What I learned on my summer vacation in Colorado

Sometimes a break from business is truly the best prescription to transform stress, widen awareness and gain perspective.  I could not fully unplug due to unforeseen problems with a project, but I still found it so worth while to get away.  Here are some simple lessons I learned from a recent break.

  • The views from Denver to Grand Junction aboard Amtrak are stupendous!
Amtrak coming around the bend of the Colorado River

View from Amtrak rounding the Colorado River

  • Waking up to sunshine, blue sky, and fresh Colorado air is awe-inspiring. Nothing fancy required to experience this glorious environment.

[Read more…]

High Stress or High Performance?

Sustainable high performance means work flows; actions are productive and lead to important outcomes.

There will be tension as you create the next iteration productivityof your business, but there does not have to be stress.

In my last blog post I suggested an easy assessment for you to diagnose where your organization is on the continuum of sustainable high performance.

If you did not score as high as you would have liked, or if you are feeling stress, there is likely some kind of misalignment between you and your business.

Lack of alignment impedes communication, clear focus, flow of work, effective planning and if left unaddressed, leads to stress, frustration and even burnout.

How do you get more clarity, more focus, and in the end, lead your organization toward a sustainable future? [Read more…]

Dissolving Fear on a Whitewater Raft

White water rafting

White water rafting on the French Broad River

Do you want to grow your business or organization?

Many of us want it, but when we get serious, start doing things differently, fear appears.  

Acting out of fear never gets good business results (see the story of Martha from an earlier blog).  Still, fear comes up.

I am learning to face my fears, one at a time, and to take action based on a deeper knowing (not on the fear).  Whitewater rafting helped me learn how to do this.

After years of little contact, my cousins proposed my family meet in the mountains of North Carolina for a vacation last summer. Their dream was to go whitewater rafting – one of my greatest fears, after my sister almost died doing it years ago. [Read more…]

4 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Your Team

shutterstock_79666759

Healthy engagement feels like fireworks! There is spark, creativity and joy. Anything becomes possible in business.

I read with interest the New York Times article “Why You Hate Work”.  It is a bit of a manifesto on disengagement and lack of motivation at work.

Tony Schwartz and Christine Porath define engagement (per a number of studies) as “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy”.

Motivated workers are engaged and engagement is widely correlated with higher performance at work.  According to Gallup studies across 192 companies, [Read more…]

Protect Your Success

jutting rock comp 2Last week I had lunch with one of the most successful non-profit Executive Director’s in North Carolina.
 
He manages a large organization with dozens of employees and hundreds clients and a many million dollar budget. 
 
He is smart.
 
He never gives up.
 
He and his organization get amazing results. 
 
Still something is ‘out of balance’.

[Read more…]

Is Leadership Born or Built?

VIEW OF B lue Ridge MountainsThis is the title of a recent article in the Washington Post by James Clawson.

He shared these opinions around this question of leadership:

 

 

Nigel Nicholson author of Executive’s Instinct suspects there may be ‘a leadership gene,’ that some people are simply born to ‘be in charge.’

Noel Tichy author of The Leadership Engine from the University of Michigan says leadership style and ability emerge from experience.

An unnamed former corporate executive says leadership is irrelevant.  A company’s performance is all about the proper employment contracts. [Read more…]

Know Your Mind – Transform Your Business

Creating a clear path compressedDon’t for one moment under-estimate the power of your mind to transform your business.  Our minds operate in a basic, yet deeply powerful way.

If the mind is clear – we are happy.  
If the mind is polluted – we suffer.  

Our external circumstances reflect the state of our minds.  This is very true of our business life.

Clear Mind = Business Success

What is clear?

New Webster’s Dictionary defines clear as ‘free from darkness, cloudiness, muddiness, indistinctness, confusion, uncertainty, obstruction, entanglement, obligation or liability’.

These qualities pollute the mind, and their absence creates clarity. [Read more…]

What 2 Key Personality Traits Help Leaders Manage Change?

Europeans have been studying what personality traits help business people manage change and generate higher profits.  Essentially they asked ‘what personality traits make a good manager?’.  Last year Professor Jan Ketil Arnulf at the BI Norwegian Business School published his findings on the subject after following 60 corporate managers over 3 years.*

It turns out almost all strongly held personality traits actually inhibit people from being able to work successCartoon that reads "What if we don't change at all....and something magical happens?fully with change.

The list of traits includes:

  • Warmth,
  • Dominance,
  • Openness to change,
  • Self-reliance,
  • Sensitivity,
  • Perfectionism, (and others) [Read more…]

How to De-Stress in 4 Steps

frustrated businessman compressed for web Are you in the midst of creating a business?  Are you leading a large organization, or some part of it? Are you staffing a small non-profit?  Chances are you experience stress on a regular basis.  Stress comes in different packages, from all sides.

Essentially and always as you experience stress, you are in one place and you want to be in another place.  You are getting one result, and you need another.  You see suffering, you want to change it.  There is opportunity, and you want to take advantage of it.  But there is often stress as well.  Skillful Means says there can be these conditions without (or at least a lot less) stress.  How is that possible? [Read more…]

Creating a New Website

crooked path

Following a path that has not always seemed smooth or straight forward, I took a scary step tonight.   I announced all over Facebook and through an email that will go out tomorrow, my new website is launched.  You know, because you are here.  I have about 400 people on my list from my many different activities including my Skillful Means clients, but also my massage therapy clients and Kum Nye yoga students.

If you are one of those people, I hope you will find something you love here.  Skillful Means embodies all that is healing and wholesome in the world, while at the same time helping people find deep value and satisfaction in their work.  It is a place to explore transforming stress, to learn to communicate better, to learn to work with others more easily and love all of your activities in life – most especially to love and appreciate work.  I am so excited to explore these things with you. [Read more…]

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