Wednesday, November 26

How to Trigger Great Ideas

As you may or may not know, I am a great believer in asking great questions; especially of myself. A good time to sit and ask questions is when you are beginning a new project or wanting some fresh new ideas. Here is an article by motivational author and speaker Brian Tracy on how to generate great ideas. Enjoy!

A major stimulant to creative thinking is focused questions. There is something about a well-worded question that often penetrates to the heart of the matter and triggers new ideas and insights.

Questions Stimulate Creative Thinking
Some of the best questions I've found for business problem solving are the following:

Clarify Your Desired Result
Question #1 "What are we trying to do?" Whenever you become frustrated with slow progress for any reason, step back and ask this again and again, "What are we trying to do?"

Analyze Your Current Methods
Question #2 "How are we trying to do it?" If you are experiencing resistance, perhaps your method is wrong. Be willing to objectively analyze your approach by asking, "How are we trying to do it?" Is this the right way? Could there be a better way? What if our method was completely wrong? How else could we approach it?

Could You Be Wrong?
It requires courage to face the possibility that you may be wrong but it also leads to your seeing new possibilities. The rule is: Always decide what's right before worrying about who's right.

Question Your Assumptions
Another good question is, "What are our assumptions?" About the person, the product, the market, the business? What are our assumptions? Could we be assuming something that is incorrect? Someone once said that "Errant assumptions lie at the root of every failure".

What if your unspoken or implied assumptions were wrong? What would you have to do differently?

Put Past Decisions on Trial
Another form of focused questioning is what I call "Zero based thinking." This method requires that you put every past decision on trial for its life regularly by asking, "If I had not made this decision, knowing what I now know, would I make it?" If I had not hired this person or gotten involved in this project, knowing what I now know, would I do it over again?

If the answer is "NO" to one of these questions, then your aim should be to get out of the decision as fast as possible. Be willing to "cut your losses," and try something else.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do to trigger more and better ideas.

First, be very clear about exactly what it is that you are trying to do. Write it down and describe it as if it were already achieved.

Second, question your assumptions continually. What if there were a better way? Be willing to try something completely different.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, November 11

Who Are Your Leaders?

As leaders, you and I are responsible for finding good models to emulate. Give great thought to which leaders you follow because they determine your course as a leader. I have developed six questions to ask before choosing a model to follow:

1. Does my model's life deserve a following?
2. Does my model's life have a following?
3. What is the main strength that influences others to follow my model?
4. Does my model reproduce other leaders?
5. Is my model's strength reproducible in my life?
6. If my model's strength is reproducible in my life, what steps must I take to develop and demonstrate that strength?

The models we choose may or may not be accessible to us in a personal way. Studying national or historical figures can certainly benefit you, but not the way a personal mentor can.

From Developing the Leaders Around You by Dr. John Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, November 5

Do You Have A Passion Partner?

I have heard them called by many names: Action Partner, Mastermind Partner, and Accountability Partner. By whatever name you call one, the point is to use one. I like the term “Passion Partner” because this denotes fun and joy to me. Many other terms sound like work, and I need all the help I can get!

I know for myself and many of my workshop participants that it can be difficult to receive the appropriate positive energy and feedback that is needed when trying to live our dreams. Negative energy and feedback always seem to be in abundance. There are more naysayers on the journey than there are nutritious people. I just encountered someone I would call a friend say to me that my meager coaching fee was illegal! Amazing when I just participated in a teleseminar with masterminds and one saying he charges $5400 for a ninety-minute session! Who am I really listening to?

One Universal Law states that like attracts like. This friend of mine is constantly complaining about being broke and having nothing to fall back on. The economy is bad, her health is deteriorating and life sucks. I have the opportunity to listen to this 24/7. Yet, I choose to listen to the coach who charges $5400 not only because is he successful, but his conversation is more stimulating, spiritually and emotionally. There are plenty of opportunities for negativity in this world. Sometimes it seems that the people who are closest to us are our biggest critics and cynics. When I want to whine and complain about the economy, I have many, many people to commiserate with. Yet, when I speak of life being full of surprises, miracles and wonders, I am left alone in the room. What’s up with that?

Having a Passion Partner keeps you looking up instead of looking down in worry and anxiety. Your Passion Partner continues to encourage and empower you to do the things that excite you and create that spark the world is looking for. With a Passion Partner there is no recession, only opportunity; there are no obstacles, but challenges for growth; there is no struggle and suffering, only new lessons to be learned and new ways to be blessed by those lessons.

So, who are you listening to?

Who are you spending time with?

What are your conversations about: the bad economy or the new opportunities that can come from it?

Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic that many struggle with.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Saturday, November 1

The Key to Influencing Others

Remember, Dr. John Maxwell says that leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less. Everyone has the opportunity to influence someone.

Here is another great article by author and speaker Brian Tracy on influencing others. Enjoy!

Do Nice Things For Others
One of the best ways to influence someone is to do something nice for him. I know many successful salespeople who make a habit of taking their prospects out to breakfast or lunch. During the breakfast or lunch, they do not talk about their products or services unless the client brings it up. They merely make small talk, ask questions and listen. They work on building trust, and they work on establishing a friendly relationship. At the end of the breakfast or lunch, they tell the prospect that they will be getting in touch with him sometime in the future with the possibility of talking to him about helping him in some way.

See Them As Friends and Partners
The best salespeople and businesspeople in America today are those who look upon their customers and prospective customers as friends and partners. They always look for ways to help their partners improve their lives in ways that are not directly related to the products or services they sell. They sow seeds, and they reap a harvest. They trigger a desire in people to reciprocate. When the time comes for those salespeople to approach their prospects with the possibility of buying their products or services, the prospects are wide open to the questions and inputs of the salespeople. The prospects have a deep-down desire to reciprocate.

Send Thank You Notes
One of the best ways to use this principle in your interactions is to continually look for ways to say and do positive things for people. Look for ways to do kind acts and favors for your friends and prospects. Send thank-you notes. Send birthday cards. Send clippings from newspapers about subjects that you feel may be of interest to them. Always keep your promises, and follow up on your commitments. Always do what you say you will do. Do everything possible to put in, knowing confidently that you will ultimately be able to get out far more. You will reap if you sow.

Be A Go-Giver Rather Than A Go-Getter
Someone has observed that no one ever built a statue to a person to acknowledge what he or she got out of life. Statues are built only to people to acknowledge what they gave. The most powerful, influential and successful people you will ever meet always look for ways to do nice things for others. When you meet someone under almost any circumstance, one of the best questions you can ask is this: "Is there anything that I can do for you?" Always look for ways to put in rather than to take out. The successful man or woman of today is a "go-giver" as well as a go-getter.

Be Open and Empathetic
The more that people feel that you are open and empathetic and sensitive to their needs and concerns, the more open they will be to your influencing them positively in some way. And the more you can influence others with the power and impact of your personality, the more you will accomplish, and the faster you will accomplish it. The more rapidly you will move toward the great success that you desire and deserve.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, look for ways to do nice things for other people, especially your family, friends, and customers. The more nice things you do for others, the better you feel about yourself.

Second, take time to really listen to people, especially your staff and coworkers. The more and better you listen to others, the greater is your influence over them.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Monday, September 22

Leaders are Champions

There is an old saying: Champions don't become champions in the ring - they are merely recognized there. Boxing is a good analogy for leadership development because it is all about daily preparation. Even if a person has natural talent, he has to prepare and train to become successful.

One of the most famous quotes of President Theodore Roosevelt uses a boxing analogy: "It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause."

From The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Dr. John C. Maxwell

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, September 12

Empowering Others

I want to share this great article about empowering others by Brian Tracy. Enjoy!

Get the Cooperation of Others
Empowering people is the key to building a high-performance team. Once you empower people by learning how to motivate and inspire them, they will want to work with you to help you achieve your goals in everything you do. Your ability to enlist the knowledge, energy and resources of others enables you to become a multiplication sign, to leverage yourself so that you accomplish far more than the average person and in a far shorter period of time.

Determine the Key People to Empower
There are three types of people that you want to and need to empower on a regular basis. They are, first of all, the people closest to you: your family, your friends, your spouse and your children. Second are your work relationships: your staff, your coworkers, your peers, your colleagues and even your boss. Third are all the other people that you interact with in your day-to-day life: your customers, your suppliers, your banker, the people with whom you deal in stores, restaurants, airplanes, hotels and everywhere else. In each case, your ability to get people to help you is what will make you a more powerful and effective person.

Always Be Positive
Empower means "putting power into," and it can also mean "bringing energy and enthusiasm out of." So the first step in empowering people is to refrain from doing anything that disempowers them or reduces their energy and enthusiasm for what they are doing.

There are things you can do every single day to empower people and make them feel good about themselves.

Satisfy the Deepest Needs
The deepest need that each person has is for self-esteem, a sense of being important, valuable and worthwhile. Everything that you do in your interactions with others affects their self-esteem in some way. You already have an excellent frame of reference to determine the things that you can do to boost the self-esteem and therefore the sense of personal power of those around you. Give them what you'd like for yourself.

Continually Express Appreciation
Perhaps the simplest way to make another person feel good about himself or herself is your continuous expressions of appreciation for everything that person does for you, large or small. Say "thank you" on every occasion.

Thank your spouse for everything that he or she does for you. Thank your children for their cooperation and support in everything that they do around the house. Thank your friends for the smallest acts of kindnesses. The more you thank other people for doing things for you, the more things those other people will want to do.

Action Exercises
Here are two things you can do immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, continually look for ways to make people feel more valuable and important. Say things to others that you would like others to say to you.

Second, express appreciation for everything anyone does for you, large or small. Say the words, "thank you" on every occasion.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Monday, September 8

Is it Race... Is it Gender... Or What?

Okay, I am at the end of my patience with the election machine. I say let's just vote already!

I am also quite tired of hearing about race and gender. We are missing the big picture: history has been made. I think that is fabulous. One can submit their name for a public office and not wonder about the color of their skin or the gender they were born.

I may not agree with all that I hear, but I am proud of the way these candidates have put themselves on the line for the sake of this nation; knowing that they will be allowed to voice their concerns.

My vote is not about race nor gender, but about the issues. What about you?

Wednesday, September 3

A Servant's Heart

This week, I am in our nation’s capital for a meeting for the Franciscan Action Network, a grassroots organization dedicated to education and advocacy on social justice issues. Because I am in the company of such esteemed colleagues, I ended up watching the Republican National Convention. Okay, I never watch those things; just the You Tube Highlights, you know the bloopers.

Anyway, I did want to check out the nominee for Vice President for the Republican Party, Governor Sarah Palin (pictured). Apparently she’s all that, but I never heard of her until a week ago. She’s cute and perky and had some decent one-liners. But one thing she did say struck me; she spoke of the nominee having a servant’s heart.

What did she mean by a servant’s heart? Well, I wager that her meaning would be the same as mine: a leader who is servant first, displaying compassion, empathy and deep listening skills, among other traits. I totally agree with Governor Palin that our next president should display a servant’s heart; that anyone who is to be an effective leader must have a servant’s heart. Whether I think that will come from the Republican Party will take another entire blog post to unpack, however, I do believe that having a servant’s heart is crucial for great leadership.

A servant leader is also one who can put aside their own agenda for the good of the organization. This is not an easy thing to do when most leadership is governed by ego. When leadership is ruled by ego, then there is no room for anyone or anything else. We must set aside our ego to effectively lead. And if you have to ask whether or not you are leading with your ego, chances are you probably are.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Saturday, August 16

The Key to Leadership

A great article by author and speaker Brian Tracy.

The Key to Leadership

The Foremost of the Values
Winston Churchill once said, "Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it all others depend." The systematic development of the deep down quality of unflinching courage is one of the fundamental requirements for leadership in any field. Fear, or the lack of courage is more responsible for failure in management, and in life, than any other factor. It is always fear that causes people to hold back, to sell themselves short, to settle for far less than they are capable of!

Eliminate Fear and Doubt
I firmly believe that you can do, have or be far more than you now know if only you could eliminate the fear, doubts and misgivings that consciously and unconsciously interfere with your realizing your full potential.

Unlearn Your Fears
If there is anything positive about fear, it is that all fears are learned, that no one is born with fears, and that having been learned, they can be unlearned. If you want to understand the role of fear in shaping the course of your life, just ask yourself, if you had a magic wand that would absolutely guarantee you success in any one thing you attempted, what goal would you set for yourself.

The Great Question
"What one great thing would you dare to dream if you knew you could not fail?" If you had no fears at all with regard to money or the criticism of others, what would you do differently? Most people can think of all kinds of changes they would, or could, make in their lives if they had no fears to hold them back.

The Origins of Fear
The development of courage begins with understanding the psychological origins of fear. The newborn child has only two fears; the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. All other fears that we experience as adults are learned as we are growing up, primarily as the result of well-meaning but destructive criticism from our parents.

How Fears Develop
When the curious child gets into things and makes a mess, the parent scolds and punishes the child, eventually building up a pattern of fear connected with trying or getting into anything new or different. As adults, we experience this as the fear of failure, the fear of risking, of making a mistake, of losing.

Action Exercises
Here are two steps you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, imagine that you had no fears at all. What would you set as a goal for yourself if you were guaranteed of success?

Second, decide exactly what you want and then act as if it were impossible to fail. You may be surprised at how successful you are.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, August 14

An Equip and Empower Moment

"The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude;
be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully;
be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid;
be proud, but notarrogant; have humor, but without folly."

