Has this ever happened to you? You know something is wrong, but you don't do anything about it?
But you don't do anything about it.
Why don't you, or so many women, address these issues?
Before I answer that question, let's look at an example of a woman who is no longer staying quiet about injustices faced by her and other women in the fundraising sector.
Last week Elizabeth LeClair courageously wrote an article for CBC News addressing an issue that had been festering in her heart and mind for years. Read the article here:
Why did Elizabeth come forward now?
What changed? What gave her the courage and confidence to do that?
I don't know. But let me take a guess:
Having the courage to address moral issues can be scary and challenging. We see people have moral courage when something shifts for them.
Is there something you have been holding back on addressing?
What needs to shift for you? Do you need to develop more confidence, connect with other supportive people, get clear on what your values, morals and ethics are, spend time on personal development or is there something else?
When will you take action to grow yourself,
so that you can address the issues that's been aggravating far too long?
Think of it this way:
If you keep waiting for things to change, they won't. Nothing changes until you change. That may be learning something new, changing your perspective, changing how you interact with others or even changing jobs. But if you keep waiting, you will continue staying, stuck, right where you are!
What would happen if you decided to try something different?
Use Elizabeth's example as inspiration for you:
I suspect that Elizabeth decided she didn't want to stay stuck in that place of inner turmoil any longer. She decided to try something different. I'm certain that took time. But somewhere along the way she started the process of growing herself and making an internal shift that allowed her to take external action. She explains in this article:
Start now, my dear. Take the first step, whatever that step is for you, to being to grow yourself from the inside out. Equip yourself with the confidence and knowledge to address whatever issue is facing you. It won't be easy. But there are a ton of other women cheering you on, me included!
With your busy schedule you may have read or watched some of these, but missed others. Perhaps you are looking to catch up, are curious or just eager to grow. Either way, I've got you covered.
These are the top blogs, videos and guide sheets from this year.
Top Blogs of 2017
Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system
The solution for “I hate my life”
You can feel a surge of confidence now. Learn this proven technique.
Competence & Courage and the Connection to Confidence
If you are tired of hating your job, read this
Top Guide Sheets of 2017
7 days of journal prompt to help you examine your life
Grab your 3 steps to increasing your awareness of your Mind Chatter
Discover how gritty you are and how to increase your grittiness
Use this guide to Intentionally decide who you are at your best and create the plan to be that person.
Excellence in Leadership Series - Summary
Top FB Live Sessions of 2017
Getting to the point where you are thriving in your leadership and life, on a regular basis, isn't easy. Sorry to burst your bubble. It's going to take some effort, you are going to have to connect to why it's so damn important that you do it and honestly, it's going to take a while. In fact, you are going to have to get gritty.
Learn more about what grit is and why it's vital to thriving in this article. Keep reading my dear, you probably need to hear this today!
What is GRIT?
Grit is the tendency to sustain interest in and effort toward very long-term goals. It isn't just some fancy noun we use to describe someone's character, like the pioneers of days gone by. It is a scientific term that determines who is going to be successful. You want to be successful at thriving right? Then consider the 3 aspects of grit and how you can apply them in your life.
How gritty are you?
If you want to thrive, remember, you have to get gritty about it. Persevere, connect to why it matters and commit to working hard. To see how gritty you are, click here to get the guide to see where you land on the grit scale and develop a plan to get grittier. Growing your grit will help you to thrive in both leadership and life!
Want to learn more? Watch this to hear more insights on how you can get gritty about thriving!
"Just get me through today, please!"
Does that sound like a well-known plea, that you mutter often?
Here are some variations that may sound familiar to you also:
The Surviving to Thriving Continuum
Sadly, far too many leaders regularly recite similar lines like "Just get me through today! Regardless of the version each of these mantras is a red flag signalling that you might be in survival mode. We’ve all been there at some point or another. Survival mode becomes a problem when you live there, rather than visit there.
There will always be busy times. Leaders are constantly involved in the ebb and flow of new projects, shifts in contractual expectations, and annual cycles of budgets, performance reviews and grant proposals or contract renewals. It’s the job. There is no way around it.
