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Building Community Through Better Relationships

Clarity: Near-Sighted Guides & Dark Paths

A highly competent professional wants to accelerate her career progress. She has earned accolades and bonuses. She has demonstrated leadership and proven to be a team player. And, she now wants to take a big leap forward. She wants to use her formidable skills and ambition to create exceptional value for herself and her organization. But first, something must change!

What must fundamentally change is her mindset. Fulfilling potential is important. Giving it all she has is routine. Maximizing created value is rewarding. But, to adjust her thinking for success, what she needs most of all is clarity! So, what exactly does clarity mean?

• What about my needs?
The first step to maximizing individual value is to value yourself individually. Identify your personal success characteristics. This approach does not emphasize being selfish. It requires placing your needs at the forefront of your development and objectives. Before you can give your all to an employer or organization, you must know that you have a lot to give. Specifically attend to your self-development needs and confidently developing your strengths. As a result of coaching, mentoring, visualizing or goal-setting, explicitly identify steps and then, progress toward your highest priority needs. Best of all, these improved strengths will stay with you wherever you go.

• Who speaks into your life?
The next step for clarity focuses on inputs that you accept. Clarity is attained by listening to people who have clear insight to what you seek to achieve. Pay close attention to who speaks into your life. Know clearly the character residing in whoever is delivering advice and direction. Before accepting guidance from teachers, bosses, clergy, parents, peers, and significant others, be certain that they thoroughly understand and respect your personal goals. Avoid individuals who want to limit your vision because of their own insecurities. Be intentional about who has the privilege to contributing to your success. Their intentions do not necessarily have to be pure, but both of your intentions must be aligned toward achieving results that you have explicitly identified for your singular benefit.

• Who does not speak into your life?
Equally important to determining who speaks into your life, is being intentional about who may not speak into your life. Clarity emerges by ignoring dissenting voices that contradict your fundamental character and personal ethics. Regardless of how highly you may regard a particular leader, or personality, their influence on your aspirations must serve your vision for success. Clarity requires firmly and singularly adhering to your personal values, risk tolerance and ambition. Voices that do not contribute to reinforcing those parameters are unhealthy at best, and dangerous at worst. Don’t let titles, achievements, family relationships, or reputations distract you. If any voice does not reinforce the core values that you require to achieve success, silence it.

Clarity requires knowing your destination. Road blocks will appear and need to be negotiated. Upon considering additional information and supportive input, you can always alter your direction. Nevertheless, clarity is essential to progressing toward and achieving goals, because the alternative is stumbling in the dark.

Anyone who desires to fulfill a greater destiny singularly knows their heart, ambition and tenacity. These traits are necessary to reach their ultimate potential. But, clarity will pave the way. Be clear about the goals that you desire. Then pursue them like your life depends on it. Because eventually your life does depend on achieving your goals.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” ~Lewis Carroll (Alice in Wonderland)

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond
Thanks ADW

November 24, 2014 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Where’s Your Focus?

“Don’t strike out!” yells the overbearing Little League baseball coach. The young man with his bat shaking in his hand wants to make his coach proud in the worst way. When the pitch comes and his focus is firmly on his coach’s directive, “Don’t strike out!”, he swings and misses. This dynamic plays out from elementary school through the highest ranking professionals. Negative focus yields negative results.

On the other hand, having a positive mindset tends to yield more positive results. “You’ve got to accentuate the positive, Eliminate the negative, Latch on to the affirmative” according to the hit song from the 40’s. This attitude goes a long way toward fulfilling rewarding expectations. In fact, focus has a lot to do with success. How can you expect to hit your target, or achieve your goals, without focusing on it? The following three factors demonstrate why focusing on success works.

1. Avoidance
Avoiding your target is simply illogical. Goals are essential, but they can and will move. Achievement relies on diligent work and adhering to a consistent process. The problem with avoidance is that it requires taking your attention away from the target. The well-meaning baseball coach does not really want his player to not strike out. He wants the player to get on base. Give affirmative directions. Focus on performing toward a positive outcome, then deliver affirmative recognition and reward.

2. Advancement
Proper encouragement reinforces the process and the reward. Each step toward the goal must represent advancing closer to success. A college student progressing toward graduation needs to pass a specific number of classes within a specific timeframe to be successful. If a specific GPA target is involved, then GPA needs to be monitored and tracked along with the completed courses on schedule. Success requires a focus on a specific goal under specific conditions. Avoidance requires managing conflicting messages. Success mandates specific focus on intentional targets. And that focus is immediately followed by action steps toward the desired goal.

3. Results
The fundamental expectation of establishing goals is to achieve them. Achievement is the direct result of a plan and effort. Acquire the tools, resources and strategies to execute the plan successfully. If you do not have the tools, then go get them. If you cannot get the tools, then find an interim goal to pursue with what you have. But under all circumstances, maintain focus on the result that you intend to achieve. In business, sales goals, profitability targets, and operational metrics are consistently at the forefront of leaders’ attention. These measurables represent the results. Plan, prepare then, execute to achieve the results that you target.

Focus is what drives the achievement process from concept to reward. Avoidance distracts from the goal. It scatters focus to possibilities outside of your intended outcome. But placing your focus directly on the specific quantity, time, or quality, maximizes the likelihood of advancing to the goal. Furthermore, execute directly toward the desired results. And embrace the wise saying: “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss you will land among the stars.”

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

November 17, 2014 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Change the Radio Station

Driving down the highway, motorists have passed the time listening to the radio for decades. And, now motorists have more listening options – music, talk radio, news – than ever, available to them. Furthermore, between broadcast radio, online radio, satellite radio, and iPods, the listening choices are constantly increasing.

