3 Mistakes to Avoid to Stop Suffering from Exhaustion and Overwhelm

Mini-Boot Camp to Strengthen Your Emotional Energy

Boot Camp Fitness Trainer YellingI want you to succeed. I really do. I’ve made mistakes in my career and if you fall into the same traps, maybe this article will open your eyes and offer you another possibility.

As a leader, you know how much better you perform when you feel energized and you also know what it’s like to push through when you are exhausted.

As a full-time working mom, there were days when I had to lean on the grocery cart to get through shopping I was so exhausted. Part of the reason I was exhausted was overwhelm and inability to understand and manage my workload and the emotions associated with the stress.

I don’t want you to have to suffer from the type of exhaustion and overwhelm I did. I let the pressure of performance and demands of life really zap my energy. However, I’ve learned strategies since then which improved my emotional energy along with improving my emotional intelligence. When you take steps to strengthen your emotional energy, you will have more overall energy, and be more present, decisive, and creative.

First let’s look at the mistakes I made and then I will offer a solution to develop your emotional strength. Do you see yourself in any of these?

Mistake #1: Not taking a break away from your desk. The stress piles up from long hours and even eating at your desk zaps your energy and creativity. This continued stress and exhaustion often leads to illness.

Solution: Take a five-minute walk down the hall, around the block or to another building once or twice a day. Even standing up, stretching and taking deep breaths several times a day will help.

Mistake #2: Overthinking your mistakes. Agonizing over lost business, a failed project or a lost job creates more exhaustion and overwhelm.

Solution: Conduct an analysis of what happened as though you are a reporter so you can minimize your emotions. List the facts, your decisions and the outcome. Own up to your mistake and tell yourself you will do better next time. I’ve always grown stronger with each mistake. It’s how you handle your feelings about mistakes that can cause overwhelm and exhaustion.

Mistake #3: Blaming someone else. It’s easier to look outside yourself for the problem and it’s definitely softer on the ego. It is a toxic behavior that that has switched on autopilot for many people. It’s just how they roll.

Solution: Even though this may be one of the hardest things you do, you will benefit when you look at what you contribute to your problems. When you do, what you discover can lead to tremendous personal growth. To accept responsibility and accountability results in a dramatic, personal transformation that can free you of drama and unproductive behaviors.

That’s today’s Mini-Boot Camp to Strengthen Your Emotional Energy. © Kathy Garland, 2015.

About the author:

Kathy Garland is a coach and mentor to executives going through organizational change by helping them improve their leadership, influence and emotional intelligence skills. She has inspired and motivated audiences as a speaker for nearly 20 years. She is certified in the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey as well as 360 Management Skills Surveys. Connect with Kathy on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Share

3 Strategies to Strengthen the Leader in You

TeamIn the past week, I’ve been discussing with some colleagues the concept of leading from the inside out. In other words, the outward actions of a leader are internally motivated.

People that lead from within usually have a sense of purpose and have a vision for the company that influences their approach to work. Here are three strategies you can see in internally motivated leaders. You can cultivate these skills easily to expand your abilities as a leader.

Ask Great Questions – Leaders that lead from within have an internal sense of curiosity and desire to create the best outcomes. Their curiosity brings out creative solutions and insight that might otherwise stay hidden.

Use Influence instead of Authority – Leaders who are driven from within don’t rely heavily on their authority to get things done. They understand the art of influence and know how to use it wisely to get things done. In addition, a strong leader influences others when she or he understands what motivates team members and is able to translate that into communications that influences action.*

Learn something new each day – Leaders who lead from within know that part of the secret to success is to continually expand their world. Leaders who focus on growing themselves in the areas of their professional expertise and in their emotional intelligence are able to inspire and motivate their teams. They are also more creative and open to new ideas. Continual learning increases self-regard and well-being, which are essential emotional intelligence skills for leaders. **

* For information on improving influence skills for you and your team, contact me  for a complimentary assessment call. 
** Self-regard and well-being can be measured through the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey, for which I am certified to administer and coach.
© Kathy Garland, 2015.