~ Jim Rohn, Motivational speaker, author

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, August 10

When A Leader Speaks

Recently I witnessed the following scenario:

At the busstop, a woman asked another woman when the next bus was due to arrive. The second woman, having just looked at the bus schedule, answered the question. The first woman then asked another person the same question, within earshot of the woman she had just asked. Needless to say, the woman became angry because it appeared that the first woman did not trust her word.

When somebody asks a question in a meeting, whom do people look to for the answer? Whom do they wait to hear? The person they look to is the real leader. Identifying a real leader can be easy - if you remember what you're looking for.

Don't listen to the claims of the person professing to be the leader. Instead, watch the reactions of the people around him. The proof of leadership is found in the followers. People listen to what someone has to say not necessarily because of the message, but because of their respect for the messenger.

So I must ask you this: How do people react when you communicate? When you speak, do people listen - I mean really listen? Or do they wait to hear what someone else has to say before they act? You can find out a lot about your level of leadership if you have the courage to ask and answer that question.

From The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Dr. John Maxwell.
To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, July 18

Encourage Others' Strengths

When some leaders begin to work with others on their development, they gravitate to weaknesses rather than strengths. Maybe that's because it's so easy to see other people's problems and shortcomings. But if you start by putting your energies into correcting people's weaknesses, you will demoralize them and unintentionally sabotage the enlarging process.

Instead of focusing on weaknesses, give your attention to people's strengths. Focus on sharpening skills that already exist. Compliment positive qualities. Bring out the gifts inherent in them. Weaknesses can wait - unless they are character flaws. Only after you have developed a strong rapport with the person and they have begun to grow and gain confidence should you address areas of weakness, ...and then those should be handled gently and one at a time.

From Becoming a Person of Influence by Dr. John Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, July 16

The July NYC Meetup Organizers’ Meetup

Yes, even organizers have a Meetup, because being a leader is learned, we are not born it great leadership skills. And it is a marvelous thing to get together with the other leaders to talk about what is and is not working within our groups, and to learn from one another.

Last night, as usual we met at the Skylight Diner with our U-shaped table setup. Our illustrious leader, David Greene, has set the standard for our gathering at this diner. With a total of 22 organizers, assistant organizers or organizers-in-the-making, it was a great meeting packed with lots of helpful information.

There were new organizers and more seasoned organizers to share their experiences with venues, payments, attendance issues, RSVPs, and some technical issues with the Meetup site. The most humorous Meetup was the NYC Easy Going Attention Deficit Disorder Meetup Group. Organizer Tim was great fun and being a new organizer shared his frustrations and joys.

Both David and Tom shared ways to ensure attendance and retention of membership. Both spoke of the personal touch: personally sending emails to the members ensuring their presence at the next event. Tom runs two groups, including the LOST Meetup Group.

Clearly the spotlight was on Sheryl who organizes the Culture for the Non-Cultured Meetup Group, which boasts a membership of 2500 plus. She shared her strategies for planning, organizing and executing her events from start for finish.

A few of the issues discussed were optimizing a better system for Waiting Lists and learning the new Amazon payment program.

We were graced by the presence of two Meetup employees, no doubt doing a “crawl”, Andres and Karina, who are the marketing, strategy and research people. They answered certain techy questions, but clearly let us know that this was not to be about them, but about the organizers sharing. They did stay around after to answer any individual questions.

Being a leader takes courage and a willingness to serve. This definitely describes a Meetup organizer; especially the ones who take the time to come out to gather and share with their fellow organizers ~ knowing there is always more to learn.

To lead is to serve,

Monday, July 14

The Practice of Discipline

I share this article on discipline by author and speaker Brian Tracy.

Discipline yourself to do what you know you need to do to be the very best in your field. Perhaps the best definition of self discipline is this: "Self discipline is the ability to make yourself do what you should do when you should do it, whether you feel like it or not."

It is easy to do something when you feel like it. It's when you don't feel like it and you force yourself to do it anyway that you move your life and career onto the fast track.

What decisions do you need to make today in order to start moving toward the top of your field? Whatever it is, either to get in or get out, make a decision today and then get started. This single act alone can change the whole direction of your life.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, July 9

An Equip & Empower Moment

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the quality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.”
~ Anonymous
To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, July 6

Opportunities, Not Obstacles

"Every wall is a door." --Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great leaders look for opportunities when they come up against a brick wall. Instead of merely seeing the wall, they see it as a door – an opening to a new opportunity. When obstacles arise, some may look at them as failure. There is no failure, only feedback. Remember, you set the standard of what failure looks like for you and your business. When your standard is not met, simply re-assess the standard by asking some pertinent questions.

