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:

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.

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.

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