“The ability to learn is the most important quality a leader can have.” ~ Sheryl Sandberg
There’s a direct correlation between the amount of books you read and the quality of your leadership. Warren Buffet said he reads 600 or more pages a day. He spends 80% of his day reading. CEOs of Fortune 500 companies read an average of four to five books a month. Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year, that’s one per week. Author and self-made millionaire Steve Siebold interviewed more than 1,200 of the world’s wealthiest people over the past 30 years and noted that they all read for self-education. We read because it changes our lives. I appreciate what President Harry S. Truman said:
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”
The reality is that most professionals tend to reach a plateau when it comes to learning. And we’re all busy, learning new things can easily be relegated to the backburner when it comes to priorities. However, it’s worth the effort because leaders who have a continuous learning mindset develop stronger leadership skills than their peers. It only makes sense. To learn is to grow, to evolve, to master. If you’re not continually growing and using it, you will lose it. Yes, your experience does matters, but in the long run, it’s your curiosity, your thirst for knowledge and understanding that will make you an outstanding leader. This applies to all avenues of life…leading in your family, your community, your job.
When you never stop learning you develop, deepen, and strengthen your ability to focus. You’re constantly looking for the whys and hows of a broad range of topics, not just your specific field. You’ll find yourself looking for opportunities to apply what you learn in a practical way. You’ll also experiment with alternative strategies, realizing that there’s always more than one way to do a thing. And those who have the learning mindset ask continually for feedback from others so they can reflect on what works best.
Innovation is key to successful leadership today. It’s how you put your unique spin or mark on a practice that has been done a million times before by someone else. You may start out in one place, but because you’re constantly learning and feeding your brain and spirit, you’ll explore and discover new directions so that your business and services evolve into something that really makes a difference.
If you want to lead people, aim to be a strong leader. And if you want to be a strong leader, prioritize learning. Continuously learning is now more important than ever before. Leaders who never stop learning use what they acquire to:
Are you committed to making the motto: “Never Stop Learning” your own? Good for you! The rewards will be endless. The more you learn, the more you grow, and the more you grow, the better you can serve others, your communities and the world. A great way to rapidly expand your learning is by attending our Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP in Ashland, Oregon. Not only will you learn how to coach yourself and others; you’ll also learn how to learn. It will give you a foundation you can really build on!
“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” ~ John F. Kennedy
You’ve seen them…the ones who seem to be natural born leaders. They instinctively know how to keep their heads when things go wrong, and they can draw exceptional performance out of everyone on the team. If that’s not you, don’t despair. Leadership can be learned, because leadership is a process of applying specific skills and qualities and any process can be learned.
How can leadership be learned? Let’s examine 10 leadership qualities and skills and find ways you can enhance these in your life.
- Leaders are decisive. Constantly ask, “Do I know what I need to know about this topic/situation?” If so, weigh your options and make your call. Don’t agonize, overanalyze or second-guess yourself. You can always make adjustments as needed.
- Leaders are innovative and creative. Increase your self-awareness so you recognize limiting thoughts when they arise and then consciously change them. Fine-tune your flexibility, curiosity and adaptability, and then you’ll be in a position to act when you see opportunities.
- Leaders inspire confidence. When things start to unravel and fall apart, people need to know everything will be all right. Learn to model a can-do attitude so you stop negativity, procrastination and hopelessness before they get a foothold. Act like you know what you’re doing, because deep down you do know what needs to be done. It’s a matter of identifying and owning the scary parts. Be courageous and bold and people will follow you.
- Leaders are empathetic. Leaders are in the people business. You have to understand how they are feeling, not how you would feel in that circumstance. This takes communication, deep listening and vulnerability. When you are able to see things as they do, you’re much likelier to come up with a solution that they can get behind.
- Leaders have emotional control. Yes, leaders get frustrated and angry, but they buy time to cool down and respond rationally. So, write that scathing letter or email, but don’t send it. Blow off steam and then look for your emotional triggers and how you can suspend judgment as you mindfully manage those emotions.
- Leaders are persuasive. When you can express the reasons why something is important, you’ll have a persuasive argument that convinces others. Yes, there may be many ways to accomplish something, but trust that your way is worthy and valid. Being a people pleaser can really get in the way of aggressively selling your vision. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.”
- Leaders seek advice. No one has all the answers, so it’s essential to seek counsel. Yet many people have their own agenda. That’s why it’s wise to collect a group of people who have earned your trust to advise you. Then they can point out any blind spot in your thinking.
- Leaders invest in continuous learning. Read a wide range of books that stimulate your curiosity and creativity. Warren Buffett credits much of his success to reading – spending 80% of each day doing it.
- Leaders embrace authenticity. You’ll wear yourself out if you pretend to be something you’re not. You win respect when you showcase your unique gifts and talents, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, methodical or spontaneous. People can spot a phony from a mile away, so be true to yourself.
- Leaders remain humble. When you’re in an executive position, it’s easy to get puffed up and forget about your humble beginnings. This is inflamed by flattery from others. Keep your eyes on the good of each individual in your organization and bring out their best, promoting their growth and achievements.
