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I’ve been connected with Kate Nasser for a few years now thanks to Social Media. Her insights on leadership, people skills, and customer service have helped leaders globally make a positive change. Last month she released her book, Leading Morale. I’m happy to share with you her insights on Leading Morale here on the Break the Frame blog. 

Through the years of working with leaders on employee engagement and high morale, I have seen some leaders embrace leading morale and others avoid it.  You may have worked for some leaders who did and some who didn’t.  This difference raises the question:

Why? What stops leaders from leading morale?

They claim they don’t have time. They say they are working on the business not in the business. The truth is they do have time. They choose to use their time in other ways.

They think morale is not something you can create/lead. It just happens and then you fix it when it’s broken. This is false.

They believe morale is touchy-feely and applies only to overly sensitive people. This is absurd. Morale applies to everyone regardless of age, gender, race, educational level, etc…

They hold on to the old management Theory X which states that treating people well makes them weak and lazy.  I always knew this was false.  It was purely insensitive leaders justifying their lack of compassion.

They are uncomfortable with positive emotion.  They cringe at the thought of praising employees’ talents and appreciating their contributions.

They believe they don’t have the personality for it.  Some Driver types who crave results see human needs like morale as secondary.  Some introverts picture leading morale as an energy-draining exhausting activity and avoid it.

They fear they will be trapped in employee emotions.  They think this will detour and delay business results.  By the way, it’s not true.

They think that leading morale will make them look weak.  Their image of great leaders is limited to toughness. How sad.  Truly great leaders encourage others with their strength, courage, AND emotional intelligence.

They don’t know how to lead morale.  Good news — you can learn. 

All of these reasons emerged as I worked with leaders in different businesses and workplace cultures.  Yet recently, upon the publication of my book Leading Morale, a comment from a LinkedIn connection reminded me of one overarching truth.  You might even say it’s #10 on the list.

The Story

The LinkedIn connection is an owner of a large franchise.  In response to a LinkedIn article I wrote about leading morale by honoring employee dignity, he commented:

“No employee will change me.  If they don’t like working for me, they can just quit!”

Wow. Can you picture what it must be like working for him? What the environment and culture must be like? How high the turnover is? Just imagine the low morale!  You can envision the owner wearing a shirt that says…

So back to our initial question, what stops leaders from leading morale?  In addition to the above list, there is one overarching truth: If you don’t care, you can’t lead morale.

Leaders who don’t care simply won’t do it.  The desire to serve others — to care for others — to lead humans to incredible heights — must be there.

You don’t have to be an extrovert to lead morale. You don’t have to be a charismatic speaker nor the smartest person on earth to lead morale.  You must be a compassionate person who can balance care and strength to meet business demands.  This truth is inescapable:

To lead morale you must care about people.

One cautionary step, leaders, before you make your final decision on whether to lead morale.  Ask yourselves this:

If you don’t care about those you lead, why should they care about you and making your team or your business a success?

If your answer is “a paycheck”, you are fooling yourselves.  The studies are clear about the new generations in the workforce.  A paycheck is not enough to make them care or keep them there. 

Lead morale! It’s worth it.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach, Author of Leading Morale

Guest post written for BreakTheFrame blog.  ©2018 Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach.  All rights reserved.

BIO

For thirty years, Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach, Founder & President, CAS, Inc. has focused on the human issues of leadership, teamwork, employee engagement, and customer service.  Her keynotes and workshops have awakened thousands of leaders and teams with elemental human truths for success in business. 

In her new book, Leading Morale available now on Amazon, Kate delivers her trademark combo of humor and human insight that transforms workplace morale, operations, and performance.  She has a B.S. Mathematics, MA in Org. Psychology, and loads of practical experience that you must tap.  See video footage and session information at https://KateNasser.com.   Join her #LeadMorale and #PeopleSkills global Twitter chats to learn even more.

The post 9 Weak Excuses for Not Leading Morale & One Overarching Truth appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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Assigned to report to Liz, I silently groaned. She had a reputation for being a heartless workaholic. All the people above her loved her, and the word on the street was that those who worked for her hated every moment. At least we worked in consulting which meant I’d have a new assignment soon enough. 

Looking back, I can better understand the arrogance and the feeling she was “playing manager” because she was. She probably had five years in the workforce, and I was mere months into my new shiny career as a change management consultant. As much as I was learning on the job, she was too. 

At our company, they diligently taught us the skills we needed to be successful but spent little to no time on how to manage people. Either you intuitively picked it up along the way, had a mentor or role model who was a skilled leader, or you were out of luck. 

Months before I had the pleasure of working for Liz, another consultant who reported to her had an unexpected death in her family. Liz gave her a long weekend off but didn’t understand why she wasn’t back the next week. As the story passed around the office, Liz’s reputation among the next generation of consultants set in stone. She was a cold person (we didn’t say it that nicely) who thought that the only things in life that mattered happened at the office. 

