by Laurie Sudbrink on May 23rd, 2017

Words can trap us or empower us. And it’s the words we are telling ourselves that are the most influential.

Consider this.

I am going to try to write a book.
I am writing a book.  (Hint - even if you haven’t put pen to paper; you are incubating it in your mind. These words will propel you to action. The former will hold you back.)

Which feels more empowering to you?

I am trying to change.  
I am changing.

I am trying to lose weight.
I am losing weight.

I am trying to be a better listener.
I am listening more fully.

Often we don’t notice the language we’re using and how it is controlling us. Our words are simply a reflection of what is going on inside of us.

Reflecting back on when I wanted to write my book, I held myself back by saying “I’m trying to write a book.” I was trapped for years by this one little word! Once I shifted this, I remember feeling it was happening. I am writing a book!

Try allows us to hesitate, to not take ownership of it.

It can be difficult to recognize when our language is constricting us rather than enlarging us. A trusted friend can help you be more mindful of this. Just by sharing this with someone, you will become more aware and start doing rather than trying.

Our bodies can help us if we pay attention. How do you feel when you say that? Do you feel constricted and smaller, or do you feel open and more liberated?

Sometimes just the awareness of how we’re feeling will be enough to release us from the stranglehold of our words. Other times we may need more. If you are still feeling hesitation once you change those words, it’s a great opportunity to dig deeper. Why am I hesitating? What is holding me back? (Pay attention to your energy and emotions and you’ll know if you can work on this on your own, or if you need help going deeper. Many of us use professional coaches or even our therapists to help us go deeper. Contact me if you need help finding a resource.)

Trying keeps us from taking ownership and taking action. What are you trying to do?  How can you make a change to empower yourself? Share your feedback in the comments so others can benefit from learning what works for you!

by Laurie Sudbrink on May 17th, 2017

Being present in the moment doesn’t come naturally to all of us. In fact, with our busy lives and so many distractions available, it’s tough for most of us to stay present! We get hooked by something that pops up on our screen, or a text that comes in, or a car that cuts us off, or a thought of something that we had forgotten to do! We soon learn the habit of becoming reactive, rather than present and mindful - a place where we can make better choices that align to what we really want.

If it’s not a physical distraction, it’s typically our own thoughts that get in our way. Our minds are usually in one of two places. We’re either in the future, worried about everything we need to get done; or we’re in the past, fretting or regretting what we didn’t get done.

Of course, we have to spend some time in the future - planning, dreaming, visualizing what we want. And it’s good to reflect on the past to learn and grow. But we need to just take quick trips to the future and the past, and then spend most of our time being mindful in the present moment.

In addition to helping us make better choices, being present brings many other benefits:
  • We listen more fully, which builds trust and much better connections with people.
  • We have a calmness that spreads positive energy.
  • We are more productive and effective with our choices and solutions.
  • We are more creative.
  • Our memories improve.
  • We are happier.
  • We are less stressed - take a look at just one of many articles on the benefits on mindful.org  

The good news is we can all improve and be more present in the moment. It just takes practice.

And it really is pretty simple because you can practice being present in the moment on any daily activity, so you don’t even have to build in extra time for this. The hardest part will be to remember to do it. So you may need to set yourself some reminders.

Here are my favorite 3 simple ways to practice being present:
  • When you’re brushing your teeth, do your best to just be mindful of the act of brushing your teeth. This one can be particularly challenging because most of us have learned to brush our teeth really well and we don’t need to think about it. That’s why it’s a great one to practice with. Every time your mind wanders, just catch it and bring it back. In the 2 minutes you spend brushing, see how long you can stay completely present on brushing. I ground my feet first, and this helps me remember to stay in the moment.
  • When you’re driving, do your best to stay completely present and mindful. How many of us get to our location and then think “wow, how did I get here?!” We were so deep in thought. This is another good practice opportunity because we’ve learned to drive well and think at the same time. You might also get angry at someone in traffic and create a lot of stress for yourself. Emotions are a great awareness opportunity. When you feel yourself getting angry, frustrated, irritated - turn your thoughts inward and see what’s happening with you, rather than focusing outside on what someone just did. Choose how you want to be.  
  • Find a plant, look at the sky, a pond or a stream - anything in nature. Take a full minute to just be with it - no other thoughts. Every time your mind wanders, just bring it back. If you can’t have the real thing, get a great picture that makes you feel like you’re with nature.
These are just three simple practice suggestions. I’m not saying you need to do this to have better teeth or drive better (although you might!). But if you practice this, you will start to notice yourself being more mindful and present in other areas of your life, without even trying. And just like any exercise, it will get easier and feel more natural.

I’d love to hear other ways that you practice being present in the moment! Please share your best tips in the comments!

Cheers!
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on May 10th, 2017

​Do you ever feel frustrated because you want to tell your manager something but you just don’t know how to go about it?

This came up recently in a leadership class I was facilitating. Donna was expressing her frustration with her boss for not giving team members the opportunity to weigh in on things in the meeting. What Donna noticed was a lot of venting and complaining after meetings because people don’t feel heard.

Most often what happens in this situation is instead of going to our manager we get irritated and start to vent to other people. Or we get a sarcastic or edgy tone when we are speaking about the situation. Sometimes we actually speak that way to our manager. We feel powerless, discouraged and even resentful.

Guess what? This behavior never helps the situation, it makes you look like the problem, and it almost always makes things worse.

How can you become the solution, rather than the problem? How can you influence, and manage UP?

It all starts with one little shift. You might have guessed it - it’s in the way you’re thinking about it. (Remember, in this article from a couple of months ago, I wrote about how thoughts and beliefs drive our actions).

What do you imagine your conscious or even subconscious thoughts might be around this situation?
  • “I can’t tell my boss what to do.”
  • “It’s not my role. She ought to know this in her position.”
  • “I’ll be seen as negative and even disrespectful.”
  • “My boss will hold it against me.”

It’s true, these thoughts may have stemmed from past experiences. However, let’s be really objective for a moment. We probably played a role in those past experiences, perhaps with an edginess to our tone of voice, or just not being direct enough. And even if we didn’t play a role, realizing that everyone has their own issues and not taking it so personally will help us to not let that deter us from doing the right thing.

Changing our thoughts and beliefs will allow us to be open and helpful:
  • “I can help my manager see things from a different perspective.”
  • “One of my roles on this team is to contribute with feedback and helpful solutions - up, down, and across!”
  • “I’ll be seen as helpful.”
  • “I won’t take my manager’s behavior personally. I’ll continue to help with potential solutions.”

When we think positively about helping our manager to realize something, sharing this information will come across much better.

“Hey John, I noticed something the other day I think might really help the team. I’m not sure if you noticed it too - it seemed that people needed a little more time to respond in the meeting?” [pause, and give time for your manager to reflect and respond].  

If he’s open and agrees, you might offer a solution:  “Maybe we could have them jot their ideas down, then take a few minutes to hear them. I think we might be missing some good input.”
If he’s not in agreement or not interested, you might back it up with why it’s important to him. “I’m telling you this because we might be missing some good input, and it might save us time later because people leave the meeting and talk about everything they would have said - and then it turns into excuses and complaining.”

If we truly believe our role on the team is to help, our intent stays in a positive place. Most managers appreciate your input when you show them how it helps. If your manager does not appear to be open to input, you may decide to help that person see that and the impact it has. In private, you could say something like “Julie, I felt like you didn’t want to hear what I was bringing up about the team meeting. I know it’s tough to get through everything in that meeting, and the impact of not getting people’s input is hard to see because they’re careful to keep it concealed. I just felt you deserved to know this and I’m willing to help with it if you like?”

Our role on a team is to contribute and help.

Whether we’re a mid-manager and report to a senior leader, or we’re a supervisor reporting to a manager, or we’re a customer rep, in sales, a project manager or any position at all - we can influence others and manage up to help make a positive impact. It all starts with believing our role is to help the team.

What other ways can you help inspire growth with your team? I’d love it if you shared your ideas in the comments!

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on May 3rd, 2017

So often I’m asked in my leadership classes about what books I recommend. I love reading books in the leadership field, but I also enjoy reading books that are a little more in the self-help realm. To be successful in leadership, we need to be healthy and whole ourselves first. So the books I’m recommending are a combination of topics, from leadership to spiritual to fiction and even eating healthy– all of which impact your leadership!

Since there are so many books I’ve loved, I decided to list the ones that just popped into my mind right now, some that I’ve read many years ago and probably picked up and read many times since. Some that I just recently read and really enjoyed. So yes, there are some really great ones that are not on this list, but these are my favorites today!
  1. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
    This book might be my top favorite of all time, so far. For me, it shifted my thoughts and beliefs and changed my life. It played a big role in improving my relationship with my late father. I read this book back in 2000, and have since gone on multiple retreats and apprenticed with Don Miguel Ruiz. He is a dear friend and a beautiful soul, and continues to inspire me.
     
  2. The Only Little Prayer You Need: The Shortest Route to a Life of Joy, Abundance, and Peace of Mind by Debrah L Englert
    This is my favorite recent spiritual/self-help book. I read it last year. I almost didn’t read it because of the title, because I didn’t think it was going to be practical. It is amazing, and simple, and fun to read! It shifted my thoughts and beliefs even further.
     
  3. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Really Are by Brené Brown
    This book delves into shame and the impact it has on us, and how sharing vulnerabilities not only benefits ourselves, but helps those with whom we interact. Another great book that spoke to me at my core. I also highly recommend her TED Talks.
     
  4. The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young
    I read this book back in 2010. It was recommended to me by Ken Blanchard. Ken said it was his favorite spiritual book. Of course this intrigued me so I had to read it. Wow. I think I gave that book to more people than any other (besides The Four Agreements). I haven’t seen the newly released movie yet. I hope they did it justice!
     
  5. Wired to Resist: The Brain Science of Why Change Fails and a New Model for Driving Success by Britt Andreatta
    I just read this book. Ms. Andreatta spoke at a conference I attended. The book really delves into the process of change in a way I hadn’t quite articulated! Everything she said resonated with me. I really appreciate her approach. Anyone in leadership should read this book!
     
  6. Transformational Speaking: If You Want to Change the World, Tell a Better Story by Gail Larson
    I’ve been reading this book in preparation for a speaking retreat I am participating in. We will be immersed for four days to learn how to deliver a transformational message. I love the book. Ms. Larson’s philosophy on speaking definitely aligns with mine. I knew she was the teacher I needed for the next step in my journey.
     
  7. Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships by Ken Blanchard
    It’s been so long since I first read this book I can’t tell you the year (maybe 18 years ago). Ken Blanchard’s books are great. Always a story you can relate to, leaving you truly inspired to take action.
     
  8. Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business by Robert Mondavi
    My first trip to Napa about 6 years ago took me to the Mondavi winery and I had a wonderful tour with Inger. Inger’s story of Mondavi and his vision for Napa with all the trials and tribulations was a perfect example of what I taught in my leadership classes.  When I read the copy of Harvests of Joy that Inger gave me, I was blown away at how the story almost exactly mirrored the flow of the class: getting a group of people to a desired outcome, starting with a compelling vision, then aligning the team, and championing execution!
     
  9. The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav
    I only recommend this book to those who are open to going much deeper on a spiritual level. I read this book in 2000 and it opened my eyes to possibilities I hadn’t ever considered. It has inspired me to live happily and give generously.
     
  10. Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr
    I participated in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy You Cleanse 21-day online class in September 2016. She is simply amazing. There are so many people who have influenced me with healthy eating but something in her message really connected with me. When my father was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, I, along with a few of my siblings, looked frantically for something to help him heal. It didn’t work out for my dad; we couldn’t find a good solution for him at the time. But he’s inspired me to keep pursuing a healthy diet and healthy life. When I eat clean, my mind is better, my body is better, and I really think my spirit is better!

I hope you enjoy this list and find it useful for your leadership! I’d be happy to recommend others for anyone who’s looking for something that might help you overcome a specific obstacle. Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments! Please also feel free to offer other suggestions!

Cheers,
Laurie

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by Laurie Sudbrink on April 26th, 2017

Individuals can only handle so much change, and we usually don’t even realize that too much change is what is causing some of the problems we’re experiencing.

Until people reach their breaking points.

Last month I received one of those calls. The CEO of a fast-growing IT company called at 7 am. “You got a minute?” he tentatively asked. I could tell by the tone of his voice it was important. After a quick glance at the clock and my task list, I decided I did have a few minutes.

“What’s up?” I asked him (we’ll call him Pete). Pete went on to explain that a third employee gave his notice yesterday. Better opportunity. Three really good people in six months. Pete rattled off all the benefits he was providing, the new and exciting projects, and he mentioned that the salaries were above average for the positions.

After a little probing, it was starting to look like there was just too much change at once, and people were starting to check out. All the classic signs were there:
  • Multiple changes in management in a very short time
  • New products and processes, and new people
  • Increased interpersonal conflict on teams
  • It appeared there were some who were emotionally checked out (just putting their time in)
  • More complaining and blaming
  • Sick time and tardiness had also escalated
  • Lack of clarity and accountability

But Pete and his leadership team were focused on fixing each issue, rather than looking at what might be causing these issues.

Pete and I scheduled a time to meet to start looking at what was happening, and what could be done - quickly. He knew if this was a lack of engagement issue, it would take time and effort to turn it around.

Pete didn’t realize how critical it was for his Sr. Leadership Team to be managing change, which would prevent many issues. Not only is everyone different when it comes to how and when they embrace change, but the amount of simultaneous change also impacts a person’s threshold for change. Combined with the fact that we all have personal change scenarios to manage as well, it gets even messier.

Since most of us are hard-wired to resist change, and resistance causes stress, it’s no wonder we’re seeing the fallout.

To prevent the fallout from people resisting change, we need to carve out time and attention so the change process can be respected. A few tips to get started:
  • Take a good look at all the major change that is happening in your organization.  How many new projects or products, IT system changes, reorganizations, new employees, etc.
  • Have a clear vision for each major change initiative, and help people believe in it.
  • Provide as much information as early as possible.
  • Respect the change process. People progress from the current state to the future state differently
  • Understand DiSC styles and how they impact change.
  • Knowing and caring about each person will help you be aware if they have a lot of personal change happening that might also be impacting them. Divorces, marriages, moves, babies, breakups, family member issues all add to the change threshold.
  • Be realistic about the time it will take to go from the current to the future state.
  • Be mindful of your desired culture and don’t sacrifice it for short term gains.
  • Measure people’s engagement levels. The method you use will depend on your company size.
  • Provide training and development in change management, leadership, emotional intelligence, and effective teams.

The only thing that’s constant is change.

And the amount of change seems to be compounding. The only way to sustain the change we’re trying to make, and to save time and money in the long run, is to intentionally lead people through that change.

I can recommend a few good books to help you with change management:
I’d love to hear your change management stories!  Feel free to leave those stories in the comments along with ideas or questions about managing change.

Cheers!
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on April 18th, 2017

Managing multiple generations in the workplace doesn’t have to be as complicated as we’re making it out to be!

These different generations working together has been a topic for over a decade now. It’s obvious that every generation has it’s strengths, and it’s limitations!

While there are certainly differences worth noting, we need to be careful not to get caught up in stereotyping, ostracizing and creating bigger issues.

While these generational differences can be real, they do not apply to every single person that was born within that generation’s time frame. You may have experienced this yourself. Someone starts describing the Millennials and you just don’t see yourself fitting in there.

There are so many other things that also shape a person’s behaviors - your socioeconomic status, the region you grew up in, your birth order, your gender… I think you get the picture!

What research has found is that across all generations, there are three things we all want:
  • Respect
  • Recognition
  • Rewards
Where it can get a little tricky, is knowing how to give respect, recognition and rewards to people in each of the generations. Understanding some of the differences between the generations is a great starting point. But the variation within each of these generations is greater than the variation between the generations.

In other words, we must customize our approach for each individual. If we spend a little time getting to know our people, rather than making assumptions about them, we’ll be able to connect in a meaningful way. And we’ll avoid a lot of misunderstanding.

One of the easiest ways to begin connecting with your people is to start meeting with them both formally, on a regular basis, and informally throughout the week. Think of questions to engage them. Be fully present and genuinely listen to them. Allow no distractions. Make it a point to circle back with them, checking in on the things that are most important to them.

Making this small time commitment might prove to be your best leadership move yet!

One of my favorite tools to help us begin to learn about these differences within the generations and across the generations is DiSC. For example, depending on your DiSC style, you may prefer to be recognized in public, or only in private. What you want to be recognized for will vary, as well as the amount of recognition you prefer.

DiSC provides a safe and fun way to open up the dialogue about the preferences and tendencies we have. I’ve seen teams really come together after having this dialogue, and managers start to understand why there were so many miscommunications!

I’d love to help you start bridging the great generational divide in your team. Send me an email and let’s get to work!

by Laurie Sudbrink on April 11th, 2017

​Have you ever found yourself in a highly emotional state, and you’re aware - but you’re just not quite able to control your reactions?
 
You know you should react a certain way, but as you watch yourself yelling at your child, or snapping at a coworker, or being sarcastic to a direct report - you just can’t seem to stop yourself!  And then you judge yourself, because you know better!
 
Keep in mind that just by being aware you have dissipated it a bit. Bringing light to a situation allows you the opportunity to choose. What we do with it next is super important!

What we tend to do is resist. Carl Jung said “what we resist persists.” 
Accept it. Accept that you are human and you will have these reactions from time to time. It doesn’t have to define you. You can choose differently, and believing that you can choose differently is key!
 
If you’re like me, you don’t want to allow someone else to control you. So it helps me to think that when I react to someone emotionally (in a way I would prefer not to react), I’m allowing that person to control me. When we do this, we usually end up blaming them, and becoming mad or resentful.
 
Take ownership. You control yourself. You really do get to choose!
 
Take a moment to visualize what it would look like if you reacted differently next time. How might it affect the other person. What would it feel like? Rather than yelling at your 5 year old, talk calmly in a way you want him to talk. The more consistent you are, the more he will mirror your behavior.
 
Visualizing helps train your brain. It’s almost as good as practicing the action itself! Feeling the emotion along with the visualization is like taking steroids to change your behavior (without any adverse effects!). We remember emotions more strongly than actions. So it definitely makes the action feel more natural the next time you need to use it.
 
Instead of being upset with yourself that you behaved this way, use it as an opportunity to train yourself to act the way you want to next time. Visualize how you want to behave and imagine the emotion you and others will feel. If you have the opportunity - do a “rewind”! You might say to your 5 year old, or your boss, or your coworker, “Hold on. I need to rewind and try that again… “ And model the way you should have spoken.
 
Learning to choose our emotions and our reactions will serve us well in any area of our lives! 
​Get a more in-depth understanding of this topic - stream the podcast that inspired this blog post on my Leading with GRIT podcast: How to Control Your Emotions
 ​
Cheers!

Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on April 5th, 2017

You don’t need a big budget to show your team appreciation.
 
In fact, throwing money at recognition and appreciation isn’t the most effective way to show your gratitude at all. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good thing to have monetary rewards within your recognition system. That’s great to do - as long as you aren’t ignoring something that’s much more important to do.
 
Many managers find it much easier and/or more comfortable to give gift cards, money, and other rewards that have a monetary value. They feel worthy for doing it.  They believe employees will appreciate this most of all. And they believe this is the best way to get them motivated.
 
Most of us have read the numerous studies that show money as fourth or fifth on the list of motivators. The top of the list always includes connecting with your people, doing things like communicating better, being an example, exhibiting strong leadership, empowering them, and giving them opportunities to grow and advance.
 
