Take the Fast Track!

Slide1Supercharge your success in 2015 with a new twist on an old tool.

By JoAnne Foist

Don’t you just love the New Year? It’s a fresh start with endless possibilities…the time of year when we set our expectations high for the coming year. Which is why so many people make New Year’s resolutions. You might be thinking, “Yeah… but only 8% of people are successful in achieving their New Year’s resolutions.”

Sadly, that’s true. Yet this year you can be in the top 8%! When you combine your resolutions with tried-and-true goal setting techniques you’ll be among the successful few who stay resolved and achieve their goals. It’s a fact that if you set goals and make deliberate resolutions, you are 10 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO ACHIEVE THE SUCCESS YOU DESIRE!!!

What’s the difference between goals and resolutions? A goal is a marker of success; a destination that you reach that indicates you have accomplished what you set out to do. A resolution is a commitment to behave in a certain way in order to achieve your goals. A popular goal after the holidays is, “To lose 20 lbs.” A popular resolution is, “To go to the gym 3-5 days a week…in order to lose the 20 lbs. As you can see they work well hand-in-hand, however many people (apparently 92 percent of them) forget that and they neglect to do one or the other.

Well conceived goals create your plan for success. They keep you focused on what’s important, help you prioritize, help you make better decisions, allow you to become more effective, and they motivate you.

Achieving your goals feels great! It’s a matter of writing them down and making a plan for success and there are proven tips for making sure they work! First, keep the number of goals to 5 or less so you can focus on what’s most important to you. You don’t want to get overwhelmed by tackling too many…achieving one meaningful goal is better than starting several and not accomplishing any of them.

The process is easier than you think when you follow the GOAL SETTING STEPS below:

  1. Your Vision – Think about what you want in life. What would your ideal life look like? Write it out so you can visualize this. This big picture view can be broad such as “I want to be healthy,” or “I want to be successful.”
  2. Make each goal statement in the present tense – This helps you mentally picture the achievement of your goal and reinforces it in your subconscious
  3. Break it Down – This is where you create your SMART goals to support your vision. “SMART” is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. SMART goals are your action plans for achievement.
    • Specific – Who, what, where, when, why of the goal.  This is key, because it sets up a plan.  For instance, instead of “I will exercise more,” write, “I will go to the gym on Mon, Wed and Fridays right after work.” Or, instead of “I will spend less time on social media,” write “I will limit my time on social media to 10 minutes a day and review it right before I go to lunch.”
    • Measurable – How will you track your goal?
    • Attainable – Stretch, but be realistic on what you can accomplish.
    • Relevant – Does this fit into your vision (the big picture)?
    • Time-Bound – Have a due date with intermediate progress dates.
  4. Create activities to support the goal – These are all the steps you need to take to achieve your goal.
  5. Track your progress – Track along the way to see how you’re doing. This could be daily, weekly or monthly depending on the goal. Daily is usually the best with weekly or monthly evaluations.   But do what works for you.
  6. Create a simple Resolution or Mantra that will keep your goals in focus throughout the year. Your resolution should be meaningful yet, easy to remember. Your mantra should encapsulate the essence of your personal vision and goals and excite you to put in the effort to achieve your goals for the year.

Goal Example: Relating to Health

  1. Vision – Optimal health
  2. Goal Statement – I train for and run 10k races.
  3. Goal Breakdown:
    • Specific – I will successfully complete my city’s 10k race on April 2015.
    • Measurable – Weekly mileage goals and ultimately finishing the 10k or not.
    • Attainable – Based on my current health and the length of time to build up to this, this is an attainable goal.
    • Relevant – This goal fits in my vision of being healthier and building my endurance. This goal is motivating to me. The reward of crossing the finishing line and getting my medal is motivating to me.
    • Time-Bound – I will have completed this goal on April 2015.
  4. Incremental activities to support the goal – Buy running shoes by x date, create a training plan by x date, signup for the race by x date, start training on x date and follow the training plan daily. I will make running a priority by getting up early and running before going to work.
  5. Track your progress – I will follow the plan daily and do weekly evaluations of my progress.
  6. Annual Resolution/Mantra – Healthy and strong!

