Monthly Archives: February 2010

Awareness… and tools: stay in the present

Today a college student came to see me for the first time. She is having a lot of trouble with tests. She studies hard, but a few days before the test a mounting self-doubt takes over and by the night before a test her head is whirling around, she’s tossing and turning in anxiety and she can’t sleep. She’s consumed with thoughts that she won’t pass, and that doing poorly will shoot her chances to get into a good graduate school.  As she spoke I noticed a few things…..

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How did Obama do it?


Calm, confident, focused

On November 4, 2008, 66 million people elected Barack Obama the 44th president of the United States.
How did he, a young man with a brief resume, make this dream come true?

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Obama & test prep: what's in common?

Obama3Barack Obama faces big tests daily:  the economy, the war, international crises, opposition in Congress… the list goes on.  Whatever you think of his politics, one thing we can all agree on is that he possesses the three traits necded for success in any stressful, test-type situation: He is calm, he is confident, and he is focused.

He never loses his cool, he never seems dejected or bitter at a loss, and it certainly doesn’t make him lose steam and he is never off-message.

He is a good role model for facing important tests: staying calm, keeping confident, and being focused is the key.

These are the skills that should be part of any leadership training. Leaders are constantly tested. They have to face moment-by-moment challenges, and we trust that they will do that. Have you ever considered that we are really trusting them to stay calm, confident and focused?  Imagine a leader who is tense, doubtful and distracted.  That doesn’t define “leader.”  Calm, confident and focused do.

If you are in a leadership position, or you are training others to be leaders, consider that for the vitality of the organization and the well-being of its members, you want to cultivate the three qualities in The Workbook. We want, and value, leaders who stand on a sturdy three-legged stool. Leaders who are calm, confident and focused.

What are the qualities you value in a leader?

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Let's talk the 'f' word

Don't let fear derail you

Is fear derailing you?

The more I work as a test prep performance coach the more I see how fear not only derails test takers, but immobilizes them. It is the single biggest cause of poor test performance.

What are they afraid of?  (And if you’re a fearful test taker and are reading this: what are you afraid of?) Doing poorly?  Failing?  Not living up to standards?  All kinds of consequences like not getting into the college of you choice, not qualifying for a scholarship, making someone (a teacher, parents, our yourself) disappointed?

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