Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Expectations and Next Level Results

by Janet M. Shlaes, Ph.D.

“Checking the results of a decision against its expectations shows executives what their strengths are, where they need to improve, and where they lack knowledge or information.”

~ Peter Drucker

Our expectations provide us with two major functions: the generation of aspirational goals and comparison check points to guide us toward accomplishing these goals. Expectations, when used in a visionary strategic manner, ultimately serve to expand your competence and accelerate your accomplishment of targeted goals. The source of your expectations is critical with regard to using them as a guide and motivator. Externally generated expectations, when not aligned with your core values, can serve to elicit resentment and self/other-sabotage. Internally generated expectations that align with your core-values, tend to result in bold visions and the setting of personally meaningful goals. These goals are then easily translated into realistic ambitious action steps that elegantly lead to your desired vision. An essential aspect of internally generated expectations is the creation of natural "resting places" for evaluating your progress. As detailed in the Peter Drucker quote above, these evaluation moments provide you with essential information regarding adjusting your actions steps, skills and perhaps your entire process.

What personal expectations will you commit to strategically acting on in 2017? Imagine the possibilities for utilizing your expectations to accomplish next level results.


For addition insights and observations, I invite you to check out the following posts:

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Resolutions Don't Work

by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.

Today is the day when many generate New Year’s resolutions that are destined to fail. I track this every year at my local health club. For the first two weeks of January, it’s unbelievably crowded. As the month progresses, the crowds dissipate at an alarmingly (and comforting) rapid rate. This tendency is repeated in a variety of personal and professional arenas as well intended New Year’s Resolutions fall apart. Why, you may ask, does this situation repeatedly occur at this time of year? Resolutions, although well intentioned, tend to be overly ambitious aspirational goals rather than more realistic and pragmatic ones. They tend to focus more on the idealized outcome than on the process of building sustainable outcomes. 

I recommend a highly effective alternative to New Year's resolutions, a process oriented alternative that facilitates the development of habits that align with aspirational goals. This process is known as a 30-Day Challenge. It takes approximately 30 days to develop a new habit, 30-days for your brain to rewire and shift your aspirational goal into your daily routine. Resolutions tend to be unrealistically grand, while 30-Day Challenges focus more on developing habits that support your aspirational goals. Taking on a 30-Day Challenge around health and fitness recognizes that fitness is a process that requires gradually improving your health and strength over time.  For example, if your goal is to improve your fitness level in the current year and you’ve been habitually sedentary in the prior year, your 30-day challenge might be to walk for 15-20 minutes every day for 30 days. Staging your aspirational goal of health and fitness via a 30-Day Challenge results in setting up a structure to increase the probability of success, rather than the likelihood of failure.

The 30-Day Challenge structure utilizes the construct of neuroplasticity to organically restructure your brain. It also facilitates the building of positive self-esteem and appreciation for process. As you stage your aspirational goals via a series of 30-Day Challenges, you will ultimately find yourself accomplishing goals that may have seemed unobtainable in the past. What aspirational goal could you choose to take on as a series of 30-Day Challenges this year?

For addition insights and observations, I invite you to check out the following posts:

Sunday, July 31, 2016


Authenticity by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of who you are.”

~Kurt Cobain

Each of us comes into the world with a unique biology, set of skills and talents. Anyone who has raised a child knows it’s all there right from the beginning. Under the age of five, children tend to be spontaneous and genuine, moving through the world with a natural sense of curiosity and self-expression. Young children tend to be fully present in the moment, expressing their emotions as they surface from an authentic inner space. You can always tell what is going on inside of young children. If they are feeling happy, they exude delight. If they are feeling curious, they are all about exploration and comprehension. If they are angry, they erupt in the moment and then settle down. If they are feeling loving and loved, they exhibit the pure expression of love, hugging a person or even a tree.

And then, something happens.  Past the age of five (or sometimes even sooner), natural expression goes underground. Or, as my son so wisely observed many years ago: “the world gets to them.” External comparison and judgement moves into their inner space and crowds out authenticity. Some of this is necessary in order to build cultural and societal values and integrity, however, some of this is about conforming to significant others’ beliefs about who they should and need to be. The loss of authenticity is a double loss. It’s impossible to fully develop and manifest your gifts in the world when these gifts are constantly repressed. The psychic energy required for this type of repression results in a loss of vitality and wellbeing. Additionally, your failure to be authentic deprives the world of your unique skills, mindsets, vision, way of being in the world and potential legacies. What one action step can you take today to express your authentic self?


For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts: