Category: emotional intelligence

What are you choosing to pay attention to?

If there is a sudden loud sound, your awareness will immediately focus there. Your inner thoughts can capture your attention in a slightly different, yet still commanding, way. They too get pulled toward what distracts us most. Unlike an external loud noise where we identify the source and then move on, with internal loud noise, it is often difficult to steer your focus away from the hypothetical issue, which quickly turns into worry.   

Thoughts have weight – they can pull you down.  Thoughts have height – they can lift you up.  Thoughts have length – they can last a lifetime.   What direction are you allowing your thoughts to take you?

Worry is, sadly, an inevitability of life.  However, worry is rarely productive – so it’s crucial you not allow yourself to sit in that state for long.  Treat those thoughts just like an external loud sound- identify its source, release it from your memory and move on. 

Every time you’re pulled into unproductive thoughts, that’s the precise moment you need to relax and release.  Here is how:

  • Identify the thought – Is it good or bad?
  • Observe how it makes you feel – Optimistic or pessimistic?
  • Dispute the thought – Does this thought serve me well?
  • Come up with an alternative (and more accurate) way of looking at what happened.

Now you know…

“I did then what I knew how to do.  Now that I know better, I do better.” -Maya Angelou

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What do you see?

What about work has been weighing most heavily on your mind? 

Maybe it is a challenge, a change, or a struggle you find yourself in.  Now hold that thought and pause for a moment.  Reflect on it. 

If you are like the rest of us, human, then your answer was fixated on limitations and/or obstacles.  Rather than feeling a sense of progress, you feel stuck – Right?

“We only see what we want to see; we only hear what we want to hear. Our belief system is just like a mirror that only shows us what we believe.” –  Don Miguel Ruiz

What a profoundly simple yet simply profound concept.  Whatever it is that weighs most on your mind, just observe the situation without trying to solve it.  Silence the analytical judging mind so you can be in a state of wonder and curiosity.  Your focus begins to shift away from the obstacles and towards possible opportunities. Right?   

Always know that every dip and rise in the roller coaster of life holds opportunities.  You just need to tell yourself so – because, you see what you want to see. 

The goal of this message is to give you something more useful than answers…the ability to arrive at your own answers. Life will always have uncertainties and challenges.  The key to thriving, both personally and professionally, lies in what you choose to see in such trying moments.      

You are able.  You are capable. 

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Want to become highly resilient and super happy?

It’s summer!

A magical season where us northerners come out of winter hibernation (being indoors) and soak up the sun.  Whether you prefer a trip to the mountains or a trip to the beach, we tend to view the next several months as a time to recharge ourselves.

 

CAUTION:  Summer is temporary.  Being resilient and able to recharge yourself should not be.

 

 

Here is my challenge:  Right now, invest less than 20 minutes, pull up and watch two short videos.  The links are below…

I can guarantee that these will forever change how you recharge for resilience and happiness.

Will you accept this challenge?

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Behind Goal? Channel your inner-infant self!

Do you ever find yourself struggling to make progress on a goal – what do you do?  Act like an infant! …metaphorically speaking.

infante walkingGoals are meant to be big.  They are meant to take time; yet too often we outpace ourselves early on which can be detrimental to overall success.  Ambition turns into defeatism as we begin telling ourselves the finish line is out of reach.  This is precisely the moment where we must act like an infant, because all infants are successful!

“When you were still a small child, you made your way around the world crawling on your hands and knees. Everyone else was walking, and one day you got into your little head that maybe you could give that a try to. Once that thought appeared, there was suddenly no “maybe” about it: you had to give it a try.  There was no way you were not going to attempt it, fail at it, and then keep attempting it until you mastered it.  Step-by-step, quite literally, we started working to develop the skills needed to walk.” – Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Could you imagine if you gave up when you were an infant?  Today you’d be crawling around on your hands and knees as a grown adult.  Of course you didn’t give up then – and you shouldn’t today either!

Embody the relentless determination you had when learning to walk.  Approach your goals moment to moment.  Like learning to walk you should expect to fall.  And just as you did when you were an infant, you get back up and keep working at it.

You first had to learn to crawl before you could walk.  Similarly, you must break down annual goals into smaller (more manageable) milestones.  Begin with a walking pace  towards your goals; and before you know it, you will be running towards the finish line.

This is the power of continuous effort…this is the power of acting like an infant!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page and/or check out my twitter handle @JimCarchidi

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Why over 80% fail: Sound Familiar?

New Year’s resolutions often never materialize…

According to a U.S. News report, approximately 80% of resolutions fail by the second week of February.  Have you ever wondered why?

habits 2Personally, I believe this to be a direct result of people not setting and sticking with simple daily disciplines.  It’s the little choices, when compounded over time, that either get us closer to our goals or pull us further away from them.  The impact of those choices, for better or for worse, determine our path and ultimately the end results.

