I’ve been back from an assignment in London for three months now. WOW. Time has flown.
In that time, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to reengage with clients, pick up my executive coaching and join some amazing conversations. I am about to lead a CEO Peer Advisory Group for the Austin Chamber of Commerce (this ain’t your mom and pop’s chamber… super progressive and really involved in responsible growth in Austin). I also was just asked to be a mentor for the amazing CPG accelerator, the Incubation Station. What an great group of people. I am so inspired by the entrepreneurs in the current track and humbled by their courage.
As I’ve been going through this time of growth, I knew I would start to experience what many of my clients do… some growing pains. So often my clients reveal their fears and together we undercover the blind spots that get in their way. These can create really unhealthy soundtracks in our minds. If they get on a continuous loop, watch out.
Last week, we had a health scare with one of our sons and while it was fleeting, it took me out of commission all week. (He’s 100% fine by the way. I blamed it on the Monster Moon that all the astrologists were fearing.)
Coming off a week of zero sleep and poor eating, I found my own inner soundtrack kicking in… My super shield of courage was really weakened. Gone were the “this is amazing!” “you can do it” and in slipped the “are you kidding me?” “who do you think you are?”
So I started writing it all down in the black notebook I’ve been using for brainstorming. I started writing down all my fears. All of them. I listed every single self doubt and ugly statement I’ve ever made about myself. It was a full on purge.
While I didn’t have full relief, I knew that getting these fears out and deciding whether I wanted them to be my truth would be an important exercise and give me some calm. I knew this was a safe way to explore my vulnerability as a leader.
Until it happened… the black notebook went MISSING. That’s right MISSING. In the midst of waking back up this week I inadvertently left the black notebook SOMEWHERE. Where was it?!?!
The real purging began. I felt sick. Sick to my stomach. It was one thing to be fully vulnerable with myself, it was another to know that pages of my vulnerability were laying around somewhere for someone, anyone, to read.
The next day, I had a full day of meetings and I couldn’t even begin to look for the notebook until 4 pm. I checked a couple of spots and I found it. I picked it up silently from the nice folks who collected it for me and my mind started racing.
The notebook was filled with a lot of benign musings on business development, branding, etc. That was fine. However, I had conveniently tabbed the “you suck” page of vulnerabilities with a blue sticky. It’s like I put a neon sign pointing to the page, screaming out … hey you! Read here! This is some juicy stuff! Linda Glass in the raw!
I didn’t ask if it was read. I just thanked them profusely and went on my way.
Did they read it? Raced through my head. I have no way of knowing unless I ask. And if they did, I began to wonder… what would it matter? Would they read the statements and one by one confirm them. Check! Check! Check!
I decided to use one of my lifelines and called my dear friend Stephanie. She said, “Linda they’re human and have those same fears and feelings. If they did read it, they probably appreciate knowing you are human too.” And to quote my favorite line from When Harry Met Sally… “You’re right. You’re right. I know you’re right.”
She is right.
It’s important for people that I work with and that I coach to know that I, too, am human. I have fears and vulnerabilities. And through that, I can truly sympathize and offer the right guidance and support.
I remember a meeting once at Starbucks when the president at the time said to our team, “I’m afraid I’ll be found out. Do I have what it takes to do this job? Do I really deserve this position?” It was empowering for all of us. He let us in… we connected around the fact that we all have fears. In the end, we all felt we could be open about our challenges and insecurities. We were tighter as a team.
So, while I’m not quite brave enough to publish the whole list… I will tell you that sometimes, even the experienced coach has fears… I fear I’m not enough. I fear I might fail. I fear I might be judged.
And today, I’m choosing to not let those fears take over my soundtrack. Today, my soundtrack might be sung to my fears by Gloria Gaynor…
Go on now, go, walk out the door, just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one, who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
Did you think I’d crumble? Did you think I’d lay down and die?
Oh, no, not I, I will survive!
