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Danger Zone

Danger Zone

Last Friday, two of our VLC teammates, Diane and Doug, took their first flying lesson. As they donned their airplane headsets, I couldn’t help but flash back to Top Gun. The beginning of Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins began playing in my head.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic. After all, it did take the instructor about 20 minutes to do his inspections before even getting them into the plane. Then it was another 20 minutes before they taxied to the runway. After a while, the song I was hearing was more like Learning to Fly by Tom Petty.

Still, doing something new takes courage. Skydiving, which Diane has done, and learning to fly may be on the more daring spectrum of new endeavors. But doing anything new means that you might actually experience a certain amount of fear.

Phrases like, “It’s too much”, “It’s too hard”, “I’m overwhelmed”, and “I can’t do it” are just signs of change and challenge. Do we shrink and accept that we can’t handle it, or do we pull up our bootstraps and move forward in the face of fear? Do we accept that we are good where we are, or do we push to create a better version of ourselves?

I have heard it said that variety is the spice of life. If that is the case, then being stagnant is perhaps the same bowl of plain oatmeal you have been eating every morning for the last 5 years.

Embrace the danger zone by taking on that next challenge. Take that flying lesson. Go somewhere you haven’t gone before. Dare to breathe deep and center yourself when facing something new.

You’ll never say hello to you

Until you get it on the red line overload

You’ll never know what you can do

Until you get it up as high as you can go.

-Kenny Loggins – Danger Zone

  • What are some things you are facing that you are hesitant about?
  • What is your first inclination when facing new challenges?
  • Are your greatest obstacles created by others or by yourself?

Have a great week!

Chuck Ross

John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and DISC consultant

chuckross.net

Author: Change? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?

530-277-6161

“They themselves are makers of themselves.” James Allen

Grow and Flourish

Grow and Flourish

Two years ago in September, we bought the house in which we currently live. From the outside, the house was a burnt orange color with the same color trim. Apparently there was a sale on the color, because ours was one of 3 houses in a row with the same paint scheme. Awful!

The yellow/brown tile and oak cabinets throughout were testament to a house built really well in the 1970’s that had seen no updates. Still, we liked the place. Below the house were 12 fruit trees that had wilted in the late July sun with no one to water them. Having always wanted fruit trees, I returned at least once a week while we were in escrow to try and save them.

Last Spring, I watched as the trees began to leaf out. I was disappointed at the lack of fruit. To make matters worse, we were forced to transplant all but 4 trees during the Summer to make way for the pad for our new garage.

I dug the holes extra deep and put in good soil. I soaked them religiously every few days. I pruned them so that they wouldn’t have to support extra foliage. Even then, I didn’t hold out much hope that they would survive because of the time of year we had to re-plant them.

As Winter grew to a close this year, I watched for buds. Our apricot and avocado were both showing signs of leafing, but the others seemed lifeless.

I wasn’t sure what would happen, but one by one, they leafed and blossomed. Every tree is not only carrying fruit, they are absolutely flourishing.

Just like my trees had to fight to survive, I know others are also facing challenges everyday…maybe they are with substances, mindset, depression, relationships, health, and/or finances.

Making sure you nourish yourself with water and good soil is crucial. The people and situations who you surround yourself with makes a huge difference. Trimming those pieces of you that drain your resources, so that you can focus on those pieces that you want to grow is also important. In this way, you can focus your growth. Just as my fruit trees are reaching toward the sun, you can reach toward your potential growth.

I am under no impression that growth is easy. If it is too easy, the growth may not be genuine or lasting. But I do have faith that every person has an area that deserves attention, and that every person has the strength to affect change.

  • What are your challenges at this point in your life?
  • How can you view these challenges as growth opportunities? And, how can you make this mindset consistent?
  • What is a piece of you that needs to be pruned? How could you redistribute this extra energy?

As my mentor Paul Martinelli says, “Your dreams can’t grow in infertile soil.”

Have a great week,

Chuck Ross

John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and DISC consultant

chuckross.net

Author: Change? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?

530-277-6161

“They themselves are makers of themselves.” James Allen

Invisible Barriers

Invisible Barriers

Here in Northern California, we have been enjoying an unusually dry and warm Spring. While the threat of impending drought is very real, it has not stopped us from enjoying the breezy afternoons. We enjoy opening up our sliding glass doors to enjoy the deck shaded by our Oaks and Pines.

Last weekend, on a breezy afternoon, a Hummingbird flew into our living room. It flew through one of the open sliding glass doors, hovered by the motionless ceiling fan and immediately tried to fly back out through the triangular window above the slider which doesn’t open.

I watched the scared little bird check the entire window, trying to figure out what kind of wizardry was keeping him from freedom. Hoping he would look elsewhere for a way out, I completely opened the sliding glass door just 2 feet beneath him.

Seeing that he wanted to stay high, I got my ladder and crept up with a small towel to try and capture him. He took evasive maneuvers, flying to the next window over. Again, I opened the sliding glass door beneath and climbed my ladder. This time, the little bird was so exhausted that he sat on the sill with no choice but to let me scoop him up. He definitely struggled and chirped his discontent, but when I had him outside and released my grip, he flew away happily.

I thought about the challenges that face the organizations I work with. Many times have they found a solution, only to be turned away by a major barrier. They adjust, trying to move toward that same solution, but to no avail. They become stuck.

We owe it to ourselves and our organizations to keep our eyes open to new ways of solving problems.

