August 01, 2005

Good day, team,

While on vacation this past week, I read an interesting magazine article by Marshall Goldsmith, a very famous executive coach. In speaking about an executive whom he is currently coaching, he wrote, “During the next year, Bill will be barraged with competing goals that will distract him from his efforts to change. He needs to realize that lasting leadership development is a lifelong process. A temporary change in behavior to ‘look good’ in the short term will only create cynicism if Bill doesn’t stick with it. I can help Bill if he is willing to put in the time and effort. If not, hiring me would probably be a waste of everyone’s time.”

This advice reminded me of my goal to lose some weight this past week. I was all set to go on vacation and watch everything I ate and drank. I had a clear idea of exactly what I could eat and what I couldn’t drink in order to meet my goal of losing 10 pounds. I thought, “This will be easy. I’ll have plenty of time and incentive to change my diet, and losing that 10 pounds will be a piece of cake (so to speak!).” So what actually happened? Of course, I didn’t lose a pound and, in fact, I probably ate more things that were not good for me than foods appropriate for the diet.

Now that I’m back, I realize how foolish it was for me to think I could actually change my behavior that quickly, especially when it came to depriving myself on vacation. Aren’t vacations about letting go of our normal disciplines and enjoying our selves? The thoughts that wanted to have fun were not compatible with the ones that wanted to lose 10 pounds, that’s for sure!

Goldsmith continues, “Look in the mirror. Not just at how you look, but who you are. If you want to be a better leader, a better professional, or just a better person, don’t kid yourself. To achieve meaningful goals, you’ll have to pay the price. There’s no product, no diet, no exercise program, and (I hate to admit it) no executive coach who can make you better. Only you can do it. If your source of motivation doesn’t come from inside, you won’t stick with it.”

Your challenge this week is to identify one area where you have a strong desire to change. Ask yourself whether this is something you really want and, if so, what you’re willing to change in order to achieve it. Then, try to be practical and steadfast in your approach. Real change only happens from the inside out. It’s not about tips or techniques. It’s about consistent, persistent, daily efforts.

Have a great week!


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