Lack of Inclusion Is Costly. Humanizing the Workplace Pays off

5 Ways Organizations Pay for a Lack of Inclusion and 3 Cs to Turn the Corner

Image by Gerd Altmann

Image by Gerd Altmann

According to estimates by Gallup, one disengaged worker costs a company around 34%. And replacing an employee with a $140,000 comp package costs $350,000 on average, according to SHRM. Replacing three means paying over a million dollars.

I recently worked with 2 clients who urgently wanted to leave their organizations. They were desperate for an environment with better opportunities for career advancement, an environment where they’d be respected and valued.

One of them is a woman in her late 30s who was extremely frustrated about the lack of advancement opportunities and about not being taken seriously. It wasn’t just the circumstances that concerned her; she was also worried because her self-esteem was starting to suffer. She realized that she was beginning to doubt herself and the value of her skills. As a result of our work together, she was able to turn her situation around: She found a new opportunity in a different organization, where she was up-leveled twice in the first year for her outstanding contributions and was promoted into a higher leadership position after 16 months. She is currently one of the most respected leaders at her level, and her team was recently acknowledged with an internal achievement award. The one thing that had changed was culture.

The other client is a smart young Caribbean man, who was constantly overlooked for high-profile projects and even openly discriminated against. He was eager to share his genius but discouraged by a toxic workplace. We prepared him for his job interviews and he quickly found a more inclusive environment, where his creative talent is acknowledged and properly compensated. He’s now much happier at his job, and he’s making 150% of what he was earning before… But here’s what his new employer is getting: Tenfold engagement and loyalty.

Losing talent is costly. Losing top talent even more. Many organizations pay a high price for their lack of inclusion. Let’s look at five ways of how they pay for it:

1.       The Cost of Disengagement

When employees experience a shortage of opportunities for career development and advancement, or when their work environment is not positively challenging, their enthusiasm to contribute their best work diminishes. They are no longer excited about what they are creating. They experience a lack of meaning and they feel less fulfilled at work. Therefore, their engagement goes down, and with it their commitment to the team’s success. As a result, both team relationships and output suffer, and overall team productivity drops.

If the condition persists, frustration and burnout are next, and employees are more likely to be late, to take sick days, to miss workdays whenever they find an excuse. Productivity decreases further.

According to a 2018 study by Gallup, only 34% of the U.S. workforce is engaged. With a headcount of 5,000, this means that your organization may have 3,300 disengaged employees.  The cost of disengagement per employee, according to Gallup, is 34%... $34,000 of a $100,000 salary blown in the wind... if the person stays. Because they may get so frustrated that they leave, which leads us to cost #2:

2.       The Cost of Attrition and Replacement

According to SHRM, the replacement cost of a technical employee or an employee in some manager or leader position is about 250% of their salary and benefits. With an annual salary & benefits of $140,000, that’s $350,000! For an entry-level, this cost goes down to 50% but that’s still substantial: With a $70,000 package, that’s $35,000.

These numbers speak for themselves.

But the cost of losing a top performer isn’t just about their salary. There’s also about what they could be contributing but aren’t contributing due to lack of encouragement or fear.

3.       The Cost of Unused Talent and Opportunities

Diverse teams are only potentially more innovative. Trust is often the missing piece. When there’s a lack of trust, team members are hesitant to share their creative ideas. When they’re not encouraged to bring their whole selves to work, they will leave their best selves at the door. When there’s no sense of trust, when it doesn’t feel safe to share, when it feels risky to speak up, when we operate in an environment where it’s not ok to make a mistake, that’s when we play it safe and we don’t have an incentive to show the best we have to offer. We hold back.

Organizations miss out on so much hidden talent just because they don’t set the stage for employees to share the best of what they could bring to the table. We get too hung up about job descriptions, rigid processes, and our own assumptions. And so we fail to look behind the façade, to uncover people’s unique genius and brilliance, or as I call it, their distinctive uniqueness.

The cost is missed creativity and therefore missed opportunities for innovation. But again, this also leads to a lack of job satisfaction with the employee, and eventually to frustration and a possible departure of the underused talent, which now becomes lost talent. And what if that person takes her or his next million-dollar idea to your competitor?

And then, of course, employees leaving your organization for reasons of poor inclusion management will also negatively impact your brand image, which takes us to cost #4:

4.       The Cost of Affected Brand Image and Market Share

News travels faster than ever before, and a brand that’s known for a non-inclusive culture will have difficulty attracting top talent. The cost of talent acquisition goes up. In the meantime, the company’s market share could go down.

By 2050, people of color will outnumber other groups, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. When your talent, your staff, your leaders don’t represent the market, you will not understand what’s going on in the marketplace and it becomes harder to lead the market. Therefore, failing to recruit, retain and promote diverse talent will result in a loss of market share. An inclusive culture, on the other hand, will attract this diverse talent, and the best share of it.

Do you know what your ROI is or could be if you were able to not only attract but also retain and promote diverse talent all the way up to the top leadership ranks? Do you know? – Most organizations don’t because they have never experienced it, which brings us to… cost #5:

5.       The Cost of Lost Opportunity

If you want to stay relevant in the marketplace, stay ahead of other players, you need sustainability. Part of this is covered in cost #3 and #4: missed creativity, innovation and market share.

It’s no secret that inclusion drives engagement, engagement leads to greater productivity and creativity and therefore to more innovation, which in turn benefits the bottom line. Studies to corroborate this statement abound.

But keep reading because there’s another lost opportunity: The opportunity to make an impact for important causes like equity, inclusion, better communication between genders, races, ethnicities, people with different abilities, backgrounds and sexual orientations. Yes, there is a business case. It’s undeniable; it’s all over the internet, and…

What would it be like to leave a legacy that goes beyond the business case? – You don’t have to create a foundation for that. You can start with and in your current organization. Start by being the change you say you want to create. Corporate responsibility starts within, and it pays off:  You’ll get all the “business case” benefits as well.

You may say, ok ,but how? Let me share 3 Cs that can put you on the right path:

1.       Connect

In order to create a powerful connection between employees and teams, between employees and the organization as a whole, we first need to create a safe, trust-based environment. An environment where all are welcome to bring their whole selves to work, where they feel encouraged to share their creativity and where it’s ok to make mistakes.

We want to ask questions, and the right questions. Questions such as:

  • What’s your vision for yourself and why?

  • What lifts you up?

  • What do you need?

  • How can we best support your success within your team?

  • Do you need us to accommodate any specific needs?

As a leader, sharing your story as a leader with your team and encouraging your team members to do the same can be tremendously powerful. Story sharing strengthens bonds between employees; stories connect. Transformational stories inspire. Stories allow us to reduce the risk of stereotyping and to increase our understanding for each other, raise cultural awareness. Stories pull people out of their boxes and into their humanness. They have the power to enhance the quality of team relationships.

Connecting is about exchange. Take time for regular team meetings and one-on-one meetings. Team meetings don’t replace one-on-one meetings and vice versa. Connecting requires time to connect, but this time investment always pays off. Bonding the team together and building trust isn’t the only benefit. It also allows team leaders to uncover hidden talents within their teams, which leads us to C #2:

2.       Challenge

Your employees want to continue to learn, grow and advance. This is only possible when they are given new challenges. Interesting work, a variety of projects, an upgrade in responsibility… that’s what driven employees are looking for. They dread being stuck in the same old routines. Top talent team members want to experiment with their skills, maximize their strengths, showcase their creativity and have an active role in the development of new products and services, or processes and management tools.

Career- and purpose-conscious employees who feel stuck at the same level will start looking for growth opportunities outside your organization, and they should. 

In order to avoid this and make the best of a team’s combined creativity, we must find a way to bring its valuable complementary skills and capabilities together:

3.       Co-Create

Individuals in organizations still waste far too much precious time on useless competition rather than focusing on effective co-creation. Rising stars want to be seen. Many are led by the misperception that competition is the fastest way to the top (and a corporate culture that reinforces this misperception).

When talent leaders take the time to uncover their team members’ natural strengths and hidden talents, their complementary genius and brilliance, or as I call it, their Distinctive Uniqueness, that’s when they are setting the ground for fruitful co-creation in a setting where all can thrive.

When leaders have a clear idea of all the talents on their teams and assign projects, tasks and responsibilities that are aligned with each individuals’ natural strengths and passions, rather than rigid job descriptions, that’s what I call smart human resources allocation that leads to better and faster results.

The result is less need for competition, as it becomes more obvious what the role of the individuals’ complementary strengths is and how they fit into the bigger organizational puzzle. It gets easier for people to be recognized for what they bring to the table. Less energy and time will be wasted on competition and more on productive collaboration and co-creation.

And almost paradoxically, greater inclusiveness and co-creation combined with less competition within your organization will increase your competitive edge with regards to other market players.

Download our complimentary white paper Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Thrive with Maximum Leadership Support.

Only You Can Decide if You’re Ready to Change Your Life

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Have you been putting off standing up for yourself in your career, renegotiating your salary, asking for a raise or a promotion? Have you been delaying a career move into a different position, organization or industry? Have you been sticking it out in a job that’s no longer fulfilling? – If so, why?

Why would you delay something as important as any of the steps mentioned above if they can bring you more money, more joy, more fulfillment, and even more health? – Well, probably because change is hard for many. Change implies uncertainty, making friends with the unknown. We often don’t feel ready. And when we don’t feel ready, we have three options:

  • stay stuck

  • do it anyway (and suffer through it), or

  • transform so we feel empowered to take (more effective) action, attract their right people, resources and opportunities into our lives that favor our desired result, and enjoy the process.

So in short, it’s stuck, push or pull.

When we look for excuses to stay stuck, we’ll always find one (or many). Excuses like these:

  1. “I don’t know how. and I don’t have the money to hire a coach to help me through this.”

  2. “I don’t have time to take the necessary steps.” …And my favorite:

  3. “It’s not the right time.”

Allow me to address these three excuses:

  1. “I don’t know how, and I don’t have the money to hire a coach to help me through this.”

