Adding Value Through Growth Mindset Coaching

SteveMartins - Adding Value Through Growth Mindset Coaching

Consider the Squirrel

If you’re a squirrel, crossing the street on foot could be suicide, and you don’t even know it. Jumping from limb to limb among the tree branches without falling – that’s easy.

Have you noticed yourself not doing your best work? Working makes you tired and anxious. You feel like your days are filled with near misses and its only a matter of time before you, like a stunned squirrel, are lying on the double yellow line, fighting for your last breath.

Before they draw that chalkline around your dead career, there may be a way to put some passion back in your work.

It will require some self-assessment and a firm decision to express your strengths through your work. If you haven’t discovered your strengths yet, go to and learn, once and for all, what you do well. The benefit is that most people love to do what makes them feel like an expert. Don’t you want to know where your expertise is?

For a free inventory of character strengths, try  

Yes, we all have weaknesses. Conventional wisdom suggests we have to focus on overcoming weaknesses. Not true. In reality, there is no rule that says you have to work from weakness. Besides, it doesn’t even make sense. 

Why spend energy doing something whose less than stellar results only make you look and feel incompetent?

If you constantly work on your weakness, when will you make time to shine your strength?

Work from your strengths. Manage your weaknesses. 

Do yourself, your boss and everyone who works with you a great favor and decide to spend at least eighty percent of your time only doing what you can do well. This does not mean you turn down assignments your boss gives you. It would be malpractice for me to suggest that. It does mean that you discuss with your boss the best way to work the assignment from your strengths in order to obtain the best possible outcome. 

Success breeds positive energy. 

And the good news is, you are already surrounded by people who have strengths that easily mitigate your weaknesses. Let them shine, so you can shine. Everyone will be happier.

What’s more, you, yourself have strengths that mitigate your weaknesses.

Once you know what you do well, there is another level of doing what you do well, well. That is the best place to focus your self-development effort. Think of the squirrel jumping from branch to branch and tree to tree. It is a squirrel strength, after all. 

Sadly, once in great while, the squirrel risks missing the landing target. Yet, it does not expend effort worrying about failure. There’s too much ground to cover! 

So, no matter what your strengths are, commit to excellence in performance. Choose your next branch carefully, even if you do it quickly.

One more thing. This is something a squirrel isn’t capable of doing. And it is actually a career-changer. 

Hire a strengths-aware coach until you consistently focus on working from your strengths. You want this to be your reliable, default, long term practice. Speak to your coach once per week, on the phone, Skype, or in person. 

If you think you can’t afford a coach, you may be thinking the wrong thought (you are). Your first investment should be in yourself. 

Many companies provide funds for professional development. Speak to your boss about using some of that money to fund your coaching for a while. 

Vibrational Offering

IMG_5815I’m not enamored with the term “vibrational offering” as it admittedly sounds a little kooky. Yet, the term refers to a phenomena that is decidedly not kooky.

You are a combination of feelings, thoughts and actions that create the things and events that can be observed as your life.

For example, what is your personal reaction to the picture of a fire? You could think positively and tell a story of success that you capture with the phrase, “I am on fire!” Alternatively, you could tell a story of overwhelming circumstances with a comment such as being “burned out.”

You choose.

Author Pam Grout shared the following on a recent podcast:

How we perceive something is how it shows up for us.

When you turn on the light in a dark room, you get to decide which of the hundreds of items in that room will get your attention. Likewise, as you survey your own reality you get to choose what you will attend to. That attention is a predictor of what is next.

How would you describe your current vibrational offering?




Thoughts Become Things

Thoughts become things.

What does one do with that information? You could do nothing with it. All of us grew up being taught a set of default thoughts that pretty much shape our lives. When you do nothing with the idea that thoughts become things, your life may not look appreciably different than that of your parents. Default thinking explains why children of privileged people become privileged as adults, and children of poor people tend to stay in that world, perhaps improving only slightly generation by generation.

Or you could take the information and test it. What if I isolate my personal thoughts and settle on the ones that are not part of the default set? Only when people break the default mold handed to them by their parents do they find themselves experiencing a different sort of life than their default thoughts were capable of producing.

IMG_7319So yes, an under-privilege person can be come privileged. A bricklayer’s daughter can earn a PhD and become a college Dean. An immigrant’s child can become President of the United States. A son of a millionaire can become the voice of justice who speaks out for the poor and lifts the aspirations of millions.