A Forbes article cites a study by Accenture that shares the following reasons people are looking to quit - with lack of recognition being the reason for 43% of folks!
  1. They don’t like their boss (31%)
  2. A lack of empowerment (31%)
  3. Internal politics (35%) and
  4. Lack of recognition (43%)
While it’s important to know your team and what might be motivating for each person, there is something all of us can do to show appreciation to every member of our team. Since acronyms helps us remember, let’s call this one LAF with your team!

  1. Listen. Solicit ideas, and listen to people. Ask questions and then listen to the answers. Ask how someone is doing, and then really listen to how they are, and what’s happening in their life. Listen to the words, to the non verbals, and to the emotions.
  2. Acknowledge. Show them you heard them. Reiterate what you think you heard for clarification. When appropriate, check in with what emotion you think they were expressing, to show you get it. Use non verbals like nodding your head while raising your eyebrows to show you’re open. Change your tone of voice to show you can relate to what they are saying. Be 100% present. Do not allow your phone or anything else to be a distraction. Show gratitude for people who are speaking up and filling you in on something that might be a negative. Even if you can’t make the change that they are suggesting, being listened to and acknowledged is what most people are seeking.
  3. Follow Through and Follow Up.  Walk the talk - do what you say you’re going to do. Circle back and let them know, even if you don’t know anything yet. Be honest and candid. This shows you respect them, and builds trust.
 
When you LAF with your staff, you’re not only connecting with them and building trust, but you’re showing them that you respect and appreciate them.
 
So keep giving the gift certificates and the other monetary rewards. Just make sure you LAF, and hey, do it consistently and you’ll be guaranteed to watch the trust grow on your team!
 
Are you wondering how you’re perceived when it comes to recognizing and appreciating the people on your team? Wiley’s 363® provides a safe and productive way for leaders to get 360-degree feedback. Wiley’s 363® format really takes the sting out of the comments you get back from your team, and makes it easier for raters to complete. Contact Laurie to get started

Cheers!

Laurie


by Laurie Sudbrink on March 28th, 2017

​Sometimes we all need to work on being positive and motivated.
 
We rarely see the “behind the scenes” of all these happy motivated people. Do they just miraculously bounce out of bed this way? Do you either “have it” or you don’t?
 
Just like anything else - losing weight, staying healthy, accomplishing any goal - it’s easier for some people and it takes more effort for others. For most of us at least some of the time, we need to work on being positive and motivated. I can attest, I don’t always jump out of bed feeling fabulous.
 
What can we do when we’re just not naturally feeling motivated and positive?
 
  1. Know yourself and what motivates you. I have a couple of pandora stations that get me going almost instantly! Crank up your tunes while you get ready for work.Even when I don’t initially feel like listening to music, I pop on that station and it kicks me into high gear! A walk in the morning to get the blood flowing and the mind working is also something that helps get me motivated.
  2. Take care of yourself. If you know that staying up late on a Netflix binge makes you feel lousy, stop doing it! Maybe you need to stop after that first or second glass of wine? Simply drinking plenty of water will affect how motivated you feel the next morning. Sometimes it takes a little discipline today to make sure you’ll feel good tomorrow.
  3. Stay focused on what’s important to you in life. Vision boards can be a great way to do this. Put together what it is you want for your future. Make sure you include how you want to feel. Place it somewhere that you’ll see it daily. I put mine on the back of my bedroom door so I see it every morning and every night. Pause for a moment and feel what it’s going to be like to reach your goals. Smile and get going toward making the life you want to live!
What do you do to get yourself motivated and feeling positive? Leave your tips in the comments!

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on March 21st, 2017

​Getting rid of clutter and never accumulating it again might be easier than you think!
 
I was talking with someone this morning about getting rid of the clutter that had built up over time. It brought me back to about 15 years ago when I had complained about clutter to a friend. I had declined going out for some fun on a Sunday because I had to spend the day trying to dig out of the clutter mountain I had created in my office.
 
This friend was no ordinary friend. He has proven to be one of my favorite mentors. He has shared little tips and snippets of wisdom over the years that have not only helped my skills, but have motivated me as well! So I first want to thank my friend Ray Justice for his generosity. Ray is the perfect example of the “pay it forward” generosity that keeps us all giving!
 
OK back to that clutter! It hit me that I have not had a clutter pile since that lesson Ray taught me so many years ago. I guess it worked! ;)
 
Here’s the trick...
 
Don’t tackle it all in one day.  (And no, that wasn’t an excuse to get out of cleaning my office that day!)
 
When we tackle it all in one day, it doesn’t create a habit for us. What do we do? We quickly build that clutter right back up again.
 
Now of course there could be some psychological reasons for your clutter. So you might want to first consider your thoughts about the stuff you are piling up. Why are you keeping it? If it’s something you must keep, why do you need it in piles rather than organizing it? Check out a great article and book for more on this topic.
 
But don’t let that stop you from this exercise. Because for most of us, once we get started, we build momentum and habits and soon, we start to believe in not having clutter. Taking the action, building the habit, and feeling the benefit shifts our way of thinking!
 
Here’s what you do.
  1. Assess your clutter and your time. Take 15 minutes at most to do this. For example, I had most of my clutter in one room. It was primarily paper clutter.
  2. Commit to removing a minimum number of items from your clutter everyday. Equally important, commit to not adding anything to the clutter. I decided I would remove a minimum of 3 things every day, without adding anything to my clutter mountain. Some days I’d remove up to 10 things (and would have to actually step away so I wouldn’t remove it all).
  3. Decide on a time of day that you can do this. Yes, you have to make it a priority or it is in danger of slipping off your daily tasks. If you travel like I do, of course your commitment to this is while you are home (or at the office if that’s where your clutter is).
  4. Get organized. You can do this after you get started removing clutter. I began removing things that were easy to toss out. I used the do it, dump it, delegate it, defer it technique to not add to the pile. The defer it part was what I had to be careful with. At first I deferred too much. But that decreased as I progressed with this.
  5. Be patient and persevere. My biggest problem was I wanted all the clutter gone instantly. I wanted to crash through it and make it disappear! I learned that going through it patiently helped me build a lasting habit.
 
I found this created a real desire to be clutter free. And it began to pour into other areas. I remember the first time I hoed out my closet, it was scary. But it felt wonderful! The daily struggle of trying to find something to wear disappeared. Not buying anything unless I absolutely loved it helped not add to the clothing clutter!
 
