Category Archives: Goal Setting

In The Turn

7 Inspiring TED Talks You’ve Probably Never Heard

 

Looking for a little inspiration?

If you’re like most busy leaders, you’d love something to kick-start your thinking or give you a fresh perspective. But you just don’t have the time to search out the best stuff. Which is why I wanted to share a few things I’ve found.

Some of the hidden gems in the TED talk library pack just as powerful a punch as the better known presentations. I’ve pulled together 7 of my favorite TED talks on leadership that you’ve probably never heard. These are all really good, and have something interesting to offer.

In 18 minutes or less, I guarantee you’ll get at least one thing you can use – a new idea, a little practical advice, and undoubtedly some timely inspiration.

So grab a cup of coffee, and take a quick look.

 

Photo Credit: Ted.com

How to Use Others’ Feedback to Learn and Grow — Sheila Heen: Most of us have a love-hate relationship with feedback. This is an exceptional talk that hits home on why it’s so hard to hear honest feedback from others. But how learning to accept and leverage feedback can significantly improve your performance and fundamentally change the trajectory of your career. Sheila

Heen is a Harvard lecturer, business consultant, a New York Times best-selling author, and a mom of three. She has a charming delivery with a hard-hitting, practical message.

Photo credit: Ted.com

5 Ways to Lead in an Era of Constant Change — Jim Hemerling: As a leader, you must constantly work to become more nimble and adaptable to change. This is often daunting. Does change always needs to be so hard?

Organizational change expert Jim Hemerling thinks adapting your business in today’s constantly-evolving world can be invigorating instead of exhausting. He outlines five imperatives, centered around putting people first, for turning company reorganization into an empowering, energizing task for all.

Photo Credit: Ted.com

Two Reasons Companies Fail — and How to Avoid Them — Knut Haanaes: Is it possible to run a company and reinvent it at the same time? A tough challenge, for sure. If you’re involved in an innovation project right now, this would be a good one to watch.

Business strategist Knut Haanaes believes the ability to innovate after becoming successful is the mark of a great organization. He shares insights on how to strike a balance between perfecting what we already know and exploring totally new ideas — and lays out how to avoid two major strategy traps.

Photo Credit: YouTube

Why Comfort Will Ruin Your Life — Bill Eckstrom: After documenting and researching over 50,000 coaching interactions in the workplace, Bill Eckstrom shares life-altering, personal and professional development ideas through the introduction of the “Growth Rings.”

The rings illustrate how dangerous it can be to remain in a state of comfort and how being in discomfort is the only way to sustain growth.

You know you have to push yourself to grow. Don’t be afraid of discomfort — it can change your leadership journey in a good way. 

Photo Credit: Ted.com

What Makes Us Feel Good About Our Work? Dan Ariely: This is a really fascinating talk and super useful for leaders to hear. It explores what motivates people to work. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it isn’t just money. But it’s not exactly joy either.

It seems that most of us thrive by making constant progress and feeling a sense of purpose. Behavioral economist Dan Ariely presents two eye-opening experiments that reveal our unexpected and nuanced attitudes toward meaning in our work.

Photo Credit: Ted.com

Lessons for Women in the Workplace — Leila Hoteit: Professional women in the Arab world juggle more responsibilities than their male counterparts, and they face more cultural rigidity than Western women. What can their success teach us about tenacity, competition, priorities and progress?

Tracing her career as an engineer, advocate and mother in Abu Dhabi, Leila Hoteit shares three lessons for thriving in the modern world.

Photo Credit: Business Growth Blog

The Puzzle of Motivation — Dan Pink: Career analyst Dan Pink examines the puzzle of motivation, starting with the fact that social scientists know but most managers don’t: Traditional rewards aren’t always as effective as we think. Listen for illuminating stories — and maybe, a way forward.

 

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In The Turn

How to Go From “I’m Overwhelmed” to “I’ve Got This”

Your car wouldn’t start this morning. You’re behind on finishing the report that’s due tomorrow. Your boss just called an urgent meeting for late this afternoon. Your daughter’s dance recital is this evening. And on top of that, you haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a week.

That’s it — you’re officially overwhelmed, something all of us experience at one time or another. The mental and physical reactions are unmistakable: anxiety, helplessness, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath.

It’s not uncommon to feel overwhelmed. As leaders we are often asked to do more with less, and the stakes get higher in a rapidly changing business environment. Our concerns at home can escalate at any time, too.

How do you find some peace? There are a number of things you can do to reduce the causes of stress in your leadership journey and minimize the chances for a pile-on. Here are six tips along with some steps you can take to help you move from “I’m overwhelmed” to “I’ve got this.”

1. Accept that you don’t have an answer for everything – Many times we feel overwhelmed because we want to maintain an appearance of having everything under control. But there will be plenty of situations for which you simply won’t have an answer, especially when you confront new problems that require new solutions.

