Eye Your Comfort Zone for Success

“Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.” Brian Tracy

eye for change

Focus, focus, focus!

“Susan” looks forlorn, lower than a tadpole waiting to become a frog. Her rosy cheeks are stained from fallen tears.  Why? As she sits behind her computer, fretting and twisting her hair, she cannot find openings which fit her background. She lost her job several months ago. What is wrong with this picture? Perhaps a serious case of “zone-itis” or staying in the same spot, trying the same methods over and over. Is she a perfectionist?  Is she looking for the perfect job?

Do you relate to Susan?  Do you find making decisions difficult? Are you overwhelmed with too many options, not knowing which will work best?  Perfectionists and Procrastinators find job search particularly harrowing.  Hospitalization is not necessary.  Leaving a comfort zone is not recognized as a pathological problem, but immobilization can squeeze the breath out of you.

Essential Tips

Henrick Edberg’s article shares “Brian Tracy’s 11 Essential Tips to Living a Successful Life.” Let’s concentrate on decisions.

Tip 10: “Make a decision. Any decision. Just do something.”

Whether looking for another job or eliminating stress from your life, quit whining.  Pick a maximum of three options and focus.


Susan likes to write, speak to groups, facilitate groups, counsel and teach others. Although successful using all the skills in different jobs, she jumps from industry to industry.

She’s unfocused again. She loves going to school, but she’s in her early 60s. Discrimination looms in the background with age, despite adding new skills.  Can she afford another entry level job? Her persuasive personality convinces employers to hire her. Once she hones her focus, life will become easier.

Helpful Suggestions

She needs to make a long list of places she might work and decide which are most realistic. She spends hours helping friends and neighbors with their problems, rather than working on her issue. Susan should read “When Helping You is Hurting Me,” an old book with solid suggestions to face the problem.

If you struggle with myopia, a lack of discernment or unwillingness to look at situations with different eyes, you must move towards the middle for decision-making.

Take a break. Spend alone time thinking quietly.  Do something different today.  Don’t let the discomfort scare you. Staying in a comfort zone stymies creativity and progress. Take a break to return with new ideas. Don’t sweat the healthy discomfort.

Simple Actions for Clarity

Try a new recipe. How about endive or escarole in your salad?

Take your computer to another room.

Attend a new volunteer activity.

Have coffee with someone you want to know better.

Sign up for a month of classes through Lynda.com.

Attend a free webinar.

Get a wild, new hair-do

See a funny movie

Stop worrying! Focus, focus, focus and open your eyes for clarity.  Feel the discomfort.  Progress often (maybe always) feels uncomfortable.


Improving Our Leadership Skills-Part 2

Success through Leadership Skills-Part 2

In Part 1 of Improving Our Leadership Skills, you read a summary of the responses after I sent an email to 100 of my friends and colleagues all over the country in various stages of life and career.  I asked them for one word or short phrases of their definitions of leadership.  To me, the responses show personality, ability to follow directions (or not), creativity, thoughtfulness, maturity and lack of experience in leadership.  Here are verbatim responses:

leadership skills

What is leadership?

Integrity, commitment and willingness to do whatever  you ask of others – VP of HR , Supply chain/consumer products

To be a compassionate and pro-active listener.  – Project Coordinator, Computer industry (HP)

I think being able to know where each member of your team’s strengths and then approaching them in ways they will respond to.  So if someone on the team is more analytical then giving an assignment that is geared towards analysis or asking direction from them in this area is a sign that the Team Manager knows his/her team strengths.  At the same time giving team members ways to develop other strengths such as presentation or writing skills is a sign of a Manager that is thinking of his/her employee development. – Recruiter/Sourcer, many industries

1) patience 2) energy, 3) listening –  Educational consultant, former principal & teacher

I like a leader to earn the respect of their employees and be the hardest worker on the team. –  Digital Media Specialist, Sports

  • Trustworthy
  • Inspect what you expect
  • Constructive feedback  – Director of Digital Media Specialties

Confident – Insurance company owner

Hard to pin it down to a single characteristic. There are many things I like to see, but: the most important characteristic of a good leader is that he/she makes good decisions.  – Engineering Professor from major Texas University

Leads by example and willing to roll up sleeves and do the work. – Recruiting Manager, health care

To clearly communicate where we are going (direction) and how we are going to get there. – Project Manager, Consumer Goods

Inspired Confidence – Project Manager,Construction

Compassionate listener with a good moral compass –  Hardware Manager, Telecom

Should be charismatic and inspirational –  Product Manager, Semiconductor

A true leader has the ability to use experiences to empathize with all those around them (not sympathize) and offer guidance and direction while building the team. – PR Consultant/Small Business Owner

I heard Gen. Norman Schwartzcoff (sp.) speak on leadership.  He said a good leader chooses to do the right thing.” – Sales, Medical Devices

The first thing that came to mind was charisma and second, more thoughtful answer, is authenticity.”  HR Director, Computer Business Services

Respect for others. – Job Seeker, Administrative

Walk the talk. – Agency Recruiter/Manager, Finance and IT

Respect – CEO, IT Recruiting Agency

Leading yourself. – Counselor, Outplacement

Intuition – Software Engineer, new supervisor in IT/Telecom

1) To find, recognize and secure the future

2) Understand fundamental change

3) Recognize complexity of systems and how small chgs can cause extreme challenges

4) Charasmatic Leader; Style of Leadership can have profound impact on productivity

5) Power of Vision; Visionary Leadership – Shared Vision is the single most valuable asset to building success

6) Be aware of the political environment around me.

7) Get into a people management role.

8) Look for self-development activities.

9) Focus on results-driven performance.

10) Speak my mind.   Consultant in Cyber Security

Lead by example not by words and know his people like family. – Senior VP-Sales & Marketing, Senors for various applications

Reward the performers, motivate the laggards, and , assuage the “prima donnas. – Manager, telecom

Management is by and through others, build a good team and then lead it. – Program Manager, IT

Moxie and…

Defined on dictionary.com as

1.  vigor; verve; pep.

2.  courage and aggressiveness; nerve.

3.  skill; know-how.

That about covers it!!!!! – Employment Attorney

 Leadership means being extraordinary, compassionate, able to make decisions with many variations, depending on the individual.   I am grateful to my colleagues and friends for their responses are insightful and thought-provoking.  I urge you to take time to make your own list of what leadership means to you and then act on it.  All of us should be working to be better leaders regardless of or job titles and responsibilities.

(The graphic is a compilation of all the comments from the participants in this unsophisticated commentary on what leadership means. A big thanks to Wordle.net  for allowing us to use their software to produce it.)