    If you think you can’t invest money in a coach (and unless you’re in a real financial bind), there are 2 options:

a)       The slow path: Find free resources online. There are a lot of free YouTube videos, audios and webinars as well as low-ticket books you can use as crutches. This is the most time-consuming way, as it may take you a while to find the resources that really serve you, and of course you won’t have anyone who can direct you to your blind spots and do some deep expert work that can catapult you forward. But hey, it’s an option.

b)      The fast path: Overcome your resistance to investing in yourself and find a transformational coach that offers 3 key elements as part of a customized coaching program

  • a great personal fit (someone you can trust and who can relate as a result of their story or bio)

  • ongoing support throughout the program, e.g. through email

  • an ROI measurement tool that allows you to track your progress with the parameters you define (whether it’s a higher income; greater visibility; enhancing your business, meeting and speaking presence; or a combination of several successes).

When we know that something’s right for us, that it is “what we need,” but are still hesitant to invest in ourselves, that’s usually because we don’t trust ourselves to create the change we want. So, be honest with yourself: Do you trust yourself to create what you really, really want?

2. “I don’t have time to take the necessary steps.”

I get it: We are all so terribly busy. The thing is, the busier and stressed you are, the higher your need to transform.

Don’t get me wrong. There are certainly days and weeks when there’s truly not a lot of time available because we have some pressing priorities: maybe we’re traveling with lots of moving pieces on our schedules, or we’re getting prepared to present at several different events, or we’re recovering from a serious illness, or we’re dealing with some urgent family matters that take all of our attention outside of our work schedule. But that’s about it, and these periods usually are about a week long.

Being too busy for an extended period of time to take care of your own needs is a problem that can result in serious consequences, from excessive stress to burn-out to health problems. And when your health is not intact, everything else can fall apart. Sustained success requires self-care and often also investing in a solid support system.

3. “It’s not the right time.”

My favorite excuse… because it’s so obvious. There is no perfect moment. Why would you delay your transformation knowing that you can benefit from it longer if you start now? Therefore, the best (and most perfect time) to start is now. And enjoy the benefits for the rest of your life! Transformational work is not situational. While we work on specific situations to progress with them, grow through them and enjoy greater success, the learning and growth gained can now be applied to any future situations. Makes sense?

So here’s the question: Are you either doing great and everything’s going as you want it to go, or are you ready for your decision to change? – And if not, what’s blocking you from that decision?

If you’re perfectly happy with your life right now, if everything’s falling into place for you in synchronicity, great! Congratulations, that’s awesome! Keep doing what you’re doing and upgrade when you feel a need. For now, just focus on staying prosperous, happy and healthy, and on keeping your channels open for abundance of wealth, health and happiness to keep flowing in. 

If not, let’s have a closer look!

  • Maybe you’re reasonably happy in your job and personal life, but seriously underpaid for all the value and dedication you bring to the table? Or constantly being passed over for promotions?

  • Maybe you’ve been quite successful in your career so far but are starting to feel anxious and unfulfilled?

  • Maybe you’ve built a thick financial cushion and you’re enjoying great wealth but feeling stressed out as the weight on your shoulders is often just too much for one person? Maybe this is even taking a toll on your health?

These are clear indicators that something needs to change.

Excessive stress, illness and unhappy feelings are pointers that something is “out of whack,” meaning out of balance or out of alignment.

  • Balance of what? – For example, balance of work and rest; of dedication and reward or compensation; of giving and taking; of caring for work and others on the one hand, and self-care on the other.

  • Alignment with what? – Alignment with your expected and well-deserved compensation for all the value you bring to the table; alignment with your passion and purpose, with what your inner being wants you to do and how it wants you to feel.

If you want to upgrade your career, start a new chapter in your life, increase your income or just be happier, less stressed and more fulfilled, then the question is:

Are you ready to take that step? Are you ready to transform into that powerful you you are meant to be, that successful person that’s already inside of you, and to be seen as such? Maybe you know deep down that it’s time to tackle this but are unsure where to start or what to do? – No worries! I’m here to guide and support you.

Because you deserve to do the work you love, to be well compensated and to live a happy, fulfilled and healthy life. Schedule a call and let’s chat!

Here’s what what one of my recent clients said: “Thank you for everything you’ve opened me up to. Things are flowing much more smoothly.” And another one: “I’m excited about my promotion this July. Could probably not have done it on my own. So glad I signed up for this program with you!”

What story do you want to tell yourself by the end of this year? Is it a story of the same old or a fresh story of renewed success and happiness? Are you ready to step into that new story and that new you? If so, schedule your call now.

 

Creating Success with Less Stress and More Fulfillment Is Easier than You Think - with the Right Habits

Image by Gerd Altmann

Image by Gerd Altmann

90% of Success That Comes with Fulfillment Is Mindset

Just keep working hard! Persist and one day you’ll be successful. Someday, you’ll be rewarded for all your hard work! – Sounds familiar? Is it working for you?

It’s a statement we’ve all heard often enough. Yet, when we look around, we see millions of people who’ve been working hard for years, some have multiple jobs, and they are still scraping by. Or they may even be “successful” but they are so overworked that they’re suffering from severe burnout or even worse, from serious health conditions as a result of extreme stress.

On the other end of the stick, we see people who don’t seem to be working all that hard, and yet, they are very well-off (without inheriting a fortune) and they seem to be enjoying a life filled with purpose, joy and all the good stuff.

So maybe the phrase “just work hard and you’ll see success” was invented by those who benefit from you working hard? And it may also have seemed the only solution for many of our parents or grandparents after making it through a devastating war or a major economic crisis, or after migrating to a different country or continent in search of a better life. They probably experienced tremendous stress in the process.

In fact, most people spend 70% of their lives in stress mode! – How about you?

While you likely get better results through hard work than through doing nothing, the (possibly surprising) truth is: 90% of your success depends on your mindset, especially when you’re looking for a personally fulfilling career (and not just one to fill your bank account, an exhausting career just to someday retire to a “better life”).

When I say “mindset,” what’s important to realize is that 95% of our behavior is driven by our subconscious mind. It’s our subconscious programming that determines the level of our success, health, wealth and pretty much everything else in our lives. If it were our conscious mind, just through our desires we would all be highly successful, rich and healthy, and we’d have the most amazing relationships. We would be living our dream lives. But because our lives are not in perfect shape at all times, despite our well-intentioned wishes, something else must in charge. You guessed it: It’s our subconscious conditioning.

Our subconscious is also largely responsible for our habits, and our habits create our results. Habits are actions or sets of actions that become routines. You repeat them over and over, and soon they have you on autopilot. (It’s like driving your car: Once you’ve gotten into the routine, you can drive it without thinking about it; you’ve programmed your subconscious to take care of it.)

Habits are series of automatic (i.e., unconscious) thoughts and behaviors generated by repetition. These thoughts and behaviors trigger specific familiar feelings, which create the false sensation of safety because they are familiar (“the known”).

Engaging in new, unfamiliar-feeling thought processes and behaviors means to step into the unknown, which always feels a bit scary… until these new behaviors become patterns as well and therefore turn into habits.

So let’s assume you want to reduce your stress level, increase your productivity or effectiveness, and achieve certain goals or live your dream vision.

But then, because it feels scary to your subconscious to do something different, you replicate yesterday’s routine today, you keep your same habits and repeat them day after day, what does that mean? – It means that your today is going to look a lot like your yesterday, and your future will be a repetition of your past.

Your past is responsible for your current habits, meaning your past is creating your future instead of you creating it. Your subconscious programming (conditioning) puts you on autopilot, and your free will is outplaced by this programming.

So… what if you could change this program by creating more empowering habits? Willpower alone is often not enough to change our habits into more empowering ones. (Remember, we largely operate from autopilot and change feels scary.) What we need is consistency, and a system that supports this consistency and therefore the process of change.

That’s why we have created Habit Programs that help you do exactly that. These programs provide you with daily automated exercises, and they also allow you to add your own wanted habits and goals, measure your progress with “Key Performance Indicators” (or call it ROI) and more.

Here’s what you get:

2 Habit Programs of Your Choice, e.g. Success and Fulfillment at Work and Become an Emotional Intelligence Genius (3 months)

16-Factor Personality Assessment

General Well-Being Survey

Private Coaching Support through Messaging

1 15-min. Orientation Session

1 30-min. Private Coaching Call in week 11 ($300 value)

All for just $147!

Proven results:

This is what some recent users said after just 3 weeks:

“I have to say this weekend was the best yet. I felt so inspired being able to focus on meaningful work.”

“This program has really helped. I’ve been more mindful and am proud to respond mindfully to a passive-aggressive email from a co-worker.”

 “Just the first few weeks really helped me get through a few situations, really appreciate it.”

“My attitude has changed completely, and I am far less stressed.”

 “I haven't been frustrated at all this week.”

And… the employees of a recruiting firm with 11 offices used one a Habit Program for 3 months and increased their job placements by 25%. Not bad! And it shows us that it can have a tremendous impact on team effectiveness as well.

What about you? Are you ready to create a new future, different to your past? A more empowered future? A future with less stress and more fulfillment? More success with greater ease? – You can!

You Are Plastic

Image by John Hain

Image by John Hain

Reminding you to “re-mind” because…

…95% of your behavior is driven by your subconscious mind. This means you think you’re in control, but you are really not. What’s in control is your subconscious programming. And a big portion of your subconscious programming are your habits.

Habits are a good thing… some are. And you may have some of these good ones, like brushing your teeth or practicing yoga. But then there are those sticky habits that you’ve been wanting to get rid of forever… For the most part, you don’t even remember how you got them in the first place. And then, there are these seemingly out-of-reach habits that you’ve been trying to acquire with so much effort for weeks, months, or even years! Like working out, focusing on your vision or your revenue-generating tasks, showing up with a “can do” attitude, being nice to your co-workers, staying calm when a deadline is looming or when the workplace gets heated,… the list goes on.

Just about a week ago, I published my LinkedIn article Change Your Habits, Change Your Life. It explains why changing habits is so hard. It’s because your habits are determined by your subconscious programming, and your subconscious programming keeps you on autopilot. It’s a conglomeration of beliefs you have acquired through your experiences, genes and other ways that you may or may not know about. You’ve probably read somewhere that your brain pretty much gets wired during the first seven years of your life. That’s right, although it starts way before you’re born, and it’s also true that you keep adding new neural networks through your experiences throughout your life. And you reinforce existing networks (both those that serve you and those that don’t). But just as you are adding new neural networks, you can also undo your previous wiring. You can interrupt neural connections. Because for the most part, you are actually not hard-wired. You are plastic. Or rather, your brain is plastic.

