Adam Leipzig provides in just five minutes a method of creating the perfect elevator pitch and by the way, “Know Your Life Purpose”. Please check out this TEDx video and learn how:

1. Who you are
2. What you do 
3. Who you do it for 
4. What those people want and need
5. How they change as a result

can make a difference.

A Wish for My Son

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I have a son and I have a responsibility. This responsibility weighs heavily on me daily. I often question how I, as a woman, can shape who he is today and who he will become tomorrow.  I coach leaders often on the key principles of driving engagement in the workplace and over the past few years I have taken those same principles and applied them to building a strong relationship with my son and I am happy to say, it works. Here are, in my opinion, the top three principles that contribute to high engagement in the home and in the workplace:

1. Genuinely Listen: In a world that is full of distraction and responsibility, listening becomes more and more of a challenge. Put away the phone and computer and listen. I make a point to look my child in the eyes while he is talking and when I do, he continues talking. He tells me about his deepest fears and awkward moments and I never judge.

2. Accountability:  This is an area that I’m surprised to find that leaders and parents struggle to do on a consistent basis and I am no exception. With the constant demands and workload that weigh on us heavily, it is too easy to put off holding someone accountable. Too often we look at accountability in a negative light. My advice is to look at accountability as a development moment, because it is. We can’t learn or change our behaviors or performance if we are never told it is wrong. A simple change in mindset not only erases the negative connotation but also changes how we may enter into the conversation, respectfully.

3. Explain the Why: "Because I told you so" does not fly. Everyone deserves an explanation and that includes a child. Explaining the why behind the direction given is respectful. Providing the why brings a purpose to the message and creates a better result. More importantly it makes the individual think about how their actions fit the bigger picture.

My goal as a mother is to fill in the gaps for my son that  he won’t learn in school, in church or on the playground. He is the why behind why I created this blog. Too often the examples that are given on television on how to lead is to yell, ridicule, and embarrass. We are surrounded by examples of rude behavior everyday. I owe it  to him to show him that being respectful is at the core of of a true leader and a great person because I have a son and I have a responsibility. 

Thank you for a great Mother’s Day!

I enjoy a story, I particularly enjoy a behind the scenes story of someone taking risk. American fashion designer, Cynthia Rowley shares her account of making the difficult decision to design products for Target. She states,

"Somebody tells me "No", then I’m definitely going to do it"

She too experienced self doubt but in the end the risk paid off for Rowley. She went on to design uniforms for United Airlines and partnered with Band-Aid, Roxy and and Half Gallery. Nicely done.

The Coach Who Never Punts

If you are someone who hates to hear the phrase, “because we’ve always done it this way” then watch this video. Coach Kevin Kelley of Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas, instructs his players to never punt and only do onside kicks. Kelley is a great example of “thinking outside the box” and he isn’t driven to do it to be different, he does it because he wants his team to be successful. Kelley has coached his teams to three state championships and along the way his teams have learned a valuable lesson, the importance of thinking differently and using stats and data to drive results.

At 3:38 in this video, Kelley talks about how he reads to open his mind and in doing so has become willing to embrace different ideas. This is so important for all leaders to understand.  In order to think differently you have to challenge your current way of thinking and be open to unconventional ways of doing things. Kelley mentions four books he has read that have helped him question the “why” behind everything he does.

If you want to start expanding your mind, then a good place to start is by reading these books by Malcolm Gladwell:

In addition take the advice from Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook:

“…create some habit that makes it easier for you to get out of your bubble. Follow someone you disagree with on Twitter. Buy a subscription to a newspaper or a magazine that will tell you the most important news of the day. Install an app on your phone that doesn’t just filter the news by your social network, but by what you need to read…”

Doing creative work is hard and finding time to be creative while holding down a day job is extremely challenging. Mason Currey’s book, Daily Rituals may be a nice read for those of you who are working so hard and are questioning the efforts you put in on a daily basis. Allow yourself to be inspired by other creative artists and keep doing the work.

Currey’s interview on Huffington Post Live is an added bonus, he explains how the idea for the book came to be and what he learned along the way. Enjoy.

Internships

As leaders we have an opportunity to influence others by sharing what we have learned.  It is important to never forget where we started, how we struggled and what we learned along the way to get where we are today. We all have a story. 

Fresh out of college I did not have a mentor, I did not have a network, and I didn’t have a career counselor. I was not business savvy, I didn’t understand office politics and I made mistakes. What I did have was true grit, the willingness to dig in and do the work, a willingness to learn and a willingness to be authentic. I doubted myself…all the time, yet, I pushed on. 

A few lessons I have learned  through my experiences are:

  • Be curious, ask questions
  • Be a lifelong student
  • Do the work well and give more than expected
  • Lean into your strengths 
  • Broaden your mind
  • Be vulnerable
  • Admit mistakes and learn from them
  • Take ownership
  • Listen well
  • Push your comfort zone
  • Smile
  • Be empathetic
  • Manage time well
  • Be intentional 
  • Don’t just show up
  • Prepare for everything

Fast forward to today, I now have mentors, a network and my own personal board of directors. I continue to learn, push my comfort zone and  share my story with others. For all of you interns and graduates to be, congratulations and good luck, you will do fine, so be calm and be super at whatever you do.

I just found a brilliant team building exercise, thanks to Adidas. This makes me smile.