5 Executive Presence Calming Strategies for the Moment You're Confronted

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...

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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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The Best Tip for Career Advancement

People ask me all the time for my best tip for career advancement. It isn't who you know or what company you work for. It isn't what title you have or what social group you belong to. It is unequivocally the ability to self-regulate your emotions in real time so that you exude the executive presence that draws a loyal following. Period. There are plenty of smart people who don't advance and it isn’t because they aren't capable.

At any moment you may be called on to have confidence to risk, to have candor to create connections or calmness to cool fury. They don't teach this in business school because it's personal to you.

This graphic illustrates one process my clients work on to build executive presence. Become good at untangling life messages that are really only assumptions. You assume you will be judged when in all truth people want you to succeed. You assume you'll be overwhelmed when forging ahead has served you before. You assume your idea isn't important yet when...

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