I Just Want to Be Alone

Recently we took my grandson who was visiting from out of town to the zoo. It gave me the opportunity to witness the simplicity of basic interaction. As humans the very nature of our existence is to interact. Our interconnectedness is crucial to our happiness and well-being. Sometimes I just want to be alone and not have to deal with the bureaucracy, power struggles and personal agendas of work and life. But it is not helpful to feel that way most of the time.  

My awareness tells me that in those moments I’m withdrawing because I’ve projected a previous experience on the situation along with my bias. Every moment is a new moment. I’m happier and more effective when I choose to be surprised by what happens. This leaves me completely vulnerable. It’s a little scary not knowing what might occur as opposed to armoring up against my projected outcome. It is uncharted territory to not control how I’ll respond. But it’s more fun to smile than...

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How to Build Self-Awareness for Executive Presence

We all think we are self-aware. Of course, you know yourself better than anyone else. Right? Not necessarily. 

You rewind and replay those thoughts in your head so many times a day you think nobody else could know them better than you. That may be true. But that does not make you aware of how they show in your behavior. And this blind spot is the biggest deterrent to executive presence, relationship building and confidence. 

Two Kinds of Self-Awareness 

Self-awareness has two factions. First, there is internal self-awareness – how well you understand yourself. Second, there is external self-awareness – your understanding of how others view you. 

You think you are a good manager. You write good concise descriptions, screen for attitude as well as experience, align the bench strength of your team, and clearly communicate strategy in tandem with the business plan. You mentor your employees because you care about them and provide personal development...

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This Happened Sunday

Two nights ago I didn’t recognize myself. I got home from a wonderful weekend at the beach to find that all the packages that had been delivered were left in the rain in my driveway instead of on the porch. Many of my Christmas card envelopes had gotten stuck together from the moisture and I had been shorted 25 of them.

As I sat there putting labels on envelopes and trying to pry apart envelopes without ruining them I heard myself say, “I hate doing this. I don’t even know why I send Christmas cards” followed by a few words I can’t even write down.  

Now, this is not me. I think all year about the photos on my Christmas cards. It’s my way of sharing a joyous hello. I love opening the cards from friends.  

Finally, my husband had to tell me, “OK, that’s enough now” to shake me awake from my funk. 

Perfection. Holidays inspire perfection. And that inspires expectations. And that inspires unmet expectations....

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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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16 Big Impact Ways to Give a Gift that Costs You Nothing

If you've been to the grocery store this time of year you know that it is either the holiday season or Armageddon. You're buying things you don't usually use. (When is the last time you bought fresh sage?) You're doing mini makeovers of your home decor. (That old rug never looked so bad.) And you're hoping the discussion at dinner doesn't turn to politics.

I invite you right now to shift your perspective from holiday expectations to what the holiday season is truly about. Love. Yes, Love. Not present giving. Just love. Even at work. It may not be appropriate for you to give a substantively large gift to someone at work. Your time is more valuable than anything you can buy. How will you demonstrate the tenets of love to everyone in your work and personal life? How will you extend compassion, patience, consideration, listening, understanding? 

16 Big Impact Ways to Give a Gift that Costs You Nothing 

  1. Offer to help a colleague with a project on which they have been...
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11 Reso-YOU-tions for Results in 2020

Would you take a trip without a map? Of course not. So why do you think you can create a New Year’s resolution and get there just because you 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.                         

11 Reso-YOU-tions for Results in 2020 

  1. Set and talk about goals. These are not resolutions. Write down your big goals for the year using the guideline “Does this align with what is important to me?” Studies show that people who write down their intentions and talk about them reach them far more than those who don’t. 
  1. Use a daily planner or app to track daily activity toward that goal. Way of Life is the app I use for this. I also use a hard bound very pretty daily planner. 
  1. Define...
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Hateful People at Work

I saw this license plate in front of me at a traffic light this morning while I was stopped in front of a church, talking on the phone with my daughter who is experiencing “mean girl” behavior at work. I decided it was a sign  and sent her the photo. (Also, it's not often that we see a car from North Dakota in Pittsburgh.)

Happy people don’t hurt one another. Never lose your executive presence and get emotional with hateful people. They hate themselves far more than they hate you. Their internal barometer is far more angry than you could ever feel toward them. Don’t become them. Don’t defend against them. You’ll only look small. Smile and say, “Help me understand what you mean by that” as you give yourself space to remember that you’ve got this.

If you want more executive presence tips here’s a link to my FREE report: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World 

Your coach,

Mary...

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My Special Thanksgiving Message for You - Will she make it?

As you head into the Thanksgiving holiday please remember to take care of yourself. We often set expectations for holidays that set us up for disappointment. Or we’re sad about who won’t be there. Or we tire ourselves striving for perfection making a meal that gets eaten in 30 minutes. 

Thanksgiving is a time when we appreciate all that we already have and already are - a sweet kiss to a child that lives out of town, a laugh shared over a family memory, a favorite smell, the touch of a hand that says, “I’m here and I love you.” 

Remember to see people as individuals and not part of a scene you’ve prescribed in your head. Don’t let the holiday go by where you’ve not been fully present for at least one individual precious moment with each and every loved one, including your pet. And sometimes just pause, take a deep breath and say to yourself, “I am grateful to feel good!” 

All of our six children will be home...

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At first I didnt believe this.

At first I didn't believe this graphic. Be careful how you interpret your responsibility for an unhappy person’s environment. I do believe as leaders we have to nurture our team culture and provide a safe place for mistakes to happen without shame. I believe we must encourage and be accepting. But when someone is stuck and their behavior is disrespectful and uncalled for boundaries are necessary. We don’t own or placate someone else’s bad behavior or it just enables more bad behavior. If we constantly need to rescue someone from themselves by making excuses for them or declaring that others do the same and cater to them we’ll be rescuing and enabling for a very long time. And the person being rescued’s behavior will only get worse as will their unhappiness.

It’s not our job to fix the flower. It’s our job to create boundaries around what we will and will not allow for ourselves. We can’t change them. Only our own behavior. That...

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Four Career Guideposts for Women

When I made my journey from welfare to CEO four succinct guideposts became crucial to my transformation. Malcom Gladwell said that to master anything you must do it 10,000 hours. The only problem with that is that if you are doing something that doesn’t work – you’ve just become proficient at being stuck. 

Guidepost #1: Seek Your Childhood Innocence. 

If we go through our lives expecting one challenge after another, that’s what shows up – life becomes a problem to solve instead of being fun like when you were a child and could play outside all night long, catching fireflies and naming stars. We start to adopt messages from experience as truth when they are nothing but interpretations. Soon life is merely solving one challenging interpretation after another. I know this well because I mastered it with what seemed like 10,000 hours. 

I was a stay-at-home mother with four children under seven-years-old living what looked on the outside...

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