Archive for December, 2007

The 5 Step Success Strategy For Everything

I am often asked towards the end of a four or five day seminar, “How can I sustain what I have learned here?” Typically this is an indication that the person has found new insights which they want to act on and not lose. The new self-knowledge and insight may consist of a clear set of values, appreciation of personal strengths, a new leadership strategy, how to better enable and develop their team, new appreciation about building trustful relationships, a clear set of goals, a determination to better align short and long term intentions, or something else. They ask how to sustain it because they instinctively feel that the pressure system they are returning to will be challenging. They fear losing the precious clarity they gained while in the seminar when faced with returning to the demands of their busy lives.

I usually reply with the five step success strategy for everything:

  1. First, you have to be driven. If you are not driven with a great intensity the other four steps will not be enough.
  2. Second, you’ve got to design your environment to support your success. Build into your life reminders, support mechanisms and rituals to help you stay on course.
  3. Third, have a coach or a buddy to help you stay accountable to your decisions and personal commitments.
  4. Create or join a mastermind support group with people whose endeavor is on a similar path with intentions and objectives that resonate with yours.
  5. Attend an annual retreat, seminar, development opportunity to gain further knowledge and insight.

These five steps are the foolproof strategy for sustainable success in everything.

© Aviv Shahar

A thru Z (A2Z) Blessings

Dear Friend:

Here are New Year A thru Z (A2Z) Blessings. I wish you for 2008 all you wish for yourself and more… Please forward this message to friends, family and associates.

A – Act Audaciously, Align All Assets Adaptively, and Assimilate Adventurous Achievements…

B – Be Bright & Bold, Banish Blame, Be Benevolent, Bring Blooming Benefits, Biography Becomes Biology, Begin Believe Beyond Best…

C – Clarify Core Commitments, Cultivate Confident Charisma, Communicate Congruent Courage, Connect Consciously, Create, Create, Create…

D – Develop Decisive Drive, Deliver Disciplined Diligence, Dare Dreaming Defiantly, Dawn Dance Divinely…

E – Enjoy Effective Expression, Encourage Eagerly Evolutionary Engagement, Energize Everything & Earn Eternity…

F – Foster Fidelity & Fairness, Focus Fresh Forces, Find Fineness, Facilitate Freedom & Forgiveness…

G – Generate Genuine Gratitude, Get Great Growth Goals, Give God’s Gentle Grace Generously…

H – Have Humility; Honor Humanity & Honesty; Help Herald Happiness, Humor & Hope…

I – Initiate Inspired Intensity; Invite Intuition & Integrity, Improve Intactness; Imagine Industrious Innovation…
J – Join Joyous Job, Journey Joyfully…

K – Keep Kaleidoscopic Keys, Keen Knowing Kindle Kind…

L – Listen & Learn, Let-go & Liberate, Live Lightly, Love & Laugh, Lead Loyally & Leave a Legacy…

M – Motivate Mastery, Mentor Meaningful Maturity; Make Momentous Mark, Marvel Mindful Magnanimity…

N – Nurture Neutrality, Negotiate Neatly & Nobly, Negate Nonsense, Nest Next New Nucleus…

O – Offer Opportunity, Operate Openly, Oppose Oppression, Observe Organic Order, Optimize Operations Optimistically…

P – Proceed Persistently; Pray Peacefully, Progress Passionately (with) Purposeful Practicality…

Q – Quest Quality, Question Quantity, Quilt Quiet Quiescence…

R – Recover Resourceful Resilience, Reframe Responsibility, Redeem Risk-taking, Respect Robust Resolution…

S – Secure Steady Service, Support Sound Serenity & Spiritedness, Seek Simplicity, Strengthen Spontaneity…

T – Train & Task Top Talent, Take Transitional Toughness & Thoughtful Tolerance, Thank Truth Tranquilly, Trust Throughout Transformation…

U – Understand Ubiquity…

V – View Vast Vistas, Volunteer Vigor, Vitality & Valor, Venture Versatile Vision, Voice Valiant Values…

W – Warm Wellness, Work Wealth & Wake Wisdom…

X – eXecute, eXecute, eXecute…

Y – Yarn Youthful Yearning…

Z – Zestful Zeal…

© Aviv Shahar

Share Your Blessings

I was sitting at the best table in the restaurant on the 39th floor. Something special had happened at this week’s seminar and I decided to relax and celebrate the free evening before getting back home in the morning. For five days we had worked hard with a group of 12 executives. They all have had a great experience in this seminar. Each executive had identified their strengths, gained new perspectives and worked on aligning short and long term goals. Each of them articulated their core values and purpose and envisioned the roadmap ahead. Each person had their breakthrough moment, which made the week’s work a profound experience. Now the seminar was over and it was my time to treat myself. I decided to enjoy a special dinner and reserved the nicest table available with a view of the city. The sunsets in San Francisco can be very beautiful and this one matched my contemplative mood. David presented himself as I settled at my table: “I’ll be your waiter tonight, what can I get you started with?” He was bright and there was a happy melodic tone in his voice. I replied: “It’s a special evening, how about your favorite glass of red wine?”

