The 10 Most Popular Posts of 2014

It's New Year's Eve! I am a big fan of looking back over the year to celebrate success. This New Year's Eve is no different. In an effort to be grateful for 2014 and look toward the future of 2015, I am sending you the most popular posts of 2014 on my NEW blog platform. I have compiled and tweaked for you the 10 most popular post this year so be sure to check them out.

The 10 most popular posts of 2014.

1. What's Your Passionate Why? 3 Reasons leaders should share their stories

2. When to Keep, Tweak, or Abandon Your Goal

3. Stop Fighting For Your Limits

4. Five Signs You Are Not Trusted

5. You Will Never Be Successful Imitating Others

6. How Twitter Can Make You A Better Communicator

7. Why Women Don't Invest In Themselves

8. My Passionate Why: The Birth of Brave

9. 8 Lessons My Kids Taught Me About Goals

10. Stop Apologizing So Much

I have made some major changes in my coaching business this year and I will make some major changes in 2015. I started this blog 17 months ago because I needed to start living my BRAVE. I needed to start sharing my knowledge with the world even though I was scared to death to do it. I wasn't sure what this blog would be or how I would use it. I knew it had something to do with leadership and communication.

Just as you've grown over the last 17 months, this blog and its focus has grown as well.Therefore I have decided to end this blog on this platform effective January 1, 2015.

I will continue to blog but I will do so at www.bravecommunicationllc.com/blog

New content, plus old favorites, will be on that platform. However it is not a platform to which you can subscribe.

If you want to receive blog content in your inbox, I suggest you subscribe to the BRAVE Unlimited E-newsletter. In the newsletter, I will link to blog posts (mine and others that will help you develop your leadership skills) plus there will updates for live events and promotions. If you stop receiving emails from me, then you are not on my enewsletter list. 

You made these posts the most popular and I can't thank you enough for sharing. I look forward to your continuous growth as we enter 2015 and rock it out!

All the best,



Bossiness is NOT leadership: 8 Distinctions Between Being a Leader and Just Being Bossy

Integrity Time is an elementary school program that teaches children about character and choosing "what is good and true and right". I, along with other moms, teach a new character lesson every week. When I saw this week's lesson is on Being Bossy, I thought, oh this going to be good. As I am reading over the lesson, I got a dagger through my heart when I read that I am supposed to tell the kids "Being bossy means to consistently tell others what to do."
That's not being bossy.

The next line thankfully was more accurate. It says, "[b]eing bossy means to be controlling and selfish. 

Now we're talking.

The lesson goes on to describe the perils of being bossy and gives some very good tips on how to deal with bossy people. Now I know what you are thinking. It's a kids lesson so maybe they were trying to keep it simple. Perhaps! But it got me thinking about the way we talk about being bossy in our workplaces.

Make no mistake. Bossiness is NOT leadership.

In fact Sheryl Sandberg in her book Lean In has a popular quote going all around social media. They are memes and text quotes that get liked and shared all day long. I admit I have even shared a couple of them. It reads...

"I want every little girl who someone says 'they're bossy' to be told instead, 'you have leadership skills."

But Susan Lucas, Inc.com contributor, disagrees with Ms. Sandberg... and after seeing how a children's character development series describes bossy, I have to agree with Susan. 

In her article, titled Bossiness is Not Leadership Lucas writes:

"Bossy girls are sometimes queen bees--with their little minions following after them. This mimics leadership, but it's not. Queen bees attain their positions of power by tearing other girls down, by instilling fear, and by being the prettiest, or the one with the best clothes. These girls are masters of manipulation and persuade the adults that they are just that--leaders. But anyone who has ever been a victim of one of these "bossy" little girls knows that it isn't leadership.
What's more, bossy women like to keep other women down. "

If bossiness is not leadership, they what is leadership? Lucas gives 8 differences between leadership and bossiness. 
  • Leadership is inclusive, not exclusive. Bossy thrives on keeping people out of the inner circle.
  • Leadership listens. Bossy says "listen to me."
  • Leadership hands out praise to others for success. Bossy takes all the credit when things go well.
  • Leadership takes responsibility for failure. Bossy blames others for failure. It is never a bossy person's "fault."
  • Leadership lifts others up. Bossy wants to keep others down, because otherwise someone might take over the top role.
  • Leadership prepares for a future when there is a new leader. Bossy wants to ensure there is never a new leader.
  • Leadership makes sacrifices for the good of the team. Bossy wants the team to sacrifice for her.
  • Leadership is humble. Bossy is prideful.
In light of these distinctions, I say we revise Sandberg's quote to 

"I want every little girl who someone says 'they're bossy' to be told instead, 'you have leadership potential. Now let me show you what a real leadership is'!

What do you think of the list of distinctions? 

This BRAVE Living blog post is for the woman who knows she is called to an even greater level of leadership, influence,  and money, yet can't figure out how to do that day to day. Get 7 Communication Mistakes Women In Leadership Make to understand what might be holding you back. Click here to get it.


Fast food or Gourmet: Which leader are you?

If you had to describe your leadership style, would you be a gourmet leader or would you be a fast food leader?

