12 Leadership Influence Books That Changed My Career

I read two books a week. I love reading because I can choose books on precisely what interests me. I was never a fan of school because there were so many subjects I was not interested in - like Algebra III. Anyway, when I was a young, struggling single mother of four children I became a veracious reader. I could not afford books at the time so I would sit on the floor of book stores and read about how I could get a job that would provide for my family. The library did not have cutting edge management and leadership books so I would go to the book store while my children were in school. 

When I became a manager I realized everyone wasn’t like me so I went back to the bookstore on the weekends to learn how to be a better leader. Fast forward to today where I am a two decade CEO and my husband and I still go the bookstore each Saturday and Sunday on my quest for knowledge. I always come home with at least one book. A Nook doesn’t work for me. I like to turn down the...

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How to Deal with Anger from Your Divorce

I spent a lot of years angry. Very angry. I was in a neglectful and abusive marriage as a stay-at-home mother of four children under seven-years-old. On the outside it looked like we were living the country club life while in reality my life was unpalatable. Every day I felt as if a noose around my neck was choking my ability to breathe. Finally, I filed for divorce as a leap of faith and was completely unprepared for the avalanche to come. 

Within six months of filing for divorce my husband placed his businesses into bankruptcy on loans I had cosigned. He canceled his children’s and my health insurance but not his own. Our home which was nearly paid off and in the most affluent suburb of town went up for Sheriff’s Sale whereby 100% of the proceeds went to offset his business debt. The bank repossessed my minivan, not his car. And I had to chase him through the courts for a child support and alimony award at its highest of $269 a week – which he appealed. The...

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When You Are Overwhelmed and Pointing Fingers

I work with clients a lot on how mindful daily practices impact your effectiveness and happiness. Recently, I bought some water color supplies on Amazon, watched a video on watercolor painting and experimented one evening. I had fun then tucked the supplies away for another day.  

Last week, after the overwhelming and emotional experience of having to clean out my parent’s house to sell, I got out the box of supplies, threw inhibition to the wind and on the first page of my new watercolor journal painted an image from a peaceful photograph I had taken in the low country of South Carolina. It won’t be in any art contests but the experience of doing this with a shuffle of Michael Buble playing in the background calmed me.

In that space I could get curious about my emotions instead of running from them. I felt frustrated that my brother was not there to help me. I was sad going through the papers and memories of my father. I was worried about my mother who we had...

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9 Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Major Decision

This list is a guide for when you need to test your aspirations that require a major adjustment to your life and career. It’s a reality check for change. Grab a pen and get started. 

  1. Am I happy? It’s a simple yes or no question. If the answer is “no” then follow with this, “How will I change my perspective and/or situation to create happiness?” Life is short. Don’t have an accidental career or life. 
  1. What does my gut say? Your head is too intellectual. Your heart is too emotional. Trust your instinct. 
  1. Does this change align with my values and those of the people it will affect? Write down your values? Write down the values of important people in your life. You might have to sell this change. Know the benefits to all parties. And know who it will hurt. Is it worth it? 
  1. Am I making this change to run away from something? Change for the sake of change is a mistake. You’ll find yourself in a similar...
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It Touched Me

This week I was refelcting on having had the good fortune of visiting the beautiful town of Copacabana and the city of Rio in Brazil for New Year’s Eve. Ten barges of fireworks are parked in the water all day on New Year's Eve awaiting three million people of all socioeconomic levels from all over the world to descend on the beach in white clothing at sundown. As the late evening approaches, seven cruise ships pepper the water behind them perched for the perfectly coordinated midnight extravaganza in perfect unison. I’ve never seen anything like it. I now know why they call it the best New Year’s Eve celebration in the world. 

In Brazil I was profoundly touched by the natives' desire to work hard and thrive. The lust for life is palpable. There are no entitlements in the country so indeed there is poverty too. But the people are not an angry. They have light hearts, play soccer all over the beach, collect empty cans for money, work tirelessly at whatever they...

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The Tool to Narrow the Gap in the Equation of Career Happiness

Throughout my years as an executive coach I have seen people triumph over immense hardship while others falter over minutiae. I’ve seen a sense of urgency spearhead achievement while chronic victimization hamstring progress. I’ve been party to personal transformations because people risk vulnerability with great courage and I’ve seen stagnation be the end-product of complaining about unmet expectations. Most often the underachievers carry self-doubt that they don’t know how to convert to confidence. 

It’s pretty clear to me what makes people happy and empowered to create the life they want and what does not. It’s a simple equation. 

The Golden Rule of Happiness

The shorter the distance between what you want and where you are the happier you will be and the more risks you will take. 

You Want a Better Job

Let’s say you want to move up in your career, possibly changing companies. And right now you are in a miserable role. There...

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No one wants to hurt

Recently I had the honor of attending a mindfulness presentation and meditation session by Buddhist Monk Dr. Barry Karzin, physician for The Dalai Lama, sponsored by UPMC in celebration of Nurses Week.

He reminded us that one of the kindest things we can do for someone we are serving, no matter what the industry, is to ask them, “What’s the most important thing I can do for you today?”

There is no word in the Tibetan language or in Buddhism for “guilt” because when we have healthy confidence no one is ever condescended to. There is no putting down - especially of one’s self - only compassion. Compassion is the desire and action to alleviate suffering. Loving others, especially when their behavior makes it difficult, helps us to be compassionate.

We all want to be happy. No one wants to hurt.

Your coach,

Mary Lee

P.S. Money replenishes itself. Time does not.  Click here to request a call with me and let's talk about your...

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