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If you look up the definition of the word “selfish” you will find “concerned chiefly or excessively with oneself.” You may even find “concerned chiefly with one’s own profit or pleasure.”

We’re taught to believe this is a bad thing, but is it really?

Experts in the field of psychology will tell you that when you do not focus on yourself and prioritize your own interests and pleasures, you will quickly burn out and struggle to operate as your “best self.” Depression, anxiety, and self-sabotaging behaviors may also result.

I work with a lot of successful, highly accomplished individuals, many of whom are women working hard to balance it all. They often share their feelings of overwhelm and even resentment for all of their obligations. When we assess their priorities, most often they list themselves at the bottom of their priority list. Why is that? A big part of it is because we are taught at an early age and often socialized as adults to believe that being “selfish” or focusing on one’s self is a bad thing.

Redefining “selfish” Read more »

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When was the last time you embarrassed yourself or made a mistake?

Did you admit your mistake, or did you walk away feeling ashamed—and wondering if you might lose respect?

It’s all about how you handle it. Admitting your mistakes is a key part of being vulnerable—and vulnerability is key to being a strong leader.

It’s counter to what many of us were taught, and to the sentiment corporate culture can foster—that leaders are supposed to be perfect and without emotion. But in actuality, the strongest leaders are the most vulnerable.

So what IS vulnerability? People often have misconceptions.  Read more »

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I recently heard an “Oh Wow” story that shined a light on the pitfalls of modern business communication.

My friend Nicole was telling me of a recent conference call discussing a global restructuring for her company. The conversation centered around key employees that executive management wanted to retain and their associated compensation packages.

Nicole hadn’t spoken yet when her former boss said, “Well, if Nicole leaves, we are in big trouble.” He hadn’t realized she was on the line! In this case, it was a positive statement about Nicole (and was to her benefit from a negotiation standpoint), but it could have just as easily gone in the other direction. Read more »

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Companies often ask for my help in transitioning their management teams from tactical managers to strategic leaders. “Our managers need to get out of the weeds,” they say. ”They’re getting too bogged down in the minutia and not focusing enough on the big picture.”

“Their people need to feel empowered and inspired.”

So what does leading vs. managing really mean? It means inspiring and influencing instead of taking a command-and-control approach. It means moving away from being a subject matter expert focused on tasks to leveraging the strengths of your team to accomplish results.  It requires letting go of some of the details so you can set direction that others are inspired to follow. It’s about being proactive instead of reactive.

Leading also means being able to have critical conversations, and approaching those conversations from the position of a coach. Read more »

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I hung up the phone in disbelief. I’d called to tell “M” the good news: I had accepted the position. But he’d barely said Congratulations before turning to a discussion of next steps, followed by a stern reminder to “keep networking.” Keep networking?!  I had just landed the position I’d been working for, the position WE had been discussing for several months. My goal had been achieved! I won!

I thought, Is he crazy?! Can’t I rest now?

No, he was not crazy. His advice was spot on.  It always is. Read more »

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Have you ever hit send on an email and then seconds later thought “#&%$, I wish I didn’t do that!”

Or, been on the receiving end of one of those emails and thought to yourself “What was that person thinking?!?”

Unfortunately, at one time or another we have probably all had one of those experiences. And, most likely, if you were the one typing and sending you were reacting to something that upset you or that you wholeheartedly disagreed with – instead of responding with intention.

There is a price to pay for typing and sending too quickly, especially if it happens more than once. Read more »

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I recently had the pleasure of hearing Spencer Finch speak at an intimate gathering. Finch is an incredibly talented artist who was chosen to create the only work of art commissioned for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.  

He spoke of hand-painting 2,983 squares of paper — one square in a unique shade of blue for each person killed in the September 11 attacks and in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. Finch called his work “Trying To Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning.”

Finch provided moving details about his creative process and the delicacy involved in creating a work associated with so much emotion and loss. He talked about painting the fragile pieces of paper, and testing how the different shades of blue looked under different lighting.

The passion, purpose, and process behind his work is awe-inspiring and I walked away from that evening thinking about, among other things, creation. Specifically, the power of creation to influence and inspire others. Read more »

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I just recovered from 2 weeks of an intense summer flu that kicked my butt! As day after day went by and I was not improving, I found that my level of frustration and anger continued to rise. After finally taking myself to the doctor, I realized I had no choice but to STOP.

I didn’t necessarily want to stop, but I was forced to stop. This period of forced stopping was a kick-in-the-pants reminder of the importance and benefits of slowing down, and even stopping periodically. For many of us this is a tough nut to swallow and counter to so many success philosophies of ‘more is more’, ‘the early bird gets the worm’, ‘a body in motion stays in motion, a body at rest stays at rest’, etc. But, in actuality, stopping propels us forward.

How? Read more »

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How many new people do you meet in a week? 1, 2, 3, 5+ ..? Depending on how social you are and your line of work, that number could vary and be quite large. But, how many of those people would you say are memorable? Meaning, you remembered there was “something about them” or something they said that left you with a feeling of wanting to know more about them days or weeks later?

Most of the time we have a difficult time remembering someone’s name and what was discussed seconds after we first meet them, let alone days or weeks later. Especially when meeting multiple people at once, that task becomes much more challenging.

So, what distinguishes someone from being memorable vs. not memorable? Read more »

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Has this ever happened? You win an award, you have an amazing day, or you get a big promotion — then all of a sudden something negative happens in another part of your life, perhaps you have a big fight with your partner, you get sick or experience a set-back in your health? Or, while enjoying a general feeling of bliss or happiness with your life, those positive feelings are all of a sudden hijacked by negative thoughts and worries about all of the bad that could soon occur?

I’ve often heard parents talk of this happening while they watch their children sleep, or peacefully play — and soon after admiring them lovingly and thinking about how much they love and adore them, those feelings of deep love and contentment are soon clouded by worry and fear.

Why do we do this?  Read more »