5 “NEEDS” That Stifle Our Personal & Professional Growth…John Page Burton

We all have needs. We need air, water and food to survive. Most of us have a need to feel safe, secure, loved and cared for.  I believe we can all agree that these are healthy needs. Unfortunately, not all of our needs are healthy. Many are destructive and can significantly stifle our personal and professional growth? Let’s take a closer look at 5 unhealthy needs and what we can do to create a shift.

1. The Need To Be Right. This need causes people to become argumentative, confrontational, condescending and vindictive. This need is Ego driven. The need to be right can be very polarizing in our personal and professional relationships. A person needing to be right struggles to consider any point of view that differs from than their own. Growth occurs when we become open and accepting of NEW and DIFFERENT beliefs, opinions and perspectives. It’s not as important to be right as it is to be respectful in our communication with others.

2. The Need For Constant Approval. This person expects to be acknowledged for everything they do. This juvenile, insecurity driven need is emotionally draining to spouses, friends, family members and co-workers. If you don’t acknowledge and shower them with praise they often become angry and resentful. Growth occurs when we learn to be humble. Our ACTIONS will always speak much louder than our words. We must learn to accept unsolicited praise, say thank you and move on. Nobody likes being around a person who “gloats” or demands acknowledgement.

3. The Need To Be Noticed. A person driven by this need is heavily influenced by appearances and is always in search of a new audience. They tend to base their self worth on material possessions and will go to great lengths to “flaunt their stuff”.  Characteristically, they are loud, boisterous communicators. They will do anything to grab the spotlight and they love to be seen as the “star of the show”. When they feel ignored, many will throw “adult temper tantrums” in a last ditch effort to satisfy their craving for attention. Growth occurs when we realize that substance is much sexier than stuff. People who crave notoriety tend to be seen as “show offs and braggarts”. People who exhibit humility and gratitude are generally seen as intelligent, trustworthy, responsible people.

4. The Need For Control. This need is fueled by insecurity and fear. Control is an avoidance strategy. At a subconscious level, the controller is simply avoiding their own self doubt and fear by focusing their energy on “fixing” and “manipulating” the people around them. Controllers are disappointed, frustrated and angry most of the time because rarely if ever do the people around them live up to their rigid expectations. “Control freaks” have a deep seated fear of being out of control and will do everything they can to control their environment. Growth occurs when we release our death grip on control, face our fears, embrace and accept failure, learn to delegate, appreciate that most people don’t desire to be “fixed” and commence on a dedicated journey toward self acceptance.

5. The Need To Be Needed. In my book Wisdom Through Failure, I refer to this need as “Helpful Harry Syndrome”. Helpful Harry routinely prioritizes the needs of others before his own. At first glance this seems to be a noble trait but in reality it is an avoidance strategy. Eventually, Helpful Harry becomes an angry giver as he comes to realize that many of his needs are not being met. The need to be needed does not encourage self sufficiency. In other words, “Helpful Harry’s” are teaching their children, spouses and employees to rely on others first. Growth occurs when we establish the habit of meeting our own needs before we focus on meeting the needs of others. With that being said, it is important to prioritize the needs of small children, those with disabilities and of course the elderly. We must encourage our adult children, spouses and employees to become problem solvers and doers. Admittedly, many may consider this a “self centered” approach, however, in the long term it will pay big dividends.

The beauty of personal growth is that ALL of us are a work in progress. It is VERY safe to say that none of us will ever achieve total mastery. We are human! Our goal is to recognize a familiar program when it begins to run and make an immediate shift toward our truth. With each shift we lay the foundation for our NEW REALITY.  As a wise man once said…SHIFT HAPPENS!

As Always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.
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Are You A CAREfrontational Leader?..John Page Burton

The vast majority of us will serve in some type of leadership capacity. Many of us will lead companies or sales organizations, others will lead classrooms, community organizations, political groups or non profits. The most important leadership role we may ever experience is the role of parent and family leader. We must also focus on becoming a consistent leader of self. During a recent conversation with my friend Ross, he referred to me as a “CAREfrontational” business coach. I asked him what he meant and he replied “you are very direct in your communication, yet your compassion and understanding clearly shine through”. I liked his term CAREfrontational and promised Ross that I would incorporate it into my next article on leadership. Let’s take a closer look at two different leadership models…

CAREfrontational vs Confrontational Leadership.

