Self Management: Are You Doing the Right Things? (part 4)

Focus for the Year, Plan Each Day

Write down two or three goals you want to achieve at work. Then, write down two areas on which you want to focus in your personal life (i.e., family, sports, interests). Limit your list to five focal areas so you can realistically accomplish them.

Most of your daily tasks should fit into these five areas. Allow another 5% of your time for life’s miscellany. This approach allows you to stay on track each day. If you’re spending time on tasks that fall outside your focal areas, recognize them as distractions that pull you away from your goals.

Take 5 minutes at the beginning and end of each day to plan and review. Checking in twice a day helps your subconscious sound the alarm if you veer off track.

Start Now

Many people enthusiastically write out elaborate plans, and their momentum invariably fizzles when it’s time to implement them. If it’s hard to get started or sustain energy, consider hiring an experienced coach. Working with others often hastens success.

Choose one task that will make the greatest difference in your life and do it—no matter what. Then, quite naturally, you will start to incorporate other changes. With time, you’ll find that your life moves in a purposeful direction.

If you would like some help moving forward, please contact me. I would love to work with you.

Self Management: Are You Doing the Right Things? (part 3)

Where Do You Want to Go?

Answer the following questions so you can begin to design a successful plan, avoid drifting and ultimately reclaim your life:

  1. What are your strengths? Take a look at your life, work, proficiencies and the activities you enjoy.
  2. What are your weaknesses? What subjects or tasks do you naturally avoid? How can you use your weaknesses to your advantage?
  3. What are your differences? What makes you unique? How can your experiences, talents and proclivities make a difference to others?
  4. What are you passionate about? Which tasks excite and energize you? How can you become more involved with them at work?

Somewhere at the intersection of these four questions lies your foundation for success and happiness. Your time is best spent on blending these components into something productive.

When we operate from – and leverage – our strengths, we function at our personal best. This holds the greatest possibility of living and working in flow, which often leads to greater satisfaction and happiness in all aspects of life. Each of us needs to have faith that we have been given just the right strengths to be all that we dream of being.  We need to claim these strengths and gifts, aloud.  It is our responsibility to make the most of the role we were born to play and to live our strongest possible life.

Self Management: Are You Doing the Right Things? (part 2)

You’ve probably known for some time that you need to apply focus and make smart, thoughtful decisions about what’s worth doing (and what’s not).

Here are some simple tools and tactics to help you follow through on these decisions—and even enjoy the process. 

Where Are You Now?

Your life has two versions: the one where you’re a star and the one where you’re a little lost. Reality lies somewhere in the middle. Your opinion inevitably reflects some reality and some fantasy.

The two strategic questions are:

  • How can you best use your strengths and talents to achieve the things that will make you happy, productive and successful?
  • How can you know if you’re truly maximizing your potential?

The foundation of a Sustainable Leadership plan begins with your reflection and the integration of your values, purpose and strengths.  Often we are our own worst enemies in not claiming our strengths or living into our potential.  We often confuse claiming our strengths with ego, bragging, having a “big head”, or being intimidating, listening to those internal voices that create havoc and confusion when we want to claim our strengths and live big.

Most people insufficiently use their talents because they fear stretching goals and the prospect of leaving their comfort zones. They continue doing what they’ve always done because it’s safe, instead of taking risks and working with a professional coach. But self-discovery—especially of one’s strengths—is critical for any quantifiable success.

Most of us are reconciled to the path we’re on and rarely stop to take stock. Like the Energizer Bunny, we just keep going and going…and going.

Bregman proposes two tactics to break this negative momentum:

  1. Slow down.
  2. Start over.
In my next blog post: Where Do You Want to Go?

Choose Leadership (part 2)

How to Inspire Leadership

If you’re an employee, how do you step into a leadership role? If you’re a leader, how do you encourage staff to step up?

Here are some suggestions:

Trust. Leaders need to create it and employees need to, well, trust. If your words and actions are just lip service, employees will know and steer clear. Avoiding flavor-of-the-month buzz words can go a long way to proving you are genuine.

