3 Strategies For Making Clear Decisions

One way sign

3 Strategies For Making Clear Decisions

We all know what it’s like to be faced with a significant, important decision. If you’re anything like me, you try to weigh the pros with the cons, and look down the pathway of each option as far as you can in an attempt to be thorough in examining all the possibilities. Sometimes that’s enough. Sometimes, given enough time, thought, and reflection, sound decisions can (usually) be made. But what about those times when it’s not enough? What strategies can be employed to help make the tough choices that we otherwise grapple with?

1) Remember/Examine/Discover Your Core Values
Put simply, a value is that which is held in high importance. Values are worth something, because an individual is willing to devote time, energy, and sacrifice to honor those values. Examples of values can range from the concept of an idea such as honesty, integrity, or loyalty to more specific, personal values like sharing quality time with loved ones and friends. Regardless of what someone holds in high esteem in terms of worth, it is a critical exercise to be able to identify what those values are and why those values are significant. The reason why is because clearly articulated values – and a commitment to living out those values – are a central component to living a life of contentment and meaning.

2) Identify and Define Your Passions
“What are you passionate about?”. You’ve no doubt heard this question before, perhaps in a job interview. But what does it truly mean, to be passionate about something? One definition of passion, as it relates to professional coaching, is when a client has found something they care so deeply about they are willing to devote personal resources and risk to pursuing it. If values are a mid-sized list, passions are a short list. It is an exclusive, elite, small collection of those activities a person loves to do, even at the possibility of failure. For example, someone may care deeply about improving access to health care for the homeless for reasons they are able to clearly articulate. At this point, it is a value. What makes it a passion for this person is how she volunteers her time to work at a free medical clinic twice a month to help those who might otherwise not receive health care. Additionally, she donates money to a charity that is devoted to similar work. A passion combines the belief with the action for a greater purpose that the individual loves to do.

3) Create a Personal Mission Statement
A personal mission statement can be a filter through which one can make important decisions. Properly crafted, it serves as a means to take action based upon a foundation of previously established values and passions. The key to constructing such a decision filter is to inspire (or re-inspire!) this action by connecting one’s values and passions to the decision at hand. Remember, personal self-efficacy and meaning in one’s life is derived from how well (or not) we are living our lives in accordance with the values and passions we hold dear to us. Some might call this the “story” we are living. Creating and applying a personal mission statement provides a client with an opportunity to communicate to himself on a level that can facilitate sound, clear decision-making that is in alignment with his core beliefs. This process greatly increases the likelihood a client will feel confident in moving forward with the decision made.

Are you in need of a professional coach to help guide you in some upcoming decisions that are before you? Primarily, I work with leaders, achievers, and those who are motivated to succeed beyond what they thought was possible. Let’s find the answers together. Contact me directly for a complimentary consultation…

Chuck Sheron
Certified Executive Coach
Reimagine Success Coaching
[email protected]

Are You Able To Connect With Others?

Recently in a coaching session one of my clients made a remarkable discovery. She said, “I can’t influence people if I can’t connect with them.” We then leveraged that new learning to create an action plan for which she could take steps toward changing that to become a more effective leader.

The ability to make connections with others is a fundamental component of successful leadership. It’s also healthy to occasionally ask yourself, “How do I know I am actually relating to others (i.e. making connections) in meaningful ways?” There are many indicators, but one such way is if your co-workers are seeking you out, as well. For example, do others feel comfortable enough to say hello to you or make small talk? Do your peers feel safe enough to approach you with a question or an idea? If not, you may need more strategies from which to draw in order to generate the relationships you are looking to build upon.

It’s possible to be exceptional at what you do, but to be overall ineffective if you are unable to connect with and relate to your colleagues. The necessary skills to be successful at this are just that – skills. Skills that can be taught, learned, practiced, and eventually mastered. If you find yourself in need of these abilities in order to achieve your goals, I invite you to contact me in the field on the left side of this screen.

All the Best,

Strategies to Help You Prepare for a Transition

Facing a Transition?

Will you be facing a transition in the near future? Perhaps a new job, a treatment plan for a recent diagnosis, or welcoming your baby into the world? The transition I am about to experience involves my oldest child starting college very soon. In a different city. Freshman year. We’ll be loading up the family SUV with everything she will need (and probably more!) to drive her to the university, help her move in, and then drive home to what will be a new family arrangement.

Setting yourself up for transitions before they occur will provide you with the greatest likelihood to successfully navigate those transitions. The following are a few strategies I teach my clients who want to grow in this particular area. Chances are I will be practicing them myself in the near future prior to taking my daughter to begin college!

1) Plan Ahead: The more prepared you are, the more you’ll be able to enjoy a clear, relaxed state of mind. In my example, we have a table set-up in the house with all of the items that will be loaded into the SUV prior to the drive. That way, we will know where everything is when that time comes and stress will be minimized.

