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!

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.

Survive the Great Resignation by Looking Within

An unprecedented number of workers are quitting – but what if you aren’t?  Survive the Great Resignation by looking within to find grounding and purpose amid the change.

We don’t hear much about those at the helm (from global companies to small businesses), those who lead teams, or staff who stay in their positions. This blog is for you. 

The Great Resignation is Real

The headlines are splashed with what is being called the Great Resignation. A Microsoft study has concluded that 40% of the global workforce is considering leaving their jobs this year. The Harvard Business Review points to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics report that 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021 alone. All seek remote work, better pay and benefits, more flexible hours, often with value-driven companies, in an environment that fits their level of safety. Some want their own small business, others are flat out retiring.

The pandemic gave many time to reflect on what matters most to them and how they spend their time. But company owners and leaders may have been forced to focus on keeping afloat in incredible uncertainty. And that’s a recipe for burn out, which may be being felt even more now with the break in the most recent surge.  

You may have decided to stay put, for good reasons. But how do you process how all this has affected you personally? 

Looking Within

Because so much is changing externally, it’s causing internal changes. This is a golden opportunity to look at how you can transform just pushing through every day into something interesting and fulfilling — even invigorating! It’s a time to redesign your definition of success.   

I invite you to contemplate this, and view it as developing a new, very important professional skill. Because it is. Inc.com put it well: “Instead of chasing an antidote to burnout, we need to incorporate well-being and recharging practices into our work and our lives.” 

Everything is really driven by what you value – the rightness you feel about what you’re doing or what feels off when it’s not. And we can’t fit that bill 100% of the time, but our big picture view can certainly make it all work. 

What to Ask Yourself:

1. Have my values changed or deepened?

  • Are those being reflected in the work you are doing?
  • If so, how? In what ways does it present each day?
  • If they’re not, how does it impact you? Can you see ways to bring more meaning into what you’re doing? 

2. How can I change my sense of purpose?

  •  Try on new ways to look at it. A new perspective can be as true as an old one.
  • In August’s blog, I wrote that you are playing a part in a historic change that will set the standard for how businesses run for the next generation! How’s that for perspective? Can you find a fresh or energizing way to embrace that purpose, rather than see it as daunting?
  • Look at what your work asks of you to be considered a success. Then really look deeper at what YOU consider being a success within that. How big is the distance? And what can you do to narrow it?

3. What can I incorporate on a daily basis to sustain me? 

  • What are the triggers that most cause you to stress or feel overloaded? If you can learn to identify those, you can begin to be aware when they happen.
  • Prepare for those by listing way to reset your work habits and flow when things get too jammed up. Where can you fit stress reducing techniques in real time? Plan how to try them out.
  • Write up how you’d onboard a new employee in this new, changing environment. That can open up new avenues for you to find purpose in your own work, and aid you as you work with others.

If you go by your own value fulfillment, you will experience more daily passion and purpose and less burn out. Not only you, but everyone around you, will benefit. That’s potent motivation. 

What if  you’ve looked within but are still unsure how to meet what’s being asked of you with courage, skill and cool?

If you want a partner in this, please reach out to me! Helping people explore this is what I do best.

And why not sign up for my inspirational monthly newsletter?  You’ll receive my newest blog, written on timely, relevant topics, and resources to inspire, feed your spirit, and fill your well – the ultimate in working toward work/life balance.

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.

How To Create a Successful Hybrid Workplace

How-To-Create-a-Successful-Hybrid-Workplace

As we approach nearly two years of grappling with a new model for organizations, learning how to create a successful hybrid workplace is crucial. 

As variants continue to arise, it’s become clear: We will never go back to how it was, not only because of ongoing trepidation due to the pandemic but because a whole new generation of workers have grown up adept at life online and don’t have the same expectation of a physical workplace. 

Yet how do you foster strong connections, especially with many new people coming aboard, if you go mostly digital? This is one of the key questions to tackle.

Being separated from each other during the shut down, not being able to see family or attend important events really drove home that human connection is critical to our well being. 

And as more ask themselves why they’re working, and what’s important to do with their time, it’s clear we do need a balance between remote and office work.

