Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and Hanukkah and Christmas are just around the corner. It’s the time for feasting, giving thanks, celebrating with family and friends, and reviewing progress made over the past year. Q4 is already halfway over and, for many of us, the month of year-end reviews is upon us. It’s a time to reflect over the past year and look at how we have grown, jot down our accomplishments, and come up with goals for next year. Performance reviews are a chance for us to assess and evaluate where we were a year ago, where we are now, and where we want to be in the future. Many of us also get to gloat about our teams and, hopefully, get a chance to nominate a few star employees for well-deserved promotions. While assessing ourselves, we’re also evaluating the processes we have in place for reviews and promotions, and how well the company's documentation and communication show people how they can be successful.
As I write this blog article, my husband and I are in first-class flying to Denver, Colorado. As a Vice President in Sales, he travels a lot, so we tend to get upgraded rather frequently. This flight has been different from others, though, because of the flight attendant and her out-of-the-box thinking.
I was in a 1:1 the other day and my mentee and I were discussing what makes a good consultant. The desire to learn was the main focus of our conversation, and we both agreed that to be a rock star, you should always want to learn and improve. Since my mentee is just starting his future as a Project Manager and building his leadership skills, I cautioned him to pay close attention to his team. Some people may not have the quality we were discussing. Others, perhaps, may be too afraid to do anything with their desire to learn and grow. Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with say “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing.” Where are you noticing fear show up within or around you, and what are you doing about it?
I recently went through an exercise where I cleaned and organized my entire office, getting rid of tons of books, electronics, and old papers that were no longer serving me. Since before graduating college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science, I’ve had a dream to become a software engineer, so I kept my college textbooks to help me get there. Fast forward to the present, and I’m a Certified Professional Executive Coach with my own business and a desire to help everyone I meet. Not the same dream I had back in college.
When I worked as a Customer Support Manager for Oracle, my boss taught me that perception is reality. What you know to be true and what others know to be “true” are not always the same thing, and could differ far more than we think. This lesson came about because I had been a Technical Support Analyst and had gotten promoted to Manager. So the people I had been friends with were now my employees, and I had to draw a fine line between friendship and a professional relationship so that the perception of possible favoritism towards my team was as small as possible. There was never going to be a way to remove that judgment entirely, and I worked hard to show everyone I worked with how valued they were.
How many times have you said “I wish I had that,” “I want to be that,” or “I want that job”? And how many of those times did you create goals for yourself to obtain what you want? Doing so is you saying “me too, then!” You are deciding to take control of your life and create your future. Good for you!
The title of this blog post is credited to my manager at my second “real” job, and it is one of the most profound lessons I have learned. I had been going through life thinking that if I continued to work hard and be honest, then I would naturally get what I had earned. By the time my boss said those critical words to me, I was learning that my previous notions weren’t always true. A short while after starting that second “real” job, my direct boss left, and his position opened up. Having no managerial experience yet knowing I could excel in that position, I asked for it. And I got it.
The title of this blog article is one of my favorite sayings of all time, and I first came across it while reading the tiny scroll inside a fortune cookie from the little Chinese food place down the street. I have never climbed a mountain, but I’ve heard stories from people who have, and I know it’s a lot of work. You don’t just wake up on top; you have to earn your way there. While we're talking about mountains, this is true for being the executive of a company, as well. For you to be successful, effort must be exerted.
There’s this awesome t-shirt that has a picture of the Loch Ness Monster with “The Important Thing is that I Believe in Myself” written below it. Naturally, I had to have it, and now it’s one of my most worn shirts. It’s cute, funny, and inspirational all at once! The quote on it is so fantastic because all great things come from a desire to do something and a belief that you can do it. If you don’t believe you can accomplish something, are you really going to try?
The title of this blog post comes from a fortune cookie I ate a while ago, and it is a solid reminder to me to live now rather than putting things off until later. How many times this week have you decided to wait to do something? We tend to have excuses for everything whether it be putting off going out to dinner with our friends, waiting until next week to start our new workout regimen, or avoiding pulling those weeds out front. Why is it that we delay acting even if we know the benefits?
