I believe it’s time for a new type of leader, and a new type of organizational culture; one that focuses on people, understanding, and collaboration; instead of money, results, and competition. … This is the first in a series of blog posts on balanced and mindful leadership.
In my coaching with business and professional women from around the world, greater and greater numbers, and younger and younger women are coming to me exhausted, “juggling so many balls”, feeling that there is no longer any fun in their lives; they are all about work with little or no time for themselves, or to spend with people they love. Some of them have health concerns. They are looking for tools and support to help them find peace amongst the chaos of daily life and work.
Well-educated professional women are leaving their senior positions or turning down career advancements when they have children, as there is not enough time to do it all. Those who try to do it all, often become ill or end up in separation and divorce.
The old paradigm of working harder to get ahead is no longer working. In fact, productivity starts to decline after a certain number of hours of consistent work. It’s time for a new paradigm and new type of leader: a balanced and mindful one.
What are the attributes of a balanced and mindful leader?
- Lives life in alignment with their core values
- Runs an organization or operates within an organization in alignment with the organizational values
- Knows their BIG WHY (life purpose)
- Understands the importance of Work/Life Balance and models that for others
- Rewards teams rather than individuals for their performance
- Models and rewards inter and intra-organizational collaboration
- Recognizes the need for space to encourage creativity and innovation
- Uses their body as well as their minds to make decisions; e.g. Leadership is an art as well as a science.
- Inspires and supports others to be the best they can be
- Is emotionally intelligent and aware of their strengths and weaknesses
- Surrounds self with folks with complementary skill-sets to shore up their weaknesses and complement their strengths, rather than people like themselves.
- Encourages brainstorming and questioning of the status quo.
- Allows their managers and staff to make mistakes, share and learn from them; encourages a culture of innovation – e.g. Engineers without Borders Annual Failure report – http://reports.ewb.ca/
Do you agree with the need for a new type of leader? What are your thoughts? I welcome your comments below. Feel free to share the post with others who you think might like to join in the discussion.
While recently visiting a friend who was recovering from surgery, she said something to me that really made me sit up and take notice. After opening the card and gift I brought her she said, “Your presence is enough.” When I reflect on my life and my driven nature, I realize that I’ve lived much of my life as if my presence is NOT enough; from a place of feeling like I need to perform and achieve in order to be loved and to BE enough. Do you relate?
I invite you take a few moments to reflect on your life. Have you been living it as if “Your presence is enough?” Think about what your life would look and feel like if you truly believed that your presence was enough? … You might feel free, confident, unconditionally loved, in the flow, like you didn’t have to constantly strive and give 110% when 100% was sufficient. I encourage you to “try on” the vision and feeling of living like “Your presence is enough” and notice any differences. Is life easier and more fun?
I welcome your comments below. Feel free to share this post with others.
Creative Living is the conscious cultivation of improved health, happiness, fulfillment, and inner peace in your life.
Based on my own journey and work with clients around the world, I have distilled 7 keys to what I call Creative Living. By integrating the 7 keys and their associated proven practices and powerful strategies into your life, you will learn to thrive in life and in business/work. In other words, you will learn to dance with life.
The 7 keys are:
- Listen to and trust in your body’s wisdom
- Tap into and express your creative side
- Consciously create right and left brain/body balance
- Live life in alignment with your core values
- Believe that you are here to make a difference
- Learn from and embrace life transitions
- Find inner peace, and build peace in your family, friends, community, workplace… the world.
A chapter is devoted to each one of the 7 keys in my book Learning to Dance with Life: A Guide for High Achieving Women.
The value of growing your practice of the seven keys is supported by evidence from neuroscience, the arts, and Eastern psychology. I’ve learned from personal experience and from working with clients that integrating the seven keys to Creative Living into your life will support you as you learn to dance with life.
Are you interested in learning to dance with life or are you currently dancing with life? I’d love to hear your comments. Feel free to post them below and to share this with others.
You may be curious but not sure if you are a High Achieving Woman. If you feel this way, you are not alone. When I conducted interviews with women I consider to be high achieving, some of those selected said things like, I’m not a High Achieving Woman or, I don’t have any great accomplishments to my name or, I’m not in the corporate world or, It sounds arrogant to call myself a High Achieving Woman.
High Achieving Women are found everywhere: in their own businesses, in corporations, in academia, in government, in not-for-profits. You don’t have to be a CEO or a Nobel Prize winner to be a High Achieving Woman, although you may be.
According to Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter in her book High Octane Women, “it’s not status or job title that makes High Achieving Women high achievers. It’s how their minds work…how [they] psychologically respond to challenges, which then propels [them] toward excellence in achievement.”