Far too many leaders in their quest for significance, employ a confrontational, authoritarian style of leadership. Most confrontational leaders believe their approach produces results and garners respect. In reality, this approach is extremely polarizing within an organization and over time it tends to contribute to higher turnover rates and a decrease in productivity due largely to the volatile nature of the work environment. Some of the words commonly used to describe confrontational leadership include; argumentative, combative, contrary, volatile, quarrelsome, contentious, scrappy, authoritarian, unfair and dictatorial. Some of the feelings this type of leadership creates within the rank and file of an organization include; mistrust, fear, doubt, drama, self protection, concern, trepidation, anxiety and security. Confrontational leaders create a culture of ME vs you and “I am always right”!

The “CAREfrontational” leadership approach is focused on the organization as a whole. The CAREfrontational leadership model seeks to identify the strengths and weaknesses of each team member, understand their primary communication style and focuses on exploiting the strength and leveraging the weakness of each member of the team. This leadership style encourages delegation and prioritizes time management. The communication style of a CAREfrontational leader is explicit yet respectful and is designed to instruct not degrade. Words used to describe this leadership style include; team, health, welfare, maintenance, concern, interest, importance, provision, responsibility, collaboration, growth and trust. Some of the feelings this leadership style creates within the organization include; pride, integrity, belief, autonomy, freedom, creativity, expression, fulfillment and personal responsibility. Doesn’t this seem like a more inspiring and empowering WORK environment?

QUESTIONS…

Which type of leadership model do you believe fosters a true sense of team? Which business environment might have a lower turnover rate? Which model encourages vision and collaboration? Which business environment is more authentic to the human spirit? Which environment would you prefer to work in?

The myth surrounding the CAREfrontaional leadership approach is that it is to “liberal” and doesn’t create a big enough gap between “leadership” and the “employee”. I disagree. The confrontational leadership approach has proven to be highly effective in the United States military where breaking our soldiers down and building them back up is essential for survival and success on the battlefield, however, the confrontational leadership approach is very INEFFECTIVE in today’s competitive business environment where INNOVATION tends to trump intimidation. Unhappy, stifled employees, simply transfer their talent to an environment that is more conducive to their personal and professional growth. The CAREfrontational leader understands that TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK and they strive to create synergy as they grow and protect the financial interests or their organization.

THE BOTTOM LINE…

Over the past 20 years I have had the privilege to spend time around an array of very dynamic, highly effective, CEO’s and business leaders. One of the common traits inherent to each one of them is their ability to create a compelling vision and sell that vision to their entire organization. I refer to this as the “buy in”. The “buy in” is essential for creating massive results in any organization. Rather than take an authoritarian approach, CAREfrontational leaders take a much different approach. They seek out and hire “play makers” and are then willing to get out of their way and let them make plays. In the sports world, this philosophy has proven to be a successful formula for winning CHAMPIONSHIPS. Another significant trait found in CAREfrontational leaders is their ability to build, nurture and maintain influential networks. THE TAKEAWAY…A truly effective CEO or business leader is rarely the person who has the most impressive credentials but rather the person who carries the most influence. Our personal and professional circle of influence say’s more about who we have become professionally than our resume does. In the spirit of polarization, confrontational leaders tend to infuse their insatiable need for significance into the organizations and networks they belong to. On the other hand, CAREfrontational leaders understand the value of relationships and make building and nurturing them a top priority.

In my role as an executive coach, my clients hire me for one reason, they desire to become more effective leaders. I am not concerned about being popular, I care about my clients achieving the results they seek. Can I be direct? Yes. Do I care? Absolutely. Can I be extremely CAREfrontational, you bet! Do the majority of my clients respect me? I believe my authenticity shines through more often than not. I encourage each of you to take a closer look at your current leadership style and ask yourself if it is helping or hindering your organizational growth? Admittedly, this is a tough question to ask as our Ego has a significant investment in our current reality but it is a question that we must pose if we desire to be the amazing leader we are capable of becoming.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.a41

6 Steps For Conquering Our Negative Self Talk (VOICES)…John Page Burton

Why do some people thrive and live seemingly happy, fulfilling lives while countless others seem to struggle to get by? In my work as a peak performance strategist and mentor, I routinely find that it almost always comes down to the “voices in our head”. Some of the voices we listen to are empowering, others, not so much. Our capacity to manage negative mental chatter plays a key role in determining the overall quality of our lives. The voices we choose to listen to dictate whether we experience joy and success or frustration and pain. Many of us engage in negative self talk to such a degree that our primary emotions have become anger, guilt and shame. These voices encourage us to stay within our comfort zone and make our decisions based on whether something brings us pain or pleasure. Others listen to positive, empowering voices which encourage us to take risks and go after our dreams. I believe that the “voices in our head” do in fact dictate our level of success as well as our sense of personal fulfillment. The question becomes… how can we stop our negative chatter when it comes up? For the next 30 days I encourage you to make a commitment to pay close attention to your self talk and to follow these 6 steps to help break the old pattern and create a new one.

Conquering Our NEGATIVE Self Talk…

Validation. The first step toward conquering the “negative voices” is to question if what we are saying to ourselves is even true? For example, “I never get anything right” usually has nothing to do with our current reality. We are still listening and reacting to the condescending voice of a parent or teacher who repeatedly admonished us during our formative years. The truth is that we get a lot of things “right” and like everyone else we will make mistakes. Our goal is to monitor our language and speak a NEW truth over the lie each and every time it comes up.

Ownership. We must be willing to take ownership of our negative self talk. In other words, we must acknowledge that we are speaking negatively about our self to our self. Far too many of us attempt to justify our negative self talk which adds more fuel to the lie. The long term danger of negative self talk is that when we repeat a lie long enough we begin to believe it. Most of us wouldn’t take ownership for a crime we didn’t commit yet many of us consistently and consciously take ownership of a worn out childhood story. Our goal is to quit justifying and defending our NEGATIVE self talk. BULLSHIT is BULLSHIT no matter how you package it!

Imagination. Imagine what your life would look like if you removed negative self talk from your vocabulary? Imagine your intimate relationship, friendships and career rising to a whole new level? We must establish and hold a vision of how our new habit of positive self talk will enhance the quality of our life experience. Affirmations beginning with “I AM” can be an effective way of re-programming our self talk. “I AM more than capable of meeting life’s challenges”, “I AM intelligent and gifted” or “I AM willing to learn new things” are all examples of empowered statements that can “overwhelm” our negative self talk. Every time a negative voice creeps in we must counter it with a positive “I AM” statement. Practice will produce results.

Choice. We CHOOSE our thoughts and our self talk is a bi product of what we are CHOOSING to think about. If I believe that the world is an unsafe place, it stands to reason that my self talk will reflect fear, scarcity and lack. If on the other hand, I believe that I live in a world of unlimited opportunity and abundance, my self talk will be uplifting, hopeful and positive. When we change our thoughts our language changes.

Expression. We must create a new HABIT of speaking positively over everything and everyone. Speaking words of gratitude and repeating positive affirmations are proactive ways to solidify our new habit of positive self talk. When we notice that we are starting to head down our familiar path of self condemnation, we can counter the voices by expressing our new truth. This is what is meant by having a conscious awareness.

Simplify. Keep this process simple. It doesn’t have to be complex. Remember… Our NEW thoughts become our NEW words, our NEW words become our NEW actions, our NEW actions become our NEW habits, our NEW habits become our NEW way of being.

We get to CHOOSE what we focus on. From this day forward we are the master programmer. What we CHOOSE to tell ourselves is now totally up to us. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

The MVP Formula For Becoming A Legacy Builder…John Page Burton

What does it take to build and leave a true legacy in life and business? Is there a formula for success? If so, is it reserved for a privileged few? Why do some people rise to the occasion, achieve massive success and enjoy relative happiness, while others possessing far more natural ability end up achieving nothing of real value and spend the majority of their lives angry and frustrated?

Over the past 20 years, I have had the privilege to spend time with LEGACY BUILDERS and I have also had the opportunity to spend time around far too many chronic underachievers. What’s the difference? It’s actually quite simple… LEGACY BUILDERS embrace what I refer to as the MVP formula.

Becoming a legacy builder…

Mission. First, we must find our calling, one that propels us out into the world. Next, we must be willing to share our message with everyone who will listen. Our mission is our “special assignment”. Our level of conviction will determine the success of our mission. Our calling must be compelling enough to overcome the many obstacles we will encounter on our journey to success. What is your mission? What would you be willing to sacrifice everything for? Recognizing our true calling and making the DECISION to take ACTION is the first step toward building our legacy.

Vision. The challenge with FUTURE vision is that it requires us to visualize something that we can only see through our imagination. This can be very hard for a person who resides in a “show me first” world. Vision is “blind faith”. Do you currently hold a grand vision for where you would like to go and who you would like to become? “Without a vision, the people will perish” is a biblical truism that is a time tested, proven, game changer. What does your ideal legacy look like? Hold this vision and keep moving forward!

