Let’s be honest, at some point we all hit a wall. A Plateau. A Bad Day. Writer’s Block. Whatever you might call the moment when things stop working. It is a natural part of reaching for a goal. It’s just a part of life. How you handle that moment is crucial though. If handled wrong the wall becomes too big to overcome, and we become frustrated, irritable, and maybe worst of all, we give up.
If we handle the moment well, the wall becomes a hurdle. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t take work or time to overcome, but we soon find ourselves back on track to achieving our goals. Here are a few ways to handle those moments when we hit a wall in our life.
We work hard. Life can get busy. Sometimes we hit the wall when we are tired, and that makes the wall bigger than it actually is. It is OK to take a break. Walk away from the wall for awhile. Part of this is being aware of your situation and self. To be honest enough to take a real break. I know this is difficult for us when we are striving to achieve a goal. But when you feel rested, you might discover that the wall was not that big in the first place.
This option is also hard to do sometimes. Our pride gets in the way, but consider that great athletes have coaches, great writers have editors, and simply, CEOs have friends. We are people, not machines. Getting someone else’s perspective on a situation is a valuable asset in overcoming a “wall” moment. When working on a goal, our focus can actually blind us from seeing new opportunities or hurdles that trip us up. Life is a team sport, you don’t have to do it alone.
One way around a wall is a new approach. Asking for help can lead us to consider new approaches. But we can figure it out sometimes when we hit a wall, and we hit a wall, and we hit it again. If we keep doing the same thing and keep hitting a wall, it is time to change. As a coach and teacher I am always evaluating the outcome of a lesson or practice plan. Track is the best example here. As a track coach I paid attention to my runners’ times for their events. If they didn’t improve their time after a few weeks, I knew I had to change their training. The same holds true in our pursuit of a goal. Hitting a wall, especially a couple of times, is a sign to try a new approach.
The last approach may be the most important, learn. When we move into a new area of life or step closer to a goal, we are entering new territory. And we might not have the knowledge or skills for this step forward. My first novel has been out for six months. Sales started out well, in fact, I sold a couple of hundred copies. But now sales are almost to a stop. I have hit a wall. This wall is because of my lack of knowledge about promoting a book. It will take some time, but I am learning about different ways to self-promote and hiring an agency to promote a book. This wall was created because I had not gained the knowledge needed to promote a book well.
Hitting a wall is a part of striving for a goal. It is part of life. Using one of these strategies should help you get through the moment and back on track.
Bio: Jamey Boelhower is a husband and a father of six. He is currently an Instructional Coach and an adjunct professor for Central Community College, Nebraska. You can read his regular blog “It Is All Connected” by clicking here. And you can follow him on twitter at @jdog90Read More
Far too often does the process of making bad choices, unethical choices, begin with a simple almost thoughtless decision. How do I know? I am living proof that good people can make really bad choices and profound doesn’t come close to describing the experience.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see this coming. When I first started “borrowing” from my client I had every intent of paying back what I took. Heck, I did pay some of it back…at least at the beginning!” Those were the words I shared as I openly confessed that the life I was living was, for the most part, an illusion. Truth be told for all my legitimate successes, I had over time become no more than a liar and a thief. My choices created consequences that he never dreamed were possible.
Some people have advised that I should not be so transparent, especially when writing an article for such a prestigious organization. By my recantation of my ethical fall is all too common. People who fold their arms stating “I would never do something illegal much less unethical!” find that what triggers inappropriate behavior is a basic part of human nature. We are all subject to temptation and therefore can and do make bad choices. I am but an example.
