Adapting Your Leadership Style

Leadership is very much situational. One capability that excellent leaders possess is the ability to adapt their leadership style to fit the situation. Those who apply the same style no matter the situation will not be as effective and successful.

In Primal Leadership, Daniel Goleman along with Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee, identify six leadership styles. In this article I will take their six styles and talk about specific situations where each style is appropriate and where it may not be appropriate. As you read this, you will probably recognize that you have a predominant or comfortable style that you may tend to overuse and other styles that are uncomfortable that you may underutilize.

The visionary style leads by inspiration. This style requires a strong belief in one’s vision for the future and in the ability to move others towards the same vision. The visionary style requires the ability to communicate well and to empathize, or the ability to see things from the other person’s perspective. This style of leadership is most applicable when significant organizational change is required. In order to get people to embrace change, the leader must help them to visualize the change. This style is not appropriate for operational management where quick, daily decisions are required.

The coaching style leads by developing others to their greatest potential. This style requires the ability to help others see their strengths and weaknesses, and the ability to counsel, coach, and encourage continual self improvement. The key to making this style work is having a team of competent and motivated people and the willingness to delegate to them. This style is most appropriate in building long term capabilities of the organization. This style is not appropriate for problem employees or where the general level of competency is low.

The affiliative style leads by creating a harmonious and high morale environment. This style requires the ability to resolve conflict and connect people to each other. This style is appropriate during times of high stress and low morale. The key is getting people to pull together rather than work against each other.

The democratic style leads by creating high levels of teamwork and collaboration. The leader is required to be a good listener and collaborator. The democratic leader achieves commitment by participation. This style is most appropriate in solving specific problems where the ideas and input from a variety of people is important. It also helps to gain greater buy in for significant initiatives. This style would not be as applicable where organizational success is primarily determined by individual performance or where consensus may not lead to the best solution. For example, if Moses used the democratic style while the Israelites were wandering in the desert, they would have gone back to bondage in Egypt.

The pacesetting style leads by setting challenging goals. This style is numbers driven and expects people to have initiative and a strong drive to achieve. This style is overused and often is used poorly. It works best in situations, such as sales, where the primary determinant of performance is the competency, effort, and motivation of the individual. This style is inappropriate where results are most influenced by external factors outside the control of the individual.

The commanding style leads by tight control, threats, and fear. It is only appropriate during a crisis or with problem employees. During an emergency, this style soothes fear by giving people the sense that someone is in charge and knows what they are doing by giving clear direction. It is the least effective style in creating a positive organizational climate.

Each of these styles requires different skills and behaviors on the part of leaders. Those who can masterfully change as circumstances and situations dictate will emerge as outstanding leaders.
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Personal Development

The great person theory says that some individuals have certain traits that make them best suited for leadership positions. Leaders are commonly thought to be assertive cooperative, decisive, dominant, energetic, self-confident, and tolerant of stress, willing to assume responsibility diplomatic and tactful, and persuasive. Although we can list traits and skills possessed by leaders, a large number of research studies conclude that we cannot predict who will become a leader solely from an individual's personality characteristics.
In most cases, the majority wins, but there are occasions when the minority has its day. How can the minority swing the majority? The minority cannot win through nor motive influence because it is outnumbered. It must do its work through informational pressure. If the minority presents its views consistently, confidently, and nondefensively, then the majority is more likely to listen to the minority's view. The minority position might hove to be repeated several times in order to create sufficient impact
In group situations, some individuals are able to command the attention of others and thus have a better opportunity to shape and direct subsequent social outcomes. To achieve such a high social impact, they have to distinguish themselves in various ways from the rest of the group. They have to make themselves noticed by others—by the opinions they express, the jokes, they tell, or by their nonverbal style. They may be the first ones to raise a new idea, to disagree with a prevailing point of view, or to propose a creative alternative solution to a problem. People who have a high social impact often .are characterized by their willingness to be different.
Certain individuals in a minority can play a crucial role. Individuals with a history of taking minority stands can trigger others to dissent, showing them that disagreement is possible and that the minority stand might be the best course. Such is the ground for some of I history's greatest moments. When Abraham Lincoln spoke out against slavery, the majority’s view was racist and was tearing the country apart a century later Rosa Parks refused to ride in the back of a bus. Her minority influence catalyzed the modern civil rights movement
Although the scale is smaller, the triumph might be the same for a gang member who influences the gang's decision not to vandalize, the woman executive who persuades her male colleagues to adopt a less sexist advertising strategy, or the ethnic minority stu¬dent who expresses his views in a majority White classroom.
By: Mira Williams
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What is Healing Hypnosis and NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming)?

