Welcome! This is part 1 of a 3-part blog over the next 3 weeks on self-leadership.  These are based on the personal lessons I learned  through combining both work and play, while travelling through France and Spain in the Spring of 2018. In practice, I was fully embracing the ‘Explore Dream and Discover’ philosophy. I share my thoughts and lessons here and prompt some questions for you to consider too.

Part 1 – EXPLORE – see below

Part 2- Dream – coming 2 October

Part 3 – Discover – coming 9 October

When I read this quote I always get a feeling of excitement in my belly.  What impact does this quote have on you?

Part 1 – Explore

Like many CEO’s, managing directors, senior managers, entrepreneurs and people who like to challenge themselves or push  the boundaries, I  am a ‘yes’ woman at heart.

You know the challenge – you have a dream or vision of what you want to achieve and are determined to make it happen.  Maybe someone asks you to do something. It may be work- related, for example, creating a new vision to lead things in a different direction, creating a fresh strategy for a new way forward, managing an important project, growing important collaborations or networks. Or it may be home-related, such as moving house, taking the next step when growing significant relationships,  learning a challenging new sport or hobby.   

Whatever the challenge, your response is “Wow, yes that would be an interesting challenge!”  

By saying “Yes” we are choosing the 2% mindset

(The image below is credited to anonymous artist – my thanks to them for producing a great visual representation of the 2% mindset concept)

The concept of a 2% mindset is that many people (98%) settle for the comfortable choices in life – the ones that make us feel safe secure and able to cope with what we have and what is going on. However, longer term, this can lead to ‘settling’ for less than we are capable of, so not fulfilling our potential.  We can then become timid of taking risks and fearful of uncertainty. We settle for just surviving, getting by without too much challenge.  We ultimately may put off those things we would really like to do, by telling ourselves that it is too risky, which ultimately we might regret not doing weeks/ months/ years down the line. 

The alternative is to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ (Susan Jeffers 2007) choosing to challenge ourselves, stretch our comfort zone, embrace the unknown and the excitement that brings, be willing to explore and find new boundaries and ‘territories’. When we chose this we build confidence, we grow and create feelings of fulfillment and happiness.

Let’s take a closer look at what saying “Yes!” to EXPLORE DREAM and DISCOVER means to us in practice

Explore: What does a personal stretch mean to you?

This is different for everyone, so being self-aware and knowing what is in your comfort zone, what is in your stretch zone and what puts you into your panic zone is important. Staying in your comfort zone is playing safe and sometimes we need to be in that place. However, getting stuck permanently in your comfort zone is saying ‘no’ to personal growth and will, in the longer term, be limiting for future  opportunities. Reflect on where do you prefer to be. Consider: How do you overcome obstacles to proactively choose to put yourself into your ‘stretch zone’?

My personal example:  A stretch for me this year was going on 111 days of travel adventure through France and around Spain. My fear was that if I took the whole time off I would  (1) miss my work ( I do love what I do!) and (2) my clients and customers would find someone else to do the work with them. 

The Challenge:  This conundrum gave me an opportunity to re-frame and think creatively to overcome these perceived obstacles . I started to explore ways I could operate my leadership coaching and executive development businesses SUCCESSMITH, whilst I was travelling 8,500 miles, principally by road, around Spain for 111 days from February to June . I decided to tackle this head on and speak with my stakeholders. I was relieved to discover that my fears were not founded.

The Outcome:  I was pleasantly surprised by my clients responses and I felt empowered by what I discovered. When I spoke with my current customers they were very understanding and accommodating agreeing to flexible ways of working around the fact that I was not going to be in the UK for almost 4 months. Some said they felt inspired by my actions and others admitted they were a little envious!

Having planned and now completed this adventure, my reflection is that I had an amazingly life enriching and perspective expanding time away travelling.  I discovered that no perceived obstacle is insurmountable. I also learned that  I am very self-disciplined. I was able to balance work and play, by allocating specific time for both work and play, the result was that I was able to make the very most of every single one of the 111 days of my trip! 

To learn how I achieved this, and how you can too if you wish do do something similar, I will be sharing my solutions and lessons learned with you in parts 2 and 3 of this blog over the next 2 weeks. In the meantime I have a ‘Call to Action to Explore’ challenge for you below. 

Call to Action to Explore:

Ask yourself:

  • What is stopping you from making steps towards achieving the life you want see right now?
  • Be honest with yourself, is something or someone else ‘stopping’ you? Or are you getting in your own way?
  • What are you learning about yourself?

Create some quiet time to consider the above questions. Alternatively, talking to others can help greatly to explore your responses.

If you want some support to step into your stretch zone, contact me to arrange a complimentary coaching discussion.  We can explore what you want to achieve and unravel what is holding you back.

Next step? Look out for Part 2 in next week’s blog, when we move onto the ‘Dream’ part of ‘Explore, Dream, Discover’