Need a crystal ball?

Many people right now are more focused on the future than they have been. For some, the future always seemed to present a clear path forward. However, right now, we are living at a time when at best, our current future is in a state of limbo, or perhaps as clear as mud.

Uncertainty can evoke a heightened sense of anxiety, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, the present time with our future outlook in the state it is presents us with an opportunity. An opportunity to reframe, reconsider and reimagine how we would like our future to be shaped. The fact most people in the US are in some form quarantine right now, allows us to have contemplative time we do not ordinarily have.

I have always been fascinated with people who are classified as futurists, as they mesmerize me with the way they describe the “what if” or “what could be” happening in the future.  I’m not a futurist, but have been often classified as a “creative” or “muse”. Coming from a lineage of inventors and creatives in my family, I am using the downtime I have now to retool a number of things in my life. I consider this time a great gift, and one that I encourage others to perceive as well.

Yes, many people right now are clearly suffering. Statistically around twenty-five percent of our country has lost their job. Neither of these are experiences people normally want to have. However, having a different perspective on what is happening to all of us collectively right now, as a society is one of the gifts this time period is bestowing upon us.

It’s easy to be negative during times of despair. However, this is precisely the time when we all need to dig a little deeper, with the intent of finding the “silver lining” we can all benefit from seeing.

If you are struggling to imagine how your life could be better right now, given the fact you might be in a situation you never imagined being in, here are some suggestions on how to take back some control in your life.

  • Although most of us are not allowed to go anywhere except for the grocery store and pharmacy, it doesn’t mean we can’t go anywhere. Or, perhaps not physically. However, it does mean if you have internet access, there are amazing websites that offer ways for you to experience virtually what they have to offer. As an example, here is a link to twelve virtual museum tours https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours
  • I don’t have any musical talent, but many people do. If you do, consider sharing your gift of being musical with others by inviting them to a virtual “concert”. Starring you! Don’t forget to invite me please.
  • A number of people have talents that lend themselves well to sharing with others (e.g., drawing, painting, DJing, cooking, sewing, code writing, wood working, sculpting, physical fitness instruction, repairing things). This list could be an enormous one, so I’m asking you to consider how you can share your talents with others. Although I don’t consider my writing to be a special talent, I do consider it something I can at least share with others.
  • Many people are living alone right now. Consider giving them a call, or perhaps Zooming with them for a virtual chat to engage with them socially. Both parties will gain enormous benefit from this. Make a list of people you can queue up with each week to do this, and consider doing this even when we are not quarantined.
  • If you are someone who has been called a “futurist”, consider sharing your outlook with the rest of us who would love to hear about how you are perceiving our future to be shaping up.
  • If you are not an organized person, this is the perfect time to take back some control in your life. I literally started with the top drawer in my bedroom dresser. I liked the results so much, that I continued to organize the rest of my drawers. Now I love opening up the drawers and seeing how organized everything looks!
  • Reach out to people on LinkedIn, or in any of your social networks that you have always wanted to reach out to. It could be for the purposes of learning more about the career they are in, or to plant the seed to connect again with them once our world gets back to our “new normal”, and we are all back at work.
  • Although you may have lost your job, there are still many people who are working. Ask them how you can help them and offer to do something for them with the extra time you have, especially people working on the “front lines” of our pandemic. It could be offering to go shopping for them, walk their dog or make something for them.
  • Think about your future differently. You have the time to do that right now. Write down, draw or talk to someone about how you would like to reshape or head the direction of your future in. You have nothing to lose doing this, and possibly everything to gain.
  • Take time to let others in your life know that you appreciate them. Write them a note, tell them, send them a video expressing how you feel positively about them. Yes, they will appreciate you doing this, and you could start a positive chain reaction and be the example for others to do this too.

We can all use a dose of positivity in our lives right now. Despite the fact many people’s circumstances may appear to be bleak, I can assure you this situation is only temporary, and we will at some point be back to a place where this time is a distant memory. Make the best use of the time you have right now. I know I’m trying to do so, so please join me in doing that too.  

