Leadership Starts with Self-Awareness

leadership selfawarenessMany clients want to know how they can become better leaders.  My typical response is to answer this question with a question: “Where would you start?”  Clients respond with “improve my communication skills,” “have a clear vision,” “give better direction,” and “build stronger relationships.”  No doubt all of these answers have elements that can contribute toward improved leadership.  Yet, these answers leave people still wondering, “How do I really start the process?”

I propose that a serious effort to grow leadership capacity starts with an honest self-assessment.  Until a client understands who he* is and how he shows up in the world, he will be challenged to sustain leadership growth. People should be aware of where they are, where they want to stand, and how large of a gap exists between the two.  A deep-dive into self-awareness allows one to determine how he presents himself to others, which reflects a combination of worldview, skills/competencies, knowledge, attitudes, and appearance/behaviors.  Clients need to appreciate how each dimension works for and against their ability to influence, so they can choose to change in ways that drives toward increased leadership.

As an example, a sales person struggles with securing new clients and business growth.  One of my priorities as a leadership coach is to help him understand his worldview, which reflects how he believes the world works or should work.  Where does he land on the continuum of “fate plays a major role in my life” versus “I control my destiny”?  If the client tends more toward fate, he may stop pursuing a relationship with a prospective client sooner than a salesperson who believes he controls his destiny.  The sales person, who believes he strongly influences his outcome, may not as readily accept defeat and find other creative strategies to bring on the customer.  Another worldview perspective to consider is “people must earn my trust” versus “people are inherently trustworthy”?  How might a sales person, who embraces either extreme, be perceived by a potential customer?  Answers to these and other worldview questions will likely determine how a sales person engages in the sales process and with his customers.

Worldview is only one dimension that influences leadership growth.  I encourage clients to take a deep dive self-assessment in the other dimensions. Once a client has established a personal baseline and defined his leadership goals, he can work through the change process.  Focusing on purposeful change to improve leadership also helps to build learning agility, which is an important skill to be competitive in today’s global market.

*[”he” or “his” as personal pronouns are also intended to reflect “she” and “her”]


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ specific business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations engaged all its employees to their fullest potential.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Coaching: How to Calculate Your Return on Investment

Coaching ROI 10Have you thought about the return on investment (ROI) of personal coaching? I would probably guess not as this investment decision is somewhat analogous to the early days of personal computers.  With every new product or service, there is a small portion of the population who are the early adopters.  In the case of computers, they were likely the technology gurus, who were excited to upgrade their TI or HP hand-held calculators for 256 kB of desktop memory.  I propose this analogy parallels personal coaching.  There is a small portion of the population who are driven towards self-improvement, so hiring a coach is a no-brain decision.  What about the others?

In the early 1980’s, when IBM computers were first launched, companies struggled with the financial decision of whether to buy their employees personal computers. They intuitively knew their employees would be more productive, but did not grasp how to calculate a ROI.  Is personal coaching following the same path? Most people believe they would benefit from coaching, but they struggle with how to justify it.

How much would you pay for coaching services if you thought you would get promoted within the year, add an extra 10% to your base salary that carries forward for 20 years, or have more job opportunities?  What value would you place on coaching services that solidified your performance in a position where you felt overwhelmed? Can you calculate that value and weigh it against the cost?  What about the intangible benefits such as greater fulfillment and your impact on others.  An increase in your leadership abilities helps others lead better.  Accurately measuring all the downstream benefits would prove difficult, so I suggest focusing on what can be measured and let the unquantifiable extras be the cherry on top of the sundae.

