Thursday, December 24

Blessed Christmas

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys." ~ Charles Dickens

Wishing you a most Blessed Christmas!

Coach Carolyn

Thursday, December 10

A Tribute to Jim Rohn

"If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much." ~ Jim Rohn

Jim Rohn (September 17, 1930 - December 5, 2009) was considered a "Business Philosopher". He did not claim to teach novel truths, only fundamentals - and as he was fond of saying: "There are no new fundamentals. Truth is not new, it's old. You've got to be a little suspicious of the guy who says, 'come over here, I want to show you my manufactured antiques!' No, you can't manufacture antiques." Whoever rendered service to many put himself in line for greatness – great wealth, great return, great satisfaction, great reputation, and great joy. (From Wikipedia)

Anyone in the personal development sphere will have known the name of Jim Rohn. Influencing the likes of Anthony Robbins, Jack Canfield and Brian Tracy, Rohn was a pioneer in the arena of thinking for a change. Though he left a legacy of books, audio and video, he will be deeply missed.

"A good objective of leadership is to help those who are doing poorly to do well and to help those who are doing well to do even better." ~ Jim Rohn

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, November 27

Leadership Is Influence

"There is no power on earth that can neutralize the influence of a high, simple and useful life." ~ Booker T. Washington

"Let him that would move the world, first move himself." ~ Socrates

"The humblest individual exerts some influence, either for good or evil, upon others." ~ Henry Ward Beecher

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, October 28

Landing Your Thoughts

A fantastic article on your thoughts by Dr. John C. Maxwell. Enjoy!

Years ago, a friend of mine looked at me in a meeting and made a statement that I’ve never forgotten. “John,” he said, “ideas are like soap bubbles floating in the air close to jagged rocks on a windy day.”

What a vivid picture of how incredibly frail thoughts and ideas really are! Think about it. How many times during the day does a thought pop into your head that makes you stop and say, “I really need to write that down—that’s a great idea”? Now, how many of those thoughts do you actually remember and act upon? Unless you’ve made an intentional effort to record your ideas as they come, I’m guessing the first number is far greater than the second.

In my book, “Thinking for a Change”, I talk about the importance of “landing your thoughts.” I compare this process to landing an airplane. What is the first thing you do when the flight attendant announces that your plane has begun its descent? You fasten your seatbelt because you realize you could be hitting the runway hard and you don’t want to get hurt.

Now, if you were really afraid of a bumpy landing, you could beg the flight attendant not to let the pilot land the plane. But, in addition to attracting unwanted attention from airline security, that would defeat the whole point of being on the airplane, which is to get you to your final destination. So you fasten your seatbelt, grit your teeth and prepare for impact.

The same principle applies to landing a thought. Any idea that remains only an idea doesn’t make a great impact. The real power of an idea comes when it goes from abstraction to application.

And that’s where seatbelts (and perhaps some teeth-gritting) are needed. When you land a thought—either by writing it down so you can study it later or by expressing it out loud to the people around you—you’re bound to get all sorts of responses. The members of your audience (including yourself) might be receptive to your thought, but they also might be confused, skeptical, hostile or indifferent.

Such reactions aren’t reserved only for bad ideas. That’s why it’s so important to fasten your mental seatbelt before you attempt to land a thought. When an idea has potential, some part of the landing will probably be rough. But that’s OK, because this process has a way of honing, strengthening and clarifying good thoughts, thereby turning them into great ideas.

With that in mind, here are four observations about thinking that may help you hang tough when you’re trying to land a thought.

1. Thoughts never begin fully formed. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had a complete idea come to me immediately. This certainly would be a more efficient way of thinking, but it simply doesn’t work that way.

2. Thoughts take time and others to reach their potential. Notice I didn’t say it takes time or others to develop a thought. It takes both. Thought maturation works best when it occurs over time and with input from other informed, thinking people.

3. Thoughts are very fragile in the beginning. The quote from my friend says it all.

4. Thoughts only reach their full potential in a healthy environment. In this kind of setting, criticism is constructive, not destructive. Hard questions are asked to clarify and define an idea, not to attack it or tear it apart. Thoughts may be challenged, but the overall atmosphere is positive, not negative.

Even if you’re completely prepared for bumpy thought landings, there will always be times when your thoughts crash and burn on impact. In other words, they fail to survive the landing process.

Here are two reasons why.

