Self-Leadership: Behaviors That Make a Difference

SELF-LEADERSHIP-THROUGH-CHANGEAre you completely satisfied with the condition or performance of your job, marriage, relationships, or personal finances?  If you are like most people, you might agree that one of these areas or another could use more focus or strengthening. Once someone has decided to move down the path of change, the next step may leave a big question mark on how to start.

I propose that sustainable change is rooted in adopting new behaviors, that if practiced long enough, will typically turn into new lifelong habits.  Covey (2004) has studied human behavior and identified seven key habits that differentiate those who are holistically more effective in accomplishing what others do not.   When these habits are applied to various life areas, they can result in impactful change.  In action, Covey (2004) describes these behaviors as:

  1. Takes initiative: decides to be proactive versus reactive
  2. Sets vision: begins with the end in mind
  3. Prioritizes: puts first things first and second things second
  4. Thinks positively: looks for the win-win and not the win-lose
  5. Listens more than speaks: hears versus tells
  6. Solves problems: looks for synergy and compromise
  7. Invests in self-improvement: understands the importance of learning and growing

Each of these seven core behaviors can make a difference in how you perform and how others perceive you.  Should you decide to challenge yourself to improve at one of these habits, I would suggest first rating yourself on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 highest) on how well you embrace that personal habit.  Next, determine one or two that would be most meaningful to improve.  Then, think of one or two behaviors you could adopt that would increase your self-rating in that area.  Think of it as a SMART challenge, with SMART defined as (S) specific, (M) measurable, (A) achievable, (R) relevant and realistic, and (T) time sensitive.

When I review the list, habit #5 stands out for me.  I am highly extroverted, which means I tend to talk more than others.  My SMART challenge is to ensure that there is a pause (silence) in the conversation before I share my next thought.  This will force me to talk less, not interrupt, and listen more. I encourage you to think about your personal habits, determine which one you want to improve upon for greater effectiveness, and create a SMART challenge by which you could measure your progress.

Reference

Covey, S.R. (2004). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.


About 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.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Will You Live Your Legend?

liveyourlegendAs Hurricane Harvey cleanup continues, Houstonians are left with the task of restoring their lives.  Many survivors are asking themselves, “What does my life look like post-Harvey?”  With a potential paradigm shift, I hope people are asking the important question: “What is the purpose of my life?” Is the answer pre-hurricane status or something different?

Harvey challenged people to exercise their survival muscle and care for the needs of their friends and community.  Whether or not directly impacted by rising floodwaters, I bet most would agree Harvey had a blessing—a catalyst for change to strengthen spiritually, build greater confidence, and live out purpose as well as to restore community during times when the country has been in civil and political divide.  During Harvey’s punch, people were blinded to any labels of religion, race, and politics as people helped people.  Harvey enabled everyone to focus on what was important—people.

The aftermath of Harvey can also provide the opportunity for a new life versus one of the past—perhaps a life richer in purpose, work, community, and relationships.  Some may question how can they rebuild a life without following the old blueprint.  I would start by exploring and identifying the core values which reflect the essence of oneself.  Values reflect what one is willing to struggle for and the pain one is willing to endure to achieve an outcome.  A reconstructed life may also reflect answers to the following questions:

  1. What do I want more of in my life?
  2. What do I want less of in my life?
  3. What will I regret if I don’t try or do it?
  4. What one thing can I change that would have a positive impact my life?

Everyone is the author of his/her life.  What will you choose to do with your one life?  If you are a parent, are you allowing your children to live in their purpose, or are your fears and desires manifesting themselves in how you design their lives?

When you find your purpose, your energy will continue to feed that passion.  Be encouraged through adversity, because anything worth achieving requires struggle.  Do not give up hope, but be hopeful.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey some people are finally questioning their purpose and taking steps that will allow them to Live Their Legend.


About 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.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

The Gift of Personal Coaching

believeI hold a strong belief that there is always a blessing within a tragedy.  At times one needs to look hard and beyond the grief.  By all standards, Hurricane Harvey has been an unprecedented tragedy for those living near the Texas Gulf Coast.  Despite the loss, I have seen the blessing of people helping people and have heard the personal testimonies of those who’ve had a paradigm shift in their thinking and an awakening of purpose.