“What are the lessons I am to learn in this situation?”

“What are the blessings that I can take from this situation?”

Always re-assess your trajectories and intentions. Sometimes we simply outgrow them, or our passion has shifted. Like us, our businesses should be living and growing. George Bernard Shaw once said so appropriately, “The only man who behaves sensibly is my tailor; he takes my measurements anew every time he sees me, while all the rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”

Like the tailor, we should continuously re-measure and re-assess so that any missed opportunity turns into a new opportunity. Become a visionary: turn your walls into doors and your obstacles into opportunities.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, June 19

Great Leaders Are Made, Not Born

"A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.” ~ Dr. John C. Maxwell

Leaders have a sense of mission and vision that uplifts, motivates and inspires men and women to greatness, helping them achieve that vision. Leaders make things happen.

It is never too late to become a great leader.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, June 11

In Memoriam: Father Paul Keenan

A True Servant Leader

It is with great sadness that I write this post about the passing of a very dear friend, a mentor and a true servant leader. Father Paul Keenan, priest, author, radio host and avid cat lover, passed away yesterday just three days shy of his 62nd birthday. Father Paul was a very kind and gentle soul, honoring his call to lift people from their personal and collective darknesses to shine a bit of light on their path.

His books, his homilies, his articles, and his radio shows all reflected his deep soulfulness. All reflected a life lived in deep contemplation. Whenever we met to catch up on each other’s lives, we both had many irons in the fire, and were delighted to share, cheer one another on and pray for each other’s endeavors. I was equally thrilled when he called me one morning to ask me to be a guest on his radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. It was another opportunity to share with my dear friend.

Although I had known Father Paul for years, it wasn’t until my own personal loss and the tragedy of September 11, 2001, that we bonded in a very special way. He mentored me during my trials and I was a listening ear during his own losses and grief. The loss of loved ones, pets, and opportunities sealed the bond of our friendship. I realized that it is during the darkest of times, that true friends and true leaders reflect the brightest light. Father Paul’s light was indeed very bright.

I will miss Father Paul, but through memories, I know that he is and will always remain that beacon of light to shine the way through those dark moments. I will always remember the luncheons, the emails, the chats, and the hugs.

Great leaders leave great legacies, and Father Paul has left one with all of his readers, listeners, his congregations, loved ones, and especially with me.

Read Father Paul’s final article on Soulful Living. It is aptly titled Celebration of Life.

You are now among the angels.
Rest in peace, dear friend.

Monday, June 9

Procrastination is a Four-Letter Word

As an avid procrastinator, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to move through those tasks that seem too big and overwhelming. If I could get paid being a procrastinator, I would be a multi-millionaire! I am extremely good at it; though it is not something I want to be good at.

I don't even like the word ~ procrastination. It too is very big and overwhelming. Okay, I am procrastinating...

Here is tip from author and speaker, Brian Tracy called Slice and Dice The Task.

Why You Procrastinate
A major reason for procrastinating on big, important tasks is that they appear so large and formidable when you first approach them. One technique that you can use to cut a big task down to size is the "Salami slice" method of getting work done. With this method, you lay out the task in detail and then resolve to do just one slice of the job for the time being, like eating a roll of salami, one slice at a time. Or like eating one piece of a frog at a time.

Do One Small Part to Start
Psychologically, you will find it easier to do a single, small piece of a large project than to start on the whole job. Often, once you have started and completed a single part of the job, you will feel like doing just one more "slice." Soon, you will find yourself working through the job one part at a time, and before you know it, the job will be completed.

Just Get Started
Once you start working, you develop a sense of forward momentum and a feeling of accomplishment. You become energized and excited. You feel yourself internally motivated and propelled to keep going until the task is complete.

Action Exercises
Now, here are two actions you can take immediately to put these ideas into action.

First, select one big important task and lay it out in front of you.

Second, select one part of the task and do it immediately.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, May 29

Leadership and Self-Discipline

Great leaders always have self-discipline. In this day and age, we tend to seek instant gratification instead of self-discipline. In our fast food society, real success takes time and discipline; as it takes time to become a great leader. As General Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “There are no victories at bargain prices.” When it comes to self-discipline, people choose one of two things: Either they choose the pain of discipline, which comes from sacrifice and growth, or they choose the pain of regret, which comes from taking the easy road and missing opportunities. Each person makes the choice.

We must look for two areas of self-discipline in potential leaders. The first is in the area of the emotions. Effective leaders recognize that their emotional reactions are their responsibility. The second area concerns time. Every person on the planet is given the same allotment of minutes in a day. But each person's level of self-discipline dictates how effectively those minutes are used. Disciplined people maximize the use of their time.