In each case the person who achieved the unexpected did so by breaking their default thought mold.

Thoughts become things. What can you do with this information? Here is an easily applicable strategy.

  1. Listen to your own thoughts.
  2. Give them credence (believe them).
  3. Talk them out with a confidant who also gives credence to your thoughts (a coach).
  4. Decide to bring your thought into existence.
  5. Act.

This is simplistic, yet not simple. Contact me here if you want to learn how a short coaching program can get you on the course you desire for your life.



Momentum predicts what’s next.

How many times have you watched a news story unfold on television and you say at the end, “I could have predicted that.” What you are really doing is noticing the momentum in the story. One thing leads to another and the final outcome seems to have been, in retrospect, completely foreseeable.

There are really very few surprises in this life. A surprise is what comes at the end of a season of being unaware of momentum in a particular direction. The surprise presents itself because we have “awakened” and become intentionally aware. 

When I was in my early twenties, I had a brief discussion about goals with my father, an accomplished structural engineer with a global reputation in engineering circles. His career at the time was taking him to many points on the globe. His services were in demand. Yet, he startled me with this revelation: He told me that he had never set a goal. He only prayed and then acted in concert with what he perceived to be God’s will. He lived a life oriented toward heaven, not temporal goals. 

Stephen Covey wrote metaphorically about putting one’s ladder up against a wall, and climbing it only to discover the ladder was against the wrong wall. Whether others plant their ladders on the same wall as yours is of no consequence for you. Your job is to pick the right wall for you, your talents and your values. For my dad, despite his successful career, his ladder was against a different wall than almost everyone else in his profession. 

Success gurus speak in unison and with no small amount of credibility, saying you need to set goals in life. They say that if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know if or when you get there. Sounds good to me. I should set some goals, I tell myself. But there’s that pesky conversation with my dad. He never set goals and yet, he left success clues all along his life’s path. There are so many that I’m still picking up some of them ten years after his transition from his earthly body.

My father claimed to have not set goals, but he did actually have one. His goal was to be united with God forever. It’s the direction he chose. That was the intention of his life. I prefer not to get into the semantics of whether this a is a goal or a mission or a purpose. No matter what you call it, there is one thing that makes them neighbors in the success lexicon. That one thing is MOMENTUM.

Momentum has three categories, which are illustrated in these clips: 




Just what is a goal, anyway? Here is how I have come to define the word “goal.” 

A goal is a personal intention to create momentum toward an improved state of being. 

Momentum is visible–tangible, in that it can be recorded, photographed or measured. Intention is not visible or clear to onlookers until the final step of momentum is accomplished. Even when intention can be inferred or intuited by a third party, it can only be confirmed by actual observable events.

Here is a little scenario to help color in the difference between intention and momentum.

I am in my garage. I am in the car. I am opening the garage door. I am backing the car out of the garage. I am steering my car in a general direction. I am parking the car in the shopping center lot. I am exiting the vehicle. I am walking toward the door of the store. I am entering the store. All of that is momentum. You can see it, even if my intention is not yet clear.

I am standing in the store holding a loaf of bread, a package of deli-sliced turkey, a package of swiss cheese and a two-liter bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper, the four items on my shopping list. That is a measure of how far momentum has taken me. 

But you are now seeing enough momentum that it is becoming more clear and a strong indicator of what is next.

I pay for the food. I carry the food back to my car in the parking lot. I enter the car. I start the ignition. I steer back to my home. I park the car in the garage. I exit the car with the bag of food. I close the garage. I enter my home. All of this is simply more momentum. With each new action, the momentum more clearly reveals what is coming next.

I am in the kitchen. I open the silverware drawer and take out a knife, I open the fridge and retrieve a jar of mayo and a jar of mustard. I open the freezer and grab a few cubes of ice. I put the ice in a glass. More observable momentum.

You can write the rest of the scenario, can’t you? How did you get to the point where you could say with some certainty what is next? It’s because you noticed the momentum toward my improved state of being, that is, no longer feeling hungry. Your brain kept assembling and reinterpreting the circumstances until there was really only one thing that could happen. A sandwich would be made and eaten and a glass of Diet Dr. Pepper would be consumed. In retrospect, there was really no other outcome.

But there could have been. Since the intention was to feel something other than hungry, the sandwich was only incidental. I could have created momentum on an entirely different path: Buying a slice of pizza or a taco or a hamburger, for example. Each would have meant different choices and thus different paths on which momentum could travel. That is to say, I could have made an entirely different set of choices and still fulfilled my intention or my goal.

