What You Focus On

Have you noticed that the more you focus on a problem or mistake the more you repeat it?

That’s because your focus determines your output. 

What you focus your energy on is what you’ll produce. 

In other words, your behavior follows your mindset.

If you’re focused on not doing a particular thing, chances are you’re setting the stage for it to happen again. And again. And again. 

While taking things seriously and holding the line is important, so is focusing on the right things. 

Don't waste time and energy dwelling on the negative. Focus intently on the positive instead. 

There is a positive side to every problem you encounter. Focus on it. 

It is always better to be for something positive, than against something negative. 

Discipline your mind to think in this way. Discipline it to focus in the right direction. 

Change your thinking, and you’ll change your life. But as with everything else, that’s going to require discipline. 

Hard Conversations

We live in a broken, fallen world full of strife, difficulty and disagreement. We don't always get along with or agree with those around us. Maybe someone has done something that has hurt you financially, emotionally, or otherwise. You might feel bitter and you might be wounded, but things don't have to stay that way. 

Often the conversations you most dread are the ones you most need to have. There is something deep down inside us that knows exactly what we need to do. That feeling of dread or fear may not mean what you have always thought. Those knots in your stomach might not be telling you to run, but just might be confirming what you need to do. Whatever conversation has you scared, run towards it. Sure things could blow up in your face and go badly, but being willing to lean in and engage in tough conversations just might lead to outcomes you've only dreamed of.   

Tough conversations don't have to be negative or destructive. It can actually serve as an opportunity to strengthen your relationships and help you grow as an individual. If for no other reason, lean in and engage those you most fear. It has the potential to completely change everything. If you think about it in these terms, those tough conversations all of a sudden get a whole lot easier. 

Ok, you know you need to have a tough conversation but you aren't sure how. Here are a few quick hits that can help you master the art of the difficult conversation. 

Prepare your heart. This is the most challenging part of any difficult interchange. Before going to the other person pause and take a look at yourself. Search your own attitudes, words and actions. Many times you'll find that you've contributed far more to the relational strife your experiencing than you previously realized. Taking a swim in your own stuff will better prepare you to talk to someone else about theirs.

Be humble. humility looks good on you..jpg

Plan out what you will say. Scripting your conversation may be impractical however, it is extremely helpful to spend some time processing not only what you will say but how you will say it. While the content of your message is important, method and tone are even more so. A helpful way to address tone and method is by how you would like to be confronted. One golden rule that won't steer you wrong is to be humble. A humble attitude smooths over a lot more than you realize. 

Lead With Your Weaknesses

You're not perfect. Whether it's sarcasam, responding out of anger or not delivering on your commitments, you make dozens of mistakes each and every day. The temptation to hide and minimize your mistakes is overwhelming because the first thing you want to do is run as far from them as possible. 

While this is your natural tendency it might not always be the best strategy for responding to failure. Our failures provide us with an opportunity to take giant steps forward and helps us connect with others. Today, I want to encourage you not to run from or hide your failures but to embrace and share them openly. 

Display your authentic self. Openly discussing your short comings and failures knocks down the dividing wall and allows others to connect with you. Whether you are aware of it or not there is a dividing wall between you and those you impact and lead. Often times that wall of division is the gap between who you truly are and others perception of you. The quickest way to shrink this gap is to authentically share your struggles and failures. The fear in doing so is that it will change how people see you. The funny thing is that this fear is 100% true. They will see you differently, just not in the way you fear they will. 

Part of the reason people lean in and see you more positively when you share your struggles is that they can relate. People aren't perfect and they know it. They already know you aren't perfect either and that you make mistakes because you're human. Opening up and leading with your weakness displays confidence not the lack there of. People will follow a leader who doesn't run from his short comings. 

Be known for owning your stuff. The next time you drop the ball or just blow it, seize it for the opportunity that it is and own it. Do far more than acknowledge that you messed up, ask those impacted by your failure to forgive you. Trust me, this is a trait you want to be known for. It displays a humble heart, empowers others and will transform your relationships.