We’ve all had a boss we hated before. That’s never fun.
A bad boss makes your work suffer, your happiness suffer, and the company suffer.
Sometimes, that bad boss… is you.
Let’s face it–leadership is not easy and not for everyone. It may be what many people aspire to, but, often, it is not a good fit.
So—how can you tell if you’re a good leader or not? Well, your performance is reflected in your team. The business world has changed a great deal over the years, but one thing hasn’t: employees still want to have confidence in their leaders’ capabilities and to know that leaders will respond to their needs. That’s not fundamental in much of the corporate world today, and it should be.
Here are 7 reasons that affect your assessment, and why your team may hate you:
1. You tell instead of sell. I have written about marketing from the inside out to win employees, the same way you do to win customers. A company’s success is largely based on what its employees do (or don’t do), just as much as what their customers do (or don’t do).
So, where’s the marketing to employees? How are they being influenced? Today’s tactics of “do this and do that” and “you’re lucky to have a job” may be two sources of motivation. However, intimidation is not the answer to leading and winning in the workplace–and the marketplace–inclusion is.
As a leader, you have the potential to influence people every day, to effect change through exchange. So, take every opportunity to engage employees because, after all, they’re customers too. Begin the dialogue, open doors, get people involved. Share marketing ideas, do internal market research, get product feedback. Create a culture that is customer responsive by being employee responsive too.
2. You don’t fight for your people. Rewards need to be linked to performance—that’s how you set the bar for behavior and create a culture of execution. But, how can you do that if you don’t fight for promotions and raises for your A-players? Good leaders show loyalty to their teams. How can you expect employees to care about you when you don’t care about them? Leaders also deal with underachievers—either by improving them, or firing them for the good of the team.
3. You don’t trust your team to do what they do best. This means you don’t know your employees—their strengths, weaknesses and capabilities—and it’s your job to know. Just think of any sport—why certain players are in certain positions—it’s to the best advantage for the team to win. It’s one thing to follow up and monitor progress with your people. It’s another to micromanage them. I learned this from a former boss who meddled in every single thing I handled. The upshot: I never rose to my full potential. Once I reported to someone who trusted me, I got stronger, because it made me trust myself.
4. You can’t make up your mind, so you don’t inspire confidence. In today’s fast-paced business world, it’s common for companies to zig and zag. However, there has to be clear goals and priorities, otherwise, it’s total pandemonium on the playing field. If you’re too insecure, confused or indecisive, how do you expect your team to know what to do? How do you expect them to trust you if you don’t trust yourself? Your job is to solve problems, so gain clarity by asking questions, and encouraging others to do the same. Yes—skillful leaders always ask questions, and then make decisions accordingly.
5. You don’t listen or encourage questions and feedback. Today’s workplace is all about change, and change is much more successful when you respect and engage the people who will actually execute it. Lay it all out for your team — everything you know and don’t know, and what your concerns are. Provide the view from the top: the priorities, goals, and expectations. Never operate under the assumption that employees know what they need to know. Get feedback. Ask questions. Ask for help. Get your peoples’ concerns out in the open. This reveals important information that helps you plan and anticipate problems. This is not only a great team-building exercise, but it gives everyone ownership. Change is much more successful when you engage the people who will execute it.
6. You are not an exemplary team player. In some of the talks I’ve given, we’ve discussed great attributes of team players, and how to assess ourselves. The top descriptions are: reliable, supportive, positive, adaptable, and accessible. Does this describe you? If it doesn’t, then remember: the only person you really control is you. Your thoughts. Your actions. So—fix them. That’s how you become a better you, a better teammate, a better leader. How can you expect your team to have these attributes when you don’t set the example?
7. You don’t like people. Believe it or not–many executives are put in leadership positions that don’t belong there. They may be terrific at their specialties–technology, finance, design—but they absolutely have no people skills. Management is all about process. Leadership is all about people. You have to love working with people to be in this role. If you don’t, then either get a coach or mentor, or, have the courage to step aside.
True leadership and teamwork give meaning to business. It’s why we sign on and stay. It has the power to ignite high performance and productivity, and is the fuel that carries companies to success.
If it turns out that you’re the kind of boss that you’ve hated in the past, then it’s not too late to change. Your team doesn’t want to hate you, they want to work in a productive and happy environment. If you use these tips to change the way you lead then you can change the way your employees see you. Make your environment the best it can be and make some great connections with your employees along the way!
**Repurposed for edit by Taylor Brown Associate Editor of Goddess Connections’ publicationWomen Who Run It.
We spend our entire lives focused on achievement.
We get gold stars in elementary school, trophies in high school, a spot on the dean’s list in college, and promotions at work.
It’s all about achievement and we’re all grappling for it.
If you work hard you should expect success, right?
But what if success doesn’t come fast enough?
I mean, what if you’re burning the candle at both ends and STILL feel lapped by others? This describes the first 13 years of my career – and let me tell you – it was brutal.
See the problem was I had a v-e-r-y bad case of “if onlys.”
