5 Ways to Manage Emotions that Distort Perception

5 Ways to Manage Emotions that Distort Perception

Emotion distorts the way you see yourself, others, opportunities, and the world. You manage emotions; you don’t control them. (Excluding emotional outburst which should be controlled.)

“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are,” attributed to Anais Nin.

You manage emotions indirectly. Image of a curvy road.You manage emotions indirectly. Image of a curvy road.

Emotions distort perception:

Emotions predict the future. Sad people see a sad future. Discouraged people see problems. Fearful people see threats around every corner.

Disappointment with one thing colors many things. An argument at home leads to withdrawal at work.

You feel competent when you’re happy and incompetent when you’re sad. Happy people try things; sad people don’t.

You feel like you can charge hell with a squirt gun when you’re exhilarated, even though it’s not a good idea.

Feelings follow actons. Image of a group of wooden pawns with one out in front.Feelings follow actons. Image of a group of wooden pawns with one out in front.

5 ways to manage emotions:

#1. You feel what you focus on. You feel stress when you focus on stress. (But don’t hide like a child playing peekaboo either.)

#2. You manage emotions with acceptance. Don’t fight painful emotions. Accept them. Acceptance takes power from painful emotion and gives it to you.

#3. You manage emotions indirectly. Stress goes up when confronted directly. Stress goes up when you tell someone not to stress about it. You manage stress by first noticing it and then by doing something else. Many choose deep breathing. Others walk or listen to music. Some engage in self-defeating behaviors like alcohol and drugs.

Tip: Lower stress by focusing only on things within your control.

#4. You manage emotions with rest. Tired people lean toward painful emotions. It’s hard to feel powerful after disappointment.

#5. You manage emotions with action. Act your way into feelings. Don’t feel your way into action.

You are an emotional person; you deal with emotional people. Emotions aren’t something to be cured, but don’t let them steer the ship either.

What suggestions do you have for managing emotions?

Go deeper:

The Secret to Managing How you Feel

Emotion Management Strategies: 6 Methods to Try

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5 Proverbs for People with Big Dreams

5 Proverbs for People with Big Dreams

#1. An average person in motion is better than a lazy genius with big dreams.

#2. Talk inflates. Action humbles.

A long list of past and current actions validates character. A long list of big dreams fills your balloon with hot air.

Undone work multiplies around talkers like breeding bunnies.

Courage to act is better than skill to talk.

An average person in motion is better than a lazy genius with big dreams. Image of cows looking at you.An average person in motion is better than a lazy genius with big dreams. Image of cows looking at you.

#3. Life shrinks when one dream leads to the next.

Life expands when you act.

Make life better now if you hope to be president tomorrow.

Big dreams diminish life until you act on them.

#4. “I am doing,” is better than, “I plan to do.”

Constant blather of climbing Mt. Everest is annoying to climbers who have done it when your greatest gift is lifting the TV remote. Slackers run to next week’s work when you ask them what they’re doing. Successful dreamers don’t live a hope-to life.

Dreams without action lead to apathy. The apathetic overflow with dissatisfaction.

Big dreams: Life expands when you act. Image of a cows nose.Big dreams: Life expands when you act. Image of a cows nose.

#5. People who dream but don’t act become critics and complainers.

The person who hasn’t done it enjoys criticizing people who are doing it.

Bonus proverb:

#6. Great confusion calls for small action.

Inaction compounds confusion. When you can’t leap, crawl.

Do-nothing people amplify complexity when they sit around figuring out how others should do things. (Think about leadership teams who make rules for people who actually do the work.)

Confusion strangles dreams.

Projects for people with big dreams:

How will you step toward your big dream today? Think small. Be specific.

How can you turn complaints into action? Keep a list of your complaints today. Ask yourself, “What am I going to do about that?”

Clarity follows simplicity. What do you need to prune from your life?

Use today’s priorities to make a not-to-do list.

Which of the above projects can you implement today?

What proverbs might you add?

Still curious:

E.B. White: On Hope

How to Stop Aspiration from Becoming Toxic Desperation

Big Dreams But No Action? Here’s a 7-Step Plan For Success

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The Secrets to Self-Leadership – Leadership Freak

The Secrets to Self-Leadership

I thought self-leadership was gobbledygook when I first heard the term.

