San Francisco Life Coach

The "Problem" with Millennials

The problem with millennials. They are too this or too that. Just mention the word, millennial, tomillenials a bunch of 50 and 60 somethings in a workplace setting and you'll get chuckles, nods of agreement and universal disapproval. They will share stories and joke about how they never answer the phone, or how they never show up to the office, or how they are always whining about something or glued to their iPhone. It seems like one of the baby boomer's favorite topics of conversation. The funny thing is that this way of relating to the younger generation is nothing new. It's the same old collegial agreement that's given people of a similar age something to agree on and banter about for ages, how younger, less experienced people just don't get "it."

The generation that preceded the baby boomers leveled similar complaints about the baby boomer generation

The problem, especially as a business leader, isn't with the millennials.

The problem with millennials is that those in the boomer generation typically start from that place, that there is a problem with them. From their assumption, it's assumed that there is a problem with the millennial generation because they aren't doing what they think they should, or the way they think they should.

I can't stand all of the judgments and caterwauling over millennials. 

As a business leader, it's never really the appropriate question to be asking:

The question: What's wrong with them? Why are they acting that way?

As a leader, the question is, what's great about this person, or this team and how do I call that forth. How can I improve to create the results or get the best out of them.

The irony is that, in the 1960's and 1970's, when boomers were growing up and entering the workforce, decades that can be characterized as a mass evolution in the consciousness and intelligence of the United States, the boomer's parents generation were making similar judgments. While the boomer's catalyzed a mass evolution of the country, the boomer's parents were standing in judgment asking, what's their problem, what is this about their own rules, new ideas and lack of principles?

What they should have been asking is, what can we learn from them? What are they seeing and experiencing that I am not?

It's the same question that boomers need to be asking of millennials today. Instead of standing in judgment about what's different, you might seek to understand their perspective.

Boomers might learn something. And, if the boomer lets down the judgment, they just might have an opening to impart that incredible wisdom that us millennials so yearn for.

And, by the way, Millennials are forcing change in every area of life. They are the drivers behind innovation in everything from automobiles, to banking, to dating, to family systems, to social issues. They won't stand for doing work that sucks, they watched their parents do that their whole life. While admirable, I'm sure that if you give your child one gift, it would be to find work they love. Is that such a radical idea?

The most common complaint I here is about millennials lack of commitment and hard work on the job. It's true, some young people are naive about what it takes to succeed in the "real world," but that's been true since the beginning of human beings. Just check the story of "Adam and Eve."

As a leader to millennials (or any other human being on the planet), you will get no where as long as you stand in judgment of how they are.

Your job is to understand how to reach them, challenge them, mentor them.

But that starts, like it always has with human beings, by relating to them as their greatness, relating to them as what makes them special, not placing them in a "basket of deplorables."

The Three Phases of Life

My daughter, Gabriella Mary Ann, was born October 2nd, 2016. I turn 35 on October 23rd, 2016. I'm entering that middle phase of my life. The part of life where my potential is now. The part of life where it's truly my turn. I am in that sweet, yet somewhat pressured spot, where I'm about to live my life.

It's the time where the real action of my career is going to happen. The gift for me is knowing that it's game time. It's time for me to actualize all that I've accumulated, learned and absorbed in the first phase of my life.

I think there are three phases of a great life and it's really important to know which phase you are in, so you can make the most of it, the most of who you are and what you are here for.

I'm in the second phase, I'd call it the execution phase which starts somewhere after the first quarter of your life, say 28-40. The first phase is the learning and growing phase, starting with birth and ending between 28-40, which prepares you step into the execution phase. The third phase is about wisdom, sharing it, spreading it and enjoying the things that really matter, thanks to your wisdom.

I love this framework for life, because it allows us the opportunity to settle into the natural rhythms of the human experience:

birth--life--death

Could also be coined:

creation--expression--transition

I encourage you to allow yourself to embrace the phase that you are in. For years, while I was in my learning phase, I was always anxious that I wasn't doing enough, hadn't accomplished enough. So much so, that I didn't get to enjoy the learning phase.

As I step into the execution phase, it's a huge gift to know, NOW IS THE TIME. The future is NOW. My potential is NOW

When it's time to step into the wisdom phase, I pray that I will let myself and the things I have done be enough, so that I can work to share that wisdom with others, delight in the precious life I've created and allow love to be the ruler of my days.

