A Self-Coaching Took & Process that Works!

From the desk of Greg Giesen, founder and CEO of The Laughing Leader

Warning! Warning! This blog is only for self-aware individuals who are passionate about life and their place in it…those people who see personal growth as an ongoing adventure with no beginning or end…and who know themselves, their purpose, and the mark they want to leave on the world.

Excellent, you’re still with me! Thanks for reading on.

Today I’d like to introduce to you what I call, My Accountability List. It’s the perfect self-coaching tool that will:

  • Help you identify (and spell out) your purpose, passions, and core values
  • Highlight and reward your growth opportunities
  • Create personal accountability
  • Keep you focused on being the person you most want to be

The best part is that you can do it alone it only takes a few minutes a day to use.

Are you in?

Keep in mind that you’ll need to customize this tool to fit your own purpose, passions, and core values. What I’m going to show you is essentially a template and a process—a process that I’ve been using for the past five years with tremendous success.

The back story

 I’ve always been extremely self-motivated and passionate about my life and my purpose in it. I look at every success as reinforcement and every failure as a powerful lesson. My life’s purpose is to live, love, laugh and learn and help others do the same. I’m big on accountability. I’m big on keeping my word. And I believe that personal growth is an ongoing journey.

With that said, it wasn’t enough to just want to be a better person every day; I needed to create a system that forced me to spell out what that looks likes on a daily basis. I needed a system that could measure outcomes…one that provides daily feedback on the things that matter most to me like relationships, communication, personal growth, and physical/mental health. But even more important than that, I needed something I could do on a daily basis to keep me connected with my purpose, passions and core values that was also fun, competitive, quick and interesting.

Needless to say, a tall order to fill. So here’s what I came up with (in steps):

Step 1: I identified six main areas in my life where I needed to make the greatest improvement. These could be business or personal or a combination of both.

Step 2: Under each of the six main area, I identified anywhere from 5 to 8 specific behaviors that I wanted to focus on. Some of these were things I simply needed to do more often while others were things that I needed to start doing. Many were things that were well out of my comfort zone.

****To continue reading, CLICK HERE! Remember that my blog has moved to this new site.

What does a pothole and change have in common?

From the desk if Greg Giesen, Founder & CEO of The Laughing Leader

That’s an easy one. When we see it coming, we have time to maneuver around it. When we don’t, we get the full impact, ready or not.

pot hole

Allow me to simplify the change management process for you. There are basically three types of change:

1.     There’s the change that we initiate.

2.     There’s the anticipated change that someone else initiates.

3.     There’s the sudden change that we didn’t see coming.

We can’t control the amount of change in our lives any better than we can control the amount of potholes there are on our roads. Change is the norm now, not the exception. And anytime the temperature goes from cold to hot in a short amount of time, we’re going to have potholes. That’s just the way it is.

When we drive, we’re told to always keep our eyes on the road, looking ahead. This way we are in the best position to anticipate and adjust to any road conditions that may arise. Unfortunately, we seem to be getting more and more distracted these days and our attention to driving often slips into an autopilot mode. When this occurs, we tend to miss many of the cues (i.e., speed, traffic conditions, weather, distance between cars, etc.) that will help us drive safely. As a result, we’ve greatly increased our chances for an accident, a mishap, or hitting the proverbial pothole head-on. Not good!

ACCIDENT

I remember the last time I hit a large pothole. I didn’t see it coming and both left tires took the full brunt of the impact…one right after the other…Boom! Boom! I yelled in anger, “What the hell was that!” as I gripped the steering wheel and glanced in my rearview mirror. My heart was pounding a mile-a-minute. It felt like I had just been woken from a deep sleep and was still groggy.

Once I realized that the culprit was a pothole, I became angrier. “Why isn’t the city on top of this! Cars could be damaged and people could get hurt, for Pete’s Sake! Why, if that Mayor wasn’t so lazy…”

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Please note that all future blogs can be found on wwwthelaughingleader.com/blogs.

When to Escalate Conflict

As a nation of primarily conflict avoidant people, just the notion of escalating conflict can sound like a contradiction. And yet, there are times when escalating a conflict is exactly what you need to do.

But the conditions have to be right.

What do I mean? I mean that there has to be an intention…a purpose…or a reason for escalating a conflict, first and foremost. And the more favorable the reason—the more favorable the likely outcome.

decision

If the ultimate desire in escalating a conflict is to improve or enhance your relationship with the conflicting party—and the unresolved or nagging issue between the two of you is impeding that from happening—then YES, the conditions are right for escalation. After all, how else will this issue get on the table? I may suggest, however, that you carefully frame the escalation by stating what your desired goal is before the actual escalation begins, if you catch my drift. It’s called framing the conversation or setting the context. This will prevent the other party from being overly defensive and feeling attacked.