The things you and the organization do today will set the course of how work will be done well into the future! Instead of it being daunting, how about it being exciting and fresh — a blank canvas upon which to leave your mark? 

Lay Your Foundation

My focus this summer has been to address the things leaders will need to do. Starting with 5 kinds of courage  as a basis for the adaptive leadership skills needed, we covered that in the new workplace, laying groundwork for staff safety and wellbeing takes the first priority.  Now we’ll sort out the actual nuts and bolts.

Keys to a Successful Hybrid Workplace  

1. Find What Still Works

Sort out what former workflows and systems can be retained through this transition. Let those, for now, form a basis for the new to be built upon.  As you identify needs, keep a list and schedule meetings with Human Resources or the policy makers in your organization to create what’s needed. 

Look at other organizations that have been managing hybrid teams or distance employees successfully and see what may fit for yours. Review expectations for your teams and see what new ones may have to be communicated.

2. Use Lessons from Shut Down

Take advantage of what we learned from the shut down. because continued pandemic surges should be part of the plan near term.  Business can be done remotely and those working at home are more flexible and quite productive. Global connection is much easier, and now enables finding the best people to work with from anywhere in the world. And that’s good because it’s wise to incorporate that new pandemic surges may be part of the plan near term. 

3. Create Hybrid Teams and Schedules

Some employees won’t return, so in addition to what the current team will go through, there will be new people to be found and onboarded. That may not be able to be done in person anymore. Leaders may have to get creative and assist the new staff in connecting to existing team members, now in two locations – home and office.  The Center for Creative Leadership has some excellent specifics about managing hybrid staff inclusion, and their DAC –  direction, alignment and commitment.

Key things to reimagine are how that bonding will take place, how meetings are run to connect people more, and new positions or titles will likely need to be created: For example: Hybrid Schedule Manager

Since it’s the small talk and daily interaction that forges bonds over time, find ways to create those between remote workers. Have a morning check in meeting for 15-20 minutes with remote teams just to chat with coffee. Perhaps an existing team member can moderate water cooler chats (or rotate who sets the topics) with casual social conversation starters like weekend plans, sports, the most recent binge show, holiday anecdotes etc. Soon it will create itself.

As to working meetings, rather than jump into the agenda, allow a few minutes up front for smaller teams to check in to get connection going. Where possible, use break out chats rooms on Zoom to let smaller groups discuss or plan an item, then rejoin the main meeting to contribute. And take a break if you can see a meeting has become unproductive. 

Prepare For The Future 

Help existing or new staff assist you by offering reskilling or upskilling to meet emerging needs. And, your expectations may have changed or be raised – just be sure to share them clearly with your team.

If indeed it’s evident a new position will need to be created, keep a running list of qualities and talents they will need to have as the problems they have to solve crop up. You may need new HR policies and incur new legal needs, which you can plan for.  

While this may seem challenging, remember the positives to a hybrid workforce: 

  • You can hire the right talent, and perhaps a more diverse one, from wherever they live
  • It can be a win/win for those who want to come in and those who prefer to work remotely
  • You may have a happier, healthier, more productive team than ever before
  • That can help you achieve whatever comes  

And don’t forget – everyone is in the same situation. This is completely new territory and there is no map — but the courage, skills and basics I’ve offered will give you a good start. Since the shift is away from leaders knowing it all, to co-creating this with workers, my goal was to furnish you with what you’d need to set out on this new path. The companies who manage to do this successfully will benefit by not just survival, but by leading the pack. And that will attract the best candidates to fill newly created or vacated positions. A satisfying situation for all. 

While I endeavor to give you these tools, leaders also need their own support. I’m here to provide that to you. Reach out, even for an exploratory conversation, and let me help you not just survive but thrive.

Transition Skills in the Workplace- How Do I Lead Now?

Leadership-In-The-workplace-How-Do-I-Lead-Now

There’s a lot of talk about transition skills in the workplace. How do I lead now is a question many are asking themselves. Covid isn’t exactly over, but businesses across the US are opening up. One thing is clear: There is no return to the workplace of the past. It’s a whole new frontier. But it is also an unprecedented opportunity to create something better. 