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Laughing ‘til it hurts. (Twelve years married and I laughed all the way through our Valentine’s Breakfast. Man, that guy’s funny.)
Only caring about the time you spend today with the most important people in your life. (Picking up fabulous new designer Stephanie Fisher from the airport in a few!)
Voraciously pursuing your passion. (Well, I did a little of all my passions today… work that I love, reading, creating. Oh yeah, and I did iron your sheets Stephanie.)
Embracing whatever comes… (to be continued!).
However you spell it, spell it out loud every day. Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!
I love me some good problem solving.
Throw me at it. How do we do this? What’s the best solution? How creative can we be? Let’s do this!
This morning, I was stumped. Yeah, stumped. Impressed, yet mildly disturbed.
I found this next to the coffee machine left for me by my 11-year-old. Yes, there is water in those glasses turned upside down.
What happened? He used to be such a sweet, charming little boy. Actually, if I’m honest with myself, he’s always been a bit clever, a bit conniving, and a bit out to get me. And I love him dearly.
So, not able to immediately draw a conclusion, I pasted to the world of Facebook for a solution. I could have stared at it for a while, but why when I know there is a dearth of talent in the people with whom I keep company?
Here are some of the comments:
- Surround with sponges and lift
- Make him clean it up when he gets home and if he spills any, ground him, or make him write a poem about water.
- Drag the glasses to the edge of the counter, put a pan next to the counter and slide glasses off quickly.
- Drag them over plastic wrap!!!
- He created it. He can clean it up and maybe even lose an evening’s privilege or have to clean out the cat box. Some sort of consequence.
- Love it.
- I would write “funny” on the same paper and leave it for him to clean up
- Clever boy.
I gotta say, this kid has a lot of consequences for things that are real issues… like beating the life out of his brother. Should I really punish the kid or applaud his ingenuity?
I mean, what if I really did give birth to a genius? And what it the next ingenious thing he puts on the counter is a solution to world hunger, albeit it in a mocking “I got you” sort of way?
Would the way I handle this impact his future contributions?
Is it possible to separate out the feedback on being a smartass with positive feedback on his cleverness?
People we live with or work with do things all the time that might irritate us. We REACT and don’t step back. Are we throwing out the next best idea or great work because of the irritating delivery? Can we applaud one while coaching on the other? What do you think?
I think I’ll work with him on the solution and save the feedback for the next issue. And be thankful I’m not the kid of some of my FB friends… I’d be in perpetual time out!
Ultimately, though, I have to agree with my FB friend #6… I kinda love it.
Having recently moved, I ran across this picture. This is my mom, Alice. On top of my jungle gym. Behind the family truck and farmhouse. My mom. The monkey.
Several emotions have come to mind when I have seen this picture in the past. One is of sheer embarrassment. This very picture was in our Christmas letter one year for Pete’s sake. How could she do that to a 7-year-old? What would my public think?
But this time, I had one emotion only… Hell Yeah Mom! My mom was silly. She loved to laugh. Her humor was exceptional. And now I realize how critical that was to her as a mother and how critical it is to me as both a mother and a business owner.
I’m embarking on a new chapter for my business as I hit my 5-year anniversary. Call it Glass Talent 2.0. I’ll continue to work with my great clients as their supportive and challenging Executive Business Coach. And I’ll be looking at ways to evolve my practice as a Talent Strategist.
In imagining what is next, I’ve put together a vision board to collect my ideas and thoughts of what I want my working journey to look and feel like. It must involve CONNECTING. COLLABORATION. CREATIVITY. LEARNING. WRITING. COACHING. SERVING.
In seeing this picture again, I am reminded that I am missing a very important word from my board… HUMOR.
Humor brings me bliss, joy, relief and solace. Humor helps me keep things in perspective and keeps me humble. Humor helps me manage through the valleys and the peaks. Humor makes me happy.
So, here’s to adding a big fat piece of HUMOR to the heart of my Vision Board and leading with laughter.
