The Sandbox

A little boy was spending his Saturday morning playing in his sandbox. He had with him his box of cars and trucks, his plastic bucket, and a shiny, red plastic shovel. In the process of creating roads and tunnels in the soft sand, he discovered a large rock in the middle of the sandbox.

The boy dug around the rock, managing to dislodge it from the dirt. With no little bit of struggle, he pushed and nudged the rock across the sandbox by using his feet. (He was a very small boy and the rock was very large). When the boy got the rock to the edge of the sandbox, however, he found that he couldn’t roll it up and over the wall.

Determined, the little boy shoved, pushed, and pried, but every time he thought he had made some progress, the rock tipped and then fell back into the sandbox.

The little boy grunted, struggled, pushed and shoved. But his only reward was to have the rock roll back, smashing his fingers.

Finally he burst into tears of frustration. All this time the boy’s father watched from his living room window as the drama unfolded. At the moment the tears fell, a large shadow fell across the boy and the sandbox. It was the boy’s father.

Gently but firmly he said, “Son, why didn’t you use all the strength that you had available?”

Defeated, the boy sobbed back, “But I did, Daddy, I did! I used all the strength that I had!”

“No, son,” corrected the father kindly, “you didn’t use all the strength you had. You didn’t ask me for help.”

With that the father reached down, picked up the rock, and removed it from the sandbox.


Coach’s Comment
: Are you using ALL of the resources at your disposal. Some of us will struggle against an issue and use all of the tools we have, while still forgetting that there is a simple tool we have not used. That tool is a simple, direct request. When asked to help most people will do so; just make a simple request of a friend, colleague or loved one to help you achieve your goals. Who can you ask to lend a helping hand today?

Boldness Has Genius

In Dead Poet’s Society, Robin Williams bid his students to seize the day “Carpe Diem”.

The German philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe challenged, “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

My challenge to each and everyone of you is to take action. In order to achieve the results you want, decisions alone will not make it so. The equation is simple :

Decisions + Actions = Results

This means that daydreaming by iteself won’t get you far. The key to any desire, any idea, any goal is in the action. Those actions can be any size as long as there is movement. The true results come though from climbing boldly towards your goals, sometimes working over a long period to find the most suitable route to success.

Boldness is not blind optimism, it is the combined commitment of thought, spirit and action towards achieving the desired result. American psychologist Dr. Irene Kassorla identified the following steps on how the bold survive, despite difficult situations.

  • The more trying the times, the harder you need to try
  • Be realistic
  • Don’t hold back
  • Follow your hunches
  • Take one step at a time
  • Keep experimenting
  • Translate your liabilities into assets

You will not necessarily be successful every time you are bold. In fact, some of the most successful people have had many knock-backs before they achieved their success. The key is don’t give up.

So if you have a desire, an idea or a vision then the single best thing you can do is stop dreaming. It is time to take action.

Believe in yourself, make the plan and take it to the world. It may just be that elusive better mousetrap.

Are You a Motivation Killer?

This is a simple question that most of us would be afraid to answer – “Are you a motivation killer?”

Very few of us ever set out to be a motivation killer, but almost everyone at sometime will have taken action or made a comment that will have extinguished, or flattened, the motivation of another.

Think about the time that a team member went out of their way to do something extra and you commented that wasn’t their job; when a colleague decided to go for that special project and you said it couldn’t be done; when your partner organised a lovely dinner out only to find you were too busy or too tired to bother; or when your child did their best but it wasn’t up to your standard.

These could all be considered small things to you, but to another person it is a big deal. But the idea of motivation is all about how the other person perceived it. If in their mind it was seen as criticism or apathy, then it was definitely a motivation killer.

All of us are pushed in a variety of directions by powerful psychological, cultural and physiological needs. Most of us strive for food, air, shelter, love, mastery, self-acceptance, achievement, etc. These needs usually increase our motivation in positive directions.

On the other hand there are many circumstances that can push us in negative directions, including feelings of inferiority, desires to avoid responsibility or success, lack of self worth, rebellion against pressure situations, etc.