Baseball and Business, Vignette #2

Clayton Kershaw

For those that don't know him, he is the absolute best pitcher on the planet. And, that is not an opinion. At age 28, he has won three Cy Young awards, given to the best pitcher in each league, leads the league in strikeouts, era, complete games. Basically, he is the best of the best.

So often in life we admire leaders and high performers and think, wow, they are just so talented. It must be in their genes. It's not our fault, after all, we didn't notice Clayton Kershaw when he was 16 years old, eating, sleeping and drinking baseball. We didn't notice Steve Jobs when he was sitting in his parent's garage in Palo Alto, California trying to make something.

We noticed them after they arrived and after they put in their 10,000 hours.

The thing that is fascinating about Clayton Kershaw, and that is most important to learn from his example, is that the best of the best, don't just rely on talent and charisma once they get there.

We see Clayton Kershaw pitch every fifth day, for 4 months in the summer, what we don't see is that he has planned out every other aspect of time he is not pitching. His entire life is oriented around being an excellent pitcher for two hours, every fifth day. To see some of the insanity of his routine, check out this article from ESPN.com.

The learning is, in Baseball or in Business, it's not an accident that you show up and perform well. Great business leaders and high performing athletes, have created a habit of giving themselves exactly what they need in order to show up at their highest and best self to perform their job.

For some people, like Clayton Kershaw, it's a strict 5 day cycle of routine when he's pitching down to the shorts he wears on game day. For Steve Jobs, it's things like wearing the same black turtleneck and blue jeans so he no longer had to spend energy on deciding what to wear.

For me, it's often getting my favorite coffee in the morning, walking my dog and listening to an inspiring podcast.

What is it for you? What are the habits or routines that would have you showing up at peak purpose and effectiveness when it matters?

Work/Life Balance... Blah, Blah, Blah

Work/Life Balance is one of the biggest buzz words in the human resources and leadership circles these days, and one that I most often causes me severe cringing when I hear the words. Why do I cringe? Because so often the conversation is so surface level, it doesn't address the systemic root of the problem. And by not addressing the root of the issue, it often leaves people dismissing the very idea of "Work/Life Balance" as some kind of woo-woo, out of touch concept with real leaders, who are up to real things.

Here's what Work/Life Balance is not about. It's not about spending equal times at work and at home. It's not about only working 9-5 and never working on weekends or after hours. It's not about out of office responders or vacation days or holidays.

What it is about, is learning to create a balanced experience of life where your actions at work and at home are driven by your commitment and intentions.

So often, people are driven by their fears at work and at home, rather than honoring who they intend to be at work and in life.

At work, people are constantly living in fear that they haven't done enough. They fear that if they haven't done enough, they will lose their job or lose favor. In order to combat that fear and guilt, they work harder and harder. The deeper the fear, the harder they work, the less balance.

Living with the idea that whatever they do, it is never good enough, there is no amount of working that will be enough. This creates an imbalance at work where the drive for action at work isn't getting the job done, it's about combating the feeling that one isn't doing enough. This creates an endless and exhausting cycle.

At home, similar feelings come up. There is basically no amount of being enough. I've seen this so often with parents who work full time. Of course they are committed to being great parents, but typically, they create perfect ideals about who they would be if they were a perfect parent; And then measure themselves by this unrealistic perfect standard.

The result is that people feel like they aren't good enough at work or at home. They feel like they are losing on both fronts. The best it gets is feeling successful in one area and poor in another area. And, it all ends up feeling like a big juggling act, where the balls could all drop the moment you let your focus and attention slip.

Creating real work/life balance is essential to being a great leader and building winning organizations. However, it's not about surface level issues of time off and email hours, although those can help.

What it's really about is learning to trust yourself and to work at creating a loving and empowering relationship to yourself. Work/Life Balance is about creating a sense of trust and confidence in yourself, focusing on the big picture commitments and letting go of the constant sense of doubt, fears and guilt that you aren't enough.

