Psychology


Taking the First Step


Posted By on May 9, 2017

Being open to new things is an attractive quality. When we see “openness” in others, we admire it – we praise them for bravery, living in the present. . . being risk takers. For taking the first step. Inherent in that point of view is the tiny voice of Judgment – that we, in comparison, are not open. That we say we’re going to do new things but we never do. “It’s so easy for others, but what’s wrong with me that it’s so hard?” What that Judgment prevents is compassion – and it keeps us stuck, from even the first step of our leadership and career purpose. It prevents us from acknowledging how hard it is, for humans, to grow and do new things. How hard it is to flex, bend and shift in the name of getting into alignment, finding fulfillment and enjoyment in work – in life. We gloss over / ignore / forget that we are innately wired for safety – that our fight / flight instinct is difficult to override – that the discomfort of new a.k.a. weird a.k.a. dangerous is powerful. We talked a lot about this as a community in April while reading 10% Happier – How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works – A True Story. After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, the book’s author Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. Harris eventually landed on meditation as a “new thing” to try, after sifting through his own beliefs, judgments and fear around it. Like, a LOT of judgment. But, hitting his own bottom increased the willingness to surrender to the new, to take the first step, toward something that would eventually do for him what underreported research says meditation has done for CEOs, scientists, and even marines – all of whom are using it for increased calm, focus, and happiness. What the Flank 5 Academy folks loved about his story was the authenticity, skepticism and desperation that spouted from the crippling voice in his head that was committed to him staying stuck, sick and the same. From taking step one. We all have that voice. The voice that keeps us from starting. And this month, we’re exploring the why, and the how, of all that is “the first step.” What does it look like to start the thing you’ve been wanting to do? How does it feel to let go of steps two through 1,000, in the name of knowing it begins with one? How do you get the accountability,...

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When I was growing up, I used a lot of effort to blend in with my classmates and friends. We’ve all asked, “How come he is so much more talented at this than I am?” or “How did she become so much better than I am at that?” As we begin to experience and develop more, we play a balancing act between our positive attributes and comparing ourselves to others. For me, I spent lot of energy trying to enhance that which I wasn’t naturally talented at when it turns out the real secret is to focus on our strengths. Can you believe that focusing on your weaknesses actually has a negative effect on your brain activity? I didn’t believe it either until I stumbled on scientist and self-development writer Ilka Emig, who is also the author behind Simplyilka.com. Her article posted on Pick The Brain entitled “How Focusing on Strengths Instead of Weaknesses Changes Your Brain” is a great reminder as well as insightful to the point where it deserves optimal space on your fridge. “Spending every day being reminded of what we’re not good at is frustrating. And it stresses the brain. So all of the brain’s functions are reduced to one simple activity: surviving the present situation. The brain does only what guarantees survival and uses only what it knows. In no way is the brain able to use all of its areas and capacity to visualize and be creative at this stage. Stress reduces and blocks all that.” Focusing on your strengths is much more than knowing that you have them. What is knowledge and skill without application? Ask Lisa Cummings, CEO of Lead Through Strengths, who delivered an impactful message on TEDx earlier last year. It’s a talk that bridges internal realization to the needed external action, which we all can use motivation in from time to time. As we contemplated the power of strengths in the Collective last month, we worked through our StrengthsFinder results, and wonder: What are your strengths? And what can you do today and moving forward to channel them toward making an impact on your...

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Staying Stuck or Moving Forward


Posted By on Jan 30, 2017

During this month, The Collective explored the topic of “moving forward” – we looked at how we are motivated, the pro’s and con’s of making a decision, and reflecting on our progress. Just as moving forward is important, we are also big fans of reflection. Taking stock of where your mind and your body is important. During our “tuning in”, what continues to pop up? Are there barriers in your life that make you feel…stuck? What does moving forward look like for you right now? Erika Anderson, the author of Growing Great Employees, Being Strategic, Leading So People Will Follow, provides insight on how great leaders have had success with moving people forward. According to her, they are key ways of keeping a company or team motivated which include: Don’t indulge in distractions Recognize your impact Remove obstacles Encourage enthusiasm Support conclusions Sometimes knowing where to start is difficult. In a TED Talk from Dr. Lani Nelson Zlupko we get to see an inspiring and relatable picture of staying stuck or moving forward. Being a founder of LNZ Consulting and Adjunct Associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania certainly gives her some experience in the art of problem solving. Are you ready? There is no better time than now to “Get on the arrow” as Dr. Nelson Zlupko would suggest. We’ve enjoyed exploring similar career-building elements this month within The Collective. Adding a powerful community to your process only increases your potential for success – and there isn’t any direction more rewarding and more freeing than, well,...

