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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

How Do You Score on the Stress-O-Meter?

Earlier this year, I was talking with an executive coaching client about everything that was going on at once in his business life. The short and incomplete list included integrating an acquired company, moving his company’s headquarters to a new location, the annual planning process and addressing some significant new competitive threats. After hearing his list, I said to him that it reminded me of that list of stressful life events where you add up the scores of each event that is going on in your life to determine how much stress you’re dealing with.

That stressful life events list is called the Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory. It was developed in 1967 by two psychiatrists (unsurprisingly named Holmes and Rahe) who analyzed the coincidence of stressful life events with the health outcomes of 5,000 of their patients. If you score more than 300 points on the inventory, the research shows you have about an 80 percent chance of a stress-induced health breakdown in the next two years.

When you read through their list of life events through the lens of 2018, you realize how much the world and society has changed since 1967. For instance, one of the...

How to Tackle Unpleasant Tasks

What do you notice about your thought process when you’re about to start something that’s difficult or intimidating? Is your inner monologue helpful or hurtful? Here’s a hint: Your self-talk is highly predictive of the result you’re going to get.

There’s a simple mental shift you can make that almost guarantees a better result when you have to do something you’re not totally excited about or find a little bit scary. Instead of telling yourself, “I have to do this thing,” say to yourself, “I get to do this thing.”

As I’ve written here before, I learned this little trick years ago from speaking coach Dr. Nick Morgan when he was helping me prepare for the biggest speech I’d ever given up to that point. It was a keynote to a 1,000 people at the Washington Hilton with production values that were through the roof. Spot lights, teleprompters, the works. When you’re walking from the green room to the stage at the Hilton, you walk through a hallway that is filled with pictures of every U.S. President who has ever given a speech there. It’s an intimidating setting...

Leaders Focus on the Trends, Not the Data Points

In some organizations, this is the time of year where individual performance from the previous year is summarized and communicated in annual reviews. (Which, by the way, is an abysmal practice that does nothing to develop people and has at least an 80 percent chance of causing them to feel disengaged.)

One of the reasons annual performance reviews suck so much is that they too often deal in data points, not trends. Too many managers don’t provide meaningful performance feedback on a real-time basis so when performance review time rolls around (as it always and predictably does), they find themselves scrambling for points to make in the review conversation. That’s where the data points come in. In the absence of any meaningful thought or preparation, whatever happened recently suddenly becomes a trend. That meeting you nailed? Good job on that—you had a great year! That presentation you muffed? You know, I’m not sure you’re really a good fit for us.

Here’s the thing. A data point does not a trend make. A data point is exactly that—it’s a data point, not a trend. Lots of data points observed and documented over time...

What You Can Learn About Self-Improvement From Kevin Durant

If you pay any attention at all to sports, you’ve probably noticed that the Golden State Warriors are a really good basketball team. So good, in fact, that four of their five starters are playing in the NBA All-Star Game next month. With Steph Curry and Kevin Durant leading the team and (my idol) Steve Kerr coaching, Golden State is so good that it’s been reported that other teams in the league are suffering from Warriors Derangement Syndrome.

Still, as good as they are, the Warriors aren’t perfect. For instance, some of the players on the team tend to draw more than their share of technical fouls. Techs are sort of expected from Draymond Green given his game. They’ve maybe been less expected from Kevin Durant but he’s lately moved towards the top of the charts on techs and has been ejected from four games this season for saying more to the officials than they were willing to hear.

Durant’s latest ejection came against the Knicks last week after he felt like he wasn’t getting the calls he was due and spoke up about it – loudly. In the post-game press conference, he calmly...

Five Posts on How to Be Successful in 2018

Happy new year everyone! Here’s hoping that 2018 is everything you want it to be.

To give you some fuel for the journey, here are five quick posts about how to set yourself up for success this year. These posts cover strategies and tactics that have worked for both my clients and me so I’m confident they’ll work for you too.

For the big-picture, strategic point of view, take a look at these two posts on how creating your own Life GPS® can help you create the outcomes you want in the three big arenas of life: home, work and community:

How to Perform at Your Best This Year

What a Life GPS® Can Do for You This Year (This post includes a link to download a Life GPS® worksheet.)

When you’re ready to break things down into the small steps that lead to big results, check out these two posts on the tactics of making progress day-by-day and week-by-week:

Three Steps to Actually Change Yourself This Year

How Baby Steps Can Keep You on Track This Year

And, finally, if this is the year that you really intend to shake things up, read this post...