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 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
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.