I am not talking so much about work, as the attitude towards the work and the impact, the work has on you. The effect on you falls on a continuum. Let’s first look at opposite ends of the gamut.
Survival mode is characterized by fear. You are always afraid of falling apart, dropping the ball or losing it. You are barely hanging on, just getting by or trying to stay alive.
In survival mode, it feels like everything is a battle and you must suffer through it or endure the storm. You have little energy, are pretty negative or openly apathetic. Perhaps you’ve found yourself muttering “Whatever!” a little too commonly.
Those in survival mode tend to feel isolated and alone. It doesn’t feel like anyone cares about you or that you have anyone on your team. In fact, it often seems like “they” are out to get you. When I was survival mode, I honestly hated a few people and loathed a couple of others.
This end of the spectrum, survival, is marked by crisis management, putting out fires and only a day-to-day sustainability. Lord knows you can’t last like this forever. Burnout is knocking on your door.
The thriving mode, on the right end of the continuum, is characterized by passion. You are growing and developing and loving it, despite the challenges. To many, it is an adventure with a purpose. You are blooming and flourishing as you learn new things and take on engaging projects.
Those in thriving mode tend to feel confident, courageous and resilient. It isn’t that people at this end of the continuum don’t encounter challenges; they just know they can handle it. When I moved up into the thriving mode, I was eager to go to work, felt like I was doing meaningful work and could say I was being stretched, but not to the point of snapping.
This end of the spectrum, thriving, is marked by feelings of being engaged, supported and connected. Leaders in thriving mode feel like they belong to a larger community of support and feel that they are making a positive impact through their work.
It’s usually not black or white
Rarely are any of us completely at one end of the spectrum. We are likely at some point in between. We also ebb and flow daily. Depending on where you are, whom you are interacting with and the day's agenda, you can shoot from one end of the continuum to the other pretty quickly. As such, most of us sit somewhere along the surviving to thriving continuum, moving around various points in the middle.
The Middle – Coping Mode
In the center of the surviving to thriving continuum is what I call coping mode. You are doing more than barely getting by, but you're not feeling so alive that you want to yell from the mountaintops about how much you love your job. Instead, you go to work and have some good days, lots of so-so days and a few insane days.
The coping mode can also be thought of as maintaining. You're doing good enough, the best you can or at least less than bad. You exist.
Some leaders are bored in the middle. There is not a challenge, no pull or drive to fully use your skills and talents. Often it’s a sign you have been in the same position for longer than you should have been.
I find that in this coping mode, many leaders are tolerating, settling or complying with less than stellar workplace environments, teams, and bosses. Things aren’t good, but they are not so bad that you feel urged to rock the boat.
When I was in coping mode, I felt emotionally flatlined. I didn't feel a lot of excitement or joy. Instead, it felt more like I was running around the same hamster wheel day-after-day. I had a few friends to connect with that would let me vent (i.e., bitch and moan) but not a ton of support to move the needle forward.
Coping mode runs the range from short-term stability, meaning you could go on like this for a few months, to a way of life. Sadly many leaders believe, this is just the way it is, and don’t think they can change it. So instead of a period before things move one way or the other, leaders stay in coping mode, for most of their careers.
Watch here for more details about the points along the continuum:
Moving from survival to thriving
The truth is you can move from surviving to coping to thriving at work and in life. You have a choice. You do not have to stay stuck in your current mode forever. For you to move forward along the continuum, there are three key things you need to do.
Watch here to learn how to move along the continuum and create your Thriving Target:
Current habits keep you stuck
You’ve likely been sitting at the edge of survival mode for quite a while. You know it well. It’s become a way of life. You have developed damaging habits to cope with lack of sleep, missed meals, and limited time for self and family. You know how to get the critical things done with a hectic schedule at the office and have a system in place for ensuring you meet everyone’s basic needs. These habits are keeping you in this mode.
Be gentle but insistent as you develop new habits
To move to the right, to thriving, you will need to develop new habits. Take the time to look at both who your real self is and your ideal self. Then, create a plan to move from where you are, to where you want to be…then, get your butt in gear, my dear!