2) Practice Positive Visualization: This strategy is directly tied to the mindset work I help people with. In short, visualization is the act of intentionally thinking about the outcome you want. It is not fictional or unrealistic. Instead, positive visualization has everything to do with keeping in mind a best case scenario because we tend to become what we think about (metacognition). So, for me I will be thinking about how how my daughter is ready for this, and how I know she is going to thrive in a college environment away from home. It’s what’s best for her, and we will all adapt.

3) Seek the Support of Others: You don’t have to go this alone. Reach out to family and friends who can lend an ear, and maybe even empathize with you. Empathy, as opposed to sympathy, is the ability of someone to relate because they’ve been there before. In my case, I am connected to people who have already transitioned or are now transitioning their kids to college. Sometimes just knowing others are doing the same thing can make a world of difference.

All the Best,

How to Step in for a Leader

Have you ever attended an event, meeting, or day at work in which the leader of that organization was absent and someone else was there to take their place? Me too. One recent Sunday morning we discovered the pastor of our church was speaking off-site, so someone else from the staff was there to fill in for him. She did a great job, and I let her know that after the service. It got me thinking about how others might be able to benefit from some specific strategies to utilize in such a situation. Many of these I learned while substituting for principals in public schools, and I now teach to some of the clients I coach:

1) Be Yourself: You are not the person you are (temporarily) replacing, so don’t try to be. You’ll only come across as a phony and others will see through the act. Since there is only one person you can truly be (You!), be that person. The others in the room will relax a bit when they sense you are comfortable in your own skin, and this will also build trust with them.

2) Seek to Help: Don’t know exactly what to say or do since you probably aren’t working with this team everyday? No problem. You are capable, otherwise you wouldn’t be there. I recommend practicing a healthy portion of servant-leadership, with the emphasis on servant. The act of helping others is a quick way to become involved in the work, and is also an effective way to learn some of the specific methodology of the team you are now working with.

3) Lean into the Role: While you are stepping-in for a leader, you will probably be expected to lead in some capacity as the person would you are substituting for. So, bring your leadership toolbox and be prepared to use some of your tools (e.g. listen, collaborate, display vulnerability, trust others, and be courageous). A role is a part, or function, someone is expected to play. While stepping in for someone, fill the role you are expected to perform. That’s why you’re there.

4) Have Fun! Often, people substitute for others as either a professional or personal courtesy. Enjoy the opportunity to work with new people and learn new skills. Chances are, if you don’t take yourself too seriously you’ll actually be more effective in the position since it’s only for a limited time. Take your job seriously, of course, but remember this isn’t your team. Do your best, and leave it at that.

All the Best,

The Lost Art of Storytelling

When was the last time you heard a really good story? For me, it was a couple days ago when my dad was telling me about the time a fraternity brother of his, who was horrified of snakes, was pranked by another member of the house. Late one night, this young man snuck up on his sound asleep buddy with a rubber toy that very closely resembled – you got it – a snake. The fake reptile was dropped into the bed, at which point the fellow awoke in a panic, screaming. But the most demonstrative reaction was from my dad. A light sleeper who didn’t appreciate being disturbed, he grabbed the already freaked-out guy from off the top bunk, mattress and all, and threw him across the room like it was all one massive taco!

Now, if you found yourself at all intrigued by that tale, ask yourself why. What elements did you find interesting? As human beings, we are hardwired to enjoy a good story. But more than simply appreciate, it also heightens attention, increases engagement with others, and improves retention of the content shared. When I coach people in public speaking, I always make storytelling a point of emphasis because of the many payoffs. If you believe you could benefit professionally or personally by expanding your skillset in this area, I invite you to contact me via the box at the left of this page.

All the Best,

Feel Like Your Career is in No Man’s Land?

The definition of No Man’s Land is a wasteland. This phrase was originally said to describe an area of land that was either in dispute, or used as a dumping ground for refuse. An apt description! If you have ever experienced the disequilibrium, confusion, and hopelessness of feeling as though your career were in jeopardy (I have), you may be searching for strategies to help you navigate these times. Here are a few you may find beneficial:

1) Lean Into Disorientation. This is probably a time in which you feel as though you are upside-down, and flipping around inside a washing machine. William Bridges, in his book Transitions, refers to this time of adjustment as the Neutral Zone. Although your reaction to disorientation may be to fight against it, try to gain from this unique, temporary perspective. You may be able to learn something about yourself you wouldn’t have otherwise been in a position to discover.

2) Expand Your Network. There is a whole world out there of connections to be made. Utilize this opportunity to learn from others – who they are, what they do, and how they got there. Chances are, they have something to learn from you too. The point is, get outside of your comfort zone to meet new people and create new experiences.

3) Seek Help. There are professional career coaches out there who are skilled at providing their clients with the tools they need to make informed, confident decisions about their careers. However, not all coaches possess the same level of training and experience, so I recommend thoroughness and discernment when vetting them for effectiveness. That said, a high-quality career coach is worth their weight in gold.

