Archives for November 2023

The power of lifting up others

The power of lifting up others cannot be overstated. Mentoring and supporting colleagues or subordinates fosters an environment of growth and productivity. This practice not only benefits the individual being supported but also enriches the overall team dynamics and organizational culture. When individuals are lifted up and empowered, they gain confidence, skills, and insights that contribute to their professional development and chances for greater individual and organizational success. This often leads to increased innovation, higher job satisfaction, and a stronger sense of loyalty to the company.

Accountability plays a crucial role in lifting up others. Encouraging accountability within a team sets the stage for personal and collective growth. When someone who works with or for you is held accountable for their actions and responsibilities, they understand the importance of their contributions. This, in turn, motivates them to strive for excellence, knowing that their efforts are recognized and valued. Accountability fosters a culture of trust and reliability, enabling people to support each other without fear of being let down.

The act of lifting others up is not just about providing guidance; it’s about creating opportunities for growth and learning. It allows experienced individuals to share their knowledge, experiences, and networks with others, which opens doors for new possibilities. By investing this time and effort in these types of actions and activities, organizations cultivate a culture of continuous learning and development, ensuring that valuable expertise is passed down and built upon as the company moves forward.

Businesses that prioritize lifting up others tend to witness a positive ripple effect throughout their employees. When employees feel supported and empowered, they become more engaged and motivated. This heightened engagement often leads to increased productivity, improved teamwork, and a greater willingness to collaborate on projects. Furthermore, the positive atmosphere created can attract top talent, as word spreads about the nurturing and growth-oriented environment within the organization.

Ultimately, the power of lifting up others goes beyond individual achievements; it creates a sense of community and interconnectedness. When individuals feel valued, supported, and inspired by their peers or mentors, they are more likely to pay it forward, perpetuating a cycle of encouragement and support that strengthens the fabric of any business or workplace culture. Empowering others isn’t just an action; it’s a catalyst for creating an environment where everyone can thrive and succeed together.

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Show gratitude always; the 2023 version

In a few days it will be Thanksgiving 2023 in what seems like a world gone crazy. In thinking about writing about being thankful or gratitude, I looked back to my posts from the week of Thanksgiving in prior years. I can’t say it better, so here is my annual blog for the week of Thanksgiving.

This is a good time of year to think of gratitude generally and what you’re thankful for specifically. At the same time, it’s a great time of year to spread good feelings, which you can do by letting others know when you appreciate something they have done for you. It may mean a phone call, email, or text, but it’s import to take the time to reach out, thereby investing in your relationships.

Those of you who have younger children (or older ones…) know you end up reminding them to say “thank you” all of the time. That is because thanking someone or showing gratitude is a learned behavior. If it came naturally or from observing others we wouldn’t have to teach children to do so.

Hopefully you remember to thank people as appropriate in your daily life. This may be thanking someone holding the door for me when I get to my office, for holding the elevator for me, or for making a pot of hot water so I can have tea and get that needed caffeine injection upon arriving for work. It includes thanking people on my team for their hard work to complete tasks needed to serve my clients’ interests. Many of these situations are universal to all of us, but I am sure we all remember holding a door for someone when they walked through without saying anything.

Of course, if you go through your day looking for when people should be thanking you, you will be disappointed. Instead, you should think about how you want to come across to others, as well as ways you don’t want to come across to others.

We all have bad days, but most days we should recognize when thanking someone is proper and appropriate. This time of year is a reminder to says things you may usually only think to yourself. Positive feedback is energizing, and hopefully the person you provide it to pays it forward. Plus, it has the added bonus of making you or the other person feel good, making it a great way to go through life.

Think about how to make gratitude part of your daily life and have a great Thanksgiving.

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Prepare, prepare, prepare

A recent experience reminded me why preparation matters to all of us heading into an important meeting, presentation, or even a networking event. I called a client to set up time to prepare for an important meeting. The client didn’t understand why we needed to meet and thought we would meet with the other side and see what they had to say. Even though this is a common misconception, it reminded me that many people don’t prepare and just wing it. Many of those people thinks that’s how most people do it. That’s how most people do it who end up not obtaining the outcome they hoped for.

Based on my client’s response, I had to explain why preparation matters if she wanted to achieve the best possible result. In this instance the meeting involved a negotiation between two people with a similar main goal in a situation where only one could reach it. The type of negotiation we were going to be involved in requires strategy and therefore calls for preparation and planning. As I explained to my client, why wouldn’t you prepare for such an important meeting?

It begs the question as to why any of us wouldn’t prepare for an important event or conversation. Defining your goals, knowing the message you want to communicate, and trying to roadmap responses to anticipated obstacles provides a foundation to work from instead of winging it. It allows you to make sure you and your positions are understood and will set you up to achieve your goals or desired results.

In the big picture, being known as someone who is prepared also will bolster your reputation and what others who deal with you think about you. And remember, reputation is everything.

