Live 2019 with Grace

During some personally difficult times, clients and colleagues will often ask us, “Why do you do this work?”

They are puzzled that we would choose to put ourselves in the middle of the messiness and pain that people experience in their lives and work.

We do this work because we know that
when people matter to themselves and believe that
others matter, too, success is ensured.

This is true in organizations, on teams, and with individual contributors. Success increases when people matter.

Often in life, and especially at work, we can start to believe that things matter; results matter, money matters, but people…they are in the way.

Yet, the most powerful leaders we know understand that it’s the people that create the success and that when those people are treated with respect for their contributions, with interest in their wisdom and perspective, and honored for the challenges they must deal with every day, everyone thrives.

A few days ago, our Administrative Assistant, Chris Karis, sent us an article by Peter Wehner in the New York Times called, The Uncommon Power of Grace: A revolutionary idea lies at its core: radical equality.

In it there was a paragraph that described how we treat ourselves and one another when we believe people matter – the author used the term grace.

When I recently asked . . .  how, as a nonbeliever, he understood grace and why it inspires us when we see it in others, he told me that grace is “some combination of generosity and magnanimity, kindness and forgiveness, and empathy — all above the ordinary call of duty, and bestowed even (or especially?) when not particularly earned.” We see it demonstrated in heroic ways and in small, everyday contexts, he said. “But I guess, regardless of the context, it’s always at least a little unexpected and out of the ordinary.” 

When we matter to ourselves and when we believe others matter, we bring a combination of generosity, magnanimity, kindness, forgiveness, and empathy to ourselves and to others in the face of our humanity and the messiness it brings.

This year, our commitment to you is to support you in mattering to yourself and to creating environments where others matter, because this is the combination that creates unexpected and out of the ordinary success.

We’re in this together!

If you’d like support in showing your team
that they matter, our Executive Coaching could
be for you. Contact us today to learn more.

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US & THEM

This week in honor of Martin Luther King Jr, we’d like you to consider a change of language that can have a profound effect on you and on others.

You see, language is the fundamental way in which we come to understand and relate to the world around us. When you change your language, you influence your ability to relate to others and to build powerful connections.

This week, we’d like you to play with your language. Every time you start to say “them” consider that they are also “us” instead.

As coaches and consultants, our area of expertise is working with and understanding people, and what we see over and over is that:

Everyone wants to be seen and heard.
Everyone.

People want to know that their experience is respected and understood by others.

With everything that’s coming at us daily, it can be difficult to pause long enough to really understand what life is like for others—to have empathy for their experience—especially when their experience is vastly different from our own.

Without that empathy, people move to US versus THEM.

As Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us,
we don’t need to look too far back into history
to see the perils of US vs. THEM.

Remember that below the areas of disagreement, there are far more things we have in common with one another as humans.

Before party, before state, and before country, we are simply human: we love our children; we have the need for food, shelter, safety, and the opportunity to pursue meaningful work; we all laugh, and we all grieve.

Both US and THEM.

It’s critical as we move forward individually, in our work environments, and in our country, that we take a breath, pause, and remember that we’re all trying to claim our place in a world that is changing fast because belonging is a human need. For US and for THEM.

It no longer serves any of us to parse individuals into separate groups as if we don’t share more in common than we have in differences.

Let’s make a pledge this Martin Luther King Jr. Day to speak about humans as one.

We found a great example of an annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day tradition in a Massachusetts kindergarten class where young students are learning about tolerance, fairness, and equality.

You can check out the video here: Kindergarten class keeps MLK Jr’s dream alive.

Be well!

If we can help you individually, as a team, or with your business,
let us know. Making this shift can be challenging
but also rich with possibility!

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Why 2018 Was the Best Year in History!

With some regularity, our clients share with us that they’re more distressed by the state of the world than they can ever remember.

We can sometimes feel the same, so imagine our surprise when on January 6, 2019 we came upon a New York Times column by Nicholas Kristof titled: “Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!”

We found it very powerful to hear some of the amazing things that happened in 2018 – most of which didn’t make it to the news.

Take a look and let us know what you think:

Why 2018 Was the Best Year in Human History!

Here’s to moving forward in ways that highlight the fact that each of us matter and all of us matter!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you’d like support in finding ways to matter in your own life,
contact us today about our coaching services. 

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PAUSE and HALT: A Powerful Combination

One of the things we love about the PAUSE is that you can use it to interrupt your reactivity to external actions, and you can use it to provide support for how you respond to your internal thoughts and feelings.

When people are under stress, they often work harder, run faster, spend less time sleeping, exercising, and eating. They feel overwhelmed and have no clue how to get clear about what they need.

