The Great Re-evaluation as an Annual Practice

Earlier in my career, prior to starting my own business, I had a fantastic mentor/sponsor, Aaron S. Williams who shared with me his annual year-end practice of reflection to prepare for the next year of career development.  He asked himself five questions to help determine if it was time to make a change: 

    1. Am I learning at my job?
    2. Am I making a difference?
    3. Do I like the people I work with?
    4. Am I having fun?
    5. Does this current job continue to contribute to my long-term goals?

If the answer to any of these questions was “no”, he knew it was time to make a change. In addition, he shared the practice that you should always be looking for your next opportunity. Not to mean that you shouldn’t be content in your current role but to mean that you never know when your talents could be maximized in a new way.

This approach to integrating work into life has stayed with me for more than 20 years. It supported my path to make job changes and career changes. It led me to start my own business and become a certified coach. 

Arianna Huffington wrote a recent post on Life-Work integration, highlighting that what is really at the heart of the “Great Resignation” is a “Great Re-evaluation”. The pandemic has been a jolt to the previously unquestioned construct of work driving our lives in the United States. 

We see the negative consequences of this drive to work excessively in poor health indicators, including burnout and mental health crises. Half of the American Workforce report that the pandemic has had a negative impact on their mental health.  April is Stress Awareness Month, dedicated to raising awareness of the impact stress has on our lives and ways to manage it.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In Europe, there are significant differences in the relationship between work life and personal life. Europeans do not attach their sense of purpose as strongly to work as do Americans and are said to be happier, healthier and more productive. 

One unexpected result of the pandemic is that it has challenged assumptions about the role work plays in our lives. The pandemic forced us to blur work life and personal life through working from home, which allowed us to see that we could have more flexibility in managing our productivity. It gave us back those hours of commute time to use as we choose. It may have also raised our awareness on how happy we were in our current job because the added stress of the pandemic forced us to pause and re-evaluate all aspects of our lives.

As a coach, I support many leaders who are at a crossroad asking themselves, “What next? I know what I am doing right now isn’t right but I don’t know what to do.” Throughout the pandemic, I have supported leaders in their “Great Re-evaluation” to move toward life-work integration.

If any of these questions are surfacing right now, you are among millions. Let’s connect to chart a path to life-work integration that allows you to say yes to those five questions!

To learn more about the career journey of Aaron S. Williams, check out his recently published book, “A Life UnImagined: The Rewards of Mission-Driven Service in the Peace Corps and Beyond”.

3 Ways that Defining your Talents Will Help Build your Personal Brand

I recently hosted a “sneak peek” webcast on the topic of personal values and strengths. This offered participants a window into the Vista Leadership Institute programs and the journey of crafting your next chapter.

We start with the broad question of “Who am I?” and “Where are my natural talents?” The CliftonStrengths assessment measures your natural talents from 34 themes and you arrive at the list of your “Top 5”. Continue reading “3 Ways that Defining your Talents Will Help Build your Personal Brand”

Designing Your Life is a Team Sport

Having played team sports since I was 9 years old, I have built the mindset that to be successful, I can’t do it alone.

Although I have built this mindset, I often see with coaching and consulting clients that many people want to do it all on their own.  Whether it is because they haven’t built trust with their colleagues or they feel pressure to bear the responsibility, they are driving with no co-pilot.

If you haven’t heard this African proverb yet, it speaks to the important lesson that I learned at age 9:

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. - African Proverb

As we designed the Vista Leadership Institute Mastermind Program, we built the team into the program DNA.  Why? Because life design is a team sport.

Designing Your Life proposes that this concept of team-building is a profound and necessary part of any creative act.

“Designers believe in radical collaboration because true genius is a collaborative process. We design our lives in collaboration and connection with others, because WE is always stronger than I- it is as simple as that.  When you design your life, you are engaging in an act of co-creation.” — Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

The Vista Leadership Mastermind Program embraces this “true genius” idea and begins with the formation of your design team. Throughout the 7-month program, you will work in pairs and triads, offering and receiving insight. Your team will help push you, asking “what if?” as you create your action plan for the next chapter of life.

You will also have three individual coaching calls with me throughout the program to create an even stronger accountability framework to move along your life’s journey.