I was listening to a marketing seminar about attracting the right people. The presenter asked us to examine our website copy to see if we are presenting our services as a fast-food or as gourmet. It was a great question that got me thinking a lot and I wanted to present it to you.

First let’s talk about the difference between fast food and gourmet food. Fast food is uses cheap ingredients to produce a quick meal. It is common. You can expect the food taste the same no matter where you go. The burger in North Dakota will taste the same as the burger in Florida. Fast food tastes good going down but proves not to be good for you later. The flavor of the food is predetermined. It is good in a pinch but it’s not something you can live on perpetually.

Gourmet food on the other hand invokes a different feeling. It is made with high quality ingredients. The reason behind the ingredients is just as important as the ingredients themselves. Gourmet food is  custom and uniquely special to the restaurant, the region, or the chef. It is about the experience. Gourmet food custom blends flavors together so that it’s consumer can experience a new oral sensation. Gourmet food leaves you feeling satisfied not just full.

As you read those distinctions did your mind start listing the difference between a gourmet leader and a fast food leader?

Fast food leaders

Fast food leaders see people as commodities that can easily be switched out. People are ingredients and fast food leaders don't look for quality ingredients. They'll take whatever because they don't value people. An example of this comes from one of my favorite action movies, The Fast and Furious  6. The villain, Owen Shaw, gives his take on team: “A team is nothing but pieces you switch out until you get the job done. It's efficient. It works.”  Even though the man saying it was a cute British actor with an accent that would make one swoon, the truth is his view on his team is of a fast food variety. Fast food leaders view humans as commodities that can exchanged, replaced, and debased as long as the job gets done.

Fast food leaders keep the status quo. They do not value nor to do they look for diversity in their team members. He or she values keeping things running smoothly over rocking the boat.

Fast food leaders are full of fluff with no substance. You can be under this leader for years and not grow one bit.They are all about jargon, buzzwords, and catchphrases.They lead with stale cliches and ideologies. They aren't original.

Things fast food leaders do that drive people crazy:
They don’t confront or handle conflict well. It takes too much time
They interrupt and shove their ideas onto others.
For them, obedience is more important than understanding.
Their vision is short sighted. They don’t look long term
They use their leadership position to hide their insecurities

Gourmet leaders

Gourmet leaders not only understand that the people carrying out the mission are indispensable to the organization’s success, but they also take action to support their stance.
Gourmet leaders know and show empathy. They can connect on a personal level with their employees.  They help their employees unearth internal motivations for success. They craft employee development plans the align the organziations mission to the individuals development and career aspirations. Being under s gourmet leaders’s is an experience.

Thing gourmet leaders do that makes them successful:
They actually listen, instead of waiting for you to just stop talking.
They equal parts encouragement and praise and correction and challenge.
They are secure enough to reproduce themselves.
They ask for opinions and perspectives other than their own.
They leave their employees better in the long run

Which type of leader are you? Which type of leader would your team say you are? If you don’t know, ask them. Do you know what you need to do in order to be more gourmet and less fast food?  Contact me so we can chat about.

This BRAVE Living blog post is for the woman who knows she is called to an even greater level of leadership, influence,  and money, yet can't figure out how to do that day to day. Subscribe to my 7 Communication Mistakes Women In Leadership Make to understand what might be holding you back.

photo credit: Anne-Marie Nichols via photopin cc


Do you have Imposter Syndrome? Take the quiz to find out.

Do you have imposter syndrome? Take this quiz and find out:

  1. Do you chalk your success up to luck, God, timing, or computer error?
  2. Do you believe “If I can do it, anybody can”?
  3. Do you agonize over even the smallest flaws in your work?
  4. Are you crushed by even constructive criticism, seeing it as evidence of your “ineptness?”
  5. When you do succeed, do you secretly feel like you fooled them again?
  6. Do you worry that it’s just a matter of time before you’re “found out?”

If you answered yes to these questions then according to one article, you are in good company. 


11 Unusual Disguises of Fear

My youngest son will be wearing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle costume and my oldest will wear a Pirate costume to the church Fall Harvest party this month. There are super cute costumes, but no matter how much green make up we put on my youngest or how deeply we color in a beard on my oldest's face, my husband and I will always recognize them. There costumes will never keep us from knowing who they really are.

Did you know fear can wear costumes? Some of fear's costumes are so well clothed in your own skin that you don't recognize it as a foreign body at all. Fear is much more of a chameleon. Fear can take on the costumes of other emotions, thoughts, and physical problems so seamlessly that you'd never recognize it.

Fear boldly masquerades as so many things for one single purpose: survival. If fear kept it's most common form, a distinct feeling of dread or doom, then we'd just learn how to overcome that fear and it would forever be vanquished. So in order to ensure it's survival it became a master of disguise. Iyanla Vanzant once said,

"Fear wears so many clever disguises it is virtually impossible to always recognize it. Fear disguises itself as the need to be somewhere else, doing something else, not knowing how to do something or not needing to do something." 

Since you can never conqueror what you can never identify, let's pull the mask off of some of fear's costumes.