With all these choices, too often motorists come across a song or topic that are frankly irritating. Guess what? The listener has options. So, why do listeners openly complain about the music, the topics, the news, yet continue to listen? Why not change the station? More importantly, mapping this scenario to every day decisions, why not change your current situation? What is keeping you from simple fulfillment?

Embrace change
Change is inevitable. During your journey, you can expect a bad song. You will end up in a situation that you will not like. Maybe you are enduring a career choice that went bad. Well, pursue a different opportunity. Accept that you have choices. Change the station. Not just one station to the next, but you have the ability to change genres. Change from a bad song to an interesting talk radio topic. Change from satellite radio’s classic rock selection to an ipod with an audio book. More choices mean more opportunities to find fulfillment and satisfaction either in music or life.

Exercise your options
Three frogs sit on a log. One decides to jump. How many remain on the log? Three. One only decided. That one embraced change. That is a step. But the frog still has to take action for the result to make a difference. Activate the satellite radio in your journey. Pre-set stations so that you can change from news to easy listening. Sample different life options whether it is music, authors, hobbies, or lattes. Pick one to suit your needs now. Pick another later when your mood, curiosity, needs or tastes change.

Control your destiny (or someone else will)
When driving a motorist has several options which represent different experiences for their journey. Depending on the selected station, you are being educated, rocking out, or reminiscing with oldies. Your experiences will differ according to your listening choices and mood. Consequently, realize that all choices affect your experiences and your journey. In turn, your experiences and journey determine your destiny. Be intentional about what you allow in your mind. I hate to think that you would trust your destiny to some shock jock!

Life is like a song. If it is a great song, you want to experience it again and again. If it is a bad song, then take control and listen to a song that you like. You have choices. As you change stations, apply that action to more critical parts of your life. Friends that do not contribute to your journey of achieving your goals need to be changed. The same goes for careers. Embrace change and being willing to exercise your options to achieve your destiny.

Everyone makes choices, either passively or actively. As the world continues to change more rapidly, the progressive person will prepare to change along with it. The more you are willing to change your station, to exercise your options, to enjoy the moment, the more opportunities you have to achieve your destiny. Fortunately, embracing change, exercising options, controlling your destiny can start by simply changing the station. Then, select experiences that you find fulfilling.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

November 10, 2014 Posted by | Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Not Entitlement; It’s Embracing Possibilities

After recently lecturing at a private university, a student approached me to comment on my presentation. She mentioned an example that appealed to her area of career interest. Then, she made The Big Ask. Can you introduce me to someone who can help me land an internship? Fortunately, I had recently helped a colleague win a new position in the student’s area who could help. I called him on the spot and introduced the two of them.

A year ago, my student in a class at a two-year college moaned to her fellow student about not having a job lined up in her field upon graduation. The listening student reminded her classmate that I bragged about being eager to help students and having a close relationships with a local business’ leadership in the first student’s field. The first student spewed back, clearly within my earshot, that he (me) would never help me. And, shortly afterward left the room.

On the surface, the first student showed a sense of entitlement in pursuing her career. She had a more privileged profile. She was bold. However, the truth was more subtle. The first student embraced the possibilities. She sought opportunities. I am certain that I was not the first resource she asked for a lead. The second student had mentally eliminated possibilities. In her mind, she had issues. Life was hard. She was born on the wrong side of the tracks. No one does anything for someone else without wanting something back. Unfortunately, her reality did not have room for opportunity.

Incompetent or Impotent
These two students approached their desires differently. Fundamentally, both were incompetent. Neither student were equipped to do the jobs they wanted. As students, they really wanted opportunities to learn more so they could contribute more. The second one happened to be impotent, as well. Her inability to progress was self-imposed. The first student embraced possibilities and attached to available power sources. Furthermore, she attracted people to be invested in her success (including me).

Holding on to Your Limitations
“If you argue for your limitations, then you get to keep them!” Entitlement means that because of unearned privilege, someone’s desires should be fulfilled. It’s a horrible characteristic! At its worse, entitlement is a burdensome limitation. It implies that achievement has nothing to do with merit. Through entitlement, achievement requires no courage, no risk. And, without risk, there is no reward! The second student could only see the possessions of entitlement and the absence of them in her life. Lacking confidence in her own abilities, she believed entitlement to be her only chance of reward. Since entitlement was not forthcoming, she rejected all possibilities of rewards.

Self-fulfilling Prophecies
“Ultimately, the optimist and the pessimist are both right.” The first student demonstrated that success is a statistical event and embraced the possibilities of reaching her goal. She welcomed the adventure. Her optimism led to asking multiple times knowing that she only needed one positive outcome. The pessimistic second student had calculated her odds and rounded the positive outcome to zero. Once all outcomes pointed to failure, starting was senseless. She finished her studies begrudgingly. Unfortunately, she had already devalued her education since she had no expectation of living an improved life after graduating.

Ironically, by completing her coursework, she in fact demonstrated a glimpse of possibilities. Her disposition was impotent, limited and pessimistic. But, she was still engaged. The real power of embracing possibilities is the spark of hope that it requires. Background, experiences and self-image, can suffocate the fire. But possibilities remain. Embracing them breathes life.

Oddly, embracing possibilities does not require much more work. But, it does require a much different mindset. Receiving the answer, “no”, is not a lifetime sentence. With a slightly shifting paradigm, “no” can mean not now. Or, “no” can mean ask me again if you really want it. Sometimes, “no” means you asked at the wrong time, or asked the wrong question. And sometimes, “no’ means “no”. But still, someone else may grant your request. Persistence pays. Ask until you get an answer you want, or you have better information to meet your needs or circumstances. Embrace the possibilities.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter & Beyond

November 3, 2014 Posted by | Better Community, Better Person | , , , , , , | 1 Comment