A Line Drawn in the Sand

So let’s talk mindsets people. Because it’s so very important to have a positive one these days.  Mindset is what makes all the difference when it comes to achieving goals. Mindset influences our actions and behaviors. It influences our ability to move forward. And in these times, it’s paramount for us to be extremely selective with our thoughts.

Can you think back to less than 90 days ago?  2020 was going to be thee year.  But, we’re social distancing.  Working remotely.  COVID 19 and speculation for when these uncertain times will end are the topics for every conversation.

For some, right now it may feel like an NFL game with less than a minute to play and the score is 23 to 3. Question. Which team are you on?  That response alone puts a spotlight on where your mindset is.  No matter the score, how do you continue to play with all your heart?  I asked this very question to an individual who emulates focus and an unwavering dedication to health and mindset. During a recent dialogue, NFL Super Bowl champion and FitSpeed owner Darcy Johnson provided insights into how he sustains a positive mindset, dedication and perseverance to his professional and personal goals.

I first met Darcy last summer after I saw a Facebook ad offering a six-week health challenge.  Weary of my scale going in the wrong direction, and eager for a change, I submitted my info and made an appointment to visit the gym. That gym was FitSpeed.

The day of my appointment, I met Darcy and he walks me through the program. His positive energy was instantly infectious. I’m intrigued but as I looked at my calendar said, “There’s no way I can do this. Six-week commitment? I’m a road warrior. I travel too much.”   Darcy looked me dead in the eye and asked me “When will you decide you’re worth it? When will you decide to make yourself and your health a priority?”

It was a line drawn in the sand. And I signed up that day.  In that moment, I took the step to make myself a priority. Now a member of FitSpeed, I love the community I’ve found with my 5:30am workout crew and the strength and endurance I’ve gained from a commitment to fitness.

Darcy is dedicated to fitness and well-being.  His viewpoint:

“Health is so important. It’s our bodies. A healthy body is positive. It keeps us going. It’s like they say on a plane, help yourself before helping others. That’s what health is all about. Help your body support your life.”

And when I reflect on my journey, I wonder what would have happened if Darcy hadn’t challenged me.  If he hadn’t drawn a line in the sand.  So, I question: do we need that? Do we constantly need a line drawn in the sand to influence action? What is that motivating line that sparks action?  What does it look like? Once that line is drawn, how do we keep momentum? How do we sustain the excitement and the initial rush to withstand the journey?

For Darcy, the NFL influenced an unwavering mindset to play with all your heart.  He said,

“You’re always being graded in the NFL. No matter the game, your performance is always being evaluated. You’re not thinking about just that play, but the next game, the next season, the next draft.”

Dedication was further sparked by his wife, Carissa.

“She is my partner and I know how lucky I am for her to be in my life. Before I met Carissa, I didn’t realize that people could live such a positive life.” 

Now the love for God, his wife and family motivate Darcy to live positively every day.

Last month I addressed Mindset and goal planning. Psychologically, I’m intrigued with how we react when faced with challenges.  I find the fight or flight conversation captivating.  How is one sparked to act when faced with a challenge and another not?  So, in these uncertain times, will you fight or flee?  The score is 23 to 3.  Which team are you on? Which team do you want to be on?  What if right now is a line drawn in the sand for our communities? Our cities? Our country? Ourselves?  What if we took this time make ourselves a priority? What if we stopped talking about how we’re powerless and look at the blessings around us and start planning? What if we started to play with all our heart? Intrigued? Here’s how.

Steps to Increase Mindfulness & Emotional Investment.

1 – Know your WHY? Your purpose. Your passion. What we love takes little effort, it’s just what we do and who we are. We’re inspired and motivated. We crave the adrenaline for doing it. We “lose time” in these productive moments. If we live in our ‘why,’ we can easily build more of these moments into our day. **Note: Master this step. It makes the next steps easier.

2 – Build awareness of your internal dialogue and then shift as needed. Are you being supportive or negative? Are your emotions and thoughts past focused or forward focused?  Micheal Hyatt in his book Free to Focus writes:

“We reserve the word discipline for those things we don’t want to do. Thoughts can be limiting. Example:
Limiting belief: I don’t have enough time. 
Shifting: I have all the time I need to accomplish what matters most.”

Are your thoughts sparking and inspiring or limiting? As Ford once said,

Whether you think you can or can’t you’re probably right.”

3 – Plan. If we don’t plan, we’re leaving room for distractions. If the goal isn’t written down with a timeline or plan of action, it’s only a dream. Find your triggers (time of day, after a meeting, after a specific task) and create diversions and alternative space to alter your behaviors. I find planning tasks during specific time frames of the day increases focus and productivity. For example, I won’t allow myself to check email during “writing time.”

4– MOVE.  Movement sparks energy. Walking. Journaling. Actions that release tension and build momentum.  There will always be bad days. Acknowledge them. Release the tension and let it go. Keep focused on the goal – your WHY – and make your goals a priority.  Action is required for any goal attainment.

