Save Time with More Effective Meetings

Art-Colorful-Paper-collage

Meetings. Most of us think they take too much time, but we do have to have them.  Let’s look at how you can save time by making meetings more effective. 

In a month that’s the gateway to a string of holidays (and the cooking, relatives, parties, travel, relatives, parties, fundraisers, shopping, wrapping, and gifting that comes with it), there’s no better time than now to prioritize what really needs to get done and what can be cut away, then communicate that clearly to your staff.  

Whether you have attended or run them, meeting formats can become like driving – so second nature sometimes you may not even remember how you got from point A to B! 

Time is money but time is also precious to YOU… and staff morale. If you waste employees time on less significant matters, unclear purpose or action items, or allowing the discussion to meander off-topic, you can incur a triple loss, affecting their motivation which affects productivity, which then affects the results!  

With fresh eyes, let’s review  meeting building blocks for ways you may be able to make your meetings more productive:

  • Only invite people that need to be included
  • Show up on time
  • Eliminate distractions: ie: Don’t put food out or play music hoping to make people happy at the start.
  • Minimize time lost to tech glitches by setting visual presentations or conference calls in advance. Test if you can beforehand. And know who to call in if you need tech help
  • Have not only a short agenda, but jot down down points you want to make and any people you want to recognize- then stick to that focus
  • Open with the objective of the meeting. 
  • Whomever leads the meeting, set up another person to steer it back if you tend to get off track 
  • When something of value warrants further discussion, suggest the key people  continue offline (and report back if needed).  
  • Make sure your people know you are listening. Be present, rather than thinking of the next point. Make and hold eye contact with those contributing.  Online look right into the camera, use body language to show you’re with them.
  • Ask: “What will you need to accomplish that?” or “Who can help with this?”
  • Close with a clear summary of what’s action steps or what was achieved
  • Have good notes taken to share right after with all attendees, or in less than 24 hours. Make sure they are streamlined: key items, bulleted with clean font – anything to encourage review, and ask for feedback where relevant

Bottom line, the best tip for how to save time with more effective meetings, is about how YOU prepare! Not only will they take less time – including follow up, repeating info, minimizing glitches caused by misunderstanding (because someone fell asleep in the meeting), your staff will be happier, and more productive, and all of that will save time and money in the long run! 

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Lead Through Anxiety

Fall leaf on grey rocks

You can lead through anxiety by identifying and managing it, and have a positive impact on your staff too. Change is inevitable, but it seems it’s everywhere and all at once these days. Elections are brewing, the workplace will be adapting pandemic precautions yet again, employees are hard to find or keep, not to mention the accelerating paradigm and communication shifts. Yet you have to show up and meet goals, solve problems, incorporate new practices without a hitch, setting the tone for all, and lead as if you know how to do this… or do you? 

And then you may be anxious as summer draws to a close… Are you feeling stressed at the thought of facing the last quarter of the year, with major work to complete? Or is it just the sensory change as the daylight grows shorter and the temperature shifts? If so, I’ve got news for you – you’re not alone.  

It’s hard to be inspiring and supportive if you are feeling like Atlas. One thing that can be a great leveler is to realize that most that you work with, whether your clients, co-workers or staff, may be feeling this too, to one degree or another.  My blogs on self care, creating more time, a better work-life balance and the tools to navigate the paradigm shifts going on in the workplace have been the most popular for a reason. 

How can you inspire others when you are struggling yourself? 

BECOME AWARE

You can’t work on something you can’t name. By becoming aware of and labeling what you are feeling or fearing, you can sort it out. That alone will take away half its power. Come at it with curiosity and a sense that relief can come from unmasking it.  This should be interesting to you, not shameful, or make you feel like failure. Far from it. 

You have enough on your plate so make it easy. Once you’ve identified a fear or stressor, Take the next 5 days to see if you can stay aware and pinpoint when it appears.  If you don’t have a lot of time, just check in midday and end of the day for a week and see what comes to light. 

TRACK IT 

Next, find a little time to write about it. When does it come up? Can you identify why? Note how it affects you physically, mentally, and/or emotionally. You can write it all out, or just put down simple phrases, even one word. Once you know what you’ve got going on, you can work on it. 

ACCEPT IT

Then accept that it’s there – and make it ok. How? Well, sometimes just seeing what’s going on lets half of the air out of the thing. It’s not so mysterious, bubbling down inside you, coloring your day, moods or performance…tiring you out. Ask: Is there a positive or gain on the flip side of any kind to refocus on?  And know that now that you know its face, you can think of strategies to deal with it. But you don’t have to do that alone. 