- If only I lived in New York, I would have a full life of endless opportunities.
- If only I had been born to more connected parents, I would have a network of people who can help me.
- If only I had a bestseller, my career would take off.
The list went on and on – not only crowding my head and causing me to judge others who had “more”, but robbing me of the ability to see the abundance in my life already. After all, I had a wonderful husband, two incredible little boys, family nearby, a comfortable lifestyle, freedom to do work I love, and everyone was healthy.
That’s success, right? And yet…the anxiety was crippling.
Specifically, I remember waking up each morning and – before I’d even gotten out of bed – I was already spinning in lack.
- How am I going to get ahead today?
- Why have I been working so hard and have so little to show for it?
- Why does it look so easy for her?
Still, something had to give. The turning point happened one morning when – as usual – I was hurrying my kids out the door for school. We were running late that day and I remember yelling at my five-year-old to put on his shoes.
Then, I yelled at my six-year-old to find his backpack.
Then, I yelled at both of them to get in the car.
And as I slammed the door, jerked the gear into reverse, and turned around to pull out of the driveway, I noticed my oldest son silently crying. His face was red and his body was clenched tight as he stared at the ground, tears streaming down his cheeks.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Mommy,” he said. “You make me sad.”
That was it.
No screaming. No tantrum. Just a child who felt defeated and was clearly hurting.
The tantrums I was prepared for, but this – this – was something else entirely. I looked over at his brother who met my eyes briefly – and then also stared coldly at the ground. Without a word I put the car in park, grabbed the steering wheel with both hands, and sat there in shocked silence.
Good God, what am I doing?
In that moment a wave of guilt and shame crashed over me and…. I lost it. I buried my face in my hands and had a good old-fashioned, red-eyed, runny nose, can’t-catch-your-breath, u-g-l-y cry. Eventually I figured I should pull myself together – if only to prevent scarring the poor kids any further. I took a couple of deep breaths, turned completely around in the seat and reached out to both of them.
“Take my hands,” I said. They grabbed the tips of my fingers. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I promise I’m going to figure it out and get better, okay?”
They nodded, but it was still an awkwardly silent ride to school.
That was a few years ago – the tipping point of my journey into mindfulness – but I’d been studying enough to know the first step was to get honest about what was REALLY going on.
And it had nothing to do with missing backpacks.
It was the fact that I had faaaar too much self-worth wrapped in my career and – when that didn’t measure up – I allowed my disappointment to bleed into every area of my life.
There you go folks. Brutal honesty.
Of course, the benefit of being honest is that it puts you in a position to make informed decisions.
In my case, waking up to emails from amazing leaders doing cool stuff was triggering me into a dark place that affected how I treated own family.
Ah, yes. More honesty – but that’s the beauty of this practice. It doesn’t let you hide.
And so the next step was to figure out what, specifically, I was jealous of.
I mean, what exactly do these people have that I want?
I sat with that question for months. I carved out a lot of thinking time. I made lists.
And through the process of staying honest, digging deep, and being mindful, I had a tremendous number of breakthroughs.
I learned goals can be dangerous, control is an illusion, and service is the real key to fulfillment. I also learned our greatest problems are often our greatest teachers. In my case, I thought I was jealous of marquee speaking engagements, bestselling status, and national media coverage. And while that’s all well and good, upon closer inspection, the only quality everyone I analyzed had in common is that they had each created a community around their message.
Turns out, I wasn’t seeking status – I was seeking connection. This is what happens when we stop turning away from our problems and turntowards them. We find the truth – and in that truth we find choice.
Once I “woke up” to the fact that it was my perception – not my circumstances – holding me back, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started seeking like minds.
- I’m still not a mega-bestselling author.
- I still don’t live in New York.
- I’m still not rich and I don’t headline conferences.
I’m here now. And now is what matters most.
So instead of spending your life searching for the next big achievement, why not try looking in your own back yard. Examine what you have, what you have achieved, and feel grateful for those small, or big blessings. If that still leaves you longingly dreaming for the accolades of your peers, examine where that desire comes from, you may be surprised what the real reason is behind your envy.
Above all, don’t forget that one day, you’ll be looking back on this moment and appreciating your life as it was. Why not cut out the middle man and start that process today?
You’ve already heard my story about my experience with coaching, but that’s just one story. One story among the countless of lives that have been changed, people who have begun to see things differently, paths that have been redirected.
And here is another.
Julie Anne Christoph is a life coach certified through the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), but this wasn’t her original path.
Julie Anne began working in sales and she did so for seven years until she was diagnosed with depression. Like so many other women, she found herself on the wrong path in life, and her health was suffering because of it.
Instead of reaching for the pill bottle, Julie Anne headed to the gym.
And she did, by opening her own Curves gym.
Her Curves immediately thrived. She had over 880 members and was running a successful business she loved with one goal in mind: “My goal was impact and inspire one woman to love life again, just like what exercise had done to me.”
