Monday, December 28, 2015

Announce Your Goals

Are your goals a secret?

Whenever I keep a goal a secret, it gives me instant anonymous forgiveness to not achieve it. Who knows? Who cares?

Whenever I TELL someone about a goal I am far more likely to achieve it. I don't ever want to explain why I didn't achieve a goal. The accountability factor multiples my efforts and increases my chance of success.

Secret goals are seldom useful.

Secret goals don't engage others, mobilize commitment, or bring about change with the energy of collaboration.

Announce your goals. Tell people about them. Increase your chances for success.

What's your goal for today?

-- Doug Smith


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Get Creatively Busy

How many goals are you working on?

I'm not saying that you should have too many goals. A hundred should be plenty. (OK, you can pick yourself back up now, I don't actually expect anyone to list a hundred goals.)

Creativity likes to be busy. Creativity likes idle time, too and if we're idle long enough the creative mind gets busy.

Your goals stand a better chance of achievement when your creativity is cranked way up. So keep your creative mind busy and your creative impulses, ideas, notions, and results will multiply.

The creative mind is always busy.

We just need to pay attention.

What is the creative side of your mind telling you right now?

-- Doug Smith


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Garden or Laboratory?

Where do you test your best creative ideas?

Not all creative ideas are the same. Some require a sort of close inspection with careful boundaries and controlled conditions, otherwise they will become impossible to work with or change into something we hadn't counted on.

But not all creative ideas are like that.

Some creative ideas benefit from a quick planting and careful observance to see how they're doing but are left to grow on their own. We tend to them, we remove obstacles and aberrations, but we let them grow naturally.

Some creative ideas need a garden and some need a laboratory.

If no one can get hurt, if you you've got lots of time, and if you want the unexpected to be welcome, plant your creative ideas in a garden like atmosphere of freedom and spontaneity.

If the risks are high, the conditions are dangerous, and the talent is exposed to sudden change keep a laboratory-like grip on your creative conditions. Focus your attention on them but don't let them explode in your face.

What kind of environment do you tend to set up for your creative ideas?

-- Doug Smith

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Values Should Help, Not Hinder Collaboration

Have you ever had to work with someone who does not share your values?

In all honesty, I think we all do that all the time. Our values are important, and we strive to live by them every day, but not everyone shares those values and yet we do need the help of people who have different values.

It IS so much easier to work with people who share our values. Shared values build trust. Shared values build understanding. Shared values build collaboration.

But sometimes we have to be a role model for those values and hope that our demonstration of our values in action will show their merit. By being a positive example of our values in action, we might just encourage other people to embrace those values.

And by showing our willingness to work with people we disagree with we can show how we facilitate, rather than force, our way of living.

It's harder to collaborate with people who don't share our values -- but not impossible.

Who have you been avoiding because of their values? What if you could find a way to demonstrate the benefits of living your values by working with them?

Action Steps

- The next time you find yourself working with someone with differing values, talk about it. Talk about how you will approach your work. Talk about how you will cooperate as much as possible AND where your boundaries are.

- The next time you bump against a value that seems to conflict with your values, talk about it. Find out if the conflict is intentional, accidental, or incidental. Communicating for results talks bold and honest talk. Are you ready for that?

-- Doug Smith

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Keep Moving

When it gets tough, I'm sometimes tempted to stop. Forget about it. Quit. Move on to something that's not as hard. Do you ever feel that way?

Sometimes it seems like the goal is too big. The resources are too small. The time is too short. But what good does it do to stop?

I won't know how far I can get if I stop moving.

Do you know what the biggest wall in front of me is? Me.

How about you? What's your biggest wall? Who's putting the brakes on your biggest goal?

If it's you, let's both agree to cut that out. Let's keep moving.

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Do You Have Enough Goals?

Well, do you? Many people are overwhelmed with too many goals. It keeps them from achieving anything important because they're always doing small things.

But for some people there are too few goals. Too few goals that motivate them. Too few goals that energize them. Too few goals that promise to make a real and significant difference in the world.

It's possible to have too many goals but most people have too few.

Do you have goals that move your forward, that drive you, that spur you on, that help you grow?

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, October 31, 2015

Make The Effort

Are you working on any goals that just seem too hard to achieve?

That's probably a good sign. You're stretching your skills. You're growing. Maybe you don't know how you will achieve that goal but with by acting relentlessly on your carefully drawn action plan you will get there.

You might need to change the deadline. You might need to ask for help. You might need to get more training. But, with the right focus and action you will get there.

The most important goals usually take the most effort.

So make that effort. Achieve that goal.

-- Doug Smith


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Rethink Goals That Don't Serve Your Mission

Do you check each goal that you take on to make sure it serves your mission?

It's a practice that I'm working on, because I've discovered that any goal that does not serve my mission probably detracts from it. Maybe it's not a direct conflict, but any goal that consumes time is using time that could be used on work that is aligned with the mission.

How else can we achieve our mission? If it's ambitious, challenging, and important that mission will take considerable effort, growth, and learning. It will take the relentless application of our action plans to achieve those goals that focus on the mission.

It's worth rethinking any goal that doesn't serve your mission.

Maybe it fits. Maybe it doesn't. What about all those goals that DO focus on your mission? When will you work on those?

-- Doug Smith


Monday, October 26, 2015

Increase The Odds

What are your odds on success?

If it were a matter of truly gambling, we'd need some expert help on setting the odds. But, what good would that do you?

Fortunately, it's not a matter of gambling. I control what I do. You control what you do. When we work on carefully established goals with an assertive and relentless action plan our chances of success raise considerably. It's how to succeed.

Success is only improbable if you don't work on your goals.

Who would ever want to take that approach?

I'll be working on my goals today. How about you?

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, October 24, 2015

Goals Change Us

Do your goals change you?

I think that the big ones do, and sometimes the little ones as well. When we set noble and ambitious goals, with enough stretch in them to cause us to grow, our goals change us. When we pick the right goals, that change is positive and contributes to future success. The best goals keep us growing.

A goal doesn't need to change the world to change you.

Not every goal is massive. Sometimes goals that matter the most to us matter very little to anyone else. But because they do matter to us, they can change us.

I'm working on some goals right now that will definitely change me once I have achieved them. Some of them aren't even business goals, but they are just as important and the change will be just as profound.

Are you working on goals that will change you?

-- Doug Smith


Friday, October 23, 2015

Helping Others Helps Us

How much time do you spend helping others to achieve their goals?

If you work for an employer, that is likely a lot. Much of our day is spent in helping our team members, in doing assignments for our bosses, in meeting the needs of customers, and all kinds of things that have little to do with our own goals. But all that IS directly related to our own goals.

We build relationships. We improve our skills. We gain experience.

The more we help others achieve their goals the more we are able to achieve our own goals.

So don't resent the time you spend helping others with their goals. It's all an investment in your own success as well

-- Doug Smith


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Forgive and Keep Your Focus

Do you ever have someone stand between you and your goal? Does it ever sometimes seem that the actions of someone were an intention attempt to thwart your progress?

