Do you have simpatico?

This has been a tough week for me, as my closest male friend passed away unexpectedly. Truthfully the experience has taken me on a whirlwind of emotions. Many of them I didn’t expect to have, but each one of them had a purpose. Or, so I’ve been told by others who have had more experience with grieving.

There was one word which my friend and I discovered and agreed upon that embodied the definition of our friendship. A friendship that lasted over forty years. Some of those decades we were not as close, but the last decade made up for this. We learned to trust one another, and rely upon one another for advice and as a shoulder for support. More importantly, to celebrate the various achievements in each of our lives. The word is simpatico.

According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, the word simpatico hails from the Greek language and noun sympatheia, and which means sympathy. Three other languages (e.g., English, Italian and Spanish) adopted this word. The definition of the word simpatico is predominantly used as a descriptive word to characterize people who are well-liked or easy to get along with. The second half of the definition is what resonated with us.

Have you had the opportunity either personally or professionally to meet one or more people you have had simpatico with? If you had, I’m sure thinking about this makes your heart feel special. Consider yourself fortunate if you have had more than one person in your life that you had this type of relationship with. It’s a true gift.

Often in the work I do with people and teams, I discuss how challenging it can be for some people to get along with others. For them to figure out how to insert themselves into a conversation, into a group or perhaps what signs to look for that would signal entry points to do so.

If you have simpatico with someone, the flow of information exchange you have with them is fluid and never awkward. In fact, most conversations are exhilarating, and you can’t wait to talk to that person again. Naturally you might have variations of this experience with other people, but when you truly are able to get along with someone at the simpatico level, I treat this as a special experience worth preserving.

You have heard about the theory that animals are adept at determining when they encounter humans, how they know which ones are genuine and would be fond of them. It’s similar to having a sixth sense. Some humans have this same capacity, and sometimes the ones who have it, do not exercise it. Or, perhaps may not be attuned to knowing they do. However, most that are fortunate to have it, understand they do.

I think about having the ability to get along with others as a multi-faceted technique. Part of this has to do with picking up on others body language and knowing how to read it appropriately. Sometimes reading body language can be tricky, as people will do their best to mask emotions they might not want you to see. For example, if they are disappointed or angry with you, or someone else, they might not want to broadcast this to others. However, most of the time people do not mask their physical body emotions well.

Why don’t people mask their emotions well? One of the reasons is because your body is trying to protect you to return to a more balanced state of emotions. When our emotions are trending in a negative direction, our physical body will sometimes override the way our neuro systems want us to portray ourselves. In other words, being calm and alert. Part of this is based on a survival instinct to keep us safe.

Returning to other contributing ways people who are skilled at getting along with others is based on pure instinct, as well as some of the following contributing factors:

  • Practicing how to get along with others is a real thing. Those who have mastered it may have had an early advantage of being able to know how to do so instinctively, but they have also put an effort into becoming good at it.
  • Honing one’s communication skills is critical to being able to get along with others. What do you do on a regular basis to increase your skills in this area?
  • Not everyone is as empathetic as you might want them to be. However, you can also practice trying to be more empathetic. In fact, there are companies who have developed software to teach nurses how to become more sympathetic. This is done using artificial intelligence avatars which allow them to practice this skill, and be rated on how well they are achieving being sympathetic, or empathetic.
  • Consider the last time you did something nice for someone. Committing to doing one nice thing for someone else on a daily basis will contribute to increasing both your karma bank account, but genuinely make the recipient feel special.
  • People who have an ability to bring joy into others lives also score points in the area of skill which factors into how they are able to get along well with others. Bringing joy to others could be in the form of making them laugh, simply being polite and showing them respect, and sharing skills you have with them and teaching them about the skill you have (e.g., how to sing, draw, perform complex data analysis).

I have been told that as time passes by, the sting of my heart being broken will subside. However, I understand I can take comfort in knowing I was fortunate to have known someone that I was able to experience simpatico with. In fact, this will be a sustainable tribute to this person. This is the greatest legacy from our friendship which will help me to get through my moments of sadness. May you someday have a friend in your life that you have simpatico with too.

#Life #Grief #Grieving #Simpatico #Friendship

Inspiring others. Do you?

When the majority of people are considering early on in their life what type of career to pursue, they are not likely thinking about going into a profession which inspires people. In other words, most people factor in what they like to do, are good at, and whether this option can provide them with a salary they can afford to live on. These are highly practical aspects for consideration, but are they enough?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of being practical and realistic. However, I also know that there is another way of looking at what some might not consider as a typical approach when they are either selecting which career they want to pursue, or perhaps to pivot to. It involves factoring in both motivation and skills that you may or may not have. I’m talking about your ability to positively influence and impact others.

Not everyone has the skillset to inspire others, but you know when you are in the presence of someone who does. You can feel a certain type of energy which they exude, and it’s genuine. A type of genuineness that you want to experience more of, but may not be able to explain why. It’s what the French culture expression “je ne said quoi” so perfectly captures. Meaning that person has “a quality that cannot be described or named easily.”

Are you someone who has been told that you inspire others? Perhaps by what you do, or say? If you have heard this more than a few times, take this as a strong hint that you have the ability to inspire others. Is this a skill which can be acquired? Possibly, but I believe and via my experience would argue this is an innate characteristic you either have, or don’t. Consider other talents you have. Does everyone else have them? Probably not.

If inspiring others is one of your aspirations, think about whether what you do either professionally or personally can tick of the box of accomplishing this. It might be a stretch for some people to realistically be able to say they can or actually do this. However, if someone is motivated to do so, I’m going to fully support this desire.

Given the world we live in currently, I don’t think anyone would say we have an overabundance of people who inspire us on a daily basis. If you do, please let me know, as more people need to know about who and where they are.

Let’s go back to the original question I posed about what if your job was to inspire others. What if you were struggling with doing this? Would you ask for assistance, or perhaps if possible, would you turn over this part of your responsibility over to someone else?  For the sake of conversation, assume this is a possibility. Also assume you were able to identify someone who could help you to do this. Would you be able to do so, and to factor in the importance of doing this for the greater benefit of others? Granted, this isn’t going to be easy to do, but it will be in the best interest of others for them to be able to have access to someone who can inspire them. Think of it this way. If someone needed oxygen, and you were not able to provide this to them, wouldn’t it be best to find someone who could?

Having the ability to inspire others is a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. If you have the characteristics to do this, it’s a talent which should be shared with others. So, what are some of the characteristics of those who inspire others? One of them is having a high emotional level of intelligence, or what is referred to as EQ. This is a talent you are born with, and allows you to have amazing clarity on how to instinctively interact extremely well with others. You have the ability to read them and quickly deduce the ideal way to engage with them.

Some of the other characteristics that people who have the ability to inspire others are that they are humble, genuine, friendly, and possess an ease of interacting with the majority of people they encounter. They also are able to have a positive impact on getting others to potentially do the “right thing”, or to also want to help others, and not be as self-absorbed in their thinking and actions. Having a higher level of energy is also a characteristic many people who inspire others possess.

If you have some, all or more characteristics which would be associated with someone who has the ability to inspire others, here are some ways for you to consider putting your inspirational talents into action.

  • Do you have a particular talent that others may not have, but yet could be beneficial in sharing it with others? Perhaps teaching others about this talent you possess? If you do, look for opportunities to share your talent.
  • Have you overcome either a common or less common situation which others can relate to, and they have not figured out a way to get through yet (e.g., losing a job, divorce, surviving an illness)?
  • Is your type of inspiration the type that can be shared with a small or large amount of people? Not everyone’s type of inspiration is suited to a large audience. Although it might be.
  • Factor in your inspiration “delivery method”. Is your type of inspiration that lends itself to capturing it on video (e.g., singing, talking, performing an act)? Or, perhaps your inspiration lends itself to the written format.  Choose a delivery format which will work best for you, and that you are the most comfortable with.
  • Not everyone who is inspirational is an extrovert. If you are not an extrovert, look for ways to become more comfortable with engaging with others to share your inspiration.
  • If you have been told by someone you inspire them, and you don’t fully understand how you do, ask them to clarify this for you. You will want to gain insight into how, when and why you inspire others. Knowing this will help you to continue to inspire more people.

Having the ability to inspire others is a gift. If you have this ability, please share your gift with others. We need more people in our world to inspire us.

TAGS: #Inspiration #Inspiringothers #Leadership #Business #Teams #Emotionalintelligence #Strategy #Mindset #Talent  #Talentdevelopment #Motivation #Inspiration #Management

Who’s your CEO mentor?

Chief Executive Officers play a number of different roles in an organization. One of them may not be formally factored into their role, or exercised as often as it should be. I’m talking about the importance of being someone’s mentor. Yes, you, and yes, I realize you are busy. However, whether you realize it or not, or if you have not mentored someone in a while, perhaps you forgot about the fact you might get more out of this experience than the person you are mentoring.

I’m referring to the number one benefit of being able to assist and provide insightful guidance and direction to your mentee. Potentially in an entirely different manner than you would to your direct staff, and also those you lead on a daily basis in your CEO role.

Of course, I realize that CEO’s schedules are some of the most difficult to find an opening on, but without exception, it will be non-negotiable for you to find time each week on your schedule for the person or the individual’s you will be mentoring. I say will be mentoring, because after reading this article, either you, or someone who would like to be mentored by you will be connecting with one another.

As someone who naturally enjoys mentoring others, I can appreciate not everyone might be comfortable taking on the responsibility to do this. However, if you are the CEO, or in a leadership role, I need to remind you that you have a perhaps unwritten obligation to impart and share your experience with others. Possibly even unconventional mentees, such as ones who are at the very beginning of their careers. Or, perhaps in an entirely different industry. It’s also probable, you might find yourself mentoring a newly minted CEO. They certainly would benefit from your experience.

So, is there a particular method for finding a mentee or CEO mentor? Not really, as there are numerous approaches someone could take to find one or the other. For example, asking people in your network if they could connect you to their CEO would be one way to get started. In fact, it might be easier to ask a CEO to mentor you, than a CEO to approach you to ask if you would like to be mentored by them.

I consider it one of the highest honors when someone asks me to be their mentor. I also take full responsibility for being completely engaged and willing to be vulnerable with sharing what I have learned with the people I have, and am currently mentoring. Although it may be uncomfortable, no topic is off limits to those I am mentoring. Of course, not everyone might subscribe to this level of openness, but I consider it to be one of my signature mentoring style characteristics.

Since I am the type of person who is very comfortable with ambiguity, I also can appreciate that others may not be. Don’t get me wrong, I also like a certain amount of structure, but I also have a high level of flexibility which affords me being able to have a less structured mentoring approach. Some might call it casual, but I think of it as being authentic, and it supports my level of how I enjoy interacting with others. Especially those I am mentoring.

If you were to dissect my career, one of your findings would be that the greatest joy I have found in leading others was to be looked at as someone they could trust, want to follow and most importantly learn from and model their professional behavior after. Some of my greatest and most precious memories come from when I helped someone I was mentoring, and when they have what I’ll call a “light-bulb” moment. In other words, by working together, my mentee reaches a moment in time when they are able to figure out and learn from me, but are able to customize what they have learned, and apply it to their respective situation they are working on.

Given the fact most CEO’s reading this article will not likely, or in general reach out to a mentee, I ask you to consider doing the following:

  • Please be open to a request or multiple ones from people who might want to be mentored by you.
  • You clearly establish what the guidelines entail for being mentored by you.
  • Determine what aspects of your experiences are going to be the most impactful for the person or people you are mentoring.
  • Considering you are likely goal oriented, factor in what the goal or goals will be for your mentee. Please keep in mind that some mentees may be part of your mentoring experience for various lengths of time. Some may in fact be mentored by you for years, while others might only require a short mentoring stint with you.
  • Mentoring someone is both an honor and privilege, and realistically, someone either formally or informally mentored you. If they didn’t, consider yourself to be fortunate to have arrived in your role without the enormous benefits mentoring can provide someone.

If you are wondering how to approach a CEO to mentor you, one of my earlier suggestions was to ask someone who might know a CEO if they would introduce you to them. If you do not know anyone who knows a CEO, here are some possible ways of finding and reaching out to one.

  • Factor in whether you will gain more benefit from a CEO who is at a small company, mid-size one, or at a large enterprise.
  • Determine if you would benefit more from someone who is in your industry, or whether there would potentially be more to learn from someone outside of it.
  • Is the geographic location of where the CEO is a factor? Will you have difficulties due to drastic time zone differences, or perhaps cultural ones depending on which country you each live in?  
  • Does it matter how much CEO experience they have to you?
  • Would it matter if the CEO is a male or a female?
  • With the basic considerations behind you, you can begin your CEO mentor research on-line. Most of you reading this are on LinkedIn, but if you are not, I highly recommend you start there.
  • Depending on how many people you have in your LinkedIn network, may hinder or support your quest to find your CEO mentor. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t have many people in your network. Chances are good someone in it has access to at least one CEO. Begin there, and first ask for an introduction to your connection who knows this person.
  • Once you have identified which CEO’s you want to approach to mentor you; please limit it to one or two, and then craft your note to ask them if they would consider mentoring you.
  • Make sure your mentoring inquiry note to the CEO is well thought through in terms of your ask. One of the main things to focus on is your “why” you would like to be mentored by them.
  • Also factor in what you may have to offer the CEO. If you are considerably younger, or perhaps in a different industry or geography, think about the unique perspectives you could offer them based on your generational and current industry or location experience.
  • When the CEO agrees to mentor you, and you embark upon your mentoring journey, keep in mind to be both authentic and respectful of the opportunity to engage and learn from one another.
  • Please leave your biases and pre-conceived notions about one another at the door. I guarantee you will be surprised by each other’s knowledge.

Although mentoring is often considered a one-way situation, it should be a bi-directional learning opportunity for both the mentor and mentee. Not all of the time, but as often as possible, as we can always learn someone from another person. Enjoy the journey as both a mentor and mentee.

Tags: #Leadership #Mentoring #Business #Howtofindamentor #CEOMentors #CEOsthatMentor #WhyallCEOsShouldbeMentors #Teams #Management #PersonalDevelopment #ProfessionalDevelopment #Peopledevelopment #Humandevelopment #FindingaCEOtoMentorYou

Pivoting – When is the right time?

Let’s agree on one thing. There is no such thing as true perfection. If there was, then why haven’t more people attained it in every area of their life that matters to them? Sure, we have all seen examples of what would be considered nearly perfect, but at the end of the day, everyone will likely have a different definition of what this really means. So, as a foundation for agreement, let’s begin by starting out with agreeing that perfection is subjective.

When I was considering what to write about today, I thought about how many people recently are referring to themselves professionally as transformation experts. Without exploring their credentials, I would venture to guess that most of these people have been through an experience which impacted them significantly. Hopefully it was a positive one, but I’m certain many of them were not. I also hope they have the right credentials to help others with the transformation they are promising.  

Regardless of your age, I guarantee everyone reading this has had a minimum of one transformational experience. The kind of experience which has shaped your thinking, and perhaps your actions. As you pause to consider what would be the major experience in your life that was transformative, have you factored in how it has impacted your profession, how you live your life, or the relationships you have? Or, have you thought about whether the experience either strengthened, weakened or significantly altered your personal or professional goals?

Chances are in your favor that the transformative experience you had impacted a part of your life that made you reflect upon why it happened to you. Depending on the level of the positive or negative influence the experience had on you will impact the length of time it will take to process what happened. If it was a positive experience, it will be easier to have a clearer appreciation of how to benefit from what happened. Conversely, if the situation was a negative one, and you experienced any type of trauma, the timeline for being able to have clarity on seeing any positive outcome will take appreciably much longer.

In either scenario of experiencing any type of transformation, the end point will result in you coming to terms with which way to pivot directionally forward. Unfortunately, some people will become what I call “stuck”. Perhaps they will need professional help to move forward, but this isn’t always necessarily. However, it is perfectly acceptable to seek help if you are not able to get past the experience you had. Even if it was a positive one, there are people who still get stuck with not knowing how to leverage and benefit from the pivot they can and should be making.

Personally, I had not thought about the term pivot until I was decades into my career. Had I done so, it would have prevented many sleepless nights agonizing over how to deal with, and make the best of either a bad, or good situation. Luckily, since I began to embrace pivoting as my new way of being able to move forward with greater ease, it has opened up possibilities I would never have considered. For example, I would not be writing about this topic right now, if I had not been encouraged to take my professional experience and share it with others via a much broader platform. In other words, I’m referring to the teams I was leading, and the people I was mentoring on a consistent basis over the years who were in a closed environment, on a smaller platform, yet benefiting from my pivoting experiences.

There are numerous benefits to embracing the concept of pivoting and the way you currently look at your life personally or professionally. If you are wondering how to go about testing out pivoting in your life, below are some potential ways to get you started on becoming more comfortable doing so.

  • Ask yourself if you truly enjoy being “stuck”, and not making forward progress?
  • Is there someone in your life who is holding you back from being able to pivot and move forward? Realistically, you are likely the only one holding yourself back.
  • Think about a time you were able to benefit from pivoting your thinking. What was the outcome, and would you do this over again?
  • Consider a current experience you have had which you have not pivoted from. Now think about whether your pro and con list is going to be longer when you take the time to write this out. When you see your pro list, it will likely be longer than your con list. Commit to putting a plan together to begin pivoting forward to make the pros on your list a reality.
  • Can you honestly admit there is never a good time to pivot? Challenge your own thinking on this. It might be difficult, but the first step is to attempt to look at your scenario via a different lens. When you do this, you will begin to see new ways you will be able to benefit from moving forward, or in a better direction.

I can assure you I have always benefitted from the concept of pivoting, and each time I have done so, it has been easier to accomplish. The expression “we can be our own worst enemies” is something I think about when I’m tempted not to pivot. Each time I consider this, it eases my mind into thinking about possibilities versus remaining in a place I would rather not be. I hope my suggestions will allow you to benefit from adding pivoting as a strategy to continue to benefit from both your negative and positive experiences.

TAGS: #Vulnerability #Pivoting #Benefitsofpivoting #Mindset #Leadership #Management #Success #Teams #Movingforward #Strategy #Openmind #Beingopenminded #Transformation #Motivation

Are you thinking for yourself?

Many of us like to think of ourselves as being independent. Independent in our actions, spoken and written words as well as our thoughts. Attaining a level of independence is certainly a goal many of us have. Although getting there will require you to ultimately do something you may not be prepared to do, or well prepared for. Making decisions on your own.

When we are growing up, we need to heavily rely upon others with our decision making. Namely because we do not have enough experience to consider the potential consequences of certain decision paths. More importantly their outcomes.

Regardless of your age, think back to when you realized you were both old enough and capable enough to make a decision without having to consult with everyone around you. Everyone will have a different response. In fact, some people’s attainment might be decades apart from one another. It’s also possible, you might not have reached this level yet. Although you or others would expect you have done so. It’s OK if you are not there yet, as there are likely contributing factors as to why you have not arrived.

Seeking other people’s opinions, advice or direction is something everyone does. There are also times in our life when we should be doing this, and other times when we ourselves will have to be the one we consult with.

When we achieve the point of being able to rely upon our own judgement, sans others weighing in, consider yourself arriving at a place in life that many people struggle to get to. This applies to both work and our personal life. In fact, most of our life decisions will be far more difficult to make than our workplace ones. This is typically due to the fact there are more emotions tied into them.

Leaders of both workplace and sports teams (e.g., coaches) are accustomed to making decisions with others involved. Often, they need a consensus of opinions to make sure their final decision will serve the majority of the people impacted by the decision in a positive manner. Not always, as they too will need to make difficult, gut wrenching decisions that will negatively impact others. Naturally, no one wants to be in the position of doing this, but their role requires them to own the responsibility for doing so.

Upon considering this topic, I thought about how do people learn to become better at, and ultimately able to completely make independent decisions? If I was asked to come up with a word to do this, it would be experience. It’s unavoidable to think you can attain being able to think independently without this. The conundrum for some, and those who have struggled to get to the point where they are, and without having achieved being able to think for themselves can be altered. If they want it to be.

Let’s say you or someone you know is in need of being able to think for themselves. Even at the most basic level. Ultimately at the critical thinking level. There are steps they will need to take in order to reach this achievement, and they will need to be willing to put in the effort to get there. If they are not, they will remain in their purgatory of always relying on others to assist them with all of their decision making.

So, if you want to begin your journey of being able to think for yourself, or help someone else do this, below are some suggestions I have for you to consider.

  • What is your favorite color? I’m sure you were able to answer this without consulting with someone. Ultimately you want to be able to reach a point where you won’t have to consult with someone with more difficult decisions to make.
  • Think of your favorite hobby you do when you have spare time. One that is family friendly. How did you determine this hobby was something you enjoyed doing? It was likely introduced or suggested to you at some point. Then you determined you made this decision to continue doing it. Perhaps because it provided you with some type of benefit (e.g., it was relaxing, artistic, helped someone else).
  • We all make numerous decisions on a daily basis. Try challenging yourself to see if you can make half of your decisions without consulting someone else on them. Ultimately work up to one hundred percent over a self-determined time line.
  • Consider a difficult decision you recently made, and that you conferred with someone about. Could you have made the decision without them? If not, what were the factors that contributed to you needing input from this person?
  • Are you challenging yourself or not challenging yourself enough to create opportunities for you to practice independent decision making? If you do not have enough challenging opportunities, is it due to a factor you have stopped to think about why this is the case? For many, it’s fear of failure. Or, ironically, perhaps fear of succeeding.

Eventually everyone will reach the point of being able to think for themselves. Especially if they are aware of this as a goal they wish to attain. Even if it is much later in your life than you think it should be.

We all reach different achievement milestones at the time which serves us best, and based on our life experiences which contribute to them. My hope is that you will reach this goal if you desire to do so. If not, that’s your decision. However, I will tell you, your career and life can be extraordinarily more rewarding when you reach this achievement.

Tags: #Business #Critical Thinking #Decision Making #Success #Work #Thinking for yourself #Independent thinking