Are You Uncomfortable Setting Goals for Yourself?

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I used to be. I hated it. I ran from it like you run from an over due bill! I was one of those Ready, Shoot, Aim people. I used set my goals on the run.

An eighty percent success rate used to be good enough for me.

Every self improvement class I took or talk I heard always began with the exhortation that you will not land in the pantheon of the great and powerful without setting goals.

“So let’s begin by writing your goal for this course….”

“I don’t have one. I was hoping you’d give me a bit of guidance. If I knew what I needed to do why in the hell would I waste invest my time being here!”

That just seemed way to overwhelming especially for a recovering perfectionist! I mean, the goal had to be absitiley and posilutley perfect right from the get go or it didn’t have meaning to me.

It was maddening.

Do you know many of us stumble right out of the gate?

It’s why gym’s and fitness clubs are a great business to invest in. We agree to pay for a year, show up for maybe three weeks, and the owner vacations in Cabo San Lucas while we are trying to figure out what went wrong. We arrive, very quickly I might add, at the conclusion that we are failures and being skinny, healthy, happy and buff ain’t for us. Sigh.

Can I share something? It’s not us. Really it ain’t.

It’s our perception of things.

I walk into the gym and here is what I see:

People who resemble the Incredible Hulk doing all sorts of things that would cause me to rupture and hemorrhage to death if I even thought of trying them. Sweating, grunting, high fiving each other. Of course, they all just jumped off the pages of Vanity Fair or GQ and wear designer work out gear.

I take a quick look at me

Flabby, bald, overweight, old, straight from the cover of Mad Magazine

Okay I’ll stop. I’m depressing myself.

Wanna know something else?

Neither one of those scenarios are 100% accurate.

It’s a mindset issue. I set a goal of being healthy and happy and full of activity for the upcoming year and here I am – I’ve been there for ten minutes and I’m already contemplating my exit strategy.

But here’s the thing. Most of the time we set a goal that shoots way above what we can accomplish in the time frame we set and we fall short because we’re don’t know what living in that neck of the woods means, or feels or how we’re supposed to act once we get there. Besides we have our dear friend the internet, convincing us that the click of a mouse or pointer will send us on our way to sensual Nirvana, all for twelve easy payments of $397 dollars!

But then, like magic,after stubbing my toe and bumping my head more often then I care to admit I saw the problem.

When I was a production supervisor I was given the task of managing a department that was under performing. One of the first laws of production management is to reach a set standard. That means you paid the bills. Anything above it is profit. Anything below it is, well it’s not good, lol. Standard is often defined as 70% of maximum capacity. My department was running roughly at 50%. Every morning we were told to walk around with the previous days production report and advise our machine operators whether they made the standard or not. This wasn’t a lot of fun because I can tell you that if you suggest I’m incapable of doing my job every day of the week, I’m going to give you all sorts of reasons as to why it ain’t my fault.

Know what I mean Vern?

I came up with a plan. I took a huge risk.

Remember that the obstacle to reaching our goals is a matter of perception. I started generating a report that took the operation towards the desired standard in incremental steps. If you currently operated at 55% of standard I’d ask you to reach 60% in a months time. I’d ask you how you could do that. I’d ask you to involve other people. In other words I made it a goal you could see and reach and personalize.

Each step of the way, I’d sit down with you and review each weeks performance. If you didn’t hit your target we’d talk about why. It might have been a material problem or a mechanical problem and after putting this practice into place for a couple months my machine operators opened up and added a “I had a bad week. It will be better this week.”

(I think that’s called being human.)

In a years time most of the operators were making standard consistently. Here’s why:

  • I involved them in setting a reachable goal. A goal they felt comfortable with.
  • I removed some of the pressure. Raising the standard slightly each month made the machine operator relax and be more attentive to obstacles. They felt a sense of accomplishment as they saw positive progress.
  • I allowed them responsibility for reaching the goal. I let them be their own advocate for correcting problems that prevented them from reaching the goal.

I could go on and on…………..