Liz and I worked together for nearly six months, and over that time I learned what not to do as a leader but also saw that for all of her faults, she had strengths but no mentor to help her build on them. 

I’ll always appreciate that Liz was the first person to hand me a copy of HR Magazine and suggest that it aligned with many of my interests. She also encouraged me to become a member of the Association for Talent Development. Most importantly, she was passionate, never said a bad word about anyone behind their back, and did good work. 

Still, for all of those lovely qualities, she had some shockingly bad leadership habits. I understood how she earned her reputation. 

5 Bad Leadership Habits that Hurt Your Team’s Success 1 Are You Done? 

Liz and I shared a small office. She’d often assign me a task and then check in countless times to see if I was done, hours, if not minutes later. The pressure felt immense. Some small tasks could be turned around quickly, but others took research, creativity, and stretching my know-how. I felt slow and inadequate although it was far from the truth.

Leadership Tip:

Instead of pestering someone asking if they’re done, communicate a deadline and give them a reasonable amount of time to get it done. Also be clear that if they need support, you’re there to help – all they need to do is ask. 

2 Not Sharing the Full Story

After a senior team meeting, Liz would often come back with a to-do list that we needed to split up to complete. The challenge was that I ended up doing work in a vacuum – for example, compiling spreadsheets without a clear understanding of how they’d be used. My exposure was limited and as a result, so were my deliverables and professional growth.

Leadership Tip: 

Context matters, and so does an understanding of the overall program. When people know where they fit and how the work they’re creating will be used to forward the vision, they get invested. In addition, people are able to suggest new solutions and approaches based on their expanded understanding. 

Only sharing a slice of context limits team success. #leadership
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3 Vacation a Dirty Word?

Liz never took vacation during an assignment, only between assignments. I also tried to do that, but the end of consulting projects were sometimes hard to predict, especially when the goal was follow-on work. When Liz was informed that the people who reported to her were taking a vacation, it was usually met with, “Oh, really?” and a humble brag about how little of her PTO time she used throughout the year.

Leadership Tip:

Encourage your team members to take vacation! Everyone, including you, needs to relax and recharge to be and do their best work. If the work will fall apart because someone is out of the office, there’s a problem that goes deeper than vacation time away. 

4 Do It Like This

Instead of assigning me tasks and outlining what we needed to deliver, Liz was a fan of the details. Thinking was optional on my part, and if I didn’t follow her directions to a T, I was at risk for an earful and hours of revision. 

Leadership Tip:

The people on your team were hired for a reason – let them do their job. People want to think and be challenged. You can certainly give them ideas on how to be successful and outline your expectations but leave room for creative thinking. Nobody wants to work somewhere that they need toothpicks to keep their eyes open because they’re so bored. 

Delegation requires trust, not detailed tomes of “do this not that.” #leadership
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  5 I’ll Know It When I See It

When Liz did let go and give me a vague idea of what she wanted, I quickly learned that it was an indication that she didn’t think it through – yet. The problem was, by the time I handed her my draft, she already had her red pen in hand. We went through countless revision cycles as we chased her muddy vision.

Leadership Tip:

Have a vision before you dole out tasks. When there’s no vision, it’s the equivalent of asking people to feel around in a dark room wearing a blindfold. A shared vision saves time, increases focus and enables solutions to move forward. Drop wishy-washy, have a vision, and share it. 

Working for Liz wasn’t the worst ever despite her bad leadership habits. Luckily, she rolled off the project before I did and I had an opportunity to grow and shine working for other people on the same engagement. 

There are many leaders out there at the top of the food chain with bad leadership habits. The challenge is that they’re likely blind to their deficits and some don’t care all that much because heck, they’ve gotten promoted time and time again. They must be doing something right. 

In truth, they probably are doing a lot right but bad leadership habits ultimately erode employee engagement, innovation and create an org culture where people come second. Think about it… people have choices and don’t have to stick around where the culture stinks. 

What bad leadership habits would you add to this list?

The post 5 Bad Leadership Habits that Drive Everyone Crazy appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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This week I’m honored to bring you an insightful guest post from Dorothy Dalton, CEO of 3Plus International. I’ve followed Dorothy for years on Social Media learning from her insights into leadership and talent acquisition and talent management. 

Current perceptions of ambition are out of step with cultural shifts.

There is a strong need for organisations to redefine ambition in their leadership view

Here are some stories I have heard in the past week. That’s right within only 7 days.

Jennifer became a Partner in a major consulting firm last year. She is one half of a high-powered dual-career couple and has a two-year-old daughter, Emily. The Managing Partner struggles with her leaving the office on time every second day to take her turn picking up her toddler from nursery. He questions her leadership commitment and ambition.

Tia didn’t share with her boss that at age 25 she had a son of 11 months. She didn’t want that to be a consideration and factored into the allocation of training opportunities to put her career focus under the microscope.

