Category Archives: Elise Mitchell

In The Turn

Last Crop in Fallsville: A Lesson of Love and Compassion

Like you, I’ve been inspired by the many kindnesses shown to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Neighbor helping neighbor.

But it shouldn’t take a crisis for us to show love and compassion to those around us.

I have a favorite story about a chance encounter years ago when I was learning to ride a motorcycle – and it happened on Labor Day Weekend. It taught me a lesson I’ll never forget about the opportunity we have as leaders to impact others for good every day. Please enjoy…

“By the fall of 2009, I could confidently say I had made the turn toward a journey mindset that brought balance to my destination style of leadership. I wasn’t there—I’m still not there—but I was on a better course.

So when Labor Day weekend rolled around that September, I had no problem rolling away from my work and enjoying a ride on my bike.

Raye and I met his father, a good friend, and another couple just as the sun came up for a beat-the-heat ride through the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. Our self-appointed navigator was born and raised in these hills, so we fell in line behind his Harley as we started out from Fayetteville. The general plan—after a pit stop for biscuits and gravy in Huntsville—was a ride through Newton County, a sparsely populated county with winding highways that are quite popular among cyclists.

The first hour or two of our ride took us through small towns, some beautiful rural areas with tree-covered hillsides, sprawling farms, and tiny churches with inspiring signs like, “We use duct tape to fix everything. God used nails.”

By mid-morning, we decided to stop at a bend in the road called Fallsville. The small gravel lot had a lone white building with a single glass door, and three old-timey gas pumps. No credit card swiping here. You’re gonna have to go in, which was our intention anyway. We needed a stretch.

We discovered the only available restroom didn’t require a key—outhouses apparently don’t need that much protection. As we laughed about this, I noticed not far from us an old pickup sitting under a tree. An overall-clad gentleman was perched on the edge of the passenger’s seat with the door standing open.

Sprawling around the truck were piles of plump green-striped watermelons. I didn’t need a cutting to know they’d been picked at the height of their juicy glory. I decided to wander over for a visit, and Gentleman Gene, as I think of him now, broke into a smile at the prospect of a buyer approaching.

“How’s business,” I asked, curious if he had—or if he really expected—to sell any melons that day.

“Picking up,” he said. “They’re beauties, and better than anything you’ve ever tasted.”

Certainly a convincing argument, especially on a hot summer day.

“You raise pretty melons,” I agreed as I looked them over.

He got out of his seat and leaned on the side of the truck. The entire bed was filled with dozens more melons.

“I’m just trying to get whatever I can for them today,” he went on. “They’re not mine. They’re my neighbor’s.”

Gene, as it turned out, was a proud farmer who just couldn’t stand the thought of letting perfectly good watermelons rot in the field. So he had driven to his neighbor’s house that morning and convinced him to let him load up his truck and come to the gas station to try to find a home for as many as possible.

“Why wouldn’t your neighbor bring them himself,” I asked. Seemed like a nice but strange thing to do, hauling off your neighbor’s bounty. Was his neighbor lazy, tired of eating melons, tired of giving them away?

His answer caught me off guard. “He’s just not up to it this year. He’s got cancer pretty bad. He’ll never make another harvest. This is his last crop.”

A new appreciation for the melons flooded over me, and their natural beauty just shone. Gorgeous shades of green, smooth round skin, plump centers. Just the way they were at rest on top of each other looked as if someone had carefully placed each one in a certain spot to catch the morning’s light through the trees. I began taking pictures of them.

Gentleman Gene went on to tell me how his neighbor had lived off the land his whole life, reaping what he sowed and scraping together enough along the way to feed and clothe fourteen children. An experienced chef after a fashion, he had taught all the women in the area to make homemade sorghum molasses. Gene grinned, “I think the most he ever made in a year was $1,200. Some of it from his melons.”

No doubt.

Our conversation was interrupted by the sound of motorcycle engines. I looked past him to our group. They were putting helmets on and folding maps. Time to get going again. I thanked Gene for his story and apologized for not being able to take some melons with me.

“They don’t make saddle bags big enough for melons,” I said. “But I want you to do something for me.” He leaned forward. “Please tell your neighbor you met someone today who thought these were the most beautiful melons she had ever seen. That she took pictures of them and promised to share their beauty with others.”

He laughed. “That will make him smile, and I haven’t seen him smile in a long time.”

As we rode away, I thought about fall, but not with the welcome anticipation I’d felt that morning. Harvest is a time of plenty but it’s also a time of endings. I never used to think about things winding down in life; I was always too wound up. But of course there is a time of harvest that comes for us all. The real question is what are we harvesting?

Gentleman Gene had done his neighbor a favor, but he’d done one for me, too. It may have been a last crop, but it won’t be one that’s forgotten. ”

P.S. You’ll find this story at the end of Chapter 12 in my book “Leading Through the Turn.”

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In The Turn

How to Make the Toughest Calls of Leadership [BONUS]

The buck stops here. How true. President Truman knew it. And all great leaders embrace it. We can (and should) empower others to make decisions whenever possible. But leadership will always involve making the toughest decisions.

Having the authority to make decisions is one of the most rewarding parts of leadership, but actually making the tough calls is seldom easy.

Think about a time when the odds were stacked against you and the risk of failure was high. You didn’t have all the information you needed, yet you had to make a decision. Your team was waiting, and your organization was depending on you to provide direction. What do you do?

When we face the most complex and critical decisions as a leader, we need to recognize the fears and emotions that often hold us hostage and then lean into three powerful “must-haves” for great decision-making.

Recognize the Enemy

A wide range of emotions can cloud our judgment and hold us back when we find ourselves in those crossroads moments that we’d often rather avoid but must face as leaders.

Difficult decisions can make us feel:

  • Overwhelmed – A tidal wave can hit when the potential consequences of a decision we face are significant, we are unprepared, or we feel like we are in over our heads.
  • Anxious – Becoming overly stressed often leads to poor decision-making. The more anxiety we feel, the less likely we’ll have a clear enough head to make the best choice possible. Neuroscience shows anxiety suppresses the activity of pre-frontal cortex neurons, which play a pivotal role in cognitive functions such as calculating risk/reward, problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Indecisive – We sometimes feel paralyzed by too little or too much information. We might be unclear about which criteria we should use to help us decide. Or we might see multiple solutions that all look good.
  • Cautious – We’re hesitant to share information about a decision with others because we’re not sure things are going to turn out the way we want. We’d rather stay quiet, hedge our bets, and leave people to wonder what we decided and why.
  • Pressured – We feel pressured to decide in a certain way by others who have a stake in our decision.
  • Challenged — Similarly, no matter what we decide we know we’ll experience push-back from those who will disagree with our choice. Perhaps they will even challenge us publicly and inappropriately.