My 5-step process to calculate coaching ROI involves answering a series of basic questions to define the opportunity, determine the gap, measure the performance, and calculate the value.  These steps are:

  1. Define the need/opportunity and determine the gap
    • What specifically do you want to accomplish?
    • What is your baseline?
    • How big is the gap?
  2. Calculate the benefit
    • What are the parameters that need to be addressed that will deliver value?
    • What is the quantifiable value if the performance gap is closed?
    • Is the growth in value linear, exponential, or binary?
  3. Develop a coaching approach
    • What is the coaching strategy and tactics to achieve the target?
    • How will progress be measured (the metrics)?
    • How frequently will progress be measured?
    • Who will be responsible for collecting and reporting the data?
  4. Implement the coaching plan
    • What is working well?
    • What needs to be adjusted to meet target?
    • What is the interim analysis and value?
  5. Calculate the ROI
    • What is the total cost?
    • What is the monetary value of the improvement?
    • What is the ROI (net benefits/coaching costs)?

Putting this model into practical use, a client may have a goal to develop and lead more effective project meetings.  After a review of the client’s work and process, the coaching plan may focus on strategies and tactics to improve preparation, organization, and execution that results in fewer, shorter, and less attendees needed at all meetings.  The costs savings is easily calculated by the reduced man-hours in meetings multiplied by salaries over the project life.  The true cost savings are immeasurable as the upgrade in the client’s skills will carry forward into future projects.

When was the last time you attended a meeting and wished the meeting leader was better at preparing himself and the team as well as more effective in leading the meeting and staying on task? Ask me how I can help? The ROI is off the charts.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations engaged all its employees to their fullest potential.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Networking: How to Think of It as Fun When You Think It’s Not

Networking 5You probably read the title of this article and don’t necessarily agree that networking is fun, but you were intrigued enough to read more.  If you don’t think networking is fun, we probably have a different definition or approach.

I know plenty of people who are highly networked and consider it a necessity of doing business, yet I know far more who say they need to start networking in case they lose their job.  Sadly, many people don’t practice networking until they need something such as a job lead, referral, or recommendation.  Networking then becomes a fearful activity as they live in a tight timeframe to secure a job while managing the risk of rejection.

I propose that the definition of networking extends beyond a job and the industry connections where one earns a living.  Networking is a life skill and a fun one to practice across all life relationships. Why?  Because networking is not about asking for anything but about giving to others.

People were designed for networking, because people were designed to be in relationship with one another. Networking is about building and sustaining relationships. People get off track when they approach networking as a give and take or a score to be kept. Ninety-nine percent of networking should be giving and blessing others without the expectation of receiving anything in return. When we give, how can we be rejected? If you approach every contact as an opportunity to help, you will be surprised how your relationships strengthen.

So how do you start networking with sincerity?  Ask powerful questions to learn more about people, where they are from, and their interests.  You might find some interesting common ground off which to build.  You might deepen the conversation by asking “-est” (extreme) type questions such as: 1) What is the biggest challenge you have faced? (2) What accomplishment are you proudest? and (3) What is your best piece of advice?  You may then ask, “How can I help you?”  You’ll be surprised how easy and fun it is to have a conversation when you only have a desire to connect and serve.  When you do eventually find yourself in a position of need, you may find that your network turns around and asks you, “How can I help you?”


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations engaged all its employees to their fullest potential.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

What is Your Level of Leadership Engagement?

 


leaderI occasionally hear clients express that they do not think of themselves as leaders.  When I ask how they came to that conclusion, their typical answer aligns with the message that they do not manage, supervisor, or oversee a team.  Since the idea of leadership and its definition are routinely portrayed by a position or person, is it surprising that people remain confused and tend to assume they are not leaders?  With the hope of dispelling any confusion on leadership and who is eligible, I define leadership as influence and propose that everyone is a leader.  Leadership is a choice.

Leadership is also a muscle.  Like all muscles, leadership needs a good workout to stay strong and fit. The first step in growing leadership is to assess and establish your leadership baseline.  On a continuum of 1 to 10, where is your current level of leadership engagement?

  1. I am unsure of the definition of leadership and the characteristics of a good leader
  2. I question whether I am a leader
  3. I believe I am a leader but do not often practice leadership
  4. I have doubts about my leadership abilities but still try to lead
  5. I know I am a leader and am fully aware of my leadership strengths and growth areas
  6. I educate myself on leadership and welcome those few opportunities to practice it
  7. I routinely accept leadership opportunities presented to me
  8. I purposefully seek opportunities to strengthen my leadership abilities
  9. I create opportunities for me to lead and grow my leadership
  10. I create or provide opportunities for others to increase their leadership capacity

A leadership rating of 10 signifies a leader who is growing the next generation of leaders through coaching and creating opportunities for them to practice. Great leaders know there is a time to lead and a time to follow, and even great leaders know when they are to follow and not lead.  When they follow, you might assume they are leading from behind.

Growing leadership capacity and strengthening leadership ability is a lifelong journey and available to anyone who chooses.  The second step in growing leadership is to ask yourself these questions:

  • What will I lead?
  • How will I lead?
  • When will I Iead?
  • Where will I lead?
  • Will I choose to lead?

Answers to these questions help a leader formulate a leadership vision and goals to increase their leadership capacity and abilities.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in leadership and business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations engaged all its employees to their fullest potential.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Leadership: How to Help Curb iPhone Distractions During Meetings

iphones.jpgAs a leadership coach, I hear clients express annoyance that they cannot lead an hour-long business meeting without attendees looking at emails, texts, or other information sourced on their iPhones.  Some senior leaders even resort to posting a sign on the conference room door that reads “no iPhones, this meeting” or “check your iPhones.”  In my opinion, those leaders are putting a Band-Aid on wound instead of addressing its cause.  You may be thinking, “We can’t take away our employees’ iPhones.”  I agree, however, what I am proposing is that leaders pause and question what they are contributing to the problem.

Spend a few moments and reflect over the past month on the meetings you attended and did not lead.  After the meeting concluded, how many times did you say to yourself at least one of the following statements:

  • “That was a non-value-add meeting.”
  • “I’m not sure what the point was of that meeting.”
  • “We hardly accomplished anything.”
  • “We could have taken half the time to discuss what we did.”
  • “Wish we could have a meeting where we don’t get off topic.”
  • “I don’t know why I was invited to that meeting.”

My guess would be that at least half the meetings you attended had some elements of the above ineffectiveness.  In these meetings, were you bored, sneaking peaks at Facebook and returning emails and texts? If so, what did these meetings have in common?  I would propose they lacked one or more of the following:

  • A defined or succinct purpose
  • An upfront definition of what decisions, if any, needed to be made before leaving the meeting
  • An agenda and topics clearly mapped to scheduled time

When leaders have not clearly defined the purpose and the decisions that need to be made during their meetings, they typically invite more people than required as a means of covering all bases.  When a leader does not prepare well, invite the right people, or conduct the meeting effectively, attendees will naturally disengage.  It is the leader’s responsibility to prepare and lead a meeting in a way that the right attendees will choose to participate.

How can a leader lead an effective meeting?  Consider the following:

  1. Define and clearly articulate the purpose of the meeting (i.e. information, brainstorming, or decision-making).
  2. State at the beginning of the meeting what decisions need to be made by the group before the meeting adjourns.
  3. Issue an agenda with items #1 an #2 at the top as well as the topics that will be discussed, who will lead them, and how much time has been allocated to each activity. When possible, issue the agenda several days in advance, so attendees can prepare and ask any questions.

When leaders develop and clearly communicate their meetings’ purpose and decision requirements, they can more easily determine who needs to attend.  Distributing an agenda in advance helps to set expectations and gives attendees time to prepare. Assigned prereading can reduce meeting time as attendees are current on the topic. Meeting time can then be productively used to answer questions, debate, and build consensus.

I acknowledge that some employees’ technology addiction can undermine even the leader’s best meeting management. These cases warrant a conversation outside of the meeting.  Strong leaders are comfortable in respectfully addressing meeting behaviors that undermine team performance.  Strong leaders also welcome feedback.  One of the best closing questions a leader can ask before dismissing the group: “How could this meeting have been more effective?”