5 – Find accountability. Find support.  Reach out to a friend or colleague. Hire a coach. Schedule a weekly touch base call with a mentor or individual who will spark more action. Read something funny. Be playful.  Breathe. Keep a quote or song that will get your juices flowing in sight.

6 – Live in Gratitude.  Find appreciation in the little things. Tell someone how they inspire you. Focus outward. Lastly, remember that joy on the journey is what it’s all about. If we we’re waiting for the end result to feel happy, or accomplished, we’re missing out on all the special moments that make us who we are.

Would love to hear how you’re using this time to achieve your goals. Please leave your ideas and thoughts below.

 

Emotionally Charged

Valentine’s has passed. The shortest month of the year is coming to an end.  Every day we are closer to Winter’s end and the days grow longer with additional sunlight. Green decorations, anticipation for Spring and thoughts of March Madness are on the horizon.  We’ve stopped greeting each other with “Happy New Year.”  Yet……..have you made any strides on your resolution or Q1 goals?  Are you implementing?  Or, has the adrenaline rush for a magnificent 2020 tapered as daily routines absorb your attention? Have priorities shifted? What are you doing to keep momentum?

Do you find planning and talking about goals intriguing?  Get excited talking about the future and what it could be. You can feel the heartbeat accelerate. Envision the dream.  Yet implementation falls short? Is it only the resolution?  Or is there a pattern to the lack of follow through?

I recently spoke at the Corn Belt Seed Conference in Indianapolis, and the focus for the event was client engagement, customer service and the member care they provide to their suppliers, vendors, and teams. Agriculture – the industry that feeds and sustains the world’s population is focused on customer service. Goals to impact the client experience. Goals to leave a thumb print, cultivate teams, and differentiate a field typically not associated with hospitality. Client engagement is truly transcending all industries.

Drinking by fire hydrant, there was a multitude of information presented to these attendees.  Suggestions from myself and other industry professionals on what they could implement with their teams; their own “conference resolutions.”  I challenged the attendees to take out their phones and plan a cascade. To schedule in that moment, a team meeting and at that meeting to plan how to implement. Because, when we attend an event, we can become infused with excitement.  We drink the “kool-aid” and we’re sparked, inspired, on fire. We find genius in simplistic thoughts.  “A-ha!  That’s how it’s done!” But, when we return to our regular environment, the spark fades to a glowing ember. Normal routines and business operations take priority.

I call this The Fresh Paint Smell. You paint a room.  It’s clean and organized. You can smell the fresh paint. You love it. You feel the happiness when you walk in. Two days later, it’s still a fresh room, but the new paint smell has faded and the excitement of it has passed. Over a week or so, it’s the room we love, but the newness is fading. A month or so passes, and it’s just another room in the house.

How do we sustain momentum?  How do we increase our resolve?  What makes one person or business succeed, where another fails to take the first step? We need to look to the emotional investment.  In truth our emotions hold the key to it all.  So, this blog will provide insights into how our momentum is impacted. In March, we’ll reveal insights into HOW to sustain it.

 

EMOTIONS

Keep in mind that client engagement is all about emotions. We talk about our experiences because there’s an emotion attached to it. We live reactively.  We observe and an emotion follows.  We get excited. Angry. Happy. Motivated.  But to act on it, here is why it’s a challenge.

As human beings, we are unable to sustain a positive or negative emotion for an extended period of time. The elation we initially feel when we receive the praise, the achievement, the inspiration – cannot be replicated.  Same for the frustration, the anger, the adrenaline rush. We can reflect and feel a similar emotion, but not the initial emotional experience.

In a study, published in the journal Motivation and Emotion, it timed emotions and how long they last.

“Sadness is the longest lasting of all emotions taking on average 120 hours to pass.

Hatred is the second most enduring emotion followed by joy which lasts an average of 35 hours.

Guilt lingers longer than the hot burn of shame; and fear tends to pass fairly quickly compared to anxiety which generally lasts much longer.

The stay-around power of sadness is likely due to its tendency to be associated with events that have a major long-term impact on people’s lives, such as bereavement.”

We observe. Have a thought to determine our feeling and then an emotional response.  Then we act or refrain from acting. Ever notice when implementing a goal, it’s the emotional passivity that triggers the action or inaction?  Thoughts like:

“One brownie today is ok,” or

“Skip the workout.” 

“I’ll reschedule that meeting with the team tomorrow.”

“It’s not like we need to shift our customer service overnight.”

“Our competition isn’t that far ahead.”

These passive thoughts are laced with an underlying element of fear and complacency.  Yet dive deeper and it’s a fear of change.  Fear is the emotion, disguised as complacency.  And frankly, I’ve never seen any business thrive with a mindset of “We’ve always done it this way.” The craving we give in to, the complacent thought, becomes the goal we do not achieve.

Simplistically – it’s building mindfulness. Changing our attitude and behaviors to take consistent action towards our goals.  Intrigued? Eager to learn more? Stay tuned for next month when I interview Superbowl champion & FitSpeed owner, Darcy Johnson on dedication, perseverance and achieving a goal mindset.

