• Chemical Brain Freeze

Non-effective Listening – A Negative Default Behavior

 

Non-effective listening, did you ever think it was a major negative default behavior?  Working with Baby Boomers, I’ve found one very interesting characteristic of those retried or getting ready to retire.  It has to do with listening effectively.  Baby Boomers talk about their dreams and goals in retirement but (http://adventurejerky.com) sometimes they don’t express these ideas very distinctly with their partners.  Sometimes there is a fear of their goals not being accepted or even being rejected.  When this type of fear appears, we move into what we call “default behaviors.”  We actually avoid key conversations because we worry about what the outcome may be.  Maybe we worry the conversation may go in the wrong direction and we don’t get a chance to work on our goals.

Here is the key to having great conversations, it’s not about what we have to say.  That’s right, it’s not always about what we have to say.  But rather showing empathy and listening to what the other person has to say. It’s amazing what happens when empathy is applied to a conversation, especially key conversations.

So, what are the keys to really good listening?  First, we need to understand our default behavior when we have a conversation.  In most conversations, we don’t listen to understand but rather we listen in order to reply.  We actually wait for when there is a break in the conversation.  When our partner pauses for a breath, we jump in with our perspective or our bit of advice. We almost fear silence and jump in to squelch that silence.  This default behavior is believing the important part of communication is what we say.   When actually the listening step to hear what the other person has to say is most important.

It is fascinating to watch what happens when another person feels like they are being listened to effectively.  They open up and suddenly they are receptive to what you have to say.  All of a sudden goals and dreams get discussed in earnest and open, honest conversation takes place.

Think about the impact we could have with family members, friends and peers if we changed our listening skills.   Where we truly try to listen to what the other person is saying. If we listen with the intent to truly understand, people will share with us what their goals, wants and needs are.  They will also share the solutions they are looking for to possibly solve these needs.

Effective listening with the intent to understand, it takes practice but it is well worth the effort.

Be sure to tune into our new radio program “The Adventures of Unstructured Time” with your hosts Chuck Inman and Ron Hoesterey. We cover stories and concepts dealing with Baby Boomers plans for retirement. The program will be aired on 21.6 THE NET 11:00-12:00AM CST on Monday mornings and a repeat of the recorded program on Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00pm, Wednesdays 3:00-4:00PM, Thursdays 6:00-7:00PM and Fridays 11:00-12:00AM, again at 21.6 THE NET. You can also find the show as a podcast on Anchor.FM

Thanks for coming along

 

 

Setting Goals for our Adventures

journal-with-logoI recently came back from a speaking trip and was reflecting on the questions I received after my keynote. I have heard this question or a version of it almost every time I speak from attendees after the presentation. “I have this goal, idea, adventure or dream I want to follow up on but I don’t know how to get started. Do you have any suggestions?”
My first response is always write your goal down and give it a date for when you want to accomplish it. I then reference this study done at Harvard Business School years ago on goal setting. I thought it might be good to review this study again. I first heard about this study when I went to see motivational speaker Brian Tracy live. After his presentation I wrote down a goal of wanting to travel internationally.
Two weeks later I received a phone call from an old colleague about an international position. I interviewed and got the job as an international marketing product manager. I started traveling internationally. When I finished my career, I had traveled to over 40 different countries. I give a lot of credit to just writing down my goal of international travel.
Here is the essence of the Harvard study:
In 1979 the Harvard MBA program conducted a study on students that provided some interesting insights into the power of goal setting. In that year, the students were asked, “Have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” Only three percent of the graduates had written goals and plans. 13 percent of the graduates had goals, but they were not in writing. That left an incredible 84 percent of the graduates with no specific goals at all.
Ten years later, the members of the class were interviewed again, and the findings, while somewhat predictable, were nonetheless astonishing. The 13 percent of the class who had goals were earning, on average, twice as much as the 84 percent who had no goals at all. And what about the three percent who had clear, written goals? They were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97 percent put together.
In spite of such proof of success, most people don’t have clear, measurable, time-bounded goals that they work toward. Which is why I always respond to question on “How do I go about fulfilling my dream or goal?” Write it down. We’ll talk more about goal setting in the months to come.

