‘Success’

A Positive Spin On Positive Thinking

imagesPositive thinking can work against you. Instead of moving you towards your goals, it can decrease your motivation and drive. Mental contrasting, which is combining positive thinking with “realism”, is a more effective approach. How is it done? For a few minutes you think of your goal, reaching it, and letting your mind wander where it will. Then spend a few more minutes imagining the obstacles that stand in the way of realizing your goal.

This simple process has produced powerful results in laboratory experiments. The most powerful results were achieved when mental contrasting was used with relatively reasonable goals and not solely focused on fantasy or obstacles. If the goals are not reasonable or attainable, we have a tendency to disengage from them. It impedes action; in the same way that positive thinking alone impedes action.

Further studies have shown that people who engaged in mental contrasting recovered from chronic back pain better, behaved more constructively in relationships, got better grades in school and even managed stress better in the workplace.

Positive thinking can be pleasurable, but attaining goals requires a more balanced approach, as with so many things in life!


The Top Three

 

Research demonstrates that when a person fails in their career, 90% of the time it is attributed to their behavior, not skills, education, knowledge or experience. When we put this together with the data that has been amassed from the over 40 years that the Winslow Personality Assessment has been around, we can identify which personality traits have the greatest influence of behavior that leads to success.

So what does this do for me, you might ask. When I was a kid I would ponder the Falling Rock Zone sign on the NY State Thruway. What is the point of knowing that, I would wonder. What could you do if a rock fell on your car? Now I realize that the sign alerts you to a possibility so that you are better prepared in the event that a rock has fallen or falls while you are driving. Well, being aware of the impact of personality traits on behavior and your awareness of how these traits show up in you are akin to knowing when you are in a falling rock zone. You can choose to change your behavior accordingly, be extra alert for falling rocks.

 

The three personality traits that are most closely associated with success are ambition, tough mindedness and self-confidence. Think Oprah Winfrey, Dirty Harry, and Martha Stewart. We all fall somewhere on the continuum that ranges from high to low.

 

Ambition is about drive. Those with high ambition are goal-oriented, striving, competitive, set high standards and experience success as a major source of personal satisfaction. The down side is if you may never be satisfied and lack life balance. Low ambition can lead you to be happy with less than your best, complacent, and unmotivated.

 

Tough Mindedness is about resilience, being undeterred by obstacles, and easily handling criticism. Those who are tough-minded are cool under pressure. The down side is that you may be insensitive and lack tact. those with low tough-mindedness are easily deterred, require lots of positive encouragement and can take offense when none is intended.

 

Self-confidence is the unfaltering trust in self. Those high in self-confidence are self-assured, welcome challenges, are comfortable expressing ideas, and have unshakable nerve. The down side is that you may be unaware your own limitations. Those with low self-confidence don’t believe in their own abilities, are apprehensive and easily intimidated. Their insecurity can be paralyzing.

 

Where are your strengths? Do you see something that is driving a behavior that is an obstacle to your success? Is it possible to improve your chances for success if you fall low on the continuum of these personality traits? The answer is yes!!

 

The first step is to acknowledge the need for development. And the best approach to development is to control your behavior rather then to try to change your personality. You can create behaviors that will move you closer to success.

 


Why Are There Lousy Bosses?

Seth Godin says that if you treat your employees like “mushrooms” keep them in the dark and through crap on them, you will get the kind of work you deserve in return. It is widely documented that the way you treat your employees is they way they treat your clients, how productive they are, and ultimately the bottom line.  It got me thinking,  since this is well known, why do some leaders take the mushroom approach?

You might think it is ignorance, however, this is not likely, since it is so easy to find and learn best practices for managing staff. I coach and train managers on this, and start by saying it is not rocket science. If you are willing, you can gain the skills to be a great manager. I have also come up against managers who refuse to engage in the discovery and learning process.