Goal Example: Relating to Career

  1. Vision – A promotable leader
  2. Goal Statement – To be the next Director of Marketing.
  3. Goal Breakdown:
    • Specific:  I will be promoted this year to a Director of Marketing position.
    • Measurable:  Landing the position or not.
    • Attainable:  Based on my current position, my past accomplishments and the upcoming opening of this job I believe this is attainable.
    • Relevant:  This goal fits in my vision of being successful. This goal is motivating to me.
    • Time-Bound:  I will have completed this goal by the end of the year.
  4. Incremental activities to support the goal – I will take on high profile projects, such as xyz, I will get assessments from my colleagues regarding my strengths and opportunities by x date, I will take a professional development course to work on my communication skills by x date, I will write and submit my application and plan for the Director position by x date.
  5. Track your progress – I will follow the plan as set and review weekly to see how I am progressing. I will make adjustments based on feedback received.
  6. Annual Resolution/Mantra – Racing to the Top!

You get the idea? Then get started! You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish. Let 2015 be your best year yet. Need help? We have expert coaches who can help you achieve incredible breakthroughs. Contact us to learn more.

And, if one of your goals includes self-development, we invite you to attend Powerful Presence, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop.  Check it out…It’s really a life-changing event.

Here’s to your success in the New Year!

Feeling Frazzled? Ground Yourself with Gratitude

I-am-grateful-for3By JoAnne Foist

Since it’s the holidays, which brings both joy and stress in our lives, I thought it would be the prefect time to talk about that little “g-word” we hear so much about.  We seem to think of it on Thanksgiving, but then quickly change gears come “Black Friday.”  You might dismiss gratitude as being trite, or that you can’t even think about it for all that you’ve got on your plate. I get it. But, then you’ll be missing out on all the AMAZING benefits that being thankful brings.

What is gratitude?

Simply put, it’s the feeling of being “THANKFUL.”  That emotion you get when something great happens and you say to yourself, ”Yes!!!! Thank you!!!! It’s also that adrenaline-rushing feeling you get when you narrowly escaped something terrible such as a fall, an accident, getting hit by a car and/or finding out that a loved one is “ok.” All of a sudden you feel amazingly alive and incredibly grateful, and you immediately say to yourself “Oh, Thank God!” You feel it in your gut, your heart and your head all at the same time.  In that moment you’ve experienced gratitude in it’s deepest sense. All your other pressures are still there, but you’re now filled with gratitude. You’ve had a complete attitude shift.

 Now that you know what gratitude feels like, what does it do?

Gratitude can lead to greater success and contentment.   You might be thinking “really?” Yes, it’s true, research has shown that feeling thankful reduces stress, increases happiness, and helps to bring about positive changes.

It’s good for you and good for business.  Why? Because people want to work with people who appreciate them. Customers want to buy from businesses that appreciate them. Marriages are improved when appreciation is shown. You see the trend here? By being grateful for those around you, your personal and professional relationships will change. Performance, sales, satisfaction, etc. can all improve as you begin to show gratitude. Plus, you’ll feel better as you start focusing on all the good things in your life instead of dwelling on the bad. And based on the power of attraction, you’ll be drawing in even more positive things to be grateful for.

 Are you ready to start? 

There is always something to be grateful for. It’s just a matter at how you look at things. For instance, you can focus on Monday-morning traffic, or you can be grateful that you have a car to get around in.   It takes consistency and discipline to notice how “green the grass” is under your feet, but it’s a fun practice, so let’s get started….

