A few days ago I had the great opportunity to spend five days with John C. Maxwell and my fellow leadership coaches and the John Maxwell Team faculty. A few of us who are in a mentorship program spent one day with him watching the movie Braveheart and uncovering the leadership principles in the movie. (Side note: can ya’ll believe that movie came out in 1995?? Almost twenty years goes by fast. I remember watching it with my dad as a teenager and really loving it and talking about the passion that William Wallace had for his people as a leader. My dad was an amazing leader himself who I was blessed to learn from in the first 19 years of my life. I wish he was still here.)
So fast forward to present day and I got to watch it again, this time with the #1 leadership guru in the world, John Maxwell. So many great discussions happened in that day that I cannot cover it all here, but I want to share the biggest takeaway that I took from the experience and the leadership lessons from the movie.
First, here is brief overview of what Braveheart is about - William Wallace is the main character who leads a grass roots revolution in Scotland against England in the 13th century. He begins with just a few followers that turns into a revolution and although he sacrifices his life for the cause, the momentum he started continued and the Scots continue to fight and win their freedom. There is a lot more in the plot and and the fight scenes are pretty gruesome, so beware weak stomachs, but there is some amazing dialogue and really great story telling in this film. I cried off and on throughout the whole movie because of the passion, dedication and servant leadership Wallace showed in the film. I couldn’t even talk with my table mates about my takeaways for at least five minutes because I was still crying. Now on to the lessons I learned from the experience and movie...
Leaders Evaluate Life
The thing that John did so masterfully at the end was engage us by asking our individual takeaways, what we thought was the #1 most important leadership lesson from the movie. Mine was: Leadership is about sacrifice and service to people, especially your people. This is important to note because this activity got us exercising our thinking skills to evaluate what we had just experienced in a meaningful way and how it translates into daily life. This is something that he encouraged us to do as leaders on a daily basis: at the end of each day, spend 10-15 minutes evaluating the lessons you have learned from the day. Do a daily debrief and think into what the day has taught you and how you will apply the new learning to your life. Leaders evaluate life.
Transformational Leaders Inspire Others
After we each stated our individual takeaways at our tables, we synthesized our responses to one response from our table. Then we broke for lunch and John spent his lunch break compiling 25 table’s responses into a few themes and created one sentence with the biggest lessons from the movie. Those themes were: sacrifice, cause, passion, legacy, courage = transformational leadership.
“Transformation that endures requires a leader to possess a calling that gives clarity, a cause that instills courage and a moral authority that influences others.” He then elaborated...Moral authority is when your walk and talk match, which is different than positional authority. Moral authority doesn’t require a title. Wallace didn’t have a title, he wasn’t even a noble, he just led by example. Wallace’s calling was leadership, but his cause was freedom. The cause of freedom gave him and his followers passion and courage, enough to sacrifice their lives for it. This along with his greatest asset, his mind, gave him influence. He was able to think into how to win battles and strategize, and inspire others to follow him, eventually transforming his country.
Wallace was a great leader, but he did make mistakes along the way. Some of those lapses in leadership and judgement ended up getting him killed. We discussed at length all the leaders in the film and their greatest assets and weaknesses, but I won’t cover all of it here. I will say the movie is well worth your time to watch it, maybe with your leadership team, and do a deep debrief. I took away a list of questions to ask myself in order to become a better leader. These questions might be of help to you too in your journey of leadership development.
Have you seen the movie? If so, I’d love to hear your biggest leadership lessons you learned from the film!
P.S. The movie was heavy, but John likes to have a good time....He dressed up for the occasion!
Leadership is defined as “the action of leading a group of people or an organization”. However, I believe that good leadership means leading ourselves first! For women, the leadership roles that we take on – by choice, by chance, or by necessity – can be both rewarding and overwhelming. The rewards are pretty obvious; successful business ventures, happy relationships, growing families and close friends. These things can all be overwhelming, too. Let’s face it, they all involve real work on some level and they all need your consistent involvement.
As we move through our day-to-day responsibilities we often lose ourselves in the needs of those we lead and serve. Think about it: when was the last time you postponed something that you needed or wanted and instead invested your time and energy in your family or business? Did you skip your workout to schedule a last-minute meeting? Stay up late so you could catch up on emails? Cancel plans to meet a deadline? Put off a hair appointment for a kid's soccer game? Hey, it happens, we all do it. But when it starts to happen more often than not, you need to look at what you’re really sacrificing.
