Being Led Well

Leading-While-being-LedIt was a call that would change my life forever, though at the time I didn’t know it. I had heard about a company who coached mortgage professionals on living more purposeful in life and in business. I was told they were connecting me to a Coach named Michelle. The morning of the call came and I was very excited. From the start I just knew I loved her. She was smart, articulate and caring. She and I discussed my goals, my dreams and where I felt I hadn’t stepped up and taken any risks. By the end of that 30 minute call I was convinced I needed to hire her and her company Building Champions. I was over the moon.

Michelle and I coached together for a year and then came the “talk”. Should I continue? “Of course”, I said, I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it, guiding me, leading me and helping me make the decisions I needed to make to be happy and fruitful.

Somewhere in the course of that second year of coaching Michelle helped me to see that my calling was actually as a Coach and not a Mortgage Professional. She carefully examined my heart and my gifts and showed me how coaching would be the perfect fit for me to live out my mission of actively seeking out opportunities to help others.  I was more excited then I have ever been, so with her help I sat down with the decision makers of my company and discovered my calling.  That was 11 years ago and I have not looked back one day.  And I owe it all to my Coach, but more importantly to how well she led me and how well I allowed myself to be led by her.

There are many books and blog posts about being a leader.  Heck, I have written some myself.  And I know that developing your leadership skills is important, especially if you are leading a team.  However, being led is also important, and one you should not skip in the process of growing as a leader.

Ask yourself these three questions:

1.  Do I allow myself to be led?

2.  Does my ego feel offended by being led?

3.  Who do I know or who do I need to know who can be a good leader to me?

The answers may just be exciting for you as they were for me.  Good luck.

Posted in Leadership, Making more money, Miscellaneous, passion, Self-Development | 2 Comments
 
 

Living well

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I saw a quote on Facebook recently by Mark Twain that says “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.

I love that saying. Not because I get paid to help people execute with excellence the 2nd part of that quote.  Mostly because I have heard, in the voices of my clients over the last 11 years, that certain satisfaction they have when they realize they are living out their purpose and living it out well.  I think of my friend Robyn who has a passion for teaching and all of the lives she has touched by educating young children.  I think of my friend Adrienne who has such style that her only option is to pass it along to others, so that they too, can have style.  I think of my husband Dan who’s calling is to teach other dads how to be the best dad they can be, with the sole purpose of helping children have more meaningful relationships with their fathers.  The fact that they are making a difference in the lives of their others is awe inspiring and amazing.

Are you awe inspiring and amazing?

Do you know what your purpose is?

Are you living it out?

We all were put here, on Earth, to do something special.  If you don’t know what that is yet, it’s time to figure it out.  Others are counting on you.

Posted in Execution, Inspiration, Life Planning, Miscellaneous, passion | Leave a comment
 
 

Reflections of my first trimester

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How many of you reading this has children? How many of you reading this are women who have had children? How many of you reading this are women who have had children and didn’t think you would make it through the first trimester?

If you raised your hand on that last question, welcome to club crazy. Please sign in and grab a name tag.

When Dan and I set out two and a half years ago to have a child, we never expected the journey we would take to get here. Infertility treatments, miscarriage, and then final acceptance of God’s plan – that I would remain childless. So we did what every self respecting couple would do – we sold all of our baby stuff collected from his kids and built a pool. We were happy, accepting the awesome life we had and relishing in the future with his three kids and my love of feeling good.

But God has other plans doesn’t He? And quite a sense of humor!

After all the time and money spent trying to start a family, God chose to step in and take matters into His hands. So here we are, in the last week of my first trimester and boy what a time we have had.

I believe that the first trimester has been the scariest, happiest and most comical time of my life. Scary because you just never know what is going to happen to this little ball of life growing inside of you. Every twitch got me thinking about the baby I lost and the devastation I felt for that life that we would never meet. Happy because, after all we had been through, God chose us to raise one of His children and teach him/her all about the grace, forgiveness and mercy of His love. Comical because, well, being pregnant is funny.

In the spirit of true Coach K, I want to share with you a few of the experiences we have gotten to live as a result of the first trimester. I hope you find them as funny as we did, it has truly been a humorous time for us so far.

