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You lead like a girl! Do this today to instantly improve your professional credibility

As many of my readers know, I started my leadership journey more than 20 years ago, as the only female manager in a booming blue-collar, male-dominated company. Although I had more management training than many of my peers, I struggled with being taken seriously. Often my ideas were overlooked, or sometimes ‘borrowed’ (with no credit given to me), and it was difficult for me to engage in even constructive conflict without being patronized. At one point, I despaired that I’d ever really enjoy leadership, and only persevered because I knew I had something to offer, and I also knew if I wanted to maximize my earning potential, I had to crack the leadership code. How could I get my bosses, peers, and subordinates to take me seriously?

Does this sound familiar? If so, I have great news! I figured out what I had to do to give my professional credibility a facelift, and I’ve never looked back. From those fumbling, awkward beginnings, I’ve led teams, departments, and company initiatives, and eventually started my own consulting business.

I figured out what it takes to establish and maintain professional credibility, and I’m going to share it with you.

If you struggle with wondering if you’ve got what it takes to be a true leader, or worry that having a personal life rules you out of management, or even feel that you’ve made some mistakes that you can’t recover from, then you’ll be relieved to learn that NONE OF THIS disqualifies you from being a powerful, inspiring, and effective leader!

Today, I speak confidently, knowing I bring value to the table. I ask for what I need in a reasonable way, and don’t apologize for being human. I give constructive feedback without feeling guilty. I admit when I’m wrong without cringing. I champion ideas and lead powerful initiatives without worrying about failing. In short, I’m a leader who loves her job, and you can be too!

If you’re like many women leaders, you fought hard to get to where you are today…and yet…

Besides being a leader professionally, there may be several other, often contradictory roles you play in your life, which means that there are countless different things requiring your time, attention, and energy, and at times it feels like you’re not quite giving anything ‘your all’.

In addition, you may have been taught from a young age that making mistakes was a sign of failure. You also might have received conflicting instruction about being assertive, being polite, and how to accomplish things effectively through others (i.e. management)

As a result, you may have some built in ‘credibility blockers’ that are keeping you from feeling successful and fulfilled in your role as a leader. These include:

  • A Fixed Mindset
  • Limiting beliefs
  • Lack of quality training and mentors

Any one of these (let alone all three) can make your leadership journey feel exhausting and frustrating, and you may unconsciously be sabotaging yourself without even being aware of it. You can take this quick quiz to determine if any of these are impacting your credibility:

  • Do you feel like you are a leadership ‘imposter’ and if people ‘really knew’ you they’d know you weren’t a great leader?
  • Do you become anxious and fearful about your career prospects?
  • Do you imagine negative outcomes associated with asking for help?
  • Do you become impatient with yourself when change doesn’t occur quickly enough?
  • Does the thought of management or leadership training leave you feeling overwhelmed and skeptical?
  • Do you find it hard to trust others to provide honest feedback and training?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you need the following information so that you can learn how to overcome these obstacles and boost your professional credibility!

What I learned is that the biggest blocker to anyone’s professional credibility is their beliefs about themselves, and the most important factor of success in any area of life, but particularly in one’s leadership journey – is how to reprogram your mind and beliefs to create lasting change in your life.

This is the key to transformation, and failing to implement these secrets will keep you feeling stuck. Once you reprogram your mind to believe and embrace your identity as leader, you will see opportunities everywhere to develop and improve your skills. You will notice new mentoring opportunities, and you will be excited about the future.

I promise!

I’ve developed a transformational program to provide the tactical, strategic, mental, and emotional guidance you need to conquer challenges in your professional and personal life. Here is a free download containing a portion of the program from the module ‘Redefine your leadership image’, containing practical information you need to learn how to reprogram your mind and thrive in your professional role.

Today’s Leadership Solutions is a Seattle-based consulting firm dedicated to providing business owners peace of mind and job fulfillment by ensuring their management teams are equipped to run their businesses successfully. With certified executive coaches, organizational development experts and HR Professionals, we consult with small to medium sized businesses on management, leadership, and recruiting solutions in addition to providing career coaching to managers and executives in transition. We can be reached for consultation at info@todaysleadershipsolutions.com.