>>> Start by telling yourself, “It’s okay not to know.” But you can’t end the sentence there, you must do whatever it takes to find out. Adopt the mindset of a learning leader, and role model this for your team, too. Welcome new challenges as a chance to grow and develop new knowledge and expertise. Remind yourself how empowering it will feel on the other side when you can say, “Now I know.”

2. Win where it matters most – On many occasions you can determine what does/does not go on your list of priorities. But too often we allow our to-do list to become longer than it should be, in part because this make us feel useful.

I remember a time in my career when I proudly showed my boss a list of more than a dozen goals I was planning to work on that year. His reply was to pick the top three and do everything I could do to ensure these were accomplished because they mattered far more than the others. The lesson was clear – I needed to focus my efforts and deliver where it counts.

Wiser leaders understand they can have a far greater impact by focusing on getting two or three crucial things done rather than a lot of little things.

>>> Get clear on what really matters. Assess your assignments and focus on the ones that support your organization’s most important goals. Move everything else to a “later” list, negotiate for more time to address anything that crops up, or see if someone else has the interest, ability and capacity to handle something you can hand off.

3. Focus on what only you can do and give the rest awayMastering the art of delegation is an advanced leadership skill that will prevent a lot of your stress. You may know how to do lots of things, but that doesn’t mean you should regularly do them all, especially if it means you’re routinely working late into the night and on weekends.

Like the point above, you must change your thinking about the value you bring to the organization and recognize that hoarding responsibilities is not healthy or respected. Leaders who empower others and get more stuff done through others are far more valued and promoted than those who hold tightly and try to control everything.

>>> Focus on what only you can do and give the rest away. What do you give away? Not just responsibility, but also all the good stuff that goes with it – authority, recognition, relationships, information, resources. The whole package. Once you’ve given away the things others can do, you’ve freed yourself up to focus on more strategic things. And as a bonus, you win back some time for your personal life as well.

4. Say “no” more often so you can say “yes” to the best – In your leadership journey, you’ll be asked or enticed to do a number of things – serve on a volunteer board, take a leadership role for a special project at work, join an exercise group, attend a long list of social events, write a book, etc. But you can’t realistically do everything well.

>>> Develop a list of criteria to help vet opportunities that come your way and evaluate opportunities based on these things. For example, what will help attract new clients or raise visibility for your organization? Could an assignment broaden your professional network? Also, instead of just saying “no,” consider saying “not now.” That might sound like this: “That commitment is more than I am able to make now. Please consider me again for future opportunities.” By saying no more often you create space in your life to say yes where you want to be your best.

5. Schedule unscheduled time for yourself – Some of the highest achievers I know block off their calendar with a “Do not schedule” planner every so often. Scheduling unscheduled time like this gives you some much needed buffer you will otherwise never capture if you don’t plan for it. These blocks of time, no matter how long or short, can be used in very productive ways.

>>> Place a 30-minute or one-hour planner on your calendar twice a week (or whatever you can reasonably block off). Set aside email and your phone. Use that time in one or more of the following ways:

  • Think time to go deeper on a complex problem or to develop a new strategy;
  • A chance to reflect on a situation you could have handled better and make note of a few things you will do differently next time;
  • Seeking a mentor’s advice;
  • Nurturing your network by sending an email to a colleague or friend.

It’s also important to put personal appointments, family events and vacations on your calendar well in advance so you can work with others to plan around them as much as possible.

6. Get some rest – As elusive as sleep might be during stressful times, you must try to get all you can. Science shows the benefits of sleep to include enhancing, among other things, your immune function, metabolism, memory and learning.

Obviously you will think and perform much better when you are rested. For example, I know that getting a good night’s sleep helps me give better presentations the next day. I can think on my feet much more effectively when I’m willing to get to bed sooner rather than staying up late into the night preparing.

>>> Be more intentional about going to sleep earlier, especially when traveling or getting up for early-morning meetings. If you keep your phone by your bedside, turn it over when you lie down so it doesn’t light up while you are trying to go to sleep. Make time for some regular exercise such as walking or running to help improve the quality of your sleep and minimize chances for sleep issues such as restless leg syndrome or back pain.

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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

Three Essential Steps to Make Your Dreams a Reality

View this blog on Facebook Live here.


“I Have a Dream” is one of my favorite Martin Luther King speeches. There is one quote in particular that really moves me – “We have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.”

The fierce urgency of now – what a compelling thought.

I love this because I think Dr. King was telling us we need to be leaders who dream, but also leaders who take action. That is the hardest part, right? We all have dreams, but making them a reality is so hard.

We have countless excuses that hold us back like…

  • “I’m busy with living life right now so I can’t make a dream happen.”
  • “I’m worried I’m going to fail.” or
  • “I’m worried about what other people will think of my bold ideas.”

