Do You Behave In A Goal Achieving Way?

Goals are, simply put, future ways of being.

In almost every case the only thing you need to do in order to achieve a goal is to put in STRATEGIC, CONSISTENT, SUSTAINED and INTENSE work for a period of time. The truth is, it isn’t that challenging to achieve almost anything you want in life so long as you are willing to be dedicated to the cause.

Of these element of successful goal achieving behavior – strategic, consistent, sustained and intensity – the one that seems to cause most people the biggest challenge is the strategic work. Many people do not do the right things to achieve their goals as quickly as humanly possible. In essence, their behaviors do not match their goals so they are slow in moving towards being all that they can be. Well, lets rephrase that, their actions do not match their stated goals. In all likelihood their actions are making real some aspect of themselves that isn’t entirely known to them, but which plays a major role in determining who they are and what they become.

A previous article mentioned the dissonance between thoughts and goals, and how goals that are created based on a previous way of being tend not to yield results that reflect the possibilities of a new way of being. To build on that phenomenon, another layer of awareness needs to be added to the creation of an optimized you.

Goals that are based on existing behaviors are ineffective at creating life-altering transformations. Someone is less likely to feel a powerful drive when they create them or feel a massive sense of accomplishment when they achieve them. These goals are more likely to be achieved simply because the individual is already behaving in a way that will make them a reality. They reflect the reasonable and the possible; which is fine if you want more of the same, or a slightly improved version of the same.

But when you are looking to achieve the new, the unfamiliar or the seemingly impossible, you CANNOT reference your present behavior because your present behavior is NOT working for you – if it was, you would already be moving towards achieving.

Some of the new strategic work behaviors that are needed to achieve the new body transformation goals include your eating habits – do you eat breakfast everyday and does it contain multiple sources of protein, do you eat an abundance of green leafy vegetables, do you plan your meals and make them ahead of time, do you plan your shopping trips to the grocery store or market, do you schedule your celebration meals to tap into hormonal fluctuations based on caloric and macro-nutrient manipulation, do you participate in any compulsive eating behaviors, do you use targeted supplements? Also critical are new movement habits – do you workout at least 4 times per week, do you perform strength training to help improve lean body mass, do you use effective programs that are repeatable and based on scientific principles, do you get enough relaxation and sleep?

There are very few unknowns when it comes to health, fitness and wellness; it is safe to say that NOTHING is random. The results are predictable. It can be said with certainty that if you behave in a goal achieving way you will be achieving your goals. But first you must clearly define what your goals are so you know EXACTLY how to behave.

Silence Does Not Mean Compliance

A funny thing happens each week at the Break Throughs seminar at LandMark Education. The leader gives us the task of going out and recruiting people to participate in the LandMark Forum and then asks is anyone not going to do this?

I don’t do it because I’m not certain about the whole experience yet, the weekend was fine, the follow-up stuff has been a little less than satisfying, but that has more to do with the person I am vs. what is going on.

I also don’t say that I won’t do it because I had a feeling that you’ll get coached on who else to ask / invite. A girl last night did say she wasn’t going to do it and it panned out exactly as I had thought it would. 5 minutes of “coaching” on how to get more people enrolled. I laughed out loud and left the room.

Their approach of constantly asking us if we’ll bring people and the snubbed look they give when you voice your lack of appreciation for their marketing is why I won’t ask people to do. The information they provide is great, the lessons are useful and their coaching is decent, but there is too much network marketing for new people and not enough coaching for my liking.

I have talked to the leader but they are doing what they do so it continues to be what is, as it has been for a very long time.

There’s so much sales psychology involved in the whole thing that my head is spinning.

Some Things I’ll Be Saying Regarding Sex, Love and Romance

In the realm of sex, love and romance, men and women are very different. Below are a few of the realizations I have come to or been lucky enough to learn recently about what women and men want from intimate members of the opposite sex:

Women want attention – complete attention. Their words need to impact the people they talk to – particularly their male partners. It is about sharing; in some cases it is about sharing in one direction – the female emptying / downloading – vs. the mutual sharing of stories. This can even mean that the man ends up feeling the same emotions that she is feeling – in fact, it’s probably going to mean that the man shut his mouth and listen. There is nothing wrong here, this is just the way it needs to be sometimes.