Maybe, like me, you were over thinking the whole thing. People do things that we would not choose or pay for. People surprise us. Our job, as centered high performance leaders is to keep our focus anyway.

Centered leaders forgive without giving up the goal.

There's no success in revenge or in keeping resentment. Success is in remembering your mission and acting relentlessly on your goals.

With that kind of focus, with that kind of passion, even people who at first seemed opposed to your efforts may find themselves eventually strongly attracted to them.

And if not, why not forgive them until they do?

-- Doug Smith

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Bring Success to Others

What is your primary goal as a leader?

I consider my primary goal to be "helping people to achieve their goals." The most challenging thing to that is that I don't succeed unless others do.

The longer I work, the more I am convinced that is true no matter what your primary goal is. To the extent that we help others, enrich others, empower others -- that's the degree of success we achieve.

What if your success depends on your ability to bring success to others?

Will it change the way you do business? Will it change the way you look at others? Will it recalibrate success?

Sure. We have goals for ourselves. What I'm wondering, though, is how much more do we get when others do well as well?

I'm thinking that the answer is: a bunch more.

What do you think?

-- Doug Smith

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Maybe Try Another Solution

What happens when we use the same solution over and over even when the problems change?

We don't really solve new problems that way do we? And yet so often we pull the same old tools out of our tool box and try the same old solutions.

New problems require new thinking. New problems require new solutions.

It's funny how we sometimes keep trying to same solution on totally new problems.

Funny, but not effective.

Let's do better than that. Let's be more creative. Let's develop new ideas.

How do we do that? Here are a few ways:

  • turn your idea upside down - how would it work reversed?
  • ask other experts what they think
  • ask people who are NOT experts what they think
  • look at the problem as if you were ten years old again. What would you do?
  • reframe your problem as a goal. How could you achieve that goal.
  • rethink your problem as a benefit. What would you do to get more of that problem? Now, how would you reverse that?
  • is the root cause what you think it is? what if it were something different? how do you know?
There are many more ways to stay creative.  Go for a walk, look at some art, attend a play (yes, do it!) go to a movie, play an active game -- get things moving within your self and you will likely get things moving within your ideas.

And the ideas are endless. Why settle for less?

-- Doug Smith




Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Train Your People

Are your people getting the training that they need?

Full disclosure - I provide training for a living, so of course I believe that people should constantly train and keep their people in training.

But aside from that, I've seen so many dysfunctional teams fall to pieces and clash with each other simply because they haven't developed the skills that they need to effectively do the job.

Communication skills. Leadership skills. Problem solving skills. Goal attainment skills.

People need training.

Training is more a sleep-inducing e-course. Training is more than orientation. Training involves exploring, practicing, discovering, and performing the skills needed to prosper and achieve your goals.

Are you people getting enough training?

It's probably impossible to over train your people.

What do they need to learn next? What will do to support their learning?

-- Doug Smith

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Be A Durable Problem Solver

Do your problems threaten to wear you down? Are they pulling the energy out of you?

Sometimes problems do that to me. It's almost as if they're looking for me to surrender. I won't surrender.

A problem might wear me down but it won't wear me out.

How about you?

Will you endure? Will you persist? Will you be a durable problem solver?

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Remember Your Goals

Have you ever forgotten a goal?

What causes that?

Some people will say that we can forget a goal if we're too busy. Or, maybe we have too many goals. Or maybe, just maybe, we forget the goal because it just isn't that important to us.

Any goal that I forget is not really a goal, is it?

If that goal is worthwhile, work on it. If it isn't - make room for something that is!

-- Doug Smith


Monday, October 5, 2015

Define Your Future

How do you define your future?

We create visions, we create dreams, we create plans. And most of all, when we create goals we define our future.

Our goals can steer our actions. When we set ambitious plans and follow those plans assertively there is so much that we can accomplish. Our goals provide fuel for our better selves, our better teams, and our better organizations.

Our goals can define our future.

So form your goals carefully. What future do you want to create?

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Work On Your Favorite Goal

What's your favorite goal?

You know what I mean - the one goal you dream about. The one goal that is always on your mind. The one goal that means the most to you.

What goal do you most like to talk about? Work on that goal. Today. Right now if possible.

You've already got what you need to get it going.

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, October 3, 2015

Declare Your Priorities

Do the people you work with know and understand your priorities?

It's easy to take for granted that our priorities are clear, but most of the time they are not. We need to let people know. We need to act according to our priorities.

As important as our goals are, other people have goals of their own and sometimes they can hijack our efforts in service to theirs.

People will shift your priorities unless you constantly remind them what they are.

Talk about it. Tell people your priorities. What's your number one goal? Where do you expect your team to be a year from now? To achieve your goals, be sure to act relentlessly on your plan, no matter how many attempts to shuffle your priorities emerge.

Day to day living is nice, but it's in communicating our priorities that we achieve them.

-- Doug Smith


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fuel Up

What keeps you going?

Is it a great conversation? Maybe a note from a trusted friend? Or could it be that long phone call with someone you haven't talked with for a long time?

I find all of that energizing. Also, reading great books, taking long walks, and yes of course - achieving goals along the way.

Every goal achieved is fuel for even greater success.

So as I work on my smaller goals, I know that they are leading to bigger goals. As I achieve my big goals, I know that I'm ready for even more.

How about you?

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Add Up Your Goals

What do you goals add up to?

Do they add up to major changes? Do they show the progress in your career? Do they provide motion for your growth and change?

I realize that many people wander thru life with no true goals. They clock in and out. They go thru the motions. They walk beside their shoes. We are meant for more than that. We are meant for great things. We are meant to leave footprints that help others to walk - not cause them to trip.

Our goals add up to a different life.

A different life than the one we started out with. A different life than the one we are living. A better, more purposeful, more directed, more powerful life. A life of growth, change, and helpfulness.

I'm going to start paying more attention to what my goals add up to. How about you/

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Relaxing My Temptation to Judge

How often do you judge people?

In my most judgmental of times I can judge everything about a person and find them constantly wanting. But what good does that do? How do I feel about being judged myself? Where does it all lead?

We are all deeply flawed humans. We make bad choices. We break things. We hurt people's feelings. That's all true (and more) about me and yet what makes me feel entitled to judge others?

It's another mistake.

The right balance, the right combination, the right focus, the centered degree of compassion, courage, clarity, and creativity makes much less room for judging others and much more room for working to understand.

I need to better understand other people, especially when they aren't sure that they understand themselves. I need help in being understood especially when I'm not operating with the best of clarity myself. It's a dance, but a dance of cooperation, not comparison. It doesn't matter if someone achieves more, gains more, builds more, or seems better than me. Comparing myself to them only makes me feel bad and does nothing to build any relationships.

Judging people will not make them more effective or better people.

Judging people just makes us sour.

That's not what I want. That's not what I strive for. So for today, I'm going to judge a little less. And maybe tomorrow, I can judge a lot less.

How about you?

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Create Better Goals

How do you get better results?

