Getting to the point where you are thriving in your leadership and life, on a regular basis, isn't easy. Sorry to burst your bubble. It's going to take some effort, you are going to have to connect to why it's so damn important that you do it and honestly, it's going to take a while. In fact, you are going to have to get gritty.
Learn more about what grit is and why it's vital to thriving in this article. Keep reading my dear, you probably need to hear this today!
What is GRIT?
Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. It isn't just some fancy noun we use to describe someone's character, like the pioneers of days gone by. It is a scientific term that determines who is going to be successful. You want to be successful at thriving right? Then consider the 3 aspects of grit and how you can apply them in your life.
How gritty are you?
If you want to thrive, remember, you have to get gritty about it. Persevere, connect to why it matters and commit to working hard. To see how gritty you are, click here to get the guide to see where you land on the grit scale and develop a plan to get grittier. Growing your grit will help you to thrive in both leadership and life!
Want to learn more? Watch this to hear more insights on how you can get gritty about thriving!
"Just get me through today, please!"
Does that sound like a well-known plea, that you mutter often?
Here are some variations that may sound familiar to you also:
The Surviving to Thriving Continuum
Sadly, far too many leaders regularly recite similar lines like "Just get me through today! Regardless of the version each of these mantras is a red flag signalling that you might be in survival mode. We’ve all been there at some point or another. Survival mode becomes a problem when you live there, rather than visit there.
There will always be busy times. Leaders are constantly involved in the ebb and flow of new projects, shifts in contractual expectations, and annual cycles of budgets, performance reviews and grant proposals or contract renewals. It’s the job. There is no way around it.
I am not talking so much about work, as the attitude towards the work and the impact, the work has on you. The effect on you falls on a continuum. Let’s first look at opposite ends of the gamut.
Survival mode is characterized by fear. You are always afraid of falling apart, dropping the ball or losing it. You are barely hanging on, just getting by or trying to stay alive.
In survival mode, it feels like everything is a battle and you must suffer through it or endure the storm. You have little energy, are pretty negative or openly apathetic. Perhaps you’ve found yourself muttering “Whatever!” a little too commonly.
Those in survival mode tend to feel isolated and alone. It doesn’t feel like anyone cares about you or that you have anyone on your team. In fact, it often seems like “they” are out to get you. When I was survival mode, I honestly hated a few people and loathed a couple of others.
This end of the spectrum, survival, is marked by crisis management, putting out fires and only a day-to-day sustainability. Lord knows you can’t last like this forever. Burnout is knocking on your door.
The thriving mode, on the right end of the continuum, is characterized by passion. You are growing and developing and loving it, despite the challenges. To many, it is an adventure with a purpose. You are blooming and flourishing as you learn new things and take on engaging projects.
Those in thriving mode tend to feel confident, courageous and resilient. It isn’t that people at this end of the continuum don’t encounter challenges; they just know they can handle it. When I moved up into the thriving mode, I was eager to go to work, felt like I was doing meaningful work and could say I was being stretched, but not to the point of snapping.
This end of the spectrum, thriving, is marked by feelings of being engaged, supported and connected. Leaders in thriving mode feel like they belong to a larger community of support and feel that they are making a positive impact through their work.
It’s usually not black or white
Rarely are any of us completely at one end of the spectrum. We are likely at some point in between. We also ebb and flow daily. Depending on where you are, whom you are interacting with and the day's agenda, you can shoot from one end of the continuum to the other pretty quickly. As such, most of us sit somewhere along the surviving to thriving continuum, moving around various points in the middle.
The Middle – Coping Mode
In the center of the surviving to thriving continuum is what I call coping mode. You are doing more than barely getting by, but you're not feeling so alive that you want to yell from the mountaintops about how much you love your job. Instead, you go to work and have some good days, lots of so-so days and a few insane days.
The coping mode can also be thought of as maintaining. You're doing good enough, the best you can or at least less than bad. You exist.
Some leaders are bored in the middle. There is not a challenge, no pull or drive to fully use your skills and talents. Often it’s a sign you have been in the same position for longer than you should have been.
I find that in this coping mode, many leaders are tolerating, settling or complying with less than stellar workplace environments, teams, and bosses. Things aren’t good, but they are not so bad that you feel urged to rock the boat.
When I was in coping mode, I felt emotionally flatlined. I didn't feel a lot of excitement or joy. Instead, it felt more like I was running around the same hamster wheel day-after-day. I had a few friends to connect with that would let me vent (i.e., bitch and moan) but not a ton of support to move the needle forward.
Coping mode runs the range from short-term stability, meaning you could go on like this for a few months, to a way of life. Sadly many leaders believe, this is just the way it is, and don’t think they can change it. So instead of a period before things move one way or the other, leaders stay in coping mode, for most of their careers.
Watch here for more details about the points along the continuum:
Moving from survival to thriving
The truth is you can move from surviving to coping to thriving at work and in life. You have a choice. You do not have to stay stuck in your current mode forever. For you to move forward along the continuum, there are three key things you need to do.
Watch here to learn how to move along the continuum and create your Thriving Target:
Current habits keep you stuck
You’ve likely been sitting at the edge of survival mode for quite a while. You know it well. It’s become a way of life. You have developed damaging habits to cope with lack of sleep, missed meals, and limited time for self and family. You know how to get the critical things done with a hectic schedule at the office and have a system in place for ensuring you meet everyone’s basic needs. These habits are keeping you in this mode.
Be gentle but insistent as you develop new habits
To move to the right, to thriving, you will need to develop new habits. Take the time to look at both who your real self is and your ideal self. Then, create a plan to move from where you are, to where you want to be…then, get your butt in gear, my dear!
Get support here
I’m always here to help you and guide you whenever you need a little motivation, inspiration or resources. Join the Confident Women Leader’s private Facebook group for daily connections and information. I’ll see you on the inside!
How happy are you? Are you content? Do you have moments of peace? Do you feel good? Perhaps you do, but not nearly as often as you’d like to.
If you are like most women leaders, your responsibilities and frantic pace leave you feeling frazzled, overwhelmed, irritated and frustrated. Happy, my guess, doesn’t hit the top of the list very often.
But what if it could?
What would more happiness be like?
What would it be like to feel more of those “good” feelings on a regular basis? As one woman inthis survey put it:
“I would go to work at a place I feel valued and appreciated and come home with energy to engage with my family. I’d return to feeling light-hearted which is my natural state.” (Go ahead and do this survey...I'd love your input!)
Mmm….. doesn’t that sound splendid?
Start with Grit
There is a way to find those feelings. You can foster more happiness in your life, even if you are a woman leader with a lot of obligations, commitments, and responsibilities. One way is by developing gritty hope. That starts with growing the personality trait of grit.
Not wimpy hope!
Hope is often misunderstood as luck or fate. “I hope tomorrow will be better” leaves things up to chance. But someone with a gritty personality takes hope one-step further. They will say things like “I resolve to make tomorrow a better day.” To me, that statement is hope on steroids. It’s a gritty hope. Rather than waiting to see what tomorrow will bring, you decided, to make it different.
Too many women give up control over their life circumstances
Where many frustrated, irritated andoverwhelmed women leaders struggle, is when they give their power away. They get frustrated with their jerk boss, unappreciative staff, slow-moving peers, unsupportive spouse and demanding kids. They lay blame for the experience of their life on other people. “If they would all just smarten up, life would be fine!” If everyone did things as you want them to do, you would be more productive, more relaxed and yes, even happier right? The problem with that mindset is that you wait for that to happen. And wait. And wait some more. While you are waiting, you stew and moan and get even more irritated.
You can't wait for life to happen
But, it doesn’t change, does it? No. People don’t transform into stellar employees, charming bosses, amazing husbands and brilliant children, by us waiting for them to decide to change. Sadly, life is not a fairytale.
Take back the reins of your life
Instead, you need to cultivate a sense of hope and optimism WHILE taking action. That action isn’t always going to be easy. It will require action that won’t change things overnight. The action that I am talking about must also be purposeful and focused. AND you will need to take action filled with a powerful sense of hope that it will, over time, make a difference.
You will have to think differently
To take this kind of hopeful action takes a serious mindset shift. From giving up our sense of power, and waiting for it to change, to taking back responsibility for our lives requires us to change our thinking. It means we need to develop a growth mindset; one that believes we can change and grow and develop. We need to train our minds to understand the process of change and growth and embrace the time and effort it takes to see results.
Gritty hope puts you back in control of your life experience
When you develop hope to make your leadership and life better, you move from feeling victimized to feeling in control. You begin to see opportunities, relationships, and experiences in a new way. Your hope helps you to experience more moments of cheerfulness, enjoyment, and peace. Yes, you become happier, when you become grittier.
Measure and increase your GRIT
Do you want to know how gritty you are? Click here to get the worksheet that will help you discover your Grit Score and create a plan to increase your grittiness. Watch this to learn more about the 4 psychological assets of grit at work. Learn more about developing grit in your leadership and life here.
A few words on a piece of paper won’t change your life unless you move into action as a result of those words. To move forward, you need to turn your goals into plans. It’s time to take action towards making some shifts in your life.
How do you want to experience the next few months?
Over the last few week’s I’ve encouraged you to look at how you want to feel in the coming months and to make a list of goals that will help you to achieve those feelings. I’ve explained how installing good habits can help you to reach your targets. If you’ve been following along, and taken some time to do the homework, then you now have a list of goals and habits.
Now what? Get mindful & strategic!
You may be wondering what the best plan of attack is to start moving ahead with those goals. The answer is... a strategic one. Before you get overwhelmed or try and dive into it all at once, I want you to slow down. Building a strategic plan to change your life takes mindfulness.
Take a deep breath….and another one….and one more for good measure.
Behind the scenes
Moses may have separated the sea with one sweeping motion of his staff, but it was years of behind the scenes work that got him there. It’s that behind the scenes work that many of us want to skip over. But…..you have to do it if you truly want to succeed, change your life or have a dramatic impact. You know that nothing really happens, simply by snapping your fingers.
Take the time, to achieve the results
To truly attain results, there are many steps to take. Along the way there, obstacles, both inner and outer, that you will need to overcome. Also, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but truthfully there also will be many times where you will have to put in the sheer effort and persist over time to get somewhere.
Persistence and perseverance
It takes persistence and perseverance, over time to achieve anything. What is going to help you stay the course during all of that, is a plan. Your plan must be complete with strategy, timelines, and lifelines when needed. It is a plan that you develop and then put into action that allows you to be effective.
Creating a strategic plan for life
Create your plan today by taking each of your goals and answering these questions:
Homework: Putting it all together
Now, create a strategic plan that you will work through in the coming months so you can achieve your goals.
Next week we will cover how to take move forward with the plan. Remember to put the work in now. Do the behind the scenes work this week so that you can reach the feelings you want, achieve the goals you desire and shift your life so that you find more enjoyment and fulfillment. Being strategic gives you the peace you want.
Hey my Dear, are you working on designing the year that lays ahead of you? I hope so! Creating goals for yourself allows you to find a different experience in life.
Rather than letting your days unfold in front of you and reacting to whatever fire flares up, I am encouraging you this month to designing your life. When you create a plan with goals, your life will be a more enjoyable one; I promise you that!
Two Types of Goals
As you refine your goals for the coming year, I want you to consider two different types of goals.
First are the goals that most people set. I call them external goals because they are outside of you. What I mean by that is there is something that happens in the outside world that you can often see or touch when you reach your goal. When you achieve external goals, you can point to them and say I did that!
The other kind of goals is what I call internal goals. I say they are internal because when you accomplish these goals, there is a shift that happens inside of you. It is connected to your thoughts, emotions and often includes a degree of inner discipline.
Why does it matter?
The reason it is important to make the distinction is it helps you when you decide what you will need to do to realize your goals. It can be a bit confusing, though. Let me help to clear it up.
The point in considering internal or external?
The point in looking at the difference is to consider both what you really are looking for and how to accomplish it. When you feel the inner shift you need to make to obtain the visible results that you desire; you often find that you are more successful at goal attainment.
Is it a goal or is it a habit
The second consideration if questioning whether it is a goal that you are trying to achieve or a habit you are establishing. The difference between these two is when you reach a goal you are done. You don't have to do the same goal again. Conversely, a habit is something you continue with, often forever.
