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.


Why I Love to Travel

Kathy and Tour Guide at Coliseum 2015I love to travel. My travel adventures make me happy, feed my desire to learn and explore and give me a sense of freedom that is not tied to my everyday responsibilities.

Travel is as necessary for me as water and air. Without it I start to feel like I’m missing out and not experiencing life to the fullest.

The photo above is of me listening to our tour guide at the Coliseum on a recent trip to Italy, Greece and Turkey. It was one of my favorite trips because of the rich history and the magnificent art.

What travel does is light up my spirit – that part of me that is creative, energetic and so alive.

Other things that evoke the same feeling are having a great response from clients when they’ve made positive changes that affect their livelihood – I really feel like I’m making a difference.

Of course, being with family brings that connection to who I really am and where I can make a difference.

What fuels your spirit and your true essence?

Is it creativity?

Is it making things happen?

Is it connectivity with people?

What I’ve noticed is that so many of us have forgotten who we really are and do things we think we should do, or that other people think we should do. We have obligations to our jobs, our families, and our outside activities. There’s nothing wrong with this unless it doesn’t make you feel more alive.

So just for today, do something that makes you feel like more of you. One thing I did recently was to create a short video for my grandson and email it. It only took a few minutes and it was fun.

Make time for fun, for music, for a short walk, call a friend, spend a few minutes planning your next trip, or visit an art gallery. Just take one small step toward being more of who you love to be. If you make this a practice, you’ll be surprised at how much more you are available to your life purpose and to the people in your life.

What are your passions? Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.



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

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.


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.


Reframing Your Problems

Every so often, I get stuck. And I mean stuck. Like I don’t want to move forward. Generally something has happened that triggers some emotions in me.

This is a basic human response that happens to everyone.

I hear from a lot of clients that time management is an issue:

“I don’t have enough time…”

“I don’t take time for myself”

“I don’t have time to exercise”

Time is relative. Last week two of my clients realized that they wanted to take some time for themselves during the week, yet felt it would be unproductive.

Reframing is looking at a situation from a different point of view. Very often with this process, people find a different way to look at their circumstances.

Once they were clear on why it was important to set aside time for themselves, both clients found time in their schedules – not because they changed what was there, they simply changed what they were looking for.

Once they found value in taking time for themselves, the time showed up on their calendars. The time was always there, they simply reframed their thinking around taking time for themselves and then they were able to see what they couldn’t see before.

Any time you want something and you feel the struggle of not being able to have it, try reframing your mindset – what is it you really want and how could you look at your situation differently?

And if you are stuck, please call me. I have learned a lot of tools over the years to get unstuck and I help clients every day move through challenges. Contact me and we’ll set up a time to talk on the phone.


© 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.



I’d Turn Back if I Were You!

When I was a child, the tornado, witches, angry wizards and hosts of witch minions were frightening. As an adult, I’ve come to appreciate the humor in the movie.

One of the funniest parts of The Wizard of Oz is when Dorothy and her friends enter the Haunted Forest on the way to the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West. A sign that said, “I’d turn back if I were you” stopped them in their tracks. The Lion read the sign to the group and then acting like the coward he didn’t want to be, immediately turned tail to run away.

YellowBrickRoadAs soon as he bolted, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow rushed after him and brought him back. He took a deep breath and started again until they encountered the owls with red glowing eyes. Once more, the Lion made an about face and headed the other way. Without missing a beat, the Lion and Scarecrow brought him back.

Later, on the verge of reaching the castle, the trio was making plans to to into the castle and the Scarecrow told the Lion, “You’re gonna lead us.” Of course, that sent the Lion into a dither, but his friends would not take no for an answer.

The Tin Man and the Scarecrow were there for the Lion to help him break through his fear and discover his true courage.

The best friends and co-workers and are like that – they stand for us, push us and believe in us when we do not or are wavering in our courage and confidence. I have some dear friends and clients who always encourage me when I am starting a new course or developing a new idea. Sometimes I need a subtle (or not so subtle) push to keep on my path and keep up my courage when I am moving into uncharted waters. I am very blessed to have them in my life.

Encourage means to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. All of us need that from friends and family. This week, whom can you encourage to help along their journey? It could be a friend, family member or complete stranger.

Be on the lookout for chances to encourage people. It will bring joy to both of you.