Fear rests at the heart of all these decision-making roadblocks. These fears don’t just make decisions harder than necessary, they cause us to question our instincts, project self-doubt and feel out of control. We’re then more prone to make poor decisions, and we risk losing the respect we’ve earned from others – something no leader wants.

So how do we avoid that?

Lean into the Fundamentals

Great leaders are willing to embrace uncertainty as a part of the journey, but they don’t walk down that road unprepared. They lead with authority and confidence because they know and practice the essential fundamentals that help them overcome their fears and make sound decisions.

Here are three must-haves of decision-making that have helped me deal with my most complex and challenging leadership choices:

  1. Process – Establish a tried-and-true decision-making process to help you make and manage any type of decision, but particularly more complex ones. This doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible. It means you’ll have guideposts and guardrails to move you forward and that you’ll make exceptions by design.
  2. Clarity – Learn to manage emotions that cloud your thoughts during decision-making so you can think clearly and rationally. The process will help with this, but you also need to do the hard work of self-awareness and emotional intelligence. This is an area where other trusted leaders can hold you accountable and help you see when your emotions are stifling your common sense.
  3. Consistency – Create patterns in your decision-making that minimize surprises and build trust. Having a standard process and managing your emotions will help you determine in advance how you will handle certain types of decisions so you can create greater consistency in your leadership.

What if you don’t have a process, or you’re looking to improve the one you have? Well, glad you asked.

I’ve created a free download that includes a detailed decision-making process, as well many of the benefits you will enjoy when you have this type of framework in place. Take a look. And here’s to better decision-making in your future.

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In The Turn

4 Ways to Achieve Greater Work-Life Balance and Become a Happier, Better Leader [BONUS]

One aspect of leadership I am asked about more frequently than almost any other – by both men and women – is work-life balance. That elusive, sometimes mythical concept that it’s possible to have a career, a family, and a life.

Can you really have it all?

As I point out in Leading Through the Turn, I believe you can have it all, just not all at the same time. But many of us still struggle with the idea of work-life balance. Why? Frankly, not much about life feels in balance:

  • Our leadership experiences are often mentally and physically exhausting.
  • We constantly give in to the temptation to focus on destinations with little to no regard for the journey of life.
  • We tend to compartmentalize things like work, family, and hobbies, rather than seeing them as interrelated.

But there is a better way. It looks more like work-life blending, a true integration of both parts of life.

Jane Lin-Baden, my good friend and colleague, is one of those leaders who artfully weaves work and personal interests into her life. Jane is the Asia-Pacific CEO for Isobar, a digital agency that is part of Dentsu Aegis Network, our global parent company. She oversees 2,500 people in 13 countries throughout the region. She’s led eye-popping revenue growth, and she and her teams have won countless awards.

But she’s also a wife and mom who enjoys boxing and making custom cosmetics. When we visited recently about the challenges and joys of leadership, Jane shared four guiding beliefs that help her successfully integrate work, family, and personal passions. These are things any of us can incorporate, regardless of where we are in our leadership journey. Read on, and I promise you’ll also discover plenty of tips for becoming a happier, better leader.

1. Be your best self (and help others do the same).

One of Jane’s primary goals – “to be my best self and to help others do the same” – reflects a selfless approach to authenticity that helps everyone involved achieve greater balance.

Being your best, both personally and professionally, leads to a more holistic view of life and a healthier perspective on how to balance the different demands you face. It also makes it so much easier for others to really get to know, understand, and follow your leadership.

And “helping others do the same” allows you to more readily create an atmosphere of acceptance and appreciation for the differences in others. Learning to respect the various talents and life choices of teammates is particularly important as everyone strives to find some sense of balance between their work obligations and personal responsibilities.

“It’s important to remember that people can be in very different stages of growth and development,” Jane said. “Everyone has their own pace, and maintaining a healthy pace is crucial for a sustainable work-life experience. Leaders must help everyone be their best no matter where each person is in their personal and professional journey.”

2. Pursue your passions.

Find the time to invest in other parts of your life. This can come through hobbies, volunteer work, or other activities. We typically seek things that interest or challenge us. When we follow our hearts and pursue our passions, a boundless joy and deep sense of satisfaction complement the rewards we already receive from our work. I was inspired by how Jane integrates her many passions into her busy life. The breadth of her activities reminds us not to limit ourselves, and to look for the ways our hobbies help develop us as leaders.

  • Jane trains volunteers who assist people dealing with tragedy in their lives. Her focus on helping the brokenhearted enables her to bring empathy to the workplace. Compassion is not something found on a P&L, yet it’s a quality of many great leaders.
  • Boxing is a hobby Jane enjoys, not merely for the exercise but because it enhances her concentration skills and her ability to think on her feet. In the heat of the battle, you must keep your wits about you. You must be completely focused on what is happening and alert to the unexpected, a critical leadership skill especially in times of great change. Boxing also reinforces Jane’s belief in aiming high. When throwing a punch, you always look slightly above the point where you want to hit.
  • Jane’s love of art lives through her interest in making custom cosmetics. She enjoys the creative aspects of this hobby, which was influenced by family members who have backgrounds in chemistry. She’s created her own formula and can customize the products for friends. Thinking creatively can significantly enhance your problem-solving capabilities and enable you to bring fresh, new ideas to your work.

3. Learn from lowly tasks.

Some of the most valuable experiences in your leadership journey come from unexpected challenges and unpleasant tasks. These character-shaping moments can pay big dividends by helping you become the leader – and the person – you want to be.

Jane shared a story about a valuable lesson she learned from a rather lowly assignment while working at Sotheby’s London in her first job after college.

“I loved art,” she told me. “And I always wanted to have my own auction gallery. My very first assignment was to clean up their archive room, where they stored almost 80 years of auctioning history files. Nobody wanted to go into that room. I remember telling my mom I was too educated to be doing something so mundane.”

So Jane turned it into a post-grad research assignment.

“I decided I would lock myself in that room for six months and go through every file to better understand the industry and figure out if this was the career path for me,” she said. “I wanted to do my best and make sure that when I left that room, I would know more about it than anyone else.”

That six-month journey taught Jane the importance of tenacity, humility, and optimism. Even the lowliest of jobs has value and should be done to the best of your ability. This particular experience helped her as her career blossomed, particularly when she faced challenging situations. But she also applied those lessons in her personal life, which contributed to greater balance.

“I believe we are given certain obstacles in life specifically to refine our character,” she said. “We all must face an archive room. You must make the most of a difficult situation and learn whatever you can from it. As a leader, you are also in a position to encourage and support others who are going through something similar whether at work or at home.”

4. Make good choices. Much of leadership is about making choices and finding the best path forward. This is especially important when striking a balance between your professional and personal life.

