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3 Ways to Fly High With Your Leadership

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.

Monique

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5 Ways to be your own COO!

September 23, 2014

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When speaking about my coaching, I often get asked, “What’s personal leadership?” Leadership, at the end of the day, is the ability to inspire others with a clear and powerful vision, mobilize them around that vision, and empower them to productively work alone and together with others to achieve a united mission. Now, take that definition and apply it to one’s own life. A “personal leader”, then, can be seen as someone who has a clear vision for his/her life, mobilizes him/herself daily around that vision, and empowers him/herself to productively walk toward achieving that mission. Personal leadership also entails understanding when we are “off mission” so we can make those necessary changes that will put us back on track.

Heck, you can think about personal leadership like being your own Chief Operating Officer! Why would you let someone else operate your life, right? Yes, we all have to follow orders when we work for others, and oftentimes in teams we have to forgo our own agenda. However, despite scenarios like these, life just flows better and energizes us when we are able to tap into our personal leadership and lead our lives from that “core”, proactively, moment to moment.

A key component of our core is our natural talents–innate ways in which we think, feel and act. Each of us is uniquely inclined to think, feel and act in certain ways. In our own leadership, we often feel in-authentic when don’t operate from our core, but instead do what we think others want from us, or we want to be like “those leaders.” Certainly, there are traits of other leaders that we strive to attain for ourselves. Yet, research clearly shows that being more of who we are naturally, makes us more engaged in our lives and “inner”gized, so we can go out there and do our thing.

Now, let’s simplify this! After all, a COO’s job is no easy task, and leadership is kind of a big thing. One easy and empowering way to begin connecting with and applying our personal leadership is to be clear about our natural talents, which become strengths via our focus, intention and application. Many of us innately understand what our talents are. An easy way to “get it in writing” though is to use the simple and time-tested tool: Strengths Finder. In organizations, especially, where you may want to encourage personal leadership among all your employees, this tool gives you a common language to work with.

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When you look at this chart, you can recognize the language that we operate within our careers. These leadership dimensions are critical in any business and for any COO. However, are we naturally strong in all of them? Should we spend our time making ourselves strong in all of them? Or, should we invest in understanding where we operate at our best, using our natural talents, and invest in operating chiefly there? As a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach I’m partial to the ladder, but primarily because I truly believe in the science behind it, I live it, and I have seen the difference when individuals lead their lives from their strengths.

So here are 5 ways that you begin to be your own COO (and love it!)…

  1. Identify your Top 5 talent themes via Strengths Finder
  2. Place them on the chart above
  3. Visually understand how you operate at your best within these dimensions. Some times we are balanced and sometimes we are not. No two leaders’ strengths are identical!
  4. Take the time to see how your talents currently play out in your life and where they are lacking.
  5. Intentionally decide how you will play to your strengths daily and do it!

Leading strong in our lives is truly the first step in then being able to lead others in a unique, authentic way. Embrace your unique talents and become your own COO!

If you’d like to take the Strengths path along with others to Name, Claim and Aim your strengths, I’d love for you to join me for my upcoming one-day workshop on October 23rd. Learn more here.

Have a magnificent day!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Monique

 

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I’m sure you’ve heard of the expression, “What you see is what you get!” I remember hearing it and saying it all the time growing up, but I never really thought about it. I wish I had, because its power is so magnificent, yet so simple!

What do you want to experience today?

If you are intentional about what you want to experience then that is exactly what you will experience. Why? Because you will be looking for it. And through that action of sensing it—again by what you choose to see, hear, feel, taste, etc. (as we discussed last week), then you will see opportunities to jump into (or out of!), or create that experience for yourself.

Can you see the power in asking yourself the above question every morning? Your answer need not be long or complicated, it can simply be, “I want to experience peace today.” How might your day pan out, then, if you’ve intended for peace? Perhaps you hear your co-workers engaged in some dramatic conversation you would normally participate in, but today you choose not to. Perhaps on your way to lunch you are drawn to a bench under a beautiful tree and you decide to have lunch there. And then, perhaps, out of the blue, a friend calls you and invites you to a candle-light yoga class in the evening, just when you were eager to try it out!

Can you also see how easy it is to allow negativity to manifest? For example, if all you feel is anger or frustration, then anger and frustration is all you will get. Drama will find you. You won’t see the tree, but the rain cloud. You won’t answer your friend’s call because you are too stressed. Make sense?

Your simple step today is to choose intentionally. Become aware of what you want and use your senses to bring it to you.

What you see is what you get.

What do you want to experience today?

Let me know how it goes! Please write to me below. Sharing is caring!

It’s your life. Lead it well!