2020 showed us how marvelously adaptable we can be. Practically overnight, life as we knew it flew up in the air… then landed piece by piece, reconfiguring a new reality and ways of doing things. While the pandemic lessened the need for certain products and services, it created demand for others. Many who found themselves needing work took what was available, learning new skills on the fly. Others re-skilled themselves while in lockdown, anticipating shifts in the workplace. Some found they could continue and even grow in their field, no longer limited by location due to the entire globe operating online. 

Similarly, being effective at refining organizational culture for a hybrid workforce is requiring leaders to evolve their mindset and use – or develop – different skills. 

HOW DO I LEAD NOW?

An umbrella term for innovative thinking, Adaptive Leadership guides leaders to work with people on problems that can’t be resolved the traditional way.  A well-known model  based on the work of Ronald A. Heifetz and Marty Linsky, it creates a shift from everyone relying on you for the answers to you co-creating with teams and individuals, guiding them to come up with their own.

Engaging staff and listening with empathy is crucial to the process of navigating through transition. But what skills and methods will you need?

MAKE WELL BEING A PRIORITY

Well-being was a rising trend before Covid, but coming out of this last year’s prolonged anxiety, burnout, and grief, managing it now tops the list for a successful workplace. Forbes.com offers,“…we will need much more depth in social and emotional skills.” Here are some things you can incorporate:

  • SAFETY FIRST

Safety is a top concern in returning to work, and one of the easier problems to solve.  Discuss and survey what safety practices are most important to your staff . Find where their greatest concerns lie. From there, form safety standards and practices and immediately invest in whatever is needed — from plexiglass to disinfectant and cleaning supplies, to a mask policy. Letting them know what the new standards are will go a long way in those returning to feel protected and valued. If this isn’t done first, it will be at a price to the organization – from managing stressed out, less productive employees to losing them. 

  • MENTAL/PHYSICAL HEALTH

Due to continuing uncertainty, there are a lot of wide-ranging concerns around the return to work. Because so many really benefited from working at home, or are happy to get back to the office but in lockdown learned how valuable a work-life balance is, mental and physical health is undeniably top of mind for all. While HR is largely responsible for well being support, there is a lot you can do as a leader.

Arrange for HR come in to present about resources and opportunities for connection. 

MODEL SELF CARE

Keep reasonable hours at the office, make time during work to eat healthfully, use a standing or walking desk, take short breaks, get fresh air, put fresh flowers or photos on your desk, etc.

Inspire good boundaries, especially for those who work at home. Don’t call them before or after business hours or on weekends unless it’s an emergency, encourage them to take vacation days, and approve time for their healthcare visits.  

OPEN UP COMMUNICATION

Find new ways to keep the lines of communication open ie: scheduling one-on-one conversations in your office, creating workshops around it, and setting up a private suggestion portal. Check in regularly with remote workers to prevent them feeling out of the loop, and encourage personal check ins the first 10+ minutes of online meetings to sustain camaraderie. Start with a clear invitation for a two-way conversation, then be a receptive, active listener. Truly hearing your workforce is critical to holding on to them, for they will play a significant role in the next steps for the organization.  

  • EMPATHIZE

People have been through a LOT – but you have too!  That commonality lays groundwork for an authentic connection which can inspire trust and loyalty. Having employees help create what’s next rather than top down directives will invest them in the transition’s success and show in their best work. 

  • BE FRANK

Your team will respond better in uncertain times to what is known and unknown, even if it isn’t great news, because they sense the truth of it.  If they are informed about where things are really at, they can invent and employ far more effective solutions.  

Keep up consistent, clear communication, including expectations as they evolve. This is a very important skill to shepherd people through uncertain times which gives them what they need to be reliable and committed as things become more certain.

COURAGEOUS LEADERSHIP

The key to great leadership is courage. Apply your brand of courage to the challenge of building a hybrid culture based on the well being of the workforce and the values of the company and.

Rather than ramping straight up to what was, put people first and co-create what’s next with them. This is the ticket to hang on to the most valued talent while being very attractive to the best candidates to fill new positions.  

