Thinking Outside the Box: A New Paradigm

To listen to this month’s blog, click here.

The ability to think outside the box is more than just a skill—it’s a transformative power that can lead to greater productivity and innovation in our personal and professional lives. I’ve been reading up on this topic and have found several truly interesting  resources to share. Below are three different perspectives on thinking out of the box.  Drawing from these articles, let’s explore ways to dismantle the ‘walls’ of traditional thinking and kindle an environment where creativity and groundbreaking ideas can thrive.

The Walls of Conventional Thought

Traditional thinking can box us in with invisible walls. I found it helpful that a Forbes article took the tact of naming those walls after characteristics which limit our potential: blame, complaints, defensiveness, and closed-mindedness. It’s helpful to see each of these in the context of 4 walls to a box that you want to break free from. 

Recognize The Barriers

The first step is to recognize these barriers. The article defines each to help you do so. Then the work is to consciously strive to release those qualities.  You can do this by writing down just 2 or 3 simple changes you can make to get to the productivity and upliftment that await you beyond them. For example, they suggest these four practical starters. Look for how you can:

  • Transform blame into a sense of ownership. Owning it is actually good news, because you have the most power here to do something positive about it. 
  • Pivot from dwelling on problems to devising solutions. Looking for how to solve problems you’re in, with even the smallest positive steps forward, will feel incredibly freeing – and release a lot of energy you may not realize was keeping you down. 
  • Replace defensiveness with openness to accountability. Again, the best thing for progress is if the ball is in your court. You can gain respect for being accountable, and admiration for being willing to make something better. Defensiveness shuts doors to opportunity and connection.
  • Exchange closed-mindedness for a curiosity that welcomes new and diverse perspectives. Innovation relies on being open minded. Curiosity is a great way to test a concept or brainstorm… and it’s THE way great ideas happen. 

Instead of thinking outside the box, get rid of the box.” Deepak Chopra

 

 

Imagination and Fractal Changes

Venturing outside the box also calls for a ‘radical imagination,’ a concept focused on in a Harvard Business Review article. It’s about challenging the status quo with ‘wonder questions’. Again, the benefits of getting curious. Try frequently asking “I wonder why…” 

They introduce fractal changes – the subtle yet impactful shifts in our approach and mindset that impact the big picture. It’s a new perspective that is both simple and radically out of the box!. The article suggests that by focusing on consciously making micro-changes in both our behavior and thought processes, we create a ripple effect that can reshape the larger systems in play.

Thinking outside the box isn’t just a cliché; it’s a vital edge strategy for today’s rapidly changing world. It involves breaking free from traditional patterns,  and embracing both radical imagination and impactful fractal changes. 

As covered in last month’s blog, the journey of innovative thinking starts with a single step beyond conventional boundaries. If you’re poised to embark on this transformative journey, let’s connect and explore the possibilities together.

From Misstep to Mastery: Making the Most of Mistakes

Making the most of mistakes is a foreign concept to many. In our culture, we’re taught shame around mistakes, so they represent something to hide, and to equate with failure and the fear of judgement. 

Failure is not just inevitable; it’s necessary. It’s an integral aspect of the leadership landscape. How you respond to setbacks determines your influence and credibility in the professional realm. Often, our missteps arise from well-intentioned endeavors or sheer persistence. That’s important to remember.  So rather than viewing them as errors, it’s time to reframe our perspective: they are learning moments, packed with the potential to guide us towards better judgment, sharpened skills and more effective action. 

In October, I embark on my 26th year of coaching and consulting, on the heels of a transformative decade working as a lawyer. The journey, though fulfilling, hasn’t been devoid of pitfalls. I’ve stumbled here and there, and made my fair share of mistakes. But with each mishap I discovered an opportunity — a chance to grow, to evolve, and to fortify my toolkit with fresh insights. Each mistake has legitimate potential to make you better. 