Namaste… Monique

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In my communication, courses and coaching you’ll always hear me talk about energy and it’s direct link to our potential and personal leadership. One of the inputs into our “system” that creates our energy is our senses—what we see, hear, smell, taste, etc. When we sense things we create awareness, and with continued awareness we create conscious living. Here’s the kicker…science proves to us that the more conscious we are the more likely we are to reach our full potential. That’s an equation I’m always interested in!

I’m sure you’ve had many unconscious moments daily, as we all do, like driving from point A to point B and not really remembering how you got there…what roads you took, etc. But, you know you got there, right? Well, the key to reaching our potential and living more purposefully is to slowly lessen the amount of time we are unconscious…just going through the motions.

Here’s a simple way to knock the senses back into your life…Pay Attention!

You can decide how you want to do this, but here are some easy examples.

  • Become very aware during your drive today. What is the temperature like? What kind of car is driving in front of you? Can you see the person driving through their rear view mirror? Are they male or female? Are there stickers on the car?
  • When you arrive to your location, who is the first person you see? Make eye contact with them and smile. Can you sense their mood by the tone of their voice, facial expression, movements or attire? How do you feel on this day? Are you excited to get your day going? Are you hungry, distracted, sad, happy, etc.?

Why would being aware of these things help us become good leaders? I’d love for you ponder this on your own, but here are some opportunities that may have shown up for you from this simple exercise…

  • If the car in front of you accidentally hit another motorist and took off you could be an eye witness and potentially help the victim.
  • If you noticed it was a bit cooler and you didn’t have a chance to look at the weather report, you might have run back in the house to grab a sweater for your child, protecting him/her from the on-coming cold front you didn’t know about.
  • If one of your employees was having a bad day, which you were able to sense by their eye contact and tone of voice, you could be a part of helping them to move forward positively in some way.
  • If you realized that you were not feeling excited about your day, you could take a few minutes to take personal responsibility for yourself and choose to shift your thoughts and emotions so that you could feel lighter and have a more successful day.

Living consciously is habit we can cultivate slowly, but the outcomes can be hugely impactful for ourselves and for those we lead.

I’d love to hear about your awareness aha moments! What opportunities showed up for you? Please write to me below. Sharing is caring!

It’s your life. Lead it well.

Namaste…Monique

On Letting Go

July 7, 2010

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This week I am giving you snippets of information from Zero Limits (my Relaxed Book Club selection) as well as other magnificent resources, which can help all of us better understand what Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono is and what “Zero” feels like. Read my first post about Zero Limits here.

In practicing Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono so far, to me, it feels like the ultimate surrender. It feels like letting go.

Zero could feel like:

Give up, and you will succeed.

Bow, and you will stand tall.

Be empty, and you will be filled.

Let go of the old, and let in the new.

Have little, and there is room to receive more.

The wise stand out,

because they see themselves as part of the Whole.

They shine,

because they don’t want to impress.

They achieve great things,

because they don’t look for recognition.

Their wisdom is contained in what they are,

not their opinions.

They refuse to argue,

so no one argues with them.

The Ancients said: “Give up and you will succeed.”

Is this empty nonsense?

Try it.

If you are sincere, you will find fulfillment.

Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, Chapter 22

(Piatkus, 1995)

Have a wonderful day,

Monique

“With whatever spontaneous action arises out of presence, an intelligence is then at work in the situation. Whatever the situation, that intelligence is far greater than the intelligence of the thinking mind.” Eckhart Tolle

At our work retreat this year, our team used the StrengthsFinder book and assessment. I always enjoy the reaction of those who use if for the first time. In this instance, I have to say that each person seemed to have felt validated for “who they are” and “what they bring” to the table. It was wonderful to hear everyone speak about their strengths and identify ways they can best use them to be “en pointe” more of the time.

For me the experience was the same. I too felt validated when I saw Learner, Maximizer, and Positivity among my top strengths. And, in preparing for this next blog, they came through loud and clear.

Today, I am writing about a spiritual (not religious) tool that is used widely in Hawaii (and now all over the world!). I enjoy reading about practices and principles and that are employed to help us be at our best. Doing so brings out both the “learner” and “maximizer” in me and keeps me in a “positive” state of mind.

I enjoy trying new techniques for spiritual awakening, stress reduction and general betterment. I don’t necessarily keep them all as “my practices,” but I enjoy learning about them, trying them out, and sharing them with all of you.

Just as I am sharing a new tool with you today, I’m sure you can share with me what works for you. Perhaps like this one, it requires a lot of faith and trust. Let’s go there now.

…   …   …

When you think of the word ZERO, what comes to mind? My first thought is “nothing,” or “lacking.” Think about it…we live in a world where having very little or not doing/being “enough” is not acceptable. In the corporate world, if our load is not large enough, then we are “unproductive.” And in our personal lives, if every minute is not occupied, then we are not “super” enough. No wonder we are exhausted, question our passion, and constantly seek our purpose! The more I read about the power of zero, as described in Zero Limits: The Secret Hawaiian System for Wealth, Health, Peace, and More, by Joe Vitale and Ihaleakala Hew Len, Ph.D., my definition of zero is forever changed.  Now, for me, Zero = Limitless.