Julie Anne achieved that goal and in a bigger way than she had ever imagined. One day a member of her gym came up to her and told her “When I came here I had heard so many great things about your club and I said I have to go and check it out because at that point in my life I did not want to be on Earth….If that had not worked I was going to kill myself, but that was six months ago.”
Julie Anne was stunned by this. She realized that she had reached her goal, and that this goal was the key to what she wanted to do with her life.
“I spent time to think about what I was really doing different and what I wanted to do with that. So I went into coaching and when I found iPEC…I said ‘Oh my God. This program is absolutely life changing; it deals with consciousness, with awareness, with energy, with what human beings are’… It’s really finding yourself so you can share your gifts with the world,” Julie Anne shared.
So she became a Certified Professional Coach and shared her best insights on what coaching is with me.
WWRI: What would you say are the three main things that you have learned from coaching?
JA: That it’s important to be objective, meaning not jumping into other people’s stories. Being non-judgmental. There are so many perceptions from one situation. There are so many options to choose at every moment for how we want to perceive our world and create our world. Also, coaching has nothing to do with giving advice. Coaching is there to help you see clearly who you truly are, and be aligned in everything you do. Coaching guides you to be the best you possible.
WWRI: What has it taught you about other people?
JA: People get stuck in their own story.
People limit themselves.
People have so much potential and when they choose to open it, they bloom like crazy. They become very different people. When they choose to face what’s stopping them, they accept it and they realize that really what was limiting them was all a story that they made up themselves, they literally change. This is how we get in our own way, whether we’re conscious of it or not. It’s how people work through any potential blocks or challenges or stories they’ve hung onto, that will determine how fulfilling and abundant life will be. We do have more control than we think, in terms of how we “show up” in our relationships, career, and all other aspects of our lives. Coaching is a viable tool to plant these seeds of growth.
WWRI: What would you say to people who don’t think that coaching is a necessary thing?
JA: A coach is no longer seen as someone you go to in order to tout your problems. Coaches are now in such high demand grooming leaders for growth and greater possibilities. In fact, women who hire coaches to help them with their careers are shown to increase their productivity and confidence, helping them to speak up more, make bolder and stronger strategic decisions, and improve upon their work/life balance. In just three years, according to a Sherpa Coaching survey, coaching has fast become widely used as a leadership development tool.
And, right here in Canada, the Sherpa survey revealed that over 50% of individuals find coaching to be a credible and effective return on their investment. So, while coaching may not be for everyone, I say anyone can benefit from self-development heightened communication skills, and finding alignment with oneself – one’s values – my journey through iPEC’s Coach Training Program proved to be priceless… I love my job, family, and my outlook on life because everything is in alignment. I am passionate in what I choose to do and coaching was my springboard in getting there. I loved it so much that I now own iPEC Canada. I really wanted to make this incredible program accessible to Canadians.
WWRI: What about becoming a coach? How about that?
JA: When you become a coach then you go through the certification process to become a masterful coach, following a certification program through an ICF accredited school is recommended. People follow a Coach Training Program for different reasons, some for personal growth, some to start a new career and others to bring the new skills and tools back into their organization. You could just want it for yourself, you could want to bring it back to your own organization and be a different leader and interact differently with your employees, or you could just choose to coach.
Many people ask me about a career in coaching (either life, executive, or business coaching.) The first thing I say is, it’s great that you’re curious – the best coaches use their curiosity, intuition, and listening skills, day in and day out, to help move their clients forward. And, nine times of out ten, the people asking me this question are drawn to the profession because they truly want to make a difference in the lives of others.
If you want to become a coach, do your homework. Be sure that the coach training school is ICF-accredited, that is, it has passed strict rules and regulations set forth by the industry’s governing body, the International Coach Federation (ICF). Again, take a look at your values and that of the coach training school. Ask yourself if they are aligned, and be sure to investigate the quality and experience of the trainers. I can tell you one of the things that sold me on choosing iPEC was their business development component. iPEC not only teaches a unique, inside-out approach to coaching, they incorporate business development and marketing tactics to help you become a successful entrepreneur…or womenpreneur, as I like to say!
WWRI: What is one weird thing about coaching that most people don’t know?
JA: Whatever a coach is hired for, whether it’s in corporate, in business, whatever field, it all ends up being about life coaching. You never know when those “ah ha” moments are going to come or where they might stem from. In order to get to the bottom line, whether you aspire to engage your employees or become a more authentic leader, coaching will get you there. It’s the journey, however, that is a weird, fun, zigzagging adventure and the rewards, in truly finding out about yourself – how you operate and what you want to improve upon, are simply endless.
JA: To get a coach: I would ask what are they scared of finding?
People who want to become coaches: How much do you believe in yourself? We all have the capacity, it’s just about choosing if we want to or not. And some people choose not to.
Through my talk with Julie Anne I learned that becoming a coach, or getting a life coach is not for everyone, but that it could benefit anyone. It just depends on where you want to take your life and if you’re ready. If you’re ready, then take the leap today!
Who wouldn’t want to believe that?