For other insights on leading from within, read these posts by my colleagues:

Emerging Leadership:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/emerging-leadership-sharon-jenkins

The Responsibility of Leadership: http://robbbraun.com/blog/the-responsibility-of-leadership/

Qualities of Creative and Successful Leaders: http://cherivalentine.com/leadership/

Kathy Garland works with women leaders to improve results through strengthening their influence, emotional intelligence and relationship-building strategies. She is an executive coach, mentor and speaker and specializes in working with women with technical and analytical backgrounds. She is certified in the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey as well as 360 Management Skills Surveys.

Share

Succeeding by Changing the Game

Game ChangerWe just saw the movie, “The Imitation Game” that told the true story of Alan Turing, the prodigy mathematician who broke the Nazi Code during World War II. Turing was extraordinarily gifted in his intellect and so devoted to his studies that no focus was given to developing his social and interpersonal skills. As I watched the movie, it was difficult to imagine anyone more shut off from people and more into his work.

He led the team of mathematicians, however, his personal style and focus created a divided team that fought daily. They made no progress toward deciphering 159 million bits of code. The task felt impossible for Turing’s team.

Turing himself had a clear vision of a machine that could decipher the German Enigma code. His problem was that he didn’t share it or accept any support from his team.

Turing’s genius eventually made a profound difference in WWII and the Allied success. How did that happen? He changed the game.

A young woman mathematician on the team was able to influence Turing to start showing a little caring for the team. His first action was to bring each person on the team an apple. It was enough to repair some of the damage created by his isolationist and elitist attitude.

Little by little, his team started getting on board with his vision and his approach. Eventually, while they were having fun on a night out, a solution was found that broke the code.

By using just a little emotional intelligence, Turing was able to change the game and find solutions that, according to historians and post-war analysts ended the war two years sooner and saved approximately 14 million lives.

Pretty impressive don’t you think? What results could you create by improving your interpersonal skills? Where can you influence powerful changes through the power of your relationships? What vision do you have that could become a reality by tapping into the power of your team and your networks?

If you would like to affect change, be more influential and maybe become a game-changer, sign up for my free series, “Lead Like Dorothy, Power and Influence along the Yellow Brick Road” which contains tips to increase your influence and ability to build strong personal relationships.

Kathy Garland helps mid-level leaders drive results and get to the next level through increased influence, strong relationships and effective communication within teams and across the organization. She is certified to deliver emotional intelligence and 360 management skills assessments.
(c) 2015 Kathy Garland
Share

Communicating Your Value to Employers and Clients

One of my clients started new job in December. An important focus for her is to build relationships with her co-workers to maximize her influence and her ability to create change.

Her boss gave her a specific project in her first week on the job which will give her a good overview of the team and what needs to be done. While she is happy to be there, she wants to expand her contributions and value to the team. Her strength is seeing patterns and conclusions that other people don’t see. In particular, she draws conclusions from her analyses that provide insight which, when implemented, improve customer satisfaction.

So we developed an introduction she can use when meeting people. Most people are tempted to introduce themselves with what they do, not the value they provide. Just stating one’s role or job title is much easier of course. Here are some examples of generic introductions:

I’m in IT. I’m in sales.

I lead the sales team.

I head up the team that is migrating our systems to our new platform.

I’d like to encourage you to be specific about the value you bring to the organization and then include your title or role. For example:

“I analyze crazy amounts of data to identify patterns and trends that help us increase usage of mission critical data which supports our growth. I’m on the information architecture team.” ValueSeeing what others can’t see.

“I make sure people can have their data when and how they want it so it supports our business growth. I lead the analytics team.” ValueCustomer-focused approach so people can do what they do best

“I look for strategic opportunities for our company to grow and deliver our best solutions as well as those that encourage us to stretch our capabilities. I head up the national sales team.” ValueFind the right customers so we can do our best and win contracts that help us grow as a company.

“I build relationships with our suppliers who work with us to keep our plants stocked with the right materials and components so we have no down time. I am a senior buyer.” ValueNo down time. Understanding value of relationships to accomplish goals.

Why is it important to focus on your value to the organization? So you can build equity in your position. You become more distinct and less of one of the crowd. It also demonstrates influence, emotional intelligence and strategic thinking to be able to communicate in this way.

When you can clearly communicate your value in a way that benefits your company, that’s when you get noticed and attract more opportunities for the type of projects you really love.

For a complimentary consultation on crafting a statement you can use to communicate the value you bring to the organization, contact me.

(c) 2015 Kathy Garland.