I am excited for those who want to explore new goals or make changes in certain areas of their lives.  Encouraged and passionate to partner with people to make their personal dreams come to fruition, I am offering a special life and leadership coaching package.  I have a desire for people to take advantage of their new found thinking, as they work through this tragedy, to create a vision/mission or make a commitment to improve some aspect of their lives.  While my time allows, I am offering new clients 4 coaching sessions for a deeply discounted rate of $250 with 20% of the proceeds donated to local charities. If you or someone you know would like to learn more, I welcome the opportunity to discuss whether coaching would be of benefit and how I might help. You can email me at sandra.s.dillon@hotmail.com, call me at 281.793.374, or visit my website at www.shinecrossings.com.

You Know Your Purpose, But Do You Have the Discipline?

Self_Discipline1Someone says, “I know my purpose,“ and then follows it with the question, “What steps can I take to ensure I live out that purpose?”  Good question!  People often question how they will keep going when the road is long.  Passion is a key ingredient, but it may not be enough to get to the finish.  What else can help?  Certain tools and disciplines can set one up for success which include:

  1. Flexing the “no” muscle. Many people are either excited to be involved in everything or feel guilty in saying no when asked to help.  Great leaders are comfortable saying no, because saying yes would dilute their valuable resources of time and money.  They honor themselves by saying no to anything that distracts them from achieving their purpose.  Take inventory and decide whether there are any “yes” items that need to move to the “no” list.
  2. Creating the space for re-energizing activities. When thinking about a schedule, one should plan for recreational activities.  Leaders need time to relax to recharge their batteries.  Some need a big dose of quiet time with a good read, others need time to socialize with friends, and still others need gym time.
  3. Planning and practicing time management. Once the “yes” list is honed and prioritized, one should create a calendar with sufficient time mapped for those activities that re-energize and achieve purpose.  If a schedule cannot accommodate all “yes” activities, the forced rank list should help one decide which items need to move to the “no” list.  This iterative calendar exercise provides objective clarity so one does not over-schedule and dilute focus.
  4. Surrounding oneself with positive influences. Attitudes and words are powerful in how they can either uplift or drain energy.  Driving on purpose requires high levels of sustained energy; therefore, leaders invite positive and encouraging people into their circle of influence.
  5. Choosing a coaching partner. Professional coaches help clients stay accountable to their goals.  When life continues to put pressure to say “yes,” when calendars get too full, when recreational activities are squeezed, and when one needs encouragement, a coach is there for support.

Anything worth doing has never been easy.  Easy comes through self-discipline and leaning on external resources that align with purpose.  Self-discipline is a muscle to be flexed, and it strengthens through continued exercise. 


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.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

The Best of Global Leadership Summit

GLS-BannerFor those who were not able to soak in the messages of the 13 outstanding speakers presenting at Global Leadership Summit (GLS), I share a few key messages from each leader. My hope is that one or more of these points spark an idea, ignite an interest, or passionately resonate with you and that you will pause long enough to explore how to expand on its impact in both your personal and professional life.


Bill Hybels

  • Humility allows leaders the ability to continue learning.
  • Leaders set the tone by showing everyone respect even in the midst of any lack of civility.
  • Leaders get behind a grander vision above delivering on the bottom line. How else can you make an impact?
  • Leaders plant leadership seeds in young people where they see leadership potential.
  • Ask yourself whether you are leading as well on the home front as in the workplace.

Sheryl Sandberg

  • Resiliency is learned through failure and a muscle you can build. Instead of thinking of failure as post traumatic disorder, think of it as post traumatic growth.
  • Hire people with bigger skills: (1) people you need for the future, and (2) people who will get you were you want to go. Employers make the mistake of hiring for what they need now and not for what they need to grow.
  • How come there is not a reference section in the bookstore called HELPING OTHERS? We need to show up for each other more.

Mark Lemonis

  • Business grows through connection which is built by understanding people’s backstory (personal history)?
  • Creating a connection is accomplished through vulnerability and transparency because they unlock the heart to trust.
  • People love it when you walk a day in their shoes even though you will never be in their shoes.

Fredrick Haren

  • 98% of polled workers state it is important to be creative in their jobs; 45% say they are creative, and only 2% say their company is helping them be creative.
  • An idea is just knowledge and information combined in a new way.
  • People need to make the time to allow themselves to be creative.

Bryan Stevenson

  • Effective leaders need to get close to what they need to achieve because answers come in proximity.
  • Leaders need to do uncomfortable things.
  • A change in narrative can liberate fear.

