Plan Your Career Using Your Three Centers of Intelligence

Plan Your Career Using Your Three Centers of Intelligence

Navigating Your Career as a Whole Leader

I recently started accepting applications for a new career development program called The Gathering.  In it, I share tools and practices that help women navigate career decisions with clarity and confidence.  What I found in my own professional journey was that my career planning became an authentic expression of my strengths and passions only after I listened to parts of myself that I had ignored.  Engaging Three Centers of Intelligence - showing up as a whole leader - is one of the most practical, easily accessible frameworks I know for making these big choices.

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I Don't Know What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I Don't Know What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

I have only known a handful of people who had a clear calling from a young age.  Most of us discover our career path in a different way.  One client couldn’t stand her commute anymore.  Another wanted more financial stability after years of contract employment.  A third had been passed over for multiple promotions with no clear feedback about development she could focus on.  Each woman had reached their limit.  I heard anger in their voices.  I recognized the energized commitment in their bodies.  A change was coming and they wanted help navigating it.

Other clients have come to me in an earlier stage of the “what's next” inquiry.  They recognize it as fantasizing about leaving their role or calling in sick to work.  This can be an incredibly uncomfortable place to be.  People often get stuck here because they believe they have to choose an ideal role before taking any steps forward.  After being asked as children “what do you want to be when you grow up?” and by their managers “where do you see yourself in five years?”, they feel paralyzed. If career development is a linear journey along a straight path, their next step could be the WRONG one! If they don’t know what to do next, isn’t it better to do nothing at all?⠀There is an important difference between staying still to listen to your own guidance and ignoring the question that is stirring inside.  Sometimes when people choose to wait they are actually just avoiding the discomfort of uncertainty.

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Responding to Feedback When You Feel Triggered

Responding to Feedback When You Feel Triggered

Why does feedback hurt our feelings?  Here’s the image that often helps me identify what is being triggered.  Imagine yourself as a baby.  As you interacted with the world, you learned behaviors and strategies that helped get your needs met.  When you smiled, others smiled back at you.  When you fell and hurt yourself, adults rushed over to comfort you or gave you space to see how you felt or scolded you not to cry.  With each of these patterns of interactions, you started to create beliefs about yourself, about the world, and about how the world treats you.  Most of these beliefs are unconscious.  While we like to think of ourselves as highly adaptable people, always capable of learning new things, the truth is that our lives are simplified by having these beliefs to fall back on. And we have powerful enforcers like the superego (a.k.a. your inner critic) that are constantly looking for evidence that enforces these beliefs and ignoring information that contradicts them.  

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Inclusion Starts With How You Treat Yourself

Inclusion Starts With How You Treat Yourself

“Every part of you is welcome and needed in your leadership.”  

If you have seen this declaration in my email footer, you know that I’m passionate about enabling people to show up as themselves at work.  In teams where individual differences are valued and each person feels invited to contribute authentically, engagement increases and big problems get solved.  There are many ways to foster inclusion at work and we often focus on shifting cultures at the group level.  That's why so many leaders are surprised when I ask them whether they are including and welcoming themselves in the same way.  Quite often, they realize that they tell their team they value authenticity but send a different message through their behavior toward themselves. ... It is by modeling the authenticity and vulnerability that they hope to support in their teams that leaders can create the psychological safety necessary for true inclusion.  Here are some thoughts on how to do that.

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Engage Your Team By Valuing All of Their Leadership Styles

Engage Your Team By Valuing All of Their Leadership Styles

Most of us are familiar with the competitive advantage experienced by companies that focus on diversity and inclusion.  Valuing differences in identity, experience, beliefs, culture, and working style increases employee engagement, decreases turnover, and creates novel approaches to problems, all of which increase profits.  The challenge I most often see leaders grappling with is how to harness the diversity in their team.  How can they foster a more inclusive culture?  How does their own leadership style create biases about the value of contributions from others?  What can they do when a colleague’s voice is not being heard?  The tool that I have found to be incredibly valuable in this discussion is the Enneagram. 

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Exceptional Interviews are a Balance Between Preparation and Presence

Exceptional Interviews are a Balance Between Preparation and Presence

I recently wrote about a formula for responding to interview questions in a compelling way.  Preparing specific anecdotes helps you illustrate why you’re a great fit and lessens the chance that you will draw a blank when searching your memory for a relevant story.  Some people prefer not to prepare because they are concerned they will sound overly polished.  I understand this concern.  We’ve all had the experience of talking to someone who feels too rehearsed.  They are attached to the way they planned to communicate and their body language and speech don’t seem natural.  It feels difficult to connect to them as a person and as a result, you subconsciously distrust what they’re saying.  That’s why the most powerful interviews are a balance between preparation and presence.  You can think of presence as the quality that gives life to the stories you have prepared.  Another way to visualize this is to imagine the preparation - your structure - as the riverbank and your presence as the flow that shares your stories and connects you to the interviewer.

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A Formula for Persuasive Interview Answers

A Formula for Persuasive Interview Answers

Interviewing others radically shifted my experience of being interviewed.  When I was the one asking candidates questions, I wanted two things: 1) for the applicants to feel they shined and 2) to have a clear recommendation about whom to hire.  As an interviewee, when I put myself in the shoes of the interviewer, it helped me quiet my nerves and focus on a clear goal:

I will answer these questions so clearly and authentically that I will make the choice easy for the person across from me.  The only way they will discover how capable I am is if I claim my expertise as the protagonist in the adventure of my career. 

 

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Craving Play at Work? Make a Play List!

Craving Play at Work? Make a Play List!

It was still dark outside and my kids were asleep.  Time for another international video call with my peers on the leadership team.  I put on a sweatshirt and tied my hair back but left my pajama pants on.  No one would see them under the dining room table where I sat.  Shower and makeup could happen later.  As people signed on, I noticed the pile of bows and ribbons on the table from the previous night’s birthday celebration and chided myself for not being a better housekeeper.  And then, because it felt playfully authentic, I stuck one of the bows on my head and waited for my colleagues to notice.

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