So Much Tension

Do you ever look out at the world and wonder why with so much beauty there is so much tension? Why at work there is a sound mission yet there are personal agendas, bureaucracy, posturing and cynicism. 

Why at home and with friends there is love yet there are interpersonal struggles. 

Why with your free time there are interests but there never seems to be enough time to get to them. 

I took this photo on the beach recently because it reminded me that when we slow to a standstill we can actually canvas the landscape to notice not only what we need but more importantly what we want. 

You think you need a new job. You think you need a different partner, more love, new friends. You think you need more time. 

What you really want is to show up at work with confidence, influence and strategic execution that matters, gets noticed and opens opportunities for you to serve in a stronger capacity. 

What you want is to go home, not reach for cookies or wine,...

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When You Think It's Your Age

Everyday I see something posted regarding a new Diversity-Equity-Inclusion officer hired, a new DEI initiative, a DEI role posted. Rarely, if ever, do I see any content related to age discrimination. It’s hardly ever discussed, neglected from many DEI trainings and is a huge problem. I know this because of the number of clients I have who experience this. It’s the largest segment of my executive coaching practice. 

DEI Officers: When you omit this as a priority from your programs you undercut your effectiveness because you lose buyin from this audience who start noticing ageism in their 40s. They are sitting there, but not buying in. No other group of constituents is larger or better posed to help you advance change than those from 40 to 67. 

Everyone Else: You may not think a lot about discrimination because it doesn’t effect you. Don’t discriminate at any level because it’s wrong and demonstrates your lack of compassion, intelligence and...

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TRANSCRIPT The Still Space Podcast Episode #3 - The Three Things

TRANSCRIPT Episode #3 The Three Things

The audio podcast can be heard here: https://www.maryleegannon.com/podcasts/the-still-space-podcast/episodes/2147754071 You can subscribe there as well.

The Three Things

    I used to think that being good at something and working hard was all it took to succeed. I taught myself a lot of skills, many at which I was a rock star. I rose quickly in the corporate world. By most measures I was a success. But it didn’t feel that way. No matter how many president or executive director roles I had I never really felt satisfied. I felt like I was practicing the lead role as an understudy and that any day the real star would show up and steal it away. Being divorced only made it worse. So, I put my head down and just kept working harder and gaining more for corporate America. The only thing I achieved for myself was exhaustion.

     That’s when I started observing people who truly understood peace. I...

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TRANSCRIPT The Still Space Podcast Episode #2 - The Dance with Your Ego

TRANSCRIPT Episode #2 The Dance with Your Ego

The audio podcast can be heard here: https://www.maryleegannon.com/podcasts/the-still-space-podcast/episodes/2147754071 You can subscribe there as well.

The Dance with Your Ego

     Self-awareness is two-fold – internal and external. People with high self-awareness are in touch with their own feelings, values, strengths, priorities, and emotions. They are also aware that others have these same traits. Strong leaders can see people for who they are without judging themselves for not being the same or good enough to have gotten to where they are. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.

     My story is living testament that anyone can turn their life, their perspective, their relationships, their leadership, their career around by developing The Three Things, yet it all began with self-awareness. At the age of 35 I was a stay-at-home mother with four children under...

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If I wainted...

This is profoundly true. Yesterday I was having a discussion with a colleague about rule following and it became apparent that those who succeed don’t pay as much attention to the rules as they do results. They know not to discard the rules. They respect them. And they know how to work around and within them to get things done. Their focus is on the end game. 

Procrastination is simply denial. 

I’ve been the CEO of three organizations. There is no question that I would have never been recruited for these roles if I’d been known for following the rules. I was recruited because I was known for getting things done against the odds and for making it fun along the way. 

What’s your brand? If you don’t know, you don’t have one and that’s a problem. What do you do better than most people? And working hard is not enough. At the top everyone does that. Start taking risks in the areas of your strengths. Failure is learning....

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This is Not Self Care

     I used to think self-care was my bubble bath or reading my self-help books after a crisis moment. While these provided a breath of fresh air they weren’t helping me to deal with raw emotions in the moment.

     Do you see self-care as after-care? Do you wait until the let-down, crisis, doubt sets in and then try to play catch-up to snap you out of feeling inadequate and question why this pattern keeps happening to you?

     You deserve better. And only you can give that to yourself.

     It’s freeing to be able to see the hurt coming, slow down, and be still. Still. Understand that things come and go. Emotions come and go. The important thing is to accept them all. Nod at them. Embrace them all - not turn away in fear. Then you can choose to do with them what you want verses being controlled by them.

     Fear will consume you to the point of convincing you that you...

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The Regret of Starting Over

This is so important. Often we dread starting over because of regret. We beat ourselves up for being in a place we dread. We become risk averse so as not to repeat regret. We wonder if we might even deserve to be in a bad place and if it will ever change. 

Regret is ok. We learn from it. Just don’t stay there too long. 

I had to start over with four children under seven-years-old in the middle of a difficult divorce. We had gone from the country club life to public assistance, homelessness, and no automobile. I believed life would never be fair because of how we had ended up. I started to believe this was personal - like there was something wrong with me and that it was permanent. 

The truth is nobody said life is fair. It that we’re true the lion wouldn’t eat you because you didn’t eat him. I worked very hard in survival mode and rose quickly to the C-suite. I was grateful. But I was detached and unhappy. I had lost touch with what fun is and...

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A Realization Today

A realization today. A large part of my coaching practice is working for corporations, providing individual leadership coaching for good leaders who the organization want to develop into great leaders with exposure to self-management skills, executive presence, higher level awareness and accountability tactics.

I’m inspired by this work because these clients come to the table with incredible humility, a thirst to learn, an openness to get it right not be right, and a relief that someone is finally helping them discover within themselves their unique genius and how to use it while managing the intrusive thoughts that lead to crippling emotions and behaviors that undermine their peace and efficacy.

I am encouraged by the growing number of organizations that see that training and development, while very important, is not enough to help leaders search inside themselves for the shift necessary to unleash greatness. Challenging assumptions, letting go of perfectionism as a shield over...

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Do You Wear 'Busy' as a Badge of Honor?

I see this a lot in the corporate setting. People wear “busy” like a badge of honor. Early in my career I did too. It’s our way of grasping at perfection or averting the fear that is under the surface. Either way it’s a dance away from intimacy - away from the story we’re attached to that is fraught with flawed  perceptions. 

I don’t have time.

I don’t have enough experience.

I’m too old.

I’m too young.

I’ll never get this right.

It hasn’t worked til now so what’s the point?

If I let up, I’ll never catch up.

I’m too overwhelmed to think of a different way.

I have to try harder than others.

I’ll sit back and let my work ethic speak for itself.

Hard work is not a differentiator at the senior level. Everyone works hard there. You have to show self-awareness, be able to manage your emotions in the moment, strategize quickly especially in a crisis moment, execute a well articulated vision,...

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It's Their Fault

Reflecting on what I’ve learned from the clients I have the privilege to work with. Human behavior has always fascinated me. I’ve studied it for years. It’s amazing how we can repeat patterns over and over and don’t see the regularity of them as we continue to victimize ourselves by externalizing the origin of our unrest. 

“It’s their fault.” “This is so unfair.” “Why does this always happen to me?” “Only I get treated this way.” “This is never going to change.” 

Strong people who are uncomfortable enough with the unrest of failing relationships, lack of career advancement, poor sleep and health habits and frustration with a stagnant life commit to do something about it. 

But if that commitment isn’t a look inside themselves they’re just busying themselves with change for the sake of change on the treadmill to nowhere. Then when nothing changes not only are they...

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