Aniya has a board interview for a residency in Paediatrics in an internationally renowned hospital. She graduated in the top 5% of her class and has already gained medical experience in post-crisis third world countries. She is fluent in 6 languages, but despite this, she will not wear her engagement ring at her interview. She thinks she will be judged as being less ambitious and serious about her career.

Definition

Ambition is defined as a strong desire to do or achieve something.

Using Kat Matfield’s Gender Decoder “ambitious” is masculine coded. In an organisational sense it is synonymous with long hours, drive, resilience, risk-taking and objective achieving individuals, who surround themselves with similarly minded people.  Ambitious executives were traditionally a male. These men had the support of a wife who either stayed at home or put her career on the back burner to allow hubby to forge ahead. But that is changing today, with a shift in the modern family. But many businesses are struggling to adapt to the type and pace of external change. In Jack Welch’s words which I quote frequently:

“If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

Women as ambitious as men

Research from Boston Consulting Group indicates that women are just as ambitious as men at the start of their careers but this falters in organizations with poor gender balance initiatives and results.

The study of 200,000 employees, including 141,000 women from 189 countries, identified that women were just as ambitious as men at the outset and companies were at fault for blocking this, not family status or motherhood. The findings suggest employees aged under 30, there was little difference, but women’s ambition dropped off faster than men at companies lagging on gender diversity. The report suggests that there was almost no ambition gap between women and men aged 30 to 40 at firms where employees felt gender diversity was improving with 85% of women seeking promotion compared with 87% of men.

Matt Krentz, a BCG senior partner and co-author of the report, says:

“Both genders are equally ambitious and equally rational. Ambition is not a fixed trait; it is an attribute that can be nurtured or damaged over time through the daily interactions and opportunities employees experience at work.”

The need to redefine ambition is urgent for men and women

Men need to challenge stereotypes about Dads role

It is not an issue for women alone. Pascal is a Manufacturing Director who was recently approached for a bigger role in a new company located about 90 minutes from his home. It would mean leaving at least two hours earlier every day to beat the traffic and arriving home later or relocating. His wife is a senior gynaecologist and would be unable to find a comparable job in the new town. It would also mean he would barely see his three kids during the week and that was not something he was willing to do. He turned the opportunity to engage down. The head hunter queried his ambition.

Paolo interviewed for a senior role in Italy and was quizzed in detail about his family located in Brussels by a female Director of HR. “There was almost no discussion about my skills” he said, “I now know what my wife talks about.

Martin and Daisy are newly divorced. Unlike many such splits it was amicable, and they have a co-parenting arrangement on alternative weeks each month. Daisy a Purchasing Director proposed that her company allow her to schedule her travel arrangements on the two weeks she was not responsible for child care as an interim measure to allow her two children to adapt to the new family situation. The CEO refused, suggesting that if she had her eye on the VP role she would re-evaluate her options because he didn’t want the company tied by her domestic circumstances. He had thought she was “ambitious.” Martin could not offer flexibility, not because he was being difficult, but because he had his own professional schedule to factor in.

The modern family has changed

The modern family isn’t the same as it was years ago. Family’s live further apart and two career families are the norm. Divorce is increasing.

Daisy is no exception and was caught in a massive bind. She must either hire in childcare when she needs to travel during her “on” weeks. She is reluctant to do this so soon post-divorce and it’s a cost she couldn’t really afford. Alternatively, her mother could fly in from Germany. Neither were optimal solutions. She feels that she is highly organised. Although there are always exceptional circumstances, generally she can set her schedule up to suit herself.  Daisy began to test the market for a new job putting out feelers into her network. A head hunter contacted her earlier this year and she made this stipulation clear at the start of the process. She joins her new company in two months’ time.

All the individuals in these case stories described themselves as highly committed and ambitious.

Not only do senior managers need to redefine ambition, but they need to take a hard and fresh look at how they view leadership itself. Despite the shift in outside circumstance and our wider cultures, the path to leadership roles and the view of what makes a good leader has remained reasonably constant.

The view of how leadership and ambition are defined creates biases both conscious and unconscious in the talent management pipeline. Old school group-think means that it is becoming more challenging to maximize investment in employee development. What we need is new talent management strategies which means we have to redefine ambition in that re-evaluation process.

There are two main roadblocks in the current thinking process:

1. A Presence culture

The days when senior executives are expected to sit for 12 hours or more per day in an office should be long gone. Technology offers sophisticated opportunities for remote and flex working. The measurement of success should not be about hours logged and where they are performed, but by the results achieved. It’s not about where the hours are worked or how, but the skills needed to meet assigned objectives and the result.

The parent who wants to do bath and bed between 6 and 7.00 pm will probably be the same executive who reaches targets. All research shows that working long hours becomes counterproductive and results in reduced employee engagement as well as well-being and health issues both physical and emotional. Presenteeism caused by a strong presence culture is contributing to a significant decline in productivity as well as physical and mental health issues. Being present does not equate with being productive.