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again; this time more intelligently. —Henry Ford

Mistakes: Lessons in Disguise

See every mistake you make not as a misstep but as an avenue from which to glean wisdom. This is life’s way of course correction, and not a single soul is exempt from it. Keeping a ‘Beginner’s Mind’, a Zen concept that implies looking at every situation with openness and eagerness without preconceptions, is the key to staying rejuvenated and receptive. The true beauty lies in the way you show up, especially when things don’t go as planned.

Learning from Missteps

The real challenge isn’t from making a mistake, but in acknowledging it with grace and honesty. Shed the temptation (or default) to go to shame, and instead, strive to understand what went astray. Such self-awareness, devoid of self-judgment (the key), paves the way for corrective measures. Taking accountability not only prevents recurrences but resonates with strength and dedication, ultimately reinforcing your credibility.

Rebuilding and Restoration

Genuine regret, appropriate to the situation, and an active effort to ameliorate the aftermath of a mistake can rebuild any challenged  bridges or confidence. It’s a testament to your respect for your colleagues and your unwavering commitment to the shared objectives of your clients,  team or organization.

Navigating the Path to Wisdom

The process of introspection – of really sitting down to assess what led to a mistake – is invaluable. Whether you pen down your thoughts or share them with a trusted confidant, this step is the real treasure trove. It helps refine your judgment, attention, and skills. Often, the fear of confronting our mistakes holds us back, but in embracing them, we find relief, clarity, and growth! 

Managing Others’ Mistakes

As leaders, the errors of our teams or clients can weigh us down. But leadership isn’t just about leading; it’s about lifting others when they falter. While it’s natural to feel fatigued by the continual need to address and rectify others’ mistakes, it’s crucial to maintain a balanced perspective. Remember, as a leader, your words, actions, and choices have a big impact.The way you handle others’ mistakes becomes a benchmark, influencing the organizational culture and dynamics.

Your approach to errors, whether yours or others’, creates a ripple effect. Owning up to mistakes, learning from them, and guiding others through theirs solidifies your influence and garners respect from both peers and superiors. More than your achievements, it’s your resilience, adaptability, and honesty in the face of adversity that truly underscores your leadership prowess.

Mistakes are not the antithesis of success but its foundation!. They offer rich insights, propel growth, and mold impeccable leaders. If this resonates with you and you’d like a partner with which to navigate your leadership journey with grace, resilience, and adaptability, don’t hesitate to contact me. Together, we can transform your mistakes into milestones.

Need Help? Identify Your Four Support Circles

Gold_heart_padlock_on_chain_link _fence

What do you do when you find you need help? I teach a simple way to identify your four support circles to assess who is in your corner (you may have forgotten some who you can call on!) and where you may need to build people and resources in going forward. 

When English Poet John Donne said, ‘No man is an island,’ he sure got it right! We need people, community, belonging, collaboration and sharing in many areas of our lives. We might have a solid family life, or a group of long term pals to count on, but are in need of more support at work. Maybe you have the best crew of medical docs, a great housekeeper and accountant, but could use more reconnection with friends or family. 

At work we know leadership can feel lonely.  Especially so if you don’t have someone at home who really understands all you manage on the job. You likely get pieces of what you need from a business partner, board, committees, or a networking group with whom you can share challenges and exchange ideas and solutions. But each professional relationship still requires varying levels of discretion. For more freedom, you might have a colleague who is at a level where they can relate, but are in a different field. Further, an executive life coach or therapist can provide safety that you can’t find with professional peers.

This applies to your personal life as well, but for this blog, we’ll address your personal life from the context of  how it supports you in your business life. So let’s also look at your home life, friends, and groups of outside interests. They help you have greater quality of life, spirit, health and mind – all of which fills your well – and affects your professional performance. 

THE FOUR SUPPORT CIRCLES

1. ANCHORS

The bullseye. This is the circle of intimacy which includes those closest to us, the people and/or connections whose absence would be felt deeply.  Some people would include their pets in this circle, especially if they are a primary source of companionship. 