You can’t take on everything and always expect to be your best. You must be selective, delaying or turning down some worthy opportunities so you can focus on others. Being selective about what you take on at work allows you to reserve time and energy for family and personal pursuits. Likewise, being intentional about your personal obligations allows you to minimize unnecessary stress when time demands and schedules collide.

Jane makes choices at work easier for herself and her team by establishing a clear vision and goals. This enables everyone to keep their focus where it should be and to say “no” to things that only distract from reaching those goals.

At home, she involves her family when making major decisions about her career. For example, when Jane was offered the CEO role, she sat down with her family to weigh the pros and cons. “I needed them to know what the trade-offs would be, because we are a team and I knew we were going to go through them together.”

The lesson here is powerful: Life is short, and how we spend our time has a great impact on those around us. We are accountable to more than just ourselves. We are also accountable to our teams at work and to our families at home. Consider both when you make key decisions.

Download our leadership cheat sheet outlining these four guiding principles and 13 tips for becoming a happier, better leader here.

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In The Turn

5 Ways Hobbies Can Help You Live and Lead at Your Best

What are your hobbies?

You can tell a lot about a leader by the way they answer that question.

If you’d asked me a few years ago what my hobbies were, I would have said I didn’t have any because I didn’t have the time. The truth is, I didn’t make the time. I chose to spend nearly every waking moment building my company – to the detriment of my family, my health and my friendships.

I knew that needed to change. You have to find the “off” switch. Everyone wants to live a richer, fuller life. But when you allow work to take precedence over everything, you risk experiencing burnout, anxiety and depression. Not to mention relationship stress.

And if your happiness and self-worth are tied up exclusively in your professional success, at some point along the way I promise you are going to be disappointed.

These are some of the many reasons why you should engage fully in the rest of your life. But did you know that pursuing activities you love also helps you be a better leader? Here are five ways hobbies can help you bring your “A” game to your professional life while invigorating and inspiring your personal life.

1. Hobbies help you think better. Hobbies allow you to refresh, recharge and see things in new and different ways. In fact, a higher functioning brain allows you to be a more critical and creative thinker – science proves it. When we engage in activities that bring us joy and enrichment, it activates a part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens. This area of the brain controls how we feel about life, good or bad. It’s where we process motivation, reward and pleasure. We also activate thousands of neurotransmitters in our brain that allow us to sharpen our focus and become energized around one activity.

With science like this, it’s no wonder some of the greatest leaders of our time engage in fun and creative hobbies. Richard Branson enjoys kite surfing. Steve Wozniak engages in Segway polo. And Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, is mastering the art of the flying trapeze.

2. Experience the exhilaration of “flow.” When we become totally immersed in things we love, the worries of the day fade and our inner critic is silenced. We feel focused and competent. We perform at our best. This sense of flow is often described by others as being “in the zone.” Flow can give us the confidence and energy to tackle other more challenging aspects of our lives, particularly in our work.

3. Develop more of a can-do spirit. Even if you love what you do, the routine of working all the time can feel relentless – even monotonous. You can become set in your ways and less willing to take risk. Trying a new hobby can help you break out of that mindset. Take painting lessons or learn to kayak. Try your hand at woodworking. You’ll have a bounce in your step as you develop new skills. That can-do attitude will empower you to be more innovative at work, too, and willing to try new things.

4. Become more resilient. To get good at something, you need to try, fail, learn and repeat. And as you keep trying, you become smarter and better. More resilient. The type of dogged determination that helps you learn how to climb trails or run a marathon will help you deal more effectively with challenges you face in your career.

5. It’s where you’ll get your best ideas. One of the greatest benefits of having hobbies is the way your mind is freed to think creatively. We’ve all heard our best ideas come to us when we’re in the shower or out on a bike ride. This is because we’re relaxed, we’re focused on something enjoyable, and our bodies release positive chemicals like endorphins and dopamine into our brains, which give us a burst of energy and creative thinking. You can take these ideas into your workplace and find ways to bring them to life.

J. J. van der Leeuw, a Dutch author who spent much of his life exploring philosophical and theological ideas, got it right when he said, “The mystery of life is not a problem to be solved; it is a reality to be experienced.”

When I realized I needed to change my relentless focus on the destination, I did. I found hobbies that helped me find joy in the journey — like motorcycling and riding alongside my husband, Raye. I took up running, one of the joys of my youth, and completed my first half marathon in 2009. I learned to fly fish and have also begun to study photography.

These things are meant to be experienced, not accomplished. But they also helped me become a better (and happier) leader.

So the lesson is this: Find hobbies you enjoy that can help you live a richer, fuller life. Chances are, they’ll also help you lead at your best.

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In The Turn

Mastering the Art of Delegation: Five Steps for Letting Go and Empowering Others

The idea of delegation goes back forever.

As communities formed, tasks were delegated based on skills and experiences that would best help the group. Some hunted. Some gathered. Some drew stick figures on the walls in caves. As cultures evolved into villages, cities, kingdoms, and empires, the delegation evolved with it. Not only did people gravitate toward certain roles, but they found that delegation provided a way to train new leaders (and other workers) for the roles that were essential for survival.

As old and proven as this solution is, however, it’s still one leaders struggle with, especially during times of growth. This is when you, as a craftsman, have to challenge yourself to grow into the role of a real leader—someone who can let go and empower and equip others around you.

People who really like to be in control and who are really good at what they do often struggle to hand things off to others. And when they do, they face the temptation to jump back in and take over at the first sign of trouble. “I can do it quicker.” “I can do it faster.” “I can certainly do it better than this team because I’m the master craftsman.” “I’m the one that designed this program or built the relationship with this client or developed this process.”

But when you turn roles and responsibilities over to other people, you have to give them the good stuff that goes with it. You must release them to lead. You can’t give somebody a responsibility but take the credit for what happens when they do their job. Or you can’t give somebody a client relationship but hold on to it so the client still keeps calling you.

There’s one key principle I’ve learned over time that has helped me solve my most painful delegation problems, and it’s this:

Focus on what only you can do and give the rest away.

As a leader, you may know how to do lots of things, but that doesn’t mean you should regularly do them all. In fact, continuing to do them won’t get you or your business where you want to go. In other words, what got you here won’t get you there.

So what should you give away?

All the good stuff – power, authority, credit, recognition, relationships, information, resources, knowledge, you name it. Everything you’ve worked so hard to get!

And that’s the challenge. That’s why so many leaders hit the wall at this point and can’t push through. They become a leader who holds tightly. But only by releasing and empowering others will you have the opportunity for exponential success – achieving goals far greater than you can achieve on your own and that you and your team will receive high praise for accomplishing.

