The power of your mindset.

On the first day at the Tony Robbins’ event “Unleash your Power within” you have the opportunity to walk on fire. Walking on fire was definitely not something I had on my list of things to experience. I was afraid and almost freaking out!
At the entrance of the event, you could see a huge fire. You can see it in the picture below. I could not believe we were going to walk on that! It was not that fire, but it was there for us to start visualizing what was coming.  At the same time, we used it to burn our fears. I wrote down on a piece of paper all my fears and concerns and burned them.  It was so liberating to see them vanished!

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We dedicated the afternoon of the event to prepare our mindset. It was intense! We were jumping, and repeating and rehearsing in our mind what we were supposed to do.
The first and most important thing is to put your self in peak state! What is that? It is the state in which you are feeling amazing, powerful, determined, unstoppable. When you feel empowered and capable of doing anything!. Putting yourself in peak state has three components :

1. Physiology

The physical reaction of your body. It can be the posture, breathing and movement. Your physiology determines how you feel. For example: when you feel stressed, your posture tends to be contracted. Your body tends to be slightly or very curved, your head is down, and your breath is shallow. Some people even feel discomfort in their back or stomach. The more aware you are of your physiology and the emotions you are experiencing the more you can change it. In a peak state, your head tends to be up, your shoulders expanded and you breath deeply.  At Tony’s events, we focus on our physiology by making our “move”. That is a personal powerful move that engages all our body and makes us feel great. We make that move and repeat the word YES!
Remember that using your physiology is the most powerful and quickest way to change how you feel. You can do so by moving your body, expanding your shoulders or breathing deeply.

2. Focus

Your focus is what you put your attention to.  In this specific experience of walking on fire, if you focus on your fear, you will experience more fear. If you focus on the heat, you will burn. If you focus on passing by and looking towards the end and not on what is on the floor you will make it! This applies to whatever situation you are facing. If you give too much attention to the problem, you will see it bigger. If you put attention to the solution, you will be able to find ways to make that happen.

3. Language

The words you use are powerful. If you use fearful or discouraging words your physiology will change. In this case, we used the word YES! We also used the words COOL MOSS, over and over while walking on fire. These words will give the signal to your brain that you are walking on cool moss and not on burning coals. Be aware of the language you use when communicating with people as well as in your internal dialogue. Consciously choose to use empowering language.

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Overall I think it was a great experience! It was different, challenging, and at the same time, a reminder on how important is your mindset to achieve what you want. Also, how powerful your physiology is to change your state.  I was amazed that I did not burn! I felt great, accomplished and on fire :).

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Defining the purpose of your life

For years I have had the question: What is the purpose of my life? Is it to go to work, go back home, do the chores, be with your family and then repeat? How do you know that you are living in your purpose? 
I had no answers. The more I thought about those questions the more confused I was! I started to read, watched videos, and went to events including Tony Robbins “Day with Destiny” in 2017. I finally got my answer and was able to define my purpose and start living by it.
There were three things that helped me define my purpose: my needs, my beliefs and my values. All these three components make part of your blueprint to happiness and fulfilment.

Identifying your blueprint to happiness.

1. Needs.

Everybody has internal expectations and/or of things they want or need to feel happy. If your life is meeting those expectations you feel happy. Contrary, if your life does not meet those expectations you feel unhappy.  Ask yourself: what do I need to be happy?
Allow yourself to bring forward everything you have in your mind that you think will make you happy.  Once you think they are all written down, ask yourself,  what else do I need to be happy? Continue this process until there is nothing else you can write. When I asked myself that question over and over I came up with a BIG list that I did not know I had.  I wanted wonderful mom, spouse, daughter and professional. I wanted to be an example of integrity, love, health success and standards. I wanted my children to be well behaved and listen all the time. I wanted my husband not to travel that much. Moreover that he would call me several times a day, and he completely understands what I need. This was only half of the list! As I finished my reflection,  I realised most of my points were out of my control.  Most of them were expectations about how others need to behave so that I could be happy. At that time, I concluded I need to simplify my blueprint to happiness!

2. Beliefs

 

A belief is something that you are certain of.  Beliefs can be empowering or limiting. Empowering beliefs are those that help you take action and be the best version of yourself. Limiting beliefs, are those beliefs that make you feel doubt, bring you stress, fear or anxiety. We adopt most of our beliefs in early stages of our childhood. We also inherit beliefs from our culture or define new beliefs based on our experiences. We are not conscious of all our beliefs, but they are working as a filter to make decisions in our daily life. For this reason, it is important to identify them and override them with new empowering ones.

3. Values

Values as emotional states that you either want to experience more (towards values) or avoid at every cost (away values).  People will do more to avoid pain than to experience pleasure. It is important to understand what are our toward and away values and if there is any conflict between them. Let’s consider that one of your top values is “success” and two of your top away values are “rejection” and “failure”. In this case, you may experience internal conflict. On the one hand, you want to achieve more, but on the other, you limit your actions to avoid feeling rejected or fail. In other words, you are limiting your possibilities of success.
Working on these three components allowed me to define a vision and the purpose of my life. I present it to you!

