Kathy (my client, not her real name) had an all-or-nothing attitude that was keeping her frustrated and angry. She thought in terms of extremes, in black and white. If she didn’t accomplish something perfectly, she viewed herself as a failure. And if others didn’t live up to her expectations, it was a relationship-breaker. Do you know someone like Kathy? Can you relate? It took a lot of work for her to grasp the pure magic that results when you strive for excellence not perfection.
People who lead a rich and abundant life are very creative people. Maybe you think of artists when you think of creativity. Take another look. When you start to examine patterns of success, you’ll see that people rise to the top in ALL professions because they value creativity. They get there by relying on their own creativity and/or the creativity of their staff to find innovative solutions. They know that a person must go beyond what’s comfortable and familiar to create (the root of the word creativity) a remarkable life.
Even if you don’t think you’re a creative person, you can learn how to become more creative. Over a year ago, I wrote a blog post on creativity using the Disney model that makes magic out of chaos. Recently I stumbled upon the work of Roger Von Oech who wrote, A Whack on the Side of the Head. It’s a good book to show you how to become more creative. I think you’ll enjoy his roleplaying approach to increasing your creativity.
He speaks of four distinct roles that we should use to increase our creativity. Each one teaches you how to become more creative as you expand your mindsets and skills. The four roles are:
The Explorer can teach you how to become more creative. She isn’t happy staying with the status quo. Her itchy feet make her want to know what’s on the other side of the mountain. Curiosity fuels creativity. How can you become an explorer?
- Cultivate a greater awareness of yourself, your surroundings and others.
- Learn to mindfully experience each moment, instead of rushing to the next.
- Relentlessly search out new things every day.
- Explore different areas of experience and knowledge.
- Keep asking questions until you connect all the dots.
- Talk to people of varying backgrounds, ages, experience and education.
The Artist can definitely teach you how to become more creative. She’s playful and experiments as she stirs things up. She’s not afraid to try different color and texture combinations. Imagination fuels creativity. How can you become an artist?
- Jot down ideas as they come to you. This frees your brain to think of even more ideas.
- Let the little girl come out to have fun and play, instead of being so serious.
- Laugh more – at yourself first and foremost.
- Read, listen, and participate in things that keep your brain active.
- Let your imagination go as you visualize new possibilities.
- Make ‘what if?’ your leading question.
- Don’t worry about what others expect of you.
Surprisingly, The Judge can teach you how to become more creative too. She analyzes and assesses all the ins and outs of a thing. She weighs the pros and cons before making a decision. Comparison fuels creativity. How can you become a judge?
- Develop critical thinking instead of assuming.
- Use the scientific method – make a hypothesis, run an experiment, analyze the results and draw a conclusion.
- Make the hard decisions.
- Trust your gut feelings.
- Be practical – do you have the resources to make it happen or is a pie-in-the-sky dream?
- You can compare apple and oranges, but avoid comparing yourself to someone else.
The Warrior can also teach you how to be more creative. She leaps into action when she knows her idea is a good one. Despite pressure, pushbacks, or competition, she has the perseverance to keep going no matter what. Action fuels creativity. How can you become a warrior?
- Be courageous and get rid of your limiting beliefs and fears.
- Take advantage of your momentum.
- Develop resiliency and conviction.
- Overcome procrastination and chunk your plan into baby-steps.
- Keep your big picture purpose in mind.
- Market and sell your idea.
Playing all four roles is crucial to creatively making things happen. For example, when you’re nurturing a new idea, it’s time for the dreaming artist instead of the pragmatic Judge. Maintain your awareness of which role you’re performing. And double check whether it’s the appropriate role for that point in time. If you get stuck in one role, mindfully switch to another that moves you forward.
As you read over these different roles there was probably one that felt more challenging to you than the other three, right? You see it’s value… but you can’t quite embrace it since it goes against your natural inclination. Perhaps it’s time to enlist my help? I love helping my coaching clients develop new strengths they were completely unaware of previously. Feel free to contact me to schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” complimentary consultation so we can explore your options.