Fear can masquerade as:


How To Self-Promote Without Feeling Sleezy

In a world of selfies,  YouTube, and a host of other ways one can say "hey look at me" some women find self-promotion off putting...but you can't afford to think that way.

October is national self-promotion month. Yes, it is a real observance. I doubt you'll get the day off work although I am sure someone will make a great case for why you should. In fact, you can probably think of several people for whom EVERY month seems to be self promotion month...and you want to be nothing like them.

If you grew up like I did, you were taught that is not "lady like" to draw attention to yourself. The "lady" of yesteryear is supposed to wait for others to praise her, then graciously divert attention away so as to remain humble.

I submit to you that one of the reasons you haven't been promoted or gotten that big opportunity you really want is directly related to your lack of self-promotion skills. 

Don't shoot the messenger. I have good news though. You don't have to be obnoxious about promoting yourself but you DO have to learn how to comfortably and effectively promote yourself.

I'll let you in on a little secret. My biggest mindset challenge these days has to do with self-promotion! When you are a business owner, self-promotion is commonly referred to as marketing. I know marketing is important...essential in fact. But in the beginning, I didn't like it. It felt icky, braggadocios, and just not me. Many of my clients feel the same way in their jobs. Many hardworking women hope and pray that their hard work will be all that's needed to get them further.  And that's just not true.

The 21st century woman in leadership has to challenge the "anti-self-promotion" mindset if she wants to be a leader of influence. 

So I'll share with you one of the ways I, and my clients, have overcome this limiting belief in order to clearly see ourselves and our work.

Coaching Activity

#1 Redefine what self-promotion is to you.

In the beginning of this post, I mentioned how you probably knew someone who shamelessly self-promotes and the negative feelings you have with that person. What they do has you saying "Uh-uh, no way" . Don't define self-promotion by the annoying people. Set a new definition for yourself. Just as you can pinpoint the "all-about-me" folks, I bet if you think hard enough, you can also identify the people who self-promote in a way that feels authentic to you.

Take notice of that person. How are they self-promoting without being obnoxious? What are they doing? What are they not doing? 

Define what healthy self-promotion looks like for you is the first step in opening yourself up to doing it.

#2 Create a new mantra

With my coaching clients, once we've identified the limiting mindset. We take time to craft a new one. We work on the wording so that when the old mindset shows up (and it will) there is something new to reinforce the new way of thinking. 

So what could be your BRAVE new mindset around self-promotion? If it helps, don't use the word self-promotion if it bothers. Finish this statement....

"By highlighting my accomplishments, I ......." 

Now list 5-10 positive things that will result from you highlighting your accomplishments.

#3 Make a Triumph Tracker

One of my biggest breakthroughs came several years ago when I was revising my resume. My career coach suggested I list all the successes I had in my jobs. It was hard because I didn't pay attention at the time so I didn't think I had any successes.

If you don't count your blessings, you end up thinking you don't have any.

I learned my lesson. Now, I encourage all of my clients to keep a "Triumph Tracker". It is just a running list of every win, success, or big step they take in their professional lives and the results of said actions. When performance review times rolls around, my clients are ready with specific lists of what they did and the results that happened. Sometimes, their lists gives them the courage to ask for a promotion.

Why self-promotion is necessary

You need to promote to:

  • build your self confidence and finally putting to bed the "am I good enough?" question 
  • remind yourself how awesome you are
  • get that next big job
  • showcase your skills and accomplishments
  • to compete in a global workplace
  • to differentiate yourself from all the people who do the same thing

Bottom line: If you don't talk about your success, identify the ways you've met or exceeded expectations, and highlight your big wins and their impact to your organization...who will?

If you know you want a raise, but deep down you know you hate self-promotion, contact me today so I can show you in 30 minutes how to eliminate that limiting belief and set you on a path to comfortably and un-apologetically claiming what you want. Click  here to schedule a complimentary chat today!


How to show weakness without being weak

The most effective way that you can build trust in your team is by sharing your weakness and how you are trying to overcome them. If you encourage your staff to share their professional development needs and opportunities with you YET you don't share with them, you are setting yourself up to be a bad leader.

I was talking to one of my clients about revealing her professional development goals to her staff and boss. She wasn't excited about revealing to her team how she was trying to work on her weaknesses, namely hiring me as her leadership coach. She isn't alone in her thinking. It doesn't make her a bad person. In fact, most people don't want to share their weaknesses with their team. This is faulty thinking.

Here's why. 

#1: You send the wrong message

As a leader, your job is to develop your talent to do their work most effectively. You usually ask your staff to set personal development goals and to share those with you so you are up to date what they are doing, how they are struggling, and how you can support them. Yet, if your staff NEVER sees you, their leader, doing the same thing, then you unconsciously communicate that "personal development is only necessary to get you into leadership and after that, you don't need it anymore. "

For most leaders, that is a phrase you would never say aloud because you know it is utterly ridiculous.  Personal and professional development is a need throughout a leaders' life time. So why not reinforce your commitment to personal development by sharing how you are developing yourself?

The most effective way that you can build trust in your team is by sharing your weakness and how you are trying to overcome it. Continual research has proven that team members respond to authentic open honest leadership. Too many people want to hide their flaws instead of sharing them strategically.