Soon he was back with the wine. We selected the finest dish on the menu and started talking. He asked about the occasion and I explained about the nature of the work we had just completed. It feels good to know you have done your best. It feels great to know that your best has made a difference; that the work was impactful for people’s lives and that for a few days we were able to take a broader strategic view. These tough 24/7 pedal-to-the-metal executives allowed themselves to enter a conversation about purpose. We were able to push back pressures and find the sweet spot, where the personal and the professional are not in contradiction, where the various roles we enact are expressions of a central principle in our lives. The beauty of this process is when people discover it for themselves. Then you know something profound had happened.

It turned out David was a bit of a philosopher or at least he had done a lot of thinking about many things. As the evening progressed he would stop by and our conversation would evolve to the next topic. I watched him work his tables. He had a spring in his walk as he approached each table with great sensitivity and attunement.
“David”, I asked, as he brought the desert menu, “why are you working here? You clearly have a lot going on in you. What is your real passion?” David smiled and said. “I am a poet. In the morning I get up and write poems. That is where my passion is but it doesn’t pay the bills. So I figured I needed to have a money-making job to support what I love to do. Working here during the evening shift is a great way to pay the bills. I meet interesting people and I try to make them feel special. It’s a bit like writing a poem. Some nights I get to meet families on their special happy occasions; other nights I see a successful businessman who has everything and is sad and lonely. I try to fit my style and approach to rhyme with the person at the table I serve. Every person deserves to have a good dinner. Plus, it stimulates my creativity and gives me ideas for my poems.”

He was back with a rich chocolate cake. Looking at the bill it came to $68. Not bad for treating myself I thought. But there was one thing I felt would make it even better. I doubled it and left $136 on the table and wrote a little card for David. “This is for your poems. Keep up the good work. Blessings…”

© Aviv Shahar

The Dog, the Cat and the Rat

Here is a beautiful greeting sent by my friend Barbara Marx Hubbard:

Amazing Hug

How about hugging with a Lion?

Time Lapse Mural Creation High Speed Art

Here is a brilliant graphic facilitator at work.

Cowboys Herding Cats

Do you feel your life is chaotic? Look at the herding of cats message. It will bring you a smile.

Beauty For The Human Spirit.

We love beauty. It is a gift from the Gods. Beauty does something special to the human spirit. Here is a beautiful Song Of Creation from Dana Lynne Anderson sent to me by Tom Atlee.

And Zeitgeist; the Spirit of the Times from Ginger Gilmour:

Why 83% Of All New Year’s Resolutions Fail

Here are some of the reasons why 83% of all New Year’s resolutions fail:

  1. Habits are stronger than intentions.
  2. The resolution was not made with a truly committed action plan.
  3. You did not develop a support system to help carry on the resolution through the ebbs and flows of life.
  4. The resolution was a reaction to something outside yourself and was not based in new self-insight and knowledge and therefore lacks enduring power.
  5. Accountability check marks were not built into the resolution.
  6. You never believed in yourself and your intention in the first place.
  7. You have a track record of unfulfilled promises with yourself.
  8. The resolution is focusing on an area of weakness instead of building on strengths.
  9. You are trying to fill an absence rather than build a presence of something in your life. There is a difference.
  10. You have not created a ‘point of no return’ strategy.

What then, to do about it and how do you overcome these challenges. Well, let’s reverse each of these statements.

  1. Build an intensity of intention. Recognize the weight of the habit. Extrapolate 12 months, three years and 10 years – where will you be if you do not act on this new resolution. Where will you be in 12 months, three years and 10 years having acted on this intention and resolution?
  2. Create a committed foolproof action plan that will carry you through.
  3. Build a support system with friends and colleagues, and in your home and work environments.
  4. Make sure you are not just reacting to a short term stimulant. If you are, as soon as the stimulant disappears you will have no reason to continue. Make sure your determination is based in new and deeper self knowledge.
  5. Design an accountability system with daily and weekly check marks and rituals. Have a buddy, a partner, a coach to hold you accountable.
  6. Make sure your resolution is not just a feeling but a strong committed belief. Build an affirmation into it to accompany the action.
  7. If you have a track record of unfulfilled promises with yourself then recognize that your resolution must be – “This year I am beginning to create better and more trustful relationships with myself. I am acting on my intentions and decisions so that I know that I can trust myself. Other people will trust me after I first trust myself.” Set daily and weekly simple tasks for yourself that you cannot fail and ritualize your action. Act on it and it will build your confidence, self esteem and success.
  8. Do not make the mistake of focusing on weakness. Your resolution must work on your strength. If you come out of weakness you will resent the resolution itself within 14 days. Frame your intention to be based on strength.
  9. Remember the moment in Apollo 13 when Ed Harris says: “Let’s examine this from a standpoint of status. Tell me what’s working here. Tell me what’s good on this ship.” They then get the crew back to Earth because of their total focus on what they have, not on what they don’t have. So must you do the same, focus on what’s working well and on what you have, and build your resolution on that foundation.
  10. Now, this is the tough one. Put yourself with your back to wall. Create a point of no return. Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is it. This is the real thing. You must take action.

