December 11, 2015
Last in our series we pondered the choices we make and how we could choose more wisely. Now, let’s take all that we’ve learned so far and focus a bit more closely on our role as leaders. Have you asked yourself recently what kind of leader you want to be? Are you clear on this?
Energy Leadership defines leadership as the ability to inspire and motivate others, as well as yourself, to take life-changing action to create extraordinary results that last.
According to our definition, each and every one of us is a leader. How well you lead depends on your level of consciousness, or energy. Higher levels of anabolic energy are associated with more effective leadership. Anabolic energy is building energy, and whether in the workplace or at home, great leaders build relationships, teams, families, and businesses. Catabolic energy, on the other hand, is destructive, and catabolic leaders destroy and break down everything around them.
Over the course of this series, we’ll take a look at the characteristics of anabolic and catabolic leaders to show you how you can become the leader that you want to be.
Let’s look first at the overall style of the catabolic leader. A catabolic leader manages. The definition of “manage” is “to handle, direct, govern, or control in action or use,” and “to dominate or influence.” Catabolic leaders control others. They tell others what to do, and how to do it. The catabolic leader, in keeping control, keeps the other people in the relationship in a non-powerful position – and then most likely complains to everyone around that “I can’t seem to find good help,” and “no one does things as well as I do.”
An anabolic leader, on the other hand, leads. The definition of “lead” – “to go before or with to show the way,” and “to guide in direction, course, and action” sounds supportive and empowering, and it is. The anabolic leader doesn’t control and doesn’t push people, but instead, inspires them by words, action, and by personal example.
One of our foundation principles states that “Each of us is each greater and wiser than we appear to be.” Anabolic leaders realize this, and thus, don’t feel the need to tell people what to do, as they realize that everyone has their own answers and gifts. Last month we discussed catabolic and anabolic responses to being faced with a task or something to do. When a catabolic leader TELLS or DEMANDS that someone do something, most likely, they will respond catabolically – “I won’t,” “I have to,” or “I need to.” When an anabolic leader REQUESTS that someone do something, or ASKS for someone’s input on a project, they’re much more likely to respond with the anabolic “I want to” or “I choose to.” The more anabolic the leader, the greater the probability of success in the task.
As you continue to interact with those around you, think about how much more of an anabolic leader you could be if you led, instead of managed.
Next time, we’ll look at how to best involve others through our leadership.
It’s your life. Lead it well!
September 16, 2015
I’ve noticed that people are still curious about what it means to “lead your life well.” Great question!! I love answering this question, because it is at the root of all I do at Life Well LED. In fact, it has everything to do with what I call personal leadership. What is a personal leadership? In short, it is directing your life in a way that allows you to “master” it. Mastery, of course can be defined in many ways; it is very personal. However, someone who has mastered their life is someone who resonates with success. Again…their personal definition of success. So, then, what can we say about a person who has achieved mastery? Well, we can definitely say that a “master” of their life is a person who’s mindset automatically attracts the right people, places, events, and opportunities, and the same mindset allows the person to jump all over those opportunities with gusto, and without fear or hesitation. Doesn’t that sound yummy!!??
I believe that while each of us can do many things well, there is really only one thing that we can truly master, and ironically, while it takes a lot of effort to become a master in what you do, there is no real effort necessary in the thing we can truly master, which is being who we are.
Each of us has a very unique makeup. That makeup, at its core, is perfect, and when we tap into our true core, our real gift to the world is revealed. When you share your true gift with the world, you can be considered a Self-Master; a person who, indeed, leads their life well!
Self-Mastery is made up of 3 parts:
- Understanding that each of us has a unique gift offering to the world, and that such an offering comes when we are truly authentic.
- Discovering (remembering) what exactly is our truly authentic self.
- Sharing who we are with the world, in a way that only we can.
It’s not what you do that matters, nor as much how you do it. Mastery is about knowing who you really are, and how you express that in what you do.
So instead of trying to better yourself to finally be at a place of deservedness, why not relax, and instead look within to find that which you were really seeking?