Attributes of High Achieving Women
High Achieving Women generally possess a number of attributes in common. Some are positive and some negative. The attributes include:
- Passionate about work
- Give more than they receive
- Want to make a difference
- Have trouble saying “no”
- Feel like there are never enough hours in the day
- Achieve more than most in a given time frame
- Perfectionist tendencies; own worst critic
- Love learning
- Focus on achievement; never enough
- Rarely take time to bask in the joy of accomplishment
- Spend more time doing than being
This list is not exhaustive and all High Achieving Women don’t possess all of the above attributes. Based on coaching such women and in-depth interviews and workshops with High Achieving Women, most women who are high achievers possess at least five of the above attributes. The majority of High Achieving Women tend to give much more than they receive and many are challenged to reach out for support. They also spend much more time doing than being.
(excerpt from “Learning to Dance with Life: A Guide for High Achieving Women” launching on August 26, 2015 – To download the first 3 chapters visit http://creativelivingcommunity.com/blog/the-book/)
How many on the list of attributes apply to you? Out of the entire list, which ones would you categorize as positive and why? Which ones do you view as negative, and why?
I’d love to hear your insights. Feel free to comment below and to share this post with others.
What I’ve learned from my own journey and working with clients, is that to be happy, healthy and fulfilled, it is important to reclaim and “own” all parts of ourselves. One way to do this is to identify and embrace the multiple roles we play.
Here’s a short exercise. How would you categorize yourself? Check each of the following that apply to you: a) Consultant; b) Entrepreneur c) Academic; d) Coach; e) Mentor; f) Manager; g) Executive; h) Mother; i) Daughter; j) Sister; k) Partner; l) Other (please add something if none of the above apply to you or if you wish to add something else)
What thoughts ran through your head as you answered the question above? You may have realized the multiple roles you play in your business and in your life. No wonder you feel like there are never enough hours in the day! You may have identified one or several roles/parts of yourself that you have never really acknowledged or “owned”. Why is that? Perhaps there is a limiting belief you have about that role that you’d like to explore further?
To illustrate the importance of reclaiming and owning all parts of ourselves, I’d like to share with you a personal story. What I came to realize is that I hadn’t owned the fact that I am an entrepreneur until about 12 months ago; even though I have started up and run 2 successful management consulting businesses since the early 1990s and a coaching business since 2008.
For some reason acknowledging and claiming that I am an entrepreneur, never felt quite right. Perhaps it’s because I have worked with a lot of public sector organizations and on projects with disadvantaged groups and regions and I have a strong drive to make a positive difference in the world. When I sat for a while with my feelings about being an entrepreneur, I realized that I have indeed been an entrepreneur since I was quite young. It’s in my blood! My girlfriend and I caught and sold minnows to fishermen when I was about 9. I made bracelets out of shells and sold them. I had a lemonade stand at a young age. From age 9 to 13, I had a card and small gifts business. I would go from house to house, show people my catalogue and invite them to place orders. When they asked me what I was saving for, I said I was saving for my trip around the world. Which, I am pleased to share, I took when I was 30.
So what made me not own up to being an entrepreneur? When I “went inside “ and reflected, one of the beliefs that came up for me is that selling is not positive. I tended to equate it with “greasy, car salesmen” and I certainly didn’t feel I had a lot in common with them! After some meditating, soul searching and journaling, I changed my thinking and beliefs about being an entrepreneur and now see and feel the positive aspects of it. I know that I am here to make a positive difference in women’s lives and when I focus on that it feels much better.
Have you had a similar experience you’d like to share? How did you “own” that part of yourself? Is there a process, tool or strategy you would recommend to others to assist them in “owning and reclaiming a part of themselves”? I welcome your comments below.
For many years my life was all about work. I worked crazy hours, went to bed thinking about work and awoke with work on my mind. I would “hit the ground running”, rather than take time to “ground myself” and quiet my busy mind. In interactions with others, I was often thinking of the next thing on my “to do” list, rather than being totally present with the conversation. I was like a “spinning top” always “doing” and rarely “being”.
I typically took work home on weekends when I had a “real” job; and worked night and day when starting my consulting businesses and later my coaching business. I would finish one project, check it off the list and “get on” with the next one, rarely taking time to bask in the joy of my accomplishments.
Reflecting on those days, the birth of my two children were likely my “saving grace”. They “made me” take time off on weekends and some evenings to spend special quality time with them. If I hadn’t had kids, who knows what a “crazy” person I might have become!
Do any of these scenarios ring true for you? At this phase in life, I’m called to reach out to and support driven women who have made work a priority over their own health, their relationships, the rest of their life … . I know from personal experience the toll being a High Achieving Woman can take on your body, mind and relationships at home and at work. I’m called to share strategies that work with women like yourself and to create a global community and platform for women to share their experiences and support one another. I now know that there is more to life than living it “like a spinning top”.
Do you relate to any of the above? Do you have any similar experiences you’d like to share? I welcome your comments in the box below.