4 + 3 = 7 Ways to Become A Transformative Change Agent Today

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Have you ever considered becoming an agent of change; or, considered, how to move yourself into the realm of transformation? How about considering what leadership, change agency, and transformation have to do with each other?

Well, right now I’m in the middle of the transformation video series, of which the post, Developmental Growth and Transformation: A Distinction is a part.

An important distinction.

Simply, the distinction is that transformation is internally driven, whereas development is externally driven.

And, of the former, becoming a change agent as a leader is transformative. Why? Because when we move on the leadership spectrum away from the status quo and toward becoming an agent of change, we create the possibility of transforming ourselves and everyone around us.

Alright, let’s take a look at becoming a transformative change agent as a leader. There are two parts to this conversation, and they are as follows.

  1. 4 things you can to do to move into the realm of transformation; and,
  2. 3 things you can do to become a change agent.

Ready? Let’s go.

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4 Things You Can Do to Move Into the Realm of Transformation

1. Question All of Your Current Beliefs

When we are living in and for transformation, we always question what we know. Why is this important? Good question.

Because if we know everything there is to know about a particular topic or subject, we can’t learn more. And, when we are closed to learning more, we are also closed to transformation.

The entire realm of transformation occupies the unknown. Why? Because when we live today as we did yesterday, which is essentially what happens when we are closed to learning something new, we simply reproduce today as we lived yesterday. Not transformative.

However, when we are open, and question all of our beliefs, we immediately create a space where learning is possible. Yep.

Now, though learning is possible when we are open and we question our beliefs, we must also be willing to let go of our beliefs. Questioning our beliefs is the first step, and we must also learn how to let go.

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2. Let Go of the Beliefs that No Longer Serve You

When you begin to question your beliefs, the next step is to let go of those that no longer serve you. Can be difficult. Why?

Because we are socialized to think and act in certain ways. And, socialization is powerful. However, when you begin to question your beliefs, you will see there is much to learn. And, it is often necessary to let go of our previous views. It’s okay.

Letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you is not a problem. You don’t get a demerit for letting go. Know also it’s not a sign that those that taught you what you know, were wrong.

It’s not about right and wrong. It’s about knowing that letting go is a natural process of growing, first, and, second, letting go is necessary and needed to find your transformational path.

Once you question your beliefs, and begin to let go of those that no longer serve you, it’s time to begin re-creating your belief system.

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3. Recreate Your Belief System as Often as Needed

People interested in transformation, are actively interested in recreating their belief systems. They are always searching for new ways to learn, to develop, and to be.

Though development and transformation are different, they are related. Development is a wonderful platform to gain the knowledge necessary to enter into the space of transformation.

Recreating your belief system simply means that you are open to doing the internal work necessary to transform.

When we are quiet and do the internal work necessary to question all that we believe, and then let go of the ideas, concepts, and emotions that no longer serve us, we automatically create the space needed to recreate our belief system.

Know that in a space of transformation this process is continuous. It becomes a daily practice. And then? Well, then you are ready to act from a new space, with new beliefs.

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4. Taking Action From Your New Belief System

When we question our beliefs, let go of the beliefs that no longer serve us, and then recreate our belief system to fit our current transformative iteration, we automatically take action from that new belief system.

We begin to act from a new space and in a new way. Does it happen all at once? It may, yet often it is iterative, which simply means, as was aforementioned, that it is a continuous process.

Transformation is a continuous process of inquiry, investigation, and in some cases interrogation.

Old beliefs, habits, and patterns can be hard to let go of; yet, with practice, and guidance as needed, new beliefs, habits, and patterns can be created.

Yet, because these beliefs, habits, and patterns are so deeply ingrained within our beings, it takes being intentional.

Much like development, you must want to transform. You must create and set the intention to develop, and you must do the same with transformation.

Alright, once you’ve intentionally embarked into transformation, there are three more things to consider in order to see the connection between leadership, change agency, and transformation.

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3 Things You Can Do Today to Lead as a Change Agent

1. Create Your Future From Your Future

When we create our future from our future, we recognize that to do other, is to create our future from our past. Happens often. It’s not a demerit.

However, to really create change, we must move into a space where we let go of the past, and stand in a reality that is being imagined as a future concept of a reality we want to live into. Important. How, you ask?

Imagine. Dream. Create. Repeat.

