Being Alone

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...

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It Is Not Your Job to Engage Them

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...

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10 Assumptions That Kill Careers and 10 Truths that Advance Them

I have many clients working in toxic cultures that minimize the contributions of good leaders as well as divide otherwise collaborative people against each other. Often victims of these cultures internalize that they are being targeted and become paranoid. They play it safe and downplay their ingenuity to remain unseen. They fear being terminated which becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because they end up doing or saying something out of frustration that gets them in trouble.  

Empowerment happens when you can tell the distinct difference between what is an assumption and what is true. Assumptions are limiting. Truth is actionable. 

10 Assumptions That Kill Careers and 10 Truths that Advance Them 

  1. I don’t have enough experience. 

Experience can be learned. Motivation, dedication, resourcefulness and tenacity are transferable. If you know more about an industry or skill it will not alter any of these intrinsic characteristics. Think of the lowest...

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Stop Those Thoughts

You are so much more than your than your thoughts. Who would you be without the head trash that came from life messages you adopted as truths? These thoughts are only assumptions triggered by a needy ego. Needy egos have terrible executive presence. 

  1. Tell your ego you’ve got this, and that it can take a rest from trying to protect you out of fear of rejection. You’re open and ready.   
  1. Notice that there are other people who might be feeling the same thing right now. 
  1. Reach out and give them assurance that you think they are awesome.  
  1. Remind yourself that you’re awesome too.  
  1. Take a long mindful walk with deep breaths and awareness of your surroundings. 
  1. Make time to eat something healthy. You matter.  
  1. Sleep. Prepare for sleep without using electronic devices for three hours before bed. Read something soothing and peaceful before you fall asleep or listen to a guided meditation for...
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How Honesty Saves Time and Builds Executive Presence

Jason’s boss is the new CEO of a company that has not met budget for two years. The organization is merging with two other organizations, making the culture guarded and tentative. Jason is afraid his position isn’t secure because the CEO continually questions his opinions and doesn’t affirm that he brings any value to the team. Additionally, the executive management team is posturing at their weekly meetings whereby one dominant personality is allowed to single him out with criticism outside of her authority. Jason is feeling judged by his boss and threatened by his peers. 

How we conduct ourselves in a tense situation is paramount to how we are viewed as a leader. Maintaining executive presence is extremely challenging when you feel as if you are negatively critiqued. Self-management is key. Being honest with yourself and others is the first tenet to presence. We must be vulnerable enough to accept our discomfort internally before we externalize it with...

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I Am Struggling

I am struggling with what we’ve been seeing in the world - the blatant lack of respect for fellow human beings. I’ve read everything I can on it, talked with close friends, ordered books that I think will help make sense of it all. It wasn’t until I stopped “seeking” answers and turned inward that I found what I was looking for. 

I got out my watercolors, sat down on my front porch and painted a favorite scene of Hilton Head Island from a photo I had taken   recently. In the solace of this mindful activity clarity began to emerge.

The world is full of scarred souls - souls who don’t know how to love because they’ve never been loved or feel they don’t deserve love. Love is the very basic of all emotions. Everything emanates from there. So if we can’t love, we can’t connect, be open, grow, be happy, feel liked, love others etc. When we are void of fulfilling emotions and don't turn inward to work on what needs...

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When I do Something in 30 Minutes It's Because of This

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. And if you are feeling age discrimination when your company should be putting your expertise to good use, this link to the strategies I share with my clients might help >>> 10 Tips When You Fear Age Bias 

If you are struggling with uncertainty and...

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Four Things You Can't Get Back

We all have regrets. It’s healthy to reflect on what we’d do differently. I certainly regret some things I’ve said and done as I was figuring out the art and science of parenting. I’m still figuring it out and my children are in their twenties and thirties. I regret how self doubt showed up in my behavior at work early in my career. I overreacted, withdrew and often blamed myself far more than was helpful.  

Corporations today value, promote and hire for self-awareness because it makes the employee coachable. The more self aware we become the more we can release assumptions that hold us back before we adopt them as mantras. “He’s never going to respect my work.” “I’m always the one left out.” “Every time I try harder the same thing ends up happening.” 

Notice the thread. “Never...” “Always...” “Every...” Absolutes are deadly to progress. If you hear yourself...

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Nine Lessons from the Corner Office

Ten years ago I began my role as President of a $25 million Hospital Foundation within an 85,000 employee organization. I went to a very nice employee appreciation lunch and was able to select a special gift of recognition from an array of items. 

Mostly, I am grateful for the opportunity I have to lead and serve alongside consummate professionals I respect and under board members who trust me and have challenged me to be the best leader I can be. 

I’ve earned a number of awards from various community and professional organizations for my leadership throughout my tenure here. But nothing has meant more to me than knowing that when I get up and come to work every day, I get the privilege to make the world a little better. That might mean providing a walker for an elderly gentleman or a hearing aid for a new mother. It might be paying rent for a patient with cancer, so she doesn’t get evicted due to lost wages while in treatment. It could be as big as a $4.5...

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A Fun Remote-Work COVID-19 Plan for You Today - Fill in the Blanks

You're at home working remotely and worried about getting Coronavirus, your income may decline, your investment portfolio is tanking and that retirement may be a mirage. Let's focus on what needs to go right not what is going wrong.

1. We need to get comfortable with uncertainty.

Difficult, yes. But think back to the last time you were uncertain - got laid off, moved to a new town, started school or a new job. How did you get through it? You'll get through this the same way.

We want to shrink back to the ways things were. We were comfortable there. Much of the predictability of our lives is gone. We are all grieving that loss. 

The sooner we accept that change is inevitable, uncomfortable and out of our control, the more resiliency we have to move forward.

2. Focus on the professional or personal development you've complained you've never have time for.

You're bored. You're as productive as you can be considering much of your work flow is controlled by a stagnant economy. So...

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