Can leadership be learned? Definitely YES! That you ask this question shows you have curiosity, which is one essential leadership quality. Are you ready to unlock the leader within you? I’d love to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event. Nando and I will help you hone YOUR gifts, talents and skills so you can make a real difference in the lives of others.
“How do we nurture the soul? By revering our own life. By learning to love it all, not only the joys and the victories, but also the pain and the struggles.” —Nathaniel Branden
In order for us to fully enjoy life, all aspects of life must be in balance. Mind, body and spirit have to be in harmony with each other. Focusing on only the material and neglecting the spiritual leaves people feeling empty and dissatisfied. People are trying to “find themselves”, because they sense that something important is missing. That something is, more often than not, spirituality.
What is spirituality? How do you know if you’re a spiritual person? The quest for spirituality is intrinsic to the human experience. We all have a need for it, although some are more aware about it than others, and we choose to fill that need in different ways. Some people define spirituality as attending religious services, enjoying time in nature, praying, or meditating to mention only a few. And the interesting thing is that your definition may drastically change over time.
Something that all spiritual experiences have in common is that it includes a sense of connection to something bigger than self. Being connected to it creates a deep feeling of being more alive and more purposeful.
Many of the practices that help you cultivate spirituality are the same ones that help you improve emotional well-being. While emotions and spirituality are distinct, they form a self-perpetuating circle. Spirituality leads to emotions such as peace of mind, awe, gratitude, and acceptance, which broaden your ability to recognize and connect with that which is larger than yourself.
How to integrate the material with the spiritual
It’s essential that you don’t entrust your spiritual journey to anyone else. They simply can’t do it for you. Here are some ways to greater spirituality…
Find your purpose. When you discover meaning in life, you find a path that’s aligned with something bigger than your health, possessions or beliefs.
Create connection. To feel complete, we crave to receive and give unconditional love and acceptance from family, friends, and the Universe. I love how Guy Finley explains it, “Nothing glows brighter than the heart awakened to the light of love that lives within it.”
Continue growing as a person. When we stop growing, we die inside and give up. You feel more alive when you work to improve, push boundaries and reach your full potential.
Answer the big questions in life. It’s normal to want to understand how life works and how you fit in, so you probably have asked, “Who am I?” and “Why am I here?”
Seek inner peace. Spirituality helps you gain balance independent of external experiences in a way that creates greater appreciation for life.
Transcend above the every day. You’re feeding your spirit when you want something better than the present human condition; you seek meaning in suffering and an enlightened way of life that rises above the pettiness around you.
Explore life’s mysteries. These moments of discovery fill you with awe, a sense of wonder and feel sacred. You clearly see your small place in the Universe.
Be of service. Your spirit is revived when you make a difference in the lives of others.
Which one of these quests drives your search for spirituality? Not all of them will resonate with you, so this will dictate the path and practices you choose to follow.
I’ve been reading a lot of Brene’ Brown’s books lately. She defines spirituality as:
“Recognizing and celebrating that we are inextricably connected with one another by a power greater than all of us and that that connection to that power and one another is grounded in love and belonging.”
When I heard this definition I thought, “This is the first definition of spirituality that sincerely makes sense!” I think of being spiritual as being connected to our true SPIRIT, which includes the reasons why we’re here; why we do what we do; and why we have the experiences we have. It all becomes part of a human perfection. When we embark on our journey of discovery, the process itself becomes a spiritual journey. We have the opportunity to rise above pain, hurts and our own fallacies as humans and connect on a level beyond what our brains can understand, where our own stories finally make more sense.
If you’d like to take your spiritual journey to greater depths, I’d love to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event. Nando and I will help you explore YOUR spiritual path in a safe and supportive environment.
“Many times in life I’ve regretted the things I’ve said without thinking. But I’ve never regretted the things I said nearly as much as the words I left unspoken. ~ Lisa Kleypas
Do you feel free to be yourself all of the time? Or do you wake up each morning and “put your armor on” so people won’t see the real you – your vulnerabilities, quirks or shame?
It’s not easy to always speak your truth. We worry about appearing weak. We worry about creating conflict. We worry about giving away our power. We worry about hurting someone’s feelings.
Reflect over the past week…how many times have you not been entirely truthful? Perhaps you’ve spoken little white lies or you’ve held back from revealing the whole truth to make yourself look better?
For example, maybe you overspent your clothing budget by buying a new pair of shoes, and your partner notices. He asks, “Are those shoes new?” Offhandedly you respond, “Oh, they’ve been in the closet for awhile.” You feel it’s not an outright lie because they have been there overnight. That’s awhile, right? Of course, it gives the impression that they’re not a new purchase. Not exactly truthful is it?
This is just one example of pushing down your truth, which is harmful to yourself and your relationships. Other ways you could be hiding your truth is by holding back your true opinions to avoid controversy. Or you hide “shameful” parts of your life because if anyone ever found out then you’d feel less than perfect, less than extraordinary, less than good.