From Developing the Leaders Around You by Dr. John Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, April 4

Building Your Courage Muscles

Here is a great article by speaker and author Brian Tracy on developing courage. Enjoy!

Three Rules for Developing Courage

The step-by-step development of courage in yourself is the first responsibility of leadership. The second responsibility is to develop and instill courage in others, your staff, your children, your spouse, and your friends. But you must begin with yourself because you can't give away something that you don't have. You can only encourage others to the degree to which you experience and demonstrate courage yourself. You set the tone and determine the standard.

Control Your Fear

Here's the first rule: "Everyone is afraid." You're afraid, I'm afraid, everyone you meet is afraid in some way, often in many ways. As Mark Twain said, "Courage is not absence of fear; it is control of fear, mastery of fear." The brave person is the person who acts in spite of his or her fear, who faces the fear, feels the fear and moves forward regardless.

Here's the second rule: "Fears diminish and lose their power over you as you confront them and move toward them; conversely, every time you back away from a fear situation, the fear grows and becomes more powerful."

Confront Your Fear

The only way to develop courage is to consciously and continuously make a habit of confronting your fear of treating every fear-inducing situation as a challenge and as an opportunity to become stronger, more resolute.

Do the Thing You Fear

Here's the third rule: "Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain." Psychologists call this the process of "systematic desensitization," doing it over and over until it holds no fear for you at all. Many businesspeople who have been so afraid of public speaking that they couldn't lead a silent prayer in a phone booth have used this process of eliminating fear. By going to meeting after meeting of Toastmasters International, speaking and getting feedback each time, they have developed competence and confidence where once they experienced only terror. So can you.

Action Exercises
Here are two ways to apply these rules to develop courage in yourself.

First, confront your fears directly and immediately. Whenever you feel afraid for any reason, do it anyway! You'll be amazed at your success.

Second, do the thing you fear over and over until it has no more power over you. The more you repeat the action, the more courage and confidence you will have.

Check out Brian's website ~ it is packed with articles, products and services for becoming a more effective leader. Also check out Brian's blog.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, March 27

Great Leaders Need Great Mentors

All great leaders need a great mentor to guide, share, and be a sounding board. A mentor is someone who has "been there, and done that" and now owns the T-shirt! When approaching someone to mentor you, make sure that person has been through similar experiences and can be a voice of knowledge and wisdom.

A page from one of my mentors, Dr. John Maxwell's book, Developing the Leaders Around You.

When you find someone who can personally mentor you, use these guidelines to help develop a positive mentoring relationship with that person:

1. Ask the right questions. Give thought to the questions you will ask before your time with your mentor. Make the questions strategic for your growth.

2. Don't let ego get in the way of learning.

3. Respect the mentor but don't idolize him/her. Making the mentor an idol removes your critical faculty for adapting a mentor's knowledge and experience to yourself.

4. Put into effect immediately what you are learning.

5. Be disciplined in relating to the mentor. Arrange for ample time, select the subject matter in advance, and do your homework to make sessions profitable.

6. Don't threaten to give up. Let your mentor know that you have made a decision for progress, so your mentor will know it's not a waste of time.


I mentor young women in the spiritual arena and can share my experiences with them. I know we are a great match when their story sounds so much like my own story from the past.

I am able to journey with another woman beginning her journey along the same road. It it not only an honor and a privilege to be a mentor, but it is also a chance to recheck my own journey. I also listen to the mentee's visions and dreams and re-evaluate my own. Then I can check in with my own mentor with fresh, new ideas.

Mentoring has so many rewards -- for both the mentor and the mentee. To be a great leader, one must have a great mentor. So, go out and find a great person to walk with you on the success journey!

To lead is to serve,

Coach Carolyn

Friday, March 21

Being a Disciplined Leader

“Half of life is luck; the other half is discipline - and that’s the important half, for without discipline you wouldn’t know what to do with luck.” ~ Carl Zuckmeyer

"With self-discipline most anything is possible." ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Being a disciplined leader from The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player by Dr. John Maxwell

Discipline is doing what you really don't want to do, so that you can do what you really want to do. It's paying the price in the little things so that you can buy the bigger thing.

Disciplined leaders must possess . . .

1. Disciplined Thinking: You can't get far in life if you don't use your head. If you keep your mind active and regularly take on mental challenges, you will develop the kind of disciplined thinking that will help you with whatever you endeavor to do.

2. Disciplined Emotions: People have just two choices when it comes to their emotions: they can master their emotions or be mastered by them. You shouldn't let your feelings prevent you from doing what you should or drive you to do things you shouldn't.

