I recently conducted some market research to learn from leaders how I can best support their leadership growth and development.I asked a series of questions and received great responses, food for thought, and feedback.When I spoke with a man in the military, he said one of the most important aspects that he looks for in leadership is “keepin' it real”. OK, he is quite a bit younger than I am! However, this message is ageless and timeless.Most of us have a pretty good B.S. meter and can smell fake a mile away. This is especially important to us, as leaders, to tap into truth and stand in our authenticity. When we stand in authenticity, we stand in power. THAT is what makes us powerful leaders – authenticity. And let’s face it; there is nothing more authentic or real than love.When we lead with love and authenticity, we practice:• Truth• Mindfulness• Awareness• Non-judgment• Honesty• Integrity• Compassion• Service• Presence• HumanitarianismBranding and image consulting are terms that we’ve no doubt heard before, typically in the context of marketing. Have you thought about your brand? No, I am not talking about the company for which you work—I am talking about YOU!What is your brand, your leadership image? Are you keepin it real? Are you respected because you’ve earned it or are you feared because of your title? What is the first thing your team thinks about when your name comes up?Some of us may say that we don’t care about what others think about us. Really, is that really true? As leaders, our primary task is to motivate and influence others toward a vision and/or goal. If others are not buying our brand, then we don’t really have followers.How can we consciously create our leadership brand?Follow these 5 simple steps:1. Intentionally determine what you want your brand to represent.2. Reverse engineer the steps necessary to develop and create that brand image.3. Be accountable to doing the work – find an accountability partner or coach who willbe honest about your progress and a resource when you are stuck.4. Be vulnerable and do spot checks with others to see if you are on the right track (inother words—ask!).5. Keep it real – Authenticity is a real attractorI would love to hear from you. How would you describe an authentic leader, one who is keepin' it real?
For many, intention is defined as a motivation, a drive, or an ambition to succeed. It can be a demonstration of force, determination, or your immutable will to attain or accomplish something indicates that you have a firm intention.These are examples of our Western mental models of intention. A deeper understanding of the power of intention, described by Carlos Castaneda, suggests, “In the universe there is an immeasurable, indescribable force which shamans call intent, and absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link”. Similar in description to how Wallace Wattles describes this intention in his book, “The Science of Getting Rich”. Wattles wrote: “There is a thinking stuff which all things are made, and which in its original state, permeates, penetrates, and fills the interspaces of the universe. A thought in this substance, produces the thing that is imaged by the thought. Man can form things in his thought, and by impressing his thought upon formless substance, can cause the thing he thinks about to be created.”This is not a model of perseverance or a mindset where only the fit (determined) survive, but a realization, again, of the connection to each other and Spirit. What this model of intention describes for us, as leaders, is that we are not alone in this organization, community, country, or even universe: but we are together, linked to the energetic force of intention.Why is intention crucial to our leadership? It is the purpose, the why we are here, our belief in something greater than we are. Intention is how we derive meaning. In order to create a vision for our companies, or even our lives, we must first ask, “why?” Tapping into the power of intention requires clearing space in our minds and allowing and trusting our intuitive insights to flow.Here are some strategies we can use to ensure that we are leading with intention:1. Knowing our values helps bring clarity to what is meaningful to us. Identify ten important values. Narrow the list down to your top five and write a sentence or two explaining what the values mean to you and why they are important.2. Look at your calendar and review how you spend your time. Do the activities on your calendar align with your values? If not, why not?3. Create a mind map on a clean sheet of paper, and in the center of the paper write, “My purpose for living this life is…” and circle it. Now draw lines out from this circle with as many ideas that flow into your head and heart and draw circles around each one of those words or statements, always connecting the circles with lines to the center circle of your purpose.4. Using the above information you have developed, write a purpose statement, including the activities involved in achieving that purpose, people necessary to support you, and the value you provide to others.Enjoy the process and see what you discover!I would love to hear from you. What is your purpose statement? Let’s share those and celebrate our clear intentions together.