Oxygen Mask on YOU First
As women, we face a unique set of challenges in leadership, both in the business world and at home. We are expected to find a work/life balance that meets the needs of our clients and families and still allows us to have a life away from the needs of others. You remember that “life", right? Dinner with friends, that hobby you love, time to pamper yourself…whatever it is the rejuvenates you? If you forgot, it’s probably because that is the first thing to go when things get busy or stressful at work or at home. And as leaders, it can be difficult to find a way to manage stress that doesn’t create yet another time-management conflict. What if I told you that you can, and should, carve out the time you need to keep yourself mentally and physically well? In fact, your business and your personal life can benefit from your well-being. The reason they tell you on the airplane to put the oxygen mask on yourself first applies in our day to day lives as well, if we can't lead ourselves well, we are not going to be able to lead others well.
Communication is Key
Another huge factor in good leadership success is effective communication. Your verbal communication skills are obviously very important. The success of your life hinges on your ability to communicate your ideas, plans, and goals in an effective manner. However, communication is more than the conveyance of words. We communicate verbally and non-verbally and the better we are at creating shared meaning with those we lead, the more success we can have. Learning how to effectively communicate with colleagues, employees, family members and friends can help you simplify your life by cutting down on misunderstandings. It can also help you increase efficiency at work and is a very important part of successful conflict resolution.
Help is Here!
Finding that balance between the things that need to be done and the things you would like to do can be difficult - this is where I can help you. My Leadership Retreat for Women is a unique opportunity for you to learn how to lead yourself well – body, mind and business. Discover why it is so important to take care of yourself, learn new leadership skills and how your well-being can positively impact your leadership experience - and have FUN! Meet like-minded women and learn, together, new skills to improve your life and business in a relaxing environment. Forget about boring conference rooms and Power Point presentations. As we work through this two-part weekend, we will be on the beach, poolside, on a catamaran and at the spa. The first part of the retreat will focus on evaluating how you take care of yourself and implementing plans for growth and development. During the second half of the retreat, we will work on improving our communication, conflict resolution and interpersonal skills as leaders.
Click here for more information or to complete the application for the retreat. Space is extremely limited; don’t miss your chance to take part in this unique approach to self-development. Guys, don't worry, there is something for you coming up soon as well, so stay tune! In the meantime, pass this along to a women in your life who needs to reconnect with herself.
Have you ever had such an amazing life experience that you thought you were going to need someone to pinch you to make sure it was all real? Well, that has essentially been my story over the past 10 months! It all started with my intention to transition from my corporate role to start my own leadership and personal development company, AMO Consulting. It’s been a wild ride full of crazy learning experiences with a lot of cool perks along the way that I’ll definitely share in a future post! But the biggest lesson I learned is that every crazy learning experience was worth it to be able to experience what you see in the pic…me capturing the view of the ocean from my new dream home in Puerto Rico!
In June 2013, I set my intentions on starting my business. In September 2013, I set my intentions on moving to my dream location of Puerto Rico. And on April 1st, 2014, I was able to take this picture to show that my dream was no longer just a dream!
I don’t know if you’re catching the key theme here, but my successes didn’t just appear in my life! My successes came from developing an intentional mindset and lifestyle that as I’ve found out…really does WORK! While I’ve learned so many things in preparing for the last 10 months and then living them…here are five steps to ensure you live the life you want instead of living the type of life you desire to change.
5 Steps to Intentional Living:
QUIT! Stop, give up, give in to critics and take no for an answer. However you put it, quitting is the best way to ensure you won't succeed. The best way to succeed is to keep going! Even when it's tough. Even when the odds seem to be against you. When it feels like your whole life is full of rejection, keep going!
If there is anything I have learned on this roller coaster ride that is the road to entrepreneurship, it is to not give up. If you're pursuing a dream, working on a hobby that you want to turn into a business, writing your first book or just striving to be better at something - the key to getting good at it is to not quit. This applies to any goal you're trying to achieve, personal and professional. We all have the same amount of hours in the day, it is our choice on how we use them. When pursuing a difficult goal, giving up will usually cross our minds - because it is HARD! It requires work, discipline and sacrifice, but if you want it bad enough it is totally worth it.
Here are a few tips to help you keep going:
1. Write down specifically what you want to achieve and more importantly - WHY. Keep that greater reason front and center in your mind and in your decision making. That way, when giving up seems to be an option, you can make the choice based on your greater goal as opposed to just how you feel in the moment.
2. Keep a record of your progress. It is easy to focus on the negative, and forget all the positive things and little wins we have had along the way to a greater goal. All the baby steps matter; document them, celebrate them and use them as motivation to not give up.