#2: They already know your weakness.

Your staff already knows your development needs. In fact, they probably know your development needs more than you do. They come in frequent contact with your "development needs". They complain to their spouses or friends about how your "development need" got on their nerves just yesterday. 

How to show weakness without being weak

Since you want to be a leader who sets the example of good leadership, I encourage my clients to share their weakness without being weak. The reason leaders don't want to show weakness is a fear and trust issue. You are asking your team to trust you  but you don't trust them. You are too afraid of how you'll look. 

It's time you let people see behind the curtain.

One leadership coach, Marshall Goldsmith says he does not get paid unless the key stakeholders say his client has shown significant improvement. The secret sauce behind Goldsmith's strategy is that the client chooses the stakeholders and they are involved from the beginning. It isn't  random and it isn't secretive. It is a strategic process.

The secret to showing weakness without being weak is inviting select group to witness your transformation. Imagine if your boss came to you and said, "You all have told me I am not great at listening. I hired a coach to help me with this. Would you mind if once a month, I ask you how I'm doing on not interrupting people in the office?"

His or her stock would dramatically rise. If your staff is coming to you with their weaknesses and you are leading them to develop plans and execute the plans to overcome their weaknesses then why wouldn't you share your plan to do the same with your staff?  Do you have to expose every single detail? No. Do you have to reveal personal issues about yourself? No. What you have to do is release the pride that says I can't show my weaknesses.


Forget Time Management...focus on this instead!

"Forget time management, focus on energy management instead." 

The first time I heard of energy management was when one of my panelists at my the "Women, Work, and Time Management" (see photo) panel discussion mentioned it as a time management tip. I was immediately intrigued so looked into it. 
photo credit Jeff McManus

In 2003, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz published The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time is the key to high performance and personal renewal.

The premise of the book is that we often focus too much on managing time with little to no regard for how to manage our body's natural energy. Loehr and Schwartz argue that just as physical athletes know the importance of work and recovery, the "corporate athlete" needs to exercise the same strategy at work.

In another article, Manage Your Energy Not Your Time Schwartz explains that the problem with time management is that time is a finite resource that can't be renewed. There is absolutely no way to get more time when it is used up.  We only have a limited number of hours in everyday. Energy however, according to the Law of Conservative Energy, is a finite resource that can be renewed. While the amount of energy you have can't change, according to the scientific law, the energy can be transferred or renewed and used in more productive ways.

"Defined in physics as the capacity to work, energy comes from four main wellsprings in human beings: the body, emotions, mind, and spirit. In each, energy can be systematically expanded and regularly renewed by establishing specific rituals—behaviors that are intentionally practiced and precisely scheduled, with the goal of making them unconscious and automatic as quickly as possible."

What rituals? Nothing hokie. Rituals like going to bed at a certain time. Taking breaks. Doing fun stress relieving activities.

Our usual response to being overworked is to put in MORE time to clear our plates. That usually means cutting out the things that renew us with energy. Instead of waking up early to pray or meditate, an activity that would replenish our energy supply, we instead wake up early to get work done, spending our energy.

Worry takes energy. Overwhelm takes energy. Negative stress takes energy. Worry, overwhelm, and stress are things we think happen to us as if we have no control over whether to receive them. Not so. We are the only ones who can control whether we choose to spend our energy in worry, stress, or overwhelm.

By shifting our mindset from time management to energy management, you no longer have to "find the energy" to get things done. You already have the energy. It's just being used in the energy depleting tasks of worry, stress, and overwhelm

Before I dive into tips on managing you energy as a time management tool, I'd like to hear from you. If you'd never heard of this energy management idea before, what did you think? If you are familiar with it, what are its limitations?

Leave a comment.


"You Don't Belong Here"

I attended the Integrating Woman Leaders (IWL) Women's leadership conference a few weeks ago. This was the first time I was representing my company, my brand, and myself. In times past, I was either representing my job or I was attending as a proverbial fly on the wall.

I chose this conference because I had an agenda and purpose. I wanted to be surrounded by like minded women who were unashamedly taking action to advance themselves or their organization. I wanted to set the precedent of investing in my personal develop. And I also wanted to understand the issues facing my target market. 

During the morning inspiration and call to action, I was very excited. Then something strange happened. As I was listening to the wonderful speech about taking risks in the game of life by Jennifer Wolfgram, VP of Commercial education at Roche Diagnostics, all of a sudden my shoulders began to droop. I took my eyes off of the speaker and began looking around at the 500 plus attendees and they I heard this...

"What are YOU do here? You don't belong here. You're just a little company and these women are in BIG business and are serious."

I will admit I entertained that thought longer than I should have. I looked around at the women on stage and in the seats next to me. They all looked so sure of themselves and confident. I started to go down the path of self loathing but then I stopped. You see I've been down that road before so I knew exactly where it would lead me. I would spend the rest of the conference feeling like I didn't fit in, that I was a fraud, and secretly kicking myself for investing in a waste of time. Well I didn't want that. I wanted a different kind of day. So I decided to own my leadership and address the question.