 

What’s your next Adventure for 2016!

What is your next Adventure for 20Sydney Blog16!
It’s that time of year again when we exit the old year and bring in the New Year. Of course resolutions make up a big part of that celebrating of bringing in the New Year. It’s interesting to note that almost 80% of resolutions don’t get done. I wanted to share with you a true story about an event that happened to me in Sydney Australia and it very subtlety gets the point of what we need to do to make our plans and adventures happen. It’s only a 4-minute story but it might change your perspective on goal setting and resolutions and prepare for your next adventure.
Enjoy and let’s have a great 2016

 

What if, When Making Plans for the Next Adventure

Mike RayburnThere I was, working and planning away on my new adventure and feeling good about it. Then I had an opportunity to go see Mike Rayburn(www.MikeRayburn.com) live at a recent program. He was absolutely phenomenal. Not only a gifted musician and storyteller but he really got you thinking. He has a book titled “What If?” and I would suggest purchasing it on his website. I wanted to point out just a few key things Mike got me thinking about as I plan my new adventure.

He asks the question, “What if?” Not meaning that you are going to do it but rather just asking what is possible. What if I could? How would that work if I could?
He points out that our default behavior in life is that we look at or for reasons not to do things. Instead we should change our default behavior to where we look for reasons we can do things! A very simplistic but astute rationale on how we can get things done. He also points out the only way to manage change is to create change. Again our default behavior is to fight change. What if we shifted that to creating change and embracing change? It creates a completely different picture doesn’t it? The one thing we know to be true about our plans is that nothing ever goes according to plan! So embrace change.
Here is the reason for these default behaviors: We take problems and put them on a pedestal and worship them. Mike’s perspective is, quit driving through life with the brakes on and get creative. The world need’s our creativity. He lined out three steps to get started:
1. Outside Observation – get that 30,000-foot view of what you are dealing with and get a handle of the size and scope.
2. Take a problem or situation and say, “What is the Opportunity?” Then ask, “What if?”
3. Open up creativity and take physical action on it.
Here are a couple of his other thoughts, which will get your thinking moving in the right direction:
A. Set goals you can’t achieve, not 5-10% increases. What does it take to double what you want to do?
B. Don’t start with what’s possible?, start with what’s cool?. The type of goal it takes courage to think about.
A sense of purpose is the most motivating factor. What is your sense of purpose? Some good food for thought until next time.
Thanks for coming along.

What’s your next Adventure?

Backpacking crossingThe great Helen Keller provided this prolific statement, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all!” What a great way to look at our lives. Helen Keller overcame so much adversity and became an inspiration encouraging boldness and audacity. We may not have the adversity Helen Keller did, but we do have our ups and downs, our successes and failures and our starts and stops. Sometimes life doesn’t turn out exactly as we plan but the key question is, ”What do we do about it?”
I have watched people who have stumbled and they just struggle trying to get back up and moving forward. Sometimes they get moving again but its like they are in a fog and not really living life but rather just going through the motions.
What is it that we have to do to begin living the life we want to have and move in the direction of our dreams? In my book Chemical Brain Freeze, I talk about overcoming default behaviors and moving forward. These are some key thoughts to making a positive move in order to get you moving in the direction you want to go.
Sometimes it just makes sense to break things down into smaller steps.
Summer has just about come to an end and it was a great summer. We usually think of all kinds of adventures to be had during the summer months.
Now ask yourself the simple question; “What’s my next adventure?” What’s my next adventure for today? This week? Next month? Next year? Come up with an adventure and go make it happen. It can be such a positive experience. Don’t wait for something to come to you. Go make something happen and have fun with! You’ll be glad you did! In the weeks ahead I’ll fill you in on what I have been working on the last half of this summer and what an adventure I’ll be starting. Over 25 years ago I was told I couldn’t do something and I decided now was the time to go it.
Thanks for coming along!