2. ALLIES

Those good friends and close relatives who are strong connections but don’t quite make it into the first circle. These are the people we can confide in and turn to for support during times of need. 

3. ASSOCIATIONS

Those acquaintances and connections developed through participation in organizations, affiliations and activities like a spiritual group, work colleagues mentors and/or club members.  Individuals from this group may later move up to circles one and two. 

4. ASSISTANTS 

These are those paid supporters in our lives – a trusted doctor, lawyer, accountant, teacher, even your hairdresser or car mechanic would be included. 

LIST YOUR SUPPORTERS

Let’s do an exercise to better illustrate this. Draw 4 concentric circles on a piece of paper like a bullseye. Start by writing who your Anchors are in the center. Extending outward, title each of the concentric circles of support as listed above. Next, fill in the names of people who fit in each. 

You now have an easy overview. It easily helps you see where things are in good shape, and where any holes are. Now ask yourself:

  • Who is really in my corner and in what ways?
  • Are any of these levels lacking?
  • How can I deepen or strengthen the areas where I need the most support?
  • Conversely, where may I notice I have people that drain me, or take more from me than I receive?

Now, with that substantially increased awareness in mind, you can begin looking for who might fit where needed,  or for ways to cultivate the connection you have with those who are there. Be aware of the one way streets, and perhaps invest in those less. 

SUPPORT TIPS

Not everyone can be everything to us. One key is to manage our expectations. There are people who you only do specific things with – the folks with whom you may go wine tasting or kayaking, or serve with on a school committee might be perfect to share those activities, but can not be ones you reveal your struggles to.  And that’s perfectly OK. Some people come and go through time, as our interests change, if we move, as we change companies, as a byproduct of living a full life! There are those people who continue in our lives through all of it!  Seeing your big picture at any given time allows you to discern who fits within your four support circles today, or if they do not – and where if they do. This will make subtle but significant shifts in the quality of your life.

Set yourself up for success by choosing people with the right skills or traits to help fill needs in the 4 circles. Take heart that to have a handful of solid people as Anchors and Allies is enough. So aspire for quality over quantity, knowing the right fit can take a little time to find. This is a living exercise, one that will grow and change as you do!  Enjoy your Associations, and thank your stars for those Assistants who really help us thrive. 

TIP: If one or more of your four support circles are really in need, it’s an opportunity to get curious of how you may contribute to those voids, like rarely going out, or regularly saying you are too busy for a call or that coffee with a friend. You may be pleasantly surprised to see what happens if you did either or both! 

This is a rich exercise, a life-long tool to learn and use. The results are both subtle and substantial. My first Ebook will be a workbook on this topic and will be available on my website very soon. Sign up for my monthly newsletter now to hear about it first, and join me on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook for more tips and encouragement!

The New Year: A Time to Review and Renew

The turn of the new year is a time to review and renew. The lull a few days before or after New Years Eve, creates perfect conditions! I’m encouraging you to take advantage of this opportunity to assess various areas of your work and personal life, and set goals or intentions. There is literally no down side. Let’s go through a few ways to reap those riches.

Continue reading

5 Tips to Build your Leadership Skills This Summer

Do you realize you can build your leadership skills this summer by relaxing, opening your senses and having fun? And with all going on in the world, if you’ve been feeling like Atlas holding everything up at work, the winning combination may be exactly what you need. 

If you are uninspired, in a rut from the push of meeting goals and deadlines, a little burnt out, or just plain unhappy, it can definitely affect your coworkers and clients.  Whatever your situation, it’s very likely it is trickling down to your staff too. What you bring in terms of energy and attitude can shift the room. As a leader, that is a powerful opportunity to change not just your own experience at work, but for all those who work with and for you! 

All it takes is saying YES to creating a shift. For that yes to work its magic in you, here are five ways to build your leadership skills this summer (and bonus: it will make the season more enjoyable for you too).