Create better goals.

It's not all that you need but it's a great place to start. Whenever I create a goal that I find to be energizing that translates into more attention and action. Whenever I create a goal that has a noble outcome, I feel better about devoting resources to achieving it.

Great goals are exciting. Great goals contain opportunity for growth. Great goals get you going.

Here are what I believe to be the three key ingredients for great goals:

ACTION WORD:
The action word explains exactly what you will do. Create, make, deliver, teach, propel, design, change, sell, fabricate, transplant, modify, steer, obtain, tell, paint, draw, write...words like that.

RESULT:
The result is what you plan to achieve, usually expressed with some unit of measure. For example - a 200 word novel, 150 pounds, a graduate degree in chemistry, fifty new prospects, a year without crime, three healthy meals a day...whatever it is that you want to achieve.

TIME:
This is the easiest one - your deadline. When will you complete your goal by? While it is the easiest to write, you do want to be careful about setting a time that is both reasonable and reasonably ambitious. It shouldn't be too easy but it is worthless if it's impossible.

Those three key components are easy to remember, easy to write, and propel people into action. I've taught SMART goals many times and they certainly have merit. They just aren't that fun to write or that easy to remember. The next time you need to set a goal, make it an ART goal. Action word + Result + Time.

Better goals create better results. 


And, isn't that what you want?


-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?




Thursday, September 24, 2015

Stay Encouraged

Do you ever get discouraged?

It's not a weakness, but it is a roadblock. Even when we don't choose to get discouraged, once that feeling is there it can stand in our way.

We missed. We made a mistake. We failed. Crap happens. What I've learned (and keep relearning) is to dust myself up, jump back up and find something compelling to get encouraged about.

Sometimes picking the positive path really is empowering.

Getting discouraged isn't going to get you what you want. 

Remaining unhappy won't achieve your goals.

Let's move forward.

I've had some really big disappointment in my personal life this year and yet as I see sparks of sunlight at the end of a rather dark tunnel I know that I've kept moving through the encouragement of friends. When I am not able to encourage myself, I am not without help - friends will encourage me.

Do you have friends who encourage you? Are you encouraging your friends? We're all in this together, my friends. Let's stay encouraged!

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

What have you learned today?


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Don't Wait

Have you ever set a goal and then later realized that for some crazy reason you were waiting for it to achieve itself?

Or been assigned a task, knew it was yours, and somehow found yourself waiting for someone else to get it done?

Not too often, I hope, but possibly sometimes?

I have. It's alarming when the wake-up call hits but the wake-up is needed. It's up to us to achieve our goals. It's up to us to act relentlessly on our plan.

There's not much point in waiting for someone else to achieve our goals. It's up to us.

What are you waiting for?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

What have you learned today?


Monday, September 21, 2015

Prioritize Your Goals

What is your number one goal?

Which goal, if given the opportunity, you'd want the most people to know about?

We've all got tons of goals. Sometimes we have too many goals to keep track of them all. When I find myself getting lost in the details and spinning my creative wheels it's likely due to having too many goals.

It's good to have lots of goals, but we still need to prioritize. We need to have a number one goal. As one of my great mentors Anne Delaney once said to me, "You have one number one goal. When you achieve that number two gets a promotion."

That has always stayed with me.

How to prioritize your goals - which one would you most like to talk about on The Tonight Show? That's your number one goal.

What's your number one goal? What are you doing to achieve it right now?

-- Doug Smith


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Let Your Goals Win

Are you busy?

Those are words that many of us dread because we ARE so busy. When someone asks "are you busy" it is likely that they are about to ask us to do something else. Can't they see that we ARE busy? Can't they see that we're working on something important?

I've learned that it is OK to say "yes, I am busy. I'm working on an important goal. Can we chat another time?"

People live thru that. They don't die. They don't run off into the street screaming. They adjust. Because - you ARE busy.

When you're busy working on your goals, stay with it. Focus. Distractions will come looking for you so you'll need to develop the discipline to stay on task, stay on goal, and achieve what you came here for.

With so many things battling for your time, shouldn't you let your goals win?

I'm going to practice letting my goals win today. How about you?

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, September 19, 2015

One Goal At A Time

How are your goals?

Where are they leading you?

How excited are you about them?

More exciting careers - and lives - are built one goal after another.

What's your next exciting goal?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training


Friday, September 18, 2015

Goals Need Action

How much is an excuse worth?

Don't think too hard on that one. I think you know. Excuses are worthless. Especially when it comes to goals. What we need to achieve our goals is action. Putting things in motion. Working relentlessly on our plan.

Goals need action, not excuses.

So the next time you are tempted to bring up an excuse - or the next time you hear an excuse, let that go. Take some action instead. See how powerful that is.

-- Doug Smith


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Problem Solving Requires Better Communication

When you work to solve a problem, what work do you put into improving communication? How much of your problem solving action plan is focused on communication?

Communication matters. Few problems can be truly permanently solved unless there is a change in how people communicate. What's your plan?

You may not have solved the problem unless you've also improved or enhanced communication.

What does enhanced communication look like? Better, deeper conversations. More trusting relationships. More powerful presentations. More productive meetings.

When project managers do an outstanding job of delivering on their project and solving a problem, they improve communication along the way.

What are you doing to improve your communication today?


-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training




What have you learned today?


Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Magic Unquestion

When I was growing up there was a TV commercial for 7Up that branded the soft drink as the "uncola". It was defined by what it was not.

It was an interesting experiment directed at getting people to change a habit to a new solution based on their old solution. Instead of drinking Coke, drink 7Up.

I never became a 7Up drinker (Mountain Dew was more my style) but I have borrowed the phrase slightly in something that I call the magic unquestion. It's an unquestion because it's not really a question, although it acts like one. And you can substitute it in situations where you might be looking for another question but can't think of one. Here is the magic unquestion:

Tell me more about that.

It's not a question, but it keeps the other person talking. It uncovers more information. It stays nonjudgmental and does the work of a question. It changes my habit from closing the inquiry to keeping it open. Tell me more about that.

When you need to talk about it, listening is a great way to keep the conversation going. When people seem to be at a stop point, there's usually much, much more under the surface. Saying "Tell me more about that" is a useful way to keep the talking alive.

It's magic because it works. It's magic because it's easy. Try it. I think you'll like it, no matter what beverage you prefer.

Tell me more about that.


-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training




What have you learned today?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Talk About Possibilities

Do you focus mainly on possibilities or on limitations?

We need people who focus on limitations so that we can determine how to overcome them or avoid frustrating our efforts.

We need people who focus on possibilities because the answers are out there, we just need to find them. There are always better ways to communicate. There are always better solutions. There are always new ways to bring joy and to reduce suffering. These are all in the possibilities that we develop.

I'd much rather talk about possibilities than limitations.

Often, by expanding possibilities we overcome what we had perceived to be as limitations.

We can get creative. We can patiently pursue perfection without judging our imperfections.

Possibilities are our future.

Without thinking critically of those who think critically, I like the expanded (and expanding) view.