 Tags: #pandemic #optimism #inspiration #business #hope #motivation #leadership #quarantined #imagination #future #crystalball

How are your people management skills?

Thinking back to the first time I was responsible for managing someone, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of being the best boss possible boss I could be. This of course was despite my limited experience in this area. However, when I factored in thinking about the myriad of opportunities to practice managing someone, while being the boss, it became less of an intimidating situation. Perhaps for both of us.

Fast forward in time close to thirty years since having first managed the person I was referring to. The fact I recently heard from this person after three decades was an incredible moment, and not one I expected to occur. What was even more surprising was the fact this person sent me a thank you note for being their boss! It goes to show you there is no time limit on thanking someone, and this is a topic I have previously written about.

In the note from the person I first managed, they shared with me that I was a highly supportive and nurturing boss, and that they were surprised I took a chance on hiring them. They also commented on how hiring them changed their life, and influenced the career direction they ended up pursuing. I never knew any of these facts until recently. My point is that even when I was a freshly minted boss, it was possible to have a positive impact on managing someone and their career.

Until I received the email via a LinkedIn message from this person, I had not considered how early in my career my people management skills would continue to be an asset to both me, and the people I have had the responsibility and honor of managing. Being completely honest, there were times when I recall managing this person that I was unsure of whether I was able to properly guide them. However, each time I felt that way, I had a conversation with myself to remind me that managing someone is actually a two-way process. This made me feel much better when I acknowledged that I was only half of the equation and the outcome results.

When I stopped to consider where I sourced my own people management skills from, I would have to say some of them were modeled by my parents. For the first five to six years of my career, I also learned through observing my bosses how to manage others. Of course, some of my bosses were far better at people management skills than others. Understanding both optimal and sub optimal ways of applying or learning these skills will serve you equally well.

Below are some of my acquired and own methods for how to improve your people management skills.

  • This can apply to both work and life situations, and is a foundational piece of advice to launch from. I know you have heard this before, but it’s not always practiced as well as it should be. Without exception, always treat the person you are managing the way you would want to be treated.
  • People are constantly surprising us with what they do and say. Sometimes this is a positive experience, but if it’s not, consider asking the person “Why did they do or say what they did?” When you ask someone to provide insight to better understand their behavior, it generally offers a teachable moment for you to help them see how they could have handled the situation differently.
  • How often do you praise someone? Often times managers neglect considering how a simple thank you, or positive acknowledgment of a small accomplishment can make someone’s day.
  • Have you considered what adjectives people would use to describe your human engagement skills? Sometimes our perceptions are quite different than the reality of how we are appearing to interact with others. Chances are if this is the case, you may not be aware that this is an area for course correction. If this is a problem area for you, it could also be why you have not, or might not advance into upper management roles.
  • Consider what you have done either in the past, or recently to improve your people management skills. Have you proactively worked on being self-aware of the importance of doing this?
  • Think about people who you would classify as having naturally gifted abilities in managing other people well. Is it possible for you to be mentored by them? Remember the importance of having a mentor, and this applies to all stages of your career. 
  • There are tremendous benefits granted to those who master being highly skilled people managers. They are often fast tracked in their careers, are more satisfied professionally with their roles, have a larger professional network to tap into when they need to do so, and are considered for roles over other people who might be more qualified technically, but are lacking in their human management skills.

This is a rich and ever evolving topic. It is also a subject that you will always benefit from any investment you make in yourself to improve how you interact with others, either personally or professionally.

Tags: #Success #Mentorship #PeopleManagementSkills #Business #Howtodevelopyourpeoplemanagementskills #Business #Sales #Management #Leadership #HumanResources #HumanCapital #Tipsonhowtoimprovepeoplemanagementskills #Strategy

Being friendly. Are you really?

