Finding Generosity

Photo by Kathy Garland of Hubbard Glacier in Alaska

Today, with Hurricane Irma barreling through Florida, while South Texas and eastern Louisiana struggle to dig out after Harvey, along with major fires in four states, I stopped to wonder. I wondered what it would take for Americans to pull together again and stop all this hate and vitriol.

Nothing like a disaster to pull people together and bring out their best and most generous. Do I wish for disasters? Of course not.

I just wonder why until there is a disaster, though, we are angry with each other, divided and a small part of the population are givers and volunteers or people who are generous with their spirit and time every day.

What if everyone made it a point to give in their own way, even in small ways, every day?

What would be the impact on our country?
– Would politicians work harder to work with the opposition?
– Would children do better in school?
– Would our food chain be healthier?
– Would we be healthier?
– Would we know our neighbors?
– Would our roads and waterways have less litter?
– Would we see less crime?
– Would we be more prosperous?

All those are idealistic questions of course. I want to believe if everyone is contributing in some way to the issues that drive our passions that life would be better in our country.

In the past, I have felt overwhelmed, like deer in the headlights, on where to contribute. So many ideas float through my head, and I’m passionate about many causes that can improve the human condition.
President Kennedy was a true visionary for which our country should be grateful. After his famous inauguration speech on January 20, 1961, many college students were inspired to go into volunteer work for international aid organizations like the Peace Corps. Others changed their majors to sociology to be of service here in the United States. All these people, who are mostly in their 70’s, were in great service to the country, offering selfless contributions that define their lives.

While his vision was big for what you can do for your country, I also firmly believe you can make a difference for the United States right where you are. For if we all take small, consistent steps, we can become a mighty force. However, not all of us can leave our everyday lives and join a service organization for several years. Not all of us can spare a few hours a week for volunteer work.

Here are a few actions you can take to do something for your neighborhood, your community, your country.

– visit a neighbor who may be suffering or is more isolated
– drive someone to an appointment who can’t drive
– bring items to a food drive or food pantry
– extend trust to someone you have not trusted in the past
– reach out to someone who has lost a loved one, more than once after the funeral
– write a letter to your editor.

You can also start with your own family. Even taking steps to reach out to family members goes a long way to create peace, bring harmony and good feelings to your life. I have a cousin in Florida that I don’t know very well, but I made sure to reach out to him before the hurricane and will follow up with him in a day or two to see how he is doing.

The feeling of a sense of belonging when you reach out to family members is important to us as human beings. We thrive on connection. Our generosity is a way to strengthen that connection.


Becoming Remarkable

As a leader in business, you need to be remarkable to be heard and influence people. explains remarkable as an adjective that means worthy of notice. Something remarkable is unusual, exceptional, interesting, or excellent. Remarkable things get your attention.

I love the last line – “Remarkable things get your attention.” The same goes for people and companies.

Remarkable people and companies get your attention.

Now that statement begs the question, “How do I become remarkable?” The origin of remarkable begins in the 1600’s from the French remarquer ‘take note of.’ (From When we are or do something remarkable, we want people to take note of these actions and achievements. This builds our personal and professional brand.

There are five cornerstones I believe are important for you, your team and your company to become remarkable. I’ve also identified several qualities under each cornerstone.

Five Cornerstones of Being Remarkable

  1. Creativity and Innovation
    – Be known as a problem-solver and the ability to solve customers’ problems quickly
    – Ability to concept and launch new products and services
  2. Trustworthiness
    – Do the right thing
    – Deliver on your promises
  3. High Use of Emotional Intelligence
    – Solve conflicts while protecting relationships
    – Fearlessly build business and relationships
    – Handle stress without impacting productivity
  4. Excellent products and services
    – Make the lives of your clients better and more successful
    – Deliver what you do consistently and reliably
  5. Sense of Humor
    – Break tension and reconnect people to task at hand, which increases effectiveness
    – Help people stay engaged when work is challenging
    – Provide a sense of optimism when mistakes are made.

To find out how you or your company can increase your ability to be remarkable, schedule a complimentary consultation call with me. You’ll discover where you are remarkable and where you can improve.

© Copyright, Kathy Garland, 2015. All rights reserved.