Pausing is a powerful way to help yourself figure out what you need, and when you combine it with the use of HALT, it can be a game-changer.

The acronym HALT gives you a simple framework that can help you determine if your basic needs are being met so that you can get your footing and move forward.

HALT typically stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired. When you’re overwhelmed and aren’t sure what you’re feeling, ask yourself:

Am I HUNGRY?

Am I ANGRY?

Am I LONELY?

Am I TIRED?

As you think about these questions, consider the following:

    • Hunger can be used to consider if you’re physically hungry, but it can also be a way to explore if you’re experiencing an emotional longing that needs filling for you to feel satisfied.
    • Anger is a common and normal emotion that often needs some exploration. Are you angry with a situation, a person, a group, or yourself? Are you angry in response to a single event or an ongoing pattern?
    • Loneliness can occur when you’re alone or when you’re surrounded by lots of people. If you find you’re lonely, ask yourself what you need and who you can reach out to for connection and support.
    • Tiredness can be more debilitating than we ever imagine. Explore what’s causing the tiredness and consider how you can provide yourself some rest. It may be that you need more sleep, but it could also mean you need time by yourself, movement out in nature, or a break from work.
Combining the PAUSE with HALT can serve to remind you to care for your needs – today and always.

You matter to us!

 

If you’ve been stressed at work and would like support in identifying and managing your needs, contact us today about our coaching services.

 

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Your New Year

We are not big proponents of resolutions, since most of us don’t get much beyond January with this laundry list of big ideas.

We believe that you matter.

And because you matter, you need to know what your priorities are in life so that you can take steps to move toward them throughout the year.

On this last day of 2018, we encourage you to spend a few minutes thinking about what you want to focus on in 2019.

Identifying your priorities can help you create “your” new year rather than just rolling into “the” new year.

Click on the link to get a copy of our Life Priorities exercise. This is a simple, but powerful, activity to help you clarify what needs your attention if you are going to matter in your own life.

Once you have completed the exercise, ask yourself the following questions for each of your life priorities:

  • What do I need to do in my personal life to maximize the chance of achieving this life priority?
  • What do I need to do in my relationships to maximize the chance of achieving this life priority?
  • What do I need to do in my work life to maximize the chance of achieving this life priority?

Make this year your new year by creating a life
that honors you and your life priorities!

To your life!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you would like support in developing your leadership skills,
contact us today about our coaching services.

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Interrupt Reactivity

Last week in our post, Holidazed?, we talked about 4 things you can do to position yourself for a fun, hectic, connecting, tiring holiday—one that leaves you proud of how you showed up and how you managed your priorities.
 
We started with PAUSE, which many of you know is the first step in our Leader in You framework.

The PAUSE can look like taking a small sip of water, a shuffling of papers, or a full out break from the action; but during that moment you’re asking yourself, “Is what I’m doing or what I’m about to do or say in alignment with my goals?” 

The PAUSE supports you in decreasing your reactivity and increasing your ability to reflect on what you’re doing so you can choose how to respond. We’ve done a lot of leadership training and coaching, and truly, this simple nugget can change your life. 

So, what do we mean by reactivity?

When we talk about reactivity,
we’re talking about the very human tendency
to do what we’ve always done in the past

In some ways, we humans are a bit like a light switch, hit the switch and the light goes on; there is an Action – Reaction relationship. As you think about this time of year it might look like this:

ACTION REACTION
Your boss asks you to get something done and you hear urgency in her voice. You drop everything to do that work.
Your colleague is mad that a report is late. You apologize (and sweat) profusely.
Your kids want to go look at Christmas lights NOW! You feel annoyed but grab the car keys.
Your partner asks you to do something that you have no time to do. You say yes outside and feel angry inside.

While you may believe you have no other choice, unlike light switches, we humans can PAUSE to grab that moment between hitting the switch and the light going on, to choosing how to respond.  

ACTION  PAUSE RESPONSE
Your boss asks you to get something done and you hear urgency in her voice. You ask for more information and explore the flexibility in due date.
Your colleague is mad that a report is late. You listen closely and ask for details to assess what you need to do for damage control.
Your kids want to go look at Christmas lights NOW! You offer to look at lights after you spend an hour getting some high priority work done.
Your partner asks you to do something that you have no time to do. You suggest that the two of you sit down and prioritize what needs to be done during this time.

The PAUSE is a powerful, yet simple, step that can help you be a better leader in your work, your life, and your joy.

Pausing allows you to respond
with your best thinking

and understanding of your current goals.