3 Steps for Dealing with Holiday Overwhelm

Celebrate 2015With just about one week left of 2015, most of us are rushing around finishing last minute holiday shopping, making plans to be at this party and that party, or scurrying to make preparations to host family and friends. Some people say it's a wonderful season and while that may be true, I'm often more present to how overwhelming it can be for me and other people.

The prevailing experience that I come to at this time of year is overwhelm. That's a word we often use, but let's define that experience.

The dictionary offers these definitions:

  1. bury or drown beneath a huge mass
  2. defeat completely
  3. give too much of a thing to (someone)

As a coach, I define overwhelm as the experience of being committed to a number of things and feeling that you don't have enough time/resources to be good enough at the things that you are committed to being good enough at. Kind of liking wanting to win multiple games, but feeling like no matter what you do, you will lose.

It feels like losing at all the things you care about and it's especially present during the holidays. There is never enough time to see all the people you "should" see, not enough time to prepare the meal the way you want to, not enough money to buy the gifts you want to give, not enough money you could spend to get the love and connection you yearn for, not enough you can do at work because you are consumed with all of these other things, not a good enough brother, sister, mother, cousin, and on, and on.

Not to mention of course, as we complete our year, we recount all the things that we didn't do this year, all the things we hoped would happen and hasn't, the resolutions we made that we didn't stay with and the goals we'd hoped for that didn't pan out.

That's the perfect formula for a big ole pile of overwhelm.

And, I don't know about you, but when I'm overwhelmed, all I want to do is check out: drink more, eat more, sleep more, anything to avoid being with the feeling of not being good enough at everything I care about.

So, here are three steps you can take to kick holiday overwhelm in the face and create a launching pad for 2016.

1. Make a list of all the things you think you could have done better in 2015.

Make it an exhaustive list. As many things as you can think of, both tangible and intangible.

Then, I want you read the list out loud and declare to yourself and whatever you believe in that you are willing to forgive yourself for all the things that you could have done better in 2015. Next, I want you to rip that paper to shreds and throw it away, light it on fire or dissolve with an industrial chemical.

LET. IT. GO.

 

2. Make a list of all the things you accomplished in 2015.

I'm talking obvious things (promotions, marriage, babies, raises, quitting your job, etc.) and I'm talking the more obscure things (learned to love yourself more, improved your leadership, made a difference for a friend, gave money to someone who inspired you, forgave someone, etc.)

Your job is to see who you really were this year. To take a real accounting of the great things that you did this year, the great person you were, the growth you had and the ground you took in 2015. It's sort of like your own personal highlight reel for the year. You might be resisting here, but you tell me, are you more likely to have a great end of 2015 and a powerful 2016 if you are relating to your greatness and seeing your accomplishments, or if you are beating yourself up and criticizing yourself?

3. CELEBRATE 2015!

The best piece of advice I could give you to have the best 2016 of your life, is to do step 1 and 2 so diligently that all you are left with is being present to your own greatness. So present in fact, that you are bursting with celebration for the rest of the year. Even if it feels weird, celebrate yourself. Toast yourself and your friends. Enroll them in taking this on with you so all of you are present to the special year that 2015 was for you.

As you celebrate, you will notice that some subtle urgings begin to arise for where you want to be at the end of 2016. Write those little nudges of inspiration down, let your dreams arise and take form as you ring in the new year.

Take on these 3 steps to kick holiday overwhelm out of your space and create a launching pad for an amazing 2016.

This is your year, your time and place. You laid the groundwork in 2015, now is the time to bring all of you to 2016.

Go Get It. Happy New Year! Congratulations on 2015!

 

 

Radio Interview with Pete Saunders on Absent Father Issues

I sat down with Pete Saunders, host of Braveheart Radio and a fellow fatherless son on August 13thto discuss Father Absence issues.

In the interview, I share some of  my personal story and how I have worked to overcome the impacts of growing up with an absent father.

We also discuss what defines an absent father, the top 3 impacts of growing up with an absent father and some steps to take if you are dealing with some of those impacts.

I hope this helps you or someone you know.

Click the link below to access the link to the show.

Braveheart Radio Interview with Pete Saunders

Why Achieving More Won't Always Make You Happy

achievementIn 1990, at age 11, I sold 106 items in a school fundraiser to win a Super Nintendo.