With reference to SLR, men screw this up badly because they tend not to listen very well – they treat their female partners like their male friends / coworkers / sports buddies which is to say they listen slightly, wait to talk and try to solve problems so they can get back to whatever else there is going on in the world that isn’t a women being unhappy.

Men want to make the women they love happy. In fact, they’ll stop trying to make happy a women who they can’t make happy. They’ll leave the relationship or friendship very quickly once they realize that she won’t laugh at their jokes, smile at their efforts or respond positively to anything about him.

With reference to SLR, women screw this up badly because they tend to need to be heard and empty before they can feel good and will often want their male partners to emote the same emotions as them when they are not feeling happy, which men don’t seem to do naturally.

Men want a women to be open to them and to help them feel needed and desired. In essence, men want women who will share time in a way that says “there is no one else in the world right now” and to do things that reveal this openness.

With reference to SLR, this doesn’t go too well sometimes because men don’t do the things that women need in order to feel open and women don’t do the things that help a man feel desirable. Men may not listen enough and women may not be happy enough. Again, there is nothing wrong here, it’s just seems to be how it is some of the time.
Now the prognosis here is very good. A lot of it comes down to accepting these differences and approaching relationships in a way that allows both parties to feel valued in their own needed way. It is fine for someone to be unhappy because of work stress and it is fine for someone to try and make their significant other happy. What makes it unworkable is the expectation that both operate in the same way and to require that the other change. There is a middle ground. For the men, they may need to listen more and actually hear what is being said. Most of it won’t matter as viscerally in a few hours let along a few days, but if it isn’t heard, it will continue to exist. For women, they may need to pay more attention to the efforts of the man and see them as helpful efforts to make her happy and consider showing some change as a result of them.

It’s important to remember that nothing is wrong so nothing needs to be fixed. If there is a mutual willingness to accept each other and communicate openly, life shouldn’t be too bad.

Relative Of Terminally Ill Person – The First 3 Weeks

Note – I’m posting this now because I believe it is useful. It was the only article that I wrote in the series because my dad died 6 weeks after he was diagnosed. In talking with peers who have experiences GBM it is not uncommon for things to end extremely quick. I miss my dad, I miss his laugh a lot and I miss the relationship he and my mom shared. That, more than anything is what I feel the worst about. My mom is a great lady, my dad was great man, their relationship was still going strong so it’s sad that it ended so early.

This is the first in a series of articles about being the relative of someone who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. It could be useful for those not directly impacted by the illness as it may give some insight into what we’re going through. For those who have been leveled with the news of the coming premature ending of a loved-ones life, invest in yourself and the experience you have begun. This is a process that hurts. The biggest legacy you can now leave for your relative is to get good at helping them enjoy dying and learn as much as you can from the experience so you can be useful to others when they join our ranks.

Day Of Terminal Diagnosis (DOTD) +3 weeks.

There are going to be two points in this process that are going to be highly significant. The second is when your relative dies, the first is their day of terminal diagnosis. You experience both of these as deaths although there is a relapse of sorts in the grief if there is an improvement in their condition. With GBM most people experience a reversal of cognitive symptoms so their return to life is welcomed because it blunts the sharpness of the news and the waves it caused.

There is no right way to feel although feeling some things is better than others. Happiness, laughter, joy, reflecting back on their memories, harvesting their wisdom and experience. If they have given of themselves to move your life forward pay them the respect and hear every word they are saying.

Your friends feel as useless as you do and they don’t realize how to help most effectively. The most important thing they can do is to be completely honest with you and forfeit their judgments of you. It should go without say, but sometimes people need a reminder. Watching someone you love die isn’t as easy as watching someone you love grow-up. Both are challenging, but with one you see the potential be actualized, with the other you see the potential float away.

They are dying, you are not. Make your peace / say those really important things early and when appropriate, let them process it and let it go. You did what you did for reasons that felt valid at the time. It doesn’t matter very much anyway, they’re dying and they’d rather live in the present than rehash the past. If you have unresolved issues consider the key thing that you need them to know and tell them that. If you don’t, consider telling them how grateful you are that they did what they did to help you become the person you are, someone you are happy to be. Then let it go, have some fun and be happy! They will be gone soon and you will have plenty of time to grieve, grow-up, adapt, and find your peace with your own place in life.

