Essential Communication Skills

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Essential Communication Skills for Leaders

How strong are your communication skills?

Leaders continue to assume greater responsibilities and pressures as markets and technologies call for increasingly faster commerce, responses and results. Information overload and business volatility have become the norm, requiring nimble management and staff interconnection. Leadership success depends on a most essential professional skill: strategic communication.

Task completion and organizational achievement demand peak-level communication. A leader’s fundamental role is to be an excellent communicator and a proponent for a communication-based culture. Organizations led by great communicators are far more likely to prosper, especially when faced with onerous challenges.

Unfortunately, I see too many organizations hampered by leaders who fail to grasp the power of good communication (or discount its importance). Some leaders consider information to be communication in and of itself, but it’s really just data. Communication is the ability to convey information strategically—the very core of leadership, affirms executive coach Dianna Booher in Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2017).

Leaders develop and use communication—a soft skill—to work with others, recognizing that success relies on unity and collaboration. When combined with the traditional hard skills of quantitative analysis and decision-making, communication rounds out a leader’s ability to bring people together and achieve high performance. A lack of communication causes multiple obstructions, debilitations and failures, as Booher notes:

In survey after survey, managers report that their team understands organizational goals and initiatives. Yet team members themselves say they do not. In a recent worldwide Gallup poll among 550 organizations and 2.2 million employees, only 50 percent of employees "strongly agreed" that they knew what was expected of them at work. Obviously, there's a disconnection here.

How to avoid disconnection and move towards unity and harmony are leadership commitments that separate high functioning organizations from the competition. These areas of leadership align with purposeful biblical leadership. Leaders must therefore master three essential skills to avoid these disconnects:

  • Communicating deliberately – remember less is more.

    “Even a fool when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.” Proverbs 17:28

  • Communicating interpersonally

    “It is the same for you. If you speak to people in words they do not understand, how will they know what you are saying. You might as well be talking into an empty space.” 1Corn 14:9

  • Communicating by adding value

    “Whatever your task, put yourself into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance in your reward; you serve the Lord Christ” Colossians 3:23-24

What do you think? How strong are your communication skills? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn

To experience the power of coaching schedule a complimentary session at Marc’s Calendar

Making Your Values Make a Difference - the power of allignment

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How are you making use of your values? Do they enhance your environment?

 I’ve been writing about leading by your values in my recent posts. Leaders who follow their values are seen as authentic, and are appreciated because they’re genuine and trustworthy. They set a vision based on value-oriented choices and hone in on a path for the future.

 As a leader, your values establish your organizational culture. You set standards for what is right and wrong; just the kind of leadership people seek. The virtues and principles you stand for can help you establish organizational goals. By being the example of honorable values, you motivate staff to implement your vision.

 Valuing people builds the relationships that create engagement and investment. An authentic, relational culture fosters value-based responses, accountability, and higher accomplishments. The values of trust and respect forge truthfulness and a focus on people. Leaders who earn the trust of their people experience a special unity that enhances their entire organization.

 Put your values to work in your leadership style, decision making, and goal setting. As the people in your organization recognize, respect, and adopt your values, they are embedded in the organizational culture.

 Renewing Your Values

 As a leader, you grow into your leadership skills. If you’re anything like the clients I coach, experience and tenure give you the opportunity to see how your values evolve. Wisdom comes from successes and failures, and leads to the understanding that some things are more meaningful than you originally thought.

 Remember every action you take is a reflection of a value you hold. The challenge is to link your actions to values. When you do you will discover the power of alignment. Doors will open to untold opportunities. Most often the value that unleashes the power of alignment is TRUTH. When the value of truth is held, believed and acted upon organizations explode.  When employees can safely share reality suddenly your team will solve challenges that were the barriers that have limited your growth.

 This is the biblical call to speak the truth in love and grace.

 Is truth a value in your organization?

 Another biblical call for an anchoring value is healthy relationships.

 Understanding that relationships are vital for you and your organization leads you to place a higher value on people. Perhaps some relational failures came with a heavy price. By reflecting on your actions, you may find that you do not value people. This epiphany is difficult for many leaders and quite humbling. Watch your actions and  connect them to your values. The process may re-establish the importance of engaging and helping people. Everyone benefits from your renewed perspective.

 Are healthy relationships a value in your company?

 How about humility?

 If you have learned the hard way that taking credit for the contributions of others causes them to distrust you, your values probably need review. Valuing humility and trust more than you once did can be a change brought on from past mistakes. Everyone has some character flaws. Great leaders learn from their mistakes and evolve their values.

 Values are worth assessing regularly. Take stock of yourself, what you stand for, and what mindsets you may need to adjust. Some good questions to ask yourself are: what’s worth standing for… and why?

 Keep your values in mind as you lead. They will be evident in your actions, decisions, and conversations. Your values will guide your thinking, responses, goals, and vision. Ask your people. They know what the values really are.

 Reflect on your actions at the close of the day and attach them to values. The process will change you, your team and your organization. Your people will see a nobler, genuine, trustworthy leader who is worth following.

 What do you think? How are you making use of your values? Is it time for an assessment and adjustment? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at 714-267-2818, marc@moleadershipcoaching.com , LinkedIn or my website at www.moleadershipcoaching.com

 I am always looking to connect with Christian business owners. Please pass along this blog when appropriate.

 Peace and Blessings,

 

Marc

Values Are Your Barometer

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Paul Larsen, in his book, Find Your Voice As A Leader, (Aviva Publishing, 2016) recognizes that because we set our personal standards with our values, they serve as gauges or barometers for the important things in our lives. Values are barometers.

 You see, your sense of success is based on how well you feel you’re upholding your values. For example, if relationships are a high value, you can assess how many new ones you made, or how many struggling ones you mended. If you value humility, you can judge how well you allowed others to be lifted up and recognized.

 As a leader, your satisfaction or fulfillment can be gauged by your values of serving or hard work. You are rewarded with great feelings and a sense of worth when your values lead you to make a positive impact in these areas.

 A high value of optimism or excellence can impact your emotional level or state of energy. Similarly, a high value of loyalty or commitment impacts your perception and approach to challenges, endurance, and perseverance.