SHARE IT

Start by sharing with your support network. An outside perspective from someone who gets you and has your best interests in mind can relieve the strain you might not have even noticed you were carrying around. 

Don’t have that network?  It’s time to build one. Great options are to go to someone neutral, who is guaranteed to have your back – a professional coach like me, or a therapist. If you could have a conversation with an equal in the professional world (so they have the experience to get what’s going on), preferably in an entirely different field than yours so there are no consequences and you both feel free to give and take. 

A best friend or family member may or may not be on this particular team. Sometimes those too close to you might not have enough outside perspective. Or they may be great. Listen to your insides before you do, and make those choices wisely. 

RECHARGE

Anxiety can be managed. The efforts you make to do the above – becoming aware, accepting it and coming up with ways to act on it will empower you. But it’s also important to step away and recoup so you will have more when you step back. Doing that 2 step dance is the ticket. Think of other cultures where they work when they work, but take time to savor their meals, and take their days off to relax, and enjoy life. 

Recharging can come through small actions like a call with  a friend, or writing a note to a loved one ,. Take breaks at work. Fit humor into your life, get physical activity, ease up on alcohol and nicotine, and allow yourself enough rest (which needs to start rating as important as green tea or health shakes). Lastly, identify people who have interesting perspectives or approaches to things and find inspiration and ideas in their interviews, Ted talks, or audio books.

As an added bonus, all the work you do on yourself, will make you into a better leader benefiting your company, and your team.  You can even give these tools to your staff, by inviting your team to acknowledge the challenges they are facing in a safe way.  I’ll cover this topic in next month’s blog. 

If you are interested in having some additional support and encouragement, contact me and let’s talk!

Building Bonds Between Your Team – and You

Never underestimate how much value comes from building bonds between your team members – and between them and you. Having an engaged team makes for a much improved company atmosphere which in turn draws in more quality clients and future employees. Those who like their work stay longer and produce better results toward the organization’s goals.

A Gallup study of how employee engagement drives growth “confirmed that employee engagement continues to be an important predictor of company performance even in a tough economy.” What better reason than to start thinking about this and lay the groundwork for what would work well for your group! Here’s how: 

ASSESS YOUR TEAM:

First look at the big picture: Your group, time and budget. Try to pinpoint which individuals or departments may need to come together more, and for what reasons, which can help you choose what activities would be the best. 

Consider the group size. If you have a dozen or less people, see if the budget permits an outing or rewards as part of the team building, while leaving enough to do collaboration and communication activities. If you have a lot of people, then you can alter the choice of activity and locations accordingly. 

Then ask what your people need to work on. Better communication? More personal harmony? Conflict resolution? Problem solving? Or just plain bonding? This will all lay the groundwork for choosing events or activities (covered below). 

TEAM BUILDING ACTIVITIES 

With the goal of enhanced camaraderie, collaboration and communication in mind, pick activities your group will relate to and feel comfortable with. One thing is paramount: Fun should be the key ingredient! 

 

 

We can forget how important sharing joy and having people laugh together is!

 

Google to find fresh ideas so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Speaking of fun, have some of it yourself while picking what fits for your people! This article from Workamajig not only lists activities, it tells you how many people are right for each and what skills it works to build. Wrike wrote up ideas for a mostly under 40 crowd, and also has ideas to team build with remote workers, which is great! Lastly, SurfOffice has a practical list of 50 activities, categorized by small teams, larger ones, and remote workers. 

TEAM BUILDING EVENTS 

If you determine your staff just needs to be rewarded or make merry to bond, you can always pick a great place for a fun-and-food-filled outing. Maybe pair people from departments that never interact, or focus on the teams that need to work better together and pick things to do that will open everyone up. One easy outing that can be enriching for all is to take everyone to hear an inspiring talk – or invite that speaker into the company – followed by a meal for all to talk about it. It could be anything from a local hero, to a Ted Talk in your area, or the author of a book on a relevant topic.

The Zoo often has unforgettable behind the scene tours. You can get special access to a lawn jazz concert, a gallery, or a museum that offers Virtual Reality exhibits. There are cooking classes with a pro chef, indoor sky diving experiences, or giving back together by doing a community project. The list of experiences really is endless.

CONNECT YOURSELF TOO

It’s also very important for you to strengthen bonds with your group too. 

You can start with organizing the team building activities as a way to bond with your employees too. Get one or two involved in helping you pick, plan and make the arrangements. Make sure to give them kudos at the event itself for their role in co-creating it. Then, join in where you can, play along, laugh together, eat, take pics to post somewhere with praise for your great team. 