In a word of sunshine and rainbows that would be the way it is. Thinking positively would get you to your goals, you would never have to doubt your self, and it would all come up smelling like roses. That’s what most people are told, but when tested, it’s easy to poke holes in that theory.
Positive Thinking is Actually a Huge Waste of Time “Who believes in positive thinking?”
All hands went up.
“Who uses positive thinking on a daily basis?”
Again, all hands in the room went up.
“I don’t believe in positive thinking. It’s useless and a waste of time.” I stated from the front of the room with great conviction and authority.
I stopped and looked around the room. Some of the men glared at me. Some leaned forward in their seats and actually looked angry. Others sat back in their chairs and crossed their arms. They didn’t like me challenging their way of doing things.
But here’s the thing: I wasn’t there for them to like me. As an Ultimate Performance Expert, my workshop was designed to train the elite to show up and be excellent consistently. My role was to coach them, teach them, and challenge them to do more and be more. Fluff and philosophy is not my style.
Setting the scene, this particular workshop wasn’t my business audience. This group was comprised of all male athletes. Not just any group of athletes either. These were elite college football players who were into serious preparation mode. They were about to show off their talents to NFL scouts and coaches, in hopes of making it into the league. There was no room for error. They couldn’t afford to blow this upcoming opportunity.
They each signed up and showed up to the workshop to learn how to not be average. Excellence was their goal. Blending in and fitting was not acceptable. They would be showcasing their talent against other highly talented players who were chasing their dream.
The missing piece in their armor was mental and emotional strength conditioning. No matter how incredible their skill and their talent was, they knew that if the pressure of the tryout got to them, they would screw up any chance of making it into the league. Any amount of self-doubt, hesitation or stress could kill their lifelong dreams in seconds.
Proving My Theory It was time for me to prove to them that I actually knew what I was talking about. So I asked one of the players to share a positive statement with me. A statement that he would normally use to pump himself up during training. Without hesitation he stated, “I am feakin’ amazing. I own my position and I dominate my competition.” The statement flowed naturally out of his mouth and I could tell he used it often.
“Great, that’s a clear and positive statement. But do you believe it?” Now I had everyone’s attention. Walking over to the player, he was still seated and I was standing in front of him, I watched his body language change.
As I approached, he went from leaning across the table in front of him to sitting back in his chair. I asked him to repeat his statement out loud. What happened next was extraordinary and powerful.
This player, I’ll call him Jim, who towered above me and could have flattened me with little effort, now sat farther back in his chair, his eyes went down and he visibly began to shrink.
Keep in mind, I had asked his permission to coach him live and in front of this group and he had volunteered. I had applauded him for his courage. This entire time I made certain he did not feel embarrassed. In fact, he was intrigued by the whole experience. Each step of the way I continued to point out to Jim and the group what I was observing.
When I asked Jim to say his statement again, but this time to do it like he actually meant it, he looked up at me and said it again. His voice was a bit louder, he sat up some and he now made his statement with more conviction.
Reframing What It Means to Think Positively Then it was time to push. I could tell he was up to the challenge. It’s part of Jim’s competitive nature. He would either fold or rise to the occasion. So I pushed, with authority and conviction I stated, “I don’t believe you. You’re really not all that great are you? You don’t seem like you’re that amazing to me!” I waited just a moment and then told Jim, “Say it again and make me believe you.”
He straighten up in his chair, looked me squarely in the eye and I could see the light coming on behind his eyes as he said it again. “Better. Now say it like YOU believe it.” I pushed him again.
All of a sudden his entire body came up and forward in his seat, his voice went deeper, his eyes were full of power and he clenched both fists. When he made his statement this time, I literally felt chills run through my body. He had done it! The entire room knew it and felt it. The energy of everyone in the room changed. Most important, Jim felt it.
“Now, run that feeling through your entire body. From the top of your head to the tip of your toes feel it, experience what power and belief really feels like.” I directed.
I took one step back and looked around at the group. All eyes had been on Jim and me. Some of the guys had gotten up out of their seats to watch. Others sat riveted on the results. All of a sudden the applause broke loose.
Jim looked straight at me and a big smile came over his face. “Wow, that was powerful! Thank you!” I nodded and went back to the front of the room and just stood there for a moment. I gave everyone time to take in what had just happened before I we began our discussion.
Why You Shouldn’t Think Positively “THAT was a positive statement that was believed in. Do you get the difference? Positive thinking is just that, it’s thinking. Thinking is way overrated. It’s just a lot of well-chosen words that will fall apart under pressure. The power to believe in yourself and the power to perform at a high level comes from emotion.”
Jim could have stated how great he was all day long, but if he didn’t believe it at an emotional level his skills and talents would fall apart at the most critical moment when he needed them the most.
When you add emotion to a positive statement, you charge it up. You light yourself up at the same time! Belief is the key. Belief isn’t a bunch of words. Belief is a deep down emotional experience.
So don’t listen to the idea that you need to think positively. That will get you nowhere. Find it in yourself to believe in that positivity and you take your success from being a thought to a reality.