We generally try to increase desired motivations and decrease negative ones, but often are guided by the actions and comments of others.

So what can you do to avoid being a motivation killer?

  1. Slow down and gain awareness into what motivated the other person to this action
  2. If you must offer criticism, “sandwich” it between to supportive comments.

With just these 2 points you will turn the focus from yourself to the other person, and just that act can be the best motivation you can give.

If Not Now Then When

Does your professional life reflect who you truly are ? If you did not HAVE to work in your current position, what would you be doing?

Many people believe that once a decision has been made on their career path, then they are committed to follow that path come what may. But that is not necessarily so.

Many people are now reinventing their careers and following their passion. One of these was Andy Tuck, a former pianist-philosopher, is now a founding partner of arc (Applied Research and Consulting ), which uses social research to help high-profile people make decisions. “You need to know that you do have a choice in the matter of your career,” he says. “But no one is going to force you to take a risk. You have to make that choice yourself. And sitting in one place and continuing to do something that doesn’t make you happy is a choice too.”

An article from Fast Company in 1999 explains that unfortunately, too many people choose to stay put and stay unhappy. “It’s a variation on the golden-handcuffs phenomenon,” explains Marti Smye, 49, a career consultant based in Toronto and author of “Is It Too Late to Run Away and Join the Circus? A Guide for Your Second Life” ( Macmillan, 1998 ). “When you’re so damn good at what you do, it’s difficult to convince yourself to give it up — even when it’s not making you happy”.

Of those that daydream of making a radical career change, and following their values and their dream, only about 10% actually do it. With fast-growing companies are starved for talent, there has never been a better time than now to make a radical career change. Millions of people are choosing to become free agents and are helping others make that same choice. I made that same choice in moving from a traditional role in the corporate to the role of my dreams as a professional coach.

It is surprising that most career experts report that you shouldn’t worry too much about your skills when considering when and whether to make a radical change. Smart, ambitious people generally find a way to adapt and grow in new environments.

“When you’re trying to reinvent your career, you’re not reinventing your personality,” notes career consultant Marti Smye. “So it’s more important to match your belief systems with your new organization than to make sure your skills are compatible. ”

So when is the best time to re-invent yourself and start following your dreams. If not now, then when ?

What is Takes – The 3 W’s of Success

As the current Rugby World Cup comes to a close in France, it holds a great many lessons for business, leaders and the community about the commitment, attitude, and courage that it takes to perform at your best and achieve outstanding goals.

What does it take to achieve at a world class level? To even compete requires a focus that is seldom found in other arenas.  From the Wallabies world record holding George Gregan to the new and youngest members like Barrick Barnes, it is more than just a spark that helps them win.

In watching and listening to these individuals, there is a common thread that runs through them all.  It is as simple as three W’s, but it’s by no means easy.

This can be presented as a three part model—Why, What, and Will—and you can harness it to achieve your own success and reach your own goals.

Generally when seeking success or setting goals the what is the W that gets the attention first.  What is it that we want to do?  This can be anything from running a marathon, to achieving a promotion, or having a happy life.  The key to achieving your what is to be able to clearly articulate exactly what is it you want.  The athletes are able to see, hear, feel and smell the experience they are intending to create.  They know in advance how it will BE.  Did you notice the intensity in the World Cup players before each game?  They were rehearsing it in their head.

Even though the what is the thing that we automatically jump to, without a why it will only be a very shallow success, if it achieved at all.  It is my belief that in fact the why should come first.  I have seen the benefits for individuals that understand who they are and why they make the choices they do.  They then link in the appropriate what in order to more fully express the why.

So you know what you want and why you want it, so it there anything left.  Yes.  Will!  This is not willpower but the opposite of won’t.  Will is a choice (just like most other things) and you need consciously make the choice and commitment to see your goal through.  I wonder how far our leaders in sport, business and life would have gotten if they had not had the will to stick with it.

So there you have it!  Why not pick one things that week that you will apply the what, why, will model with.

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