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development and leadership.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ specific business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations engaged all its employees to their fullest potential.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Workplace Leadership: Bridging the Generational Cohorts

Leadership generational gapsGender inequality in wages and promotional opportunities used to be the hot topic in HR meetings and workplace chatter, but this issue has been overshadowed by the office talk about the Millennials (Gen Y) and how to manage their job expectations and performance.  With Millennials accounting for ~ 50% of the American workforce today and growing to 75% by 2025, businesses are wrestling with how to assimilate Gen Y with older employees who span several generational cohorts (Maturists, Baby Boomers, and Gen X).  Instead of focusing on gender inequities, many office conversations and Facebook posts make fun of the Millennials.  Might this be a broad form of cyber bullying?  Do these pokes help to bridge the gap or do they solidify what we believe to be true and allow us to vent some frustration?

Leaders should be asking themselves, “How can our company help our employees build stronger and more productive relationships across generational cohorts?”   I propose the first step is for all employees to understand the workplace landscape and appreciate what each generation brings to the team.  Questions that should be answered are: (1) what are the different generational cohorts at play within the organization, (2) what are these cohort characteristics, strengths, motivators, needs, values, and preferences, (3) what can each generation recognize as value-add from another, and (4) how can work and communication be constructed that honors and values all contributions.  A leadership coach can facilitate constructive conversation that starts the process; whereby, each employee becomes educated about the generational dynamics and actively looks for ways to productively engage the other generations.

Personal judgment should be suspended of other cohorts’ attitudes and behaviors, because good/bad or right/wrong are only relative assessments. People are products of their culture, and each generation, including Gen Z entering the workforce today, has been raised within their own unique global experiences and technology platforms.  For example, Maturists (born pre-1945), who grew up during the Depression and WW II, lacked many basic necessities and a sense of security.  As a result, Maturists drove toward the preference of “jobs for life.”

The dynamics of the generational cohorts have been compared to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, where Maturists entered the workforce at the first levels with the expectations that jobs served to meet their physiological and safety needs.  On the other hand, Gen Y has been culturized during a time of American abundance and within families where children were given a priority in the family structure.  Gen Y’s parents raised them with a strong sense of love/belonging and provided activities and rewards to build esteem. Having had the first four levels of Maslow’s needs met, it should come as no surprise that Millennials entered the workforce looking to achieve the next level—self-actualization. A need for self-actualization would easily translate into the need for a job that provides meaning and a higher purpose rather than just to collect a paycheck.

Debating the fairness or reasonableness of what each generation expects from work drives wedges among cohorts rather than fostering the conversation in how to bring the generations together. Businesses need to openly talk and act constructively in bridging the generations, because each cohort has a unique ability to offer value.  Leadership coaches can help businesses facilitate these conversations.   A company cannot mandate a bridge be built, but it can encourage and provide a coach, who can help employees design and build the bridge they all want to walk across.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development and leadership.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ specific business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations engaged all its employees to their fullest potential.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

What’s in Your Leadership Box?

Leadership BoxYou’ve likely heard the saying, “Big things come in small packages,” which can be translated into practical terms as: “Do not underestimate something’s value based on its packaging.” This concept applies as much to leadership as it does to a gift.  Leadership is not necessarily packaged in a big box with a boldly colored bow but likely wrapped in a modest box with a refined ribbon.

Although leadership expresses itself in casting vision, building effective teams, setting goals, solving problems, and inspiring teams to action, I propose most people would describe leadership by the attributes of a leader who casts vision and inspires people to change.  While many give leadership recognition to the person who articulates the vision, Hybels (2009) describes 10 key leadership styles that are required for any organization to grow.  Which ones can you identify on your team?

  • Visionary: casts vision; draws people in
  • Directional: chooses the right path at critical junctures
  • Strategic: align teams and breaks an exciting vision into actionable steps
  • Management: organizes people, processes, and resources to achieve the mission
  • Motivational: keeps the team fired up
  • Shepherding: builds, nurtures, supports, and listens to the team
  • Team-building: finds and develops the right people with the right characteristics, character, and chemistry, and puts them in the right positions to get the right results
  • Entrepreneurial: possesses many leadership styles but optimally functions in start-up mode
  • Re-engineering: thrives on turning around teams who struggle because they are missing a leadership element
  • Bridge-building: deals with complexity and brings many groups under a single leadership umbrella

I believe great leadership involves building an organization, where all the leadership styles are represented and recognized for their contribution.  No leadership style is more important than another, because failure in one area impacts a company’s ability to achieve their goals.  A company is only as successful as the sum of its parts or as strong as its weakest link.

