In 1980, the most frightening movie EVER came out The Shining. I mean, scare the pants off of you, don’t make me look, I can’t believe this is happening, I need my Mommy type of stuff.
Granted, I’m not one for scary movies. I like to keep it pretty light. But, holy cow, this was some scary stuff. It’s hard for me to watch even the movie today.
You may recall the basic plot set-up of “it all seemed normal, UNTIL . . . “In The Shining, this nice threesome of a family, agree to what seemed like a reasonable family adventure . . . Be the caretakers of a secluded mountain lodge over the winter months.
But where did it all go wrong . . . Cabin fever? The psychic kid? Looming ghosts?
Fear baby. Fear. Little by little the fear took over . . . Don’t go in room 237. It’s room 237 that’s going to get you. Dead people are in room 237. So what did they do? Go into room 237. Come on people!
We all have a room 237. Welcome. You’ve checked into your private room of scariness that you have custom decorated with story after story of personal untruths. Scary untruths. FEARS that will make you go mental . . . “If I do this, I will fail.”
“That person doesn’t like me. I’ll never succeed under her.”
“When I stand in front and speak to the company, they are all wondering if I have what it takes.”
When you start to feel anxious, scared, fearful ask yourself:
Am I having a room 237 moment? Is this true?
How does it benefit me to believe this is true?
What great things could happen if I don’t believe it?
Don’t just turn the doorknob and enter into Room 237. Consider it unavailable at this time for reservations. Challenge the fear and make a new reservation.
So do you remember back to the first day of school? I remember the shopping for the first-day outfit. I remember wishing I could get the big-daddy Crayola pack, but spent time nonetheless, enjoying the aromatherapy of the 24 I got. And, of course, the biggest deal for me? Picking out that lunch box. That was a big, MAJOR, deal. I mean, after all this was an extension of my brand… who I was and what I stood for… Big decisions when you’re a kid.
I loved the beginning of school. Still do. For me, September always represents the BEGINNING of a new year, not January. It was exciting. There were old friends to be seen, familiar hallways, but mostly a chance to learn something new, be one step closer to the adult I was DESPERATE to become.
“First days” happen all the time for us as leaders whether we are starting a new position ourselves or having a new person join our team. My observation is that too many people skirt past the first day(s), go straight from offer acceptance to “I must” or “she must” be in role, up and running and performing.
Creating the first-day experience and “onboarding” for yourself or a new employee is CRITICAL. Your new hire may have said yes, but in reality she or he is spending the first days validating that taking the new role was the right decision. Wouldn’t you want them to move to a resounding HELL YES! as quickly as possible?
Be thoughtful in how you approach a new position or guide others. Think through:
- What do I need to know about this culture to be successful? Who can guide me on that?
- What are the key relationships that I need to build?
- What outcomes is my boss looking for in the first 30, 60, 90 days?
- Where are some quick wins I can make early on?
Enjoy those first and early days!
In our month of independence (at least in the US), I say let them be free! The people you lead that is.
As I mentioned last month, my kids were heading off to camp for three weeks. What did they enjoy the most? Was it the killer canoe trip? The awesome zip line? The campfire tradition? Sure, that was all cool, but when I ask them what they enjoy the most, they say it’s the freedom. “I get to do whatever I want, whenever I want. It’s awesome.”
Think about it. As a kid, you spend the majority of your day being told what you’ll do and when you’ll do it, either by parents or teachers.
So for three whole weeks, this group of boys live in a world of personal choice. After breakfast at the back cabin, they meet up at the flagpole where each child chooses what will happen that day. Counselors sound off one by one with offerings:
“I want to go swimming today. Who wants to join me?”
“I thought I’d do a canoe trip down in Kentucky? First 12 interested, grab a life jacket.”
The offerings go forward one by one until every child has selected what HE wants to do that day. What he has the energy for, or what he has the interest in, or what HE wants to do.
Camp is not without chores or rules, but the activities are positioned as the things we need to do. They ensure that everyone has “the most fun and excitement the summer can offer” (per the camp’s core purpose). So if we’re all into making that purpose happen, we’re willing to do our part like… make our bunks, play nice with others, be safe (and maybe write your mother).
What might seem to the outside observer as a “Lord of the Flies” environment, is a well-orchestrated lesson in how to lead others.
We didn’t like being told what to do as kids, and we certainly don’t like it as adults. As a leader:
- Hire people who are excited about your core purpose.
- Hire individuals for their strengths and passion for the role you have and then invite them to the flagpole over and over again.
- Know that everyone will pitch in and do the not so fun work when necessary.
- Enjoy your new freedom of time you would have spent otherwise controlling everyone’s time and choices!
Go one, let ‘em loose. It is not as scary as you think.
Last month, we talked about breathing. Finding the time to rest, rejuvenate.
If you’ve spent any time with me, you know that I talk about being intentional a lot. Maybe too much? But, honestly, the more you progress in your career and the more complicated life gets, the more you HAVE TO BE INTENTIONAL. Be intentional in making the things that are important to you happen — really happen.
