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Thought-Provoking Ideas that Inspire. 

Those Five Words...

personal growth Nov 18, 2020
My brother, Francis, came to visit us not too long ago. Nothing is better than hosting your big brother, and giving him a backstage pass to your life. He’s extremely proud of me, and that’s probably the very best gift an older brother can give a younger brother...

Just three days ago, Francis turned 50. I love celebrating birthdays. Growing up, we didn’t celebrate Christmas the way it’s celebrated in much of the U.S. — mostly about gifts and less about the company around you. For me, it was all about my siblings coming home and chilling.

Next week, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving here in the U.S. It’s my favorite holiday because it reminds me of my Zambian Christmases — all about fellowship, food, and family. Speaking of family, there’s nothing a younger sibling wants to hear from an older one more than...

...I’M SO PROUD OF YOU. These are the words every parent should tell their children, every couple should tell...
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Catastrophizing Isn’t Perspective

personal growth Nov 04, 2020
Salt Lake City is one of my favorite U.S cities to visit. The Avenues is one of my favorite spots. I’ve always been a sucker for elevations. Whether it’s the Munali Hills and Muchinga Escarpment in Zambia, or El Yunque in Puerto Rico, elevations always give me PERSPECTIVE.
 
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase “get a life” — I tend to tell my clients “GET SOME PERSPECTIVE.” Without perspective, big becomes small and small becomes big. Without perspective, we take ourselves too seriously. In that state of mind, everyone loses.
 
Whether or not “your” politician or political party won, be sure you GET SOME PERSPECTIVE. It’s a shame that we damage personal relationships for people who come and go; people who use us as a tool. Let’s get some perspective and get our stuff together. Catastrophizing isn’t perspective!
 
I love being a helpful guide for my clients. I get a front-row...
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What Color Is A Zebra's Stripes?

personal growth Oct 21, 2020
What Color is a Zebra?
Black, with White Stripes?
White, with Black Stripes?
 
Growing up in Zambia, these aren’t the “deep philosophical” questions I asked myself (and I don’t remember hearing anyone pose such a question). All I knew was that a Zebra Crossing was a place where humans were legally allowed to cross a road so they weren’t jaywalking. (I know, there’s so much there, but we don’t have time)...🤷🏾‍♂️
 
Questions are so important because, according to the word’s etymology, they help us solve problems, learn, and challenge. Are you like me, and are intrigued by all three of those things?
 
As a Performance Psychologist, I’m paid to solve problems; specifically, performance problems. I’m also paid to learn; about myself, my community, my environment, and my clients. And I’m paid to challenge; myself, my clients, and the status quo.
 
How are YOU using questions?
 
Are you using...
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Struggling With Perfectionism?

personal growth Aug 19, 2020
 
I recently had the pleasure of coaching someone I care deeply about. She was struggling with perfectionism, and that was affecting her stakeholders.

It was clear that she cared very deeply about her work, and wanted to serve her stakeholders with professionalism and excellence. Sadly, expectations ruined it...
 
Expectations permeate every aspect of human endeavor — they’re inescapable. They’re the fuel that drive many decisions, and often ruin many relationships and aspirations.
 
“Are you asking me to lower my expectations?” she asked. “No. I’m asking you to temper them.” There’s a huge difference between LOWERED and TEMPERED expectations.
 
Tempering is the process of superheating and cooling that results in, say, tempered glass. It’s a lot stronger than “regular” glass. To gain that strength/resiliency, more is required...
 
When we temper our expectations, we season...
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Dialogue or Debate?

personal growth Jul 15, 2020
I’m a proud member of AARP... 🤷🏾‍♂️
 
For my non-American audience, that’s the American Association of Retired Persons. No, I’m not 50 (yet) but I read a Forbes article a couple years back that said they’d let a 35 year old in. At 40, they let me in... 👊🏾
 
In our most recent publication that was mailed to me, AARP’s President, Catherine Alicia Georges wrote a compelling piece. This attached words really capture the heart, spirit, and soul of what we need most right now:
 
Unity over Division
Hope over Hate
Faith over Fear
Compassion over Confrontation
 
A more “just, caring, and thriving world” (in the words of LeaderShape) is impossible without Unity, Hope, Faith, and Compassion.
 
I only have one thing to add to the list above: Dialogue over Debate.
 
If we focus on proving each other wrong, we can’t find common ground. All relationships depend on common ground (not complete agreement)....
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We Can’t Sustainably Live In The “Red” Zone

personal growth Jul 10, 2020
I wouldn’t recommend running with an oxygen deprivation mask in 83% humidity. Most sane people wouldn’t do it even under the best weather conditions 🤷🏾‍♂️

Stopping to take this picture this week gave me a brief break from my insanity. I wanted to illustrate something that many of us tend to do too frequently: staying in the “red” zone too long.

Like the RPMs in a vehicle, nothing good comes from spending too much time in the “red zone” — we could damage the engine. Yet, we push ourselves far beyond the limit a lot.

I’m a firm believer in sustainability. My definition of this word is doing something for the next five years without causing emotional, spiritual, physical, psychological, or other damage.

Running at 173 BPM or more for too long would eventually damage my ticker. That same concept applies to all other aspects of our lives. We can’t sustainably live in the “red” zone.

I’m certainly not knocking putting in...
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What Do You See?

personal growth Jun 16, 2020
What do you see?

An “old” pair of sneakers? The holes in the sneakers? Let me tell you what I see...

...I see the most comfortable running shoes I own. I see the countries, cities, towns, and miles we’ve experienced together. I see how I really do have everything I want...

BIG IDEA: Be careful about wanting “new” things — they don’t always fit, they’re not the most comfortable, and they often come with little real and valuable experience. As for having everything I want, it’s just like my main nutrition rule: I can eat as much of the things I like as I want. The secret is in changing what you like...

© 2020, Dr. Kozhi Sidney Makai. No part of this blog post may be reproduced or stored in a retrieval system without the written consent of the copyright holder.
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