Capacity Building

Building capacity is a topic that is on everyone’s lips in local government. Whether it is capacity for a project, in a department, team, or one’s self. Everyone wants to know how to build more capacity because it seems like there is never enough.What is capacity?  Capacity is the capability to perform, the amount that can be contained, or the maximum production possible. When I coach individuals or teams, and I hear “We don’t have the capacity to do that”, I get curious. Sometimes, it means they do not have the capability. If that is the case, we need to peel back those layers and understand what is interfering with performance. Is it training, money, knowledge, or people? Until we go below the surface, we cannot fully understand how to address the concern.If the capacity issue is one of time, it may be time to examine what you or your team is working on. Many times, we do work activities, because we think we have to or because we always have done them. When we get on autopilot with our daily work activities, we are not really looking at what we do with a critical eye. Some of the activities may no longer be needed.Another aspect to look at - is if you have the right people doing the right activities. I was recently certified in an assessment tool that looks at how we work, naturally. How we use our energy in certain aspects of our workday and what is the natural way we use our energy to complete work most efficiently and effectively. This was so enlightening for me and explained so much; why certain tasks were painful and took twice as long as those tasks that came naturally to me and were completed with joy and ease.Chances are we have members of our teams who are especially skilled at certain work tasks because they come naturally to them. Perhaps, with a bit of shuffling, we may be able to put the right people on the right tasks to complete those necessary tasks with joy and ease. Do you remember the old swap meet phrase, “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” This same idea may be applied to our team’s tasks. You may find after this awareness and shuffling, you really do have the capacity.As always, I love to hear from you. What would be necessary for you to have capacity?With Love and To Your Success,Maria

The Benefits of Complaints

So often, when we hear the word, complain, those of us who have worked in customer service bristle! However, complaints are not always a bad thing – sometimes complaints can be quite valuable. When we shift our perceptions from negativity to a positive frame, we may actually welcome complaints…well, sometimes!Complaints can be beneficial because:

  • Complaints can give you information you may not otherwise have. Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees, in other words, we may be too close to the situation to see problems or issues.
  • When we receive complaints, we receive information. Let’s face it; often times some information is better than no information. When people take the time out to complain, that means at some level they care! If they were complacent or indifferent about you or your organization, they would say nothing.
  • If the complaint doesn’t come to you, it doesn’t mean the complaint is not being shared with someone else…perhaps shared with someone else with whom they are now doing business!The complaint gives you an opportunity to correct the situation. Contrary to popular belief, ignorance is not bliss.

Think about this: When people do share a complaint with you, they are actually saying:

  • I value this relationship.
  • I hope to continue this relationship.
  • I am presenting this problem to you because I care.
  • I know you can fix this.

What are your thoughts about complaints?With love,Maria

Laughter is Underrated

Laughter is completely underrated. Laughter is our heart’s outpouring of love. We know laughter is contagious, yet it is powerful medicine. Leadership use of laughter is like a power-charged tool with many uses.One of the most compelling benefits of laughter is shared, joyous connection. Comedian Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the closest distance between two people.” He is right; laughter connects us at deep level, which is why it is so contagious. Laughter moves beyond the superficiality of words right to our souls, moving all pretense and guard aside.I’m always amazed at the extreme power of laughter; people laughing just in response to someone else’s laughter. I remember a time when my husband, daughter, and I were watching a silly movie. The premise was a bit far-fetched, but we liked the actor, Bill Murray, in the film. He inherited a circus elephant and wanted to take it across country to sell it to a zoo. In one scene, he was driving an 18-wheeler, which he did not know how to drive, with the elephant in the trailer. In the cab, he had several boxes of candy that he was feeding to the elephant, since he didn’t know what else to feed the animal and of course he experienced one series of hysterical mishaps after another!I laughed so hard—it was one of the funniest scenes I ever saw! What was even funnier was how hard my husband and daughter were laughing at my reaction. They did not find the scene as hysterical as I did, but my deep belly, soulful laughter was so contagious that all three of us were rolling on the floor, in tears. Laughter goes to the core, infecting those within its path.When was the last time you had a good, deep belly laugh?As always, I love hearing your stories!With love,Maria

Conflict With Colleagues

In both group coaching and individual coaching, I am consistently asked how to get along with people that we have conflict with – conflict with direct reports, peers, or our bosses. This is a universal problem for local governments and private sector employers as well.Here are three strategies that I’ve found to be extremely effective with my clients as well as myself:

  1. Find something you have in common with the person you have conflict with. Yes, there is at least one thing you have in common besides breathing. I had a boss once who had very ugly behavior with most of the team – equal opportunity ugly - and I dreaded any encounters that I had to have with him. I realized one day that he had a beautiful piece of art hanging in his office. When I asked about the artwork, his entire demeanor changed, and he became very animated discussing his love of art. Bingo! I too, know art (my father is an artist) and I immediately found a connection with him. I made it my mission each weekend to find a new art opening or exhibit in our city so that I could discuss it with him on Mondays. I wouldn’t say we became fast friends, but I will tell you that once we connected, our encounters were much more pleasant.
  2. Learn a bit about their hobbies or family’s hobbies. I had a client who tried everything to connect with another department director to no avail. When she found out that her co-worker’s son was in soccer, we realized that his name and the name of his team was reported in the Sports section of the local newspaper on a weekly basis. She watched for these articles and was able to establish a connection with her colleague discussing his son’s soccer games. They built a strong relationship that resulted in several inter-departmental collaborations.
  3. When you anticipate going into a conflict-ridden meeting, get there early and work the room. Meet people as they are coming into the room, shaking hands and making eye contact. While this may sound simple, remember that simple is profound. I used this strategy time and again when I facilitated HOA meetings and community planning meetings. It is more difficult for people to have ugly behavior with you when they feel a personal connection with you.

As always, I love to hear from you. What strategy have you done that reduced or neutralized conflict?With Love and To Your Success,Maria

Leadership Choices Today are Tomorrow’s Results

“Yesterday was the birth of today. Today is the birthplace of tomorrow.” ~ Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye spoke those words at the Motown 25th Reunion show that aired on television in 1983. Simple words with a profound message.Today, many of our organizations are spiritually bankrupt, halls walked by zombies, the living dead. The grim reaper has become the human resources director handing out yet another layoff notice, or the boss giving you yet another task because someone else has left the company. Too many organizations discourage deeper forms of communication, emotions, and intimacy, opting instead for superficiality.If we continue down this path, the same path that got us here, we are doomed to fail. Boleman and Deal stated in Leading with Soul, “Spiritual bankruptcy ultimately leads to economic failure. The deeper cost is creating a world in which everything has a function yet nothing has any meaning.”Life gives us many opportunities to learn lessons and if we fail to learn them the first time, we get the opportunity to experience the lessons again and again until we learn them.George Bernard Shaw wrote, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” If we want progress, abundance, and new way of life then, we must as Gandhi stated, “Be the change we wish to see in the world.”Instead of following a path full of limitations, let’s construct a path illuminated with choice and abundance.With love,Maria

Rage Age

We have found ourselves in the Rage Age. Incivility is almost becoming the norm. In a recent retreat I facilitated for a Mayor and City Council, incivility was a big part of our conversation. They’ve noticed an increase of incivility in the community, especially after the last major election. It was their belief that the frustration with the federal government and the incivility demonstrated during the last divisive presidential election has trickled down to the local government level.We certainly do not need to look far to see the incivility demonstrated on “social” media. I know of many people who stopped using Facebook and Twitter during the campaign because the conversation went from civil discourse to rage, rude, and abusive dialogue…in other words, the conversations became uncivil.We also see this in our own communities. A very good friend of mine recently was the victim of road rage. When I discussed this incident with a local sheriff, he explained that he wasn’t surprised by this act of rage as it is becoming much more apparent in this time of uncertainty. Wow, living in uncertainty contributes to rage.This incivility is also showing up in our workplaces. 18% of the 867 hate incidents reported in the 10 days after the election occurred in workplace environments. However, incivility in the workplace is not new. A study conducted two years ago uncovered contributing factors to this phenomenon at work. More than half of the employees said they were overloaded at work, 40% claimed they did not have the time to be nice, and 25% reported that their rude behavior was because that is the way their bosses behaved.According to another study released in August of 2016, the experiencing rude behavior reduces employees’ self-control and leads them to behave in a similar manner, which only prolongs the cycle of incivility. This type of behavior is compounded in workplaces that are perceived to be political in nature where co-workers act out of self-interest rather than what is best for the organization or the community in which they serve.When people don’t feel respected, productivity, innovation, and loyalty suffer. People just stop communicating with each other. They stop sharing and seeking information. This can be the death of an organization.Another study showed that people lose the ability to concentrate after being treated rudely. Cognitive skills dropped 30% in experiments that the researchers conducted.In many cases, rude, uncivil behavior stems from a lack of self-awareness. People who behave rudely often don’t realize the impact they have on others around them. We need to get those people who are acting rudely to understand what is going on around them and how they can improve their behavior.Start now, to create more civil workplace cultures by:

  1. Getting support from senior leaders to change their cultures.
  2. Walk the talk, model the behavior you want to see.
  3. Coach your executive leadership team, department directors, managers, supervisors, and employees on how to be civil and respectful of each other.
  4. Hold people accountable, regardless of their title in the organization.This change won’t happen overnight, but moving in the right direction with commitment and awareness will help to change workplace cultures to civil, productive, and innovative organizations.