What's your view?

-- Doug Smith

Thursday, September 3, 2015

What Does A Promise Mean?

How do you feel about broken promises?

I hate them. They break my heart. They tear me up. And yet, I've broken lots of promises of my own.

It feels different when someone else breaks a promise. They've made a terrible mistake. And yet when it's me who has broken the promise I can easily find a rationalization or a reason or even put blinders on so that I don't see the broken promise.

Some days we all have blinders on. Some things we can't see because they're too close.

Then, what does a promise mean?

Is it really so transitory? Is it really just the hope of a promise and not really a promise? When we make a promise, how long are we obligated to keep it?

A promise is a promise. To break it requires a new agreement. If both people do not reach that new agreement, a broken promise is an infraction, a harm.

I'm learning oh so well to be very careful about promises. Careful about what I promise, and careful about what I accept from others as a promise. Maybe they mean it, and maybe they don't. From now on, I expect the truth about promises.

I'm not sure about your promise until I understand its premise.

What does it mean to you? When is it breakable? How enduring is it? Not from intentions, but from practice.

It will take practice - working to keep communication channels so clear that there is no doubt as to what we mean when we make a promise, but I am finding it absolutely necessary. I'm one broken promise away from believing there's no such thing as a promise.

And that would be a terrible belief to adapt.

Fortunately, there is something stronger than a promise - broken or otherwise. Luckily, there is something so strong that no one can ever take it away from you. Happily, we can navigate a landscape of shattered promises with that one stronger thing: forgiveness.

Letting go. Letting be. Forgiving.

Once the promise is gone, we can push ourselves down chasing its ghost, or we can forgive.

But that next promise...I'm going to make sure I know what it means.

How about you?

-- Doug Smith

Monday, August 31, 2015

It's More Than the Motions

Have you ever caught someone simply "going through the motions" in communicating with you?

They say the right words, their motions seems fine, they just aren't fully engaged in what's going on. They appear to listen, but it feels like their mind is somewhere else.

So many of us go through the motions. We read our mobile phones when we're with loved ones we seldom see. We keep an eye on the television while our significant others tells us something important (hint - when it comes from your significant other it's all important), we phone it in.

It's one of my biggest faults and it has recently come back to haunt me as I experienced that level of inattentive attention returned. It doesn't look mean, it doesn't look premeditated, and yet it hurts at a level that sinks gradually deeper until it can't be excised.

The other day I was riding my bike and I came upon a man playing with his dog. At first it looked really charming. The dog was very earnest in the pursuit of the ball that the man threw (using some contraption on a stick that kept him from having to bend over too far).

But then I noticed what the dog struggled with. The man was really paying no attention to the dog at all. He was occupied in a conversation on his mobile phone. He went through the motions, and kept the dog busy, but never gave the dog what it was really looking for: companionship, praise, feedback, interaction. They were just going through the motions.

It was profoundly sad in a way (granted, I'm going through some sadness right now that filters what I see, but still) because the dog wasn't really getting what the dog wanted out of the interaction and the man was simply fooling himself into thinking that he was keeping the dog happy. He wasn't. The dog was keeping itself happy, but missing what it cared about the most.

The following I write more for me than anyone else, and I hope others will also benefit:

Don't miss what you care about the most.

When someone is talking with you, give them your full attention.

When you have the opportunity to share your presence with loved ones: show up. Be there. Interact. Listen with curiosity. Enjoy the space between you.

When you catch someone "going through the motions" with you, call them out. Ask the what they really want in that moment. Maybe it's not the right time. Maybe they are avoiding the conversation you both really need to have. But whatever you do, where ever you are, do not ever settle for going through the motions again

Life is too short for that nonsense.

-- Doug Smith



Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Work Through The Fear

Are there conversations that scare you?

It's easy to quote Eleanor Roosevelt and say "face into your fears" but the reality is that there are some conversations that freeze us. Some discussions that put us off, so we put them off. I know that I have missed some vital conversational opportunities. I expect that to change. If we want better conversations, we need to initiate them when the opportunity emerges (not when we feel like it, right then and there).

Let's keep the conversation going. Let's talk when we need to talk. Let's build our relationships, our teams, and our organizations using much more effective communication. It takes hard work, it takes courage, but as I have recently discovered in many startling ways, how you communicate is who you are. Who you are to yourself, who you are to other people, the who of you that you create. It's big. It's scary. It's critically important.

I'm willing to work through the fear of a tough conversation. How about you?

-- doug smith


Friday, August 21, 2015

Practice Radical Transparency

Do you have regrets?

I have some interpersonal regrets that are so raw, so fresh, and so painful that they can immobilize me. I know that things will improve, that I will get beyond these changes, but they beg for examination and learning.

Even when we know what we're doing, there's no guarantee that we will do what we know is best.

The clearest example is in our conversations. So much is left unsaid. So much is caged and framed in quasi-positive screens in hopes of avoiding confrontation or discomfort. But we need that confrontation. We need to work through that discomfort. Whenever I have, my life has dramatically improved. When ever I have failed to speak both my heart and my mind, my truth at that moment, the result has lingered, faltered, and hurt.

As Susan Scott might say, "We're bigger than that."

I learned much from reading Susan Scott's books, especially Fierce Conversations, and from seeing her speak. I was even lucky enough to meet her briefly after one of her talks. When I applied what I learned from her, my business results improved and my relationships grew deeper and more meaningful. Not universally, but substantially.

When I got sloppy, when I forgot to continue to engage in achieving success one conversation at a time, things began to unravel. I held back what needed to be said. I filtered my intension with confusion and misdirection. It fooled none, especially not my significant other at the time.

My failure to speak my truth courageously and fiercely cost me that relationship. It has been my saddest, most profound loss. I will do anything to help other people avoid that heartache, that loss. Not with a magic wand. Not with therapy (although that helps). But by developing genuine, authentic, transparent conversations.

Say what you need to say, I beg you. Say it truthfully, sincerely, openly, and with compassion. Build on your strengths and develop the ones that are under exercised with the primary purpose of becoming and being the best possible communicator you can be.

No falsehoods. No lies. No deceptions. No unspoken truths kept to yourself because they might expose your uncertainty or confusion. Tell the truth.

I don't often post videos, but this one is powerful and brought tears of recognition to my eyes when Susan Scott reminded me of that powerful quote from Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises) "How did you go bankrupt? Gradually, then suddenly."

Our inadequate conversations gradually tear away the fabric of our relationships until suddenly, the fabric falls away. The relationship suffers irreconcilable loss. A loss that did not need to be, had we only said what's on our mind.

Here's the video. She starts out a bit slowly but please do watch the whole video. It is powerful in building her case for radical transparency.





-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

To Solve That Problem, Stay Curious

How curious are you?

Problems bother us. They get in the way. They ruin our day. They create havoc where we'd rather have peace. Why do they do that?