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Last night, CEO Emily Drake got the opportunity to be a “dish” at Chicago’s infamous Idea Potluck monthly series, curated and hosted by Mac & Cheese Productions. From their web site: “Idea Potluck is about ideas rather than food, bringing together a diverse array of pre-selected people who each get six minutes to share whatever they’d like to share. As an audience member, you sit back, absorb, and enjoy! You DO NOT present. Relaxed, fun way to meet others, learn, and be entertained.” So many people in the Flank 5 Academy orbit are looking for community in the career, or as leaders – as high-achievers redefining success. We’re passionate about that pursuit and asking the tough questions.  Click above to hear Emily’s share, where she asks: “What have you always wanted? Give yourself the gift – whatever it is. What are you waiting for?” Emily’s answer looks something like this, and arrives in time for Halloween: We often procrastinate that which does not have a deadline – and that which we want most. Because it’s big – on risk and possibility. So that you’ve always wanted something and don’t have it is OK, and it may be just there on the other side of fear. If you want to get inspired and meet incredibly cool people, register here to attend the last Idea Potluck of the year on October...

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One of our favorite podcasts is The Accidental Creative, hosted by author Todd Henry and billed as sharing how to “build practical, everyday practices that help you stay prolific, brilliant and healthy in life and work.” (Prolific is a great word.) One of Todd’s recent AC episodes offers a way to tell Your Time Story and starts with the question, “What’s your relationship to time?” We are willing to bet it’s one of three answers: + I don’t have enough of it. + I don’t have enough of it and I don’t use it wisely. + I don’t have enough of it, I don’t use it wisely, and I feel lousy about that. Do you have another comma you would add? Of course, other than money – the most popular “why I can’t” answer when we talk about hopes and dreams in our career and leadership programs – time is the asset we’re all tortured by and don’t have enough of. But, as we think of our “body of work” versus the next job; our legacy versus our year-end numbers; are we running out of time as fast as we think? Part of what Todd posits is that we aren’t, and instead we are suffering from “being increasing efficient at doing decreasingly effective things.” Let that sink in. We have plenty of time, but we are wasting it (see #2). A TED Talk we fell in love with earlier this year, Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator, offered a similar lens: that humans put off that which isn’t deadline-driven and, in fact, those things are probably the most important: the skill you’ve been hoping (or needing) to build, the relationships you haven’t tended to, the stuff that creates excellence and expertise – and becomes what you are known for. Instead, we fall victim to the “ping” as Todd calls it – the experience that we should be doing something other than we’re doing. We should be working, instead of taking time off to restore (and data proves why we need this – NEED not want). We should really check our Twitter feed or see if any email came in since we last checked five minutes ago. We hear a lot of leaders praising themselves for being able to focus on a lot of things. And we hear a lot of leaders lamenting that they aren’t expert in anything. The trade-off Todd states, and the urgency around paying attention to those long-term investments like skills and relationships, is we either: + Live out our career calling + Live out our career compromising We choose calling.  Let’s all choose...

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Rebecca is an alumna of The Collective and the founder and principal of Rebecca Lakin Consulting. She helps help companies navigate their business and risk landscape through in-depth research, translating the data into actionable plans and solutions, and managing the resulting plans from start to finish. You can find more of her wisdom and aspirations on LinkedIn. I’m more motivated to do something when that something impacts others. When it came to making a career change, it initially seemed like something that only impacted me – it’s my life, it’s my career. My motivation stayed pretty low in this mindset, even though the desire to change was high. I knew I needed to do something different and thought about it all the time, but I struggled to motivate myself to act. That’s where the Collective came into play. It turns out my career doesn’t just impact me – it impacts how I interact with friends, families and even the people I accidentally bump into on the sidewalk. I was consumed with my own thoughts about my job.  But it’s not all about me; I wasn’t alone in needing to make a change and needed others to help me get and stay motivated. To make a career change, you have to get out of your own head and act. With the support and encouragement of my fellow “Collectivists,” I did just that. After only one meeting with The Collective, I started making the change – in small steps. I didn’t quit my job right away.  I did begin to change my mindset, first, and set aside time to discover what it is I wanted to be doing and in what environment I wanted to be doing that work in. The small steps I took included: Set a time for working on career “discovery.” Every work day from 5 – 6 a.m., I worked on defining my career; what I wanted to get from it and what I want others to get from my work. . . like crazy. This started with coffee meetings with old connections and lunches with those in my current network. I then moved to meetings with connections of connections and cold emails to people with jobs that could be a good for me. Read and listen to inspiring things. To get you started, here are two of my favorites: The Accidental Creative podcast or Adam Grant’s Give or Take. Write down everything. By writing or tracking it, you can start to discover the trends that might point to a direction you could take your career. To get the things to write down, I took a tip...

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