1. Did you know that a pregnant women’s sense of smell is amplified? I didn’t until I started realizing how smelly everything is in this world. And that can take a toll if you are nauseous every moment of every day like I have been. One time, in particular, stands out for both Dan and me. We were sitting on the sofa, watching a movie and I said to my dear, sweet husband “Dan, I am sorry to point this out, but I think your feet are smelly, can you please go and change your socks”. He swore to me up and down his feet were not smelly, and that he did not need to change his socks. I, of course, thought he was crazy and mumbled something under my breath that probably wasn’t very nice.  Flash forward to an hour later, as I was sitting at my desk getting some work done. Low and behold, it was ME that smelled bad, not him.  I had to text him right away to point out the error of my ways (and of my nose).

Caveat here folks – when you read things in “…” and you are reading the words “please”, “sorry” and “thank you”, just understand, due to my raging hormones, I was not actually using those polite and kind words.  Just making sure we are all on the same page here.

2.  Every pregnancy is different.  Every woman gains weight and starts showing at different times.  I expected to have a baby bump in my second trimester, so you can imagine my surprise to look down and see the baby bump around week 10.  My doctor assures me it is because I am small boned and only weigh 121 lbs, and that this sweet baby and his/her entourage (bloating, amniotic sac, etc.) have nowhere to go but out.  I want you to know, I am totally fine with that.  I have never weighed more then 128 lbs in my whole life so gaining weight doesn’t stress me out at all.  I welcome the chance to put on a few pounds.  What I don’t welcome is not fitting into my favorite jeans, then having to borrow some maternity jeans from a friend and subsequently popping the button off of “said” jeans at a dinner party.  After my initial shock, I thought I would start crying, but instead Dan and I just started cracking up uncontrollably.

3.  I love football.  I know this is not a surprise to any of you who follow my blog.  What you may not know is that I am not a Seattle Seahawks fan (come on friends, if your team was beat so badly by them in the Superbowl, you wouldn’t like them either).  What I will never understand is the complete crying meltdown I had when one of their players got injured.  I cried like a baby for about 30 minutes.  Picture this, Dan walks into our living room and I am sitting on the sofa sobbing.  He asks “what is wrong babe”?  I couldn’t even answer I was crying so hard.  He looked up at the television to see that Seattle Seahawks player on the field being attended to and just laughed.  I can’t even remember his name now, because I have never heard of him, but boy was I sad when he went down.

4.  This one should probably not be shared, but it is too funny to pass up.  It is no secret that women’s bodies change and things that worked regularly don’t work so regularly anymore.  Along with the pure exhaustion of my first trimester, this has been the most unpleasant side effect of being pregnant.  However, the humor involved with this side effect has been, by far, the funniest times Dan and I have shared during it all.  I will say, I am not sure what pregnant women did before the iPhone and texting.  I know I have completely made a fool of myself with the texts I have sent Dan while waiting out regularity.  I also know that I have completely stumped my 5 year old step daughter Delaney, who oftentimes sits outside of my bathroom, asking every 2 minutes when I will be done so we can go back to playing.  I only wish I had an answer for her most of the time.

There has been so many other times that humor has taken the lead role in this pregnancy.  Way too many to share here today, but we are keeping a journal and look forward to many years of laughs when the baby shows up in the summer of 2016.

For now, we are enjoying this experience and are forever grateful for the chance God has given us to be here today.

We ask for prayers as we continue on this journey, and hope that our baby continues to grow strong and healthy until we meet him/her this next summer.

Merry Christmas, happy new year and I will be praying that 2016 is a wonderful year for you all.

Coach K

Posted in Miscellaneous | 2 Comments
 
 

A goal is a goal is a goal – right?

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When you google “reaching a goal” over 199,000,000 items would come up in 54 seconds. That is crazy. Also pretty telling about how many people are writing about goals. Google “setting goals” – 447,000,000 hits in 67 seconds. This is a topic widely covered.  So when I sat down to write this post I was a little “iffy” about whether there could be real value in what I had to say. Primarily because it has all been said before, but secondarily because as a Coach I “preach” setting goals and coach my clients how to reach those goals each and every day and it all seemed pretty black and white.  In actuality, it really isn’t.  Sure we have all heard of SMART goals, we have all seen speakers motivate us to accomplish those goals, but do we really understand the emotional wherewithal it takes to set and accomplish the right goals for us, at the right time?

There are so many layers of the human brain that are activated when setting and reaching goals. I won’t pretend to be the expert, but I will quote some experts who have exhaustively studied the human brain, emotions, and goal setting philosophies.

