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Fear and Possibility Travel Together

You’ve probably heard the saying “with great power comes great responsibility.”  In a similar vein, consider this: “with great possibility comes great fear.”

Ugh… does that feel like a bummer? Do you sometimes wish for a way to release and rid yourself of fear?  You may be surprised to hear, it's not actually a good thing to be entirely "fearless." Conscious fear serves us; it wakes us up and tells us something significant needs to be attended to and it can embolden us for important actions. On the other hand, unconscious, toxic fear about an imagined future state that is disconnected from the present is not your friend.

We are wired to experience some fear on an automatic, split-second, neuro-biological level; the brain’s primary job is to seek safety, connection and respect. When any of these are potentially threatened, fear kicks in and we hunker down psychologically, physically and even spiritually to reduce potential harm....

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12 Ways to Ignite Your Confidence

Having self-confidence is beneficial in all areas of our lives, and developing confidence is an important part of personal and professional growth. We intuitively understand that lack of confidence can hold us back from achieving all we want and being who we want to be. The experience of fear, insecurity or nervousness can be debilitating if we don’t understand ways to build confidence. I hear so many people share the desire “I need more confidence” or the lament “I’m not a confident person.”

Let’s talk about this.

A common misunderstanding I see when working with people who want to become more confident is the false belief that having confidence means NOT experiencing nervousness, insecurity or fear. While it’s true that someone with high confidence may experience less nervousness or insecurity, it’s a false belief that to be more confident you must first rid yourself of nervousness, insecurity and fear. Also inaccurate is the...

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Let Go of Expectations to Improve Your Leadership (and life).

Uncategorized Mar 18, 2021

 

Let go of expectations and seek agreements.

Have you ever felt disappointed, angry or hurt because someone didn’t meet your expectations? If you’re a leader, is there one (or several) of your team members failing to meet your expectations? Have you ever shared with a staff member, partner or child a statement that starts something like “I expect you to…”? Chances are you can say yes to at least one of these questions and chances are it led to a negative experience. Are you someone who prides themselves on “high expectations;” who often finds others simply don't live up to your exacting standards?  Maybe we should stop having “expectations” of others... How would letting go of expectations improve your leadership?

What a minute!  (insert sound of screeching tires) Am I asking you to lower your standards, lower the bar and just accept whatever happens?  That sounds like a recipe for mediocrity! NOPE –...

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The Girl with the Mustache Tattoo (aka Make Your Own Joy!)

I was recently reminded of an encounter with someone who embodied a spirit of play and light-heartedness that so many of us yearn for these days. It was, for me, a small but meaningful message from the universe. I sat down on a flight to Arizona ( pre-pandemic!)  beside a woman who was probably in her early thirties. She was dressed casually in jeans and a white and blue nautical style shirt with sparkly silver-sequined converse sneakers. We made some brief small talk, mentioning how warm and stuffy the plane felt. As she reached up to turn on the air vent I saw what looked like a small flourish tattoo on the inside of her right pointer finger.

Because I am a “hip and modern” 50-something who got a small ankle tattoo with my daughter a few years ago, I felt open to comment and shared – “oh how pretty your tattoo is on your finger.” She replied “oh, my mustache” and held her finger to her upper lip. Sure enough it was a tattoo of a...

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Replace “fake it 'til you make it,” with “fire it 'til you wire it.”

In a recent conversation with a friend about facing difficult work situations, she used the ubiquitous saying "fake it 'til you make it."

Listen up y'all...

it’s time for this saying to be officially and permanently retired! 

When we lovingly advise each other or ourselves to “fake it 'til you make it” we are, inadvertently, reinforcing a negative internal dialog that undercuts our progress. Although intended to send the positive, uplifting message of “just take action until you gain confidence and competence,” this phrase includes a subtle, not-very-empowering message that needs examination.  I understand telling ourselves to “fake it” allows us to move forward when we may not yet believe in ourselves, but language is powerful, so let’s use language that describes what’s actually happening.

To better express the dynamic that occurs when we take an action, change our nonverbal pose, smile even if we don’t feel...