Utilize any gap time in these activities to chat one on one with as many individuals as you can to learn more about each employee. But prepare a little. Because it may not be possible to connect with each, think about who might be most important to seek out. Keep it strictly social – no business. This will create a bridge you can reach across. In the next few weeks, maximize that connection by following up with a sit down for learning their goals and how you can help them reach them. Ask what they need to feel good at work, and invite suggestions on how things could work better. Then be sure to address them. This will create trust and a sense that each employee is valued and able to contribute. 

 

“At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

 

DON’T FORGET SWAG 

While tee shirts might seem unoriginal, it’s actually an instant bonding tool, not to be underestimated. They have a team uniform in sports, so why not in business? You can use brand colors, vary the theme by department, or, to shake it up a little, make a polo or vintage style bowling shirt instead. If you have the budget, you might spring for each to have their name on the sleeve or the breast pocket area, in a tasteful font. Or, give something everyone will remember the time by… perhaps a positive message about teamwork framed to keep on their desk. Thermal mugs or water bottles with carabiners , with a sought after name brand like Yeti, would be a huge hit. Visit Yeti to check out customization. A tangible memento adds value and makes everyone feel special. 

Forming bonds between team members will not only make them happier as individuals, but help them work better together, and give your company a competitive edge. And for you to make similar strides with individuals will go a long way to making a good team great! 

If you’d like some assistance with figuring how you could best improve your personal bonds with your staff, let’s talk

How Creativity Enhances Your Ability To Lead

I coach leaders of all kinds, with a focus on their own development of themselves. Learning how creativity enhances your ability to lead is an important skill to hone, especially in today’s new work world. Several of my blogs speak to this, particularly February’s on adding self care to your leadership toolkit.   Seeking to add creativity into self care, elevates the benefits in your professional roles as well as within your self personally. 

Creative time can filter into your work life as enhanced problem solving and innovation, visionary thinking, and improved connection with staff.  An added bonus is your own continued career satisfaction and growth!  Both harmonize with how business is changing from the top down model of leadership to this brave new work world we’re navigating.

Forbes echoes this, saying, ‘effective leadership can require inspiration, which is often better evoked through curiosity and imagination rather than pragmatism.’ 

QUALITIES OF A CREATIVE LEADER

So how do you distinguish what makes a creative leader?  When you read the list, I bet you will think of a few people this describes.  Most of them are quite successful — like Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. But you don’t have to be at that level of wealth, notoriety or celebrity. There are many, many creative leaders making differences in their way in all levels of the work world.

  • They are intuitive, passionate, authentic 
  • They are curious, think out of the box
  • They inspire and invite ideas and creativity of their team or in their company
  • They grasp that business models are changing, as is the world
  • They will take risks, and are willing to make mistakes
  • They can see and make connections, and strive for everyone winning
 
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
 

HOW TO ADD CREATIVITY:

While I have suggested breaks for self care through the day, adding in creativity works on a whole different level.  Rather than doing a chore or surfing the net, try some of these:

  • Go to a museum, or an outdoor sculpture garden. 
  • Paint, learn a craft, wood work, fly a kite, do a puzzle – especially if you’ve never done them before.
  • Take your camera out specifically to photograph things for the sake of seeing differently. Do a study on the weeds in your yard, the patterns on your front steps or kitchen floor, spider webs – you name it. Art is everywhere. 
  • Repair or restore something with your own hands.
  • Play music.  Lay on the couch or floor and listen to every note like you did in high school! Dance to it. Sing.
  • Put yourself fully in the moment with grandkids and see the world as newly as they do. Engage fully in their activities with them – finger painting, frosting cupcakes, blowing bubbles, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
  • Spend time in your local library – preferably in the hidden areas.  National Geographic and Time have gorgeous images to look at and interesting stories to read.
  • You know the coffee table books that are mostly decor? Crack one open, and take the time to enjoy it. 
  • If you’re a hiker, biker, kayaker, or boater, do it wearing “different colored lenses’. Turn your attention from tracking miles, speed or heart rate to truly noticing  the nature around you, how your body feels with each motion.  
  • Break your routines. Try something entirely new. Say yes to things you often say no to, just to see what you learn. Go a different route and explore some new surroundings.
  • Find time for introspection. It really frees your mind and allows creativity to enter!  This could include swinging on a hammock, driving yourself to a park with few people with a picnic lunch, meditating, dancing to some favorite music, or taking a bath 
  • You may want to keep a private journal as you go. Writing something down has a way of setting intentions in your subconscious and you will be amazed at how things manifest. 
  • Educate yourself more on a topic. Read articles, do a workshop, talk to a coach.

