How To Be Your Best When Things Are Not The Best


Have you ever wondered why some days are better than others? How some days require little to no effort while other days are filled with challenges and obstacles? We may not be able to control what happens around us, but we can control who we are, how we are and what we say or do.


Let’s say you are a sailboat. You are free to go wherever and whenever you like. Then one day as your boat is close to shore, a storm rapidly approaches. There is no time to prepare and your only choice is to drop the anchor and pray for safety. The storm hits, the boat is rocked and minimal damage occurs. The storm passes, the sun shines and you are okay. Looking back, what do you think would have happened if you didn’t drop the anchor before the storm hit? Maybe there would have been more damage, or you could have been dragged out to sea. The point of the story is, in life, things happen around us and if we don’t anchor ourselves, we may lose control and hurt ourselves or others.


As a coach, I have experienced working with people and difficult situations. I would like to share with you how we can stay grounded, resourceful and be at our best when things are not.


We need to do two things to be at our best: drop and connect. You may have heard the saying “get out of your head and into your heart”. When coaching executives, leaders and performers, we refer to this as finding your center- bringing your awareness from your head into your body’s center. This is a place within you where you have immediate access to your most valuable resources: awareness, adaptability, flexibility, openness, connectedness, creativity, kindness and other valuable resources. This may be new and that’s okay. Now that I am aware of it, I have access to my best self whenever I want; all I have to do is close my eyes and go there.


To have access to your best self, here are a few simple steps to help you get there…

1- Find a comfortable place to sit, feet on the ground hands in your lap.

2- Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the center of your body, the stomach area.

3- Let go of all thoughts and breathe into this area, slowly in and slowly out, allowing all thoughts to disappear like someone turned on a fan, and blowing them away

4- Picture your body and mind opening, like a convertible top on a car.

5- With your eyes closed and breathing into your center, notice the space around you and further way, as far as you can imagine: in front, behind, above and below, and all around you.

6- Notice how life is not about you, it includes you. Notice how you are a part of it.

7- Keep your eyes closed, continue breathing slowly in and out of your center. Do this for a few minutes or as long as you’d like.


This simple process, as simple as it may seem, is the quickest and most effective way for us to be grounded and at our best. It just takes practice.


The current environment is surrounding us with change. With so much going on, we are challenged to be at our best. This is the time to be aware of what is required of us, adaptable to news ways of living, flexible with working arrangements, open to others’ points of view, connected with each other while keeping a distance, creative with new ways of living, and kind to one another.


This is the perfect opportunity to employ the above process so we can get out of heads and into our hearts. These times call for it.


If you have questions about the process message me and expect a reply.


Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at


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The Difference Between Being Right and Doing What’s Right




The Difference Between Being Right and Doing What’s Right


As a coach, I can recall many times hearing others say they do what’s right but then go out of their way to be right. I know how this can become a problem because I am guilty too. I have dug my heels into the ground to make whatever was being discussed about me being right.  If you had asked me at the time, I might have said I was doing what’s right, but I was on a mission to prove I was right.


So, what is the difference between doing right versus being right? On the surface, they appear to be similar, but they couldn’t be more opposite. Doing right is about recognizing the needs of a situation above the needs of your own. It includes you, but it is not about you. It’s about being curious, listening, learning and finding the best solution, not your solution. It requires time and effort and often sometimes a lot of both. On the contrary, being right is making a situation about yourself, showing or proving to others that what you think and know is right. It takes less time and effort, limits possibilities and restricts participation and contributions. It’s like closing a door versus opening a door. It’s the difference that makes the difference. Right?


When we are committed to being right, it’s like we are being challenged to a duel and ready to defend our honor knowing there will be a winner and a loser. I see it in board rooms, living rooms, between co-workers, teams, friends and family. The need to be right can take us on a journey to a place where nobody wins.


On the other hand, when we commit to doing right, we show up as our best selves. We create a positive and cohesive environment where there is no winner or loser, only success.


Let’s say we are having a discussion with a co-worker and what the co-worker is saying is not right. What do we do? Do we pull out your sword and challenge them to a duel? We may know what is right but what is the right thing to do?


Let’s hit the pause button and have a closer look. If we are right, the other person must be wrong, right? If we prove the other person wrong, how will it make them feel? Possibly foolish, bad or worse? If our goal is to make people feel foolish then we must draw our sword and let them have it. If, on the other hand, our goal is to make people feel good, we might benefit from an alternative approach. We might consider accepting the loss and offering the victory. Perhaps a smile or nod. But what if what they are saying could negatively affect the organization or the people around them? What if knowing the right answer is important for them and their role? What’s the right thing to do?


How about asking a question? For example:

  1. How do you know XXX is the right answer? WARNING: this question must come from a good place. Being curious invites discovery, otherwise we may be poking a bee’s nest and bees are known to sting when challenged.
  2. Yes, and I am wondering if YYY could also be true, what do think?
  3. You may be right, and I am wondering what else is possible?

These are a few possibilities and there are many more.


The next time we are challenged to a duel, we might consider the following: be open, try to see their perspective, recognize what they are saying, support their view before introducing our ideas/solutions /answers. If we want the other person to feel good, what must we say, and more importantly, how must we say it?


Reminder: When we are right the other person is wrong. When the other person is wrong, how do they feel? When they feel that way, how will they perform? How will their feelings impact their attitude and willingness to contribute and support others? Do we think we will get more or less from others when we make them feel that way?


On the other hand, what happens when we surrender, offer the win, support and help them feel good? What happens next? How will they perform? How likely are they to support others, contribute and go above and beyond? What must we give up in order to have this and are we willing to do it?


It’s possible we all struggle with having the need to be right. I don’t know why it is and maybe it has something to do with being recognized, acknowledged or appreciated. I can’t say it doesn’t feel good and maybe giving it feels better than having it. What about you? Would you rather give or get? Would you rather do right or be right?


“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou


How about the next time a colleague draws his/her sword, we keep ours where it belongs, and we do what’s right?


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Leadership + Executive Coach Robert Paulson






Robert Paulson is an international executive + leadership coach and can be reached at