You live in frustration when leadership begins with others. You think you need new people; your team is lousy, but leadership begins with you. Lead yourself if you hope to lead others. 

The problem in organizations is too many people have authority over others, but they can’t lead themselves. 

Self-leadership is expecting more from yourself than you demand from others. Image of an indoor track with hurdles.Self-leadership is expecting more from yourself than you demand from others. Image of an indoor track with hurdles.

Self-leadership explained:

Self-leadership is clear to leaders who take responsibility and confusing to blamers. If things aren’t going as you hoped, look at yourself. The answer begins with you, not others. 

  1. Enjoy your work if you hope others will enjoy their work. Unhappy leaders have unhappy teams. 
  1. Begin and end meetings on time if you expect promptness from others. (We know how important you are, but that is no excuse to make exceptions for yourself.) 
  1. Do what you say you’re going to do if you require follow-through from others. (Don’t make excuses for dropping the ball.) 

The danger of authority is the tendency to expect more from others than you expect from yourself. Image of a yellow wall.The danger of authority is the tendency to expect more from others than you expect from yourself. Image of a yellow wall.

Become a leader of one before you seek to lead many. The person who believes leadership begins with others ends up feeling superior. The problem isn’t them. It’s you.  

Self-leadership is expecting more from yourself than you expect from others. The result of self-leadership is humility. When leadership begins with others you become dissatisfied, disgruntled, and disappointed.

Self-knowledge:

Self-knowledge is the beginning of leading yourself.

Reflect on your performance more than you examine the performance of others. (This isn’t about letting your inner critic run wild.) 

  1. What will you do differently next time? 
  1. When did your energy go up? Down? 
  1. How are people responding to your words? 
  1. Who talks more? You or others? 

You cannot master yourself unless you know yourself. 

The secrets to self-leadership are self-reflection that leads to self-knowledge.

How might leaders lead themselves first?

Still curious:

Leadership Identity – Self-Perception Determines How You Lead

The First Step Toward Self-Knowledge is Realizing You Don’t Have It

What Is Self-Leadership? Models, Theory and Examples

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10 Dynamic Job Interview Questions

10 Dynamic Job Interview Questions

Job interviews are like trying to predict rain a year from now.

You have five tools to predict future performance: education, work history, personal references, personality assessments, and drill-down job interview questions.

Use job interview questions about practices, not theories. Image of a video job interview.Use job interview questions about practices, not theories. Image of a video job interview.

Job interview questions that work:

Use job interview questions about practices, not theories.

Job interview questions about work ethic:

  1. Tell me about a time when you pulled out all the stops to get a project done on time. What did you learn about yourself? What would you do differently next time?
  2. When are you at your best, morning or afternoon? What makes you say that?
  3. What’s your favorite part of work? How much of that do you need to be fulfilled at your job?
  4. When you look back at work, what are your proudest moments? Tell me more.

A typical job interview is a conversation between two liars. Claudio Fernandez-Araoz Image of a child magician looking in an empty hat.A typical job interview is a conversation between two liars. Claudio Fernandez-Araoz Image of a child magician looking in an empty hat.

Job interview questions about teamwork:

  1. Tell me about the best team you ever worked on. What made it the best? How do you exemplify the qualities of a great team member?
  2. What’s hard about being on a team? Tell me about a time you were on a lousy team. How did you handle it?
  3. Tell me about a time when you didn’t see eye-to-eye with your boss. What was the outcome?

Job interview questions about openness to learning:

  1. Who was your favorite teacher? What did you learn from them? How might you be like them?
  2. Assuming you get this job, what would you like to learn in the next six months that will make you better at your job?
  3. Tell me about a time you screwed up. What did you learn? What would you do differently next time?

Bonus question:

Which of your skills are most admired by others? Why do you think you excel in that area? What comes to mind if you told me how to improve that skill in myself?

What are your favorite job interview questions?

What’s an example of a dumb interview question?

Still curious:

How to Ask Questions That Wake-Up People

Two Questions that Reveal Aspirations

Elon Musk asks this question at every interview to spot a liar—science says it works

100 Interview Questions

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3 Surprising Truths about Big Goals

3 Surprising Truths about Big Goals

Jim Collins explains the acronym BHAG – big harry audacious goal – in Built to Last.

Big goals and weekend jeans have nothing in common.

