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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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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Gaslighting and Your Executive Presence

You know the feeling. You’re in what you think is an honest discussion with someone and suddenly they blindside you with a comment that totally undermines your perspective. At first you are stunned like a deer in the headlights. You think, ‘How could she say that? It isn’t at all true.’ Then you get angry at the betrayal and at this point you have lost your executive presence. You shut down or start defending yourself, never getting anywhere on the real issue.

You know you are being gaslighted when you hear comments such as:

  • I didn’t do that.
  • You’re overreacting.
  • You’re imagining that.
  • You’re too sensitive.
  • I never said that.
  • Why are you __________? (Something that isn’t true.)
  • Stop being a victim.
  • You’ve got the problem not me.
  • You need to let it go.

Gaslighting happens at work and in life. It’s a Machiavellian tactic whereby someone minimizes you by denying that your perception of a situation is true. It’s...

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A Story About My Daughter

Yesterday I got a call from my second oldest daughter who had just had an intimidating experience. As I was helping her stay in the moment and not relive the fear or project a repeat occurrence I remembered the wisdom in the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.

The book offers a code of conduct based on ancient Toltec wisdom that advocates freedom from self-limiting beliefs that may cause suffering and limitation in a person's life.

The Four Agreements are:

Always do your best.
Be impeccable with your word.
Don’t take anything personally.
Don’t make assumptions.

The first two are character based. Good people have less trouble with them. The last two are self-esteem based. Everyone has trouble with them.

Fear can be debilitating. It’s worse when we make assumptions about it. At work it usually shows up around what people say, do, what you assume is behind their behavior and what you assume they mean. You think it’s about you personally but usually...

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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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COVID-19 and Your Staff Meetings

I work in a hospital setting where everyone is on site and the COVID-19 crisis has people worried. This week at my staff meeting in addition to insuring good social distance I opened it with, “This is a difficult time. Let's just stop for a minute and share how we’re feeling about what’s going on with us right now.” That moment of reflection allowed everyone to step back, take a breath and exhale all of the emotional churn that had built up.  

In this safe space I witnessed a human sigh of authenticity. There were tears. There was fear. There was frustration. And after all of the emotions were out, shared, and discussed there was compassion. People offered to help each other, solutions to personal concerns and shared meaning. We saw each other instead of just ourselves. Compassion was king.

What was even more amazing is that then we were able to get some innovative work done with total focus on a crisis management plan and how we’d work...

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What is Your Word for the Year? This is mine.

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...

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Trying to Change Them

When people hire me as their executive coach many times they are struggling with a stagnant career, feel stereotyped or are having a difficult time finding clarity, balance and being effective. As we dig into the real root cause nine times out of ten the biggest issue is their confidence in feeling worthy to deliver. This doubt presents itself in our behavior, though we don’t realize the subtleness of our eye contact, voice intonation, relationship savvy. Everyone has a blind spot. The problem is that others see it with what they perceive as pinpoint accuracy and then apply their own bias to it resulting in prejudice. And therefore, you don't get what you want. 

If you struggle with any of these issues let's have a conversation to see if coaching is a good fit. You can request a free call with me at the link below. If you don’t know where you'll be at the end of the year, you're already there.

Success is freedom. Not more hours. Request a free call now so we can see...

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If you want to be promoted this matters.

I’ve been an executive coach for more than ten years and I definitely see trends. The people who get hired, advance, are well liked, get promoted, are invited and welcomed almost always are the hardest working people in the room. It’s by no means everything. As a matter of fact almost all of my clients come to me with this trait. But it’s a foundation that can’t be taught and usually coincides with outstanding character - two highly sought after qualities in the work world. These are tenets of highly coachable and engaging leaders. Marry these with vision, execution, working smart, likability and emotional intelligence and you have excellence.  

The entitled people are not respected. The difficult people are not welcomed. The lazy people are not revered. And the complainers are not liked. 

Congratulating you today for your work ethic. You are among an elite group. Bravo! 

If you are struggling with uncertaintly and feel exhasuted and...

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6 Tips When You are Taken for Granted

Often, we go about our lives thinking our relationships at work and in life are ok while under the surface a subtle ember of discord is burning. Then one day it bursts into full blaze and we do or say something that rips at our presence. At work this is particularly difficult when it strips your executive presence. One of the subtle feelings that shreds our peace is the feeling that we have been taken for granted. 

  1. Name what you’re feeling.

You might think you hate your boss or that a colleague is self-absorbed but that is focusing on their behavior and not your feelings. What does their behavior make you feel? Small? Disregarded? Disrespected? Undervalued? Naming the feeling disarms its power. 

  1. Draw healthy boundaries.

You know you want to draw healthier boundaries when you feel taken advantage of, taken for granted, responsible for someone else’s happiness or blatantly disrespected. To understand the power of health boundaries first imagine that you are...

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