Kathy Garland helps women leaders drive results through increased influence, strong relationships and effective communication within teams and across the organization. She is certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 and EQ360 assessments as well as the Ambio360 Management Skills Assessment.

 

Share

The Landscape of Change

View into Monet's Garden

For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at any moment. (Claude Monet)

 

 

Photo by Kathy Garland

This is the view looking out from Claude Monet’s painting studio. Every day, he woke up to the beauties of his garden. When I was in Giverny, France last year to visit Monet’s home and garden, I was overcome by the richness and depth of the landscape and the environment he created to support his creativity and his life passion. I took a lot of photos, some of which I’ve included below.

The quote above by Monet is one for reflection. His gardens, the lily pond and surrounding property changed on a daily basis. In Paris there is a building displaying murals of his famous “Water Lily” theme that represent different parts of the day from dawn till dusk. It’s fascinating to see the changes in light and how the different elements of his paintings change because of the light.

We too, change from moment to moment. We are not always as aware of the changes in ourselves as we are in our environment. We observe the change in the weather, the amount of traffic or how other people change.

As a leader, it’s important to stay tuned into not only the changes you are experiencing, but also those of the people that are on your team. We may frequently change opinions and approaches based on the changing environment around us. That can be difficult for the people that work with us if they aren’t as flexible as we are.

Flexibility is an important emotional intelligence skill to have especially during times of change and any time you work with people, which unless you hide out in a garden, fits just about everyone.

What I take from Monet’s quote above is that the landscape isn’t the thing. It is the outward expression of all the trees, flowers, lily pads, butterflies, water and bridges that make up the garden.

A team’s efforts are expressed in how they get along, what results are generated and the quality of the relationships they build across the organization. Flexibility gives you the ability to create “the landscape” as you go, rather than looking back at what should have or could have been.

Flexible people have open minds, adapt and correct their mistakes, and can shift their priorities according to the needs of the organization. You can build your flexibility through simple things like ordering something different at a favorite restaurant, changing up your routine, driving a different way to work.

We all make up a landscape of success and being able to change when it is needed is an important part of success.

Here are a few more of my favorite photos from Monet’s garden:

Photo by Kathy Garland   Photo by Kathy GarlandPhoto by Kathy GarlandPhoto by Kathy Garland

 

 

 

 

(c) 2014 Kathy Garland.

Kathy Garland helps women leaders drive results through increased influence, strong relationships and effective communication within teams and across the organization. She is certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 and EQ360. For a complementary consultation on how your team can flex with the landscape of change and increase influence across the organization, please contact me at www.kathygarland.com/contact-us.

Share

Thanksgiving Greetings

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to  prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes.  Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not  coincidence. – Erma Bombeck

At our house we are making preparations for Thanksgiving dinner as well as plans to watch the Thanksgiving Day Cowboy game.

There is a lot of love and work that goes into a Thanksgiving meal  so we can be surrounded by family and friends and enjoy each  other’s company. Over the years, I’ve changed my approach to how that dinner has to be put together, from preparing everything from scratch (or ‘fixing’ as we say in Texas) to gathering the best of prepared food and mixing in a few family favorites prepared from scratch. I also am happy for guests to bring something as well.

What I’ve done is softened my belief about traditions and looked at other ways for us to have an enjoyable meal together. I’ve found that I enjoy Thanksgiving more when I don’t spend that eighteen hours in the kitchen and I more thoroughly appreciate the people at the table with us. And I don’t fall asleep during the football game because I have more energy.

Remember what Maya Angelou said: “I’ve learned people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

May you have a Thanksgiving full of warm memories, happy feelings and a waistline that stays the same!

 © Copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding women leaders and their teams to a more collaborative and successful work environment. Working together to be innovative, productive and successful requires understanding the key principles of communication, influence and relationship-building. Kathy’s individual programs and workshops are designed to build these attitudes and skills within teams, especially for technical, financial services and sales teams.

Share

Inside Out Thinking on Reaching Your Goals

Reaching Your Goals“…better to be approximately right than exactly wrong.” – Edward Tufte, Yale professor and master of information design

When I heard that quote last week, all sorts of excuses for my biggest project just vanished. I have allowed my fears on this goal to slow me down. Approximately right – what a great concept!

So today I want to talk to you about reaching goals. In order to fuel our soul’s growth and work through our life’s lessons, it is essential to set goals and have something to work toward, whether it be professional or personal. The human mind and heart is wired to move forward and setting goals is a way forward.