1. They’re not good thoughts. I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a great idea. I grab the pen and writing pad that I keep by my bed and jot it down, certain that in the morning, I’ll be able to lift the thought to a whole new level. But when I look at what I wrote the next day, all that comes to mind is, “What a stupid thought! What was I thinking?” These thoughts fail because they’re just not good.

2. An unhealthy environment. I just stated that thoughts only reach their full potential in a healthy environment. So it only makes sense that an unhealthy setting—marked by negativity, excuses, and excess stress and busyness—would be detrimental to good thinking.
Begin to think of your thoughts as delicate soap bubbles—full of possibility yet always in danger of evaporating—and handle them accordingly.

John C. Maxwell is an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, and author who has sold over 16 million books. His organizations have trained more than 2 million leaders worldwide.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, September 20

Managing Change in Leadership

Enjoy this excerpt from an article by leadership expert, Phillip Van Hooser from Tips from Transformational Impact.

Successful leadership in the midst of chaotic change requires a mind shift. Traditional leadership has the mindset that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." A transformational leadership approach says, "It's already broken, or it's going to break. How can we seize the opportunities we have now to make it better?"

Managing change with this transformational mind set requires that leaders know what they are up against. There are some critical truths about change that need to recognized before getting a firm grasp on any changing situation.

Truth # 1: Change is inevitable - it's going to happen. The question for leaders is - will you see it coming? What steps are you implementing to survey the changes in your industry? Have you developed plans for innovation and contingencies? If not, why not? Transformational leaders are visionary.

Truth # 2: Change impacts everyone, at some point, at some time. We don't live and work in a vacuum. And unfortunately, we are sometimes innocent bystanders who get caught in the groundswell of change. Consider, for example, the honest owner of the auto dealership whose livelihood is cut off as a result of the disassembling of Chrysler and General Motors. Transformational leaders understand the ripple effect of change and realize their organization can be impacted by the decisions of others.

Truth # 3: Change is most challenging for those who are most comfortable. Traditional leadership thinks: "I like the way it's always been done." "Why worry about what MIGHT happen?" "Business seems to be going nicely, why mess with a good thing?" Transformational leadership says: "We must innovate or fall behind." "What can we change that will take our processes, products and people to the next level?"

Truth # 4: If leaders wait until everyone realizes change is necessary, it is often too late to manage the situation successfully. Successful leaders must accept the responsibility for setting the vision and direction of their organization. That includes accepting the responsibility to make difficult decisions in a timely manner.

Truth # 5: Most often, change is a result of force, not choice. Again, the U.S. auto industry is a classic example. Transformational leaders have the mind set to change voluntarily. They seek out the parts of their organization - and themselves – that need improvement and implement the change before that change is forced upon them.

Truth # 6: When change occurs, new problems and new opportunities are always created. Yes, managing change is a huge headache. It is also a huge oyster filled with opportunities never before available. The need to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil coupled with the restructuring of the U.S. auto industry has spawned an explosion of new "green" technologies. Transformational leaders understand the value of seeking out and maximizing the opportunities that exist each time something changes.

Phillip Van Hooser from Tips for Transformational IMPACT

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, September 1

Give Yourself Away

As a team leader, how do you cultivate an attitude of selflessness? Begin by doing the following:

1. Being generous: If team members are willing to give of themselves generously to the team, then it is being set up to succeed.

2. Avoiding internal politics: Good team players worry about the benefit of their teammates more than themselves.

3. Displaying loyalty: If you show the people on your team loyalty, they will return loyalty in kind. Loyalty fosters unity, and unity breeds team success.

4. Valuing interdependence more than independence: In the United States, we value independence highly, because it is often accompanied by innovation, hard work, and a willingness to stand for what's right. But independence taken too far is a characteristic of selfishness, especially if it begins to harm or hinder others. Seneca stated, "You must live for others if you wish to live for yourself."

From The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player by Dr. John Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, August 21

Leadership Question of the Week

“I have thoughts, but I am not my thoughts,
I will not be taken by my thoughts.
I have feelings, but I am not my feelings,
I will not be taken by my feelings.
I have a body, but I am not my body,
I will not be taken by my body.
I have a business, but I am not my business,
I will not be taken by my business.
Then, who am I?"
~ Michael Gerber

Have you truly evolved your thinking and belief systems to reflect the current times?

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, August 9

The Voice of Leadership

Where does a leader's vision come from? To find your vision, you must listen to:

The Inner Voice: Vision starts within. Do you know what your life's mission is? If what you're pursuing in life doesn't come from the depths of who you are and what you believe, you will not be able to accomplish it.