The speaker, Jennifer Wolfgram, was just saying that on the road of life you will be tested. This was my test and I recognized it. I told that devil (you call it whatever you like) that I was not going to fall that trick. I squared my shoulders, lifted my head, and won that battle with the internal declaration "I am here because this is where I belong."

The theme for the conference was "Purpose, Passion, and The Will To Lead". In that moment of temptation, I had to make a choice. Will I surrender my purpose and passion to uncertainty and intimidation or will I take the lead? I took the lead. After all the money I spent on hotel, travel, and a new outfit, I was not going to let anything stop me from being open to the wonderful things awaiting me that day.

There were so many wonderful things awaiting me that day including: 
  • a fun keynote by Karen Hough, author of Be The Best Bad Presenter, on how to use improvisation to open yourself up to possibilities and negotiations.
  • a phenomenal breakout session about how women can develop their strategic thinking skills by Jennifer Zinn. This was by far my favorite session.
  • A signed copy of No Excuses: 9 Ways Woman Can Change How We Think About Power by Gloria Feldt.
  • a great networking lunch where I met several connections.
  • meeting some awesome women
  • a big boost in my confidence
As women, we think that if we have a thought then we are the originators of that thought. That is not true. Things are suggested to us all the time. We've all experienced it. We're on a diet and we see the ad for the brand new meal at our favorite restaurant . We then think "I want that". And the cycle or self loathing begins and we beat ourselves up for having the thought. But the truth is, your thought was a suggestion originated by the advertisers of that restaurant. 

Let me put it another away. You've just been promoted. You're excited to lead your team but then you hear this thought :

"What makes you think you can run this group better than the last guy? Who do you think you are? You're the only woman. You don't belong here."

Before you agree with these thoughts, take a minute to examine the result of accepting them. What benefit will it produce? Will it give you the energy and confidence to move forward? Will it open up your creativity so ideas can flow freely? 

If the answer is no, then veto that thought. 

Of all the wonder that I experienced at the conference, it was during the days following the conference that I realized why I was trying to be distracted at the beginning.

In the airport the day after the conference I initiated a conversation with one of the panelists from the "Mentoring Women, Achieving Results" session. She and I talked for almost an hour and found ourselves reveling in the camaraderie. Once I got home, I followed up with EVERY person I met. One particular woman and I had such a good time validating each other, encouraging each other, and talking business that we literally had to make ourselves get off the phone so we could get back to work. We decided to speak monthly just to keep each other accountable and moving forward. I also was able to connect a job seeker with a potential lead.

None of that would have been possible had I surrendered to the intimidation and fear. 

At the moment you're tempted, you don't know what lies down the road. All you have is the present information. I implore you my dear love to face your doubt head on. Be brave enough to face it with the knowledge that something amazing must be about to happen since the opposition is forming so early.

This blog is about inspiring you live BRAVELY and giving you practical ways to do that. So here are some practical takeaways from my conference experience with doubt.
How to answer when someone (even yourself) suggests you don't belong
  • Remember your purpose and your big "why". Why are you there? Doing what you do? What is the reason or purpose driving you?
  • Invoke your veto power. You do not have to accept every suggestion that comes your way. Kick it out by creating an empowering thought. 
  • Fuel your new empowering thought by remembering all the evidence of your past success.

What are some ways you've overcome self doubt?


Why You Need To Change The Company You Keep

Do you surround yourself with like-minded people? Or do you feel like the odd-man out in your circle as you pursue your goals? Even your loved ones who support you may not always understand or can offer the help you need on your journey. 

The journey to becoming the most effective leader you can be is a beautiful one that requires you to change the company you keep along the way. Being the best leader you can be involves the help of others. 

John Maxwell says personal development thinks in terms of addition. Every skill or mindset is designed to add to your tool box. Leadership development thinks in terms of multiplying. You are no longer just focusing on the self, but on the many. 

In order to pursue your unique path of leadership, you must surround yourself with people of like minds. When I say like minds, I don't mean surround yourself with yes-men or people who think exactly the way you do. I mean people who are aspiring for something similar to you, who have a vision for a greater impact or to see a similar goal. Interact with people who will inspire you to keep going.

The main reason I decided to attend a women in leadership conference is to be surrounded by like minded women. I don't get to interact face to face with senior executive women as often as I would like. A conference designed for executive women is a great place to meet and mingle with people of like minds. 

Why change the company you keep

1. To prove you're not alone.

It is easy to think you are the only one pursuing a goal when you aren't surrounded by like minded people. It is easy to doubt your sanity, question your resolve, or feel out of place. Once you connect with a group of like minded people, who are pursuing their goals and dreams, you feel the freedom of camaraderie and you know you are not alone. 

2. To build your bravery.

When you feel the support of regularly interacting with your group, you give yourself permission to be braver because there is evidence all around you that you can do it. That evidence makes you braver. Peer pressure is a real. We tend to think of peer pressure as a negative, but in truth peer pressure is neutral. It depends on how you use it. So use positive peer pressure (and the bravery that comes with it) to go for your goal. We are always bolder and braver in a group than we are alone. Use that to set bigger, bolder goals for yourself and then be brave enough to go reach them.