 Values As Warnings

 Larsen also sites that leaders whose roles are misaligned with their values experience inner conflict, stress, or frustration. You may be a leader facing hardships without recognizing the reasons. An inner look at your values may reveal some contradictions in your business life that need to be addressed.

 If you value transparency and you are required to be vague in dealing with difficult  issues with your people, you will be torn inside. Your emotions and spirit will suffer by going down a contrary path.

 If you value excellence, you will be discouraged and defeated if the pressures of your environment force your people to submit substandard work. Your inner-self is in conflict with your actions.

 If you value relationships, you will be distressed if your workload doesn’t permit you to engage your people in ways that allow you to know them. You’ll sense an emptiness inside that won’t go away.

 An area that is often a source of conflict in leadership is faith. Many leaders have not done the work to understand their values and the workplace. Often leaders seek black and white value alignment when in reality there are many shades of gray that require thinking and prayer, even as a strong believer.

Look for the warning signs. I see this in the clients I coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) whose responses to situations, confidence, positivity, and quality of relationships are affected by actions that contradict values. This is another reason why assessing your values is so critical. Allow a coach or mentor take you through the process of identifying those ideals that you strongly believe in.

 Assess your job, your work and your relationship paths to see where you fit and where you don’t. Make changes before a value-action misalignment takes you further down a painful path. No one benefits if you are in conflict with your values.

What do you think? What do your barometers tell you about your values? How are your actions aligned with your values? I’d love to hear from you.

I am Marc Ottestad – leadership coaching on faith- focus and freedom for Christian Business Owners.

 If you are stimulated by the idea of faith and leadership, let’s connect. I can be reached at marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

 

Leading by Godly Values

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As a leader, the only effective way you can direct your life and the lives of others is to truly know what you stand for. Your personal principles or values direct your thoughts, priorities, preferences, and actions. The aspects of life that you value shape your character, which determine how you lead. They determine how you do everything.

 Unfortunately, many leaders haven’t identified their values. This is true in the world of secular and faith-based leadership. What I often see with the clients I coach: they find their roles frustrating, confusing, or unfulfilling. If a leader’s experience can be described this way, imagine what their people are experiencing. If you struggle with internal conflicts, or have a sense of something important missing from your life, assess your values.

 Max Klau states in his Harvard Business Review article, Twenty-First Century Leadership: It’s All About Values, that a significant purpose of personal values is to serve a cause greater than yourself. Great leaders have a vision of serving by contributing to a cause where they try not to be the focal point. This requires a set of values based on benefiting others.

 For faith-based leaders that cause could be defined as worship as we work unto the Lord. Understanding how to attach your faith to your values in the workplace is important work.

 Your values are simply your ideals, the foundational principles that you live by. They are the important standards you feel should govern body, mind, and spirit, manifested throughout the course of your personal and business life. Generally, people resonate most with a handful of values, each having a great influence on their character. I suggest to prioritize just a few to prevent losing focus.

 Some examples of personal values that leaders have been known to embrace

  • Honesty

  • Integrity

  • Accountability

  • Humility

  • Loyalty

  • Serving others

  • Excellence

  • Optimism

  • Relationships

  • Hard Work

 

The list is broad. No two leaders will have the same set of core values. They are almost as unique as fingerprints. Look at what you “do” today as an indicator. Your values establish your personal standards for what is right and wrong, acceptable and not acceptable. They are the basis for judging your personal progress of growth, your impact on your areas of responsibility, the contributions you’ve made and the satisfaction you receive.

 Take a run at identifying 3 to 5 and then force rank them. This is a great opportunity to connect with God and listen to how He made you and how He wants to grow you.

 The good news about this process is that it moves your conversations and your identity towards alignment. This happens as you plan, execute and assess. You may find values that are spoken but not acted out are the cause of the frustration. As you do this over and over the frustration you and others were feeling will be gone!

 My values are Faithfulness, Resourcefulness and Persistence. These values anchor me in my life, my work and my challenges.

Have you identified your values as a Christian CEO? How do they shape your leadership? I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn. 

 If you are drawn towards leadership and faith and how that works for you and others I would love to connect. Here is my calendar.

Are you a humble GODLY leader?

Help me be the leader you have called me to be!

Help me be the leader you have called me to be!

Are You a Godly Humble Leader?

Are you a humble leader?

Humble leaders regard the needs of others ahead of one’s own. This drive me directly towards Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather in HUMILITY value others above yourselves, not looking towards your own interests but each of you to the interests of others.” Humble leaders think of the self less, not less of self. They are fulfilled by helping others achieve fulfillment. A leader with a humble approach lifts people’s spirits, self-esteem and confidence.

I’ve been writing about this in recent posts. (HUMILITY) If you want to harness the power of humble leadership, I recommend that you start by assessing your behavior. In my last post I shared three key questions; here is one more for you to consider.

Do you search for sources of blame when things go wrong? Are your stories getting more creative as you try to avoid judgment? ( Remember only God does the judging and we are called to assess our reality and situations as they arise.) Is throwing people under the bus more the norm than the exception? Try to recognize that blame causes more damage to your reputation than the initial problem. Blame generates guilt that may grow into shame. Respect and trust are earned only when you accept responsibility for a situation, learn from it and take steps to avoid a repeat scenario. Admit to your people that you don’t know everything and you’re open to learning new ways to improve efficacy and productivity. Swallowing your pride is a major step toward achieving humility.

Making Adjustments

Leaders can certainly change—at least to a degree. Behavioral adjustments and upgrades are possible, but they take work. An entire overhaul of your behavior is generally not workable and may indicate you’re not in the correct role and the same is true for those you assess in their roles.

A cognitive decision to improve is only the first step in practicing humility, point out Merwyn A. Hayes and Michael D. Comer in, Start with Humility: Lessons from America’s Quiet CEOs on How to Build Trust and Inspire Followers (CreateSpace, 2010). Change is proportional to the effort you put into it. Lasting results are achieved only after rigorously practicing new behaviors.

AWARENESS – ASSESSMENT – REFLECTION – ASSERT CHANGE – REPEAT!

Welcome to leadership!