As always, I love to hear from you. What steps have you taken to help create a civil culture?With Love and To Your Success,Maria

Impact of Fear

What impact has fear had in your life?Head over to my Facebook and post your thoughts!With Love and To Your Success,Maria

Better Late Than Never

Several years ago, I had a tremendous learning experience regarding forgiveness.My mentor, a consultant hired by our corporate office specifically to mentor me for one year, leveraged the difficulty in the relationship I had with our division general manager to his advantage. By indicating that he was still needed beyond his contract (due to the strained relationship between the division general manager and me), he prolonged his lucrative consultant income for another two years.I was eventually relieved of my managerial role and the consultant continued his monthly visits to manage and lead my department. I was hurt and resentful. I became exhausted carrying this load of pain and then I finally realized that holding this anger was not honoring or serving anyone, least of all, me.After reconnecting with my spirit, I knew that I had to forgive him. The next time he was in town, I apologized for my behavior and told him that I forgave him for his part in reinforcing the wedge between the divisional general manager and me.The immediate sensation I had was lightness. I could hardly believe how physically light I felt, and I remember holding on to the edge of the desk as it felt like I was going to float away. I was nearly giddy with delight and wondered what had taken me so long to get there.What is keeping you from forgiving someone or yourself? The weight and burden are only hurting you. Free yourself with the amazing gift of forgiveness.Better late, than never…With love,Maria

3 Steps for Leadership to Build Mindfulness

Are our minds, hearts, and spirits truly present? So often, we are replaying in our head the argument we may have had with a spouse, the traffic on the way to work, or the e-mail we just read. How different would it be if we really showed up—mind, body, and spirit? How would our mindfulness, with these three steps, affect our communication, our connection and relationships…our leadership?We’ve learned and studied so much about good communication skills and body language that many of us have mastered the art of “listening” with our bodies. Bodies leaning in, head nodding, eyes fixed on the other person, yet all the while our minds are anywhere but in that conversation.Great leaders, who communicate and connect, fill their minds with the person in front of them. We feel this connection when others are fully engaged in what we’re saying. We see it in their eyes, we feel it energetically, we know we are connected and drawn to that person and the moment. Presence is mindfulness. Mindfulness is found in the present, and when you are present, you show up.Here are three steps to practice presence and soon enough, you’ll definitely be showing up!Not only is a mindful practice one that provides clarity, vision, connection, and beauty, but also being present in the moment creates peace of mind. Living in mindfulness is living in peace. This is especially relevant in our current culture plagued with chaos, competition, rage, and fear.When we find this connection with others through mindfulness, we gain a deeper understanding of each other and of ourselves. We understand ourselves better when we connect with others. It’s not unusual with this deep union of souls, to see ourselves in those people with whom we feel connected. In a mindful state, empathy, connection, compassion, and equality surface to our consciousness. We see and feel each other as the same, without division and without judgment—we feel love.As always, I love to hear from you. What practices do you do to show up? How would you like to show up differently and what will you do to accomplish stronger presence?With love,Maria

Leadership Basics With Maslow

Abraham Maslow’s well-known and highly respected Hierarchy of Needs theory describes five level of needs. What does Maslow’s theory have to do with leadership?If we don’t understand peoples’ needs, we don’t understand people. Let’s look at the needs beginning with the basic needs:

  • Physiological needs – basic needs of air, food, water, shelter, sex, and relief and/or avoidance of pain.
  • Safety needs – after the basic needs are met, safety and security must be met.
  • Belongingness or Social needs – after safety needs are met, we want to feel connections with people.
  • Esteem needs – after social needs are met, we desire self-respect, status, and recognition for our accomplishments.
  • Self-Actualization needs – the highest level of needs is the development of our full potential. To achieve this sense of fulfillment, we seek to understand and grow, to find meaning in our work and our lives.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs is based on three assumptions:

  1. only unmet needs motivate,
  2. needs are hierarchical in nature, basic to complex, and
  3. lower level needs must be met before moving to a higher-order need.

