YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME and other mature thoughts

 

 
Ever feel like you don’t have control over your life? Most of us do at some time or another. But I’ve learned that managing my emotions (not stuffing them!) is the key to living a life that I control. The ability to have the absolute power over what you feel in every situation, every moment – no matter what goes on around you – is a super-important skill set – and you can learn it!

There are three things that determine how you feel. Tony Robbins calls these the “triad”. Together these three patterns create your emotions. Every feeling you have (yes, every one) comes from you choosing from the Triad. So in order to manage these emotions and make empowering choices, you need to understand these patterns.

#1: Physiology, or Posture

PhysiologyEvery emotion you experience is first felt in your body. If you want to feel depressed, it’s a matter of slumping over, looking at the ground, breathing shallowly, frowning, and speaking VERY quietly. The way you use your body biochemically changes how you feel. In the same way, if you want to feel passionate, start by speaking more rapidly, moving more rapidly, and take on the “physiology” of passion. The same goes if you want to feel more confident – stand tall, be grounded, breathe fully, speak loudly, etc.
You’ll find that you’re able to put yourself in a much more powerful feeling, or “state” of being. From this state, you can make stronger decisions and enjoy a sense of calm even in the face of uncertainty. Try it!

 

#2: Language

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Language comes in many forms, one of which includes the questions you ask yourself, either aloud or inside your head. If you ask, “Why does this always have to happen to me?” you’ll create a much different set of emotions than if you asked, “How can I benefit from this?” or “Where’s the gift in this?” or “What’s humorous about this?”

Your words and language patterns also change how you feel. If you say things like, “I feel really tired” or “This is too hard”, you will literally feel tired or that what you’re trying to do is hard. It simply doesn’t put you in an empowering state.

All words have different emotional states associated to them. There are certain phrases you use that are disempowering, which will affect how you feel moment to moment. Being aware of your vocabulary, statements, phrases, and metaphors are crucial to controlling your emotions. When you feel negative emotions taking over, look at the language surrounding your situation. How can you shift it to create a more empowering state?

#3: Focus

6602332085_60b6526b99_qThe next thing that determines how you feel is what you decide to focus on. To feel happy, focus on things in your life that will make you feel happy. Perhaps it’s asking questions like, “What am I happy about in my life right now?” or even remembering happy moments from the past, like a fun birthday.

Whatever you focus on, you feel. In the same way, to feel depressed you have to focus on things entirely differently. You need to be deleting all the good that’s going on in any given moment, and focused on the negative. If you asked yourself, “What really sucks in my life right now?”, I’m sure you’d be able to find something and end up feeling crappy. Or if I said, “Remember a time when you felt depressed”, like that time your dog died or something – you’d feel those emotions you felt.

What’s wrong is always available, and so is what’s right.

If I can control my emotions, I really AM the boss of me.

What’s Your Word for 2015? (Mine is INSPIRE)

Have you chosen a “word” for 2015 yet? This popular tradition of choosing one word as “yours” for the year has been around for a few years now. In the past, I didn’t want to choose just one word – I was afraid it would be limiting. After all, there are gazillions of words out there, so why choose just one?

 

I’ve since reconsidered. Last year I chose “IMPACT.” And it changed my life in ways I’d never thought of.

 

The word came to me the end of November 2013. I had dreams of impacting more and more people in 2014 with a message of unconditional love and empowerment. Then, December 8, I was in a very serious car accident. (Yes, the irony is evident to me, too!)

car accident 2 Car accident

I was faced with many choices at that time…to withdraw and feel sorry for the impact that the accident had on me physically, mentally, and emotionally OR to choose to live with passion and purpose and do my very best to impact those around me in a positive way. I didn’t always choose the passionate and purposeful way of living, but for the most part, I did, and what a blessing it turned out to be.

 

 

Being vulnerable, asking for and receiving love and help, being impacted as well as impacting others was a huge gift for me in 2014. And the ability to provide unconditional love and empowerment was all the sweeter while learning how fragile and precious life really is.

 

So…I’ve given a lot of thought to this year’s word and have chosen the word “INSPIRE.” The origin of the word is inspirare, from in- + spirare “to breathe.”