Training your brain requires focus, repetition and ongoing feedback from others. Consider hiring a qualified professional coach (moleadershipcoaching) to help you adopt a humbler approach to leadership. The rewards are well worth the investment.

What do you think? Are you a humble leader? How does your faith influence your leadership? Do you call yourself a Christian CEO or Christian Leader? I’d love to hear how you integrate your faith and leadership. I can be reached here mottestad@cbmc.com , LinkedIn or by text at 714-267-2818. I seek to meet leaders who desire to lead well and hear the voice of God. Let’s connect. Here is my calendar.

 

3 Steps to Assess Your Humility

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3 Steps to Assess Your Humility Level

We were pretty cute and then we took on our role in leadership.

Some how many babies grew into leaders who believe workplace humility is a detriment, not an advantage. Authority, power and even intimidation are best to run organizations and achieve results. Perhaps this is based on a misunderstanding of true humility: a desire to serve and a dedication to bettering others. If you wonder about your own leadership, I recommend that you start by assessing your behavior and responses to the following questions. (You can work with a trusted colleague or coach to ensure you see yourself clearly.)

  1. Do you frequently lose your temper? Perhaps you’re short with people or pressing your points without regarding theirs. Take stock of how people respond to you. Is there an issue with your approach? If your employees try to avoid you or resist bringing up difficult topics, you may be overbearing. Focus on being calm and collected, and recognize the harm caused by a lack of kindness or empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of a person confronted with your gruff approach. Beware of passive aggression or sarcasm as these are habits that reduce trust.

  2. Are you a focused listener? Are people frustrated because they can’t complete their sentences with you? Do you make sense of their points, or have you missed part of the conversation? Do people’s comments indicate that you don’t understand their perspective? Practice better listening skills by eliminating distractions and making a deliberate effort to grasp everything someone is saying. Imagine being quizzed on the conversation to see if you’ve caught every point. Ask questions to verify what you were told. (If this embarrasses you, use it as an incentive to listen better.) Declaring that you are seeking to be a better listener is a little humbling in and of itself and serves as a magnificent building block.

  3. Are you too focused on your own image? Do you build yourself up at others’ expense? Do their victories end up on your bragging list to impress? Do you give your people a chance to present how they accomplished their tasks? Any attention your people draw from success reflects directly on you. Great leaders don’t need to grab credit. They earn much more respect when their people get the credit. Advance your reputation through your team’s exemplary track record. Jesus encourages us all to give to others the best  – that is to love others – When we are self-focused it is impossible to be loving others and is certainly not a sign of humility.

What do you think? What do these questions reveal about your humility level? I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

If you have yet to read my previous posts here are the links 

PERSERVERENCE           GETTING THE BEST FROM PEOPLE       

 COACHING CONVERSATIONS        FEEDBACK                                           

5 GOLDEN RULES FOR LEADERSHIP     HUMILITY

POWER OF FUN              PURPOSE        BOUNCING BACK

ENJOYING GOD       SELF AWARENESS

GRATITUDE         LISTENING      INFORMATION OVERLOAD

 

5 Ways to Grow Your Humility

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While strong leaders are stereotypically portrayed as egocentric, forceful, bold and self-serving, humility is by no means a lack of confidence or authority. It’s a mistake to view considerate and other-focused leaders as ineffective. In reality, self-serving leaders are ruining workplaces everywhere, to the point where most employees do not care for their jobs or employers. Self-serving leaders have yet to recognize the clear outcome of widespread research: Their style doesn’t work.

As I work primarily in the Christian CEO, president and business owner space, I often see leaders tilt away from humble leadership towards a more authoritarian style that leaves the leader uncertain about his/her faith or the power of God. This is classic form of compartmentalization that creates dissidence in the leader and the team.

True humility is a response of noble character, based on a choice to regard the needs of others ahead of one’s own. We certainly see this in Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, consider others greater than yourselves, not looking after your own interests but the interests of others.”

Humility is characterized by a desire to serve and the dedication to bettering others.

Again, I see leaders fighting their nature of command and control. They act humbly in one area of their lives and arrogantly in another area of life.

Hey, does anybody need a Savior?

In Start with Humility: Lessons from America’s Quiet CEOs on How to Build Trust and Inspire Followers (CreateSpace, 2010), Merwyn A. Hayes and Michael D. Comer cite numerous humble behaviors, any of which can be clearly discerned when on display. Some of the more important ones are:

Admitting mistakes – If you can be vulnerable, transparent and fallible in front of your people, your true self is revealed, and people are drawn to you. You convey safety, build trust and strengthen relationships.

Empowering people – If you push authority down to the most effective level, you give up some control to your people. This engages them and demonstrates they’re valued and trusted.

Actively listening – This shows people you’re interested in and care about them. You’ve laid the foundation for trust and forging a loyal following.

Crediting others – When your people succeed, give them the credit to build teamwork and inspire higher productivity. People will go above and beyond for a supportive leader who doesn’t steal the spotlight.

Empathy – Being sensitive to people’s trials helps you better understand their perspectives. You’ll lead them more considerately, and they’ll reciprocate with appreciation and allegiance.

Other humble behaviors include honesty, kindness, sincerity and approachability, each of which sets the stage for more favorable employee responses and mutually beneficial relationships. Humble leaders exhibit behaviors that more effectively meet people’s needs—and when their needs are met, there’s no limit to what they can accomplish.

I have been spending time with my clients on how to grow in humility. Got any suggestions?

Here is my calendar to make connecting simple: CALENDAR

I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Humble Behaviors of Godly Leaders

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Before determining how best to reflect humility, it’s important to grasp what it is and what it looks like. Perhaps pastor, speaker and author Rick Warren expresses it best: Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.

When encountering humility, employees feel they are listened to and heard, and their best interests are served. They experience humble leaders growing and empowering them, rather than controlling or manipulating them. Humility allows leaders to relate to their people more personably, fairly and reasonably. Humble leaders deemphasize their own importance by emphasizing their people’s worth.

A leader’s desire to meet people’s needs cultivates a loyal following and promotes positive responses. The entire organization benefits when people and practices operate optimally and life at work is enjoyable.

