December 29, 2018

The Bully and Radiohead

I was having breakfast with a great friend and colleague this week and we started talking about how each of us often gets in the way of our own success. Why do we do that? Is it self-sabotage? Is it a fear of failure or success? We humans aren't born with fear; we teach ourselves fear. It's easy to blame outside sources but we have a choice on how we process influences and what to do next.

In a previous chapter of my career, I worked in the radio industry and during the last few years of that, I oversaw the launch of two radio stations from concept to creation and then went on to consult a handful of radio station clients in my consulting work. But I told my friend I'm often visited by a force that seems to hold me back. As I continue my work at an executive recruiter, it's not the candidates or clients who are in my way, it's me!

Voices Inside Your Head

So she put me through an exercise. She said we will call that force - The Bully; and the man who launched radio stations and built teams with confidence, we'll call him Radiohead. She warned me the bully is my comfort zone; my ability to fail without trying because it wasn't meant to be. She said it was a bunch of hot air meaning nothing. She then said whenever the bully shows up, thank him for his time and wish him well and focus back on Radiohead.

You can put your own labels on your life but you have them. There are two strong forces pulling you in opposite directions. One likes it safe so it reminds you to not take bold moves while the other has shown up when you weren't even paying attention because you were so focused on the task at hand.

Say goodbye to the bully and welcome radiohead.

December 19, 2018

Change and Transform

It wins elections, looks great on a coffee cup, and can inspire nations. The promise of improvement can move people to do immense things. 50.1% of the British population voted to leave the European Union. Did they vote for change or a hope to change back the clocks of time?

Change can also mean alter, transform, amend, or revolutionize which sound powerful. The way it is isn't as good as the way it could be, and for that we need change. But with change comes resistance and conflict.

Often we can look back and know the change was a good thing but our fear of the unknown can make us freeze. Change can be hard and comfort zone has its name for a reason. Whether it's voting out a government, renovating the upstairs bathroom, opening our hearts for a new relationship, or tackling that new challenge, change is constant.

It's what we do about it that counts.

December 13, 2018

Lead Don't Boss

Allow others to inspire. Find the how. Get out of their way. Be present even during challenging times. Have clear expectations. Don't expect to ever have all the answers.

Helping others is a privilege. Back your people up. Be bold. Never stop learning. Open door policies are for those who mean it. Don’t hide behind busy. It’s their career too.

Be inquisitive. Invest at least half of your time helping people. Hire passion. A team is more than celebrating victories. Don’t be a boss. Listen.

Don’t hide when your people need you. Grow their strengths. Let them shine. Be fair. Get to know what motivates everyone on your team. Seek guidance from those who are committed to helping you grow.

Customer service begins with you. Never settle. Understand that it will be the most rewarding work you’ll ever have the privilege to do.

And it won't be listed on your business card.

December 5, 2018

Let's Make Some Trouble

Mignon McLaughlin was an American journalist and author. In the 1950s she began publishing aphorisms - a pithy observation that contains a general truth.

My favorite was; "Society honors its living conformists and its dead troublemakers."

We do look at those who blazed a path before us with admiration but how often do we grasp the uphill climb each had to endure? It's not easy to share a new idea until it’s adopted by others. But without the bravery to share it, the idea goes nowhere.

Lead first

Leonardo da Vinci, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Benjamin Franklin, Marie Curie, Elon Musk, Susan B. Anthony, Les Paul, Sally Ride, Louis Pasteur, Kathryn Bigelow, Thomas Edison, Margaret Thatcher, Johannes Gutenberg, Florence Nightingale, Alfred Nobel, Steve Jobs, the list goes on and on. These people didn't play it safe but they certainly didn't succeed without struggles.

Doing what is safe and what others may agree with is adhering to a matrix each of us hold as a manufactured line that’s not to be crossed. We've all done it.

Are You Ready?

You're sitting on an idea right now that you keep trying to find the guts to share. It's not easy, we all know. But it's necessary to fight those fears and doubts or you might end up being - to paraphrase McLaughlin's quote - a dead conformist.

Let's take one small step toward sharing our ideas, pushing ourselves past our fears, and seeing what happens. Regret is a horrible emotion we have all experienced.

It's even worse than failure.
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