We say stupid things because everyone else says it. Give 110%, failure is not an option, think outside the box, and big goals are common meaningless blather. You’re a hazard when you casually say we need to set big goals.

Frivolous language is dangerous because it obscures meaning. Why is big-goal-language pervasive? It makes average leaders feel important. It gives the impression we know something when we don’t.

Big numbers are like Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd, fictional things made up by leaders who haven’t done their homework.

Big goals and weekend jeans have nothing in common. Image of two people relaxing in the back of a vehicle.Big goals and weekend jeans have nothing in common. Image of two people relaxing in the back of a vehicle.

Big goals are often fabricated numbers made-up on the way to meetings. Someone thinks, “How can I get more out of people? I got it! We need to increase production by 25%.” (After all, you’re inadequate if you set small goals.)

3 surprising truths about big goals:

#1. Strength

A BHAG makes your knees buckle. Do you feel strong standing beside your big goal? If you do, it might be a good goal, but it’s not a BHAG.

Big goals make you feel weak.

Big goals: When you aim high you are forced to reach out. Image of the moon.Big goals: When you aim high you are forced to reach out. Image of the moon.

#2. Others

BHAGs force you to link arms with others. When you aim high you are forced to reach out. Who can help?

You need a team to reach the moon.

If you can go alone, it might be a good goal but it’s not a BHAG.

#3. Thinking

Big goals force you to rethink. You might be able to increase production by 10% by adding people and working harder. But you must rethink the way you work to double production.

Aiming high deserves more than casual thinking.

What do you know about setting BHAGs?

Still curious:

Why Goals are Dangerous and How to Make them Work

Jim Collins – Concepts – BHAG

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Well-Being is a Team Sport™: How to Lead a Winning Team

Well-Being is a Team Sport™: How to Lead a Winning Team

New Book Giveaway!

Leave a comment on this guest post by Dr. Richard Safeer, Chief Medical Director of Employee Health and Well-Being at Johns Hopkins Medicine, to become eligible to win a complimentary copy of his new book,  A Cure for the Common Company. (20 copies available)

Deadline for eligibility is 1/23/2023.

International winners will receive an electronic version.

Make time to take a breath, take a walk, and check in with yourself. Image of a person walking a dog in an empty park. Make time to take a breath, take a walk, and check in with yourself. Image of a person walking a dog in an empty park.

You got promoted. You got your MBA.

No one ever said your leadership would impact the health and well-being of your team; your workforce.

It does.

On average, a doctor spends 17-24 minutes with a patient. Your employees spend 2,000 hours in the workplace each year. Who do you think has more influence on your team’s well-being? Their doctor or you?

Five easy steps to lead a winning team:

#1. Be a well-being role model.

Visibly demonstrate well-being is part of your day. If your employees can’t see your healthy habits, be sure to weave them into the conversation so they know that your well-being is a priority. What the boss says and does gets noticed.

#2. Make well-being a team priority.

There are very few strategies that fundamentally improve everything for your team and one of them is to be healthy and well. You can make well-being a team priority by:

  • Including well-being on the team meeting agenda. 
  • Creating an annual team well-being goal (one that doesn’t require your employees to step on a scale).
  • Removing barriers to well-being.

#3. Lead with gratitude.

We can’t tell our team members enough that we appreciate their contribution. Find what’s going right and say, ‘thank you.’

#4. Practice self-care. 

When you are not well, you will not be the best boss. Most workers experience tension and stress during the workday. When the stress is coming from the boss, everyone feels it. Make time to take a breath, take a walk, and check in with yourself. 

#5. Smile.

Smiling at work can enhance your mood and help others feel happy. And research shows happiness increases productivity.

How might leaders support the well-being of team members?

Learn more about how to lead with well-being by listening to Ten Minute Well-Being Tips for Managers.

Dr. Richard Safeer is the Chief Medical Director of Employee Health and Well-Being at Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the author of A Cure for the Common Company: A Well-Being Prescription for a Happier, Healthier and More Resilient Workforce.

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4 Surprises All Leaders Face

4 Surprises All Leaders Face

Success gives the illusion of competence, but you don’t understand what you haven’t done.

New leaders don’t understand leading like new parents don’t understand teenagers.

