Category: Commitment

Daring to Change? Here’s How to Make the Leap…

By , February 5, 2014 10:21 pm

“Make decisions from where you want to be. Not where you are now.”

~ Christine Kane, Mentor to women who are changing the world.

I remember so clearly the day I handed my notice in to leave my corporate job and begin life as an entrepreneur…

Even though I knew this was what I wanted, I was really scared to hand over my resignation letter because it made it REAL. There would be no going back after I uttered those words: I’m resigning…

I held on to the letter with a vice-like grip before handing it over. It was almost like I was trying to delay the moment… This was the stepping off point for me… The transition point from where I was at that point in time to where I wanted to be.

…And it was all down to handing over one significant letter.

This was the game changer. Everything changed in that moment. I had to start taking myself seriously as an entrepreneur and show up fully as the leader in my life.

It was HUGE and SCARY…

…But it was the BEST decision I’ve ever made!

People who are thinking of making this transition often ask me about my decision to go on my own: Did you worry that it might not work? Were you scared that you might not get any clients? What if you failed?

And yes… I worried!

I actually woke up bolt upright the morning after I had given my notice in with the voices in my head screaming: “WTF have you done? Are you completely out of your mind?! You have a great job here!”  

Any change can be scary because it involves letting go, finding courage, and taking forward motion. You have to take a risk because you don’t know the outcome.

As a frequent traveller on the London Underground, I’m constantly reminded to mind the gap! It’s painted on every platform and there’s an audio reminder before the train doors open and you step off the safety of the platform.

Why the reminder?

Because energy flows where attentions goes! So if I’m reminded to pay attention to the space between the platform and the train and I’ll take conscious action to make sure that I avoid the potential danger of the gap.

I often use the metaphor of Mind the Gap to explain how I bridged the gap and navigate through transition.

Learning and growing into the gap helps you to be the person you want to be NOW. The term Mind the Gap reminds me that if I want to successfully change I have to be mindful of the gap between where I currently am and where I want to be… knowing this and growing into it makes the transition real…

Before I stepped off the platform and onto my train of becoming a business owner, I recognized that I needed to develop a plan of action to enable me to successfully transition from where I was to where I wanted to be.

I call this my Gap Strategy…

Where are you now? Before making any change you need to look at your starting point – Even if feels uncomfortable. GPS can’t work if you’re typing in your destination but it doesn’t know your beginning point!

This involves self-assessment so you can have a clear picture of where you are currently: what you want and don’t want moving forward. What are your strengths, skills and passions? Do you know your value and how to leverage it (not monetary!)?

Where do you want to be? Continuing our Mind the Gap metaphor: it’s also important to understand what train you’re looking to step onto… (and that it’s in the station when you take that step!)This is all about getting clear, developing a vision and daring to dream. What does it look , sound and feel like? You have to become an investigator and do the work to explore your idea and where you want to go with it. Try it on for size! Generate some options.

How do you get there? Well, you have to buy a ticket! In other words: You need to invest time, energy and money in making it happen! An idea remains an idea unless you  ground it by setting a deadline and start moving towards it. You have to pay attention to any gaps in your knowledge, skills and behavior and develop a gap strategy to help you leap over and take conscious deliberate action. What do you need to learn? Who is doing this already? How are you getting in your own way of success?

I’d decided on a clear plan of action and had been implementing my strategy over the previous twelve months. I worked with an awesome coach. Slowly I’d been building my marketability and leverage, learning about being an entrepreneur and living from that place. I was building my list and a client base, while I was still in my day job. I wasn’t perfect but I was fully engaged, committed and aligned my action with my values. I was prepared for my leap across the gap.

The gap finally appeared before me in the moment that I handed my notice in, and I was ready. I was already an entrepreneur. I’d claimed my power and shown up as leader for the last 12 months. I’d already prepared the way, I was now executing my strategy. I stepped over the gap to where I wanted to be.

That final step is often the hardest…because it’s scary to watch as your old life falls away. This final act was the last thing that held me back from the realization of my dream… Yes it was a scary moment but it was exhilarating at the same time!

I knew what I needed to do, I leaned in and made it happen…

I am the “after” of many of my client’s before… If you’d like some help minding and transitioning YOUR gap, drop me an email at info@elainebaileyinternational.com.

