Ever wonder what it would feel like to be unapologetic? I don't mean being a jerk or being insensitive to those around you.
An unapologetic leader is someone who is confident in what they are doing and moving forward with purpose. In my work as an executive coach, one of the common missteps I see with leaders is that they often second guess themselves. This second guessing causes spin which then trickles down to others in the organization and can cause a lot of churn. It also can cause unnecessary stress to the leader themselves as they tend to move into more of a reactive instead of proactive mode.
For those leaders who embrace an unapologetic mindset, you see a marked difference in their behavior.
Below are 8 behaviors that you can shift in order to adopt this mindset:
Why is it important to be unapologetic at work?
In my experience, when leaders shift to a unapologetic mindset, they see the below shifts:
Where can you begin to adopt the above behaviors in your day to day? Could you experiment with being unapologetic in one meeting and see what it feels like? Give it a try and let me know what you find in the comments.
I once asked attendees in a workshop I was leading to describe someone who they felt was influential.
Here are some of the quotes:
Think about someone you know either personally or professionally who you deem as influential, how would you describe them?
As an executive coach, the skill of being “influential” is something that is my clients often desire to hone in themselves. After all, if you can’t influence others with your ideas, how can you lead?
But how do you build the skill of influence, especially when sometimes, you feel like an imposter inside?
There are 3 components to building influence; trust, creditability and personal relationships.
Have you ever listened to or followed the advice of someone you did not trust? Of course not. Why would you? Trust is the cornerstone of influence.
But how do you build trust? I believe that trust comes through time and consistent interactions. Some ways to build trust within your team or organization is to ask yourselves the below questions:
Credibility is about reliability. When you are experiencing “imposter syndrome” (no, you are not alone, most if not all leaders I know have experienced this), it can be hard to feel credible. You may be asking yourself questions like, “What do I know about this topic?”, “Surely there must be others who know way more about this than I do.”
But credibility does not mean you are the ultimate expert. It means that you consistently and reliably show up prepared and with a point of view. It means you have an opinion that is well thought through and that moves the conversation forward for others.
Next time you are in a group meeting at work, think about what questions or opinions you can share that you believe will help your coworkers to see things in a new way.
Let’s face it, we listen to people we like. If I don’t like or respect you, I’m most likely not going to be influenced by you or your opinion.
I’m not saying that you should be in the business of making everyone like you. Far from it. What I am saying is that it is important to build a level of rapport with those you work with.
This could look like making sure you do “drive bys” with your peers for a quick hello. Grabbing lunch with a leader you respect in another department. Getting to know those on your team a little better.
Know that building influence takes time and dedication. It doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen without putting your attention to it. But by building trust, credibility and personal relationships with others, you will be on your way to influencing others with your great ideas!
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Can I get an "Amen"?
I came across this quote the other day on Pinterest and wanted to stand up to do a fist pump. If there is one lesson that is becoming more and more clear as I round the hill closer to 40, it is this.
The people you surround yourself with matter more than almost anything else.
The busier I become in my life with kids and my business, the more precious my time has become. I no longer have time for relationships that drain me or make me question myself or plainly just lower my energy.
Sometimes this means that I need to step out of my comfort zone and create community. Sometimes it means staying home by myself reading an inspiring book rather than going to an obligatory dinner because I don't want to hurt people's feelings. Sometimes it means building friendships online who share common interests.
But in all of it, it includes choice.
When my son was asking me the other day about marriage, I explained to him that he will choose someone that he loves to be around and that he would want to spend time with for the rest of his life. He sat silently for a minute looking out the window and then said, "Mom, I want to marry you." (That boy knows how to make his mom cry!)
But it made me think about how not only do I want to surround myself with inspiring people but how do I BE the person that other people want to be around?
And I do it by surrounding myself with people who up my game. Whether that be in the form of friendships, the clients I choose to work with, the coach I hire to support me, the authors I choose to read or the videos I choose to watch. I am a member of a Lean In Circle with women who are kicking ass in the world and who come together once a month to support each other in our goals and dreams. We call it our own "women's golf course", where deals and dreams happen.
Everything and everyone that you let into your space matters. It shapes you. It affects you. And I am becoming wildly protective of my space.
Take responsibility for the energy you bring." - Jill Bolte Taylor
If you notice that the people around you are not that interesting or inspiring, it's time to look at yourself. Everything starts with ourselves. Make different choices. Think different thoughts. Act from love and not from fear. Pursue what you really love and not what you think will other people think you should be doing.
Make authentic personal growth a priority in your life.
Don't know how to do that? Get guidance.
Inspiration is everywhere.
Love is everywhere.
People are doing very cool things everywhere.
And people are judging people who are doing cool things.
Which one do you want to be around?
There is a theme I have been noticing lately. Both in myself and in my clients.
It is practicing patience.
We want what we want NOW.
The dream job. The partner. The success.
Now. Now. Now.
And why shouldn't we? Everything else we want we get immediately.
Amazon has same day delivery.
We watch an entire tv season by streaming it on our computers in one sitting.
What we want, when we want it.
All of this is wonderful.
How is it hurting us otherwise?
While technology allows things to come to us more quickly, what about experiences?
The experience of love?
Websites like match.com have built a business around this. Want to meet the love of your life? Find them NOW by scrolling through a database to choose from. You could be on a date with them tomorrow!
But can you expedite love?
Can you speed delivery a sense purpose?
And what about success? Can that be overnighted to you?
To answer these questions, I turn to one of my greatest teachers, yoga.
I've been practicing yoga for 12 years now.
And this week, I was able to do a pose for the first time.
It's called Crooked Sage or Eight Angle pose. (Pictured below via yoga journal - not me in the picture!)
I would say that 12 years is a pretty long time to achieve something.
Could I have done this pose in my first year of yoga? Probably not.
It took a whole set of experiences for me to lead up to it.
I had to build strength. Confidence. Determination.
I had to fall down countless times so that I could know exactly what felt right and wrong to get myself up into the pose.
There was no way for me to get into this pose unless I practiced patience.
Unless I trusted that everything comes in due time.
And what about if we look to the greatest life teacher of all?
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” - Lao-Tzu
Nothing in nature happens immediately.
It is all a process.
Things are nurtured. They take time to grow. There are cycles. Seasons.
How do you apply this to your life today?
How can you practice patience today?
To me, the answer always comes back to trust. Faith.
Walk the path one step at a time.
Do the work.
Trust that what you are meant to discover or achieve or experience awaits you.
It just can't be delivered via Amazon Prime.
“Success is a function of persistence and doggedness and the willingness to work hard for twenty-two minutes to make sense of something that most people would give up on after thirty seconds.” - Malcolm Gladwell from Outliers