F5 Book Chat: Finding Your Tribe

Posted By on Aug 28, 2017

Throughout the month of August, we’ve been reading Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger. Here we talk about why – looking at the military veteran experience to start – and what it means for organizations, careerists and our overall fulfillment. Punchline: our lack of interdependence; our reliance on extrinsic motivation. . . it’s all counter-culture, and making us miserable. . . but there’s hope. And it begins with tribe. (Of course, we also had some laughs worthy of an outtakes reel...

Read More

Committing to Change

Posted By on Jul 18, 2017

One of the hardest parts of making a change is commitment. (Duh; you know this.) The ideation is awesome – “Oh, the possibilities!” – but then one of many pings is heard and you’re back into email and any variety of easier / safer things. “No matter! I’ve always got tomorrow.” Which is totally true – but when tomorrow arrives, you don’t feel very well. And we’re really interested in you feeling great. Particularly about yourself; particularly about the possibilities. Know this, though: Humans are inherently wired to prefer short-term versus long-term; to prefer flight versus fight; prefer safety versus risk. It’s all good. That’s why The Collective exists – to help you keep “the long-range” in focus and get there, sometimes via unexpected routes –  because you matter and it matters. It’s worth committing to. We got to thinking, talking and taking action on this, as a bigger Flank 5 Academy community, while reading How Will You Measure Your Life? – a super-provocative title offered by Harvard Business School professor and author Clayton Christensen. While meeting to discuss it recently, we talked about how we define “the person I want to become” – and holding that vision close as we traverse challenges (e.g. discrimination), and get “off course” (e.g. those pings I mentioned) and find ourselves stuck in a pattern we want to get out of (e.g. taking the job because it pays more; not because it motivates us). Because with purpose front and center, and with a strategy effectively applied, you’ll wake up feeling good. You’ll have your very own yardstick by which to measure your life....

Read More

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,...

Read More

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 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...

Read More

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,...

Read More

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...

Read More