Culture Has Done This to You - Here's How to Undo It

Our culture imposes a sense of urgency that isn’t helpful to well-being. The internet is the worst culprit. Social media defines what we “should” look like. What we “should” feel like. What we “should” be doing. And what we “should” have. 

A sense of urgency is good in a crisis. Our lives are not a crisis. You already have everything you need to look, feel, do and have what you want. Your perspective is the key. Your looks are gorgeous when you feel they are. Your soul is fulfilled when your values are aligned with your actions. Your career is rewarding when you are leading in a way that resonates with your core. And the stuff you have will make sense when it is purposeful to your personal mission. 

May this year be the year you are ready to sail your boat out of the harbor and into a sea of opportunity, creativity and contentment.

If you don't know where you'll be by the end of the year you are already there. Don't...

Continue Reading...

People Fear Three Things

People fear three main things in life: pain, death and abandonment. The worst behavior I see is usually around abandonment. Knowledge is power. This intel means that if we can show people how we value them and that they belong they will feel lighter and more worthy. And they’ll behave like people who feel valued.   

Think how this applies to talking with employees, family members, customers, friends and just about everyone. Compassion is king in effectiveness - authentic compassion not put-on solicitousness. 

If you want more executive presence tips here's a link to the FREE eBook - 31 Executive Presence Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World

If you are struggling with uncertainty and feel exhausted and ineffective watch my FREE Training on Three Ways to Move to the Next Level In Your Career Right Now to 1) identify the right role for you, 2) position your transferable skills and 3) create a career portfolio that sells you...

Continue Reading...

Hate

Can we please stop hating? Hate has become more normalized in our culture over the last several years and it is killing our compassion, culture, productivity and peace. It is also dividing us as a nation. For what? So someone can feel superior? How’s that working? I only see more anger and hate. 

Hate is not a sustainable solution to unrest. It is only an externalization of one’s own feelings of despair and unworthiness. So they keep hating as an escape from feeling trapped and powerless in their own self-hate. 

It takes a lot of humility in the midst of a heated exchange to remind the other person that you care about them. Just saying that helps to diffuse the vehemence of the discussion. Imagine what would happen the next time you are in an argument at work if you said to the other person, "We are both angry. In spite of that I want you to know that I have your back. I want to come to a solution that serves both our goals."

Happy people don’t hurt one...

Continue Reading...

Replace "Striving:" With This for Executive Presence

Recently, I heard a podcast by a very successful businessman who said he grew up poor, never got over the need to strive for better and he likes that because he thinks that’s the key to his success. Additionally he also never feels satisfied and is ok with that. This made me sad for him - very successful yet ok with not being fulfilled. Later in the podcast he talked of being impatient with himself and staff. Hmm. 

Striving is never the goal. Success is not the measure. Mastery is the goal and the measure. It’s internal - not determined by anything outside your control. 

Shallow wins are where you hit a goal, high five everyone and then move right on to the next goal because you fear failure and rejection are around the next corner if you don’t. Your team feels they are just tools in your success and ends up resenting you. Enjoy deep wins where you sit back and celebrate the difference made for the good of all. Identify every person's part in the...

Continue Reading...

You Owe Me for the Years Not the Minutes

Some days I sit in my office and think how easy my job is until I see someone else make a decision or take action that I know is ill advised and will have negative results. Then I remember the countless 12-hour days and weekends I put in to have the breadth of perspective I’ve learned. I remember the negative results I experienced when I didn’t know better. And I think about the really stressful days in my work that try my patience and bring me sleepless nights. 

Your time is valuable. This is why I don’t hire lawyers, accountants or consultants who are not mavens at what they do because they make you pay for their learning curve. 

Be an expert. Work for a company that values your expertise.

If you want more executive presence and career planning tips here’s a link to my FREE Career and Life Planning Tool. If you don't know where you'll be at the end of the year you are already there. 

Your coach,

Mary Lee

P.S. Feel free to forward...

Continue Reading...

