Do you secretly love getting gifts as much as I do? Just little things, like a note from my granddaughter, a book from a friend or flowers from my daughter. These are little surprises that warm my heart.
I received a special gift!
You can then see how, when my boss showed up one day at my office with a gift for me, I was a little excited. I always felt like he didn't really appreciate me or notice me. To get a gift perhaps meant I'd done something worthy of standing out
You can imagine my surprise when I reached into the gift bag and felt....Ooooh, perhaps a mug! Oh, I do love mugs The excitement was building, although I tried to temper it. One shouldn't seem too eager right?
I pulled off the tissue paper and discovered it was indeed a mug. However, the smile of anticipation quickly slid off my face. I tried to smile, but I'm sure it was clear that the gift hurt my feelings.
Would this gift annoy you?
The inscription on the mug read: Pessimists Mug on one side. The opposite side had a line indicating "The glass is half empty now."
That mug sat on my bookshelf for a long time. It annoyed the crap out of me each time I looked at it I DID NOT want to be seen as a pessimist: A person who habitually sees or anticipates the worst or is disposed to be gloomy. The last thing I wanted was to be considered the team party pooper!
I set out to change that.
In my journal a short time later I wrote:
It must have worked because fast forward a couple of years, and that same boss didn't say I was optimistic, but he did write this about me:
Which way do you see me?
Fast forward a few more years...this week to be precise and our annual awards banquet at Toastmasters. I received an award for “Enduring Optimism” Yeah! THAT is the impact I want to have on others.
None of this happened by accident. I created a plan. I began reading books that helped with my attitude, outlook and view of myself and the world. I took training that helped me see problems from new perspectives. I journaled and started a gratitude practice.
I became Response-ABLE!
What is holding you back?
What have you been waiting for? Someone to give you permission, or pay for your training? Have you been waiting for the right time? You need to stop waiting and become response-able! You can respond and change what you don't like about yourself, your work or your world. You must decide though and begin taking steps.
I set out to change myself in many ways. I completed my degree, lost weight and developed leadership skills. But the thing I am most proud of is becoming the TYPE of person I want to be. I want to be a positive influence in the world, in your life and in mine. That started when I decided to work on my character traits. It's a journey I continue to this day.
Do want to work on your character traits as well?
To understand more about character development and how you can shape yours read this blog and watch this interview series from other women leader's who are working at it as well!
You must do the inner work! That is truly what will make a difference in your life and your leadership!
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!
What goals have you set for this year?
I'm doing a mini survey to see what kinds of goals women leaders set for themselves both at work and in their personal lives. I'm curious about yours. Message me and share your goals with me.
What plan do you have for achieving those goals?
Now onto your plan for achieving your goals. Wait...let me back up. You do have goals right? I am not talking about random, vague New Years Resolutions such as I'm going to be healthier this year or I'm going to be a nicer person. I am talking about specific goals.
Are you the type that doesn't set goals? Think again!
We all need goals. It is when we have goals and targets that we perform at our best. You know this simply by thinking about how good you are at getting something done at the "11th hour."
And...Do you have a plan to go with your goal?
Targets and goals are critical, but your goals are dead in the water if you don't have a strategic plan for how you will achieve them.
If you don't know that you will head to the gym at 5:30 on Mon - Wed - Fri.,
how do you know you will fit into that dress?
You need an implementation plan...
When the clock strikes 5 pm, I will pack up my stuff, leave the office and head to the gym.
You need a strategy to help you implement your plan
An implementation plan is how you will establish the habit of working out...which performed consistently over time, regardless of your workload or how motivated you feel...is what will allow you to achieve your goal. It's the small daily habits that help you to achieve your goals.
It is the plan and your strategy that will allow you to establish those habits!
Do your goals include becoming a stronger leader?
If your goal is to become a stronger, more confident and capable leader, how will you achieve that goal?
The book that will help you and me kick butt on our goals this year!
If you have been following my logic here, you realize that one of the things you need to focus on is building good habits. Habits are the bricks that when compounded over time allow you to achieve your goal.
I'd love to hear about your goals for 2019 and when you start to read Atomic Habits, let me know how you are applying the ideas!
Here's to an amazing 2019! ??
As we move into a new year, many of us are setting goals and trying to figure out how to make them stick. Let’s be honest. They won’t. 80 - 90 % of New Year’s resolutions fail.
Do you know why? It’s because you are focused on the goal, not the system you need to achieve those goals.
Keep reading to find out how to make sure you are one of the 10% who is successful this year!
The goal to lose weight was the same goal for the lady who did it and the one who didn’t. The difference was that one lady made a HABIT of eating healthy and created a SYSTEM for making sure she exercised several times a week.
It has nothing to do with the goal you set. It’s how much you focus on HOW you will reach that goal. It’s all about routines, habits, systems and having the self-discipline to follow through on the routines, habits and system.
The first thing you need to look at is WHY you want to achieve this goal.