All the Best,

Who Leads the Leaders?

Have you seen the movie Top Gun: Maverick? In the film, Captain Pete Mitchell (a.k.a. Maverick) is charged with preparing a team of ace fighter pilots for a dangerous mission. Besides prepping his team for the logistics and strategy of the mission itself, Maverick also decides to grow his team together. One way in which he does this is by facilitating a game of football on the beach to foster both competition and comradery (cue some super-cool song, here!). When his commanding officer questions why Maverick is doing this, his answer is along the lines of, “You told me to build a team. That’s exactly what I’m doing!”. To this the commander shakes his head, clearly not understanding.

A wrinkle in this plotline is how Maverick is leading a team of leaders. This alters the dynamic of how someone goes about doing this, as opposed to building a team composed of people who don’t have a leadership mindset. It made me wonder: How much attention and effort is being directed toward expanding the capacity of leaders of leaders? School boards, church boards, boards of directors, and other governing bodies have an obligation not only to supervise the leaders they oversee (and this is important) but also to invest in their growth so they can grow other leaders. To neglect the latter is to limit the development of other leaders in the organization, which in turn jeopardizes the future of that organization.

All the Best,

When Was The Last Time You Created A Moment?

Sometimes it’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of doing things a certain way. Seeing things a certain way. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that (and we humans tend to value routine), benefit can be derived from occasionally driving off-road, so to speak.

For example, my daughter recently graduated from high school. What a day! There I was in the stadium with my family to celebrate this unique occasion. Typically, I would ready my phone to record the significant moments – perhaps even moving to a different location to get a better vantage from which to film. Instead I did something different. I remained where I was and immersed myself in the scene. Without a phone to distract me and viewing what was in front of me through my own eyes, unfiltered, I gave my full attention to what was unfolding below: The students in their blue gowns walking across the green field. The principal giving his speech. My daughter walking across the stage to receive her diploma. Me reaching for tissue on all of these occasions. I’m quite certain I would have missed something in the event had I not made a conscious decision to be fully present.

So I ask you – when was the last time you created a moment? One of my favorite U2 songs is, Stuck in a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of. If you are currently stuck and in need of a fresh perspective, strategy, or mindset to get unstuck so you can move forward, I invite you to contact me via one of the links on my website.

All the Best,

Are You On The Right Team?

When working with people to help them become more successful leaders, I also provide my clients the tools they need to enhance their professional effectiveness with their teams. After all, improved outcomes are the natural result of better teamwork, right? Yes. Except when…

The exception occurs when someone realizes the direction their organization is taking is no longer in alignment with their values. In such a case, you must decide if you are still on the right team or not. As an illustration, this once happened in my own career in education when I was an assistant principal. The principal of this particular school was an ineffective micromanager and untrusting of everyone around him. Meanwhile, the district office was a rudderless ship, having had no fewer than six superintendents in the eight years I was working there. Add it up, and it made for an extremely toxic work environment for many teachers and principals (including myself!). I eventually realized my values were no longer compatible with this organization (as did two other principals I was closest to there), and I accepted an offer from a private school in my own hometown to become their middle school principal.

I ascribe high value to teamwork, and its place as a component of successful leadership. That said, teamwork can be worthless if you discover you are playing for the wrong team. As I often say, “Life’s too long to work a job that does not provide meaning”. If you are finding yourself stuck in such a spot and are looking to transition to a position with an organization that more closely reflects your values, I invite you to click below and reach out to me. Since the initial consultation is free, the only thing you have to lose is a job you are probably interested in leaving anyway…

All the Best,

Are Your Actions Reflecting Your Values?

Are Your Actions Reflecting Your Values?

You may (or may not!) have noticed I did not create a newsletter last week. What happened? Did I forget? No. Become lazy? Nope. Bag it altogether? Not at all. The truth of the matter is that after a full week of powerfully serving my clients I took my family to the beach for Memorial Day Weekend. Once there, we enjoyed good food, games, and the company of extended family.

Could I have created an article while there to send out? Sure, but that would’ve violated two of my high-ranking values. The first, being fully present with and for my family. There is an adage I recently read: We are all replaceable at work; none of us are replaceable at home. I am the only one who could have fulfilled the role of husband, father, son, and brother that weekend at the beach, so I chose to lean into that. The second value I didn’t want to compromise was my commitment to a healthy work-life balance. I believe in the value of hard work and practice that belief on a regular basis. However, without a corresponding commitment to rest and leisure we run the risk of burning out, and if I allow that to happen my own effectiveness diminishes. This reminds me of another axiom: Sharpen your axe, or the tool will eventually become increasingly dull and inefficient.

So, I challenge you to ask yourself two questions: One, “What are my core values?” and two, “Am I honoring those values by how I spend my time?”. If you’re feeling stuck in answering these questions, I invite you to contact me on the left side of your screen.

All the Best,