Next month I will be covering how to manage hybrid schedules and teams. Don’t miss it!  Better yet, please sign up for my monthly newsletter to get each month’s blog, inspiration and uplifting resources straight to your inbox. 

The Key to Great Leadership Is Courage

Superhero Team with Capes Graphic

The key to great leadership is courage, especially now, in these times of uncertainty and change.  

When you think of having courage – what’s the first image that comes to mind? A superhero in the power stance, cape flowing? A mother fighting for her child’s welfare? A person putting themselves at risk to save someone else? How about facing an employee — or a board — to navigate a difficult issue… or truly listening when your team’s opinions are different than yours? They all require courage. Because courage comes in many shapes and forms. 

The pandemic has advanced this to a whole new level. It led to creating new practices and policy on the fly, new needs to work around like childcare, health care and a host of distractions and emotions. 

Now more than ever, courage is needed in leadership. Let’s look at five specific kinds of that courage. 

1. Leadership Courage

There are business goals, deadlines and budgets to meet, using daily processes and systems, while striving for exceptional client and market communications. Add that those have to be accomplished while managing people’s new needs, losing some to layoffs or FOMO, handling unexpected losses (or profits) that are way off projections, almost all of it juggled via a virtual environment. Leadership courage is navigating those waters while communicating clear expectations, trusting enough to delegate, holding people accountable, and working with any performance issues so they can rise to their potential. It also means letting someone go (even if they are brilliant) because it’s mucking with company culture. Courage is doing what is right for business, morale and harmony, even if it may be tough to do.

2. Social Courage 

This is about what you uniquely bring to the table, being brave enough to understand the power of your authentic voice, and knowing when to express it – and when not to.   What you have to offer may be a risk to put out there but the upside is it could be a game changer! Social courage is not just being bold, but the art of knowing when and how to go there. Done with a mixture of confidence and openness to feedback, the value you bring will stand out. 

3. Intellectual Courage

There is a lot of reward in this brand of courage, which presents as being open minded to others ideas, as well as thinking ourselves out of our own boxes. Here we step out of our comfort zone, healthfully question, work with others, and even become willing to blunder in service of solutions!  It can be tough to do when there is such pressure to be the hero or always right, but the truly heroic path is open discourse for the greater good, regardless of differences. Intellectual courage wins respect and creates trust and safety. 

4. Moral Courage

Your integrity is the fuel for this kind of courage. It’s about the ability to do what’s right, even when it may produce pushback or judgement.  To say what you mean, and more importantly, act on what you know in your gut is gratifying and lights the way for others to do the same. The world needs it now too. If your work aligns with your inner compass, values and ethics, you will have a true and fulfilling sense of purpose which serves the highest and best of all involved. Win/win. 

5. Emotional Courage

This year has honed our emotional courage, even if we didn’t realize it. Overnight we were forced to tolerate total upheaval and the unknown — and take the next steps anyway, no matter what we may be feeling. Those emotions are utilized as we go. We need this courage because the landscape of our lives, especially at work, are not returning to what it was. It takes courage to adopt new practices, sort and make the best of the feelings it brings up and dive back in.  Even if you put everything into it and experience some failures or end up with a different outcome than you had planned, you have not lost — you have led by example. 

The key to great leadership is courage

When leaders make a conscious effort to identify which types of courage they are good at and which they need to build, they not only grow more at ease and empowered in their role but become an invaluable contributor to every individual, team, client and company they interact with.  

As you read over these types of courage ask yourself: Which do I already do well? What stood out to polish as I strive to lead others? 

Once you find what you resonate with, it’s about how you’ll step up. If you want to discuss these forms of courage, or working with them to make your leadership shine, I am more than happy to help. Let’s connect! 

Becoming aware of these kinds of courage will create a shift in your perspective. You may find yourself operating a little (or a lot) differently with both challenges and people. The benefits you will see in time will confirm that you indeed have that essential courage.

And you won’t even need a cape!