Incidentally, just outside the 2nd sliding glass door was a hummingbird feeder. Not only could the little bird have escaped with this option, he also would have found a welcome treat.
• How often do you force yourself into the same window or path that we have struggled with before, blind to the freedom that is so near?
• What are the resources available to you that may allow you to see alternatives to your normal solutions?
• What daily practices can you create that encourage more creative thinking when challenges arise?
Have a great week!

Chuck Ross
John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and DISC consultant
chuckross.net
Author: Change? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?
530-277-6161

“They themselves are makers of themselves.” James Allen

Blessing – Curse

Blessing – Curse

Throughout our day to day activities, whether we are at work or not, we rely on our strengths to do things well. If we use the DISC as a guide, people’s strengths fall into 4 different areas: Dominance, influence, steadiness, and compliance. Granted, we are a combination of all 4 areas, but one usually rises to the surface as our key personality indicator.

Many people acknowledge that they need to do work on their weakest area. But what many people underestimate is the extent to which their strength can cause them issues. Your greatest strength can help you achieve great heights, but can also set you back on your way to achieving those heights. It can be a blessing or a curse.

I will use myself as an example. My dominant trait is an I (Influencing). My greatest strength is connecting with people. When that strength becomes a weakness, however, it means that I may seek approval from others. I have the potential to lose perspective when I need to choose integrity over connection.

Because of this, I often say that I need to keep an eye on my “I.”

The same is true for every strength. D’s can use their dominance to achieve, but can become Domineering and overbearing which slows the pace of their achievement. S’s provide Solid Steadiness, but can become incredibly Stubborn when life throws curveballs. C’s build systems so that things are done Correctly, but can suffer from “analysis paralysis” as they get lost in details.

Every strength has its dark side, just as every weakness has a silver lining.

Once we see clearly that our strengths have both a good and bad side, we gain perspective. We can begin to recognize when our strengths begin to turn against us and the people around us. Through this self-awareness, our strengths can be honed and developed into the positive force we wish them to be.

  • What is your greatest strength and when do you use it most?
  • What does it look like when this strength works against you?
  • When your strength works against you, what type of trigger initiates this?

Have a great week!

Chuck Ross

John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and DISC consultant

chuckross.net

Author: Change? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?

530-277-6161

“They themselves are makers of themselves.” James Allen

Hero Dirt

Hero Dirt

Today marks the first significant rainfall in over a month here in Grass Valley. As with most places, the rain almost immediately makes the roads slick. But as the oil and dirt washes away, traction improves.

Something similar happens to trails for mountain bikers. As the rain sinks into the dirt it allows tires to grip the dirt more easily. This increases traction causing a wonderful phenomenon known as “hero dirt.” Hero dirt allows people to lean into the corners at a much greater angle than would be possible, had it not been for the rain.

Organizations all experience their version of cleansing rain. Organizational rains almost always start off as mistakes or failures. That in itself is not cleansing. It can actually be downright maddening. The cleansing happens when the organization realizes that the mistake or failure is a sign of a specific weakness. The addressing of this weakness is where the cleansing takes place.

The process requires a certain type of attitude, however. An attitude of blaming others only increases the slippery nature of the challenge, much like roads when it first begins to rain.

There is no way to learn when blame keeps shifting. There is also no way to learn when someone accepts the responsibility but refuses to acknowledge what is being taught.

When responsibility is taken and changes are made to avoid such failures in the future, the learning can sink into the organization, just like a good rain. When the lesson is accepted, the organization can gain traction in that area in ways they never would have imagined before facing failure: Hero Dirt.

What failures have you faced recently that have helped you learn?

Are there any challenges you have faced several times over? What do you think this means?

What resources do you have at your disposal that can help you learn in the face of challenges?

Have a great week!

Chuck Ross

John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and DISC consultant

chuckross.net

Author: Change? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?

530-277-6161

“They themselves are makers of themselves.” James Allen

Big Baby Steps

Big Baby Steps

The other day, Patrice (our IRP specialist) was asked a question while headed to the printer. Her response: Baby steps. It definitely struck me and reminded me of a movie…

In 1991, Bill Murray starred as a character named Bob in a movie called “What about Bob?” In the movie, Bob was afraid of everything. So much so, that he would hardly ever leave his apartment. In the movie his new psychotherapist, Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dryfuss), had published a book called Baby Steps which is seemingly based on taking several small steps on the way to attaining a large goal.

This is not a new concept. We constantly take large projects or goals and break them down into workable chunks. But I believe this process has greater meaning (and difficulty) than people realize.

Consider the first baby step. Taking that first step requires a lot of clarification and a bit of planning if you are to successfully travel anywhere!

  • What are you stepping toward?
  • What are the obstacles currently in your way?
  • How fast will you step?
  • Are there others that need to step with you?
  • What challenges might trip you up along the way?

All of these things don’t all need solutions before you step, otherwise you may not ever step at all (which was Bob’s problem). But you at least need to have a clear direction or objective.

What does that look like for us? Ask questions of the customer until their needs are crystal clear. Take a minute and see the big picture of a project, before you dive into the specifics…before you take that first baby step.

In essence, baby steps may be small, but their meaning is BIG. They pave the way for met goals and completed projects. And just as it was with Bob, it starts with the first one.

What challenges do you currently face that could benefit from taking that first small step?

Which challenges you more, seeing the small details or seeing the big picture?

What baby step can you take to combat this?

Have a great week!

Chuck Ross

John Maxwell Certified Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and DISC consultant

chuckross.net

Author: Change? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!?

530-277-6161

“They themselves are makers of themselves.” James Allen

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