Finding Time was my most read blog post, which confirms that it is half the battle as people strive to work new activities into their lives. I recommend reading it, as it offers solid ways to create more time to do what you really want or need to do. Even if you don’t want to add anything new to your current activities, you can achieve creative benefits by simply shifting your perspective while doing what you are doing- arguably a creative act in itself!  I’m suggesting you give a try, even for a month – and preferably a lifetime!

This video by John Spencer helps to define what I mean.

INCORPORATE CREATIVITY AT WORK

After you’ve been doing a few of these things, shift the skill of thinking from a different perspective to your work life. What is an alternate approach to your daily responsibilities and interactions with clients and co-workers? What would be some ways to bring creativity into your work and see how that develops?

  • Can you set new goals using your expanded perspective?
  • Who exhibits creative leadership in the company, your field, or the world?  Observe them, read their articles, books, or biographies. Follow them on social media, watch their interviews or output on youtube, and LEARN. 
  • What situations are opportunities to practice using your intuition instead of only relying on your head, or being led by the bottom line?
  • If you have new ideas, how can you express them constructively with others on your team?
  • What of your work or role requires the most creativity? Can you do that in the hours when you feel the freshest?  

I have written about the paradigm shift that has happened in business, jump started by Covid 2+ years ago. That business model of the future is here. There will be a direct correlation with how much it will thrive based on how you and/or your company embraces and acclimates to it – at a time when interesting the right people to fill roles and being sure they have what they need to deliver their best work is imperative. New roles are being created – ie: remote work schedulers, online meeting trainers, touch-less technologies, take out and pick up or delivery services,  online sales managers, etc… Employee well being, inclusiveness and safety concerns are more top of the list, and as a leader, working creativity into your perspective and reflecting that in your actions will take you where you need to go. 

If you would like support in working through how to utilize creativity in your role as a leader, let’s talk.

Delegate to Empower Yourself, Your Team and Your Company

One of the most important leadership skills is knowing how to delegate to empower yourself, your team and your company. It may seem obvious that delegation helps you -but not all have an easy time doing it. It might get easier if you keep in mind that not only does it free you up, it actually cultivates the growth and trust among your staff and the company reaps the benefits too!

In my work coaching executives and leaders, it’s remarkable how many operating at such high levels aren’t afraid to say how much they are shouldering, how stressful life can be, or how overwhelming the world seems at the moment. This is quite a departure from the days where you would never let them see you sweat…  But it’s no longer the right model for business today. In fact, it can come off as inauthentic.

We’ve all had so much change and complications added to our lives in recent years, and yet –the work still needs to get done. One of the most productive secrets of leadership today is to understand the opportunity in delegation: It’s a way to empower your team, build individual self confidence and effectiveness, and create a culture of trust. All involved win, including the company as a whole if done well.

The DevOps Institute defines delegation as assigning responsibility for outcomes, along with the authority to act to deliver the desired results. They go on to say, “You often hear it’s just quicker if I do it, or that’s not how I do it. This has a name: self-enhancement bias. It’s a classic trap that managers (even experienced ones) sometimes fall into.”

Reframed, delegation can be an opportunity to develop someone, or a team, increase their capabilities in the process, which is in turn a more effective method of support to yourself.

ORGANIZE TASKS

First, know what you need to accomplish and break it down into long and short term tasks. Prioritize by timeline or other criteria. Assess what you can delegate – and if it can be done by an individual, or by teams. 

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PERSON

Next, match which task to entrust to the person or people with the proper skill set – or the potential for them.  Who is that person on your team who is eager, or would like to take it to the next level, and could do so with a little support from you?

SET THEM UP FOR SUCCESS

Now, assess what will help them (and you) succeed. Is some training needed (and possible in the time frame) in order for them to do it? If you trained them, how could it help not just for this task, but for future ones? Clearly convey expectations on timing and deadlines. Delegating will show them that you trust and believe in them. This goes a long way to raise the esteem of the staff but also the general culture of trust that you can create at work.

People are happiest doing work they feel they can do well, even if they have to stretch to do it. And happy people do the best work. Delegating is a surefire way to develop them, making them more effective, confident and qualified. And lightens your load, to free you up to do more. That’s self care.