You can’t let excuses hold you back.

My question for you is this – do you have a dream? Do you have something you want to make a reality? Could 2017 be the year you make it happen?

I’d like to share three steps that I hope can help you make your dreams a reality.

1. Just get started – Take the first step – that’s where it all begins. I remember when I knew I wanted to build a company. I slid a proposal across the desk to my boss and asked him to be my first client. It wasn’t until I had the courage to make the ask that it had actually happened. Of course, I didn’t know how to start a business – I had to figure out how to do that! But at least I got started.

The same thing is true when I decided to write my book. I thought about it for years, but until I sat down and wrote chapter one I didn’t have a book in the works. You need to take that first step, and the rest will take care of itself once you’re rolling.

2. Deal with the uncertainty – One of the things that holds us back is our fear of the unknown and our anxiety about what might happen. We come up with plan B and plan C. It’s OK to have plans for things but you must accept that you won’t ever really know what’s going to happen. That’s part of it.

Being a journey-minded leader means you’re willing to live with the tension of uncertainty and tell yourself, “I don’t really know what’s going happen, but I am talented and capable enough to learn as I go. I’ve got smart people around me who will help me, and I know I can figure out what I don’t know once I’m moving forward.”

3. Live with no regrets – I don’t know if you’re a country music fan, but there’s a song I really love by Tim McGraw called “Live Like You Were Dying.” It’s a very moving song because it’s a story of a man who figures out that he’s getting ready to die. He begins to think about how he wants to live life in those last few days – and of course, he wants to live life to the full!

Nobody gets to their death bed and thinks “Gosh, I wish I’d been more conservative in my life.” No, we wish we’d taken more risks, stepped out of our comfort zone. We wish we’d taken that leap of faith. We wish we’d love sweeter, and we wish we’d given more forgiveness. These are all the things that make life rich and full!

So don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t live with regrets. Could you become an entrepreneur? Could you write a book? Whatever your dream is, don’t look back and regret that you never took that chance.

I want to close with a quote that I included in my book, Leading Through the Turn. I won’t tell you the whole story around the quote, although that story’s one of my favorites in the book (hint – it’s in Chapter 11).

But I will tell you why this quote means so much to me. Someone shared it with me when I needed it most – and he didn’t know how badly I needed to hear it. I was really at one of the lowest points in my life, and this quote spoke to me in such a powerful way.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

—THEODORE ROOSEVELT

The lesson for us is this: Get and stay in the arena. That’s where all the action is anyway.

When my friend gave me the gift of that quote, I actually got up out of my chair and took action that changed my life. I wanted to be in the arena fighting for my dreams, not just sitting on the sidelines!

What about you? Where do you want to be? Why not make 2017 the year your dreams become a reality?

It’s up to you. Go make it happen!

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In The Turn

Three Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions Stick

The beginning of the year is the time most of us set goals for ourselves. It feels great to be ambitious and the prospect of “new year / new you” is exciting.

But many times we start strong only to get sidetracked and lose focus along the way.

How can you make New Year’s resolutions that stick? I’ve got three tips that have really helped me get across the finish line on goals I’ve set for myself. See if these work for you.

  1. The company you keep really matters. It doesn’t help to have naysayers in your life, especially when you’re trying to make change. Surround yourself in 2017 with people who want to see you succeed. Positivity is contagious, so whatever your goals may be – whether it’s a lose-weight goal, furthering your education, advancing your career – keep company with those who will support you as you strive for success.
  2. You need a boost. Marathons aren’t run from start to finish without refueling or receiving encouragement along the way. You need a boost – sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps you putting one foot in front of the other.

    My brother-in-law shared an example with me of what they do at his workplace to inspire and motivate their sales team when it’s needed most. Every Friday morning they gather for a 30-minute huddle to discuss what’s working and to help everyone finish the week strong. That’s just like anything in life – you need encouragement and even some accountability. Weight Watchers has weekly weigh-ins for a reason – partly for accountability, but also motivation to stay the course and don’t give up. A boost at the right time can make all the difference.

  3. Write your goals down. Studies show that you are 42% more likely to stick to your goals when you write them down. Putting pen to paper is an excellent way to signal to your brain that you’re committing to something important.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a companion piece for my book: a 33-page “power guide” called The Road Ahead that will help you capture your thoughts, ideas – and most importantly your goals. It’s a goal-setting journal that is the best way to get the most from my book, Leading Through the Turn.

It’s free and downloadable when you buy the book today. But take advantage of this now – The Road Ahead is only available through Friday, January 6. Find more details here.

I hope these three tips help you make New Year’s resolutions that stick. Here’s to making 2017 the year you lead at your best.

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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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    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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    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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