Once you’ve given the good stuff away, there’s much more good stuff for you to focus on – and it’s those things only you can do and that bring the greatest value to the business. High impact, strategic items like developing a detailed growth plan for the business, investing in your top talent to get them to the next level, or putting in place a more robust strategy for driving revenue. Whatever it is, there are likely many more important things for you to tackle than what you’re doing now.

Five steps for effective delegation So how do you effectively hand things off? Here are five steps you can take to be a leader who releases.

  • Step 1: Consider what tasks someone else could take on. Start by making a list of the projects and ongoing responsibilities you are currently handling that another person on your team – or a new person all together — could assume if given the right resources, authority and ramp-up time.
  • Step 2: Assess the strengths of others. Next, make sure you have a clear understanding of your team members’ individual capabilities. This will allow you to determine who might be best suited to take on a new responsibility. In addition, you must also understand their interests and career goals for the long-run. This will allow you to give someone a stretch assignment that will allow them to grow in an area they would like to develop.
  • Step 3: Empower your team. Armed with a list of the projects and responsibilities you are willing to give to your team, make the match. Determine what to give to whom. Then once you’ve thought it through, arrange a time to meet with each person and share the new assignments you propose to give to them. Ask for their feedback, and gain their agreement on when/how the transition will happen. Announce the new responsibilities to the larger team to bring positive attention to those who are stepping up and to motivate others to be next.
  • Step 4: Coach for the win. Once you’ve handed something off, stay close enough to coach your team through the early stages of assuming responsibility. Resist the temptation to take something back at the first stumble. Instead, provide real-time feedback, ask clarifying questions, and offer support. This will allow your team to course-correct, gain confidence and continue moving forward in their new roles.
  • Step 5: Write a new job description for yourself. Now that you’ve shared responsibilities with others, consider what you can and should focus on going forward. Include these bigger-picture items as key responsibilities in your new job. Share these ideas with your supervisor or like-minded peers for feedback and refinement. Focus on these new tasks with a learner’s mindset, and use this opportunity to grow and develop new skills and capabilities for yourself.

If you don’t truly release leaders—if you don’t empower, equip, and enable them—you’ll discover that the talented, capable, smart people you worked so hard to get on your team will soon leave for some other team. And they should, because you aren’t providing opportunities for them to reach their destinations and enjoy their journeys. Why would anyone stay with somebody who’s selfish, driven by power, and hungry for credit?

That’s not the type of leader I want to be. I want to help people around me grow. I want to watch them soar. When you do that as a leader, you keep great people on your team and you engender loyalty, confidence, and commitment from them. They’ll walk through fire for you because you’re helping them grow and shine, too. Not coincidentally, that’s when your organization not only grows and shines, but soars.

I hope this post inspires you to become a leader who releases — not only for the benefit of others, but for your own growth, too. Because as you put this into practice, you’ll find you are releasing with one hand while reaching out to grasp new opportunities with the other.

The cycle of growth continues when you lead by letting go.

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In The Turn

The Ultimate Guide to Leading and Living with Purpose

“The journey matters as much as the destination.”

Well-intentioned people like to remind those of us who are driven souls about this advice. But I never bought it.

I’m a destination person by nature. In business, family life — you name it. I like to know where I’m going and how I’m going to getting there. The rest is just scenery, right?!

Sound familiar? Perhaps this is you – or someone you know.

I’ve reached a lot of destinations I’ve set my sights on. Probably the biggest one was spending the last 20 years building a company from scratch and selling it to a global organization. And we reaped some great rewards from that.

So don’t get me wrong. Entrepreneurship has been the ride of my life. But chasing that big dream almost cost me far more.

STOPPED SLEEPING

There was a time when all I thought about was winning at work… until an interesting thing happened a few years ago.

As my business was growing rapidly and things were going really well … I stopped sleeping. No trouble going to sleep. But at 2:30 or 3 a.m., I was wide awake.

Dealing with all my work concerns, sure, but also asking myself one question that was burning in the back of my brain and would never go away: “Is this all there is?”

That’s a frightening thing to face if you’re a destination person. I knew I had dreams and plenty of drive. But I had always defined myself by my achievements.

If the destination wasn’t worth reaching, what was I striving for?

(CONTINUE BLOG POST)

MISSING THE JOURNEY ALONG THE WAY

I have found one answer that has helped turn me around. And it’s this:

It isn’t that the destination is not worth pursuing. But in my pursuit of the destination, I had missed the journey.

Maybe if I could make the journey matter more, I could reclaim my life and find deeper purpose in my work.

So how can we make the journey matter? There are many things we can do, but I want to take a closer look at two areas of your life – the BIG two — your work life, and your personal life. And share some tips that have really worked for me.

I’ve also prepared a free download called “Journey Line: A Leader’s Guide to Finding Purpose.” This is a powerful tool that will help you gain clarity about your purpose and the kind of life you want to lead.

It includes:

  • A journey line exercise that allows you to plot the highs and lows of your life and career and reflect on what you’ve learned from those experiences.
  • The five elements of purpose and how you can use them to determine your destination in life.
  • An opportunity to create a purpose statement for yourself.

I hope this proves to be a practical tool to help you make the journey matter.

(CONTINUE BLOG POST)

MAKING THE JOURNEY MATTER AT WORK

I remember as a young professional I aspired to be a leader someday, but many of the leaders I knew and stereotypes I heard about were confusing to me. I thought in order to succeed I needed to:

  • Act tough and not show emotion,
  • Be willing to step on others to climb the corporate ladder,
  • I needed to know all the answers – or at least pretend like I did.

The problem was, I wasn’t like this at all. So I wasn’t sure I could be myself and still be a successful leader.

Have you felt this way before?  That being you wasn’t enough?

Too many times we try to be what others want us to be. But only when we are truly ourselves will we perform at our best.

You can’t expect to find and fulfill a purpose if you’re not true to yourself.

Yes, you will grow  and change a lot throughout your leadership journey, but you shouldn’t  fundamentally change who you are.

You are you – this is who God made you to be.

To attempt to be something drastically different keeps you from finding true joy in the journey.

Embracing who you are as a leader makes the journey far more enjoyable. And I believe that to be the most effective leader you can be, there must be something different about you.

Why?

So many leaders look and feel the same. They have chosen to align their beliefs and behaviors with others or with their organizations so much so that they have lost virtually all their individuality. In this case, who wants to follow them?

There must be something compelling that makes people—whether its employers, clients, or significant others—pick you.

Being different is attractive and makes you stand out from the crowd.

The trick is: You must be you. If you try to be something you’re not, people will recognize it pretty quickly. And there is nothing less desirable than a fake.

Which begs the question: What makes you, you?