Self-Mastery means living an abundant, fulfilled, and enjoyable life. It means feeling in control without having to control anything or anyone. As a master, it means you are at the cause, instead of the effect of your life.
Self-Mastery means resonating at a high frequency of energy, and attracting all we could ever want into our lives, and… with little or no effort. Isn’t this a great way to live?
Over the next few months, we’ll look at many things that get in the way of discovering and sharing our true selves. One by one, we’ll identify those obstacles, limitations, and challenges and reveal them for what they are… distractions that can be rendered powerless through awareness and Self-Mastery. We’ll look at meaningful and proactive ways you can transform and mold your world into all that you desire, to reveal your unlimited potential.
Are you with me? Let’s gain clarity over the next few months so we can continue to ROCK 2015 as we have intended to.
Thanks for being with me today! It’s your life, lead it well.
April 13, 2015
This week I’m excited to share with you a guest blog from a good friend of mine, Ellenit Serrano. Ellenit shares how she used yoga to find balance in the corporate world, and how she incorporated those lessons into a program she wants to share with you today.
My program is an outcome of many years of beautiful, empty journals lying around my home. Some gifts, many purchases – a collection of beautiful covers waiting to be filled with inspiration…finally finding this moment.
I had a yearning to accumulate these beautiful books but could not get myself to write anything personal down for more than 1 – 2 pages. I was in total fear. What do I write? If I write what I think, then what will people think about me if they ever pick it up and read it? Will they think I’m crazy? Obsessed? The list goes on and on….
The spiritual path is an amazing thing… The collection of our experiences on this earth comes from, and eventually leads us back, to our Source. It’s so powerful that even those that don’t understand this path can’t avoid the awareness of it and respect for it. So many yearn for it, but unfortunately are too held back by fear.
The beauty of this program is the culmination of over 25 years of Corporate and Leadership experience; my capabilities, so to speak, and my passion for Yoga which really only started a few years ago.
Initially I thought these two things were completely opposing forces and that I was somehow stuck living a dichotomy; trying to live in two competing worlds. Eventually I came to the realization that while duality is in fact our reality, my life exists in much more harmony than I ever imagined.
The Corporate and Yogi roles that I play are really in harmony because the principles of YOGA and Leadership are harmonious as well. Because of my practice I am a better Mother, Wife, Friend, Leader…and Person.
EVERY experience is an opportunity for growth. Most of the inspiration for my program came to me during my more than 1 hour daily commute to my office! How crazy is that? Additionally, writing has always been a challenge for me; my background is much more analytical. Yet, over the years, I continuously keep having to come back to writing in my day to day – well now I know, I think I have to stop cursing and start embracing my KARMA.
It’s still hard for me to believe that this is a chosen path for me; I have developed this program and I am bringing it to this world. But I know, without a doubt, that when you go deep within and find your True Self you must follow the inspiration that comes as a result. I also know, through experience, that bringing the principles of YOGA into our day to day business world will make a significant impact.
Our dreams manifest from the same place they are created. The discipline and steps to achieve our dreams and vision are the same on a personal and business level.
The Art of Balance: Yoga & Leadership
Join me on an inspirational journey to explore Leadership from a new perspective; you will never think about it the same way again.
First class will be held on Friday, May 1, 2015 at FIU @ I-75.
February 12, 2015
I love it when nature becomes the perfect metaphor for life and leading. My family and I recently took a super fun excursion on a GINORMOUS buggy deep into the Everglades. I have to admit that I was both excited for the adventure, and scared of the “what if’s!” It’s sad to admit that I have not taken much advantage of this beautiful resource in all my 40+ years in Florida.
I was with my children, though, and I kept listening to my inner chatter, which at times was saying something like, “You don’t want your kids to be fearful! Suck it up, smile, and have a blast!” In this moment, my leadership role was as MOM to my kids, preparing them for the Jungle of Life! You know what’s in the jungle…lions, tigers and bears (oh my!)
In this jungle, on this perfect sunny and cool day, we encountered fresh panther and bear tracks (yes, I said fresh!!!) And, as we explored one Cyprus Dome after another, we came across a water moccasin! It got a little hairy at that point, and we realized that we were, in deed, in the presence of danger. We held our breath. We laughed it off. We kept going.
