Navigating a Major Transition in Your Personal Path

Navigating a Major Transition in Your Personal Path

Transitions are a natural part of life. As we make our way through each day, we adapt to minor or ‘micro’ changes by being flexible and making simple decisions in the mood of the moment. What to eat, what to wear, what to say and how to say it are decisions we make with little if any conscious thought. But life-changing ‘macro’ changes call for planning, analysis, opportunity and risk. These major life changes require serious decisions that have long-term effects.

Major life transitions involve changes that we perceive as positive or negative, and can occur in almost any area of our lives. Examples of major transitions include moving to a new city or country, choosing a collage (and a field of study!), starting a family, changing careers, getting married, and many, many more.

These major life transitions challenge us to adapt to new situations, and can be a catalyst that drives us toward our goals for a better life – if we see them in the proper light.

If you find yourself approaching navigating a major life change, keep the following tips in mind.

Navigating a Major Transition in Your Personal Path

Far from shallow cheer leading, this straightforward system guides you through an easy process to clarify what you want to do and expand what you can do – wherever you are, right now, and wherever you wish to be.

Set and Understand Your Core Priorities. What is most important to you? Answering this question will provide you with a clear vision of your values. Values and beliefs determine priorities, and priorities drive important decisions and behaviors. Knowing and following your priorities will leave you better equipped to make action decisions that are in line with your goals.

Seek the Opportunity in Major Life Change. We’ve all heard the expression that attitude is everything. When we look for opportunities in major transitions – especially when they are not transitions we choose on our own – we can be more open to accepting and embracing change. For example, if your employer relocates you from Kansas to California, reframe the loss of friends and familiar routines left behind. View the situation as an opportunity to advance your career, trade in your winter clothes, make new friends, and take surfing lessons. And watching the sunset on the beach any night you choose is a life opportunity of great value! There’s always risk, anxiety and uncertainty in major change. But there’s equal measure of opportunity as well, if we are open to seeing it.

Reevaluate Your Goals. Navigating a major transition is a great time to re-examine goals. Start by asking how your current goals fit with your new situation. If you are unclear on how to move toward your vision of success, it may be the perfect time to create new goals that spring naturally from the new opportunities that major life changes present.

The choices we make when presented with major life transitions have the ability to reshape our priorities, explore new opportunities, and set new goals. Try to seek out the potential in each new situation, and understand how it can work for you, not against you. Then move forward with renewed purpose in the direction of your stepped-up goals.

 

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

Beating the habit | What Excuses Do You Use?

Beating the habit | What Excuses Do You Use?

Are you lying to yourself?

Chances are there are areas of your life you would love to improve. Goals you’ve set. Dreams that keep popping up. Visions of success on your terms. But if it’s been weeks or months since your last real action toward a long-standing goal, it’s time to evaluate why.

As we all work toward achieving our goals, it’s important that we aren’t caught in a cycle of self-deception. If we are constantly thinking “I probably can’t handle that,” it’s only a matter of time before we start believing it.

And how often do we all tell ourselves white lies and excuses that have the potential to drain our motivation. In an instant, our excuses can snowball from a moment of self-doubt or uncertainty about next steps to a concrete perception of our limited abilities. A simple excuse that turns into a limiting belief can prevent you from chasing your goals. In the short term, excuses damage our self-confidence and cause us to ignore an opportunity. In the long term, excuses create major barriers that prevent us from clarifying our priorities and achieving success.

Beating the habit

Beating the habit | What Excuses Do You Use?

“Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.”
The beauty of this system is that you can change any area of your life: professional, financial, physical, spiritual, interpersonal, intellectual, or psychological. You’ll be amazed at what you can do!

If you’re tired of making excuses that limit your potential, if you’re tired of thinking you’re not good enough, too old, or too young to make progress, you have the power to start over – every day. Each morning presents a new opportunity to get back on track with your purpose in life. Beating the habit of making excuses requires work, but the payoff includes releasing yourself from the barriers that hold you back.

It’s time for us all to stop making excuses. Right now, take a moment to think about any negative messages you send yourself on a daily basis. Consider how they impact your family, friendships, work and all areas of your life.

For example, your excuse could be that you don’t exercise because you don’t have anyone willing to join you for a workout. This excuse may affect your level of energy at work, or influence your relationships with loved ones who want to see you healthy. But we don’t need someone at our side to go for a 20-minute walk. We don’t need music in our earphones or texting on our handheld devices. We don’t need special clothes or the latest athletic shoes. We just need to walk. No excuses; just get up and go. In fact, the peace and quiet that is a gift to you as you stroll along by yourself will almost certainly release energy and ideas hiding just behind your excuses.

Once we identify our excuses and push them aside, replace that space by seeing opportunities to help you achieve your goal. Without excuses blocking our view, we’ll see the people, information, and other resources we need to chase our goals. They were always there. Excuses just prevented us from seeing them.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

Learning to Embrace Change

Learning to Embrace Change

It’s human nature to seek out behaviors and paths where we find comfort, safety and routine. And once those routines are set, it can be very difficult to willfully change our ways. It’s a proven fact of human psychology: change causes anxiety. And anxiety causes us to resist new behaviors and maintain the safety of the ‘status quo’.

But here’s another unavoidable fact about change: it’s absolutely required for better results regardless of how you define them. When seeking goals in our personal or professional lives, changing our comfortable daily practices is a necessary but often daunting task. Learn to embrace change!

Growth and expansion require a willingness to change our habits. To replace what got us here with what’s needed to get us somewhere else. And although replacing comfortable habits may make us uncertain initially, we can counteract this unsettled feeling by being more conscious of the hundreds of changes we already make every day – without even thinking about them. Examples include:

Learning to Embrace Change

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• How you started a conversation this morning
• What you ordered for lunch
• The specific content of dozens of emails you send each day
• What you put in the cart at the grocery store
• Which TV channel you selected last evening
• What coat or shoes you’ll wear tomorrow depending on the weather forecast

These are just a few examples of our willingness to adapt to changing circumstances and our ‘mood of the moment’. Simple examples, to be sure. But they illustrate our pre-disposition to minor course corrections throughout our daily business and personal lives.

Now let’s jump to larger-scale habit changes needed to advance towards goals. If you’re looking to be more open to the possibilities that life provides, there are a few important factors that must be actively managed. Here are three.

• Plain Old Fear. Fear can be a powerful motivating force, but it can also be a major reason why we resist dropping habits that block our success. Change means embracing some uncertainty about outcomes, and uncertainty brings risk. Our fears instinctively kick in to protect us in uncertain situations. Acknowledging that fear is entering into our decision-making allows us to more effectively evaluate alternatives and choose a course of action.

Here’s a suggestion to help counteract fear. Take daily small steps. A sustained effort of small daily steps reduces anxiety. This approach allows us to evaluate results and adapt our approach easily. Keep your eye on the horizon- view of your goal. Know where you are ultimately headed. But take small steps initially to minimize fear-triggering uncertainty of change.

• Mental Roadblocks. We all give ourselves excuses for avoiding change. We doubt our abilities, question the likelihood of success, and believe we are generally fine with where we are today. Well, ‘Fine’ is the enemy of ‘Better’. ‘Comfortable’ is the roadblock to ‘Excited’ and ‘Fulfilled’. If you find yourself doubting your abilities, or questioning your comfort levels, you’re not alone. It’s important to remember that overcoming our personal and professional mental roadblocks allows us to see opportunity in every change, and remain open to new forms of success.

• Our Current Reality. We’ll all guilty of settling for the comfort and security of where we are right now. Existing habits have produced reasonable results with manageable risk. But that’s not a formula for goal achievement. Successful people who achieve their goals recognize that where they are right now – their current reality – is a great foundation to jump off to even greater heights. Our past is our past: no more, no less. Our past got us to our present, and our present is the springboard to our future. High achievers like you need to catch your breath, and then step up beyond the accomplishments of now to your goals of the future.

Once we realize change includes a heavy dose of opportunity for growth, it becomes easier to embrace change as something we must have to move forward, accomplish our dreams and exceed our goals.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

A goal without a plan is just a wish

How Do You Define Success?

Every one of us can define success using our own criteria, Family, relationships, career, peace of mind, spirituality, finances, knowledge, comfort, safety, health and dozens of other variables can all be brought into the equation of success measurement.

We all have unique values and opinions on what is most important in our lives. We all have dreams and goals that spring from our beliefs about what’s important to us. And our beliefs drive our actions.

Our priorities can be a catalyst for taking steps toward realizing our dreams. However, before we launch ourselves into action, it can be helpful to take a step back and assess what our priorities are and how they fit into our definition of success.

One person can have many motivators that drive them forward in their goals and plans. The following are a few areas to consider when evaluating your priorities:

• Relationships: Perhaps, for you success means building long-term and meaningful relationships with loved ones. This can include deepening friendships,

My Goals mind map business concept

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being a better partner to your spouse, or being the best parent you can be to your child.

• Finances: Our finances can impact every aspect of our lives. Placing an emphasis on financial goals can mean focusing on increased revenue for your business or generating personal wealth or a security blanket of savings.

• Career: Priorities in your career may involve moving up the corporate ladder at a current place of employment, starting your own business, celebrating your life’s work at your retirement, or going after a dream job that you have always wanted.

• Inspiration: Your objectives might include inspiring and coaching others to accomplish their goals. Countless non-profit workers, educators and volunteers dedicate their lives to enhancing the well-being of others. For many people, personal success can mean helping another individual to recognize their potential.

• Development: Your interests could be tied to developing a skill or hobby in your personal life. For example, you may find you feel most happy and accomplished after advancing your skills in photography or art. Learning doesn’t have to lead to an educational degree. We can learn every day from others we meet – then apply what we learned as we develop our own capabilities.

Your objectives may include a combination of the areas mentioned above, or they might involve a priority that is entirely different. But in either case, once you have a clear understanding of which areas of your life are most important, you will be able to better establish goals and visualize your success.

Defining what is most important to you allows you to have a better grasp on your values. It enables you to feel empowered when making decisions, because you’ll be more certain that your choices align with long-term priorities.

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA

John J. Hall, CPA, is an author, speaker and results expert who presents around the world at conventions, corporate meetings and association events. Throughout his 35-year career as a business consultant, corporate executive and professional speaker, John has helped organizations and individuals achieve measurable results. He inspires audience members in corporations, not-for-profit organizations and professional associations to step up, take action and “do what you can.”

 

 

Interpersonal skills: the lesson from Rufus

airline gate signIt’s another day at an airport. Passengers are lined up for United flight 422 from Denver to the east coast. I’m third in line to board the plane on a busy Monday morning in late March. Several passengers are returning home from Colorado mountain ski vacations. Just as many are business travelers starting another week on the road with this four-hour flight. It’s a beautiful morning with sunny skies and a hint of spring in the cool mile-high air. Normal. Routine. Dull. Except for Rufus.

Rufus is our United Airlines gate agent. His job is to take each passenger’s boarding pass, scan it, and send us down the people chute. Last year, I took more than 130 flights and don’t remember even one of the gate agents. But I remember Rufus.

Rufus is African American. His shaved scalp reflects the overhead fluorescent lighting, and his smile lights up the room. As each of us gives our boarding pass to Rufus, he responds with a hearty welcome and look in the eye. He smiles, shakes each hand, and says, “Have a great week.”

Rufus acts as if he actually enjoys knowing that you’re flying on his company’s airplane. As if he really wants you to have a great week—just like he says. Perhaps some people do care after all. This can change a passenger’s view of an entire company.

That day, I’m fortunate to be upgraded to first class. (Take 125 flights a year on the same airline and you might be upgraded, too . . . maybe.) I had seat 1D by the window on the left entering the plane. From that position, I can overhear people talking about the wonderful gate agent, Rufus, whom they’d just met.

In this busy world, the one area in which conscious attention greatly affects the quality of life is that of interpersonal skills. People have become increasingly distracted, busy, and self-involved with an absence of civility becoming the norm. They seem afraid of connecting with each other, even making eye contact and offering a smile, and I don’t even know why. It’s a shame. This problem could be fixed for free—but who’s willing to tackle it?