But the coolest thing was they started working together, communicating and listening. Those 40 or so people taught me a valuable lesson. They taught me to listen before I reacted. They taught me to break things down in chunks I could handle at the time. They taught me to live in the here and now and look what I could do to effect small changes that added up to a large change over time.

They taught me to look at progress and not perfection.

That, believe it or not, was in 1984. Since then I have a pretty good track record of reaching my goals. (There are a few that kinda sorta fell of the rails but that’s another story for another time.) I am confident that when I set a goal I’ll reach it because here is the first question I ask myself when I decide to set a goals.

What has to happen tomorrow today for me to begin the journey towards reaching my goal?”

One of my favorite movies of all time is What About Bob? with Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus. Dreyfus is a therapist who wrote a book called Baby Steps.

I’ve embraced that practice of taking baby steps in my life and my business. It’s all about progress not perfection. It’s about sitting down and deciding that the here and now is the here and now and running full tilt into the obstacle in front of me is only going to give me a concussion.

Baby steps, Baby steps.

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Check out last weeks blog. It was a segway into what I wrote this week. It’s called Living In The Here and Now

See you next week.

Namaste

Living In the Here and Now

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He was standing on a street corner dressed in a colorful, flowing robe. To everyone who walked by he’d offered a leaflet and a smile.

I ran into him just as the light turned red so we stood next to one another for a few minutes. I felt awkward. He just smiled at me.

Where you are. Is where you should be, right now!

It came out of nowhere. I was gonna ask Are you talkin to me? But, just
like that he turned towards the next passer-by and was gone.

I was expecting a live long and prosper, or maybe to embrace life and it’s beauty.

Instead I get told that where I was is exactly where I should be. The right
now
 part really threw me for a loop. I’m standing on a street corner in downtown San Diego. That’s where I am supposed to be? It made no sense.

It went against everything I’d ever been taught.

  • You were to keep looking ahead, always striving for more.
  • You shed your faults, and your negative feelings and replaced them with bigger and better things. A bigger and better you. Someone who was capable of scaling great heights!
  • The “Next Big Opportunity.”

Lose weight, gain weight. Work out. Run hard.

Build your business, six figures next year, seven the year after! The sky is
the limit.

Ain’t that what the gurus and goal setting mahatmas encourage us to do? Aren’t we supposed to be like all them-there other folks?

Aren’t we?

Can I get an Amen?

I wanted to run after him and tell him that he couldn’t lay something like
that on me and head off into the sunset. I needed more. It wasn’t fair.

Where you are. Is where you should be, right now!

What the hell does that mean?

It was 1995 so there was no smart phone. No GPS. This is where I was supposed to be at that moment in time? Now what?

It wasn’t till I injured my back in 2011 that I began to understand. I was in
excruciating pain. My active lifestyle came to a grinding halt. My life
became a parade with me sitting on the curb and waving while everyone else marched by.Wait for me, wait for me, I’d yell. Six months earlier at the age of 57 I ran in my first 5K race. Now I had a hard time navigating my way into the shower.

When I tried to hop out of my chair, I’d get no farther than few feet and I’d have to sit down. I was doing a lot of live training for people at the time and when I’d set the room up for the event, I would strategically place chairs along the perimeter of the room so that after 30 seconds or so I could sit down.

Hey, it beat the snot out of falling down!

Loving presence arises when we can say, “This Belongs.” -Tara Brach

When it finally sunk in here is what I realized:

  • There is no fatal flaw inside of me. I wasn’t being punished for something I did or didn’t do. I’ll clean it up for ya but it dawned on me that “stuff happens.”
  • I was where I was supposed to be and no matter how hard I rejected that notion it didn’t change anything other than to make me really angry and frustrated.
  • Not only accept my current situation but embrace it. I may never move with the agility of who I once was.
  • I am learning to say “this belongs.”

I’d kept devising strategies and goals and meditations and all sorts of stuff to heal me. One doctor told me there was “nothing wrong with me.” I should simply lose weight and exercise. Uhm, okay. I needed help walking up the incline to get to his office. I should do what? But hey, he’s a doctor. He knows.