10 Gratitude Exercises

  1. Keep a Gratitude Journal – Either at the beginning, or at the end of the day write-out what you are grateful for. I’ve recommended this before and I keep recommending because it works.   It focuses your mind on the positive.
  1. Be Grateful for the Little Things – Notice and appreciate all the little things. For me, I am thankful for electricity and running water, especially after my time spent in third-world countries. I am grateful when my car starts after being parked for weeks in an airport parking lot. Are you getting the idea here? Even before you get out of bed, instead of complaining about being tired, think of all the things that you’re grateful for. It’s a complete change in how you start your day. You can also mentally list out all the things your grateful for as you brush your teeth.
  1. Be Grateful before you Eat – Before eating, say thank you and feel appreciation. It’s a wonderful habit that brings you back to your center and, as an added benefit, you’ll pay more attention to your eating thus you’ll enjoy it more and feel satisfied sooner, which means you could eat less…goodbye stomach upset…hello weight loss.
  1. Meditate on Gratitude – Close your eyes, take deep long breaths and feel grateful. Let the feeling sink in as you imagine your whole body filled with a white light of gratitude.  With each inhale and exhale, mentally say “gratitude.”  This is a great practice to do anytime to ground yourself (just don’t do it while you’re driving).  If you can get out in nature and soak it in, even better.
  1. Be Grateful for your Surroundings – Stop reading and look around. Really take in everything around you and be grateful for what each thing provides.  Your computer, the desk, the chair that supports you.  You’ll feel more connected.
  1. Keep Gratitude Reminders – Put gratitude prompting notes around where you’ll see them (bathroom mirror, refrigerator, etc.).  To do this, write on sticky notes, “I am thankful for…” and when you see them, fill-in the blank on what comes to mind.
  1. Show Gratitude to Strangers – Say, “thank you” and show your appreciate to others. When you’re interacting in the world (buying your morning coffee, getting your groceries, etc.), make eye contact and say “thank you.” Start connecting with people and don’t be afraid to give out sincere complements to strangers either. You just might make someone’s day.
  1. Show Gratitude to Those in Your Life – Let the people in your life know how much you appreciate them. Be sincere and specific with complements. I love giving sincere complements; it makes me and the other person feel great. Of course, I enjoy receiving them as well.   And, since it’s the gift-giving time a year, appreciation is a wonderful gift to give. A simple note listing the things that you appreciate and admire about someone can mean a lot. I received a very sweet email from a classmate and it completely lifted my spirits.
  1. Be Grateful for Others – When those around you experience success, share their joy and be grateful of their happiness. Feel like it’s your success.
  1. Share Gratitude – Tell others what you’re grateful for. Attitudes are contagious and you’ll be spreading joy. Think about it, it’s more fun to be with others who show appreciation….It’s elevating.

Did you notice anything while you were reading these exercises? They make you stop to be in the moment and appreciate life. That’s right, gratitude is a way of connecting to the world and to yourself.  Gratitude just might be your key to inner happiness.

Thinking about your 2015 New Year resolutions?  Any of the above practices could change your year.  Just imagine how wonderful a year of gratitude would be.  And, if you’re looking to really set yourself up for a transformative year?  Signup for our next workshop.

Have You Ever Felt Like You’re Not Good Enough?

iStock_000020224921_ExtraSmallBy JoAnne Foist

I’ve heard the same story time and time again, “If they really knew me….they would not hire me, fire me, not trust me for this project/promotion, not put me in charge, and on and on the list goes.”  I’ve been there myself, it’s the feeling of not being good enough with the worry of being found a fraud.

This feeling is so pervasive that there’s a term for it, it’s called Impostor Syndrome.  Wikipedia defines impostor syndrome as “a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”  

 Wow!!!  Did you relate to any of those descriptions?  If you did, you’re in good company.  Many famous actors, leaders, executives, writers, musicians, etc. have admitted to having feelings of “not being good enough,” or being “found out.”  It’s the behavioral response of many over-achievers and research has indicated that 70% of people have suffered from this.

So why change when you’re in such good company?  Because impostor syndrome is destructive – it lowers self-confidence, increases depression, creates stress, limits and/or ruins relationships, is self-limiting and can completely derail your success.  It can stop you from enjoying your accomplishments, having thriving relationships and from progressing in your career and in your life.

Forget humility, you’ve got to learn to stop feeling like an impostor and own your success.  