You have within you all of the imagination and dreams that have been present for, well, possibly, your entire life. Time to let them out.

Once you have, you can begin to create the future you want to live into. Create? Meaning, you can begin to take ideas and put them into systems and processes to see them realized. Concept meets execution.

Three simple steps, ready?

  1. Put your imagination to work. Get those dreams out of your head and heart and into the world somewhere, anywhere. Write them down. Don’t limit yourself. Just write them down.
  2. Create a map of those ideas, connecting the ones that are connectable, and then categorize them, or prioritize them. What do you want to create first?
  3. Now, one at a time, create plans and associated actions to see these dreams into reality. Doesn’t matter how “big” or “small” these dreams are. What matters is that you put them into a system to make them a reality. Try it.
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2. Don’t Worry About Barriers, or People That Don’t Understand

People that actively work to create change in the world are often met with barriers, and people that say it’s not possible. Normal. Why?

Because the status quo is more comfortable, and it’s what people know. People are fearful of what they don’t know, and don’t understand. You will be met with resistance.

However, when you are aware of this, you can meet those barriers and people where they are at. No judgment. And, no problem.

Where there is a barrier, or a person that says what you’re doing is impossible, there is another path toward the realization of your dream. Truth. Often, there will be several other paths, you just need to be patient.

They will show up. How do I know? I’ve experienced it many times. When you are creating change in the world, you are in action, you are pushing on systems that have been in place, in some cases, for years and years.

Yet, they are changeable. All of them. With a little persistence without resistance, you can create the change you want to see in the world.

3. Be Persistent Without Resistance

In the post, Persistence Without Resistance: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone, I write about understanding an important distinction. Have you ever worked so hard at something that it almost felt as if you were forcing that something to happen?

Well, sometimes that force can also feel like resistance. Like we are resisting our current reality by trying to create something new to supplant our current reality. It can be subtle.

Or, have you ever just plain resisted your current reality? Maybe, more common?

Either way, when we resist our current reality, we are, in effect, creating more of that reality. Paradox? Yep, yet it is true. There is another way.

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Be persistent without resisting your current reality. Meaning, accept your current reality, just as it is, with all that you enjoy and dislike. Then? Begin to create from that space. A space of no judgement about all that is in your life. Can be difficult.

Yet, in a space of persistence without resistance, we have the best opportunity to actually manifest the reality we are working so hard to create. Yep, just like that.

Alright, so we’ve now discussed 4 things you can do to move yourself into the realm of transformation, and we’ve also covered 3 things you can do today to lead as a change agent.

And, there, then is 4 + 3 = 7 Ways to Become A Transformative Change Agent Today. As I’ve written in many other posts, we need more transformative change agents. In fact, I would argue, we need every one of us to step up, and work to create the change we want to see in the world. Why?

Simple. Because you deserve it, we all deserve it, the whole world does. We all deserve to live in a world where dreams, imagination, innovation, and positive change are regularly created by each of us, you and me.

A Question

What will you create next?

#beliefs, #beliefsystems, #changeagent, #changeandtransformation, #createyourfuturefromyourfuture, #creatingyourfuture, #developingourselves, #development, #developmentandgrowth, #dreams, #imagination, #innovation, #lettinggoofourbeliefs, #newhabits, #newpatterns, #persistence, #persistencewithoutresistance, #questioningourbeliefs, #recreatingourbeliefs, #selfinquiry, #takingaction, #transformation, #transformational, #transformational-life, #transformationalleadership

An Insight, An Inspiration, and A Quote: On Being Vulnerable Often

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I’ve written about vulnerability several times, and am actually right now writing another post about how being vulnerable is actually transformational.

The insight you ask?

Alright, let’s go.

Insight

What you may not know is that in written language, the actual definition of vulnerability is associated with possible harm. Really. Take a look.

vulnerability

NOUN (vulnerabilities)

“The quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.‘conservation authorities have realized the vulnerability of the local population’” Oxford Languages

It was in the writing of the post on vulnerability and transformation that I learned this fact. Interesting. Though I understand why the definition of vulnerability is written as it is, I will offer you another definition of vulnerability to consider in a moment.

Here is the insight.

I believe that vulnerability is also associated with grit, persistence, and resilience. It must be. Why?