I’m sure many of you have experienced the passing of one of your furry loved ones. Our furry loved one passed away this week. His name was Ollie, and he was a nine-year-old Goldendoodle. Ollie was by my side the majority of any day. Family, friends and clients all knew about Ollie and his many entertaining idiosyncrasies. My favorite one was his ability to walk upstairs backwards, and yes, we have this on video.  

Never did I imagine how gut wrenchingly sad I would feel after Ollie passed. Of course, the reality is I didn’t ever want to think about this day happening. Who would?

As I was reflecting on Ollie’s life, I thought about one of the aspects of his personality that was so endearing. It was the fact he was always happy, and happy to see you. Even if he just saw you five minutes ago and you left the room and came back. He also knew when you needed to be cheered up, and precisely how to do so. This is a remarkable quality that he had, and I realize many other dogs, and some others pets do too.

To say that I am going to miss Ollie would be a gross understatement, and yet, at the same time, I remind myself about how fortunate I was to have him in my life. Not everyone has had the opportunity to experience what it is like to have a pet in their lives that makes them feel the pure joy and love they bestow upon you. However, I wish everyone could have this experience.

Switching gears and refocusing our attention back on the question I posed about whether you are a friendly person, do you know if you truly are one? Perhaps you have been told by others that you are? Or, maybe you think you are, but this hasn’t been overtly confirmed by many others. At least not verbally.

Let’s face it. We know that not everyone is in fact friendly, and I’m sure we could also agree upon the fact there are various levels of being this way. One of the things I often consider as it relates to whether people are friendly, is whether this is a trait that we are born with? Or, perhaps one that we develop as an attribute of our personality as it evolves?

Focusing on yourself, think back to when you were a pre-teen. Do you have memories of being a friendly person? Yes, I will acknowledge its possible people’s circumstances in life may in fact interfere with them being as friendly as they could, but let’s take this out of the measurement equation.

According to some research I did, there have been studies which set out to determine if you could measure a person’s level of friendliness. In fact, there was a study done in the early 1980’s by J.M. Reisman called SACRAL, and it was designed to interpret and measure people’s level of friendliness. It included a 40-item questionnaire that both college students and children participated in.

The net result of the SACRAL study was that the majority of people rated themselves as friendly. However, the scores suggested otherwise, and that not everyone is in fact friendly. This isn’t earth shattering news, but was interesting to know there is a methodology to rate and interpret people’s level of friendliness.

Although I did seek to find more recent studies about measuring friendliness, there didn’t appear to be much data. So, I looked further back in time, and found another study published in 1968. It was conducted by Karl B. Zucker and Daniel C. Jordan, and was called “The Paired Hands Test: A technique for measuring friendliness”. According to what I read, this test is still considered to be a quick, objective and easily administered technique to reliably and with validity be used as a friendliness measurement tool.

Now that we know there are in fact tools to measure friendliness, below are some other ways you can determine if you, or others you know, or encounter are friendly.

  • Are you naturally curious about others, and when you meet them, do you truly ask them questions that allow you to get to know them better? Hint. If you are friendly, you would do this on a regular basis.
  • Although not everyone may feel their sixth sense or intuition is fully operational at all times, the majority of people can sense whether another person is friendly by both their body and verbal language. In other words, we might refer to someone having a friendly vibe. This is a fairly easy one to determine.
  • Another aspect which can contribute to the level of someone’s friendliness, is how genuine they are. Yes, this can be a subjective measurement, and will again require you to rely upon your instincts to help you to determine this when you first meet someone. However, as you get to know a person, it will be obvious whether they are or are not a genuine person. Genuine people would be classified as friendly.
  • Yes, we can all have days when we are not ourselves, and perhaps be described as moody. However, friendly people typically are seldomly moody.
  • You will also notice that most friendly people are also often kind people, and will regularly do nice things for other people. Often the nice things friendly people do for others may not even be seen or known about by others. Why? Because friendly people are not driven by needing to be rewarded for being and acting this way.

If you don’t think you are a friendly person, or have wondered why others who are that way, and behave the way they do, I hope my insight above can help you to understand friendly people better. Perhaps you could get to know more of them, as I’m 100% confident we could all benefit from having more friendly people in our lives.