For a complimentary consultation on your communication 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


Your Heart Knows the Way

“No, my head is quite empty,” answered the Woodman. “But once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart.” – The Tin Woodman, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L Frank Baum

All the Tin Woodman wanted was a heart. He thought he didn’t have a heart, yet all his actions came from a heart-focused center. His tender conversations and display of caring even to the point of rusting when he shed tears were signs he already had a heart. All he needed was for someone, in this case, the almighty, powerful Wizard of Oz to make it official by giving him a heart.

You don’t need someone else to give you what you already have. You can claim for yourself what you really want. You couldn’t see it if you didn’t already have it. Many people cover up their own heart’s wisdom because it may require them to make big changes, go against the tide, and break out of our rut or even lead to a life of happiness.

Whatever your heart desires, assume that you already have it or can have it.  When people started guiding me to open my heart, it was so foreign to me. A little like traveling on the road to Oz. I didn’t know where the road was or where it led. I didn’t know how to listen to my heart. I was so shut down it really hurt to focus on my heart energy. Yet my life has changed in wonderful ways since then.

Listening to your heart is a journey on its own. We are so trained in the Western world to think, think and think. Our belief is that the only thing that is valid is what can be measured and observed.

Yet when you listen to your heart, you will find clues and solutions for the questions in your life.

One of my favorite quotes is by Dicky Fox, Jerry Maguire’s mentor in the movie “Jerry Maguire.” He advised Jerry,

“If it’s not in your heart, it’s not in your head.”

My interpretation of this quote is that people won’t achieve what tehy want if it doesn’t come from their hearts. If your heart is on board, your head will know what to do.

People can get off track with our lives, depressed and miserable, when they don’t have the courage to pay attention to their heart’s desires.

If you are longing for something different in your life, if your results aren’t what you want, if your life isn’t going the way you want, which of your heart’s desires are you ignoring?

Try this exercise:

To tap into your heart’s wisdom, close your eyes for several minutes and take slow, deep breaths.

Center your focus on your heart. Pay attention to your heart’s rhythm and its beat for a few minutes. Appreciate your heart’s role in keeping you alive and bringing up your dreams.

Continue to focus on your heart and breathe.

Ask your heart what it would take for you to have a fulfilled life.

Be still, be present. Listen.

Notice first thing that comes to you no matter how outrageous or far from where you are right now.

Resist the temptation to question, edit, dismiss or alter the image or words that come to your heart.

Take a deep breath and open your eyes.

Write down what you noticed and observed. What does your heart want to communicate?

What would your life be like if you had that?

Assume you can have it.

Claim it. You own it.

Your heart wants you to express this.

For years, my heart whispered to me to write. When I went inside to listen to my heart, writing always surfaced.

But similar to the way Dorothy reacted when the Wizard asked her to bring back the Wicked Witch of the West’s broom, I’ve said, no I can’t do that. Or the infamous for stopping people phrase, “I’ll get to it later.”

Now, I am committed more than ever to share messages from my heart through writing and doing it one step at a time.

It’s time now to give yourself permission to follow your heart. It doesn’t mean you have to give up your life and move to a monastery, leave your spouse, or quit your job. If you think any of those is a solution, please call me!

For you to step into your heart’s desires and life purpose, you can start where you are. Add a little bit of what you desire to your everyday routine.

Take a step forward and commit to taking one step at a time. Dorothy and her friends kept moving on the Yellow Brick Road even though they had been told there would be danger. They went one step at a time and figured it out along the way and ultimately achieved their goals.

You can do the same.

For a complimentary consultation on leading from your heart, 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


Five ways to recover from a setback

One evening as we were preparing for dinner, we had an unusual thing happen at our house. The owl in the photo crashed into our upstairs window. This owl has lived in our neighborhood quite a while.  According to my research, owls have a map of their territory in their brain. And we know that they are experts at flying in the dark.

Owls are also known to be wise. So why did this owl make the stupid mistake of crashing into our house?   Didn’t his internal map of his territory include our house? He lives along the creek, just one house over from  us.

He was stunned and couldn’t move for the longest time. Luckily for him, we weren’t owl predators. Clearly though, this was a mistake by a bird that is programmed to know his territory and fly safely at night.

So that led me to think about why such a magnificent and wise bird would make such a mistake.  That led me to dive into my mistakes and what I’ve learned.