No he didn’t. It only made things worse.

I spent over three thousand dollars trying to “get better” until I realized I’d never admitted to myself the “here and now” was having an injured lower back.

Hurting my back wasn’t just injury. It was a message for me to slow my roll. Take a pause and heal.

Notice that there are absolutely no qualifications, exams or dog and pony
shows required. It doesn’t matter what I look like or don’t look like. My
income is irrelevant and so is my ideal client list.

We arrive on this planet with a bag loaded with gifts and talents. It’s a custom order that is designed just for me (and you!) No one can use those gifts exactly the way you can use them.

You know what? We try to. We break into someone else’s stash and take a few things that we know in our heart we can do better than they can do. Until we can’t. We say it’s not fair.

How come you get to…… and I don’t?

It’s all part of our conditioning, I imagine. Part of the bigger, better, faster
and sleeker mentality that hits us hard in the face every morning when we get up. It’s the What have you done for me lately trance.

Color me as guilty the next person.

Then I got this email. From The Universe of all people!

So very much can happen, John, in a lifetime or even on a single day of a lifetime. Yet I can assure you that whatever has or will happen in yours, no matter what chasms you cross, heights you scale or how many people you love or are loved by, when all is said and done and you take that final look over your shoulder. what will humble you the most will be, that you got to be John Jurkiewicz . Of all people! ~~~ The Universe

I can’t tell you how I felt when I read it. Awe struck comes close.

I get to be me.

And you get to be you.

All of us, in the here and now at this moment in time.

I invite you to experience it with me.

Namaste

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May I have your attention please!

If you’ve followed me for any amount of time you may notice I am not conventional in the slightest. It’s me being me as best I can be. (I’m sure you’ve noticed as well that I fracture the English language and all its rules and regs with out mercy.) I am a life, business and mindset coach whoendeavors to combine all three experiences in helping you create the very best opportunities in your life.

To that end, next weeks blog will be titled Are You Uncomfortable Setting Goals for Yourself? Don’t worry. We’re not going to do a deep dive on what happened to you when you were five. I’m going to share some strategies to help you cope with your reluctance to set goals. It will have nothing to do with SMART goals. (Actually I ridicule them a bit. I felt bad about it for a bit. I got over it.)

One more thing: Follow and subscribe. Please! (Sounds needy, doesn’t it?)

John@NewCareerCreations.com

Personal Development Is Not Playing “World of Warcraft.”

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It’s not “Pour water on it and watch it grow,” either.

If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Lemme repeat: If someone tries to sell you the magic beans – RUN

Okay, so how do I know?

Good question

Number 1: There is no, one, formula that works for everyone. The exciting part about our personal development journey is the journey! It’s exploring and testing and crashing and burning and having exciting and hair raising stories to tell. It is not paying a kings ransom, watching a video that’s set to auto-play and listening to how someone else’s enlightenment led them to make millions of dollars. That’s Their Story.

Number 2: You can’t buy your personal development from someone else. You have to experience it for yourself. That’s why the first word is “personal.” It has to be carved on your soul and psyche and it has to …………. wait for it…………. mean something to you and only you not the talking head getting ready to sell you the magic beans.

What motivates us is the personal reward, the sacrifice, the knowing at the end of the journey you stand tall and can say with confidence that you accomplished something.

The experience you have in your life may motivate someone else to begin exploring the lint in their own navel and run around shouting Eureka! That’s cool and all, but the true purpose of self-development is for us to dive deep and create behaviors that full fill us.

It’s a really personal experience which is why its called personal development. (Duh!).

Number 3: Patience. No one likes to hear that word, most of all me. I am no different than anyone else scampering around the planet trying to make sense of just what the heck is going on.

I want it all and I want it now.

When it doesn’t happen as quickly as we believe it should happen we do one of two things. We give up believing the journey to a balanced successful life is for us or we start finding fault with anything and everything to justify the inner turmoil.

Sometimes, we even take out a second mortgage in search of a guru who’ll fix us. When all is said and done all we have is a second mortgage.

