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Excellence is not Perfection

15 Sep

Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise,

risking more than others think is safe,

dreaming more than others think is practical,

and expecting more than others think is possible.

A poster of a soaring eagle with that description has hung on my office wall for decades, and the inspirational description is by Ronnie Oldham.

Striving for Excellence is so very aspirational and it keeps us on our growth-edge.  

However, the quest for excellence does not imply the quest for perfection.  We hyper-achiever types often push ourselves to do it ALL.  To make it PERFECT.  To answer EVERYTHING.  We of course want to keep moving forward with agility and speed.  However, the cost of getting the last 10% perfect, or even more so, the cost of getting the last 1% perfect, can be very (very) high.  It can sap our energy from other activities and indulgences that delight us.

So, next time you are pushing yourself for Excellence, take a moment to pause and ask yourself whether you are actually pushing for unnecessary (and costly) Perfection.

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & Consultant, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

Just Be You!

17 Aug

Most senior leaders have spent a lot of time thinking about and acting on “leadership skills.”  It’s great that we strive for the next growth edge, and that we drive to deliver on approaches and goals set by others.

The flip side to that though is knowing that just being YOU is also vital to our happiness … and to our successes. Our lives are far richer than just our work leadership roles, particularly as prescribed by others.  Most of us are also, partners, daughters, friends, community members, and sometimes even Moms!  Never apologize for what you have to be or do, to be a whole human being.  If a work environment is not a place that you can be you, then maybe you don’t belong there.  

Life is precious.  Live yours authentically, live your dreams, and show up as the whole you 😉

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & Consultant, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

Check Out to Check In

24 Apr

Most of us have heard the advice to “check-in with yourself” … usually a suggestion about something one can do periodically and throughout the day.  Often because we’ve been frantic, juggling, busy … or simply annoying 😉

But it’s hard to really “check in” if we haven’t first “checked out” and cleared a space.  Checking out both physically, but also emotionally, and mentally.  Step back.  Pause.  Gently put your inside chatter and thought and thinking in a box.  Put it aside and check out of that time and space.  And only then …

… Find and sit in a quiet, private place.  Check-in with your whole self.  Scan your body, looking for signals.  Feel your state of being.  Really look at it and experience it.  Notice tension, temperature, heartbeat … just observe what you feel.  If your mind drifts, simply notice the thoughts and let them go, like clouds passing by.  And come back to your center and your being.When ready, note how you’ve been being (in your head, your heart, and your body). Even jot notes in your journal if that’s your practice.  Note what is familiar and what is different or familiar.  Notice what you’ve never noticed before.

Kintsugi To You

26 Feb

Kintsugi, which means “golden joinery,” is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with lacquer dusted powdered gold, silver, or platinum.  Weaving together parts with a golden seam, to create the beautiful whole.

As we journey through life, we’ve all experienced breakages and parts of us that were difficult to experience, or that we wish we had done differently.  The past is the past and we can’t change it; and the future is the future and is not controllable or known.  But in the present, we can reflect on those fragmented pieces, and how they can be put together, to reflect the wholeness of your beautiful you.  After all, we wouldn’t be where we are today if we hadn’t journeyed through our past experiences.

To reflect on this, set aside 60 minutes in a quiet spot (maybe even with some scented candles and soft music), and pull out that reflection journal.   Ask yourself: “What were the toughest parts of my life?”  Write down a handful, or even a dozen.  Include even those experiences you would rather not have happened.  Pause.  Take some deep breaths.  Then ask yourself “How did it contribute to who I am today?” and “What did I learn from it?”  Jot your thoughts down.  Then reflect on the collective thoughts.  Consider where there might be gratitude for some element(s) of those experiences.  It’s interesting to see how all our past creates who we are today, and who we might become in our future.

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

Executive Coach & Collaborator, You Are Possible

Successful People Fear Failure

31 Oct

We’ve all heard the term “Fear of Failure.”  But have you ever really thought about it for yourself?

What makes successful people successful is that, well, they’ve been successful.  Top of Class, A-Performer, risen to the top, accelerated progression, a Super Star, a High Performance / High Potential Rising Star.  All good stuff.

But what many hyper-successful people have not contemplated is that they are often not good at failure.  They have pretty limited experience with it.  They don’t know how to do it.  The setbacks that other mere mortals may have experienced often (!) during their rise to mid-level management.  How many of our top leaders typically encounter career trials & tribulations … and Failure!?  How many failed and failed and failed again … then rose to the top?  It’s not that those amazing examples aren’t out there … but, as a whole, our top Leaders have limited experience with the big F-word:  Failure.

High performers sometimes discover that they can be quite risk averse … that they actually fear failure.  They don’t put themselves in positions where potential for failure is a real outcome.  They would rather steer the ship slow and steady, than place a big bet or take a chance.  They would rather not try a new activity or hobby that they’re not experienced with or good at … because they might not look perfect in their attempts to learn.  They miss out on a lot of fun.

What’s your fear of failure factor?   What have you tried recently, that you’re not likely to succeed at, and might even look silly doing?  It’s OK to fail.  In fact, it can be liberating.

“What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”- Robert H. Schuller

Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change

Gender Expectations Live On …

4 Jul

Gender Expectations Live On …

When it comes to gender bias, we’ve come a long way in the last few decades.  Take a look at the following list of commonly held beliefs from the late 1900s (yep, that was only 2 decades ago). 

I know of few people who would broadly agree with this list, though some might (in their inner thoughts!) hold a couple of these ideas.  Some statements have been debunked by fact and science; others have been muted by experience.  But I think it’s safe to say that for the most-part, these don’t hold true today. 

Now, take a look at this list:

Perhaps a few more that still linger?  Depends on the facts, the culture and the individual.  But they’re still out there.  And some lie not too deep below the surface.

What’s still on your list?  What’s still on this list of those around you and on your team? It’s time to start talking about it and being actively aware of our biases.  Curious to know what you think …

Anna Minto

Founder & CEO, Transformational Change