One more thing. I want to conclude by saying that I sincerely hope that you have an opportunity to have an “Ollie” in your life at some point too. I’m sure going to miss him, but I have a sense he will forever be with me in my heart and soul.

Tags: #Dogs #Pets #Friendly #Friendliness #Genuineness #Relationships #Inspiration #Deathofapet #Passingofapet #Grievingapetsloss

Are you misunderstood?

What if you woke up today and had the experience all day that everything you did, and everyone you encountered fully appreciated and understood and was in support of what you were doing and what you were saying? Wouldn’t this be a wonderful day? I’m certain some of you may have encountered this experience, but was it sustainable?

Most of us have routines we rely upon to get us through the day, week or month. Even if it isn’t a formal routine, the majority of humans are creatures of habit. For me personally, I know I have a morning routine I like to go through. It includes reading, a short meditation (e.g., under 11 minutes), having a cup of coffee and breakfast, creating my list of items to accomplish for the day, and walking my dog. This all happens prior to diving into my other routines and before I start my work day.

To accomplish my routine, I normally get up before other people in my family. I do this so I can appreciate the quiet time in the morning. I also believe this time especially prepares me well for the rest of what lies ahead on my schedule.

Some of my family members don’t know that I have this routine, and if they did, and now they will, they may or may not be surprised by it. Since my family knows me well, they know I am not fazed by what other people think. Or, that I would be concerned about other people’s opinions of their perception of me. I’ve always been this way, and I attribute it to having an innate level of confidence that allows me to be this way.

Not being constrained by what other people think is truly freeing. My Mom loves to tell the story of when I was in elementary school, how I would always put outfits together that in her opinion were highly questionable from a fashion sense. At that point in my life, I didn’t even know what the word “fashion” meant. All I was concerned about was whether I liked the colors, patterns and way the clothes I picked out made me feel happy.

As an adult, I still tend to dress this way with complete abandon of what others will think of my fashion choices. I eventually realized that fashion was an extension and expression of who you are, or could be, and learning this was a complete delight. Can you relate to this? Perhaps another analogy would be more suitable, but you get my point.

So, are there ways to be better understood? Of course, there are, and I’ll share with you some ways to help you to feel more this way.

  • How would you describe yourself in a few sentences or paragraphs?
  • What would be the key words you would use to express what makes you be you?
  • Have you considered what motivates you? Break this down into categories such as your life, work or with the team you are on. Can you see patterns in these category comparisons?
  • If you feel misunderstood, have you thought about whether you feel this way due to a situation you are in, or would you say you always feel this way? If you feel this way situationally, have you factored in whether you are misunderstood because others don’t really know you, or value the skills or experience you bring to the scenario?
  • Have you fairly given others an opportunity to get to know you? Is it possible you have not expressed or communicated enough with others about who you are? Perhaps they are judging you unfairly based on a lack of fully appreciating who you are?
  • In a team situation, do you have someone on the team who would always advocate for you? In other words, do you have an internal champion or someone who will always represent you favorably to others?
  • If you don’t have someone who would play the role of your “champion” or personal public relations representative, is there someone you know that could do so?
  • Finding someone to be your “champion” is easier than you might think, as it is likely someone who already holds you in high regard. Having a conversation with this “champion” about your need for them to help support you, even temporarily can turn around the perceptions of others who don’t understand you quickly. I’ve seen this happen repeatably.
  • Visualize what it will be like from all the aspects of your life that you feel misunderstood, and what it will be like when everyone finally understands who you are. Better yet, imagine how amazing you will feel when you get to the place of feeling understood. Even if at first it is simply in one situation.

One of my aspirations in life is to have everyone I encounter feel fully understood and appreciated by others. If you know me, I hope I have been able to help you with this challenge if it is one you were facing. If I don’t know you, I’m hoping the tips I shared with you above can start you on your way to feeling understood by others.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

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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