I look back on that day and see all of us without the proper gear (although we tried!), up to our thighs in mucky cold water exploring our South Florida gem, and I’m so proud of what we accomplished and survived as a family. My 16-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter dug deep that day, kept their thoughts positive, and pushed through. And, well, I kept my cool even during those moments where I wanted to grab my kids and run back to the buggy! I pushed myself. In the end, we had a fantastic adventure and created great memories. In fact, our wonderful guide shared that he’d never met a more adventurous family!
On the buggy during our ride back, I couldn’t help but notice how one side of the ‘glades was black, dry, and brittle from brush fires, and the other side was green, lush and vibrant. For me, this signified the yin and the yang in everything, just like my feelings of both excitement and fear. Additionally, it was a great reminder that some things have to die to bear new life.
So what does this have to do with leading? I’d love for you to identify for yourself a personal experience where you could take those learnings from “life” and bring them into your “work life”. I truly enjoy making these parallel comparisons often.
For me, here are a few leadership learnings I took from this journey into the ‘glades:
1. Expect Yin and Yang in Everything!
Even the best of opportunities bring some challenges. Where there is light there also is darkness. Be prepared. There is no better example of this than in nature. As we witnessed…a tree, completely burned, with one small leaf growing out of it! Death, yet signs of new life! I also think about perspectives. Where there is one perspective or opinion, you can bet there will be another! As a leader in all situations, being prepared for this dichotomy can save us a lot of wasted energy.
2. Set the Pace. Be the Example.
Leaders are expected to lead. When we don’t meet those expectations, our tribe loses faith in us. We are nothing without our tribe! My children were definitely looking to my husband and me to model how to think, feel and act during this new adventure for us all. And isn’t that how leadership begins? We learn by and through others. Some leaders are great, and some not so great, but the learning is continuous regardless. Especially when teams and organizations are in challenging, and perhaps risky situations or environments, it really helps to hunker down and follow the leader. Sometimes, that’s the only way to make it through to the end. For us, heading in and out of these high grass and water domes, there was no other way…it was one behind the other!
3. You don’t know what you don’t know!
Although we tried our best to prepare, I’m not sure we knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into! We made a quick run (the day before!) to Target and purchased anything that resembled “jungle gear”. We made some great finds, but we didn’t realize how under-prepared we were until we hit our first dome. That was the negative. The positive is that you better believe we’ll be ready next time. As leaders, if we are able to do the necessary homework and preparations to plan for success, do it! Err on the side of caution. Although we were lucky enough to not encounter a truly sticky situation, we did come really close with that water moccasin! Too close. Sometimes business is unforgiving and you only have one shot to win. I am grateful for our tour guide, and learned a lot from him. As leaders we really don’t know it all and we have to be willing to listen and learn in order to grow.
4. Share and Celebrate.
Don’t we always have war stories to share? No matter what the outcome, it’s so important to focus on what went well and cement those awesome moments in our memories. They really do help us stretch. We all were outside of our comfort zones that day, and stretch we did! We celebrated our adventure with a yummy BBQ lunch, and we still can’t stop talking about it and sharing it with others. At work, these are moments that can really bond a team and provide spaces for vulnerability, which help us all understand that we’re human after all.
I bet you have a similar experience, and I’d love to hear it!
Share and celebrate!
It’s your life. Lead it well.
February 3, 2015
Last week, we talked about our New Year Resolutions and whether or not we were over-valuing them. This week, I want to share some tips on how to EMBRACE THAT GOAL that you are not choosing, but your boss is assigning to you! Many of you are fortunate enough to have a supervisor/leader who understands your strengths and let’s you decide the who, what, when, where and how of your days. If you do have this luxury, chances are you know exactly what’s expected of you, what you have to produce at year’s end in order to be successful in your role, and you carefully craft your goals in a way that will get you to that pot of gold in an energizing and engaged fashion. (If not, we should talk!!)