I coach the whole person, and that allows you to move to a whole different level in your work, thinking, performance – and it will pay off. What partnerships can you cultivate so you’re not doing it all yourself?Who is a trusted source? If you have concerns about your staff or certain members, lets talk it through so you can empower yourself, your staff and your company.

The Great Resignation… or Reevaluation

The Great Resignation... or Reevaluation

You’ve probably seen ‘The Great Resignation’ splashed across the headlines for the last year. But for you is it the great resignation or reevaluation?

The long pandemic caused lifestyle changes across the board. Health scares, home schooling, limited travel, and the pause from scheduled social and cultural participation got everyone off their personal treadmills.  That created the room to rethink our lives, take a look at what each aspect more closely, especially as it pertains to career. This caused a new title – The Great Reevaluation! 

Since most of us spend 40-60+ hours of our precious waking time working, what we do, with whom, and for what has been a top focus. Some took a leap early and resigned, some are feeling ready to, and others feel unsure how to really assess their choices as the world continues to change.

A Harris Poll done for USA Today reported that one in five people who resigned from their jobs either regret it, or plan to move on from that new role. If that one person describes you, it’s a true opportunity to learn more about yourself before you make the next choice. Or if you resigned but are looking for a new position, or if you are seriously thinking about it while in your current position, how can you be sure to properly evaluate where you are and what’s next?  Let’s look at three questions.

IS IT YOUR POSITION?

While everything in life involves some parts we don’t love, how well matched do you feel by what you do for 8+ hours each day? Is it stimulating, or has it gone flat? Is it challenging or  overwhelming? Does what you do give you a sense of satisfaction?

Next, are you ok with the compensation and benefits package? Are you qualified to make a move to a higher paying position? If not, would a lateral move at a different company mean an advance in pay, a better fit with co- workers or the way you’d work? Would getting more training, taking some classes, or getting a degree help you significantly? If so, can you realistically budget for that in both time and money?

It’s important to look at both your values and experience of the position as well as the money, because just chasing money without the rest will risk that regret instead of a reward.

If you like the people and the company, is there another position within the company you could to transfer to or apply for when there’s an opening?

IS IT YOUR BOSS?

Before you resign, or take a new job, ask: Is your employer the right fit? This is based on way more than just liking them or not. It’s about how they open up or restrict your growth. Do they encourage two-way communication, give you work that is important to you, motivate you to stretch yourself? Is there clarity in assignments, mutual respect or fairness shown to you?  Are you supported in discussing being assigned that’s better matched to your strengths and values?

If you are seeking a new employer, approach interviews like you are exploring them as much as they are you. While it is an employees market right now, the key is to not come off as entitled. This is more of an internal watch for clues. One way is to truly do your research on not just the company and its leaders, but the person you’d be working for. Carefully prepare your interview answers so you can flesh out what you might want to know. It’s common to be asked: what would you like to know or what are you seeking work here for (and you can cover what you hope for in the position with your boss as well).

IS IT THE COMPANY CULTURE?

In this climate, it’s as important to assess if the company’s culture is right for you, even if you work remotely.

Ask yourself: How does your company culture and branding – in terms of diversity, age ranges, top down leadership or group think, work style, philanthropy, reputation for being cutting edge or family and community oriented –fit with your own values? Do you align with the company mission? Do you like the vibe at the company?

And do you feel a connection with the people working with you? This is really important, because we spend so much time with them – sometimes more than with our own friends and family.

After examining these options, you might be fine at your current job, realizing it pays well and provides benefits, and be finding more purpose and play in your personal life. Having gone through all this is likely enough to have answered your questions and I hope, have you showing up at work more settled and happy than before.

If you like the company but are just feeling your work is not satisfying, is there another department or position you could transfer to? If you need to sit tight, consider reframing your mindset. Can it become more enjoyable if you delegate or deal differently with clients or coworkers that drag things down, and focus more on those who create ? If you’re overwhelmed, what can you cancel, or delegate? If  not , should you reach out to your boss for help? Or lighten things up on your personal schedule to recharge to handle work during this time?  What can you shift toward making the day more purposeful?

If this reevaluation makes you feel your boss or company doesn’t fit your values, skill set, or sense of meaning and purpose, it may be time to seek  another position where there is better alignment.

If you’ve determined that you aren’t loving where you are, and want to be more certain of what to look for before you take the leap, reach out to me, and lets’ talk.

Find Opportunity in Transition

Find Opportunity in Transition

Change is happening globally, and that’s changing each of us. But there is a way to find opportunities in transition. 

According to CNN, a record number of people quit their jobs in 2021… 68.9 million of them!  And a whopping 47.4 million of those transitions were voluntary. 