Because anyone who is open to being vulnerable regularly, has to also possess grit, persistence, and resilience. Why? Because being vulnerable is hard work. Simple.

I’ve written before that vulnerability is where the jewels of life are found. When we are open and willing to be vulnerable, we immediately get so much more out of life. Right away.

My invitation to you? Be vulnerable. Though it is sometimes hard, you will find more awaiting you in spaces of vulnerability than any other.

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Inspiration

I find everything in life inspiring. Really. Take a look around. Wonder is everywhere. And, I find people that venture into the unknown that much more inspiring. Why?

Because, yes, it is hard work; and, it is such a wonderful experience. A paradox. Really. Inspirational.

The department I work in, which includes over 200 people, is one such inspiration. Every one of them.

I’ve written about this team many times. I am so inspired by their vulnerability, courage, grit, persistence, and resilience.

In the face of unprecedented challenges, they continue to create new ways to access community education and training, which is needed now more than ever.

A wonderful group of people. I am very lucky.

Quote

Alright, here is a different way to think about vulnerability.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” – BRENÉ BROWN

Book Riot

Be well. Be vulnerable.

#courage, #determination, #emotionalintelligence, #grit, #humandevelopment, #persistence, #reslience, #selfdevelopment, #vilnerabilityandgrit, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityanddetermination, #vulnerabilityandleadership, #vulnerabilityandpersistence, #vulnerabilityandresilience, #vulnerable

7 Keys to Balancing Strategic Thinking with the Day-to-Day Operations of Your Team, Business, or Organization

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Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

One of the strategies I wrote about in the post, Creating Movement in Your Team, Business, or Organization: 3 Steps in 3 Minutes was creating balance in your workflow in order to balance strategic thinking with the day-to-day operations of your team, business, or organization.

It occurred to me that I’ve used multiple strategies the past three years to accomplish this balance, some have worked well, some not as much. What’s most important, however, is not that some didn’t work, rather, it is important that some did.

Trying new strategies is part of leadership development. Actually, it is development itself. Try something new. If it works, keep it, if not get rid of it.

Well, then, let’s take a look at 7 keys you can use to balance strategy with day-to-day operations. And, if you choose to incorporate one, great. If you already do these things, wonderful. And, if they are new to you, give one or two a try and see what happens.

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7 Keys to Balancing Strategy with Day-to-Day Operations

  1. Persistence – being persistent is an important leadership trait; as is knowing that not everything that you implement will work. It just won’t. There is nothing wrong with that, and you do not get a demerit if something doesn’t work. All that means is that you need to be persistent in your actions to find that process, or system that will work. Stick to it, and you will find it.
  2. Prioritization – we are all inundated with multiple competing priorities. It is very important, however, to get clear on how those competing priorities should be prioritized. Very important. Otherwise, all of your priorities will have the same level of importance, and chances are many of them will not move forward.
  3. Patience – very important to have patience with yourself. When you develop patience with yourself, you will also have more patience with the people on your team, or in your business, or organization. Trust me when I write that patience will win over force any day. Patience is sustainable, force, not so much. Be patient, and give yourself the time you need to breathe.
  4. Determination – when one is determined, they are moving forward, and do not let obstacles stand in their way. Important for every leader everywhere. Why? Because the nature of leadership ensures that obstacles will often present themselves before us. Often. Being resolute and steadfast, while also being flexible in your approach is key. You will be challenged regularly. You will also be drawn to the day-to-day operations. Normal. Yet be steadfast, and determined to incorporate strategy into your daily workflow. It is possible.
  5. Organization – understanding an organizational system that works for you is essential. It does not have to make sense to anyone else. Just you. Important, as people often think that their organization system must be understandable to others. Not so. You need to understand it, period. Also know that how you organize yourself will change as the business changes. It is supposed to.
  6. Time Management – a difficult skill set to develop for me, yet one that I have made progress on in the past few years. What I’ve learned, similar to learning to organize myself, is that there is no one way to manage time effectively. Important to understand. When you understand this, you will actively seek out new ways to manage your time, until you find the system that works for you. And, time management should also change as the business changes. It must.
  7. Vision Clarity – you must be very clear on your vision. If you are not clear, you will continue to do day-to-day tasks that are not moving you closer to achieving the goals associated with your vision. Being clear on your vision, ensures that you are moving your vision forward when you are working on the day-to-day operations. You are then always working on your strategy, even when you are working in the “weeds.”

