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Is Perfectionism Holding You Back? Try Imperfectionism Instead

Posted by on Apr 3, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.

Perfectionism is on the rise. Much has been written about the perils of holding yourself and others to unrealistic and unreasonable standards. Perfectionism has been linked to depression and anxiety in individuals and can be destructive to relationships. And though some argue that striving for perfection can be positive, if you live or work with a perfectionist you know that, more often than not, it leads to frustration and feelings of inadequacy. Moreover, in organizations, perfectionism simply doesn’t scale: it’s wildly inefficient and not conducive to collaboration. 

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Easiest Stress-Buster Ever: This One Tip Will Help You Calm Down And Focus

Posted by on Apr 3, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.

A major component of many of my coaching engagements is stress management. Whether my client’s primary coaching goal is about executive presence, prioritization, inspiring a team, or navigating complexity, chances are, they are facing big challenges and experiencing stress. In my experience, they will be unable to tackle these issues if they don’t get a handle on their stress. Some of my clients find relief in mindfulness and meditation, but even more struggle with establishing a regular practice. 

My most recent post on stress identified three ways to complete the physiological stress cycle. But here is an amazing shortcut to provide immediate relief: exhale.

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Leadership and Being Uncool

Posted by on Apr 3, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.

“The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you’re uncool.” This is one of my all-time favorite movie lines, spoken by Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Creem magazine’s editor Lester Bangs giving advice to the fictional William Miller, a teen music critic whose story is based on filmmaker Cameron Crowe’s own youth in the 1970’s writing about rock ‘n roll for Rolling Stone magazine in Almost Famous (2000). 

I have always loved the story of this naïve teenage journalist’s adventure and his relationship with his offbeat and curmudgeonly mentor. Bangs is portrayed as a true lover of rock ‘n roll, an anti-authoritarian with a passionate commitment to authenticity and to being brutally honest in the face of celebrity culture. He connects to the boy through their shared love of music and their mutual uncoolness. Throughout the story he comes to William’s aid and offers comfort and advice.

What struck me when I watched this film the other night with my husband and son is how this celebration of uncoolness applies to personal development and leadership. You can’t be a creative leader or a good teammate if you are worried about being or seeming cool. 

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How to Overcome Your Fear of Looking Stupid at Work

Posted by on Apr 2, 2020 in Curiosity, Fear, Individual | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.

How much is fear a driver for your behavior?

Fear and anxiety are pervasive themes in many of my coaching engagements. Whether a client is working on communication, prioritization, delegation or other leadership challenges, fear is often at the root of what makes change hard. There’s fear of failure, fear of missing out (FOMO), fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of change. And here in Silicon Valley, where knowledge is king and imposter syndrome is rampant, there is a huge amount of fear of looking stupid

Fear is an emotional and physiological response to a perceived risk. It is a healthy response to physical danger and is often accompanied by evolutionarily useful behavior: fight or flight. But in everyday life, fear can be triggered by situations where we perceive a risk that is greater than the actual risk. That can lead to problems.

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Chronic Stress? Three Steps To Complete The Stress Response Cycle And Increase Health And Wellness

Posted by on Apr 2, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.

Life is full of stress. Traffic, deadlines, interviews, conflict, financial pressure, the news, politics…the list goes on. Many of us are so accustomed to stress that it feels like a constant state. This is because we can get into a never-ending stress cycle that feeds on itself. 

In their recent book, Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, authors and sisters Ameila and Emily Nagoski suggest that we can break the vicious cycle of stress by completing the “stress response cycle” that is triggered by a stressful event. Like all biological processes, the stress response cycle has a beginning, middle and end. Or rather, it should have an end, but unfortunately all too often we don’t manage to complete this biological cycle. Instead, a stressor—getting cut off on the freeway or receiving harsh feedback at work—activates the same physiological response as if our ancestors encountered a lion in the wild. We go into fight or flight mode. The heart races, breathing quickens, muscles tense, stress hormones secrete! In nature, (assuming we didn’t get eaten by the lion) we would run away, find a safe place and rest. This burst of activity followed by rest would complete the stress response cycle, bring it to closure and allow us to recover. However, in modern life, many of us ping-pong from stressor to stressor and are unable to find the release and the rest that we need. These repeated incomplete loops of stress build up, making it hard to sleep and compromising our ability to manage the next event that might be a trigger. Our wellbeing and health suffer

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Moving Beyond Likability: 5 Principles For Women Leaders That Men Can Learn From Too

Posted by on Apr 2, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.