Traits of Humility

·       Admitting Mistakes

·       Empowering People

·       Active Listening

·       Crediting Others

·       Engaging Empathetically

We will explore these areas in more depth next time.

When you look at the “Traits of Humility” list which is an Achilles Heel for you?

Have you considered coaching as a tool to increase your humility factor as you maximize your potential?

 I have coached leaders towards increased humility, better financial results, more peace and more free time. I find the number ONE reason leaders seek out coaching is FREEDOM!

I do offer a complimentary coaching session to assess fit. Are you coachable? Am I the right coach for you? If a coaching experience interests you, as you seek in navigate your many challenges and opportunities; let’s connect.

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

I’d love to hear from you.

I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

 

The Advantage of Humble Godly Leadership

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Employee mindsets have shifted from previous generations, according to current data. They want much more than a paycheck, seeking interpersonal connections with their leaders. They desire purpose, significance and the fulfillment associated with making a difference in the workplace. Employees want to contribute value and enjoy meaningful work. They need assurances that they’ll be given the opportunity to succeed at the tasks they’re assigned. They want to be valued, supported and encouraged. They’re looking for leaders who will connect with them and meet these needs.

When employees’ needs go unmet, the organization also suffers. Morale and attitudes steeply decline, and engagement and work ethic follow suit. Productivity and effectiveness drop, and overall business performance significantly deteriorates.

The call is for relationships.

A culture of humility starts with the leader. The normalizing of work difficulties and the expectation of navigating to a successful end sets the organizational tone. That happens most effectively in relationship.

Can you lean into your own difficulties with those you lead?

Can you recall a similar time when you felt vulnerable or embarrassed by a mistake and use that as a bridge, a bridge of humbleness.

Humility leans into the discomfort.

Humble leaders  are more adept at meeting people’s needs because they connect with them at the most basic human level, explain organizational leadership consultants Merwyn A. Hayes and Michael D. Comer in Start with Humility: Lessons from America’s Quiet CEOs on How to Build Trust and Inspire Followers (CreateSpace, 2010). Employees sense sincerity, care and openness in a humble leader. They see someone who puts a higher priority on people’s needs than his or her own. They value a leader who will help them succeed and develop into a better worker, which promotes purpose and self-esteem. Employees become inspired and respond with respect and trust.

Don’t you love it when secular advise looks like godly wisdom. God’s Word and presence is the foundation for humility. We stand humbled at the feet of Jesus in stillness and wonder knowing more stillness, more wonder and more humility are really good for our souls.

Are you finding “still time” with God? Are you comfortable with the call to humility?

I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

The Humility/Power Challenge for Godly Leaders

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For generations, workplace humility was seen as a detriment, not an advantage. For the greater part of the 20th century, leaders believed organizations were best run with power, intimidation, authority and ego. Employees were told what to do and were shown the door when they failed to comply. Decisiveness, toughness and assertiveness were deemed leadership strengths. Facts and figures ruled the day, and leaders seldom prioritized employee needs.

This is a classic space where work and faith were compartmentalized. The idea of humble, servant leadership was taught but not often caught by workplace leaders.

I find in coaching this tension is alive and well and difficult. This is a place that God invites leaders to grow closer to the Creator.

“Lord, how can I lead humbly and boldly?”

“Father God, how do I humble myself and lead my organization well?”

I challenge you to find a quiet place. Ask the Lord the questions and then spend 5 minutes listening!

God gave you leadership qualities and encourages you to live into your vision with your God given creativity while developing humble leadership. It in not an either or, it is an AND!

And He wants to show you the way. He wants to be WITH you. Will you invite God into your leadership journey?

The leadership growth journey is for the brave. The growth of your humility lies with you and God and you and people. Who speaks into your life the truth regarding your leadership? Have you tried a 360 to see how those closest to you experience you? 360s are a great tool for the courageous leader.

What has been your experience with the tension of leadership and power?

I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

 

Humility, Leadership and God

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Today’s leaders face innumerable challenges that previous generations never confronted such as:

·       employee disengagement,

·       cloud-based speed of commerce,

·       political correctness,

·       cultural diversity,

·       social sensitivities and a

·       hyper-focus on efficiency,

·       and much more

Pressure to succeed now is higher than ever and we expect to succeed fast, super fast!

Leaders know they must have an A-game, and they continually encounter methods that experts claim will improve proficiencies.

Humility, however, is an often-overlooked character trait that flies in the face of culturally accepted leadership norms. It may, in fact, be the most powerful attribute a leader can have to engage and inspire people. Leaders dream of motivated teams, yet many try to develop them in all the wrong ways. We have all communicated poorly and been frustrated in our leadership roles. Often the leadership default is intimidation. Have you ever said, “Just do it because I said so?” Sounds like some of the worst parenting moments.

Humility is a best way to connect with people and to create the pathway for effective communication. It is certainly how we start in our communication with God which is fairly easy, since God is God and I am not. However, God warns us in James 4 that we are to be humble in all areas of life not just the vertical relationship for “God opposes the proud and shows favor to the humble.” In Ephesians 4:2 we are encouraged to “be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” That “one another” part is important and certainly includes the workplace.

When you think about humility and leadership how does it work out in your leadership?

I see it often humility as a challenge in the process of employee development. I also see humility as a hurdle in the interactions of leadership teams.

There are many specific ways to build your humility muscle. Did you know you have a humility muscle? Try making a declaration to those closest, start conversations with a humble statement of identification in an employee conversation and the most importantly make humility a specific part of your prayers.

How would you ask the Lord to grow humility in you?

Our relationship with God is the most important leadership resource at our disposal and yet most rarely connect intentionally with God to help them grow their character. God wants you to be your best version of yourself!

How do you become the best version of you? Connect who you are, what you do with God and THREE!

Who are your THREE?

Most of my thinking today is around “Don’t go alone!” I am helping leaders find mentors. I am challenging leaders to connect deeply with peers. I encourage leaders to connect their leadership to their relationship to Jesus. I get to see the impact of light on an idea through coaching and the power of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s connect and learn from each other. Let’s shine a little light on your life. Humility could be a good conversation starter.

