5 Things Successful Leaders Want to Know

There’s no shortage of good advice out there for leaders today. I’m grateful you’ve chosen to check out some of my learnings from time to time.

Over the past year-and-a-half, I’ve written more than 40 blog posts. And when something gets real traction, I take a closer look to see what everyone is interested in — what’s the hot topic? This helps me learn what your pain points are and what I should write about.

While brainstorming the other day, my brilliant digital marketing team jumped on this insight and suggested we compile our top blog posts into one — create a “best of the best.” As busy as you are, they thought this would give you quick access — with all the links — to the most popular topics for you to read while you’re on the go, in between meetings, or waiting on the kids.

So here you go, thanks to the smart people around me — our top posts — five things successful leaders like you want to know. 

1. How to Keep Your Cool Under Pressure

Staying cool under pressure can be one of the tougher parts of leadership. Every day brings a constant flow of conflict, irritations, demands and uncertainty – plus the occasional cultural scoundrel who drives you crazy.

Some people are naturally less stressed by those challenges, but most of us can only take it so long before we feel like we’re going to explode.

What’s the secret to managing your emotional responses so you can lead with a cool head and a calm heart?

Neuroscience and behavioral research offer some useful insights and practical strategies for emotional regulation. In this post, I’ve picked three of my favorites. You can use these techniques in common pressure-packed situations to help you keep your cool and think more clearly when you need it most.

2. 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. In this blog post, I share six tips along with some steps you can take to help you move from “I’m overwhelmed” to “I’ve got this.”

3. Facing Your Fears: Overcoming What Scares You Most

“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.

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.

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.

We long to be fearless leaders. Yet we spend a good deal of time trying to avoid the things we’re most afraid of. 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.

What’s the secret to breaking through? In this post, I share a few of the bigger fears leaders face and some thoughts on how to tackle those things that scare you the most.

4. Setting Smarter Priorities: 5 Steps For Creating More Margin in Your Life

It happens innocently enough. Your boss hands you an extra assignment that turns out to be a major undertaking. Or a colleague takes a leave of absence and you’re asked to absorb his workload. Or you agree to chair a youth sports league fundraiser because you feel guilty you haven’t been that involved lately.

Before you know it, you’ve got too much on your plate with too little time to get it all done. While you could do a beautiful job on any one of these obligations, the total soaks up every last bit of white space in your life, leaving you little to no margin. You feel anxious and overwhelmed. You worry you may no longer be able to keep up if something doesn’t let up. And you know if a problem arises, everything could come unraveled.

If this frenetic pace sounds all too familiar, you are not alone. Good leaders are in high demand, and chances are you’ve been handed things or asked to lead because you get things done.

It’s good to be a willing leader – and being asked to lead affirms our “achiever” status. But it’s not good when the volume impacts our ability to produce good thinking and solid execution. It’s even worse when the stress jeopardizes our health, our state of mind, and negatively impacts our outlook on life.

This post describes why we need more margin in our lives, and how to capture, evaluate and prioritize the responsibilities you take on. I share insights on how to be more intentional about what you do and why you’re doing it, and how you can be in a better position to manage your schedule, minimize your stress and maximize your joy.

5. 7 Inspiring Leadership TED Talks You Probably Haven't 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.

Copyright (c) 2018 Velocity Collective, LLC. All rights reserved.

Written By

Elise Mitchell

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