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We are hardwired to believe that in order to be successful, we must be able to do many things really well and equally well. Well…I have to tell you that this fallacy is one of the major contributors to the amount of stress we feel every day to “do it all” and “be it all”. Perhaps this is one of the reasons we are always craving this ugly word called BALANCE!

As a life-long dancer, balance is critical! In fact, I dare say that it’s absolutely essential for being a superb dancer. But in life, business strategy, and in leadership, I’m not so sure that it is.

Take this quote below as an example. I was reading this article last night about Anthropologie’s tremendous success, and how they attribute it in great part to not being everything to everybody, and not doing the same conventional things that their competitors do. In fact, what they owe much of their success to is what they don’t do.

Read on…

“One of our core philosophies,” explains Anthropologie president Glen Senk, “is that we spend the money that other companies spend on marketing to create a store experience that exceeds people’s expectations. We don’t spend money on messages — we invest in execution.”

This reminds me of one of my favorite tools that I use when working with leaders—The Four Domains of Leadership Strength:

  1. Executing
  2. Influencing
  3. Relationship Building
  4. Strategic Thinking

If you haven’t yet used the tool StrengthsFinder 2.0, which tells you where your top talents lie within these domains, then this may be new to you. But let’s keep it simple, here’s what you need to know: Not everyone is dominant in all four of these domains! Some people’s talents may be equally dispersed among these strengths domains, but more often than not, we tend to be dominant in one or two.

Clearly, Anthropologie’s strength lies in the execution of their store experience. Once their ideal client walks through their doors they are immersed in a world that speaks to their souls. They execute…and they execute well, because that’s their focus.

It’s the same for each of us. When we are keenly aware of what we are naturally great at, and we spend most of our focus there, the likelihood that we will feel stressed or unsuccessful decreases significantly. We are in our zone!

For example, my two strongest domains lie in Strategic Thinking and Relationship Building. This doesn’t mean that I’m not good at executing or influencing, actually, I’m pretty great at both, but I get things done faster, and with greater pleasure and success when my focus is placed on all things strategic and relationships. As a leader I always kept this top of mind, because I knew that I would be much more effective when I was able to delegate to others in my team who were STRONG in execution—“getting things done” and influencing—“pulling people in”. And guess what? I did have people on my team whose strengths were in those domains. It was wonderful to see and feel the excitement and engagement when we could all focus on what we were great at.

“Balance is a great concept, truly. But it’s better for dancers than for leaders!”            ~Monique Catoggio

I’ll leave you with this additional quote to mull over:

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”
~Greg McKeownEssentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

Namaste, Monique

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Happy Spring!

I truly love this time of year, not simply because the weather is more tolerable (in Miami that is!) and mostly beautiful, but because this time of year is so symbolic. At the end of March we had the Spring Equinox and Easter, which spiritually symbolize rebirth…a shedding of the darkness and solitude of winter, and an opening to our lightness and our eternal selves.

Although, ideally we should be aware of and ready to shift those dark aspects of our experiences as they happen, from moment to moment, it’s always valuable to our spiritual and emotional growth to find a time to more deeply assess what has or should now transform within us and why. That’s how symbolism and rituals serve us–they cue us to pause our daily lives and prod, question, accept, forgive, understand, decide, take action, and ultimately transform.

I hope you’re not thinking of transformation as some HUGE change we must make in our lives. Nope. It could simply be a tiny awakening to something within us that has or needs to change (even die!) in some small way so that we can, indeed, bloom! That is, after all, how change happens– in each breath, and in each miniscule movement. Our cells are changing constantly. Yes, we ARE the definition of constant change, so we should be more open to embracing it and inciting it!

For those of you up to the task this, here’s a fun activity that can help us think about what within us or outside of us needs to transform in some way, what needs to get kicked to the curb, and what seeds need to be planted so that they grow deep roots in our lives.

  • Briefly scan this list of the 12 Dimensions of Wellbeing (from the Wellness Inventory – a well-being assessment and tool I use in my work):
    • Self-Love and Responsibility
    • Breathing
    • Sensing
    • Eating
    • Moving
    • Thinking
    • Feeling
    • Play and Work
    • Communicating
    • Intimacy
    • Finding Meaning
    • Transcending
  1. What dimension(s) jumped out at you? Pick one to start with.
  2. Ask yourself: “What about my (i.e., Intimacy) needs to change, die, or grow?”
  3. Then ask, (Pick a new dimension) “How can the dimension of (i.e., breathing) help me transform my (go back to the first one you picked – Intimacy)?”

