How Mindset Helps You Do More with Less

Picture this: You’re working at full tilt, nose to the grindstone, and you hear some version of the message, “you need to do more with less.”

You think to yourself, I’m already maxed out! I don’t have time for this!

There are plenty of formulas for managing time and knocking out to-do lists. In the old style of management, leaders shifted into command-and-control to do more with less—cracking the whip, tightening the controls, and driving employees harder.

This doesn’t work. Not sustainably.

To deliver impact in the midst of dwindling bandwidth and resources, start with mindset.

Why? Because our state of mind or perspective at any given moment can drive our definition of what is possible.

For example, from a perspective or state of:

  • Fear: With fear as the primary state, “Do more with less” signals threat. For example, if you don’t force yourself to work longer and harder, you might be out of a job. With fear, our impact is limited to putting out fires and problem solving the issue in front of us—we lose sight of the bigger picture.

  • Anger: From a state of anger, “Do more with less” may signal a frustration over corporate greed or frustration that others have it easier or aren’t helping as much as they should. Anger diminishes our ability to connect with others, which then limits our collective intelligence.

  • Courage: From a state of courage, “Do more with less” signals an opportunity to rise to the occasion.

  • Reason: From a state of reason, “Do more with less” becomes a quest to figure out the perfect formula for balance and productivity.

  • Connection: From a state of connection, “Do more with less” is an invitation to reach out to others and co-create.

I can find myself in any one of the above states/perspectives, but my goal is to lean into the latter state—connection. From this mindset, I can:

  • Be compassionate and honest with myself
  • Connect with others and appreciate their brilliance, and
  • Collaborate to create new ideas/systems/things

Doing more with less and delivering meaningful impacts starts with ME, in my most enlightened state (unhindered by lower states of fear and worry), connected with YOU, to create US.

Like an ant bridge, where ants link to one another to form a bridge that crosses a chasm, when we are connected and collaborating, we can get from here to there, with a sense of ease and wonder and delight.


Curious about coaching leaders to increase their engagement and impact in the midst of dwindling resources, limited time, and shrinking work-forces? Join our Certified Leadership Engagement & Impact Coach program (the next-gen of our capacity coach program)!

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Making the Unfamiliar, Familiar

Welcome to a brand new decade! We’re guessing that goals are likely top of mind!

Have you ever thought about your goals as a form of change?

Change is constant, as we all know. And yet it feels easier to embrace change when we’ve chosen it.

You’ve chosen your goals. You want them. You’re inviting change. Which means you’re entering into the land of the new and unfamiliar.

To make change happen, follow Marisa Peer’s advice: “you’ve got to make the familiar unfamiliar, and the unfamiliar familiar.”

Familiar to Unfamiliar

Neuroscientists say that 90-95% of our behavior is unconscious. We don’t think about it. It’s familiar, rote, habit. Maybe procrastination, people-pleasing, and playing small is familiar…unconsciously so.

Here are some examples of taking the “Familiar to Unfamiliar.”

·      If procrastinating is familiar, that behavior needs to become unfamiliar.

·      If people-pleasing is familiar, that needs to become unfamiliar.

·      If playing small is familiar, that needs to become unfamiliar.

You get the idea.

What’s Your Familiar to Unfamiliar?

Here are some simple steps to help bring those unconscious patterns to the forefront. The Behavioral Buckets of Thinking, Emotions, Actions, Triggers, Relationships can bring a level of mindfulness, so that you can begin to rewire important neuropathways for change.

Behavioral Bucket Familiar to Unfamiliar Examples Your Answers
Thinking Limiting beliefs, narrow-focused thinking, scarcity thinking, defensiveness “I think I need a PhD to be taken seriously.”  
Emotions Negative emotions that drag me down Guilt over not being more diligent; fear of failure  
Actions Non-strategic, favorite procrastination actions Checking email, getting lost in social media, alphabetizing my kitchen spice racks  
Triggers/Patterns Derailers … Temptations, over-indulgence (e.g., email or social media) Social media, comparing myself to others  
Relationships Energy vampires, draining relationships, safe yet small relationships My family member who always criticizes me; my neighbor who doesn’t know when to stop talking; my coworker who seems a bit jealous of, or uncomfortable about, my goals  

Fill in your own answers in the empty column above. Ask a bone-marrow friend to offer insights, as well. Once you’ve got some answers written out, face into them gently, and compassionately reflect on them.

Self-Compassion Tip: Every behavior is motivated by a desire to be safe, to feel accepted and valued. If you’re behaving in ways that don’t feel good, chances are you’ve done so to feel safe by not risking rejection … how human of you!

Unfamiliar to Familiar

More important, what’s the “Unfamiliar to Familiar” that would accelerate your goal attainment this year?

·      If you’re unfamiliar with staying focused, that’s what can become familiar.

·      If you’re unfamiliar with accountability, that’s what can become familiar.

·      If you’re unfamiliar with abundance thinking, that’s what can become familiar.

What’s Your Unfamiliar to Familiar?

