Keep the Fire Burning!

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Forget New Year Resolutions. Dream Audaciously!

DreamBigThis holiday as I was playing executive coach with my 13-year old nephew, I asked him what his New Year resolutions were. He gave it a thought, shrugged his shoulder and said “I don’t have any. I’m pretty happy with my life”. A couple of days later, he came downstairs and asked the family about what his political platform should be. As he calmly explained to us, he is planning to run for political office when he’s 43 and just needs to get clear about his stance on various issues.

This interaction reminded me of advice I recently read in Michael Hyatt’s book “Platform” as well as the inspiration from my friend Whitney Johnson, author of “Dare, Dream, Do”. In his book, Michael Hyatt tells the story of Lou Holtz who, broke and unemployed, decided to write down 107 goals one evening in 1966, including dinner at the White House, meeting the Pope, etc. To-date he has achieved 102 of his 107 goals. So, this year, instead of setting New Year resolutions, I’m dreaming audaciously. I invite you to dream audaciously with me. Here is my audacious dream and three steps to create yours:

My Leadership Lesson in 2014

As I sGoodbye-2014-photoat down this week to write a blog post about taking stock of the year, helping us all think about accomplishments, failures, learning, I found myself rather uninspired. I started, and stopped – multiple times. It wasn’t until I happened to visit a friend in the hospital that I was truly inspired to write this post – because it gave me a glimpse into what really matters as we take stock of our year and our leadership. Shelley is a cancer survivor – for the fourth time. Here is her story and what I learned from the experience.

Five Freedoms of Authentic Leaders

Independence-DayJuly 4 is Independence Day in the United States. It commemorates the day in 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed, declaring independence from Great Britain. We celebrate our freedom with fireworks, family gatherings, parades, barbeques and apple pie. We honor those who have fought and fight now to help us sustain our freedom.  Can we also use this day to honor the leader in ourselves and others who fights for freedom in the exercise of leadership?  Truly authentic leaders exercise the following five freedoms in their leadership. Are you?

How High-Powered Women Redefine Power

Forbes Women SummitIn May 2014, I had the opportunity to be part of a group of about 50 women leaders from across the U.S. who met in New York City for a salon dinner as part of the Forbes Women’s Summit. Among us we had Carly Fiorina (former CEO of Hewlett Packard, at one time the only female CEO in the Fortune 50), the newly announced CEO of the AARP, Jo Ann Jenkins, senior executives from IBM, Microsoft, Costco, McKinsey, CEO’s of technology start-ups as well as major non-profits. Here is how this group of high powered women redefined power.

Lead with your Body Intelligence

Wonder Woman

Do you find yourself in situations where you know what the right behavior is, but are unable to actually act on it? Did you know that your body can actually help you to shift your behavior?  I am finding in my executive coaching work that my clients create faster and more sustained shifts in their leadership behaviors when they tap into the wisdom in their bodies. The latest neuroscience research on the mind body connection shows us how much of our leadership behavior is actually embodied.  To change this behavior requires us getting in touch with what is happening in our bodies.  Yes, all that reprimanding from my mom about “don’t slouch”, “watch your posture”, “smile, it will make you feel better” actually works!

According to this TEDTalk by Harvard researcher Amy Cuddy “Your body language shapes who you are“ our bodies can actually help us change our minds, change our behavior, and significantly improve our leadership outcomes. It’s what I call Whole Body Leadership. In her research, candidates who embodied certain power poses (like those by Wonder Woman) prior to job interviews got the job! I had a chance to interview one of the leading embodiment experts, Richard Strozzi-Heckler of the Strozzi Institute about how we can connect and learn from our bodies to grow in our leadership.

Spring Into Leadership

Spring2As spring bursts forth, are you feeling how nature is coming alive? I watch the bright new leaves on the trees, hear the symphony of the birds chirping, feel the drizzle of the rain on my face.  Within this aliveness there is a palpable energy of possibility, creativity, and growth. The aliveness in spring is the same aliveness I find in the most inspiring leaders. It’s the resonant energy we feel in organizations, cultures, and teams that are innovative, engaged, and pulse with possibility.  It is the kind of aliveness I believe we all deserve to feel – a spring in our step. Ask yourself, how alive do I feel right now? How many of us feel this alive in our work? Judging from the employee engagement survey results, the number would be only 30%. Here are five steps to be a more inspired and resonant leader.

Spring Cleaning For Your Leadership

SpringI was walking in my garden last week and it inspired me to write this post.  Spring is blooming here.  Most of us look forward to the change of the season.  It made me wonder why we resist change in other aspects of our lives.  Aren’t we all part of the natural world and thus subject to it’s laws of constant change? Why do we expect the changes of the seasons, the tides, the very revolving of the earth in orbit, and resist the changes in organizations, jobs and careers? As we resist change, we stay stuck in leadership behaviors that no longer serve us.  I decided it was time for me to create my own ritual for spring cleaning just like cultures and faith traditions around the world.  We clean our houses, our closets, clean out the winter rubble in our gardens to plant seeds for the new season. Why not take the time to spring clean our leadership? Here are five steps I’m taking.

By |April 6th, 2014|General|2 Comments

Work Life Balance Wisdom

Work-Life Logo- Tricia MalloyIn our virtually 24/7 connected world there are very few people who are fully satisfied with their work life balance. I usually find myself racing from one task to another. I don’t take the time to relish the feeling of accomplishment.  Often my mind is usually on the next task to be done rather than being present to the opportunities to enjoy the task at hand.  I recently connected with author and speaker Tricia Molloy. I asked her to share with me her wisdom on the topic of work life balance for my own learning and to share with our blog community.  Here are seven strategies she shared.

How to Lead A Mentoring Circle

Mentor-circleEver consider group coaching or mentoring to engage and grow leaders in your organization? When women come together in a circle miracles happen. Communities prosper. Women are empowered. Change happens for the better. Whatever we can envision together, we can make happen together. This is my belief. It is also part of our DNA and how our brains evolved. Research shows that women tend to best cope with stress by “tending and befriending” vs. the “fight or flight” response experienced by men.  In our early history we gathered together around fires, sharing stories to teach and pass along wisdom, to support each other, to participate in rituals and rites of passage, to celebrate life and death. 

Now we gather together in conference rooms, online communities, Starbucks, and church basements to connect, to relate, share hobbies, and to work on common goals.  It could be for mentoring, for a cause we believe in, or simply to lose weight.  Circles are part of our DNA.  Thanks to Sheryl Sandberg’s book, “Lean In Circles” are everywhere. In my coaching work, I often work with organizations to help them to get group coaching and mentoring circles started.  The objective of a mentoring circle is for a group of leaders to come together to help each other grow in their leadership, and support each other to meet goals.

Here are five rules for leading a successful mentoring circle (thanks to the persistence of Colleen, one of our blog community participants who asked for this).

Five Steps to Own Your Development Plan

Career Development Are you wondering what’s next for your career?  I always love it when I get e-mails from our blog community about the challenges they are facing. The e-mail I got recently inspired me to write a blog post on the topic. Jane (not her real name), is someone who wants to really grow her leadership. However, she is not getting development or coaching from her boss. She feels disengaged and stuck. Here is her e-mail and my coaching on five steps to create a great development plan.