I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

4 Powerful Steps - Listening

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"Power listening—the art of probing and challenging the information garnered from others to improve its quality and quantity—is the key to building a knowledge base that generates fresh insights," ~ Bernard T. Ferrari, author of Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All (Portfolio Hardcover, 2012).

It's not easy learning to be a better listener. We think faster than we can hear. While we're waiting for someone to finish their sentence, we've already figured out what they're going to say.

So in the meantime, most of us are thinking about other things, like what we're going to say next. But then we miss opportunities to challenge assumptions. And we lose focus.

Bernard T. Ferrari suggests four steps that form a good listening foundation:

1.      Show respect

2.      Keep quiet

3.      Challenge assumptions

4.      Maintain focus

In my previous post 4 Steps to Better Listening,  I mentioned that the ability to really listen is the most overlooked and undervalued skill. We rarely practice doing it better. Here's more about the last two steps, #3: Challenging assumptions and #4: Maintaining focus, both essential to building power listening skills.

3.      Challenge assumptions. Too many high-caliber professionals inadvertently act like know-it-alls, remaining closed to anything that undermines their beliefs. Good listeners seek to understand—and challenge—the assumptions that lie below the surface of every conversation. Holding onto these assumptions is the biggest roadblock to power listening.

It’s admittedly hard to scrutinize preconceived notions and shake up our thinking. We must be willing to reevaluate what we know and welcome what we don’t (or can’t) know. Shift your mind-set to embrace ambiguity and uncover what each conversation partner needs from the interaction.

It’s admittedly hard to scrutinize preconceived notions and shake up our thinking. We must be willing to reevaluate what we know and welcome what we don’t (or can’t) know. Shift your mind-set to embrace ambiguity and uncover what each conversation partner needs from the interaction.

4.  Maintain focus. Power listening requires you to help your conversation partner isolate the problem, issue or decision at hand. Discard extraneous details or emotions that interfere with homing in on what truly matters.

Create a focused, productive conversation by reducing external and internal background noise. Ask questions that highlight key issues and minimize the urge to stray from them.

Recognize that all conversations have intellectual and emotional components. It’s important to “decouple” the two, according to Ferrari, as several emotions are guaranteed to hinder communication:

1.      Impatience

2.      Resentment and envy

3.      Fear and feeling threatened

4.      Fatigue and frustration

5.      Positive emotions and over excitement

As with anger and fear, excitement can also distract you from asking the right questions and challenging underlying assumptions.

“The most exciting part is that, once you get good at listening, you will be able to do it easily, almost effortlessly, without even thinking about it,” Ferrari writes.

Practice his four power-listening steps to become the kind of listener others seek as a conversation partner. You’ll build valuable relationships, become more informed, make better decisions and come up with new innovative ideas.

Another resource that increases your listening skill set is The Good Listener by James Sullivan. Sullivan grounds the skill and the why on the foundation of God and our responsibility to one another to listen as a reflection of worth and dignity bestowed upon every person as God’s creation.

Take a couple minutes each day to stop and reflect on your listening. Listening is a skill set that can change your trajectory. Develop your favorite questions that work for you in different situation like work, home of with friends. Taking regular pause inside and ask yourself if you are really listening. As a coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) I work in this area regularly and find leaders make great progress quickly when they decide to work on the skill of listening.

What are you doing to pay attention to this key skill of listening?

I’d love to hear from you I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

 3.      Challenge assumptions. Too many high-caliber professionals inadvertently act like know-it-alls, remaining closed to anything that undermines their beliefs. Good listeners seek to understand—and challenge—the assumptions that lie below the surface of every conversation. Holding onto these assumptions is the biggest roadblock to power listening.

It’s admittedly hard to scrutinize preconceived notions and shake up our thinking. We must be willing to reevaluate what we know and welcome what we don’t (or can’t) know. Shift your mind-set to embrace ambiguity and uncover what each conversation partner needs from the interaction.

 

4 Steps to Better Listening

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In my previous post, I mentioned that the ability to really listen is the most overlooked and undervalued skill in both business and personal life. We rarely take time to practice doing it better.

In Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All (Portfolio Hardcover, 2012), Bernard T. Ferrari suggests four steps that form a good listening foundation:

1.      Show respect

2.      Keep quiet

3.      Challenge assumptions

4.      Maintain focus

This sounds simple and straight forward, for sure. But most of us fail to complete all four steps adequately to achieve "power listening." I see this in the work I do at www.moleadershipcoaching.com with some pretty smart professionals.

Many people show respect, but have a hard time keeping quiet. Yet keeping quiet is key to respecting what a person is saying. While some of my clients are pretty good at challenging assumptions, they also tend to redirect the conversation to their own ideas and point of view, failing to maintain the focus. If we truly want to "hear" what our conversation partners are saying, we'll need to do better.

Here are Ferrari's ideas for the first two steps, and I'll write my next post on the last two steps.

1.      Show respect. Our conversation partners often have the know-how to develop effective solutions. Part of being a good listener is helping them pinpoint critical information and see it in a new light. To harness the power of these ideas, you must fight the urge to “help” by providing immediate solutions. Learn to respect your partner’s ability to identify them.

Being respectful doesn’t mean avoiding tough questions. Good listeners routinely ask key questions to uncover the information needed to make better decisions. The goal of power listening is to ensure the free and open flow of information and ideas.

2.      Keep quiet. Get out of the way of your conversations so you can hear what’s important. Don’t hog the spotlight, try to prove your own smarts or emphasize how much you care. Speak only to underscore your conversation partner’s points. Your partner should speak 80 percent of the time, with you filling the remaining 20 percent. Make your speaking time count by spending most of it asking questions, rather than having your say.

This may be easier said than done, as most of us are naturally inclined to speak our minds. Still, you can’t really listen if you’re too busy talking. We’ve all spent time with lousy listeners who treat conversations as opportunities to broadcast their status or ideas. They spend more time formulating their next response than listening to the conversation. There is no doubt God invites us into stillness in Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.” This is a powerful invitation for our relationship with God and others. If we listen to others and ask God to guide our listening He will change what you hear.