For those of you who may not be as fortunate to work for a leader who provides you with this opportunity, it’s going to take some personal leadership and self re-direction to appease both your boss and yourself. Here are some tips to consider and try out immediately:
1. Pay close attention to your inner chatter.
When that goal is assigned to you (and you freak out!), immediately become aware of what you’re saying to yourself about it. Your inner dialogue will provide you with clues about the fastest way to shift your thoughts and get busy succeeding. For example, let’s say Charlie finds himself thinking, “I’ve never led a team of so many individuals to coordinate such a large-scale project. I’m not a project manager!” When we lead with strengths we learn to shift our thoughts toward what the possibilities of our succeeding can look like. So after you capture your inner chatter, you want to do the following…
2. Pick a strengths-based NEW thought.
In the example above, Charlie can pause, understand that his inner chatter is putting him into a fear-based place where success doesn’t live, and have this expanded dialogue with himself, “I’m usually the one who takes action on project issues and gets them done quickly. I’m an Activator, and that’s where I’m comfortable! How might I, though, use my talent of Arranger to work with others to begin making this happen?”
Now, in my example, Charlie is obviously aware of what he’s naturally good at and how he achieves success. You, too, can identify your talents on your own and in your own words by taking the time to become keenly aware of what you’re great at and how you operate best. However, you also can use the quick, inexpensive, and effective Strengths Finder assessment. Once Charlie has shifted his internal dialogue to a better place where solutions live, he can then…
3. Create a specific strengths-based action that will get him started.
It’s important to realize at this point that although an assignment has been given to Charlie, one he’s not crazy about and which can disengage him from his role if he’s not careful, he can take back his personal power by tailoring that goal to how he operates best. He’s going to find a way to do it so that he supports himself and appeases his boss. It probably won’t be the very best use of his talents, but he will bring more energy to the task and feel better about it.
So now that Charlie identified that he has a unique talent that he can leverage to help him get excited about this goal (even if it’s just a little bit!), he needs to immediately write down 1-3 steps he’s going to take using his talent of Arranger. One of these steps can sound like: “I will schedule a 15 minute meeting with each person on the team to identify what they’re best at and how they can be successful to this project.” Arrangers happen to be great at spotting talent in others and bringing many people together to bring things to fruition.
In this example, Charlie was not using his talent of Arranger as much as Activator, so he now needs to bring it out into the open and make it a focus for this specific project. Finally, to ensure increased energy and success with this goal, Charlie should…
4. Track his success and check-in with himself weekly.
The self-awareness should never end. Just as with any goal, we must keep them in front of us and present at all times, measuring and tweaking them. Especially with goals that do not initially hold much value for us at the onset, we have to breathe life into them consistently so we don’t push them to the back of our list. We all do this, don’t we? All of the goals we’re super excited about we tackle first, but those which are equally important, because we will be held accountable for them by our leaders, we tend to push them off for as long as possible. But, as I’m sure we’ve all experienced, that tactic can hurt us more than help us.
Leading a strengths-based life is not easy. It takes moment-to-moment awareness, focus and action. But, knowledge is power, and this knowledge about ourselves, what makes us unique, and what helps us to feel successful in all we do, can truly make the difference in our own personal engagement with our roles and goals.
Now, some of you may be in a third category (almost all of us experience this!), where you’ve got that leeway to operate in a strengths-based fashion, but you also have to tackle some assignments or goals that you just don’t care for. Well, I just like to call this LIFE!! If we are able to shift ourselves into a strengths-based way of operating, despite who our supervisor is or what he/she assigns us, chances are that we will be more engaged in our work and and in our lives, and we can better manage those unwanted things that come our way daily. Am I right? Whether it’s an emergency where we have to drop everything, or our position changes overnight, or someone drops the ball and we’re asked to pick it up and make great things happen, change is constant and our glory and engagement lies in leveraging our strengths to make the very best of it (and move on!).
Bottom line: When we are able to roll up our sleeves and accomplish a worthy goal (whether we like it or not) we receive a tremendous amount of energy and exhilaration from it. And if we do so using our talents and strengths, we will always achieve greater levels of productivity, success and joy. All of us, equally, have the capacity to receive these benefits. It’s always a choice.