Talent finds ease unfulfilling. Image of a sad little boy.Talent finds ease unfulfilling. Image of a sad little boy.

4 surprises all leaders face:

Surprise #1: Weight invigorates the right people.

Challenge energizes aspiration.

Talent finds ease unfulfilling. Aspirational people seek to shine.

Delegate to aspiration. People who want to learn and get ahead crave new responsibility. Don’t delegate to know-it-alls unless they already know how to do the work.

Tip: Add support to challenge. Informal check-ins feel like you care as long as you don’t meddle. Ask, “What do you need to move your project forward?”

Surprise #2: Things get worse before they get better.

New people reduce productivity at first. It takes time to learn policies, procedures, and team dynamics. A new team of high performers will struggle to excel.

Success is about relationships. Healthy relationships don’t pop out of a magician’s hat.

Tip: A superstar in the last job might struggle in a new position.

You can't pedal faster when you're maxed out. Image of a person on a bike going fast.You can't pedal faster when you're maxed out. Image of a person on a bike going fast.

Surprise #3: You can’t pedal faster when you’re maxed out.

Pedaling faster works when you aren’t giving your best.

Your first inclination is to jump in and get busy, but you end up frazzled, discouraged, resentful, and unproductive.

Stop giving yourself more work and expecting to thrive. Think who needs to do this, NOT how can I do this.

You earned a promotion by taking on new responsibilities; you thrive in leadership by giving responsibilities to others.

Surprise! Rest is the secret to success when you're working hard. Image of a person resting beside a bike.Surprise! Rest is the secret to success when you're working hard. Image of a person resting beside a bike.

Surprise #4: Rest is the secret to success when you’re working hard.

You’re never at your best when you’re exhausted.

Take short breaks during the day and sleep well at night. Elite athletes rest before the big game because peak performance requires rest.

Manage energy, not time. (Loehr & Schwartz)

Time can’t be managed, but you can manage work-rest ratios.

What surprises have you noticed in leadership?

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Demonstrating an Astounding Technology You Don’t Want to Miss

You need to know about Open AI and chatGBT if you don’t already.

Roger Montti from Search Engine Journal says chatGBT  it may be the most important tool since modern search engines.

What are they and what do they do?

OpenAI is an artificial intelligence research laboratory consisting of the for-profit OpenAI LP and its parent company, the non-profit OpenAI Inc. The company is focused on developing and promoting friendly AI in a way that benefits everyone. One of their most notable product is GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) a language model trained on a massive amount of data and able to generate human-like text. ChatGPT is a variant of GPT model fine-tuned for conversational purpose.

Their website states, “We’ve trained a model called ChatGPT which interacts in a conversational way. The dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer followup questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests. ChatGPT is a sibling model to InstructGPT, which is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response.”

I signed up for a free account at https://chat.openai.com/. Using conversational language to make requests, I typed, “Write an article about why you should hire leadership expert Mark Sanborn to speak to your group.” What follows was returned in less than 30 seconds and has not been edited in any way. See what you think.

Mark Sanborn is a highly sought-after leadership expert and speaker who has inspired audiences all over the world with his engaging and thought-provoking presentations. If you are considering hiring Mark to speak to your group, here are just a few reasons why you won’t be disappointed:

1. Mark is a thought leader in the field of leadership. He has written numerous books on the topic, including the best-selling “The Fred Factor: How Passion in Your Work and Life Can Turn the Ordinary Into the Extraordinary,” which has been translated into 26 languages. Mark’s insights on leadership are backed by years of research and real-world experience, making him a credible and reliable source of information.

2. Mark is an engaging and dynamic speaker. Whether he is delivering a keynote address or leading a workshop, Mark has a way of captivating his audience and keeping them engaged throughout his presentations. His enthusiasm and energy are contagious, making him a natural motivator and inspiration to those who hear him speak.

3. Mark’s message is relevant and actionable. His presentations are focused on helping individuals and organizations achieve their full potential by becoming more effective leaders. He provides practical tools and strategies that can be immediately implemented, making his presentations valuable and meaningful for those in attendance.

4. Mark’s presentations are tailored to the needs of his audience. Before each engagement, Mark works with his clients to understand their specific goals and objectives, ensuring that his presentations are customized to meet the needs of the group. This personalized approach ensures that Mark’s message resonates with those in attendance and has a lasting impact.