Neuroplasticity (or brain malleability) is the brain’s ability to form new neural connections throughout your entire life. As you re-wire, you create new neural networks. Some of the re-wiring takes place as you have new, previously unknown experiences. This happens automatically, and this new wiring may also create new (wanted or unwanted) habits. But what if you could consciously choose what habits you want to you cultivate? What if you could consciously re-wire your brain? What if you could “re-mind” yourself of and for positive change?

Well, you can. As you become the observers of your behavior and your thoughts, you can determine which ones you want to change. That’s the first part of the good news, although that’s not really helping you, unless you have tremendous will power (which most people don’t and which is why they get frustrated very quickly). Don’t get me wrong: Becoming the observer of the habitual thoughts and actions you want to change is a great first step, but this awareness alone doesn’t teach you how to change them yet.  

So here’s the second piece of the good news: There are tools that make the re-wiring (and therefore replacing your undesired habits with more desirable ones) easier, and we’ve created such a tool for you: Success and Fulfillment at Work. It’s a “habit program” that allows you to build positive habits… with a time investment of 3-10 minutes/day, and at a very low price point because 1) we believe that everyone should be able to experience self-empowering tools, and 2) it should be a no-brainer decision for skeptics… because we know this stuff works, not only from our own experience but from that of our clients:

After only 2 weeks of consistently using this program, clients report “a more positive attitude, being happier and less stressed, finding time to take care of myself, being less reactive to passive-aggressive co-workers, getting more work done in less time,” among other benefits. Who doesn’t want to be less stressed? (…Which by the way also positively influences your health wiring.)

Here’s your chance to re-wire and create more empowering habits for a month, while receiving online support and a 30-minute coaching session ($300 value): Success and Fulfillment at Work.

When it comes to creating more empowering habits, there’s no better time to start than today. Because your success, your fulfillment, your health and your life are worth it.

Change Your Habits, Change Your Life!

Image by ar130405 on Pixabay

Image by ar130405 on Pixabay

Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results." (Albert Einstein)

Are Your Habits Keeping You Stuck?

We all want to thrive, personally and professionally. But all too often “life gets in the way,” or rather, we get in our own way. That’s because of our repetitive thought and behavioral patterns, our limiting habits. When we practice more empowering habits, that’s when we can more easily create the success and life we want.

So if you are currently not at the level of success and freedom you want, if your career is not advancing at the pace you want it to advance, if your business is not generating the desired income although you’re working really hard and “doing all the right things,” could it be that your current habits are keeping you stuck? 

Have You Been Trying… and Trying… and Trying?

Has it been hard for you to create positive change? Have you tried to implement an empowering morning routine, but you just can't get yourself to do it? Is it easier to find an excuse... every single morning? Or have you wanted to work out more but you just can’t find the time for it? Or should you be working on your book but you’re putting it off week after week? And not only are you not making progress but you’re also destroying your self-esteem as you constantly disappoint yourself? Do you wake up with that thought of “I should…” only to let yourself (and others) down day after day, week after week?

Or maybe you know you should have a critical conversation with a co-worker but he triggers you so much that you just can’t make yourself do it and you rather put up with a toxic work environment? You want to be emotionally intelligent but after the first two words you slip into impatience as your colleague “just doesn’t get it?”

Or should you be advocating for yourself and be more visible in your organization but you are so used to keeping your head down and waiting to be discovered that you don’t know how to empower yourself to create that career you’ve been dreaming of?

Has it been hard to change your habits? Have you become their servant or even their prisoner? Are you struggling to free yourself of those habits that have turned into shackles?

The truth is, it's uncomfortable to change your habits. It requires an incredible amount of discipline. It’s hard.

On the other hand, it's easy for your subconscious programming (which determines 95% of your behavior) to convince you that there's not enough time, you should stay in bed longer, you should check the news or your email or Facebook (and thus add stress to your day right away)... or whatever your excuse is! Deep down, you know that this is not really an obligation. You know that you should be free to make a different choice. Nevertheless, you allow yourself to stay stuck. You hand your power over to your subconscious programming, which keeps you on auto-pilot.

And this continues as you move through your day: You know you "should" put your best foot forward to gain visibility with the right people in your organization; you "should" feel inspired and empowered, but somehow, it's just not happening. Instead, you feel anxious and overwhelmed, or straight-out frustrated or angry. And you blame your circumstances or your co-workers. But where does blaming take you? You guessed the answer... because as Einstein said: "Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results."

Why Is Change So Hard?

So why is it so hard to change your habits? – Here’s why: You have created (and re-confirmed) your current habits through your upbringing, your cultural and educational conditioning, your thinking and your experiences during your entire life so far... Actually, let me correct that: This downward spiral started even before you were born. Because you already received some of your limiting beliefs in your genes... thank you very much! And the tricky part is that so many of these beliefs are unconscious. Some of them are so absurd, if you’d say them out loud, they wouldn’t make the least sense to your conscious mind.

But what's not unconscious (at least not completely) are your habits. You can observe them. You can become aware of them as you observe your own behavior and identify patterns. This helps you discern a disconnect of what you want to achieve and the behavior that’s not leading you there. Look at your current results and trace them back to certain habits!

That's the first step but it's not enough! Awareness alone won't do it. Getting different results requires different actions, a different behavior. And as we have seen, a different behavior requires a change in habits.

So if change is hard, how can it become easier?

Create a Pathway to Freedom and Success!

Some say it takes 21 days to create a new habit. For our purpose here, let’s assume this number is correct. If you embarked on one of these 21-day exercises before, you may have seen results… although you may have been guided to work on one single habit at a time. If you do this consistently over a year, you could change 17 habits. The question is: Will you? Because most of us don’t have the patience to work one habit at a time every single day of the year without a system that prompts us to do this.

What if you could have a system and change several habits at a time? Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Would you like to explore a daily practice that allows you to change your habits so you can stay aligned with your vision and on track towards it? What if you could control overwhelm, be more productive, improve your professional well-being…. and reprogram yourself into more empowering habits that lead to permanent positive change? What if you could improve your emotional intelligence by turning EQ exercises into new habits?

And what if this could accelerate your career? What if it could change your life, give you more success and fulfillment? What if you could live a happier and healthier life with less stress and more freedom?

Experience this with proven “Habit Programs.” Expect greater mindfulness, less stress and overwhelm, a more positive outlook, easier self-motivation, daily inspiration to stay focused, a better mood and higher productivity, just to name a few… with a daily time investment of as little as 3-10 minutes. 

Intrigued?

Reach out to me directly through the Contact page of my website. I look forward to answering your questions and setting you up for greater success. A low ticket that can lead to high ROI… provided you invest just a few minutes a day. 

10 Career and Leadership Lessons Dance Has Taught Me

Image by Gerd Altmann

Image by Gerd Altmann

I didn’t grow up with dance and I’ve never been a professional dancer. There were no dance lessons in our little village, and there was no internet. I discovered my passion for dance in my 20s, although with my business jobs, I didn’t make enough time for it until much later. Today, I wouldn’t want to miss dance in my life ever again; it’s become an integral part of my weekly routine. It’s the one thing I miss the most when I travel to places where I can’t find dance classes as easily in the cities where I’ve spent the greater part of the past 36 years: Munich, Madrid, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, and New York.

Dance is not only a pastime for me. It’s a way to relax and power up, to release oxytocin and raise my vibration. When I dance in the embrace of one of my favorite dancers, it’s like I’m on cloud nine, on my high-flying disc. It’s like perfect co-creation to the beat of music that goes under my skin. It’s embodied communication. Dance is also my preferred way to stay fit… The dance classes I’ve taken, like Samba de Gafieira in Brazil, and West African Dance, Afrobeat, House and Congolese Ndombolo Dance, which I’m currently practicing here in New York, have kept me fit in many ways: They are very high energy and cardio… in a word, a good, healthy sweat; they usually include a very intense warm-up that strengthens my muscles; and the technical aspects of these dances as well as the choreographies challenge my brain cells. So I don’t only get to stretch my body when studying dance, but also my mind. – But wait, it doesn’t stop here! Dance has also taught me a whole lot about leadership, business presence and teamwork. Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. CONFIDENCE. You cannot be on a dance floor without confidence, and even less on a stage. Even in class, moving your body in an unfamiliar way in front of other people until it gets more conditioned into the new movements can be daunting. (I’m thinking of my Afrobeat classes, where every single time I wish I was born in Ghana or Nigeria!) So unless you’ve danced all your life or you limit yourself to dancing at home, dance requires a certain level of confidence.

  2. MAKING THE ASK. In partner dance scenes, and especially in the more “macho” scenes like Salsa and Argentine Tango, we followers (usually women, though gladly that’s changing) often depend on leaders (usually men) to ask us to dance… unless we summon up the courage to break the rules and ask. At some clubs, that means walking all the way across the room and possibly getting a “no” with everyone around you watching. But believe me, the “yeses” I’ve gotten have been worth it!

  3. SAYING NO. And then there’s the flip side of the coin: I learned to say “no.” When I absolutely don’t feel like dancing with someone, I reserve the right to say “no.” This usually doesn’t have much to do with the dancer’s level, but rather the way they lead and how connected they are. Are they present in the moment, are they committed to communicating well (apart from having decent body hygiene). Which brings me to the next point:

  4. COMMUNICATION. Dance is all about non-verbal communication. In partner dance, being a good follower means I must be able to interpret all the subtle clues and signs the leader is sending out to me. If I didn’t, we wouldn’t be able to communicate in a harmonious way. It wouldn’t look nice, but most importantly, it wouldn’t feel good. In all dances, whether they require a partner or not, we communicate with the rhythm of the music, the instruments, other people around us, and possibly live musicians or an audience. Communication isn’t only about words; it’s about our entire person, our body language and our energy, which is the perfect segue to:

  5. PRESENCE. Dance has changed my body, my posture, and most importantly, the way I use my energy. It has made me more aware of my body and my energy, and its role in my business and speaking presence. It’s one of the reasons I’ve developed the concept of a Body-Conscious Presence as part of my Powerful Leadership Transformation (PLT)TM process. When we are fully present in our body and in our energy, magic happens: Our visibility increases and people suddenly hear our voices.