Whether you are thinking of leaving your current position or have already left (by choice or involuntarily), there are things to wade through in the transition. Change is a constant, and we need to address what’s going on inside us in order to move through these times wisely, and make authentic decisions. 

Think about how much we tie our identities to what we do, how many hours of our lives we spend at work and what the money earned or benefits allow us to do. Changes to that can bring up a lot of questions, concerns and emotions. Add a global pandemic, and all the recent news. It’s a call to evolve, and therein lies the opportunity in transition. Let’s take a look at how.

WHAT DRIVES YOU

There’s a trend in meaningfulness now – in work and your life. While we all expect to handle a reasonable level of undesirable tasks, people and situations, it’s begun to not be okay to just tolerate everything for the sake of the job anymore. Now, our drivers are shifting toward needing more purpose and fullness from our work. If this is coming up for you, are you struggling to give yourself permission to want that – or even require it?  

Motivators used to be about getting a better office, working longer hours to be recognized, or dealing with a terrible boss or a sabotaging coworker for a new title or bonus. Now we may ask ourselves very different questions like: how is work helping me be better? Can my strengths really shine here? Can this role help me make a contribution? And if I am to continue where I am, how can what I do at work matter more to me?

The answers are found in your values, how you spend your precious time, and getting clear on your priorities. The need to unpack this paradigm shift has become so prevalent, I’ve covered each in my recent blog posts. Transitions can be empowering but CHANGE is something many are not that comfortable with. Yet change is the only certainty in life. So you have some rich resources here within my blog to start with. 

Let’s look at some of the subtler feelings to address: 

DOUBT 

Whether you lost your job, are transitioning to a new one (or are thinking about it), or want to build a side hustle that could become full time, you may begin to doubt your abilities. Ask yourself if there is any legitimacy to that. Would you need to acquire new skills, and are they within reach? Are you financially able to make the leap?  If you had to move, are you the kind of person who adapts well? What strengths do you have that could carry you? Doubt can present legitimate concerns, and those can be addressed. But when doubt is dancing with your fears, take note. This is where it can really help to talk with someone to gain outside perspective. 

FEAR

Even the most confident person will have deeper thoughts about what they’re doing. “Is it too risky?” “Could I fail?” “What if I lose my health care?”  Depending on your situation, the specifics could be many, but what’s underneath it all is fear.. Addressing those questions are useful, even practical. 

Not leaving what you knew can feel safer as a devil-you-know situation.

But if your desire to leave is greater, trust that. Respect your fears rather than shove them down. They are there to help you – not to paralyze you! Get your fears out of your head and onto paper. Once you see them on a page, they become much more manageable. And it’s easier to see there  are practical ways to address each, one by one. Do this and they shouldn’t keep you up anymore!

GRIEF

Yes grief. It may not be so obvious, but there can be subtle ways grief surfaces. Again, it’s there to be honored, and worked through, because doing so will free you. Ignoring it down will not. If you feel this, you’re not alone;  it’s common when you leave a job. What can help is figuring out whether you identify with your actual occupation or with the organization you work at. If it’s the latter, you may want to see if you can work in a different sector of your company rather than depart.  

REGRET

Another thing that will help you make decisions is a regret test. Picture where you’re at, all you’re feeling and what you’d like to do. Now flash forward to an age you consider to be old. Think of how you’d feel near the end of your time to accomplish things in life if you hadn’t made the change you’re considering. Would you regret it?

Racking focus this way helps eliminate some of the nagging questions and concerns in the present, or will at least put them in perspective. 

COURAGE

Find Opportunity in Transition

All these feelings and concerns give you an opportunity to learn something new about yourself. It actually serves you to be willing to look at them, and then equally realize what strengths, skills and way of thinking you can employ to balance them. Courage is the willingness to do this honestly. 

Sometimes it’s a lot easier to process these when you have someone neutral to talk it through with, who has the training and insight to help with your best interests in mind. 

My work is to partner with you to empower yourself where fears and doubt once were. Contact me and we can talk  about reaping the rewards and wisdom available as you navigate the way forward.

Your Leadership Toolkit: Add Self Care

Zen-art-collage

Today, evidence is pointing to an essential skill ripe to add to your leadership toolkit: self care. Leading is hard work, especially so during these times.  Although often viewed as a luxury, balanced self-care is more important than ever for leaders and managers up to the C-suite for peak performance.