What will you choose?
It’s your life. Lead it well.
December 3, 2014
I just love to watch birds fly, especially when they are in a beautiful formation, all in unison, flowing. I’m also fascinated by solo birds—like hawks— so focused, gliding magnificently, swooping downward to check out potential prey and then accelerating upward. Both scenarios are purposeful and very strategic, just like leadership. Flocks stick together and follow their leader for many reasons—to avoid predators, to fly more swiftly and preserve their energy, and ultimately, to make it to their final destination— together. Do they lose their way sometimes? Sure, but those who stray from formation quickly find their way back and are guided by their fellow flock members and their leader. Solo birds also have a very distinct purpose—to find and capture their prey! Not the kind of goal I’d likely set, but quite important for hawks and the like. They are intently focused on ONE thing, and one thing only. Get food! Survive!
I remember driving home one day and seeing this beautiful white hawk with a V tail. I now know that it was a Swallow-tailed Kite. I had never seen one before. It seemed like it was flying closer and closer to my home, where we have several oak trees where many birds play and live. The closer I got to my home I realized the hawk was stalking one of my trees, and more specifically, a new family that had nested there. I had been observing this new family for days now, especially the mother who never left the nest! She was so watchful of her new baby! I began to panic. What can I do? I asked myself. Well, I truly could do nothing. I arrived home, parked, and ran out of my car toward the tree, but I was too late. The hawk had eyed the new baby and within seconds snatched it and accomplished her goal. After my sorrow died down, I questioned, “Could the hawk have successfully completed it’s mission without it’s intense focus?” Probably not.
I think of leadership in a similar way. Over the years I have come to realize that becoming a strong, effective leader means having the ability to do both— (1) be a crucial member of a team where perhaps you are not leading, but following, and (2) stepping forward in leadership and showing others the way. In the world of “personal leadership” this can look like identifying those goals that you need to accomplish solo, with incredible focused energy, like the hawk, while at other times, being that flock leader where you set the vision and guide others along, allowing mistakes to be made.
One of my favorite books is Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach, because it turns on its back the ordinary story of a seagull whose mission in life is to stick with its group and find food. Not Jonathan! He spent most of his time flying alone and pushing himself to limits no other seagull had ever pushed. He just knew his potential, and he was so anxious to reach it. He pushed himself so hard to keep surpassing his last achievement, regardless of fear or failure or injury. I think most leaders can relate to this inner voice— the calling to reach our potential and break the mold of success. It’s such a motivating story. However, the story also is sad, for we know that in his quest to do the extraordinary he also became an outcast for not being part of his flock and participating in the group way of life. Could he have found success if he had done both and balanced his personal and servant leadership?
So, as leaders, how do we both embrace our inner calling for flying solo while also stepping into the magnificence of leading through others?
Here are three tips to get the best out of both our personal leadership and servant leadership:
1. Always work on your personal leadership.
Not everyone agrees with me, but I do believe that we are all leaders. Are some of us born with innate qualities that allow us to lead more effectively? Absolutely. Do some of us need to be more intentional about leading and practice our leadership? Big Fat Yes. But, nevertheless, we were all born to lead in some capacity. Every single day we are afforded the opportunity to lead. To lead our children, to affect our community through our efforts, to set examples for others and share with them what we have learned—good and bad, and to not be victims to life, but make those crucial decisions for ourselves that will push us forward. Just like hawks, we also need to define those independent goals that only through OUR focus and persistence we will achieve. There is nothing more empowering than making a choice for ourselves and taking personal responsibility for achieving it.
2. Always take a back seat.
A beautiful part of leadership is giving the opportunity for others to lead. Sometimes we will and must step forward to guide our flock to our destination, but other times we will ask another bird to take the lead. Not only does it help us to grow leaders and build solid teams to support our vision and work, but it also helps us to be effective by understanding that we can’t and shouldn’t try to know it all and do it all! We all have unique strengths and gifts that should be utilized. The magic in teamwork is allowing each individual to use his/her talents and hone them for the good of all.
