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...
I AM SO EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE THIS! I have spent the fall writing and designing a very special set of go-to practice cards that capture the essence of how I teach my clients to have and maintain executive presence. They are ready in time for the holidays!
When tense moments threaten your executive presence 90 Seconds to Ease Cards bring you confidence, connection and calm before you do, write or say something you regret.
What you'll get:
• 10 beautifully designed cards with 90-second go-to strategies to serve as your private coach in difficult moments.
• The ease of having something quick and sturdy at your fingertips to address anxiety with flow on the go.
• A unique and thoughtful gift for congratulating someone in a new role, a special occasion or for yourself.
• An easily accessible tool to carry with you anytime or have handy in your desk, briefcase or nightstand.
You don't want to get emotional at a meeting. You don't want to lash out or withdraw at a...
You’ve seen The Mindful Revolution on the cover of Time. You’ve heard about the studies. People in your office talk about meditation and Yoga. What does all this have to do with work? Everything.
What would your productivity look like if you could complete your next project in 70% less time? That is the percentage of employees in the U.S. who are not engaged in their work according to Gallup. Odds are that some of the 70% work for you.
While corporate training is a $70 billion industry in the U.S., mindfulness programs are flourishing organically from the inside. Stress prompted Janice Marturano, former deputy general counsel at General Mills, to create a mindfulness program at the company. It was so popular that she left to start her own institute. There are 500 employees on the waiting list at Google for the class “Search Inside Yourself” originated by Chade-Meng Tan, a Google engineer who now teaches mindfulness full time.
If you could name one thing that weighs you down from your dreams what would it be? You might say, “Oh that’s too abstract and meaningless of a question.”
Achievers like concrete thinking. Give them a task and they will complete it early and exceed expectations. They are masters at this. I know. I was one of them.
Yet somewhere along the way the internal mechanism of “doing” keeps going faster when it is your go-to practice. You start to feel that you’re on the treadmill to nowhere. You wonder why you’re working harder than ever with less positive results.
Step off the treadmill and remember what you used to love to do when time and money were not factors. Take that to the next level. Dreaming is where inhibition lies. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Now what is one thing you can set aside to get there? We must know what that is so we can commit to progress. Swap it for a thought or action you like better.
Clients come to...
Have you ever been in a high stakes meeting or in a conversation where someone challenges your position and you immediately start to feel the world closing in on you? Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl describes that moment this way ~ “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
It’s important to have actionable strategies when our thoughts take over and rule our actions. You are not your thoughts.
The Pause Café
When you feel anxious or aggravated practice what my clients and I call “The Pause Café.” It starts with a deep breath where you ask yourself, “What is going on with me?” Invite in the tension by being curious to it, not turning away. What we run from chases us down until we deal with it. Identify where the tension sits in your body. You may...
As an executive coach I see three main challenges repeatedly surface for leaders seeking to better their careers, teams and relationships.
When things aren’t going well people get stressed and think that if they just try harder the situation will get better. They focus on one size-fits-all strategies such as – work more hours, hold more meetings, take a course, call a recruiter, network more, get another degree, put in for another promotion, change for the sake of change, read more self-help or business books. They think things will improve because of their fierce dedication when in fact doing more of the same just brings more disappointment, let down from unmet expectations, stress, lack of confidence and makes them feel exhausted on the treadmill to nowhere. They seek “more” instead of less. They can’t slow down enough to be vulnerable – to risk searching inside themselves where the answers always lie. So...
Last summer my father passed away. It was a difficult time for me as I know it is for any of you who have a dying parent or who have lost a loved one. I did a lot of journaling during that time and I share the passage below with you in hope that it inspires you to embrace the difficult feelings of grief. My wish is that you may process and won the feelings you turn away from - that you allow them to flow through you - not get struck inside you and fester. That is how we have freedom. Namaste.
Last night I held a hand for the first time. Indeed throughout my life I have held many hands - extending myself to help, reaching for comfort, joining in an act of love. But last night I held the hand of a man who knows he is dying and it felt like we were the only two people in the world.
My father is the epitome of grace, leadership, and strength. At the end of his life all of these qualities still stand in spite of a failing body. I coach and train on mindfulness, the...
This past holiday weekend held a moment where I realized that with all we work so hard to achieve and how we strive for perfect experiences that the greatest feelings in life come when your hair is down and no one is watching. Fortunately for me my daughter was watching and captured this one with my grandson. Love on the Chesapeake.
With work, with family and with just about any situation we can get stuck projecting what we want the situation to be like to suit our needs. I used to do this a lot with family get togethers. As leaders we repeat this blind habit because we think our almighty discernment is always necessary. My life is so much more peaceful and rewarding when I don't have to direct it like a movie but when I can watch it like entertainment. Believe me - there are plenty of comical moments. When I think back to how often I wanted things to be on my terms and how really silly I was to think I could actually make that happen it makes me chuckle. Insight is...
Have you overreacted in front of key leaders at work and immediately regretted it? Have you felt anxiety because you assumed something said was personal towards you? Have you thought a round of bad luck would pervade every area of your life or go on indefinitely?
We’ve all been stuck and not able to self-regulate. Unfortunately, stuck thinking only breeds more suffering when our only strategy is to get back on the treadmill to nowhere with the same mindset and behaviors.
Early in my career I remember over-reacting at an executive management meeting and feeling justified. I had so little self-awareness that the need to be right overshadowed my presence and effectiveness. These occurrences start to build stereotypes that rob you of respect. Don’t be labeled the “emotional leader” or “the victim.”
Become a third-party observer of your own behavior and thoughts - a fly on the wall watching your life. What would you tell a friend who had your...
Feedback is crucial to performance improvement because it enables us to look at situations and ourselves from a third-party perspective. It unlocks self-reflection and growth, and opens the door to opportunity. “You are doing a great job” or “You have to do better,” does not give the employee the needed tools to improve or the intrinsic fulfillment to make him want to stay with the company and grow.
Effective feedback has three mindful components. It is 1) Strategic, 2) Developmental and 3) Aligned with the values of the organization. These require us to be aware of our restrictive biases.
Strategic Feedback: The employee can most benefit from feedback that answers this question: “What should this employee do more or less of to be maximally effective?” If you aren’t sure of the answer, ask the employee. Once you have the answer, you can work with her to clear distractions from her workload and position her to do the most meaningful and...
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