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Goal setting tips to help you effectively set goals

Practicing goal setting is very important. It's significance is usually underrated by most people. When you have a goal to achieve, it helps you focus on important things, take action and prevent taking unnecessary actions.
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
One of the most important thing in goal setting is to make sure you differentiate between end goals and mean goals. When setting goals, make sure you set end goals and not mean goals. End goals are the things that you ultimately want to achieve. Mean goals are used as a means to achieve the end goal.
Let's take the common I-want-to-get-rich goal as an example. This is not an end goal but a means goal. This is because what you want is not money, but the things that money can bring you. Things like security, freedom, happiness, experience etc. You don't actually want more numbers in your bank account. You want what you think money is able to give you.
Unfortunately, too many people get caught up in the process of accumulating more money that they end up unhappy and unfulfilled no matter how much dollars they make. It's no wonder that they're unhappy. It's because the goal they focused on is a mean goal, not an end goal.
Here's a familiar story: A young man works in a large corporation, aiming to be the CEO so that he can have the money to live a life of security, freedom and happiness. Works hard for 20 years, finally becomes the CEO. But in doing so, for 20 years he spent most of the time working (no freedom, no time for loved ones), the stress is killing him (unhappy), and it affected his relationship with family members and friends.
So he may have achieved his target, but he sure didn't get his ultimate goal. You definitely do not want to walk down that path.
To set a goal, sacrifice for it and finally achieve it, only to find out too late that it didn't give you what you initially wanted. That is a very bitter pill to swallow.
So whenever you set goals, take your time to do it. Do it thoroughly, think it through. You do not want to get it wrong and see all your future efforts go to waste. Make sure you do not mistake mean goals for end goals.
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4 Quick Tips To Improve Your Self Confidence

Self confidence is akin to a tool. It provides you with a sense of certainty, and helps you to manage your fears. Self confidence is usually built up through a history of positive experiences, and with an improved sense of self confidence you will find that your esteem and mental state will be greatly improved as well. With self confidence, you would be able to keep your head high as you walk along the streets and would not be afraid to engage in a conversation with another person.

If you find yourself unable to summon up courage to voice your own opinion, or to tell someone to back off when you need to, then it is probably a sign that you need to improve your self confidence. Self confidence has to be a decision made by yourself to want to have it however if you are still facing problems with that, here are 4 easy tips that will help you do just that.

Tip #1: Set Goals

The first step in gaining self confidence is to set realistic and achievable goals for yourself. These goals should not be unachievable nor out of reach, but should be a challenge for you so that you can improve. No goal is too small, as every little step counts and works towards achieving the next bigger goal. With set goals, you will be able to push yourself to exceed your comfort zone, and it will give you something concrete to work towards.

Tip #2: Control your Feelings

Feelings are strong emotions that can have a big impact on our self confidence. Emotions associated with fear, anxiety or distrust can undermine our self esteem, whilst others like happiness and excitement can increase our self confidence. By being able to control your emotions so that you do not fall prey to negative emotions, you will be able to project positive emotions. This makes it easier for you to act and appear more confident.

Tip #3: Have a Mentor

Pick someone that you trust who will be able to give you the type of guidance that you are looking for. Make sure that it is someone who will not be afraid to push you to achieve your goals, and hold you accountable if you are not reaching them. It can be a friend or a family member, or a professional even.

Tip #4: Take Action

Do not allow yourself to procrastinate as you need to take active steps in order to build confidence. It is often a vicious cycle if you insist on waiting for your confidence to improve first before taking action to help you grow your self-confidence. Based on the goals that you have set for yourself, set aside an hour or so everyday to work on doing activities that will help you to achieve those targets.

Stop yourself from worrying about being unprepared, or not confident enough to approach new activities. Whilst it is normal to worry, it is important that you do not do so excessively. There are many possibilities open to you, and you need to be receptive to developing your own self-confidence.
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Blame Is A Hindrance For Personal Growth And Success

Blame is a roadblock to your success. Blame robs you of the energy needed to move forward and achieve your goals. Blame is often the culprit when people find themselves trapped in a rut, unable to move ahead and grow. Instead of taking responsibility for actions that have taken, they wallow in blame over opportunities they have missed.

If you find yourself in this position, you must find a way to stop blaming yourself and blaming others, You must break the inertia of inaction and become an active participant in your life. It doesn’t matter what your goals are be they large or small. You will never reach them if you don’t start moving towards them day by day.

Depending too much on other people to support you is a form of self sabotage that prevents you from taking responsibility for your life. Blaming yourself for your shortcomings is also a form of self sabotage. Self blame leads to self pity and lack of self esteem. Personal responsibility leads to change.

One who has poor self esteem and requires support from others is deficient in the qualities that promote survival including social survival. One that is frozen in a habit of blaming himself or others is living in denial.

He becomes manipulative and uses self blame and blaming others to further entrench his handicaps rather than abolishing them. He puts the blame for his behavior on himself instead of accepting responsibility for it. He therefore becomes filled with guilt, shame and doubt and has no energy left over to haul himself out of his rut.

If you find you can’t get out of a self created rut, seek the help of a mental health care professional. Often just talking to someone can help you see things more clearly. In addition to that, start moving physically. Walk, go to the gym, do whatever you can to get the energy around you and in you moving and keep it moving by staying acive.

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How To Really Change The World By Changing Yourself

One of the things I've learned from reading the Bible is that all of the evils in life come from inside, from our hearts.

In Luke 6:45 it says, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."

That's why I believe that if a person really wants to change the world for the better, the change starts in the heart.

Too often today, when many people try to change, they don't have the type of moral grounding that the Bible offers. So, when they try to change, much of the change they make in their lives is superficial.

Another common issue is that many many feel deep down that something is wrong in their lives, but they don't change because they are afraid something is wrong with them. This is about who we are as human beings, and we don't want to feel like we are defective in any way.