 

Why a Painful Experience Can Be a Great Teacher…

By , November 20, 2013 9:50 pm

“Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become.”

~ John C. Maxwell, Author

Throughout my working life I’ve been helping people face their problems, challenges and mistakes. I coach individuals how to grow through them. I believe that people thrive when they are able to face their problems and screw-ups in a way that shifts any bad experience, and uses it as a catalyst for change and future success. I have witnessed many profound shifts.

We all have painful moments in business (and in our personal lives, too) no matter how hard we try to avoid them. Honestly, if you’re taking risks and wanting to stand up and play a bigger game, then you can’t avoid painful experiences. It’s part of the journey on the rollercoaster ride of success!

No one enjoys being in the middle of a bad experience. It hurts emotionally, and sometimes physically, when things go wrong. We re-live the experience moment by moment, replaying it in our mind in the hope that we can somehow change the outcome, go back and say things differently, or change our behavior in the past.

But, as you know – it’s not possible…

How do you respond when you say the wrong thing or drop the ball?

Do you get angry or frustrated with yourself? Shrink into yourself emotionally? Get upset and teary? Worry that everyone thinks you are a bad person? Do you think, ‘Who do I think I am?’ Or maybe you try to completely detach yourself from the situation and ignore it?

Whatever you are thinking, you can’t change the past.

However, you ALWAYS have a choice on how you move things forward. In other words, what you decide to do with the experience will define who you become as a result of it. Do you:

  1. Allow the pain to stop you in your tracks and you stay small licking your wounds and stay stuck re-living the moment over and over?
  2. Make a decision to work through the discomfort by facing the issue and dealing with it?

Here’s the thing…

Painful experiences increase our self-awareness – we get to know ourselves a little better. They enable us to reflect on who we are, where we are and what we need to change, or how we can move forward.

It helps you to define WHO you want to be at a deeper level.

So pain can be helpful and I’ve known many clients who have admitted that their biggest breakthroughs came in the middle of a painful experience, often when they felt like giving up. These experiences move us in a different direction. You get to decide which way to go: will they limit you or lead you forward?

Challenging times are often pivotal points in our growth. If you want to grow and develop then you have to learn to manage these experiences along with the good ones.

Here’s how to grow through pain…

1. EVERYONE has them – Knowing this helps! Negative things will happen; we’ll say the wrong thing in the moment, even though we had good intentions. Life is full of good and bad experiences; some you have control over and others you don’t. It’s how you manage them both that count because you can’t avoid them. Manage your expectations and know that it happens sometimes. It’s not fun in the moment, but if you can handle it well and turn it around, it may become a great story to tell afterwards.

2. Make it a positive experience – Most people react to bad experiences – they don’t handle them well. Change your frame of reference for the situation and how you look at it. It’s easy to make judgments and assumptions or blame others. Maybe you can’t change what has happened, but you can change your attitude towards it. Look at what you have learned about yourself and how you can apply these lessons moving forward. Bad experiences are portals for learning – choose to see them and use their gift as an opportunity for growth.

3. Take responsibility – Accept that you’ve screwed up or could have done things better. Don’t listen to your ‘victim’ story: woe is me or start wallowing in self-pity – this isn’t serving you! It’s easy to cling on to the negativity as it intensifies in your head. Instead, accept the situation and be kind to yourself. Let it go. Make good what you can and take forward motion knowing that your intention was good…You get to choose how this changes you.

Whatever you are experiencing in life just now… remember that you always have the opportunity to grow from it. The seed of growth is always there, you just have to look for it.

Your bad experiences can be a catalyst for unlocking your creativity. Assess the situation and manage your experience by deciding to make some positive changes. It’s all part of the process of life!

 

Great Leaders are NEVER Too Busy to Learn!

By , November 6, 2013 9:07 pm

Never too busy to learn“Many leaders fail to gain knowledge because they have too much to do – they’re going too fast and trying to accomplish too much.”

~ Kenneth Blanchard, Author

From my experience, many leaders put their own development needs last and fail to grow their own knowledge and skills. They are too busy working at a crazy pace to get everything done and try to keep up with the never ending flow of work. So they become stagnant and even fall behind.

