The Top Skill for Executive Advancement

In my executive coaching practice I help people build the most important skill to uplevel their career and happiness. Most people think that work ethic and resilience are the top indicators of success. Grit is indeed a valued skill. But at a certain level everyone has it. The most sought-after skill for executive advancement is self-awareness. It is most desired because it carries the ability to grow while managing emotions that get in the way of risk taking, feedback and success. There are two types of self-awareness: 1) being aware of your own thoughts, feelings and behaviors, and 2) being aware of how you are viewed by others. 

Leaders are generally are aware of their thoughts but often underutilize their power to disengage from false assumptions that they’ve adopted as facts and end up being emotionally paralyzed from the negative feelings and low self-esteem that result. Competent and even confident leaders then wonder why they aren’t advancing, aren’t...

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Every Leader Should Be Required to Read this Book

Every leader should be required to read this book I read on a recent trip to Greece. Spiritual and political power are not mutually exclusive. Imagine if business schools taught that the more compassionate you are the more effective leader you are. 

Or the power of The Five Spiritual Powers: 1) FAITH (better translated as confidence and trust); 2) DILIGENCE to practice not watering the seeds of anger, fear, hate, despair but to replace and water seeds of joy, peace and happiness; 3) MINDFULNESS to recognize things as they are without projecting bias so emotion can pass; 4) CONCENTRATION on the reality that nothing is permanent so value this moment, unhappiness is born from discrimination between self and others, and that everyone is interconnected; 5) INSIGHT where we realize that all of our suffering can be avoided by living the previous four powers. 

As you cultivate these FIVE POWERS you naturally acquire the power of leadership because people flock to you for advice...

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Mean Leaders and Executive Presence

I’ve never understood why overbearing people think they have power. It’s obvious they don’t. Nobody trusts them or authentically has their back. They are always exhausted trying to make themselves look good at other’s expense. Their insecurities reek in their behavior. And their leadership has no sustainable affect because the people they play to are the first ones off the ship when it starts to go down.  

If you can’t achieve your goals without manipulating, controlling, condescending to, backstabbing, and intimidating other people along the way you’re weak and you will ultimately fail. Period. I’ve seen it in corporate America time and time again. It may not be right away. But it will happen. And your legacy will precede you everywhere you go after that. 

The real problem with mean people is that they are intrinsically unhappy, insecure and have minimal self-awareness. The root feeling behind their behavior is anger coupled...

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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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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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