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Reso…What? Goal Setting Techniques for Personal and Professional Success

I’ve noticed a trend in the last few years of people not doing New Year’s Resolutions.  It’s like an anti-resolution backlash.  People are refusing to make resolutions because they never follow through.  It’s now the cool thing to not try something because you’re just going to fail anyway, the same way as it’s incredibly cool to not care overly much about anything.  Cynicism and bitterness are the new black (or grey, I can’t keep up).     There are other people who still do resolutions, but they are insistent on not calling them resolutions, because resolutions always fail.  So they call them ‘changes’ or ‘goals’ but phrased or planned out pretty identically to the ‘resolutions’ from yesteryear and those usually don’t work either.  Well guess what?  I’m calling this out as foolish. What on earth is wrong with being intentional about making a fresh new year your best yet?  

Now, for the downer pessimists (I know, I know, they call themselves ‘realists’ but the ‘reality’ is they are downer pessimists) who want to tell you that it’s stupid because nothing will change I will tell you: if you don’t change anything you’re completely right.  Nothing will change.  So if your Resolution is to earn more money, but you don’t learn new skills or apply for new jobs, you will not make your resolution happen.  My husband and I do goals every year and you know what?  We achieve them!  The reason why we achieve them is because we are good at setting goals that work.  These goal setting techniques have helped me achieve things that a lot of people have told me is unlikely or impossible.  I have written a novel in 30 days, I have carried twins to 38 weeks (and gotten to my pre-pregnancy body in 6 months), we have started successful businesses, we have survived newborn twins and a toddler and we have also gotten through some really hard stuff as well.  

Because I like you and want you to be successful, I’m going to share what you need to do to make your resolutions happen.  (Unless of course, you’d prefer to be ultra cool and laugh about how you’re going to ensure your unsatisfactory life stays that way forever.)  I think these will work for everyone.  Some of them seem weird and uncomfortable, so you have a choice.  You can try it anyway, or you can say, in a whiny, fearful voice “that’s different from what I’m used to.  I’m not going to do anything different.”  Cool  Then guess what?  (See paragraph one).  

1.    For all your ‘resolutions’ or goals, get to your ‘why’.  For example if you want to get a new job in 2015, ask why? So you can make more money? Why? So you can upgrade your home?  Why? So you can live in a more tranquil environment?  Why? So you can feel more peaceful?  AHA…you are getting close to your why.  Going through this process will give you clarity to what you REALLY want in life and some insight into what your core beliefs tell you will get you there. You can then decide if you’re on the right track or not.  Do this for all your resolutions.  Get down to anywhere from 1-3 big “Why’s”.  One might be, “I want to work in a career that makes a difference in my community and earns me enough money to provide for my family and help others in need.”

2.    For each WHY, pick a few milestones that will get you there.  They might need to be incremental.   I like to include an overall goal as well as a performance goal physically. For example, “I am going to increase my marketability by earning a sought after credential” or “I am going to increase my professional network by joining an industry association and attending the meetings.”

3.    For each milestone, develop a list of the behaviors that get you to where you want to be.  You’re not going to get a certificate if you don’t research and start studying.  You won’t increase your network if you don’t meet new people.  

4.    Do your homework. ANY goal can be achieved if you break it into small enough pieces.  Remember this. If your goals seems unattainable, maybe you’re not being realistic about how long it will take.  Reassess.  If you have a goal you really want to achieve, but can’t break it down into the discrete steps you need to do to get here, you need to figure it out.  Research online, talk to a friend or a professional.  There are people who can help. If you think you should be able to do it yourself, or are embarrassed to ask for help, let me ask you…how’s that working out for you in getting to achieve your dreams?

5.    Affirmations.  Yes, they sound cheesy and weird.  You can let that stop you, it won’t bother me any, but once again, contempt prior to investigation is foolish.  Part of the reason resolutions fail is because we are trying to do something we don’t believe about ourselves.  If you believe you hate exercise or are just destined to be overweight you absolutely will be .  THE key to success (besides point number one) is to change your beliefs.  Write an affirmative statement about your resolution.  For it to be effective, it needs to be positive (not phrased in terms of a negative), present tense, action oriented.  For example a BAD one would be “I’m going to try not to hate my job”.  A GOOD one is “I take every opportunity I am presented with to teach, learn and grow.” And “I am developing my new career through hard work and mutually beneficial relationships.”

There’s more, but you get the general idea.  You can start over any day of the year. It’s never too late to start attaining your dream life, but you do need to start.  Why not New Year’s?