Five years ago I moved out of a large five bedroom house. I had accumulated a little too much stuff (but not nearly as much since I had learned that clutter trick from Ray). It was so much easier to move, and since I embraced the philosophy of letting go, I sold or gave away 80% of things I really didn’t need! It felt so liberating.
 
There’s not just physical clutter we’re dealing with. We have a lot of mental clutter as well. Think of how much better you’d feel without all those useless thoughts crowding your mind! Think of all the great ideas that will have the space to emerge!
 
This technique can help you build a habit, and it will be so much easier when you decide you need to remove clutter from any area of your life.
 
What clutter do you need to get rid of? Why not try Ray’s lesson out for yourself? Please share your progress (pay it forward!) or comment below with any questions you have about getting rid of clutter for good. 

Cheers,
​Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on March 17th, 2017

Laurie Sudbrink, author of Leading with GRIT® and founder of Unlimited Coaching Solutions, has been accepted into the Forbes Coaches Council, an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches.

Laurie joins other Forbes Coaches Council members, who are hand-selected, to become part of a curated network of successful peers and get access to a variety of exclusive benefits and resources, including the opportunity to submit thought leadership articles and short tips on industry-related topics for publishing on Forbes.com.

Forbes Councils combines an innovative, high-touch approach to community management perfected by the team behind Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) with the extensive resources and global reach of Forbes. As a result, Forbes Council members get access to the people, benefits and expertise they need to grow their businesses — and a dedicated member concierge who acts as an extension of their own team, providing personalized one-on-one support.

“I’m so excited and very honored to be a member of the Forbes Coaches Council. Working with business leaders to create better workplaces is my passion! Whether it’s through leadership training, coaching, consulting, retreats, motivational speaking, or my book, Leading with GRIT® - I’ve got some proven tools and techniques that are sure to inspire teams to take action. I’m looking forward to connecting with the Forbes community to offer insight into how to lead with GRIT®!”

Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, says, “We are honored to welcome Laurie into the community. Our mission with Forbes Councils is to curate successful professionals from every industry, creating a vetted, social capital-driven network that helps every member make an even greater impact on the business world.”

For more information about Forbes Coaches Council, visit https://forbescoachescouncil.com/. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

by Laurie Sudbrink on March 14th, 2017

I don’t mean in the romantic sense, riding in on your Harley (or any other modern day horse) to save the damsel in distress.
 
Are you a White Knight In the workplace? (The syndrome is similar!)
 
You know, the person that constantly stays late to make sure everything gets done. Or the person that gets put up on a pedestal because they are working so hard (and never have any personal time)? Or the person that single handedly figures out all the problems in the office!
 
It can be difficult to recognize when we’re being a white knight because it's disguised so well. Most often, we don’t even know we’re doing it! We believe we are giving so much of ourselves and doing the right thing! We swoop in to save the day, or the person - because we have this unfulfilled need. Is it a need for recognition? Is it our over-inflated ego that is driving this? Is it a lack of confidence?
 
A few months ago I was asked to coach a manager on her interpersonal communication skills. She was a real go-getter and had high potential to move onto the executive team. After doing a Leadership 360 feedback assessment, it was a bit surprising to her manager that some of her ratings from direct reports and peers were so low. They all seemed to be around interpersonal skills.
 
After Susan and I had a good talk, it was obvious it was a case of White Knight syndrome. (Of course I knew this from both personal and professional experience! You can read my personal story in chapter 5 of Leading With GRIT.)
 
Susan’s intentions seemed to be in the right place. She wanted everything to get done perfectly and quickly, and she worked extremely hard herself. The problem was she didn’t realize how she was coming across to others (except her boss - he had her up on that pedestal, reinforcing the behavior!). Her direct reports and her peers saw her as someone who wanted to be recognized and applauded for all her hard work, not giving them an opportunity to contribute, collaborate, learn and grow.
 
The deeper problem was, Susan really didn’t realize what she was doing and what was driving her actions.
 
Susan had a pretty big awareness right away. All that hard work, staying late, taking work home, stressing out, not getting enough sleep and even the impact it had on her family - she was creating it all herself.
 
But why?
 
After some more self reflection and conversation, Susan discovered that her ego needed it - it made her feel worthy. Specifically she said “I think it makes me feel special, needed, maybe, um, connected?”
 
So how can we tell when it's the unhealthy White Knight syndrome versus a healthy generosity and hard work ethic?
 
Being aware of our intent can cut right to it.
 
What am I feeling? Emotions can be a great way to identify our real intent.  If I'm feeling like a victim in any way, or I'm feeling a need for people to know what I've done, or I’m feeling resentful - those are all good warning signs.
 
Sometimes we have to dig a little deeper than the surface, because it can be easy to use those emotions to hold us back, rather than move us forward.
 
Ask yourself “what is making me feel this way?” “Why am I doing this?” Remember, our thoughts and beliefs drive our actions. If I’m thinking I need more recognition or acknowledgment, or I believe that I’m not good enough, or I need to prove my value, it could be a confidence issue, for example.
 
Giving of ourselves can be very healthy and beneficial, but giving too much for the wrong reasons will only cause problems for ourselves and our teams. Take some time to reflect on this. See if you can find what might be driving your actions.
 
For us White Knights, sometimes it’s better to just get off the horse. Walk around and talk to people. Listen and be sensitive to how they might be feeling. Put yourself right into it, with your direct reports and your peers. Empathize.
 
People don’t want a White Knight to come in and save them. They want to learn and grow and be empowered. This, my friend, is how you will be valued and feel connected!
 
I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions on the white knight syndrome, or any workplace topic. In almost all cases, other people benefit so much from your questions too! 

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on March 7th, 2017

This one little formula will truly change your life.

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed, and then you just don’t know where to focus? You find yourself not accomplishing what you had hoped? At times you get distracted and end up doing something completely different than you had thought you would?

You’ve written your list for the day, only to find yourself straying from that list.

You’ve scheduled your calendar with the tasks you know are important, but you ignore them and do something that’s not accomplishing anything.

Someone calls or needs something and you are quick to abort your own priorities and jump in and help them.

You’re spending a majority of your time at work fixing things and putting out fires.

I could go on and on… because yes, I’ve been there too!

I’ve been the master of lists and tasks and calendars and goal setting. And I’m not saying it’s all bad. It’s been effective for me at times. But when you find that you’re not going where you want to with all of these lists and goals and structured tasks, it’s time to step back and check your GRIT!

In most cases, it’s a matter of not being aligned, passionate and disciplined.

Whenever I find myself off wandering aimlessly, or getting distracted, or not motivated... I know it’s time to get my GRIT together!

Generosity, Respect, Integrity and Truth are the four principles that make up GRIT. Uniquely combined, these four principles can help you get clear about what’s important in your life, and provide a roadmap to start living that way.

