Archives for June 2015

Creating Powerful Life Transitions

Contributed by Debby Stone.

14440757471_4538ba9065_o (1)Graduation season is drawing to a close. This year, I attended two graduations and know several more students who are moving on from high school or college. Perhaps you, too, have attended one or more graduations this year. And, even if you haven’t attended one this season, I am sure that the memory of caps and gowns – yours or someone else’s – is an easy one for you to bring to mind.

I have always thought of graduation as an ending. The graduate is leaving his particular school, finishing a degree and receiving a diploma that indicates completion. However, as I have reflected on the process, I realize that graduation is also a new beginning. There is a reason that the accompanying ceremony is called commencement. The commencement ceremony marks the beginning of the next chapter in the life of the graduate. It is a celebration of his accomplishments to date and of the promise that lies ahead.

I find it powerful that we mark completion of schoolwork with a ceremony. When a student finishes high school, college or graduate school, she doesn’t simply move on to the next step – more school or a job. Rather, we gather around her to help her look back over her accomplishments, celebrate, and plan for what lies ahead.

It’s a shame that we don’t do more of this in our everyday lives. Think about how quickly we move from one task to the next, from one job to another, from our current city to a different location. We don’t mark the shift with a ceremony, and we don’t typically even stop long enough to reflect on what we are leaving behind and what lies ahead. What would be different if we did?

Imagine if we paused long enough to look back at a job we are leaving so we could appreciate what we learned during our tenure with that organization. Imagine if we stopped to reflect on the memories we have amassed while living in a particular place. What if we paused after completing a task or reaching a goal and reflected on what we have accomplished and what it took to accomplish it.

I often work with clients who are in transition. During our time together they may leave one job and begin another, reach a long held goal, or move to a new home or city. When my clients leave a job, I always advise taking some time off before starting their new one to engage in just the sort of graduation and commencement we are discussing. And, although not everyone takes that advice, those who do find that by consciously graduating from their previous role and equally consciously commencing their new role, they are able to be more fully engaged in what lies ahead, find more focus in their new role and consciously integrate the learnings from their previous job.

On the flip side, those who do not take a break, those who do not create the space for conscious graduation and commencement, often find that they regret not having punctuated their transition with some sort of ritual, ceremony and pause. For example, one woman I know left her job with a company she had been with for 25 years. Her last day there was on a Friday and she started her new job on the following Monday morning. She did not give herself time to pause and reflect, and as a result, she did not have an opportunity to celebrate her time with the company that had played such a pivotal role in her life and career for a quarter of a century. Today, if you asked her, she would say that not marking that transition is one of her biggest regrets.

There is much to be gained from creating a ritual to accompany a move or shift from one chapter in your life to another. Just as school graduations allow for reflection, celebration and visioning, the commencement ceremonies we could create would do the same. Our transitions would become powerful tools for learning and growth.

How have you marked the big shifts in your life – a goal reached, a new job, a big move? What graduation and commencement ceremonies have worked well for you? What did consciously marking the transition provide?

The Payoff Principle: On Purpose

Contributed by Dan Sheedy.  Don’t miss part one of this series – The Payoff Principle: Producers Wanted!

welcome-new-employees-233x233The book, The Payoff Principle by Dr. Alan Zimmerman, begins with the power of purpose (Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff). Having a clear purpose, a ‘why’, is the starting point in figuring out how to design your life, bring out your best, and achieve the goals that excite you. German philosopher, Frederick Nietzche, had this in mind when he said, “He who has a why can endure any how.”

Only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to move forward, stay motivated, persevere when obstacles arise, and move your life to a new, more challenging, more rewarding trajectory. A clear sense of purpose enables you to focus your efforts on what matters most, moving from ordinary to extraordinary. Research has shown that having the power of purpose results in better health, motivation and satisfaction. The question that always arises is this: How do I discover, define and clarify my purpose?