3. To learn new ideas/methods.

Think of it like this. You're in a funk because you always cook the same recipe for dinner so you ask a friend for a new recipe. She gives you one she cooks all the time. She's tired of it and most likely gave it to you because it quickly came to her mind. The minute you get her recipe, you are out of the funk. It is brand new to you and you are excited about dinner again. You would have never put the ingredients together that way before. Now you are excited and energized to try a new idea or method. What is old to you is new and fresh for another and vice versa. 

4. To help you when we're down.

Unfortunately we live in a cynical discouraging world. There will always be that person who says, "Why bother? You might as well give up." Sometimes that person is you. No matter who it is, you need the support of others to help you get back on your feet.Troubleshooting isn't just for computers. It is for us. When we surround ourselves with people who are going through or have been through similar experiences, we have a built in trouble shooting network. You can learn how to overcome obstacles before, during, or even after they happen. 

There you have a few reason for changing you company. If you are the one everyone comes to for help or advice, then it's time to expand your network. You can not keep growing if you are the smartest, most driven person you know. A staple of my coaching business is to help my clients realize they don't know what they don't know. Seems trite but this works because the highly motivated women I work with are then determined to either learn what they don't know or find someone who knows what they don't know. They change their company often because they have dreams and goals they want to reach..and so should you! Epictetus said, 
"The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best!"

So I ask you, do you need to change the company you keep?


Own Your Leadership...Here's How!

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the hard decision I made to invest in myself. Read Why Women Don't Invest In Themselves. Despite the difficulty, I did it. Next week I am going to my first professional development conference as CEO of BRAVE Communication. I am excited and nervous. This particular conference asked you to choose your track. Executive, manager, contributor etc. There are different break out groups designed for the different positions women  hold within their organizations.

I was talking to my husband about it which track I should choose. It was obvious to him but it took me a minute to own it. Then it hit me. Duh! 

"I am an Executive, therefore I choose the Executive track."

That statement both empowered and frightened me. Have you ever felt that way? You know you are in charge, in leadership, but there are times when actually saying or taking actions that prove it seem a little...well, weird?

One of the reasons women in leadership don't own their leadership is because they don't see themselves as leaders. In their own minds eye, they don't fit their own image of what leaders look like or do. Since we know ourselves so well, we know we aren't fearless or direct or very _____(fill in the blank with whatever you think the perfect leader is). For a long time, my image of leadership was an older white man in navy blue blazer, starched white button downed shirt, khaki colored slacks, and those brown loafers with the two tassels on them. 

Well I'm a young (at least I think so) black woman who likes warm colors and hates buttoned down shirts. Clearly my "image of leadership" wasn't helping me. So I got rid of that old image and replaced it with my own.

As an executive coach, one of the BRAVE mindset shifts I help my clients realize is that leadership looks like you.

I'll say it again: Leadership looks like you!

You don't have to "look", "act", or "be" anyone else. In fact, it is your duty to be yourself in your leadership. So many women I work with feel like they can't be themselves as a leader. They are afraid of being classed as either  "the Barbie or the *itch". There doesn't seem to be an in between. And what if you are a spiritual woman or woman of faith? Ha! Good luck finding your role model in business.

One of my coaching programs, Align Your Brave, is aimed at helping women in leadership find their unique leadership identity. It's not about traditional leadership assessments so much as it's about shifting the mindset to creating your own identity. It moves people from "I have to perform up to everyone else's standards" to "I have to be authentic to myself." Something amazing happens when women own their own leadership identity. Usually, they meet and often, exceed external performance standards set by their organizations. Since their standards for themselves are usually higher, they align their personal, professional and spiritual selves to maximize their leadership effectiveness. 

Whether you lead one or one thousand, you are the executive. You are the leader. Own it!

So stand up (yes now) put your hands on your hips in your wonder woman pose and say out loud to yourself. 

I am the leader!

Say it again...and one more time.

How did it feel to own your leadership? Leave me comment.

If you want to align your organizational objectives with your spiritual and your personal values, so that  ALL of you work together to accomplish your organizational goals, feeling satisfied AND maximize your impact to the bottom line, schedule a complimentary strategy session with me today. It's time to stop living fragmented and Align Your Brave. Click here to schedule a time we can talk. 


The 8 Leadership Lessons My Sons Taught Me At Dinner Last Night

My sons taught me 8 valuable lessons about striving for your goals at the dinner table last night. These sages are 6 and 4 years old and their lessons were highlighted in their actions not their words. The bottom line: Your choice determines if you reach your goals or not.

photo credit: Anushruti RK via photopin cc

Let me set the scene. It was dinner time. Our kids had salad on their plates they were reluctant to eat. The deal was simple. If you eat your salad, you can have one cupcake.

I don't call this a bribe, I call it an incentive. If they don't want to eat the salad, they don't have to. We don't yell or scold or anything. They choose to eat what they are served or not however they don't get treats or another food option if they choose not to eat what's on their plates.

Son #1 slowly but surely ate the salad. Though he stopped, he keep going after being reminded of the incentive. He finished his salad and received his cupcake.

