If you've talked with a family member this week you know there is disappointment in the air. Honor that feeling. It makes us sad not to come together to celebrate the very thing we value most in the world – our relationships. It hurts. We feel cheated, angry, afraid, as if we don’t want to get our hopes up for anything right now.
You miss the traditions, the food, the table decorating, the hours in the kitchen fussing over the stuffing, the family laughter, watching parades and football together and the hugs.
Ok. There. Let all that out. We can release that which we own. Name and own the disappointment.
Now let’s have some fun. What won’t you miss this year? The money you saved not doing mini makeovers in the house. Buying food that will get wasted – that you really don’t need or use. How your brother and sister-in-law don't help clean up. The uncomfortable moment when Grammie asks Matt when he is finally going to get married, or...
Every year at this time I ask my clients to designate one word for the year that will serve as a homing beacon for when life is confusing. This year I chose the world "ALLOW." I wrote the word in sand at our beach house, took a photo of it and put the image in a frame on my night stand where I look at it each evening before bed and each morning before I start my day. I've been doing this for years.
The word ALLOW served me well this year. I prevailed in my work on a $4.6 million capital campaign for an important project that serves under-resourced patients, supported my mother in an independent living facility, was executrix on my uncle's estate, overcame health challenges, celebrated a milestone birthday with the people I love - all while in the stress of a pandemic where people were sick and dying at the hospital where I am its Foundation's president.
I ALLOWED what was out of my control while focusing my energy on what was in my control. And for me a lot of that energy went...
After a difficult transition such as a job loss, broken relationship, forced relocation, lost promotion, loss of a loved one where you’ve been left feeling less than yourself, depleted and ineffective well-meaning people who care about you often tell you to just ‘move on.’ As if you don’t already want to move on you take this advice in stride and wish you could do exactly what they suggest. When you can’t, you feel even more flawed. At worst, you act out your frustration, stripping your executive presence.
Most people know when they need to move on. Nobody wants to wallow in prolonged anger, sadness, fear, frustration or despair such that these feelings get in the way of joy and rob you of living in the moment. But HOW do you do that? Instinctively you want to turn away from suffering. Unfortunately, that only makes it worse. We must get curious about it. We need to familiarize ourselves with its motivation and dissect it so that we can understand...
It’s wise to observe ourselves just as we observe others. This is how we build self-awareness and executive presence. But when we insert judgment into the equation the sum ends up in the red. Judgment negates everything we work for. Many of my clients start out riddled with self-doubt and an inner critic that is difficult to harness. If that is you, observe the feeling and tell yourself, “Oh, that’s just me doubting myself,” as opposed to judging yourself for feeling that way. We can let go of that which we own. That which we turn away from chases us down forever.
Observe for the purpose of gathering information.
Observe as if you are watching yourself or another on TV.
Observe for the sheer purpose of allowing the truth of the situation to be evident without any editorial judgment.
Someone or something may be upsetting you. Don’t attach an assumption to it or a story that is biased.
Water the grass where you are...
Your day is going well. You’ve done your research and are a maven on your project. You’re in a meeting and out of nowhere someone blindsides you with cynical inuendo, overt criticism, passive aggressive posturing or their personal agenda. Your body gets stiff. Your face feels flushed. Your heart is racing. A voice inside your head is screaming, ‘Danger!’ And then in your own defense you do or say something you later regret.
We’ve all been there.
Some people can weather these situations without losing their presence. Others cannot. The difference is that some people have trained themselves to be able to notice what is happening to them, both emotionally and physiologically, lean into it with curiosity as opposed to away in fear, and allow the immediate physiological and emotional response to subside so they can respond appropriately.
Initially, you may think you don’t have time for this transition to take place before you need to react. Like most...
Our natural state is to be connected to others - not separate and detached. This is not to negate the fact that we all need alone time to recharge our energy. When we repeatedly withdraw and are alone we aren’t fulfilled. It takes courage and humility to put down our guard. It takes self-acceptance, vulnerability and abandonment of perfectionism to create an open mindset of kindness.
Leaders who are real are relatable. Leaders with executive presence aren’t artificial. Their presence isn’t a facade. They have feelings just like everyone else. They just know how not to allow emotion to cloud their judgment and affect their behavior. They notice the emotion - doubt, anger, fear, sadness - realize it is likely an assumption and let it go before it takes over. Negative assumptions sabotage our connection with others and ourselves.
As humans we have the ability to mindfully observe our thoughts, situations and emotions from a third party perspective so that we may...
Recently in South Africa on safari a guide, my husband and I tracked these lion tracks to a stream at Mala Mala Game Reserve where we found a pride of 11 lion.
Aren’t we all searching for a way to quench our thirst in one way or another? We exhaust ourselves on the treadmill to nowhere seeking to have and be ‘more’ when we need only search inside ourselves.
Self-acceptance is power. May you be gentle with yourself today. You have everything you need already inside you. Perfection is not the goal. Admit vulnerability. Have humility. Be curious. The answers are right in front of you and if you can get off the treadmill and be still long enough for the dust to settle you will see, hear, feel, touch and taste them. You’ve got this.
If you want to create your career by design here is a link to my FREE Career and Life Planning Tool. If you don't know where you'll be at the end of 2020 you are already there. Don't have an accidental career.
If you are...
Corporations spend a lot of energy on employee engagement as if there is some magic formula of training, open door policies, and standardized performance evaluations such that if the leader does all of them in perfect harmony, they’ll have a symphony of engagement.
It’s not the leader’s job to engage workers. It’s the workers’ job to come to work ready to do their best. The problem is employees may not know how to be their best or what ‘best’ looks like. It’s the leader’s job to issue the call to excellence and help employees be great.
Free lunch, a pool table in the break room and flex hours are not the answer to poor engagement. Setting clear goals is a start but can backfire and lead to entitlement without accountability.
Often bureaucracy, cynicism, personal agendas and politics start to poison company cultures, especially when employees start attaching interpretive stories to factual...
You know the feeling. You’re in what you think is an honest discussion with someone and suddenly they blindside you with a comment that totally undermines your perspective. At first you are stunned like a deer in the headlights. You think, ‘How could she say that? It isn’t at all true.’ Then you get angry at the betrayal and at this point you have lost your executive presence. You shut down or start defending yourself, never getting anywhere on the real issue.
You know you are being gaslighted when you hear comments such as:
Gaslighting happens at work and in life. It’s a Machiavellian tactic whereby someone minimizes you by denying that your perception of a situation is true. It’s...
Corporations spend a lot of energy on employee engagement as if there is some magic formula of training, open door policies, and standardized performance evaluations that if the leader does all of them in perfect harmony they’ll have a symphony of engagement.
It’s not the leader’s job to engage workers. It’s the workers’ job to come to work ready to do their best. The problem is employees may not know how to be their best or what ‘best’ looks like. It’s the leader’s job to issue the call to greatness and help employees be great.
To do this a leader has to help employees bypass their ego and the emotional churn of needing to be right and start focusing on facts not assumptions.
Free lunch, a pool table in the break room and flex hours are not the answer to poor engagement. Setting clear goals is a start but can backfire and lead to entitlement without accountability. “What would great look...