I find that there are generally two reasons for this refusal, which is the proverbial putting your head in the sand. The first is that they boss has personality traits that keep her or him stuck in this counter-productive style. It could be an extreme lack of trust, low self-confidence, a high need for control,  or any combination of these traits. If you add resistance to personal awareness, you have a boss stuck in a destructive pattern. The second reason is putting the mission in second or third place. A leader at any level makes the best decisions when they are guided first by the mission, whether it is to serve customers or make the best quality widgets. If personal needs, dictated by personality, guide decisions and behavior, mission takes a back seat and best practice goes out the window.

 

 

 


You Gotta Be You-Part II Personal Relationships

An essential element of lasting intimate relationships is being you, knowing and being known. The temptation to conceal our true selves is often strongest in our relationships with those that we care about the most. We are afraid that revealing parts of ourselves that our partner will not like will end the relationship. In fact, even your mom doesn’t like every single thing about you, but she probably still loves you! For a relationship to survive over the long run, you have to be your authentic self, warts and all. It is also a big hit to your self-esteem to only have the “acceptable” parts of yourself known. Feeling good about yourself requires that your life belongs to you and that you are not basing your behavior on the expectations of others.


The Secret of Success

 One of the items we put in the goody bags for my daughter’s birthday party was a pair of black plastic glasses with a fake nose and mustache. Got me thinking about Groucho Marx, which got be thinking about something he said: “I would never join a club that would have me as a member”.

Why does that make us laugh? Because it hits home for most of us. Who hasn’t felt that they were not “worthy” of being part of a group they admired. And it got me thinking about the crucial role confidence-or the lack of it-plays in every area of our lives.

Think of Groucho’s quote and substitute the area in which your success seems to be out of reach. “I would never date someone who date me…I would never work for a company that would hire me as an executive… I would never be comfortable speaking in front of a group I respect.” Is there an area in which you lack confidence that is holding you back in your business or personal life?

Confidence can be a choice. If you choose something, you eliminate the possibility of something else. So, if you choose to be a vegetarian, you choose to not eat meat. Choose confidence, commit to it, and eliminate the possibility of being not confident.


Success and Personality

Research demonstrates that when a person fails in their career, 90% of the time it is attributed to their behavior, not skills, education, knowledge or experience. When we put this together with the data that has been amassed from the over 40 years that the Winslow Personality Assessment has been around, we can identify which personality traits have the greatest influence of behavior that leads to success.

So what does this do for me, you might ask. When I was a kid I would ponder the Falling Rock Zone sign on the NY State Thruway. What is the point of knowing that, I would wonder. What could you do if a rock fell on your car? Now I realize that the sign alerts you to a possibility so that you are better prepared in the event that a rock has fallen or falls while you are driving. Well, being aware of the impact of personality traits on behavior and personal awareness of how these traits show up in you are akin to knowing when you are in a falling rock zone. You can choose to change your behavior accordingly, be extra alert for falling rocks.

The three personality traits that are most closely associated with success are ambition, tough mindedness and self-confidence. Think Oprah Winfrey, Dirty Harry, and Martha Stewart. We all fall somewhere on the continuum that ranges from high to low.

Ambition is about drive. Those with high ambition are goal-oriented, striving, competitive, set high standards and experience success as a major source of personal satisfaction. The down side is if you may never be satisfied and lack life balance. Low ambition can lead you to be happy with less than your best, complacent, and unmotivated.

Tough-mindedness is resilience, being undeterred by obstacles, and easily handling criticism. Those who are tough-minded are cool under pressure.The down side is that you may be insensitive and lack tact. Those with low tough-mindedness are easily deterred, require lots of positive encouragement and can take offense when none is intended.

Self-confidence is the unfaltering trust in self. Those high in self-confidence are self-assured, welcome challenges, are comfortable expressing ideas, and have unshakable nerve. The down side is that you may be unaware your own limitations. Those with low self-confidence don’t believe in their own abilities, are apprehensive and easily intimidated. Their insecurity can be paralyzing.

Where are you in the continuum of these personality traits? Do you see something that is driving a behavior that is an obstacle to your success? Is it possible to improve your chances for success if you fall low on the continuum of these personality traits? The answer is yes!!

The first step is to acknowledge the need for development. And the best approach to development is to control your behavior rather then to try to change your personality. If you find the motivation and apply commitment, discipline and patience, you can create behaviors that will move you closer to success.


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