Answer: Know yourself. Dare to be yourself. And be sure others have a clear idea of who you are and what you stand for, too.

That starts by looking within. You need a good sense of your gifts and talents, your values and your passions.

Then you can find your way into that “sweet spot” where all those things come together. That’s the goal, right?

Sort of. But it’s not really just about being in a sweet spot. It’s also about what you do with that opportunity once you’re there.

And just to clarify: No matter where you are in your journey, you are a leader. Leadership is not defined by title, but by your character, actions and words and your influence over those around you.

It’s a privilege to be a leader. You have the chance to impact those around you for good.

I have a core belief – When you have opportunity to do good for others, just do it.

Here are a few ways i try to live that out:

  • Be a leader who releases — Empower, equip and enable others by giving all the good stuff away, sharing with them information, relationships, resources – anything that helps them soar in their careers. Be a door-opener and a catalyst for others.
  • Ignite — We have a program at Mitchell called “Ignite” where we gives our employees time and money to go into the community and do random acts of kindness. It’s incredibly powerful to be a giver, and it changes you for good.
  • Love the whole person — Don’t just treat people transactionally in the workplace. Instead love the whole person. And by that I mean — show genuine interest in others, remember their name, talk to them in the hallway, ask about their family. Your kindness could be the one positive thing that happens to someone that day.

Daring to be yourself, finding your sweet spot, and impacting others are a few of the ways we can make the journey matter at work. I certainly have tried to learn and apply these lessons over the years.

But one of the most powerful lessons I ever learned as a leader was how to make the journey matter in my personal life. Easy to say and hard to do when you are a destination leader.

(CONTINUE BLOG POST)

MAKING THE JOURNEY MATTER IN YOUR PERSONAL LIFE

We all know and studies tell us – we can’t work all the time. We have to find the “off” switch and do something other than work. Keep ourselves grounded. Live a whole life.

If you’d asked me a few years ago what my hobbies were, I would have told you that I didn’t have any because I didn’t have any free time. In truth, I didn’t make any time for them – I put as much of my time as possible toward building my company.

I knew that needed to change, if for no other reason than I wanted to be an attractive, engaging person for my husband. He didn’t want to be married to someone who was defined only by her work. And I wanted my children to feel they had a fun and interesting mom who was passionate about life itself, and pursued her personal joys too.

So I invested in myself. I found hobbies – and believe it or not, many of them led me to develop more of a journey mindset.

  • I learned to ride a motorcycle and began riding alongside my husband.
  • I took up running, one of the joys of my youth
  • I returned to photography and spend as much time as possible capturing the things I see along the way
  • I love to cook and entertain in our home
  • I love to travel, and my husband and I travel together as often as possible.

What do you love? Is there something that brings you pure joy just in the doing, but you’ve been putting off spending any time on it, haven’t touch it in years because you didn’t think you had the time or money?  How much more would you enjoy the ride of your life with these things in it?

You must invest in yourself, or you won’t have anything left for anyone else. No one wants to be around someone who works all the time, or thinks about work all the time. You have to really SHOW UP.

You want the brownie point for coming to your daughter’s dance recital or your son’s Little League game, but if you’re that parent behind the bleachers on your phone the whole time, you don’t get the full point – maybe just a quarter of a point.

Wouldn’t you rather be on the front row cheering them on where they can see your smiling face and hear your voice?!  That’s worth the full point!  And they will remember.

People matter the most. Relationships are the greatest gift we have, and we have to invest in them.

I learned I had to make time for those I love – my husband, my kids, my closest circle of friends. They are the ones who have stayed with me through thick and thin. They are the ones who I will be by their side in the darkest and last moments of life. And I hope they will be there for me too.

But you must be intentional about keeping them as fellow journeyers:

  • You can’t drive so far ahead that no one can keep up with you.
  • Sometimes you scrap the map and go with a detour that is better for them than you.
  • And sometimes you pull your bike over to the side of the road, put the kickstand down and look around you – drink in how beautiful where you are today is. Live in the present. Experience this moment, this place. Don’t miss a single moment of the richness of your life!

Traveling the road of life is so much more enjoyable when you can do it with those you love. So be sure to find and keep fellow journeyers.

(CONTINUE BLOG POST)

DESTINATION / JOURNEY MINDSET

As you can tell from this website and my new book, I ride a motorcycle. Learning to ride came at a critical time – when I couldn’t sleep. And it taught me many things:

  • To find greater joy in the journey, for sure, but also…
  • You need a clear destination and the drive to get there – but that’s not enough. The journey matters. It really does!

I’ve learned to be a destination leader with a journey mindset. Someone who is still very focused on reaching her goals, but someone who now understands that the journey of life is meant to be savored and experienced.

Living and leading as a destination leader with a journey mindset has transformed my life.

  • Today I am a far different leader, wife, mom and friend than I was a few years ago when I couldn’t sleep.
  • Adopting a journey mindset was the key.

RESOURCES FOR YOU

Book

Figuring out the destination/journey challenge was such a game-changer for me that I decided to write a book about it. It’s called Leading Through the Turn. McGraw Hill is my publisher and it launched January 2017.

JOURNEY LINE DOWNLOAD

And just for you, I’ve prepared a free download called “Journey Line: A Leader’s Guide to Finding Purpose.”  This is a powerful tool that will help you gain clarity about your purpose and the kind of life you want to lead.

It includes:

  • A journey line exercise that allows you to plot the highs and lows of your life and career and reflect on those events.
  • The five elements of purpose and how you can use them to determine your “there.”
  • An opportunity to create a purpose statement for yourself

I hope this proves to be a practical tool to help you make the journey matter.

So no matter what your goals and dreams, what destination you’re striving for, remember: It’s okay to have ambition, but that can’t be all you’re about. You have to live a full life. And when you do, you will have learned how to lead and live with purpose.

Enjoy the ride!

 

 

 

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In The Turn

Five Questions for Navigating Through Change

Regardless of how you feel about change, it’s going to happen. Life will always throw you uncertainty and upheaval. The real question is what are you going to do about it? And how can you lead effectively during the most difficult times?

Whenever we find ourselves experiencing significant change our first reaction is often confusion and denial – then frustration and anger. But as a leader, it’s up to you to help get your team back on track again.

We’ve created a roadmap with five questions to help you and your team navigate the challenges you’re facing and develop a game plan for moving forward. This worksheet can guide the conversation to create clarity and consensus for your new direction.

  1. What is your reality?

In other words – what is happening? What changes are occurring and how are they impacting you? What new challenges are you facing as a result of the change? Get everything out on the table, good and bad. Attempt to understand the full scope of the change.

  1. What can you control/can’t you control?

It’s important to think through both – what is within your power, and what isn’t. This allows you to focus your efforts where you have the opportunity and authority (implied or assumed) to take action.