Do these questions make you squirm and think, “I don’t know…I’m just me?” Surprisingly, most people struggle with this. They do what they do without much thought. Of course you’re aware of your technical skills, people skills and personal work ethic. Yet, this barely scratches the surface of who you are.
With so many people feeling lost, unfulfilled and wanting to “find my true self”, it’s important to take time to mindfully define in great detail your core values, strengths, and emotional intelligence competencies.
When you do, a magical thing happens. You become empowered to break out of your comfort zone and excel beyond what you ever imagined possible. Like all top performers, you’ll finally know exactly what you’re capable of doing. You’ll know what to improve to achieve excellence. And while no one can master all 25 emotional intelligence competencies, you can significantly improve on some of them.
Daniel Goleman writes about the 25 emotional competencies in his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence. (I really enjoyed this book. You should check it out!) They fall into five categories, under two main headings – Personal and Social – as the following outline shows.
1. Personal Competence – how you manage yourself.
- Self-Awareness: Know your internal states, preferences, and resources.
- Emotional awareness – recognize how emotions affect your life.
- Accurate self-assessment – know your strengths and limitations.
- Self-confidence – embrace your self-worth and capabilities.
- Self-Regulation: Manage your internal states, impulses and resources.
- Self-control – keep disruptive emotions and impulses in check.
- Trustworthiness – maintain standards of integrity and honesty.
- Conscientiousness – take responsibility for your personal performance.
- Adaptability – be able to handle change, flexibility.
- Innovation – be comfortable with new ideas and ways of doing things.
- Motivation: Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals.
- Achievement drive – strive for excellence.
- Commitment – wholeheartedly support group or organizational goals.
- Initiative – be ready to act on opportunities.
- Optimism – remain positive despite obstacles and setbacks.
2. Social Competence – how you handle relationships.
- Empathy: Have an awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns.
- Understanding others – sense others’ perspectives.
- Developing others – actively bolster their abilities.
- Service orientation – anticipate, recognize, and meet others’ needs.
- Leveraging diversity – Cultivate opportunities through diverse people.
- Political awareness – reading power relationships and undercurrents.
- Social skills: Proficiency at stirring up desirable responses in others.
- Influence – effectively persuade others.
- Communication – listen openly and sending compelling messages.
- Conflict management – negotiate and resolve disagreements.
- Leadership – inspire and guide individuals and groups.
- Change catalyst – initiate or manage change.
- Building bonds – nurture instrumental relationships.
- Collaboration and cooperation – work toward shared goals.
- Team capabilities – create group synergy, bring out their best.
Why not copy and paste this list into a Word document and print it out. Then score yourself from 1 (very limited) to 10 (excellent) on each one. But don’t stop there. Ask someone who knows you well to review it and get their viewpoint. It will be an eye-opening exercise for you and give you a basis for where you want to start improving.
And if you want to open your own private practice this exercise will keep you from floundering, because it helps you identify your unique selling proposition (USP) or unique value proposition (UVP) – the things that make you and your services unique. And when you identify that factor, your business will excel.
Would you like me to help you assess your emotional intelligence competencies and give you proven ways of getting out of your own way so you can excel? Then contact me and we can set up an in-person session or one via Skype.
Today women in leadership roles are shaping a better world. As nurturing and empowered women, we are becoming a local and global force for good. However, due to the lingering negative perceptions from the gender gap, women often work twice as hard in order to achieve the same recognition as men. That’s why I’m so passionate about this subject! Now, more than ever, it’s vital to develop leadership skills in women – both in ourselves and the next generation of leaders.
Women, particularly business owners, are innovating new pathways and contributing to society in countless ways. They’re more likely to reinvest their profits in education, their family and their community. Since these are differences that fly under the radar, traditional ways of measuring economic development and business performance don’t capture transformational benefits such as these. Yet, don’t you notice a more open and supportive spirit in today’s business world?
You may or may not consider yourself a leader. But you will benefit by strengthening your leadership skills so that you can confidently step into your role as a mentor and role model for younger women.
Here are five ways to develop leadership skills in women that you can use to improve your quality of life and make a difference in the lives of others…
- Ongoing education. Beyond a standard education, young women need to be trained in leadership skills such as, public speaking, writing, negotiating, conflict resolution, and networking.