Generosity is where we want to be as an end result. The feeling of abundance. That there is enough time, money, love… you name it. (Hint: Too much generosity can be a detriment!)

To get to authentic Generosity, we need to start with Truth, and work our way through Integrity and Respect. 

Step 1 - Truth
Figure out what is important to you in life. What are you passionate about? What do you most value? Sometimes we need to explore a little to discover our Truth. There are many ways to do this. A couple of suggestions:
-A favorite book I highly recommend is The Great Work of Your Life by Stephen Cope.
-Go on a retreat for self-growth, healing, or for your business or career. Don Miguel Ruiz of the Four Agreements is one of my favorites for self-growth and healing.

Define how you want to feel. What you want to be doing. How you want to live.

Hint: When discovering your Truth, remember to be very accepting of it, rather than judgmental of yourself. We always have the option to change if we want to!  This 5 Steps of Change podcast might help you!

Step 2 - Integrity
Once you’ve defined your Truth, identify what you need to do to align to your Truth. Integrity is about the action you will take. Remember those lists and tasks and calendar items I mentioned above? Be sure to check them to your Truth. This will help you connect your heart with your head, and do what’s most valuable to you.

Step 3 - Respect
When you know your Truth, and you live in Integrity, you begin to naturally Respect yourself. We must have a healthy self-respect before we can expect others to respect us, and certainly before we can truly respect others. You may have heard the analogy - Put the oxygen mask on yourself first? We have to take care of ourselves - with the food we eat, the amount of sleep and rest, the water we drink, the exercise we give our body and even what we feed our minds!

Hint: Respecting others is realizing that we don’t know their Truth. We have to be careful not to assume we do. We can certainly ‘wonder’ and ask questions. That’s healthy. But to believe you absolutely know someone else’s Truth will not serve you well.

Step 4 - Generosity
There’s a lot to be said today about Generosity. A great book on this by Adam Grant delves in even deeper than I did in Leading With GRIT! When we are clear on what’s important to us, and we live in alignment with that, respecting ourselves and others - it will be much easier to give and receive. It will be easier to say no when you need to. You will feel more confident. You’ll receive when you need to. You will feel more gratitude.

Hint: If you find yourself giving too much, this is a great opportunity for self-reflection. Use the GRITⓇ model to help you look at your respect, integrity and truth. You’ll most likely find out why you are doing this to yourself - if you’re willing to take a look!

At any point in the GRIT model, if you find you’re not where you want to be, look back to see what you might need to do differently. GRIT works not only as a roadmap, but it’s a great self-reflection tool as well!

If you don’t have Leading With GRITⓇ yet, this is a great first step to living the life you want to live. Don’t let the title fool you - it’s not just for formal leaders. It’s also about leading yourself, in any area of your life!

Take the free GRITAssessment at www.LeadingWithGRIT.com/GRITassessment.

Cheers, 
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on March 2nd, 2017

I’ll never forget the first time someone cried when I gave her some feedback. I reacted in the worst way. No, I didn’t cry too! But I did completely wimp out. I was so uncomfortable, I told her “it’s ok, we can talk about this another time.” And then I let her leave.

As you can imagine, we didn’t talk about it again.
 
I learned an important lesson that day. I learned that I should not avoid the uncomfortable - especially when it is going to help another person.

Providing feedback to our employees is a very important responsibility that managers have to master. Avoiding these tough conversations is doing a disservice to your people.

Not only did I neglect to provide valuable feedback that day, but I reinforced a behavior that was not going to help this young lady’s success. That was many years ago, and I vowed I would get better in my role as a manager. Sure, some of my motivation was to make it easier on me. But some of what inspired me was to help other people.

Managers are often so overwhelmed and stressed, they forget their purpose.
 
While the end goal is to get efficient and effective results, a manager’s purpose is to develop others to reach their full potential. When our focus is on helping others grow and learn, the result is much greater than if we are just driving to get things done.

To be good at managing people, there are going to be things you have to do that will not be comfortable, whether it’s giving feedback, delegating, or holding someone accountable.

These 5 steps will help you get out of your comfort zone so you can be a more effective manager:
  • Know yourself. What makes you uncomfortable? Whether it’s someone crying, or the thought of being portrayed as the bad guy, or lacking enough trust to hand over a project, most of us have some discomforts! Just being aware of them is powerful.
  • Accept it. Tell yourself “It’s ok that this makes me uncomfortable. I’m human.” Get over trying to be “perfect”! It’s more important to be authentic.  
  • Remember your purpose as a manager. When you focus on helping others, the reason for giving feedback, or delegating, or holding someone accountable becomes clear. You’ll be more comfortable when you know you’re helping them.
  • Share your vulnerability (when appropriate). Being honest helps your fears disappear, and it builds trust. Literally sharing it with your team is not unheard of! “Hey guys, you know how I really don’t like holding people accountable - but I’ve got to bring this up, or we won’t make our goal!”
  • Get help. If you have a discomfort that you’ve worked on but it’s not improving for you, find a mentor or a coach to help you. Sometimes there are deeper beliefs that could be holding us back from the actions we know we need to take. The most successful people I know have hired a coach and/or had a mentor to help them! (I wrote about a client who had great success with this recently in this blog post: The Simplest Way to Make Lasting Change)
We have to remember that by helping to facilitate the growth of the employees on your team, you’re benefitting that person and the organization as a whole. We know it’s not always going to be easy. But guess what? By stretching out of your comfort zone, you are also benefiting yourself. You’re becoming an even better manager, which means less stress and better results!

When you’re struggling with that discomfort, keep in mind - all great things take effort! No pain, no gain, right?

My 360° Leadership Assessment is a great way to lean into this personal development. The assessment is meant for anyone who wants to use 360° feedback as part of their leadership development, whether they’re an emerging leader or an experienced executive. For more information, visit the Unlimited Coaching Solutions 363 Leadership Assessment.

Cheers, 
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on February 22nd, 2017

While so much money is being poured into employee recognition initiatives and other perks to keep people happy, what your employees really want is quite simple. And quite free.

More effective communication.

Don’t you find it just a bit ironic that we humans are supposed to have the most sophisticated communication of all animals, yet we neglect and abuse our communication so much that it becomes the biggest issue we have in all of our relationships?

I could ask you to take a look at the list of communication issues that prevent effective leadership (below), find the one or two things that you need to do to improve, and focus on that. And it might work, for a little while. But then you’d soon be back to your old habits and ways. Or you may not even attempt to do it at all.

So the question begs, we have a great tool that can produce enormously positive results, why don’t we use it properly?  