It takes time. It takes trial and error and most of all it takes commitment and I gotta tell you there are days I’m not to terribly anxious to be committed. I do it because I know one day before I close my eyes for the last time it will come into focus and I’ll see it clearly. Every now and then I take a deep breath and realize I am just a millimeter farther up the road than I was yesterday. It’s within my grasp!

That’s progress

Progress with patience.

Finally, one of my readers wrote and asked if I called myself a business coach why was I always talking about life foundations and getting our stuff together? Shouldn’t I be opining on financial strategies, marketing and the like? ( I do but frankly I fall asleep writing about it.)

Lemme tell you something.

I have been doing this work for twenty years. I have seen people take off with a flourish, stumble a bit, catch their balance and take off again. I’ve seen people give me the old I got this John. Thanks for your help. See ya later. There never was a later. Something short circuited them.

No eyes wide open and all that stuff.

It’s really sorta simple. If there is no structure, no commitment or no balance in our personal life, why should there be any in our career or business life? There isn’t two of us in one skin. The me in my business is the same me that walks upstairs from my office or returns home from a client. It’s not a separation no matter how hard we try to will it to be.

It is not about reading books, listening to talks or climbing mountains. It’s about packing a sandwich and a bottle of water in your back pack walking out the door and heading out on your own, unique journey. It’s the journey designed just for you at the moment of your creation. It’s about me reading me and you reading you and when we do that’s when the genuine Eureka explodes.

It’s what makes me different as a coach. I coach ALL of you, not just the part that has the latest and greatest business idea. What twenty years of working with people and my own journey has taught me is that when you have your personal stuff together or as together as it can be at the moment – your personal finances, your health, your relationships both personal and professional – chances are you’re creating more of an advantage to succeed.

I’ll leave you with this.

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say ~JRR Tolkien

Namaste dear ones.

Come back next week, k?



Building Your Business One Relationship at a Time

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I met Kevin about a month after I decided corporate America and everything that went with it wasn’t my thing anymore. I’d started a business coaching and HR consulting company.

If you’ve followed any of my posts, here, or elsewhere, you know that banner outside my front door would read “I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground!”

A friend told me about his boss who he thought could use me. He’d started his business ten years earlier. In the interim he’d built a pretty successful practice with a couple locations and had his eyes set on a few more.

Kevin was one of those people who knew what to touch and when to touch it and if he didn’t touch it chances are it wouldn’t work anyway. During our first meeting he readily admitted that he had no people skills and spent a lot of time in conflict with his team members. They stayed because the wage was good and he offered performance bonuses that weren’t a mainstream practice in his industry at the time.

He mighta been a jerk but he was smart jerk.

We met for coffee one morning and he was“professionally polite.” He told me he didn’t really have a need for my services and gave me a“Thanks for stopping by and have a nice day! Why are you still here?”

Yeah.

He started calling me every now and then, though. He’d ask a question or suggest we have lunch and pick my brain. I never thought much of it because the calls were far and few between. When I’d give him a suggestion I might get an email that said “Thanks for your help. Your advice worked out well for me.”

That was about it. Until one day…………..

The phone rang. It wasn’t Kevin. It was one of his managers. She asked if was I available for lunch?

I coulda told her I was busy, I mean I ain’t a social service agency but Kevin and I had established a relationship by then and BTW, I could have told him “pay me or quit calling me.”

There is a reason I didn’t.

My intuition told me there was some value in establishing that relationship. It could lead to other opportunities. Kevin was and is a leader and well respected in his community and sans the lack of people skills our values, both personal and professional were in alignment.

Marketing Messiah Russell Brunson said in a recent podcast. “Five good friends beats a hundred thousand subscribers any day.” I saw him as potentially one of those “good friends.”

There has to be a relationship first though. I mean I can teach my fourteen year old grand daughter how to sell something but learning to value people is something that takes time.

Anyways………..

When I sat down he looked across the table and said “I guess I need to start paying you, huh?

That relationship lasted almost 9 years.