  1. What do you want?

What does a “win” look like for you? What benefits would be realized from success? Write it down (even if it scares you) and let that drive your actions and priorities from here.

  1. How will you get there?

This is the hardest part. You can’t get to your destination without a plan, so what do you need to do to get where you want to go? It’s important to listen carefully to your team and include all the things that must happen in order to achieve the results you want. For planning purposes, just list the major activities and key areas that must be addressed. You can fill in the details once the overall strategy is clear.

  1. Are you in?

Start by stating your commitment as the leader. Ask each participant if they support the plan and the effort it will take to win. Have them sign the roadmap signaling their commitment. Once everyone is in, encourage the team not to look back, but to keep their eyes focused on the future.

By working together and staying committed to the goal, success becomes more achievable.

Remember, at the end of the day you can’t control every circumstance you encounter. However, if you do nothing else, make this experience a part of your leadership journey that truly matters.

Below you’ll find a link to download my “Roadmap for Leading Through Change.” I’ve drawn upon my own change management experiences to design this guide. It consists of the five questions listed above as well as a worksheet to chart your answers.

I hope this proves to be a very practical tool to help as you navigate through change and find a new way forward.

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In The Turn

Are You Powered by Purpose?

Are you living with purpose?

I think a lot of us ask this question wondering if what we do really matters and if it’s changing the world for better.

Last week on Facebook Live, I sat down with Workmatters president and my good friend, David Roth, and shared some thoughts on what it means to find purpose in your work, make the journey matter and go with the detours in life.

I hope you’ll watch  — and join us for this year’s 2017 Workmatters Leadercast as I’m excited to be the keynote speaker sharing what it means to be “Powered by Purpose.”

You can also read the transcript below.


David Roth: Welcome, Facebook Friends. My name’s David Roth. I’m president of WorkMatters and it is my privilege today to be with my friend, Elise Mitchell. Welcome, Elise.

Elise Mitchell: Thank you. I’m excited to be here.

DR: Elise is our keynote speaker at our 14th annual WorkMatters Leadercast and we’re going to spend a few minutes this morning diving into a little bit of what you’ll talk about at the conference.

Elise, Leadercast is about three weeks away and the theme for the conference is Powered by Purpose. Purpose is such a crucial word in our work. Tell us a little bit around what that looks like from a leadership standpoint.

EM: You know, it’s a great question. I cannot imagine not having a sense of purpose in our work. But, I think a lotof us wonder does what I’m doing really matter? Is it changing the world for better? Am I making a difference in other people’s lives? And while we search for purpose – which is a great thing to do, I’m excited we’re going to do that with Leadercast – I think part of that search begins with looking inward.

Really knowing yourself and understanding yourself is important. You have to ask yourself, ‘What are my gifts and talents? Am I really using those in my work? What are my values?” For many of us that’s driven by our faith. ‘What do I believe in? How does it align with what I’m doing?’ And then ultimately, of course, ‘What do I want my life’s work to be about?’

Some of that can be seen over the course of a career, but honestly, I think you want to have that sense of purpose every day. The tasks that I’m doing every day – is there purpose and meaning in those things? It’s very important.

DR: You wrote a book. An incredible book that’s been out for two or three months, Leading Through the Turn. And in the book, you talk about your passion for riding motorcycles. And through riding motorcycles, you learned a number of leadership principles. Tell us a little bit around how those things came together and what that looks like.

EM: Well, it’s funny because motorcycling came at a pivotal point in my life. Honestly, David, there was a time – and you’ve known me a long time, so you know this about me – there was a time when all I thought about was winning at work. And I didn’t have time for hobbies – actually I didn’t make time for hobbies, and that needed to change. My life was suffering because I was focusing on work and needed to reinvest in those parts of my life.

So my husband and I decided to go on a trip together, which we hadn’t done for a number of years — we were just busy with work and raising our kids. I agreed in a moment of insanity to get on the back of his motorcycle and take a 10-day trip. And I remember thinking this is going to be uncomfortable, I don’t know why I’m doing this. But you know what? I got on the back of his bike and I never looked back. I was hooked.

Motorcycling is one of the most exhilarating ways to travel. The sights, the sounds, the smells. It’s such an amazing experience. And most importantly, it taught me about joy in the journey. I realized I was so focused on reaching destinations in my life that I wasn’t really appreciating the ride and the joy of life. I wanted that to change.

I remember when we came back from the trip and my husband said, ‘Elise, you were meant to ride. You should ride your own bike.’ So when I took the motorcycle safety course, I learned a fundamental principle of motorcycling called looking through the turn. It works like this: as you approach a turn in the road, which is where a lot of the hazards are, you determine whether or not there are potholes or oil slicks that might make your bike wreck.

But you don’t stare straight into the turn because, if you do, you’ll drive right into it. Your bike will follow your eyes. Instead they teach you to keep your eyes focused on where you want to end up. Looking through the turn.

When I heard that, I thought to myself this is a powerful metaphor for business and life, and it really stuck with me. I thought, ‘How do I become a leader who is looking through the turn, or in my book, leading though the turn? How do I become a leader who does that?’ Ever since that time, I’ve really made that my mantra and tried to live that way — and lead that way. That’s what inspired me to write the book.

DR: That’s awesome. Also in your book, you talk about bumps in the road. You talk about plans that you had that maybe were different than God’s plans and how you overcame those, how you dealt with those. I know there are a number of people watching this video that are struggling with that. Maybe they’ve had some setbacks in their career. Can you speak to what you’ve learned around changing plans and how you dealt with it?

EM: Well, it’s funny. We always make these plans in life. I liken it to when my husband Raye and I go on motorcycle trips. We get on the computer, look at the map and plan very carefully all the roads and the routes that we’re going to take. But a lot of times the ride doesn’t turn out like that. You have these detours that occur. And I thought how similar that was in life.

I remember a very specific time in my life when I had a big detour. It was a career-changer. And it was not what I wanted. It was very unexpected. And I had a choice at that time that I could go and be bitter about this change or I could go and let it make me better. It just reminded me it’s not as much what happens to you in life, but it’s how you respond to what happens to you that really matters and defines who you are as a person.

I learned some very valuable lessons around that. The idea of being willing to go with detours in life because you’re probably going to end up in some pretty terrific destinations. You can see God’s hand in those detours. I know many people are in personal detours, they’re in professional detours, they’re in health detours, things that are unwanted. And we have to figure out how we’re going to respond in those moments.

DR: That’s powerful. Well, I’ve read the book, of course, a couple of times and I know that what you’re going to share at Leadercast is going to be extraordinary, so much deep teaching from your life as an entrepreneur, the hard lessons that you’ve learned through your life.