It boils down to our underlying thoughts and beliefs. What do you really believe about your role as a leader, your highest value activities, and the impact it has on your people?

When you take a look at the communication issues that prevent effective leadership (below), ask yourself WHY.  
Why are we not recognizing employee achievements? Why are we not giving clear directions? Why don’t we have time to meet with employees? Why are we refusing to talk to subordinates? Why would we take credit for others’ ideas? Why do we not offer constructive criticism? Why don’t we know our employee's names? Why are we refusing to talk to people on the phone or in person? Why don’t we ask about employees’ lives outside of work?

For many of us, the answer we give is “I don’t have enough time.”

Yet, there is proven return on investment (ROI) for leaders to engage in these activities and it really doesn’t take that much time.

Could there be other reasons besides time?
Could our ego get in the way on occasion?
Perhaps we don’t believe in the ROI of our highest value activities?
Maybe our idea of leadership needs to change?

Self-reflection is paramount to leadership. When we discover what might hold us back, it frees us up to carry out these important leadership activities. For more on that topic, take a look at the 3 Things All Leaders Need to Do to Get the Best Results.

This. Is. It. This is exactly what your employees want. And this isn’t the only study that tells us this. There are many that support these same findings.

If you genuinely engage with your people, they will genuinely engage and produce the results you know them to be capable of! Can I repeat this sentence to convey its importance? You get what you give, leaders!!

If you ignore your employees, if you deny them, or you come across condescendingly, you will create the opposite - people with lackluster feelings about their day to day activities.

You can find more about employee engagement, specifically GRIT® in the workplace in my book, Leading with GRIT. Get it in kindle or hardcover now on Amazon: bit.ly/leadingwithgrit

Remember, everything is cause and effect. These are absolutely free techniques to increase employee engagement. Why not give it a shot?

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on February 14th, 2017

“No man will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it.”
- Andrew Carnegie

If you’re reading this, you’ve either recognized you have some micromanagement tendencies, or you’re wondering how to help ‘your friend’ with this problem!

Either way, the good news is, you have everything you need to stop micromanaging!

So let’s get started. First, I want you to think about why you micro manage? Why do you worry about what everyone on your team is doing? What makes you think you need to be copied on everything? Why are you worried about every detail of how someone is doing something?

Most often, we are micromanaging because we don’t trust that someone can do it as well as we can. And you know what - they might not!

We all know that details, quality, and timeliness are important, but if we don’t let go and allow people to learn and grow, what message do you think you are sending to them?

You guessed it -
  • You’re not good enough
  • You’ll never do it to my satisfaction
  • I don’t trust you

And what will you end up with?
  • People who worry too much about making mistakes and are less efficient
  • Team members who give up and won’t bother to do their best because it’s never good enough
  • Individuals that don’t trust their team members or anyone else, resulting in silos and less productivity

Knowing why you micromanage and the impact it has will help you look at the situation differently. Your role as a leader is to influence others to be who they have the potential to be. This entails helping your people learn and grow. When you are managing a project, think first about the development potential it has for the people on your team. Be realistic about the time and quality, in relation to the goal of providing opportunities for your people to develop into leaders themselves.

When you change your thoughts and beliefs your actions will follow. So you see, you really do have everything you need to stop micromanaging and start trusting in your team. It’s all about shifting your focus and helping others succeed. Not only will this empower others, it will serve you and your organization’s goals as well!

We learn and grow so much by sharing with each other. I invite you to share what you have done to help yourself eliminate micromanaging, and trust more in the people you serve.

Cheers!
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on February 8th, 2017

Do you ever catch yourself thinking that there could be a better way to cut that pineapple, or peel that mango, or squeeze those limes?

When I’m in the kitchen, I want to create the most nutritious and delicious meals, and I really want to enjoy doing it.

Your tools can make a huge difference.  

It’s not that I’m constantly buying new kitchen gadgets, but I’m always open to looking. I remember taking a cooking class a few years back and learning how to properly use knives. Wow, I’d had some decent knives in my kitchen, but I wasn’t using them to my advantage - or theirs. I bought a knife sharpener that day and that’s probably one of my favorite kitchen tools ever!

Think of leadership like managing your kitchen.

You want to produce the best results with the least effort, and enjoy yourself while you’re at it. Just like cooking, using the right tools helps leaders be more effective. This means as leaders, we need to continuously look for ways to improve our leadership skills. We may just need a refresher from time to time (like sharpening those knives). Or we may need to replace something we’re doing with an entirely new method. Perhaps you’ve never had the opportunity to take a class on leadership. Just think, you may find that one tool that will make your life so much easier!

Here are a few tried and true tips and resources to help sharpen your leadership skills:
  1. Take your leadership profession seriously. Your role is to inspire others to create magnificent results. Get very clear on your purpose and your intent. www.LeadingWithGRIT.com/GRITassessment is a good place to start - and it’s free!
  2. Get to know your people. A valuable tool we use in training sessions is DiSC. Visit the dedicated DiSC page and watch our short video on why you need DiSC in your workplace. It’s fun and very easy for people to remember. It helps people understand, appreciate and communicate better with each other. (And the video is less than 3 minutes long!!)
  3. READ!! Continuously read great leadership books. Subscribe to a weekly blog. Get a daily message sent to your inbox or phone. With all the distractions we face in our lives, we need help staying focused and aligned to what’s important. Take advantage of our free workplace tips - you can sign up here. And I recapped some of my favorite inspirational people in this blog post: How Bad Do You Want to Live a Happy Life?
  4. Get professional leadership training at least once a year. Participate in a Leadership 360 to find out how others perceive your leadership abilities. Consider leadership coaching if there are any areas you feel you may need a little more help with. As with the tools in your kitchen, make sure you do the research to find your best options. For example, you want more than lecture and storytelling. Make sure you get hands-on practice opportunities.

Any chef will tell you that a cook is only as good as the resources available to him to create a great meal. For us leaders, this means the team that surrounds us and the tools we use to help our teams thrive.

We never have enough tools, and new ones are constantly being released. Use the tips I’ve outlined in this blog post to help you focus on the ones I think you’ll find most useful. And if you have other tips that are not on this list, I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment here or shoot me an email at laurie@unlimitedcoaching.com!

Cheers,
Laurie

by Laurie Sudbrink on February 1st, 2017

There’s so much talk about leadership: what it is, the best skills and traits, mistakes to avoid, and how to be great.

Truly, there is no lack of information on leadership. Quite frankly, it can be like drinking from a firehose!

Of the many ideas and techniques spelled out in numerous books and articles on leadership, through my experience working with leaders from all walks of life, I’ve found the following 3 things to be the most effective for all leaders.