Zero Limits speaks about a way of being…a way of life based on a spiritual principle and technique born in Hawaii, called Ho’oponopono. As with many (or all) universal principles, applying them requires a lot of faith and trust in the unknown. We don’t always understand why some things happen or work the way they do, but we see miracles happen every day. Ho’oponopono is a miracle-creating process that is turning heads and changing lives.

Ho’oponopono is defined as the Law of Least Effort, and a simplified version of the practice utilized by Dr. Hew Len has taken the world by storm. Why? Here’s where faith and trust come into play BIG TIME. Dr. Len was hired to work in a mental institution where the most dangerous and ill individuals were housed (in Hawaii). Staff didn’t last, and the patients were regarded as “lost causes.” They were locked up all day, in dark rooms, in shackles, with no rehabilitation in sight. So how is it possible that without even meeting with the patients, Dr. Len was able to heal the majority of them? In fact, all but two of the patients were released and the ward was closed. He did it with Ho’oponopono.

The spreading of this miraculous story is what launched Joe Vitale on his search to find Dr. Hew Len and (together) write this book, thus expanding Ho’oponopono’s reach and benefits for all.

Here’s what Dr. Len had to say about his work in the hospital:

“When I worked at the mental hospital and would look at the patients’ charts, I would feel pain inside me. This was a shared memory. It was a program that caused the patients to act the way they did. They had no control. They were caught up in a program. As I felt the program, I cleaned.

What he refers to as “cleaning” or “erasing” is the process of using Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono to “clean” this programming (memories/habits) which prevents us from being in our zero state where we receive inspiration; where we are tapped into the Divine.

What ZERO really is.

“The Divine is our zero state—it’s where we have zero limits. No memories. No identity. Nothing but the Divine. In our lives we have moments of visiting the zero limits state, but most of the time we have garbage…memories playing out.”

How do you do Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono?

There are simply four statements that you quietly repeat over and over, nonstop, addressing them to the Divine.

I’m sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

I love you.

The order doesn’t matter, and according to the book, just saying “I love you” (addressed always to the Divine) is just as powerful and “erases” just as well.

So, you may be wondering why you are apologizing to the Divine and asking for forgiveness? One of the questions I kept asking when reading about this process is, “Why should I apologize for something someone else is doing or saying, just because it’s in my presence?” Here’s the kicker (more trust is needed here, folks!); the explanation:

“Dr. Hew Len explained that everything you seek and everything you experience—everything—is inside you. If you want to change anything, you do it inside, not outside. The whole idea is total responsibility. There’s no one to blame. It’s all you.”

When do we use Ho’oponopono?

All the time. Hmmm. Really? Let’s dig deeper. If we were to journal all of the thoughts and feelings that we experienced every day (those that our conscious mind allows us to capture), I bet we could fill an entire book (and that’s not including our subconscious ones!). Many of these thoughts and feelings cause us stress, and move us to doubt our abilities, strengths and talents. We also are filled daily with thoughts of judgment, anger, spite, jealously, blame, etc. Imagine how much inspiration we could access if we could simply erase this negative content? Well, according to Zero Limits, we can.

Zero Limits tells us:

“For Self I-Dentity to be moment to moment requires incessant Ho’oponopono. Like memories, incessant Ho’oponopono can never go on vacation…The Conscious Mind can initiate the Ho’oponopono process to release memories or it can engage them with blame and thinking.”

This negative content is akin to static on the radio, a lost connection with the source. With this tool; this way of living, we can take full responsibility for every thought, emotion and action that shows up in our lives;  accepting them and cleaning on them, and truly “Let go, and let God” (or Spirit, Divine, Universe, etc.).

I can see how Joe Vitale’s life changed in so many ways through his meeting Dr. Hew Len and bringing this story to the world. I’ll speak more to Joe’s transformation in my next post about Zero Limits. And, because I know how difficult it may be to fully comprehend what I am blogging about here, today, I plan to post additional brief snippets from the book that we can reflect upon daily for a bit.

By the way, if this post is making you feel uncomfortable in any way, this is a perfect opportunity to clean using Self I-Dentity Ho’oponopono. If you are reading it, then it is in your reality, and you are responsible for it in some way. Yes, hard to swallow.

In closing, this sums up how it feels to be at zero:

“You can feel this in your life: events will take on a perfect momentum, a glorious cadence. You can feel it in your body…You can feel it in your spirit. You will enter a state of such perfect grace that you will resound over the landscape of reality like ephemeral bird song.”Deng Ming-Dao’s 365 Tao: Daily Meditations

 

Faithfully trusting and moving toward Zero,

Monique

My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.