What's been your experience as a conversation partner? I'd love to hear about the times when you felt you were really being listened to… as well as your experiences when you felt not heard. As a listener, see what you can do this week in your conversations to extend your "keeping quiet" times.

What are you doing to pay attention show respect and to engage in quietness?

If you have a desire to be heard, ask. Ask a friend to just listen. Hire a coach to listen. Work on being a better listener. We need both. We need to be heard and we need to listen.

I’d love to hear from you I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

If you would like to be heard I would be honored, here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

Power Listening to God and Others

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Power Listening: The Secret to Successful Conversations

I only wish I could find an institute that teaches people how to listen. Business people need to listen at least as much as they need to talk. Too many people fail to realize that real communication goes in both directions. ~ Lee Iacocca

Listening may be the most important, yet least developed, skill for personal and professional success, especially in today’s fast-paced business climate.

To be honest, most of us take listening for granted. In fact, our brains love to try to multi-task: we assume we know what the person's going to say, so we let our minds wander, at the same time filtering it for similar experiences we've had, all the while formulating a response.

The problem is that while we are doing all that, we're not listening well, and we often risk subtle clues to important issues. This tendency to multi-task is almost universal. I see it with many of the clients I work with www.moleadershipcoaching.com

Good listening skills can help you:

·       Facilitate the right alliances

·       Foster sales and team alignment

·       Create healthy personal relationships

·       Find out what you don’t know

·       Make the right decisions

·       Develop innovative ideas

So many people I know, instead of actively listening, focus instead on how they are going to articulate their own views most effectively. This approach is misguided.

"Power listening—the art of probing and challenging the information garnered from others to improve its quality and quantity—is the key to building a knowledge base that generates fresh insights," according to author Bernard T. Ferrari in his book, Power Listening: Mastering the Most Critical Business Skill of All (Portfolio Hardcover, 2012).

Unfortunately, business schools fail to teach power listening. Of the nearly 300 communications courses the American Management Association offers, only two deal directly with listening skills. Professionals must nonetheless write and speak more persuasively, so it’s essential to improve one’s listening capabilities.

Listening to someone is a direct way to show you care and value that person. You are giving your time, your attention, your self. This is HUGE and the person talking knows when they are truly listened to well.

As you expand your capacity to listen well, you will find that the same skill can be applied when you listen to God. You learn to quiet your thinking. You seek to hear everything. You learn to hear the voice of the God who made you.

One of the more effective ways to improve your listening skills is to work one-on-one with an executive coach or a spiritual director.  As you can imagine, learning about it in a book won't give you the real-world practice you'll need to develop your power listening skills.

Suggested possible image, from Wikipedia page on Active Listening:

Listening - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_listening

Take a couple minutes each day to stop and listen to God. Try to be intentional about listening with other. Taking regular pause inside and ask yourself if you are really listening. As a coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) I work in this area regularly and find leaders make great progress quickly when they decide to work on the skill of listening.

What are you doing to pay attention to this key skill of listening?

I’d love to hear from you I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

 

How to Grow Gratitude for Jesus

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I’ve been exploring the importance of feeling and expressing more gratefulness in our lives (Gratitude Post). Scientists are discovering how an attitude of gratitude is essential for health, relationships, as well as spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing. I love it when science starts figuring out what God has proclaimed. There are 35 verses in the Bible encouraging a heart of gratitude.

But how can we grow more gratitude? Dr. Alison Chen, a naturopathic doctor, writes in a recent Huffington Post article that creating a nightly gratitude ritual is a powerful strategy. She suggests taking a few minutes at the end of each day to stop and reflect, as a great way to bring about more feelings of gratefulness in your life.

Chen’s other suggestions include:

•        Write thank-you notes: Whether in response to a gift or kind act, or simply as a show of gratitude for someone being in your life, getting into the habit of writing thank-you letters can help you express gratitude in addition to simply feeling it inside. The most powerful letter to write is to God, expressing your gratitude helps you draw closer. This process helps us to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and place ourselves properly.

•        Nonverbal actions: This includes smiles and hugs, both of which can express a wide array of messages, from encouragement and excitement to empathy and support. We do these nonverbal actions with those we can touch. Nonverbal actions with Our Lord are primarily prayer and communion. This is a discipline that impacts us greatly. Taking the time to sit in silence before the Lord in a posture of gratitude aligns us for the day and season of our life.

Expressing thanks during moments of reflection is another way to cultivate gratitude. While prayer often starts our day, reflection often is a part of the day or a way we may bring our day to a close. I often think of this as praying without ceasing. Practicing "mindfulness" means that you're actively paying attention to the moment you're in right now. You can sit quietly and focus on something that you're grateful for, such as a pleasant smell, a cool breeze, or a memory. Mindfulness of people and God creates awareness and heightens the beauty we are in. It is the concept of being present!

Perhaps the most powerful way to move into a mindfulness of gratitude is to make a declaration. Tell 3 people that you are working on developing an attitude of gratitude. Ask if you can share your journey and if they would help you. Do the same with Jesus! Share with the Lord that you want to grow your gratitude. This is a space that I am certain you will receive. The Lord says “seek” and you will find. He promises to give us the desires of our heart.

Is your heart’s desire to be more grateful?

If you want to see the touch of God spend 30 days seeking gratefulness and I guarantee you God will show up!

Take a couple minutes each day to stop and reflect. Taking regular pause is an excellent way to bring about more feelings of gratefulness in your life. Apparently, it doesn’t matter if we do this through silent meditation, or in conversation with others. I believe both is best. Make it a part of your desired growth. As a coach (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) I work in this area regularly.  

What are you doing to pay attention to this key emotion and to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? I’d love to hear from you I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

Developing Gratitude with the ACTS Habit

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In my previous post (Attitude of Gratitude) I described the various benefits that cultivating an attitude of gratitude brings to our lives. But let’s explore this further. What actually is gratitude?

Robert Emmons, Ph.D., a professor of psychology and expert on gratitude, says that gratitude has two key components:

1.      An affirmation of goodness: When you feel gratitude, you affirm that you live in a benevolent world. God is good!

2.      A recognition that the source of this goodness comes from outside of yourself: You acknowledge that other people and specifically Jesus provide you with "gifts" that improve your life in some way.