If bad choices lead to tough consequences, what can we do to identify bad behavior before it starts? What can we do, as managers or leaders, to prevent unethical choices from being made in the first place? Those are two very profound questions, both of which are at the heart of why it is critical to talk about the Human Side of Ethics in your organization
The Three Components of Bad Behavior
Research has shown that three behaviors are at the core of what would cause or allow an otherwise ethical person to make unethical and potentially illegal choices. These behaviors are well documented and for those who are charged with detecting fraud (Statement of Auditing Standards #99) are called “the fraud triangle”
Need. Described as perceived pressure that a person is experiencing, is the first and critical component of what motives a person to stray from ethical to unethical. Need may come in a variety of forms. The person who is in too much debt likely experiences financial strain – which was the root of my need. Alice, a church secretary, found her need triggered by her granddaughter:54’s diagnosis of cancer. Infamous Bernie Madoff’s need was certainly not money; likely, he was triggered by the need to be infallible. Whatever the pressure, need is the core emotional state that starts the ball rolling from a choice that is ethical to unethical.
Opportunity. It makes no difference what your need may be if you don’t have the opportunity to satisfy it then the unethical and potentially illegal choice fails. Without Opportunity there is no fuel for the potential unethical fire. I was a trusted employee, and with that trust came opportunity. Alice was trusted, and had been for so many years that no one could comprehend she was capable of any unethical activity. Madoff took opportunity founded in trust to a new level.
Rationalization. Need combined with opportunity provides a firm foundation, but the glue that holds unethical activity together is the ability to rationalize that what is wrong, is right. If you ask most people found guilty of unethical/illegal behavior, they will tell you they felt their actions were legitimate. Mark, for example, rationalized that he was not “stealing” money as long as his intent was to pay it back. Further, he solidified this mental game by paying some of the money back. “Surely, I wasn’t guilty of stealing money as long as I was paying it back,” he stated.
The mind can be tricky and when you combine need with opportunity, and can rationalize bad:00 behavior as good, you have the perfect storm to move from ethical to unethical, and potential illegal, behavior.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Unethical Activities?
As business managers, HR Directors and those connected with Compliance, there are clear actions we can take that can help keep folks between the ethical lines.
Look for Need! While we can’t control what needs our employees have, we can be aware of any changes or activities that would suggest an increase in need and the stress that need brings.
I was the one responsible for my unethical actions. I was in too much debt and succumbed to the pressure of my need by turning to an unethical activity. I blame no one, but I also have to acknowledge that if those close to me (my partners in business for example) had noticed my changing patterns of behavior their attention might have thwarted my actions.
When subconscious need is brought to light or becomes conscious, then often the outcome is reduced inclination toward unethical behavior. So, signs to look indicating increased need are: (1) calls from creditors or personal calls intensifying at work; (2) abnormal purchases without apparent new sources of funding; (3) lifestyle changes and/or (4) marital issues or challenges with aging parents.
Need is the fuel that supports the possibility of unethical behavior. The challenge most managers face with thinking about “Need” is to be open minded enough to consider the potential sources of “Need” so that what might fuel unethical behavior can be suppressed.
Minimize Opportunities. The most effective course of action to keep our employees and associates between ethical lines is to remove opportunities to conduct unethical activities. For example, I embezzled money from a client’s trust fund. While I am not proud of that action (now some 25+ years ago), had the bank account that I used required two signatures, the embezzlement would have been far more difficult. Think about it, with that minor change what would I do, ask the co-signer to help me steal money from the trust? The answer is simple, of course not. So, less opportunity equals less chance for unethical activity.
A practical question is how do we reduce opportunity? Some of the answers are obvious. Minimize opportunities by: (1) requiring multiple signatures on checks; (2) require people to rotate job responsibilities from time to time; (3) strongly encourage employees to take vacations or time off; and/or (4) ask employees from different positions within the company to identify how people can or do act unethically. When a person is aware that their actions are being watched or subject to being watched, the “Opportunity” factor decreases substantially. As worn out as the line might be, people really do respect what management inspects. Of course, management must be subject to inspection as well.
Train Rationalization. Depending on one’s internal ethical compass, what one person can easily rationalize may be a problem for another. Therefore, as managers our role (just as important as the more analytical “Opportunity” role) is to educate our people on the significance of “Rationalization” identifying what it sounds like and when it might appear.
