Vacation Please

We work hard all year then put pressure on ourselves for the perfect vacation. The concept of vacation is out of balance with an integrated life. This image exemplifies how I live my life. It’s always served me well. I don’t have a bucket list. I do what I want now. I make time, space and energy for what resonates with me and the people I care about. It requires focus and commitment. It requires setting priorities. It requires saying no to things that don’t resonate with my priorities and yes to things that scare me or that I don’t yet know how to do. But perfection is not my goal because I’m certainly not perfect at anything I do or even good at some of the things I try. But I have fun, keep an open mind, laugh at myself, and that’s good enough. And I fiercely love the people around me. 

Because if life isn’t vacation then the other 51 weeks a year are what we are trying to get away from.

If you are not sure where you will be in a year...

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This is Where Change Begins

No one can make you feel the way you won't allow yourself to feel. 

I can’t stress enough how this concept is where change begins. Fulfillment is not external. Yes, work on skillset and strategy. But you won’t see yourself at your full potential until you are ready to release your old mindsets that are only assumptions, name what you deserve, and fully accept it. Behave as if it is already happening. 

Yes, you deserve the promotion, relationship, love and new job. Discard the trap your thoughts have set to keep you safe and free from pain. They are an illusion that keep you from calculated risks. Be vulnerable because that is innocent and fresh. It draws people to you. It also draws opportunity. 

Let go of perfectionism and expectations that only leave you with disappointment. You will grow from the experience either way. Goals are not expectations. They are metrics. Expectations put your worth on the line if the goal is not met. Never helpful. 

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Hate

Can we please stop hating? Hate has become more normalized in our culture over the last several years and it is killing our compassion, culture, productivity and peace. It is also dividing us as a nation. For what? So someone can feel superior? How’s that working? I only see more anger and hate. 

Hate is not a sustainable solution to unrest. It is only an externalization of one’s own feelings of despair and unworthiness. So they keep hating as an escape from feeling trapped and powerless in their own self-hate. 

It takes a lot of humility in the midst of a heated exchange to remind the other person that you care about them. Just saying that helps to diffuse the vehemence of the discussion. Imagine what would happen the next time you are in an argument at work if you said to the other person, "We are both angry. In spite of that I want you to know that I have your back. I want to come to a solution that serves both our goals."

Happy people don’t hurt one...

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Just Calm Down

Telling someone who is visibly upset to "Just calm down" is like saying, “Just stop overeating” to someone who wants to lose weight. Intellectually, you know what you need to do yet your self-management skills aren’t keen enough to cease the behavior or the unresolved feeling. And quick fix advice such as “be positive” makes you feel worse because it denies the inadequacy you feel inside. 

I used to be more of what could have been labeled a ‘distant’ leader. Calming down was not my issue. Relatability was.

Three things changed that for me and for my clients struggling with how to manage emotions:

1) Allow them.

2) Be curious about them.

3) Be compassionate to yourself and others.

This wasn’t a quick fix. It was a repeated practice of continually taking myself through this exercise of self discovery which lead to self acceptance.

I was a single mother and only provider of four children who was stuck in survival mode. I neglected...

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I'm Sorry

Ladies! Please stop saying, "I'm sorry" so much especially at work. Not "I'm sorry to bother you." Just "Do you have a minute?" Not "Sorry this is probably stupid..." Just "Can I run something by you?" Not "Sorry" when you bump into someone. Just "Pardon me." Men don't do this because their threshold for being sorry is far higher and more realistic. When is the last time you heard a man say, "I'm sorry can I ask a question?" Be direct. Be confident. Be authentic.

You're not sorry that you want to say something. You just want to feel that others want to hear it. Don't expect that they don't. Focus on listening so your comment will be most relevant. Set your ego aside as you focus on what's important. Play with the concept of who you would be without doubt?

The last person to speak has the most to say. 

Many people are worried right now about their jobs and not sure if an industry switch or a position change is a good idea. I hear it every day. Often more planning goes into a...

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This Matters for You Executive Presence

I really like the line, “Are you operating as an emotion scientist or a judge.” Emotion scientists observe their and other people’s emotions from a third party perspective and get curious about what’s behind them. Judges judge to get away from the discomfort of feeling uncomfortable. 

Scientists process and name the emotion to release it. Judges turn and run from it with it nipping at their heels forever. Scientists have executive presence. Judges get stereotyped as difficult, emotional and ineffective. 

There’s always a choice. One is harder and requires looking inward with humility and curiosity. One is easier and demands externalization with blame that results in underlying shame. 

Practice being the scientist. It makes life and leadership far easier in the long run.

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 the year you are...

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When They Don't Talk About It

We personalize other people’s behavior in an effort to guard against their wrath. This isn’t helpful. Your colleague’s frustration, anger, condescension or dismissiveness might be vented at you but is not rooted in you. There is nothing wrong with you because someone treats you poorly. Good people know how to communicate without making you feel small. 

Try asking them this: “If we were to have a better working relationship what would that look like?” This forces them to articulate action not victimization. 

Then don’t speak or interrupt. Say only, “Tell me more about that.” 

Let them feel heard. DON’T defend yourself - just repeat back what you heard. In there words will be things they are likely wrong about. But let them be validated. 

Ask them if they want a better working relationship with you. This is important because if they say “yes,” which they likely will, now they’ve made a...

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Don't Waste Time on Resolutions - Do This Instead

My husband and I were sitting alone on the beach of our home on Hilton Head Island last week on Christmas eve. COVID had altered the travel plans of our six children and their families. We had decided if we were going to be alone for Christmas we'd be in a place we love. We sat there talking about how COVID has changed so much for everyone this year. I deliberately got up from my chair and snapped this photo as my commitment to moving forward with a fresh perspective. Hope is on the horizon. Though hope is not a strategy, it reminds me that it is time to plan.

Would you take a trip without a map? Of course not. So why do we think we can create a New Year’s resolution and get there just because we want to? The reason most resolutions fail is because they are simply notions centered on “getting” something and not grounded in your values - the root of what drives you. They aren’t authentic and aligned with your core.     ...

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What to do with Entitled Employees

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...

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When You Want to Do Something Else

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...

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