It’s human nature to look in the mirror and compare ourselves to the images our culture throws at us every day. Being young, successful, body beautiful and wealthy are what our society thrives on, reminding us of what we should aspire to be. And so, we invest in expensive products, clothes, gym memberships, degrees, makeup, youth enhancements and the like grasping to experience what these images project - happiness. Yet the U.S. remains the most depressed and overmedicated nation in the world.
When we look outside ourselves for acceptance and don’t find it we reach for control as a lever of hope. A plethora of industries are happy to take your money to feed your need to belong among ‘the pretty people’ yet after you buy the Prada handbag, MBA, Rolex watch and Mercedes as a solution to the void you feel and the initial thrill subsides you are still left with the same feeling of not being enough. More purchases of the same only leave the hole emptier. So, then...
1. Be YOU-SMART first.
Self-awareness is a leading indicator of happiness and success because if you are aware of what is in your mind you can self-regulate a negative thought before it triggers bad behavior and cripples your executive presence. Don't retreat to a default behavior of lashing out, withdrawing, defensive posturing or paralysis. Be mindful of your thoughts. Become an observer of them without inserting yourself into the emotion of them. Be gentle with yourself. Be self-compassionate when you doubt yourself. If you know your strengths, play to them. Surround yourself with people who have your weaknesses as their strengths so that you may observe their behavior.
Define your personal values so that you know when you are out of alignment with them and can readjust in situations as opposed to trying to achieve an expectation that isn't in alignment with your authenticity. Personal values are simply the things you hold dear that no one can take away from you such as humor,...
Don’t have an accidental life or career. Often more planning goes into a summer vacation than a 40-year career or 90-year life. Spend purposeful time creating an actionable plan for your next career move and you can trade the treadmill to nowhere for fulfilment.
If you are considering making a career change and aren’t sure where to start, start with what you know best. Nobody knows you better than YOU. Recommit to your values – your principles or standards on what is so important such that living these values makes you more fulfilled than anything else.
Values are principles or standards of behavior – your judgment on what matters most in life. Examples of values include: Balance, Autonomy, Freedom. Creativity, Listening, Humor, Family etc. Write down your values.
Transferable skills fall into the three categories: 1.) Communication - speaking effectively, writing concisely,...
Jealousy is a wicked emotion that will leave you feeling powerless and empty until you can be vulnerable enough to admit the root cause of it and accept yourself with all your imperfections no matter what anyone else thinks, does or has. Most of the time we are dealing with our own jealousy of people who have what we think we deserve – a better job, more authority, better executive presence, a better life. Self-acceptance without expectations is king.
Sometimes, however, we are bound by the jealousy of others. You can feel their resentment by the way they respond to you – ignoring, dismissing, dirty looks, excluding.
Six Thing to Do When Someone is Jealous of You
We’ve all been in meetings where we repeatedly check our watches. Our time is valuable. A well-run meeting makes people feel they are a part of progress – not process. Lead progress by first establishing a safe and productive environment with meeting ground rules. Email the rules to participants before the meeting. Post them in the room. People will come prepared to contribute to something that matters not observe, yawn and hope they don’t walk away with more on their to-do list.
Eight Killer Meeting Ground Rules
1.) The purpose of the meeting will be evident in the invite and placed where participants can see it. All relevant information is invited, and no other issues will be discussed.
2.) Everyone has a chance to speak without interruption.
3.) After everyone has spoken all will get to share final thoughts.
4.) No idea is a bad idea. All ideas and opinions will be respected.
5.) Ideas and opinions are encouraged to survive...
Recently I had a client tell me that when she opened a discussion with a direct report about a violation of the dress code the person erupted, quit on the spot and immediately left the workplace. We role played the discussion and how to frame such a discussion so as to depersonalize it.
What I found most interesting is that the company rehired this person who abandoned the workplace the same day at another location in another leadership role. What???
Now my client has to manage a team who knows the organization will tolerate unprofessional and insubordinate behavior. She has to gain respect from a team who knows they don’t have to listen or adhere to company policy to keep their job.
We are now positioning her transferable skills for a company with a more solid culture. In the meantime here is a tip for when you need to have a difficult conversation with an employee.
Four years ago, I saw an opportunity to take on a dual role where I would be the CEO of two operations and expressed interest in doing so. I knew I could do both jobs but ultimately the organization wanted a CEO devoted only to them. Instead I developed with much more seriousness my executive coaching business and never looked back.
Recently that same organization came to me and asked me if I would now run both organizations. I said no.
My priorities are clear now. I like helping my clients far more than having more corporate power. And I love spending time with my family, friends and creating things. The one CEO role I have is enough. Imagine that - feeling like what you are doing is rewarding enough - high performing in an area you love. Not needing to do more to be happy. What a relief that is.
If I take on more responsibility now I now evaluate it against whether or not it aligns with my values. If it does – it will ultimately be...
By nature we home into a negative bias. It’s how we’ve evolved as a species and not become extinct - by keeping ourselves safe. We are very good at noticing danger - so good that our ‘danger antenna’ is primed more than our ‘happiness antenna.’
So how do we break through this false-prison-comfort-zone we trap ourselves in?
Certainly not by pressing down the gas peddle on more of the same - complaining, blaming, victimizing, playing it safe. These are the very thoughts we need to let go of to take the risks that bring growth.
Deal with the things you run from. It is the only way to let them go. Yes, it’s hard. But if we don’t admit what feeling is at the root of our pain it will bubble up each time that feeling you haven’t accepted is triggered. You may have felt abandoned, rejected, dismissed, hurt. Whatever it is examine it. Don’t turn away. “I feel dismissed and it hurt.” Get...
Have you ever been in a high stakes meeting or in a conversation where someone challenges your position and you immediately start to feel the world closing in on you? Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl describes that moment this way ~ “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
It’s important to have actionable strategies when our thoughts take over and rule our actions. You are not your thoughts.
The Pause Café
When you feel anxious or aggravated practice what my clients and I call “The Pause Café.” It starts with a deep breath where you ask yourself, “What is going on with me?” Invite in the tension by being curious to it, not turning away. What we run from chases us down until we deal with it. Identify where the tension sits in your body. You may...
You know you want a better job, relationship with loved ones, home, group of friends - the list goes on. Yet you are wise enough to realize that those are just trappings of fulfillment. “Getting” doesn’t bring joy. A peaceful perspective where you make room for curiosity and compassion and edge out judgment and perfectionism is where you want to be. You long for a state of mind where acceptance is king and expectations and resentment are banished from your kingdom to a place where forgiveness prevails and control has no value – a place where your career and personal goals are aligned with your authentic self and whoosh into your life like the sweet breeze of freshly cut grass.
So why can’t you get there?
Do you see your future pretty much like the present +/- 10%? Have you dummied down your goals? Do you lack the energy to organize your life and set new goals for fear of the next trying challenge that is just around the corner?
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