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  • Writer's pictureRicki Braswell

Looking Back and Then Moving Ahead

It's a New Year and a new opportunity to move Beyond!

This week we are celebrating what went well in 2020 and focusing on where we go from here. Here's to giving you that little boost to help you make the most of the rest of the week and this year.

- Ricki Braswell, CAE, President, Beyond Coaching

broken metal chain

Looking Back and Then Moving Ahead!

I want to share what I accomplished in 2020, and maybe more importantly, what I let hold me back.

I would never have predicted that my business would grow in 2020. I mean, sure, I hoped it would and I created a plan, but you know, COVID. So "The Plan" went out the window and well, hope isn't a strategy although that didn't stop me from trying to employ it as one. But despite all that 2020 threw around I managed to do some things I am really happy about. These are the 5 professional accomplishments I'm proud I achieved in 2020:

1. Reached out to my network to explore what opportunities I was overlooking

2. Expanded my business to include not-for-profits and larger companies

3. Developed a Mastermind Tribe

4. Took vulnerability to a whole new level by posting some videos on social media

5. Launched this Beyond a Pep Talk blog!

I've learned that there is a lot of value in taking the time to explore the things that are still holding me back (instead of just ignoring them and pretending that I knocked it out of the park every time). It is also important to me that I remain authentic and continue to be vulnerable, especially in front of you. I help my clients work through their professional and personal challenges and I work through mine too so I completely understand the time and energy that sustainable growth requires. As I look back on 2020 I have to address what held me back. And by airing it out here, in front of you, it means that I cannot hide from it. Yep, right here, right now, I'm showing you what I'm dragging into 2021 with me!

Thinking I have to figure it all out myself.

There it is. One big scary sentence. I suffer from thinking I have to figure it all out. All. By. My. Self. I know that isn't true but when push comes to shove, I forget to reach out and ask for help. Take this blog for example. It took me a YEAR to actually launch it. Why? Because I was frustrated by my lack of knowledge with the technology and every time I tried to do something and it didn't go right I put it away and extended my internal deadline. How did I finally get it to launch? I asked for help. (Massive thank you to Dillon for helping me with the technical aspects of this, and to Josybel for showing me that it can be done and that perfection is the enemy of progress. I appreciate you both for your patience and for not making fun of me).

Also, massive thank you to you, for reading my posts and taking this journey with me. Growing is scary and fun at the very same time, and it isn't always easy to openly share the struggle, but my motivation comes from knowing that I am helping others grow as well.

Something amazing happened this Christmas. Something that has never happened before in my 26 years of motherhood. My children actually heard me mention something that I would like to have, remembered it and got it for me for Christmas!

In case I give you the wrong impression, my children are thoughtful and loving and very, very kind. They fill my whole heart. It's just that when it comes to gift time, they are not in the habit of recalling what I might need or want. Even when they've asked me and even when I've told them. In case my daughter actually reads this I have to make sure you know that she is the exception. Savannah remembers and has been selecting her own gifts to me for years. It is her brothers I'm referring to.

So I was absolutely delighted by the gift my boys gave me this year! I spied this Swell water carafe online earlier last year and I fell in love with it. I drink water while working all day and I find the easiest way to keep focused is to place a pitcher (in this case, a carafe) on my desk each morning. This amazing carafe works just like all Swell products and keeps ice in it all day long, so I just add more water when I break for lunch. Thank you so much Joshua and Logan for holding this thoughtful gift in your memories from waaaayyyy back in the Spring of 2020 when I mentioned it. It is useful and I think it looks pretty on my desk.

Picture this, it's Wednesday morning and you get to work and immediately notice that one of your team members left several tasks unfinished from the day before. Again.

If you are like most people you probably have some degree of frustration. Frustration that stems from not understanding why this keeps happening and why, no matter what you do or say, you can't seem to get your team to understand that these things have to get done.

One of the biggest hurdles I help leaders tackle is not making assumptions about their team members' behavior or actions.