“The things you do every single day – the things that don’t look dramatic – that don’t even look like they matter, do matter. They not only make a difference – they make all the difference.” – Jeff Olson, The Slight Edge

Jeff Olson’s assertion makes perfect, logical sense; that simple daily productive actions make the difference between failure and success.  It’s like a bank account where every little daily choice is either a deposit or a withdrawal. For example, want to lose weight?  Commit to just 5 sit-ups and 5 push-ups each morning just before hopping in the shower.  Want to learn more and expand your expertise?  Rather than waking up and watching the news or checking social media, read just 5 pages of a book – on professional development.)

You might be asking yourself, “Could such little actions like reading 5 pages and/or doing 5 push-ups each morning make such a massive impact on my life?”  I am here to tell you -YES!  I know this to be true because it has made a lasting difference in my own life.  When facing long terms goals, approach them with simple daily activities.  Create these little daily disciplines and you will ultimately reach those year-end resolutions!

Ask yourself, “What would my life be like today if last January I had changed just one simple thing?”  The choice is yours!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

 Follow this blog by clicking the icon on the upper right side of this page.   

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

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Don’t be an elephant!

I recently heard an excellent story told by Dave Ramsey on his podcast, EntreLeadership.  The message sparked a profound awakening in me and my hope is that it does the same for you.  It went something like this…

You know how circuses tame a baby elephant?

They drive a “giant” metal stake deep into the ground with an “enormous” chain from it tied to the elephant’s ankle.  The infant mammal fights with all her might until eventually coming to an understanding that she cannot free herself.  Soon enough a mindset formulates, she accepts the situation, and no longer attempts moving the stake.

You know how they restrain her years later as a full grown, mighty adult?

They drive a “little” steak into the ground with a “tiny” rope from it tied to the elephant’s ankle.  Ironically, she chooses not to move.  Why?  The only thing holding this 10,000-pound mammal back is her belief in the past.

elephant-shackled

The reality is that many of us err on the side of perceived limitations, those that aren’t necessarily real.  Like the elephant in the story, we become immobile by past beliefs or at least they constrain us in some way.  By believing them, of what we can and cannot do, we become blind to future possibilities.  In doing so we impoverish our full potential.

Ask yourself, “What confines am I imposing on myself at work…are they real or just made up?”

Evaluate the story you might be telling yourself about goals.  Then shatter any limited beliefs that are holding you back.  The story of the elephant reminded me, and hopefully you, that we are confined only by the walls we build ourselves.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

 

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

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What Really is Professional Development?

This month’s blog was written by Will Richard of the JFC family.  A little about his military service: 4 years in the Army with a year tour in Iraq, Rank:  Sergeant, Company:  756th EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), MOS/Job: EOD/Bomb Squad

The term “professional development” can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. In its simplest form, it is the continual process of acquiring new skills and knowledge as it applies to their career. It requires turning your focus inward to self-reflect and take an honest appraisal of yourself. In my own self-reflection I found that there were two areas that had the greatest potential for personal and professional growth. Figuring out how to lead by inspiration rather than fear, and learning how to better handle personal issues when they leak into the business world.

It’s easy for managers to try and lead by fear and intimidation. While in the military, fear was the main tool taught and used on a daily basis. From basic training to everyday life, fear was used by most people in charge to keep the troops in line. It’s a quick and easy way to get people to listen and do what you say. Fear has its limits, though, making people comply only enough to avoid what causes their fear. Whether that’s a talking to, a ton of push-ups, or even losing their job. Fear is a short term solution and when it is removed so is the motivation. That’s why I’ve devoted a lot of my professional development energy to learning new and superior tools. I want to inspire and lead, not just manage through intimidation.

Fear is an easy, one size fits all method. And as most good leaders know, it is rarely the easy way that’s the optimal way. In order to get best results from people you have to take a more nuanced approach that’s tailored to each individual. You must find what makes them tick and what makes them want to give their best. This takes time and can be very difficult because it requires a leader to spend energy and use tools that are much more complicated. Fear is the fast food of a leader’s tool kit. Quick and easy but it won’t give you the best results. Over reliance on it can have devastating long term effects.

Fear is a strong emotion, but many strong emotions can creep into the workplace. I’ve always been very good at learning new processes, solving unique issues and handling stressful situations, but if you put a crying person in front of me I’ll have no idea how to handle it, or at least, that’s how I used to be. This can be a problem if you’re leading a team because, no matter how hard we try, personal circumstances can infiltrate the workplace. Growth as a professional for me has meant learning how to handle emotions in the right way at work.

fear

It becomes a delicate balancing act of showing concern for your fellow employees without overstepping boundaries. Some people like sharing and having others involved in their personal lives, while others are very closed and guarded. Showing care without pushing too far and maintaining a professional working relationship can be difficult. This is where learning different strategies for handling unique situations is so important. Talking out real and hypothetical situations with others who have experience is an excellent tool in a leader’s toolkit.

Ultimately, I want to be the type of leader that motivates and inspires my team to reach their full potential rather than bark orders and get the bare minimum. In order to do this, I will continue to hone my management tools, adding new ones and adjusting others for the situation. I’ll continue to balance being there for others in their time of need with the needs of the company. I’m still not much of a hugger, but if an awkward hug will brighten your day, then feel free to stop by anytime.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

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@ Work, How Do You Create Space?