1) Build in time for self-reflection
Are you mindful of what you want, how you feel and how you want to feel, what kind of leader you want to be? Do you pay attention to what pushes your buttons and what inspires you? Are you aware of what others want, how others feel, and how you impact their world?

There is no cookie cutter approach to leadership and there are many ways to be a great leader.

The first thing we need to do as leaders is to know and accept ourselves. Then we can align our actions appropriately, and respect what others need from us. This will lead to us to our best results.

When we set time aside to reflect, we lessen reactive behaviors we might regret later. So take 10 minutes to reflect at the end of each day. What went right? What went wrong? What will you do differently? Reflect on Monday morning as you commute to work. Get yourself in the moment and think positively about the day and what’s ahead. Create that mindfulness for yourself.

Then also remember to be in tune to other people. Take 5 minutes to check in with them. This shows your team that you care, and it builds trust. You also get an idea of what’s going on and you can more quickly course correct if necessary.


2) Genuinely give of yourself to others
Before you can genuinely give, you must be aligned and respect yourself and others. That’s why self-reflection is the first thing to do. Giving will come more naturally.

How do we genuinely give of ourselves? I mentioned checking in with people. When you practice true self-reflection as mentioned above, you take on a more positive intent.

You want to help others.

There are many simple ways throughout the day to check in and genuinely give to your team. Being present, listening with empathy, acknowledging others and following through are some of the simplest ways.

And hey, if reading this makes you realize that you used to do this but you’re currently not, just the awareness of it may get you back in the habit.

If you find that you resist checking in with people, you most likely need to go back to number 1 and really think about your intent. Why are you in a leadership position? What is your purpose? If you need help, my recent book Leading With GRIT, is a great resource. Chapter 2 helps you reflect on your truth, and chapter 5 is all about generosity and giving.

When we give because we want to, not because we have to or because we are expecting something in return, everything changes. You’ll soon discover more people stepping up and wanting to help you.

3) Focus on one skill that you need to improve, and GET. DISCIPLINED.
Maybe you need to improve your listening skills. Start by visualizing what you would be like if you had superb listening skills. How would the people on your team react? How would it impact productivity?

Visualizing trains your brain. Most of our behavior is a result of our thoughts and beliefs. When we believe we are a good listener, through visualizing it, we begin to act like a good listener.

Take some time to reflect on why listening is so important. When you fully believe in the purpose, it provides even more passion and commitment to your goal - in this case, of being a good listener.

Discipline plays an important role too. If you’re not a fan of discipline, just think, it shares the same root as disciple. So you can become a disciple of good listening! Make it your focus. Get people you trust to give you feedback. After you were in a situation that required listening, reflect by asking yourself what you did right, what you did wrong, visualize what you’ll do next time, and why it’s important.

Before you know it, you’ll never even remember the days when you strived to be a good listener! And I’m willing to bet you’ll have enhanced relationships, less stress, more team engagement and increased productivity, too!


Do you think these tips will help you become a better leader? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Cheers,

by Laurie Sudbrink on January 25th, 2017

When you hear the term servant leadership, your first response may be to reject the concept.  Why? Because most of us think leaders need to be in control, and as a servant, we have less control! However, with servant leadership, it is that very action of releasing control and empowering your people that will engage and encourage them to do their best! Your willingness and courage to do this will help pave the road for their success!

When you serve those on the front line who work with your customers, they start to trust that you are there for them and you believe in them. In return, they naturally want to provide your customers with the best care. Actions really do speak louder than words!

By stepping out of the way, you give people a chance to grow and learn (generosity in the GRIT model!). You help build their confidence and you end up with a responsible, productive team. So although it may feel counter-intuitive and even uncomfortable, serving your team produces the best results.

Check out my video on how to “step out of the way and lead” to:
  • Embrace your role as a servant leader
  • Create connectedness and a feeling of belonging
  • Create an energy that negates the natural resistance to authority
  • Empower those on the front line
​Are you willing to step back, take a look inside, and discover your purpose in leading? Check out Leading With GRIT: Inspiring Action and Accountability with Generosity, Respect, Integrity, and Truth!

Cheers!

by Laurie Sudbrink on January 18th, 2017

January is a great month to look at goals and what we want out of life. What holds us back the most is our own thoughts and beliefs, and what we really want!

It's so easy to let ourselves get distracted and not take full responsibility for our thoughts and beliefs... and therefore our actions. It's easier to be a victim. It's easier to blame it on our parents, blame it on corporations, blame it on social media, blame it on our partner, blame it on the government! It boils down to a justification that “someone else is making me feel this way and there's nothing I can do about it.”

At what point in our lives are we going to step up and take responsibility and create the life we want?

I hope you’re not waiting for a near-death experience to wake you up! And let me tell you, no one else is going to create your awesome life for you. Stop waiting to be saved. Stop waiting for the right time or the right person. Stop waiting period!

I admit, it does take a little effort to take responsibility for ourselves. Just like exercising or healthy eating - we need to put the right thoughts and beliefs in our brain! It takes self-awareness.  It takes practice. It takes the want to! As the country song goes "how bad do you want it?"

Some of us are so addicted to feeling like the victim, to the suffering, to playing the role of the martyr. We want our co-workers to feel sorry for us. We want our family to worry about how hard we work. We want our friends to make a fuss over us. Before you can create your happy life, there has to be a strong desire to feel differently; to be free from the negative feelings. That desire has to be stronger than your desire to suffer and the attention you get. And yes, like any addiction, it will take effort to get over it.

Can you imagine how your life would be, if you could feel the way you want to feel, and not allow your thoughts and beliefs about others to control you?

Can you visualize what that would be like? It's within all of us to achieve this. Each one of us has this potential. It's easier for some of us, and more difficult for others, just like losing weight and achieving any goal. But it is possible for each of us.

What do you want for your life - in your career, with your family, for your health, in your social life? Define it. Imagine how it looks. Think about how it feels. Tell yourself you deserve it (positive brainwashing is good by the way!). Add something positive toward this goal into your life every day - you’ll soon crowd out the negative and you’ll be enjoying your life!

As you take this adventure (if you decide you want it bad enough!) -  lighten up about it. Have fun with it. We need to stop stressing to be this unattainable perfection. We need to also stop judging others for the same!

I’d like to send a special thank you to some of the people who have inspired me in my life and work:
I encourage you to follow these inspirational people and maybe you’ll find that they help you focus your life. And for more on getting your GRIT together, I’d be honored if you took a look at my book, Leading with GRIT available on Amazon in Hardcover and Kindle!

Please share what you do (or will do) to add positivity into your life (and crowd out the negative).

Cheers!