My purpose

What I learned from defining my purpose:

  1. Your purpose does not have to be something big and external that you must achieve. Your purpose is something that you want to experience every day and that would help remind you what is really important to you in life.
  2. Your purpose is made up of three things: a) how you want to be, show up in life b) what you want to enjoy c) what you want to do for yourself and others.

 

Goal setting is the process where you define what you really want to achieve in a specific period of time. It is a skill high achievers master in their life. You can create goals in every area of your life and therefore, these will give you direction, purpose and motivation. 

If goals are so important to be successful, why is that so few people have goals?  The answer is that most of the people do not know how to set them. 

In this article we cover seven steps that will help you define your personal goals:

1. What do you really, really want?

Many people know what they don’t want and not what they want. Other people believe that goals only work to get a new car, ideal home, travel etc.  However, material goals are just a small part of the goal-setting process. At the core, the objective of setting your goals is to identify what is most important to you, what makes you happy and fulfilled. 

Considering this, start by asking yourself the following questions:  

  • What do I really want to feel, achieve and experience in my life?  
  • What am I passionate about and excite me to achieve?
  • What makes me happy and fulfilled?
  • What do I want more in my life?
  • What do I want less in my life?
  • How would you like to be remembered? 

2. Believe that you can achieve your goals.

It is important that you believe that your goals are attainable and that you deserve to accomplish them. Therefore when setting your goals, check how deep in your heart you believe are certain that you will reach those goals. If you find any resistance, redefine your goals until you get to the point where you feel you are stretching yourself but have certainty that you can make them happen.  

3. Write your goals down.

Define SMART goals and write them down. Considering this your goals must be:

Specific: Make simple and specific as possible. Do not make your goals too complicated to remember or very broad. Be descriptive on what these goals will make you feel. 

Measurable: It is recommended that whenever possible you use numbers in your goals. This will help you keep track and be specific. At the same time ask yourself: What can I do to measure my goals?

Achievable: It is important that your goals stretch you, but at the same time that you believe are possible to attain.

Relevant:  Define goals that are truly important to you to achieve.

Timeline: It is important to set a specific deadline for each of your goals. This will be your best guess on when you will reach these. 

4. Identify your WHY behind your goals.

Make a list of all the reasons why you think you must achieve these goals. Think about how you feel, and all the benefits completing your goals will bring to your life. The more reasons you think of the more intense your desire to make them happen. Your why is your leverage to go back to work on your goals when facing challenges. 

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5. Determine what you need to achieve your goals.

It is important to start being concrete and think what you would need to reach your goals within your deadline. Consider the following:

  • Who can help to reach my goals? Make a list of all the people you know and think may be able to help you and how. Brainstorm ways in which you can add value to them. Work on building better relationships, as they are key to achieve success. 
  • What knowledge, skills or information do I need to get? Every new goal is a journey of development and progress, that requires growth in different areas of our life. 
  • What do I see as potential challenges that will prevent me to achieve my goals? How can I overcome these challenges?
  • Write down all possible actions, even if they seem silly, that you think can help you reach your goals. Be creative, and dare to think out of the box and to go out of your comfort zone. 

6. Make a plan and take action.

It is time to put all this information together and determine concrete action steps. You must break your goals down into smaller milestones that will help you take action. Prioritize these activities in order of relevance, timeline and sequence. Then you have a plan. Be consistent with your implementation and start with smaller steps. 

Time management is key for execution and productivity. You must learn how to make the most of your day and allocate your time to your top priorities. A simple way to manage your time is to plan in advance the top three things you must achieve in a day, a week, and month. Schedule those activities in your calendar and take massive action. 

7. Have FUN!

Remember that the most important thing about setting goals is not achieving it, but the journey you are taking to achieve them and the personal growth you experience through this process. Therefore, it is important to have goals as they will set the direction you want your life to go. However, avoid focusing only on the future and even worst thinking that only when you achieve your goals you will finally be happy. Enjoy every moment, every challenge and all the growth. Be more grateful and mindful of what you have right now and not on what you still don’t have. Have fun! 

5 Leadership lessons from Aikido

Last week I was in Sun Valley for a conference about finances and the future of the economy.  Every morning before the conference started there were Aikido lessons. Aikido is a Japanese martial art that means “the way of unifying life and energy”. It is based on 5 principles that are powerful lessons in leadership.