Yet some of us (including me at times) are fearful of setting big goals out of a self-limiting belief that we will fail or one of my fears – not meeting mine or others expectations. Or also the concern that my reputation somehow will be diminished.

Most of you know I’ve taught goal-setting for years. I have a specific process for setting goals and making them very clear and tangible. You also know how to set goals.

So what is the big deal? Why isn’t everyone excited about setting goals and moving forward? Mostly because there are some emotions and limiting beliefs involved. Literally we can let our emotions hijack our behaviors and actions.

We all have many life lessons to learn, blocks to clear and more of life to experience. Let’s make it a little easier – sound like a plan?

Next time you are dreaming about a big goal or something you want to do, accomplish or become, notice your emotions. That may be difficult at first. You have to slow down. Emotions are part of the human experience, whether we want to acknowledge that or not.

Ask yourself:

1. What’s at stake for me if I do this/ or become this?

2. How do I feel about that?

3. Does this goal support who I want to be?

4. What is the background or story that has contributed to fearful or blocking emotions that would cause you to hold back?

For me, writing a book is my biggest goal right now. I’m really busy with clients, projects, family and travel so it is easy to put the book on the back burner. I can justify by saying I’m so busy.

However, I have done some work to look at the limiting beliefs and emotions involved in what’s at stake for me if I do write and publish a book. Taking a dive into what limiting beliefs and emotions were keeping me stuck has been extremely helpful in moving me forward.

If you are a woman with big dreams in your heart that you want to make happen, I want to invite you to attend my Heart and Soul Women’s Retreat, January 23-25, 2015. We will focus on overcoming limitations of stress and the emotional roller coaster that keeps us stuck. You will get clear on what you want to accomplish in 2015.

Check out the details here or contact me.

 © Copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding women leaders and their teams to a more collaborative and successful work environment.

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision-making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.

 

Share

Keeping Calm at Work

Emotional Intelligence is Critical to Your Success

Remaining calm in the face of stress and conflict at work can be challenging. I work with many leaders who admit that they let their frustrations show too often.

Other leaders have learned not to take conflict and problems so personally and they remain calm no matter what the situation.

A third scenario is that a leader is overly optimistic and positive and won’t address the hard choices and challenges, believing that the situation will take care of itself.

Actually there are challenges with each of these scenarios.

This type of emotion displayed in the workplace destroys relationships and engagement.

This type of emotion displayed in the workplace destroys relationships and engagement.

The leaders who let their frustrations get to them sometimes will respond to their direct reports or peers with anger and say something destructive to the relationship.

The leaders who are able to keep their emotions in a neutral space no matter what the situation is have a calming effect on their teams. The challenge with this style is that the leader’s team may find it harder to assess what their leader is thinking and expecting.

The leader who is overly optimistic and positive can be missing opportunities for improvement or not realize when the team is solving the wrong problem.

Appropriate emotions in the workplace are necessary for balanced relationships and effective progress toward goals. Inappropriate emotions, such as disrespectful comments, irrational anger and frustration or even being overly optimistic are not necessary and are usually damaging in some way.

Finding balance is an opportunity for leaders.

Leaders who understand and manage their emotions are more successful

Leaders who understand and manage their emotions are more successful

Teams need to know where they stand with their leader, yet when a leader is constantly criticizing or showing frustration, individual and team engagement usually falls.

On the other hand, if a leader is constantly positive, without addressing the difficult challenges, teams aren’t able to power through difficult times of heavy workloads or transition.

It’s a rare leader who is able to share openly with their team when they are excited and recognize the success of their teams as well as be able to express disappointment or communicate in an effective way so the team can adapt and improve performance.

If you find yourself with either no emotions or mostly sharing corrective feedback with your team or the opposite of being overly positive and optimistic, consider observing yourself for a week or so and note when you have emotions that trigger you and notice how you react.

Simply noticing and becoming more aware of how you experience emotion throughout the day is a great place to start.

If you find your emotions sometime hijack your reactions to your team, you can set up a complimentary Discovery Call with me to learn three tips to stop yourself from over-reacting.  To schedule a complimentary call with me, visit https://www.timetrade.com/book/YRNDC.

 © Copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding women leaders and their teams to a more collaborative and successful work environment.