The beginner’s mind as a leadership trait

Several years ago I attended a workshop in Austin for a Public Speaking Workshop at The Wizard Academy, At the time I’d been speaking for nearly 15 years, however, I was very excited to learn from someone who charges $25,000 (yes that’s right) per speech. Think there might be something here for people who want to speak?

For me to get the most out of the workshop, I needed to enter the classroom as though I knew nothing about speaking. I decided to have the attitude of a beginner.

If I had gone in the classroom tomorrow holding all I know about being a speaker, that would have shut out the possibility of me learning and experiencing something that could greatly improve my speaking and success.

In the past, I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking I have to have all the answers and have it perfect. If you can identify with this, think about it because you may miss opportunities by already having the “right answers.” There are times we need to have the mindset of a beginner so we don’t shut out possibilities to big breakthroughs and insights. A beginner is curious. A beginner has an empty slate. A beginner has no baggage from past history.

The beginner’s mind can absorb more than a mind filled with the best way to do this and the right answer for that. The beginner mind is pliable, moldable, open.

There are times it is advantageous as a leader to have a beginner’s mind. With problem-solving, a beginner’s mind helps eliminate the “we’ve done it before” syndrome and can lead to innovation.

A leader with a beginner’s mind can see solutions from different perspectives and involve her team in developing answers to problems.

It seems contrary to common wisdom, however, to empty your mind on a subject matter you feel you are an expert in and put yourself in the shoes of a beginner, is a powerful exercise.

For a complimentary consultation on managing your leadership style, contact me and I will connect with you to schedule a phone appointment.

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.

© 2014 Kathy Garland



We Can Do This!

We can do itHave you ever met someone like Shawn? I met Shawn in leadership development program I was coaching. The group was stuck on a team-building activity that seemed impossible to get done in the time frame that would net them the most points.

Shawn spoke up. “This is doable,” he began.  The team wasn’t convinced so he continued. “Two years ago, I only had an eighth-grade education. I’ve learned that if there is something I want, I put my mind to it and focus on on it, I can reach my goals. We can do this.”

Shawn earned his GED in 2009 and and was promoted to a supervisory level in 2011. He already had goals established for the next level he wants to achieve.

During a break, I talked to him more about his journey to overcome his difficult circumstances. He said, “There’s so much to the story, so many things I’ve overcome that I didn’t share.  I’m not finished yet with what I want to do. Next I want to get my college degree.”

Shawn didn’t start out his career with the credentials, tools and education that most of us have. He does have spirit, heart, courage and focus and a passionate willingness to learn. And he also asks a lot of questions and actively engages with mentors that support him.

Shawn believes that what he wants to achieve is doable. He rallied his teammates and they accomplished their goal because he had a vision it could be done.

The next time you are faced with a challenge that doesn’t seem like it can be solved according to your parameters and what you think is possible, I encourage you to think of Shawn and remind yourself that it is doable.

Then your job is to ask yourself, How is this doable?” – not ‘is this doable?’ Be prepared for creative solutions to emerge and forge ahead knowing that a good solution is possible.


3 Tips to Manage Holiday Emotions

Bring more light into your world

No matter what tradition you observe during this time of year, you are likely to experience a roller-coaster effect on your emotions. Entertaining, buying the right gifts, office parties, and family get-togethers all trigger a range of emotions that are different in each of us.

I know I experience the roller coaster. My emotions can take me out if I am not paying attention. For example, we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with our daughter, son-in-law and grandson. They were also here for my birthday, which was doubly delightful. Then they had to go home, so I experienced emptiness.

On the upswing, our son and daughter-in-law are coming for Christmas, for which I am grateful and excited.

However, I am anxious about entertaining during the holidays. I always want everything to be a little ‘better’ than I can make it, and a little prettier on the decorations, whatever ‘better’ and ‘prettier’ appear to be.

Am I really this neurotic?

Somehow I expect myself to show up at parties looking the best, being witty and charming and generally being the life of the party. When I start into that emotional spin, I realize my perfectionist nature is trying to take charge.

Sometimes my expectations during the holidays drive me crazy. Am I crazy or do you experience a similar swing in emotions?

So this morning I woke up thinking about emotional intelligence and how much I’ve learned about increasing my awareness and usage of the skills over the last few years. I know I can create my holiday experiences to be more joyful and peaceful based on my choices.

3 Emotional Intelligence Strategies You Can Use

Based on that thought, I want to offer you three tips you can use if you experience emotions that limit your joy, whether it be stress, anxiety, fear, overwhelm or sadness.

  1. OPTIMISM – For many people sadness during the holidays is very real. To increase your feelings of optimism, which helps you work through stressful situations, remain hopeful and stay resilient, there are three things that are helpful.

– First, remember the good holiday experiences you’ve had and focus on those

– Second, take time to think through what type of experience you want to have during the holidays. How do you want to show up? Are you sharing your gifts with others?

– Third, engage your senses. Add more light, diffuse an essential oil, or listen to your favorite music are three things that will lift your mood.

Life feels good when you are optimistic.

  1. REALITY-TESTING/seeing things as they really are – This is simply the ability to remain objective and not overreact or make bad decisions in certain situations. This definitely is more difficult during the holidays with all the events, parties and responsibilities that we expect ourselves to manage.

Do I really need that piece of cheesecake?

For me, I know I need to use more Reality-Testing skills when I am faced with a beautiful plate of cookies, candy and desserts. Can I really eat what I want and not gain weight? That’s a fantasy of mine, and I need to be more realistic about eating during the holidays.

Another way to be more realistic during the holidays is to make lists and check them twice. Post a big calendar with your commitments on it and post where you can easily see it. This will help you manage your time and decide what you can and can’t do.

  1. STRESS TOLERANCE – When you are able to manage your own stress, it is good for you and everyone around you. When you let your stress run your emotions, your reactions and your actions, everyone around you feels it too.

Increasing stress tolerance is a journey. Stress tolerance means you can effectively cope with stressful or difficult situations.

What triggers your stress?

A few years ago, we had an ice storm in our area, which prevented us from driving to my brother’s house for Christmas dinner. I cherish these occasions and really wanted our family to play with our new grandson. We decided the roads would be too icy to drive with a newborn. So I was disappointed and sad, but a good walk in the snow helped me balance my perspective and come back home cheerful and relaxed.

What can you do to increase your tolerance and patience during stressful situations? Deep breathing, getting fresh air, or a visit with a friend are a few ways to add simple joys to your holidays. The more you fill yourself with love and joyful experiences, the more you can be that for others and not let your stress drive your thoughts, actions and speech.

I wish you a joy-filled, peaceful season of light and love.

Note: Emotional Intelligence skills and definitions are from EQ-i 2.0™ of MHS Assessments. I am a certified practitioner of the MHS EQ-i 2.0.

© Kathy Garland 2015






Emotional Intelligence is Key for Sales Professionals

Slide1It’s a given that salespeople need great interpersonal skills. We identify potential salespeople based on their “people” skills.

There are many more skills needed, of course, for salespeople to become masterful at what they do. It’s one thing to win new business; it’s another to bring in new clients that are a great fit for your company. Clients that give your team opportunities to do their best work can maximize profit on the account. For this to work, your sales team must have a balanced use of emotional intelligence skills, only one of which is interpersonal or people skills.

Emotional Intelligence** is a set of skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way (MHS, Multi-Health Systems definition.) There are 15 skills in the MHS Emotional Intelligence system and they are key to the success of your sales team.

Three emotional intelligence skills that contribute to sales success include

– Interpersonal relationships* which is the ability to build and maintainrelationships

– Empathy* to listen and understand problems that need to be solved, and

Social responsibility*, the willingness and ability to do the right thing and have a desire to contribute to the welfare and success of your clients.

Low usage or lack of understanding on how to use these three skills guarantees a difficult or slow sales process and lower than desired closing percentages. It can also mean your salespeople are pushing solutions on potential customers without really understanding the problem.

When I led sales for a marketing firm, we had the opportunity to pitch an international company. We were a small fish in a sea of competitors that included national firms.

As a team, we focused on building relationships with all parties involved in the process. Because of our empathetic approach of generous listening and asking strategic questions, we earned the right to continue into the next round. To win the business, we demonstrated social responsibility*, in which we presented ideas in their best interest to help them solve their problem. More importantly, we helped our potential client show social responsibility* by giving them some new insight into their target market.