  6. SELF-EXPRESSION. Dance is about self-expression, and life is about self-expression. Because of this, our career is about self-expression. We’ve all been given very specific talents, gifts and natural strengths that favor and lead us to our purpose. And we all have the right to use them, to express ourselves as who we are deep inside. Leaders have the responsibility to uncover these natural strengths and talents in their team members so they can be their best selves at work, contribute their unique creativity, and to ensure that their diverse team members are respected when they do.

  7. CREATIVITY. There’s no one human being who is not creative. We all are creative in our own way. Dance is different for every single person. The same music will bring out completely different movements or choreographies in two people. In partner dance, my preferred leaders are those who come up with their own style, who take all the elements: music, rhythm, steps, movements, pauses… and create something unique from it. And that’s what we also tend to value in leaders in business, isn’t it?

  8. DIVERSITY. There is an infinite diversity of movements. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you go on YouTube and you get surprised with moves you’ve never seen before, unique choreographies. It’s just fascinating how much dance teaches us about the tremendous value of our differentness, the richness of diversity, the abundance of creation.

    Dance has been a rich lesson in diverse cultures. It has given me insight into how people with different cultural backgrounds think and live, how they express themselves. It’s amazing how much story goes into every single movement… I’m thinking of the orixá dances I came in touch with in Brazil and the Caribbean, though this is really true of most dances.

  9. INCLUSIVENESS. Dance brings together people from all walks of life. It’s a passion that people from all socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds share. Thanks to travel, global mobility and the internet, Japanese people dance Tango and Hip-Hop, and Germans (like me) love African, Latin and Caribbean dancing. In dance, we can come together and celebrate the beauty of music and movement.

    Having said this, some dance scenes are all but inclusive. As a person who goes dancing on her own a lot, I often encounter cliquish scenes. Being the only white person at some events or classes has earned me (often innocent) comments at the entrance, like “You sure you’re in the right place?” unless I arrived with my (black) friend and dance partner.

    Unfortunately, some dance scenes can also be quite toxic (just like workplaces), and there’s often unhealthy competition, especially among women (just like in workplaces), which is of course unfortunate. – Dance ensembles, on the other hand, wouldn’t function without inclusiveness. In a dance company that performs together on stage, excessive competition just doesn’t work. It would affect its performance; it would even be dangerous. Which brings me to:

  10. TEAM WORK. In a dance ensemble, the dancers build on each other’s strengths, they rely on each other, and they need to be able to trust each other to an extent that their lives depend on it: They must be able to trust that they are not dropped, that someone catches them in acrobatic or aerial moves. They take risks together and they share the risk. Just like it’s supposed to be in any other work team. In fact, “ensemble” means “together.” Dance team work is “together work.”

Our passions tend to be closely connected with our purpose, even those who are seemingly unrelated to the work we do. I’m curious about how one of your passions has impacted your business or career.

Venus Will Not Turn Retrograde This Year

Venus will not go into retrograde in 2019. It's a great year for love and for women. Let's step it up! And let's just start with some self-appreciation.

The year has started with a bang for women in many ways: We are seeing women more women in political roles, more women actively standing up for themselves and those who don't have a voice. It's gotten really busy in the women's camp!

Venus is on our side. 2019 is a year when she will not turn retrograde. Why not make the best of it? Look at all the great work you did in 2018, the challenges you worked through, the lessons you learned, the relationships and networks you built, the ideas you generated... to prepare for your personal Big Bang this year, when Venus is on your side. 

Be the bright star the sky! 

Image by ScienceFreak

Image by ScienceFreak

We can only shine brightly when we see our own light. So this Valentine's it's time to shine some light on our beauty, our power. Practice self-esteem, self-love; focus on your "heart-set." Let Venus guide you in this practice...

Venus is about beauty , harmony and pleasure, and she wants you to enjoy yourself… enjoy your self! Find pleasure in self-appreciation, be in harmony with who you are deep inside, with your true self, but also with your beautiful body, your talents and passions, the fun parts of your personality. Venus wants you to be happy and appreciative of yourself and your possessions, both material and intangible.

When you find your own attractiveness, you will attract those to you that feel energetically drawn by it. On the other hand, when you don’t see it yourself, it becomes harder for others to see it in you. It’s all about the energy you emanate.

Ask yourself: Am I shining brightly or am I dimming my light?

In order to shine more brightly from the inside out, indulge in pleasurable activities this Valentine’s (and beyond). Treat yourself to a dance class, a massage, a facial, a bouquet of roses, a piece of jewelry, a meditation, some “me” time… or whatever feels enjoyable to you. Practice the feeling of joy and appreciation. Hold yourself in high esteem.

Open up your heart and let yourself into your heart. Bring the Venus energy into your heart space. You can do this through the mere intention or, if that seems hard, by closing your eyes and breathing into your heart energy center. See your heart open up with your inner eye. Allow it to connect with Venus love.

Whether you celebrate your love with someone else or with yourself, it always starts with self-love.

Image created by Mireille de Potter, Photo by me

Image created by Mireille de Potter, Photo by me

Women in Corporate, It’s Time to Vocalize What You Want

Want to be heard? Then you gotta speak up. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Photo credit: Hugo Ataide

Photo credit: Hugo Ataide

If you're waiting for someone to acknowledge your value, you could be waiting forever. In order for others to value your work and recognize your value, you must do it yourself first.

Let me guess: Your male co-workers are probably quite vocal about the projects they want to be a part of, or the position they want,… while you may be working really hard, doing all it takes, putting in the extra hours, but somehow the decision-makers don’t see you and you feel like all the hard work is not paying off. Well, the truth is, there’s not only bias (whether it’s conscious or unconscious…), but in addition to the bias we’re dealing with, most leaders are also too busy to do a lot of research around the best candidates for a specific project or position. So if someone raises their hand, it’s just logical that that person’s chances go up.

It’s really key to speak up and be clear and direct about what you want and why you shouldbe considered, what qualifies you. And that may require stepping out of your habitual behavior… I don’t call it your comfort zone because it’s really not that comfortable to find yourself stuck. It can actually be quite uncomfortable. That’s why I like to call it the convenience zone. It’s just more convenient to stay there because it doesn’t require much effort or courage to stay there. But I’m going off on a tangent…

So how would you do that? Most of the time, it’s a good idea to bring another person into the game, like your boss or a mentor, and if you have a sponsor, that’s of course awesome… someone to have your back, an advocate.

Once the support system is covered, the next thing is to raise your hand, to clearly tell the decision-makers that you’re interested and why you’re the best candidate, why it’s a great fit, how you will benefit the success of that project and their success. And in that same first conversation, you get all the details you need, ask all the questions. Never leave a meeting without discussing the follow-up process and a follow-up date. This means, you agree on what additional information needs to be submitted, and you suggest the specifics for a follow-up call or meeting. Then you formally schedule that meeting right then and there. And then you go after it. And you follow up.

And by the way, it’s not only ok to speak up for roles that are offered to you. Why not create your own ideal job? If you feel like you could add more value in a newly designed role or as a formal leader of a group you’re already leading informally, speak up and lay out the benefits for the team and the organization of you being in that new role. I have one client who has done this twice in the last 18 months, always eager to step up to her next level. To her surprise, the answer was always yes. If she hadn’t asked, she’d still be where she was in December last year.

But you must go in prepared, bring evidence that you’ll create more value in this way, reasons why you should be in the new position and also get paid more for creating higher value. Remember, when you move into a higher position, this is also the time to discuss compensation. It’s only logical that you should get paid more when you create more value for a team or division. Prepare your numbers well: You want to have an ideal number and a minimum acceptable number in your mind. If you can't get your ideal number, what are some benefits and perks you can negotiate? Additional paid vacation days, work-from-home days, extra training, etc. Again, don’t be apologetic about the salary you want. Clearly and firmly state your expectations.

In this context, it’s critical to lay out what you’re going to accomplish, how it’s going to benefit the team, the organization, what the ROI is going to be. Be concrete about the results you are going to produce. Don’t focus on your past performance, but rather on your potential in the new role. – Did you know that in job interviews, women tend to talk about their achievements and men about their potential? And that’s how they get paid: women for their past, men for their future. Always remember: Moving into your next level is always about your potential, about contributing something you haven't done before. If you had achieved and proven everything the new role implies and requires, it wouldn’t be a step up.

Still finding it hard to speak up for yourself? I’ve put together some simple, yet powerful tools for you in my book Speak up, Stand out and Shine – Speak Powerfully in Any Situation. They can help you get prepared for any challenging speaking situation. Go to my BOOK page and click on the book cover. It’s a direct link to the book on Amazon – Kindle or print. Or just write me and we'll set up a call to discuss some options.

Are You Plugged into Your Power?

You cannot lose your power. But you may have shut it down.

Have you ever gone through a painful or challenging experience that had you feel like you were powerless? Like you gave away your power, handed it over to someone else without wanting to, or like you lost your power through this experience? – Let me tell you something: You cannot lose your power. All you did is temporarily disconnect from it, however devastating the experience may seem to you.

So the question is: Did you (fully) reconnect to your power since you went through that experience? Do you own how powerful you really are?

We all have unlimited power inside of us. It’s innate. We’re just often not connected to it, we haven’t activated it. It's lying there dormant. As long as it’s not activated, it seems unavailable to us, as if it’s not even there. It’s a bit as if we were trying to switch on the TV without plugging in the power cord. Power energy cannot flow.

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So how do you plug in your inner power cord?  How do you access this inner power? – Through your mind, your body, and your energy.

A while ago, I made a video with a simple tool that can help you activate your power energy within a matter of a few minutes or even seconds, once you’ve practiced it. Check it out here: Connect with Your Inner Power.

There are many ways to tap into your power, which I share in my coaching and workshops. Once you’ve connected with your power and can now truly put it to work for yourself, what are you going to do with it to benefit your career, your business, or the cause you want to support? What other tools, strategies or breakthroughs do you need to make your plans happen, to make your career goals, your vision and you dream come true?

If you are truly committed to your vision and your dream, I’d be honored to support you with one specific breakthrough, tool or strategy on a complimentary 30-minute call. Because I like dreamers. They are the ones who never stop growing, the ones who consciously transform their own reality and positively impact those around them, the ones who create significant change for a world fun living in. Click here to sign up and we’ll get your power to flow.

What Are You Going to Create for Yourself in 2019? – How to Step into Your Excellence Potential

What’s your vision for your 2019? Did you write it down yet? What exactly do you want to achieve for yourself? – I’m not talking about resolutions. Just ditch those; they are useless, and in most cases, they only lead to frustration and self-resentment. – What I’m talking about is a vision.