Next time you find yourself reacting, ask yourself, “Is what I am about to say or do in alignment with my goals?” If it’s not, consider how you can respond to be in alignment with your goals.
 
Try it out and let us know how it goes!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you would like support in developing your leadership skills, 
contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

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Holidazed?

In the movies, the holidays are perfect, happy, loving, spontaneous, and connecting, or they are disastrous explosions of personal misery. Both images are stressful, and neither has to be yours!

We’ve heard from many of you that you’re feeling pretty tired, worn down, and not quite in the holiday spirit this year.

In fact, many of you report a love-hate relationship with the holidays. On one hand, you love much of the connection and celebration but on the other hand, you’re busy, overworked, and stressed.

This year, as you’re navigating through the holidays, we encourage you to think of yourself as a leader in your life as you approach each day. As a leader, your role is to influence your world and be influenced by your world.

The following four steps will help:

  1. PAUSE – Always take a moment before you react to incoming stressors and ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say (or do) aligned with my goals?”
    • Your goals don’t have to be large, they might be to stay connected with yourself, to listen without judgement, or to let go of the notion of a perfect holiday.
  2. Focus – Identify the 2 – 3 things (no more) that are most important for you to accomplish over the next couple of weeks.
    • This could include completing a key report to a client or purchasing the special chocolate your kids love. It doesn’t particularly matter what they are, it only matters that you know what they are and make time in your schedule to get them done.
    • Identify times when you can do these priorities and put them on the calendar.
  3. Own it and share it – Sit down with the people who are most important to you and discuss the opportunities for connection, the demands on all of you, and the schedule for the upcoming few weeks.
    • With your partner and children, talk about what needs to get done and who can contribute. If you have young children, consider who can keep an eye on them from time to time to give you and your partner some space to think and get things done.
    • With your boss, colleagues, or direct reports, review the goals of the upcoming weeks. Be certain you all know and agree to the priorities and then identify what will get in the way of achieving those priorities. Together, create a plan for moving forward.
    • Let your extended family know what you’re thinking about for the upcoming weeks and come to an agreement on what is an absolute must do and what you consider optional.
  4. Review – Set your alarm clock 5 – 10 minutes early, roll out of bed, and quickly review your day.
    • Make sure you know what your priorities are—work efforts, time for self, kids, shopping, etc.
    • Identify the people you’ll need to meet with that day.
    • Identify 5 things you are grateful for (this is an inspiring way to start your day year-round, and it’s particularly helpful at this time of year.)

Take some time this week to position yourself for a fun, hectic, connecting, tiring holiday—one that leaves you proud of how you showed up and how you managed your priorities.

You matter!

~ Linda, Stephanie, and Heather

If you would like support in developing your leadership skills,  contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

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You Will Fail

You WILL Fail. Those were the first words out of a friend’s mouth when, in 2011, we said we were going to create and send out a nugget of our best thinking every Monday morning for a year. For a brief moment we actually wondered, what could we possibly find to say every week for a whole year? Apparently, a lot!

Thanks to your support, we’ve delivered 7 years of weekly coaching nuggets!

Today marks the 7th Anniversary of the Monday Morning Business Coach! In those 7 years that you’ve worked with us as your coaches, you’ve invited us in to support you in changing your corporate culture, you’ve had us teach our leadership model to your leaders and your teams, you’ve used us to facilitate difficult conversations to solve business problems, you’ve had us put together organizational partnerships, create powerful and effective teams, you’ve worked with us to develop strategies for a successful career, and you’ve trusted us with your hopes, fears, and questions.

Thank you for your confidence and trust in us as we support you in navigating the intersection between business and psychology . . . that messy place that can make the difference between success and failure, alignment and commitment to a vision; and success, satisfaction, and sustainability in the workplace.

This week’s nugget of coaching is based on what we’ve learned in writing 7 years of coaching nuggets.

Take small steps consistently over time in the direction of your goal.

When you take small steps consistently over time, you’re actively choosing what you will do, and you do that until you choose to do something else. This doesn’t mean that you never change your mind about a goal. With new information and changing environments, you may, in fact revise and fine-tune your decisions.

But you make the change deliberately. You see, there’s nothing more erosive than choosing to do something and then just letting it fade away. When you do that you lose confidence in yourself and those around you lose confidence in you as well.

Over the past 7 years, there were many weeks when we were tired, busy, traveling and tempted to “just skip a week”. So, each time we started to suggest that we “just skip this week,” we asked ourselves, “Are we ready to let the Monday Morning Business Coach go?”

Each time we decided that the Monday Morning Business Coach was still the best way to share our thinking and most successful strategies and tools with you, our community, to support your growth and continued success.