What you don’t want to do is escalate a conflict under any of the following conditions:

·      You’ve had too much to drink

·      You’re angry and you want to vent

·      You are feeling victimized

·      You love a good debate and want to stir things up

There’s a lot at stake here. Successful relationships are built on trust, mutual understanding, respect, and most of all, love. A misused escalation could severely hamper those foundational characteristics and be quite difficult to rebuild.

Escalation, if done correctly, can help a team grow, develop, and mature as well.

I was a member of a four-person mastermind group a few years ago when I had a disagreement with Dan, one of the members, about a business opportunity he presented to me and then rescinded the next day. Frankly, the conflict didn’t involve the other two members of the team and didn’t need to involve them. However, both Dan I thought it would be a good idea to play out this conflict in front of the whole group.

group

Why?

Because, even though our mastermind group had been together for over two years, we never had a conflict in the group before. We barely had a disagreement. We thought of ourselves as a tight team but the truth was we were still in the forming stage. We had a lot of maturing still to go if we were going to become a high performing team. To do so, we needed to become efficient at working through group conflict, among other things.

So, with the intent of introducing conflict into our mastermind, we played out our argument in front of the other two members of the group. And this was a real argument, I might add, with differing opinions, emotions, and even conflict styles. But what was most surprising in this real-life experiment was not the conflict itself but the lack of engagement from the other two members of our group. Neither of them made a comment, a suggestion, or an intervention during the whole escapade. Not a word. They both simply watched from the sidelines, like spectators at a boxing match.

boxing

Failed experiment?

Had we not debriefed as a group about the group dynamics, both before, during, and after the conflict, it could have been a real missed opportunity. Fortunately, we used this conflict escalation as a means to having a very powerful conversation about our group’s level of engagement with each other and our commitment to becoming a high performing team. That led to some additional group expectations and a significant shift in our relationships with one-another.

What I’m saying here is that planned conflict escalation for the betterment of a relationship or group relationships can be an effective use of this conflict method. It is also easier to direct an escalation towards a desired goal when the intent of the escalation itself has been stated upfront. Thus, by following these simple guidelines above for escalation, you should have tremendous success.

One final point. Now that we’ve entered the season for holiday parties and festivities with friends and family, conflicts may be on the rise. Knowing this, you may want to pick and choose your battles carefully; and only escalate a conflict if the right conditions exist.

Now go and be Merry!

Greg “Geese” Giesen

http://www.thelaughingleader.com

A Thanksgiving Activity for Friends & Family

It’s easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Thanksgiving amongst all the parties, the rituals, the football games, the cooking, and the family dynamics.  And yet it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect a little on our lives and to acknowledge all the people and experiences that have positively impacted us the most!

Not to worry! I’ve found a way to do both.

Using selected questions from my book, Creating Authenticity: Meaningful Questions for Meaningful Moments, I’ve created a fun and meaningful activity for you to do with your friends and family at the dinner table that will make this a Thanksgiving to remember.

Untitled1

Why do we need a Thanksgiving activity, you ask?

You don’t. However, if your Thanksgiving conversations with your friends and family have a tendency to migrate towards football, weather, politics, and gossip, perhaps it’s time for a change. Perhaps it’s time for some meaningful and introspective conversation with each other that come from the heart. After all, isn’t that ultimately what Thanksgiving is all about?

Below are 50 questions that will spark great conversation and gratitude. My simple suggestion would be to:

·      Copy this blog and paste it on a separate page.

·      Enlarge the type.

·      Cut out all the questions individually, or at least all the questions you want to be a part of this activity.

·      Place the questions in a container of some kind.

·      When it’s time to begin the exercise, pass the container around, having each person select a question.

·      Go around the table (once or multiple times) and ask each person to then read their question and answer it.

·      Feel free to alter this activity to fit your group.

Questions

1.     If you were told today that you had a month left to live, what would you want to do with the remaining time?

2.     What friendships have meant the most to you and why?

3.     What do you still want to do in your life that you haven’t yet done?

4.     What qualities do your closest friends have in common?

5.     What’s something crazy that you can still see yourself doing?

6.     What is one of the biggest obstacles you have had to overcome in your life? Please explain.

7.     What do most people who you know not know about you?

8.     What do you wish you were better at and why?

9.     What is one of your biggest regrets in life and why?

10.What kind of kid were you growing up? How have you changed?

11.What’s a recent accomplishment that you are most proud of and why?

12.What are you most passionate about in your life and how would someone know it?

13.What’s probably the biggest risk you ever took and how did it turn out?

