Wednesday, July 11, 2018

When Life Throws You a Curve Ball

Blog by Tracy Butz, Think Impact Solutions

Tough stuff happens to all of us. What do you do when life throws you a curve ball? I do my best to dive hard and shout, “Got it!” And when that doesn’t work, I heed my own advice with these five strategies: 

  1. Accept the new situation or challenge. When a challenging situation is viewed as the possibility to learn something new, you tend to resist it less and embrace it more.
  2. Swerve from your routine. Understanding that changes will happen, allows us to establish new ways of doing or looking at something. You may even discover a hidden talent you didn’t know you had.
  3. Add some humor in your life. Whether you pay to see a comedian, view some funny videos on You Tube, read a witty book, or talk with an amusing friend. I find a dose of humor helps keep the tears at bay…and potentially, the doctor away.
  4. Kill it with kindness. Being kind to others, even when you feel down, helps others to demonstrate kindness to you too. And aren’t more genuine gestures of kindness something we all need?
  5. Seek a little adventure. Whether it is choosing to zipline, indoor skydive (like I just did with my boys last week when they visited!), or try something else—stepping out of your comfort zone puts your mind in a challenging and exciting place where you likely aren’t able to focus on the recent twist. 

As I frequently remind audiences, every day is a great day when I don’t have daisies growing over my head. So choose to make today the best day ever!

What is Holding You Back?

Blog from Tracy Butz, Think Impact Solutions

Success means different things to each of us. Do you consider yourself successful? Are there aspects in your life where you want to be more successful? For many of us, the answer is, “yes.” But one question I often ask my audiences or participants in a workshop is, “Do you know what is holding you back from being more successful?”
I encourage you to consider, what’s holding you back from…

  • Taking the next step in your career?
  • Setting the next stretch goal in your personal life?
  • Envisioning a brighter future for yourself?  

Unfortunately, FEAR is a common answer I hear. The truth is…fear kills dreams. Most people don’t live their dreams because of fear. FEAR is described as – False Evidence of Appearing Real – it’s an illusion you create in your mind.  It’s the product of the thoughts you create. On the other hand, danger is very real, but not fear. Perhaps you struggle with the fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of rejection, or fear of something else, like not being selected for the promotion you desire, not achieving your wellness goal this year, being unable to fix a relationship issue with a team member, or maybe not being able to learn or do everything you are expected to do in your job.

Courageously facing fears can be daunting. But as I was once reminded, you can have courage or you can have comfort, but you can’t have both. They are mutually exclusive.

Rather than letting your fears hinder your desire to succeed, face your fear. Here are a few ways I have faced my own personal fears: 
  • Consider the worst outcome if your fear happens. (Often times, the “worst” isn’t that bad.)
  • Expose yourself to the fear. (Avoiding fear makes it scarier. Face it to help overcome it.)
  • Don’t expect perfection.  (Look at mistakes as an opportunity to do it better next time.)
  • Talk about your fear with someone you trust.
  • Write down your fear on paper; this activity helps to rationalize it.
  • Consider what aspects of your fear you do control. Consider ways to improve those areas.
  • Don’t focus on pain; focus on success (explained below). 

As noted in the last bullet point above, don’t focus on what’s painful—which is the process of what it takes to make something happen (including potential failure). Because if you focus on the pain, chances of achieving your goal decreases. Pain is temporary—eventually it will subside. But if you quit—it will last forever. Instead, focus on what you want; focus on what success looks like today. For example, if you have a goal to lose 20 pounds, don’t focus on the 10th or 20th pound; instead, focus on today’s plan to eat healthy and incorporate some exercise into your day. Which one seems less daunting to you?

Understanding what is holding you back is the starting point to making your dreams come true and to achieving the success you not only desire…but deserve!

Three Habits to Foster Extraordinary Relationships

A Blog by Tracy Butz, Think Impact Solutions

Have you ever had time elapse between a relationship with either a friend or a colleague, and then when you re-connect, it’s as if you picked up exactly where you left off? If so, I would say you both had the privilege of sharing an extraordinary relationship.

Extraordinary relationships are built and enhanced through ordinary, yet meaningful, actions. These numerous small acts of kindness, respect and understanding are displayed both consciously and unconsciously. If you want to raise the bar on your relationships, here are three habits to take them to the next level:
  1. Give consistently, receive occasionally. Those who build great relationships don't think about what they want; instead, they start by thinking about what they can give. They approach building relationships as if it's all about the other person and not about them—and in the process—they build relationships with others who follow the same approach. In time, they make authentic connections and become genuine friends.
  2. Listen with the intent of understanding, not replying. Research shows that only about 10 percent of us listen effectively—often distracted by technology or our own thoughts. Resist the temptation of considering how to jump in to tell your own story, offer advice, or even make a judgment. Instead, choose to engage in actively listening to the other person’s words and body language—because when you do, relationships prosper and levels of trust grow deeper.
  3. Step in without being asked. It’s both common and easy to help when asked; but very few people offer help before they’ve been asked—even though most of the time that is when a little help will make the greatest impact. Those who build extraordinary relationships pay close attention so they can tell when others are struggling. This demonstration of an empathetic and caring heart enables others to truly appreciate the heartfelt support and assistance, and will also more often times accept the help being offered. 
Over the recent Memorial Day weekend, a dear friend whom I’ve known for many years—yet only in the last year have re-connected with—chose to make the trip out to Colorado from Wisconsin. Not only was it an incredible gesture, but we had an amazing time together! We toured the undeniable breathtaking beauty of Red Rock together (home of Red Rocks Amphitheatre), danced and belted out famous tunes sung live in concert by Taylor Swift, and even dined at some of the most exquisite eateries—like downtown Denver’s Ocean Prime and the infamous Butz’s Bistro with Culinary Craftsman, Kirt Butz (my amazing husband who could be a world-renowned chef if he wanted to). We took in a fun and non-competitive round of Top Golf (as the golfing experts we are…NOT!), squeezed in a little time to indulge in retail therapy at the fabulous FlatIron Crossing shopping center and mall, but most importantly, simply enjoyed each other’s company and meaningful conversation. The relationship I have with my friend, Lisa, is certainly extraordinary and one that I will treasure forever.

Make today the day you choose to foster an extraordinary relationship you hold dear.