That comes down to your values. If you want to get to inbox zero by the end of each week, that might be because you believe it’s respectful to reply to people within a reasonable time. It could be about efficiency or productivity. It may also be connected to wellness.
If you haven’t defined and made sense of what your values mean to you, it’s hard to stick to your goals. Losing weight may be about fitting into that dress before the wedding, it could also be about preventing diabetes that runs in your family.
To help you develop the habits, systems and routines to meet your goals as well as the self-discipline to follow through, I’ve attached some of my favourite books. These will help you get clear and develop that ability to achieve your goals this year!
What do you want more of? As we start to contemplate the coming year, set goals and make New Years Resolutions, you've probably thought about more of something. If you want greater success at achieving that this year, try doing the following before the end of the year to get MORE!
What do you want MORE of?
Why do you want more?
Perhaps a better question is WHY? Why do you want more of that? Why does that matter that you have more of that?
More Health? WHY?
If you want to be healthier in 2019, consider for a minute why you want to be healthier.
Your why is connected to your values
The reason behind why you want to achieve something is that it's important to you. You value it. You may value your health, your relationship with your kids or your grandchildren or you may value self-compassion and are finding you haven't been too kind to your physical well-being lately.
Regardless of what you will set for New Years Resolutions or goals, knowing WHY those are important to you will help you be much more successful.
Let me show you how it works:
Here are some goals I've had over the last few years.
My top value is Excellence. I used to think that meant good grades and being the best, smartest or quickest. Exploring my values has helped me to understand how the value of excellence shows up in my life and how it can help me to achieve my goals. Here is how I define my value of excellence:
When I have done the work to get clear on my core values, I can then be better able to set goals for 2019 that will stick.
What does this mean for you?
Here's what you need to do:
If you need help with identifying, defining and clarifying your values, grab the Values Verification course today. Schedule in a couple of hours to work on it in the next few days. Then, use your new understanding of your values to set goals for 2019!
Whether you do this on your own, or with the help of the Values Verification course, I'd love to hear how you are using your values to set goals for 2019! Shoot me an email and tell me what you've learned about how to make 2019 goals that stick!
I know I'll be looking at where I can excel next...I suspect that will be in The Training Library as I strive to give you my best, so you can be your best in both leadership and in life!
DON'T MISS THIS DEAL!
Two years ago, I was crying at the beginning of December because it was time to write my Christmas newsletter and I couldn't find it in me to do. Try as I might, I couldn't get into it. I was already feeling the Christmas Blues start to wash over me, that just made it 10 times worse.
Have you felt you've been "failing" at Christmas? Keep reading to switch that feeling up fast!
Have you felt you've been "failing" at Christmas?
The year before I'd sent out my letter during the week after Christmas. I didn't want to do that again. I was feeling like I was "failing at Christmas." Maybe you've felt you've been failing at Christmas too!
When I feel that sense of failure or inadequacy hit me, I turn to self-reflection. What the heck is going on Kathy?
This is how I deal with the "ugh" feelings
I did what I always do when I'm struggling and can't find a way out. I journaled about it. Not just once, but for several days. After some deep soul searching, I finally gave myself permission to stop writing a Christmas letter. What a relief!
That decision took a huge weight off of my shoulders! Following that, I made a few other decisions:
It took away my Christmas blues!
Since that first decision and subsequent others, I've found that Christmas feels less heavy, in fact, maybe not heavy at all...perhaps even joyous!
I don't know if you can read between the lines, or perhaps are seeing some parallels in your life, but more than finding "the meaning of Christmas" I found my values.
I was wrong about my top value
I used to think family was my top value. It's not.
So what has?
Values are not just words...they have meaning
Let me back up a minute and tell you about values. We often think of values as words. I value my family. Honesty is important to me. I place a high value on security, respect, fun etc. The list goes on. But what do those words MEAN to you?
An example of how you might define your values
Let's look at security for a minute:
Can you explain what your values mean to you?
You must define what your value means to you. That means understanding how your values show up in your life. You need to know when you are aligned or not aligned with your values. Then, you also need to know what will get you back into alignment. Because see, it's when you are not aligned with your values that you feel crappy.
Back to my story!
My top value:
As I've explored my values over the last few years, I've come to realize that my top value is not family as I indicated earlier, although I was sure it was! Instead, my top value is excellence.
Here's the thing, when I was trying to "do it all" I was excelling at nothing! My physical health deteriorated almost as quickly as did my mental health. I was short with people because of the pressures I placed on myself. However, when I cleared the clutter of everything I was doing, I could focus on being my best; as a mom, wife, daughter and in my work for you and in my service in my community. The ugh is gone, because I am now aligned with my value of excellence!
What this means for you
As you finish this year off and begin 2019, I encourage you to do the work of exploring your values. Not 3 words on a paper, but paragraphs and bullet points and lists. This exploration needs to include feelings and body sensations. When do you know that you are out of alignment with your values and what actions or in inactions will bring you back?
I don't have time to tell you how this corresponds to your leadership, but let me tell you the brief version: HUGELY! More on that in the New Year!