14.What’s been the most meaningful feedback you’ve ever received and what did you do with it?

15.Describe your most meaningful possession.

16.When given the opportunity, what do you brag about most and why?

17.What is one of the best compliments you’ve received this year?

18.What memory still makes you laugh when you think about it?

19.When is the last time you felt most alive? What was happening?

20.What’s been some of the best advice you’ve ever received and how has it helped you?

21.What qualities do you find attractive in other people?

22.If you could clone yourself exactly as you are today, but have the ability to change one thing, what would you change?

23.Which of the television shows that you currently watch tells the most about you?

24.Who was your all-time favorite teacher and why?

25.Which of your physical features do you get complimented on the most? 

26.What past or present photograph in your home means the most to you and why?

27.If you could re-live (but not change) a past moment in your life, what moment would that be and why?

28.When was the last time you laughed so hard that your stomach hurt?

29.Describe the perfect romantic evening.

30.Which of your childhood possessions had the most meaning for you and why?

31.You have just commissioned a famous painter to do a painting for you. What are you going to have them paint?

32.Who, among the people your life do you admire the most and why?

33.Complete this sentence: Sometimes I wish…

34.Which of your hobbies probably tells the most about you?

35.What causes you the most stress? How would people know?

36.What’s one of the best decisions you’ve made in this past year and why?

37.How would you define a successful life? How does your life compare?

38.What was one of the most courageous things you have ever done?

39.In what ways are you misunderstood? 

40.Complete this sentence: Sometimes I pretend…

41.What is the most important thing you’d like to learn next?

42.What would you like to have more of in your life?

43.What would you like to have less of in your life?

44.Of all the cars you’ve owned over the years, which one holds the best memories for you?

45.If your life goes exactly the way you would like it to go, what will you be doing five years from now?

46.What would you like to hear more of that you don’t hear enough?

47.What do you think attracts most people to you?

48.What is one of your favorite traditions that you still observe today? Please explain.

49.What’s been the most exciting thought occupying your mind lately?

50.What three things are you most thankful for and why?

Remember, the idea here is to have an activity that everyone can participate in. With that said, it’s also important to allow people the option of skipping their turn if they are not comfortable playing. Simply leave it up to them.

Let me know how it goes.

Celebratory drink

And, have a happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. If you like the process, go to www.thelaughingleader.com or CLICK HERE and download my free New Years Resolutions That Stick! workbook to get a similar New Year’s Eve activity. It’s free after all!

Why is this leader laughing?

Because he’s a laughing leader.

smiling1

What’s a laughing leader?

Very simply, a laughing leader is someone who is happy and productive in both work and life.

Allow me to explain.

There is a direct correlation between our internal motivation, passion, focus and zest for life and our corresponding results, be it in our personal or professional worlds. In other words, who we are impacts what we do and how well we do it.

If the end game is to get results in business and live a fulfilling life in the process, then the ultimate work for each of us is to learn to become the leader we were meant to be—in all facets of our lives—so that what people see on the outside is a mere reflection of who we are on the inside. We call this leading from within. And the way to lead from within is to become a laughing leader. It’s that’s easy and that difficult.

Becoming a laughing leader requires a commitment to self-improvement…on a daily level! Why? Because we impact the lives of everybody around us and we have an obligation to ourselves and to those people to role model the very attitudes and behaviors we expect from them.

Here are some of the characteristics of a Laughing Leader:

·      They are internally motivated

·      They have compassion for self and others

·      They view mistakes and failures and valuable insight toward success

·      They are authentic in word and deed…what you see is what you get

·      They value laughter and play

·      They are open to trying new things

·      They admit their mistakes and take responsibility to fix them

·      They laugh at themselves

·      They ask for help

·      They embrace the trials & tribulations of life

·      They practice work-life balance

·      They see problems as challenges waiting to be solved

·      They are supportive and present with others

·       They are transparent

·      They are quick to give credit where credit is due

·      They are committed to seeking and creating joy in life 

Who wouldn’t want to work for someone like this? Who wouldn’t want to have a friend or family member with these characteristics?

Well maybe they already do…and it’s YOU!

laughing

It’s important to note that I’m not talking about being a Laughing Leader periodically or when it’s convenient. I’m talking about showing up in life as a Laughing Leader, day-in and day-out.

I have to tell you…I’ve been teaching about personal and professional leadership practices and philosophies for over twenty-five years to corporate America and to hundreds of graduate students at the University of Denver and I’ve never been as excited as I am now to share with you this new paradigm…this new way of leading.

Do you want to be happier and more productive in work and in life?

Then stick with me. I have a lot of good stuff to share in coming weeks!

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