In summary, hiring Mark Sanborn…

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How to Ask Questions That Wake-Up People

How to Ask Questions That Wake-Up People

Life changes after you change the way you think. Questions explode assumptions.

You resist statements. But curiosity penetrates defiance.

The best question is the second question. Image of a nosy lamb.The best question is the second question. Image of a nosy lamb.

Stupid questions:

Stupid questions invite dimwit answers. “Why did you hit your sister?” anticipates an excuse you don’t want to hear. “What did you do?” invites responsibility.

“Don’t you agree?” insults intelligence.

“How are you?” isn’t the smartest thing to ask if you don’t want an honest answer.

The best question:

The best question is specific. Ask a stranger, “How are you?” Ask your friend how he slept last night.

The best question wakes up sleepy brain cells. “What’s working?” makes negative people think.

Second questions burst the bubble of perceived knowledge. Image of a goat.Second questions burst the bubble of perceived knowledge. Image of a goat.

Second questions:

The best question is the second question.

A leader I work with just got back from vacation. I was eager to ask if he looked forward to getting back. He was. My second question provided opportunity for reflection. “What were you eager to get back to?”

Make the first question easy to answer and use it as a platform for the next.

When someone answers a question, ask a question about their answer.

A second question is a pick and shovel.

  1. I’m not sure I understand what you mean. Could you say more about that?
  2. That seems important to you. What’s important about that to you?
  3. What are three options? Which option do you want to try? What’s next?

Tip: Ask questions that lead to action.

What are some of the best questions?

Bonus material:

15 Questions that Change the Way People Think

Two Rules that Make You Look Smart When You Ask Questions

The Book of Beautiful Questions (Warren Berger)

Asking Powerful Questions (ri.gov)

25 Powerful Coaching Questions to Get You Where You Want to Go (Jesse Lyn Stoner)

The Surprising Power of Questions (HBR)

The Science of Asking Great Questions (AMA)

Now That’s a Great Question (Bob Tiede) Free download

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The Best Mentors Do These Six Things

The Best Mentors Do These Six Things

New Book Giveaway!

Leave a comment on this guest post by Lisa Z. Fain to become eligible win a complimentary copy of her and Lois J. Zachary’s new book, The Mentor’s Guide, 3rd Edition. (20 available)

Deadline for eligibility is 1/21/2023.

International winners will receive an electronic version.

I'm more interested in people than I am in how businesses work. Image of Peter Drucker.I'm more interested in people than I am in how businesses work. Image of Peter Drucker.

Whether you are part of a formal mentoring program or have an informal mentoring relationship that has formed organically, here’s how to level up your mentoring.

6 things the best mentors do:

#1. Reflect.

Take time to think about your past mentoring relationships and the qualities you want to demonstrate to your mentee. Determine your own motivation for mentoring and how you’d like to grow as a leader through this relationship.

#2. Create structure.

Spend some time early in the relationship discussing what good mentoring looks like, how you will determine success, and what ground rules you are going to set to make sure you stay on track.

Mentors makes life richer for everyone. Image of aged journals.Mentors makes life richer for everyone. Image of aged journals.

#3. Invest in the relationship and the learning.

Great mentors know that good conversations require investing in both the relationship and the learning. Take time at the beginning of the relationship to get to know each other.  At each meeting, spend a set amount of time catching up before you dive into working on goals.

#4. Share openly.

Mentees frequently tell us that knowing their mentor experiences their own challenges made all the difference in encouraging them to share openly. Mentors, you can set the tone by sharing first.

#5. Follow up.

Maintain momentum and ensure continuity between meetings by following up on the items discussed at prior meetings. This is much easier to do if you take a few notes on your mentee’s takeaways and commitments at each meeting and review them before you meet again.

#6. Seek and provide feedback (in that order).

Every few months, ask your mentee how the mentoring relationship is going. Encourage them to share what you can do better as a mentor (and really listen). Then, share your thoughts on the same.

What do you do to make the most of your mentoring relationships?

What have you seen the best mentors do?

Lisa Z. Fain is the co-author of The Mentor’s Guide, 3rd Edition and Bridging Differences for Better Mentoring. A global speaker, Lisa is also the CEO of Center for Mentoring Excellence and an expert in creating inclusive cultures through mentoring.

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