TAKE OFF

The quickest way to gain new perspective and fresh energy is to take some time off. It is summer after all, so if you have the ability to take vacation time – do. The key is to not make it all about catching up on everything you had on your home to-do list. Though that can take a weight off your shoulders and make you feel lighter, it can also be endless, as one thing leads to more. 

My suggestion is to create the space in your life to read or look at art, discover new music, or hike someplace new, – anything that will bring expansion on another level. And with it, new ideas – preferably ones that have nothing to do with your business – will come. Last month I wrote about how creativity enhances your ability to lead.  If you can’t spare a whole week off right now, try taking 2 Fridays or Mondays off this month and use that business day for the business of developing YOU. 

TUNE IN

We use our rational brain most of the time in business. But as leadership models continue to morph from the top down style of management to putting staff needs and communication first, now would be a great time to cultivate the other resources you have inside you to apply: Your inner instincts. As a starting point, you may want to reread my posts on the Three Brains of Intelligence, especially on Heart Intelligence, which is more about the person leading than it is about that professional title, and listening to your gut, which is more nuanced than girding up and having guts… You may want to check out a few articles on the topic, or see if there are audio books you can listen to while biking or gardening.

PLAN FOR CONNECTION  

Be thinking of how you can utilize August to connect with and build your team. There are many ways to do that, so devote some solitude time in a hammock or chaise to who you feel is in need and what some of the problems may be. Sketch out a list over coffee one morning, and then come back to read here in August, because that’s what next month’s blog is about. You’ll find several solid suggestions for you to get you started.  

LOOK TO FALL 

Labor Day will come all too fast, and within mere weeks, we’ll have to pull our focus back to work and life responsibilities. It’s tough to think about when summer’s in full swing, but it’s an ideal time to get a jump on Q4. For awhile there, we were unsure what we’d be met with day by day, so it’s a relief that things are getting back to the point where you can at least do some near-term forecasting again.  

Whatever your business, almost all need some kind of longer view. I marvel at the fact that whatever you even loosely write down on paper finds its way to becoming a reality. So while sitting in your pool floatie, mowing the lawn or strolling at the golden hour, let thoughts come. And/or take one morning to create a no-interruptions hour (texts silenced, email shut down, wifi off) somewhere you can have quiet and privacy (sign on the door!) to write down what comes up. After that, you’ll find new ideas or details pop up right in the middle of waterskiing, or plucking tomato suckers! Write those down too. Or speak them into your voice memo on your phone – and use the time you set to transpose it.

LEARN SOMETHING NEW

For most businesses, things slow a little during the summer. Take advantage of that to try out some new software or research something that has needed a deep dive attention. It can be finally figuring out Spotify, or how to edit your videos, or it could be to familiarize yourself with a business tool or to actually take the tutorial for the upgrade your computer just did. Total win/win!

Whatever it is that you do, the bonus here is to not bury yourself all summer. It’s been a rough couple of years. Don’t undervalue refreshing yourself and taking space for adjusting and contemplating all that’s happened, and where it has you and your role now. Self care is akin to career care. Everyone will benefit. 

I find it exciting to help people to build their leadership skills, consciousness and access to their inner wisdom as they make decisions and carve out new paths for themselves. Please Contact Me if you’d like to work with these or want different ways to grow your leadership skills this summer!

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!

This New Year Can STILL Be Your Best Yet!

Photo of 2 round loaves of bread on a table with flowers

Even in all the tumult and uncertainty, this new year can still be your best yet.  And those aren’t empty words. What we’ve all been through has its hidden blessings as well as its lessons. This time of year naturally inspires reflection on what has been, and what may lay ahead… That can seem daunting when so much is unknown. It’s hard to even count on what’s happening week to week!

In answer, I posted the first of a two-part Primer. Part one was November’s blog entitled The Time is Ripe for Getting Clear on Priorities. A few simple questions hone in on your true priorities – which may have changed or become clearer due to the challenges of the last 20 months. With those in mind, you establish just a few main achievable goals. Imagine the peace of mind that comes from narrowing it down, and getting clear.