3. Always lead the way!
As effective leaders we must know when it is absolutely imperative that we stand in our leadership, in our strengths, in our conviction, and create that vision that will push others forward. Take the time to understand and know what those non-negotiable occasions/situations/moments are for you as a leader. Not everything can be delegated.
So, you may be saying to yourself, “I have to ALWAYS do these three things?” And my answer is yes! Leadership is a dance. Sometimes we dance solo, sometimes we lead the dance, and sometimes we let others lead! We sashe through these three scenarios constantly!
Every day think of how you can do activate all three in your leadership, and you’ll surely be flying high!
It’s your life. Lead it well.
October 16, 2014
In the world of conscious living and leading it is understood that when we are not able to “flow”– to focus and be “on”– we are not fully connected with, or aligned with the universe (or “source”). Have you felt those moments, when you’re not fully present, or have a difficult time motivating yourself to get something started or finished? It happens to all of us, and one way to look at your development as a leader is to be very conscious of those moments where there is a disconnect, and through awareness and action, make the necessary shifts in order to get back to flow (and achieving!). As leaders we cannot make things happen and connect with and lead others without the ability to do this. I like to call it–Lighting it Up!
Just last week I attended our Center for Leadership’s Lecture Series, where distinguished global executive Jorge P. Montoya, who among other notable positions and appointments was the President for Proctor & Gamble Latin America, spoke on “Really, The Only Thing That Counts Is Delivering Results.” As a leadership trainer and coach, the title intrigued me quite a bit, and I attended, mostly, to ensure that Mr. Montoya would at some point discuss the human side of leadership and its importance to the bottom line. I’m happy to say that he did do that! In fact, he encouraged those present to learn, learn and continue learning; keep a positive attitude; cultivate and practice humbleness and servant leadership, and infuse love and passion in your job.
However, I respect where he started the conversation, and it reminds me of the idea of flow and being “on”. If you have your own business, or work for a business, there is no escaping the bottom line. Businesses must be profitable, and it does take an enormous amount of time, energy and focus to both reach and surpass profitability, and do it in a way that will support and grow those who work for you, or those with whom you work. Ideally, when business is good, so too is the livelihood of those connected to or surrounded by those businesses. We want business to thrive, right? So, igniting your flow from a very results-focused, bottom line-oriented perspective could certainly do the trick for both you and your business/company you work for.
Although Mr. Montoya’s presentation was mostly directed to the future leaders who were present, I believe his message is crucial for those of us who are in leadership positions, and who want to have more moments where we are Lighting it Up! In fact, what I share with you below has broader meaning. You can apply it to how you lead your finances, for example.
Here’s his prescription:
Delivering Consistent Results is the Only Thing That Counts! Generally, you can do this via:
Flawless execution of a good strategy
Using your leadership to deliver results (through others!)
Build the mindset very early on to develop operating discipline
Design clear, stretch goals for yourself
Executing the Principle via the 4 F’s:
- Focus – Know where to play. Choose 2-3 core competencies. Less is better!
- Forcing Choices – Know how to win. Choose 2-3 choices or “weapons” to beat the competition. Choose what not to do. Don’t fix every problem; feed the strong and starve the weak.
- Frugality – Be brutal on costs, permanently! Develop a permanent scarcity mentality. Free spending sickness is contagious and can get out of control.
- Foresee a Crisis – Anticipate volatility/crisis and competitive moves. Change is constant and inevitable; the adaptive will survive and the proactive will win.
In applying it to my own life and leadership, I can see how those moments when I am not Lighting it Up are in fact times when I’m working on too many things at once. That “focus”, or “forced choice” was not present. In fact, this concept aligns directly with strengths-based leadership–feed what you’re strong at, and starve (or delegate!) what you’re weak at!
In true “Learner” fashion (my #1 strength), I’m always happy to learn and share these learnings with you!
Where in your life or in your leadership can you apply Mr. Montoya’s 4 F’s strategy?
How can you apply this strategy to get back into a flow and Light Things Up?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and examples. Write me a line below.
It’s your life. Lead it well.