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision-making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.

Share

Managing stress

Female hands balancing life and stress 3D words conceptual imageLike many of us, I am grieving the loss of Robin Williams. Really shocking and I’m sitting here at my computer wondering if anything could have helped. Depression can make life seem unbearable. I’ve read so many poignant posts on Facebook and on the web about Robin and also many have shared their own battles with depression. We can’t know the depth of despair that caused him to take his life. We can, though focus on our own mental health and look out for those around us.

In reading about him, I am awed at how much he gave to the world, even though he was fighting this illness for so much of his life. The comedy and the drama he shared with us through TV, film and live performances lifted him, in my mind, to one of the most talented people on earth.

Shakes me up from my nice, comfortable life and makes me ask myself, “Kathy what are you giving? What can you offer? Where can you step up to bring more light to the world?”

One of the things I have lately become passionate about is helping people understand and do something about their stress – both understanding what is causing stress and also offering some strategies to help alleviate stress.

I know that when I don’t manage my stress it is much easier to go down that slippery slope toward depression and the unbearable feeling that who I am and what I do doesn’t matter.

For that reason, I am offering a complimentary call this Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 7 p.m. Central. I will be sharing with you some of my top tips to keep the effects of stress at a minimum so you can live fully and be more present to the guidance of your heart and soul, ultimately, your Divine guidance.

Will you join me on Thursday? Register now and mark it on your calendar. Even if you feel you are managing your stress effectively, consider joining us so you can learn some tips to share with the people in your life who may not be adapting to stress easily.

I also want to encourage you, if your stress is overwhelming, to please get some help from a professional counselor or someone you trust. Company Employee Assistance Programs can direct you to caring, kind professionals.

Remember to Register Now for the call this Thursday, August 14 at 7 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. Pacific.

© Copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential. 

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision-making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.

Share

The Many Masks of Stress

Many faces of stressAll of us have stress – we wouldn’t be alive without some form of stress. The trouble starts because most of us don’t know how to manage our stress. According to Stress.org (yes there really is a website devoted to stress), 46% of our workplace stress is related to workload, 28% is due to people issues, 20% work/life balance and 6% job security.

Work-related stress shows up in many ways and often that stress triggers reactions that are harmful to relationships – whether working or personal. My definition of stress is the feeling (whether you are conscious of it or not) that you feel when there is a gap between where you are and where you need to be relative to your responsibilities and goals.

People react differently to stress. Some leaders I’ve worked with have managed to hide stress so well that their direct reports and co-workers don’t realize they are under so much stress. Their ability to appear calm on the outside keeps their team focused. I wonder, though, if it takes a toll personally on them. Are they pretending not to be stressed? Some may be, however, many top managers are able to have a different perspective and able to keep focused on the vision, which makes the stress easier to handle.

Other people show visible signs of stress. Scowling or concerned faces, snapping at co-workers and colleagues, a mistaken comment to a client are all outcomes of being overstressed.

When I led sales for a design firm, my co-workers knew when I was stressed and hyper-focused on solving a problem.  I zoomed through the office with a slightly bent forward posture. They had a nickname for me that I discovered after I left the company – “Kathy italic.” I can laugh about it now because I’m not under the pressure to bring in sales like I was then and appreciate that they cared about me.

That pressure and stress led me to be very task-focused and overlook times I could build on relationships. That was one of my masks of stress – covering up my fear of not meeting goals by focusing on the task at hand of business development.

You can lighten your stress load simply by observing ways that stress plays out in your life. As you notice where you are showing stress reactions, decide what you can do to look at the situation differently or take a different action. Talk to a trusted co-worker or your boss if that is a solid relationship. If your stress is extreme, please contact your Employee Assistance Program or seek help from a counselor or coach who can help you develop strategies to manage your stress.

© Copyright 2014, Kathy Garland

Whether it is mentoring people to lead more effectively, improve their own performance or step into what is next, Kathy Garland is passionate about guiding leaders to achieve business goals and reach their highest potential. 

Today’s leaders are managing diverse teams and projects that require impeccable communication and decision-making skills. The ability to clearly define the vision, goals and purpose of any business initiative that will motivate a team or individual is the key to achieving big results. 

Kathy specializes in coaching and mentoring these high potential, thought leaders to accurately define and communicate the vision, goals and expected results to management, teams and clients.

Share