I speak from experience.  Early in my career I suffered from impostor syndrome and it drove me to work exorbitant hours; created undo stress, limited my confidence regarding taking promotions and kept me from taking risks.  I actually had to be convinced by bosses and/or colleagues to accept promotions.  In fact, in my 20’s, I had been managing trade shows and events under the direction of very experienced manager.  When she had to leave the company unexpectedly, it seemed only natural to everyone that I would replace her…. Natural to everyone but me that is.  Even though I had developed a thorough understanding of the company’s shows and events and was running many of them myself, I compared my experience to hers and thus believed we should hire someone more “qualified for the job.”  Luckily, my VP didn’t give me a choice and I was promoted in spite of myself.  The funny thing was that my responsibilities really didn’t change;  I was already doing the job but I hadn’t given myself the credit for all the work I had been doing.  If I had a different VP, my career would have stalled due to my own insecurities.  I’d still be doing the work but without the higher pay or title.  Even after this, when an opportunity presented itself; I was still too humble to throw my hat in the ring.  A few years later, I was offered a VP of Marketing position for a new division of the company.  I declined due to what I thought was needed in the position.  The person who took the position had less industry experience than I did, but more confidence.  This was a huge lesson for me and it helped me realize that I was the one limiting my success.  Other’s took risks and believed in themselves, so why couldn’t I?  After this “wake-up” call, I started asserting myself more and went after and accepted a high-level position heading up the marketing for another new division of the company.  It was a leap of faith because the industry and project work were new to me, but I took the risk and succeeded.  I’ve found that the more times I try something new and get out of my comfort-zone, the more comfortable I get with it.  Breaking free of the imposture syndrome has made my life and work have more exciting and rewarding.

What opportunities have you passed up due to feelings that you weren’t good enough or needed more experience?

Impostor Syndrome is a thought process and thoughts can be changed… Transformation is just a few steps away…10 steps actually.

Below are 10 easy activities that you can start doing immediately to increase your overall sense of happiness and well-being.  Plus, don’t be surprised if your life, like mine, starts changing in new and positive ways.

  1. Positive Self-talk – Your subconscious takes in everything you think and starts believing it. So be nice to yourself and constantly repeat positive mantras such as “I am powerful.” It may feel funny, but it will change your complete outlook. Create a positive mantra list and keep it handy when you need encouragement.
  1. Catch Yourself – When you start thinking/saying negative things to yourself, stop it immediately. Replace the thought by telling yourself that you’re successful, capable, and the perfect person for the task. Get in the habit of stopping the negative self-talk and replacing it with positive self-talk (Use your positive mantra list).
  1. Accept Yourself – You don’t have to be perfect. Accept who you are and all that you’ve accomplished. Focus on your strengths and positive attributes.   Still set goals, but accept yourself as you go through the process and give yourself credit each time you accomplish something.
  1. Don’t Compare – You have no idea what goes on behind the scenes in others’ lives. Don’t limit your self-worth by comparing to others. Focus on what you’re doing. You can have mentors and those you look up to, but don’t compare in such a way that you feel less competent.
  1. Own Your Success – Take responsibility for your success. Yes, we’ve all had help along the way, but recognize that you made it happen and be proud.
  1. Success List – Write a success list that includes your successes, the things you’re proud of, the things you’ve gotten recognition for, the goals that you set and accomplished, and the risks you’ve taken. This will remind you of how much you’ve achieved, that you’re capable of taking risks and that you’ve earned your success.
  1. Success File – Keep a file, scrap book, and/or folder with positive letters, recommendations, awards, emails, thank you cards, etc. that you can review to remind yourself of your successes.
  1. Gratitude – Write out 3 to 5 things (just short sentences) that you’re grateful for everyday. This will change your perspective and help you realize how many wonderful things happen everyday in your life. Research has shown that keeping a gratitude journal increases happiness and improves sleep. So the next time you’re mulling over the days “should-haves” write out all the things that you’re grateful for.
  1. Take Risks – “Go out on a limb, that’s where all the fruit is” is the perfect quote by Mark Twain relating to this topic. Rewards come with risks. So stop worrying about not being good enough and get out there and try things. The more you get out of your comfort-zone, the bigger your comfort-zone. Plus, you’ll strengthen your courage and self-esteem.
  1. Trust Yourself – Trust that you know what you’re doing, that you’re supported and if something happens, you’re capable of handling it. The only way to get new experiences is to try new things.

