One Thing for Your Well-being, Career Efficacy & Executive Presence

Two years ago on a cold December day I felt stressed and overwhelmed so I made a commitment to do something about it, not unlike what many people do as the New Year approaches. I ordered a very expensive and really pretty planner. (Since when did planners start costing $85?) About a week into it I found myself writing mindful daily practices in the margins to hold myself accountable. Three weeks later I was writing my daily goals in the margins too. Four weeks later I was recreating the entire page, ignoring what was on it.

Five weeks into it I tried another planner. Two weeks into using that one I was now writing in the margins again – my gratitude thoughts, how I was feeling – daily practices that help release the negativity we often don’t spend time processing and then can’t let go of. (Dreadful feeling.) I already had a calendar for my to-do list and appointments. I needed a planner for my well-being and big goals. 

Over two months I ordered six...

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The Two Things That Kill Careers and Happiness

We continually strategize on the things we need to do to advance our careers, close the sale, be happier, have better relationships and get what we want. More often than not it is what we need to cease doing that gives us the most power.

  1. Don’t discount your dreams.

I used to live life from a “but at least it’s not ______” perspective. I thought this was being positive because I could always think of something worse. This was an OK way of remaining optimistic in the face of adversity until it became habit for all of life and halted my ability to envision the openness of wonder. 

It wasn’t until I was aware of this that I began to risk shifting to the vulnerable choice of exploring joy without expecting it to be short lived. To ushering in opportunity that I knew was meant for me without holding onto fear. To seeing all that was there with the curiosity of a child. This ability to stay in the moment without fast forwarding to an anticipated ending...

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I'm Feeling Anxious

I’m feeling anxious today. I have committed to take two journeys simultaneously that will

1) I’m taking a six-week Dreamwork Coaching Program with master Will Sharon to help my executive coaching clients further build their conscious awareness, peace and effectiveness. It’s not for the faint of heart. It requires online training, hours of classes, work with a partner and more. 

2) I’m taking a Podcast Fellowship Program with a colleague of Seth Godin’s to learn how to launch my first Podcast series around ‘New SMART Leadership.’ 

I asked myself, “Ok Mary Lee, what would you ask a client in this position?” The answer is that I’d ask her to execute the PAUSE Cafe strategy...

I PAUSE and take a deep breath. 

I ASK myself, “What’s going on with me?” I’m feeling scared that I won’t be able to manage my time and will feel stressed. I feel vulnerable because I am not good with...

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High Tech Meet High Touch

High Tech meet High Touch. There is so much being done in companies around diversity and inclusion - which are not at all the same thing by the way. But I see little focus in either area to include AGE. 

Five generations are in the workforce right now and there is so much to learn from each other. Roughly 40% of US workers have a boss who is younger than them. 

How do we stop discounting the sage worker who has wisdom, mentoring skills, intuitive experience, relationship building acumen and historical perspective bar none? I have clients with expertise beyond compare in these areas who are being forced out as if their skills are passé. So unwise. Profoundly foolish. 

If you fall in this category and would like my white paper on how to avoid age bias feel free to email or message me at [email protected] Or if you want to know how to better utilize this age group in your company the same article will make it clear.

Let’s all open our thought and...

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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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How to Let Go

This week a very capable client was struggling with some of the work I am having her do around ‘doubt’ and ‘letting go.’ She said she “came up blank” on what she was angry about, what she can terminate right now, where she feels shame and what she feared.  

Questioning our thoughts and feelings often uncovers that they are assumptions and not true at all. These questions help you get deeply into the thoughts and feelings that hold you back - keep you guarded, resentful or powerless. Nobody wants to face them. But, if we don’t they chase us down the rest of our lives. Think of the last time you lashed out, withdrew, or quit something. What FEELING was at the heart of the behavior? I want you to be able to re-examine that feeling as to whether it is an assumption or really true. (This photo shows the process of finding the pause moment to accomplish this strategy.

She then shared that she does feel shame around weight and being...

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The Year is Nearly Over - What Now? 12 Reso-YOU-tions

Would you take a trip without a map? Of course not. This year is nearly over and you might be looking at the New Year and setting resoutions with skepticism. We think we can create a resolution and get there just because we want to. It doesn't work that way. The reason most resolutions fail is because they are simply notions centered on “getting” something and not grounded in the root of what drives people - authenticity and values.

12 Reso-YOU-tions for Results in 2019

1. Write down your goals. Studies show that people who write down their intentions reach them far more than those who don’t.

2. Define what you will let go of. What’s the head trash that inserts itself in your life every time you want to make a leap? Sometimes we need to eliminate before we can add.

3. Define who you will let go of. People are toxic too. Who would you be without negative influence?

4. Sure up a financial safety net. Max out your 401(k) contributions....

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Disarm the Bully with Your Game

Last evening one of my clients was suffering because of a colleague who was bullying her. This bully was sucking her energy and high performance right out of her. I was so happy for her to watch her become a mindful third party observer of the bully’s behavior such that it even made her laugh.

Losing your cool is as bad as withdrawing. Both render you ineffective. Both dummy down your authentic risk taking ability. People notice both. 

When you play it safe or are reactionary you are playing THEIR game. Play YOUR game. Pause. Critical think. Observe what is behind the mask. Be curious. Then get back to your strengths. 

When the bully senses that you are holding it together his or her behavior will escalate. That is where you become amused. Just stare at them. Observe. It can be quite entertaining.

May you become a silent witness to all your experiences, including your personal history. That’s power. That’s executive presence.

Do you want to advance in...

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When You Expect Life to be Fair

So much energy is wasted on expecting life to be fair. That’s like thinking the lion won’t eat you because you didn’t eat him. 

Reality is your friend. It’s what is. Not what was, what should be, what could be, what will be or what isn’t. Those keep you stuck.

Accepting reality is power. We get there by focusing on the moment at hand and not any other. We smile at the vibrant color of a flower, the laugh of a child, the smell of sea air, the feel of rain on our skin.

In all darkness there is light for without it we would not know darkness. Take a deep breath and find the pinpoint of light. Allow it to be your jumping-in point - sunshine, moonlight, a candle, a light on your desk, an overhead light. And share that light with someone today in a smile, a hello, a compliment on something specific, a thank-you. 

You are light and make the difference the world needs, your team needs, your friends need and your family needs. We need you now.

Do you...

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Six Steps When You've Internalized Their Bad Behavior to be About You

So often we internalize people’s negative behavior toward us as something wrong with us. If your uncertain about someone's pensive perspective on you follow these steps.

1. Schedule a meeting with the other person with the purpose of creating a better working or personal relationship. Do not handle this through email.

2. Tell her you hope you are wrong yet you sense judgment from her. Ask him what you could do to improve the relationship.

3. Listen for opportunities for self-improvement. Ask her what she believes her role is in aligning the relationship.

4. If after you have done this her behavior doesn’t change, she doesn't own her part in the misalignment or she won’t even meet with you it’s time to let go of your expectations of her. Unrest always lies in expectations. Having them is useless and out of your control. Goals you can affect are far better.

5. Release your desire for a healthy relationship with him and start managing him like a difficult...

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