© Aviv Shahar

The Manager Tool Kit: Coaching And Mentoring – What’s The Difference?

Mentoring and coaching are two adjacent strategies to develop your capabilities and talents. They each bring a different emphasis and approach but the driving outcome is similar: to improve your ability to succeed in what you hope to accomplish.

1. A mentor is someone who has specific experience in the role or field of knowledge sought after. Mentoring is based on the mentor’s experience and expertise. A coach is someone that brings a set of questions, tools, processes and strategies to help you clarify and achieve your aspirations. As a coach you don’t have to be a CEO or run a billion dollar business to work with a CEO of a multimillion dollar company.

2. Mentoring is primarily the transfer of knowledge from someone who knows to someone who doesn’t. A big part of coaching is helping you access and draw out knowledge from inside – to realize what you already know but have not yet acted upon.

3. A mentor tells you what he did and how it worked and prescribes his success formula. A coach helps you to discover your own talents and recognize your unique success formula.

4. A mentor will model the behavior, demonstrate the skill and describe her experience. A coach will help you discover your way.

5. Often a mentor is an older person. The intimation is that the mentor ‘has been there’, ‘has done that’, has ‘faced these kinds of challenges’. A coach can help you discover your challenges together with you.

6. In terms of scope, mentoring tends to focus on the task, the role, the domain of knowledge. Coaching is about the whole person including the 12 eco-systems of success.

7. A mentor transfers job-specific and role-specific skills, organization-specific know-how, and culture-specific understandings. For example, engineer mentors a younger engineer; a movie director mentors a beginner movie director; a financial planner mentors financial planners, a manager with experience in multi-cultural groups mentors a junior manager moving into multi-cultural responsibility. A great coach will help you identify what’s most important to you, clarify what you “really” want and will help you create your individual roadmap to get to where you want to go. The Coach will encourage and challenge you to take action and will hold you accountable for your commitments.

8. The mentoring relationship is driven by the mentee’s inquiry and curiosity. The coaching conversation often evolves through the coach’s inquiry and usage of powerful questions. Therefore, a mentoring engagement thrives when the mentee takes the initiative to promote interesting questions to the mentor with their own insatiable desire to learn and apply the learning. The coaching engagement thrives through a collaborative discovery guided by interesting and provocative questions the coach brings forward.

9. When you want to know how something works, an organization, a process, a culture, you seek out a mentor. When you want to clarify how you should work on your future objectives you seek out a coach.

10. The power equation of coaching is peer-to-peer. The mentoring power equation is senior-to-junior or more experienced to less experienced.

11. The mentor shares life’s lessons and wisdom and you identify and decide what out of their experience is relevant for you. A coach will generate together with you options and strategies from which to choose your course of action.

12. As a coach you can take a mentoring approach when you have a personal knowledge in the domain of inquiry and the person coached inquires about your experience. As a mentor you can take up a coaching strategy to help the mentee discover her optimal path of action. The best coaches and mentors both enjoy helping people to actualize their potential and realize their goals.

13. An effective coaching program progresses through planned sequences of meetings: monthly, twice monthly or weekly sessions. Discipline is an important aspect of the coaching framework. We create accountability inside the coaching space. The mentoring framework is often less formal and the onus of initiative and discipline rests largely with the mentee.

14. You ask a mentor: “what should I do in this situation?” and she tells you her experience. You ask a coach and he reframes the question back to you: “What do you hope to achieve? What are your options? What if you did nothing? What feels right? Which path is most energizing? What would you do if you knew you cannot fail?”

Great managers are capable of a stepping into both – coaching and mentoring strategies. In our Adaptive Leadership (AL) and the Manager Coach (MC) programs we practice theses skills and behaviors. Most managers tend to use one style of engagement in which they are comfortable. Great managers practice situational awareness and adapt their mode of engagement to enhance the situation, promote growth and achieve best results.

© Aviv Shahar

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