Archive for November, 2014

How The Power Of Gratitude Can Lead You To Success

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

Training as an FBI agent never stops—whether its firearms, physical fitness, or polishing investigative techniques. Sound exhausting? It is, and failure to perform can have serious impact on performance ratings and future success. 

The constant exercise of muscles, sharpening of thought patterns, and control of emotions that affect behavior were essential if we wanted to remain in peak shape as successful investigators.

Similarly, mental toughness is how you manage your thoughts, behavior, and emotions in ways that will set you up for success.

Whether you’re investigating the activities of a foreign spy, trying to navigate the politics of your work environment, or starting a new business—mental toughness requires keeping in shape to meet the challenges you will be facing.

While adding emotions as a component of mental toughness may seem at odds with the critical thinking that is required in the tough world of business today. But researchers are realizing that people who have little emotional intelligence are seriously disadvantaged in their overall well-being.

To ace life, you have to understand your emotions.

But this is the real secret: the key to lifelong success is the regular exercise of a single emotional muscle—gratitude.

Here is how the power of gratitude can lead you to success:

 1. ATTRACT EVEN MORE GOOD THINGS IN YOUR LIFE

Gratitude can lead you to success because when you are grateful for all you have in life, your life will automatically attract more good into it. 

The Law of Attraction states: I attract whatever I give my focus, attention, or energy to. If your attitude is a cesspool of what’s wrong in your life, guess what? That is what you’re going to attract.

If, however, you make a conscious decision to appreciate and acknowledge all that you’ve been blessed with and you will continue to attract even more things to be grateful for through the law of attraction.

2. COUNTERACT YOUR STRESSORS

Gratitude can lead you to success because it is an antidote to stress and one of the best ways to counteract it. 

According to scientist Hans Seyle, being able to appreciate what is important to us is a valuable way of stepping back from the stresses we’re experiencing. When we do, we become more mentally tough because we are able to re-frame our thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances—The Bible, I Thessalonians 5:16

3. INCREASE YOUR HAPPINESS

Gratitude can lead you to success because research has shown the happiest people are those who take the time to appreciate the small things in life.

When we are grateful, we make time to stop and smell the roses. By spending the effort to appreciate the beauty around us, we are able to experience more feelings of well being and this produces happiness.

4. FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON WHAT IS IMPORTANT

Gratitude can lead you to success because it debunks the myth that we can multi-task and be more efficient.

Research has shown that the brain is incapable of multi-tasking. What really happens when we think we are multi-tasking is that are simply splitting our attention. We spin forward with the mistaken belief that getting more done will make us successful.

In truth, much of the quality of our life does not depend on getting more done; it comes from savoring those things we choose to pay attention to. Savoring is all about attention. Focus on the bad and you’ll feel bad. Focus on the good…and guess what?

5. HUNT THE GOOD STUFF

Gratitude can lead you to success because it forces you to look for the positive elements of your situation.

Researcher Martin Seligman is working with U.S. Military drill sergeants on how to increase mental toughness in their troops. Those participating are taught how to hunt the good stuff—to look for and appreciate the ways in which they are fortunate.

Gratitude is appreciating what you have, and giving thanks for the big and small blessings in your life. Basically, you see what you look for. You can train yourself to find the joy waiting out there, instead of passively waiting for it to come to you.

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven—Johannes A. Gaertner

© 2014 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, AND LinkedIn

Get my FREE 45-Question Mental Toughness Assessment

Sign Up for my How To Build Confidence on-line training course

Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

52 Tips cover smallS

 

 

3 Things to Remember When Good Performance Doesn’t Lead To Success

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

During my four months in the FBI Academy, I shot over 3,000 rounds of ammo in firearms training, spent untold hours in the gym building up enough muscle to pass the fitness test, and endured an endless number of mock interrogation sessions. 

We spent hundreds of hours practicing real life situations so that when we hit the streets with our badge and gun, we’d be successful as newly minted FBI agents.

It didn’t take me long in the real world of hard knocks to understand that practice doesn’t always make perfect. Just because I’d practiced how to be a federal law enforcement office in training, it didn’t mean I would be considered a success. Time alone was not enough if I lacked the other attributes I’d need to succeed. 

The “10,000 hour rule” popularized by Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers really rankles me. Gladwell undoubtedly made a lot of money from that book, and subsequent speaking engagements, but he misled people about what it takes to succeed.