She has two children, a thriving business, and she runs a yearly conference to help other women follow in her footsteps.
But she wasn’t always living a supermom life.
At one point Carolyn was dealing with a colicky baby, postpartum depression, and a career that she had to be put on hold as she dealt with a harder life post-birth than she could have ever imagined.
So how did she get where she is today?
1. She never gave up
Sure, Carolyn could have said “I’m exhausted, I’m dealing with so much. I’m just going to sleep and forget about work for a while.” But she wouldn’t let that happen. She knew that she wanted to work so she made it happen.
Carolyn researched for herself, used the contacts she had, and built up her business on her own. And she did all this with a baby strapped to her.
“Sometimes I actually put her in a pouch, I got running shoes for my house and I would walk for two hours and make phone calls and literally just walk her around the room and that’s how I would sometimes do my business,” she shared.
2. She used her resources to her advantage
When she first began working again after the birth of her daughter, Carolyn wanted to know “Who do I go to to say ‘what do I do?’ and ‘I need help.’” When she couldn’t find anyone to help her, she took it upon herself to find the answers.
“I’ve always done self-training. I’ve always gone to courses. I’ve always tried to better myself, learn more. I went back to some of the courses I had taken…and thought ‘let me pull some of the strategies and kind of change them up a little to work for me as a mom,’” said Carolyn
Not only that, but she leaned on those around her to help her to achieve her dreams as well.
“I had a great business partner at the time who would literally, no word of a lie, would come over and walk my baby in the pouch so I could make some calls and feel like I was getting stuff done. He would come over and support me so that we could do meetings at my house. Even if I had to leave and breastfeed, he would continue the meeting for me,” Carolyn said.
What a great man!
3. Her children are the CEOs of their own companies
“If I go to my daughters school event, I don’t bring my phone. If someone calls and says I couldn’t reach you, ‘Oh I was in the meeting with the CEO,’”she shared.
Carolyn continued to explain that “I look at my children and my husband now, and it took a while to get here, but they’re CEO of their own company and I would not, if I had a meeting with an IBM CEO and the CEO of Royal Bank calls me and says that he wants to meet with me, I’m not going to call the IBM CEO and say ‘Sorry I can’t meet with you, Royal Bank wants to meet with me.’ I’m gonna say ‘I’m really sorry, I’m booked at that time, but here is a bunch of other available times, can any of these work for you?’”
Instead of feeling the need to justify the important time that she needs to spend with her children, she makes them a priority and brings them up to the same level of importance as she would her work.
“I have to choose that when I am with my kids, everything else shuts off. They feel I’m 100% present with them when I’m with them. That’s more powerful than being around all the time and never being present… It’s not about spending a ton of time, it’s the quality of time,” Carolyn shared.
4. She always planned ahead “The night before I would try and take 20 minutes to a half hour and write down my list of things to do for the week and pick 5 things I could do each day.”
Planning. Kind of sounds like a joke when you have kids, but Carolyn planned to have distractions by getting things out of the way as soon as possible.
Carolyn said that “It was really about organizing my time, being efficient in the time that I did have, because you never know exactly when that was going to be, especially when you have a colic child.”
5. And of course she prioritized, because you can’t do it ALL
Carolyn always tried to make her to-do lists as realistic as possible and prioritized them in order of importance, “My top 3 being the money-makers, [I would] really get at them as soon as I had the opportunity, regardless of how tired I was. If I could get through that I could take a nap.”
Instead of thinking that she had to do everything, Carolyn understood that she needed to work, be a mother, and keep her sanity, so she allowed herself time for all of those things, instead of burning herself out.
Besides becoming successful in her own rite, Carolyn chose to share her success with others. She has become the kind of person that she wished she had to look to during her time of struggle.
“I felt really alone when I needed that help and it was a horrible, horrible, horrible feeling and I didn’t want other women to have that. It doesn’t need to be that way. It doesn’t need to be this difficult. It doesn’t need to be that we don’t help each other,” she shared.
One way she’s done this is through her Super Mom Entrepreneur website, a site dedicated to helping women balance their business and home life. Thanks to Carolyn, no longer will women need to choose one or the other, or struggle on while trying to juggle both, now they can thrive in all areas of their life and they don’t have to do it alone.
Carolyn has also created a one day conference called I AM THE BOSS. It has three parts to the day. In the morning she has a talk show segment where she interviews other inspiring women in business. Part two has a keynote speaker, and part three provides training for the women. Her conference is now in it’s third year and has truly inspired and changed women’s lives, all in one day.
Carolyn is truly a super mom entrepreneur and thanks to her, you can be too!
How would we get anywhere anymore without our precious GPS systems?
How would we cook anything without a recipe?
Then again, directions can hold you back. They can hinder you, confuse you, and leave you downright stressed out.
Think of the directions you get in a piece of IKEA furniture. Now that’s a good way to spend a Saturday frustrated and bordering on divorce with your partner.
Recently I played an app game with my 3 year old son, Ari.
Or at least we tried to play.