Next, flesh out your Unfamiliar to Familiar buckets:

Behavioral Bucket Unfamiliar to Familiar Your Answers
Thinking Life-giving beliefs, open-focused thinking, abundance thinking  
Emotions Positive emotions that lift me up  
Actions Strategic, small-step, resilient actions  
Triggers/Patterns “Failure” is simply learning feedback …  
Relationships Bone-marrow buddies, inspiring thinkers, compassionate friends, self-compassion with myself  

Have fun creating all those new neuro-pathways this week, this month, this year, this decade, for this lifetime!


Speaking of change! The International Coach Federation has unveiled it’s new competency model. Coaches are going from 11 to 8 core competencies. We’re rolling them out in 2020. Come and join us and stay fresh with your coaching skills!

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Uncertainty, and the Certainty of Strengths

Uncertainty. We all face it—both the people you coach and you, personally.

We catch a glimpse of a dream. We set a goal. We lay out strategies and action steps.

And yet somewhere along the way, concerns arise, such as:

* How will I ever get there?
* How do I get around this roadblock?
* Will I have enough (money, help, cooperation, resources, ideas, customers)?

Uncertainty Is Certain

Uncertainty can send us into a tailspin…straight into the Red Zone of fight-flight-freeze-appease. That’s when all the doubts and second-guessing slip in, stalling us or throwing us off course.

Enter Strengths

Strengths are ever-present for us. Built into our DNA. Threaded in our neural networks. Strengths are rock-solid, supportive, strategic, and self-sustaining.

Strengths never leave us. Strengths never fail us. Never. You cannot escape your strengths.

Apply Strengths Now

Consider any challenge in front of you right now. Absent the frame of strengths, challenges can look intimidating and overwhelming.

However, when framed by strengths, challenges are more easily faced … they look like an invitation to rise to the occasion.

Speak out your biggest challenge. Perhaps it involves meeting a revenue goal. Then, pull out each of your top strengths, one at a time, and lean into the strength that makes the most sense for your goal.

Or, take your top five strengths and describe how each one might support you. For example:

* Learner: I will study how successful businesses have packaged and priced their services.
* Includer: I will reach out to a few key colleagues for their ideas, collaboration, and accountability.
* Activator: I will get going now—I’ll pick up the phone and reach out to these three people by the end of the day.
* Input: I will review some of the business development training materials I’ve collected over the years.
* Adaptability: I keep my antenna up around new opportunities that are emerging, adjust my strategies, and follow-through accordingly.

Strengths Are Appreciative, Not Depreciative

Strengths cause the brain to focus on what it HAS, not on what it doesn’t have. Strengths cause us to operate within the Blue Zone—calm, confident, connected, creative.

Strengths are the common-factor certainty in the midst of any uncertainty. Enjoy being strengths-strong today!


Learn more about coaching from a strengths orientation here

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Easier Done Than Said?

We all know the saying, “Easier said than done.”

  • It’s easy to say, for example, I want to lose weight.
  • It’s easy to say, I’d like more income.
  • It’s easy to say, I’d like to be more productive.
  • It’s easy to say, I want my team to reach their targets.

The less-easy part is the DO that leads to the DONE.

And more specifically, doing things differently.

Why do we not do things differently when we know we need to!?

Probably because we’re creatures of habit. Neuroscientists tell us that 90-95% of our thoughts and behaviors are habitual—habit is comfortable and requires little mental and physical energy.

Habit means we have a ton of muscle memory in our body that is running the show.

So if the body is running the show, we need to enlist the body’s support to help the brain get what it wants. That’s the key to making it “Easier Done Than Said.”

One of the best ways to get the body on board is to pay attention to your emotions.

This is where ICF Competency #9 Designing Actions comes into play.

Emotions are Memorized, Habituated, Familiar, Comfortable

Most humans have gotten really good at memorizing emotions such as worry, anxiousness, and fear. But what could our lives look like if instead our predominantly memorized emotions were gratitude, peace, hope, or fascination!

In a Red Zone of worry, our brain doesn’t get the oxygen needed to think collaboratively, creatively, and strategically.

Jill Bolte Taylor in her book My Stroke of Insight shares that emotions have just a 90-second lifecycle. If they persist beyond 90 seconds, it’s because we are re-inviting the emotion by ruminating on it. Do something often enough, and it will become memorized.

Design a New Action

Instead, mindfully ride the wave of any uncomfortable emotion for those 90 seconds. Breathe deeply, rhythmically, and evenly, as you think to yourself, “interesting… there’s a sense of worry I’m noticing in my gut, and I know that biologically it’s got just a 90-second life cycle.”

Once the 90-second cycle has completed, then consciously choose a new emotion you’d like to focus on: peace, gratitude, hope, or fascination.

This choice changes the physiology of your body to a Blue Zone state, and with the changed physiology, you give better fuel to your brain.

I love what Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, says about this:

“the brain is 31% more productive at positive
than negative, neutral or stressed.”

Here’s to your 31% more productive!

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