When we can stay curious about our problems it helps us to generate more meaningful, more powerful, and more sustainable solutions. Where did that problem come from? Why does it stick around? What benefits might it be generating to someone else? Is it really a problem or are we locked into a conflict or competition? Who else is feeling what we're feeling?

Why? Why? Why? (useful to ask about a problem - but be careful when it comes to asking "why" about or from a person. That can trigger defensiveness in a hurry!)

It's tough to solve a problem or resolve a conflict without big amounts of curiosity.

Curiosity about causes. Curiosity about opportunities. Curiosity about solutions. Curiosity about possibilities.

Once we begin to get more curious about possibilities, our possibilities increase.  And, when our possibilities increase the odds swing dramatically in favor of finding a better solution.


-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Unattach

What are you attached to that's holding you back or slowing you down?

The way things used to be? The dream that no longer makes sense? That relationship that is over but lingers in your memory?

Or, maybe it's doubt about your abilities or capacity?

Sometimes we hold onto our doubts so tightly that we fall in love with them.

Let them go. Release those doubts, worries, and fears. They aren't helping you. But they are slowing you down.

What are you attached to that's holding you back?

Are you willing to let go of that today?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership:  High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Monday, August 17, 2015

Interest More People In Your Goals

Do you have all the help you need to achieve your biggest goals?

Do you have big goals in place that will change your life? How will you achieve those goals?

Our really biggest, life-changing goals usually require help. Help from other people to keep us on track. Help from other people to motivate us when things get tough. Help from other people to break down barriers and think of creative ways to achieve what seems impossible.

What will it take to interest more people in your goals?

People who can help. People who would benefit from what you have to offer once your goal is complete. People who care.

Is is a presentation? Is it a conversation? Is it a picture? What will it take?

And - when will you get started?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership:  High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Balance Your Portfolio of Goals

How many goals do you have?

Some days I have too many to count. It's easy to lose track of how many goals I'm working on at any given time. How about you?

It's better when we keep a definitive list. It's easier to track and complete those goals when we know what they are and when they are right in front of us every day.

The real advantage to keeping a careful watch on how many goals we have is to avoid holding onto competing goals. When we have goals that not only oppose each other (by competing for time, resources, attention) but distract us then we are not at our optimal best. How can we complete two goals that compete with each other?

Setting goals that compete with each other is not a formula for success.

When it happens, spot it, fix it, and move on. Each and every goal should support our overall vision or mission. When they don't, they might compete with each other -- and with our focus of attention.

Do you have any competing goals? How can you reconcile that?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership:  High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Courageously Prioritize Your Goals

Do you ever get stuck setting priorities?

I work with lots of people who struggle with what to work on. By trying to work on everything, they feel like they aren't finishing anything. That's a formula for frustration.

We need to prioritize. We need to decide what is most important and also what is less important. What's less important then must get less attention so that we can focus on what is important.

That takes courage.

It takes the courage to make the decision. It takes the courage to let people know. And, it takes courage to stay the course when other people resist your decision.

Not all goals are created equal. There are some goals that we will never finish. Why not finish the ones that are important? Why not focus on the goals that contribute to and align with your mission?

That's what centered, high performance leaders do. That's how goal achievers achieve.

Sometimes it takes courage and determination to prioritize your goals.

Take that courage and things get easier. Are you ready?

Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


What have you learned today?

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Truth About Problems

Why do people fool themselves about their problems?

We trick ourselves into thinking that our problems are someone else's fault. We fool ourselves into thinking that our problems are insurmountable. We fool ourselves about problems constantly.

What if problems had a secret? What if there was a basic truth about our problems that we tend to avoid - and by avoiding it tend to miss on solving our problems?

Underneath every problem is an unachieved goal.

That's it. That's the truth about problems.

I teach people to redirect their problems into goals. Once we're able to state our problem as a goal, it becomes much easier to achieve. Focus on the goal, and get what you want. Focus on the problem, and you might just get more of the problem.

Which would you prefer?

What unsolved problem can you convert to a goal today?

Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


What have you learned today?

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Let Go Of What You're Holding?

Are you holding onto something that is slowing you down?

Is there something from the past that acts like a drag on your future?

Sometimes we need to let go of something to speed up our motion. Sometimes we're working on too many things at once and getting nowhere fast on any of them.

Prioritize. Let go. Decide.

Sometimes we need to let go of what we're holding to reach the next achievement.

That trophy's too heavy. That task should be done by now. That feeling stopped resonating an hour ago. Let go.

Are you ready to let go of what you're holding?

You'll grab the important stuff back up in a hurry.

Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


What have you learned today?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Take Charge of Your Performance

Who's in charge of your performance? Who's in charge of your results?

The past couple of days I've focused these articles on performance and how we can always do better.

We can't wait to do better. It's up to us. We need to read what we need to read, train where we need to train, develop in ways that keep us moving. We need to keep setting clear, noble, ambitious goals.

Growth. It's our best direction. Achievement: it's the destination of growth training.

You are in charge of how great you perform.

Are you training hard enough to get to where you want to be?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Take Your Performance to The Next Level

Yesterday, in this blog, I suggested that your best performance is still inside you. What do you think?

Even as we take time to acknowledge our success, we hunger for doing even greater things. We long for achieving more.

That's a positive motivator. Enjoy the moment, savor the success, and take a breath. Then, when you are fully centered and able to focus without any chance of criticizing who or where you are, get ready to go bigger still. Get ready to set and achieve an even better, even more noble, even more life-enhancing goal.

There is always a way to take your performance to the next level.

Are you willing to find it?

Are you willing to work for it?

Are you ready to start right now?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Keeping Working Toward Your Best Performance

What was your best performance?

When did you perform so well that you remember it as the best you could do at the time? You likely have several times in your life when, given what you had and who you were at the time, you did your very best performance. Things clicked. Results mattered positively. You felt satisfied.

One of the challenges to constantly improving our performance is that sometimes, even during our finest moments, we feel a sense of lacking - a downturn caused by the desire to do even better, or the let-down of a great performance followed by, what - normal behavior?

We do need to keep striving. We do need to keep improving. We do need to keep setting assertive, clear, noble goals that cause us to stretch and we do need to act relentlessly on our plan without satiating our desire, but -- why not also savor those moments of success? Why not celebrate the series of high performance results we have achieved?

All the while we continue to grow, continue to stretch, and continue to strive.

Your best performance is still inside you.

How do I know that? Just look at how many great performances you've already produced. Haven't they progressively gotten more impressive? The best is still inside you. Go for it.

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Let Your Creativity Surprise You

Have you ever been surprised by a flash of creativity? Maybe it helped you solve a problem, maybe it gave you the answer you'd been looking for, or maybe it helped you develop something beautiful and new. Creativity is the source for much of our joy.

When it comes to achieving our goals, we benefit greatly by keeping ourselves open to our creativity - and the creativity of others. That means letting the element of surprise get a fair hearing from our brains as we move forward on our plan. It could be something so new that we don't consider it important at first. It could be something so different from what we thought we were looking for that we overlook it completely.

Instead, let's stay open to surprise. Let's let our creativity show us better ways of doing things.

