Helping leaders emerge

Blog - 2015

Going Nowhere Fast

"If you miss the here, you are also likely to miss the there.
If your mind is not centered here, it is likely not to be centered
just because you arrive somewhere else."
                                                                 – Jon Kabbat–Zinn

Do You Care Enough to Become Self-Aware?

Clients often share some version of the following: “I often wonder to myself – does my manager act that way because she’s a jerk and doesn’t care OR is she is just oblivious?”

Which one are you? Uncaring or unaware? Your colleagues may be wondering the same thing….

Great leaders spend time reflecting not only on their own feelings but also on how their actions impact others.

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The Blood Has Left Your Brain – Not a Good Time to Make a Decision!

"Technology as yet cannot come up with any better communication system than a coffee break." – Readers Digest

Many clients focus on managing their “triggers.” An event happens, a person says something, or a meeting goes wrong and the trigger occurs. It goes with out saying that when a leader becomes triggered, if she doesn’t take a step back and “cool off,” she runs the risk of making bad decisions and ruining relationships.

It’s more common than you think – and while the internal experience of feeling triggered won’t go away, there’s work to be done to manage the external, that is how you want to “show up” as a leader. Clients learn to trust their internal experience (what is this feeling telling me?) and to manage their external behaviors (how do I present myself to the outside world even though I feel this way?).

Strategies that have helped executives stay grounded and remain less reactive include:

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How to Quiet Your Mind Amongst the Chaos

“…if a person could observe the stream of his thought for only one day he would see that there is almost no distinction between himself and a madman. It is just that the madman actually acts upon his thoughts, but the thoughts themselves are indistinguishable.” -- Rabbi Shapira (1932, Warsaw Ghetto)

Coping with the stress of the holiday season? Finding your mind racing? Dealing with difficult situations or people? Trying to live more intentionally each day?

Here is a meditation I practice daily that helps clients and me quiet our minds and feel more peaceful, joyful, and lighter throughout the day.

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"How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours." –  Wayne Dyer

Listen to Your Inner Voice Not Your Voice Mail

"Nobody can get into the heart of your experience and fix anything for you. If you want to make your own internal experience more hospitable, only you can do that work. Others can always support and guide you and spark insights, but ultimately you are your own boss ...." – Ethan Nichtern

Being a leader involves cultivating a "mindfulness" practice that includes finding time to slow down, tune in, and renew. Listed below are daily practices that executives have shared with me to help them be more mindful and show up grounded and calm, especially during difficult situations.

  • For 5-20 minutes, sit quietly each morning (or meditate). Set your intention for the day.
  • Before a meeting, conversation, or presentation, take a few minutes and write down your intention for that situation (e.g., to listen, remain calm, collaborate, ask good questions, etc.).

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Five Steps for Practicing Mindfulness Throughout the Day

Larry Rosenberg's guidelines for Mindful Living

Step 1: When possible, do just one thing at a time.

Step 2: Pay full attention to what you are doing.

Step 3: When the mind wanders from what you are doing, bring it back.

Step 4: Repeat step 3 several billion times.

Step 5: Investigate your distractions.

Excuse Me for Speaking While You Interrupt Me – The Art of Active Listening

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new." – Dalai Lama

Most of the time we only listen to the first few words the other person is speaking before we begin formulating a response. And unfortunately, our response typically has little to do with the other person. And as a result, many of our conversations end up like the old "Who's on First" Abbott and Costello routine.

So it's not a surprise that many executives express that listening is an important communication skill and part of their continuous leadership development. Simple concept, not easy practice.

Why is it so challenging?

  • We speak at 100-175 words a minute and think at 600-800 words a minute
  • Attention span today is ONLY 2.5 seconds versus 15 seconds few generations back
  • The mind is a chronic wanderer
  • Too much constant stimulation – cell phones, email, etc.
  • Involves being patient, which is challenging in our fast paced, "get it done now" world

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