For many of the leaders I work with, delegation is a real struggle.Leaders resist delegating because we are so accustomed to doing the work ourselves. Many times, fear will rear its ugly head, thinking that if we want the work done correctly, we must do it ourselves. And then there is the time issue of communicating and training others to complete the task for us.Ahhh, but the benefits of delegation far outweigh the negativity that surrounds this illusive skill. When we delegate, we have more time for our high-priority tasks and we actually get to experience the joy of completing our tasks! Delegation increases our productivity and is a muchbetter use of our resources.Delegation gives us freedom from chaos and confusion. True, there are some tasks best kept to ourselves such as personal matters, confidentialactivities, crises, and activities that are specifically delegated to us. However, we can delegate paperwork, routine tasks, technical matters, tasks with developmental potential, and employee problems that we do not need to be involved in. Since we are not born with the delegation gene, we must learn this skill. It’s not as hard as you think! Just follow these four simple steps and you will be delegating before you know it:1. Explain the need for delegating, including the reasons why you selected that personto complete the task.2. Clearly set the objectives defining responsibility, level of authority, and deadlines.3. Develop a plan to achieve objectives, resources, and give the authority necessary toobtain those resources.4. Establish an accountability plan with checkpoints.Somehow we’ve managed to complicate the idea of holding people accountable, and it is quite simple, really, I mean simple, the acronym, SIMPLE: S = Set clear expectations – this is the number one complaint and stressor from employees – that the expectations are vague.I = Invite commitment – some say gain “buy in” but I much prefer to invite commitment. With an invitation, there is a shared sense of ownership.M= Measure progress – Super important to keep up on this. How you will measure is part of the description of setting clear expectations.P = Provide feedback – again, super important. Far too often managers will wait until the project is finished to say that it wasn’t done correctly.L = Link to consequences – consequences are also identified in the setting clear expectations step.E = Evaluate effectiveness – Do this together and it becomes a powerful activity for you and the person who is accountable.I would love to hear from you. What are some techniques you use to hold people accountable and why do you think the strategies are effective?With Love,Maria
Living with two bulging, herniated discs can be a pain (no pun intended), especially in our rainy season, when my back seems extra sore. During a family barbecue, my sister, who is an RN, asked if I was experiencing pain. When I asked why she inquired, she said that I looked like I was guarding. This is a medical term indicating when a person has pain somewhere in their body they become rigid as though to protect the area from further pain or injury. We do the same in our lives with our minds and hearts. We protect ourselves from perceived pain…basically, we guard. To be open, for many of us, means to be vulnerable. We’ve been open and we’ve been hurt--at least that explains some of the our experiences.Ego loves it when we stay closed and works over-time to ensure we do not enter openness. “Remember when you did that before and this happened?” is one of the many voices of ego. When we are open, the gates of Divine guidance, to intention, to the flow of Spirit happen. Closing the gates of our minds and hearts is insanity.Why do the barriers to openness show up, guarding our sacred spaces, putting another brick in the wall? Ego, again is the answer. Blocks to openness manifest in the forms of negative voices cemented in our dialogue and culture. Evidence of this insanity in our workplaces includes statements like,” Nice guys finish last”, or when considering doing something nice for someone, like a favor, we hear, ”If you do that for one, you’ll have to do it for everyone”, or “No good deed goes unpunished”.Opening our perceptions and inviting in Spirit through surrender, allows healing of the mind and heart to take place. Through healing, the ego no longer has hold on the barriers and blocks to the gates of openness. Just as a clenched fist cannot receive a gift, a closed mind cannot grow and a closed heart cannot receive love.So how can we practice openness? Here are three strategies to being open:1. The first step is reflection. In what areas of your life do you feel closed or blocked toopenness? Work? Love? Spirituality? Journal your thoughts.2. Practice random acts of kindness. These don’t need to be grand gestures,sometimes the smaller the better!3. Develop compassion and let go of your need to be right.I would love to hear from you. What are some other ways can we practice being open?With love,Maria