There were no instructions. We did not know the mission of the game. Nor did we know how to get the most points to achieve whatever this mysterious mission might be. Where were we supposed to aim our avatar? At that flashing green thing? Or should we avoid it? Did the blue blobs earn more points than the red blobs – or vice versa? What was the point of earning points? What could we even get with them?
Not knowing any of these answers made my son and I feel stressed and unhappy.We did not enjoy playing this app game. At. All.
I’m a philosophical gal. I even named my son Ari as a “wink” to Aristotle the philosopher – who I have a platonic crush on. So I wound up thinking about my app unhappiness in a philosophical way. In particular, in an Aristotelian way.
I remembered how Aristotle was a big believer that you must begin all projects with the “final ends” in mind. You must know exactly what it is you want to achieve – your mission – before you start any project. This applies to everything from writing a book, to making dinner – or even when it comes to approaching that gigantic project called Your Life.
Aristotle said: “Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what is right?”
When it comes to knowing your mission for life, Aristotle believed your final ends for life are the same as my final ends. In fact, everyone on this planet shares the same final ends for life:
Become your best possible self!
Plus, Aristotle believed becoming your best self was not only your mission for life – but also what leads to true happiness.
Now, a lot of you right now might be wondering what the heck all of this has to do with that app game.
Aristotle was right. You must know exactly what you want to achieve – your final ends – your mission – before you begin any project – from playing app games, to playing at that gigantic Game of Life.
I thought about how unhappy my son and I were when we did not know the final ends for that app game – then I thought about what it takes to create happiness in life – then a realization emerged….
Once you fully and clearly understand your mission for Your Life, then life becomes less stressful – and it becomes far easier to score those glorious life happiness points – and become a winner at life!
Aristotle had some particular suggestions for scoring life happiness points. He recommended aiming yourself at “Best Self” habits – including things like: high integrity, kindness, mindfulness, patience, discipline, courage, altruism, generosity of spirit, love of learning, love of doing your innate passions, etc.
Plus Aristotle suggested you avoid doing “Lowest Self” habits – because they’ll simply get you whacked, kicked and fire-bombed. “Lowest Self” habits are pretty much all the opposites of the items shared on the “Best Self” habits list. Plus, “Lowest Self” habits also tend to be anything impulse-directed, ego-directed, and/or body-directed – like cheating, lying, stealing, pigging out, sleeping around.
Basically Aristotle suggested you aim yourself at doing soul-directed habits – behaviors your soul can be proud about.
Unfortunately, nobody ever sits us down to so succinctly explain that this is our life’s mission. As a result many of us wind up with highly incorrect “life missions” playing in an ongoing loop in our heads.
SOME EXAMPLES OF FAULTY LIFE MISSIONS:
To become the richest person on the planet!
To become the thinnest/prettiest girl on this planet!
To have the best wardrobe on this planet!
To be the most famous person on this planet!
To party and have fun, fun, fun!
To have the most orgasms as possible!
To have the most power as possible!
To get lots and lots of people to fall in love with you!
These are all ego-directed missions and body-directed missions – instead of missions which the soul can be proud about.
According to Aristotle, all of these missions, which are purely ego-directed and/or body-directed, lead to “pleasure” – a form of “fake happiness.” Pleasure is a temporary hit and run joy. It’s fleeting. According to Aristotle, if you want to be a winner at life you have to do stuff which helps you become your best you – and this happens when you aim yourself at habits your soul can be proud about.
I believe it’s wildly helpful to have a mindful awareness that becoming your “best self” is what leads to winning at the game of life. I believe this so much, I’m now raising my 3 year old son with this “life mission” awareness.
Now whenever I catch my son making a less than wise choice, I relate it back to his “life mission.” I don’t say, “No, don’t do that.” Or, “No don’t eat that.” Or, “No, don’t talk to someone that way.” Instead I remind him of his mission for life – and how doing these things won’t help him snag being a winner at becoming his best self. Because my son loves app games, I’m talking to him in language he understands. I’ve witnessed a true improvement in his behavior. He now, on his own, loves to brush his teeth, eat healthy, read books, be kind and generous. He even told me that his favorite red Power Ranger’s power is “studying.” He explained, “When you study you become your best most powerful you – and you can do anything.”
We must teach kids to understand the “why not” behind a “no” or a “stop.” We must raise kids to become good choice makers on their own – even when parents and teachers are not around. I believe an effective way to do this is to take the time to talk with kids about their mission for life – and the importance of doing habits which help you become your best you!
And speaking of YOU….
I also believe that whoever YOU are – however old YOU might be – it’s helpful to think of life in this way – as being like a gigantic app game – and if you want to rise up to higher and higher levels – you’ve got to aim yourself at actions your soul can be proud of!
So take all the directions you want in life, but without an idea of what the end should look like, you’ll find it a lot harder to succeed at becoming your best self.
Think of your life as a puzzle. You may know how to put it together, but without an idea of the big picture, you’ll sure have a hard time achieving your goals!