There we go. 7 keys to creating balance between strategy and the day-to-day operations of your team, business, or organization. Are there other keys, you ask? Of course. These are simply the ones that I am most present to now.

There are many meaningful ways to balance strategy and day-to-day operations. How many there are matters less, than, as leaders, we try new things, and incorporate new strategies into our workflow often. Be open and flexible to new ideas, new ways of doing things, and new ways of being.

Teams, businesses, and organizations change often. And, with change comes the need to be open to changing as the need changes. A must.

If you’ve tried the keys outlined in this post, awesome. If you’ve not tried them all, try a new one, try two. If you already do them all, wonderful, you’re ahead.

If you’re not sure how to incorporate these keys into your workflow, here are a couple of quick suggestions before I close.

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  1. Persistence – continue to try new things. Get your best ideas out, and invite others to collaborate. Your ideas + their ideas =.even better ideas. Continue to persist, you will find the process, system, or vision you are looking for.
  2. Prioritization – how do you prioritize your work? Know that however you prioritize your work today, there are a million other ways to prioritize. If what you are doing is not working, try something new. Remember, as the team, business or organization iterates, the way you prioritize yourself will also have to iterate.
  3. Patience – a big one. Though being persistent and determined are very important. Being patient is equally important. Give yourself the time to breath and think. A must. Schedule the time into your calendar. Make time, and let your team know this is your time to just be. Go for a walk, or just sit. Doesn’t matter. What matters is doing it daily. For a time, I had a recurring appointment on my calendar for myself. It read, breathing. And, I did just that.
  4. Determination – yep, important. Things will happen and “go wrong.” It is the nature of leadership, especially when leading innovative teams, businesses, or organizations. Stay the course. Remember, that “failure” is part and parcel of the creative process. You cannot have breakthroughs without breakdowns. They go together.
  5. Organization – similar to prioritization, trying new organizational strategies is important, and needed. Example – when I started my current job, I organized myself in an “old school” way. File folders, and lots of paper. Then I went completely digital, then back to files, and folders. Now, a combination. Again, what matters is continuing to try new things. When something’s not working, do it differently. You may be surprised how that will open up more thinking space for you.
  6. Time Management – phew, time management is so important today. I am much better at it today; yet I would say the first two years on the job, I really struggled in this area. How did I begin to improve? Continually trying new things; and, asking for help. The department administrative assistant, to this day, goes through my calendar with me, and asks this question – why do you have this meeting? Hm. And, if the meeting on my calendar is not connected to the vision, I cancel it.
  7. Vision Clarity – yep. Once you’ve become skilled in the aforementioned areas, you will have more time to work on strategy. And, once you are clear on your vision, the aforementioned keys will also become easier. Why? Because the clearer you are on the vision, the more you understand the work you really need to be doing. You begin to see other work you’ve been doing in a new light. And, you will begin to let that other work go. If the daily work is not connecting to the vision, let it go.

Alright, we’ve discussed 7 keys to balancing strategy and day-to-day operations; and, we’ve also looked at a few ways you can incorporate these keys into your workflow.

Remember, the most important thing about creating balance in your work, is to always be present to the reality that trying, and doing things in new ways is necessary and needed.

When you are unsure of what to try next, try something new, stand back and see what happens. If it works well, keep it. If not, let it go; and, then, try something else. Whatever you do, keep moving. Be and lead well.

#business, #businessplanning, #businessstrategy, #leadership, #leadershipdevelopment, #leadershipessentials, #leadershipinaction, #leadershipmindset, #leadershippractice, #leadershipprinciples, #operations, #organization, #organizationaldevelopment, #persistence, #prioritization, #strategicplanning, #strategicthinking, #strategiplanning, #strategy, #timemangagement, #vision, #visionandstrategy

Force and Flow: What’s the Difference and What Do They Have to do With Persistence?

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What is the difference between force and flow; and, what do they have to do with persistence? An important distinction, and question. What do you think? When you think of force, do you think of persistence? You might. Many people do.

However, in this article we will pull force and persistence apart, so we can see how being in the flow is actually more solidly connected to persistence. Ready? Excellent, let’s go.

Force and Resistance

People often confound force as being persistent. Yet, when you think about force, what comes to mind? Is it flexibility and adaptability? Probably not. Yet, we continue to think about persistence as the ability to withstand our environment. Not so.