So prepare, prepare, prepare, and see where it gets you. If not you stand a great chance of living what Benjamin Franklin smartly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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Find comfort in discomfort

I recently read a quote that said something along the lines of anyone living at the edge of their comfort zone has imposter syndrome and if they don’t, they need to go further. The point of course is to continually push yourself further and harder, to always be striving for more. If you’re comfortable you may remain so for a time, but someone will come along, push you from your perch and pass you by. Instead, enjoy your successes and then challenge yourself to do better, to do more.

In my world I live in a state of constant discomfort purposefully. I have to mostly reinvent my law practice every year by continually bringing in new business because most of my clients have discreet deals or issues and are not a source of continual business. Based on this I set goals each year on the amount of business I hope to generate and then have to go about putting in the time and work to do so. Even when my year is going well, I’m aware that it takes one or two slow months to knock me off track. I use this purposeful discomfort to keep focus on my goals and taking the steps and actions to put me in the best position to reach them. For me, this has translated to success, but I am well aware if I sit back for any period of time all of this long building forward momentum will quickly fade.

I challenge you to look at your circumstances. Are you in your own state of purposeful discomfort looking to challenge yourself and grow or are you just cruising along, relying on past success and taking what comes your way? There are always steps you can take to move your life out of neutral and drive forward. This is another way to invest in yourself. When you improve or have success you need to look back at your hard work and give yourself credit while at the same time knowing and acknowledging that those around you helped take you to the next level. This should be a rinse and repeat exercise as you reach one goal and set a new one.

By doing this you always should be moving through stages of comfort and discomfort. You should be reaching or exceeding your goals and then setting new ones. To do so you have to realize there is no top of the mountain to reach in business. It’s a series of hard climbs to a false summit where you can rest in comfort for a moment before taking on the challenge of the next steep section of the climb. Conquering the steep sections is what brings satisfaction and enjoyment when you reach a summit. The fact is it’s up to you how high that mountain is and how far you climb.

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Weathering disappointment

We all experience inevitable setbacks and unforeseen challenges in various aspects of our lives. Much like weather patterns, disappointments are unpredictable and can come unexpectedly. These disappointments can manifest in personal relationships, career pursuits, or even everyday activities, causing you to feel frustration, sadness, or disillusionment. Weathering disappointment requires you to be resilient, adaptable, and maintain a positive mindset to navigate through the storm and emerge stronger on the other side.

We all have to come to terms with the fact that setbacks are a natural part of life. Just as weather conditions change, so do circumstances, and disappointments are an inherent part of the human experience. Embracing this reality can help you cope with setbacks more effectively, enabling you to bounce back with newfound determination and grit.

I regularly have to advise clients of good news and bad. One is more enjoyable to communicate than the other, but being able to communicate bad news is an important task and skill. The news I’m communicating can have a serious impact on my clients’ lives and businesses and may relate to a disappointing outcome for me professionally. Even when I am seriously disappointed with an outcome or situation that I may view as a professional failure or shortcoming by me or someone on my team, or a bad decision by a judge, I have to put that disappointment and frustration to the side and take the next step in speaking with my client, acknowledging how the news will impact them. These situations bring up other life lessons including expressing empathy and learning to walk in my client’s shoes.

Furthermore, disappointment often serves as a valuable teacher. It teaches you to be patient, flexible, and resourceful. Just as you prepare for unexpected weather changes by carrying an umbrella or wearing layers, you can prepare for life’s disappointments by developing coping mechanisms, seeking support from co-workers, family, or friends, and cultivating a positive mindset. In the face of disappointment, you can learn to recalibrate your expectations, set realistic goals, and find alternative paths to achieve your objectives.

Last night I watched the Arizona Diamondbacks get behind the Texas Rangers by a score of 10-0 in the third inning of the fourth game of the World Series. It was early in the game that, at that point, seemed like an inevitable loss. The Diamondbacks did lose, but by a score of 11-7. The team could have phoned it in and looked to the next game. Instead, they scored 6 runs in the last two innings, never giving up despite how disappointing it had to be to let up 10 runs to the Rangers over two early innings in the game.

Watching, I saw this as a lesson in knowing things can change fast and bring profound disappointment. Just as the Rangers had big innings, the Diamondbacks could too. Of course, in the game of life it also is important to know when to throw in the towel and move on, but that is a topic for another day.

When you weather disappointment it can foster personal growth and resilience. Adversity has the power to reveal your inner strength and character. Overcoming disappointments requires tenacity and the ability to learn from failures, leading to increased self-awareness and emotional intelligence. When you navigate through disappointments with grace and perseverance you often emerge wiser and more resilient, equipped to handle future challenges with greater ease.

Even though disappointment is an unavoidable aspect of life, learning skills to deal with it can make those moments easier to navigate and faster to pass. By acknowledging the inevitability of disappointing moments and embracing the lessons they offer, you can develop the resilience and adaptability needed to overcome setbacks. Weathering disappointment with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn will lead you to less stress and better outcomes in disappointing and frustrating moments in the future.

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