The desire to change isn't about who we are; it's about what is wrong in our lives: wrong attitudes, wrong living. Many Christians fear that by allowing Christ to change them, it will change who they are. This isn't true. Christ will unveil who you really are. Once you overcome your fear here, the life Christ unveils in you is far greater than anything you may dream or imagine.

The first step to change is to look for the sin in your life. Sin is an old fashioned concept, but for Christians, it is a reality we must accept. Revealing the sin in our lives helps us find those obstacles in our lives that may be holding us back.

Jimmy D. Brown once told the story in his Christian newsletter about what sin is really like: It's like carrying around a sack of potatoes. When we sin, we add potatoes to the bag we carry. If we don't get forgiveness, then those potatoes pile up, the burden gets heavy, and some of the potatoes begin to rot and stink. The burden becomes to heavy, and we crumble under the load.

By asking God for forgiveness, and then forgiving ourselves, we let go of those burdens. By forgiving others who have wronged us, we let go of the anger and hurt we feel inside. Forgiveness really is divine. When you actually do it, you feel better.

This doesn't mean that we're letting others off of the hook for what they have done. What we are doing is getting out of the way and allowing God to deal with those who wronged us.

Part of forgiveness is repentance. This is being genuinely sorry for what we have done. Unlike what I heard an atheist say, that Christians just need to ask for forgiveness and they they're off the hook, this isn't true. Repentance has to be genuine. Repentance is often painful, and God knows the difference between feigned and real repentance.

The next step is to seek to be more like Christ. Only about 11 percent of American Christians read their Bibles on a daily basis. Most Christians don't know what the Bible really says. The secret here is to find out what Christ is really like, and we do that by reading the Bible. Then we practice what we have read. It isn't easy, but it is necessary for our growth.

What I learned from this experience is when we seek to grow, when we seek to go beyond our sin and grow into what God wants us to be, a lot of obstacles are cleared from our path. God has created each of us to be something awesome. He has created each of us for a unique purpose, and when we fulfill that purpose, we achieve a life far better and greater than we could imagine.

The journey of allowing God to change my life has been painful. What I found on the other side is joy, peace, and happiness. I lost my need to control those around me and constantly struggle to control my environment. It became a liberating experience.

The most difficult part of this journey isn't looking into the mirror to find out who we really are. It's meeting God and accepting how much He really loves us. This is the ultimate revelation in the journey.

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Get Your Thinking Out Of The Box

What is thinking out of the box? It is getting outside the usual ways of looking at things (that's the box) to arrive at new and useful ideas. How do you do it? Here is one of the many ways.

How To Get Your Thinking Out Of The Box

One of the simplest techniques for "out of the box" thinking is to identify each of the elements of the "box" and consider any alternatives that come to mind, even crazy ones. Most of these will not be useful, but work with them and some may be made into ideas that aren't so crazy after all. Once in a while they may even lead to great innovations. Let's look at a specific example to see how this works.

Suppose you want to stop smoking, and you are looking for a creative new way to do this? First, you need to identify the ideas, assumptions and solutions that are common. These are the basis of the "box." They could include:

- It is a matter of willpower.

- This is a personal goal.

- You'll pay for some program to help you quit.

- You have to stop smoking.

- It is difficult to quit.

There are certainly other common ideas and solutions, but these are enough to show how the process works. Starting with the willpower issue, you might ask, "Why does it have to be a test of willpower?" This leads you to consider the easiest ways to quit. Perhaps hypnotism could help. It also suggests not being around others who smoke for a while, so there is no temptation. There is nothing too creative here, so you move on to the next item.

It is natural to assume that this is a personal goal, but not necessary to keep that perspective. Many people want to quit, perhaps even a few of your friends. Is there some way to make this a group goal? While that thought is in your mind, you challenge the next item with the idea; "What if a program paid me to quit?" That leads to an out-of-the-box solution: A group challenge and bet.

You arrange with three friends who want to quit to each put a thousand dollars in a pot. After one year, those have not smoked a cigarette get to split the pot. If two of you succeed, you'll each be a thousand ahead. If only one succeeds, he or she will make three thousand dollars. There's some real motivation, and the competitive nature of the challenge may help as well.

What about the assumption that you have to quit smoking? Is there a way to continue smoking without the health problems? You might switch slowly to cigarettes with less nicotine. You might find that the sensation of the cigarette in your mouth is as important as the nicotine, and you can eventually just "smoke" them without lighting them. These ideas may work, but are not too new, so you move on.

What about the idea that it is difficult to quit? You ask yourself, what if it was easy to quit? That gives you nothing, so you play with the idea and ask, "What if it was difficult to smoke?" Now that is an out of the box question, and it immediately suggests some ideas. How do you make it difficult? Perhaps you and your spouse could pay five dollars per cigarette into a special account to be split at the end of a year. Whoever smokes less will gain the most, and the pain of the high cost will make it tough to smoke much.

The most potentially profitable idea, though, may be that of having a drug that causes you to get immediately nauseous when you smoke. That makes it difficult to continue. It would be something like the drug "anabuse" which makes alcoholics vomit if they drink. It would be even better if it was in the form of an injection that lasts for a month, so you can't "forget" your pill.