Andy Stanley

  • If you choose to study failure, you may never understand success. You need to perform an autopsy on success to understand success.  Ask, “What did your organization do to grow so fast?”
  • Business growth usually comes from having a “uniquely better” product. Uniquely better is on the frontier of your ignorance.
  • Uniquely better is rarely created within a company, but leaders need to develop a culture where it can be recognized versus resisted. Many top tier companies have taken a financial hit, because they failed to acknowledge “uniquely better” offered by their competition.
  • Be a student, not a critic; when you criticize you stop learning. Replace HOW questions (implied idea killers) with WOW: TELL ME MORE statements (implied idea developers).

Laslo Bock

  • In work, match joy with duty. Pursue passion and purpose.
  • Ask people what is motivating them.
  • Make work better for everyone: (1) give work meaning, (2) have and communicate a goal, (3) trust your people with information and the freedom to achieve the goal, and (4) hire people who are better than you in some way.

Juliet Funt

  • When people don’t have the time to think, business suffers.
  • The pause, otherwise known as “whitespace”, is where innovation and creativity grow, and yet, it is being squeezed out of our schedules.
  • When busyness overtakes whitespace, drive turns to overdrive, excellence turns to perfection, information turns to overload, and activity turns to frenzy.
  • Create whitespace by acting on your answers to the following questions: (1) What can I let go of? (2) When is enough good enough? (3) What do I truly need to know? and (4) What deserves my attention?

Marcus Buckingham

  • The opposite of failure is not success; it is non-failure. If you want to be successful, study success.  Leaders figure out what is happening on the best teams, so they can build on it.
  • The two most important questions a leader ensures his team affirms are: (1) At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me, and (2) I have a chance to use my strengths every day.
  • Leaders should be asking their team, “What are your priorities, and how can I help?”
  • No one really likes unsolicited feedback, but everyone wants coaching attention.

Sam Adeyemi

  • In leadership, you don’t attract what you want but rather who you are.
  • Leaders help people change how they see themselves, helping to break self-limiting beliefs.
  • Transformation starts in the heart. Leaders help people see and hear messages differently  on a consistent basis, so new beliefs can take root in the heart.

Immaculee Ilibagiza

  • Fear is your worst enemy.

Angela Duckworth

  • Grit = Passion + Perseverance over the long-term
  • People can increase their grit through deliberate practice.
  • Talent x Effort = Skill; Skill x Effort = Achievement; notice how effort counts twice
  • Don’t quit on a bad day. If you want to quit, quit on a good day.

Greg Haugen

  • Leadership begins with a dream, and fear is the ultimate dream destroyer.
  • Keep dreams alive by relentlessly and rigorously inventorying your fears.
  • Lead without fear; switch from playing defensive to offensive.

GLS provided meaningful leadership messages for the current times.  Reflecting on my two days invested in GLS, I propose we need to overcome our fears that tells us we “can’t” or “shouldn’t”.  We need to create whitespace to be creative and bring our dreams to life.  As leaders, we need to build teams with clear purpose and allow people to drive on their strengths. We need to trust our teams with information, so they can solve problems, do the right thing, and create value.  Sound simple enough?  Simple is not necessarily easy.  Leading others well can be frustrating and difficult, because at times it requires us to change our engrained attitudes, beliefs, and views as well as to release the fears that have us playing defensive and not offensive.

What message resonated with me the most?  None of the speakers did a deep dive into the impact of fear and leadership, yet the concept was weaved through some of the presentations.  In my opinion, fear is a powerful motivator in people’s decision-making. Fear paralyzes purpose, passion, and perseverance.  Fear undermines people from choosing to do the right thing.  Fear undermines great leadership. I believe leaders need to take an honest inventory of fears that are holding them back in growing in their leadership capacity and develop constructive mitigation strategies to overcome them.



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.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

Self-leadership: Building a Leadership Foundation

leadership-underconstruction

Leadership Under Construction

Although many would agree that leadership starts with leading yourself well, they want to know, “What are the practical steps I can take to improve my self-leadership?” I would suggest the first step involve a self-evaluation and personal inventory. Achieving clarity on the following questions can help build that solid foundation from which to grow self-leadership:

 

  1. What do I stand for?
  2. What do I value?
  3. What am I good at and what am I not?
  4. Am I following my passion?
  5. Is my personal vision clear?
  6. Am I excited in what I do and whom I do it with?
  7. Am I making decisions that honor everyone?

Bill Hybels (2009) mentions that great leaders embody several key traits. After addressing the “what and how” questions, a deeper dive into personal characteristics will continue that self-leadership inventory.  On a continuum, leaders should ask themselves which traits they hold strongly and which ones they want to develop further?