I write and speak a lot about fear versus love. Fear is easy to identify. We definitely know when fear starts to creep in: our body becomes tense, blood pressure starts to rise, and feelings of anxiety emerge. Fear is not a good feeling! Why would we continue to go there repeatedly? Where love and spirit are internal to us, fear and ego are external. Turning to others for approval or acceptance, points us in the direction of ego, external to ourselves. When we live in the past, we live in the ego.It’s the same old song.Reliving those events, involving externally generated relationships, can cause tremendous pain or hurt. Each time we choose – yes, it is a choice –to live in the space of fear, we give away our power. We give it away to people or circumstance – again, an external event. When we retain our power, we are empowered, living in a place of love and spirit.Fear paralyzes us. True, fear can be a motivator, but it is not sustainable. We cannot be motivated and live in fear for long periods without paying the physical, emotional, and spiritual costs of fear and stress. Fear, again, holds us back from achieving so much. We’re afraid to show that we care, afraid to open our hearts, and afraid that we may appear vulnerable. The irony in this is that when we really care about the individuals we lead, love multiplies. When people know, see, and feel that you care—they do the same. Love really does keep on giving.Moving away from fear is one thing, but how do we actively develop love and ultimately integrate it with our leadership?In my book, “Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance”, I outline eight steps to develop love of self, love of source, and love of others:1. Develop and harness your intuition.2. Honor yourself with truth.3. Recognize your ability to make choices.4. Listen to and honor your body.5. Nurture your soul.6. Practice meditation or prayer regularly to connect with your source.7. Just the like term, Namaste, honor the spirit of others.8. Practice forgiveness.When we align ourselves with love and spirit, abundance and joy flow into our lives.I would love to hear from you. What other steps would you add to develop love in your leadership and your life?
Recently working with a client, we were discussing how we “show up”. We have 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 that conversation. Or our thoughts are fixed on what we are going to say next, not really listening to the words coming out of the other person’s mouth!Our bodies are there – we showed up, physically. But have we really showed up? Are our mind, heart, and spirit present? Are we day dreaming or are we really 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 memo we just read. How different would it be if we really showed up – mind, body, and spirit? How would our showing up affect our communication...our connection and relationships with each other…and in our leadership?How can make sure we really show up? Here are 7 tips to ensure we’re showing up:1. Always start with awareness. Be aware that you are entering a conversation and want to move that conversation into true, authentic connection.2. Be present in the moment. Turn off the distractions, both the literal and the figurative ones.3. Be honest. If now is not the right time to focus on the conversation, reschedule it for a better time.4. If you find yourself wandering, fess up, and start again…the other person will appreciate your honesty. I’ve done this several times and I must admit that at first it takes people aback, but in the end, they do appreciate the honesty and know that they have your full attention now!5. Suspend judgment. Don’t anticipate what you think you may hear.6. Paraphrase what you heard. This will be a good checks-and-balances to ensure you are on the right track.7. Be available and approachable.I would love to hear from you. How do you show up? Does mind, body, and spirit all arrive? If not, what part are you holding back and why?
We have so much we want to do and accomplish as leaders. We dream, create, plan, review, plan some more, and tweak, tweak, tweak. Is this perfectionism or is this fear; and really, aren’t they both the same? Sometimes, we stand behind all of these activities to stay legitimately busy. However, these activities keep us behind the computer.There comes a time (probably now) that we need to step out from behind the computer and into the world of personal interaction. When we step out, then, we can really leave impressions teaching, helping, and leading with those we met. Breaking out of our comfort zones may be different strategies for different people. For some of us we may need to just jump in the water, or we may dive into the deep end, and for some of us, we may just put one toe at a time into the water.The key is to have some movement toward your goal. Success, transformation, and the magic is just outside of our comfort zone. Our movement outside of our comfort zone can start small. One of my clients began this move out of her comfort zone just by taking a different route to work and sitting in a different chair each time she met in the conference room. Here are some strategies to break through your comfort zone barrier:
- Try something new (food, book topic, or music)
- Attend a lecture or presentation on a topic you know nothing about (I did this recently and was fascinated with the learning)
- Identify your habits and look at those habitual behaviors with fresh eyes to uncover the expiration date
- Find a buddy or accountability partner – maybe even take on this project together for support
- Be honest, loving, and patient with yourself as you embark on this journey
OK, here is the challenge:Challenge yourself to commit to one activity outside your comfort zone each day for 21 days and watch your world change, and open before you. I would love to hear from you.Please share your wins of moving outside your comfort zone so we can celebrate!