The Mountains We Create

When you set a goal for yourself, do you listen to your internal dialogue?  Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? Is your glass half full? Half empty? Refillable? Do outside elements influence you? The weather? Traffic? The clock?

When you set a goal for yourself, what self-talk or limiting dialogue happens in your head? Are you aware of it? Do you let it go on and on? Do you ignore it? Squash it? Do you wait for some outside source or sign to validate the thought?

“Traffic is heavy. I shouldn’t go to that networking event tonight.”

“Need to start that diet after the holiday.”

“See, I always mess up at this.”

“Do you really think you can……”

How many speed bumps or hurdles do you create to make that goal or milestone unattainable?  A mountain to climb.

It’s a scientific fact that when we set a goal for ourselves, we instantly identify obstacles to prevent its achievement. It’s a human protective element. We do this to ourselves and we do this to others. When we tell others our goals, they respond and offer insights; either encouragement or detailed insights into the challenges and obstacles on the horizon.


It was dance banquet night and as I sat at the table with one of my fellow and cherished dance moms, she announced to the table her 12-year-old daughter intended to start a car fund.  The mom communicated, “she want to purchase her own car when she turns 16.”

The table responded with affirmative and supportive comments.

“Good for her.”

“Love that”

“Great Goal.”

Then the mom communicated the vehicle of choice was a Tesla.  For some reason, this announcement completely changed the goal.  The reactions and responses instantly changed. The hilarity of such a lofty ambition. The comments became:

“Did you warn her about the cost of insurance for a luxury vehicle?”

“How’s she gonna afford that?”

“Oh, that’s choice.”

“Well maybe a used one……”

“A tesla?  She can get a Fiat. Fiat’s start at $17,000.”

As with most conversations the conversation diverted to new dialogue and we never revisited the topic.  But the conversation resonated with me. Why did the model of the vehicle impact the ability for achievement?  Who were we to place judgement on this goal? How often do we do the same to ourselves?

I can lose 5 pounds, but 20 is a huge endeavor.

I can run a 5K, but not a marathon.

I can make $75,000 in a year, but $100,000 is a reach.

Insert your limiting belief.

The next day I called my friend and told her to play my voice mail to her daughter on speaker.

“I was thinking about our table conversation last night and your daughter’s goal for a Tesla when she’s 16.  Please let her listen to this message.

You want to buy a Tesla? I say go for it!! I hope you find a way to fund this purchase. I hope you have a massive brain spurt that will give insight into how to make the money. And don’t feel like you have to settle on a pre-owned one.  Go for it, because it’s good to have a goal. Go for it!  Be the only 16-year-old at your high school who purchased their own Tesla.”

CLIMBING the MOUNTAIN

To jump the hurdle, overcome the obstacle, go over the speed bump or climb the mountain, consider these tips to achievement.

  • Keep a picture of what the end goal is: a photo of the car, the vacation spot, the dress, the house, the diploma. Some visionary prompt in a prominent spot like your phone or computer screen saver image, your office, or your nightstand so that you see it every day. Create a vision board. Look at it daily and believe that you can achieve it.
  • Work with a life or business coach to help keep you on track. No budget? Is that a self-imposed obstacle? Find a friend who is loyal to the death, believes in you and your goal as much as you do and will hold you accountable to timelines.
  • Ask yourself the following:
    1. Why do I want to achieve this? Knowing your “why” is key and has momentum in itself to you propel you forward. What’s the reason behind the goal? Go deep on this one. It’s not simply “to be debt free.” Keep asking yourself why again and again and again.  When that a-ha moment arrives. You’ll know it.
    2. What are the three steps needed to get there? Breaking down a goal into chunks creates a pathway and identifies the road to get there. Can you place a date on the steps and call them milestones or targets for achievement? If you plan to create a new website, by what date would you have the domain name, write the content for the pages, and then launch it? Then you can add detail to each of the steps to break those down into chunks.
    3. What realistic date could I achieve this? Placing a timeline on a goal means you will need to take action.  What would make you start today? Tomorrow? Keep pushing the date out on the calendar?  Return to your “why.”
    4. Celebrate your successes! Not necessarily with chocolates but tell your friends and neighbors. Post it on social media. Share photos.
    5. Practice these daily. Know that there will be bad days. You will doubt yourself.  You will question yourself.  Revisiting your “why” and reflect on your successes will propel you to more action.
  • Find a quote that resonates and inspires you towards your goal. Read it every day when you get up and when you go to bed. Some of my favorites:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?

“All Limitations are Self-imposed.” 

“Yesterday, I really wanted a burrito and today I’m eating a burrito. Follow your freaking dreams.”

“Dream becomes reality when passion and persistence meet.”

When you set your next goal, consider the obstacle that comes to mind as a gift helping you identify steps towards the target. Those thoughts are enabling, supporting, and encouraging a proactive mindset to prepare for the journey to achievement. And remember that the obstacle is merely a speed bump.  Not a mountain.

Dream It. Believe It. Achieve it.