Understanding. Employee empowerment is not an event, it’s a philosophy with specific strategies that allow staff to make decisions that directly affect their job. Employers need to be in it for the long term and employees need to consider how their decisions may affect the company.

Clear boundaries. When the leader is away, what decisions can staff make? Remember, assigning responsibility without authority can be a leadership killer. Make sure everyone knows who is leading whom. If you’re an employee, make sure you get clear direction before assuming responsibility.

Encouragement. Second guessing the decisions of staff that have been given the authority to make those decisions undermines the entire process. Will mistakes be made? Of course. But shoot down an employee and see if anyone ever steps up with a critical idea or decision that takes the company’s success to the next level.

Empowering employees is a powerful way to motivate staff. It allows them to get passionate about challenges and inspires them to step up with new ideas. It’s a win-win situation. Left uninterrupted, this cycle repeats, encouraging passionate and skilled people to step up and make decisions about how to best serve customers or clients, which ultimately benefits the bottom line.

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

Choose Leadership (part 1)

Great leadership doesn’t require a diploma or a degree. It’s not reserved for some elite group of people.

Leadership can be something for everyone to embrace, from administrative assistant to janitor to manager to CEO. Sometimes all it requires is a shift in mindset: interpreting frustrations at work as opportunities instead of barriers.

Maybe it’s time for all of us to step up, to take action and become a leader and, with the support of other great leaders, help make the company (and yourself) succeed.

What Does Good Leadership Look Like?
Leadership is about so much more than strategy, operations and marketing. It’s about discovering and understanding each team member’s potential (as well as your own) and finding ways to tap into that resource, something many managers neglect to do.

From presidents to generals to sports coaches, the best leaders are often the ones who look outside their own field of endeavour to discover how true, universally successful leaders think. For example, take John Quincy Adams who said:

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.

Or Lao Tzu who suggested:

A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

Few employees would argue about the merits of such leadership styles—with the emphasis on encouraging and channelling subordinates’ intelligence and passion into the job. But for employers, those styles could also yield positive results. The 2007-2008 Towers-Perrin Global Workforce Study found that if managers recognized employees’ untapped energy and ambition and then channelled it, they would increase employee engagement, defined as an employee’s willingness to go the extra mile. And that engagement is golden. The study found that companies with the highest percentage of engaged workers also had the highest increased operating income and earnings per share. So by inspiring your staff, you’re potentially boosting the bottom line.

Author’s content used under license, © Claire Communications

Top 10 Things We Can Control and Be In Choice With (part 2)

While we cannot control the weather, death or another’s thoughts, much as we might like to, we would do well to pay attention to the areas in our life that we can actually do something about. (See Monday’s blog post for the first five)

6.   Our friends. Those we associate with say a lot about what we think about ourselves. We can choose to have friends who support us or who bring us down.


7.   Our input. We can select our sources of news, turn off televisions and/or ignore advertising.


8.   Our time. Though it sometimes feels like we have no choice, we do choose every day how we will use the 24 hours a day gives us.


9.   Our basic health. While we cannot control our genetic make-up, we can choose to exercise, sleep enough, eat healthy food, get routine check-ups, etc.


10. Our legacy. All that we choose while alive—our actions, words, etc.—will become the gift we leave when we die.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications

Top 10 Things We Can Control and Be In Choice With (part 1)

While we cannot control the weather, death or another’s thoughts, much as we might like to, we would do well to pay attention to the areas in our life that we can actually do something about.




1.   Our actions. We alone are responsible for what we do.


2.   Our words. Spoken or written, the words we choose impact our lives and the lives of others.


3.   Our beliefs. If we believe that others should take care of our needs, then we will be frustrated when they don’t. We can change our beliefs.


4.   Our values. What’s important to us is our call. No one else can tell us what to value.


5.   Our work. Although many of us complain of being stuck in a job or profession, we actually do get to choose what our work in the world is.

Author’s content used under license, © 2008 Claire Communications