The person who sits in their pod for 12 or 14 hours a day doesn’t necessarily produce better results. Burnout levels and employee disengagement are at all-time highs. Biologically we are not built to be in high stress mode all the time.

2. Mobility and commuting

Companies traditionally assign stretch assignments, sometimes internationally, when an executive is in his/her (but usually his) early 30s. Now with increasingly complex family circumstances, the traditional routes are no longer attractive. Extensive travel has also been impacted as each part of a couple needs to play their role at home. The increase in number of single parents adds further complications. But this doesn’t mean to say that employees should be written off as unambitious. Business need to find new ways to give their hi-po talent the necessary exposure to new experiences and opportunities to add to their skill set.

With employees working increasingly long hours and travelling time to work increasing the working day for many has been extended. At the same time school hours have remained unchanged for centuries. Something will have to give.

New times, new strategies, new definitions

Companies must create new and progressive talent management strategies to attract and retain future leaders. They need to move with the times and accept that new generations will be less inclined to sacrifice one career in favour of another. They will also want to give family life a higher priority and seek greater balance. But it is also about economic necessity. Most families are now dependent on two incomes with both parents being key revenue generators.

In a new era, the old way of leading and the definition of ambition is becoming increasingly out of step with the real world. Organisations looking for long-term sustainability rather than short-term ROI will need to reassess their priorities. Employees shouldn’t have to choose between a relationship and family and a career. The need to redefine ambition as well as commitment is more urgent than ever.

To attract and retain female talent to your organisation contact 3Plus INTERNATIONAL NOW

Web | Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn

Dorothy Dalton is CEO of 3Plus International. A specialist in diversity and bias conscious executive search, she joins the dots between organisations, individuals, opportunity and success.

The post Guest Post: Why Business Leaders Need to Redefine Ambition appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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What do you want? To move? Get a promotion? Find a partner or ditch your current one? Now, more than ever, thanks to Social Media, we live in a world where the grass is always greener, and we have absolute proof: Zillions of pictures, tweets and humble brags confirming that our lives could (and should) be better. As a result, we want what they have. 

We see it on Facebook: Big houses, perfect children, amazing vacations.

On Instagram, we’re pressing the little heart to show our love for aspirational lifestyles.

It’s hard to be satisfied with what you’ve got – especially when it’s less than perfect. When we look at our lives, it’s kind of like we see it through one of those fun filters we can use on our iPhone. We zoom in on what we want to see and all the other stuff is blurry and in the background. 

What Happens When the Stuff We’re Blurring out Is the Good Stuff?

Zooming in on the crap doesn’t mean the good isn’t present, it’s just that we refuse to see it. We hold onto our zoomed in version of our lives and tell everyone, “See? I need to get out of here. I need something more. This is awful. Right?”

We’ve become expert at using the zoom from every angle. Instead of taking off the filter and recognizing that perfection is an illusion, we leap from want to want and need to need and change to change and are never satisfied. We still focus in on the bad and let the good fade into the background. 

So you leap again. 

This crazy thing happens when you stop wanting and longing and make the changes to get what your heart now desires… You still want something, just something else, something new. 

WANT >> CHANGE >> SETTLE IN >> WANT

Instead of always craving immediate change and living in a constant state of low-level dissatisfaction, the key is to get used to wanting. The wanting will always be present but it doesn’t mean that you need it. 

My son will often tell me “I NEED” this or that. Maybe it’s time on a favorite game or to see a show that we’re trying to savor instead of binge watching. Despite how frustrated it makes him when I say it, I remind him that NEED and WANT are not the same things. Moreover, once you have it, you want something else – that’s the way it works. 

Isn’t it Time to Change the Conversation about Wanting?

Our children want something, and we want to give it to them. We teach them from a young age that you can have what you want, but we never stop to reflect with them on how little acquisition, scratching the itch of that want, is little more than a dopamine hit. 

Not every want and not every change is created equal

Did it change your life? 

Are you happier? 

All of those things that annoyed you before, are they gone now or have new things crept in to take their place?

You may have all you need, but you want something more… and then you get it, and you still have wants. That’s part of being human. 

The Secret to Happiness

Instead of constant want, grow your ability to acknowledge the good that’s present now. Yes, sure, it may not be ideal, but there are still things that are worth appreciating. 

The secret to a happy life is not to wait for it to be happy. You get to choose, happiness now instead of when all the pieces fall into place, or you sell your book, or you move to a new town. 

You may discover that some of what you want really isn’t want you need when you take off that filter and see all that’s here for you now

Are you running towards something or away? Are you putting off happiness for a zoomed in, Valencia, Juno, Lark filtered world that holds little resemblance to reality?

The post The Secret to Happiness? Get Used to Wanting appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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I hear it all the time.

“My life sucks. I hate my life.”