In 1998, at age 17, I joined the Army, at 19, I had been promoted 4 times and by 21 I became one of the youngest in the entire United States Army to be promoted to the rank of E6, Staff Sergeant. Less than four years later, I became one of the youngest drill sergeants in the Army and innovated training methods that one prestigious awards.

Between the ages of 18-27, I ran nine 26.2 mile marathons.

In 2004, I completed a bachelors degree in business and in 2013 I graduate with an MBA.

In 2008, at age 27, I made over a $100,000.

In 2011, I married my best friend and soul mate in a beautiful wedding in Mexico and we bought a beautiful home.

In 2012, I successfully launched my own full time coaching business and have successfully operated for three years.

You might say I have achieved an incredible amount in my life so far, and yet, after all those achievements the pervasive feeling in my life is this:

I AM NOT ENOUGH. 

I could point to every single one of those accomplishments and give you ten reasons why it wasn’t good enough and how I could have done better. I bet you could do the same for yourself.

The toxic and persistent thoughts in my head tell me if I just achieve that next thing, make a little bit more money, do a little bit better, then finally I will be enough.

When I'm enough, I'll be able to relax and enjoy myself.

The only problem of course is that each time I achieve enough in a day or accomplish the next thing, I'm inherently left with the same pervasive feeling:

I AM NOT ENOUGH. 

So, if it's not about achieving more, what is it about?

How do you find a sense of peace, calm and satisfaction

It starts with repairing the mistaken belief that our value, our worthiness and our lovability comes from what we do.

That may sound lofty, but I am proof that you can reinvent your relationship to yourself and build a foundation of self-love and respect in order to unlock your own personal joy and contentment.

As four year olds, we didn't obsess over what we did each day, we didn't take a daily accounting of how productive we were in order to determine how we felt about ourselves. We played, we slept, we pooped and we cried. Moment to moment, we didn't question our lovability or our worth and neither did I parents or any other sane human being.

At some point this relationship to ourselves changed, we came to believe that we were fundamentally not good enough and we needed to prove that we were each day by doing enough to earn our value, worthiness or lovability. 

You know how this goes on a daily basis. You wake up, start thinking about your day and the things you need to do. You check your email right away and start replying so you can get a quick does of feeling good enough and ahead of the game. You get stressed out when you meet with a client because you want to make sure you did good enough, you try hard before and during and then agonize over what you said or didn't say. You do this at work, you do this with your spouse, you do this with your friends and potential friends.

It's maddening. The best it gets is moments of feeling good usually when you are satisfactorily exhausted and get some good feedback Then you spend the rest of your days chasing that same elusive sense of feeling good.

Your challenge now is to relearn to see yourself the way you see others. The way your four year old self would see you.

Practice loving yourself for who you are not what you do. 

It’s an easy concept to say, but certainly much harder to master in my experience.

The most important thing I’ve done for myself and for my business over the last few years it to learn to see myself the way others do. To learn to value myself, my ideas, my insights and my gifts.

The degree to which I can value myself is the degree to which I can make a difference in the world.


Here are three actions you can take to build a better relationship with yourself which I guarantee will impact your ability to achieve your goals and live the life you want.

  1. Celebrate your successes, small and large. Even if it feels like you are faking it, go and celebrate yourself when you accomplish something. Some ideas: Take yourself to a great dinner. Buy yourself that cool new toy you’ve been dreaming about. Do your touchdown dance in your living room.
  1. As a daily practice, practice caring for yourself the way you would care for sick child or puppy you were responsible for. Make sure you get adequate food, water, play and rest.
  1. Write a list of your best accomplishments, one for every year you have been alive. Then, I want you to share that list with the you that was half your current age. For example, if you’re 50 years old, I want you to list out 50 of your best accomplishments and then I want you to share it with the 25 year old version of you. What would that 25 year old say to you about the things you have accomplished? Write this down and post it somewhere you can see on a daily basis. Practice relating to yourself everyday the way this younger self would relate to you.

I consider this principle the absolute key to creating fulfilling careers and relationships. As a direct result of practicing these things, I now lead a life where I get to enjoy my work and trust that I'm enough. I perform better because I'm encouraging and empowering to myself. And, I've found true balance with my work and life, because I'm no longer trying to find my worth and value by over working.