The Unhappy Voice: Where does inspiration for great ideas come from? From noticing what doesn't work. Discontent with the status quo is a great catalyst for vision. No great leader in history has fought to prevent change.

The Successful Voice: Nobody can accomplish great things alone. If you want to lead others to greatness, find a good mentor, an advisor who can help you sharpen your vision.

The Higher Voice: Don't let your vision be confined by your own limited capabilities. A truly valuable vision must have God in it. Only He knows what you're really capable of. Have you looked beyond yourself, even beyond your own lifetime as you've sought your vision? If not, you may be missing the true potential of your life.

From The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by Dr. John Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Sunday, July 26

Leadership Question of the Month

"All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership." ~ John Kenneth Galbraith

What is your biggest limitation to personal and professional success?

How will you overcome this and transform it as an opportunity?

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Monday, July 13

Why Worry?

A great article by motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar. Enjoy!

Worry has been described as “interest paid on trouble before it comes due.” One of America’s worst enemies is worry. Worry is like a rocking chair, it requires a lot of energy and it gets you nowhere. Leo Buscaglia said, “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”

Question: Are you a worrier? Americans take more pills to forget more worries about more things than ever before and more than any other nation in history. That’s bad. According to Dr. Charles Mayo, “Worry affects the circulation and the whole nervous system. I’ve never known a man who died from overwork, but I’ve known many who have died from doubt.” Doubt always creates worry and, in most cases, lack of information raises the doubt.

Mathematically speaking, it really doesn’t make sense to worry. Psychologists and much research tells us that roughly 40% of what we worry about will never happen and 30% has already happened. Additionally, 12% of our worries are over unfounded health concerns. Another 10% of our worries involve the daily miscellaneous fretting that accomplishes nothing. That leaves only 8%. Plainly speaking, Americans are worrying 92% of the time for no good reason and if Dr. Mayo is right, it’s killing us.

One simple solution that will reduce your worry is this: Don’t worry about what you can’t change. Example: For a number of years I’ve flown in excess of 200,000 miles a year. On occasion, flights are canceled or delayed. As I write this article, I’m sitting on the runway waiting for my gate to clear. If I worry or get angry it will change nothing. If I take constructive action and finish this article, I’m ahead of the game. That’s a positive way to use the energy that would have been wasted on anger, frustration, or worrying.

The message is clear: If you don’t like your situation in life, don’t fret or worry - do something about it. Worry less, act more, and I will SEE YOU AT THE TOP!

Zig Ziglar is a motivator and teacher. He is the author of 27 books and loved by millions of people world wide for his practical wisdom and his gift of hope.

Also, check out the new blog Ziglar Pure and Simple by son, Tom Ziglar.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Saturday, July 4

Celebrate! Happy 4th!

Stay safe and blessed,
Coach Carolyn

Friday, July 3

Communicate Well To Lead

"If I had to name a single all-purpose instrument of leadership, it would be communication." ~ John W. Gardner

If you cannot communicate, you will not lead others effectively.

If you lead your team, give yourself three standards to live by as you communicate to your people.

1. Be Consistent - Nothing frustrates team members more than leaders who can't make up their minds.
2. Be Clear - Your team cannot execute if they don't know what you want. Don't try to dazzle anyone with your intelligence; impress them with your simple straightforwardness.
3. Be Courteous - Everyone deserves to be shown respect, no matter what their position or what kind of history you might have with them. If you are courteous to your people, you set a tone for the entire organization.

Never forget that as the leader, your communication sets the tone for the interaction among your people.

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

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, June 25

To Be A Leader, Be An Infinite Learner

~ Learn through engagement with others – observe, listen, and ask deeper questions
~ Learn through study – take a class, research, read
~ Learn through experience – do things and try more
~ Learn through awareness – pray, meditate
~ Learn intriguing stuff, have interesting experiences, and share what you know. Make an impact!

What will you do today and tomorrow to be an infinite learner with a compelling life story?

From Beth Tabak of Starting Now Coaching.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, June 10

How's Your Attitude?

"All mankind's inner feelings eventually manifest themselves as an outer reality." ~ Stuart Wilde

In The Winning Attitude, Dr. John Maxwell defines an attitude as an inward feeling expressed by your behavior. He goes on to say that in changing your attitude, you have to realize that the choice is within you.

Your attitude is your choice. Just think, how likely are you to remain in the company of someone who has a bad attitude? Not very long, I would guess. So, again, the choice is yours. Bad attitudes results in lots of lonely moments. Not a great thing if you are a leader. You will find that though you are leading, no one is following.

“We are more likely to act ourselves into a feeling than feel ourselves into action.” ~ Jerome Brunner, Harvard Psychologist

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, June 4

We Teach Others How to Treat Us

“We have seen that our accusations give those we accuse good reason to do the very thing we are blaming them for. This fact has a most astounding implication: Generally speaking, we share responsibility for the way we are treated. If we want to know what impact we are having on others, we need only to examine their responses to us. I am not speaking about the treatment we receive from someone who appears in our life suddenly, out of the blue, like a criminal burglarizing our house or a tyrant who devastates our lives by oppressive edicts and armed force. I am talking about the treatment we get from people we live or work with day to day. In general, the more closely we are involved with someone, the more the principle applies.”

“To see ourselves, we need only to look at others’ reactions to us.”

A bit of wisdom from Bonds That Make Us Free by the Arbinger Institute.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Monday, May 18

Leadership is Influence

Influence is a curious thing. Even though we make some kind of impact on nearly everyone around us, we need to recognize that our level of influence is not the same with everyone. To see this principle in action, try ordering around your best friend's dog the next time you visit.

You may not have thought much about it, but you probably know instinctively which people you have great influence with and which ones you don't. One person may think all your ideas are great. Another may view everything you say with a great deal of skepticism. Yet that same skeptical person may love every single idea presented by your boss or one of your colleagues. That just shows your influence with him may not be as strong as that of someone else.

From Becoming a Person of Influence by Dr. John Maxwell and Jim Dornan

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Wednesday, February 11

To Mentor Is To Serve

An insightful article from Jo Miller of Women’s Leadership Coaching.

Question: There is a role model I admire. How do I engage them as a mentor?
Just ask! It truly can be as simple as just asking if they will mentor you.

Check for chemistry
Start by requesting an informational meeting of twenty minutes (an amount of time most people can spare).

Engaging a mentor is like going on a first date – you would not ask for somebody’s hand in marriage on a first date! Don’t ask your role model to mentor you the first time you meet. It is a big commitment for both parties to make. Instead, test the water with the informational meeting, to see if there is a match.

Before you meet, prepare three or four specific topics for discussion. If the meeting goes well, and you sense good chemistry, ask if they would like to meet on a regular basis. Negotiate the frequency and format that benefits both of you. If your company has a formal mentoring program, sign up for it. They are generally well-designed, and include a list of potential mentors who have volunteered and are awaiting assignments. Your role model may already have volunteered. The program will give you guidance and protocols for getting started, but be aware that the most successful mentoring relationships continue beyond the initial term and become more informal.

Why stop at one?
In her keynote at the National Association of Women MBAs conference, Kim Brown, VP of Finance at Wal-Mart noted the crucial role that mentors have in your career growth, saying “You might only need one mentor, but I have five.” She mentors five to eight individuals herself. What many employees don’t realize is how very much mentors gain from the experience.

Pay it forward: mentor others
One senior-level woman, a leader in telecommunications, said “Do I have a mentor? I do. I believe it’s very important that you not only have a mentor but that you also are a mentor to others. I learn as much through mentoring as I do by being a mentee. It keeps me on my toes because usually they are younger people who are going through some of the challenges that I went through earlier in my career.”

As a mentor, she gains new perspectives on what’s going on in the world, and keeps in better touch with her own organization and the challenges that are there today.

Jo Miller is CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching Inc. which offers women’s leadership seminars and coaching programs.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Thursday, January 29

Leadership is Influence...

Not everyone you influence will think the same way you do. You have to help them not only believe that they can succeed, but also show them that you want them to succeed.

How do you do that?

1. Expect it: People can sense your underlying attitude no matter what you say or do. If you have an expectation for your people to be successful, they will know it.
2. Verbalize it: People need to hear you tell them that you believe in them and want them to succeed. Become a positive prophet of their success.
3. Reinforce it: You can never do too much when it comes to believing in people.

Once people recognize and understand that you genuinely want to see them succeed and are committed to helping them, they will begin to believe they can accomplish what you give them to do.

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

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn

Tuesday, January 6

The Heart of Leadership

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.

From The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by Dr. John C. Maxwell.

To lead is to serve,
Coach Carolyn