Based on momentum, what is next for you?

4 Ways You Know You’ve Got This

Quick. Think of a famous person.

Whether you thought of Beyoncé, Derek Jeter or Barack Obama, or someone else you happen to admire, I can tell you this. They all have these four things in common.

  1. The right emotions
  2. Vivid ideation
  3. Specific visualization
  4. Other people want to be them

Let’s unpack that list.

The Right Emotions

Most people who focus on improvement see mostly the condition of their lives – that which they want to be different than it currently is. They want to make more money, have better relationships, drive a better car, have zero debt and a myriad of other outer conditions.

Check in with struggling people on the feelings they hold in their hearts and you most likely will not discover the emotions of confidence, anticipation, and hope. Gratitude is very hard to see, too.

Yet such positive emotions are absolutely necessary to finding any success. And not just occasionally. More like constantly.

Your daily work is to improve your emotional sensation, not your circumstances. Let those positive feelings gain sufficient momentum. Stop consuming negative anything. Stop telling others your troubles.

Instead, find something that makes you feel great and focus your thoughts on that. Does your lover make your heart sing? Think about that one. Do the grandchildren keep you laughing? Recall them constantly. Watch television shows that make you laugh and smile and feel joy.

Fall asleep happy. Wake up happy. And build more momentum in the direction you want to go by consciously maintaining a happy frame of mind.

Vivid Ideation

When we feed positive emotion, we simultaneously open a highway of ideas to our brains.

Usually, successful people have so many ideas, they have to keep a journal just to record them. They know they may not get to them all in this lifetime, yet they record them, knowing that some of them, even just one of them, will become the way they make their personal ding in the universe.

Very often these ideas lead to discovery of personal mission and enjoyment of significant influence and even wealth.

Specific Visualization

The idea factory is operating at full capacity. Now it is time to spend time seeing the fruition in your mind’s eye. Experts offer a couple of ways to do this. One is to write out in some detail the outcomes you are imagining.

Some people get stuck here, because their imagination is not so vivid. That’s okay. There is another way.

More important is describing your feelings as if you have already completed the idea. This is where you practice of positive emotion kicks in with a turbo-charge of belief. Remember, you cannot gin this up. It has to come from a place of authenticity.

If you find you have to chose where you let your thoughts go, give priority to finding the feeling of having completed the idea. The right feelings will eventually fuel your productive visualization.

Other People Want to Be Them

Recently, someone crossed my path who had just won the lottery. Most people will respond to him with envy and jealousy. That is a condition they choose. The lottery winner did not cause the negative emotions in the onlookers.

Others will look at him with admiration and awareness that his luck in the lottery was not necessarily accidental but rather the culmination of the process of aligning his life to make room for the money and use it responsibly. There was also a hit of intuition involved.

That second model is the one to emulate. A jealous person can not experience abundance. A grateful person always experiences abundance and is always creating room for more blessings.

You’ve Got This

The journey is never complete. It never has to be perfect. But when we get out there on the leading edge, there is so much we can have, be and do. Don’t leave your gifts in the bag. Someday, when someone else is asked to think of a famous  or influential person, your name will be on their lips!






Fire Up Your Vibrators, People!

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The universe’s language is vibration. Scientists and physicists have shown conclusively that everything, without exception, vibrates. They have noted that they can view objects that appear solid and stationary through a microcope and observe that there is recordable movement.

It is also an inviolable truth that like attracts like. Fire attracts fire, water attracts water, love attracts love, war attracts war –– to name a few examples.

At a personal level, what matters is the vibration upon which we fix our thoughts.

I went through a phase when every driver on the road who did one certain thing stimulated frustration in me over the rush they were in. Then someone pointed out to me that I was the one in a rush, which explained why I continually focused on the behavior of drivers who slowed me down by forcing me to react to their carelessness or slow-pokery. I was noticing that which was in harmony with what I didn’t want. So I got more of what I didn’t want.

In a positive example, the one thought that transformed the life and love experience of this lonely, divorced man was my fixation on one simple idea. “The love you are looking for is also looking for you.”

That singular, simple belief made it exceedingly easy to know when I met the one. I immediately felt that we were harmonized –– vibrating in sync. And in the last 18 months it has proven to be true, over and over again.

Recall the axiom that music is the universal language. That is a saying that no one questions. Because music is nothing if not vibration.