You can see the basic process here. First define the "box," by listing all the usual ideas and solutions. Then consider these one-by-one. Attack them, alter them, look for opposites, and do anything else to find a new perspective. There are many ways to have more creative ideas, but this is one of the simplest and most systematic techniques for getting your thinking out of the box.

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Keys to Success - Flexibility

You'll find success as soon as you learn to be more flexible! Flexibility in all areas of life can help you achieve success and help you inspire others to find their own version of success, too. But what exactly does it mean and how can you get there?

What Is Flexibility?

Of course you know what flexibility is. It's the opposite of rigid, the opposite of being set in your ways. When you're flexible, you're open. You'll easily be able to roll with the punches.

When a non-flexible person is thrown a curve ball, they'll fluster, complain, or even give up. But that doesn't have to describe you anymore!

Why Is Flexibility A Key To Success?

Flexibility is a key to success for several reasons. Perhaps most importantly, flexibility helps you overcome challenges. It can open up your world to opportunities that you never thought you'd experience. Flexibility can be the key to helping you enjoy the true spices of life.

It's important to remain flexible in the workplace. When you're flexible, your co-workers and boss will like you. Why? Because they know that they can count on you during times of uncertainty or change in the workplace. You'll also notice that this added flexibility gives your days a variety that helps you get out of bed in the morning.

Flexibility also helps your home life. When you're flexible, there will be less conflict and more understanding between family members. In turn, you'll enjoy easier and more fulfilling relationships with your family. Flexibility helps you re-organize your schedule when something unexpected happens without having to fret over the details. This could be as simple as coming up with a quick alternative dinner plan in case someone burns dinner.

How Can You Become More Flexible?

So now you know why it's important to be flexible, but how can you get there?

Try these strategies to enjoy more flexibility in your life:

1. Work on self-awareness. Part of being adaptable is being aware of your immediate reactions. They may not be very appropriate, so you can consider keeping them to yourself. An example would be to complain because someone is bringing home a dinner guest at the last minute. This wasn't something you planned for! Remember the big picture and set a new place at dinner. Later you can remind your family to give notice next time.

2. Step out of your comfort zone. In order to become more flexible, you'll need to get used to regularly stepping out of your comfort zone. It may help to start with small things because it won't be as much of a shock if you're a really routine person.

* While it may take a bit of a personality change, stepping out of your comfort zone can prove to be exhilarating because you never know what you might learn.

3. Speak up. Some people may be unaware that you're inherently flexible. Make yourself heard by those around you. Suggest alternatives to solve problems at home or work. When you do, people will remember that you helped out.

Take Small Steps

A great strategy is to take small steps to get to where you need to go. Everyone comes with a different skill set. You may be a flexible person that just needs to expand, or you may need to work on gaining flexibility as a whole. You can't expect to be a different person overnight, but with small steps you'll be there soon!

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Common Barriers to Personal Growth and Development

Another common barrier to individual growth and development is past failures or events. Often our past failures or bad events in our lives get in any way of individual growth and development. It is natural for our minds to dwell on such events, but only by moving past them might we truly grow as individuals and in our careers. These incidents have to be save so that we can accomplish our goals.

Another general barrier to personal growth and development is our support systems, or absence support. Negative messages to other visitors from family, people, and colleagues does only help bring us down, not lift us up. Surrounding yourself with people who're like minded and striving for success in their careers and their life does help you to do any same. Whether you get support at an organized group, your those, or your family does not difference. The support you obtain, the motivational pep talks and any collar bone to cry on when things go wrong, will assist you to realize all of your goals and overcome your barriers to personal growth and development.

One of any less general barriers to personal growth and development is the foremost lack of planning. Many individuals experience life carrying what is handed to them, without ever setting down goals and striving to exceed expectations. Setting goals, figuring out the way to reach friends goals, and making a timeline for success is a vitally important and usually ignored barrier to individual growth and development.

Remember, whatever your individual barriers to personal growth and development, you can overcome your obstacles. Any person who sets goals, creates a timeline for success, has adequate support, and strives for excellence can overcome the barriers to personal growth and development and achieve any success that all individuals deserve.

If you need further assistance in personal growth and development, you may easily discover a lot of information on any internet or in books through your local library or your favorite online book store. Personal development coaches, career development profiles, and other personal growth and development tools may as well help you to overcome obstacles and achieve what seemed like any impossible.

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Get Home Business Success with Your First Step

If you listen to the success gurus, they will tell you that the first step toward achieving you dreams is to set goals. This is true in achieving home business success, or in any other area of life. Setting good goals will lead you where you need to get to.

Home business success is not a great mystery. It requires building your business on solid business principles and practices. While the internet changed many things about running a business, the foundations of success did not change. One of the most important of these foundations is good goal setting.


The first step in setting effective goals is to write your goal down. There is an old saying that until a goal is written down it is just a dream. There is something about writing your goal down that cements it into your mind. It somehow makes the goal real to you. If you do not write it down, your mind perceives that it really is not that important.

While just the act of writing your goal down is important, you can take advantage of it even more by redoing the process on a regular basis. Whenever you are doing a planning session, whether it be setting your weekly plan, or even your daily plan, you should begin by rewriting your goals. That not only keeps the goal fresh in you mind, it also ensures that your plans are leading you toward your goals.