When you look at those things that are persistent, they are working with the environment, not against it. Important. Imagine a tree sprout that makes its way through a crack in an asphalt blacktop.

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That sprout is not resisting its environment, it is using the environment to its advantage. Flexibility and adaptability create persistence, not force.

When we use force, we are resisting that which we are confronted with. The lack of flexibility and adaptability is resistance. And, you may persist for a little while by using force, however, you will not stand the test of time. Persistence over time is not possible when we use force. Why?

Because when we apply force to situations and events, we are basically refusing to accept our current reality. And, when we are in denial about our current reality, we are living in resistance.

What to do?

Flow and Persistence

We can recognize and acknowledge that when we are resisting our environment and current reality, we are being resistant. That is first. Once we are aware, we can shift our focus and attention to accepting our environment and current reality for what it is. It just is. That’s all.

And, you don’t get a demerit for being resistant. We are all, at times, resistant. It is part of being a human being. It’s okay. Really feel that. It is okay. Please remember that. Why?

Because when we get frustrated and upset about being resistant, we will use more force. We will try to force a reality to appear that we want more than the current reality. Happens all the time. Why is this an issue?

Because, when we expound that much energy on resisting, and are forcing, we will typically find that we don’t feel all that well. Maybe we aren’t sleeping well. Or, we are feeling even more frustrated and upset. Not helpful. And, not sustainable. Not over time.

Yet, when we go with the flow, or are flexible and adaptable to our environment and current reality, we can continue to create the reality we want to manifest. And, we can do that with much less mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual effort.

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We can actually get more out of the reality we are living in, and can be more creative than we can if we continue to resist and use force. Really.

Can you think of a practical example of how these conceptual ideas play out? I’m sure you can. For now, let me give you an example from my life.

I work in education. And, the work I do involves experiential learning. Think the arts, fitness, professional and personal development, and small business development.

Well, we typically offer about 300 in-person classes a term. Since COVID-19, however, we’ve reduced those offerings to 50 remote classes this past spring, and about 80 remote classes this summer. A big difference.

And, we increased the offerings for summer, because I tasked the team with creating more classes, and then even more classes for fall.

However, what I missed, and missed big, was that the community need wasn’t offering more and more classes.

That was the old business model. What was I doing? Inadvertently, I was resisting the current reality. Yep. Not intentionally, not at all.

Often we resist our current reality out of habit, or a deep desire to, as we’ve discussed, create the reality we deeply want – resistance. What happened?

Well, I had a huge insight as I was working through all of the summer classes we were going to have to cancel. What was that insight?

I was actively resisting and trying to force an old way of doing things onto a totally unrelated and new context. That context, the current reality, where the old model doesn’t fit.

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Once I was aware, I began to create plans with the team of focusing on core classes, and using the freed up time to create new ways to engage the community. A big deal. Phew. Was a huge insight.

Alright, so we’ve covered the concepts of force and flow and also looked at a practical example. And now, you might be wondering what you can do to move from force and into the flow?

  • Notice when you are resistant – Don’t judge yourself, or be hard on yourself. It is normal to be resistant at times.
  • When you are aware, you can shift from resistance to acceptance – Inside of this shift, you will create more flexibility and adaptability, as you begin to accept your current reality.
  • And, once you are in acceptance, you can shift to persistence – A state that allows you to be open, flexible, and adaptable in a sustainable way. In the flow. Accepting what comes, and creating from inside of what is there. Right in front of you.

Alright. I’ve written several pieces on persistence this week. I am more present to the need for persistence as all of us, all of humanity, continue to wonder. Wonder about when life will return to some sense of “normalcy.”

I do believe that what we once knew as normal is gone forevermore. When will there be a new normal?

Don’t know. I do know that the need to be flexible, adaptable, and have the ability to create within high-levels of change has never been more needed than today.

Well, then, together we can wait and watch. Notice when we are forcing situations. And, when we notice force, we can shift our attention and focus to acceptance, which is where we will all find the flow.

#change, #covid-19, #creating-reality, #flow, #force, #force-and-flow, #persistence, #persisting-through-change, #resistance, #resistance-to-persistence, #resisting-our-environment, #resisting-reality, #working-with-change

Persistence Without Resistance: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

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Photo by Alex Wong

The past two weeks, I’ve been reflecting a lot upon persistence.