So perhaps you set an intent last month to breathe more. I hope you did.
I have another challenge for you. You have “work hard” down. What about “play hard?”
I’m not talking about stopping by the company ping-pong table. It’s more than that. I’m talking about play. True child-like, let my guard down, be silly, look ridiculous play. For some, that’s improv, for some a tickle fight with your kids, for others trying a new recipe. Play can take many forms.
If you’re a fan of Brene Brown, you may have read her writing around play. She referred to Researcher Stuart Brown, MD… a play researcher. (Hello!? That job title almost sounds better than director of ice cream, which yes, did exist when I was at Starbucks).
He describes play as time spent without purpose. Brene wrote: “To me this sounds like the definition of an anxiety attack. I feel behind if I’m not using every last moment to be productive, whether that means working, cleaning the house or taking my son to baseball practice.” Can you relate?
“But I can’t ignore what the research (mine and others’) tells us — that play, doing things just because they’re fun and not because they’ll help achieve a goal, is vital to human development.” She went on to tell us that Brown believes that play is at the core of creativity and innovation. Play is anything that makes us lose track of time and self-consciousness, creating the clearing where ideas are born.
What’s interesting is how many leaders I know who have a deep desire to be highly creative and innovative, yet think working harder is the key to making it attainable.
My kids have been out of school for three weeks, and they are about to hit camp. Three whole weeks of PLAY. They are masters of play. Wish I were going.
Instead, I have been sneaking in moments of play. I’ve set the materials out, and when I can, I take a moment to play. Play for me is art. I’m not looking to be Picasso. I’m not looking for a gallery showing. I have no purpose but to feel the way I do when I create. And to add to the challenge, I put it up on the wall even when it’s not “perfect” or “gallery ready.” Every day I walk by those reminders that play is important. It’s necessary. And I do have the time.
When is the last time you played?
I recently read the book THRIVE by Arianna Huffington where her tag is that she has finally learned how to sleep her way to the top. Very clever Arianna. Clever indeed. It’s focus is on a third measure of success that goes beyond the two metrics of money and power, and consists of four pillars: well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving.
I had heard about her book a while ago when she was interviewed in a mock store at the Starbucks support center, sipping Oprah Chai with Oprah (cue MASSIVE product placement violation). I thought the talk was interesting, but not inspired enough to read the book.
However, there are moments in time when I become hyper aware of the messages that are being sent my way. Have you ever experienced that? You hear something once and then it shows up again and again and again? I call it putting on my “dog ears” and paying attention.
I was on a flight this spring after an intense engagement with a client. I’d want to relax with a movie. I was exhausted. I was nostalgic for a film I’d seen before, but had forgotten, “Surviving Picasso” with Anthony Hopkins. I am intrigued by his passion and his never-ending desire to remain young and vibrant, to thrive all the way through the end of his life. Then I watched the credits. It was based off the biography of Picasso by ARIANNA HUFFINGTON. Who knew?
And then there were three … I’ve been surrounded by people that simply can’t breath right now. A lot of us 40-something, overwhelmed with life, work and expectations of “success.” Some we created and some imposed. Myself included. To which someone asked me… “have you read THRIVE?”
Okay. I get it. Read the book. And so I did.
It wasn’t new information per se. Eat Right. Sleep More. Get rid of stinkin’ thinkin’. So why don’t we do it? Why don’t we change and slow down?
As humans were not that complicated, motivated by either pleasure or pain. Anything in between can equate inaction.
For Arianna it was pure exhaustion resulting in her collapsing on her desk breaking a cheekbone. She stopped to research what it meant to slow down. In her book, there’s a lot of data to prove the “duh”… why we should slow down:
- Researchers at Carnegie Mellon found that from 1983 to 2009, there was between a 10 and 30 percent increase in stress levels across all demographic categories.
- Studies show that U.S. employers spend 200 to 300 percent more on the indirect costs of health care, in the form of absenteeism, sick days, and lower productivity, than they do on actual health care payments.
- A study published in Science even calculated that for the sleep deprived, an extra hour of sleep can do more for their daily happiness than a $60,000 raise.
- One study found that meditation can actually increase the thickness of the prefrontal cortex region of the brain and slow the thinning that occurs there as we age… what else do you need to know to know that it’s worth it?
For you, what will it be? A broken bone? A relationship lost? Pure overwhelm? Or can you just stop right now and ask yourself… am I breathing or running without breath?
I firmly believe that the teacher presents herself when the student is ready to learn. With all the over stimulus in life right now, I am ready to learn. Are you?
Until you read the book, I’ll offer some tips on how to start creating clarity, focus and breath:
CHOOSE the RIGHT WORK: WHERE are you spending your time?
- Carve out an hour for this Friday afternoon. Start with the end in mind. What did I say success was going to look like at the end of this year? (And if you haven’t, start there).
- Write a comprehensive list of all the things you are working on right now.
- Which work should you continue doing because it is critical for you achieving your Vision? Of that work, what can you delegate?