3. Disciplined Actions: Sharpening your mind and controlling your emotions are important, but they can take you only so far. Action is what separates the winners from the losers. Your actions always reflect your degree of discipline.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, March 12

Leadership Is Influence

Dr. John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence – nothing more, nothing less.” I share this article from the Center of Creative Leadership on power versus influence. Enjoy!

There's a difference between leadership and power. Successful executives know that difference and lead their teams more effectively because of it. Unfortunately, many executives on the rise in an organization forget the leadership skills and contacts that put their careers on track in the first place.

That way, leaders can build their teams and organization in such a way that their assets and liabilities complement each other.

For example, it's one of the myths of effective leadership that power alone can help an executive or a company achieve goals.

A study by the Center for Creative Leadership shows that as executives advance in a company, they begin to blur the lines between leadership, power and influence. They see themselves as more intelligent and capable than those around them in the organization. They see people who agree with them as more capable, intelligent, and ethical than those who might disagree.

The result? Executives get affirmation from a small, expected group, which inflates their idea of how powerful and influential they are among the people who work with them. Their influence becomes constricted, and their leadership erodes. Some people overtly use power to accomplish their goals, says CCL's Pete Hammett, who is also the author of "Unbalanced Influence." He says others become used to having tools of power, such as the ability to dictate and set agendas.

Over time, that access to power distorts an executive's influence in the organization. They may have the title and power, but their disenfranchised team members won't see them as an effective leader. Those with different opinions choose to remain silent. Or they leave. With them, they take away a whole range of ideas.

The CCL and Hammett recommend that executives calibrate their spheres of influence and see whether their team members perceive them as leaders or merely as suits with powerful titles.
Here are three ways to proceed:

No. 1: Find and listen to other voices. A leader should keep in touch with new ideas and fresh perspectives. If all you're hearing is one voice, then invite others to the conversation. And let them know you really want to hear them.

No. 2: Find a sparring partner. Find someone who's comfortable and capable of taking an opposing point of view. That doesn't mean you should seek out every malcontent in an operation. It means you should find someone who is intelligent, thoughtful and open to tackling a discussion from an opposing view. Don't be seen as a leader who refuses to listen to different ideas. Or, worse, one who penalizes people for suggesting them.

No. 3: Leadership can be cultivated, but only in a self-aware person. Sign up for a leadership program. Get some feedback that assesses your leadership style. Make a point to hold a mirror up to your conversations and interactions within your organization. Only by seeing themselves through others' eyes can executives go from someone who holds power to someone who leads.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, February 22

Growth = Change

A page from my mentor, Dr. Maxwell:

Just about anyone would agree that growing is a good thing, but relatively few people actually dedicate themselves to the process. Why? Because growth requires change, and change is hard for most people. But the truth is that without change, growth is impossible.

Most people fight against change, especially when it affects them personally. As novelist Leo Tolstoy said, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." The ironic thing is that change is inevitable. Everybody has to deal with it in their lives. On the other hand, growth is optional. You can choose to grow or to fight it. But know this: people unwilling to grow will never reach their potential.

Making the change from being an occasional learner to someone dedicated to personal growth is tough. It goes against the grain of the way most people live. Most people celebrate when they receive their diploma or degree and say to themselves, "Thank goodness that's over. I'm done with studying." But that kind of thinking doesn't take you any higher than average.

From Your Road Map For Success by Dr. John Maxwell.

Gandhi once said that we must be the change we want to see in the world. In order to be the change, we must grow to change.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, February 3

Good Leaders are Good Listeners

As the leader of a team or an organization, you set the tone for communication. A leader's communication must be consistent, clear, and courteous. But leaders must also be good listeners. When leaders don't listen...

~ They stop gaining wisdom.
~ They stop "hearing" what isn't being said.
~ Team members stop communicating.
~ Their indifference begins to spread to other areas.
~ Ultimately, poor listening leads to hostility, miscommunication, and a breakdown of team cohesion.

How are your listening skills? Give yourself a 360-degree review. Ask for feedback concerning your ability and willingness to listen from your boss or mentor, your colleagues, and your subordinates. If you don't get good grades from all of them, then quiet down, listen up, and work to become a better communicator.

From The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork by Dr. John Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Saturday, January 19

Leaders Are Made, Not Born

Great leadership is a skill that can be acquired by anyone. A leader is a person who influences, and if you are breathing, then that means you. I want to share with you this article by author and speaker Brian Tracy.