Each leadership style has a critical mission to accomplish.  Do you know your primary leadership styles and how they impact your organization?  I suggest all leaders answer these three questions for themselves:

  1. On a scale of 1-10, what is your ability on each of the 10 leadership styles?
  2. Does your current position allow you to drive on your leadership strengths?
  3. If not, how can you use more of your leadership strengths in your current role?

 

Reference

Hybels, B. (2009). Courageous Leadership: Field-Tested Strategy for the 360o Leader.  Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development and leadership.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops that address her clients’ specific  business needs.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Agility Is The New Must-Have Work Competency

Leaders Agile ChangeAs the speed and impact of technology continues to advance, agility is the new must-have competency that many employers are asking of their employees and screening for in their new hires.  Agility has become as important as the those “bread and butter” competencies of personal initiative, concern for effectiveness, enthusiasm for work, and excellent communication skills.  Many people assume agility is the same as flexibility, but I believe agility demands a performance level that leaves the typical definition of flexibility in the dust.

Flexibility as a work competency refers to the willingness and ability of employees to respond to changes in their job expectations and work environment.  It is a reactive competency, and certainly valued by employers, who understand that in general human nature resists change and prefers predictability.  I propose that agility is a proactive competency and defines how employees approach and carry out their work. Agile employees expect change; therefore, they anticipate rather than react and have developed ways to organize and adapt to deliver transformational results.  Great leaders coach change management and help their teams grow their agility quotient, so they can continue to innovate in a volatile and complex business environment.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, leadership expert, and consultant with an extensive background in business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates specific workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

What’s Your Primary Work Love Language?

coworkers1As an entrepreneurial business person, I have always pursued opportunities to transfer technology or share best practices across industries.  When I was leading a liquid polymer business at Mobil Chemical in the early 2000’s, I worked with Procter & Gamble’s haircare division to reformulate its Pert Plus 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner with the synthetic base stocks in Mobil 1 engine oil.  Who would have thought that the lubricants in motor oil technology could serve as the conditioning chaise in haircare?

Fast forward to 2017.  Instead of heading a polymer business, I am now a professional coach, who looks to share best practices with individuals to increase their productivity and connectedness at work.  My clients routinely ask me how they can better communicate and develop stronger relationships with their colleagues.  Studies consistently show that when employees have positive working relationships, their increased happiness correlates with greater work success and outcomes (Foster & Auerbach, 2015).

When I coach and mentor couples on their relationships and marriages, I discuss the concept of the five love languages (Chapman, 2015).  Conjuring up thoughts of technology transfer, I find this model as applicable in the workplace as it is in personal relationships. For those who may not be familiar with the five love languages or for those who have difficulty thinking of this concept applied in the work environment, I will explain how the love languages can help build stronger relationships by increasing understanding and likeability among colleagues.

Chapman (2015) proposes there are five primary love languages: (1) gifts, (2) words of affirmation, (3) acts of service, (4) physical touch, and (5) quality time.  These words or phrases are relatively self-explanatory, but I encourage you to read the book for greater understanding and application.  The premise is that people need at least some level of all five languages to feel loved, but everyone has 1-2 primary languages through which they feel the most loved.  Although Chapman describes love languages in the context of personal relationships, I have personally found these concepts build connection and strengthen partnerships in the workplace.

How do you apply the love languages concept? Most likely it would be inappropriate or make coworkers uncomfortable to ask them to complete and share the results of the languages survey.  However, someone who is educated in love languages, can usually figure out others’ primary languages through observation and experimentation. For example, if you observe a coworker beam when they are given a compliment or a recognition for a job well done, you might conclude that one of their top love languages is words of affirmation.