Are you ready for your own creativity to surprise you?

You'll be glad that you did!

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training



Monday, August 3, 2015

Go All In On Your Dream

Are you all-in on your dream or simply flirting?

A dream is a serious affair. It requires your attention to move forward. It requires your relentless action.

Setting goals to achieve your dream is a great step. It's what your dream wants. But, your dream wants more. It wants your undivided attention. It wants your passion, your thirst, your hunger, your relentless action.

Until you have the courage to go all-in on your dream it will remain a dream.

Are you all-in?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Seek Clarity of Purpose

Do you know exactly why you do what you do?

For the goals that you set, do you make sure that they all align with your purpose?

I know it's not always easy and perhaps not always possible, but when we are able to align our goals exclusively with our purpose the energy and effort gets much closer to the kind of flow that gets things done fast.

When we aren't sure of how our goals align with our purpose the lines become blurred and it's easy to miss on a goal, easy to get stuck.

Find that clarity of purpose. Find that thing that you're working on to make your mission complete. Do what's really important.

There is no substitute for clarity of purpose.

Almost everything else takes second place.

How is your clarity of purpose? Have you identified your mission?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training




Saturday, August 1, 2015

Find An Accountability Partner

Do you think that people can achieve their goals without some sense of accountability?

There may be some people who are so focused and so dedicated that they truly act relentlessly on their goal action plan and always achieve their goals.

But some of us need help. Some of us benefit from an accountability partner to check in, ask how we're doing, and advocate for staying the course when temptation or lethargy threaten to derail our goals.

Who holds you accountable for achieving your goals?

Is it worth finding someone who will help?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training



Friday, July 31, 2015

Focus on Achieving Your Goals

Even when you have a clear goal, do you sometimes find it difficult to achieve it?

I know how easy it is to get distracted. Urgent needs pull us away. Other people's goals come between us and our goals. Before we know it, our important goals can seem unimportant and end up not done.

Wouldn't your life be more exciting if you focused more on achieving your goals?

What if you acted as if your most important goal were your most important thing? What if you gave it all of your best attention?

Set clear and exciting goals, create an action plan, and then act relentlessly on your plan.

Because when we focus on achieving our goals, we do.


-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training




Thursday, July 30, 2015

Design Goals Worth Taking About

Do people talk about your goals? Do they get excited and share your goals with other people?

It's a good gage for vitality. If people talk about your goals they are stirring up interest and probably helping. They work on what excites.

Design the kind of goals that people want to talk about.

Goals that make a difference. Goals that bring about useful change. Goals that make lives better and happier.

That's what you're working for, right?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

High Performance Leaders Are Confident

How confident are you about solving problems and achieving your goals?

High performance leaders are confident. They bring their own confidence to the tasks ahead. They drive for results with the knowledge that through careful planning and relentless application they will achieve their goals.

Where does confidence come from? Results. Where do results come from? Focused attention combined with confidence. You have to create some level of confidence within yourself, set about the hard work, and then as success begins to reveal itself your confidence will natural rise even more.

Only you can control how much confidence you bring to the game.

Why not bring all you can?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Focus on the Big Goals

Do you have too many goals?

Sometimes I find myself in that situation - with so many goals that I can't remember them all and certainly can't complete them all in time. My advice on this is: don't do that!

Focus on the big goals. Keep your goals aligned with you overall purpose. Sure, it's useful to break the big goals down into smaller pieces but that's not the problem I'm talking about. Too many unrelated goals is where we go wrong.

Be careful about being confused by too many little goals. Focus on the goals that are aligned to you mission. 

The big stuff matters. The big goals matter. Start with that.

What's your biggest goal?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Learn Constantly

What have you learned today?

That's my favorite question. I once wrote a regular column and ended every piece with that question. I usually started each article with this phrase "what I learned from..." and my learning could come from the oddest and most unexpected places. What I Learned From Dunking A Basketball, What I Learned From Riding The Bus, What I Learned From Making Mistakes...you get the idea.

When we keep learning we can improve our performance. Learning allows us to grow, to adjust, to change. Learning keeps us fresh and creative. Learning is critical to our success.

If you want to achieve your goals, keep learning.

Learn constantly, learn deeply, and learn broadly. It's the best thing going.

What have you learned today?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Monday, July 27, 2015

Act Relentlessly On Your Plan

How's your goal achievement plan doing?

Setting a clear goal is great. Creating a masterful plan is brilliant. Acting relentlessly on your plan keeps you moving forward.

No slacking. No excuses. No side trips. No false starts. Relentless, persistent, motivated action.

If you want to achieve your goals, act relentlessly on your plan.

Without discouragement. Without delay. Bring your whole self to the game and move with all the power you are blessed with. Make those goals move and they'll move you with joy.

What's the next step on your action plan?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Sunday, July 26, 2015

Energize Your Support Team

How motivated is your support team? Are the people you are counting on to help when help is needed fully prepared to do that to achieve your goals?

It's easy to lose track of our support team. Aren't they there to support us? The reality is that our support team also needs our support. We must keep them informed. We must keep them interested. We must keep them curious.

If you want to achieve your goals, energize your support team.

You do want their help, don't you?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Drop All Excuses

What's your excuse for not achieving that big goal?

Can you allow me to speak with a bit of an edge here? Can I be frank with you (and myself!) here? Nobody cares about your excuses.

People care about results. People care about people. People care about goals. But absolutely no one cares about your excuses.

Why not give them up? Why not take up residence where, as one of my bosses at Whole Foods used to say, "the land of no excuses"?

You won't miss them. You don't need permission to fail. You need power to achieve. You need to finish your goals.

If you want to achieve your goals, drop all excuses.

There. I said it. Thanks for letting me get that out. I promise I'll work to eliminate all excuses from my work. How about you?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals



Friday, July 24, 2015

Bring Out The Truth

Why do people lie?

It's aggravating. It's inconvenient. It's often easy to spot. And yet, we all do it. I'm not pointing any fingers here because I know that I've spun my own version of the truth sometimes. I'm working to stop that. The older I get the more I see the value in pure, unfiltered truth.

But truth is sometimes hard to take, and maybe that's why we sometimes lie.

Lies blur our vision. Lies bruise our relationships. Lies block positive energy and fill space with something much worse. We should tell the truth.

As centered leaders, problem solvers, and goal achievers we should also bring out the truth. We should create the kinds of spaces and places where people know that they are free to tell the truth - and more than that must tell the truth because we insist on it.

Every little lie creates a vast chasm.

Let's do better than that. Let's tell the truth. And, taking the next step, let's also insist on the truth.

What "truth" do you need to clarify today?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do Better Still

Are you doing your best to achieve your biggest goal?

I know there is always more that I can do. It takes discipline. It takes persistence. And, it takes a willingness to stretch and grow.

I had a close friend who was fond of saying "I did my best" to get forgiveness for her failure. While I was willing to forgive (what's the point in withholding forgiveness?) I usually thought that she could have done best. If the intention and effort are both there, we can usually do better. We can do better when we've done well, and we can do better when we've missed the mark.