But first, let’s take a look back at 2018: What have you accomplished this year? Make a list of all your accomplishments and take a moment to be proud of yourself. No one else could have achieved exactly the same results; no one could have done it in the same way as you.

  • If 2018 has been a year of tough learning for you, take a deep breath and accept the lessons so you can build on them next year. This may involve moving out of victim mode, forgiving yourself and others, and leaving all types of resentment behind.

  • If it’s been a time to find clarity for your next phase, have you figured out what that next phase would ideally look like? If not, take some time this December to reflect on this and then decide which one step you can take in that direction before the year ends.

  • If it’s been a year of success, how can you take that success to the next level? Is it time to be intrepid and take bold action, to make a courageous move, to step into a leadership role?

Really take some time with this. It can be extremely eye- and mind-opening, and it allows you to address your 2019 challenges in a more powerful way.

Once you’ve completed your review of 2018, it’s time to take a preview of 2019. We all use only a relatively small portion of our potential, which is truly unlimited… How much we use, depends solely on us. So what’s keeping us from using more of it? The following are some possible reasons:

  1. Distractions and a lack of focus

  2. Convenience of current habits and the lack of discipline to replace them with new, more empowering habits

  3. Limiting thought/feeling patterns and a lack of commitment to turn them around into positive thoughts/feelings

  4. Confusion and a lack of clarity

  5. Fear

Let’s have a closer look at these obstacles.

1. Distractions and a lack of focus

What could be distracting you? Other people’s agendas? The news? Social media? Maybe just useless repetitive thoughts? A cluttered workspace or home? A tendency to live other people’s lives and resolve their problems? Anxiety?

We all have distractions in our lives that are worth getting rid of. What are they for you? – List your distractions, spot them as they show up in your life and make a decision to no longer give them attention. Declutter your desk, your workplace, your email. Make space for creative ideas and for concentration and become more productive and effective.

2. Convenience of current habits and the lack of discipline to replace them with new, more empowering habits

I don’t use the word “comfort zone.” Why? – Because most of the time, it’s not comfortable at all to be in our “comfort zone.” It’s just more convenient; that’s why I prefer the term “convenience zone.” It’s that place that our habits keep us stuck in. Some of us are so caught up in our habits that our habits become us. But they are not really who we are. They are just a behavior, a result of our subconscious programming. The good news is: If we are programmed in one way right now, then it’s also possible to re-program ourselves, get rid of the viruses in our minds and upgrade our software.

Let me share one specific practice has turned around several of my clients’ lives: a morning routine. Do you have a routine that sets you up for a successful day? Or do you check emails, follow other people’s agendas, and rush out to work without dedicating a single minute to your own well-being? Most successful people have a morning routine that includes at least one of the following practices if not all: meditation, gratefulness, physical exercise/yoga, journaling, reading something inspiring, visualization, positive affirmations or questions, defining one thing they are going to accomplish that day.

If you’ve never had a success morning routine and find it challenging to get up earlier, it’s ok to start with 10-15 minutes. Record your affirmations or visualization exercise on your phone and listen to them while driving or taking the train to work… no extra time needed for that! Tune into an inspiring YouTube audio instead of the latest disaster news.

If you currently only meditate in the morning, add some yoga or a brisk walk or a few minutes of cardio exercise. My thing is dance. It invigorates me and puts me in high-vibe mode. Choose something that you can easily convince yourself to do. If you only work out, add a few minutes of stillness or a guided meditation. If you already have an extensive self-care routine, congratulations! Keep doing it and benefiting from it.

3. Limiting thought/feeling patterns and a lack of commitment to turn them around into positive thoughts/feelings

Habits are a result of our thoughts and feelings. The question is: Are you thinking your thoughts or are your thoughts thinking you? It’s critical to become the observer of your thoughts and feelings. It allows you to nip any thoughts that don’t serve you in the bud – easy as that… You just have be consistent with it. Here’s a little trick: Whenever you catch a limiting thought that’s keeping you stuck or smaller than you really are, tell the thought that you have something better to think about right now, then turn it around into a positive “what if” question. Example: When you have a thought telling you that you it is hard to renegotiate your compensation, reframe that thought into “What if it could be easy?” Another powerful question is “What would it look like if I could increase my income?” These “what if” or “what would it look like” questions give you a positive outlook, they trigger positive expectations, they change your subconscious filters (and programming), and they stimulate your mind to look for solutions. They can also increase your confidence to achieve what you want. Play with this and observe what happens.

Thoughts are connected to feelings. When you turn your negative thoughts around, this also will make you feel better. And feeling good about yourself and your dreams is an essential ingredient to make them come true.

4. Confusion and a lack of clarity

At the beginning of our work together, a lot of my clients complain about a lack of clarity, about not knowing what’s next. They feel unfulfilled but just can’t seem to figure out what their purpose really is. They are looking for that project that both challenges and satisfies them. Highly creative people often suffer from the “shiny objects” syndrome; they have a wealth of ideas and they may even perceive a world of opportunities around them but somehow most of these options seem evasive or they don’t know which ones to choose. They want to make an impact in their own way… But what does that even mean, their own way? This can cause a lot of anxiety.

If you are preparing for 2019 in this state, you may not be as successful as you wish. I suggest you use some specific tools to find clarity. Start by asking yourself: What lifts me up? What comes easy to me? What am I truly passionate about? What would I like to see changed in my organization, in the world? Who do I admire and why? What have they achieved? Is it something I may want to achieve, in my very own way? – Asking questions and journaling (i.e., articulating evasive, incoherent thoughts into a meaningful context) can help you make progress on your path to gaining clarity. Start now! Go on a journey to self-discovery, do some soul-searching. Greater self-awareness leads to personal transformation, which in turn brings out some new pieces of your potential… Be prepared, you may be pleasantly surprised and challenged at the same time. Dare to see that potential in you and to put the puzzle pieces together into your next big thing.

5. Fear

Whether it’s fear of failure, fear of rejection or fear of facing our real purpose (because that may require taking bold action), fear is a projection into the future that expects an unwanted outcome. So we must face our fear, look it in the eye and tell it that it’s ok for it to leave. The role of fear is to protect us, to keep us alive, but fear is so deeply ingrained in our subconscious programming and in our cells that it also shows up when it’s not useful, when there’s no real threat. So it’s not about avoiding fear at all cost but rather about managing it; about being in control when fear shows up.

If you find this hard, make it a new habit to observe your fear when it shows up, take a few deep breaths and allow it to leave. Or experiment with looking at your situation from a bird’s perspective. Is your problem truly too big to overcome? Is your goal too ambitious to achieve? – Maybe not. But where there’s fear, there is no way. Fear obstructs advancement. Once you get fear out of the way – or, if that seems impossible, move through it and take the next possible step despite your fear, however small that step may seem –, that’s when the path clears up. Taking action is a magnificent fear buster.

With these tools, it should be less daunting to tackle your vision for 2019. Implement them now, before the new year even starts, so you can step into January 1 with positive anticipation, expecting all the great things you absolutely can attain… if you trust yourself and your unlimited potential. This is how you step into your excellence and into your authentic genius.

So… what’s your vision for 2019? What are you going to create for yourself?

What if you could get powerful support right at the beginning of the year? How would this change how you show up for your success? From my experience with my clients, I known that for many, doing it alone is easier said than done and learning concrete self-empowering tools can make all the difference. If you’re like most of us and you’d like some extra support and guidance, an accountability system that pushes you forward in Q1, check out my new program Kick into High Gear in Q1… and into Your Next Level of Success in 2019.

I look forward to serving you, so you can truly live your best year ever.

Are You Ready to Step it up?

It Takes Courage to Upgrade Your Career

In your career or business,

  • Are you ready for a bigger challenge, your next level?

  • Are you feeling this nagging voice that something needs to change but nothing’s moving?

  • Are you frustrated because the decision-makers in your organization overlook you when it comes to the most appealing projects or to promotions?

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Most of the women who sign up for consults with me answer “yes” to one or more of these questions. Yet, both from my own experience and from my conversations with other top coaches, I know that only a small percentage of women decide to invest in themselves. The mothers among them wouldn’t hesitate to invest in their children’s careers… So why aren’t they equally eager to invest in their own success. That’s mind-boggling to me, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I’ve talked to women who have enormous potential but very apparently are struggling with inner blocks that could be removed if they just made a decision and a commitment to transform. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve seen it with my clients. And not only that: I’ve experienced it myself. Life gave me a few lemons, to say the least; and somewhere along the way, I had to make a decision to transform so I could stabilize my life and become a conscious co-creator of my success. That meant I had to invest both time and money in my transformation so that I could free myself from limiting blocks, stop repeating patterns and fully step into my power. At the time, I had already studied a number of ways to “do the work” myself, and I’d been doing it quite diligently. But I realized that it was just not enough. Like everyone else, I had blind spots that needed to be addressed; and like everyone else, I needed someone to hold me accountable. So I hired help. I was able to break through my blockages, and I stepped on the escalator.

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That one thing that you need to invest in, may look completely different. What’s important is that you take time to consider your own needs…

Earlier this week, I attended a networking event for women, where a panel was discussing this reluctance of women to invest in themselves, although this specific event wasn’t so much about inner transformation as it was about outer transformation in the form of a powerful outfit (which of course reverts back to how we feel). There was a lot of nodding in the room, but I bet that 90% of the audience went home, and nothing changed. It’s too tempting to fall back into our habitual thought and behavioral patterns. We humans are creatures of habit. But that doesn’t always serve us… These were the thoughts that inspired me to write about this intriguing phenomenon, and if you’re intrigued as well, then I invite you to read on!

The first question is, why do we women tend to put ourselves last in the attention chain and how do we expect others to attend to our needs if we don’t even do it ourselves? Why are we compelled to take care of others first and of ourselves last? A lot of the reasons are rooted in our historical and cultural conditioning. It’s time to change this conditioning because:

  • We can only take good care of others when we take good care of ourselves. When we’re miserable, those around us get their share of it… if not now, then later. We must give ourselves permission to be and feel our best, so we can support others. – How do you do that? Make time for yourself and invest in what you need (the “put-your-own-mask-on-first” analogy).