Try this with just a few of the dimensions, or all 12 and see what shows up. It’s fun to do with a friend as well and create a nice dialogue. I guarantee you’ll come up with a list of things to think about, as well as some meaningful transformations you feel will help you “rise” this year. Allow your intuition to speak to you, and don’t think too hard. Even without an exercise to guide us, we often know what must change and simply need to find the courage to take those next steps.

May you spring into this new season with a pep in your step, a passion-filled heart, and a mission-driven mind. Allow for what needs to die to die, and give birth to what needs to be born.

Wishing you a powerful spring season!

Namaste,

Monique

Great Idea! Now What?

March 5, 2016

Been in this place before? You take a huge leap of faith and the rath of fear strikes hard?

“What in the hell did I just do?”

“Who am I to think that I can do this?”

“What if I fail?”

Yes, all these questions and many more have poured through my brain over the last month. As positive as I believe I am (it just happens to be my #3 top strength according to Strengths Finder), how could I not expect to have these kinds of thoughts?

I guess it was no coincidence that the day I decide to write this blog (about fear) I receive the Entrepreneur Magazine with the cover article, “Be Fearless Without Being Scared.” It caught my attention.

Even better was the Editor’s note (Amy C. Cosper) on her very real fearful experience of having an exciting new venture idea and scoring a meeting with a hard to reach VC. Here’s a blurb…

(After confirming the meeting) “Instantly, my veins felt colder. My idea no longer felt exciting. It felt like a horrible secret I’d have to real—like a think I’d take out of my briefcase and say, in my most pathetic voice, ‘This is all I have.’”

Whoa. I can relate with that! With Ideation as my #4 top talent I have no shortage of ideas (constantly!!). Although I want to move at the speed of light, it’s not always easy to pick the right idea, trust in it, and ship it! In our “stick to one idea” world of today, it’s not easy to have so many ideas without talking yourself out of all of them.

So, you may be asking… “What are you doing about the fear?”

Well, two things…

  1. I’m using my fearful voice as a mechanism to do be aware, and to do my homework. After all, fear just wants to protect us from failure. So, I’ll take a thought like, “Who are you to think you can do this?” and I’ll do my very best to find the evidence that I need to quiet that fear and replace it with some self-love and respect. If I’ve found some truth to the fear, then I address it. “What if I fail?” is a great one, because there truly is the chance that I could, indeed, fail! That can be the case for anyone tackling any new project. So, what will my response be if I do fail? I actually think it’s a good question to answer.
  2. I’m using my fearful voice as motivation. At the end of the day I would rather have tried and failed than to not have tried at all. That’s a quote, isn’t it? Well, the good thing for me is that one of the ways my Positivity strength works is to shift me out of negativity very quickly, allowing me to always see a silver lining. Amy also wrote this, and I couldn’t agree with her more:

“Fear sucks. It really does. It is a raw emotion that stands between you and your greatness. It invades your body and makes you forget you ever had strength. And it is the reason you didn’t Didn’t chase that dream. Didn’t take the risk. Didn’t give yourself the opportunity to see what’s on the other side: the dream achieved, the risk rewarded, the person who survived jumping in and now understands the value of taking a leap in the first place.  

#Truth.

And it was Amy’s truth. She didn’t have a good meeting with that VC. She blew it. Fear killed it. BUT, what an incredible failure to learn from. I’m inspired by her honesty and vulnerability.

Yep. I’ve had a few fearful moments since I left my “safe world” in late January. And, well, it’s just par for the course!

So, Now What?

As most of you know, my work is in the space of leadership and well-being, and my blog and newsletter content won’t change. In fact, I want you to know how committed I am to that world, and I’m uber passionate about all of it. In fact, this year you’ll see me broaden my topics and trainings in order to truly put out all that I want to share and how I want to make a difference with my work.

In the same breathe, now as a solo/mom-preneur, I also plan to blog about how it’s going, and how I’m making it work for me. I’m excited to share this aspect of my life now that I’m living it, and I hope that this content will help many of you who are entrepreneurs, or are inspired to go this route one day soon.

Namaste,

Monique

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about how who we are—mind, body, and spirit— is truly a magical potion created to support us, if we so allow it. 
 
