As I walked into my office, my administrative support, Wendy, asked me a question. I turned and glared at her. Then, as I turned back and kept on walking, I answered Wendy through my teeth! I certainly didn't have the patience for her BS right now.
But....why didn't I have the patience for Wendy at this moment?
Was it because she had done something wrong?
** Possibly, but the way I handled it was all on me.
Ok, let me start by saying I do not like that word at all! If you can give me another word that we all know and understand to describe what I mean, please message me and tell me a better word. It's not merely being rude or being cranky it's more than that. And we've all been there.
I've had my fair share of staff challenges, and I bet you have too. We have staff that don't get along, stir the pot on the team, mess up with clients, neglect their paperwork, or in general, are somewhat incompetent at their job. And we need to address those issues.
How are you addressing the issues?
Instead, you probably want them to say something like, "That was a tough conversation, but I feel like she's supporting me and wants to help me out."
What gets in the way?
We are women leaders. There is a lot that can get in the way that has nothing to do with the work, the person we are dealing with, the sector or the issue at hand.
▶︎ It might, however, have to do with that time of the month.
▶︎ It might have to do with that time in our life cycle.
▶︎ It could also be that our hormones are off due to our diabetes or thyroid issues.
▶︎It might result from a lack of sleep because our toddler kept us up, we fought with our partner or dealt with night sweats half the night.
Hormones, emotions, burnout
How you respond to a challenge with your employee is less about the words you use and more about how you deliver that message. Hormones, emotions and burnout all factor in. They are all things you need to be aware of, manage and, yes, at times, workaround.
3 strategies to help you manage your reputation
1) Be mindful of your body, mind and soul
2) Be in control of your schedule so you can adjust when needed based on mood and energy levels.
3) Be honest
We respect vulnerable leaders
Most of our nonprofits are full of women, all of whom are likely going through similar emotional, hormonal and energy roller coasters. When you acknowledge where you are at, it makes you seem more human and permits others to do the same. Humour is useful in these kinds of situations if that's a strength of yours, but so is self-compassion, kindness, honesty and bravery.
For those of you in The Training Library, here are some resources you might want to check out to help you ditch the bitchiness and lead with confidence!
You are human! Don't forget that
Remember, it's not what you do as a leader that counts. It's how you do it. And you are a human being. You have emotions, hormones and a life outside of work that factor into how you lead. Don't forget to take that into account. When you do, you'll ditch survival mode and learn to thrive in both your leadership and your life!
Did you know that practicing mindfulness can make you a better leader?
You bet it can!
Mindfulness helps you to:
AND....Mindfulness helps you to be a compassionate leader:
Instead of being stiff, bristly and focused only on tasks and results, mindfulness helps you be a warm, caring, compassionate, emotionally and socially intelligent leader.
You are a caring person!!!
And let's be honest, that's who you are at your core! You are kind, caring and passionate about your work. Sometimes, we just get caught up in the mess of the day, lose contact with that part of ourselves (unmindful) and lose touch with the human side of our leadership capacity.
Mindfulness doesn't necessarily mean meditation
Now that we've confirmed, it might be a good idea to practice mindfulness; my guess is your thoughts immediately go to meditation. While that may be helpful, and I encourage you to try that, you don't have to meditate to practice mindfulness.
You don't have to live alone to do this!
But you might be saying I can't do that. I have a houseful. True. And when you sit and eat and listen to the sounds in your household, what do you hear?
You might also tune in to what you taste.
Use your senses at any moment to be mindful
Your senses are wonderful ways of bringing you present, being mindful in this moment 👃🏼👂🏻 👋🏻 👀 👅 Even during a meeting, travelling or watching tv, you can practice tuning into your senses.
As I practiced mindfulness this morning, I tasted the cinnamon in my oatmeal, the ground hazelnuts, craisins sprinkled in and the almond milk on top.
Mindfulness is being mindful of this moment...it's that "easy"
Practising mindfulness is simply just that, practising being mindful of whatever is happening around you.
Are you present or in the past or future?
Instead, most of us let our thoughts pull us back to what happened and regurgitate what went wrong. Alternately, we focus on the future and fret and worry about what is to become. To be mindful is to be in this moment, whatever is going on!
Mindfulness helps you build compassion, care and connection in your nonprofit
In this week's episode of the podcast, Elizabeth Bishop and I talk about love in your nonprofit. By love, we mean compassion, connection and caring. The problem is many of us have lost touch with that part of our leadership capacity. And it shows.
More help to build your compassion, kindness and mindfulness
To help, tune in to my conversation with Elizabeth for tons of ideas, insights and the incentive to practice mindfulness.
For more information on how to use mindfulness to maintain your composure during tough meetings, those of you in The Training Library can watch this webinar.
TRY IT: Just for a moment now, tune into your senses. Be present to this moment!
Go make the rest of your day awesome!
Have you lost your passion for your work?
We’ve been told we’ll burn ourselves out. But we are burning ourselves out by not caring, not feeling and numbing out.
In this episode, Elizabeth and I engage in a dialogue about bringing your heart back into your work!
You’ll learn strategies, mindsets and most importantly, you’ll gain the permission to once again feel the love in the workplace!
Women leaders: It's time to review 2020
It's time to take stock
Regardless of what's happened, as each year comes to a close, most of us take stock.
You may do some of this reflection in bits and spurts throughout the coming days. That's a good start. Talk to those around you as well. What's been meaningful, hard or joy-filled for them?
Set time aside for intentional reflection
I also encourage you to do a bit more of a formal review of your year. Without sitting down being intentional about it, you'll miss opportunities to see where and how you've grown. Snippets of reflection may leave you hopping over key lessons or significant moments of happiness, pride, joy and connection.
I strongly encourage you to find an hour in the coming days to review 2020. If you can, take out a piece of paper, a journal or a document on your computer. Note key areas you want to review and then take some notes.
Want to dive even deeper?
If you are in The Training Library, I just released this month's session: Goodbye 2020. In it, I included a worksheet with several questions to reflect on.
If you aren't in The Training Library, feel free to join now. It's a great time to dive into some of the lessons, worksheets and training to help you put your best self forward in 2021.
When you join, you'll get the first two weeks free to check out everything, try out the courses and decide if it's right for you.
I'm convinced it will be if you want to have someone on your side available and support you and your leadership growth in the new year.
You get the best of my work!
The work inside of The Training Library is my passion, my love, and I put my heart into each of the sessions. I want you to excel, transform and live and lead in the most authentic way you can!
Are you ready to make 2021 your year?
Make 2021 the year that you put your personal and professional development a priority. When you do, you'll find that you will begin to really enjoy impactful leadership!
Make reading a part of your 2020 leadership plan!
Ongoing growth and development is a critical component of leadership! You should be reading! Maybe you think you don't have time. Make time! Seriously. Create tiny pockets of time that you can read or listen to a book. It will change both your leadership and your life!
YOUR TURN: What made your list of 2019 books?
Comment below and tell me what books I should put on my 2020 reading list!
If you can't remember the last time you read a book, took a course that wasn't required training for the job, or spent a few minutes reflecting on your personal growth lately, then my dear, it's no wonder you feel crappy half the time!
You feel crappy because you keep going around and around
I'll be honest with you. It sucks being a hamster when you are supposed to be a leader. Yet that's where many leaders are.
Far too many leaders focus on the same old stuff every day! Round and round you go.
Sure, you might experience a different flavour of crisis.
The drama today could sound a bit different.
Yet, when you look back over the last year or two, does it look the same?
Are you trapped?
If you keep experiencing basically the same crisis and dramas every day, that might be because you've become trapped in the same spot. It's like swamp water that doesn't move, and it's why you feel icky.
If you feel icky,
perhaps your growth & development has stagnated
Are you living in the past?
Just like those who still have the 80's hair doo, are you approaching problems with the same mindset and skillset that you learned 10, 20 or 30 years ago? Those old ways are not going to keep you at the forefront of leadership or help you to enjoy life.
Do you want to know what else is causing you grief?
Let me explain something that you may not have considered. If you are like many women leaders, at times, you struggle with imposter syndrome. Instead of feeling competent, capable and confident, you feel:
To get out of imposter syndrome, you need the training to feel competent and thus confident! If you aren't getting the training you need, then you keep feeling like you are incapable, insecure and incompetent.
Ongoing personal & professional development
is your path to confidence
Here's how to get moving
Strong, confident and capable leaders are those that are continually learning and growing. And let me tell you a little secret, it's by engaging in ongoing personal and professional development that you will find success in leadership and happiness with life.
But you may be hung up here
Here is the extra challenge. If you are like most women, you are:
Let me tell you a little secret:
THREE FREE PLACES TO LEARN
THREE LOW-COST PLACES TO LEARN
THREE WAYS TO FIT TRAINING IN
Remember, effective leaders,
️️️√ Focus on learning and growth.
√ They are continually developing themselves
√ Keep the knowledge flowing through them and onto the people they serve.
Remember, ongoing personal & professional development is your path to confidence. If you want help to find low-cost ongoing training, learn more about The Training Library below.
I bet you are so done with survival mode, and you want to move to thriving 😀
You are looking for some work-life balance, more success in your career, to be doing fulfilling work and enjoying the people you are working with.
That's not much to ask for, is it?
No, my dear, it's not!
You have every right to have all of those things and what's more…
It is possible!
Keep reading to find out how!!
Let us start with the question: Why haven't you attained all of that yet?
My guess is that you have not found balance, fulfilment and confidence because your THINKING is tanking your success.
It's time to learn how to shift your mindset to the mindset that it is actually going to help you get the success you desire!
Yet, my guess is instead, you doubt yourself!
This kind of THINKING is called a curriculum mindset.
When you have a curriculum mindset, you are always asking yourself:
Curriculum mindset example # 1
GOAL: Create more work-life balance.
PATH: I need to learn how to set boundaries
Great, but how are you going to learn to set better boundaries?
You just can't wish that you're going to be better at setting boundaries. You can't just hope that one day you're just going to magically feel more confident and be able to set better boundaries. That is hope with no action. You need tools to help you.
TOOLS: In my mind, if you don't have a binder or book and a pen to write things down, you are not learning strategically. Your tools are:
Curriculum mindset example # 2
Maybe you want to be able to maintain your composure during tough conversations. But remember, you are not going to become a more emotionally intelligent person by wishing it would happen,
You're certainly not going to become more emotionally intelligent by waiting for your boss to stop being such a jerk. That's not going to change you.
You have to become response-able!
Take responsibility by developing your curriculum mindset:
What do I need to learn, and how will I learn it?
GOAL:: Stay composed during tough conversations.
PATH: Learn more about emotional intelligence and how to control my thoughts and emotions
TOOLS: Watch Kathy's webinar: Saying composed during those tough conversations is to increase your emotional intelligence.
When you create your learning curriculum, things start to change for you.
Your curriculum mindset will get you out of survival mode and moving towards THRIVING!!!
⭐️MY CHALLENGE TO YOU⭐️
🆘 A TOOL TO HELP WITH YOUR LEARNING CURRICULUM
If you need some help with the tools, I've created The Training Library for you!!!! Inside of The Training Library are the courses to help you get out of survival mode. There are courses to build your competence and confidence. I've included webinars for you on emotional intelligence and maintaining your composure.
AND...I'm doing a study group on one of the courses!
For 7 weeks, I'm going to be guiding you through the Willpower Essentials course, week-by-week in the Willpower Essentials Study Group.
Don't forget to watch your THINKING!
Think you can and then take responsibly for making it happen! 🤗
Do any of these sound familiar to you:
If you are all too familiar with these phrases and want to change that, keep reading. I am going to show you how to move from just surviving to thriving in both leadership and life!
The Surviving to Thriving Continuum
Sadly, far too many women leaders like us 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, grant proposals or contract renewals. It's the job. There is no way around it.
I am not talking so much about work itself. Instead, I am focusing on your attitude towards the work, how you balance your workload 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 emotionally. You are barely hanging on, just getting by or just 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 negative, cynical or openly apathetic. Perhaps you've found yourself muttering "Whatever!" a little too frequently.
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. It often seems like "they" are out to get you.
This end of the spectrum, survival, is marked by crisis management, putting out fires and only 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; the difference is that they are confident they can handle challenges.
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 broader 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 entirely at one end of the spectrum. We are likely at some point in between. We 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 no 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.
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 women 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.
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.
Be gentle but persistent as you develop new habits
This is going to take time and effort. But please don't think you have to do it all alone! I'm on your team. Each week I teach you the daily steps you need to take, and the mindset shifts you need to make so you can increase your competence, feel more confident and THRIVE, in leadership and life!
Have you ever avoided a tough conversation, that you know you should have?
We all have. Unfortunately, when we don't deal with them, they tend to fester and problems get worse.
Keep reading to learn how to create a plan to get you through "that" conversation in a way that feels authentic and confident!
Let me start with a story:
I have a decision to make today…..ok…let me rephrase that. I’ve made a decision, now I need to communicate it to someone, and I’m not looking forward to it.
❓️Can you relate❓️
Do you have a conversation you need to have with someone and are dreading it? 😩
Having tough conversations takes discipline.
You need the self-control to do it, even when your inner self is screaming:
Your inner voice keeps you small!
To shush that nattering voice that keeps you lacking the courage to deal with the thing with integrity you need willpower.
Willpower is that inner will that will tell all that negativity to be quiet so you can awaken that courageous you that is hiding quietly in the background.
Having a tough conversation takes willpower!
And here’s the truth: You need to strengthen your willpower so you can handle that tough conversation and get done what matters most!💪
Here's how willpower & tough conversations fit together
Let look at the components of willpower as they relate to difficult conversations. Willpower is the ability to:
💥manage your thoughts.
💥manage your emotions.
💥resist urges and distractions
💥focus on what matters most!
Imagine being a leader who can keep your thoughts and emotions in check and handle a tough conversation with courage, confidence and integrity!!!🙌
Let's back up a moment
Imagine the next tough talk that you have coming up.
My guess is several things could come into play.
Now, let's look at how your willpower, or lack of willpower may come into play. When you think about how you define it as a tough conversation, consider:
🔹What thoughts come up for you?
🔹What emotions are connected to those thoughts?
🔹Where might you allow yourself to be distracted?
🔹What urges do you have about that meeting?
🔹What will be important about focusing during that talk?
👉️Thoughts, feelings, resisting urges and distraction and focusing, all of the components of willpower are all going to play a role in that tough conversation. It will be your inner discipline or willpower that will help you stay engaged in a conversation when you don’t feel like it;
You need a plan!!!! 👇️Here's how:
The best way to stay authentically and courageously in that uncomfortable conversation is to pre-plan. You need to know ahead of time:
You, my dear, need to have a plan to use your willpower wisely.
✏️Here’s your homework.
Identify the next difficult, tough or challenging conversation you have.
Members of The Training Library can find this WEBINAR: How to prepare for a tough talk so you can handle it with integrity to help you plan your way to confidence!
Hey my dear,
What do these examples have in common with you?
Have you hit a bump?
The truth is, while sometimes things roll along smoothly, we often hit a bump as leaders, and that bump creates a small or a big, mess in our lives.
How are you approaching your bump?
How you get through each of those situations, defines the future of your leadership journey.
✅Your style of communication
✅The resources you reach for
✅The strategies you use to grow
The type of person and leader you become are shaped by how you approach each bump along the way.
Can you learn anything from how we approached our bumps?
Each of us approached our bumps in our own ways.
This is how our approaches shaped us. Do they sound outcomes you want?
How each of us approached our bump, has shaped the type of leader we are today.
The question for you today is: What’s your current bump and what’s your approach to dealing with it?
⚠️Leadership is a hard journey⚠️
I don’t want you to go through it alone, in fact...
You should NOT have to go through leadership
feeling alone and isolated!
❣️You should have friends, mentors, resources and coaches!
❣️You should have a shoulder to cry on and someone to kick your butt into gear when you need to take responsibility for the change.
Don't do this!
I've coached and mentored hundreds of women and what I see often is this:
Struggle and doubt are part of the leadership journey. Leadership will have tough days. Period. There will be many amazing, insightful, exciting and enjoyable days too. But there will be tough days.
It’s how you deal with the tough days, that will shape your leadership character!
Create your pit crew:
Your pit crew is a list of people that, when you hit a bump, will be there on the side of the road for you!
️DO THIS: Make a list of those people that you can call lean on, or ask for help when you need them.
Hint: It doesn’t need to be a real call. I have on my list, people I’ve taken virtual training with. When I hit a block, I’ll say to myself:
What would Simon, Brene, Brian, Joni, Amy, or the Kathy I’m becoming tell me to do?
Leadership is full of difficult meetings, tough conversations and challenging moments. But you’ve got this, my dear. You can do this. It just takes a little help from your friends - AKA your pit crew.
Would you like to feel confident that you will be able to maintain your composure in your next meeting or conversation? If you are like most leaders...
You have a tough conversation or meeting coming up.
But what you deeply desire is to feel composed.
You want to walk away feeling like you didn’t get your panties in a knot; unruffled and clearheaded.
What gets in the way of that:
Unmanaged thoughts and emotions. That’s the bottom line.
When you feel flustered in a meeting when your nerves get the better of you, and you feel anything but composed, it’s because your thoughts and emotions have gone crazy.
Your thoughts and emotions are in control of you instead of you being in control of them 🥴
I felt that way too!
I know, me too! I spent years worried I was not in control. That left me feeling incompetent, afraid and wondering if I was cut out for a leadership role. Over time, I learned how to regain that feeling of being in control. Being in control of my thoughts and emotions gave me the courage, confidence to lead.
Let me show you how, so you can lead your amazing team and make the difference your org can make!
So, what exactly is composure?
Being composed is when you are in control; in control of your thoughts, emotions and behaviour. Being composed is feeling calm, confident and in control!
How do you get more composure?
You get control of your thoughts and emotions by training your brain, which will help you become Emotionally Intelligent.
🔸Emotional Intelligence is being able to both recognize and manage your thoughts and your emotions.
Training your brain, your thoughts and the subsequent emotions requires willpower. Willpower, or lack of it, will either give you a sense of composure or leave you feeling anything but composed in tough conversations.
If you want to find yourself feeling calm, confident & in control
in your next meeting, learn to develop your strength of will.
🦉Daniel Goleman defines willpower this way:
"Willpower is the ability to consciously regulate what you feel and what you do".
Think of any strong, competent and composed leader you know, and I bet they can regulate themselves! The good new is you can also learn to regulate you what think, feel and what you do too!
If you want to become a more composed leader,
grow your willpower!
Ongoing training to grow women leaders in 🇨🇦 Canada's Nonprofit Organizations.
Not a member of The Training Library yet?
Join for $24.97 and enjoy a monthly webinar plus a library of courses to support your ongoing personal and professional development that is affordable and easily accessible!
Discover the details here
Available on Amazon
Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.