He seduced readers into thinking that practice does make perfect—if we just keep hammering away at it along enough. 

To begin with, there is a big difference between putting in 10,000 hours at doing something and deliberating practicing for 10,000 hours to become an expert. We all know people who have shuffled to work every day for 40 years, punched a time clock, and put in over 10,000 hours during a lifetime. They became neither successful nor an expert.

I spent my time in the FBI Academy in deliberate practice—activities designed with the goal of improving performance. Whether time spent was under or over 10,000 hours, there is no doubt that deliberate practice could help me become an expert.

But it wasn’t enough to make me successful!

I beat myself up because I thought I wasn’t good enough. How was I going to move forward? Turns out, I’m not the only one who asked these same questions.

Researcher Brooke MacNamara at Princeton University and her colleagues found that deliberate practice explained 26% of the success rate in games like chess, 21% in music, 18% in sports, 4% in education, and less than 1% in professions. 

Her team concluded that deliberate practice is important, but not as important as has been argued.

Success does not always scale with performance. Here are 3 things to remember when your good performance doesn’t lead to success:

1. START WITH THE BASICS AND BRUSH UP ON YOUR PERSONALITY

If you don’t believe likability is important to success, just remember how and why Hillary Clinton lost the presidential nomination to Barak Obama. And then the presidency to Donald Trump.

Likability is more than a popularity contest. It’s the way you come across to others as they size you up. Likable people are more apt to get hired, to get help at work, get useful information from others, and have their mistakes forgiven.

Likability can be taught, it isn’t something you were born with, like charisma. It’s something you can learn. Here are some tips:

  1. Be AUTHENTIC—to be likable, behave in ways that feel natural and comfortable to you. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
  2. Be CURIOUS—make sure it’s not all about you. Show interest in others by making eye contact and asking questions about others to open them up.
  3. Be EXPRESSIVE—no one likes a cold fish or a plastic smile. Vary your tones of voice and smile, show enthusiasm about what you’re saying. Fake it if you have to.
  4. LISTEN—don’t allow your thoughts to wander or get distracted. Focus on what the other person is saying.
  5. MIMIC—mirror the expressions and gestures of the person you’re talking to.
  6. SIMILARITY—make an effort to find topics of interest that you share, rather than just talking about what interests you.

2. FIND YOUR BACKBONE

Success requires the determination that comes from mental strength. Determination is a quiet strength that emanates from within; it’s a fortress that remains indifferent to everything that happens on the outside. 

When we have a strong mind, we control our emotions rather than let them control us. Mental toughness is the driving force behind the para-military mindset of the FBI—especially in its emphasis on endurance, self-control, and inner strength. 

Mental toughness teaches us that before we try to control events, we have to control ourselves first.  We may not be able to predict the way our supervisor will behave, but controlling our response to their decisions is something we can do 100% of the time.

3. MAKE YOUR OWN LUCK

It’s not that I don’t believe luck doesn’t exist; it’s just that I think it can be created and controlled. Luck happens when we seize opportunities to improve ourselves and our situation. It definitely doesn’t happen if we silently wait and hope for our lives to change.

When you are always looking for opportunities, luck happens because you’re motivated to take the steps necessary to succeed. You make it easier for luck to find you because you are more open to life’s forking paths, and see possibilities that others miss.

Don’t despair if your good performance doesn’t always lead to success.  The wisest people we know are those who have known misery, defeat, and lost something they truly wanted. They are also among the strongest people we know because they’ve gained an appreciation for what it truly takes to succeed in business and life.

What in this post most resonated with you?

© 2014 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, AND LinkedIn

Get my FREE 45-Question Mental Toughness Assessment

Sign Up for my How To Build Confidence on-line training course

Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

 

52 Tips cover smallS

7 Disadvantages You Need For Massive Success

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Growing up in a rural area, going to a small college, and moving into the fast-paced business world, I felt at a disadvantage on many levels. Little did I know that these same disadvantages would give me the scrappiness I’d need to succeed.

Adversity - shining through

It takes mental toughness to develop the healthy habits we need to overcome the disadvantages we face in life. I quickly learned that while surviving in my circumstances may be considered success; thriving in them is massive success.