3. Get support! Find people who believe in you and your dream, even when you don't. It could be joining a group of people in the same situation as you and encouraging each other and learning from each other, finding a close friend who can act as an accountability partner who lovingly checks in on you to remind you of your goals and your why and asks for updates, or hiring a professional coach to help you meet your goals and make progress.
There are multiple cliches and motivational quotes that I could bring up here.... But one of my favorites is found in the wisdom of Dory from the movie Finding Nemo - "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming!" I hope you get this song stuck in your head and repeat it to yourself when you feel like giving up! What are you swimming towards? I'd love to hear about your goals and dreams in the comments.
I have been learning a lot about the power of our thoughts and the subconscious mind. I recently read "As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen and highly recommend checking it out - it is available free to download for Kindle. I also saw the video below by Dr. Sharon Melnick on how to change your negative thoughts and redirect the "captain" of your ship, aka your subconscious mind. So I want to ask, who is the captain of your ship? What direction is it steering your life? Of the 60,000 thoughts you have a day, how many are taking you in the direction of your dreams?
As I have become more aware of the power of my own thinking, I have been paying attention to how I talk to and about myself. I am sad to admit, but it's not always that pretty. In fact, I can be downright terrible to myself! I am not saying that we should become ego maniacs, or not work to improve ourselves - on the contrary. I am saying to be constructive and encouraging to ourselves and speak kindly to ourselves about our strengths, weaknesses and expectations. Invest in ourselves and make commitments to become better versions of us, but don't belittle, hate or discourage the version we are now.
If you haven't thought much about it, take some time to listen to how you "talk to yourself" in your head. What kinds of things do you say to you? Do you lift yourself up or tear yourself down? Do you have an "I can't" mentality or "How can I"? What orders are your crew members taking from your captain? Please share your thoughts, experiences and discuss in the comments.
Hey friends, it has been a while. After a long trip, and a lot of work on getting my businesses into gear I am back and ready to focus. So, I thought what better to write about than that... This is just as much for me as it is for you!
Detail planning, to do lists, focusing on one thing at a time - these are not my strength areas. Big picture plans, dreaming, visioning, I got that down! It's the details in the doing where I get lost. Overwhelmed. Stuck in analysis paralysis. Even deciding what to blog about was leading me down that road...So I decided to write about just that.
Some days I feel like there are so many things I need to do that I just can't seem to decide what to do first and where my attention needs to be. I lack FOCUS. Next thing I know, the day is gone, yet I haven't accomplished much of what I wanted to because I have jumped from one thing to the next and have not given the time and attention to the most important thing for that day. I realize this issue or flaw of mine is too important to ignore and if I want to lead a better life, help others become better and live a better story, I need to get focused in order to add value to more people.
Fortunately for me, there are people who have been there, done that and came up with a solution. I found just such a resource yesterday from one of my favorite authors, Donald Miller. What I like about this resource is the positivity built into the structure. I like that it sets you up for wins and includes your guiding purpose front and center every day. I also like the flexibility because I am by nature not very structured. This tool provides needed structure to be productive, but in my own way. I am taking the 30 day challenge to increase my productivity and work on my FOCUS! Click here to get the (FREE) tool.
Is this something you struggle with too? Please share in the comments what has helped you get focus and be more productive!
“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
Doing something new and different is hard. Whether it is changing careers after 15 years, starting a family, or quitting a steady job to start your own business or become a surfer in Costa Rica, it all takes courage, vulnerability, maybe a little bit of crazy and a lot of determination. But many times the risk and the cost to take those first steps toward your dream is so worth it when you look back at the end of your first year and think, man I am so glad I did this because the sleepless nights are worth it every time I see that baby smile, or work doesn't even feel like work anymore. Following your passion can be scary and risky and difficult but it is worth it!
When I coach people, one of the things I hear myself saying over and over is, nobody wants to be or should be miserable at work, so figure out what you love and do that. People usually then tell me many excuses or reasons why they can't. But after we work though some of those "reasons", what it boils down to at the core usually is FEAR.
We are afraid of what people will think of us, we are afraid of not making ends meet, we are afraid of failing and countless other things. In order to get over those fears, we need to develop the courage to look deep into ourselves and see what the source of the fear truly is, and then identify what the worst case scenarios might be. Really think through those what ifs. And most of the times, they then figure out the what ifs can be overcome, they aren't as devastating as we thought they might be.
My twitter friend Jon Acuff has a new book that just came out called Start. One of the tag lines is "punch fear in the face." How awesome is that?! I absolutely love this line and I love saying it to people. Watch the video below and think about what you want to start. If you want to take the concept further you can attend the Start Conference in Nashville this September.
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