What We Believe

Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

What we believe is our foundation, and building on those beliefs can transform our life’s journey. This quote can help us explore and develop specific personal growth plans for our life.

For example, select something important to you. It should be an area in which you want to grow. It could be faith, friends, business, community, or a specific skill. Then spend time reflecting on these questions starting with your basic beliefs, and narrow your focus to the area you selected.

1. Beliefs: How can we explore the foundation of our beliefs? How can we strengthen our beliefs? What opposing beliefs exist in current culture? What defining facts are the basis for our beliefs?

2. Thoughts: When do I take time to transform beliefs into thoughts? How are my beliefs reflected in my thoughts? Are my thoughts productive? How could my thinking be more aligned with my beliefs?

3. Words: Can people see my beliefs in the words I speak? Do I speak in a constructive and supportive manner? How can I communicate my beliefs and thoughts so that I am more understood?

4. Actions: Am I living authentically? Where are my actions not a reflection of my words? What do I need to do to follow through more consistently?

5. Habits: Are my habits aligned with my beliefs? What habit should I develop to live according with my beliefs? What habit should I break that is not in alignment with my beliefs?

6. Values: Do I value what is important and in alignment with my beliefs every single day? What values in my life need developed or strengthened? What values am I living, but not fully understanding?

7. Destiny: Where are my beliefs taking me? What development will help me reach the destiny that I want? What short term desires are pulling me away from longer term success?

These are generic example questions. This exercise really grows in significance when you can ask yourself more relevant questions based on your specific situation and your experiences.

This process has helped me broaden my views, and then re-focus on how to grow. Ready to get started? What area of your life would you like to work on?

A Coach Asks Questions

Last week at an event, I met several new people. One gentleman asked me, “What do you do for a living?” I told him, “I am a coach.” He responded, “Interesting. Who do you coach?” I let him know that most of my clients are business professionals, just like him, but I have also coached CEO’s, VP’s, doctors, business owners, pastors, volunteers, engineers, writers, managers, and students.

“Wow!” he said. “Coaching people with all those backgrounds, how do you know what advice to give?”

I smiled. The most common misconception about coaching just revealed itself again. “That’s where most people miss the point of coaching. A coach doesn’t give advice, a coach asks questions. Powerful questions have the ability to raise your consciousness. Raised consciousness produces new thoughts, new ideas, new options. It allows thinking on a new level and new opportunities for success.”

I then started asking him questions about his profession. I was searching for his boundaries and his roadblocks. “Why did you come to this event today? How effective do you find these events? How else could you achieve this purpose? Who is more successful than you in achieving this? What could you learn from them?”

After only five or ten minutes, he was excited because he had some new ideas about how to reach one of his goals. The power of coaching is in the questions that unlock potential. I added, “A coach also provides a level of accountability to follow through on those ideas.” He learned how a coach can really help people. Every one has the opportunity to benefit from having a coach.

Be Sincere in Your Praise and Feedback

We can tell when someone is using flattery to make us feel better. With friends it can be harmless fun, but within a business it can be disastrous.

To lead a growing organization, you must provide honest and helpful feedback. Too often we provide only critical opinions on how we perceive performance or we compensate for negative comments by adding flattery. To be effective, performance reviews need to be honest. They need ton consist of two-way discussion. For an employee to improve in your eyes they need to understand your perspective (or change your perspective). Effective feedback can include examples of behavior, discussion of alternative actions, or revision of goals.

If you are able observe without judging, you will be able to increase your capability for compelling evaluation. It takes practice.

To show you really care about a person, always be open and sincere. This applies to both praise and constructive criticism. This quote from Dale Carnegie puts it into perspective.  “The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”

Living in the Moment

Do you really think that living in the past and letting it overshadow today is helping you? Do not stumble on the things that are behind you, nor fear that which lies ahead.

Carpe diem! Carpe diem is a shortened version of the original Latin phrase “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” meaning “seize the day, trusting as little as possible in the future.”

Carpe diem is commonly used to justify spontaneous behavior and to make the most of today, because one doesn’t know if they’ll live to see tomorrow. It is not saying “ignore the future”. Rather do as much as one can now because you won’t know how the future will unfold.

Carpe diem is a truth. You can only live in the moment. The future has not arrived, and the past is already gone. To make the most of the time you have you must live and act in this moment. But it does not mean you need to act  carelessly or recklessly.

Most meaningful projects take more than one day. The challenge is making the most of each day. Not by being spontaneous, but by being strategic. We still need to maintain some level of spontaneity for unplanned opportunity and fun. But significant projects will never be accomplished through procrastination.

Every action can affect the future. Every action can help reconcile the past. But every action can only be done now. When you think in those terms, hopefully you are encouraged to do more today. Be encouraged and take action now.