Usually, at some point, they stop and take a breath and I ask the $92,000 question. “What are you going to do about it?”

That’s when they look somewhere between a deer in headlights and as if I slapped them across the face.

Then they say it.

“I can’t do anything. It is what it is.”

(PS. If you use that phrase. Make today the day you stop.)

Ugh. Powerless much?

Even worse, sometimes that one question will open the floodgates to the zillions of reasons other people are to blame. Holding them back, being mean, difficult, expectations too high, too low, you name it.

It’s messed up.

From deep down in that rut, it’s impossible to see what’s really happening.

No one is going to come over to you, take your hand, and change your life for you. They’re not going to make it amazing or happy or successful or fulfilling. All that is up to you and the truth is that it’s in your control.

No “it is what it is.” That’s a lie. The truth is: Life is what you make it.

It’s interesting, from the outside, I’ll bet you can tell when your friends, family, and colleagues are struggling and need to make a change. However, when it comes to noticing that you’re sucking it up again and again, and suffering instead of thriving, you’re less than skilled.

Here are 15 signs that yes, a change is definitely in order. How many ring true for you? One? Five? Fifteen? How many will it take for you to stop saying silliness like “it is what it is,” get out of a rut, and make that change?


In a Rut? – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Would love to hear from you. Do you need to get out of a rut and make a change? What’s stopping you? (Please don’t tell me “it is what it is”…)

The post Need to Get out of a Rut? This One Phrase Is Holding You Back appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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My son likes to wake up early to ease into the day. The only problem I have with his easing is that I’m the one who has to get up first, get out of bed, and get him moving. 

Initially, he decided he’d watch TV while I fetched breakfast. Bet you can guess how long that lasted. 

Now it’s Winter, and we put on our heater, huddle together under cozy blankets, and talk about the day ahead. We also play a few rounds of Google’s Quick, Draw! on my phone.

You have 20 seconds to draw an image and Google uses its’ vast database and artificial intelligence to guess what you’re doodling. At the end of the round, you see what you got right, wrong, what Google thought you were drawing, and most interesting, get to see others’ “correct” doodles.

Usually, when it’s my turn, I’ll look at what I got wrong – or should I say Google couldn’t figure out. Some of my doodles seem darn good to me yet don’t pass the AI test. 

In an effort to get it right next time, I’ll often look to see how others in their database drew a monkey, or a pig or scorpion. I should add that the majority of the time, I still get it wrong the next opportunity I have a chance to draw the same image. A quick glance at how others did it doesn’t often improve my skill under pressure. 

Learning from mistakes is essential… but what about your successes?
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This morning, I noticed my son wasn’t only looking at the ones that Google couldn’t figure out, but also what he got right. 

Always the helpful Mom I asked, “You got that one correct. Why are you looking at what other people did? Who cares?”

“So I can get better,” he said without missing a beat.

[Hello, virtual ton of bricks hitting me on the head.]

I looked to improve on my weaknesses; he sought to improve on his strengths. 

Yes, this is a silly doodle game, and getting better at it doesn’t make my life or his life better, but our in-game behaviors translate to other areas.

What’s Your Success Attitude? Good Enough is Good Enough

These are the same people who say, “Well, it worked last time so…” There’s no need to improve because getting by is working for them. 

Gap Fillers

Gap Fillers often have an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses. However, they spend exponentially more time closing their gaps than using their strengths. 

Double Downers

Double Downers go all-in on their strengths. They accept that they have deficits and do make efforts to understand them and improve, yet that’s not where they put most of their energy. 

Who do you think has the most success in the long run? The person who is always trying to strengthen their deficits, the one who’s happy as long as things are working, or the one who dives deep into their strengths and makes them even stronger?

I think we can all agree on the answer. 

At work, we forget that not everyone needs to be all all-around player. As leaders, so much of our developmental feedback for our team members is focused on gaps that we make up. “You’d be more valuable in the long run if only you could do this, this and that too.” 

Really?

In my opinion, we don’t need teams where everyone is fantastic at everything. We do need teams of people who complement each other. Different strengths help the entire team rise and achieve shared goals with everyone making a critical individual contribution. 

Should you work to stretch yourself? Yes! Does stretch only mean closing gaps, expanding into new areas, and fixing weaknesses? Nope. You can and should stretch your strengths too. Push your limits to see how much further you can go.

Ask yourself: Are you closing gaps or building on strengths? #leadership #life
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In my personal and professional life, I never thought I was someone who accepted good enough as I do in the Quick, Draw! game, but it’s often our experiences in one part of our life that is most telling about another. Over the years, I’ve fallen into a pattern where I don’t push myself as much, and that’s got to stop. 

Back on the sofa with my son, before the sun is up for the day, I watch him. I see him learning and processing and being someone who I not only wow and teach with all of my wisdom and knowledge, but who also shows me what it means to get better, be better, and strive to be my best. 