I was recently working with a client called Tom who was overwhelmed. He was trying to accomplish too much and was totally unaware of (and frightened to recognize) his own limitations. He actually thought that others would see his limitations as a flaw or a weakness and therefore a poor leader. He started to compensate for this by trying to be everything to everyone instead of stepping back and admitting his own learning needs.

He was great at developing his team and making sure that they sharpened their saw, as Stephen Covey describes it! But he certainly didn’t practice what he preached!

Over time, he became the bottleneck in his business:  his lack of up to date knowledge and skills were slowing his team down. His team started to become frustrated as he became more of a micro-manager, taking more and more on because of his own lack of self-confidence.

Taking time to learn was the last thing on his mind! He needed to keep things going so couldn’t possibly spend time on himself.  He just didn’t have the time and was unwilling to step away from the business to learn and grow.

His unwillingness to learn was detrimental to the team and their effectiveness, even though that was the last thing he wanted. He hadn’t realized his own impact on the rest of the team.

Tom is typical of many leaders. It’s easy to get distracted by internal or external factors that steal your attention and focus. If your attention is splattered and you’re trying to do too much, this lack of focus can be disastrous. You become overwhelmed and burnt out, your team becomes confused and demotivated, and your performance (and theirs) dips significantly.

Tom learned the hard way the importance of consistently making time to gain knowledge is essential for his and the team’s success. He needed to focus on growing himself if he wanted to grow the team, and ultimately their success.

You’ve probably heard of the saying: Take time to make time…

Learning is not a one and done event as a leader and there is NO arrival! Things will always need to be on your radar and being open and committed to learning and growth has got to become a part of who you are as a leader if you truly want to be successful.

Here’s what taking time to make time looks like for an effective leader:

1. Understand your people – Get to know and recognize the differences of the people that you work with. Understanding WHY people behave the way they do can help you to influence them and help to reduce any conflict as it arises because you are aware of their filters and preferences. You GET them! How are you different to them? How can you best serve people?

2. Leaders are readers – Learn about leadership by reading or listening to audios or watching DVD’s. Reading is a great foundation for acquiring knowledge and developing yourself. It’s a powerful, fast way to learn for many people. Thirty minutes a day listening to an audio as you travel to or from work is an easy way to get started – that’s 2.5 hours a week!

3. Take responsibility for your growth – Stop putting this off! Accept that part of being a leader is your ability to be open and honest with yourself. No one is great at EVERYTHING! Understand your strengths and weaknesses – it’s okay, we all have them! Play to your strengths and look for ways to outsource things that are not your genius work. What are your learning and leading preferences?

4. Every leader is a learner – All great leaders are constantly learning and growing. As you develop, new challenges present themselves so you are continually stretching out of your comfort zone to create a new normal. You are ALWAYS growing. This includes understanding and gaining knowledge of your industry or business and how it is changing.

5. Reach out for help – You may already be proactive at helping others grow and encouraging them to reach out to you for help. NOW it’s your turn! Look for great teachers or mentors who can help you to grow. This is NOT a sign of weakness it is a sign of leadership! Learn from people who are already experienced in what you want to learn. One of best ways of learning is then to reach out to others and teach it to them… passing the knowledge and skills forward to your team!

If you’re going too fast, you’ll not accomplish anything. So slow down to speed up!

Make your continuous learning an essential part of your business strategy, whether you work in corporate or you own your own business.

Great leaders are NEVER too busy to learn!

 

Be persistent to get what you want in your life (or work)

By , September 25, 2013 6:17 pm

Be Persistent“You choose to do this work daily. Then you choose to do it again. There is no failure. There is no arrival. There is practice. And process. And persistence.”

~Christine Kane, Mentor

Have you ever had the experience of trying everything you knew to get promoted or help a member of the family or get new clients to buy your products or services in your business, but nothing seemed to work?

No matter how hard you try, the more you fear trying again. You start making hesitant attempts and in the end you might even stop trying. After all, no one wants to give his or her all when they are experiencing disappointment. You get stuck in a rut of disappointment and limiting and negative beliefs.

At this point you start to believe that nothing will work and you give up trying. The fear can be so strong that you become scared of trying again.