In 1993 NASA suffered extra pressure and great stress when the Hubble Space Telescope broke down.  They faced a daunting task of figuring out how to go up in space and fix the distorted mirror inside the telescope.  For months the brightest minds in NASA couldn’t identify a solution.

Then one day NASA engineer, Jim Crocker, was taking a shower in a hotel and noticed how the shower head was mounted on adjustable rods with folding arms.  Eureka!  The answer did not appear while working late hours in the lab.  It occurred when Jim was in the shower on vacation, when he created space (no pun intended) from the perplexity of his problem.

Mindset spaceCreating space allows our minds to process thoughts more freely and creatively.  Heck, Newton discovered gravity when sitting under an apple tree.  It requires purposeful separation from the typical problem solving environment in order to let your thoughts move more freely.  It happens when thinking on a problem while out for a stroll, riding a bike, or sitting out in nature (under an apple tree).

Why does creating space work?  Your brain is like any muscle in your body.  Imagine lifting weights multiple times per week but only on biceps.  Doing so will surely strain and fatigue those muscles.  Thus, when you are consumed by constantly tackling the same challenge at work, you actually lose mental energy needed to identify solutions.  This is when it’s time to create space!

June is the halfway mark.  You are six months into 2016.  Are you where you should be? Are you where you want to be?  Take time, create space, and allow deep thought to happen.  The goal is not to be perfect – it is just to be better than before.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

The greatest compliment I can receive is a referral from readers.  Please SHARE my blog with your network.  Thanks for not keeping us a secret!  

Follow me on Twitter @JimCarchidi

 

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Vulnerability & Professional Development

What does Professional Development mean to me…

By Jen Silvetti, JFC Workforce Branch Manager 

Honestly- I didn’t know what it was until I started working at JFC.  Every other job previously was just that, a job.  I showed up on time every day and worked to the best of my ability.  Not until I joined the JFC work family did my professional and personal worlds collide so drastically.

I started almost 4 years ago in, what I thought would be, a job.  I still was showing up on time and working to the best of my ability.  Then only after one year I heard a knock at the door- it was opportunity. (I know it sounds cliché doesn’t it?)

Well, for those who know my personality, I am one to take advantage of opportunity.  This meant stepping into the role of Branch Manager in the very branch I was already working in.  Wow- can you imagine?  There I sat managing those who I called my team just the week prior. What was I getting into?  I will admit, it took some time to find my way.

My previous life of corralling preschoolers and probationers did not prepare me for this new world of Staffing and Management- wait yes it did.

I was not managing, I was coaching.  Everything I have done up until this point has shaped me in some way.  My life has created a virtual tool belt and I get to utilize it every day.  One has no idea what tool she will be called to use at a moments notice.  Since working with our Chief Enthusiasm Officer (Jimmy) and the JFC work family, I have been provided with a never ending supply of tools.

What I needed most was to be vulnerable; being afraid to make mistakes and fail.  Or as someone that I met just recently referred to them, see the opportunities in every failure.

How cool is that?

human eye tearingWith this mindset, you have nothing more to do than grow. All these years, I had no idea that being vulnerable was even “a thing” until I heard it and read more about it. I had always thought that this was a sign of weakness and a flaw I had. Since working at JFC, I have grown comfortable embracing vulnerability.  I now know that it is merely something to be conscious of and continue to work through.

Vulnerable by many means, “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” Susceptible yes- but you must have the courage to face it.

Over the last few years, I have learned how to cope, manage and coach through my vulnerabilities throughout my development.  JFC has provided such a variety of ways to do this.  I have never in any workplace felt so respected and encouraged. I feel safe enough to make mistakes and question things as long as I still have the openness to keep getting better (and receive feedback).

Also, I am no better or worse than anyone else. These skills that I have learned, and continue to learn, not only help me the 40 hours a week at work but also with my personal life. I am so excited and passionate about my growth, I love sharing it with others anytime I can.  As you can imagine, not everyone is open and vulnerable.  But I will continue to learn and share as much as I can.

Thank you to JFC for showing me how important Professional Development is!

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

 

 

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WWII POW & Choice: Lesson Learned

How did you reflect on memorial day?

Thanks to the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve our country, we are granted freedom.  Unfortunately, far too many of us never fully appreciate and leverage our single greatest freedom: choice.

Viktor Frankl, an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist as well as a Holocaust survivor says, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Now imagine it is World War II and you survived a horrific plane crash, followed by a seven-week journey across the Pacific in a raft only to face near starvation and unspeakable torture in Japanese POW camps.  This is the true story of Louis “Louie” Zamperini.  His tale is one of those that would be dismissed as fiction if it was not known to be true.

When all of his extrinsic freedoms were taken away he relied on his greatest intrinsic one, choice of mindset.  Rather than choose victimhood, and of all circumstances this would seem acceptable, he focused on a future of possibilities.  His positive mindset not only saved his own life but that of countless other POW’s.

You might recognize this story.  Angelina Jolie did a movie on his remarkable survival called, “Unbroken.”

As you enjoy the start of your summer, remember our armed servicemen/women, and your freedom of choice in mindset.  It is the most powerful of all our freedoms.

WhyJFC

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