Passion. Passion is a powerful, compelling emotion. Passion is ambition materialized into action. Passion is heart centered. Passion fuels our mission and will keep us focused on our vision. Passion is the glue that keeps us on point as we build out our legacy. What are you passionate about? Will your current level of passion carry you across the finish line? Without passion most of us will quit easily and often. Our level of success is the bi-product of our passion. Passion is contagious! Passion inspires!

PERSONAL GROWTH….

The MVP formula alone will not carry us across the finish line. We must be committed to developing and maintaining the skills necessary for us to reach our goals and build our legacy. Our commitment to sharpening and enhancing our skill set will have a huge impact on our success. When we prioritize continuing education and personal growth we are taking significant ACTION strides toward the creation of our legacy.

Build on my friends!

As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Thank God For Dirty Dishes…John Page Burton

I recently attended a dinner party. The evening featured a plethora of great conversation, an abundance of laughter and it seemed that everyone genuinely enjoyed being in each others company. As the evening wound down, our host sighed and said, “I guess it’s time to tackle all of those dirty dishes” at which I remarked “thank God for dirty dishes”. We pitched in, cleaned up the kitchen, said our goodbyes and headed out into the night. On the drive home my wife and I began talking about the significance of “dirty dishes” and just how grateful we are for all of the “dirty dishes” we continue to have the privilege to wash.

What it means to have “dirty dishes” in my sink.

*I enjoyed a meal.
*I have the financial resources to purchase food.
*I am not starving.
*I have a roof over my head.

Many of the things that I take for granted are considered a luxury in 97% of the world. Most of what I complain about would be met with a blank stare by a person who lives in Haiti. The “left over” food that many of us routinely throw away would save lives in 3rd world countries. Being mindful of just how good I have it tends to keep me grounded whenever I find myself going into “complainer mode”.

With this being said, I must leave you as my wife has just informed me that it is my turn to do the dishes.

With much gratitude…..

Take ACTION Even If It’s Wrong…John Page Burton

We live in a society where most of us seem to be hung up on the concept of “right or wrong”. Please don’t get me “wrong”, I’m not talking about breaking laws and causing harm to others as that is just plain “wrong”. I’m talking about the “right and wrong” that is keeping many of us from playing a much bigger game of life. The majority of my clients initially hire me because they feel that they need “some direction” in their lives. Nine times out of ten, it is not direction that is holding them back but rather their fear of doing something “wrong”. Their fear is keeping them from taking the ACTION necessary to passionately go after their dreams and ambitions. For example, I have a client who invests a tremendous amount of money on personal development and business related courses. He knows the “lingo” of the business world, the “buzz words” of personal growth and has read “Think and Grow Rich” 25 times. The problem isn’t his educational commitment, it’s his unwillingness to take ACTION. A failure to take ACTION can almost always be attributed to an overwhelming fear of being or doing something “WRONG”. Remember, knowledge is a good thing, APPLIED KNOWLEDGE is a great thing! Everyday I TEACH and PREACH this simple philosophy….”TAKE ACTION EVEN IF IT ENDS UP BEING WRONG”. Taking ACTION is a decisive first step toward a compelling future. In other words DO SOMETHING, ANYTHING!!!

3 Strategies For Taking Action. It is important to note that we learn some of our greatest lessons from failure and in order to fail we must first be willing to take decisive ACTION!

1. Get clear on what it is you DON’T WANT. Until we have identified what we are no longer willing to settle for, it is impossible to harness the emotional energy necessary to propel us into the future. When we remain stuck in dead end jobs, meaningless relationships or unhealthy bodies (I’m not talking about a serious illness) we are telling ourselves that we are “not worthy” of happiness and success. The day we wake up and find ourselves truly PISSED OFF by what we have “attracted” into our lives is the day many of us will begin taking the ACTION necessary to move us toward our destiny. If we don’t like what we have “attracted” thus far, now may be a great time to make a significant course correction and start sailing in a different direction.

2. DREAM BIGGER. Big dreams are exciting and can serve as great motivators. For example, twice a week, Diana and I drive through a specific neighborhood where we desire to buy a home. We are extremely grateful for our current Tucson home as well as our summer home in the White Mountains, however our dream is to own a home that overlooks the city of Tucson, affords us spectacular sunset views and backs up to a mountain preserve that we enjoy recreating in. The specific home we desire to purchase is not currently for sale, however we know that one day it will be. Whenever we find ourselves questioning WHY we put in the long hours and deal with the frustrations that come with being entrepreneurs, we simply drive to the top of “our mountain”, spread our blanket, pour a glass of wine, watch the sun set over the city below and we quickly regain our clarity of purpose. Our glass of wine is an ACTION step!