  • Our children want us to be happy and live a fulfilled life (at least the ones I have met). Just think of yourself and your own parents: Would you rather have them sacrifice so you can have it all, while they are not getting what they need or want? Do you think your children want you to sacrifice for them? And… are you doing them a favor by sacrificing or are you possibly depriving them of their opportunity to grow?

  • Putting ourselves last eventually leads to frustration and dis-ease. All human beings have an innate urge to live a life that’s aligned with their purpose, to be successful in their careers, in what they consider their calling. When we suppress this need, we disappoint ourselves, we cultivate regrets, we get bored or frustrated; maybe even depressed and sick. And who will take care of us then? Or we end up feeling resentful against family members who we “deprived us” from this success, even though it was our own decision. This then can strain our relationship with our loved ones, which brings me to the next question:

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What’s the cost of staying where you are?

What is it costing you to not invest in yourself – whatever that looks like for you,… whether it’s a class you’ve always wanted to attend, a babysitter or household aid so you can have regular “me” time, a new outfit, or coaching. Let me take the example of coaching because that’s what I know best. (You can repeat this exercise for anything else that’s on your wish list.)

When I ask women about the cost of staying where they are, most mention these three factors:

  • Lack of career progression (status, influence, reputation and money)

  • Under-utilization of their potential (absence of meaning and growth)

  • Strain on relationships (family, romantic partners, friends, and of course colleagues).

Any of these types of cost look too high to me, but what’s worse is that most women pay the combined price of all three.

So let’s assume you know what your cost is. The next question would then be:

What’s your expected ROI when you do invest in yourself?

Again, let’s take the ROI of coaching: There are many ways to measure your ROI. Not all are monetary, although that’s certainly an important factor, and most of my coaching clients experience a short- or medium-term shift in income, assuming they do the work.

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Other types of ROI are positional (moving up in the ranks) or transformational (personal and professional growth at all levels). Many coaches rightfully expect a combination of different ROI results, and the use of an ROI measurement tool allows us to track and gauge everything as we move along. Here are some examples of ROI:

  • Monetary ROI: Let’s assume you invest $10,000 in a 6-month coaching program. As a direct or indirect result, you are promoted within a year, and you get a raise of $15-20,000. What’s your ROI? $5-10,000. But wait, that’s not all! Because of course you won’t only receive the higher salary once but every year. Plus, you will also experience an increase in anything that’s a percentage of your salary, like your pension fund or bonus, and your base for future salary increases will also be higher. This means your $10,000 investment can have a major impact on your income over the rest of your career and beyond.

  • Job satisfaction ROI: Think about how much time you spend at work. Would you consciously choose to spend all these hours in a way that’s frustrating or boring? When you get up in the morning, do you look forward to your work day? Do you want to spend quality time at work? Are your time and life valuable? Do you think you deserve to get compensated and feel fulfilled while doing the work you’re paid for? People who do what they love at work also become more stress tolerant, which again leads to better emotional, mental and physical health.

  • Emotional ROI: This is directly related to the previous point but really also to all of them. We are emotional beings, and stress through stagnation takes a toll on our emotional state. Taking action in the right direction leads to positive self-perception. As you move forward, your self-respect and self-esteem move up. You feel uplifted, “high vibe,” and this has an immediate effect on your mood and how you are perceived by others. Suddenly, everyone wants to work with you. You sleep better, feel more rested, and your family or partner will benefit as well.

  • Success ROI: Is success coming easy to you? Or do you need to work on your visibility, your speaking or meeting presence, your confidence? Whatever your current barrier to success, is the success you want worth breaking through this barrier? If so, why? Will it give you relief? Will you feel happier, more fulfilled, like you’re making a real impact? What if you could let your inner leader take control?

  • Team ROI: Can you rely on your team? How is your team interaction, accountability, performance? Is it easy for your team to generate timely quality output? Or is it operating at a sub-optimal level? Maybe it’s time to raise team effectiveness and creativity, for example through the application of specific Conversational Intelligence® tools and a more compelling leader presence? This usually also leads to monetary ROI for your team (higher savings, sales or innovation), which again boosts your reputation and success.

  • Self-actualization ROI: How much is it worth to you to look back at your life (when the time comes) and say: “I have no regrets?” A nurse recorded the 5 most common regrets of the dying. She found that the #1 regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” What is it that you expect of yourself, as the powerful being with unlimited potential that you really are, vs. the being that others expect you to be (most of the time not because they demand it from you but because they are used to seeing you at a certain level)? What is that thing? Is it represented in your current day-to-day work?

Look over the different costs and ROIs again. Is there anything you can relate to? If your answer is “no,” congratulations! If it’s “yes,” look the facts in the eye: There is a huge cost when you don’t make yourself a priority. And there’s enormous potential when you do.

And yet, as so many other women, you may still be hesitating to invest in yourself… Why is that? Do you prefer to stay in their comfort zone? – Does it really feel comfortable in your “comfort” zone when you feel stuck and can’t find your way out? Let me guess: It’s probably quite uncomfortable… Admittedly, it can also feel uncomfortable to make the move. It requires courage and effort to move out of that zone and venture into an uncertain area. It’s easier to stay where you are; it feels more convenient. That’s why I call this our convenience zone (rather than comfort zone). What’s waiting for you beyond your convenience zone? You don’t know because you haven’t experienced it yet. It’s this uncertainty, this fear of the unknown that keeps most people stuck. But what’s the worst that can happen when you face the fear? – You make a different experience, most likely a better experience… because what’s worse than staying stuck. Is that preferable to staying stuck? Yes or no? – I’ll let you answer that question for yourself.

And then, of course, there’s the worthiness factor. You’ve heard it over and over: women tend to feel unworthy (often on a subconscious level), so I won’t expand on it here… Let me just quickly quote a new client, who said earlier this week: “I immediately felt my self-esteem rise after signing up for my coaching program. It was a huge boost to my perceived self-worth.” After a long time, she finally granted herself permission to give attention to Self, and she realized that she wasn’t taking anything away from her family, quite the opposite.  

So I’m asking you: Are you ready to take a stand for yourself, acknowledge your worth and get out of your convenience zone? Do you dare to be adventurous and align with your purpose? What would it feel like to be a full, authentic expression of yourself? As someone said at that event earlier this week, stepping into our next level through personal transformation often requires soul searching; it requires courage. Not everyone is ready to open that door. – Are you? Only you have the answer…

If your answer is“yes,” if you are ready to explore ways of stepping into your next level, then I invite you to sign up for a complimentary consultation. Let’s discuss what your new reality on the other side of that door could look like for you and what it would take to get there.

At Transform Your Performance, we measure your ROI.

And Then the Fire Alarm Went off

Last week, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the anniversary celebration of the American Management Association Women's Leadership Center in New York. The topic of the event was "Show up with Power & Authenticity to Drive Your Success." Everything was organized perfectly by AMA: Beautifully set-up room, wine bar, delicious hors d'oeuvres, sound checked, everyone showing up on time, great networking happening in the room, powerful welcome message by Lauren McNally, Head and Creative Director of the Center... I was having a blast speaking and sharing some pieces of my eclectic story.

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But then, just as I was telling the ladies about a past, extremely painful experience with a fraudulent business partner, the fire alarm goes off! At first, I thought, "really?" but it quickly dawned on me: Woah! What a moment to sound the alarm! It just fit so perfectly into the context! A perfect addition to my story. -- Thank you, Universe!

Soon after, there was also an announcement letting us know that the alarm had been triggered by a problem with the electrical power system at the adjacent hotel, and there was no need to take action until further notice, so we continued with our program. I was just sharing how I was rethinking a few things in my life after being knocked out by malaria, and bingo... the fire alarm goes off again! Alarmed I was for sure back then at the ICU. That fire alarm couldn't have picked a better moment! This time, it stopped within just a few seconds, so I could quickly resume my talk.

As part of my interactive keynote, I was also teaching my wonderful audience several tools they could apply in their careers. One of them is about activating your power energy in a matter of seconds so you can enhance your business presence and raise your confidence. And we were just finishing that exercise when... you guessed it! The alarm... But this time, we received an announcement that the hotel's electrical power system had been fixed. Now, is that cool or what? We activate our power energy, and the hotel's power system is fixed! Maybe our "activate your inner power energy" activity spread to the hotel's electrical power system? -- I'll leave it up to you to answer that question... Fact is, it was divine timing! 

Several of the ladies in the audience wrote me after the event to congratulate me on “doing an excellent job of keeping focus in the middle of the fire alarm” and “adding a fun moment.”

So next time when something interrupts your presentation, don’t be frustrated. Instead, look for the meaning, the humor, the opportunity in the interruption. Use it to enrich your presentation! Your audience will thank you for it.

Need a few extra tips to keep your speaking gigs high vibe? Look up my book Speak up, Stand out and Shine and shine on!

Is Your Brain in the Right Place?

How to upgrade your conversations by thinking with your heart

As in all other life situations, in critical conversations we won’t go very far without a self-empowering mindset. It’s the basis of success for whatever we do. But what about our heart-set?

Did you know that the heart is a part of our brain? – Yes, that’s right. We have a heart brain (as well as a gut brain… for the records). For today, let’s start with heart.

Image by Gloria Williams

Image by Gloria Williams

In business, when we think with our heart and you do it with a positive achievement in mind, it means we’re tapping into our innate emotional intelligence. (When we think heart, we think of feelings.) This intelligence now becomes more available for us to use it in our communication and behavior.

The heart is one of the processing centers of our nervous system (as are the head and gut). Intentionally opening our heart before we step into a meeting allows us to connect with others on a deeper level and enhance our listening skills. We can now “put ourselves in other people’s shoes” and become empathetic to their situations and challenges. When our conversation partners feel that we truly listen, with compassion and the sincere intention to understand where they are coming from, they will trust us more, feel safer in our presence and open up. They will share what’s really on their minds (or on their hearts) rather than what they think they are expected to say. And more transparent communication often makes it easier to reach a mutual agreement.

Our heart also has a role in the courage we bring to our business conversations, to speaking up in meetings, presenting in front of an audience, applying for a job... Courage originates in our heart. The word courage is derived from the Latin word cor. Let’s look at other languages and their words for heart/courage:

  • Italian: cuore/coraggio

  • French: coeur/courage

  • Spanish: corazón/valor or coraje

  • Portuguese: coração/coragem

  • And in my own native tongue, German, an old word for courage is Beherztheit, which comes from Herz (heart).