- Which work should you delay or stop doing all together? Because if you really think about it, it doesn’t support your measurement of success.
- Next Friday? Check in again…
FIND time to BREATH:
Here are some great tips from Austin’s Mindfulness Expert, Paige Davis:
- Mindfulness Minutes (1 minute exercises you can do anywhere)
- App Recommendations
- 5 Mini Meditations You Can Do Anywhere
You can also visit her site Soul Sparks for a ton of inspiration and insight.
Stay light with tips, tools and insights + receive a FREE guided body awareness meditation by signing up for her newsletter.
And finally… HIT the PILLOW:
Sleep your way to the top by clocking in 7-8 hours a night. Arianna joins many other thought leaders in the plea for recognizing sleep as a critical factor in both our well -being and performance. Julia Kirby, an editor at the Harvard Business Review wrote a great blog, “Change the World and Get to Bed by 10:00,” where a chart likens getting drunk to not sleeping enough, both having roughly the same impact on performance.
So where can you start? For me… it’s wine on the weekends, sleep during the week, meditating daily, and challenging where I’m spending my time. Next time, I’ll let you know how it’s working!
I’ve cracked the code. I know there are a ton of experts out there who think they have the perfect program or book to make you the ultimate leader. You know, the 3-steps to becoming a super hero in your industry?
Well, I’ve cracked the code. It’s not a book. It’s not a new method, process, tool or framework. Are you ready to learn the secret? The magic? The silver bullet?
Before I reveal the secret, let me back up here a minute and give you some background.
At the beginning of this year, I decided that my “eat only beige, drink only red diet” from the fall had to come to a sad end. It was the right decision and a good one. With that, I knew I also needed to change my habit of not taxing my poor body with additional movement (translate: exercise). So, this year, I have slowly shifted my diet and have begun a regular routine of exercise.
You know when you start eating better and exercising, you find yourself talking to others about what they are doing to look and feel so great? I was on a mission and went into sleuth mode. I asked questions. Some were on special diets, some crazy boot camp routines, and then there’s my friend Dena, who basically just eats right and exercises. Nah, too boring. That can’t work, can it?
“Try Zumba. I really like it,” she told me. Was this it? The secret bullet to exercising without really feeling like it?
I’ve never liked group exercise. Probably due to some traumatic outfit mal-function in the 80s involving a headband and a leg warmer.
However, the gym I joined had a Zumba class. I thought, well, Dena is right about most things when it comes to health. She’s reasonable and fun. She wouldn’t steer me wrong.
And so it happened.
NO, I didn’t go and fall madly, deeply in love. What happened is that I completely and utterly got my ass kicked (pardon my language, but that’s really what happened). In sooooo many ways.
When class began I thought, oh, Latin inspired music mixed with Ice, Ice, Baby. I can do this. My A-type took a grip. Let me take you through my internal dialogue:
Oh, I see, it’s like dance with peppy, re-mixed Latin songs. I can so do this!
I get to swirl my hands like the girls swirling their skirts on the stage at Fiesta de Santa Fe when I was a kid. I can so do this!
Wait, I don’t follow that. Say what? Wait, slow down. Holy cow, I just got the last step, now you want me to what?
I don’t know if my hips move that way normally. Okay, I’ll try.
Focus. Focus. Focus. You can do it. You can do it. You will OWN this.
Be resilient. Be the Zumba. Love the Zumba. This is good for you.
Hate the Zumba. Not loving the Zumba. Feeling awkward doing the Zumba.
Hey, look at that guy. He has ZERO self-awareness, following 80% of the moves, and he’s LOVING it… almost in an Elaine from Seinfeld dance trance. Did he just yelp? Was that a “woo, hoo?” I’m sort of impressed. Or am I just jealous?
Yeah, well he may be having fun, but I’m gonna get this RIGHT.
Seriously? Only 20 minutes have gone by? I feel like I’m in a war zone here.
S-o-m-e-o-n-e h-e-l-p m-e………..
I think you get the picture. It was a total crash course: 1000 steps of practicing all the strengths that the greatest leaders exercise:
While being challenged by the Blind Spots that can often derail us:
- Comparing ourselves to others
- Negative self-talk
- A-Type drive for perfection and expecting to get it right the first time!
I began to wonder if Zumba is just an intense hour demonstrating what my clients experience throughout the growth of their businesses. I know it is. I’ve seen them sweat.
That Zumba leader plays the role I do with my clients… re-enforcing the strengths, uncovering the blind spots, and cheering them along the whole way.
As a people strategist, I’m right there with you, shoulder to shoulder, with a towel, some water, and encouragement. Until the 1000th step when I say, I think you’ve got this. This is doable and you will succeed.
I’m not your silver bullet, but I’ll help you crack your code to leading responsibly. It takes some healthy eating and some exercise. And it is completely achievable. I know it from my results.
Want your own people strategist to help you successfully Zumba through growth? Email me at Linda@GlassTalent.com
BTW… The sad truth… I believe I was in the seniors’ class. The happy truth, there were some seriously badass seniors schooling me in Zumba. Love that.
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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