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Fall Back with a Plan for Winter Wellness

Daylight savings time ends when the clocks "fall back" on November 1 at 2:00am. The shift in time can be very influential on our wellbeing. Winter provides a chance to slow down, rest and restore when we hunker down for that long winter's nap.

However, eight months into a pandemic, this year is different, so it's time to make a plan for your winter wellness.

"Winter is coming" isn't just a Game of Throne catch phrase. It's a call to prepare ourselves for what's ahead; a reminder to intentionally plan behaviors and practices to build resilience during the dark days of working and schooling from home.

The good news is, when we know a storm is coming, we can prepare for it! Here in the Northeast, we’re familiar with last minute runs for bread, milk and needed supplies before a storm keeps us home for a few days. Similarly, now is the time to make a resilience plan in anticipation of our first pandemic winter.

It’s time to stock your mental, emotional and physical pantry.

...

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Affirmations for a Powerful Day

Do you use affirmations? I admit that I've been pretty skeptical in the past.  But given what I have learned about neuroscience, I've changed my mind.

Neuroscience tells us that our brain responds to the thoughts we have - just like worrying can activate the stress response, what we say to ourselves via our thoughts and spoken words activates various neurotransmitters, setting off all types of body signals. Using positive affirmations activates the reward centers of your brain and, with enough repetition, can actually change your brain - a process known as neuroplasticity. Also exciting... studies have shown that the use of affirmations can increase a sense of hopefulness (we could all use a boost of hope), can lower stress, and have even been shown to improve academic performance!

Using affirmations builds a more resilient brain!

I invite you to stand up, get your feel solidly planted on the ground and read these aloud. Maybe add some great music in the background, invite...

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Amidst Uncertainty, Find Your Purpose “For Now”

As a coach, I encounter many people, young and old, from many walks of life, who want to talk about finding their Purpose (capital P). That natural inclination is in the spotlight as we navigate the innumerable changes during this time of Covid. Many of us are re-thinking the state our lives and considering what shape we want them to take as we look to create a new way of living on the other side of this.

We are yearning to exert some influence over what is to come. It’s a natural reaction to want to gain some sense of control in an otherwise out-of-control world. We want influence on what our so-called “new normal” will look like.

Of course, this search for purpose and meaning isn’t a new pursuit that has popped up since the pandemic began; even in the earliest civilizations humans spent considerable energy focused on finding the “meaning of life” and trying to answer the big (yet very personal) questions “why am I here?” and...

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Daily Courage Can Move Mountains

Courage is a much-admired trait espoused for success in life and as a leader. We hear news of the incredible courage of essential workers caring for the sick, sexual assault survivors stepping up to tell their stories, humanitarians facing danger to selflessly act on behalf of others, and mythic stories of heroes and heroines conquering all manner of challenges. These all serve as inspiration and aspiration to develop our own courage, yet most of us need courage not for momentous, mythic undertakings, but for simple acts in our daily lives. We need courage to take or leave a job, courage to express our true feelings in a new (or old) relationship, courage to stand up for ourselves or others or even just to start over after a difficult, disappointing day. Right now, it seems we all need courage to stay optimistic about the future as we navigate a very challenging world.

Daily we face challenges, changes or difficult tasks that may make us feel fearful, unsure or hesitant to move...

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Resilience: Don’t Wait to Bounce Back

With all the collective struggles we are facing - pandemic, economic and political upheaval, remote work, unemployment - there is more need than ever to be able to respond with resilience.

But, most of us want not only to survive - we want to thrive. There is a shared understanding that resilience is having the strength to endure challenges and overcome adversity, and I think you’ll agree that resilience is a positive trait to possess. When I ask workshop participants to tell me what resilience is, the most common answer is “resilience is the ability to bounce back after difficulty.” 

I have heard this in 100% of the resilience workshops I have facilitated.

It’s not wrong, but...it’s not enough.

While “bouncing back” after failure, disappointment or difficulty is certainly good, it already implies a “reactive” tone - it asserts that we bounce back after something happens. And while that may be when resilience shows itself,...

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