INSPIRE

The current definition, from the Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd., is “to encourage by filling witheg confidence, enthusiasm.”

 

My mission is to inspire people to live life with passion and purpose, changing the world for the better. “Inspire” is a word of strength and passion and giving, all attributes I consciously attempt to foster.

 

Inspiring others inspires me 🙂 It’s an endless loop of giving and receiving.

 

Some action steps I can take to INSPIRE:

  • Pay attention to the people around me…where they are at physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.
  • When noticing others, let them know they are seen, heard, loved. Take action to meet needs whenever possible.
  • When seeing others’ needs, pray for them. That divine intervention will have more impact than anything else I can do myself.

 

My 2015 mantra: INSPIRE…to encourage by filling with confidence, enthusiasm, and breathing in empowerment. It’s no accident.

 

Sandi Gordon is an author, senior program manager, leadership consultant, executive coach, researcher, wife, mom, and grandma, who practices unconditional love and empowerment. And now drives a Volvo. If you’d like to take steps to live life with passion and real purpose, check out her free 30-minute SpeedCoach sessions. Click here: SPEEDCOACH SESSION to set yours up!  (Limited availability)

5 Easy Steps to Mindfulness

Waiting. It’s so easy to let the stress monster scare us when we have to wait. Waiting in hospitals. Waiting for word about a new job. Waiting for that special someone.  Waiting in line to purchase Christmas presents. When we wait, we sometimes live in a kind of limbo – the land of “what-if”.  What if the surgery doesn’t go well? What if I don’t get the job. What if I don’t get ANY job? What if I never have a loving relationship? What if they hate the presents I’m getting for them? What if, what if, what if.

I am learning that the stress monster and the land of “what-if” – it’s all make-believe. Looking at past regrets? That’s what-if talking. Careening towards future fear? What-if again. All make-believe – it is not happening right now. Reality lies in “what-is” right this moment. So how do we get out of that “what-if” cycle?

The next time you catch yourself living in the past or worrying about the future, hold up an imaginary stop sign and be in the land of “what-is” (another word for that is “mindfulness.”  Anyone can be mindful for a moment or two, but developing that mindfulness muscle takes a little practice. Luckily, these steps make the practice easy.

1)   Remember 3 things you are blessed with in the present moment.  Gratitude seems to flip a switch in our brains. It’s impossible to be truly grateful, focused on the positive, and totally stressed out at the same time.

2)   Smile at the next person you see.  Giving to someone else, even just a smile, takes us out of our own heads (and the land of “what-if”) and right into “what-is.”

3)   Jump up and down.  Physical movement is a proven stress-reliever, and concentrating on not falling over makes you live in the present moment. Or maybe that’s just me 😉

4)   Breathe.  The #1 way to immediately reduce stress is to breathe on purpose. My favorite breathing technique is 4-7-8.  Breathe in to the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7, and breathe out to the count of 8. Tension melts…

5)   And savor “what-is.” The word “savor” means “enjoy completely.” I am focusing on really savoring what I’m doing, rather than racing on to the next thing.

So here’s to living right now – mindful, real, grateful, happy, balanced, relaxed, and enjoying completely. And if you need any help finding and staying in your “what is,” I’m here for you at greatlifebalance.

Love, Hate, and Leading Life by YOUR Design

image

I have a love-hate relationship with Texas (where I live.)

I love the sunsets. They have a luminosity I haven’t experienced anywhere else in the world. But…I hate the lack of rain that parches soil and soul alike.
I love the wildflowers that prevail against such overwhelming odds – drought, 100+ degree baking sun, stormy winds that threaten to topple trees. I hate the poisonous wildlife – snakes, centipedes, scorpions (yes, their sting hurts a lot!), assassin bugs, etc.
I especially love the people. The polite manners that dictate “sir” and “ma’am”. The willingness to help those in trouble, from giving directions to the lost, to changing flat tires, to going up in an attic that is over 130 degrees to check out a leaky air conditioner, to managing the scary pests, to wearing working or funky cowboy boots. The diversity and fierce independence is amazing.
And then again, I hate how some exhibit prejudice, the resolute surety that “my way is the only highway”, and the narrow inward focus that ignores the rest of our country, much less the rest of the world.
But I’m realizing that what I love about Texas and its people are its uniqueness, its significance, and the love and contribution of its people.  What I hate about some in Texas are things I’ve always hated regardless of location: injustice, intolerance, unwillingness to consider other viewpoints.
Things are bigger in Texas, including larger than life politicians, land that stretches for miles and miles, TexMex meals, and yes, the aforementioned snakes, centipedes, and scorpions (did I mention their sting really, really hurts?) And most importantly,  the hearts of many of the people who live here.
As a professional woman, you can provide perspective about what you, your work team, and your family    loves and hates.  That balanced perspective is part of leading a life by your own design – and that’s leadership that matters.