What I’m describing here is learned helplessness. Through your experiences of trying you have learned and now perceive that the situation is helpless: “I’m just not cut out for this!” Or “The Universe is trying to tell me something!” Or “I’ve tried everything!”

Here’s the good news…

This is a PERCEPTION… it’s not real. You still can make things happen and change your approach to get the results you want.

Here’s what you need to know…

We are deeply programmed to think negativity, talk negativity, focus on what’s not working, point out what we don’t like, and fill our heads with our judgments, opinions and criticisms. We are wired to look out for things going wrong – it’s our survival instincts. Blame it on our biology – We have our own built in resistance thanks to our Lizard Brain.

Knowing this can help…

Persistence is the key.

Being persistent can help you to get what you want. It’s about taking action despite the circumstances or whether you feel like it.

The longer you are persistent, the greater your chance of success.

Sometimes the odds may seem overwhelming, and everything seems to test your commitment to the goal you’re pursuing. Refuse to give up while you learn from each experience, develop and grow and commit to your original intention.

Here’s how being persistent can help you get what you want…

Re-Frame any negative beliefs – This is the first step… Get rid of the notion of learned helplessness – That you CAN’T do anything or that the situation is helpless. What has happened in the past doesn’t mean that it has to happen again in the future. It’s what you decide to do right NOW that counts. What can you do starting today that is different?

What’s Important here? Decide on what is important and start to take conscious deliberate action each day. WHY did you commit to this goal originally? How it will make you feel when you are successful? Get clear and focus your attention on moving forward. Give your goal High Value, write it down and keep it on your radar!

The best way out is through – Hang in there. Focus on the next single step and keep moving forward despite any setbacks or busy workloads. Re-define and maintain your boundaries. Show up and make it happen. Persevere until you find a way even when it doesn’t look as if it’s working. You will learn from every action you take and find better ways of doing things.

Deal with any resistance – You may experience criticism from others along the way. People may say NO – But keep going and keep growing. Don’t allow things to get in the way of you achieving your vision. Yes, people may think you’re CRAZY! That’s okay! Continue to plant the seeds, do the right things and take action. When confronted with any obstacle – try this:

  • Brainstorm each obstacle.
  • Avoidance is NOT a strategy!
  • Come up with at least 3 different strategies for each.
  • Be solution focused NOT problem focused.
  • Use an experienced mentor or coach as a sounding board.

Get an Accountability Partner –If you’re procrastinating, share your weekly actions with someone you know and trust. Check in with them at the end of the week to let them know your progress. This can help you stay accountable for your actions.

Pure persistence, consistent deliberate action and the flexibility to pursue your goal will ultimately give you want you want. Make it a daily habit.

Whatever your goal, you can make it happen with passionate work and consistent dedication. Stick at it! Learn from your mistakes. How you deal with your setbacks shapes your future!

Be persistent to get what you want in life or work!

“Success is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is the result of experience. Experience is often the result of bad judgment.

~ Source Unknown

 

Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done!

By , July 31, 2013 10:42 pm

Git 'er Done!“Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you virtually unstoppable.”

~ Dan Kennedy, Business Success Guru and Author

The truth is that most of us are easily distracted.

Many of us are almost willing to be de-railed from our busy schedules by the lure of the excitement of a bright shiny object; especially if what you are working on feels like hard work or it’s something you don’t want to do.

This then leads to procrastination and avoidance.

Most of us know what we should be focusing on but lack the self-discipline and determination to make it happen. Instead we use excuses to justify our avoidance such as I’m too busy or I didn’t have time rather than getting clear and refocused on what needs to be done.

…And just getting it done!

There’s a form of inner laziness that prevents us from getting things done. I regularly see examples of this in the business world.

Here are a few examples:

  • People who can’t seem to make it to meetings on time.
  • Arriving late/unprepared for a planned coaching session.
  • A business owner who avoids marketing because there’s always something else that needs to be done first.

People who arrive late for meetings are usually unprepared. Their lack of focus and attention wastes time, because he/she has to take time to catch up before they can give any value.

A common theme for many people with time management challenges is the lack of self-discipline.

I admit that some days I feel secretly lazy and it’s tempting just to blow the day off and do nothing instead. Especially when you are your own boss!