Get support here
I’m always here to help you and guide you whenever you need a little motivation, inspiration or resources. Join the Confident Women Leader’s private Facebook group for daily connections and information. I’ll see you on the inside!
How happy are you? Are you content? Do you have moments of peace? Do you feel good? Perhaps you do, but not nearly as often as you’d like to.
If you are like most women leaders, your responsibilities and frantic pace leave you feeling frazzled, overwhelmed, irritated and frustrated. Happy, my guess, doesn’t hit the top of the list very often.
But what if it could?
What would more happiness be like?
What would it be like to feel more of those “good” feelings on a regular basis? As one woman inthis survey put it:
“I would go to work at a place I feel valued and appreciated and come home with energy to engage with my family. I’d return to feeling light-hearted which is my natural state.” (Go ahead and do this survey...I'd love your input!)
Mmm….. doesn’t that sound splendid?
Start with Grit
There is a way to find those feelings. You can foster more happiness in your life, even if you are a woman leader with a lot of obligations, commitments, and responsibilities. One way is by developing gritty hope. That starts with growing the personality trait of grit.
Not wimpy hope!
Hope is often misunderstood as luck or fate. “I hope tomorrow will be better” leaves things up to chance. But someone with a gritty personality takes hope one-step further. They will say things like “I resolve to make tomorrow a better day.” To me, that statement is hope on steroids. It’s a gritty hope. Rather than waiting to see what tomorrow will bring, you decided, to make it different.
Too many women give up control over their life circumstances
Where many frustrated, irritated andoverwhelmed women leaders struggle, is when they give their power away. They get frustrated with their jerk boss, unappreciative staff, slow-moving peers, unsupportive spouse and demanding kids. They lay blame for the experience of their life on other people. “If they would all just smarten up, life would be fine!” If everyone did things as you want them to do, you would be more productive, more relaxed and yes, even happier right? The problem with that mindset is that you wait for that to happen. And wait. And wait some more. While you are waiting, you stew and moan and get even more irritated.
You can't wait for life to happen
But, it doesn’t change, does it? No. People don’t transform into stellar employees, charming bosses, amazing husbands and brilliant children, by us waiting for them to decide to change. Sadly, life is not a fairytale.
Take back the reins of your life
Instead, you need to cultivate a sense of hope and optimism WHILE taking action. That action isn’t always going to be easy. It will require action that won’t change things overnight. The action that I am talking about must also be purposeful and focused. AND you will need to take action filled with a powerful sense of hope that it will, over time, make a difference.
You will have to think differently
To take this kind of hopeful action takes a serious mindset shift. From giving up our sense of power, and waiting for it to change, to taking back responsibility for our lives requires us to change our thinking. It means we need to develop a growth mindset; one that believes we can change and grow and develop. We need to train our minds to understand the process of change and growth and embrace the time and effort it takes to see results.
Gritty hope puts you back in control of your life experience
When you develop hope to make your leadership and life better, you move from feeling victimized to feeling in control. You begin to see opportunities, relationships, and experiences in a new way. Your hope helps you to experience more moments of cheerfulness, enjoyment, and peace. Yes, you become happier, when you become grittier.
Measure and increase your GRIT
Do you want to know how gritty you are? Click here to get the worksheet that will help you discover your Grit Score and create a plan to increase your grittiness. Watch this to learn more about the 4 psychological assets of grit at work. Learn more about developing grit in your leadership and life here.
Congratulations you wrote your goals down! You did do that right? Double applause if you devised a plan of how to accomplish those goals. Now what?
Build in a Systematic Review Process
It is this systematic process of habitually appraising your journey as you move towards your goal that will make you successful. Furthermore, this grittiness, being determined despite adversity, is how you become a strong woman and a strong leader.
I am an avid advocate of positive thinking. I know emphatically the quality of your thoughts is completely correlated to the quality of your life. However, I also know that positive thinking alone does not equal success. You actually have to do something!
Review Your Strategy for Achieving Your Goals
The actions you take and the way you take those actions on your journey to achieve your goals makes a difference. This is the hard part. In truth, many of those activities aren’t going to be easy, enjoyable or engaging. That is precisely why many people don’t achieve their goals. The minute it gets arduous or they come up against a barrier, they stop.