Action Strategy: Make a list of what you love and hate about your work. Think about the perspective you have now versus 5 years ago.

 

Your work matters.  You matter.

 

If you’d like a little help with personal leadership, high-performance strategies, or work-life balance, I’m here for you! You can schedule a quick chat (free) to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Click here for a Strategy Session.

 

Sandi Gordon is a work-life balance expert, executive coach and author who helps professionals balance success at work, fulfilling relationships, and making a difference in the world. Get her free e-book, “Enough Already: 5 Surefire Strategies to Balance Your Life for Good” and her Balance Your Life for Good weekly newsletters, full of  tips and strategies to help you up-level your success at work, build super-strong relationships with colleagues, friends and family, and make a difference in the world. Just enter your first name and email address on the home page at www.greatlifebalance.com!

 

Compare Equals Despair

I recently attended an awesome event, the AW Media 12th Year Anniversary Luncheon. It was 500+powerful women in business and was super-inspiring.

Comparison is often a losing game...

And I can’t help but notice this toxic tendency we have to compare. We compare how we are dressed against how others are dressed. We compare the work we do. We compare the number of friends, fans, and clients we have. We compare the money we make. We compare, compare, compare. And it’s killing our chances of a passionate and fulfilling life.

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE hearing about others’ success. We are truly SO HAPPY for them! And then we allow the gremlins of judgment to come in. Have you ever thought, “why do they have (the beautiful style, the impressive work, the big contracts, the adoration of coworkers and team members, the most friends/connections on social media, the BIG money, etc., and I don’t?”

I am not saying we shouldn’t pay attention to our own style, our own work, our friends, fans, and clients, or the money we make. I am saying that none of those things equates to worth. You’ll notice when comparing that you either come out superior or inferior to others. And neither really feels good long-term because there’s always the next comparison.  So how to stop?

1. Recognize the continuum. Each one of us has our own invaluable worth. We are each an infinite continuum of thousands of qualities, strengths, skills, and experience.  Your strength in communication may be higher than many others’. No one else in the entire universe has exactly what you have.

2. Define your own success.  Look at the important areas of your life and write out your own definition of success. Try to wipe society’s expectations from your brain to do this…what really makes YOU feel successful? Come up with a few personal statements of success and repeat them out loud to yourself daily as a reminder of what really matters.

3.  See abundance.  The green-eyed monster of jealousy is always coming from a place of lack. Of scarcity. There’s only so much money, beauty, innovation in the world, and you’re somehow coming up short. Realize that there is an infinite amount of all, and someone else’s abundance takes nothing away from you.

4. Take action. After defining your own success, take one small step every day towards what matters to you. Is your definition of success developing joy and independence in others? Then unconditionally love someone, and show them how to do the same. Is your definition of success having a profitable business so you can contribute to the greater good? Then build a business foundation so your revenues exceed your expenses.

5. Share the love.  When you observe great things happening to other people, love them, promote them, feel their happiness. What you focus on, increases…and it can’t help but overflow onto you.

6. Ask for help (bonus tip!)   If you are wondering how someone looks so great, loves what they do so much, has so many friends, fans, and clients, or makes so much money, ask! Most people love to share what is working in their lives and would be happy to reveal some strategies to help you. And there are many coaches and mentors who specialize in these areas as well.

So, stop comparing yourself to others! Remember, you are unique, worthy, and amazing :-)

 

Sandi Gordon is an expert in women’s empowerment, strategic intervention, work-life balance, and senior leadership consulting. She has opened up a few slots on her schedule for FREE strategy sessions – click HERE to grab yours!