I have this great, soft, gray t-shirt that just says “Nope” in black letters that I wear when I know I’m going to have a hectic and stressful day. When I wear it, I stand a little taller as if saying, “Go away world, I’m busy!” Just the fact that it says “Nope” on it makes me smile, and its softness makes my day that much better. Because my calendar is already jammed pack, I know there’s a high chance that I’m going to have to say no to something that comes up on my schedule. And that’s the real meaning behind the shirt.
This blog post will be part of my eBook and then eventually my real book. What better way to get started on a big project like this than break it down into little tasks and challenge yourself to write part of a chapter every week? I had always been interested in writing and wanted to write a book but never knew what to write about. There was no clear image of my goal until recently. Rather than thinking “Nah, I’m never going to do that” when I first thought about writing a book, I kept checking in on my goal asking, “how about now?” until I had what felt like a really solid idea to run with. The same should happen with any goal you have, whether it be personal or professional, affect only you or your entire company. You (or your organization) may not be ready now, but you will be!
Recently my husband and I redid our back patio. We had brown plastic wicker furniture with gray cushions and it just looked sorta… blah. Originally, we were thinking of getting a whole new patio set but we quickly squashed that idea once we looked at the prices. So, we decided to get new cushions and some side tables that we had been talking about for awhile. After shopping online at Target and going to two stores in person, we have what looks like a brand-new patio - 2 chairs and a love seat with medium-dark blue cushions with gray accent pillows, a new ottoman, 2 rustic-looking side tables with blue in it them that matches the cushions, a blue and white rug for under the table, and a new “Wipe your paws” mat. Our screened-in outdoor area now has a whole new look and feel for half the cost of a new patio set and only about 5 hours of work when all was said and done! All of those little changes we made added up to a big overall difference in the appearance and comfort of our patio.
As humans, we’re hardwired to want things now. Instant gratification is widespread, especially with everyone being connected by technology 24 hours/day. This want-it-now attitude is partially responsible for 92% of people giving up on their goals. According to an Inc.com article, only 8% of people actually achieve what they set out to accomplish. So, how can you make sure you’re in that 8%?
There are so many facts and statistics around everything to do with business - how long your emails should be if you want them to be read, the best time to post on social media, what kinds of meetings work best for what topics, etc. It’s like we’ve taken all of the emotion out of business and make every decision based on pure facts. For some, that seems like a very good thing. Emotions and business do not belong in the same sentence. But what about our intuition (or awareness, perception, or insight)? Have we lost the art of letting that guide us through certain situations?
The other morning, I had to run out for an errand. The fog was so thick that I could barely see my hand in front of my face, but that didn’t stop me. I understood what I needed to get, and I had a plan for how I was going to get it. Even though I couldn’t see the path I was going to take, I trusted that I would reach my destination one way or another. What’s this analogy about? Goal setting.
The other day I was listening to “7 Habit for Managers” by Stephen Covey (author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which this audiobook is based on and I highly, highly recommend), and he mentioned that in order to manage others effectively, you have to manage yourself effectively first. I was so excited by that because it’s very much aligned with what I believe yet so few talks/articles/videos about leadership discuss this aspect. So, what does it mean to manage yourself and why is it so essential to being a good leader?
What do you feel when you start to think about work? Are you filled with excitement and thoughts of opportunities, or do you suddenly feel stressed and drained? If you answered the latter, you’re not alone. According to an article from Bustle, one in four Americans say that work is a source of anxiety for them. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) reported that 65% of workers stated that workplace stress has caused difficulties of some kind and 25% of them view work as the number one stressor in their lives. One study done by the Employers’ Health Coalition found that lost productivity was at least 7.5 times greater than productivity lost from absenteeism. Presenteeism is when an employee is physically at work, but due to some unaddressed physical or emotional issues, they are distracted to the point of reduced productivity. This is bad news for both employees and employers.
There are times when we find ourselves in a slump and our productivity is low - especially on Monday mornings. Sometimes our concentration wanes because we’re doing a tedious task or maybe we’re tired and just find ourselves daydreaming about a week-long nap. When you find yourself with low throughput, here are some tips to help you get back into the game.
The other day a light bulb taught me a lesson. There are four vanity lights in the master bathroom and I was changing them all out. When I took them out, I could take out two light bulbs at the same time very quickly. But when I was putting in the new bulbs, I had to use both hands and really pay attention to get them lined up correctly so I could complete the task in a reasonable amount of time (and without breaking something).