What does it take to continue to persist in the things we want and wish to do, when there is so much change happening all around us?

Think COVID-19. So much change, so much unknown.

Upon my reflection, I went back and read a post I wrote some time ago, Persistence without Resistance. It seems very timely, so I am posting it again here now.

What is the difference between conceptual thinking and execution? And, what lives in between the two? Let’s take a look.

A concept is considered an idea, intention, or plan to do something. Though conceptual thinking is needed and necessary, without the execution behind the idea, intention, or plan to do that something, nothing real will exist in the world.

I often think that people do very well at the thinking part of leading a concept or idea into a planning phase, yet often times during the planning and the following execution phases of a project, traction falters, and the project either stalls, or drops completely. Why is this?

I believe it has to do with the myriad of stimuli we find ourselves dealing with every day, combined with the habit of continually firefighting in whatever business we find ourselves in.

Two years ago I went to an all day strategic thinking training, which included people from all spectrum’s of work, from line workers, and administrative and operations personnel to company presidents.

And, what did all of these people, including myself, have in common? Every one of us was spending more time working in the business rather than working on the business.

When you spend more time working in the business, you are reacting, and firefighting, which, in effect, keeps you on track to reproduce the same outputs and outcomes that you’ve already been producing. You are effectively treading water.

If you feel this way about your work right now, you are not alone.

I learned a lot from that strategic thinking training, and one of the most important takeaways was that I was not alone. We are all trying to work on our businesses, or our marriages, or our relationships, yet we continually, without being aware of it, reproduce the same results every day, which keep us stuck in the same place we were yesterday.

To become unstuck, you must not only think, or conceptualize a different future, you must then actively create it. One step, or action, at a time. Otherwise you will continue to get the same results as you’ve always gotten.

And, what did Einstein say about that.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We cannot attain different results without “getting out of our lane.” We must remove the blinders that keep us in the same lane, and venture out into unknown territory. Uncomfortable, yes.

Yet, these are where the jewels of life reside.

The rare and wondrous moments of growth, are when we stop reproducing the same thing we had yesterday, with the same result, and take a different action, or set of actions, giving us different results.

Conceptual thinking and execution are both needed. When you have both, you have the ability to create new future realities. And, inside these new realities, you have the opportunity to live life in new ways. Ways that were previously unknown and unavailable to you. Regardless of the context.

How do you do this?

First, you must be prepared to be uncomfortable, as the journey to creating new realities through new conceptualizations and corresponding new executable actions will be new territory for you. Because humans feel most comfortable inside their already created patterns or habits, living outside of them is uncomfortable.

If you are prepared for such discomfort, the process is not altogether difficult, and must also include an openness to all that is happening, and all those around you. Meaning that things will happen that get in the way of the actualization of your created concept, or you may forget about it at times.

The most important thing to remember is that because things happen that get in the way does not mean that you cannot still attain that goal. Building a new habit around a new goal is difficult, yet people do it all the time.

Persistence without resistance is key. Meaning that when things get in the way, know that these things are there for a reason, and that it is okay. Don’t resist what is happening, and continue to persist.

For instance, I’ve wanted to learn another language for a long time. And, have created the opportunity to do so, yet for the past two weeks, I’ve not studied very much.

Now, I could get frustrated, effectively resisting reality, and give up. Or, I can accept reality as it is, reserving all of that time and energy spent on being frustrated, and put that time and energy into studying.

In order for anything to exist in the world, there must be both concepts and actions that execute on those concepts.

And, to do both requires an understanding of how most human beings typically operate, which is inside of their comfort zones.

A comfort zone that will produce results that are similar to the results they’ve produced in the past. And, there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you are looking to produce extraordinary results, you need to be prepared to conceptualize and execute outside of your comfort zone. In that territory that is unknown to you, until it is known.

And to know that once that territory is known, it will be time to create something outside of your now larger comfort zone. This is the process of growth, and you are never too young or too old to grow.

#being-uncomfortable, #comfort-zone, #conceptual-thinking, #execution, #get-outside-your-comfort-zone, #living-with-change, #persistence, #persistence-without-resistance, #resistence, #strategic-thinking, #working-in-the-business, #working-on-the-business

Creating a Meditation Practice: 3 Steps in 4 Minutes

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

Have you ever tried to meditate? Been through classes on meditation, yet continue to struggle to do so? You are not alone. It is too often the case that people take “meditation” classes or yoga classes, and yet struggle to have an experience they feel should be reminiscent of meditation. Sound familiar?