**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connections publicationWomen Who Run It.
If you have, that person probably popped into your head immediately after reading that question, followed by a long list of why you hated them, what they did to you, what they did to everyone around you, and why they were bad leaders.
Or maybe you couldn’t even put into words why they were so bad. Where to even start?
The point is that you probably had an immediate emotional reaction to that question.
Few things incite a frothing, wild-eyed rage like asking people to talk about bad bosses. People aren’t just annoyed by poor leadership—they sputter and snarl as they describe their superiors, lusting for the chance to hit that bad boss with a perfect, withering insult. Or perhaps a truck.
It’s a little scary, then, to realize that we’re all likely to occupy a leadership role, from motherhood to mogulhood, at some point in our lives.
When we blow it, our imperfections will be magnified by our authority. Leadership is simply too complex to do perfectly. I believe that the key to being a better boss lies in accepting that fact.
Ineffective leaders expect their role to be easy and think—no matter what—that they’re doing the job just right. Although good leaders often begin with similar expectations, convinced they’re natural-born chieftains, they soon run smack-dab into a little thing called Monday morning. The best leaders let go of the fantasy and become fully present and responsive to the complexities of each new situation. They’re the ones—the few, the proud, the downright worshipped—who earn their followers’ respect. To become one of them, you need to turn bad-boss behaviors on their head to find your way toward good-boss techniques.
Bad-boss self-concept: As a leader, I’ll be a higher-up.
Good-boss self-concept: As a leader, I’ll have to go lower down.
The bad-boss tales I’ve heard include many stories of managers demanding the undoable, responding to objections by simply reiterating that it had to be done. This creates nothing but hostility. “If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them,” said the philosopher Lao-tzu (who is my favorite management consultant, despite having been dead for centuries). That doesn’t mean you become a slave to your followers’ whims. Great bosses acknowledge their own ignorance and ask questions of everyone to gain a better grasp of two important things: What’s going on? What needs to be done?
Bad-boss target setting: Now that I’m the boss, I give orders to others.
Good-boss target setting: Now that I’m the boss, I bring order to what others do.
Many people find a thrill in giving orders or critiques, but have unclear, uninformed, or ambivalent ideas about what they’re actually trying to accomplish—that is, they know what they want this second, but the big picture is as fuzzy as a winter mink.
Leading well means forming a crystal clear image of what must happen and communicating that precisely. After giving an assignment, ask that person to describe the task in their own words. If they can’t, or if the account they give doesn’t match what you were trying to convey, you need to try a new tack. The first step could be as easy as clarifying your directives—or you might have to rethink your organizational chart and who reports to whom.
Bad-boss position on feedback: Now everyone must tell me when I’m right.
Good-boss position on feedback: Now everyone must tell me when I’m wrong.
Most humans go through the world trying to elicit validation. Al Preble, a leadership consultant for Cambridge Leadership Group in Cambridge, Massachusetts, says this isn’t the way to go. The most powerful way for leaders to communicate, he believes, is to use just three simple steps. When a problem arises:
Clearly tell your subordinate what you really think.
Describe the facts that led you to this opinion.
Ask to be disconfirmed; in other words, honestly request that people tell you where you’re wrong.
Bad-boss protection strategy: As a boss, I’ll be protected from taking blame.
Good-boss protection strategy: As a boss, I’ll protect others by taking blame.
The successful bosses I interviewed emphasized that a good leader helps her followers feel safe from the dangers that come from both inside and outside the organization.
An incompetent supervisor, on the other hand, feels that the best way to secure her position is to appear faultless, and works mightily to make clear who fouled up or even to lay blame on a scapegoat. But that behavior turns people into twitchy, record-keeping, blame-tallying masses of ectoplasm.
Bad-boss problem solving: Being the boss means I can avoid problems.
Good-boss problem solving: Being the boss means I must seek out problems.
You can tell if you’re making mistakes as a leader, because things go wrong—not just one catastrophic computer snafu, but repeated errors. Bad bosses turn away from these realities. They don’t discuss problems; they just hunker down and hope the issue will go away. It won’t. Untreated, a minor concern becomes a major issue becomes a catastrophe.
This is the core of good leadership, whether you’re managing a corporation, your immediate family, or just your own life. Lao-tzu puts it this way: “When [the Master] runs into a difficulty, she stops and gives herself to it. She doesn’t cling to her own comfort; thus problems are no problem for her.” Embracing the fact that you’ll encounter many obstacles—and that this is all right—allows you to understand, listen, give clear instructions, invite negative feedback and protect those you lead. You’ll be comfortable with leadership, even when it’s uncomfortable. And that will make you an easy act to follow.
So don’t spend another second huffing and puffing about a boss who did you wrong. You can use them to make yourself a better leader. Think from the employees perspective, not the employers and you will always be the kind of boss that you wished that you’d had.
**Edited for repurpose by Taylor Brown, Associate Editor of Goddess Connections publication Women Who Run It.
Men have long dominated the sales industry. Their ability to take clients on to the golf course to schmooze, or talk “man to man” has left women out in the cold, until now.