In Part Two, the focus is on making intentional strides toward your goals and priorities, by quarter, month and day. We break it down into manageable bites. It works. You’ll spin your wheels a lot less and instead spend your valuable time and energy where it matters most to YOU. How amazing would that be. Are you in?

If you haven’t done the first part yet, visit November’s blog, then come back here to do Part Two! 

LIFE LIVED BY THE QUARTER

Begin by dividing the calendar year into four 3-month quarters. 

  •     Q1 January-March 
  •     Q2 April-June 
  •     Q3 July-Sept
  •     Q4 Oct-Nov

SIZE UP THE BIG PICTURE

Chose a 12-month calendar that works for you whether a big desktop calendar, a spreadsheet or a digital planning board like Trello or Infinity. It’s good to be able to see the year and quarters at a glance, if possible.

COLORIZE YOUR CATEGORIES

Then think of main categories that take time in your life, WORK, FAMILY/LOVE LIFE, SOCIAL, SPIRITUAL, HEALTH/EXERCISE, and any major PROJECT (from home reno to having a baby) or EVENTS (from concerts to trips). Assign colors to each, picking your favorite for Self Care.

Taking it quarter by quarter, begin to fill in, in the corresponding color:

  1.  WORK SCHEDULE –Start by filling in your work, plus vacation days, related events to create a framework. If you freelance, or pick up extra work as it comes, this is where planning only in 3 month chunks, or monthly/weekly really helps.
  1. MAJOR LIFE EVENTS – Add holidays, trips, weddings, taking kids to college, medical procedures, moving, renovation, having a baby, etc. Those are pretty solid and will make the time in-between stand out more.
  1. SELF CARE – A non-negotiable category! In the remaining white space, plug in Self Care every day. Some days it can be generous, others it might just be 10 minutes. And know you will keep each, like you would a doctor’s appointment or a trip to Italy! In other words, this a priority, and frankly, what makes all the rest work.
  2. SOCIAL – Yes this comes after Self Care, but can be part of it too. This is anything you do regularly, like a book club, lessons, church or volunteer work, which goes into the calendar to work around. If it conflicts with your self care, consider if you’ve committed to too much, or what can be worked around. Save things like concerts or dinner with friends for when they crop up. 

All the rest you fill in by week, day and hour as it comes up during each quarter. But the framework of the most important things are what remain solid, to work around (give or take a social commitment that may change). Reviewing the next quarter every few months gives you great flexibility to roll with the unexpected and keep living the life you want with intention and awareness. 

PRE-QUARTER REVIEW 

PLAN THE COMING QUARTER – Now this is key. The quarter closest in time can be the easiest to foresee in more detail. So a month out from the next quarter, schedule in a half hour to review the quarter you’re in and sketch out the coming quarter. Bring forward anything that is really important. Ask yourself with each thing you put on the calendar, is this a priority, is this within what I value, is this taking me toward my goals. 

Not every dentist appointment or garbage night has to fit that. And each day, recommit to scheduling in self-care.

ADD A LITLE PADDING – Just like we may pad a budget to handle any mishaps, build in a little open time to each week or month for the unexpected to crop up by not overbooking yourself. BONUS: This calendar set up will make it very easy for you to get back on track.

Congratulations on doing amazing work! Whatever you put in writing sets you on a course where you’ll naturally make decisions based on the work you’re doing now, even if you don’t refer to the calendar religiously. Why? Because it plants a seed in you based on your authentic intentions and what you truly value. You will inherently make choices toward that and 12 months from now you’ll see that you still walked the path you set out now. 

This new year can still be your best yet! Welcome a fresh new year as much as a fresh new you. What means most to you will be you top of mind, and the overwhelm of life will be exchanged for very manageable bite size pieces, with the flexibility to handle the unexpected.

The pandemic did us a service by showing us what really matters.  Don’t let that slip away.

If you want support for your planning process, I am happy to help!  Let’s talk and see what what is possible for you.