We’re really looking forward to you unpacking this in more detail in about three weeks at Leadercast. Before we close, though, I do want you to share with our audience a little bit more about your book and how they might be able to buy it and listen to it.

EM: Thank you. I appreciate that. So the book is called Leading Through the Turn. Published by McGraw-Hill, came out just a few months ago. There’s a really simple thing – one thing that people can do if they’re interested in finding out more – is to go to my website, which is elisemitchell.com.

Everything is there. You can buy the book there. I have a very active blog where I share not only lessons from the book, but leadership lessons in the trenches, things I’m learning every day now. So I post regularly to it. We invite people to join our list there. They can subscribe and get notices of when we post to our blog.

Also – this is kind of exciting – my publisher asked me to do an audio recording of my book. It is available now on audible.com. I actually recorded it myself. The beauty of that is that my publisher wanted it to be a really authentic read from the author, to share the emotion and the passion that comes with sharing my own work.

 

DR: Well, for our viewers here today, we hope that you’ll join us for the 14th annual Workmatters Leadercast. There will be over 1,000 people there that day so I want to encourage you, if you haven’t bought your ticket yet, to attend Leadercast, but also don’t come alone. Bring a co-worker. Bring a friend. Bring a family member. And for those of you that lead teams, I highly encourage you to bring your entire team.

I can’t tell you with 1,000+ people there, how many people, small companies, literally shut their companies down to attend. Leaders that have a small or large team bring their entire team.

Work is hard. We’re running fast. And this is such an incredible opportunity to just slow down and listen to leaders like Elise Mitchell and nine other speakers from around the United States.

They’re some of the greatest leaders in the entire country. So, I want to encourage you to buy your ticket and here’s how you can do that.

Click on this video and it will take you right to the website. Or you can go to the website at nwaleadercast.com and you can buy your tickets there.

Look forward to you seeing and hearing Elise. And also, just know, that Elise’s resources will be available at Leadercast, as well, so if you want to purchase them then.

Thank you so much. We’ll see you next time.

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In The Turn

The Secret to Achieving Early Success – and Appreciating It

Meet my friend Rachel Bell – wife,  mom and successful entrepreneur. She founded her company, Shine, in the UK in 1998 (about the same time I started Mitchell Communications Group) with a vision of building a public relations agency where everyone was encouraged to do just that.

Shine has won over 100 business and industry awards – and for good reason. They do terrific work,  but Rachel also has an incredible gift for entrepreneurial thinking and developing others — qualities that have led her to co-found six award winning companies.

I’m proud to know her and have learned so much from her. I know you will benefit from her wisdom about the secret to achieving early success, and how to set goals without chasing them endlessly.

You can watch Rachel’s video here or read the transcription below.


Elise Mitchell: Are you a destination leader? 

Rachel Bell: I would describe myself first and foremost as an entrepreneur because, perhaps what I’m most proud of is I’ve developed lots of talent within my businesses, which have gone on to allow me to start other businesses, which is great.

I definitely would describe myself as that. Primarily because I’ve always found right from the get-go of starting a business that I’ve needed clear goals from which to aim for in order to work out what exactly I was going to do to get there. So without a clear goal in mind, I don’t think I would even know where to begin to break that down into the stages that I needed to take to get there.

Your company has won many awards. How did you accomplish that?

RB: So right from the start, we set out with an ambition to be Best New Agency in two years and Best Agency in five. And we were actually Best Agency in the first year. And we got to be Best Agency in the UK in the first five. And without setting that plan down in the first place I know we would never have got there.

What’s the secret to achieving such early success?

RB:  We actually started at the end of the journey in our mindset and worked our way back. So, in our minds we wrote the – well, we may have even actually drafted this looking back upon it – but we wrote out what our award entry, our winning award entry would say about us as a business if we were winning Agency of the Year. And we went from there to actually think about now what do we break that down into in terms of initiatives that we want to deploy to actually get us on that journey and to achieve it. So we set very clear KPIs on the way from which we measured ourselves. And so every quarter we would track our KPIs, our business KPIs, and so we would always know when if we were veering off course at all. Those KPIs crossed every aspect business from HR through to New Business to Finance.

How did it feel when you actually reached that goal?

RB: Do you know what actually? (laughs) It’s a – it was okay, but I don’t think um, I’d certainly say at that point in my journey I should have been absolutely elated, and given how hard we’d worked to get there. Uh, I was incredibly blasé about it, even a little bit deflated because at the point that we’d won that award, as a fantastic achievement it was, I actually didn’t know from that point quite what I wanted to do next. It sort of left – I’d been chasing it for such a long time that once we’d got it, I felt a little bit like ‘Okay, well, what now?’ And um, I had a great conversation with a friend of mine at the time who talked to me about the importance of setting your goals in a very fixed manner and not placing your ambitions onto the horizon. Because what he explained to me was that when you do that as you work towards your goal, you can find yourself pushing it off further on the horizon. As you step forward, it moves away. By very clear planted goals, and a succession of those, you can move through each goal and celebrate and enjoy that goal as you go. From that point on I sort of really learnt a lesson.

How do you set goals differently now?

RB: You have to have goals. I set goals now in a much more holistic fashion. So I used to think primarily about work, but now actually, and I feel this particularly as a woman with a family of three – I’ve got three young kids, getting older now – but I live in two destinations, I’ve got an awful lot going on in my life, several businesses.  It became really important to consider the whole me in terms of what I wanted to achieve. So from that perspective, I set now goals for myself on a personal level as well as a professional level. And I try to keep those all in balance.

How do you find balance between work and family?

RB: As a mom, as a daughter, as a sister, as a wife – they’re all important to me. We did a training session once, quite a long time ago now, and it taught me a really valuable lesson. And that was to sit and write your own epitaph for how you would be viewed at your funeral by all of the people that are important to you in your life. And so I wrote my own epitaph as though it were for my mum, for my sister, for my husband. I thought about what it would be that I would want them to say about me. And it was a fantastic process because actually by going through that it made me realize where I was being successful at that time and where I wasn’t and where I wasn’t putting enough energy and purpose around it. And it changed my perspective and now every year I write myself goals across that spectrum of personal stakeholders, if you like.

Time is a precious commodity. How do you make the most of it?

RB: Absolutely. I was making some notes on things that we want to spend our time doing next year, trips I want to take with the kids, and thinking about how I want to portion my week up. Because every year the businesses change. The company grows. Maybe there’s another company in the mix. I have to think very, very carefully about how I’m going to portion my time because time is for certain one finite commodity that it doesn’t matter who you are, how important you might be, you never get more of it. So how you spend your time as you busier becomes ever more important.

So it’s okay to be goal-oriented — to be a destination leader?