We choose music based on how we feel. We also use music to change our emotional state.

Any planning we do for getting something we want to come our way begins with vibration. Think of your life as a melody line. The harmonies and accompaniment must join the melody you are singing. Change the melody and new harmonious accompaniment will join it.

Someone said that our lives are loudspeakers, giving out a vibration. Every experience, location and thing outside of us are also loudspeakers that broacast vibration, or frequencies. If you look at your life right now, whatever and whoever is around you, you see the perfect alignment of vibration with the thoughts and conditions you fixate upon. It already exists.

While you are not in control of what comes to you, you are in control of what you fixate on. Fixation shows up in our thinking, our words, our actions and our feelings. Those four things are the component parts of the vibration you are putting out. At the same time, people, places and things are streaming toward you in alignment with your loudspeaker’s vibration. That which you fixate on will keep showing up.

This is not determinism, however. Because the final gateway through which everything must pass to enter your experience is permission –– permission that only you can grant. You get to decide what outside-of-you forces to align with. You grant permission for love or lack of it, prosperity or lack of it, patience or lack of it, employment or lack of it and so on.

Camillo Loken puts it more succinctly: “thoughts really are things… thinking a thought produces the energy and the substance needed for it to exist by itself. Even though most thoughts are short-lived those we put effort into, focus on, or think intensely about become the “climate” or atmosphere we live in.” (Make a Ripple – Make a Difference, 2014)

Imagine a cool autumn morning. The summer temperatures have subsided and the furnace is not yet turned on. You feel the chill inside your home. You want to feel warm. Your’re on the couch in your family room completing work on your computer. You knew this day would come. While you sit there feeling the chill, your thoughts are drawn to find a solution for your being cold. Then you realize, it is right there in front of you. The fireplace. The wood. The matches. All is harmony. Your thought leads to effort. Your effort leads to a nice, warming flame in your fireplace.

When we fix our thoughts on something, we create the climate in which resources appear and align as potential for us to produce what we are thinking about. Sometimes great change happens quickly, because we permit it. Other times change is personally challenging because we are resisting it –– not granting permission for installation of a new reality.

I picked this simple illustration to show you that it is not that hard to visualize change once you begin to notice the resouces lining up to give you what you want. When the temperature was eighty degrees a few days ago, you didn’t even notice the fireplace, the wood stacked in the corner from last winter and the matches on the mantle.

We see and notice only that which is useful to us, that which we perceive will help us feel better. Even then, the aligned resources that have appeared for our comfort need to be employed. To revisit my fireplace illustration, you must get off the couch and light the fire if you want that comforting warmth to enfold you.

In my past, when I have read about these ideas, I tended to be hard on myself with beliefs that I was responsible for creating certain crummy situations. But this is not about blaming yourself. Instead, make a choice to engage your thoughts and emotions to broadcast a vibrational climate that aligns with the quality of life you hope to have. You know it works. The proof is all around you. Grant yourself permission to do something different, to feel something new and wonderful. Let the attraction and alignment begin!

7 Mind Rules You Must Know

Every athletic arena has a book of ground rules.These rules arbitrate the quirky and unexpected and tell the officials how to interpret those events. Usually, the ground rules rules are the same from arena to arena. For fairness and consistency, many ground rules are universally applied. In baseball, for example, the yellow foul pole is always in fair territory.

Similarly, a Universal Law is something that is true everywhere and all the time. The Law of Gravitation as discovered by Isaac Newton is one such law. He expressed it in an equation that is beyond my ability to try to explain. What I know, however, is that the Law of Gravitation is observable, reliable and quantifiable.

There is already a decent body of work about the various Universal Laws at work in human experience–observable, reliable, quantifiable laws that help us understand reasons that underlie success and failure. Napoleon Hill, for example, tried to explain those principles in his definitive text from the early twentieth century, Think and Grow Rich. Most people think the book is about becoming filthy rich. Its really about mastering your thought life.

In Maximum Achievement, Brian Tracey distills seven Universal Laws that govern the outcome of your thought. Some version of these will be found in nearly every analysis of human failure or achievement.

These Universal Laws of Mental Mastery are not magic. Since they are true everywhere and all the time, they provide a reliable framework to evaluate and understand the twists and turns of what some call fate, or providence.

Keep in mind that these Laws, or mental ground-rules, are inter-related. Even though this is a list, the Laws are not related in a linear way. There is ongoing interplay between these mental ground rules. They are component parts of a much larger system.