Son #2 started to eat the salad. Slowly but surely he stopped. He too was reminded of the incentive but he decided he was finished. He did not receive his cupcake.

Let's examine the lessons my sons can teach leaders when it comes to goals.

4 Lessons from Son #1

Son #1 didn't like that the goal was so far away. He had to sludge through the equivalent of a 1/2 cup of salad but he kept his eye on the proverbial prize. He was distracted and at one point gave up until he decided to come back and finish up. It took him 30 minutes to eat his salad but he did.

1. Reaching for your goals will always take you out of your comfort zone.

You can't stay safe and achieve great things. If it were possible, everyone would achieve greatness. Let me be clear, you determine what is great for you. For my kids, "great things" equaled a cupcake. Your "great thing" maybe different from someone else's "great thing" and that's fine. Resist comparing yourself to others. Great things always requires stretching. 

2. You may not like the taste of what you have to ingest to reach your goals.

I see this with my clients all the time. They want the goal but once we start diving into who you have to become or what you have to do in order to get it, they begin to back peddle. Since we know reaching for your goals requires stretching, it will mean you will be uncomfortable. The good news is that's normal. You have to get used to greatness. It has to grow on you and it may not taste good at first.

3. Time is up to you.

I was reading the biblical story about the children of Israel's entrance into the promised land. Did you know it was an 11 day journey from enslavement in Egypt to the promised land? Yet it took them 40 years to get there. Most people scoff the Israelites because it took them so long but how many of us are going around the same mountain? The time it takes to accomplish your goals is up to you doing the necessary work. It took son #1 30 minutes but he got there. It takes as long as it takes. Being first is not always the point.

4. Attitude elongates or hastens the perception of time.

Both of my sons had a bad attitude about eating veggies. This attitude made dinner drag on forever. In truth, not much time had passed but it felt like much longer to all of us. Once son#1 decided to make eating his veggies a game, he was done before he knew it. The lesson here is that you perception becomes your reality. You can find ways to make mundane yucky things palpable. To illustrate this point, Marshall Goldsmith, executive coach to Fortune 500 CEOs, often describes two flight attendants. Both are on the same flight, wear the same uniform, and use the equipment. The difference between a flight that lasts forever and one that was great is the attitude of the attendants. 

4 Lessons from Son #2

Son#2 didn't like that the goal was so far away either. He came very close to finishing but decided not finish. He was distracted by other things and decided it was a better use of this his time to be excused and go play.

1. Go as far as you can.

When you go as far as you can, you've already gone farther than you ever have. Eating a little bit of veggies is better than eating none. Often we are so obsessed with achieving the goal that we forget to see the successes along the way. Many of my clients are recovering perfectionists. I am too. Their perfectionism has robbed them of a lifetime of accomplishments. They don't recognize, much less celebrate, their progress. Go as far as you can and you when you do you will find something to celebrate along the way.

2. Choose your goal carefully.

Did you pick your goal or did someone pick it for you? So many of the women I work with feel like they are living a life chosen for them. If you carefully select your own goal, you are far more likely to keep going when the going gets tough. I chose the incentive for son#2, had I given the choice to choose, perhaps he would have done what was required. You are in control of your choices so choose carefully.

3. Choose where you spend your time.

Son#2 decided to spend the little time he had after dinner playing with the car he got for his birthday. He didn't want to stay at the table drudging through lettuce, carrots, and red cabbage. When we are pursuing a goal we have to make choices about where to spend our time and energy. 

4. Pivoting is not the same as giving up.

When you stop doing something to do something that is better for you, that is not giving up, it's pivoting. I'll admit at first I was disappointed my son didn't finish his salad. But when I looked at his plate and saw he ate 99% of it, it was clear he didn't give up. He just made a different choice. In her book Pivot Points, leadership consultant Julia Tang Peters describes the five pivotal decision points that define a leader. One of those decisions is the turning point decision. The turning point is a decision that alters your course. My son pivoted from the course that would land him a cupcake and onto the course that would allow him the freedom to pick what he wanted. He didn't give up in a defeatist attitude. He pivoted. It takes far more courage to pivot than to give up. Don't beat yourself up for not finishing what you started. Be BRAVE and pivot. 

There you have it folks! The 8 lessons my sons taught us about leadership. 

Which lesson spoke to you the most?


3 Ways to Effectively Lead the Knowledge Worker

photo credit: cybrarian77 via photopin cc
Leading in the "Knowledge Worker" era requires a different set of skills than in times gone by. Are you ready?

A knowledge worker is defined as a person whose job involves handling or using knowledge. In other words, they "think for a living". The father of modern management, Peter Drucker, first coined the term around 1959. Knowledge workers have always been among us i.e. doctors, teachers, lawyers, professors, architects, and scientists. Yet the 21st century leader must understand and adapt to leading "new" knowledge workers. Social media specialist, analysts, software developers, app developers etc. New titles and new names means new expectation and new standards.

It used to be that knowledge workers were not the majority. During the industrial age skilled manual labor workers were more prevalent. Not so anymore. " Now, anywhere from 25% to 50% of jobs require people to create, use, and share knowledge." source The bachelor's degree is like the high school diploma. It is considered the minimum for most knowledge worker jobs.