Women have made their way into the sales industry and show no sign of slowing down or backing off.Check out the infographic below to see the advances women are making in the sales industry. You’d be surprised to see just where how quickly we’re making our advances!
Just Click on the PNG image below or
Share it with your friends and show them how well we ladies sell it!
Special thanks to Gillian Hardy for the design.
You know, that really nauseating term that implies that no matter how high our heels are, we will only ever be able to go “so far” in life?
We all cringe over it for different reasons.
One woman may feel it reminds her of the upward climb that seems so futile.
Another shakes her head and is thinking, “Really? People are still saying that?” She’s the one that is rewriting the rules, instead of caving to the ones that the men wrote before her.
Which one are you?
Know your fate is not etched in stone. All you need is a little perspective to help you let those concerns go.
Here are 5 simple truths that will give you just the perspective you need, and shatter that glass ceiling once and for all:
You don’t need to be perfect. You remember this a lot when you are at home.As a Mom you know Johnny’s veggies don’t need to be cut to the hundredth of an inch every time. Nobody’s going to notice if Suzie’s ballet costume is missing one or two rhinestones, and the world will not end if you bring store bought cupcakes to the teacher’s appreciation day meeting. But something different happens when you go out into the professional world. Paula Sellers, author and human rights activist, says that’s the biggest problem with us women, we believe we have to be perfect, at work, in leadership and in business. This perceived need to be perfect at work is impacting your career potential, and not in a good way. You have the strength that it takes to withstand the pinched toes in your heels. That means you have the strength to feel the pinch of letting go of your fears. I find women have two fears; 1) of not being perfect, 2) of being too successful. I tell my clients, if you feel you are shining too brightly and others are concerned, buy them a pair of sunglasses. Your bright light will never dim the light in others; it will only spark a way for them to find their own brilliance. In other words, get over your need to be perfect at work. And if you listen very closely, that sound you will hear is the sound that glass makes when it just starts to crack.
You can handle the odds; they are currently rolling in your favor. The good news is women are holding up to be the best leaders for today’s workforce. Our natural style of collaboration and empathy is just what today’s workforce needs to be effective. Women are on the run and are running businesses from small to large.So for the first time, the odds are in your favor. So step into your power and activate the skills that come naturally to being a woman (skills learnable by men) to take a quantum leap in your career, in business, or in leadership. Given the door is open a bit wider, why not go through?
You have less competition than you think. It’s exciting to see how many women are making the Forbes 500 list. It’s true that the numbers are slim and small, but mighty in quality. It is true that even though those numbers are increasing every year, most of the names on that list are men.There are many men who don’t make the list either. The odds are also stacked against every Olympic athlete that ever makes it to the podium. The odds are also stacked against any person that has put in a bid for the Nobel Prize. So what. They did it anyway. World famous Russian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov says he never thinks about the competition, he considers his greatest competition himself. Women are competitive by nature, and we spend a lot of time wondering and worrying about not only what the men are thinking, but what the other women are thinking and twittering about as well. If you want to live the kind of life that shatters the glass ceiling, you have to act like your competition doesn’t matter. Because it doesn’t. The only thing that matters is you doing your best every time, and your better than your best every other time after that. It doesn’t mean you need to be perfect, just that you keep striving to do your best, and better than your best, every single time.
You ARE enough. These are the words of Nancy Mills, interviewed in my upcoming book Running in High Heels: “You are enough…just as you are.”What Nancy wants you and every women waiting for the sound of glass breaking to know is that you, your truth, your goals, your vision, your…whatever it is, is enough. When you remember that, and beat to that drum and that drum only, that’s when you’ll hear the glass crack a little bit more. You don’t live your life to be an Oscar winner or Pulitzer Prize winner, as to do so would be paralyzing. As an author I know how perfection can put the brakes on creative process. You have to live your life doing your very best. Such was the case for J.K. Rowling, who just…wrote because she had a story in her that needed to be written. She didn’t write with the intention of creating a multi-million dollar brand. She had a vision, and did her very best to put it on paper for the entire world to see. Regardless of what your goal is, be true to it, and simply keep moving forward.
It’s not only okay to break the rules, it’s a must. It’s a new day. We no longer have to wait to be invited to the table; the 21st century goddess claims her own seat. She knows that the sky is her limit, and she’s not afraid to stand tall in whatever shoes she puts on to get her there. She’s claiming that job, that partner, that promotion and running for it like it’s the last dress in her size on the Niemen’s annual sale rack.
Yes, the numbers can be daunting. It’s actually a good thing that there are so few women at the top right now. All that means is, there’s more room for you. If you truly want to shatter that ceiling, you need to tap into your inherent power to do so.
Like Mikhail Baryshnikov as the lights go down, you have only yourself to compete with. And, when you lead yourself to excellence, the rest will follow.
You don’t need to be perfect, you ARE enough.
You are a renegade.
You can and you will win any way that you want, because for you the glass ceiling doesn’t exist. For you? The sky’s the limit.