Over the years in my career and business, I’ve made many mistakes and had some difficult setbacks. Some really knocked me off my feet and the biggest ones gave me the opportunity to grow, expand my abilities and on occasion, start something new. This is the real value of mistakes and setbacks if you will view them as a learning tool in your life.

From being laid off to “seeking other opportunities” to simply not handling a sales call effectively, I’ve beat myself up about every one. Finally, I realized that being so hard on myself is a detriment to my life and my ability to make a difference through who I am.

So over the years, I’ve developed some strategies to recover from mistakes and setbacks. My goal is to not get knocked off my feet and to use mistakes and setbacks as a way to look at who I am and who I am being.

Think of mistakes and setbacks as a message from your soul or your higher self that it is time to expand and grow. When you look at it as an  opportunity, it lessens the sting over time.

How I wish someone had shared that wisdom with me in my earlier years. I had such a strong belief about right and wrong that I was devastated anytime I didn’t achieve 100%. As a result, I agonized much longer than I needed to when I had a setback or made a mistake.

Here are the recovery strategies I use to get back on track. I won’t say that I still don’t experience agony and frustration though. However, I do get past it better and move on, a bit wiser than before.

Five ways to recover from a mistake or a set back

1.Take some personal time to regroup – If you’ve had a major setback or made a major mistake, take some time to regroup. A few days away at the beach, extra time at the gym, visiting a friend or favorite place to get your mind off your problem is a good strategy to clear your mind. You might consider working on a home or volunteer project for a few days.

The key is to not take too much time. You need enough time to release some of your emotions and restore your self-worth. If you start to feel empty and wanting to know what is next, you need to get back into action.

2.Talk to your mentors and friends – Going it alone is a certain formula for distress and possibly a spiral downward into isolation and being stuck. If you are reeling and feel the hurt of a mistake or unforeseen setback, you need to have people in your life to listen as you share your experience. One of the benefits of this is that you will find you have company in this area. No one is without his or her share of mistakes. We are not as emotionally competent if we are not able to admit our mistakes. You may also want to engage a coach, someone who will be a completely objective source and will help you restore your focus.

3. Write down your story – Your emotional investment in what happened can consume your thoughts and feelings to the point that any new possibilities are shut out. Take time to write it all down. Getting it all out on paper so it doesn’t hold as much power over you starts the healing process.

You will get the most out of the situation if you will write about it from different points of view. Even though it is difficult, try writing as though you were one of the other people involved and see what emerges. You may find some insights that will be helpful as you move forward.

If you aren’t willing to look at what happened, you will most likely make the same mistake again.

4. Get back in the game – Football players have no choice but to get back in the game. I always admired Brett Favre, former Green Bay Packers quarterback, because he was able to laugh at himself when he made a mistake and of course, get right back to the line of scrimmage and start playing again.

Have you seen the dejected face of a team kicker when he misses a critical field goal? The best thing that can happen for him is to get another opportunity. And even better is to be encouraged by teammates that he can return to success. (See #2)

Getting back in the game is also a mind game. The faster you get back in your game, the faster you will recover and be able to move on.

5. Start something new – Occasionally, you may need to change your routine and where you are. The pace of life and work now draws us into faster and more radical change than ever before. That may require you to start something entirely new and different or change your approach. This is evident in the number of people who are leaving traditional jobs and starting their own businesses.

If you are in a situation where you need to make changes to keep going there are some key questions you can use to open up possibilities:

–       What else is possible?

–       Where can I make a contribution that will expand my life and my living?

–       What changes can I make for a fresh start?

–       Where can I bring the most value?

–       What can I learn from this and apply to my life?

By going through these five steps, you will not only feel better about yourself, you will also be able re-engage with life and work with your self-confidence on the rebound.

What happened to the owl?

We turned the porch light on to watch the owl and take photos. The one above is from our neighbor.

Finally I realized that to help the owl, we needed to shut off the light to help him recover and get oriented to the dark so he could fly again. After dinner we went upstairs to check on him and happily he was gone.

Just like the wise owl, you can recover from setbacks and mistakes and get back on your path. By taking time to work through these five steps, you will learn and adapt more quickly which in the long run is a bonus to your career and your value to your business or your employer.

If you’ve recently experienced a setback, contact me for a complimentary call. 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