There are stages of grief that have been well documented and which are scientifically proven. Get to know these stages because with a terminal diagnosis there will be a blurring of many of them. Encourage those who offer support to get to know them too, because if they take the anger personally, it isn’t going to help you at all. In fact, it can shift focus off of your loved one and onto something that will remain well after they have gone. This isn’t a great way to spend the final weeks and days of someones life.

I’m hopeful that I’ll get to write a bunch more of these articles. Fingers crosses!

Do Your Thoughts Match Your Goals?

Dissonance is defined as tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements. It looks, sounds and feels like many things, but in the realm of training and performance coaching it is simply unattained potential; which itself sounds like self-doubt and low confidence, feels like failure and looks like sadness, obesity and a lack of life optimization that leaves a human being in a depressed like state.

The solution is very simple, eliminate the unsuitable elements as quickly as possible to restore the harmonious synchronous actions, thoughts and feelings. Doing this will get someone moving forward again in a hurry. This is a skill and it may take time to cultivate, but it is very easy to do and just requires effort and sacrifice.

But why is does this seem like a challenge to so many people? Well, because most have never been taught how to match thoughts to goals and instead allow their goals to become matched to their thoughts.

Make no mistake about it, those two statements are not the same. Linguistically and mathematically they look very similar in to each other, but when the direction of causation is considered it is evident that goals that are based on thoughts and feelings have more to do with recreating the past or keeping things as they are than anything else while thoughts and feelings that are based on goals are about creating a future that is based on something unreasonable and completely new.

Think about it for a minute – if you let your thoughts and therefore your feelings dictate your goals how are they going to be extraordinary? How are they going to be anything other than based on your past or the present moment given that you think what you think and this causes you to feel what you feel? It just doesn’t work like that. If, on the other hand, you take the time to clear your mind and let your emotional state settle, you will create a blank stillness from which to create goals. This affords you the freedom from self-doubt, low confidence, a sense of failure, sadness, obesity and depression. Avoidance or escape will NOT be the primary objective for your goals so you will be free to create ANYTHING you want as a future possibility.

We do a lot of goal setting with our clients and one of the key things we do is try to get our clients to free their minds before we begin to shape things. Without clearing away the existing thoughts (the ones that got them to be sitting down in front of us) we cannot establish the groundwork for the powerful collaborative partnership that yields the highest level of success. Put another way, an average mind creates average goals and average goals create an average life.

During a goal setting session, we encourage the client to create the impossible dream by getting them to let go of the past and the present and project themselves into the future, to a time when ANYTHING is possible. Once we get them into a peak emotional state, what they want for their best life starts to flow out of them and the goals quickly create themselves. There will be some further refinement to establish dates and action items but the tough part of becoming the possibility is over. We anchor the peak emotional state to their goals through the mental linking of success action items to ensure that they are able to return to this place of possibilities at will, but rarely do they ever need more than a few coaching words to keep them on track. When you create goals without referencing that which already is, your brain is free to create thoughts that bring forth a new reality.

On Finding A Therapist

For me it was fairly simple, I just connected with an old friend who I trusted and who was a therapist. I’m an open book of sorts and kind of shamelessly float through life broadcasting myself (or the stories I tell myself about myself) to whoever seems willing to hear them. It worked effectively because I had spend a lot of time analyzing myself, my actions, my expectation and my past to be open to whatever they asked me to consider. Strangely enough, they didn’t say very much that was different from what my last couple of girlfriends, my brother, my dad, Tony and many of my clients have said. What was different was my willingness to hear what was said when they said it because the wall was already crumbling.

Below is a message from a friend who found therapy to be helpful in moving past a relationship challenge about 18 months ago. I found it to be very succinct and accurate.

Therapy is something that is very personal and it’s like hiring a personal trainer, you need to have a certain rapport and confidence in them. I found mine through my group employee benefits with work. The bulk of her work is life coaching with companies and some work on the side for personal type crisis.Also, therapist are very expensive and can cost $200 an hour. This is a big commitment. She has 20+ years experience, so she can set her price. I can certainly provide you with her info – she is in Oakville, however my suggestion would be to look in the yellow pages for therapist that are close to where they live and then ask a set of preset questions – interview style and then pick one to try.

For instance, what is their specialty, how long have they been practicing, what is their approach, do they assign homework, what is their pricing, etc. I know this sounds tedious, but you right away feel like you at least made some sort of best decision. You have to remember that you are telling this person your most intimate stories and need to feel really comfortable with them. It’s like hiring a doctor.

Remain A Student Forever

Steve Jobs closed off his 2005 Stanford Commencement speech with 4 words “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”

These four words should mean more to a trainer / performance coach than almost anything else we hear or deal with each day. The reason for this is simple, we are always seeking more information because we remain foolish; we have to be, many of those who need our performance coaching services and training believe they know everything.

Except they don’t know everything, they just don’t know what they don’t know. In essence, they have stopped being students and started to resist the lessons the world and life throws at them.

Let me explain.

Adults should be hungry because they are not old. With the advances in health care, nutrition and the standard of living in Canada, it is not unreasonable to view mid-adulthood as the start of act two of life. You are educated, have careers that afford you more flexibility and disposable income to let them work on self improvement. You have life experience that help you to see that there are consequences to decisions but know that there is plenty of time to address those consequences IF appropriate action is taken immediately. You can and should be hungry for a better quality of life.

But be honest with yourself, you don’t know everything because, if you did, you would be doing everything that is needed to be achieving a life that will bring you unreasonable satisfaction. You wouldn’t be visiting us for training or performance coaching because they would be optimized. So approach us because something isn’t working.

But keep in mind that we are like you.

We are young, foolish and open to learning as much about the our clients, our selves and the universe as possible. The relationships we create are partnerships in the purest sense of the word. Our goals are mutually aligned – we seek clarity, information, wisdom and experience that will allow us to effect and transact lasting behavioral change in others. Our clients seek clarity, information, wisdom and life-changing experiences to help facilitate the creation of optimized behaviors that are concise, deliberate, and repeatable and which move them seamlessly towards a way of operating that allows the body, brain, mind and spirit to function as effectively as possible.

But all of this is possible ONLY when coach and client are simpatico in action, intention and purpose, and this is only possible when each understand that there is much work to be done, lessons to be learned and wisdom to be taught BY BOTH parties. For our partnerships to be truly remarkable WE MUST remain hungry and foolish when it comes to our clients. We cannot create the solutions they need if we do not know their stories and they cannot be a part of the solution if they already know the answers and are closed to the possibility that new and unreasonable results require new and unreasonable actions.

So stay hungry and stay foolish!

Transactional Analysis – Part 3 – Working With Clients

This is the third post about Transactional Analysis and it will outline some of how you would use TA with clients. If you have not already read the introduction outlined in part one or part two, which covered the games people play, considering reading them before you get stuck into this one.

Using TA with clients is an effective way to get them to optimize their performance. It can be a challenge to keep the conversations going smoothly given the level of discomfort people tend to feel when someone is running or has just run a game on them, but it becomes a lot easier to navigate the way through these moments the more often I do it. Since I am acting with my clients best interests at heart, there is little that I can do which is going to violate my integrity. It is now at the point were I just tell them what is about to happen, then point out their discomfort and explain what I have done to their brain / emotional center.

This is both an effective way to build their confidence in my ability to actually help them and it serves as a way to get rid of any clients who don’t actually want to have performance coaching; a strong tendency towards avoiding change or judging what I do as being self-serving manipulation is a non-starter when it comes to a coaching relationship. My feeling is that effective coaches do cause temporary changes within their clients to help facilitate their transformations given that intelligent objective people will try on things to see if they are relevant to their journey REGARDLESS of where it comes from.

When done effectively, there is a seamless transition in the conversation flow in-spite of the fact that it has just hit a pothole.

Here is hypothetical an example from a conversation that I didn’t have last week.

A client wants to drop 70 lbs and their trainer has book them an appointment with me because 70lb is a lot of weight to drop and they know that gaining it in the first place is due to a lack of optimization in their life.

I meet them at the front, do the Clinton hand shake – right hand shake, left hand reaches and holds their right forearm as I say “hello, thank you for coming in to have a conversation with me.” Small talk as we walk towards the office.

I gave her the big chair behind the desk and I take the smaller “client” chair  – I do this because I want her to feel like the lead in the conversation. This messes with the normal dynamic and immediately throws them off. Again, I need to get inside their head as quickly as possible and no opportunity is wasted. “So, what brings you here?” They talk, I listen. Very little ever comes out of this part of the conversation other than a further opening and the building of trust. I am however listening very closely for something that indicates Parent, Adult, Child psychological states. At some point I ask if I can write stuff down. They agree, and I write down stuff that I find interesting.

What I find interesting are pieces of scripts that feel sticky – dogmatic statements that feel accurate but are just stories. Why they feel sticky is either because they say them a few times, they say them more or less powerfully than the rest of the conversation, there is a shift in some aspect of their body language or because I get a feeling that it’s a match on something I’ve heard before (in another conversation I’ve had). “I am a control freak” is a good example because if they were, there wouldn’t need me to set them free, they’d already be doing everything that was needed to have the life they wanted. This statement usually indicates a high level of irresponsibility in critical areas of their life and usually a tendency towards a need be dominated.

After a few minutes I’ll ask them how they are feeling? What has changed in their thinking since they started talking? What the voice inside their heard is saying. The voice inside their head is critical because it is the cause of all of their ineffective actions. They MUST be aware that they hear it because it is the only way they have of quickly accessing their operating system. Many are reluctant to say they hear a voice and instead comment that they are thinking. When I ask them what that is like, do they think in colours, shapes, pictures of words, they always come back to words. This is step one of the breakthrough. There is a drifting from Adult to parent during this part of the conversation and I’ll often go to child when I tell them what my voice is saying. But once they admit that they think in linguistic terms I return to adult and the conversation continues.

“What does that voice say to you when you make the decision that you know you shouldn’t?” The information gleamed from the conversation up until this point is essential for what happens next, which is ultimately dependent upon how they answer this question. In almost every instance, if the person is aware of the voice, it exists as a dichotomy – a good cop / bad cop or angle / devil type thing; with one side saying do it and the other side saying don’t do it. There are lots of theories in this area about what these voices represent and the approach I take is that the devil is the Child state and the angle is the Parent state. The Child state is based on their direct experiential past, the Parent state is based on their observational past. Neither is right or wrong per say, but both are unworkable if lasting change is the objective. Since the goal of TA is to get the person to transact in an Adult state which is set firmly in the present.

The remainder of the session will be spend analyzing the duality of Child / Parent as it exists within their life in terms of the scripts they employee to manage and navigate their life. If the session is successful, they will begin to become aware of the cost of transacting as a Child / Parent and we will work on creating new scripts and methods for operating to alter the thoughts, feelings and subsequent outcome of their manifestation.

It is fair to state that most of the people we work with do not need more than a couple of session to start to become their transformed self given that they have already made the decision to make changes in their life. Some follow-up is needed to ensure that the adjustments have gotten traction but for the most part, when someone is open to a new way of being, the new way of being starts to take over very quickly.

You Are Building Adults – Modeling Success For Successful Children

We talk to a lot of parents because we’re curious about the experience of being one. They tell us their hopes and fears, their concerns about the future and the things that bring them optimism. Over the years, their stories have helped us developed an appreciation of what it means to be a parent. One of the striking facts that seems to jump out is related to the observational learning and the normalization that children do when they seeing their parents doing ANYTHING. This is something that we see in our coaching clients everyday – most of them are doing what their parents did when they were growing up.

Things that parents pass along to their children that don’t serve to optimize development:

Teaching ineffective exercise habits. Active parents tend to have active children. When a parent teaches a child that there is joy in moving, we rarely need to work with them in any way other than to help them achieve peak performance. With a well-established baseline, young people tend to continue to move. They may decide to go as far as they can in a sport or simply become a recreational participant, but the activity habit is sticky and most enjoy the lifelong benefits associated with maintaining an active life. We do however work with a lot of individuals who didn’t have the exercise habit modeled when they were younger and there is a host of issue associated with this lack of movement. It is fair to say that teaching an adult how to love moving is one of the bigger challenges primarily because they have already learned how to love NOT moving.

