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The Strategic Question

In The Coaching Habit, Stanier distinguishes between great work (the work that you love to do, has meaning, is connected to your purpose and makes an impact) versus all other 'good work' (the work that you've got to get through, the everyday tasks, 'this is my job description' kind of work).

(For parents and family members, this also applies to us. Great work of relationship is connection, intimacy, support, influence, legacy – that kind of thing)

Stanier recommends asking the Strategic Question before accepting to do more busy, 'good' work that has little impact. The Strategic Question is this: If you are saying YES to this, what are you saying NO to?

This question is especially useful for those of us who have a very hard time saying no. (Remember the DailyWisdom on Pause Before You Promise?)

When we cannot say no, our schedules tend to get full of busy work and priorities which are not our own.

Stanier puts it very beautifully when he says: "A Yes is nothing without the No...

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The Foundation Question

The Foundation Question is: "What do you want?"

In The Coaching Habit, M.B. Stanier says that he sometimes calls The Foundation Question the "Goldfish Question" because it often elicits that response: slightly bugged eyes, and a mouth opening and closing with no sound coming out.

This simple question is often difficult for many people to answer. Firstly, because it is easier to articulate what we DON'T want rather than focus on what we DO want. Secondly, because even if we are able to figure out what we really want, it is less than easy to ask for it.

So when you ask this question, be prepared for the goldfish response. And then ask it again: "What do you want"? To be even more effective, you can follow up the response with: "What do you really want"?

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Who matters most?

The next question on our quest for self discovery is an easy one: who matters most in your life? Which 3-5 relationships are the most important ones to you?

The follow up questions to this one are a little less easy to answer: do these people know that they matter to you? How do they know? What do you do to demonstrate or express how important they are?

How do you nurture these relationships?

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AIM-ing at happiness

We often say and hear the phrase "have a positive attitude" to be happy.

But do we understand what exactly having a positive attitude means and how do we practice having this positive attitude?

Ed Diener & Robert Biswas-Diener in their book Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, also reiterate the necessity of a positive attitude in life as central to personal happiness and life satisfaction.

The authors use the acronym AIM to represent the basic components of a positive attitude that are necessary for happiness:

A: Attention
I: Interpretation
M: Memory

So, this week, let us work at improving our AIM at happiness.

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Please stop trying

family self development Mar 15, 2017

When you request someone to do something and they say "I'll try", do you count on that person to fulfill that request? Probably not, right? You may think that they are hedging their bets, that they are not really committing to anything.

IF and only if everything magically works out, and the stars align, they MIGHT fulfill your request . . . if nothing better comes along AND if they are in the mood . . .

Not a great model for commitment or action is it?

And yet we tell ourselves the same thing all the time.

"I will try"

These words have so much hesitancy and lack of commitment built in, that what you "try" will almost never happen.

Here is a little gem I came across on the internet today:


People who try . . .
T alk about their challenges
R ationalize their circumstances
Y ield to defeat

People who do . . .

D on't accept excuses
O vercome with action

As Jedi Master Yoda says: "No, try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."

So how about stop "trying" and start committing to take action?

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Think its too difficult?

Have you noticed, , that the hard and difficult stuff only ever seemed hard and difficult before you began it?

One of the easiest ways to get over overwhelm is to start taking action.

It really IS that simple.

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Name it to tame it

Berne Brown, the world famous researcher on shame and vulnerability says that a way to tame your inner critic is to giver her a name and begin to understand her as an entity.

Because the critic thrives on secrecy, silence and the perception of judgment, giving her a name and calling her out on her tactics weakens her power considerably.

Brown calls her critic "Gremlin", but personally, I'd like to think of something nastier. I have tried various names for my inner critic and these days I am calling her "Ms. Blah Blah".

I can always count on Ms. Blah Blah to let me know why what I set out to do is not a good idea or that it is not a good time to do it.

When I wanted to start the Daily Wisdom project, for example, Ms. Blah-blah gave me a hundred excuses why I could not – or should not -do this.

Here are only a few of them:

  1. You are not consistent – you will start and then it will fizzle out
  2. It is too big of a commitment – you don't have the time
  3. You are NOT a good...
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Do what you need to do

Did you know that many people who are the *best* at what they do also have a critic inside their heads?

Bill Russell, for example, one of the great names in basketball ... the only athlete to ever win an NCAA Championship, an Olympic Gold Medal, and a professional championship all in the same year—1956... had one small problem: He used to get so nervous that he threw up before every game.

So it turns out that he too, had a strong inner critic telling him what could go wrong and making him so nervous that he would throw up.

How did he become one of the great names in his sport?

He simply learnt to ignore the critic and do what he needed to do.

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The only thing left to do now

For the last couple of weeks, we have been talking about setting goals effectively so that you have the best chance of achieving these goals. (Here are the archives in case you missed one or more of the emails)

There is only thing left to do now.

Take action.

Start taking action towards your goals on a daily basis. You do NOT need to figure out all the steps necessary to achieve your goals before you start taking action.

You do NOT need to see the whole staircase in order to take the first step.

At this point, all you need to do is take the first step, the next action. That is all.

Quite simple really.

Magic starts happening when you get in motion.

The journey of a thousand miles, as they say, begins with the first step.

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The most important question

self development Jan 23, 2017

Why are your goals important to you?

Sounds like an obvious question, but you will be surprised to find that it is a question which is not always that easy to answer.

Yet it is very important that we know why our goals matter and remind ourselves about this on a regular basis.

Research shows that the clearer your "WHY" is – that is why your goal is important to you - the more it will motivate you to take action despite the challenges that may show up.

Do you want to become healthier? WHY is this important to you?
Want to write a book? WHAT will it do for you to get this done? Why is it important?
Want to give up chocolate at night? To what purpose? How will it make you feel to achieve this?
If your goal is to make more friends, why is this important to you?

Don't skip this one. It is a short but powerful exercise.

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