I recently went to the police station to be fingerprinted as a requirement for a volunteer project I am working on and on the way home, I saw a man driving a small electric car. When I saw the car, I assumed one of his objectives for buying it was to leave less of a carbon imprint. This got me thinking about imprints... What if we were to consciously craft and design the imprint, the “finger print” we desire on the world? How would this change our leadership? Our print, imprints, or impressions are the lasting effects of our attitudes and behaviors. We leave these impressions whether we are aware of this fact or not—the prints are still there.Are we leaving those we “touch” with feelings of encouragement, empowerment, or love? Or, are we impressing people with negativity, helplessness, or fear? At what point in time do we consciously design our leadership impression? Is it when we have 200 people to lead? Is it when we are preparing for retirement? Or, is it now, with our own life, leading ourselves? I love the old proverb, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”Consciously creating our imprints and impressions increases our leadership influence and effectiveness. In fact, I had a trip to New York City with four days of meeting with over 70 media representatives including television producers, writers, agents, and editors. I gave 2-minute pitches to all of these people, which felt like speed-dating! This got me thinking about the impression we make in 2 minutes, and how we could possibly influence someone to take action. This is not a whole lot different than leadership. What sort of impression do we make with our leadership influence in 2 minutes? What kind of impression do we want to make? What is the lasting or lingering thought we wish to impart on someone?Follow these simple IMAGE steps to create a lasting, positive impression:Integrity – Stand in your integrity, be honest about who you are and what you stand for, demonstrating this with your behavior.Mannerisms – Be cognizant of your body language. Are you open or closed? Are you inviting? Are you demonstrating confidence?Appearance – Does your appearance match the impression and image you want to portray? Show up in presence as well, remembering to practice active listening more than speaking.Greeting – Greet others with openness, kindness, warmth, and a smile. People do not always remember what we say to them, but they always remember how they felt when with us.Enjoy the experience. We are more attracted to fun and joy than anything else.I would love to hear from you. What is the impression and image you wish to impart? What immediate step can you take today to reinforce or refine this image?
It is important for us to reflect on our stories.
You know these stories; they are well-crafted and visited repeatedly for years and sometimes decades. These are the stories we tell ourselves, building beliefs and behaviors based on these tales. As Plato reminded us, perception is reality. Our thoughts create our perceptions and our perceptions influence our emotional, psychological, and physical responses.
I read Marianne Williamson’s book, “The Law of Divine Compensation” and was struck by her discussion about how negative thoughts deactivate the divine law, which falls into three major categories:
1. Negative sense of self2. Anger3. Guilt
Wow – the big three!
This got me thinking how the big three derail other aspects of our life, including how we love others and how we lead others. As we reflect on a negative sense of self, anger, and guilt, let’s explore the following questions:
- Why do we hold onto these beliefs? Is it habit, unawareness, or true to you?
- Is it really true?
- Who would you be if it weren't true?
- With what loving thought can you replace the negative thought?
Our stories are sometimes on auto pilot. We need to just flip off the auto pilot switch and create a new story! Close the chapter on the old one and start writing a new story.
Think about this:When is the best time to plant an oak tree?Twenty years ago.When is the second best time to plant the tree?Now.
When we step into awareness about our stories and thoughts, we come to realize that we can change those thoughts, and ultimately change our lives.
I would love to hear from you. What’s stopping you?With love,Maria
I have to share this quote with you by Robert Muller, “To forgive is the highest, most beautiful form of love. In return, you will receive untold peace and happiness.”
Forgiveness is a challenging concept for many leaders. While we understand the idea and we know forgiveness when it happens, the vagueness surrounding forgiveness is illusive. The ambiguity enfolding forgiveness stems from our questions of how to bring about forgiveness/understanding, and from where it actually originated.
How did we even get here—the need or desire to forgive?