Just Calm Down

Telling someone who is visibly upset to "Just calm down" is like saying, “Just stop overeating” to someone who wants to lose weight. Intellectually, you know what you need to do yet your self-management skills aren’t keen enough to cease the behavior or the unresolved feeling. And quick fix advice such as “be positive” makes you feel worse because it denies the inadequacy you feel inside. 

I used to be more of what could have been labeled a ‘distant’ leader. Calming down was not my issue. Relatability was.

Three things changed that for me and for my clients struggling with how to manage emotions:

1) Allow them.

2) Be curious about them.

3) Be compassionate to yourself and others.

This wasn’t a quick fix. It was a repeated practice of continually taking myself through this exercise of self discovery which lead to self acceptance.

I was a single mother and only provider of four children who was stuck in survival mode. I neglected...

Continue Reading...

Great Executives Know the Difference Between Goals and Expectations

    Corporations calculate success by metrics – return on investment, productivity, key performance indicators, cost savings, balance sheet, cash flow, retention, number of goods sold, quality metrics, speed to market, profit margin. Goals are created in the aggregate of these measurements. Performance at work is tied to goals. Goals are always measurable. If it isn’t measurable, it is only a notion, not a goal.  

    When a corporation doesn’t place the same value on its people as it does on its metrics often employees get sucked into believing that their personal worth is tied to the goal. And if they fail to meet the goal, they are a personal failure. There could be many circumstances that affect the realization of goals – resources, team culture, time, talent, a crisis, market share, competition. Yet individuals often lay expectations on top of goals, leading to despair. I am expected to hit the goal, or I...

Continue Reading...

Purpose is Overrated

There is a lot of focus on purpose in our culture. Not having one can make people feel less than adequate especially when everyone else seem to have one.  If you don't know your purpose don't worry. You already have one. It is the same purpose everyone else has - to stay alive. That is why we are not extinct as a species. Because it is the human condition to be very good at staying safe so as to live.

Centuries ago humans refined how to exist in a tribe and to know their roles in the tribe because if they didn't they may become ostracized by the tribe where they could die at the hands of another tribe or the elements. That fight-flight-or-flee mentality kept people safe and alive. Today that guarded mentality doesn't serve us as well, especially if it shows up as a low risk tolerance in a leadership setting. 

On a job interview often candidates will answer the question, "What is your purpose?" by saying, “I just want to make a difference.” This doesn’t...

Continue Reading...

Your Emotions at Work

We were taught for a long time that showing emotion was weak. “Just suck it up, Marine” was the mantra. Today we finally realize that denying emotion denies the feeling behind the emotion. And when we do that it eventually bubbles up later in an outburst, passive aggressive behavior, withdrawal, lack of compassion, poor communications, emotional immaturity and even post- traumatic stress. 

Though we don’t want to be an emotional leader, exhibiting extreme emotions that are inappropriate at work, cause negative attention to ourselves and halt progress. That strips your executive presence. But we are human, and humanity is honest. Being honest with your team, about what you struggle with builds trust. "Honestly, I struggle with this and value your insight." 

Sometimes emotion takes over our good judgment. Then we need to decipher the internal roadblock before it derails us. It takes far more courage to admit the feeling than to...

Continue Reading...

I'm Sorry

Ladies! Please stop saying, "I'm sorry" so much especially at work. Not "I'm sorry to bother you." Just "Do you have a minute?" Not "Sorry this is probably stupid..." Just "Can I run something by you?" Not "Sorry" when you bump into someone. Just "Pardon me." Men don't do this because their threshold for being sorry is far higher and more realistic. When is the last time you heard a man say, "I'm sorry can I ask a question?" Be direct. Be confident. Be authentic.

You're not sorry that you want to say something. You just want to feel that others want to hear it. Don't expect that they don't. Focus on listening so your comment will be most relevant. Set your ego aside as you focus on what's important. Play with the concept of who you would be without doubt?

The last person to speak has the most to say. 

Many people are worried right now about their jobs and not sure if an industry switch or a position change is a good idea. I hear it every day. Often more planning goes into a...

Continue Reading...
Close

50% Complete

Welcome! Thanks for signing up!

You will be sent an email with a link each time Mary Lee Gannon updates the Executive Coach's Blog. It's great to have you with us!