When employees hear what rationalization sounds like, when we bring to consciousness what is active in the subconscious, it becomes far easier to support each other in our ethical choices. At a recent ethics seminar an attendee commented, “But everybody does it.” As those words were spoken, another participant yelled out, “Rationalization!” The crowd erupted in laughter as people began to see just how simple and easy it is to rationalize the “little things”. And, when we rationalize the little, the larger unethical choices become easier to swallow.
Your Ethical Culture
Every business or organization needs to remember that the creation of an ethical culture is exemplified in the actual behavior and attitudes of all team members. The question is not so much whether you talk the talk (in policy documents, training materials or video or webinars), but rather whether you walk the walk.
Want to create a culture of ethical behavior in your organization? It’s easy if you think about it. When you start by understanding how good people make bad choices, and follow it with an effective ethics-training program that reinforces ethical choices and accountability, you have a recipe for success. Every choice has a consequence. What choices do you make for your organization to help keep your most valuable assets between the ethical lines?
About the Author
Chuck Gallagher is the President of the Ethics Resource Group and an international expert in business ethics. Chuck provides training, presentations and consultation with associations and companies on ethics and creating ethical cultures where people do the right thing, not because they have to, but because they want to! Information can be found at http://chuckgallagher.com or Chuck can be reached via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
[youtube width=”640″ height=”360″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL1d36I4t2Q[/youtube]This is this the phrase that I have on my cell phone home page: Imperfect Daily Action. In reminds that small forwards steps are the best way forwards towards any achievement. It also helps me accept my imperfection and not get so down on myself for minor setbacks. Watch the video and let me know what you think.Read More
Fear should never be allowed to hinder one in life. In reality, fear is nothing but, “false evidence appearing real”. That means that if you dissected the fear that a person had, then you would find no reason for it. A friend of mine told me recently of how she used to be afraid of dogs, until she was the age of 33. When my friend was a child, her aunt told her of a story of being bitten by a dog when she too was a little girl. She even showed my friend her wound. My friend became so terrified of dogs from that point on. It was almost as if my friend had “inherited” this fear from her aunt. Never had my friend been bitten or had any reason to be afraid of dogs, but she carried this fear for years. She assumed she would always be that way until one day she dated a guy who owned a Rottweiler. At first she experienced those same dreaded reactions that she always would when she came into contact with a dog. However, this time she soon realized that, although the dog was huge, there was no cause for her being intimidated by him…he was just a 150 lb. puppy, who happened to be extremely loveable. From that point on, her fear of dogs vanished.
It is ridiculous to think that a person could actually be fearful based on something that happened to someone else, right? Not really. This occurs every day. Too often, people are afraid to start a business, write and publish a book, go back to school or of making an investment in their future. Not because they have tried before, but because they knew someone else who tried and failed. Or you have the other end of the spectrum where a person may actually be afraid to succeed. Either case is a tragedy in life and could result in a person being stuck in their own world.
No matter how you look at it, you can never win with fear. Fear can be just as devastating as a plague, if allowed to exist, and has the potential to spread to so many other areas in life. That’s why it is vital to face fear head on. In life, we should never allow fear to score more touchdowns than we do, if we expect to win. And we do. Instead, deal with your fears before they become so detrimental to progression in life.
How do we deal with fear? Although not always a simple answer, some steps include:
Follow these steps with each fear that you may have. Make sure that you have conquered one before moving to another. Progress may not come overnight. Each person is different. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if your fear is deeply rooted and/or a result of trauma.
Know that you are predestined to win in life, not lose to fear. Refuse to give up or give in. Make the choice to tackle your fears today!
Shonda R. Murphy is a Life Coach at Divine Direction Life Coaching and a Financial Planner for Primerica, Inc. As an advocate of financial literacy, she thrives on helping individuals through life transitions as they get back on track, especially in the area of their finances.Read More
The title above was one of many gems that came out of this university commencement speech by Jim Carrey.