  1. The Victory over oneself: it is the basic principle of learning to control oneself before attempting to influence others. Without the ability to manage ourselves it is impossible to avoid an attack or apply any move or technique to others. In Leadership, awareness is the first step to know ourselves and manage our state and emotions. This is crucial in leadership! The more you know and control your self the more impact and influence you will have on others.
  2. Oneness: The idea behind this principle is that we must harmonize with the laws of nature. To do so, we must first learn to develop and maintain the right attitude of becoming one, keep harmony in every situation and specially in times of distress. The right attitude greatly affects the efficiency of the actions we take.  The same principle applies in leadership. The more we keep the “right attitude” and are able to manage our state the more resourceful we become and the more effective our actions will be.
  3. Circular Motion: The foundation of Aikido techniques is the spiritual circle. The idea is that regardless of the ways the opponent attacks, linear or angular,  you will respond with a circular motion centered at your lower abdomen, or your “hara”. This circular motion will help you to use your inner strength and blend it with the one of the attacker so that you can execute a controlling art with efficiency. In the same way leaders must learn to connect with their inner core and be more authentic. Authentic leaders create more rapport, build better relationships and lead more effectively.
  4. Range of Effectiveness:  Another major principle in Aikido is the ability to defend yourself by learning what is your range of effectiveness. In order words we need to understand how close or far we must position from the attacker without losing balance and effectiveness in our movements. This range of effectiveness is not constant but changes every moment. The same idea translates into leadership, change is the only constant. Effective leaders need to know themselves, be flexible and adapt to change.  They are visionaries, and do not react but rather anticipate change.
  5. Ki:  Ki is the essence of our world and therefore the basis of all matter, emotion, sense, direction, consciousness and conscience. At the same time it is also the source of energy and the binding force of our mind and body.  Great leadership requires work and alignment of our heart and our mind.

In essence the leadership lessons we can take from Aikido are: learn to manage yourself by improving your self-awareness, connect with your core and be authentic, understand what your talents are and hence you range of effectiveness and last but not least to align your mind and heart to increase impact and influence.

Leadership differences between Chile and USA

Q: What are similarities and differences between leadership in Chile and the US?

Americans and Chileans are both hard working and friendly people. Leaders in both countries tend to value effort, perseverance and problem-solving. However, in my perception, there are three main differences in leadership between these two countries.

Hierarchal structure: In my opinion Chile is a country where status and title plays a very important role. The higher the title the more important a person is regarded, and the more power this person has. Top leaders in the organization tend to be treated with lots of formalities and respect. Decisions are usually taken at the top. This is somewhat different in the US where a more flat, agile and participative culture tends to be embraced.

Communication Style: Americans leaders incline to be direct in their communication and focus on results more than the process. Chileans on the other hand, tend to be more circular and indirect. Details are more important as well as the circumstances. Furthermore, I was particularly amazed by the number of slang Chileans use in their communication compared to other countries in Latin America.

Time and Productivity: A popular American expression “Time is money” captures the essence. Americans regard time as a precious resource, focusing very much on productivity. Chileans, on the other hand, are hard working people, with one of the highest average working hours per week in the world. In spite of this, they take more time to complete projects, processes and decisions.

Q: A case/situation of when leadership across those two cultures goes right or wrong.

When I lived in Chile I worked for a Trade Consultancy Agency where I was in charge of supporting small and medium American and Canadian companies, to expand their operations to Chile. Frequently, I saw how the different pace of doing business challenged the Americans. Chilean companies took their time to analyze proposals; respond to e-mails and requested a lot more information before taking the next step. The language was also a huge barrier then. A few years ago, not many Chileans were fluent in English. This made the negotiations difficult, the decision making process more time to consume what often caused the cancellation of promising deals. However, this has changed over time as Chile has rapidly opened its boundaries to become one of the countries with the most trade agreements in the world. For that reason, Chilean leaders have adapted a lot their practices when dealing with an international audience.

Q: Some ideas about how aspiring Global Executives can polish any rough edges.

We tend to have perceptions about specific cultures, however, I believe these are challenged in this global and rapidly changing world where people are travelling, studying, working and living abroad. Cultures are mixing, evolving and changing rapidly. It is therefore extremely important for Global Executives to identify and understand their own cultural and personal values and be aware of their own biases. In my opinion, Global leaders need to be inclusive and embrace diversity in their teams. If managed properly this will bring new perspectives, innovation and enhance creativity. However, it requires dedicated and curious leaders, willing to adapt their styles to inspire people across cultures. Self-awareness, empathy, soft and leadership skills are key aspects to manage successfully in a global world. This remains an important challenge that leaders around the world are facing. Hence, I regard, cultural training, emotional intelligence and leadership developing programs a must in every organization and in my opinion should be included as part of the curriculum in schools and universities.

BIO:

Carolina Zorrilla is a Leadership Coach certified by the International Coach Federation and Cross-Cultural Trainer. She has a background in International business with over twelve years of experience in senior management roles leading cross-functional and diverse teams. She specializes in change management, leadership development and diversity and inclusion. Throughout her career, she has coached and supported managers to effectively communicate with diverse teams, assess cultural differences and build cultural intelligence. She has worked and lived in six different countries across Europe, North and South America. Carolina is the founder of Equore Coaching where she is dedicated to supporting leaders working internationally, expatriates, immigrants and/or organizations with a diverse workforce. She offers personalized coaching programs and intercultural training for individuals and organizations. For more information about her programs and approach visit http://www.equorecoaching.com

 

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