We look to practice forgiveness when we are angry, wronged, or hurt. Oftentimes we hold on to anger as a form of power. We feel in control and ultimately powerful when we hold onto our anger, justified in our feelings and hoping that the person we believe hurt us may feel guilty or remorseful for what we perceive they have done to us.
Avoiding forgiveness allows us to fuel our anger, feeling justified and entitled in our anger or pain as victims. Avoiding forgiveness is avoiding responsibility. We are victims because we believe we have no power. Playing the victim role deepens the feelings of pain and anger justification.
Because forgiveness is a state of being, action is required to move into that place or that state. Like so many other lessons, avoiding forgiveness is not static. Anger leads to judgment. Judgment leads to blame, and blame leads to resentment.
Resentment is really unresolved anger and resentment hurts us, manifesting in stress-related illness, anxiety, or depression. Resentment hardens our hearts paving a path of vengeance. We can lose ourselves in judgment, condemnation, and conflict, all the while wondering why we are not happy or content.
Forgiveness is a choice. We take responsibility for our peace of mind and happiness when we choose to forgive. And forgiveness starts with ourselves. To make this choice, we experience a miracle.
The process of experiencing the miracle of forgiveness is perception shifting. The change in attitude comes to us through grace. Cultivating a practice of forgiveness first begins with self-forgiveness. Dr. Robin Casarjian describes six steps to practice self-forgiveness in her book, Forgiveness:
Acknowledge the truth.
Take responsibility for what you have done.
Learn from the experience by acknowledging the deeper feelings that motivated the behaviors and thoughts for which you now feel guilty and hold yourself in judgment.
Open your heart to yourself and compassionately listen to the fears and calls for help and acknowledgment deep within.
Heal emotional wounds by heeding the calls in healthy, loving, and responsible ways.
Align with your Self and affirm your fundamental innocence.
By practicing self-forgiveness, always remember to be gentle with yourself, suspending judgment, allowing and receiving miracles in this holy space. The miracle and shift in perception and attitude gives us insight about others and ourselves.
I would love to hear from you. What is the first step you are willing to commit to today to move you into self-forgiveness?
Ask any successful leader or business owner what one of the most critical factors is for success today, and you will hear: creativity. Now, more than ever, innovation and creativity are sought-after skills in organizations for their leaders. Old models steeped in scientific management and mechanistic thinking no longer serves our needs today. As Einstein and Susan Powter so eloquently remind us, we must and look toward new models and creative ways of leading people and doing business.
For decades, our American culture has devoted most curriculum and teaching models to developing the left-hemisphere of the brain. This is the part of the brain for logic, linear and sequential thought processes. This style of learning and development continued into colleges and universities where the mechanistic model of managing business remained a primary focus. Perhaps a nod to the “soft skills” of leadership appeared in the curriculum, but not until quite recently are we actually teaching leadership skills to future leaders.
Many organizations now focus on teaching the soft skills in their leadership development programs because they realized a profound need for their leaders to have these skill sets. The soft skills to which I am referring are connecting with people, motivating teams, inspiring followers, creative thinking, innovation, quick decision-making and big-picture vision. Each one of these skill sets requires right-brain thinking.
The right hemisphere controls the left side of the body, is simultaneous, specializes in context, and synthesizes the big picture. Clearly, the ability to think quickly in today’s fast-paced world requires right hemisphere functions.
I am not advocating tossing aside the value of the left-brain—our entire brain is a gift. I am simply seeking to focus on development of our right-brain functions. At this point, most of us have fairly well developed left hemispheres. After all, we have spent most of our lifetime educated and trained to use our left-brains. What we now need as leaders is to develop and reconnect with the processes of our right brains.
Lateral thinking is perception thinking, looking for creative and innovative ways of viewing the world. This process is not constricted by boundaries and limited beliefs; it challenges us to move into expansiveness, unlimited possibilities, and abundance thinking.
Are you ready for the shift?
I would love to hear from you. What activities do you do that develops your right brain thinking? How do you get your creative on?
Someone asked me, “How can you develop a thick-skin at work?” My initial response was “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 will have a strong heart:
- List your strengths. Next to each one, identify how you may leverage your strong points.