I wish I had the picture of my mom playing the role of “the man at the bar” from the Santa Fe Melodrama. I don’t. You’ll just have to imagine it and laugh along with me.
If you’re not laughing, you’re not learning… Email me at Linda@GlassTalent.com to learn more about my coaching (or at least send a good joke!)
Stay calm. Stay still. Stay calm. Stay still. Do as I’m asked. Quietly enjoy the moment.
Check it out! Check me out! Wow look at that! Go! Go! Go!
Click on the photo above to view a clip from a recent vacation, which encapsulates these two personalities to a tee. Two children. Same family. So different in so many ways.
As a parent I’m always amazed at how different two kids can be. I recognized it in my own family growing up. Four sisters. Same family. So different in so many ways.
It’s confusing. What works for one, doesn’t always work for another. And even when something does work for a while, life changes and the parenting approach stops working. I have to lead in a different way. Different child, different day, new challenge.
It’s the same with any type of leadership. It’s not a one size fits all world, yet we hope and pray everyday that we can tackle the challenges of leading others with one good solution and approach.
There are so many books out there to help us with our leadership…
” 3 Surefire Ways to Motivate Employees”
“Make ‘em Happy in 5 Steps or Less!”
“Just do this!”
We read through them frantically for the silver bullet… the secret to how to motivate Bob, Jane, Jim and Sally all at the same time using the exact same approach and steps. These books may provide some great frameworks, but it’s what you do for each individual within that framework that makes the greatest impact.
But seriously, we have so much on our plates as it is as leaders. The strategic plan, the investors, the final report… do we really have time to cater to every individual? It takes so much time.
Yes, yes it does. And yes, it is the most valuable and highest return investment you can make in your business.
Sorry, Bob, Jane, Jim and Sally are four different people. Same Company. So different in so many ways. Get to know your people as individuals. Get to know them as people. Stay close to them as they ebb and flow through life’s challenges. Individualize your leadership approach and enjoy the returns.
For more discussion with Linda about the best approach for your leadership, contact her at Linda@GlassTalent.com.
I had just finished leading a three-day offsite for an incredible new client. It was held at the Traavasa Spa, and if you haven’t been there, you should visit. Beautiful, serene, lovely service.
I was contacted a mere few weeks ago by this client and asked to pull together an agenda that would assimilate a new leader, build a trusting team, and plan for 2012. A lot to accomplish in such a short period of time, but I was up for the challenge.
Day one… Check!
Day three… Check!
Day two… hmmmmmm, what to do… this was the day of trust.
The team had all read “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” and while I knew we would have some healthy discussion around this book, they really needed a turn around activity. One that would bond them, inspire them, allow them to experience the exhilarating rush of true team support and encouragement. Even tougher… this was a group of learning and development leaders. They had seen it all.
Enter my friend Tristan Truscott, Sensei Tristan that is. Tristan and I have worked together on several occasions with much success and I thought this team was calling his name.
We began prepping. I briefed him on the team dynamics and desires for the offsite. “Hmmm… interesting,” he said. “I’m not sure what to do yet. I’m going to meditate on that.” Seriously, dude, we are with this team in less than 10 days. Meditate? Cough up an exercise already!
Irony #1… I have deeply been trying to incorporate meditation into my daily life, telling people to breath more, meditate more. And here is someone for whom meditation is not an “event” for the day, but as fluid for him as breathing. It was required space for him to create, to envision, to realize the right activity.
Okay, calm down Linda. He’ll come up with something great. I’ve seen it twice before. Just trust. Let go and trust.
Okay, there it is: Irony #2… I had to trust. I had to let go. I had to practice the very lesson we were about to teach… cultivate and surround yourself with the best energy, build the trust through experience, and with that, the belief in all the possibilities will come.
Fast-forward to the day before the offsite. Tristan and I Skyped and I felt his focus and passion about the meeting. It was contagious. Still no detailed agenda discussed other than I knew we would be breaking boards at the end of the day. Trust, Linda, trust, I whispered to myself.