RB: I think it’s more than okay. I think it’s imperative. I think if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ve got absolutely no hope of getting there. You have to be, um, on a journey and you need to be very clear in your own mind about what that journey looks like. How you want to get there, and what you want to be able to experience and enjoy along the way. It’s only by having a clear goal, a clear destination, will you ever have a hope of arriving at it.

So you don’t have to choose between having a work and a personal life?

RB: I think it’s really important that it isn’t one or another. I think for women particularly, if they want to be a success at work, they need to take a really holistic approach to their entire life. So that they’re building in enough flexibility for themselves to be able to do something in an evening, if that’s when they get a bit of spare time, that it suits them to actually pick up doing their email at some point. If they wake early and they want to clear a bit of email or write a bit of correspondence, then that’s okay. If you need to skip off work half an hour early to pick up the kids to do something. If you need to deal with a personal call, you do that. For me, that is how I’ve always looked at my life – is a hundred percent. I give a hundred percent to everything. But giving a hundred percent to everything means that sometimes one thing or another will butt into each other and that’s okay.

 

 

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In The Turn

Facing Your Fears: Overcoming What Scares You Most

Photo Credit: Drew Angerer

 

“Are you fearless?”

A reporter once asked me that question. How I wish I could have answered her with a bold swagger and a confident yes.

But despite 20-plus years of entrepreneurship and a penchant for motorcycling, I’ve had plenty of things that have kept me awake at night. Particularly in the early years of building my business. I feared losing clients or key employees. I feared failure – with a passion.

But after experiencing some of my greatest learnings from botched attempts — for example, launching a service no one wanted to buy or losing a pitch for a piece of business we really wanted — I’ve stared that tiger down.

The main thing I worry about now is doing or saying something that would somehow violate my values. But I think that’s a rather healthy fear to have and keep.

What are you afraid of? Regardless of what title you hold or where you are on your journey, you’re afraid of something. We all are.

Yet we long to be more fearless in our leadership. I’m inspired by “Fearless Girl”  — the bronze statue of a defiant girl standing in front of Wall Street’s iconic charging-bull statue. I want to be that courageous in the face of all things menacing.

But let’s face it. Leadership can be scary at times.

And despite our best efforts to hide those things we’re afraid of, we spend a good deal of time trying to avoid them. That’s human nature, and our preservation instincts are there for a reason. But if you focus too much on your fears, you’re hurting yourself in other ways.

So what’s the secret to breaking through? Here are a few of the bigger fears leaders face and some thoughts on how to tackle those things that scare you the most.

• Anticipate but don’t fixate – Fear of “what could be” can be quite paralyzing. In motorcycling, you learn to assess potential hazards in the road ahead and make necessary adjustments in the moment, but you don’t fixate. If you stare at the pothole or oil slick you’re trying to avoid, you’ll drive straight into it. Most of the things we worry about in life are unlikely to happen. It’s good to think ahead and prepare for the worst, but when you let your thoughts dwell on worst-case stuff, you’re catastrophizing and draining energy needed to react and respond with precision. Keep looking ahead, but maintain some perspective so you can channel your efforts into dealing with what you know, not worrying unnecessarily about what could be.

• Mourn the loss, and move on – Fear of failure is a big one. But failure is inevitable. No one crosses the finish line first every time. You must learn to let go of frustration as quickly as possible and turn loss into learning sooner. It’s okay to be disappointed, but get it out of your system and move on. Set a deadline for mourning (e.g. a day or a week); then get up and get going again. The sooner you can bounce back, the sooner you can try again for the win. And the next time around, apply what you learned so you are smarter, better, faster and stronger – and the win is more within your reach.

• Go for it, take that leap of faith – Fear of looking foolish often holds us back from going for it. As a result, we miss out on a big win because we were afraid to take a chance. But how many times can any of us honestly say we are prepared for the next big challenge of our career—or our personal life, for that matter? Regardless of where we are in our leadership experience, the first thing we have to embrace if we want to lead at our best is a willingness to explore the roads—even if we feel unprepared, unqualified, and unsure. Step out and take a chance. You never know where it might lead.

• Know what matters most – Fear of disappointing others haunts many leaders throughout their lives. Often we attempt to live up to others’ expectations for us. Yet all of the nonsense and chaos – the “head trash” – consuming our thoughts serves only to divert our attention away from the things that really count. In that case, we end up trying to become the leader others want us to be, not what we want for ourselves. In the end, it’s what you think of yourself that matters most. The internal battle is the hardest one. Double down on the things that matter most to you and remember who you are and what you believe in. This will give you the power to push through this fear.

There’s a common thread here – did you pick up on it? Fears don’t go away. There is no magic wand to make them disappear. Instead, we overcome them.

You must learn to embrace your fears and understand they are just a normal part of any leadership journey. Once you accept that reality, you’re one step closer to conquering them.

And guess what? The more willing you are to face them, the less power they hold over you.

I want a share a quote that really sums up this mindset from someone who had good reason to know a lot about fear, but who refused to let it consume or define him: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

Facing your fears is the key to overcoming them. But don’t just face them; run towards them. They only appear big when you shy away. They get smaller the closer you get.

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    What does it take to win as an entrepreneur?

    As a entrepreneur, you will face many different challenges throughout the course of your leadership journey. Long hours, pressure, failure, loneliness are just a few. But once you’ve tasted the freedom and rewards of entrepreneurship, it becomes an irresistible siren’s song.

    This guide details six essential qualities of successful entrepreneurs and how embracing those qualities can help you drive your business forward.

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    Are you living with purpose?

    Or do you wonder if what you do matters? When we are purpose-driven, we find greater joy in our work, even when it’s hard. Our purpose fuels us for the journey, no matter what obstacles, crossroads or detours we face. Ultimately, purpose can help us find a higher calling for our leadership.

    This guide will help you gain clarity about your purpose and the kind of life you want to lead. Two practical exercises take you through a very personal thought process, enabling you to write your own Purpose Statement.

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  • FREE GUIDE

    Discover how you can live a richer, fuller life.

    After too many years of focusing only on the destination, I’ve discovered a new way to live and lead. It starts with a journey mindset, and that has made all the difference. In this guide, I share seven proven practices that will inspire you to:

    • Accelerate toward your goals while being fully present on the journey
    • Reach the higher calling of leadership – and of course
    • Enjoy the ride
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  • FREE GUIDE

    We live in a rapidly changing world.

    The pace of change has never been greater, and its impact on organizations never more significant. As a leader, it’s your job to manage through change and leverage the opportunities change can present.

    This guide is a roadmap with five questions to help you and your team navigate the challenges you’re facing and develop a game plan for moving forward. It also includes a worksheet to chart your answers.

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    BECOME A JOURNEY-MINDED LEADER

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