The point with considering the difference between a goal and a habit is to look at the change you desire. Frequently it is the habit that allows you to achieve the goal. It was when I created two habits of both taking10,000 steps daily and recorded my food daily, that I was able to reach my weight loss goal.
The habit of sitting down and writing first thing each morning allowed me to reach the goal of publishing my book last year.
Continue to refine your goals for the coming year. You may want to break them down into external goals as well as internal goals. Then, consider what habit you need to cultivate that will allow you to reach that goal.
Goals setting isn't complicated. It is multifaceted
It is when you look at goals you want to achieve as more than a statement that you will find success. You are a multifaceted lady, my dear.....as such, your goals need to be multifaceted. Look at what you want to happen outside of you and the internal shifts you also need to make. Then, install habits to assist you to do that. When you create goals in this manner, you’ll find much more triumph this year.
Gifts, parties, baking and work deadlines likely have your attention these days. You aren’t quite ready to set your New Years Resolutions or develop goals for next year quite yet. But, I want you to plant a few seeds now so that you will be ready when the time comes.
Keep reading to learn what you need to do now, to have a better year next year.
The Typical Goals Fail
Closer to the end of December or the beginning of January you’ll start thinking more about goals and resolutions. The problem with waiting until then is that we often jump into goal setting with whatever is on our minds at the beginning of the new year.
Think over eating and over spending….
The most popular New Years Resolutions are about weight loss and reducing debt. AND…most New Years Resolutions are dropped within a couple of weeks and goals are forgotten about by February.
Lay the Groundwork for Success Next Year
Start thinking about laying the foundation for goal setting now. This groundwork will help you not only identify the goals that are going to make the most impact for you but also how to achieve those goals.
This week and next I am going to give you two things to do for December. These two tasks won’t take up a lot of your time. In fact, they simply need to be in the back of your mind and occasionally jotting a few notes down. They will help put you on the path to developing more successful goals for next year.
This coming week, start to look back over the past year. Scan events, relationships and experiences for the lessons you've learned. What is it that you've done or not done that has taught you something, and perhaps taught you something that you can take forward into the New Year?
This review is not a time to judge or beat yourself up. It is a nonjudgmental observation. Just be curious. Look back and notice.
Some examples of lessons:
Keep Curiously Looking Back
Let this idea of ‘lesson’s learned” simmer in the background for the coming weeks. Write down the lessons you notice as you go back over the past year. They are going to help you when you start to define your goals next year.
Next week, instead of looking back, we will start to look forward.
You can either move into a leadership position, or you can keep plugging along where you are and maintain some resemblance of balance in life.
But you can’t have both.
It’s either a career or balance. You decide!
Hidden Messages Plague Women
How many times have you heard that you can't have both? Probably not always outright, but if you read between the lines, it’s there.
We do it all
So they don’t have to decide either a career or balance, women try to do it all:
Setting the pace for the day, we open our email before the sleepy crust is out of our eyes. The speed quickens as we scurry around to get the dog fed and the kids out the door on time. We respond to everyone else’s needs all day jumping from meeting to email to conversation. The race continues into the evening as we dash through errands, supper, laundry and whatever event is scheduled that night. To catch our breath, we decide to unwind in front of the TV. However, we still have our email open, trying in vain, to catch up before the wheel begins to spin again tomorrow.
We are anything, but balanced!
Missing the meaningful things
I know that women leaders spend their days chasing fires and solving everyone else’s problems. At the end of their days, thought, they feel as though they didn’t get anywhere.
But, there is always tomorrow, right?
Change your tomorrow!
Darn right! Tomorrow is another day. I believe that women can choose to change their tomorrows, given the opportunity, support and information. The catch is they have to decide to make the best of opportunities when they are presented.
Choose a different way
Choosing something different isn’t easy, in fact, it can be painful!
Some days, I chose puke
My babysitter Faith was amazing. But that didn’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks, as I drove away after dropping off my vomiting toddler at 5:45 am so I could catch the plane to the city for that “big” meeting. It was a choice I had to make. Barfing child or a conference with the big wigs. That day, I prioritized my commitment to my clients and the work our team was doing. On other days, I elected for scrubbing puke off the coach.
Don't live in default mode
Again and again in my leadership, I was presented with opportunities to make choices. How I made my decisions, was the crux of building the life I wanted. If you want to stop choosing between career or life, you have to get good at making other choices. Living your life in default mode and letting others make the decisions for you, creates frustration, bitterness, and resentment.
Nothing will change if you never choose
I doesn't have to be either/or
I believe a woman can move into leadership positions and at the same time, find a decent amount of balance in their life. To do this, they need to develop the confidence to make good choices. That confidence is the thing that will help them, do the inner work necessary for compelling leadership. By developing themselves, women develop their character and strengthen their integrity. These are the two fundamental traits needed for credible, competent and effective leadership. They are also the two qualities that help women to lead full and rich live both at work and beyond.
The 3rd Option
I want women leaders to know they don’t have to decide anymore. They have a 3rd option. Women can have both a career as a strong and impactful leader and at the same time, have a level of balance in their lives. I grow courage and confidence in women leaders so they can make good choices. I give them the inner and outer tools to move from just surviving to thriving.
Develop your confidence so you can make good choices
The problem is you are unhappy with your day-to-day life, but you don’t know how to change it.
The consequence of staying trapped can be stagnation, frustration, and bitterness. It can become quite unhealthy for you, your team and your family as the effects spill out around you. Perhaps you’ve already noticed this. Especially, if you, like many, have been bogged down for weeks, months or even years.
THE SIMPLE SOLUTION: The solution is to change it. Getting from where you are now to where you want to be is quite simple, right? You just figure out where you want to go and start moving in that direction. It sounds simple perhaps in theory, but we all know, it is not always so easy in real life. At times, getting there can seem downright impossible.
I know that place of stuck all too well. Time-and-time again I have found that I am once again feeling stalled. I realize I’ve been working hard, but getting nowhere, except worn out. You know that feeling too right?
I learned that instead of staying stuck forever, it was when I paused long enough to realize what was going on that I had some great insights. Through conscious pondering, I was able to figure out what I needed to do to get from where I was, to where I wanted to be. Giving myself that time to think allowed me to do a little bit of a pivot in a new direction.
That slight shift of direction helped me to create a new strategy to accomplish what I was looking for. With that plan in hand, I was able to proceed forward, despite challenges, opposition and with the fear and doubt that are ever present.
THE COMPLETE SOLUTION:
The key to success has always been a plan. It is the deliberate understanding of what I need to do next, and perhaps even after that has gotten me, and can get you too, through the challenges that are inevitably in front of us when we want a different experience of life going forward.
A plan is a roadmap that helps you to move from where you are now, to where you want to be. Think of it as your guide that shows you the next step when you get lost or disoriented. Without it, you might just end up going around in circles. In fact, I believe many of us do that daily. Around-and-around the hamster wheel of life we go, never really getting anywhere.
A plan isn’t just simply saying I don’t want this, but I do want that. A well thought out, comprehensive plan includes the steps you need to take and addresses potential challenges and roadblocks that you will face. The truth is, it going to take time and effort to get to your destination. You will need to work at it step-by-step. To be successful, you need to build a thorough plan.
DEVELOPING YOUR PLAN:
Moving from the trapped place of overwhelm, doubt or spinning your wheels to feeling happy, confident and advancing forward each day with purpose, takes effort, time and persistence. It is not easy. The truth is, it can be quite difficult. What makes getting back into motion easier, is one secret ingredient that is often missed. Wishing, hoping and begging will only take you so far. To get the rest of the way, you need that plan.
If it’s time for you to jump off of that crazy hamster wheel and move forward, then it’s time for you to develop your plan.
DON’T GET CAUGHT IN THE HAZARDS:
If you are like many women, you develop a plan to change your life, only to have it all fall apart just a short time later. That’s because you likely made one of the critical mistakes most women make when trying to develop a plan to change their life.
I want to make sure you are successful moving forward. To help you out with this, I’ve developed a list of the 5 mistakes women make when trying to change their life. I’ve also included the “fix” to those mistakes, so you don’t get caught. To get those 5 mistakes, just click here, and I’ll send you the report.
Remember, the plan is critical. However, it must be a comprehensive plan to work. Take the time, don’t make these mistakes, and build your plan today! When you do, you’ll find yourself getting unstuck. Instead, you will be moving forward with clarity and purpose.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.