Day Two arrived… 12:30… 12:40… trust, Linda, trust.. aaah he’s here!
Irony #3… I was there to teach, yet I was the student. I was reminded of the great lessons I already knew… surround yourself with talented, passionate people, trust, let go, and guess what… they deliver. And he did.
SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! The boards broke one by one and with each split, a team divided became a team unified. And it felt amazing. Really amazing.
What a great way to end the week. Thanks to this great team for letting me be part of their lives this week. Thanks to my trusted friend and colleague, Tristan, for reminding me that all the lessons I get to learn are one of the greatest gifts of coaching.
While the conversation in the Talent community has definitely shifted from the notion of “Transactional Recruiting” to “Strategic Talent Acquisition,” many companies still don’t know what that means or how to shift beyond the title change.
Gone are the days of “Personnel” departments, but how do we behave in a way that makes us true strategic partners? It goes beyond shifting the notion of being strategic and shifting the competencies of our talent teams and subsequently, the perception of our hiring partners.
Several years ago when I was leading a Talent Acquisition Team at Starbucks, the Corporate Leadership Council presented us with a great study on which steps in the recruiting process most impacted Quality of Hire. While recruiters claimed the interviewing step, the study showed that these two steps had the greatest impact:
1. The strategic discussion at the very beginning of the process when you’re assessing the hiring need, and
2. The time between offer and start
If you truly want to impact your Quality of Hire, your talent team needs to possess competencies beyond interview skills.
I break it down into three key areas with a foundational golden thread of Communication:
Consider your team today. How would they rank when it comes to these competencies? How will you develop them to get to the level you need to meet your strategic growth goals? Who needs to move over to the ticket counter?
More next on communicating effectively. Until then, enjoy this last beautiful weekend in April. I’ll let you know how the Listen to Your Mother show goes!
I had an amazing opportunity to go to California this week to work with a group of entrepreneurs. Only, this time, the coaching was for me, the entrepreneur.
It’s the ole case of “the cobbler has no shoes.” Well, I’m taking the time and working on my business. It’s exciting, exhilarating, overwhelming and did I say, exciting?! It is amazing to be building my business while I work as an executive coach with others on how to manage their leadership through growth. It’s provided me some incredible insight and learning.
On the plane ride out there, I was gazing out the window as we were heading toward our descent. I’ve always loved observing the clouds. It’s otherworldly. Peaceful. But, there it was. In the midst of all these pretty, airy, white clouds, there was a streak of a very dark cloud. The darkest cloud I’ve ever seen (my picture doesn’t do it justice). It was the only one.
What makes a cloud so incredibly dark, almost black? Yes, we know that it means that it might produce rain, but why is it dark? It has everything to do with how deep and densely packed the water particles are. In general, the color of a cloud depends chiefly on the cloud’s relationship to the sunlight.
Wow… that’s deep. The color of a cloud depends chiefly on the cloud’s relationship to the sunlight. Does that apply to humans as well?
As I walked into the room the next day, I found myself in a room of white clouds. “Hi! How are you?!” “How have you been?” “How is business?” and there it was, plopped down in the middle of the room. Heavy, weighted, energy draining and about to release some precipitation from the eyes. It was the dark cloud.
This woman was a mess and I wondered, what would happen if she released this negative energy. Would she become a white cloud? What could get her there?
As humans, when we see the dark cloud, our human nature provokes us to reject, walk away, maybe even judge, “What’s her deal?”
What I observed over the two days is what I would challenge all of us white cloud leaders to do. Resist the urge to walk away. Step up as a leader, reach out, listen, empathize. Build a relationship to sunlight. Allow the space for the release.
Next time you see the dark cloud, what choice will you make? Tell me what you do when you encounter a dark cloud in the comments section below, and be sure to link me to your webpage/blog/facebook/twitter/etc!