Instead of allowing this to take control, I’ve learned how to refocus and become self-disciplined…

Self-discipline is a powerful antidote to procrastination and avoidance.

Self-discipline neutralizes the laziness and gives you the ability to get things done and to get it right the first time. Excuses and old habits fall away as you begin to move forward, take control and get things done.

Here’s how to encourage self-discipline:

1. Make a weekly plan in advance. What do you want to achieve? This will help you stay focused and feel in control of what needs to be done. Stick to the plan – hold firm! Remind yourself what’s important.

2. Show up at the scheduled time and be prepared and ready to work. Yes… It’s that simple… Common sense right?! But it’s NOT always common practice. This includes showing up for ALL appointments that you make with yourself.

3. Meet your deadlines and commitments. This alone will make you more successful. More opportunities will start to present themselves and others will be attracted to you because you are making things happen. Success breeds success.

4. Do it even when you don’t feel like it. Self-discipline requires a 100% commitment. It’s not just when you feel like it. It takes self-discipline to productivity – invest energy and time to your intentions. This investment pays off every time. Be aware of those lazy voices in your head and challenge them EVERY time!

5. Take deliberate action. Take action and make things happen. Every day consciously do one thing towards your Intention – small steps. Get deliberate in your thoughts and behaviors. This will inspire you to make different choices and create new habits. Take action

All successful people are self-disciplined. It’s a necessity that requires continual work every single day.

Self-discipline is all about choice. You can choose to chart your own path and create value by getting things done.

There’s a huge difference between someone who talks about it and someone who actually gets things done!

Which one are you?

As my American friends in the South say, whatever you’re putting off just now:  Go “Git ‘er done!”

 

How to Become Known As An EXPERT

By , July 25, 2013 11:23 am

iStock_000011959900XSmall“Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience.”

Denis Waitley

Experts make things look easy!

The journey to acquiring expertise often takes time, hard work, discipline, and persistence. It doesn’t just happen overnight.

Reading all the books in the world on a particular topic doesn’t make you an expert, though it will make you more knowledgeable about something. Expertise is not only the acquisition of knowledge, it’s also the ability to implement and use the information wisely.

For example, I know several ‘coaches’ who understand the principles and theory of coaching, but they have no coaching clients! They are so busy trying to gain their expertise from books, another qualification or attending one more workshop, instead of going out into the world and actually coaching people!

So it’s also the practical application of knowledge and understanding.

Expertise is developed over time and one of the essential ingredients is experience.

People become experts for many reasons. Here are a few of them:

  • To establish credibility
  • To become the Go To Person…Others will seek you out for your knowledge and experience
  • To leverage your marketability and increase your perceived value
  • To expand your horizons and see things from a different perspective
  • To increase your success
  • To gain the trust and buy-in of others
  • To become a leader and shine the light for others to follow

Here are seven ways to become known as an expert by getting good at what you do:

1. Be passionate – Expertise starts with knowing what you are passionate about. You have to be genuinely interested and naturally curious about your topic to become an expert in it. Have you ever tried to learn something that you’re not interested in?! You stop learning! Believe in your own ability to become an expert – You CAN do it!

2. Experience it – You get better at things by experiencing them. Get some real-life experience, keep up to date, read around the subject, and apply your learning to your every day life or work. For example, one of the best ways to learn how to be a coach is by being coached! Turn the theory into practice! Actively look for opportunities to practice what you are learning. Do things imperfectly and be open to making a few mistakes along the way.

3. Surround yourself with like-minded people – Become a member of an association or join a professional body in your field. Attend conferences and workshops to learn from those more experienced than you. Listen and learn from credible experts. Connect with online groups who talk about your subject and support each other (not groups where people just promote their shit all the time!). Network with others who are passionate about the topic. It’s okay if they know more about it than you as you can learn from them.

4. Leaders are readers – Read books and listen to audios. Watch videos and read articles. Sign up for eZines and weekly articles from credible sources and make time to read what they have to say. Be curious and look for knowledge about your subject. Remember to APPLY it into your life. Become a student of you and try things out. Get into the habit of regular reading each week and you’ll soon know more than most people around you. Continue your education around your subject.

