Category Archives: Self Leadership

What do you think about on the treadmill?

What do you think about on the treadmill (or your bike, walk, run, swim?) The treadmill (and stationary bike) are a little like the shower for me. I get some great thoughts – and can’t text myself or jot good notes on the treadmill. But sometimes, they stay with me long enough to jot them down!

I realized last week there are a couple of good lessons I’ve learned, as I “walk to nowhere” at my gym.

First, what I did a few months ago won’t suffice for today. This goes right to the heart of growth and being stretched and sharpened. It also slices into the excuses that used to flow out of me whenever I even thought about exercise. All of it started about three years ago, when I innocently told my wife: “We need to go back to Weight Watchers!” That was the beginning of the end for me – the end of some excuses I’d practiced for decades and uttered as often as needed, in response to an invitation to go, do, participate, hike, etc, etc.

See, I had sciatica, knee pain, hip pain – I mean, exercise was – well, “impossible” for me – at least most kinds! At Weight Watchers I learned that activity has to be part of the mix! And not only that, a year or so in, I learned that a little is good, but doing the same “little” after a month or two or three, is kind of like doing what I used to: nothing.

Activity needs to increase – because my stamina increases and my heart rate and respiration won’t get worked over the longer term unless the speed and resistance are increased! What works for today won’t work for a month from now. The same is true in a marriage – or with business growth – or your mental or spiritual “diet and exercise” for that matter. We need stretching and development of all kinds! It feels good. It is good. But it needs to increase, incrementally, sometimes gradually, but always steadily!

A second lesson: what I do today is great for today – but I still need to come back tomorrow or the day after and so on… I’ve figured it out! Exercise is just like shaving (or showering or cleaning up after your kids or pets). It doesn’t really matter if you get tired of it, it’s still a need. It doesn’t matter if boredom sets in – you still need to get after it! (And boredom can be dealt with — change things up, exercise with friends, etc). But, “tired or bored” or my plain old lazy nature just don’t give me sufficient reason to stop doing what is a great and heathy habit in life.

Again – marriage and the rest of life come into play. How often you hear men or women say, “I’m bored in this marriage” or “this ___________ (job/assignment/company, etc) just doesn’t excite me anymore.” Lots of bad decisions get made out of boredom which, seen in another light, would be made quite differently. It could be what I need at the moment isn’t a major change, it’s a major change of attitude or some new perspective; I may need to marshal some resources to re-inspire me or some new accountability to reinvigorate the original goal I had when I began.

Are you also on a journey away from your excuses and out of your former comfort zone? We’d love to hear about it!

Can You Motivate Others?

I read recently: “You can’t push another person up a ladder.”

The scenario regarding motivation often goes like this: one person gets charged up about health, spiritual life, physical fitness, a new commitment to career or business venture – and the husband, wife or co-worker just doesn’t share that motivation. Motivation is not easily transferred, even to people close to us.

And, it helps us to remember, that even in us, motivation is a fickle, illusive and temporary companion. So, even for us, we don’t  always persevere and stay “at” what we “really wanted” a few days or weeks or months earlier.

So, when it comes to getting others charged about something that we’re charged about, whether a spouse, child, employee or business partner, we’d do well to remember that motivation mostly comes from within (perhaps based on observing something or someone) and then it works itself to the outside.

Anda, a boss, spouse or parent can usually, at best, just motivate on a short-term or a negative basis. (Wife says to husband, “We’ve got to do something about how we’re eating….” – Or boss says, “Your raise is dependent on getting your sales figures up within the next 3 months.”) In short-term cases (and this is the problem with the short-term goal like losing 20# before a wedding) motivation lasts only for the duration of the term, or less! And with negative motivations, when the pressure reduces, the behavior reverts.

So can I help others get or stay motivated? There are some principles we can employ, like:

1. Share testimonials – without implicating the other person. When you’re ready, when the “light bulb” has gone on in your heart and mind – go for it, for your own long-term good, and then share the results. You can say things like, “Man, I feel so much better since….” Or I really enjoyed that last book I read on….” Or “You would not believe how much energy I’ve had lately…”

2. Make certain you persevere in your own motivation, despite the fact that motivation for you might wane at times. Commit and stay committed, get some accountability, assemble some cheerleaders around you who are committed to the same kind of goals. There’s nothing quite so de-motivating to a spouse, friend or child as to see you move quickly from excited, to frenzied activity, to quitting when your motivation fades.

3. Then, when and if the conversation comes (and let it be initiated by the other person) – when the conversation you’ve been wanting to have about their need to do something in the area in which you’re motivated comes: begin by assuring them of how much you love or care about them; and that that is the reason you’d love to see some transformation in them as well. Knowing someone cares deeply is one of the strongest of motivational factors.

Translating goals into activity

How well will your purpose and goals (short-term or long-term goals) make it onto your to-do list this week?

One great way to measure your passion for your goals is that connection. The “some day I want to” kind of thinking regarding goals simply doesn’t translate well into action. As you’ve heard it said, “a goal without a plan is just a dream.”

One of two things needs to change.

Either you’ve got the wrong long-term goals — or you’ve assumed you can’t do anything much about them, so back into the file drawer they go…. If the latter is the case,

find some connectivity — even if it’s a single baby step that will get you moving in the direction you know you WANT to go!

For instance:

  •  I will begin reading that book I bought….
  •  I will call ____________ and ask for some time to talk about my goals
  •  I will do 30 minutes of research on ____________

Write it; assign a time this week to get it done — gain some accountability — and you will revel in some new connection between what you want to do and what you’re actually doing!

What, ME Change?

Change – it’s hard stuff, at least when it involves me! My habits, my accustomed way of doing things…that sweet zone in which I have long operated is like a warm cocoon of security – and to bring change into my comfort zone is like an ice cold shower at 5 AM.

Now, we all want change – of the “right kind” (more money, better job, more alive marriage, healthy spiritual life, stronger body, good relationships) – the kind we object to is the process of change –change that invades my behavior (like changed habits of spending, different ways of thinking about my spouse, new focus on relationships, changed disciplines regarding food and exercise…)

But here’s the thing: the road to the enriched life runs through the construction zone of changed patterns of how I think and feel and behave.

Life coaches are “change experts” – not the sort who tells you what to do and nags you to do it, rather the kind who comes alongside and listens to what you’d really like to see happen, then helps you set goals which will – through change – take you to the change you’ll love!