Let’s start with David Richardson, Ph.D. and Founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He writes about the two types of positive affect. Pre-goal attainment and post-goal attainment. What he says is that “when it comes to goal pursuit, it really is the journey that counts, not the destination.” He states that there is a more pleasurable feeling when you are making progress toward a goal then when you actually achieve it. (1) If that is true, then waiting to celebrate a victory when the goal is accomplished is pointless, your celebration is too late. You need to celebrate milestones along the way to really capitalize on the strongest positive emotional feelings you have during the process in order to see that goal through to the end.

I am taking a course at the University of Michigan on leading people and teams. Maxim Sytch, PhD, one of my Professors, dives even deeper into goal setting and the accomplishment of goals. He ascertains that goals are only truly accomplished when the person tasked with reaching the goals accepts the goal and is equipped to accomplish it in the first place. You have to have both. A person can accept the challenge of that goal, but if they are not qualified to accomplish it nothing will help see that person through, and emotionally that person will suffer as a result of that. Think of a flight instructor. If I have a desire to learn to fly a plane, but after a few lessons my flight instructor doesn’t think I am ready for my first solo, I will not be flying solo. Same rings true for those who are equipped to do the goal but don’t accept the challenge. You can be the best gymnast in the world, but if you don’t have emotional passion for gymnastics you will not put the time and effort into practicing that will bring home the gold. You really need both acceptance and performance to reach a goal.

So with December right around the corner, and 2016 approaching us fast you might be entering into the “next year goal setting stage”.  If that is the case, I want to encourage you to consider a few things before you put pen to that goal.  First, are you excited about reaching that goal and second, are you equipped to do so.  If you can answer yes to that question then you have what it takes to set the stage for a successful 2016.  Good luck.

(1) They Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt

Posted in Execution, Life Planning, Miscellaneous, passion | Leave a comment
 
 

The Fourth “B” in vision


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There is a little known fact in the business world that companies with a vision tend to be more successful then companies without a vision. There is also a little known fact that business visions that encompass the 3B approach tend to be visions that are executable and exciting to live out.

Before we dive into the fourth “B” of business vision, let me first refresh your memory about the initial three (from Building Champion’s 3B Business Vision Tool). For a copy, please email me at kristen.gielow@buildingchampions.com.

The first “B” is Belong – “What will my team members belong to?” Every person on your team has an innate need and desire to belong to something that is bigger than fiscal goals and their own achievements. When a team member can answer the question “what do I belong to” with clarity and conviction they will be dedicated to helping you achieve your Vision. Because of this, you must be able to clearly identify and articulate the culture, character and work ethic that you desire in your organization. The Belong section encompasses your convictions and purpose.

The second “B” is Become – The majority of your team’s waking hours are invested in your organization. In order to ensure each hour spent is purposeful you
and your team members must be able to answer the question “Who am I becoming, professionally and personally, by investing my valuable time dedicated to this organization.” If a person can see with certainty that their time spent is not simply a means to a paycheck, but is part of their professional and personal development, they will work harder and with more dedication. Their organization is no longer a replaceable location in which they do a service, but it is an essential element in who they are and who they will become. The main component in this section is creating the vivid description of the future. Knowing where you want to go is important before heading out onto the journey.

The third “B” is Build – After identifying the Belong and Become sections you are now ready to tackle the question “In order to maintain who we are and to achieve what we want, what needs to be built?” The Build section is completed in your Business Plan, however, you must first layout the roadmap for it in your Business Vision. Your Business Vision filters all of your plans to ensure you are who you say you are and that you experience the future that you envision. Think Big Hairy Audacious Goals (or what we also often call Mount Everest Goals).

These 3 “B’s” are essential in crafting your company’s vision, and without them you really won’t have the foundation you need to create a plan on an annual basis. But I want to stretch your thinking and introduce the fourth “B” below.

The fourth “B” is Beneficiary. Studies have shown that when employees can see or meet the beneficiaries of their work they have a higher level of job satisfaction and job performance. Think a manufacturing company who creates safety glasses for welders. How much more job satisfaction and attention to your job would you have after hearing a personal testimony from someone whose eyes were saved after an accident in the welding shop because of those safety glasses? A lot. Like the three “B’s” above have a question you answer, the fourth “B” has one too. It is “who is my product or service directly affecting”? Once you can answer that, you can tie the meaning behind what you do and why you do and move forward with creating a business plan.

Tell me what you think. Do you think the fourth “B” is necessary? Please send responses to kristen.gielow@buildingchampions.com.

Posted in Execution, Miscellaneous, Vision | Leave a comment