So make the change!  Living with imposter syndrome is dangerous – it leads to stress and career derailment or worse, to disease and depression. We have masterful coaches who can help you face the real imposter and overcome self-doubt so you can achieve incredible breakthroughs in productivity, visibility and success.

Contact us to learn more. And, we invite you to attend our Powerful Presence, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop.  You’ll learn how to act with confidence and how to leverage your talents to create an amazing and Powerful Presence.  It’s a life-changing event.

It’s True – Actions Speak Louder Than Words!

bigstockphoto_Businessteam_At_A_Meeting_878809How your body tells the world what you’re really thinking.

When I was starting out in my career, I used to rush through the halls with my head down and stayed completely focused on my tasks.  When someone would stop at my office door, I would respond with a quick glance over my shoulder, or without moving my eyes from my computer.  I thought I was being efficient; I thought I was demonstrating that I was a focused hard worker…I was wrong on both accounts.

Much to my surprise, my colleagues provided feedback that I was unapproachable and standoffish.  I was shocked!  I thought I was just staying focused and providing a positive example.  Those close to me knew I was nice and a team player.  But my non-verbal communications were telling most of my peers that they were unimportant, which was the last thing I wanted to communicate.  Since then, I’ve changed my body language to be more open and inviting.  And you know what? I am much more productive.

After I made some changes, my office relationships got much stronger, I felt closer to the team and I received several promotions.  What I’ve learned is that over 80% of what we communicate is done through our body language.  So when our verbal and non-verbal messages are in conflict, it throws our audience off and they will always believe our body language over our words.

What does this mean for you?  It means you could be self-sabotaging yourself without even knowing it, just as I was.  Not to worry, it’s happened to the best of us.  All it takes is a little body-awareness to get your body language in-sync with your verbal communications.  Here are some illustrations to show the difference between good and bad non-verbal communications.

Which person would you want to work with?

iStock.woman virtual.small Stressed man

I hope you said the smiling lady. The man’s body language is communicating that he’s stressed out and unapproachable, whereas the woman is smiling and approachable.  When we’re at our desks, it’s import to keep good posture, relax our jaw and smile.  Smiling relieves stress and helps you think more clearly.  This will make you feel better and you’ll be more inviting to co-workers and leadership.

Who would you rather talk with?

Boring Phone Conversation iStock_000007701331XSmall

The man who is smiling on the phone appears to be more open and easier to work with.  Believe it or not, people can feel your body language over the phone.

Now that you’ve got the swing of this, here are some tried and true tips for showing good body language.

  1. Smile – Smiling is contagious.  When you smile, it makes others feel at ease and you’ll seem much more approachable.  Plus, it makes others smile back and creates better rapport.
  2. Make Eye Contact/Keep Your Eyes Level – Looking up or down communicates that you don’t want to talk with others.  It makes you appear standoffish.  Making eye contact communicates that you’re open and inviting.
  3. Stand Straight – When you stand up strait with your shoulders back and your head held high, you are telling the world that you are a confident individual – and this is one of the main components of executive presence.  Slouching communicates insecurity and a host of other messages that you DON’T want to be sending.

Great body language and facial expressions is the key ingredient to having Executive Presence and may be the difference between getting the job, winning a client or securing a high-level promotion.

To get more tips for using your body to effectively communicate, download our “10 Essential Body Language Tips” – following these guidelines will help you communicate that you’re poised and confident. Click here for a free download.

If you are serious about wanting to up your game and communicate more powerfully, we invite you to attend Powerful Presence, our 3-Day Intensive Workshop where you will join other high-level executives, business owners and professionals to learn how to leverage your personal talents in order to create an amazing and Powerful Executive Presence.