We can see how the first two tiers, our basic and safety needs are met, just by having a job and a paycheck. The pay affords us the ability to meet our basic and safety-level needs.The third tier, belongingness and/or social needs, are the connections with others we crave. Often, after a certain period of time on the new job, we seek relationships with those with whom we work. Going to lunch, taking coffee breaks with each other, or perhaps a cocktail after work are all ways in which we fill these belongingness needs. It is not unusual for someone to say they "hate the job, but love the people they work with". This is an important sign for leaders to notice. As soon as those employees get their social needs met outside of work...they are gone!Our esteem needs are when we seek outside approval from others. We want to know we are valued and appreciated. Employees always remember leaders who are good at this. We often remember how we felt when someone said something to or about us, rather than the specific words uttered by the person. How we felt about those statements or actions, has a much longer duration and more deeply affects us than the actual words. I remember while growing up I often heard my mother repeating one of her favorite mantras, “Actions speak louder than words.” How true mom, how very true! This is often the place that we lose “good people” at work, because they don’t feel valued and honored.The highest level of needs Maslow presented was the need for self-actualization. This is where we seek, with a ferocious hunger to find meaning and purpose in what we do. OK, we may start a new job and begin the quest of the hierarchical pyramid all over again, but we will eventually be right back to this higher order of need. Meeting this need is the fulfillment of meaning. People leave organizations when they reach this need level because their work is not a conduit to their meaning-seeking behavior and need.As always, I love to hear from you. What level are you at currently? What is one immediate action you can take today, based on this knowledge?With love,Maria

10 Routines Leaders Need for Thick Skin

Someone asked me, “How can you develop a thick-skin at work?” My initial response, “Develop a strong heart.”Growing up, I was often teased because of my over-bite. Called many names at school, I came home frequently collapsing into a pile of tears. My mother would tell me to ignore the bully’s hurtful comments and eventually they would stop. I did experience some truth in this, but what was even more impactful, were her words, “Maria, you are beautiful, they just don’t see it.” Of course, she was referring to my inner beauty. I knew my outer beauty would catch up once I got braces!Why is it that as adults we still feel the need to toughen up and not let other people’s words hurt us? Could it be that we forgot our inner beauty?If so, don’t worry. Reclaiming our inner beauty and strengthening our hearts is easy to do. Developing a strong heart begins with self-love.Practice these ten steps and in no time, you will not need a thick skin because you’ll have a strong heart:

  1. List your strengths. Next to each one, identify how you may leverage your strong points.
  2. Create an action plan for personal and professional growth.
  3. Reconnect with your intuition.
  4. Do something creative every day.
  5. Spend time in stillness each day.
  6. Get enough sleep. Six to eight hours are recommended for optimum health.
  7. Move your body every day. Some days it may only be walking to the mailbox.
  8. Eat foods that nourish your body in healthy ways.
  9. List at least five things each day for which you are grateful.
  10. Find ways to help others see their greatness.

I would love to hear from you. How do you strengthen your heart?With love,Maria

Why Your Leadership Needs To Understand Personality Types

As we continue our understanding of leadership, today I want to expand our Emotional Intelligence, or EQ, by discussing the importance of understanding personality types in the workplace.Now, we’ve been hanging out together for a while and I just have to ask, Are you a square? No, not that kind of square!Maybe you’re a circle or a triangle?We can identify our personality tendencies with some simple geometry. Yikes - no formulas I promise!We are multi-dimensional people and have many sides to us. However, we have natural tendencies that we can relate to one or two specific shapes.It’s important to have representation of all of these shapes on your team and in your organization to bring different perspectives and ideas for problem-solving, and creating.As always, I love to hear from you. What shape do you identify with the most and what shape value do you bring to the table? What is the most challenging shape to work with and how have you learned to leverage those unique qualities of each personality type?With love,Maria

Nit-Picking The Details: Micromanagement in Leadership

Micromanagement is really just FEAR-Management.In the workplace, fear-based leadership is manifested in a number of ways. We see fear in leadership when employers do not trust the employees to do the jobs for which they were hired. Many managers are fearful of losing control, resulting in micromanagement. Micromanagement is a classic display of fear.I once had a student challenge me when we were discussing micromanagement in class. He thought the concept was exaggerated. I then shared with him an experience I had while working with a homebuilder:We were opening up a new community in a different state than our corporate headquarters. After we selected a mailbox and a holiday green color (the same color as the community logo), management asked that we paint the mailbox we selected using the exact same green paint and then ship it back to corporate headquarters for the company president to approve the mailbox and paint color!What are some micromanagement situations you have experienced?With love,Maria

