28Nov/140

Why You Should Get a Handle on Your Identity by Marshall Goldsmith

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Marshall Goldsmith

Who do you think you are?

Take your time. This is not a test with one correct answer. And it is very important because how you define yourself will impact how successful you are at your job, how good a friend, partner, or parent you are, and even how happy you will be in life. Answering this question, becoming aware of your identity, who you think you are and how it coincides (or doesn’t coincide) with who you want to be, could be the beginning of a behavioral change that could alter your life in unimaginably wonderful ways!

Identity is a complicated subject. You may be inclined to look back to the past for signal events, memorable triumphs, or painful disasters to answer the question. You may rely on the testimony of others, a boss or teacher’s positive review, a parent’s approval of your energy and prowess in certain areas. Or you may project into the future defining yourself based on who you want to be or who others have told you that you will be rather than who you actually are. All of these are important, because they make up the essence of who you are.

How do we know who we are? Our identities are remembered, reflected, programmed, and created. These four sources of our identity can be defined like so,

1) Remembered Identity: How do you know who you are? Because you remember events in your life that helped form your sense of self. It’s not so important that these are sometimes inglorious moments or events you’d rather erase; you can’t forget these touchstones, good or bad. For better or worse, they’ve left an impact—and when you write a profile of yourself, these moments inevitably get reported.

2) Reflected Identity: What do people tell you that they remember about you? Other people remember events in your past and they remind you of them, sometimes constantly. It’s one thing for the executive to admit to poor follow-up. But if her boss or partner or customers tell her the same thing, it reinforces the picture that she already has of herself. You might know this as feedback. Feedback from others is how we shape our reflected identity.

3) Programmed Identity: What message do people give you about who you are today or who you will become in the future? Your programmed identity has many sources. It can be influenced by the profession you enter, or the culture you grew up in, or the company you work for, or the entire industry you work in, or the people you select as your trusted friends. Each of these can shape your opinion of yourself, some more vividly than you may realize.

4) Created Identity: Who do you want to be? Our created identity is the identity that we decide to create for ourselves. It is the part of our identity that is not controlled by our past or by other people. The most truly successful people I have met have created identities to become the human beings that they chose to be—without being slaves to the past or other people.

Now that you have a basic understanding of identity, my suggestion to you is simple. Review the various components of your current identity. Where did they originate? How do they impact how you see yourself today, and, who you would like to become in the future? If your present identity is fine with you, just work on becoming an even better version of who you are. If you want to make a change in your identity, be open to the fact that you may be able to change more than you originally believed you could. Assuming you do not have “unchangeable” limitations, then you, can create a new identity for your future without sacrificing your past.

So, I’ll ask you again. Give it some thought. Who do you think you are?

Watch the video here:

 

 

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20Nov/140

2 Life-Changing Lessons No One Ever Taught You by Marshall Goldsmith

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Marshall Goldsmith

Lesson #1: It’s easier to see our problems (let’s call them behavioral challenges) in others than to see them in ourselves. For instance, often when I become self-righteous or angry about some perceived injustice, I realize that the deeper issue is often not with “it”, but in me.

Lesson #2: Although we may deny our behavioral challenges to ourselves, they may be very obvious to the people who observe us. There is often a great discrepancy between the self we think we are and the self the rest of the world sees in us. If we can listen and think about what others see in us, we can compare the self we want to be with the self that we are presenting. Then and only then can we begin to make the real changes that we need to make to align our stated values with our actual behavior.

Let me give you a personal example:

As a Ph.D. student at UCLA in the 70s, I had a self-image of being ‘hip.’ I believed I was involved in discovering deeper human understanding, self-actualization, and profound wisdom. One of my teachers, Dr. Bob Tannenbaum, had invented ‘sensitivity training’, published a popular article in the Harvard Business Review, and was a full professor. I was impressed!

In Bob’s class, we could discuss anything we wanted. So, for three weeks, I did a monologue about how ‘screwed up’ people in Los Angeles were. “They wear sequined blue jeans; they drive gold Rolls Royces; they are plastic and materialistic; all they care about is impressing others; they don’t understand what is important in life.” I ranted. (I’m not sure how growing up in a small town Kentucky had made an expert on LA people, but evidently it had.)

After listening to me babble for three weeks, Bob looked at me quizzically and asked, “Who are you talking to?”

“I’m speaking to the group,” I said.

“Who in the group are you talking to?”

“I’m talking to everybody,” I said, not knowing the treacherous path of self-discovery down which I was being led!

“When you speak, you look at only one person and address your comments toward only one person. You seem interested in the opinion of only one person. Who is that person?”

“That is interesting,’” I replied. After careful consideration, I asked, “You?”