That’s how far my language skills take me, though I’m sure we could find many more examples in other languages.

BodyTalk, a state-of-the-art holistic healing modality I studied, teaches us about the heart’s consciousness: The heart is about awareness, acceptance, love and self-love, respect, harmony… Using our heart brain helps us to be present for ourselves and others. This can make all the difference in a conversation.

Conversational Intelligence® or C-IQ® with its powerful tools to help us navigate successfully through team conversations and negotiations, also focuses on using all parts of our brain, including the heart.

Thinking with our heart means making decisions based on how we are feeling rather than facts only. I have made my worst decisions based on so-called “facts” (which are often very subjective anyway). We all do at some point in our lives. Have you ever made a decision where you didn’t listen to your heart,… maybe because you didn’t trust your intuition, your inner feeling voice, your heart’s and your gut’s voice? As a result, did you go through a painful lesson? – Even in conversations with ourselves, like when we make a decision, it pays off to be heart-centered! 

Business people have discovered the critical role of mindfulness for success. It's time to add heartfulness to the picture. When our heart is filled with positive expectations, whether these are related to our business outcome, our relationships with others, our vision, that's when we can bring about success with greater ease and more fun.

So… next time you go into a conversation, check first: Is brain is in the right place? – Start with your heart!

And if you’d like to find out more about this and the powerful work we do with women leaders, email me at regina@transformyourperformance.com and we’ll get you on my calendar for a discovery session.

Talk shortly!

Think You're Too Small to Make a Big Difference? – You Haven't Spent the Night with a Mosquito…

OR: Life after Malaria

Mosquitoes have always had a crush on me. As a little girl, I often counted 15 mosquito bites a night while others were spared, and I spent many nights awake scratching the itchy bites. And in my adult life, when traveling to places with a large mosquito population, I am usually the first to be attacked. My blood must be extra-delicious… Glad the vampires have never found me!

But it doesn’t stop here. Two tiny mosquitoes changed my life in two instances.

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The first time about 8 years ago, when I still lived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After several weeks of feeling dizzy, nauseous and dehydrated, I finally decided to make my way to the hospital to get tested for dengue fever… and was admitted right away. The nurses had a hard time finding any blood in my veins to connect the dip bottle for intravenous hydration… I was that dehydrated. Good news is, after a few days I was feeling better and could return home.

The second time happened just recently: Two weeks after my return from Cameroon, I was starting to feel weak and like I was getting the flu. That was on a cold Sunday in NYC after a glorious night of kompa-dancing (when I usually feel energized and high-vibe). That Sunday, something clearly wasn’t right… On Monday, I went about my usual business as it was a busy week and my trip to Qatar was coming up, where I was booked to facilitate a 3-day Transformational Leadership Workshop for a group of women – big deal.

On Wednesday afternoon, I finally decided to take a cab to a medical center, and they immediately called an ambulance to take me to the ER. I was diagnosed with malaria but discharged at 3.30am with a prescription in hands as the doctors had managed to stabilize me. The next day, I picked up my malaria pills and took them as prescribed, but Friday came, and I was feeling so weak that I called 911. This time, they sent me from the ER directly to the ICU… I was completely dehydrated, and my blood pressure was as low as never before.

While I had inner certainty that I was going to make it out of there alive, I must admit it was a bit scary. Medically, I was on the edge. Another concern was of course: Would I get better on time to travel to Doha? I didn’t want to disappoint the organizers or training participants… This clearly wasn’t a good time to get sick (I know, I know, there’s never a good time). Eventually, the trip was postponed by a week due to my condition, but I didn’t know that while I was at the hospital.

But what also came with malaria was a huge spiritual journey. Malaria is about parasites, so I started asking myself some important questions, like:

  • What people and things are parasites in my life? Who and what do I need to get rid of?
  • What do I need to push off my plate to deepen my focus and to put time back onto my calendar for myself and my own needs?
  • Where does my Higher Self want me to play bigger in my life going forward?

In hindsight, and despite some challenging consequences, like catching up with business and not being able to dance in a while, this malaria incident was a gift: A huge opportunity to grow, increase my awareness, make some vital changes that weren’t a priority to me before… and the determination to learn my lessons in a less scary way, meaning that I’ll be more protective of my wellness and my boundaries and more mindful about what I invest my energy in.

Putting myself first, while serving my clients even better by doing so.

But back to the question: Do you still think you are too small to make a difference? – Think again!

 

 

 

 

On Camera in Cameroon... and learning some business lessons

I just got back from Cameroon, and oh my, what a trip! We went to host the Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems in Africa Conference, which was a success and extensively commented on in the press, like in The Sun and the Cameroon Tribune:

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Here with my co-hosts Monica McCoy and Natalie Nkembuh (the main brain behind the conference), as well as STEM power house and speaker Sophie Ngassa:

 

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...but it was just a start...  Even before the conference, my up-until-then virtual friend and power journalist Amy Banda made sure I had my voice heard in her radio show. And from then on, there was no stopping me. So many more amazing things happened in those 12 days!

Just two days later, I found myself teaching a workshop to a room full of power ladies, at an event pulled together by Santher Mbacham and her Imagenation Team, where I was honored to share the stage with Gladys Viban and Leila Kigha, two top names in the Cameroonian speaker scene. Amy Banda joined us as well, and Clovis Delaure volunteered to film the event. I was humbled by Santher's determination to make this event happen within just 3 weeks, and everyone's enthusiasm. That's what I call business spirit! 
 

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Meetings after meetings were on my calendar: ministries, schools, consultants, press... And one morning, when a business friend picked me up in his car for a business meeting, we got stuck in the mud of what was supposed to be a street but got turned into a fruit market -- a colorful medley of fruits, motorbikes and carts all mixed together. I was already picturing myself stepping out into the clay in my high heels and pushing the car, when a smart guy looking to make some profit from the situation guided us backward through the masses of people and fruits, frantically gesticulating all the way. Incredibly enough, we made it out of the muddy grounds without having to leave the car (although with our windshield covered in brown molasses)... Believe it or not, the below was our view from the car (as long as the windshield was still clear), even if it may seem like there was no space for a car.
 

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Cameroonians are business people without excuses. They do business anywhere. They choose a spot and put up their shop, even in the middle of a street. Lesson learned: Don't let yourself be held back by seemingly impossible circumstances.

As part of my travel experience, I also learned to take and bargain fares for collective taxis in a city where I had no clue how to orient myself. Admittedly, I may have paid a bit more than the locals at times (I didn't even know in what direction I was going), but I got pretty good at making firm offers very soon. Great negotiation practice. And just when I was thinking, Cameroonians drive as if their vehicles were made of fabric, a car bumped into my taxi's non-existent rear bumper guard and five minutes later a motorbike rammed the left front part of our car. Although his car was actually made of metal, this didn't seem to disturb the driver; he was used to it and stayed calm... Another lesson I learned every day anew: stay calm and eat some fried plantains. 

Then, one morning the phone rang, and four hours later, I found myself on the CRTV Midi Life show with Myra Nangeh, who made me dance to traditional Cameroonian music with live musicians. So much fun (especially for the audience)!  

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We also recorded a few more TV and radio interviews with Amy Banda and Suzanne Belle Essengue... airing soon. 

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When I left NYC with three suitcases on March 24 (one for clothes, one for my books and one carry-on), I thought I'd come back with one of them empty after leaving my books in Cameroon... But to my surprise, it was filled with gifts from my new Cameroonian friends: dresses, shoes, a handbag, books, jewelry, fabric... Oh wow! If Cameroonians were to win an award, they'd surely win it for their hospitality and generosity.  

Apart from all these gifts, I also came back with a heart full of new friends, amazing memories and some future collaboration opportunities, feeling fulfilled and happy... and recharged for my activities here in New York and beyond.

Would you like to learn more about how to live a life of purpose, where you can be the leader you were born to be? Sign up for a complimentary call and let's chat!

I Dare You to Kick 2018 off like a Champion

What words do you want to say in December 2018 about the year that's about to end?

What are your plans for the coming year? What are the words you want to say on December 31, 2018? Maybe something along the lines:

  • I upgraded my own career and that of the people I touched.
  • I have created the success I want and I am bringing in the money I need to live my desired lifestyle, while making a major impact.
  • I am doing the work I love, while generating massive income.
Image by Gerd Altmann

Image by Gerd Altmann

Want to play big in 2018? - Let's get started!
1. Ditch your New Year's resolutions
2. Write down your vision, make a plan, set specific goals
3. Elevate your energetic vibration

1. Ditch your New Year's resolutions

New Year's resolutions are usually some type of self-promises we haven't been able to keep in the past, like: "This year I'll quite smoking. This year I'll work out several days a week. This year I'll make more money.... blablabla..."

Be honest with yourself: How many of your New Year's resolutions have ever been effective? - If you're like most people, probably not that many. Chances are that you got more frustration than results. That's because most of these resolutions have too much resistance attached to them. Rather than excitement, they cause anxiety. They don't seem appealing to us and even less to our subconscious mind... because they are opposed to our past experiences or our real self-expectation. We have disappointed ourselves before by not keeping these promises. Why would we do better just because the year is 2018?

If your New Year's resolution don't feel good, ditch them! -- Here's a better way:

2. Write down your vision, make a plan, set specific goals

Take some time before January 1 to write down your 2018 vision (or review your existing vision) in as much detail as possible: Where do you live by December 31, 2018? How much money are you making? How? Who are you working with (colleagues, clients, partners,...)?

Based on your vision, make a plan: Define some concrete goals for 2018; then set dates for these goals. Now ask yourself: How do you get there? What action steps are required? What resources do you need (training, an investor, a loan, a specific device, a coach, etc.)? 

Then start taking action towards your 2018 plan on January 1. Yes, right after you roll out of bed after an enthusiastic New Year's celebration, take one specific action step towards the first goal on your plan! Acknowledge your first step and keep moving forward on your path to success. 

And if not all goes as planned...

3. Elevate your energetic vibration

Action alone often doesn't take us where we want to be. Have you ever felt like the harder you pushed, the more obstacles seemed to show up? That's usually a sign that some inner work must be done in parallel to all the action-taking.