Words, Words, Words

Words are powerful.Recently in the news, we see yet another celebrity immersed in backlash for words spoken. True, as Maya Angelou stated, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” It is those words that we speak that create such an emotion-filled response.Thoughts are powerful, but only because thoughts are steeped with words and stories we tell.As leaders, we have a huge responsibility to be thought-filled of our words, the vehicle, by which we communicate.Let’s not just be conscious and strategic in the words we don’t say, but even more responsible in the words we do say.Do your words lift up or pull down?Do your words encourage or diminish?Do your words inspire or de-motivate?Are your words love-fueled or your words fueled by fear?Remember, leadership is powerful—use your power wisely.With love,Maria

Change What?!

Sometimes when I start working with new clients they are afraid that I am going to change them or that they have to change who they are to be better leaders. The reality is—to be the best leader you can be, you must be authentic.Authenticity is what attracts followers and speaks to people’s heads as well as their hearts.In coaching, we set goals for directions in which we want to move. We identify roadblocks or barriers that keep us from the movement we desire and create strategy to overcome those barriers.Oftentimes those strategies may include a course correction in the path we already started. We may uncover some limiting beliefs we have about others or ourselves that may be holding us back. When that happens, a beautiful event occurs – we get to choose if we want to keep those barriers or change our course.This is an important point to remember: we are not changing ourselves; we are changing our course of action.What limiting belief or roadblock do you recall that changed your course of action? I’d love to hear from you.With love,Maria

Let’s Talk About Love

So many people tell me about their fear-based organizations and how unproductive those workplaces can be. The key to shifting from fear to love is learning how to love with greater capacity than living in fear. Think of a scale with fear on one side and love on the other. Only when your love for something or someone becomes greater to you than fear, will the scale tip in favor of love. However, if your fear of something or someone is greater than your love for something else, then fear wins again.

  • Do I love and respect my desire to go for that position more than my fear of being rejected?
  • Do I love and value my goal to launch my own business more than my fear of stepping out and possibly failing?
  • Do I value the call to write my own book more than my fear of negative response?

Do you see how easy it is to put more value onto the side of fear? The great news is that we can learn a better way to lead by employing love-based strategies and techniques with tremendous, sustainable results that are more powerful than fear-based methods. We can learn to be irresistible leaders with the power of love. Let’s all get on the same page with the definitions of love and leadership about which I am speaking.

  • Love -- the universal definition of love: Honoring, caring, trusting, and respecting one human being to another.
  • Leadership -- inspiring one or many toward a vision.

Love is our natural state of being, while fear is learned. Because love is our natural state, it is also the core, the very essence of who we are. When we fully embrace this concept and integrate it with our thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors, we come into the perfect balance of warmth and courage. Warmth and love juxtaposed with courage and strength are not opposed values; in fact, they are completely related. The root origin of the word courage is the French word cuer, which means heart. We know that to be courageous requires fearlessness; and to be fear-less is to be love-filled.Let’s be those courageous, fearless leaders and shift to the other 4-letter word, love.With Love,Maria

With or Without Meaning?

Did you know the majority of heart attacks occur around nine o’clock on Monday mornings?One study showed that the most common factor in these heart attacks was that the victims were people whose work had become joyless striving. In other words, they could not find meaning in their work, and their lives had become so out of balance that, one Monday morning, their bodies said, “You are not going to work today. Zap.”1I remember a discussion I had with the general manager of a regional division, discussing with him the importance of finding meaning in work for our employees and leaders. His response was, “I think meaning at work is over-rated.” Overrated? We spend the vast majority of our adult lives at work.One of the primary purposes of a leader is to inspire vision and motivation in those he or she leads, and few things are more inspiring and motivating than meaningful work.If we don’t have meaning…what do we have? We must know the “why” behind the things we do, we are at unrest and certainly unmotivated.As always, I welcome your input. What is the most meaningful aspect of your job and why?With love,Maria1. J. A .Autrey, & S. Mitchell, Real power: Business lessons from the Tao Te Ching (New York: Riverhead Books, 1998), p. 23.