  1. Integrity
  2. Optimism
  3. Decisiveness
  4. Courage
  5. Wisdom
  6. Emotional authenticity
  7. Commitment to collaboration

The self-evaluation goal is to become self-full, which is to attend to oneself in a way that allows one to lead self and others well.  At times, leaders can extend themselves so far and for so long that they exhaust themselves and are then not able to give others their best.  Therefore, leaders should ask themselves, “Where will I focus my attention and where will I not?” Leaders cannot be all things to all people and should understand their limits. Leaders benefit by scheduling downtime to work on self-leadership and keep themselves energized.

Reference

Hybels, B. (2009). Courageous Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.


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.  She has a passion to help organizations engage all its employees.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com.

 

 

Leadership: Ten Strategies to Build a Winning Sales Career

Sales ABC

On occasion we get asked, “What one piece of advice would you give a person who has just accepted his or her first sales position?”  That is truly an unfair question.   How do you boil down the essence of sales leadership into one slice of a whole pie?  However, that question is worth an answer.  Our best response would be, “Engage a coach.” Why? Because partnering with a sales coach can build a firm foundation to use as a springboard towards success.

We would expect a coach to help you leverage the following:

  1. Define measurable goals: Select several meaningful one, three, and five-year goals that focus on financial targets and personal growth. Without measurable goals you won’t know the direction you’re headed or whether you’ve arrived at your destination.  People without defined goals typically meander and become disappointed in their lack of results.
  2. Focus on a vertical market: Good sales people are not all things to all customers. What area are you most passionate?  Join an association in that market and become the “go to” expert.  Consider certification or accreditation to bolster your expertise.  Make sure to understand the emerging trends and have a plan to take advantage of the opportunities and to navigate through the threats.
  3. Understand your customers: Ask powerful questions of your customers so you clearly understand their needs and what keeps them up at night. Be the solution seeker and problem-solver by offering answers that address their needs.  Customers partner with sales people who create and offer value.
  4. Know your competition: Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Strategize how you can navigate the competitive landscape to take advantage of their weaknesses by driving on your strengths.
  5. Build trust among your customers and industry colleagues: People do not do business with others whom they don’t trust unless there are no other options. Make decisions and exhibit behaviors that garnish trust.
  6. Leverage social media: Set up a LinkedIn profile that reflects who you are and what you offer. Share and publish articles that are relevant to your customers. Make sure your public Facebook represents what you want customers to know about you.  Be sure to clean up your social media of any “unwanted” posts.
  7. Establish a personal brand: When your name is mentioned in industry circles, what one phrase would you want to come to mind: “gets it done,” “always looks for the win-win,” or “sales leadership expert.”  Develop a personal brand based on your best assets.
  8. Grow your leadership: Learn from the best, get a mentor, and practice leadership.  One of the most powerful annual leadership conferences we attend is Global Leadership Summit (https://www.willowcreek.com/events/leadership).  Strong leadership will not only build your sales it will build your life.
  9. Become a servant leader: Give of your time, talents, and treasures without expecting anything in return. When you do, don’t be surprised how people will respond to you.  People will want to spend time with you, recommend you, and help you be successful.

And last, but not least, you can always benefit by going back to school to…

  1. Relearn your ABC’s (Always Be Connecting): Selling is about connecting and one person saying “yes” to another. People rarely say “yes” to people whom they don’t like or trust. Spend time with your customers in casual settings getting to know them on both a professional and personal level.  Your calendar should be populated with customer lunch dates.

Every seasoned salesperson has one or two special secrets of the trade that may have contributed to their success; however, these fundamental strategies will build a solid sales career over a lifetime. Although every salesperson can try to implement these practices on their own, most would benefit from having a sales coach who can keep them accountable.


About the Authors:

HE21118Davis_07-medSandra Dillon is a professional coach and leadership consultant with an extensive background in sales and new business development.  She coaches individuals as well as designs and facilitates workshops on current business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations fully engage all its employees.  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.

Darin headshotDarin Dillon is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP), 30+ year business development veteran, and active leader in the electronic security and integrated systems industry.  As a business leader, he has a passion for developing long-term customer partnerships and providing solutions to Fortune 1000 companies across many vertical markets. He can be reached at ddillon14@hotmail.com or 713.204.7035.

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’ business needs.  She has a passion to help organizations fully engage all its employees. 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 fully engage all its employees.  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.