- Create an action plan for personal and professional growth.
- Reconnect with your intuition.
- Do something creative every day.
- Spend time in stillness each day.
- Get enough sleep. Six to eight hours are recommended for optimum health.
- Move your body every day. Some days it may only be walking to the mailbox.
- Eat foods that nourish your body in healthy ways.
- List at least five things each day for which you are grateful.
- Find ways to help others see their greatness.
I would love to hear from you. How do you strengthen your heart?
I was just in a discussion today about mentoring. What exactly does this mean and why is it important for leaders to have a mentorship mindset?Mentorship is about sharing wisdom, and wisdom is gained from knowledge and experience. One of my favorite books about mentorship is Mentoring: The Tao of Giving and Receiving Wisdom by Chungliang Al Huang and Jerry Lynch. Any good teacher will tell you that we learn so much from our students. The same is true with mentoring, it is an exchange, a dance of sharing wisdom, knowledge, and experiences with the intention of growth – for both parties.Of course, like most concepts we discuss, mentoring begins with self-reflection, self-awareness, and self-love. I love this quote from the book, “It may seem clever to know and accept others; yet accepting oneself is the way to Wisdom. It may feel powerful to overcome others; yet disciplining oneself is true strength. It may be noble to honor others; yet respecting oneself is deep self-esteem.”To practice mentoring, just remember the MENTOR acronym:Motivation – discover the motivation in yourself and your mentee.Exploration – encourage exploration of different perspectives, options, and opportunities.Notice the feelings in both parties and explore their presence.Talk less and listen more. Practice active listening and learn how to dance in the conversation.Open – be open to learn from your mentee and the experience.Respect – Always opt for respect without judgment.Recognizing the important distinction of when to lead, when to walk side-by-side, and when to follow -- and knowing the difference -- is wisdom.What are the elements of mentorship that resonate with you?I would love to hear from you. Who was your most significant mentor and why?With Love,Maria
Early on in my corporate career, colleagues advised me to learn golf, which they claimed as a great way to network, bond with clients, and create deals. I learned the sport, but I did not enjoy the game as much as other people did.At one of our corporate retreats, my boss and colleagues could not wait to get out on the course with some of the top executive staff. I was a bit confused by this because I knew my boss didn’t really like or get along with this group of people. I asked him about it and he said that on the golf course, unless you are a pro, there is no pretense; all are on equal footing and all are hitting poorly. The golf experience allowed them to bring down their guards and share the misery of their poor shots. Like golf, laughter allows us to connect with one another, letting our guards down…without the misery of poor golf shots.Laughter enhances communication by letting our shields down and showing that we are human. The model of professionalism for too long has instructed us to be super-human. We have also learned to check our emotions at the door. We are still human; we still have emotions. To deny that fact is insanity. This is certainly a healthy approach to emotions, which is very different from the professional corporate model we learned.Here are seven strategies for infusing laughter and lightness in your leadership and life:
- Start developing your practice of laughter with consciously smiling today. See how many people you can touch and shift their energy with your smile.
- Begin your meetings on a light note. I have the E*Trade babies’ videos on my favorites list and would start meetings with one or two of those commercials. The more I watch them, the funnier they are to me.
- Watch a funny movie, making note of the elements that tickle your funny bone.
- Listen to a comedy recording on the way to work, setting the tone for the day.
- Laugh for 3–5 minutes every day. Faith it ‘til you make it!
- Commit to do one silly thing a day to cultivate your playfulness.
- Start collecting stories from work that are funny; invite everyone to participate and present these stories at the annual holiday party.