Check out this list to see how how your disadvantages in life have prepared you for massive success:

1. NEVER ENOUGH MONEY

When you don’t have money, you are forced to use your imagination. Innovation becomes a way of life at a very early age—I discovered that sticks are excellent rifles and swords, and dried cow pies can be amazing frizbees. 

Buying what I wanted or needed was not an option for me as a kid, so creativity was the way I compensated. My early training to be creative and resourceful has served me well throughout life.

Lesson Learned: If you want something, find a way to make it happen.

2. NO CODDLING BY PARENTS AND FAMILY

There were many times as a child when I felt very sorry for myself—I didn’t come from one of those warm and fuzzy families that coddled their offspring.

My grandmother had ammo on her Christmas list! There are three things you never say to a grandmother who is a crack shot with a shotgun: “You do it.” “It’s your fault.” “I quit.”

But in the process, I learned how to fend for myself. If I found myself in a tough situation, I had to rely on myself to get out of it.

Lesson Learned: Take responsibility—don’t whine, blame others, or point fingers if you don’t get what you want.

3. THE CONSTANT REMINDER OF MISTAKES

The better part of my early life was spent as a hillbilly. I didn’t have the polish of a sophisticated upbringing and so I made a lot of mistakes, both social and professional. 

I learned from each one because I knew one thing: I didn’t want to make the same mistake twice. It hurt too much the first time to not take the experience seriously and glean as much knowledge as I could from it.

As I look back and see the path I’ve traveled, I understand now that the past is nothing but training. It doesn’t define me. 

Lesson Learned: Mistakes are only stupid if you don’t take the time to learn from them. 

4. SURROUNDED BY LOSER FRIENDS

Since our cattle ranch was in a remote part of Wyoming, it was hard growing up without many friends. I was on a constant search to find other kids like me, but there just weren’t that many. At first, I wasn’t picky about with whom I chummed up but that was worse than having no friends at all. I was better off alone than if I surrounded myself with loser friends.

Instead, I learned to make friends and spend time with people who were very different from me. They stretched my thinking because they were so diverse.

We tend to spend time with people who are just like us, but when we do, we lack the feedback we need to force us out of our comfort zones and challenge us to question our beliefs.

Lesson Learned: Dump the loser friends and learn to be adept at picking the right strangers with ties to what you hope to accomplish. Ask them the right questions to get started.

5. NEVER AN EASY WAY OUT 

I had to work really hard to get good grades—they didn’t come easy. As a result, I knew I would need to develop other traits if I wanted success. In excavating those talents and abilities, I learned to tolerate discomfort, frustration, anger, failure, and rejection. 

Mental toughness requires you to become acutely aware of all emotions so you can make the best choice about how to respond when the pop up. Mental toughness is when you accept your feelings without being controlled by them.

Lesson Learned: Don’t expect a handout; instead, develop the right attitude to make your own breaks in life.

6. HARD-WON BREAKTHROUGHS

Several wrong turns were taken during my early years. I hoped for a breakthrough, picked myself up, and started down another road. I continued until I finally found the right path for me.

Our breakthroughs come from stress. We place a great deal of pressure on ourselves to see how much we can take and how well we respond. It’s a form of training for life—we practice over and over again until we have a breakthrough and become someone we had no idea we could become. 

Lesson Learned: All the magic happens outside the comfort zone.

7. A CONSTANT HUNT FOR THE GOOD STUFF

I tried for several years to find the right job and the right relationship. During these gloomy times, I had to hunt to find the good stuff in my life. There wasn’t a lot, and yet I made a concerted effort to identify at least 3 positive experiences every day.

Catch your negative thoughts before they spiral out of control and influence your behavior. Replace your negative thoughts with productive ones and reflect on your progress daily.

Lesson Learned: Stop being a bore—instead, be grateful for your blessings.

Ironically, the disadvantages we’ve faced in the past were the ones that helped us develop the mental toughness we need to be a massive success.

© 2014 LaRaeQuy. All rights reserved.

You can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, AND LinkedIn

Get my FREE 45-Question Mental Toughness Assessment

Sign Up for my How To Build Confidence on-line training course

Author of “Mental Toughness for Women Leaders: 52 Tips To Recognize and Utilize Your Greatest Strengths” and “Secrets of a Strong Mind.” 

 

52 Tips cover smallS