Realistic and Achievable

The next step is making sure that your goals are realistic, and that you can actually achieve them. If you are slow and on the down side of middle-age, setting a goal to play in the NBA is not realistic. If you are just getting started with your business and you want to set a goal of $10,000 a week within a month, that is not realistic either. Depending on your business model, that may be achievable in a year, but that type of success does not happen overnight.

A more realistic and achievable goal may be to earn $1,000 a week within 3-months. Once you reach that goal, then you can set the bar higher for your next goal. It is important to remember that achieving a goal is not the end; it is just a step toward the next goal.

While you should not set the bar to high, you also do not want to make your goal too easy. In order to grow you do need to stretch yourself a little. If you are on a fitness plan, setting a goal to lose 3 pounds within the next 3-maonths does not really accomplish anything in terms of personal growth. Make your goal something that is currently out of your reach, but that you can work toward.

First Person � Present Tense

The final step in writing a powerful goal is to write it as if it is already true for you. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds, do not write your goal as �Lose 20 pounds in 3-months.� Instead your goal should be specific and written in the first person; �I weigh 'target weight' on 'date'.� Be as specific as possible. You want to set in your mind that what you write down is true. Your mind will help you accomplish your goals.

Setting strong goals is an important step in reaching home business success. Write down what you want to achieve as if it were already true for you, and you will be amazed at how often it happens just like you said it would.
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Dynamic Achievement: Executive Coaching In Vancouver For Leaders Who Want To Succeed

Top athletes don’t just happen; instead, they are born with a talent which they purposely hone day after day. In time, it is this preparation that helps them reach their goals. Though they may make a certain move look “easy”, that move was likely the result of countless hours of coaching and practicing.

The same holds true with executives who wish to reach their zeniths in terms of leadership skills. Though many may possess a raw talent, without the constant polishing of that talent, they will never achieve greatness. Like the athlete who refuses to train hard, they will forever remain mediocre.

Dynamic Achievement Executive Coaching in Vancouver offers top level managers the chance to reach far beyond their current abilities and approach the true pinnacle of excellence. Too often, leaders do not realize their untapped strengths; Dynamic Achievement helps them understand what they can truly do if they apply themselves.

The Executive Coaching in Vancouver isn’t a one-size-fits-all opportunity. All Dynamic Achievement coaches have been trained to provide customized feedback. That way, those who choose to invest in the program can be assured that they will receive confidential, personalized advice.

Executive Coaching in Vancouver isn’t a novel concept, but Dynamic Achievement has taken it to new levels. By using proven, innovative methods, coaches are able to bring out the best in the executives they train. The end result is powerful, life-changing and, from a purely financial point of view, lucrative.

In fact, the Metrix Global Study found that Executive Coaching in Vancouver and other places around the world translated to an incredible 529% return on investment for their companies. Not only did executives and managers begin to energize their departments and teams, but they also improved their relationships with direct reports, colleagues and clients. In turn, those positive outcomes reduced conflict among coworkers, improved staff retention and even reduced customer complaints.

Of course, Executive Coaching in Vancouver isn’t an overnight prospect. Just as an athlete cannot become great in one evening, executives cannot change the way they lead with just one seminar. Thus, Executive Coaching in Vancouver is a process that begins with a 360-Degree Leadership Impact assessment and builds on that assessment. From that point, private coaching sessions can begin.

Though the idea of overhauling one’s method of leadership can be daunting at first, participants who have graduated from Dynamic Achievement’s Executive Coaching in Vancouver report amazing results. Executives and managers have discovered possibilities they never realized they possessed, have learned to take responsibility for their own growth and development, and have removed barriers that were keeping them from realizing their dreams.

If your team has one or more “players” who could benefit from Executive Coaching in Vancouver, it’s time to get them the training they need. Remember that an investment in this kind of comprehensive coaching pays off more than five times what it costs. That makes it a low risk option to help you groom the next generation of management or change the culture in your business.

For more information on Executive Coaching in Vancouver, contact DynamicAchievement today.

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6 Stages of New Year Habit Changing

It's nearly that time of year again for setting and forgetting your New Year's resolutions. And many of our resolutions involve changing a habit, either making a new one or breaking an old one. But habits can be hard to change if you don't understand the various stages.

Studies on personal growth indicates that successful habit making occurs in 6 well-defined stages. If you have failed to form new habits in the past, it could be because you weren't aware of these stages and more importantly how to allow yourself to process stages.

The 6 stages has a number of tasks that must be processed before you can progress to the next. You set yourself up for failure when you either try to accomplish changes you aren't ready for or when you stay so long on tasks you've already accomplished such as understanding your problem, that you become stuck where you are and don't move forward.

So what are the 6 stages and what do you need to achieve in each? Here is a summary.

Stage 1: Pre-contemplation
This is often where people get stuck and can't move forward and is the stage where you're in denial that you have a habit that needs attention. I'm sure you've seen unhealthy denial in someone else, blaming someone else for their difficulties.

People in this stage don't want to change themselves as they don't see that they have a problem. But odds are you have at least one of those destructive or self-defeating habits you need to change. So start looking at yourself honestly and see what you find.

Stage 2: Contemplation
When you admit that you have a problem and you want to fix it, you have moved onto the contemplation stage. In this stage, you start to think seriously about solving your problem and you try to understand its causes, and investigate your options. At this point you don't have any concrete plans, but you know you need to move forward at some stage.

