Stop The Vanilla Blog

Looking For Breakthrough To A More Fulfilling Life


Former NFL wide receiver Terrell Owens once said, “Instead of me having a breakdown, I’m focusing on me having a breakthrough.”

Do you have more breakdowns than breakthroughs? When was the last time that you had a real breakthrough in your life? The irony is that I recently had a breakthrough about breakthroughs. The more I seek and look for breakthroughs the more I find them.

A breakthrough is defined as a sudden, dramatic and important discovery or development. How do you know if you have a breakthrough? You learn or understand something better. Breakthroughs are those moments that change your life. Do you look for them or do you let them pass by and have a breakdown instead?

When I lead a strategy & talent planning, team or leadership development session, I am looking for breakthroughs. And since I have been seeking breakthroughs I have seen a dramatic increase in the number of breakthroughs in companies, teams and individuals. I have experienced this same impact in my professional and personal life.

Recently, a client asked me to assess and coach one of their emerging leaders in the company to determine if it was the right time to offer this person an equity opportunity. Using behavioral science as our foundation, we had a 2-hour coaching session that led to several breakthroughs for him. He could see the way to become the leader that he wanted to be. He could see the path to a more fulfilling life and he is now experiencing it.   There was such clarity for him in the process that he wanted to keep going. He asked when our next session would be. Experiencing one breakthrough inspires you to want more.

Moving forward, I want you to look for breakthroughs in every conversation and meeting. Here are some tips on how to experience more breakthroughs in your life:

  • Consciously look for and seek out breakthroughs
  • Recognize the breakthrough when you have one
  • Define the breakthrough or truth that you discovered
  • Share your breakthrough with someone or write it down
  • Apply it to your life
  • Celebrate your breakthrough
  • Seek your next breakthrough

The objective to a more fulfilling life and successful business is putting several breakthroughs together. Don’t wait, start tomorrow by seeking out your next breakthrough. Embrace the challenges/opportunities in your life as often times a breakthrough is right around the corner. The trick to creating breakthroughs is seeking the path through that next challenge or opportunity. So are you going to have a breakdown or a breakthrough?   Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!

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Emotional Intelligence Essential to Future Leaders

Future Leader

I remember when I first started my career, the leaders who often got promoted were the tough, no-nonsense types. They had an autocratic style and the attitude of “It’s my way or the highway.” They would tell their employees what to do versus sell their employees on a vision.

In today’s workplace, with multi-generational work forces and a more dynamic environment than ever before, the old way just doesn’t work as well. Leaders of the future will need a higher level of emotional intelligence to optimize their performance and of those they lead.

So what is emotional intelligence? Unlike general intelligence, it is the ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of emotions. It’s the ability to understand and manage emotions (yours and others) to achieve a high level of collaboration and productivity in the workplace.

I recently started working with a company that had a very unhealthy work environment. It was characterized by high levels of frustration, stress and tension. As part of our “Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream” planning process, we utilized behavioral tools to assess the team and completed a team development session. The core issue was that five of the eight team members had low emotional intelligence. They did not work well together as a team.

The team had a breakthrough during that session which has led to the development of a well-thought out strategic plan and communication plan that led to a more productive work environment. We helped them develop techniques to manage their emotional intelligence and we put a training process in place to raise the emotional intelligence of the team. It was evident to every member of the team that this was the turning point in creating a higher performing team that would achieve incredible results.

So what can you do to increase your emotional intelligence to become a better leader and more importantly a better person?

1) The first step is understanding.  So make the commitment to educate yourself, your leadership team and organization on emotional intelligence.

2) Next, use validated behavioral tools to assess and identify the level of emotional intelligence in yourself and the team. Then establish where it needs to be to accomplish your personal and professional objectives.

3) Take action to train your team on emotional intelligence and that will give them the ability to coach others across the organization.

From my experience, the one thing that you can do immediately to increase your emotional intelligence is to exercise a saying we use often at SM Advisors: “Making a statement creates judgment; asking a question creates opportunity.” Having this mindset will keep you out of problematic situations. Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!

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