A great place to start is to establish the mindset of ‘A life of purpose is a life lived on purpose.’ Living on purpose requires intentionality, direction and discipline. In The Payoff Principle, Dr. Zimmerman challenges people to ask themselves, “What do I really, REALLY want from my life,” as the basis of discovering their purpose. He goes on to build a three-legged stool of discovering your purpose with these three primary questions:

1. What are you good at? Natural ability, dominant gifts, positive responses to your work, satisfaction and ease are components to consider. If it doesn’t feel like work, if it motivates you, and if it stirs perseverance and satisfaction, you are on the right path!

2. What excites you? What do you dream about doing every day? What stirs passion inside of you? What do you love to spend time doing? What motivates you and drives your optimal productivity? What makes you emotionally satisfied? Your answers build a leg in the stool that will impact every area of your life and those around you.

3. What difference do you want to make? How do you want to influence the world around you? Making a difference requires focus in at least one aspect your life of work, family, community to move from success to significance. The great thing is you choose and can start living your purpose today.

Combining the answers to all three primary questions is necessary to discovering, defining and clarifying your purpose. Once you have found your purpose, living on purpose is critical to achieve the payoffs you want and deserve. Living on purpose means living intentionally, with direction. It means listening to wise counsel and not only those that tell you what you want to hear. It means pausing and reflecting on your actions and decisions and how those actions and decisions affect your sphere of influence. It means engaging in purposeful activities every day to demonstrate your commitment—first to yourself and then to those you interact with.

If you’ve now decided to live an extraordinary life, a purpose-filled life, then it’s time to take the next step described in The Payoff Principle. That is where the power of passion, the fuel in your engine of purpose, comes in to living on purpose, with intention and direction in all you do.

What will you do today to make this happen?

The Payoff Principle: Producers Wanted!

Contributed by Dan Sheedy.

welcome-new-employees-233x233Producers Wanted! How many times have we seen this on signs, in print, or other media? Companies are always searching for people that produce; people that make things happen. Are you a producer? If not, you may want to ask yourself how you can become one.

Becoming a producer is an important skill to learn. Vietnamese Clergyman Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Every thought you produce, anything you say, any action you do, it bears your signature.” If we are to live our lives by design rather than default, we need to position ourselves to become producers; to become someone who makes things happen.

How do you become a producer? Are there steps? A guidebook? Is it easy? The answer is yes and no. There is a process, but one that takes time, energy and attention (TEA) to accomplish. If you work through the process, you benefit both professionally and personally.

I recently spoke with Dr. Alan Zimmerman, a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame and author of several books focusing on attitude, communication, and leadership. We talked about his newly released book, The Payoff Principle, that tackles’ the question of becoming a producer. In fact, he explores the development and building of producers through a formula he calls The Payoff Principle.

To quote The Payoff Principle, it works like this: “When you find purpose in what you do, exhibit passion for the outcome, and master the process to make it happen, you produce the payoffs you want, need and deserve.” You become a producer!

Think of your results in each of these areas (purpose, passion and process) as you look to attain success and happiness in your career and personal life. Do you have a purpose – a why statement? How do you articulate your purpose to others? Do you exhibit passion and fire for the outcomes you desire? How does this passion show up in your interactions with colleagues, friends and family? Have you mastered the processes of making things happen (continuing education, effective communication, compassionate listening) that can turn your desired payoffs into reality?

In his 30 years of research, Alan Zimmerman discovered that a combination of these three areas is necessary to achieve all you desire. In fact, leaving out even one of the three components of the formula usually leads to falling short of our desired goals. As you consider and answer these questions you are likely thinking that they are hard, that it’s not worth bothering with them or that you can always focus on them later when you have more time. Facing the future with anticipation vs. apprehension, taking responsibility and acting are the keys to success. If you want to create the future you desire, the time to start is now!

Over the next several weeks I am going to dig into the components of The Payoff Principle and demonstrate why and how this simple formula when applied to, integrated within, and acted upon in our lives can give us the payoffs we desire. Join me on this journey and be prepared to ask yourself the powerful questions needed to explore how you think, act, respond in your quest to turn your desires into reality. When you do, the next time you see Producers Wanted! you will know that you are a producer both professionally and personally.

What will you do today to make this happen?

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