As we enter the third year of a pandemic, some of the early upheaval in the office may have begun to settle. Yet a new constant has become learning how to manage ever-present flux and ongoing uncertainty.  To meet the challenges, leaders focus on performance, and achievement which often require hard work, long hours and grit as a professional necessity. This can have a significant impact on health, well-being and personal lives.

SELF CARE AS AN ESSENTIAL PROFESSIONAL SKILL

Let’s start with debunking some limiting beliefs about self care. Far from being self-indulgent or weak, it has become more mainstream. That means it’s on the minds of  your staff and many of your peers. ‘Between 2019 and 2020, Google Search Trends shows a 250% increase in self-care related searches…Men and women of all age ranges.’

Search data suggests people are moving on from simply exploring the topic to taking action, ie: buying different products, eating differently, and practicing new ways to exercise, recreate and relax.

Forbes Magazine recently tackled the topic, saying, ‘Let’s be clear on what self-care is and what it’s not. Self-care is not selfish, but a necessary lifestyle practice for good health. It isn’t just something you do to recover from illness or crisis, but is also preventive and proactive. It’s a way to value and love yourself, but also demonstrate to others that you care to show up at your best for them, personally and professionally. Consistent self-care practice is what sustains our energy and motivation to keep moving through life successfully, and it is a tool of resilience to help us through the hard times.’

And I agree – besides reaping infinite personal benefits, you will set an example for staff and even clients about bringing your best to the table.

HOW TO ADD SELF CARE

Here are some things to consider:

  1. TIME: We all have the same amount of time in a day, yet some use it better. Though we each have different situations, you can create more time by identifying where you waste it – and instead put that toward things that will actually create more energy, clarity, strength, humor and grounding.  You’ll find guidance on How to Find More Time in January’s Blog.

  2. PRIORITIES: Practicing self care helps you identify what’s important to you. Knowing your priorities can inspire you to let go of your time wasters, or make different choices to replace them with what truly supports and excites you. November’s blog will get you clear on who and what really matters to you.

  3. CHANGE: Self care will help you achieve more. What could you stop, start, or do differently to improve your mental and physical health?  If you were to advise your best friend on this, what would you suggest about self care? Now try that on for yourself.

  4. VISION:  I invite you to take a moment RIGHT NOW to shut your eyes (yes, literally!) and envision yourself eating better, exercising regularly, getting good sleep, having fun and spending fulfilling time with the people who matter most into your life.

ENVISION A LEVELED UP LIFE

If you began to add self care in this way, how different would your life be? How would you feel physically? How would your most important relationships be enhanced? Would your outlook shift for the better?

And how much better would you perform at work?

I rest my case.

Self care is no longer a luxury. You can start anytime and make progress in increments on the road to finding what will work. Even very small changes, employed consistently, can make a tangible difference.

The very fact that you’ve read this means you’ve already begun!

You’ll reap countless rewards from personal self care. Adding it to your leadership toolkit will not only be leading by example, but facilitate your peak performance!

If you would like support in working through how adding self care to your life, and  in your role as a leader, this is what I do best. Reach out and let’s talk.

How to Find More Time

How to find more time has been a bit of a quest for the holy grail of modern life, well before the added challenges we’re facing today. But it is possible to find time. We manage to find a way to meet the new grandbaby, take a dream trip, or book a necessary medical procedure, no matter how busy we are. But how can we apply that day to day?

The last 2 years of the pandemic and all the ways it’s affected our daily lives has really had an impact – so first, we each need to give ourselves a break. The way to get through this is to ground ourselves by creating deeper meaning and order in our own lives. Getting clear on true priorities, based on our values, then making room for them goes a long way in staying centered in the midst of it all. 

If you want help to identify those things, visit both the November and December blogs. 

Either way, how do you find the time to do what you need to?  We all have the same 24 hours to work with. Some manage it well. You can be one of those people. How?

We can make time for what’s important if we stop giving it away to what’s not.

Take a pause here. Let that sink in. 

How To Find More Time

Write down a list of where you misspend your time. Let yourself think on this for a good while, so the less obvious ways will arise. Be really honest here, because it’s this list that will empower you to create a more rewarding life. 

Examples are:

  • Constantly checking emails and texts
  • Meaningless scrolling through Social Media
  • Over-watching TV (rehashed news stories, games or sports)
  • Overdoing anything to excess- shopping, eating, sleeping, cleaning 
  • Doing low priority items as a way of putting off important ones
  • Falling down a rabbit hole on the internet
  • Unnecessary meetings, or poorly run ones
  • Saying ‘yes’ to too much – especially to social “obligations”
  • Lack of priorities or of keeping them top of mind daily
  • Doing for others what they can (and should?) do for themselves
  • Trying to do it all, perfectly

The last two are time killers indeed. 