Elevating our vibration requires some daily attention, as we are constantly affected by our "circumstances" and "negative experiences" as well as the emotions and energy waves of the world that surrounds us. Here are some simple ways to elevate your vibration:

  • Be grateful for what you have now and the amazing things you will have, including all opportunities for growth
  • Make peace with the past and release guilt, regret and resentment
  • Affirm that you are ready to let go of any self-imposed limitations, dis-empowering emotions and limiting subconscious beliefs that you may not be aware of; visualize them moving out of your energy even if you don't know their nature
  • Go inward and connect with your inner power, the power of your Higher Self, which is limitless. Feel the truth of the fact that you can create whatever you want.

 Then go forth into your 2018 and play to win!

No One Owns Your Career but You

When I ask women how they feel about their careers, I seldom hear an outright “awesome!” Quite frankly, I wouldn’t have used that word myself for my corporate career either. I had some amazing opportunities come my way. I loved working at The Boston Consulting Group, and I feel tremendously blessed to have “stumbled” into that firm fresh out of college. Working for BCG was one of the best choices I ever made. But in hindsight, there was always something missing. Not because of what I was offered, but because of what I didn’t ask for.

If you have ever felt this way, read on.

Here are three important facts I learned over the years:

1.       No one has as much interest in your career as you.

2.       Opportunities only show up when you are open to them.

3.       No one can read your mind.

Photo by Igor Link

Photo by Igor Link

 

1.       No one has as much interest in your career as you.

You may have a well-meaning boss or a mentor but let’s face it: You are the one who benefits the most from your successful career and you are the one who has to live with your paycheck. All areas of your life are impacted by your career. Other people have their own lives and challenges. You are not at the center of attention of everyone else’s life.

Take ownership. Look at yourself: What do you bring to the table? Block out an hour this week to take stock of your brilliance, your “distinctive uniqueness.” No one has the exact same background as you. Write down all the amazing talents and skills you have. What experiences have helped you become the powerful woman you are? What’s your story? What have you accomplished so far (in any area of your life)? Make a list of your accomplishments and take a moment to acknowledge yourself for them.

2.       Opportunities only show up when you are open to them.

Don’t underestimate your own potential, or you may not even see your best opportunities. Your subconscious mind is an effective filter mechanism that suppresses your attention to everything that’s not within your perceived options for yourself. It takes it off your radar. So it’s well possible that you have been missing out on opportunities just because they “haven’t shown up for you,” although they actually have been there. Upgrade your self-belief. Take a moment to feel into your potential. Go back to your list of all the awesome things you have achieved to date. I’m sure it’s impressive. Based on these accomplishments, what else is possible for you? Remember, no one limits us but ourselves.

With that in mind, write down your vision of your dream career: Where do you work, what position are you in, who’s on your team? Who are your clients? Once you are clear on your vision, you’re in a good position to define what your next step towards this vision should be. What is that next level for you? What would be an immediate upgrade, however small (or big)?

Then look around with different eyes. It’s a bit like refreshing your browser: You will see that new search results will now pop up on your “screen.” Grab them! It’s time to make a move, today.

3.       No one can read your mind.

Once you have identified your next-level job or promotion options, go for them. No one can read your mind. It’s your role to ask for what you want.

Polish up your resume, speak to the relevant contacts in your organization, apply, even if you think you don’t have all the requirements. Remember that it’s impossible to have all the experience described in your next-level job posting; if you did, it would be same level or a step down.

If you think that you’re not qualified enough, not experienced enough, not prepared enough, that’s a lie. It’s easy to find a “not enough” when we look for an excuse. Trust that you can do it, and others will as well.

You may think there’s bias at your firm that could work against you. It may be subtle, it may even be obvious. My humble advice? For your purpose to get promoted, forget about bias. Jump right over it. Pretend it doesn’t exist. Whatever works. The more attention you give any signs of bias, the more they will slow you down. And that’s the last thing you want, right?

Alternatively, you could always look outside and apply for a job in a more favorable culture. Just do something. Don’t get stuck. Take action. Speak up for yourself.

Now is the time to do the work you love, to make the money you want, to move up in your career. There is no better time.

No one owns your career but you. Take it to the level of your choice.

What's Your "WHAT IF?"

Have you had this thought lately: "OMG, another year is almost over and I'm still not where I want to be in my career?" Do you feel stuck with your success goal? If so, read on.

First things first: Did you write your goal down? If not, do it. Research shows that it's easier to achieve what we write down.

It makes sense: Written words can only come from a certain degree of clarity on what exactly it is that we want to achieve. Vague goals are not useful; they can even lead to overwhelm and frustration, and in extreme cases to discouragement and despair. Clear, concrete goals in writing give our mind something to work with, both on a conscious and a subconscious level. Clear goals in writing modify our subconscious filters. We can now see opportunities that we previously may have overlooked. Plus, seeing our goal on paper or on the computer screen also makes it more tangible and concrete, and therefore more viable and attainable. 

Writing our goal down is also a way of facing it. If you're like me, you have a thousand fantastic ideas all day long, big and small. Some become goals or even projects or plans in our minds. But then life happens,... and if we don't write them down, they disappear as fast as they came.

Once you have your goal in front of you, thoughts of doubt may be creeping in: "This seems hard. Maybe this goal is too big for me. I may not be experienced enough, skilled enough, prepared enough. What if I'm not ready? I don't think I have the resources to make this happen. I don't have the right connections. I can't do possibly do this..." Or you may just feel outright fear... fear of being vulnerable, fear of rejection, fear of being ridiculed, fear of failure,... You know what I'm talking about. We often cultivate negative fantasies about imaginary threats, and it's always easy to find a reason for not taking action when we look for an excuse to stay in our "discomfort zone." (I don't call it "comfort zone" because it's not really comfortable to stay stuck, is it?)

When you experience any of these self-imposed limitations, that's when you must turn your limiting thoughts and feelings around. It's easier than you think, with what I call "Empowering What if Questions." Let me give you a few examples:
What if I could achieve this goal with ease?
What if I had everything I need to attain this goal? 
What if I could ask for help?
What if I could find the people and resources I need?
What if I were more powerful than I think?
What if I were enough?

Photo by John Hain

Photo by John Hain


Create your own Empowering What if Questions as you move through your day and observe how this changes your outlook and provides you with better choices. 

Maybe you have tried positive affirmations before, and they can work great if repeated consistently over a period of time. However, if they haven't worked for you, it could be because your subconscious programming is not aligned with your affirmation, and that's why the affirmation is rejected on a subconscious level. Positively framed questions often work better, as they open up possibilities, and our subconscious finds it easier to play with a possibility than a fact it has not experienced yet. That's why I love "Empowering What if Questions." Experiment with them and share with me how they change your perception of what's possible for you.

You have the power to change your attitude and create the reality you want to see for yourself. Your words shape the reality you perceive. Stop ruminating on worries and cultivating imaginary negative outcomes. Re-frame your thoughts, focus on positive What if questions and diminish your anxiety so you can show up powerfully at all times.

Sooo... What if you could create the success you want? 

 

What’s Right with You?

Have you ever felt like something’s wrong with you?

Innumerous times, we’ve been told or made believe that we are weird, we don’t fit in, and therefore, something’s obviously wrong with us. As kids, we are taught to leave our own ideas and fantasies behind and play the adults’ game instead… because they got it all figured out and we don’t. At school, if we looked different, we were bullied. It was like: “If you see a suspicious haircut or head cover or pimple, protect yourself and insult that kid…” In many of us, this deeply hurt our self-esteem and confidence, and some of us may have been traumatized. We felt rejected and this made us feel as if we’re somehow not worthy of love, acceptance or success.  

Early on in life we learned that it was safer to either blend in with the general trend or go unnoticed. We were taught to conform, and when we didn’t, we were reprimanded by our parents or teachers, or excluded by our schoolmates. Most of us were expected to be great at math, languages, science,… but not at putting together flashy outfits, displaying unique styles or having any preferences that were not “mainstream.” Many families still expect their children to be doctors, lawyers or bankers, or at least have a college degree in some subject that’s aligned with their idea of a decent profession. As if these were the only and best options to be successful, independent of their offspring’s individual talents and preferences…

Looking different, speaking differently, behaving in any way that was not “normal” was undesirable and resulted in rejection or even exclusion. It was an impediment rather than an advantage.

But here’s the thing: Do we seriously think that it’s an accident that every single one of the 7.6bn people on this planet has a different DNA? If we all were doctors and lawyers, we’d have no restaurants to go to, no food at the supermarkets and no heating in our homes (let alone apartments). So, I guess it makes sense that we were born with different gifts and personalities. And the fact that no one has the exact same talents as you is not an accident. It’s because the world needs exactly you and what you have to offer. It needs the best version of you, the best version of who you already are. It needs your authentic brilliance, your specific greatness. That’s what in my work, I call Distinctive Uniqueness.

Photo by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke

Photo by Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke

We have been told over and over we must work on our weaknesses (now disguised as “areas for improvement”), rather than focusing on building on our innate strengths and abilities. Admittedly, it makes sense to be aware of our lesser talents, areas we’re not naturally great at… so we know who we need to bring onto our team that can complement us in those areas. What we’re not supposed to be, is perfect.

I love generating content for workshops but am a useless graphic designer. Why would I want to spend precious time, money and energy to study graphic design and create my own flyers if there are people out there who are awesome designers and love doing it?

The same applies to corporate teams: Why would I as a Team Leader ask you to invest precious time and energy to become great at everything when I can bring others onto my team who are already great at it? Doesn’t it make more sense to let you do the work you are excellent at? And what if there’s even much more potential in this excellency? Potential you haven’t had a chance to show because we’ve been focusing so much on your “areas for improvement?”

So the question is not: “What’s wrong with me?” Instead, ask: “What’s right with me?”  How can you maximize your brilliance, your genius, your Distinctive Uniqueness to your own benefit and that of the entire team? What’s there that you haven’t uncovered yet? If you could contribute more to your own success and that of your team, what would it be?

Or if you are a business owner: What are your unique qualities? How can you turn them into an asset for your business? How can they help you stand out in a crowded market so you can cash in on them?

If you’d like to explore this for yourself but don’t know how, apply for a Discover Your Distinctive Uniqueness session. Go to the Coaching page and click on the Schedule a Consult button. For you to be considered, fill out all the fields, and I’ll contact you to confirm your session.

Step into your most powerful, authentic self!