In my executive coaching practice I help people build the most important skill to uplevel their career and happiness. Most people think that work ethic and resilience are the top indicators of success. Grit is indeed a valued skill. But at a certain level everyone has it. The most sought-after skill for executive advancement is self-awareness. It is most desired because it carries the ability to grow while managing emotions that get in the way of risk taking, feedback and success. There are two types of self-awareness: 1) being aware of your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and 2) being aware of how you are viewed by others.
Leaders are generally are aware of their thoughts but often underutilize their power to disengage from false assumptions that they’ve adopted as facts and end up being emotionally paralyzed from the negative feelings and low self-esteem that result. Competent and even confident leaders then wonder why they aren’t advancing, aren’t...
I spent a lot of years angry. Very angry. I was in a neglectful and abusive marriage as a stay-at-home mother of four children under seven-years-old. On the outside it looked like we were living the country club life while in reality my life was unpalatable. Every day I felt as if a noose around my neck was choking my ability to breathe. Finally, I filed for divorce as a leap of faith and was completely unprepared for the avalanche to come.
Within six months of filing for divorce my husband placed his businesses into bankruptcy on loans I had cosigned. He canceled his children’s and my health insurance but not his own. Our home which was nearly paid off and in the most affluent suburb of town went up for Sheriff’s Sale whereby 100% of the proceeds went to offset his business debt. The bank repossessed my minivan, not his car. And I had to chase him through the courts for a child support and alimony award at its highest of $269 a week – which he appealed. The...
Every leader should be required to read this book I read on a recent trip to Greece. Spiritual and political power are not mutually exclusive. Imagine if business schools taught that the more compassionate you are the more effective leader you are.
Or the power of The Five Spiritual Powers: 1) FAITH (better translated as confidence and trust); 2) DILIGENCE to practice not watering the seeds of anger, fear, hate, despair but to replace and water seeds of joy, peace and happiness; 3) MINDFULNESS to recognize things as they are without projecting bias so emotion can pass; 4) CONCENTRATION on the reality that nothing is permanent so value this moment, unhappiness is born from discrimination between self and others, and that everyone is interconnected; 5) INSIGHT where we realize that all of our suffering can be avoided by living the previous four powers.
As you cultivate these FIVE POWERS you naturally acquire the power of leadership because people flock to you for advice...
In my executive coaching practice I see wonderfully talented clients suffer from life messages dished out by inept bosses, well meaning family members, and misguided colleagues. We don’t thrive when we are controlled from the outside in. We thrive in our natural mindset - from observing the outside world and accepting ourselves internally no matter what.
If someone chooses to be biased or unkind, their behavior says more about them than you. But sometimes we internalize the outward world and make it personal to us. That leaves us a victim.
The only way to deal with this is to build self-awareness so that you can see when you start to interpret other people’s behavior as the root of your feelings. ‘I’m unhappy because my boss never appreciates me or my family always held me back or my coworker triangulates the office against me.’
Separate assumptions from facts. When you sense assumptions made in desperation from a mindful...
Patience. Yesterday I helped a client understand that her efforts will be far better placed in seeking a new role as opposed to struggling in a culture out of alignment with her values. There was freedom in that decision for her.
Now instead of questioning her worth she is positioning her value proposition on a platform that showcases her specific and unique talent so that she may be effective in a rewarding setting. In doing so she had to let go of thinking she failed if she moved on. She had to walk away from feeling ineffective and unwanted. Now she sees light where there had only been despair. That’s power.
Hope is not a strategy. It is a springboard to new beginnings that start with necessary endings.
Wishing you the patience to allow yourself to see an opportunity in letting something go to make room for alignment with your values. In that space you can plan and execute at your best instead if doubting and worrying at your worst. ...
I’ve never understood why overbearing people think they have power. It’s obvious they don’t. Nobody trusts them or authentically has their back. They are always exhausted trying to make themselves look good at other’s expense. Their insecurities reek in their behavior. And their leadership has no sustainable affect because the people they play to are the first ones off the ship when it starts to go down.
If you can’t achieve your goals without manipulating, controlling, condescending to, backstabbing, and intimidating other people along the way you’re weak and you will ultimately fail. Period. I’ve seen it in corporate America time and time again. It may not be right away. But it will happen. And your legacy will precede you everywhere you go after that.
The real problem with mean people is that they are intrinsically unhappy, insecure and have minimal self-awareness. The root feeling behind their behavior is anger coupled...
SITUATION: Katie had completed her work on a project and felt good about her performance. She exceeded her goals in a timely manner. He supervisor asked her to send an email to Alyson, a partner on the project, for an update on her part and asked that he be copied as well as other project partners.
Alyson responded to all that she hadn’t executed her part of the project because she was waiting for information she didn’t have and implied that it was to come from Katie. This triggered a defensive feeling in Katie because Alyson and she had never interacted on the project.
MOMENT OF TRUTH: Katie’s immediate reaction was to respond with an, it’s-not-my-fault tone. But her self-awareness made her acknowledge that she felt threatened and needed a moment to calm down her ego so that her logical self could make a conscious choice on what to do. She wanted to maintain her executive presence in what was rapidly feeling like an attack on her.
My clients select one word each year that they focus on. They dedicate themselves to action and curiosity around their selected word, especially when they doubt their ability or their inner critic inserts ego into their behavior. I encourage them to create something with the word that inspires them and post it where they will see it each day.
My word for the year is “Allow.” For me this signifies a letting go of what is not mine to change. Last weekend I wrote this word in the sand with an oyster shell on my favorite beach. Then I placed the image of it in a frame on my desk and nightstand. I do this every year.
What is your word for the year? If you don't know where you want to be at the end of the year you are already there.
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...
Positivity is a powerful concept but not a strategy. Pretending that you have a positive attitude when it is inauthentic is exhausting. And it doesn’t work. When you can’t get think positive and sustain it even though everyone tells you to be positive you feel worse - another failure.
Honor the hurt. Go deeper with it. Own it. Name it. Blame all you want. Realize the shame. Write about it. Journal about it. Tell someone. Get it out. We can release what we own. When you own your feelings, you can purposely RELEASE the negativity. Otherwise it keeps hanging around.
Next, name what you feel you DESERVE - happiness, career, opportunity, love, friendships, etc.
Open yourself with vulnerability to ACCEPT all that is good and that you deserve. It means releasing the expectation that failure and negativity will continue. Be curious about the process. Yes, it’s scary not knowing how the story will end. But so is a life of negativity.
This week I took in two new executive coaching clients and had another client renew for the year - all three having the courage to address the same issue. They’re smart, educated and have good roles. Yet they want a plan that delivers tangible career and life reward and mostly want to address their inner critic that inserts itself in their heads such that they adopt its voice as fact when it’s only an assumption and end up with less results than they are capable of.
There is nothing wrong with these three leaders. They’re just human. We are wired really well for avoiding danger. This is how we’ve evolved over the centuries and are not extinct. But the fight or flight mechanism does not serve us at a staff meeting, in a conflict situation, when receiving feedback or when challenged in the board room.
Patterns of thinking lead to patterns of behavior. We have to turn into the thinking - not away - to understand and challenge it. We need...