How To Transition Toward Your New Work-Life Balance

Salisbury Rail Trail

You may be wondering how to transition toward your new work-life balance, as mandates relax and many advance through opening phases. What will that look like? And how do you get from here to there?

What a year! While the US may be starting to emerge after dealing with a mysterious and confusing pandemic, other countries are in the throes, while some are virtually Covid-free… but all it takes is a glance at the news to know what’s happening around the globe, and that affects us all.

START WITH WHERE YOU ARE

It’s been stressful for everyone. There have been countless articles and TV specials covering ever-changing medical updates, how to keep fit, handle holidays, look good online and even open your mail! As we begin to surface from it all, many find ourselves exhausted, grappling with various comfort levels, and navigating a new frontier while earning a living. Many have worked all through the lockdowns – trying to stay afloat in a local business or Zooming at home at makeshift desks alongside kids and pets.

How do you process the strong desire to connect while respecting your (and others) concerns and normalize fears when Covid isn’t gone yet? It’s not the same world, so we won’t be going back to the same office. Not all of our co-workers may return. Our favorite place for lunch may be closed. There will be different routines developed and continually evolving hybrids.

It’s A LOT of adjustment.

Many of us are afraid to go back. Some are chomping at the bit. Others want to retire or do something entirely different. How do we navigate all that with intention, thoughtfulness and grace? It all depends on where you’re at.

FIVE QUESTIONS

Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out. Find a quiet time when fresh with a nice cup of something, and take these at your own pace.

1. What did you learn from experiencing this pandemic?

    • What did you discover is important to you?
    • What have you learned you can live without?

2. What benefits or hidden blessings did you experience?

3.What do you hope to remember about this time of global shutdown?

4. What parts of quarantine life, and practices do you want to keep?

5. What support do you need moving forward?

    • What would that look like?
    • Who and what can help?

It may take some time to find the answers, but they are in you… and they are crucial to explore. I invite you to take this opportunity to review what you want – and don’t — and get some clarity around that which you don’t want to lose sight of as you ease back.

WORK-LIFE BALANCE

It’s one thing to orchestrate the answers in your personal life, but how do you do that at work? Whether you’re in charge or report to someone, the company is figuring it out too. Here’s some thoughts:

  • What are your options for a phased in approach at the company?
  • Are they considering a hybrid or rotational work model?
  • What do you need to do to feel comfortable in terms of a clean workplace, the ability to mask or distance while at work?
  • How do you open up lines of communications, for employees, co-workers and employers?
What we all have in common is the place to start. ~ Doris Roach

A lot of that communication needs to happen. Degrees of comfort will vary as much as each individual.  Some feel a vaccine is a free pass, some are still wearing double masks and scared, and many are in between, perhaps taking care of a high risk person at home. The good news is, everyone is in the same boat when it comes to adjusting at work. What we all have in common is the place to start.

Whether you must return soon, have been working all through this, or aren’t sure what’s next, these questions will move you into new thinking that will come in handy. If don’t have the luxury of finding a window of free time to sit with these questions, you can still mull them over when you’re commuting, on break, showering, mowing the lawn or walking the dog!  Give yourself permission to think a new work-life balance through internally. Take one at a time, read more on the topic, talk to others. All will create a shift, even if subtly, and answers will come.

I am one of those people you can talk to, especially if you are struggling or want guidance in going deeper. Contact me and let’s talk about what you need! I’m here to help.

How To Listen To Your Gut

How To Listen To Your Gut

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘It takes guts’ or have been asked: ‘‘What does your gut tell you?” But do you know how to listen to your gut? What is the gut exactly? How do you distinguish what messages come from your gut vs. your mind? If you have ever felt pings from your body at key moments, or had a strong feeling about a situation or person, you have been utilizing signals from what experts are now calling Gut Intelligence (GQ).

"Every single person has Gut Intelligence—intuition. It’s innate, and is just about whether we tap into it or not."

We know of our IQ: our intelligence, education, and training. We rely on it, and put a lot of effort into improving it, in ourselves and in our children. In the last two decades,  value has been placed on our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) — the ability to empathize or understand the needs of others. EQ, (or Heart Intelligence) has begun to reach beyond the obvious social rewards to its application in business, with clients and our audience. 