Adversity Strengthens You
Here is the thing, though….you NEED those roadblocks! The difficult parts are the essential parts. It is by going through the struggle that we learn. It is during the challenges that we grow. The process of getting through the trying segments of the journey are prerequisites to reaching the goal. The grittier you are, the more effective you will be.
Your Plan Keeps You Moving
To keep moving forward when challenges hit, you must have a plan, a plan that includes recognizing roadblock and what you will do to get over them. That plan, strategy or blueprint might incorporate coursework; you could include tactics that include the building of support networks, or your approach might integrate the practice of learning to manage your thoughts and actions. I strongly suggest that your plan is multifaceted because let’s be honest ladies…we are a bit complex. Therefore, we need a plan that will address all of our intricacies.
But You Must Keep Reviewing Your Plan
Once you have your strategy in place, you need to review that plan on a regular basis. That way when you hit those roadblocks, feel overwhelmed and want to quit, reconnect to your strategies to get you over the hump. Your plan will remind you of what you can do if you are feeling overwhelmed, confused, apprehensive or stuck.
Make the Review Time Effective
You need to install a habit of reviewing your goals. The following steps will give you a process for your weekly review of your goals and your strategic plan to achieve those goals.
Goals --> Plan --> Take ACTION
Believe you can. Set goals. Plan how to achieve those goals. Take actions steps forward. Fall down. Get up. Dust yourself off. Begin again where you left off. This is how you become a successful gritty woman!
You hate your job, and you hate your life!
Well, ok, maybe it's not quite that bad, or maybe it is! However, you know if something doesn't change soon, it is going to get to that point where you can't go on.
There was a point for me, where I did hate my life and dreaded going to work.
I came home most days exhausted, frustrated and feeling totally incompetent as a leader. I hid the tears at work, but before the end of the day, they would usually escape.
It wasn't pretty!
The brunt of my dissatisfaction with my life came out with my kids and in my marriage. I was fearful I'd never figure it out. I just wanted to do a good job and live a decent life.
Instead, I felt isolated and alone.
I desperately longed for a different way
I hit rock bottom in my doctor's office.
As I was sobbing, I knew that the anti-depressants he'd prescribed could only be a temporary solution. I wanted to be a strong leader, and I wanted a healthy balance in life without the fix of prescriptions, overindulging in junk food or numbing myself in front of the TV to shut out reality.
My journey out of the mess
Over time, I did figure out how to excel in my work and to find my way back to balance quicker when I fall out of synch. I still don't do it perfectly, but I embarked on a journey to continually be growing stronger and more balanced. The change happened for me over time and with a plan.
To balance my inner expectations of excellence and high-quality work with my deep desire for meaning, purpose, and peace in my life, I reached out and opened myself up to learning. I pursued training that developed me. I soaked up knowledge from recommended books and the courses I attended. I reached out and asked for help. I drew wisdom from many mentors. I found coaches that challenged me to be authentically me. I became healthier in my body, mind, and soul.
I had to be courageous
To be vulnerable and admit I needed help, took courage. Continuing to be brave, seeking guidance and support strengthened my skills. This passionate desire to stretch myself helped me grow my confidence. I courageously stepped outside of my comfort zone again and again. I developed confidence in myself and in those around me. I was passionately determined, and I did not give up.
I didn't know it at the time, but I was developing GRIT
Grit is the determination to pursue what you believe in over the long term and to do that with perseverance. It takes tremendous courage to be gritty. You must develop unshakable confidence because honestly, it is not always glamorous. In fact, it's downright tough some days. But if you really care about what you are doing, you must figure this out.
I identified my values
Along my journey of growth, I learned, how important my family was to me. I also realized that I wasn't willing to give up my passion for my work to solely focus on family. I needed to find a way to be strong in my leadership and find some sense of balance in my life. It was that plan that kept me focused and continually moving ahead.
The difference came when I learned how to focus
My desire to honor both of my top values of family and purposeful work led me relentlessly pursue productivity and wellness. Initially, I didn't realize how tightly the concepts interweaved. I soon realized that one becomes more productive when you have a clear purpose and are healthier. Productivity isn't about getting lots done. It is about getting the right stuff done at the right time. That ability doesn't come from a time management strategies alone.