In the example I shared, most people immediately assume that their team members simply lack commitment, i.e. they don't care as much about their jobs or the company as you do. And while I do occasionally encounter that, more often than not what I find is that there is some form of miscommunication which leads to misunderstanding. Before you shake your head, stay with me for a few minutes. I'm not suggesting that you haven't given instructions or made it clear what needs to be done. I'm betting that you have. But the communication hasn't been effective, right? The proof is that the results don't match the expectations despite your very best and repeated efforts.

What makes me an expert on this topic? YEARS of thinking that the solution was to patiently articulate, in exact detail, my expectations, over and over and over again until they finally get it. I was certain that the only reason that someone didn't perform up to my expectations was because I didn't clearly explain myself. Well guess what? I was wrong.

So here's what was happening.

For starters, I used one-sided communication and it wasn't always effective. And when it wasn’t, I repeated my one-sided communication by meeting with the team member again and shared what I wanted. I patiently did this many, many times until I began to draw the conclusion that the team member was just not willing to work with me. I was frustrated, and the team member was frustrated and eventually, someone ended up no longer working there (in case you are wondering, that person was the team member). What a shame. I probably lost some pretty good people before I recognized the problem.

Here are some tips for how to correct the pattern and grow as an effective leader.

  1. Everyone has a unique and essential role within the team. It is important that each person understands the importance of their unique role within the team and how their contribution moves the team toward shared goals. That way they have a better understanding of the ramifications if they don't do their part. I think of this as the "weakest link" theory - we are only as strong as our weakest link. Your job, as a leader, is explaining their role and their importance.

  2. Everything we do, even the small tasks, is important and helps us reach our goals. Whether embarking on a new project, system or discussing everyday tasks, make sure that you take a few minutes to explain to the team member why this is important and how it connects to the larger goals.

  3. Good leaders outline expectations, ask questions and invite challenging ideas and feedback. It takes practice but being a good leader doesn't mean that you have to have all the ideas. Practice inviting the team members into the decision making process by soliciting their thoughts. When team members have buy in it creates ownership around their job and the tasks associated with it. They are much more likely to work hard when some of the ideas are theirs.

  4. Assume everyone wants to perform well. You and the team members have a shared goal, they want to work there and you want them to work there. Also, you both have made a considerable investment of time and energy in working together therefore it behooves both of you to make sure that their performance is at a level that meets or exceeds expectations. Very few people are actually satisfied performing below par. Poor performance stresses the team out as much as it does you.

  5. Address underperformance head on. Nobody likes to have difficult conversations but when you put off addressing something it tends to grow bigger instead of going away. Keep in mind that many times the team member may not even realize that what they did, or didn't do, was even an issue. Creating a culture where you invite safe, one on one, conversations with the goal of making sure that everyone has the opportunity to perform well.

Have a specific challenge and need some advice? Post a comment below and I'll respond. Or, if it is something that you want to discuss book a Virtual Coffee session (and experience the benefits of one-on-one coaching)!

New Year, New You!

This is the week an estimated 188 million Americans (74% of the adult population) set a New Year's resolution to, "learn something new, make a lifestyle change or set a personal goal in an effort to better themselves in 2021".

Unfortunately, experts estimate that most people will abandon their resolution before the middle of next month.

One of the ways you can be sure to reach your goal is to engage a professional coach. Although the list is long, just one of the benefits I provide as a coach is serving as an accountability partner which helps my clients stay focused and on track.

Ready for a new year and a new level of success in 2021? Schedule a virtual coffee! This is a (FREE) 45-minute session to explore how success coaching can support you in clarifying and reaching your goals.

Don't spend another year struggling to reach your potential. Schedule today and move Beyond!

If you are enjoying Beyond A Pep Talk please share with friends and suggest they sign up! Also, I'd love to hear what you want to learn more about so that I can create content just for you. Email me at with your thoughts, comments or just to share a chuckle.

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