Create Solutions 

Now that you’ve located some real time wasters, the good news is, you can create your own solutions! 

Make room for a brainstorming session- even if you have to drive to some park bench to get it. Take one item at a time and come up with practical ways to solve the time waster. Take into account both behavior changes and internal drivers – how your thinking may need to shift, and that you may need to inform some people that changes are afoot. This makes it all easier to change.

Improve Work Habits

We kind of fell into our habits with emails, texts and social media… and now they contribute to the countless interruptions to our day. So it is totally accomplishable to walk into new habits to restore some order, focus and productivity. Set times to check email and texts, ie: for the first half hour at your desk, then just before or after lunch, and again an hour before you leave.

Explore your notifications and sounds on all your devices. Set up a special ring for the emergency ones, and learn how to turn all others off so you take the lead, rather than every ping yanking you out of where you need to be. 

Follow by blocking time for uninterrupted work. People will get to know that you don’t answer your phone for personal calls until lunch time (or while driving, or on Sunday mornings for that matter). If you have to, tell the 5 people who expect an immediate response to non-essential texts that you’re shifting how you do things.

Curate Your Consciousness

Become aware of what goes into your head each day – news, music, relatives, clients, bosses and their needs or  problems, plus your own inner commentary on it all. When it all is too much, why not decide to watch only funny movies, or read rom coms instead of the new White House tell all? It’s OK to protect your psyche! 

Scale Down Social Media

A big part of consciousness curation is your social media habits. Is it time to go through your friends list on FB, Twitter, IG, etc and let go of who you don’t really know, or whose been a bit of a drag?  Be thoughtful about it, Maybe you can’t just delete a cousin without issue, but check your privacy settings. You can hide their posts for some time, or make a list of FB of what friends can’t see your posts. 

If you are going to spend some time scrolling each day, you might as well  se and hear things that raise your serotonin, feeds your hope and strength, teaches you something or brings joy. It can still be a sink hole but at least your feed will be positive. 

Go down your list and add at least one solution to each time waster till you complete the list. Don’t expect to shift it all overnight. It took time to make the habits, so give yourself a little time to make new ones. Keep this front and center and keep working at it.  If you see it as the way to spend more time on who and what really matters to you, you will succeed!

As you enter the new year, now is a great time to make meaningful changes. I offer private coaching sessions and can partner with you to help you live your best life.

Let’s Connect and get started!

Thresholds—Leaving Nonprofit Life with Courage and Grace

Leaving nonprofit life with courage and grace requires the proper tools, planning and support. How do you effectively prepare to depart as the leader you’ve always been?

The last 18 months has seen people rethinking what means the most to them and what they are doing with their time. Since the majority of our waking hours is spent on work, it’s among the first to be reviewed.  But for those whom retirement had already been on the horizon, say in the next 1- 5 + years, the pandemic may have provided extra impetus to determine that now is the time to begin the process.

When you consider all that’s involved to leave a fulfilling non-profit life, you may find yourself in confusing waters. How do you sort it all, from getting a clear snapshot of where your staff, board and the organization is, to mapping effective actions in the right timing as you walk toward leaving, to creating a stellar legacy.

Wouldn’t it be invaluable to have an opportunity to share, with a discreet/private, small group of peers, both the joys and anxieties of leaving your work as you walk through an assessment of what’s needed, and work out a plan to leave well?

I co-lead a cohort experience that offers just that, along with Nancy Jackson of EOS Transitions to learn about effective practices to prepare for a legacy well attained, considering the well being of your staff and board.

The experience includes:
• Two-hour virtual sessions over five weeks, for a total of 8-10 hours
• Between-session reading and assignments to amplify the learning and virtual experience
• Confidential participation (Public awareness of your approaching departure is certainly not necessary)
• The Thresholds experience is limited to a cohort of 8-10 peers experiencing the same stage of nonprofit life

The next cohort starts on September 30, but we are planning the next session soon after based on need. Simply contact us and let us know of your interest!

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Leaving nonprofit life with courage and grace sets you on the course to what’s next with grounding. Whether you’re planning to travel, spend time with your extended family, volunteer, create a new business, or pursue personal goals and hobbies, you can enjoy it with peace of mind after a successful retirement.

We’ve gotten really wonderful feedback from the executives who we’ve worked with. Why not let that be that also be you!

Read more about the Thresholds cohort experience and feel free to contact us with any questions.