Is the F-word Killing Your Organization

I spoke at a professional organization state conference, SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) about the destructive nature of the f-word… FEAR in our organizations.In my presentation, I incorporated some very important statistics from a survey conducted by SHRM at the national level. I revealed some serious challenges that our local and global organizations will likely face over the next ten years. Here are some of the highlights from that study:

  • Top 3 challenges are retaining and rewarding the best employees, developing the next generation of leaders, and creating a corporate culture that attracts the best employees
  • 43% of HR professionals indicated that obtaining human capital (us) and optimizing human capital investments would be their biggest challenge
  • Most critical competencies include business acumen, organizational leadership, relationship management, and communication
  • Most effective tactics to rewarding employees include flexible work arrangements; creating an organizational culture where leadership demonstrates and emphasizes trust, open communication, and fairness; opportunities for career advancement; demonstrating commitment to employee development; and providing meaningful work with clear purpose in meeting organization objectives.

This is an eye-opening list as the focus is all about the people: developing the people, creating a culture that lifts up the people, and providing the environment for people to connect their head and heart. All of this points to the need to tap into their passion with meaning.However, one seemingly small act of injecting fear into the culture can have the effect of killing innovation, loyalty, and growth in a split-second. Fear is tricky because it has been the corporate “go-to” strategy for years, and we learned and we were taught how to “lead” with fear. True, fear will motivate people in a direction. But, be aware that using fear as a motivational tool comes with a price. The price of using that nasty “f-word” fear is:

  • Robs people of potential
  • Barrier of individual and organizational performance
  • Affects individual and organizational quality of life
  • Shifts focus away from productivity and innovation to CYA (cover your assets)
  • Destroys trust and loyalty
  • Causes silence and uncertainty. Just because people are not saying anything does not mean they have nothing to say.
  • Kills long-term motivation and commitment
  • Increases stress
  • Grows resistance
  • Shuts down ability to think creatively, collaborate, and bring passion/meaning to the job
  • People check out (both literally and figuratively)

Is fear killing your organization?With love,Maria

Comfortably Uncomfortable

As a leadership coach, I am always excited when a powerful question or statement crosses my path or better yet, slams me in the face! Yesterday, I had such an encounter. Seth Godin got my attention when he stated, “If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader”. He was talking about the discomfort we sometimes feel as a leader and furthermore, when we identify the discomfort, we’ve found a place where leadership is needed. His list includes:

  • Standing up in front of strangers
  • Proposing an idea that may fail
  • Challenging the status quo
  • Resisting the urge to settle

I DO love those moments that move me out of my comfort zone and into what I call a “seat squirming” state. I know when I start squirming, I am onto to something, and that something is usually growth!Of course, I also like to state things in a positive frame, so my list may look something like:

  • Motivating people in the direction of a shared goal
  • Creating and innovating with others, living in a synergy zone
  • Thinking outside the box and trying something that “hasn’t been done before”
  • Pushing myself and others to live in creativity and authenticity, even when it may be more work

My list not only feels good when I put it on, but it moves me beyond comfort to electric energy.What are your thoughts? Comfortable? Discomfort? What would you add to the list?As always, I truly appreciate your insight.With love,Maria

The Other F-Word

Last week, I had the pleasure of speaking at a Women in Action conference. I discussed the impact that the F-word is having on our relationships, families, teams, organizations, and communities.The F-word we discussed was FEAR. We can re-frame fear, looking at it from different lenses. One of my favorite ways to think of fear is as an acronym for False Evidence Appearing Real. At the conference, I also shared how leading with love guides us out of the fear in which we are deeply immersed, especially during these times of fear-based thinking and living. Love is still stronger than fear every day of the week.During a panel discussion with three extraordinary women leaders in the community from local government, financial services, and higher education, we discussed the other F-word – failure. When asked about their biggest failure, I was pleasantly surprised at their responses. Each one, in their own way expressed a belief that they do not experience failure. In fact, they do not even use that F-word!One stated that she does not believe in failure, only opportunities for growth. Another stated that she too, does not look at “mistakes” as failure. Instead, she simply acknowledges a mistake. Wow, how empowering this way of thinking is for learning, humility, and perseverance – all of which are outstanding leadership qualities! When we fully embrace “failure” as a growth opportunity and a decision that did not work out, it immediately frees us to think of another decision that could give us a better result.This is not rocket science.This frame is actually quite simple, and simple is profound. I am so grateful to be introduced to this liberating way of thinking. Oh, how I love to learn! Thank you ladies, for sharing your insight.How much different would our lives be if we would not get stuck in failure and only empowered by making a better decision?With love,Maria