Are You a Career Schizophrenic? How a Chunky Monkey and Turtle Helped Me

Do you ever cycle through extreme happiness to total unbelief that you can be successful?  I confess, I do!

It’s absolutely thrilling when you help a client break through a previously impossible obstacle, or when you sell a product or program (they like it!!) or when you write something that you know will serve a lot of people, or when you nail that project, sale, presentation.

riding-a-roller-coaster

And then there’s the dark side of this rollercoaster called “career woman” (Queue the horror movie music.) How about sinking under the overwhelm of everything that needs to be done to be successful? The feeling that you’ll never learn enough, know enough, apply enough to make your (and your boss’s or customers’) dreams come true. The listening to guru after guru telling you sometimes conflicting information. The feeling that you’ll never measure up. The knowledge that you “should” write a book, network everywhere, give talks, give teleseminars, conduct live events, webinars, and oh, yeah, be present on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, have a great Klout score, high Alexa rankings, and oh, my gosh, I’m getting overwhelmed just writing this!! 🙂 I need a rescuer!

So I am happy to tell you there IS a rescuer.  His name is the Chunky Monkey.   (We’ll get to the Turtle in a minute.)

ben and jerry

 

No, not the ice cream! Although Ben and Jerry Chunky Monkey is goodness in a carton, it kind of represents how women at work feel sometimes – yummy at first and then melting away.  I’m talking about something TOUGH, STRONG, GET IT DONE!chunky monkey

 

Here’s a better representation of my Chunky Monkey rescuer. And I’ll share him with you.

 

 

Chunking is a concept that’s been around for years! It has different meanings to psychologists, writers, computer geeks, math teachers, musicians, and even pumpkin hurlers.  But what it has in common with all those people (who may well be business schizophrenics like us) is that it means 1) breaking down the big things to smaller parts, and 2) grouping things that are alike for easy retrieval. Sounds sort of like decluttering, right?

When I feel overwhelmed by all the tasks I think I need to accomplish to be successful, my Chunky Monkey reminds me that there are strategies to help.

1) Write everything down that is overwhelming you.  It’ll be a LONG list, but don’t be afraid! Awareness is the first step, right?

2) Group all those things in categories (some of my categories are current clients, potential clients, innovation, financials, innovation, marketing, products/programs).

3) Start with one category. Assess each “thing” in the category, and assess which item is most important right now. Look at your Chunky Monkey for strength and be ruthless!  Pick just ONE thing!

4) Do the same process with your other categories. Pick just ONE thing from each.

turtle5) Remember the tortoise and the hare story? Here’s where the Turtle comes in. Schedule your ONE thing from each category on your calendar (and NO, not on the same day, LOL!)  Be the turtle, slow and steady!

6) Repeat weekly. I like the sea turtle because it shows me I can flow through my tasks easily if I break them down.

You, too, can be “rescued” by the Chunky Monkey and the Turtle and be successful at work. And reward yourself with a little ice cream.

Sandi Gordon is an expert in women’s empowerment, strategic intervention, work-life balance, and senior leadership consulting. She has opened up a few slots on her schedule for FREE strategy sessions – click HERE to grab yours!

Leadership That Matters

Leadership that matters includes many components. Let’s look at how your leadership can bring about the everyday act of positively changing lives. The following TED Talk describes how powerful we are. “But it is so scary to think of ourselves as that powerful. It can be frightening to think that we can matter that much to other people, because as long as we make leadership something bigger than us, as long as we keep leadership something beyond us, as long as we make it about changing the world, we give ourselves an excuse to not expect it every day from ourselves and from each other.”

Action Strategy: Tell someone who’s made a difference in your life.

Leadership matters.  You matter.

If you’d like a little help with leadership or high-performance strategies and work-life balance, I’m here for you! You can schedule a quick chat (free) to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Click here for a Strategy Session.

Sandi Gordon is an executive coach who helps leaders balance success at work, fulfilling relationships, and making a difference in the world. Get her free video series, “52 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb” and her Balance Academy™ weekly newsletters, full of leadership tips and strategies to help you uplevel business success, build super-strong relationships with colleagues, friends and family, and make a difference in the world. Just enter your first name and email address at www.greatlifebalance.com (no spam ever!)