Grab your phone or tablet and play a round or two of Quick, Draw! What’s your instinct? Take a look at your default in-game success attitude. Do you look at what you missed, got correct, or happy when your crappy doodles are good enough and move on?

Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. 

The post Try This Quick Game to Uncover Your Success Attitude appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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It’s no secret that I moved from the East Coast USA to the Australian Outback. Even when people (i.e. friends and family) doubted my sanity, I stayed firm on my vision of the life I wanted to create.

This week I’m on vacation with a friend in Adelaide. Apparently, they do not hear an American accent often, and I was a novelty.

Where do you live?
Wow.

Where did you move from?
Amazing.

I appreciated their kind words, but it’s not exactly amazing if you ask me. I knew what I wanted and when the opportunity was in front of me, I took it.

Are You a Leader?

When I tell people I’m a personal leadership coach, they often tell me that they’re not leaders. That’s when I mention “everyday leadership.” Every day we all have opportunities and moments when who we are is louder than the words that we use.

As a parent.
Team member.
Friend.
Stranger.

Holding a door.
Listening.
Brainstorming.
Being present.

Small acts that make a positive impact on another human being is what everyday leadership is all about.

There are also acts of courage.
And giving people space.
Or simply accepting instead of pushing to change someone else.

All of these choices, some big and some minuscule, are a part of creating your life.

Let Your Everyday Leadership Shine

Here are 25 life experiences that require confidence, courage, and strong everyday leadership. As you go through the list, consider the following:

When have you found the courage to let your personal leadership shine?
As you read through the list, ask yourself how many of these things you’ve been willing to tackle.

Who are you when you’re your best self?
Pick one experience you’ve completed and replay it in your mind. What did it feel like? What were your thoughts before you started, during and afterward?

Where are you holding back from something that you want?
Go through the list a second time looking at the things you’ve never done. Pick one thing that you want to accomplish from this list of life experiences and ask yourself what’s in your way.

What will you do?
Pick one, get it done.

Waiting isn’t optimal and in fact, it’s optional.
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  1. Quit a good job
  2. Move Overseas
  3. Go back to school
  4. Ask someone out on a date
  5. Correct an error that’s in your favor – This one is all about your values. Undercharged? Do you say something or go and celebrate the extra dollars in your pocket.
  6. Say “I love you” first
  7. Start a business (or side hustle)
  8. Go to a conference – When you go, don’t be a wallflower and make connections with others who share your passions
  9. Go on an adventure – by yourself
  10. Send your book query to an agent
  11. Accept your siblings – As kids, you probably loved each other and five minutes later tried to rip each other’s heads off. As adults, all of those old feelings can come rushing back. Let those old feelings go, give them space, and accept that they’ve grown up.
  12. Parenting Teenagers (or should that be surviving teenagers?)
  13. Say sorry
  14. Ask for a raise or promotion
  15. Expand your circle – It’s easy to stay insulated. Instead, say hello, get to know strangers who will one day be friends, business connections, and neighbors.
  16. Live stream
  17. Public Speaking
  18. Change careers
  19. Stay married – With the divorce rate over 40%, staying together takes effort and commitment
  20. Writing a book – do you know how many people say that they want to write a book vs how many actually do?
  21. Say “I don’t know”
  22. Choose not to have long lost friends – KIT even when you feel like too much time has passed
  23. Speak up
  24. Say “NO” – It’s freeing – especially if you ’re a people pleaser who hates to let people down but also don’t want to do what you just agreed to do. Every no, frees you up for a yes that matters.
  25. Take time for yourself – With never-ending demands at work and home, you need to respond when your gut is telling you that you need to relax and recharge. It’s not selfish, it’s essential.

What’s missing from this list? What life experience challenged your personal leadership and in turn, was an opportunity for your everyday leadership to shine?

The post 25 Life Experiences that Require Strong Everyday Leadership appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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When I first started my website and business, I worked with a branding company and labored over every word and every choice. I wanted my site to be a reflection of me, my experience and personality. 

Imagine my surprise when my About Page description showed up on someone else’s site. Sure, they changed it to their name and replaced a couple of other words to include their experience and not mine. Overall, they didn’t change much. They just ripped me off. 

A lawyer was out of the question – I didn’t have the money for that. On top of it, I knew the person. Instead of saying something, I changed my About Page and got angry. Today I stumbled across their site again and marveled at my words jumping off the screen. I even found my original page and text to make sure my memory wasn’t faulty. Nope.

Kind of the age-old question about the tree falling in the forest but no one is around to hear it. Does it make a sound?

I took down my original page and content while they kept up the stuff they stole from me for years now.

Does that suddenly make it original?

Um. No. The tone, words, rhythm, and ideas are still mine.

Is it still plagiarism if the proof is gone? 

My emphatic answer is yes.

Did getting angry and frustrated help?

Clearly not.