1. Law of control: 
You feel positive about yourself to the degree you are in control of your own life.

To be in control means you are acting rather than re-acting. You are being purposeful and goal oriented. You have made promises to yourself and you are determined to keep them. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology notes that this autonomy–the feeling that your actions and habits are self-chosen and self-endorsed–is the single biggest contributor to personal wellbeing.

2. Law of cause and effect:
For every effect in your life there is a specific cause.

The thrown pebble lands on the water’s surface and the ripples begin. The light goes on when you flip the switch. The bacon sizzles if you put it in a hot pan. Whatever has happened, something preceded it. You have significant control over cause through the law of control over your actions. While you can forecast or predict effect, you cannot control it.

After the fact, the relationship between cause and effect seems so obvious, you might wonder how you ever could have thought there would be a different outcome.

3. Law of belief:
Whatever you believe, with feeling, becomes your reality.

A belief is simply a thought that you think a lot. Repetitious thought that is laden with strong feelings is more influential than other external factors. Pay attention to the feelings that ride along with your thoughts, for those feelings represent the thermostat that creates your external environment.

This Law can be a little tricky. Actively disbelieving something is a sign that you actually do believe it, or, at least, that you fear it. Otherwise, why would you bother giving it any mental energy? Fear is a strong emotion.

Carl Jung noticed, “What you resist, persists.” If your desire and belief are not aligning with your reality, you may need to sort feelings and exert control over the direction of your mental energy. Create an emotional sifter and let the useless thoughts and feelings fall away from you.

When you let your thoughts be directed by present circumstances you are believing that change is not possible, and so you start to repeat the thought processes and behaviors that got you there in the first place.

4. Law of expectation:
Whatever you expect with confidence becomes your own self-fulfilling prophesy.

Laura Day, in How to Rule the World from Your Couch, offers a helpful exercise. At this moment, she suggests, be the self you will be in twelve hours. Anxiety, says Day, is always future oriented. So take the future out of the equation. Be, at this moment, the person you will be in twelve hours after all of your day’s best choices have been made. Now, you know what to expect. It becomes your reality.

5. Law of attraction:
You attract into your life people and situations in harmony 
with your dominant thoughts and feelings.

So I am clear, I want to say what the Law of Attraction is not. This is not magic. It’s not a secret power to be harnessed, nor a technique for placing your order with the universe.

This Law exists in tension with the Law of Cause and Effect. Sometimes things happen that defy causal explanation.

Carl Jung, one of the most credible psychologists of the twentieth century developed the idea of “synchronicity” to explain that certain events, apart from an identifiable cause, connect in meaningful harmony with each other.

Notice the synchronicities, and be grateful.

6. Law of correspondence:
Your outer world is a reflection of your inner world.

Sitting in my office, I look around. There is nothing here that was not first here in my thoughts. My desk. My phone. My computer. My lamp. All of these were in my inner freelancer brain before they became visible in my outer world as tools of my trade.

I have had the most trouble with this Law. There is a temptation to use it as a club of judgment toward yourself or others. If the Law is true, then my, or their, inner world must be seriously messed up, you might think. This sort of thinking only perpetuates the inner mess! Instead, start defining what new things you need to be part of your life and begin taking action in that direction.

Ghandi gives voice to this law with the oft quoted insight, “be the change you want to see.”

7. Law of mental equivalency:
Thoughts objectify themselves. Thoughts become things.

Jack Nicklaus, the twentieth century golf great said, “I never hit a shot, even in practice, without having a very sharp, in focus picture of it in my head. It’s like a color movie. First I ‘see’ the ball where I want to finish, nice and white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then the scene quickly changes and I ‘see’ the ball going there: it’s path, trajectory, and shape, even it’s behavior on landing. Then there’s a sort of of fade-out, and the next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous image into reality.”

By reading this you are becoming aware of these unchangeable and reliable laws. Now it is time to look for the ways they are at work in your own life.

Badassery Begins Here

Stay open or else you are screwed. –Jen Sincero

Jen Sincero wrote a book called You Are a Badass. I mean, really, how could I not pick that one up off the shelf? The message of this book? Get up off your ass and be awesome. Contains 254 pages of actionable steps to awesomeness.

Are you open to new thought habits and better outcomes than you ever could have thought or imagined? If not, save your money. If so, read it and get ready for your new awesomeness to bleed out into your daily life.