On the other hand, I know people who could care less to be privately or publicly recognized and prefer to receive money, physical rewards, or taken out for lunch.  These people typically value gifts higher than words of affirmation.  Coworkers, who appreciate acts of service, may feel more connected to you when you bring them a cup of coffee before initiating a conversation or offer to grab and bring them back lunch while they work on a project deadline.  The gesture of serving drives likability and connection.

My primary languages are quality time and physical touch, so I naturally want to give a hug when I greet someone, touch a shoulder as I walk away, and schedule time to sit and talk without phone and social media interruption.  However, I always adjust my behavior to honor others and company policies.  For those who may be uncomfortable with physical touch in the workplace, a handshake suffices.  Since my gift language is near zero, I would not suggest giving me a small birthday or holiday gift but ask me whether I can break free from my busy schedule to grab a cup of coffee and catch up on life.

Without the knowledge of love languages, people try to connect with others through the languages that primarily speak to them.  Those who want to strengthen their connections will strive to understand their colleagues primary love languages and then intentionally act in ways that make them feel valued and comfortable.  What are your primary love languages?

INSIGHT: When communicating with colleagues responsive to words of affirmation, words hold significant power.  As much as words have the power to uplift, they can also more easily wound in the form of negativity and criticism.

References

Chapman, G. (2015). The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts. Chicago, IL: Northfield Publishing.

Foster, S., & Auerbach, J. (2015). Positive Psychology in Coaching: Applying Science to Executive and Personal Coaching. Pismo Beach, CA: Executive College Press.


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach and consultant with an extensive background in business development and leadership.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates specific workshops that address her clients’ business needs.  Reach out to her at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741 to further the conversation and determine how she can help you grow your business.

Design Your Life Postcard

Henry Travel PostcardSince September 2010, my friend, Henry, and I have been exchanging postcards on a weekly basis.  No, we aren’t on the road traveling, only living life within commuting distance from our hometowns. Some weeks I receive just 1 postcard, and other weeks I might find 4-7 postcards in my mailbox.  The quantity depends on the weather and how many miles Henry wants to walk to drop these little slivers of life news into the post office mail slot.

If the number of postcards stacked in our dresser drawers were counted, in truth, Henry would win our contest started nearly 7 years ago.  Although Henry has been more faithful in writing, I still contend I have the neater penmanship.  In this contest, however, we are both winners by investing in our friendship through this thoughtful ritual.

You might say, “That’s a lot of writing!  What do you write about?”  Some postcards are from our worldly travels, but mostly they reflect words of what we are thinking, observing, struggling with, and celebrating.  It’s an opportunity for each of us in the peace of our day to stop, put pen to paper, and reflect on our lives, days, thoughts, and feelings.  For me, it is an opportunity to randomly select a postcard from my inventory from past travels and reminisce.  Many times, I find myself feeling grateful that I was able to travel to such a destination to buy that postcard.

Today, I received the above postcard sent by my friend of over 35 years.  On the back, Henry wrote, “This is the PERFECT POSTCARD for your life!  Or close to it!  I don’t know if you take cream in your coffee, and we might swap the hammock, invented in the Amazon Rainforest, with a mission group, and the NYC Union Square Street grid for Bogota!  But otherwise, good!” [Note: I used to take cream and sugar in my coffee, until I forced myself to drink it black to save calories.]

As I studied the postcard with all its items spread across the table, I did agree with Henry that this postcard reflected what I would want in my life and never tire.  Give me a camera, iPhone (Bible App, Facebook, LinkedIn and call connection), my coffee, my itineraries, and the postcards that are the markers of my life lived.  I ask you, “If you drew a postcard representing the life you dreamed of, what would be on it?”  I would then ask whether this postcard looked much different than a postcard drawn of your current life.  How big is the gap?  As a coach, I encourage you to create a postcard of your dream!  Make multiple copies of it!  Frame it! Tape it to your mirror and frig!  Talk about it!  And don’t forget to act on it!


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  She can be reached at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com or 281.793.3741.