The risk is getting stuck in this stage, if you can't formulate a concrete plan and take action. People often use excuses like being too busy, or waiting for the right time to commence the life changing journey. And the fear of failure can keep people searching for an easier, more dramatic, or more complete solution to the problem. You need to find a counter argument for all your excuses to allow yourself to move forward.

Stage 3: Preparation
Once you've got that desire to move forward and have eliminated those hurdles, you're in the preparation stage. And preparation is vitally important because if you don't have a concrete plan of action, you risk going in circles and not achieving your goal.

So in this stage it is imperative that you develop a detailed plan of action that shows you exactly how to keep your awareness and motivation high throughout the next stages.

Stage 4: Action
Now that you have a plan, it's time to take action. This stage is the one that requires the most commitment and energy. It's where you actually do what you have to do to solve your issue. This stage is about following the plan you made in Stage 3, making revisions as necessary, and persistence to get the job done.

Stage 5: Maintenance
Action doesn't necessarily mean that lasting change has been made. Action is an essential part of the process, but failure to move onto the Maintenance stage, can sabotage the progress you've made.

The maintenance stage can be a long, ongoing process and is often the most difficult. You must remain vigilant and committed to deal with temptations that can draw you back into the old, destructive patterns\habits that you worked so hard to fix.

Prepare a maintenance plan that keeps you on the right track and prevents you from relapsing on your habits. Learn to identify the temptations that can trigger a relapse, and how to avoid or manage them.

Stage 6: Termination
Termination is the final stage, although in many cases people will remain in maintenance mode to prevent relapses of bad behavior. But the termination stage can be considered as the stage where you no longer feel vulnerable, and the habit is absolutely not a problem for you.

Always keep a level of awareness, especially in times of stress.

The important thing to note with these 6 stages, is that you'll rarely work your way through each step without a problem. Inevitably, there will be setbacks and episodes of being stuck in a particular stage. But don't give up! If you have a setback, don't stay there. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go again.

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How To Meditate For Beginners In A Relaxing Manner

Meditation provides many benefits if done properly. How to meditate for beginners in a relaxing manner? This question requires sufficient explanation. The key to success for beginners lies in the adherence to the rules of meditation so that there is something that stimulates the body and provides a nice feeling. Meditation can be completed by doing simple steps. Once the beginners complete meditation, it helps them unwind and be more positive in the surrounding environmental conditions. The success of medication will bring a sense of relief and satisfaction in the body of the person doing it.

The rule number one is to locate a secluded and hushed environment that will help you complete the simple steps of meditation. No external disturbances should be allowed during the meditation process. The Individual should concentrate and focus on meditation without paying attention to external disturbances. This will lead to a satisfying feeling.

The second rule is to relax every portion of the body and then start with pranayam, the rhythmic breathing exercise. The relaxation of the body should be done from the feet and moving upwards. The breathing exercise will help revitalize the body forces and provide spiritual strength.

The Third rule talks about doing pratyahara, something that pulls the body from worldly desires and worries. It helps concentrate on the ideas of your mind and soul. You as an observer remain neutral to the whole incident. It also requires that the thoughts of your body are allowed to flow in a normal manner.

The fourth rule is to meditate on a daily basis. There should be a meditation routine for beginners. If possible, the meditation activity should be performed twice a day. Another thing is to simply keep gazing at certain meditation related images or candle. This object should be kept at a distance of 30 cm from the meditation spot, and by constant gazing at this object, the person will find effective relaxation and improvement in concentration.

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Personal Growth in Freelancing

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. In the case of freelancing, yes, this saying applies. Your contacts are your most valuable assets aside from your skill. You will need people to give you business, whether it is a neighbor, your parents, classmates, etc.

Questions when considering freelance work via referrals:
1. Do you know anyone inside a company where you can get the latest scoop on what’s the current industry trend?
2. Do you know 20 people who can recommend you?
3. Do you know 10 people who are interested in freelance services?
4. Are you willing to invest on more than 20 hours on sales, marketing and networking?
5. Are you familiar with decision-makers in companies as your list of potential clients?

Though most successful freelancers make a lot of money compared to their employed counterparts, money isn’t stable in the freelancing world. When you decide to become a freelancer, you are giving up a steady paycheck. Work and money will be scare, and you will be at the mercy of clients who pay after 30 days.

When you start working as a freelancer, your contracts will always vary. Some may run from 3 to 6 months, sometimes shorter. Work will be cyclic --- one month you’re overworked while you’re bored the next. Plus, a freelancer’s taxes can become complicated and are quite high. You constantly need to market your skills and expertise in order to find work. Nothing is definite.

Freelancing is rewarding both professionally and financially. There is never a dull moment with freelancing, and if there were, it only means that you’re not putting yourself out there more. You get to decide what projects appeal to you; you get to run the show!