Well, let’s take a look at three simple steps that you can take to create the space you need to take up a practice that’s been on this planet for thousands of years. And, we will take a look at these three steps in just four minutes. Ready? Alright, let’s go.

Step 1: Quite Space

First, you must find a space that is quite, away from distractions, as much as possible. Then, let those around you know that you need this time to be alone. One of the biggest challenges in creating a meditation practice, is creating the space you need to do so. And, you are the one that needs to create this space.

You can create this space, by creating a new boundary with those closest to you. Let them know that this is your time, and is needed, and necessary. Sounds simple, yet most people have boundary issues, and may push on the boundry you are creating. Hold firm. This is your time, and you deserve it.

When I started meditating almost three years ago, the above referenced boundary issue was something that I struggled with. Yes, you also have to hold yourself accountable to create that boundary within yourself. Important. If you don’t hold to the boundary you are creating, no one else will. And, you will be continuously interrupted. What will it take?

It will take you creating that boundary over and over again. Eventually, those closest to you will get that you are serious, and leave you alone. Be persistent.

Step 2: Focus on Your Breathing

The first year of my meditation practice, I called it breathing. Why? Because I didn’t know how to breath properly. Most people don’t. That’s okay. You can learn.

Here is what my first year looked like

  • 3 to 6 months – breathing for 5 minutes at a time, several times a day.
  • 6 months to year 1 – breathing 15 minutes at a time, twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.

And, here is what years 2 and 3 have looked like

  • Year 1 to 18 months – meditating 20 to 30 minutes at a time, twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • 18 months to year 2 – meditating 30 to 45 minutes at time, twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the evening.
  • Year 2 to today – meditating 45 minutes to 1 hour at a time, mostly once a day, though sometimes twice. Second time being 30 minutes in the evening.

The important thing to note, and remember, is that it’s taken almost 3 years to go from breathing for 5 minutes, to meditating for an hour most days. Slow. Creating a meditation practice is not about how fast you can do it. It’s about taking your time, yet being persistent. Building the healthy habit, slowly and methodically.

Photo by Tim Goedhart on Unsplash

Alright, when you are ready, here is a guide to your first 5-minute breathing exercise

  • Sit comfortably. You DO NOT have to sit in the lotus position. Actually I recommend not sitting like that. Simply sit in a sturdy chair, back straight, yet relaxed, hands resting on your thighs.
  • Set a timer, or a meditation app, if you have one for 5 minutes.
  • Close your eyes, and take a couple deep breaths, breathing in through your nose, and out through your nose. Slowly, deeply.
  • Now, breath normally, still in through your nose, and out your nose. And, as you breath in focus your attention on the air making its way through your nostrils – can you feel the cool air coming in? If not, that’s okay, then focus on the tip of your nose. If you can, focus on the air coming in through your nostrils.
  • As thoughts arsie, let them. If you begin to focus on them, that’s okay. When you begin to focus on a thought, simply bring your attention back to the air coming in through your nostrils, or back on the end of your nose.
  • And continue to repeat the above again and again. Thoughts arise, you notice, may even engage with them, then notice you are engaging, and refocus on your breath. Again, and again.

If you’ve just completed your first 5 minutes of breathing, nice job. You are on your way.

Step 3: Practice

Whether you are meditating for 5 minutes at a time, or an hour. Creating and maintaining a meditation practice, takes just that, practice. You must be willing to make meditation a priority in your life. It is like any healthy habit we want to develop; it takes persistence to build a regular habit.

The coolest thing about developing this habit, is that once you’ve done it for a couple of months, you will demand that space of yourself. Really, you will. You will hold yourself accountable to create that space; and, as you hold yourself to that standard, those closest to you, if they aren’t getting it, will.

And, the more you practice, the more benefits you will realize about incorporating meditation into your life. There are many. One of my favorite benefits, is that I have time for myself. Time to be quiet, away from all technology, and all people. We all need that time.

