neither person understands the other person’s point of view.
  • There is not a meeting of the minds on issues.
  • Neither side backs down.
  • Each side tries to win.
  • Neither side has the skills or knowledge to fix the problem.
  • The people involved are hurt, angry, frustrated or sad.

The good news is that you can help your situation by thinking about new ways of doing things. The key point is to start a process where nobody wins and both of you collaborate to find a solution that works for both of you. Think of some of the following ideas and begin connecting with your spouse in ways that will benefit both of you.

  • Both agree to talk.
  • Set up an interruption-free time to talk.
  • Agree on one thing to talk about.
  • Brainstorm possible ideas to fix the problem.
  • Evaluate each option.
  • Agree together on the resolution that works best for both of you.
  • Work together to take action on the resolution.
  • Move to the next problem.
  • Think about getting a neutral person involved to mediate.

I also encourage my clients to do away with the word “problem” and look at the challenges in life as opportunities for movement in a more positive direction. Looking at challenging situations in a positive light gives you the opportunity to actually fix things rather than repeating the same patterns.

So the next time you are in the middle of a fight, redirect your thoughts to the possiblity that both of you can work together and purposefully resolve the matter.



Workplace Training Methods for Long-Term Results

Many leaders create training programs only to find that they produce little or no long-term results. Most leaders and their employees are highly motivated and conscientious professionals who genuinely want their training programs to succeed but who habitually focus on short-term patches instead of long-term programs that benefit their organizations over time.

Short-term thinking permeates many of our workplaces. I've had more than just a few leaders ask me to transform their workplaces and employees in a single, three-hour training and they actually believe it can be done. It takes considerably more time and effort for training to take hold in any organization. As with any behavior, it takes time to shift our thinking and replace it with new actions. Here are ten workplace training methods to create long-term results:

1. Training works best when it's ongoing. A one-time training might be mildly effective if you're teaching people a specific workplace task but it doesn't create long-term changes in thinking and behavior. Learning any new skill (such as how to communicate well, manage effectively or build teams) takes deliberate practice over time.

2. Help your employees keep practicing the new skills. Your staff members benefit from your support to keep the training going. Try to set people up for success by giving them opportunities to practice the material instead of expecting them to be perfect immediately after the training.

3. Training starts with leadership. No initiative succeeds in an organization if leaders aren't fully committed to participating actively in the training program. If you're not involved on an ongoing basis then your staff members will think the program doesn't really matter.

4. Don't train on the cheap. You don't have to spend excessive amounts on trendy training just show your employees that you're willing to invest in their growth and development. It's also more productive to pay for an ongoing, quality program than many ineffective ones.

5. Focus on specific workplace behaviors. You either practice positive behaviors in the workplace or go down some other path. Focus on training that helps leaders and employees behave in positive ways and build a more productive work environment.

6. Don't punish employees with training. Your training will lose all credibility if you force employees to attend as a corrective measure or because you think they did something wrong. Training is about ongoing educational opportunity and growth, not about disciplining employees.

7. Attendance is highly encouraged. No one is allowed to schedule meetings or be called out from training sessions, especially leadership. Make time during the workday so that people can see that the training is worth their time. Leadership attends consistently and sets the example for the rest of the staff.

8. Set specific goals and measure results as you go. Identify one or two areas you want your training program to affect and measure what's happening before and after the training as well as at intervals in the future. Keep practicing what works and make modifications to strengthen areas that need extra attention.

9. Train the trainer. Design your training programs so that key employees gain the expertise necessary to train other staff members. When your staff can train itself you can keep the knowledge spreading indefinitely and continue making refinements.

10. Make the training part of your culture. You decide how important training is in your organization. If everyone from your leadership down is highly invested in and actively involved in training then i t will become a natural element in your workplace.

Try these ideas and you'll enjoy the benefits of training that creates lasting change in your organization. All it takes is your commitment and the energy to keep it going. What will you do to promote long-term training in your workplace?



5 Tips to Be an Innovative Leader

Leaders have an amazing potential to make a difference in people's lives. Even our most basic actions can significantly impact clients, create new opportunities, change the world, or bring everything to a screeching halt. We personally choose whether we are leaders who make things happen or get in the way. Let's look at two leadership approaches that are commonly found in the real world: stagnation and innovation.

Leaders who choose stagnation find themselves continually endeavoring to maintain the status quo. They are often very caring and deeply committed to their organization but do the same things year after year. They cherish tradition and are comfortable with the staff, programs, mission, board, donors and volunteers they've had for years. There is little incentive for change in their organization because everything has run the same way for a long time.

An alternative approach focuses on innovation. Leaders who value innovation put systems in place that anticipate and welcome new challenges. They view change as an opportunity rather than a threat. Their organizations tend to encourage finding new ways of doing things and reward creative thinking. They benefit from being nimble and proactive rather than reactive.

The impact of each of these approaches on our clients is huge because we serve them differently if our leadership style is oriented toward stagnation or innovation. Leaders know intellectually that it's positive to welcome change and encourage innovation but there isn't a specific template for how to do it. Here are some practical tips to help you continue being an innovative leader.

1. Think outside the box and actually do it. Embrace a philosophy where you constantly seek extraordinary ideas and approaches. You will be better prepared to deal with the issues that come your way.

2. Help people shine. Find out what people do best and let them do it. Get out of the way and watch them grow. Be available if they ask for help but otherwise just let them be great.

3. Give up the need to control things. Let go of power and status and the need to be in charge. Invite new thoughts and perspectives. Remember that the cause you work for is far greater than any one person.

4. Practice excellent listening skills. Immerse yourself in what other people say. They will tell you what you're doing right or what needs help. Trust that your clients will tell you what they need and your staff will also teach you a lot.

5. Make some new friends and work with them. Partner with others and learn from their experiences. Forge lasting relationships that merge your talents and energy so you can serve even greater numbers of people.

Innovative leaders touch people because they know that leadership isn't about them, it's about everyone else. Think of a leader who made a remarkably positive impact on you. They likely took the spotlight off them and let you bask in the glow. The leaders who consistently achieve the best results are those who inspire others to shine.

A major benefit of innovative leadership is that it allows us to do more with less effort. We help our clients more efficiently because we think globally rather than according to some set script. We are more attentive to their needs and are willing to help simply because it makes us and them feel good. We go the extra mile because we are not afraid of the turns in the road.

Innovative leadership helps us let go of stagnation and start breathing fresh air. When we live without limits it opens doors of opportunity. If we shed our fear of change and chaos we get to see the world as a place where anything can happen. Without any boundaries, we are capable of achieving spectacular results. As leaders, we each have the potential to make a dramatic difference in someone else's life. Which path will you choose?


Self-Awareness Means Understanding How Other People See You

A major part of self-awareness is understanding how other people see you. This means that you clearly comprehend how your thoughts and actions affect not only you but others as well. When you understand the impact you have on others you can make the appropriate changes so that you get better results. The key is to be yourself and allow others to do the same. Here are some signs that you possess the self-awareness necessary to understand how other people see you:

  • You're not constantly in the middle of conflicts.
  • Other people seem to like you.
  • You build positive relationships.
  • You behave with kindness, empathy, and compassion.
  • You don't do things to hurt others.
  • You don't care about competition.
  • You don't have a massive, unhealthy, out of control ego.
  • You do things that benefit others.
  • You behave selflessly, without expecting something in return.