As we come into the realization that we cannot keep doing “business as usual”, we are starting to see discussions about authentic leadership, conscious capitalism, and love-based leadership. In my book, Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance, I present a very simple, yet profound way to lead based on three pillars: Love of Self, Love of Source, and Love of Others.When I speak of love, I am talking about the universal concept of love – honoring and valuing one human being to another. When leading with the Love-Based Leadership (LBL) model, we find meaning, authenticity, value, abundance, and purpose in and through our leadership. Those we lead find motivation, creativity, loyalty, commitment to the task, and value in their jobs through meaning.Many of us share the common desire to find meaning in our daily work. A leadership model based on love recognizes the importance of living holistically by integrating love, health, wellness, work, and spirituality into all aspects of our life.In this episode, I share with you the three pillars of this holistic model and how we can practice love-based leadership in our organizations.I would love to hear from you. Who do you know is a love-based leader?With love,Maria
Did you know the majority of heart attacks occur around 9:00 AM 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.”* Researchers found those victims in a state of “joyless striving” – in other words, without meaning. In today’s video, I share with you five steps to get started on the path of self-discovery and meaning and read an excerpt from my book, Love-Based Leadership: Transform Your Life with Meaning and Abundance.I would love to hear from you. What techniques do you do to go inward?With love,Maria *Study cited in Leading with Soul” by Lee Boleman and Terrence Deal.
What would a new professionalism look like? We are taught to remove ourselves from any emotion (including love) and be “professional” as if being professional makes us non-human or even worse, super-human. This practice, and many of us have gotten this concept down good, has propelled us in our careers, but also has left us empty. Developing emotional intelligence in the workplace with leaders and all levels of the organization will help to create a new professionalism.Being professional does not mean being distant, aloof, uncaring, and impersonal. We are in a world of transition and change. We are in a world where many of us are creating new models for living. In this spirit and in the spirit of love, let’s create a new professionalism. Let's create a professionalism that stands for something powerful, serving, supportive, and love-filled.In today’s video, I share what a new professionalism looks like.I would love to hear from you. How would you create a new professionalism and what does it look like?With love,Maria
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?
We expect leaders, including ourselves, to have the answers. If we don’t have the answer to a leadership challenge, we may feel inadequate. These feelings, like inadequacy, may also include feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability. None of these feelings feel good to us, nor areallowed in the workplace, or so we’ve been taught.Really? Are we really supposed to never experience uncertainty as a leader? We are human beings, “hard-wired for struggle” as researcher, Brene‘ Brown states. We are not the Hollywood version of leaders —we are human. And with our humanness, we are sometimes—make that many times, uncertain.What do we do with this uncertainty? Well, we bury it of course. This strategy may work for us for a while, that is until it shows up again as illness, ulcers, or worse. Why do you think we are so stressed, obese, and addicted? It is because we bury and numb our feelings. We’ve become comfortably numb.The interesting thing about numbing is that when we numb our “bad” feelings such as uncertainty, vulnerability, doubt, and fear, we are also numbing our “good” feelings of joy, peace, and gratitude. Another important aspect to know about uncertainty and vulnerability is that this state is where creativity, joy, and beauty are found. This is the place where great art is created.Walking through the door of uncertainty and vulnerability is full of endless possibilities because this is the location of our true, authentic self.How do we work with uncertainty and vulnerability without going crazy?Follow these five steps to support you during the uncertain times:1. Embrace uncertainty and vulnerability. Reach into it and pull up and out all of the fear, anxiety, and doubt. Burying and numbing will only allow it to surface again, so lean in, feel those feelings, and then release.2. Stay present. Don’t worry about the future or live in the past. The only moment you have is the present one, so why waste it?3. Stay in your own lane. When we start to compare ourselves to others, we set ourselves up for failure, not because we can’t be as successful as someone else, but because we can’t BE anyone else. What I can be is the best version of me, and what you can be is the best, highest self you can be.4. Practice gratitude. Nothing else will bring you into the present faster than gratitude.5. Be loving and truthful with yourself and with others. Remember that uncertainty and vulnerability is the birthplace of truth, authenticity, creativity, and beauty.I would love to hear from you. When was a time you were uncertain and did it anyway? Let’s celebrate you!
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.