Because when things get tough, you need someone to have your back, to help you get up when you get knocked down, AND to do flip flops and cheer you on when you hit it out of the park!

So if you are at a crossroads, asking yourself “what do I want to do next?” and you don’t know where to start… Join the Vista Leadership Mastermind team. We are saving a spot for you so we can co-create your game plan to hit the next 5 years out of the park!

Early bird discount deadline is September 15th.
Payment plans are available! (Email for details)

Your Mastermind Program Starts Now! Apply Today!

How do we actually “Be the Change We Want to See”?

If you have been following my blog over the last few years, you may recall that I wrote a blog series on a course I was taking on Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ) for coaches regarding the impact that neuroscience has on the quality of conversations. The blog series can be found at the bottom of the post titled, Courageous Conversations: The Future is Now.

Skills that I learned in the course were: Being Open to Influence, Priming for Trust, Asking Questions for Which We Have No Answers, Listen to Connect, Conversational Agility and Double-Clicking.

Over the last two years I have been using these skills with coaching and consulting clients to close gaps between intention and impact and to elevate awareness of the power of conversation to transform the world.

This year, I decided to certify as a C-IQ coach. The certification program was an additional six months of course work and a capstone project to demonstrate how I embody conversational intelligence.

During the first few months, it was very challenging to grasp what “embodying C-IQ” really meant.  The dictionary.com definition is “to give concrete form to; express, personify, or exemplify in concrete form.”  

To embody conversational intelligence, we were asked to explore our level of competence along the four stages of competence.

The highest level of competence is “unconscious competence”, which is the level at which we are in flow, when things come so easily that you don’t even think about what you are doing. It becomes second nature.

In C-IQ certification, as coaches we were challenged to go deeper with our learning, adding new conversational essentials, to stretch ourselves to move through the four stages of competence.

New conversational essentials presented were: Making the Invisible Visible, Deconstructing Conversations and Co-Regulating our Conversations — up-regulating oxytocin and down-regulating cortisol. Oxytocin and cortisol are the neurotransmitters triggered when we have either positive or negative conversations.

As I mentioned, I was really struggling with the notion of embodying and then one day, I realized I was TRYING too hard. I wasn’t getting to the flow because I was too much in my head, not in my heart.  When I “loosened up the grip” on learning and leaned back, I started to notice that I was now using these skills not only in my work but in all aspects of my life.

I can see how many of the conversational essentials I learned in 2017 have now become second nature.

I am deconstructing conversations with family and friends. I am raising visibility of conversational patterns that are unproductive in all aspects of my life. I am starting to build the unconscious competence…embodying conversational intelligence.

Conversational Intelligence essentials have helped guide me in all aspects of my life, to be the change I want to see in the world.

Are you experiencing challenging conversations in any area of your life and don’t know how to shift from the patterns that keep you stuck? Are you THINKING about it too much?

To get a sneak peek of how C-IQ can help you transform your conversations, we are offering a free 30-minute webcast and live chat on Conversational Intelligence next week, August 21 @ 12:30pm CDT.  We will offer it again in September, if you can’t make it live.

Join us to begin the journey of transforming your conversations!

 

Transforming Paradigms for 21st Century Leadership

The world is changing more rapidly, in more contexts, than ever before. Technology seems redundant or obsolete just as soon as we understand how to use it. Restaurants open and close, trends change – so often to our surprise, and who knows what television show we should be watching on what streaming service and when? There are viral challenges, new social media platforms, photo apps to age us and others to turn us into rabbits. 

As trends and new apps come and go, we are welcoming more of the world into our smartphone and encountering more diversity, more ideas, more complexity in our workplace. This requires a change in leadership that rejects many paradigms that warn us “but that’s how it’s always done!”  

Leadership strategist Dov Baron writes, “For many in ‘old school’ leadership positions who are unfamiliar with allowing people to really see them, this can, of course, be scary and may even seem threatening.” Some of it might seem daunting, but so much of it is exciting when viewed through the lens of social impact and resources for a more just and sustainable world. But how do we transition from the “old school” to a 21st-century leadership model? Baron can summarize it succinctly: “In a word—by learning.”

Continue reading “Transforming Paradigms for 21st Century Leadership”