"I did my best" is seldom true. Your capacity is much greater.

How can you move from "I did my best" to doing better on your biggest goal today?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Serve Your Goals

What does it mean to serve your goals?

Setting a clear goal is a great start. Creating an action plan gets you moving. Acting relentlessly on that plan keeps us on the path to achieving our goals. Do we need to serve them as well?

Here are some ways to serve your goals:


  • Stay open minded - the needs may change.
  • Involve other people - the goal might be bigger than you.
  • Talk about your goals.
  • Work on your goals first. 
  • Revisit your goals before you finish the day - how are you doing?
  • Moving forward on those action items that seem to keep alluding you.
Serve your goals and they will serve you well.

What can you do to serve your most important goal today?


-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Open Up Your Creativity

Who judges your creativity?

Yes, we do need to analyze our problems and yes, we do need to evaluate our choices but when it comes to creativity we are better served to leave the judge behind - at least for awhile.

Have fun with it. Go wild! Let your creativity find its flow and go where it wants to go. Safely, of course. With some dignity, perhaps. But let it fly.

Creativity has no need of judges.

Analyzing has its role and I'm all for supporting that role when the time comes. When it comes to creating new things though, whether they are works of art, splendid performances, or evolved processes, creativity flies best unimpeded.

What creative work are you ready to open up today?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Monday, July 20, 2015

Keep It Fun

How much fun are you having working on your biggest goal?

I do best with the goals I work on that provide a sense of fun. Maybe it's the work, maybe it's the people, maybe it's the crazy commitment it takes, but big goals that engage my sense of fun move faster.

When it stops being fun it's harder to get done.

Keep it fun!

What makes a goal fun? Well, that's up to you! What's fun for me might be different than what's fun for you, but here are some indicators of a fun goal:


  • it's challenging
  • it creates the need to learn
  • other people smile a lot when you talk about it
  • you laugh
  • there's a sense of progress, maybe even score-keeping
  • as much as you want to achieve the goal you almost don't want it to end
  • it's filled with surprises that both challenge AND delight you
Yes, we should act relentlessly on our goals -- and we should have fun in the process.

What makes a goal fun for you?


-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Recognize Your Goal's Barriers

Have you identified everything that might slow down your progress toward your goal?

When it comes to achieving our goals, things that can seem neutral might actually be barriers. Things like a co-worker who doesn't care about our process changes. Things like a set of resources that are more dynamic than reliable. Things like shifting organizational goals.

Anything that doesn't contribute to your goal has the potential to slow it down.

Do you have a risk strategy for emerging barriers? Should you?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Saturday, July 18, 2015

Provide Reasons to Support Your Project

Do other people understand and support your biggest project?

I sometimes take for granted that people who should care about my project do care about my project. It's not that easy.

People need to know about what's going on. They need to be involved. And, they need to understand the benefits to a project.

Just because you take your project seriously doesn't mean that anyone else will -- unless they have a reason to.

Do you know the reasons why people should take your project seriously?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ask Curious Questions

What kinds of questions do you ask when you're solving a problem?

Do you stay curious enough to be open for whatever the answers are?

I've discovered that once we identity the problem, the best path toward solving it is to change that problem into a goal. What is it that we really want?

The next step is to identify the barriers to that goal. What's preventing us from achieving our goal?

Then I change those barriers to questions. It's a bit like using the classic problem solving tool of the "Five Whys" -- asking a series of whys to get to the root of the problem. In this variation, we're asking curious questions to figure out how to get beyond whatever is constraining us from achieving our goals.

Solving problems starts with asking truly curious questions.

What questions could help you solve your biggest problem? Are you ready to ask them?

-- doug smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Share Your Goals

How many people know about your most important goal?

Here's why it makes sense to tell more people about your goals:

- It helps find people who are eager to help you
- Talking about your goals gives you new ideas on how to achieve them
- Once your goals are known you feel more accountability
- People can help you figure out how to solve the problems you will encounter

It's safe to keep our goals to ourselves. That way, if we don't achieve them there's no one to ask what happened. But that way, we are less likely to achieve them.

Who needs to know about your goals?

Will you tell them today?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training


What's Stopping You?

Is there something between you and your goal?

I can usually identify something that is working against my goal.  It could be a distraction, or it could be a valid concern like another goal or a persistent problem. Things pop up to stand in our way.

What we need to do is work through that. We need to identify our constraints and surpass them. We need to defeat the goal blockers and persist. We need to act relentlessly on our plan.

Find the barriers and break them down. Identify your impasse and get over it. Your goal is waiting for your motions to success.

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: High Performance Leadership Training


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Find What's New

Have you ever been stuck in a routine?

It happens to me sometimes - I get really comfortable doing things in a certain order, eating certain types of food (I'll never get tired of pizza) and working at certain jobs. These little ruts are comfortable but not where I want to live.

To live creatively we do better to break out of those routines. We need a change of scenery. We need to meet new people. We need to rock our own world enough to get off center long enough to know what our center really is.

But it doesn't need to be earth shaking. We don't have to turn our lives upside down. We could even be happy with the way things are. That still leaves plenty of opportunity to see new, hear new, feel new, experience anew what may have been right in front of us all along, but brings a breath-taking newness to our life.

There is something completely new about this moment in time.

It's unique. No matter how familiar it seems, we've never lived this moment before. Savor it. See it. Feel it. Know what it has to offer, without judging it. Breathe it in.

You can go back to your pizza in a moment. First, experience this moment.

Special, isn't it?

--- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: High performance leadership training

doug smith training: how to achieve your creative goals

Monday, June 29, 2015

Famous Cards for Everyone

LEARNING ACTIVITY (allow about 20 minutes)

Purpose:
To help the participants focus on their vision, their mission, and their key measures. It's also an opportunity to practice drawing.

Materials:
At least one sample baseball card for everyone in the group (you could use cards from another sport but I'm partial to baseball cards).

Blank index cards for each person as well. More than one is recommended in case they need to do-over an early attempt.

Process:

  1. Review the sample baseball card. Identify what makes it so useful. What does it report? Note the picture - what does it say about the person on the card?
  2. Write your vision and/or mission at the top of the back of your card. Do your best to keep it to ten words or less. If you don't currently have a mission, now's the time to write one!
  3. Think about what is important about what you do for a living and how those things are measured. Identify 3 to 5 key measures that you are held accountable for.
  4. Write a place on the back of the card to record your key measures for several periods of time. For baseball cards it's seasons (years) and that may be true for you as well. Or, it could be months or fiscal periods. You decide.
  5. If you know you know your key measures results, record those on your card. If you don't know them, how could you find them out? Do that.
  6. The fun part! Draw your picture on the front of the card. You might want to practice on scrap paper first. Do your best to express something about WHO you are, professionally, in your picture. It could be a serious drawing, a characature, or even a very elementary stick figure. Do your very best.
As always, be creative!

Debrief:
What did you learn?

What does your picture say about you?

What do your key measures say about you?

Could you have picked different key measures?

If your key measures were completely up to you, would they be the same as they are now? 



-- doug smith

doug smith training: developing creativity

You are welcome to use this learning activity in any context that you like. When you do, please cite it as:

Famous Cards for Everyone, Learning Activity by Doug Smith of Doug Smith Training.
(c) 2015 douglas brent smith


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Creativity As A Necessity

The mediator of the inexpressible is the work of art."
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

What would we do without creativity?

Life would be so much less colorful. Songs would not be sung. Pictures would not be painted. And leaders would use the same old strategies that irritated people before.

Creativity helps us grow. Creativity IS growth, and we must never stop growing.

Creativity is a necessity. The next time someone implies that you don't have enough time to be creative, ask them how they'd feel without the things that make life worth living - joy, celebration, examination, and love. Yes, even love - for how much can we love without getting creative? 

What creative work of art (or commerce!) are you working on today?

-- doug smith

doug smith training: developing creativity


Friday, June 26, 2015

Try Fearlessness

What are you afraid of?

Just kidding. I'm afraid of lots of things. Losing my phone. Falling over a cliff. Wandering naked in the street. Just kidding.

But, aren't we all afraid of some things that are irrational to be afraid of? Don't we all hold ourselves back far more than we need to in order to protect ourselves from embarrassment, from harm, from making mistakes?

We will make mistakes. We will hurt feelings. We will stub our toes. That's part of the creative life. That's part of living.

Creativity needs a certain fearlessness.

We must be able to let go and let loose. We must be able to laugh at the fear that paralyzes our impulses and push through those walls of warning.

Full speed ahead! Imagine what we'll learn!

Developing Creativity:


  1. Talk to someone who scares you just a little. Not an actual criminal or dangerous person, just someone who scares or intimidates you a little. 
  2. See a scary movie, whether or not you like scary movies. Not one involving dismemberment (eww) but one filled with suspense.
  3. Draw a complicated picture with your non-dominant hand. Sure, it might be sloppy. Enjoy the surprising developments in illustration you're able to make.


-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals  

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Be As Creative As You Want

Could you be more creative?

I could. I think I'm already plenty creative but I know that there is always an unlimited amount of creativity there for me to grab. I can always pull up some more.

How about you?

You are about as creative as you want to be -- and your creative potential is unlimited.

Let's go!


Being Creative:


  1. Draw a picture. It doesn't matter how great it is. Draw it.
  2. Take a picture of something at an unusual angle. Get all Orson Welles with it. Feel the difference. Describe it. Write about it. What if it were used for something completely different - what could it be?
  3. Tell yourself this: "I am becoming the most creative person I know and I love it."



-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals  

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Deepen Your Relationships

How deep is your deepest relationship?

Do you know everything about them? Can you talk about whatever is on your mind? Do you know each other so well that you can make each other laugh with the slightest gesture or word?

We can't get to know everyone that deeply. It would likely wear us out. But, we can get deeper on so many more relationships. So many of our friends and acquaintances barely know us. We can change that. We can creatively build relationships that help us smile, grow, learn, and solve problems.

Isn't it through our deeper relationships that our happiness blossoms most prominently? Aren't we most creative when we are with other creative souls?

The faster path to solving problems and achieving goals is thru deeper relationships.

Who can you get to know better today?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Let Your Partner Grow

Do you limit your partner's growth? Whether it's a business partner, organizational partner, creative partner, or life partner, do you ever expect them to stay exactly the way they are?

I know I've done that. In love with the person who was, I sometimes yearn for more of that same person. I want that same perfect person. But that person changes.

We can't stay exactly the way we are. We need to keep growing.

Expecting our partner to be perfect is a harsh judgement on ourselves. Relax the judge and watch that wonderful partner grow.

Who have you held back a little lately? How can you liberate their creative self today?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?


Monday, June 22, 2015

Unleash Your Creativity

Why would anyone hold back their creativity?

And yet, we do it all the time. I know that when I am at my most creative it becomes my happiest as well. There's no separating the higher quality of life from the greater degree of creativity. And yet, we let things get in the way.

Let's break the bonds that tie us down from creating great things. Let's cut the cords that wrap us into distraction. Let's tear down the walls that come between us and our creative best.

Unleashing our creativity makes us more valuable to ourselves and others.

Ready? Set? Go!

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Solve The Problems We Can Solve

Do all the problems of the world sometimes seem overwhelming? What on earth can we do?

What we can't do as individuals is solve them all. It's too much. I get tired just thinking about it. But, there is still much that we can do. There are problems that we can help solve. We can work together and focus on what matters most to us and set noble goals. Then, centered and creative we can achieve those goals.

Once we realize it's not our job to solve every problem it becomes easier to solve the problems we are ready to solve.

What problem are you ready to solve?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Listen Without Judging

Do you evaluate what someone is saying, while they're saying it?

Do you ever have your mind made up before someone is done talking?

I've done that. Many times. It's easy to jump to our own answers, and our own solutions before we hear the whole story.

We need to hear the whole story (or at least enough of it so that we know what the story really is).

Here's the best way that I know. Listen with curiosity. Listen without judging what the other person is saying or who they are. Listen.

To find the true causes of a problem we need to listen without judging.

It's not always easy. It takes practice. To get past our inner filters and snap judgements, it's worth the effort.

Are you willing to listen with curiosity?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?


Friday, June 19, 2015

Uncover The Truth

Do you ever think that it's a bit hard to uncover the truth?

Sometimes I've worked on problems where the hardest part in getting through an obstacle is uncovering the truth behind what's causing it. And yet, once the truth is uncovered, things can get moving again.

People have their reasons for hiding things. Maybe they are afraid of the consequences. Maybe their self-esteem is at stake. Maybe they just don't know any better. As leaders, when we stay curious and persistent we can do everybody a favor by discovering the truth.

The objective, fact-driven, feeling-validated truth. Solving that for the whole world would take a lifetime. Solving that for each project is just plain responsible and certainly possible.

It takes more courage to uncover the truth and that's because the payoff is so huge.

Finding the truth helps us solve our problems and achieve our goals, and that's what project management is all about.

What deep-rooted truths does your project team need to discover? How can you help with that?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals


Thursday, June 18, 2015

People Like Specific Appreciation

How do you feel, after doing someone a big favor or  completing a difficult task, when they simply say "thanks, I appreciate that..."?

For me, it's not enough. Appreciate what, exactly? And, does that mean you'll be expecting it again?

Instead of saying "I appreciate that" it is greatly upgraded when we add specifics about what we're thankful for and describe exactly how it helped.

Expressing specifically what was so good, and how it helped let's people know we understand the importance of it. No one wants to be taken for granted, and simply saying thanks is really light-weight in response. Let's do better. Let's do more. Let's be specific, authentic, and sincere.

People like specific, heart-felt appreciation.

If you want to energize your team, how about letting them know that you care - specifically.

How can you enhance the quality of your appreciation for others today?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: how to achieve your project goals