I saw this statement the other day: “I let go of anything and everything that could delay my good in any way.” -Louise Hay Hmmm… Of course, as I so often do, I contemplated how this might apply to leadership.Leadership is the action that motivates people toward a vision. Therefore, if the vision is the “good” in this statement, we need to ask ourselves, “What gets in the way that could cause delay of achieving my vision?” In other words, what no longer serves us? I discuss this topic a lot with my clients. It is a great exercise to stop and check-in with yourself regularly, asking, “what no longer serves me?”Some possible delays to our good or vision may include:• Underlying beliefs that no longer serve us• Ego• Clutter (literal and physical)• The need to be right• Noise (literal and physical)• Fear• Poor health• Lack of sleep• Lack of knowledge• Lack of anything…• Toxic relationshipsOnce you've identified what gets in your way of achieving your good or your vision, it is time to let it or them go. Time to move into action, ridding yourself of anything and everything that gets in your way. Brian Tracy, in his book, “Eat That Frog!” offers some great suggestions for getting out of the procrastination habit. Mark Twain was the inspiration for the book title and overall premise of getting procrastination out of the way.Mark Twain said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you go to through you day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing that would happen to you all day long. So eat your frog and know that it is the time to start exercising your backbone instead of your wishbone.>>>You are the architect of your life, the author of your book. This is not a dress rehearsal.<<<If you don’t like what you see…change it!I would love to hear from you. What are some of the strategies you use to work through delays and detours? How do you eat your frog?Let’s continue our discussion after the episode. With Love,Maria
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
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?
Organizational and leadership models throughout history, and still today, are like authoritative kingdoms. The ruling king or queen sits on their throne (corner office in the executive suite) and the serfs and subjects (subordinates and “team”) support them in any way necessary. Oh, we have the right words today—team, collaboration, and empowerment. Unfortunately, in many organizations, actions do not match the words. We know consciously and unconsciously these models do not work; however, we don’t know how to replace them.
We just simply have to turn away from fear and stare right into the face of love. In those beautiful eyes, we find our answers.
Service paves the path of leadership. Through love and a love-based leadership model, we serve others, our Source, and ourselves. To make this miraculous shift in our perception about service, we must consciously be aware of leading with a service-mindset versus a sales-mindset.
Many leaders I know lead with a sales-mentality, seeking “buy-in” from those they lead. They obtain buy-in through persuasion, manipulation, and control. These techniques can be effective, but the leader will not get long-term commitment.
A service-mentality shifts from "what can you do for me?" to "what can I do for you?"
This is similar to the phenomenon in marketing and product development happening today. Find out what they want and we’ll build it replaces the old mental model of build it and they will come.
Leadership focus is on service, instead of self-interest and the ego is not going to like it!
When leaders shift from sales to service-mindsets, organizations shift from a kingdom culture and hierarchical structure to community. I am not describing Utopia or something found only through rose-colored glasses; I am describing what can be, and what is in some organizations and communities. By serving and giving, we are more successful. The more we give, the more we receive; the more we serve, the more we are served. This again demonstrates that to wherever you put your attention, that you will manifest.
I would love to hear from you. How do you recognize when you are being sold to? How do you demonstrate service instead of sales?
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?
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
I love the phrase, “An Attitude of Gratitude”. What exactly is an attitude of gratitude? In basic terms, gratitude is thankfulness.We usually remember to give thanks when we feel great. However, living in a state of gratitude is a way of being. Gratitude may be an activity, but you will live a much fuller life, and lead others more effectively, if it becomes your natural state and not just an occasional activity.In addition to the health benefits of gratitude, it is also an abundance magnet. The power of attraction applies; abundance creates more abundance. Many of us have found ourselves to be in the scarcity cycle. Scarcity thinking is focusing on lacking such things as finances, health, relationships, opportunities, etc.It is important to remember that whatever we focus our thoughts and attention on becomes our intention; you become what you think about.Sometimes scarcity thinking shows up in the form of accumulation and greed. People who hoard are deeply immersed in this mental model. If we hold on to anything too tightly, our hands cannot be open to what may be coming.#1. Keep a gratitude journal. Several years ago and I committed to keeping a gratitude journal. Each day I listed at least five things for which I was grateful, big, or small. Some days the list was a dozen, other days I struggled to come up with five! Then something happened…I soon realized that I was receiving more of whatever it was that I was grateful! Blessings surrounded me in my life, and continue to today.#2. Decide to live in a state of gratitude. Be conscious of your thoughts, always shifting from fear to love, scarcity to abundance. Soon enough, gratitude will become your standard operating procedure!#3. Move your thoughts into action. Tell those employees, family members, and friends that you are grateful for their presence in your life, and why.I would love to hear from you. What are some of the ways you cultivate gratitude in your life? How do you demonstrate gratitude?With Love,Maria
Workplace creativity and innovation are sought after goals in many organizations. Ever wonder how to get the creative juices flowing? Practicing creativity not only helps leaders make quick, confident decisions, innovate, and problem solve; creativity also helps us interact with others at a higher level.Living in this creative zone is as beneficial for leaders as it is for artists. Observe artists at work, whether it is performing artists, painters, sculptors, writers, or designers. Artists are present in the moment of creating with razor sharp focus as the divine download fills the spaces of their mind, heart, and body.Pablo Picasso reminds us, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”The best way to start tapping into our creativity is do what we did as children—play. Let’s get the creative juices flowing with the abandonment of child-like play.I would love to hear from you. What do you think? How do you get your creative juices flowing?With love,Maria