Thank you for allowing us to be your trusted allies.

If you should need an ally, contact us today about our coaching services.

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You Are Not Alone

We were recently facilitating a company meeting with a team of people, many of whom had worked for the company for their entire career. In the meeting, people were complaining about the challenges they faced and the hardships of the current financial environment in their industry.

They were feeling threatened, singled out, and personally beat up in this environment.

As we listened, we came to understand that this group had been together for so long and for so much of their careers that they had no idea how similar their experiences, challenges, and hardships were to the vast majority of other working people.

When we said to them, “Your experiences are the experiences of most people who are in the workforce”, they looked at us like we were out of our minds.

In the ensuing conversation, we talked about the workplaces and lives we’ve witnessed.

We talked about managers who had their entire next year’s plan ripped out from under them because of changes in their industry, professionals whose chosen career paths simply went away, needed resources that never arrived, long hours that were never recognized, and the range of experiences that are a norm of working, being part of a team, or functioning in a department within a company that has to create financial sustainability to stay afloat.

As we talked, you could see this group visibly relax. They came to understand that the kinds of challenges they were facing are the challenges most working people experience at some time or another, and they felt relief that they were not alone.

The shift in frame from “this is happening to me alone” to “this happens in many lives, perhaps even all lives” can change the experience from feeling victimized to feeling a part of the human race.

To help them see how much challenge is a norm, together we created a list of some of the things friends and colleagues were living with and through in their workplaces.

This is what they shared:

  • A really challenging boss
  • A new boss with entirely different priorities
  • A cancer diagnosis and the need to still work
  • Working two jobs to support the family
  • Too much work for any one day and too little budget to hire someone else
  • Layoffs to stabilize the budget – that then increased the workload
  • Stock market volatility
  • Regulatory updates that change the success of the whole industry
  • Exciting work that is also high stress – higher stress then they imagined
  • Sale of the company leading to everything changing
  • A culture of fear

It’s such a gift to be alive and be able to work, yet it’s regularly (and at times overwhelmingly) difficult at the same time. And, when you believe that others have it easy, it erodes your ability to see difficulties as a part of life – not just a part of your life.

This week, as you encounter your most challenging moments, try shifting from a framework of “this is happening to me alone” to “this happens in many lives,” and then find ways to connect with others to get support for what’s going on in your life and work so that you know you are not alone.

We’re here for you!

If you’re facing work challenges and would like support in moving forward,
contact us today about our coaching services.

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Certainty in Your Truth vs. THE Truth

A couple of weeks ago, we wrote a post about The 5 C’s of Self – Confidence and the importance of standing in your own truth. The 5 C’s include:

Conviction, Certainty, Commitment, Courage, and Connection

While many of you wrote that you loved the idea of the 5 C’s, those of you who know us know that we are often saying don’t get certain, get curious. So, many of you asked what we were thinking when we included certainty in this list. And what a great question that is!

As you will recall, we said Certainty is key because Confidence in its simplest form is trusting your truth – holding that your truth is your truth. Knowing your truth and having a sense of which truths you trust and which you’re not so sure about will help you become clear about what you have confidence in.

Here is how we think about it:

Having certainty in your truth is very different than
being certain that you know THE truth
.

You can have considerable certainty in your truth and still be curious and influenceable. In fact, it’s really important that you have both. Without some certainty in your own truth, you won’t likely lean in to influence others, and you may be influenced by others in a way that is not in the balance of influence and influenced by.

One of the most challenging aspects of being a leader is striking that delicate balance between influencing and being influenced by. When you grow those 5 C’s you will be more effective in that balance. It will help you to stand in your truth while exploring and considering the larger truth.

For example, it may be your truth that the mission of your organization requires passionate commitment to people’s success while still being the truth that the organization needs to lay off some people to sustain financial stability.

In this case, you might start the conversation saying that you want to remind the team that you’re committed to creating an environment where people feel valued and respected in their work. And, at the same time add that you’d prefer to not have to lay people off if at all possible.

You have a deep discussion where you’re curious about other peoples’ perspectives and the data that led to their conclusions. After the discussion, you come to agree that a limited number of layoffs (done well) really is the most effective way to create financial sustainability and ultimately care for the people you must let go and the people who will continue to work for you. Your decision-making process is in the balance of influence within a larger truth.

This week we’d encourage you to explore the difference between standing in your truth and becoming certain that you know THE truth. The ability to hold your truth in confidence while exploring other truths will empower you as a leader and the people you are leading.

If you’d like support in exploring how to stand in your truth while still being influenceable, contact us today about our Executive Coaching.

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