The leader of the future must understand who knowledge workers are and how to lead them. I was listening to an interview with famous executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. When discussing knowledge workers and the leader, he stated pointedly, "They know more than you do." For high achieving smart leaders, this can be a problem. Issues of ego and being rubbed the wrong way will come up. It used to be the person who knew the most about the job was promoted to leadership. That person could then tell other what to do and how to do it. The new age of leadership can't be sustained on that archaic idea. 

It is now expected that leaders are not the ones who are technically the smartest, they are the ones who are "people smart". Leaders in the knowledge worker era must know and understand the dynamics in this era and also have the skills to lead well.

How to lead knowledge workers:


Do It Afraid

I learned that courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.
 ~Nelson Mandela
photo credit: JuanRax via photopin cc
One of my favorite affirmations these days is "do it afraid". I have been telling myself this for a long time. Especially here of late. Last Friday, I published my first eBook 7 Communication Mistakes Women In Leadership Make. Even though I know it is 25 pages of helpful advice and tips for women looking to go beyond their current level of achievement, I still felt afraid.

I was afraid of how it might be received. I was afraid that it was still filled with errors that my editors and I missed. I was afraid that no one would be interested in reading it. But most of all,  I was afraid of what  publishing it meant for me. It meant I was taking a stand for myself and my business. I wrote it. I published it. It is my experience and knowledge on those pages. It represents everything my Executive coaching business is about. And publishing that book was a major investment in believing in myself. The eBook is the beginning of a new stage in my business. And deep down, I was wondering if I would be successful.

Have you ever been on the precipice of something major? A decision that you knew would change the course of your life? A decision that would make or break your character, career, or, reputation? A decision that you would look back on one day and say," that was the day when everything changed?"

What is going on in your life right now that has you scared? You know you need to make a change but the fear of doing so is almost overwhelming? Are you working at your optimal level or are you afraid to step up your game? 

Here's what happened to me. I almost decided to scrap the whole eBook idea. But deep down my spirit was telling me that if I didn't step up now, I would I miss a major opportunity to change my life for the better.

So I did it afraid. I did it afraid because I realized that I am called to something greater. I know there are women who are assigned to work with me professionally. I know there are women who need to read these words of encouragement. Just because I don't know all the details, doesn't mean I can shrink back from my assignment.

Guess what girlfriend, it's time you do it afraid. You want to advance in your career. You know there are people who are called to be under you leadership. You know that there is a greater level of influence you are called to make in your organization. Since that's the case, then I have three words for you: DO...IT...AFRAID!

You have to stop playing small. Some people are called to small (and there is nothing wrong with that) but you are not one of those people. You are called to greater things. Greater things in your work, in your family, community, government, or circle of influence.

How to "do it afraid"?

1. Admit you feel fear. 
2. Focus on the greater goal that's bigger than you. 
3. Act immediately

The benefits of "doing it afraid" are many and include

1. Doubling your confidence
2. Proving that you can overcome your fear
3. Proving to yourself that fear is not in charge of you
4. Expanding your skill set and knowledge
5. You impact other people's lives in a greater way

"Good things in life come to those who take risks. If you avoid any new experiences then you are missing out on the best that life has to offer. The longer that you wait, procrastinate, or cower in fear, the more “comfortable” you are getting with the status quo…and that’s not a very fun place to be" says accountability coach Anne Bachrach in her article The Benefits of Doing Something Uncomfortable

So what is that thing you want to do at work that you "need to do afraid"? Is it ask your boss for a raise? Confront someone? Present that idea that you've been burying? Apply for that promotion? Finish that project?

Let me know. I would love to support and cheer you on as you "do it afraid". The truth is, the more you do it afraid, you'll focus less on the afraid part and focus more on the great accomplishment of doing. Go get it!

Click HERE to download your FREE copy of my eBook 7 Communication Mistakes Women in Leadership Make 


A Free Copy of My New eBook is Waiting for You!

It is live and available free to you my lovely blog readers. Go get it. Click here.

What will you learn in this eBook:

  • a paradigm shift in how you need to view your mistakes so they don't defeat you but empower you.
  • 7 mistakes that hinder women in their leadership effectiveness.
  • the way each of these mistakes is hurting you and the people who work for or with you.
  • a simple fix to these mistakes.
  • 3 case studies of how my clients were committing these problems and what they did to overcome them.
  • what to do next to have a leadership career that is aligned with your organization and your calling.
Click HERE to get your copy today. The eBook is short on purpose so you can't say you don't have time.  

This eBook is not for everyone. This eBook is for you if you're a woman:
  • in leadership in the workplace.
  • who wants to be in leadership in the workplace.
  • who's tired of second guessing herself as a leader.
  • who's ready to align her career and her calling.
  • who is ready to see better RESULTS in her work.
  • with some grit, nerve, or boldness.
I tell it to you straight and with love. There are things you are doing that are making it harder for you to advance and been seen as the confident leader you know you can be. There are things that are keeping you from seeing the results in your team and initiatives. You can easily stop them and start seeing the progress you want.

Click here to claim your free copy today!