5. Share what you learn – Share what you learn with others as you learn it. Be willing to share what you know. This will help to position your self as an expert over time. You will start to notice that you know more about the subject than those around you and you can offer help and support to them as you are working at a higher level than others. Most people haven’t taken time to read or explore the topic like you have. You may even create a presentation or workshop to help others.

6. Get writing! Write articles or blog posts about your stories and experiences and how you’ve applied your learning. Share your successes too. This way other people will get a feel for you and you will build your expertise. They see themselves in you. Writing a short ebook or a chapter in a book about something you are passionate about can really enhance your credibility. It can also be a catalyst for other opportunities such as consultancy opportunities, radio interviews and speaking engagements.

7. Give it timeBecoming an expert doesn’t happen over night. It takes time. Make a long-term commitment and build a foundation for success through commitment and persistence. You become an expert by taking your learning and growth seriously. Set goals and take consistent action. You’ll start to notice when others come to you for advice or give you feedback about your depth of understanding. Keep going and keep growing. There is ALWAYS more to learn. You are never done!

You become an expert by doing the groundwork by practicing what you are learning and through demonstrating your passion and expertise…

 

When are you going to get started?

By , June 26, 2013 6:31 pm

someday word in wood type“Everything huge that I’ve ever achieved I started before I thought I was ready. I just did it scared and grew into it along the way!”

~ Elaine Bailey, Coach-Mentor, Author, International Speaker

In my role as a career strategist, I meet a lot of people who are settling and surviving in their current career while they are waiting and hoping for THAT DAY when they will get to do what they REALLY want to do.

I call this: “The Someday Syndrome!”

It looks like this:

“Someday…

…I’ll get my act together and start my own business.”

…I’ll do that course and get my qualification.”

…I’ll sign up for that Mastermind program because I know it will make all the difference to my success.”

…I’ll write that book.”

…I’ll change job and become a ……. I’ve always wanted to.”

SOMEDAY… Doesn’t exist.

It’s not real – It’s just an excuse you use to give yourself permission to stay stuck and settle where you are.

Someday is like an untethered kite blowing out of control in the wind. It holds your dream in suspended animation.

Someday has no deadline – it is infinite. Before you know it your life is over and that someday never came.

Here’s my question to you:

Instead of someday…Why not NOW?

Maybe you’re thinking that you’re not ready, perhaps this feels true? I know that if I’d waited to be ready, I’d still be working 9 to 5 in a Bank in  East Yorkshire, UK. It was safe and secure!

Are you waiting to be ready?

…You might be waiting your entire lifetime for the right time and you’ll never do it.

Most people aren’t prepared to invest in their someday.  So what they really want stays a dream. Someday comes at a price.

How much does someday cost?

This was a great question that one of my coaching clients asked me recently. I helped him break it down.

Doing what you want to do and living your dream involves personal investment.

It’s not just about gathering information, the hardest part is often implementation: taking the steps necessary to bring it to life. This will cost you time, commitment , attitude, and energy (even when you don’t feel like it). It can be hard work and yes, there may be a few sacrifices along the way.

One of the biggest obstacles of success is that we get in our own way. We lose the mental fight with our own laziness and ignorance when things feel too hard or difficult. We slip back to our comfort zone because it’s easier settle for what we already have.

For most people the price of success is too high. They prefer to settle for an easier life. They aren’t prepared to reach through their fears to find the courage to keep going and keep growing through change or take a few risks.

Here’s how I see it…

  • I only get one life. I owe it to myself to make the most of my days here and make each one count.
  • I dare to dream BIG and go deeper than I’ve ever gone.
  • I don’t always know how to do it, but I’ll do it anyway.
  • There will be days where I’ll challenge myself because I want to quit.
  • There will be days where I never knew that my life could be so beautiful.
  • I’m here to make a difference and I’m following my heart.
  • I’m committed to keep learning and growing and leading.
  • I’m honored to do what I do and blessed to notice that the work I’m doing affects the lives of those I serve in such a positive way.

Doing what you want to do has its ups and downs like everything in life. It may take more time and effort than you anticipated.

But the pay off is huge…

It changes your life from deep within. You feel more alive and the returns on you, your family and the people you serve are even bigger than you would even begin to imagine.

“Nobody ever got ready by waiting. You only get ready by starting.”
~
John Maxwell.

 

How are you getting ready?

 

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