Since freelancing is a high-risk endeavor, this lifestyle is not for everyone. It’s better to talk to present and former freelancers and investigate what and why works for them in the freelancing game. And since this is a complete transformation, make sure to discuss it with your partner as it will greatly affect your finances. There is a need to be constantly motivated and self-sufficient. Perfectionism is mandatory if your skills are being outsourced. You also need to be flexible enough to cater to the whims of your client. You also need to develop the patience and tenacity to troubleshoot equipment, software, etc. As a freelancer, access to help desk staff and network admins will be nominal. Basically, you would have to tackle them on your own, learn it and eventually apply it. Being a freelancer means also getting your hands dirty; after all, you are a one-man show.

The freelancing lifestyle was never like a walk in the park. It entails a lot of sleepless nights and stress. Coffee will become your best friend. Somehow, going fulltime will consume your finances as well. It’s better to set aside money when the going gets tough as you make your transition gradually.

Attitude is everything in freelancing. If you take every problem with a grain of salt, correct, improve then move on --- life will be less stressful and more fulfilling. After all you’re working for yourself now.

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Your Mind and How it Works

Your mind has two parts: the Conscious Mind and the Subconscious Mind. Together these two parts control all of your actions and ultimately the results you have in your life. As we explore each area of your mind, understand that while these ideas may seem simple and elementary, they have a wide reaching and profound affect on your life. They control every aspect of what makes you who you are and will continue to control everything in your life until the day you die.

The Conscious Mind

The Conscious Mind is where you do all your day to day thinking. This is where you make decisions and where you primarily operate from in normal life. When you hold a conversation or watch a t.v. program you are using your conscious mind. Both the conscious mind and the subconscious mind think in pictures. If you think about your family members a picture of them will flash on the movie screen of your conscious mind.

You also can only hold one image on the screen of your mind at a time. For example you cannot think of a red apple and an orange in detail at the same time. While you might be able to project them side by side you are not able to see the grain in the skin of the apple or the dimples in the peel of the orange at the same time.

This ultimately means that you cannot think of a negative idea and a positive idea at the same time. While your mind might be able to flip back and forth between negative and positive ideas or images very rapidly, it is not able to hold those two images at the same time.

The Subconscious Mind

Most people would think that the Conscious Mind controls the Subconscious Mind, but this is not so. The Subconscious Mind is the real mover and shaker in our lives. The Subconscious Mind stores all our beliefs about who we are, what we are capable of, what we are not capable of and every other detail we believe to be true about the world. We can refer to the Subconscious Mind as the emotional mind.

The subconscious mind operates in the background of your life and while you sleep. Dreams are a product of your subconscious mind. You can think of the subconscious mind as a computer program running without your help at all times. An example of this would be when you have suddenly realized that you have not been paying attention while driving and you are almost home from work.

The entire drive to and from work is a program that you have put into your subconscious mind through repetition. Your driving is almost automatic and takes very little thinking on your part. In fact without consciously thinking about going to the store when driving that pathway you will drive straight home. Your programming will take over and you will "forget" to go to the store unless you hold the image of the store at the forefront of your mind when driving home.

To convert the things you want in your life to reality you must understand how to use both your conscious and sub-conscious mind. By continually thinking about the good things you want and visualizing these images you will impress them on your subconscious mind. Over time your actions will change and you will start to move the things you want into your reality.

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You're Never Done Growing

I’ve talked at length in the past about setting realistic goals, and planning each step of your self improvement journey intelligently and carefully, but I think that I’ve failed to mention one very important point that needs to be mentioned. And it’s this: That doesn’t mean that there’s actually a greater end goal.

Oh sure, sometimes there will be smaller to intermediate goals, such as finding a new job, for example. But the grander journey, in actuality, never ends. You’re always going to be growing, if you’re smart about it. And I’m pretty sure you are. And you should always want to learn and grow. And I’m pretty sure you do.

And that’s the point, actually. I don’t want you to get scared off or intimidated by the prospect of having to work on yourself forever, because that’s what you should want to do.

Too often, someone will go through the trouble of trying to improve their life with the idea that they’ll get to a certain point and that’s it. They’re done. But it doesn’t work that way. How could it?

And it really isn’t work in the way most people think.

Think about your own past experiences. And think about how you’ve changed and grown over the years due to everything you’ve seen and done, and your encounters with others. Think of all of the people you’ve met who have made an impact on your life, and therefore altered your development for the better.

Why would you want that to end?

The truth is, it won’t. Unless you become a hermit or something like that. Otherwise, you’ll always meet new people and experience new things. And that means that you will always continue to develop.

Once again, I’ll use my kung fu training as an example. We get some new students every now and then who think that they’re supposed to put in a certain amount of time, or a certain number of years, and then they will have completed their kung fu training, and know all there is to know. Then, I guess, they’re expecting to move on to something else and master that, too. Those people always seem to be in a hurry. They want to load as many achievements under their belt as they can in as little time as they can. And they usually quit before achieving any of them, as a result.

Once again, it doesn’t work that way. We have a saying that roughly says that once you get your black belt, that’s when you start learning. I may have reached the sifu (instructor) level, but I’m still learning. And my sifu, he’s still learning, too. And his sifu is still learning, too.

And that’s really the point of it. If you accept that you’ll be learning for the rest of your life, then you come to realize that there is no hurry. And you become more patient, and so you stay with it and continue to improve.

Well, the same is true of your personal development. When you come to realize that there’s no hurry, and that you can always make improvements, and learn and change, then you naturally calm down, relieve a whole lot of stress, live more peacefully, and continue to grow.