Adventure Lessons

This week a good friend shared this perspective with me. He said, “The trouble with America today is that the adventure is gone.” I showed my grandson his Mom’s hiking stick she had wLittle man big stickhen she was little. It had feathers, a tiny pine cone and beads she had used to decorate it. I carved her name into the side of the stick. We journeyed for years. Each summer I would carve another summer hiking ring at the bottom for our adventures. There were 13 rings she had accrued, when I showed it to my grandson. I don’t know if he had a clue what it was I told him about heritage. He just picked up the stick and started walking. He has that adventure gene in him. The same gene that made America great. I think we may need more hiking sticks in America today. It’s still a great country full of adventure, even if 2 1/2yr olds teach us this lesson instead of today’s Congress. What is your next adventure?

Aggrandize vs Minimize

AggrandizeSometimes the most difficult item in coaching people is getting them to move forward. People are afraid of making mistakes and they hold back and don’t grow. If you think about martial arts, you start as a beginner and learn the basics of movement from using your, hands, elbows, feet, shins and your head. Each new belt you add skills. You make mistakes but learn along the way. In fact if you make the same mistake over and over in martial arts, you will have the bruises to show for it. The secret is not to repeat the mistake but rather to learn and grow from the mistakes and missteps and aggrandize.
In business and life it’s not always about being right all of the time but rather learning, growing and contributing. Once one becomes a black belt it doesn’t mean the journey is over. Rather it means the journey has just begun because now you have the skills to take it up to the next level. Keep working on your management and leadership skills the rewards are big.

Teaching and Learning Need to be in Sync

Michael J FoxTeaching and learning need to be in sync to be successful. Whether it is in school or the business world. To be able to learn and then apply your learning is even better. Sometimes we have material put before us and there is just not a connection nor an application. Simon Sinek has a very good TED Talk on How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It’s a few years old but if you haven’t seen it, it’s definitely worth watching.
Start with why — how great leaders inspire action | Simon Sinek | TEDxPugetSound
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA

The Backwards Brain Bicycle

BicycleThere are times when we need to have a difficult conversation and it is just tough to turn that difficult conversation into a positive experience. Our brain does some very strange things during difficulty and stress and we wonder why it is so difficult to accomplish our goals.
This short video utilizes the skills of riding a bicycle to demonstrate how our brain works and the default behaviors we acquire. What is intriguing is the difficulty in overcoming these default behaviors. Consistency is a big factor in creating new constructive behaviors.
After watching this video think about the skill sets, behaviors and routines we have that come to us as easy as riding a bicycle but yet may be holding us back from what we want to achieve. We may not even be aware of these behaviors until we start to analyze why we haven’t reached all of goals.

Copy and paste into your browser to watch this unique video. (Smarter Every Day 133)

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=smarter+every+day+forget+to+ride+a+bike&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=F706017762DDD03B719DF706017762DDD03B719D

Default Behaviors and Resolutions

2015 resolutionsWe are midway through the month of January and I’m already noticing a decrease in people at the fitness center. Right after the first of the year, people flocked into the fitness centers vowing to uphold their New Year’s resolutions to get into shape and lose weight with their new memberships. How are you doing with your resolutions?
In my book “Chemical Brain Freeze – How to Stay in the Game During Difficulty and Stress”, I discuss default behaviors and how we get off track from our goals and resolutions. Sometimes it’s understanding the unmet emotional needs that drive our behaviors, which can cause these to become default behaviors. Everyone has sincere thoughts and ideas about making changes. Sometimes it is health related, other times it just to get the benefits from getting back into shape.
I hear people talk about feeling self conscious about going to the fitness center to work out. That portion of the brain called the amygdala is warning us we may not feel like we fit in properly. Our default behavior kicks in and we wind up talking ourselves out of going to the gym. Here is the interesting aspect of this type of self-talk. We get all worked up about what other people may be thinking about us. In reality nobody cares what you do, they all think everyone is looking at them. To overcome our default behaviors in this situation we need to understand why we want to get fit with our resolutions.
If you take just a little bit of time to work on what your fitness goals are, such as losing weight, muscle toning or increasing aerobic time and then figure out what the rewards will be from these workouts during the week. Write them down and keep track on a calendar. Give yourself benchmarks. Celebrate when hit your goals. Simple effective way to overcome default behaviors.
Guess what? If you can overcome default behaviors that keep you from exercising you can use the same strategy for any goal you have set for 2015. Don’t wait until October to start working on your goals. Start now and watch what happens.