According to Emmons, gratitude is "a relationship-strengthening emotion, because it requires us to see how we've been supported and affirmed by other people." That emotion is LOVE.

Gratitude and Health

One area of life that is easy to take for granted or forget to be grateful for is health – sometimes until it's too late.

We tend to take our health for granted until we're suddenly in the throes of pain or a debilitating illness... If you have good health and all your mental faculties intact, you also have the prerequisite basics for doing something about the less satisfactory situations in your life. ~ Dr. Joseph Mercola, physician and wellness expert.

Often health is a bridge back to the foundation for all thankfulness, God. It is in the losses of life that we recognize the greatest gift and the amazing gift Giver.

How to Cultivate Gratitude

First, start by cultivating gratitude for the little things, which will foster a more deep-seated sense of happiness. Like a muscle, your sense of gratitude can be strengthened with practice, each time you express it.

There is no better way to build your gratitude muscle than to start your day than with connecting with God from a position of gratitude. Using the model of ACTS is simple and powerful.

A – Adoration – Lord you are the almighty and I adore you. How many ways can you adore the Lord?

C – Confession – Lord – I present to you these areas of my life that are off course. Be specific! Recognizing that your confession connect you with the Almighty leads to…..

T – Thankfulness – Lord I am grateful for Your Forgiveness, life, relationships, nature, Your Word – add more – Write down what you are thankful for!

S – Supplication – Now is your time to ask for what you need. Lord, here is what is on my heart and where I need Your Presence.

Try the ACTS prayer discipline for ONE WEEK and see how your attitude changes and how much lighter your life becomes.

Consider creating a personal journal to share thoughts and insights with yourself, all the while helping you move through problems and come to solutions. There are now a number of digital apps that allow you to journal from anywhere at any time.

In his Beginner’s Guide to Digital Journaling, Bakari Chavanu lists his four favorite apps, including Penzu, which allows you to express your most private thoughts by providing password protection (for both your journal and individual entries).

What are you doing to pay attention to this important idea of the power of an attitude of gratitude?

I’d love to hear from you I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

Do you have an attitude of Gratitude

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Do you regularly express gratitude? It turns out that an "attitude of gratitude" is not only wise for building positive relationships, but good for your health.

"If [thankfulness] were a drug, it would be the world's best-selling product with a health maintenance indication for every major organ system," Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, expert in brain and mind health.

There are more reasons than you think for expressing gratitude. Beside the positive effects on health, gratitude brings about an increased ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Studies have shown that gratitude can produce measurable effects on a number of systems in your body, including:

·       Mood neurotransmitters

·       Reproductive hormones

·       Blood sugar

·       Blood pressure and cardiac rhythms

·       Stress hormones

·       Inflammatory and immune systems

·       Cognitive neurotransmitters

If you take your well-being seriously, you may want to increase the frequency at which you feel and express gratitude.

The Study of Gratitude

Traditionally, psychologists have focused on understanding distress rather than positive emotions. However, with the current focus on Positive Psychology, scientists are now looking at gratitude to understand the experience of the emotion, individual differences in frequency, and the relationship between these two aspects.

Some studies have looked at the connection between spirituality and gratitude. There is a link between those who regularly attend religious services and people who experience a greater sense of gratitude in all areas of life.

So much of the Bible points readers towards gratitude in verses like:

2 Thessalonians 5:18 “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Imagine that the will of God for all of us is to give thanks, be grateful. God’s will is for our best and our best rises when we are grounded in an attitude of gratitude.

Psalm 136:1  “This is the day the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it!”

Researchers have also looked at the obstacles to gratitude and found self-absorption and entitlement as impediments. 

When you are preoccupied with yourself, it is easy to forget your benefits and benefactors.

With an attitude of “I deserve this,” or “you owe me,” or “life owes me,” grievances will always outnumber blessings.

According to Mark T. Mitchell, professor of political science at Patrick Henry College in Virginia:

Gratitude is born of humility, for it acknowledges the giftedness of the creation and the benevolence of a Creator. This recognition gives birth to acts marked by attention and responsibility. Ingratitude, on the other hand, is marked by hubris, which denies the gift, and this always leads to inattention, irresponsibility, and abuse.

The power of gratitude is accessible to all. Given the important link to health and wellbeing, it makes sense to increase our experience of feeling grateful.

What are you doing to pay attention to this key emotion and to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? I’d love to hear from you. Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn

or text me at 714-267-2818

Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

Write - then RIGHT your BELIEFS

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I’ve been writing about self-awareness, inner monologue (Reality IS Your Friend) and how we can improve our connections to others through better self-knowledge.

This next exercise builds on the previous exercise where you simply write down your inner monologue. It is a little harder because it requires you to pay attention to your beliefs and write them down. During a week or more, write down about a dozen beliefs or interpretations gathered from your self-talk.

We generally don’t notice how our minds work with beliefs. For one thing, they are embedded, we take them for granted, and we assume they are universal truths. But beliefs are a way the mind filters out information. So as not to be overwhelmed with incoming perceptions, the mind forms a mental model or a representation of reality for a purpose.

Most people confuse their perception of the environment with the actual environment, concluding they can’t change things because that’s the way things are. If we remember that our perceptions are the map and not the territory, then we realize we can be flexible in changing our beliefs and considering alternatives.

As a believer in God’s Word it is amazing how often we act in a manner that does not match what we say we believe! A classic thought that is common for many is that our work doesn’t matter to God. Often the actions of leaders in the workplace are disconnected to Jesus. Those actions overtly display character traits that are not aligned with the Christian faith. The most common are pride, greed and anger. The beliefs that may be central to this kind of thinking and acting could be WIN or INFLUENCE. Could such beliefs be more foundational for you than the beliefs of SERVANTHOOD or SACRAFICE which Jesus declares? Scary!

Unfortunately, most of us pride ourselves on quick thinking and the ability to size up people and situations, and thus we forget that our interpretation of reality is not reality.