Yeah, I get that it was just my About Page but it’s just one example of many. Yes, I could have said something but a confrontation seemed out of the question at the time. Looking back, despite my hurt and anger, I should have found the words. 

Ethics and Integrity Matter. Plagiarism Matters. 

If you’re going to engage a coach or consultant, you’re not going to run through a site to assess if they words they use are unique – so few are these days. However, think about it. Do the words match the person? Is it a reflection of who they are or does something in your gut tell you something’s off? Do the words they use sound shockingly familiar? Like something you’ve read somewhere else?  Integrity and ethics are paramount in building trust which is the cornerstone of every relationship.

I see it all the time on social media too: Beautiful images with famous quotes with no attribution. Tweets with one word changed, and we’re supposed to forget that we know the original source. People are taking credit for other people’s work. Some of the people who are the worst offenders are wildly successful too.

Do you want to work with someone because they’re popular? If that’s your primary driver, you should stop reading now. If it’s one of many reasons, then you’re considering a bigger picture. When you notice false ownership, let that tell you something about who they are and make a choice not to engage them.

In today’s online world, we can all be anyone, say anything and claim what we want. Thing is, when we’re buyers, we need to consider who they are, experience, the value they bring, and not just their image. As individuals and business owners we need to show the world who we are through our words, thoughts, and actions. 

Plagiarism is a problem and it shouldn’t be rewarded. #life #leadership
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As a future customer:

Do your due diligence.

Don’t reward plagiarism.

Before you engage based on popularity or wit and wisdom, have a conversation. 

As a business owner or individual: 

Don’t steal other people’s work.

Remember, permission and attribution still apply even in the Internet Age.

Be ethical. Be someone of strong character.

What do you think? 

Have you noticed that attribution is often omitted based on the tiniest of changes in the wording?

Do you think it’s plagiarism and stealing or am I overstating the issue?

The post Plagiarism is Stealing. Changing Two Words Does Not Make it Yours. appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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I always thought it would be cool to collect something. To love something enough that I enjoyed the hunt and became an expert at spotting quality. For a while, I tried teacups. Pretty, flowered, delicate and a snooze-fest. I bought two or three, got one as a gift and admitted to myself that teacup collecting was not, well, my cup of tea. (Bet you could see that one coming)

I moved on to shoes, scarves, jeans and a bunch of other stuff that I long ago donated to Goodwill. When I first read the Simple Living Guide, it was a breath of fresh air. I was collecting the wrong things. I wanted a richer life, not a cluttered life. 

Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to sort through all of the crap you’ve acquired over the years and give it all away. I like my stuff as much as the next person.

There’s nothing wrong with things. Your goal shouldn’t be to live in a big blank space but to recognize when the quest for more is filling a hole that’s bigger than that sliver on the self of your display case.

Long ago, a friend who had just gotten divorced told me: “I collected fine jewelry, he had a cellar of wine, we spent more time buying our favorite things than with each other.”

Can you relate?

Enough is Not a Number

Some people collect teacups, others collect fancy jewelry, but for both, the compulsion for more is what keeps the collection growing. The feeling that the perfect number, the perfect specimen or pair is the next one. Magically, everything will be different when you have it. Then you get it and it’s not so different after all. It’s just one more in your collection.

My children collect squishies, mystery boxes and all kinds of things I don’t understand or enjoy and I’m their Sugar Momma. We’ve talked about how they only have two hands, why do they need more?  When will they have enough?

They look at me and laugh. 

Funny, when my financial advisor asks me what will be enough for us in retirement, I give him a similar expression. How do we know we won’t need or want more? Why stop at some arbitrary number that’s supposed to be enough? What if it’s not?

Enough Already

Enough is a difficult concept for kids to grasp. Often met with a gasp, they wonder aloud: How could there ever be enough toys or unboxing videos, or iPad time?

Are you a collector?

… of degrees or certifications?

… Twitter followers?

… Facebook friends?

… Blog subscribers?

… Ideas?

… Likes?

None of those things matter, you know. What matters is how you use your knowledge, or followers, or friends, or ideas to engage and create a world and life experience that is richer and more meaningful because of your connection. 

When is it Enough?

It’s enough when your life is full and still has space to flex.

It’s enough when your heart is at peace.

It’s enough when you’re having fun, playing, and enjoying – not just working for more.

It’s enough when you hate it. You’re bored. You’re filling a hole that’s bottomless with things that don’t matter to you. 

In your quest for more, how will you know when you have enough? #life #leadership
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Break the Frame Action:

My financial advisor encouraged me to think about my life and ask myself what I want to do in the future. What’s important to me? In essence, to create a vision for the future so the choices I make today can bring me one step closer to the tomorrow I want. 

When that vision is clear, then I can calculate. How much will be enough for that life and those experiences?

Your turn. 

If you’re collecting likes or followers or business ideas or whatever… Why? What do you want? What’s the dream; the vision? 

Write it down. 