Mentally visualize what holding back, pushing down, and closing up feels like. Does it make you feel free? To the contrary, it has the opposite effect, doesn’t it? You feel trapped in a dark place.
In light of the recent #MeToo Movement, many women are opening up about their experiences and sharing their truth. And do you know what? The response from other women and supportive men has been amazing. It’s incredibly empowering to be believed, to be validated, to be heard.
Of course, not everyone wants to hear your truth. But the people who really care about you will welcome it. Often they’ll say, “Is that how you really feel? I had no idea. Thank you for trusting me enough to share this with me.”
When you get to the point of not obsessing over what others think and you speak your truth in a calm and respectful manner, a weight will immediately lift from your shoulders. The beauty of it is that you’ll forge deep connections with those you tell. They’ll feel like they can relate to you on a more personal, intimate level.
When you speak truthfully, you open up the door for deep connection, conversation, and compassion. It impels those around you to feel safe to live their own truths, too.
I encourage you to become mindful of the areas where you could be more truthful with yourself and others. Notice who makes you feel like you have to hide and what situations make you mask your real beliefs, so you “fit it”. Also pay close attention to your untrue self-talk that keeps you stuck and not living freely. Then make a point of making choices that promote a feeling of freedom. Remember to be gentle with yourself as you explore what it means to live and speak your truth.
It takes courage and sometimes a lot of internal work to get to the place where you can live and speak your truth. If you crave that kind of freedom, please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to partner with you on this exciting journey.
“In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” ~ Mark Zuckerberg
Are you excited about all the possibilities the New Year has to offer you? Or does the idea of new opportunities intimidate you a little bit? Maybe you’re worried that you may not be ready to open the door when opportunity knocks?
How can you prepare now so you’re ready to act when a big break comes your way? I’ve been thinking about this a lot because of what happened to my client, Sandy (her name has been changed to protect her privacy). Perhaps you can relate to her story….
When I met Sandy, she was a 25-year-old writer, with dreams of being a speechwriter for a big company. She’d been writing since she learned how and loved the idea of creating content to support inspirational people.
Yet in her personal life, Sandy was struggling. She had difficulties making friends and this was a source of deep grief and desolation. She wasn’t taking care of herself the way she should and this left her tired, rundown, and depressed. Her eating habits and exercise routines were less than desirable. She often felt overwhelmed and in constant catch-up-mode.
When her best friend was hired by a well-known company as a junior executive assistant, she immediately put in a good word for Sandy to work in the Creatives & Communication department. Sandy’s big break was at her doorstep. Opportunity was knocking on her door! But she wasn’t ready to say yes. That once in a lifetime opportunity sailed right past her because she wasn’t ready. Can you imagine the regret and disappointment she felt?
This was a wake-up call for Sandy to regroup and together we worked to set in place different daily practices. Have you experienced something similar? Have you lost golden opportunities because you weren’t ready for them?
Too often I see really talented, brilliant people overly consumed with developing their skills, or getting bogged down emotionally with issues of anxiety, lack of confidence, and feeling “less than” about themselves. Unfortunately, these distractions can make you miss important opportunities to try something new, get your foot in the door, and say yes to something that might turn out to be your “Big Break” or “the way to success”.
Do you find yourself holding back from taking opportunities because of one of the following “reasons”?
- You’re afraid of change or doubt your abilities. It can be scary to take action when you don’t feel ready. Maybe you tell yourself that you’re not good enough or you don’t have enough experience. I love this quote by Theodore Roosevelt, “When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
- You’re not in a position to take action. Maybe your life is too full of drama or clutter (physical, emotional and social). Or maybe you’re caught up in dealing with other people’s drama. All this will leave you tired, tapped out or exhausted, rather than excited to try something new. Make self-care a priority, so you have the routines needed to support your health and wellbeing.
- You don’t recognize the opportunity. When you’re too busy and have blind spots, you lack focus and attunement. Your head is in the sand or you’re looking in the wrong direction, when opportunity knocks. Practicing mindfulness will help you stay in the present, not lingering in the past or daydreaming about a future that will never come.
- You have negative self-talk. Don’t listen when you tell yourself, “I’m not up to the challenge.” “Other people could do that but not me.” “I don’t want to embarrass myself.” “I don’t want to let people down.” “I’ll fail.” If you hear these words floating in your subconscious, it’s time to challenge their validity.
If some of the reasons sound familiar, the good news is that they don’t have to keep holding you back. You can do something about it! And getting ready is more important than feeling ready!
Yet here’s an important caveat, being open to opportunities doesn’t mean you should necessarily act on every one of them. If deep down you know the opportunity isn’t a good fit for you, acknowledge that you’ve made a good choice and let it go. If however, there isn’t a good reason, don’t let fear get in your way.
Are you ready to get 2018 off to a good start so you can step through the next door of opportunity? Please contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype). I’d love to partner with you and help you say “YES!” with confidence when opportunity knocks at your door.