 

 

Five Guilty Pleasures for Business Leaders – Leadership Strategies for the Real World

 

 

Sometimes I get so “heads-down” into my work that I forget how much fun I can have on my leadership adventure! When I take time to indulge with the following (or other) “guilty pleasures” I maximize my happiness quotient AND my ROI. These are leadership strategies for the real world 🙂

 

Coffee Dates

  1. 1. Go on coffee dates.
  2. How often do you allow yourself to schedule meeting someone for coffee during the workday? These coffee dates are perfect opportunities to get to know people better – whether with someone on your work team or a colleague or a friend. Good leadership starts with building and maintaining relationships.

 

 

2. Surf the ‘net.

If you like to read articles, books, or blogs, think about how to share them with others who would like them, too. This shows the recipient that you are thinking about them and that you’re keeping up with current events/information. This is a great way to justify you following “rabbit trails” on the internet 😉 You’re doing research to share with others!

3. Daydream.clouds

My clients wonder about my sanity when I suggest they schedule time to daydream.  But good ideas pop up all the time, and we don’t always have the time to address our inspirations immediately. Keep a “good idea” notebook, and schedule daydream time to review and see if it’s time for one of your new ideas, or whatever else pops into your head. This is how new things get started and existing things get improved, whether a new process at work or a new organizing method at home.

4. Take a break.

Being physically active improves mood, so when you feel bogged down, take 5-10 minutes to get up, walk around, dance, or stretch. You’ll go back to your work with renewed enthusiasm!

5. Pay it forward.

Just solved a problem? Take a minute to share your success with someone who may run into the same issue. This positions you as an expert, and research shows that it is also one of the best ways to bring more happiness to your life.

6. BONUS TIP: Eat a chocolate.

Chocolate has been shown to improve mood and outlook. And who wouldn’t want that?

So there you have it. Five justifiable guilty pleasures. Enjoy.

Action tip: How can you use guilty pleasures in your leadership adventure today? Let me know in the comments below which one you want to try today.

If you’d like a little help with leadership strategies or work-life balance, I’m here for you! You can schedule a quick chat (free) to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Click here to CHAT WITH SANDI.

Sandi Gordon is an executive coach who helps leaders balance success at work, fulfilling relationships, and making a difference in the world. Get her free video series, “52 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb” and her Balance Academy™ weekly newsletters, full of leadership tips and strategies to help you uplevel business success, build super-strong relationships with colleagues, friends and family, and make a difference in the world. Just enter your first name and email address at www.greatlifebalance.com (no spam ever!)

 

 

How to be authentic, but not cheesy? Leadership for the Real World

Not Too CheesyBeing the leader of your life is an adventure that takes some skills.  Today’s post is about a new way of communicating from the heart. How can you be authentic as a leader, but not too cheesy? Try my 7 “E’s”!

The 7 “E’s”

1. Engage.  Building relationships is the critical first step, whether with people who report to you (employees, kids) or with your boss (or spouse who thinks they’re the boss 😉 ).

My new client is a corporate executive with whom I’ve been acquainted for a while, but don’t know all that well. She came to coach with me for team-building help, as she has a new work team that isn’t too happy that their old supervisor left. I ask her a number of background questions to understand where she’s at.

2. Elicit. Find out what’s important to them, from work or family expectations to goals for the situation.

She isn’t quite sure where her team is coming from, but wants to have a team building meeting. Her ideal situation would be if she and her team get “on the same page,” share goals and strategies, and have fun working together.

3. Evoke. Validate where they’re at with understanding. Call forth the reason why those things are important to them.

She doesn’t have many close relationships currently as she relocated for this position. She wants the significance and respect of success at work, and wants close working relationships and connection with her team.

4. Encourage. Inspire them to apply their knowledge and skill to a current dilemma or obstacle.

I ask her if she’s ever worked on a great team before. She lights up while telling about how much fun her last team had even though they worked like crazy – that they really bonded because they shared a mission they all believed in.

5. Empower. Let them know you believe in them and their ability to accomplish what they want and need to do, and that they have the authority to do so.