Practicing meditation is about learning how to focus your attention, as your mind continues to be busy. And, believe me, it will be. Yet, as we’ve discussed, let the thoughts come. It’s okay. And, as they come, notice when you are paying attention to them, instead of your breathing, and then refocus your attention on your breath.

Remember, creating a meditative practice takes time. Building this practice is not something that will happen overnight. It won’t, so relieve yourself of that pressure right now; and when you are ready, find a quiet space, focus on your breathing, and practice.

#attention, #breathing, #focus, #health-benefits, #meditation, #mindfulness, #persistence, #practice, #wellness

Persistence Without Resistance: Getting Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Photo by Alex Wong

What is the difference between conceptual thinking and execution? And, what lives inbetween the two? Let’s take a look.

A concept is considered an idea, intention, or plan to do something. Though conceptual thinking is needed and necessary, without the execution behind the idea, intention, or plan to do that something, nothing real will exist in the world.

I often think that people do very well at the thinking part of leading a concept or idea into a planning phase, yet often times during the planning and the following execution phases of a project, traction falters, and the project either stalls, or drops completely. Why is this?

I believe it has to do with the myriad of stimuli we find ourselves dealing with every day, combined with the habit of continually firefighting in whatever business we find ourselves in.

Two years ago I went to an all day strategic thinking training, which included people from all spectrums of work, from line workers, and administrative and operations personnel to company presidents. And, what did all of these people, including myself, have in common? Every one of us was spending more time working in the business rather than working on the business.

When you spend more time working in the business, you are reacting, and firefighting, which, in effect, keeps you on track to reproduce the same outputs and outcomes that you’ve already been producing. You are effectively treading water. If you feel this way about your work right now, you are not alone.

I learned a lot from that strategic thinking training, and one of the most important takeaways was that I was not alone. We are all trying to work on our businesses, or our marriages, or our relationships, yet we continually, without being aware of it, reproduce the same results every day, which keep us stuck in the same place we were yesterday.

To become unstuck, you must not only think, or conceptualize a different future, you must then actively create it. One step, or action, at a time. Otherwise you will continue to get the same results as you’ve always gotten. And, what did Einstein say about that: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

We cannot attain different results without “getting out of our lane.” We must remove the blinders that keep us in the same lane, and venture out into unknown territory. Uncomfortable, yes. Yet, these are where the jewels of life reside. The rare and wondrous moments of growth, are when we stop reproducing the same thing we had yesterday, with the same result, and take a different action, or set of actions, giving us different results.

Conceptual thinking and execution are both needed. When you have both, you have the ability to create new future realities. And, inside these new realities, you have the opportunity to live life in new ways. Ways that were previously unknown and unavailable to you. Regardless of the context.

How do you do this? First, you must be prepared to be uncomfortable, as the journey to creating new realities through new conceptualizations and corresponding new executable actions will be new territory for you. Because humans feel most comfortable inside their already created patterns or habits, living outside of them is uncomfortable.

If you are prepared for such discomfort, the process is not altogether difficult, and must also include an openness to all that is happening, and all those around you. Meaning that things will happen that get in the way of the actualization of your created concept, or you may forget about it at times.

The most important thing to remember is that becauses things happen that get in the way does not mean that you cannot still attain that goal. Building a new habit around a new goal is difficult, yet people do it all the time.

Persistence without resistance is key. Meaning that when things get in the way, know that these things are there for a reason, and that it is okay. Don’t resist what is happening, and continue to persist.

For instance, I’ve wanted to learn another language for a long time. And, have created the opportunity to do so, yet for the past two weeks, I’ve not studied very much Now, I could get frustrated, effectively resisting reality, and give up. Or, I could accept reality as it is, reserving all of that time and energy spent on being frustrated, and put that time and energy into studying.

In order for anything to exist in the world, there must be both concepts and actions that execute on those concepts. And, to do both requires an understanding of how most human beings typically operate, which is inside of their comfort zones. A comfort zone that will produce results that are similar to the results they’ve produced in the past. And, there is nothing wrong with that.

However, if you are looking to produce extraordinary results, you need to be prepared to conceptualize and execute outside of your comfort zone. In that territory that is unknown to you, until it is known. And to know, that once that territory is known, it will be time to create something outside of your now larger comfort zone. This is the process of growth, and you are never too young or too old to grow.

#business, #comfort-zone, #creativity, #extraordinary-results, #growth, #life, #persistence, #psychology, #self-development