Today there is much scientific evidence emerging that we have a third “brain,” stemming from the gut, or the enteric nervous system… and it is being called Gut Intelligence (GQ). 

In literal terms, your gut is the pathway from your esophagus through your digestive system, but did you know that it’s got more neurons to fire communications through your body than your brain has?  Besides it’s important work in your digestive system, it is also your inner alarm system – the place your fight or flight triggers come from!  While the brain is busy being distracted by all kinds of data, in a dangerous situation, the gut kicks in. It processes information far faster, releasing signals through the body to the brain, all focused on protecting you!

Jay Pasricha, M.D., director at Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, said in a recent post, “The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.” In a word, it’s instinct. We’ve evolved out of primal days when we needed those skills to stay alive, except for extreme circumstances in modern life like avoiding a car accident. Yet those signals are still in top working order and can now be incredibly empowering to you in your work life. 

Being gutsy has positive connotations, but hints that it’s the quality of a maverick, not the average person. The truth is, every single person has Gut Intelligence. It’s innate, and is just about whether we tap into it or or not. 

It can be hard for those in leadership to put much faith in their intuitive instincts over stats, trends, and deadlines. But it’s as viable a skill as any other you’ve honed. One that out pictures as courage, and can heighten the success of any endeavor, professional or personal. You won’t abandon your data, systems, or protocols by adding your intuition… you enhance it! 

We know those times we’ve ignored our body’s hints and clues. So if your gut  senses and communicates critical things your head may not, how can you become aware of that and trust it? And how do you know when to use your instinct or just note it and wait?

If you want to learn how to listen to your gut and develop trust in your judgement calls, I’m here to help. Let’s talk!

This is the second of a three part series on Intelligence. Read the first, The Role of Heart Intelligence in Leadership, and bookmark this blog to return for the third installation next month!  Even better, sign up to my newsletter for my latest blog posts, inspiring hand-picked resources, and to be the first to hear of my upcoming workshops and coaching opportunities.

What is a Courage Coach?

What is a Courage Coach?

You might ask, what is a Courage Coach exactly?

Whenever I talked with my clients, regardless of their industry or title, the topic of courage always came up. Some were just starting out, some were reaching for big goals, others were in the midst of juggling it all, and a few had reached their pinnacle and were looking at what was next. Technical skills, expertise, good relationships and connections all count for a lot, but when you are not certain and everyone is relying on you to be certain you have to dig down deep and figure out the right thing to do. How do you trust your instincts, show up as your authentic self and stay the course?

It takes courage.

I know because I’ve lived it. For a decade I’d worked as an attorney, growing to a senior position at a Fortune 500 company. While it brought many rewards, I began to hear a calling toward other work that became too loud to ignore.

But making that change would be a big one. Leaving the practice of law was a leap of faith. As I embarked on an entirely new path into uncharted territories with no map, I set up my first email as Courage to be a grounding reminder.  It represented what I was doing – leaving behind a secure position that was financially rewarding, in a role that garnered respect, to follow goals and dreams with no net. In addition, there was the unexpected hurdle that not everyone understood why I left.  There was a lot of pressure to go back to being an attorney, so not only starting something new but staying on that road took a lot of courage.

When you think of the word courage, it may conjur up a warrior on a horse with armor, riding on the front lines into battle.  But when it comes to your unique personal situation, courage can display in a variety of ways, and not all are obvious.

What’s your brand of courage?

  • Bold —You can be very much out there, visible, lobbying, breaking down walls.
  • Quiet —Slow and steady, you take deliberate steps , not ruffling feathers but steadfast.
  • Resolute —You may have the ability toto inspire people around you to follow the course to accomplish what you want and how.
  • Tentative — In in the face of uncertainty, you feel the fear and do it anyway

Regardless, in the span of your career and your life you will have to make tough decisions. It takes a lot of courage to stay the course – especially if some may disagree or discourage you.

Where you see challenges, I offer solutions to those challenges. I’ve walked that path less traveled.  I now want to help you do it!

Let’s CONNECT and move on, together!