The Key Leadership Abilities
Your ability to negotiate, communicate, influence, and persuade others to do things is absolutely indispensable to everything you accomplish in life. The most effective men and women in every area are those who can quite competently organize the cooperation and assistance of other people toward the accomplishment of important goals and objectives.

Everyone is Different
Of course, everyone you meet has different values, opinions, attitudes, beliefs, cultural values, work habits, goals, ambitions, and dreams. Because of this incredible diversity of human resources, it has never been more difficult and yet more necessary for diplomatic leaders to emerge and form these people into high-performing teams.

Do What Other Leaders Do
Fortunately, leaders are made, not born. You learn to become a leader by doing what other excellent leaders have done before you. You become proficient in your job or skill, and then you become proficient at understanding the motivations and behaviors of other people. As a leader, you combine your personal competencies with the competencies of a variety of others into a smoothly functioning team that can out-play and out-perform all its competitors. When you become a team leader, even if your team only consists of one other person, you must immediately develop a whole new set of leadership skills.

Focus On What's Right vs. Who's Right
Whenever you have problems, misunderstandings, or difficulties within the team, you reexamine your values, your goals, your activities, your assignments, and your responsibilities. You are more concerned with what's right than with who's right. Leaders are more concerned with winning than with not losing. High-Performing teams run by excellent leaders, are determined to perform in an excellent fashion. All members know that their ability to work together in harmony and cooperation is the key to the success of every one of them.

Aim at a Common Goal
The wonderful thing about becoming a leader in your work and personal life is that you can practice the skills of influencing and persuading others toward a common objective. You can promote the principles of excellent teamwork by establishing your values and goals, determining your activities, and then leading the action. And you can improve yourself by continually evaluating your performance against your standards.

Only Compare Yourself With Yourself
One of the marks of excellent people is that they never compare themselves with others. They only compare themselves with themselves and with their past accomplishments and future potential. You can become an even more excellent person by constantly setting higher and higher standards for yourself and then by doing everything possible to live up to those standards.

The more proficient you become at getting the results for which you were hired, the more opportunities you will have to get results through others. And your ability to put together a team and then to lead that team to high performance will enable you to accelerate your career and fulfill your goals faster than ever before.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, January 8

Being Servant First

And now, a page from The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by Dr. John Maxwell.

When you think of servanthood, what do you envision? Servanthood is not about position or skill. It's about attitude. You undoubtedly have met people in service positions who have poor attitudes toward servanthood. And just as you can sense when a worker doesn't want to help people, you can just as easily detect whether a leader has a servant's heart.

The truth is that the best leaders desire to serve others, not themselves. True servant leaders:
~ Put others ahead of their own agenda.
~ Possess the confidence to serve.
~ Initiate service to others.
~ Are not position-conscious.
~ Serve out of love.

Servant leadership is never motivated by manipulation or self-promotion. In the end, the extent of your influence depends on the depth of your concern for others. That's why it's so important for leaders to be willing to serve.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, January 1

Leadership and Self-Talk

"The most influential person you will talk to all day is you." ~ Zig Ziglar

I just read this fabulous article from business and motivational speaker and author, Zig Ziglar. It has confirmed my belief about talking to yourself. I do it all the time; this is when I can brainstorm some of my best material!

It's okay - talk to yourself. Dr. Joyce Brothers says that people who talk to themselves are above average in intelligence so, for those of you who indulge in that little mind-building exercise, be happy as you do it! Factually, the most important conversations you will have with anyone on any given day are the conversations you have with yourself. Despite this fact, there are many people who deny that they talk to themselves. However, these same people have been seen heatedly talking to someone in a car three blocks away. They even talk to golf balls, telling them to "stay in bounds," or "get in the hole!"

Scientifically speaking, according to the March, 1990, issue of U.S. Air magazine, what you say to yourself has a direct bearing on your performance. That's why you should be upbeat, optimistic and positive when you talk to yourself and others. Use positive statements instead of negative ones. For example, parents should not say to the child who wants to help with the dishes, "O.k., but be careful - don't break them, this is our best china." To do so would be to give precise directions for breaking the dishes.

The person who says to his mate, "Don't let me forget where I put my keys," has just given himself clear instructions, "forget where you put them." You should say, "I'm going to remember that I put my keys in the top drawer." The field goal kicker who says to himself, "If I miss this kick we lose the game," is far more likely to miss than is the one who says, "I will split the uprights and we will win the game!" The reason is simple. Words "paint pictures" and the mind goes to work to complete the picture.

Think about it. Say something nice to yourself and others, something positive and upbeat. It'll be a big help. So much so that if you do, I'll SEE YOU OVER THE TOP!

Here's wishing you all the most abundant and prosperous of new year's!

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn