• Read Forget the mind for a second, it’s the body that really matters

    Well Being

    Forget the mind for a second, it’s the body that really matters

    I’m just going to be honest.  This week I’ve found myself in a real funk.  I haven’t been as motivated to do things, and I’ve found myself falling into the trap of thinking that the harder I am on myself, the more I will push myself, or rather shame myself, I will suddenly move into action.  And then I start noticing all the things I haven’t done, one of which being, I haven’t given much thought to writing this blog.  And because I’m then coming from a negative place to start with, I don’t want to do it, because whatever I produce won’t be good enough and will just be a real pile of crap.  Obviously, this is an excellent frame of mind to start any task from… Our bodies are speaking to us And then I realized something and decided to cut myself a little bit of slack.  I’ve got a physical issue that has flared up at the moment.  It’s called vestibular neuritis just in case you were wondering, and it’s a condition that affects my right inner ear.  When it flares up, I get really dizzy and the entire day feels like I’m riding on a boat on the high seas, and I can’t get off.  Needless to say, this kind of sucks, as it often affects my ability to concentrate, to feel focused, to feel like a normal human being.  It’s a boat ride without the beautiful view, and with a bit of constant low-level nausea.  Hooray. The realization I had is just how important the body is to our full sense of wellbeing.  I should know this right?  I am a yogini after all.  I even taught yoga for years.  But the reality is that most of us don’t.  We do yoga for exercise and to look good in our new Lululemon top.  We often talk about mind, body, spirit connection, but we tend to prioritize the mind, humans being the hyperactive creatures that we are, our noggins just never seem to turn off.  And we treat our bodies as a bag of bones that we drag behind us in the quest for enlightenment and fulfillment.  Sure I need to feed it well.  And drink plenty of water these days if you live in Texas like I do, it’s hot out there!  But what I’m talking about goes beyond the maintenance needs of day to day in terms of things like food and sleep. Tune into your body – what is it telling you? Our body is sending us messages all the time.  And we need to learn to tune into them and listen.  As opposed to ignore and push through the discomfort like is the normal tendency of many of us to do.  “Give me the drug.  Give me that pill that will make me forget about it.”  I’m realizing this is the way I used to handle this condition, which I’ve had since my early twenties.  The result was that during a flare […]

    June 23, 2022

    |

    4.2 min read

  • Read The power of assumptions: 4 simple questions to ask yourself to make sure your team really knows what they’re doing

    Leadership

    The power of assumptions: 4 simple questions to ask yourself to make sure your team really knows what they’re doing

    The power of assumptions There’s a saying about the word assumption.  That assume makes an ass of you and me.  Get it?  It’s not the most polished of phrases, but it tends to be true, if you think of the times in the past when you’ve been embarrassed or caught out or a project or deliverable that otherwise missed the mark. I was reminded of it today while facilitating a session to a group of team leaders.  I asked them to think about several questions as they relate to their team and their leadership.  The goal of my inquiry?  To get folks thinking about what assumptions they have made about their team’s understanding of purpose, the overall vision, and the plan. 4 Simple Questions To what extend do we: Know how our work matters to the organization and our customers? Have a clear shared team purpose and do we talk about it? Agree explicitly on what our priorities are and decide what we will and will not do to manage workload? All have a shared understanding of the intent-based outcomes of each of our key deliverables? I had them rate themselves on a scale of 1-5, 5 being high on each of these questions and discuss. What was interesting was the discussion that ensued.  Each leader reported back they had work to do in this area.  In many cases, we take it for granted that 1)  our direct reports know what the purpose of the team is, 2)  know what the team priorities are and 3)  understand the outcome and intent we are so keenly focused on. Except the fact of the matter is often they don’t.  Then they start making assumptions about what is or isn’t important.  And spend time on things that aren’t really value added or driving the overall mission and vision of the team.  There’s a huge hidden cost to this in organizations. Don’t wait for the audit I remember back to my days in internal audit when I would turn up to do an audit of a business unit and I’d start interviewing stakeholders.  I’d ask individuals on the same team to define what success looked like.  20 interviews and 20 completely different answers later, I’d write an audit finding about the lack of clear success criteria for the unit.  Just because you think you know what it is, doesn’t mean that it’s translated.  It reminds me of that childhood game called “telephone.”  A group of people sitting in a circle, and one whispers into the ear of the next the secret which goes around the circle.  What comes out on the other end rarely bares any resemblance to the original message.  It’s up to you as a leader to constantly be checking in, to understand the extent to which others on a team really get the vision and mission that’s been laid out. As a leader, you’re in a position to influence these things.  But we often dive so quickly into the doing, we […]

    June 16, 2022

    |

    3.3 min read

  • Read What I did today instead of “Working”

    Mindfulness

    What I did today instead of “Working”

    Today I took a couple of calls, one with my IT guy regarding my new website we’re working on, and another with my coaching supervisor.  She recommended the book, True Yoga, and I decided a bit of spiritual enlightenment was in order. Put down the to do list I stopped what I was doing, put down my to do list and started reading the book.  As I read, I’m sitting out on my balcony, which overlooks a greenbelt here in Austin.  I’m hearing the gentle hum of my next-door neighbor’s air conditioner and it’s so soothing, I’m rocked in my chair like a baby.  My cats Bijoux and Beaux are lying at my feet, and the birds in the trees watch them ever so carefully.  They chirp their nervous warning chirps, and the kitties silently watch on.  I just heard a boat pass by on lake Austin, and even see a few patches of the blue lake through the copious leaves of the oak trees in the greenbelt. What do you notice? I notice the fig tree which we initially thought was dormant is in full swing, its fruit is ripening in the hot Texas sun.  I notice my breath, in and out, slow, and steady, and my body relaxing after the stresses of the week. I notice the wind on my skin, somehow cool and refreshing as I sit in the shade in the dirty white sundress I’ve donned, I feel the lightness of the material as it rests peacefully and lightly atop my tan skin.  I think about how I should wear white more often.  I notice the plants on my balcony are growing more than I wished them to.  And I marvel I didn’t notice it earlier. I hear a dog barking somewhere in the greenbelt.  I feel the beating of my heart in my chest.  I notice how beautiful the sunlight is as it streams through the treetops and warms and radiates energy in the plants in my yard, the flavor of my herbs: rosemary, oregano, sage, mint, basil, more pungent and sweet for its strong rays. I notice the pink ping pong ball shaped flowers of a plant I bought outside HEB the other day and hastily threw into a planter.  The bees dive gleefully and the butterflies swarm, attracted to its peppermint pink fauna. I feel the joy of resting peacefully in my body, as I read about the true meaning of yoga, the yoga sutras, the point that less is more.  The fact that the simple things in life are the things most worth experiencing.  The joy of boredom and the creativity it inspires if we just allow ourselves to rest blissfully in it.  The simple pleasure of sitting peacefully in this vessel of a body. resting in the sheer joy of being And so here I rest blissfully, in the sheer joy of being.  I write this blog post, quickly, carelessly, one word after another onto the page, not caring about the […]

    June 10, 2022

    |

    3.1 min read

  • Read When you feel the need to please, think about this first

    Authenticity

    When you feel the need to please, think about this first

    Ever been pushed into pleasing in a difficult situation and then resented the heck out of it? Here's something to think about next time you feel the need to please.

    June 2, 2022

    |

    5.4 min read

  • Read What I’ve Learned Along the Coaching Highway

    Mindfulness

    What I’ve Learned Along the Coaching Highway

    Last week was international coaching week, I’m sure you had it marked on your calendar 🙂 The other day I had a conversation with my mentor coach, who asked me to think about what I’ve learned, since I started out.  I thought back to my younger self fresh off the coaching certification block and I came up with quite a list.  A key aspect of cultivating a growth mindset is to take a moment to reflect on everything you’ve accomplished, and congratulate your successes.  To sit and take stock of how far you’ve come is one of the most rewarding things a person can do.  It’s a shame most of the time we find ourselves just too busy to lean in.  I wanted to share my list with all of you, so here goes… I have learned what real friendship looks like.  I have learned that balance is a key component in any relationship worth having. I have learned there is no such thing as perfect.  Practice makes better. I have learned to question my motivation for why I do things.  Is it to grow and develop?  Or is it to look good? I have learned not to rely on male attention for a feeling of self-worth. I have learned that true assertiveness is not falling back into old reactive patterns but choosing how I want to respond. I have learned to rely on the power of God.  She is real.  She is always with me, especially at my darkest moments. I have learned to recognize my strategies for numbing my emotions.  And that to heal, I have to feel. I have learned that by doing this work, I am a better coach for my clients, and I can really show up for them. I have learned that sometimes I need to take space for myself, and that is okay. I have learned that transformation and change is possible. I have learned to ask myself what is it that I really want. I have learned to surrender and let God take control. I have learned that there will be darkness at times, and without darkness there can be no light. I have learned I can be motivated by new and exciting things that have nothing to do with money, power or prestige. I have learned to embrace my softness. I have learned what makes a good husband and a good wife. I have learned how to make my own choices. I have learned I don’t need flattery.  I’ll take it, but I don’t need it. I have learned to love my height, every bit of being a six foot one woman. I have learned to live more fully in my body.  I understand the importance of grounding in one’s body as a response to fear and trauma. I have learned the healing power of yoga. I have learned to stop name dropping.  Nobody ever cared except for me anyway. I learned I like the piano. I have learned that I […]

    May 26, 2022

    |

    3.8 min read

  • Read One Simple Phrase To Invite Calm In

    Well Being

    One Simple Phrase To Invite Calm In

    The other day I woke up with an ache in my neck.  It was a familiar pain, I’d experienced it in the past when I hadn’t been practicing proper ergonomics and I ended up having to do 4 months of physical therapy to get it to subside. And there it was again.  Despite the fact I know better, I’d been doing all the things I shouldn’t.  Sitting hunched over at my computer in bed or on the couch because I was too lazy to go to my office.  And forget the maintenance exercises I’m supposed to do each morning.  Who has time for that? Well, it came back this time with a vengeance.  Pain like I’d never felt before.  So painful I couldn’t sleep at night.  There I was, lying in bed on a girl’s weekend to Marfa, Texas with my best friend, awake in agony for the better part of 3 nights. The spiral loop of doom It was the last night of the trip that I really started to think myself into jail.  My friend had left me alone in the hotel room so I could go to bed early and get some rest.  Except rest was not to be had.  My mind was spinning. I knew I had to calm myself down, but I was off to the races… The day after we get back I start teaching a new leadership program for a client.   What if I’m running on no sleep to do that?  What if the pain doesn’t go away?  What if I’m not firing on all cylinders and have difficult participants?  What if they think I’m an idiot?  And then that will just set off a chain reaction to affect every other session I have with these people, who will now just view me as some kind of overpaid talentless hack who knows nothing about leadership?  Why does this kind of thing always happen to me?  I’m cursed!  It’s amazing where one’s mind will go when it has the opportunity to run free.  Mine is typically off the cliff in 10 seconds or less.  My mind was caught in what I call a spiral loop of doom – you keep replaying worst case scenario over and over again, and your anxiety rises and rises.  Eventually you end up in a state beyond fight or flight, where you literally freeze, start to dissociate and shut down. I started opening all the tools I have in my mindfulness toolkit.  I tried meditation.  No dice.  I tried breathing techniques, but again, nada.  The loop of doom had grown too strong.  And then I remembered a little phrase that my cousin Margaret had mentioned years ago when she was trying to quit smoking.  “This will pass.”  Her trick was to repeat it out loud to herself when she would get the compulsion to light up a cancer stick.  “This craving will pass.  This moment will pass.” The calming beauty of a simple phrase The beauty of that […]

    May 18, 2022

    |

    4.1 min read