Everywhere you look, women are rocking it. This year saw a dramatic rise in the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500, from 24 (4.8%) in 2018 to 33 (6.6%) in 2019—still low but improving. Young women have some very impressive entrepreneurial role models, as documented in Diana Kapp’s recent book, Girls Who Run The World: 31 CEOs Who Mean Business. There are a record number of women in Congress, and we saw four women candidates participate in the latest Democratic presidential debate. We also witnessed some tremendously competent and powerful female career diplomats—notably Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill—testify in the recent impeachment inquiry hearings. 

And yet, “the likability trap is still a thing.” A recent New York Times/Siena College poll indicated that nearly 40% of respondents found all of the female candidates for president “just not likable” and many are drawing an inference from this that they may not be electable. Never mind the fact that President Trump is widely disliked, or that Hillary Clinton, who also struggled with likability, won the popular vote in 2016. Women continue to be dogged by the issue. 

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Managing Up With Authenticity: Tips To Get The Most From Your Boss

Posted by on Apr 2, 2020 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Originally published on Forbes.

“When I was moved to my current manager, I wanted to make a good impression. I figured out early on that she liked to talk about herself, so I usually start our one-on-ones with a question and just let her talk. When I do bring an issue to her, I always have a solution.” Sarah, a director in a tech company, thought she was managing up. But Sarah has been so focused on keeping her boss happy that she has not communicated her own aspirations and struggles. Afraid to show any weakness, she’s sacrificed authenticity and failed to develop a real relationship. “She hasn’t really advocated for me or my team,” says Sarah. “I don’t feel I can go to her for advice about my career, because she doesn’t really know me.”

Managing up is more than just keeping your boss happy. Building a strong, trusting relationship with your manager can be a powerful lever for your success. Every manager has strengths and weaknesses, and understanding them is essential to managing up well. Your boss should be a resource for you and your team, so if your manager isn’t initiating conversations about priorities, goals, working styles or professional development, you need to be proactive. Skillful employees can actually help their bosses become better managers. Here are some tips for managing up: 

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Dealing With Difficult Clients: 7 Approaches To Transform Challenging Client Relationships

Posted by on Jul 23, 2019 in Relationships | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.com

If you’re in a client service business (lawyer, consultant or in-house services), you’ve met them: difficult clients. These clients are demanding. They may be anxious and need a lot of hand-holding. Or they habitually lob in urgent requests at the last minute. Some nit-pick your work. Some are rude or behave badly. Others try to micromanage you or are very hard to please. You see them as “difficult” because they demand special attention or effort and they often make your life harder. In extreme cases, they may seem like the enemy.

However, sometimes difficult clients also push you to do your very best work. They question your ideas and assumptions. They require you to explain what you’re doing and not operate on autopilot. They push you to meet tough deadlines. They require that you apply your skills and expertise and also your emotional intelligence. They can make you better.

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How To Manage Workflow For Pressure-Prompted Procrastinators

Posted by on Jul 23, 2019 in Getting Things Done, Getting Things Done, Goal Setting, Organization -- Management, Time Management, Time Management, Work | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.com

Confession: I don’t always practice what I preach.

As a coach, I work with my clients to build habits that will support them in achieving their goals. Our approach typically involves creating structures that promote steady effort and accountability. Clients practice mindfulness to learn how to self-manage their emotions; leaders schedule a weekly “meeting with myself” for planning and prioritization; some create spreadsheets for tracking networking targets and follow-up; others write in gratitude journals. All of these are effective in cultivating the new behaviors and awareness that will help them grow and develop.

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Don’t Be So Sure: The Perils of Certainty

Posted by on Jul 23, 2019 in creativity, Curiosity, Decision Making, Individual | 0 comments

This post first appeared on Forbes.com.

I was certain that my flight to Chicago was at 10:30, so I aimed to leave for the airport by 9:00. But at 8:30 when I checked to verify the exact takeoff time, my chest seized up. My flight was leaving in less than an hour! I yelled for my husband to take me to the airport now. By the time I made it through security, the boarding gate had closed. I watched my flight take off without me.

Maybe something like this has happened to you. You felt so utterly sure of something that you did not consider the possibility that you were wrong, not bothering to check, but instead plowing ahead feeling right until the moment you realized you were wrong.

This experience is at the heart of Kathryn Schultz’s exploration of being wrong. As she points out, until you realize that you are wrong about something, it feels just like it does when you are right. You feel certain, confident, convinced of your rightness. We tend to think of certainty as the product of rational thought. But according to Robert A. Burton, certainty itself is actually a feeling—an involuntary mental sensation of the accuracy of one’s belief. It isn’t a thought but a feeling about a thought. You feel that you are right. And it turns out that we all tend to feel that we are right a lot, walking around in a bubble of certainty. As Daniel Kahneman writes in Thinking Fast and Slow, we are prone to “excessive confidence in what we believe we know” and an “apparent inability to acknowledge the full extent of our ignorance and the uncertainty of the world we live in.”

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