What to Do

1.      Carry a notebook, smart phone, tablet, or recording device.

2.      When you notice a belief or interpretation of reality, write it down as best you can, a few lines at a time.

Some beliefs that you notice will annoy you and others you will defend vigorously. The idea is to raise your awareness levels, not to make judgments. Try connecting your actions to your faith. Is there alignment?

This exercise led me to explore my beliefs around independence and dependence. I had to replace my striving for independence with striving for dependence on Jesus and those around me. My actions were centered in seeking independence. I believed I could only trust myself, depend on myself. So, my actions supported those beliefs. However, God calls me into a dependent relationship with Him and others.

What are your actions and the beliefs behind them?

Reflection and Learning

Next, reflect on your beliefs.

·       What did you notice most?

·       Did you notice any trends?

·       How hard was it to be non-judgmental?

·       Can you identify the link from your actions to your beliefs? Ask a friend or work with a coach!

Our actions all stem from a core set of beliefs. Take the challenge to look at your actions and identify what beliefs they are attached to.

Many people are resistant to changing life-long beliefs and yet often discover that their beliefs are not grounded. God offers to every person the grounding and the invitation to truth and from truth we can step into the foundation to become the leader we are called to be with our teams, our families and our selves. Leading yourself well will have a huge impact on those around you and bring you peace.

“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”   Matthew 7:24-27

The journey to becoming your best and maximizing your potential is for the courageous. Find a mentor. Meet regularly. Be open to share what you are thinking and you will find you make better decisions more quickly leading to growth and freedom. If you cannot find a mentor, hire a coach. I can coach you or help you find a coach.

I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn

or text me at 714-267-2818

I’d love to hear from you. Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

Self Talk - The Journey to Your Best

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Self-Talk: What We Can Learn About Ourselves

It’s not always easy to uncover our blind spots and gain real self-awareness. One way is to write down your self-talk, recording the exact words you use. Do this several times over the course of a week, and you’ll uncover a lot about how you think and perceive your world.

The exercise is even more valuable when we learn from it. Reflect on your inner monologue.

·       What did you notice most?

·       Did you notice any trends?

·       How hard was it to be non-judgmental?

If you’re like most people, you might be surprised at the amount of negativity and critical content of your words. But here’s what’s important to know: you aren’t necessarily a negative or critical person. Everyone is negative and judgmental; that’s the way the human brain works.

God encourages us to capture every thought and make it obedient to Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:5

Knowing how your mind-chatter works enables you to influence it.  It explains much about how we perceive and react to the world. It also influences how others perceive and react to us. It is the pathway to change.

This self-awareness exercise helps us manage ourselves emotionally. It also enables us to manage others’ perceptions of us. Imagine how much easier it is to acknowledge how we can misperceive and misjudge situations when armed with enhanced self-awareness.

Don’t miss the link between what we think and how we feel. God gave us feelings as a doorway to Him and our soul. When you examine your thinking, what do you feel? Take that feeling to God and ask Him to reveal what He wants you to learn.

God wants you to be your best you possible. He will help you get there. Seek and you will find is a promise from God to all.

The more we understand our own minds, the more easily we can understand others’. This enables us to feel more empathy and compassion for others. It’s the reason why self-awareness is so valuable. We can’t connect with others well without self-knowledge and acceptance. Of course, when we connect to others and move towards acceptance, we come face to face with the need to grow our forgiveness muscle. Forgiving others and forgiving yourself is the most powerful force in the universe and creates the pathway for remarkable change and freedom!

Self-awareness – Self-knowledge – Forgiveness – Acceptance

Where are you on this journey? Are you ready for change? Change towards your best self?

What do you think? I’d love to hear from you.

I can be reached here marc@moleadershipcoaching.com and on LinkedIn

or text me at 714-267-2818

I’d love to hear from you. Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple

 

Two Exercises to Build Self-Awareness

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Two Exercises to Build Self-Awareness

Our inner monologue runs nonstop, whether we pay attention to it or not. It is a valuable source of self-awareness and a key to knowing our blind spots. Some call it self-talk, mind chatter, or inner voice. It often tends to be negative and judgmental.

Even though our inner monologue filters, interprets, and gives meaning to our perceived experiences, we rarely acknowledge it―perhaps we don’t like to catch ourselves being critical.

Yet, becoming consciously aware of these inner thoughts liberates us from being controlled by them. It is a first step toward greater self-awareness because it enables us to use our thoughts and beliefs to improve our lives.

Since self-awareness is so important to becoming emotionally intelligent―as well as being a foundational asset for leadership―it is worth our time and energy to learn how to listen to our inner monologue.

An Easy Exercise

Here is an exercise anyone can try that will reveal what goes on in our minds. This is suggested by author Joshua Spodek in his book Leadership Step by Step: Becoming the Person Others Follow (Amazon Digital Services, 2017).

1.      Carry a notebook, smart phone, tablet, or recording device.

2.      A few times a day, write or record the words of your inner monologue as best you can, a few lines each time.

Each time you record a monologue will take about a minute. Do this exercise until you’ve got a few dozen passages. It’s important to do it for several days, under different situations. For example, write down some self-talk at work, at home, alone, with people, and when feeling different emotions.

Simply record your dialogue without making any judgments. Judgment clouds the ability to be observant. The goal is to raise awareness of the words we use. If you find yourself being critical of someone, write down the words, not how you feel about the words. Later on, in a follow-up exercise, we can examine meaning, beliefs, and what to do about them.

Remember, this isn’t as easy to do as one might think. We can’t write as fast as we think. The very act of writing changes what we say and feel because we can’t help but interpret at the same time. Persist and practice, focusing on getting the actual words we use in our self-talk onto the paper or screen, one line at a time.

A good reference for this exercise is Proverbs 20:5 “The purpose of a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

And

1 Timothy 4:16  “Pay close attention to yourself (concentrate on your personal development) and to your teaching; persevere in these things …”

In my coaching practice (www.moleadershipcoaching.com) I’ve seen a number of people experience “a-ha!” moments of self-discovery. They tell me it’s an eye-opening exercise. If you’ve haven’t tried it, go ahead. Let me know what you think. I can be reached here (marc@mocoach4ldrs.com) and on LinkedIn

I’d love to hear from you. Here is my CALENDAR to make connecting simple