Getting clear on what is important
True productivity comes when you learn about who you really are, how you tick and even more importantly why you do what you do. That inner knowledge helps you to harness the power within you to transform your thoughts, your behaviours, your experience, and honestly, your life.
Do you want more confidence & balance?
Are you ready to feel more confident in your leadership and experience more balance between leadership and life? Are tired of feeling alone, isolated, stuck and frustrated? If so, then it's time for you to build your plan. Let me help you gain clarity on where you want to be and design your unique plan to get close that gap from where you are now to achieving that vision.
It's up to you.
You can continue on this path of frustration and unhappiness with your life, or you can start to change that today. If you choose to begin the change, you will need to do 3 things.
If you want to feel more competent, capable and sure of yourself in your leadership, you need to increase your self-confidence. To be able to bounce back time and time again, when the $#!t hits the fan, you need a system that will help you regain your confidence when you falter.
The system that powerful leaders everywhere rely on is a system that is inside of them. I call this, your Inner Guidance System. Leaders who can navigate the busy, stressful and difficult times AND come out on top, rely on something inside of them. This inner wisdom provides strength, insight, and stamina not just to survive but to thrive.
Your Internal Compass
Let me introduce you to your Inner Guidance System. Accessing this system will help you master your confidence. You’ll discover more about this in my upcoming book: Mastering Confidence: Discover Your Leadership Potential by Awakening Your Inner Guidance System. For now, though, let me give you an overview.
Your Inner Guidance System is your internal navigational structure. Think of your Inner Guidance System as your personal GPS system or as a compass. Your Inner Guidance System points you in the right direction.
Know Your Leadership Destination
But, where are you going? Yes, that is a crucial part of the equation. Leadership is about taking people someplace. It is about moving your organization from here to there. That is your vision or destination. The destination could be something like:
For you as a leader to take your team there, you need to be able to respond in a certain way, make some tough decisions and fan the flame on that dream of what is possible. With everything going on some days, that can be hard! It’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day work. One can get frustrated, overwhelmed and discouraged by the things you have to deal with.
Where many leaders find themselves in the face of all this, is:
Even the best leader, can find their confidence wavering. To combat this, one needs to have a system in place, to bounce back. A strong leader needs a system to help them regain footing, find stability and once again move forward confidently. That system is your Inner Guidance System.
Confidence comes from within
Many leaders are looking for more confidence in their leadership. Confidence comes from what you think you’re capable of. Therefore it is by activating this wise inner self that you can begin to feel more confident. By tuning into your Inner Guidance System, you find your thinking changes and thus your confidence levels increase.
Get acquainted with your inner wisdom
Your Inner Guidance System is made up of your:
When you tune into your Inner Guidance System, it helps you identify the direction you need to go as well as the action steps you need to do to get moving in that direction.
Follow the steps of your INNER GUIDANCE CYCLE
To make use of your Inner Guidance System, you need to follow the steps of the Inner Guidance CYCLE. These four steps when repeated again and again help you to make use of your internal wisdom.
The steps of the INNER GUIDANCE CYCLE
The Inner Guidance CYCLE involves four steps that I want you to master through lots of practice so that you strengthen your confidence:
When you do the steps repeatedly, they provided insights that you need to move in the direction you want to go. In the upcoming blogs and videos, I will go more in-depth into each of these steps.
Notice your THOUGHTS
To begin to get acquainted with your wise inner self, start paying attention to what is going on inside of you.
Consider what thoughts you have about situations.
Notice your FEELINGS
Identify your feelings about people, challenges or outcomes you experience.
Notice body SENSATIONS
Begin to pay attention to the sensations in your body. For example, notice when:
Tune into your INNER GUIDANCE SYSTEM
All of these, thoughts, feelings and sensations are signs your Inner Guidance System at work.
Stay tuned for the next blog, where I will walk you through the first step of the Inner Guidance CYCLE, which is the pause step. You will learn not only the value of pausing but how to do it more often.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.