- Broadened experience. With the world becoming increasingly interdependent and communities become more integrated, exposure to other cultures and ways of thinking is vital. Women must become willing to go beyond what’s comfortable and seek solutions in unfamiliar settings and experiences.
- Mentors and role models. Instead of independently going it alone, women seek out supportive mentors and coaches that help them progress through the different stages of career development.
Look at the top 100 powerful women and you’ll find role models who can inspire you to greater things. Learn to embody the kind of people they are through cultivating greater emotional intelligence and admirable characteristics such as generosity, courage, and integrity. If they can do it, so can you.
- Shift attitudes. From an early age, girls need to know they’re capable of doing anything they want. And boys need to learn this message, too. Over time, even the most closed society or culture can make this mindset shift.
- Build relationships. Rather than competing out of ego, women who embody leadership graciously advance and support the efforts of other women and men. Making an impact on the lives of others allows women to live with purpose. Rather than one person at the helm, women form a network, showcasing the unique talents of each member.
It’s never too late to pursue your heart’s desire. Maybe you don’t want to change the world, but you dream of doing something more fulfilling and meaningful. Please, don’t settle until that dream is realized. I would love to partner with you through this transformation. Contact me and we can work together in person in Ashland, Oregon or via Skype. Your possibilities are endless.
While traditional gender biases still put men in leadership roles and women in supportive roles, in today’s economic climate this concept is being turned upside down. Leadership roles throughout a company’s organizational structure – from executive to supervisors to team leaders – are benefiting greatly from the unique style women leaders bring to the table.
To demonstrate that women certainly have the skills needed for leadership positions, a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review ranked women significantly higher than men for 12 of the top 16 competencies in which leaders must excel. This was so, despite the preconceived notion that men would typically perform better.
The leadership qualities they ranked are:
- Takes Initiative
- Practices Self-development
- Displays High Integrity and Honesty
- Drives for Results
- Develops Others
- Inspires and Motivates Others
- Builds Relationships
- Collaboration and Teamwork
- Establishes Stretch Goals
- Champions Change
- Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues
- Communicates Powerfully and Clearly
- Connects the Group to the Outside World
- Technical or Professional Expertise
- Develops Strategic Perspective (This is the only one where men outscored women significantly.)
Do you notice that most of these skills are related to emotional intelligence? This means they encompass an ability to 1) identify and manage one’s own emotions, 2) identify and understand someone else’s emotions, and 3) relate well to others personally and professionally even under the most stressful situations. This requires that a person be self-aware, self-regulating and empathetic. These relationship-based skills are ones wherein women certainly excel.
Practicing embodied leadership accelerates the attainment of these qualities. Mindful awareness allows you to really feel and identify your emotions, so you can express them in a constructive way. A leader who embodies these qualities will manage stress and enhance the cooperative spirit of her team. She’s able to keep the lines of communication open as she soothes her own ruffled emotions and those of others. She’s able to “read” what the body language of others is telling her.
Emotional intelligence is twice as valuable as IQ in the business world, since the emotional health of the team directly impacts productivity, motivation, engagement and loyalty. An embodied leader who is emotionally intelligent will be able to:
- Restore calm out of chaos
- Express emotions not squelch them
- Have conversations not confrontations
- Diffuse tricky situations
- Negotiate calmly
- Listen without becoming defensive
- Benefit from criticism
- Keep a positive, resilient attitude despite setbacks
- Inspire respect and loyalty
- Build trust and rapport
- Be a self-starter who delights in accomplishment not position.
The best way to learn is by following the example of others. Would you like to read about women who have excelled in their leadership roles? I highly recommend the book, Leading Women: 20 Influential Women Share Their Secrets to Leadership, Business, and Life.
Even though women have these exemplary skills, they often do lack one thing that men, by nature, exude. They lack confidence in themselves and their abilities. Because women are often more concerned about keeping their home life together, or are afraid of being viewed as unfeminine and aggressive, or they’re reluctant to reach out because of discrimination, they aren’t using their skills to the full. If you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone so as to embrace a more fulfilling lifestyle, I would love to partner with you. Contact me and we can work together in Ashland, OR or via Skype.