How Will You Be Remembered?

My sweet 87 year old mother-in-law passed away recently and my husband wrote and delivered her eulogy. It was a wonderful tribute to a very loving, caring person with a great sense of humor and an amazing amount of tenacity. I couldn’t help but think about my own life and how I might be remembered. The idea of writing my own eulogy seems like a good way to assess my priorities and commitments to myself and to others.

If you decide to explore this yourself, here are some questions to consider:

  • What words did you live by? One of my favorites from Gandhi is “You must become the change you wish to see in the world.”
  •  Which accomplishments made you the most proud? These might be personal, professional or both.
  •  What will people miss most about you? This would be a good question to ask someone close to you.

Once you are clear about the kind of person you want to be, I invite you to identify anything you need to change, how you will do that and who will hold you accountable. You never know how much time you have left so don’t delay!

It Might be a Train

Have you heard the expression, “That light at the end of the tunnel might be a train?” For a lot of us who work in the energy sector, the impact of the rapid drop in the price of oil has felt like being hit by a train we didn’t see coming. The ripple effect on other industries hasn’t started yet but the forecasters tell us it won’t be long.

So what do we do now? Hunker down and play it safe or find ways to be creative?

It is easy to keep doing what works when times are good. In the face of an unexpected setback, our first response may not be stepping out of our comfort zone. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that any experience, good or bad, can lead to creativity if it pushes us outside our normal thought patterns.

If you use this opportunity to think creatively about your business, your team or yourself, how might you ride that train through the downturn and be well-positioned for the recovery?

“No Thanks”

Are you tired of people telling you to be thankful this month? You already know that is important. What about saying, “no thanks?” This isn’t about the second piece of pie at Thanksgiving dinner although it is about resisting temptation – to saying “yes.”

Do you keep saying “yes” to everything you are asked to do until you are so overwhelmed that you can’t do any of it well? I’m not discouraging going above and beyond to exceed performance expectations. I am encouraging strategically prioritizing the things to which you say “yes.”

How do you say “no thanks?” In this month’s issue of Fortune the CEO of Priceline Group shares this advice: “It is far more important (and difficult) to decide what you are not going to do than what you are going to do. Try to replay every direction in the negative: We won’t do X, Y, and Z. Focus and simplicity are a workforce multiplier.”

Try (politely) saying “no thanks” to one thing to which you usually say “yes” and see what happens. Enjoy the holiday and the pie!

Building Trust

What makes you trust someone? Transparency, maintaining confidentiality, delivering on commitments, telling the truth even when it’s difficult – these are some of the qualities of a trustworthy person. With the continual news about public figures abusing the trust of their constituents, fans and families, building an environment of trust is a timely topic for all leaders.

Here are a few fundamentals:

  • Let go – delegate authority and trust your team to handle it responsibly
  • Be honest – give constructive feedback
  • Admit your mistakes – set the example for humility and learning
  • Show that you care – about them as a person, not just an employee
  • Be consistent – so people will know what to expect

Building trust takes time but it is an investment with a significant return. I invite you to consider one thing you might do this month to build trust with a colleague and how that might pay dividends to both of you.

Stuck Like Glue

If you are a country music fan you might know Jennifer Nettles’ song, “Stuck Like Glue” that goes, “Some days I don’t feel like trying.  Some days you know I wanna just give up.”   That song has been stuck in my head since a conversation with a close friend who is also a coach.

 

Let Me Count the Ways

My friend was describing all the areas in her life where she is stuck:  doing work she has do instead of work she wants to do; trying to decide on the status of a relationship; being frustrated with adult children who don’t have time for their mom; arranging care for aging parents.

 

How Do I Get Unstuck?

Of course, I had to ask her a coaching question: if you’re feeling stuck in all those areas, where do you need to let go? (Sometimes even we coaches need help seeing the obvious.) It was the jolt she needed to realize that she was trying too hard to control and manage everything and everybody around her.  I can empathize with that.

 

Just Give Up

So when you’re feeling stuck like glue to a situation that is causing frustration or anxiety, just give up and stop trying to control everything.