Teaching children poor eating habits. A serving size is a different thing for every family but it tends to be the same size for everyone in the same family. Lean parents tend to raise children who are closer to their ideal body weight and composition than obese parents, who tend to raise children who are heavier. Families who sit down and eat meals together tend to continue to sit down and eat meals together. Parents who help children view food as the source of nutrition, building material and the occasional treat establish a repeatable and reasonable relationship with food. Those who teach their children that food a reward and that every meal should consist of foods that are enjoyable and easy tend to raise children who are lazy when it comes to their attitudes towards food preparation.

Not teaching children how to not win. Learning how to handle defeat or not being the best appropriately will go a long way in giving a child an advantage when it comes to life. Human beings do most of their learning by making mistakes – trial and error is how each of us learned how to walk, talk, move, etc…. However, at some point we are taught to feel shame for being wrong and this causes us to close-up and avoid the experiences that will produce useful lessons. There is a trend towards eliminating failing grades in schools to ensure that no child endures the lesson of accountability and responsibility until they graduate high school. The impact of missing these lessons can be devastating given that failing in school opens a person up to improved coaching / teaching while failing in the work force eliminates their employment. There is an equally damaging trend toward sports tournaments becoming festivals in which everyone participates and is regarded as a winner. The stigmatization of everyone being the same is likely more damaging to motivation than the consequences of not being the best.

Passing long a tendency to give-up before success or goals are achieved – phrased another way, allowing a child to rely too much on talent or innate qualities to garner attention or positive reinforcement vs. reinforcing their effort. Trying is a skill that will last a lifetime. Looks will fade, other people will come along who naturally better at something, talent burn itself out over time as one ages. If a child never learns the value of putting in enormous effort in order to increase the likelihood of success, they will tend to give-up very quickly before achieving anything in terms of transformation, success or problem solving. Those individuals who are taught to work hard regardless of the outcome will be at a distinct advantage when it comes to achieving ANYTHING.

Now each of these things can be taught to a young person through direct intervention and teaching or they can be taught passively through modeling. Teaching is not the same as doing, so when you try to teach a child these skills, you do not reap the benefits associated with BEING those skills. Modeling tenacity will guide a child towards persistence alone with generating greater success for a parent. The same applies to being an active parent who takes a direct role in food choices; not only will their children learn how to eat more effectively and develop a love of movement, but the adult will enjoy an improved quality of life a boost in vitality that can only come from participating in a health choices.

Ab Recruitment, Women And Cuing

Rachel once said to me “if you really want to do your female clients a favor teach them how to set their properly and get them to be able to do it at any time.” She explained what was involved with it and I imagined a can of beans with Kegels setting the pelvic floor at the bottom, drawing the stomach in to set the obliques, tightening the front and then push out against them with the transverse abdominis to set the diaphragm, and letting the lower back contract as needed to make a strong and stable cylinder.

It takes practice to gain control of each step but it’s doable. My female clients did comment that it felt better, that they liked the tightness in the ab area and that they felt more stable doing whatever movement. I came up with cues to help keep the thought present in their mind so they would always has their core set or be a few seconds away from it. It works great. Well, it works great when people hear what I am saying.

Sometimes people hear something else. I’m not sure what it was they were hearing but it was something that didn’t come across well. With my cycling classes, I throw out a lot of general coaching cues to no one in particular – chest up, shoulders back – it’s just there to remind people that these things are important and to keep doing them or get back to doing them. With personal training any general cue can be taken to be a specific cue, as it should be under most circumstances. If I say chest up it means the chest is down or it is beginning to drop. I can see that it is dropping. The issue with the “keep the abs tight” or “are your abs on?” cues is that they are reminder cues only because I can’t tell most of the time if someone is doing a Kegel when they do DB press.

The break down occurs when I don’t accurately explain and continue to remind the client that I can’t see what is happening inside their bodies and can only see the breakdowns. If they believe that I am saying they are not engaging the core when I cue generally about it, and they are engaging it, their is a shift in focus over to something completely unrelated; which is “why is he saying it then, what could does he mean?”

This occurs more with intelligent female clients than any other group with the only exception being intelligent female athletes who try to fix everything and seek out specific clarification when they are not clear on what I have said. Males tend not to say “but I am contracting my core” and just keep doing it. To avoid this pitfall, I must explain that I am giving general coaching to keep their mind on the goal and not specific coaching given that I cannot experience what is going on in their insides.