“That’s right, me. There are 12 other people in this room. Why aren’t you interested in any of them?” he asked.

At this point, I decided that digging my hole deeper was better than admitting defeat, so I said, “Well, Dr. Tannenbaum, you understand the significance of what I am saying. You know how ‘screwed-up’ it is to try to run around and impress people all the time. You have a deeper understanding of what is really important in life.”

“Marshall, is there any chance that for the last three weeks all you’ve tried to do is impress me?” Bob asked.

I was amazed at Bob’s lack of insight! “Not at all!” I declared. “You haven’t understood one thing I’ve said! I’ve told you how screwed up it is to try to impress other people. You’ve missed my point, and I’m disappointed in your lack of understanding!”

He scratched his beard and concluded, “No. I think I understand.” I looked at the group and could see them nod and agree.

For six months, I disliked Dr. Tannenbaum. I devoted a lot of energy into trying to understand why he was so confused. Then one day, it clicked! The person with the issue about impressing other people was me. I was the one who had been trying to impress Dr. Tannenbaum. That day, I looked in the mirror and said, “Dr. Tannenbaum was right.”

So, let me ask you: Can you see in yourself what others see in you, or do you see in others what you don’t see in yourself? What are you going to do about it?

Watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LBoiTu-C-U

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12Nov/140

It’s Showtime! One Key to Continual Motivation by Marshall Goldsmith

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View the video here : Marshall Goldsmith: It's Showtime! index

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9Jan/140

Coaching Great Leaders: Find Your Mojo and Find Success!

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith

By Marshall Goldsmith

In my work, the most frequent question I hear is: What is the one quality that differentiates truly successful people from everyone else? My answer is always the same: Successful people spend a large part of their lives engaging in activities that simultaneously provide meaning and happiness. In other words, truly successful people have Mojo. Because the only person who can define meaning and happiness for you is you, I've recently written a book to help people to define and achieve Mojo.

Mojo is that moment when we do something powerful, purposeful, and positiveand the rest of the world recognizes it. To me, Mojo is about achieving two simple goals—loving what you do and showing it—and it plays a vital role in our pursuit of happiness and meaning. These goals are what govern my operational definition, which is: Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside. Our Mojo is evident when the good feelings we have toward what we are doing come from inside us and are apparent for everyone else to see. There is no gap between the positive way we perceive ourselves-what we are doing-and how we are perceived by others.

There's something I haven't brought up yet and it may be the most critical piece of advice within this article: You should not feel obligated do any of this alone! If you want to improve your performance at almost anything, your odds of success improve considerably the moment you enlist someone else to help you.

I know this from personal experience, because for several years I have enlisted the help of a friend, Jim Moore, in achieving my own personal goals. Every day, no matter where either of us is in the world, we try to connect on the phone so Jim can ask me a series of questions. They're important day-to-day lifestyle questions such as "Did you say or do anything nice for Lyda [my wife]?" "How much do you weigh?" or "How many minutes did you write?" Jim happens to be an esteemed expert in leadership development, but his qualifications for this ritual rest more on the fact that he's a friend who's genuinely interested in helping me and will always make himself available for our daily phone call.

The process is incredibly simple. At the end of each day, Jim asks me twenty-four questions (the number has changed over time as my goals shift between maintaining my weight and being nicer to my family). Each question has to be answered with a yes, no, or a number. I record the results on an Excel spreadsheet and at the end of the week get an assessment of how well I'm sticking to my objectives. (I return the favor by asking Jim a series of questions about what matters to him.)

The results are astonishing. After the first eighteen months of adhering to this ritual, Jim and I both weighed exactly what we wanted to weigh, exercised more, and got more done (and I was nicer to my wife). As an experiment, we quit for about a year to see what would happen. Each of us put the weight back on and did not achieve nearly as much-a result that was both predictable, depressing, and sent us rushing to back to the program, where we resumed hitting our targets immediately. I was never unhappy, but my life seems happier and more meaningful to me when I use this process.

(To see my ‘daily questions,' Jim's daily questions, and get an article describing this process, go to MojoTheBook.com.)

The lesson is clear: we don't just have to rely on self-help!

This article first appeared in Business Coaching Worldwide (June Issue 2010, Volume 6, Issue 1). Copyright © 2012 WABC Coaches Inc. All rights reserved.

 Marshall Goldsmith, MBA, PhD, is a world authority on helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting behavioral change. His executive coaching expertise has been highlighted in Forbes, Fast Company, and Business Week. He is the WSJ and NYT best-selling author of What Got You Here Won't Get You There (Hyperion, 2007). His most recent book is Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back If You Lose It. Learn more about Marshall in the WABC Coach Directory. Contact Marshall.
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