It is not uncommon to have celebrities speak at commencement ceremonies. This one was special and has some very deep words that you should listen to and put into practice in your own life.
What did you think? Come over to the Facebook Page and let me know what you took away.Read More
We will gladly give our time, attention and money to a person who knows what they are talking about. Or at least thinks they know they are talking about. But self-confidence does not come naturally to a lot people. I think our upbringing drastically affects whether we leave the nest with a ton of self-confidence or very little.
Self-confidence is the ability to believe and display the attitude that you know what you are doing. It is a virtue desired by employers, mates and friends. The world is a beautiful balance of people who have varying levels of self-confidence. The people on one end of the scale are fearful that they are not good enough or don’t know enough to open up and share their wisdom. The people on the extreme other end of the scale of self-confidence are brash, arrogant, and generally unpleasant to be around. If you can find a way to be confident but be just below the extreme, the world will love you and eat you up. They will applaud you and live vicariously through you. And as a bonus – they will pay good money to be around you and learn from you.
Here are the mindsets that you should remember when you are not quite sure of what you are getting ready to tackle – or even if you should be doing it:
Bonus: When you see people that appear “self-confident” and wish you were more like them, remember this: They may have the same fears and insecurities that you do. Fifteen minutes before you saw them they may have been sitting in their car doing self-talk to get up the courage to do what you are seeing them do now. Some of the people that appear confident in public are terribly insecure in private. They are just really good actors, and their desire for accomplishment is greater than their fear of failure.
What do you think? Click here to visit our Facebook page and leave a comment. Or scroll down and subscribe to the email list to get more tips on this topic.Read More
Are you ever browsing the internet looking for ways to be more successful and more motivated ? Every now and again you’ll stumble upon the blog of a person that is living the life you want to live. They look like they are famous. They talk about their money or other assets. They have a huge social media following. They are loved and adored by all of their fans. And you are 100% sure that they are relaxing in their 10,000 square foot house house drinking top grade alcohol while floating in their pool.
I’ve heard friends say that they encounter this often. And it is depressing. It is depressing to think that so many other people in the world that are doing so much better than you are. It can be almost painful at times to see that somebody else has no problem buying food. Or making their mortgage payment. Our putting clothes on their kid’s backs. If you go to the extreme you might be one of those people who have an extreme hatred for successful people. Why do they deserve to get everything? You are the one working two jobs and your lights still get cut off every now and then.
If you ever feel yourself getting angry when you see somebody else’s life I want you to remember this list:
Pay close attention to #3. The more time you spend on #3 the less time you have to spend on #4. If you are frustrated with your lot in life, then stop wishing for something better and stop watching other people have what you want. Just go do it yourself.
Now get off of the internet and figure out how to generate your own personal fortune.Read More
Man – life will hurl some nasty stuff at you some times. I don’t care how strong you are, there will be times where you just need to sit back and say “Why me? Why now? Why again? Why today? Wasn’t yesterday bad enough? Just quit beating me up. ”
Allow yourself to do that. Eat some ice cream. Do whatever it takes to just take a deep breath. Then wake up in the morning, put one foot in front of the other and try again. Life may beat the crap out of you. The trick is to keep coming back. Take the blows. Take the pain. Take a knee. Then start all over and attack it again. Remember that you deserve to be happy. It is your right. You may have to claw through hell to get it. But you will get it.
Everybody has self-doubt. Even the most confident person you know is wondering on some level if they are on the right path. Self-doubt is normal, and should be considered a safety mechanism that constantly has you reevaluating your choices.
Don’t let self-doubt hinder you from making the choices you need to live a bigger, fuller life. Question your thoughts. But then make fast, smart choices with the best information you have at the time. The people in life that are held back are those that get paralyzed by their self-doubt. Exercise emotional intelligence. Be aware of your self-doubt. But then push through it.
There are amazing things waiting on the other side for people that embrace fear and use it to their advantage.