Archive for the ‘Personal Development’ Category

In 100 Words: Savoring Quiet

Wednesday, August 1st, 2018 by Troy Schrock

Reflection time is a luxury many people find too expensive. Consequently, the skill of quiet thinking can be under-developed. We live in 24/7, visual-rich, noise-saturated, media-stimulated environments. Who dares unplug and go quiet? What might we miss?

Physiologically, our minds don’t function well “always on.” Reflection time is where our minds work subconsciously connecting stored dots of information.

Practice quiet.

• Turn off devices
• Sit or stroll outside – nature is conducive to mental meandering
• Close your eyes – other senses awaken

When we are thirsty we gulp. To savor a drink, we sip and swish. Reflection is savoring quiet.

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” Albert Einstein

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In 100 Words: Eliminate Blind Spots

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 by Troy Schrock

How honest is your view of your current situation?

Individuals, and thus the organizations they lead, fight the tendency to slip into a mindset of seeing what they want to believe. It is far too easy to avoid tough conversations about data that contradicts our existing assumptions. In turn, we over-emphasize upside conclusions drawn from ambiguous information. We are masters at creating our own blind spots.

Here are four simple ways to eliminate self-created blind spots

• Discount external praise.
• Don’t drown out negative data.
• Extend your normal scope of information inputs.
• Ask others to challenge the “honesty” of your viewpoint.

“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”

Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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7 Strategies for Conquering Fear

Monday, January 31st, 2011 by Praf Pande

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world,” wrote Ralph Waldo Emerson.  You and your business cannot afford to let fears control you, so you must take proactive steps to confront and conquer your fears.   Here are 7 suggestions.

  1. Differentiate real danger from perceived danger.
  2. Ask the Josie question: what is the worst that can happen?
  3. Confront your fear head-on.  Whatever you fear, there is something you can do to eliminate it. 
  4. Recall past successes.  This will build your confidence that you can confront the fear. 
  5. Develop a goal that is greater than your fear. 
  6. Deliberately seek fears to confront on a daily basis.
  7. Create a system to take you through complex problems where fear might otherwise stop you.

For further detail and examples on how to practice these fear-conquering strategies, read my recently published article, “What Is the Worst That Can Happen?


Finding Simplicity in Complexity

Monday, January 31st, 2011 by John Anderson

Creating simplicity out of complexity is the essence of leveraging leadership and a non-negotiable ability for the CEO.  Before you can simplify for others, however, you must first do it for yourself.  Start by identifying the fundamental principles that drive your success and review those principles on a daily basis.  For me, those principles are captured in Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  I have found that both my successes and failures over the years can be directly attributed to how well I practiced those seven habits.  Therefore, I now read Covey’s book for fifteen minutes each morning.  I even listen to it in my car.  I find the only way to truly digest a great book is to read it, listen to it, and break it down into small chunks that I can share with others at work and at home.

An equally important discipline for me is journaling.  Each morning, I spend about twenty minutes (enough time to fill up one page) recording my thoughts.  This has proved invaluable in fleshing out new ideas, identifying priorities, and sorting through challenges.  Those who know me well encourage me to complete it each morning because they know how influential it is on my performance. 

A couple years ago, a good friend of mine developed his own set of simplifying habits and disciplines.  Michael Brennan is the CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan (UWSEM).  His CEO Mastery Success Plan was the foundation for a formal six-month mentoring program he developed for select members of his team.  The Mentor Series consists of a simple 3-step process: 

  1. Attain piercing clarity of your unique ability and strengths.
  2. Define success for your life and criteria by which to measure it. 
  3. Establish a daily discipline of “deliberate practice” to execute your goals.

To read more detail about this CEO Mastery Success Plan and how Mike is using it to develop the future leaders in his organization, read “Finding Simplicity in Complexity” in the 2011 CEO Advantage Journal. 


In 100 Words: Time to Reflect

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 by Troy Schrock

The end of the year is a natural time to pause and reflect – both as individuals and as organizations.  Yet, many don’t take full advantage of the opportunity.

Reflection is slightly different than real-time course correction; it’s a conscious effort to identify the gaps between plans and reality.  Did you meet your goals?  If not, why not?  What factors define your current environment?  Which of your assumptions are no longer valid?  What do you need to do differently?

Give yourself a dose of reality and let it drive your actions in the coming year…until it’s time to reflect again.

“However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.”  (Winston Churchill)

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