I would love to hear from you. What do you do to infuse laughter into your life?With Love,Maria
Why would grace be a lesson on leadership? How can it not? Grace is the state many wise leaders seek: grace under fire. The state of grace, however, is not just essential under fire; grace serves leaders all of the time. During times of stress, confusion, joy, and peace, grace is always at its best. Many leadership books talk about policies, procedures, and processes. The extreme challenge in today’s organizations is that we value policies and procedures more than we value and honor people. Grace is a word and concept ripe with different mental models for people. Most definitions and constructs have common elements such as beauty, elegance, dignified manner, generosity of spirit, and a gift from God. The ability to see beauty in anything is a gift of grace. Mother Teresa saw beauty in the poorest of the poor, when she said, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”Grace is elegance personified. Many of my female executive clients work with me to reclaim their femininity in their high-level leadership positions. Through the process of reconnecting with their feminine energy, they discover elegance and grace. Elegance is a calm, quiet knowledge of self-efficacy that you can handle anything that comes your way with dignity. Grace through elegance is a powerful leadership example. Remember the 3 Cs as outward manifestations of inward grace:care, compassion, and confidence. Confidence is one of the elements that draw followers to great leaders. But remember: confidence is not arrogance. Care and compassion are grace manifested in outward behaviors toward others, demonstrated through acts of sincere kindness to each other. I would love to hear from you. What are some of the ways you demonstrate grace in your leadership and in your life? With Love,Maria
We are deep into the fall season and closing in on Halloween. Thanksgiving is just around the corner, kicking off the holiday season. So many joyful ceremonies, practices, and events fill the season with activity. The challenge for some of us is how easily time slips away during this very active time of year.You may want to consider a pause now, to refocus, plan, and strategize how you are going to enjoy this active season and still accomplish what you want. Be cautious and aware that activity does not necessarily mean productivity. We can easily busy ourselves with the actions of web surfing, shopping, and internet chatting. The illusion that accompanies this busy action is that we’ve been “working”. With awareness, you can guarantee this will not happen to you.A few simple steps can help you maintain you focus and accomplish what you set out to do:
- Turn off your email notifications and only check it at scheduled times throughout the day.
- If you enjoy social media, save it for the end of the day like a reward for staying focused.
- Put your phone on “Do not disturb” when you are working on a task that requires your 100% attention.
- Close your door for un-interrupted time each day so those around you know not to disturb you during those times.
- Move your desk so it is not facing the door.
- If people have a tendency to park themselves in the chairs in your office, remove the chairs and only bring them in for meetings.
- Unclutter your mind by purging “to do’s” onto paper.
These very simple steps will help you focus with greater ease.What are some strategies you do to maintain your focus? I am sure we all would love to know!With love,MariaDr. Maria Church, CPC, is a leadership coach, speaker, and author of Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance and her upcoming book, A Course in Leadership: 21 Spiritual Lessons on Leadership, Love, and Life. Maria holds a doctorate of management in organizational leadership, teaches at several universities, and is CEO of Dr. Maria Church International LLC, a leadership coaching, development, and training firm. For more information, visit www.DrMariaChurch.com.
In my corporate career, I saw many afflicted with analysis paralysis. In our “show me” culture, we want to see empirical proof of everything. If you can substantiate something on an Excel spreadsheet, you gain instant credibility.Historically, ever since we entered the Science Age, we’ve not really given anything much significance or credibility unless we could “prove” it.The prove it mantra has served us well in some respects, especially for the skeptics, but this practice has also stifled us. When we only rely on evidence and proof, we may overlook something even more powerful. Our insight and intuition is also proof—only it is intangible. We know something to be real or true, sometimes with an even stronger compelling feeling than the physical evidence that is in front of us. So why do some of us become paralyzed and in the cycle of evidence and analysis?Fear.Fear is what keeps us paralyzed. We want more proof, more analysis, and more evidence to substantiate our decision. If we are afraid to make a decision, then we want even more analysis and proof. This paralysis causes us to miss opportunities in our business, organization, and life.When you feel yourself wanting more and more proof, stop and get serious about some reflection and stillness.It is time to move into action. Do your due diligences, your homework, tap into your insight, and stop long enough to listen to your intuition—then move into action.With love,MariaDr. Maria Church, CPC, is a leadership coach, speaker, and author of Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance and her upcoming book, A Course in Leadership: 21 Spiritual Lessons on Leadership, Love, and Life. Maria holds a doctorate of management in organizational leadership, teaches at several universities, and is CEO of Dr. Maria Church International LLC, a leadership coaching, development, and training firm. For more information, visit www.DrMariaChurch.com.