During the five-month process, we continued to build interpersonal relationships with as many members on the potential client team as we could meet, which combined with our approach, won a new account that led to substantial revenue growth as well as hiring new employees.

There are twelve other emotional intelligence skills that contribute to the success of your sales team. In my next post I will discuss three emotional intelligence skills that prevent your sales team from leaving money on the table.

If you are a sales manager and desire improved team performance and stronger client relationships, I encourage you to call me for a complimentary consultationto learn how you can coach your team in developing their emotional intelligence skills. I am certified in the MHS EQ-i 2.0 Emotional Intelligence Survey and MHS EQ-i 2.0 360 Emotional Intelligence Survey, as well as the MHS EQ-i Emotional Intelligence Leadership Assessment.

To learn more about emotional intelligence for your sales team, schedule a complimentary consultation with me.

* Interpersonal relationships, empathy and social responsibility are three skills in the MHS EQ-I 2.0 emotional intelligence assessment.


5 Influence Skills You Need for Success

Influencing others is one of the most important leadership skills you can possess. When you lead people Key of Influencewithout authority, using these influence qualities will make your job easier. In order to influence people, of course communication is required. Our interactions with others can escalate into conflict, avoidance or misunderstanding. If you attempt to influence without using and demonstrating these qualities, it can feel manipulative or even worse, like coercion to the people with whom you are talking.

In general, we are more influential when we have good relationships with people. Those relationships, and therefore your ability to influence, will improve when you practice and develop these qualities:

  1. Likeability. People work with those they know and trust. That’s not a surprise. One way to be more likeable is to smile more often. Another is to concentrate on making eye contact. Alan Turing, who led the team that unlocked the Nazi code in WWII, was influenced by a team member who told him he needed to do something to let the team know he cared and acknowledged their hard work. Once he worked on being more likeable, they worked together more collaboratively. The result? They broke the code and saved an estimated 14 million lives and two years of war.
  2. Reciprocity. No one is an island and totally self-sufficient. We accomplish more through the support of others and giving back is essential to reciprocity. Returning a favor, taking someone to lunch, pitching in when a colleague needs help are all ways you can use reciprocity to increase your influence. In addition, if you are new to a team, make sure you reach out to others first. You will be seen as a person who values relationships and can be turned to as a resource. Give and take is important in any relationship, work or personal. Not reciprocating can start to create a divide and lack of trust.
  3. Credibility. This is a matter of integrity. Do what you say you are going to do. Be trustworthy. Consistency builds credibility and builds trust with your team. Consistency across your team says to the organization that your team is high performing. This increases your credibility, which improves your influence ability.
  4. Composure. How poised and calm do you appear in the midst of conflict and when deadlines are tight? How composed are you when a colleague does something that surprises you or doesn’t feel supportive? You will be able to influence people more easily if you are the one who can remain calm and composed through the storm. Your team will feel safe to approach you even when things aren’t going well. Having good composure includes a willingness to be open and to hear the hard things when it is difficult to communicate them.
  5. Commitment. Leaders who openly share their commitments with their team will more easily influence others to support their vision. Leaders who aren’t clear on their commitments create confusion and people don’t know when to say yes or when to say no. They don’t know what impact their answer will have on you. Leaders who demonstrate commitment by doing what they say they are going to do and supporting their teams are influential in getting things done in the organization.

Luckily, learning influence skills is a matter of practicing each of these five qualities. If you or your team could benefit from improving your influence skills, I offer leadership coaching programs and a workshop on influence. Please contact me through LinkedIn or my website for more information.

Kathy Garland works with 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 leaders and their teams in technical and analytical careers. She is certified in the MHS EQi Emotional Intelligence Survey as well as 360 Management Skills Surveys. For a complimentary copy of my ebook “30 Questions for the Effective Leader” please fill out this Download Form.

Additional resources on #creative leadership:

Mastering Our Communication by Robb Braun

The Creative Entrepreneur by Sharon Jenkins

Value Recognition by Cheri Valentine Kierstead


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.


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:

The Responsibility of Leadership:

Qualities of Creative and Successful Leaders:

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.


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