Because I’m in the personal and professional development industry I have the pleasure of assessing individuals on their personalities, behaviors, energy levels, strengths, etc. It’s really cool to see how unique each of us truly is! One of the questions I usually get is, “How can I be equally extraverted and introverted? Shouldn’t I be more of one?” 
 
It’s a great question, and one that could help us make certain life decisions, based on what may be the better or best environment for us to thrive. So, I can see how it would be confusing to someone to be equally both. If they are searching for one way to operate, well being 50-50 may not help, right? Wrong!
 
Since I’m always reflecting upon my own behaviors, strengths and patterns, I recently had an “Aha” moment that helped me solve this dilemma for myself. You see, I, too, am equally extraverted and introverted. It’s funny because some people experience me as a very peaceful, pensive, and quiet person, and others experience me as a loud, expressive, and opinionated person! If you happen to know me well, like many of my family members and best friends, well you’ve seen it all! In fact, my girlfriends often make fun of me during our annual girls trip, because I’ll have a very extraverted day, but by a certain time I REALLY need to get quiet and tune out. They’ll be chatting and laughing until the wee hours of the night, and I’ll be there with them, with one eye and ear open and one eye and ear closed, coming in and out of the conversation as I choose. It’s quite funny!
 
But, lately, I’ve experienced the beauty in this nice mix. I LOVE speaking and training. It’s truly a passion for me. I prep like crazy for all of my presentations, no matter the audience or topic. My “E” side goes all out for days before and doesn’t quite until the moment that presentation is over. But here’s what I love and respect about my “I” side. In that very moment, it’s like I’ve exhaled all of that “E” energy, and my body, mind and soul are ready to lull me into a peaceful state and ensure I get the rest and disconnection I absolutely need. 
 
I was watching an interview with Glennon Doyle Melton of Momastery.com, and she said something to the effect of… 
 
“I absolutely love speaking and being on stage, but when I’m done, it’s all about pizza and really bad TV. I have to go away and go within.”
 
I hear ya, Sister!!!
 
Just as I’m describing what my needs are based on my makeup, I know so many other speakers and trainers who MUST go out and celebrate for hours on end after a “gig”.  Bottom line…it’s really helpful to know yourself and what you need to recoup. It’s different for all of us, and that’s awesome.
 
What’s your makeup? How does it shift depending upon the activity? Understanding these things about us helps us to honor our needs every day.
 
It’s your life. Lead it well.
 
Monique

My Top Blogs of 2014

January 7, 2015

Life Well LED Top Blog Posts of 2014

As I begin a brand new year of fresh content, I look back at 2014 and what my readers (you!) enjoyed the most.

In case you missed them, here they are again. If you’re reading them for a second time, I hope you take away some new insight that will help you in this brand new year.

1. 10 Tips to Start Your Day Right!

2. Natural Strengths and Wellbeing. Is there a Link?

3. Get into the Spirit of Spirit!

4. 3 Ways to Fly High with your Leadership!

5. SWOT it out! Annual Review in 4 Easy Steps!

6. Gratitude, Breath, and the Whispers.

7. Knock Some Sense Into Yourself!

8. Unconditional Love, Forgiveness, & Puppy Breath!

9. 5 Ways to be your own COO!

10. Know Your Super Human Power and Deploy it in 3 Simple Steps!

We also had some AMAZING guest bloggers this year during our first ever Summer of Wellbeing! Browse them again for some great tips on staying WELL this 2015.
Also, you all just loved my e-book! If you didn’t download it, you can do so here.

Finally, I had the pleasure of guest blogging for one of my favorite blogs, Sources of Insight, by J.D. Meier. I wrote about Sensing, Loving & Leading. Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for being a part of my 2014! I’m so grateful, and ready for another FAB year of blogging!

It’s your life. Lead it Well!

Monique

 

Being En Pointe Fans,

Just a reminder that I am now blogging weekly at: http://lwlblog.fiu.edu.

Subscribe to Life Well LED to stay on top of my new content.

Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks for your support!

Namaste,
Monique

 

Friends,

I’m thrilled to have expanded my work through a new unit at Florida International University (FIU), called Life Well LED. To help move things along, I’m now blogging weekly at:

http://lwlblog.fiu.eduYou’ll find the majority of my Being En Pointe posts there as well.

Hope to chat with you soon at Life Well LED! Thanks for your ongoing support.

Namaste,

Monique