3. Facing our fear of FAILURE! Everyone experiences insecurities and fear. How we manage insecurity and fear is the key to living an abundant life. It is easy to tell someone that they must face and conquer their fear but is also much easier said than done. Most of our fear programs are deeply rooted in our subconscious. My belief (and this is not a shameless self promotion) is that the most effective way to overcome a fear is to hire a coach. A good coach will help you pinpoint the true origin of your fear and then help you design a strategy to breakthrough that fear. An effective client-coach relationship is based on trust. Most of us will FIGHT HARD to avoid confronting our fear. A good coach can help you FIGHT EQUALLY HARD to conquer it. Nothing of significance can happen without ACTION. A good coach will hold you accountable to that ACTION.

RIGHT and WRONG have one thing in common, 5 letters. Whenever we make the commitment to take action it is with the understanding that we may end up being “wrong”. A “wrong” ACTION simply means that we learn what we can from the lesson, re-group and take a new, more informed ACTION toward our goal or objective. Worrying about being “wrong” (failing) will keep us from living the rich, rewarding life we deserve.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

7 Disempowering Traits To Move Away From…John Page Burton

We live in a diverse world made up of many different personality types. Therein lies the beauty and bane of existence. As a student and teacher of personal development, I am fascinated by the great adventure we call life and by how each of us chooses to participate in this adventure. In the past, I have written articles highlighting some of the traits found in leaders and others I believe we would be well served to move toward. Today, I desire to take a slight departure and examine 7 disempowering ADULT personality traits that I believe each of us should move away from. (nor would it be a good idea to include these types of folks in our circle of influence).

7 TO AVOID…

1. The Small Child. The small child is just that, someone who never truly grew up. They “demand” attention and acknowledgement from everyone around them and can be prone to adult tantrums when they don’t get their way. NO is their least favorite word and boundaries tend to frustrate and anger them. Because they choose to make everything about them, they are rarely good team players and often make challenging romantic partners.

2. The Mind Reader. The “mind reader” believes they know what you are thinking and they expect you to know what they are thinking. The fundamental problem with the “mind reader” is that the foundation of their communication is based on guesswork. “Mind readers” are implicit communicators who can be left dazed and confused when they are confronted by a “fact based” explicit communicator.

3. The Assumer. “The assumer” creates their own story line, one that is rarely based in fact. They form their opinions and pass judgment based on assumptions. For example, one of my neighbors told several other neighbors that we had decided to sell our mountain home. She later confessed that she had arrived at this conclusion because we had not come up for the summer when we normally did. We had not spoken to her since the previous summer and had NEVER discussed selling our mountain home. In reality, we had numerous social engagements during the month of May that prevented us from coming up sooner than we did. This is referred to in many circles as “foot in mouth disease”.

4. The Buck Passer. The “buck passer” has never met a decision they didn’t prefer to defer. Fearing they will fail, look stupid, piss someone off or be unpopular they simply leave the decision making process to someone else. “What would you like for dinner honey? I don’t know you decide. I decided last time, you decide this time. C’mon honey, you decide, I’m good with whatever you decide”. Sound familiar? The “buck passer” plays this game in every corner of their life and it can be “mind numbing” to be around for any length of time.

5. The Blamer. Nothing has been or ever will be their fault. This pattern began in childhood and has seemingly served them ever since. The problem is that conscious people see right through the blame game. Failure to take personal responsibility leaves the “chronic blamer” with one card left to play…the victim of circumstance. Taking personal responsibility for ALL of our choices and actions is true EMPOWERMENT!

6. The Distorter. Let’s just say that reality is NOT their constant companion. They will change or alter the truth in order to gain an upper hand in their emotional, financial or career objectives. Distorters create “smoke screens” in an attempt to hide their insecurity and shortcomings. Unfortunately, significant damage may occur before the veil is lifted.

7. The Magician. Now you see me now you don’t. The magician is adept at avoiding anything that is uncomfortable. When the going gets tough…poof, they’re gone! This includes relationships, jobs and friendships. Their life is a never ending illusion. They rarely stop “performing” long enough for anyone to meet the “real” person behind “the mask”. Should you challenge their authenticity, you guessed it…poof!

In fairness, we ALL tap into theses 7 traits from time to time. Our awareness of them is a positive step toward conscious living. If you strongly identify with any of them it may be time for a “check up from the neck up”. As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.