If I drew one of those things that resemble a family tree he would be the trunk and the twelve or so referrals he gave me over the years would be the branches on the tree. He invited me to speak at a state conference for his industry as well as conduct his management retreats. He introduced me to a whole bunch of folks and even had me interviewed by a trade publication he was on the editorial board of.

Trust is not something you pour water on, stand back and watch it sprout in fifteen minutes. It comes from a cultivating a relationship and that, my friend, takes some time.

I coulda turned away after my first meeting with him or stopped taking his phone calls.

A number of people told me he was taking advantage of me being a newbie.

That, would make me just like everyone else. I ain’t, like everyone else.

I do have people skills and I do understand what it is like to run a business and be a coach and try to figure out stuff all on my own and I know that before I write a check I am gonna make damn sure the person I am writing it to knows what they are talking about. In the beginning Kevin would call every six to eight weeks and ask if I had a minute to talk. It was a test and when I passed that test I was given another one so that by the time he had a real issue he knew the value of my services because he’d seen tangible results from the issues I helped him with in the past.

We don’t create trust on the golf course or at the tapas bar. It comes when people SEE our integrity in action not just hear us blather on about it.

The relationships? It’s why we do what we do anyways. Ain’t it?

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It Begins With a Dream

Saturday was a gorgeous day in a string of gorgeous days we’d experienced over the past week. I decided it was time for a visit to my local farmers market.

Apparently so did everyone else.

The place was packed – Like wall to wall packed. I drove around for five minutes before I found a place to park. Then I had to walk a block to the venue.

As I was approaching the market I heard music. Not recorded music. Live music. A voice and a guitar. Huh, that’s new, I thought.

I came over a small rise and saw a sea of people all angling for the best spot to get their onions and tomatoes.

In the corner was a young woman sitting on a stool, oblivious to the throng around her. She sat with her eyes closed playing her guitar and singing. When she finished one song she took a drink of water and launched into the next song.

I noticed something. No one else was listening to her play. They were pushing, shoving, waving to friends and neighbors and floating past her. No one seemed to notice, much less care.

While I watched her perform I noticed the crowds reaction didn’t appear to phase her. She wasn’t playing for anyone but herself. She knew that one day, in some way, maybe someone else would notice and then a whole bunch of someone else’s would find her message and find that her style resonated with them. She was living her dream and it was her dream. No one else’s. You could tell by the look on her face that it gave her great joy.

We talk a lot about joy and passion and stuff like that but I wonder do we really tap into who we are and what we’re doing in our own unique way?

I’m driving home and thinking about all the times I stuffed my dreams in a neat receptacle and followed the flow of the crowd. I mean, it made me some money but it didn’t feed my soul. Being a child of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s I realized, much to my chagrin, that I’d sold out.

I fell off the tracks when I didn’t immerse myself in my dream. I kept it at arms length. That way, it couldn’t challenge me. It couldn’t laugh at me. I stood back and poked at it, refined, made excuses for it but never asking it to dance with me.

I was an observer, not a participant.

That was my ah-ha moment.

I’ve taken a step back and paused. For someone who’s been working since he was twelve years old that’s a damned hard thing to do. It’s not in my DNA.

For the past six weeks or so I’ve been on a conscious journey to get back to my roots, back to where the dream began. It’s getting back to where I started. A kid sitting in a park, writing poems for people. Someone who believed in the shear joy of life and everything it entailed. Someone who got excited and all jazzed up about the smallest of things that caused other people to whisper about his sanity.

Someone who is happy and fulfilled.

Someone who drinks in the small things in life and unpacks their joy.

In his book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, author Joseph Campbell shares something called The Hero’s Journey. It describes our journey from the known into the unknown and creates a new known. That journey, the journey each of us makes a dozen times or more in their lives is a journey fraught with danger, perils and dissappointments.

It’s also a journey filled with amazing discovery and unbridled joy.

I don’t expect you to be as jazzed as I am, but if you are – Welcome to my dream.

Stay tuned, there is more to come.

The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the road has gone, And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
J.R.R. Tolkien