When you do this work, you'll spend more of your life living from your values and more of your life feeling the inner peace and joy from knowing you are honouring what is truly important to you!
I'll be writing 2 or 3 meaningful letters to meaningful individuals in my life after Christmas...that feels excellent to me!
Have a very Merry Christmas my dear! I hope you find time for yourself to be your best!
You know you need to make changes.
But OMG why is it so hard? ?
It’s harder than it needs to be because you may not have the right mindset.
Do you want to get in the right frame of mind? ✅
Join me in this training and you’ll learn what the right frame of mind is and how to get your brain on track!
Watch this video on YOUTUBE
LINKS FROM TODAY’S SESSION
Grab this week’s Guide sheets:
Join the CONFIDENT WOMEN LEADERS COMMUNITY here:
Find MY BOOK - Mastering Confidence: Discover your leadership potential by awakening your inner guidance system
Do you have a meeting coming up that is worrying you? Maybe you are not exactly worried about the meeting, but more about your ability to handle the meeting?
Perhaps you are worried you'll be anything BUT calm, cool and collected in that meeting later today. What you really want is to learn how to stay composed during that meeting.
In this blog, you'll learn a 3 step strategy for staying composed!
Once upon a time
Once upon a time, I had a meeting with my administrative support. We were meeting to clarify roles: What was her job and what was mine. Things had gotten a little murky around who was making what decisions. I felt like I was losing control.
She had started making more and more decisions that were, in my mind, not hers to make. Being young and new to the role, I was feeling threatened. So, I decided to meet with her, put my foot down and set some clear distinctions about who did what.
Can you guess how that meeting went?
Well, let's put it this way. I still vividly remember it today.
Within a few minutes, she'd questioned my authority. Or at least I felt like she did. I got defensive. (You know where this is going, don't you?) The conversation became heated. I got angry. And yes, it ended in me yelling at her. The whole office heard, not just the sound of angry voices, but every word I said to her. I totally lost my composure.
I wish I could say that was the only time I've lost control of my emotions and my behavior. Sadly, that's not the case. In truth, we all struggle to stay composed at times.
Loss of composure = Shame
Here's the thing. When we lose our composure, do you know what we feel? Shame. Think of times when you might have felt shame:
Do you feel ashamed when you lose your composure?
Shame is not a feel-good word. But shame is what we often feel when we lose our composure.
A trick to getting out of the shame
Shame storms, as Brene Brown calls them, can send us spiralling out of control! One of Brene's recommendations to deal with shame is to identify your triggers. Knowing what might set you off, can help you play offence instead of defence!
DO THIS: Think about your meeting today. What might trigger you?
For me, in that conversation with my administrative support, the trigger was incompetence. At that point in my career, I was new to leadership. I had a serious case of imposter syndrome.
Here's what I believed:
√ If I had known that was my trigger, I could have prepared for it and been able to stay composed!
The 3 step strategy for staying composed!
If you want to learn a system for identifying triggers and learning how to manage your emotions when you get triggered, you can take training on this in my membership site: The Training Library. There is a specific training called: Staying Composed During Meetings, Conversations & Challenging Times. Find out more here.
You have a job to do. A job I know you love. Don't let your emotions get the better of you and keep you from making your difference in the world!
Do you want to learn to see possibilities where others don't? You become that type of leader when you cultivate the character traits associated with the virtue of transcendence.
LINKS FROM TODAY’S SESSION
Your job as a leader is to do more than survive each day. I know, that sounds crazy. You're probably saying, Kathy, my only goal is to get through today! My guess is you get up many mornings and say a little prayer: "God, just get me through this day, this meeting, this trip...."
You were not meant just to survive leadership and life. You ARE meant to thrive!
Yes, some days will be tough, in fact, many days will be difficult, stressful and downright ugly! I am sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but that's part of life. Struggle, suffering and stress will never go away. What you can change, is how you interact with struggle, suffering and stress.
We need to relax, renew and recharge
See, here's the thing. Good times, easy days and carefree moments don't develop you. The relax, renew and recharge you. They are necessary, but they don't develop you. We need to grow and develop:Think of a diamond. It comes into being because of the pressure it experiences.The same is true with a pearl. It is the constant friction that polishes it. The pressure you are under, the constant friction you experience, is what is creating you...your character.
We need to focus on who we are and who we are becoming:
It is how you choose to respond (not react) to struggle, suffering and stress that creates both:
It's all about ....growing your character
When you move into thriving, you are consciously developing (rather than leaving it up to chance) your character. Character development (yours) is the subject of the book I am working on. This quick overview of the book will give you a head start on developing your character.
Steps for developing your character.
You don't have just to survive every day my dear! You can thrive in both your leadership and your life! You get to choose! What choice do you make today? If you want to discover how other women are doing this, listen into this video series about cultivating your character. 6 women, talk about what it's like to cultivate character as a woman leader. You'll find so much value and practical advice. Tune in here the Cultivating Your Character Video Series
Available on Amazon
Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.