Yes, you can have goals, and you can achieve them. I’ve always said that, and I encourage it. But you can also always change and grow if you’re smart and pay attention, and if you do it with the right perspective and state of mind. I encourage that, too.

Besides, you’ve got an average of 70-80 years on this planet. What are you going to do with all that time if you’ve “finished” everything already, anyway?

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The Power of the Negative

The vast majority of us learn very early on that we are expected to deal with facts. In and of itself this might not be such a terrible thing. The trouble starts when we combine with this the idea that we also learn very early on where these facts come from. Typically we are not learning that facts come from testing hypotheses and finding evidence for a piece of information, but rather that facts are synonymous with statements. As we have learned that facts are true, when we are provided with a statement that is held up as a statement of fact, we tend not to question it. Obviously there are times when taking this approach to dealing with the world is hugely advantageous.

“The stove is hot”

“It’s raining”

Provided with these statements and taking them to be facts our understanding of the world, at an emotional and cognitive level, adapts appropriately and we can tailor our behaviour to deal with the implications of these facts, for example, “stay away from the stove”, “get a coat”.

Such statements don’t need to be questioned. This of course doesn’t mean that they can’t be, but for practical purposes taking them at face value is unlikely to cause any of us anxiety or distress. If one were to take a Gibsonian view of these statements (which admittedly is a little odd as Gibson’s theories were concerned with visual perception) we might say that these facts “afford” a clear understanding of their meaning and implications. We are not bound by those implications, just as one is not bound by affordances in visual perception, but they provide opportunities and information for decision making in the widest sense, including thinking, feeling and behaving. Crucially, such statements are neutral, they are not laden with values and this might explain why we tend not to question them. However, the situation is not so simple. If we consider statements that are value laden there still is a tendency to treat them like they afford clear understanding of their meanings, and we don’t question them even though there may be a broader set of possibilities behind them.

Let’s consider some positive statements.

“You’re performance today was brilliant”

“You have a nice way of dealing with people”

Would you be prepared to take these statements, perhaps feel a little embarrassed, but take them as statement of fact and not question them? Probably. But what exactly do they mean? What makes up a brilliant performance, and how does knowing that help you hone your skills, adapt your emotions, thinking and behaviour? Equally, what constitutes a nice way of dealing with people? Knowing what “nice” consisted of, when regarding dealing with people, you could gauge your performance and use this knowledge of your attributes in other situations. We don’t tend to question the positives, but naively accept them, and in doing so we don’t really learn anything from them.

Objectively this is pure laziness, but if we explore this issue a little more deeply we can understand why this laziness makes a certain amount of sense. Think about the effort that would be involved in trying to tease apart the deeper meaning of what someone is trying to communicate with these positives. How would someone react if you asked in return, “What exactly do you mean when you say nice?” How would you react if someone asked you that after you had complimented them? It feels a little strange. Just like when we ask a casual acquaintance, “How are you doing?” we don’t expect to hear anything other than, “Not too bad”, we expect that a compliment should be enough. You look good; you did well, great goal, what else is there that you need to know?

Social convention dictates that positive information stops there, and this means that other than being a sense of comfort, reassurance and fostering good relations, it isn’t particularly functional. That isn’t to say that it isn’t pleasant and enjoyable, and can have strong motivational influences, but what do you learn?

Now let’s get a little paranoid - how much do you trust compliments and positive statements? 100%? Do you completely and absolutely take everything positive said to you without a tiny pinch of salt? Does your critical voice ever speak up and place nagging doubts in your mind, either about the speaker, or about how their opinion might be different if they knew you better? Let’s pretend that there are sometimes doubts. So, positives are not particularly informative, you can’t really learn from them and you can’t be entirely sure that they are 100% truthful. As far as personal growth goes perhaps they are not quite the bargain the might be. Feel good, yes, and that is powerful, but their power is coming from someone else. You haven’t increased your power from them, your personal understanding of your talents, skills, biases, weaknesses etc. Someone else is in a position of power to convey these blessings upon you, and as we’ve begun to suspect, they may not be 24 carat gold.

If neutral statements aren’t going to help us in our quest for personal growth and understanding, and positive statements aren’t, the only thing left would be the negative statements.

How could negative statements help us develop, after all, the negative statements that we are so good at keeping in our heads, that running commentary that intervenes and deflates us, probably couldn’t be considered to be a source of vital information that leads to our self-growth? That’s true. But it is through what we can learn from the negative reactions of others - the things they say, the way they respond, - that we can start to challenge the voices in our minds, and the voices outside.

If you know what it is that you are doing wrong, you can change it if you decide to do so. The great thing is that people are only too happy to let you know what it is that you are doing wrong. Probably the only thing people like better than talking about themselves is telling other people what’s wrong with them. Remember that you aren’t obliged to change to satisfy anyone, but if you want or need to develop in a certain area of your life, then knowing where you are now, and how that isn’t as good as required, and knowing the specifics of where you are going wrong, it’s almost like you have been given a map of how to develop. Now that’s a map worth having, and you’re getting it for free. Whilst someone else might feel that they are getting to vent at you, you can collect useful information and use that to build up an understanding of what is expected, and develop strategies to get there.

Who is it that is benefiting, the person criticising, or the person criticised?

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