I ask her if she has the authority to build that kind of team here, and what skills it will take to do so.  She says she has the authority, and we do an assessment of her ability in each of those critical skills, creating a plan to up level her leadership mastery. 

6. Enable. Not in an unhealthy way, but ensure they have the necessary resources to be successful. 

We investigate exactly what she needs to create the best team ever in her new environment, and establish a plan for sourcing.

7. Enlighten. Share your wisdom and success principles with them. Paying it forward is the best strategy for leadership happiness. 

I give her this process to use with her team 🙂

So…how can you use the 7 E’s in your leadership adventure today? Let me know in the comments below which one you want to enact as part of your leadership for the real world. (Yes, another “e” word, I can’t help myself!)  If you’d like a little help with this process, I’m here for you! You can schedule a quick chat (free) to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Click here to CHAT WITH SANDI

Sandi Gordon is an executive coach who helps leaders balance passionate work, fulfilling relationships, and making a difference. Get her free video series, “52 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb” and her Balance Academy™ weekly newsletters (f.r.e.e.), full of leadership tips and strategies to help you make money with meaning, build super-strong relationships, and make a difference in the world. Just enter your first name and email address at www.greatlifebalance.com (no spam ever!)

Getting out of Stuckness – Leadership Strategies for the Real World

ostrich stuckFeeling stuck.  Most of you thought “yuck” when reading that. But I think there’s another perspective about “stuckness.”  Stuckness is really just a message to you that something needs to change. Whether you’re the leader of a large organization, a mid-sized business, or just leading your life, one of the critical leadership strategies is getting out of “stuckness.”

Here is my process I use with clients for getting un-stuck:

1. Identify how you feel about whatever you’re stuck on.

One of my clients felt stuck in her job. I asked her to identify how she felt overall at work, and she said, “aimless, unmotivated, clueless.”

2. Assess how strong those feelings are.

I then asked her to rate her feeling on a scale of 0 to 10 – how aimless did she feel? She rated aimless a 9, unmotivated at a 6, and stumped at a 10 – indicating a high level of feeling a lack of meaning at work, confusion about how to change, and therefore a moderate lack of motivation to take action.

3. Think about who else is involved in your “stuckness.”

My client believed her entire work team felt the same as she did.

4. List WHY you believe you are stuck.

My client said these contributed to her feeling of “stuckness” – 1) no power to act on her own, supervisor was a controlling, micro-manager, 2) meetings had no stated purpose and served as a platform for some members of the team to “brag” about what they were doing, 3) didn’t understand why the project was initiated in the first place.

5. Identify thoughts about the “stuckness.”

The client realized she was thinking things like, “we don’t have enough information to move forward,” “what’s the reason we are doing this anyway?”,

6. Ask yourself, “what am I doing because of this situation?”

My client was doing busywork that wasn’t contributing to her personal or  business’ success, and was trying to ignore the current environment and culture.

7. Ask yourself about the relationships involved – what are they like?

My client didn’t feel heard when she tried to participate in meetings, so she gave up. She didn’t see a commitment to team success – just individuals “out for themselves.”

8. Ask, “what is my personal accountability for the current situation?”

My client admitted that she gave up and held back information that would be helpful to the work group because she felt un-noticed.

9. Look at helpful strategies you’ve used in the past.

My client remembered how she used to go to a Zumba class during her lunch hours, and how engaged and powerful she felt at each class.  She said that experience carried over into her work because she “brought it!”

10. Prescribe one catapult.

My client decided going back to Zumba would make her feel more energized and powerful so she could decide whether to fully engage at work or find other work – Zumba was a catapult for action.

 

Try these steps out for yourself (we all have someplace we feel a little stuck or for your work team, and let me know how it works for you :-).  If you’d like a little help with this process, I’m here for you! You can schedule a quick chat (free) to see if we’re a good fit to work together. Click here to CHAT WITH SANDI

Sandi Gordon is an executive coach who helps leaders balance passionate work, fulfilling relationships, and making a difference. Get her free video series, “52 Ways to Kick Stress to the Curb” and her Balance Academy™ weekly newsletters (f.r.e.e.), full of leadership tips and strategies to help you make money with meaning, build super-strong relationships, and make a difference in the world.