Don’t just think about it in the five minutes before you fall asleep tonight. Grab a pen or your computer and write down what you want to create in your life. What would make your life full, happy and the one you want to live? It doesn’t have to be pretty. Brainstorm in whatever way works for you – mind mapping, bullet points, etc.

Take a look at your list.

Now ask yourself:

Am I collecting the right things?

Are my actions (and collections) bringing me closer to where are want to go or just keeping me busy?

When will I have enough?

The post How Will You Know? When Do You Have Enough? appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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Speaking with a friend recently, they expressed something that hit home. This was not the life that they thought they’d be leading. I hear it a lot because so many people fall into patterns of ease instead of the discomfort of doing something different. If that’s you, you’re not alone. I admit, I’m right there with you. 

We all want things in life: Great relationships, peak physical condition, publish a book, world travel, move overseas, get a promotion, change jobs, start a business, you name it. However, how many people do you know that talk about “their thing” but never seem to get beyond that. If you went to Vegas, the odds would be nothing had changed five years from now. Is that you?

Maybe you think that you do take action. You’re a risk taker. How are you holding yourself back from the life you want?

It’s true, for some the life you didn’t think you’d be leading is because you’ve taken radical action, the road less traveled, and it’s all new. However, even along that new road, most people drag suitcases of the tried and true and dreams that never fully get unpacked. Your baggage of hopes, desires, and aspirations move with you for that magical moment when “someday” transforms into today. 

If you’re tired of wanting but not creating the life you want, the key isn’t to look at your circumstances but your mindset. In most cases, the reason things aren’t happening isn’t that someone else is stopping you, it’s the ways you’re holding yourself back. Yup, you’re stopping yourself. 

10 Ways You’re Holding Yourself Back and How to Move from Waiting to Creating the Life You Want 1 Waiting for the perfect time

It has to be in the top 10 of all time excuses – it’s not the right time. What if the time is never perfect? Truth is, the moment you start to take action makes it the perfect time to get started. 

2 Telling yourself you didn’t do it yesterday so…

Everyone has days where they fall flat. So you didn’t get to the gym yesterday or ate poorly or didn’t get to the big thing on your to-do list. It’s ok. One day does not make a pattern or a habit, good or bad. Don’t let yourself off the hook so easily. 

3 Dipping in your toe

Most people I know who get bland results aren’t all-in. They may say they’re committed, but will only go so far before they’d rather stop than put in energy when things get tough, or new, or boring, or slow… You can’t learn to swim just by dipping your feet in the water. 

4 Focusing on the flash and not the substance

How many small business owners and solopreneurs to-be do you know who spend hours and hours on their logo and designing their site but don’t bother to write a business plan? Not everything you have to do will be glamorous or fun, but it still has to get done

If you’re busy all the time but not focusing on the right things, you’re doing the wrong things.
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5 Being hard on yourself as you go

As an aspiring novelist, I’ve learned that if I give into the constant temptation to edit as I write, I’ll never get to the end. It’s awful, I tell myself. In fact, it’s so terrible I should stop now. First drafts are messy. Let yourself make a mess, and the next time it will be sharper. The key is to learn as you go, not make your first pass perfect. 

6 Never taking a break

I’ve coached people who early on tell me that they never take a vacation as if it’s a good thing. It’s ok, they assure me, if the people on their teams do, but they don’t. Enough. Everyone needs a break. Here’s the deal – every single person is stronger and better able to make a positive impact when they take the time to relax and recharge. 

7 Believing the devil on your shoulder

You know that voice I’m taking about. It’s the voice that tells you that you can’t, shouldn’t or won’t. It’s the voice that tells you that it’s not meant to be. It’s the voice that tells you that things are fine as is and do not rock the boat. What you need to do is tell that voice to shut it. It’s time to replace those negative thoughts that are not serving you with powerful ones.

8 Choosing too many fillers

There are plenty of coaches, bloggers, and consultants that tell you that if you want to get something done, you’ll find the time, and I agree. It’s easy to get caught up in too many fillers. For example, it’s 8:00 and you decide to watch a TV show or browse the internet, and before you know it, it’s 11:00. I’m not in the camp that says you should never watch a show or mindlessly decompress, but do it knowing that it’s a choice. 

We all have the same 24 hours. Be intentional with how you choose to fill yours.
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  9 Fixating on the roadblocks and not the destination (or the road)

It’s smart to understand potential challenges ahead and be prepared. However, don’t let those could-be, who-knows, better-to-be-prepared challenges stop you in your tracks. The key is to make your goal so compelling that the roadblocks that come your way are worth the pain of overcoming. 

Living your life worried that the bad stuff will happen doesn’t stop it, it only stops you.
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  10 Mistaking busy for productive

Take a look at your to-do list. Seriously. Pull it out now if it’s written down and jot it down if it’s not. How many of the things on the list are important? How many of the important things did you get to today? How many times did you check email, and voicemail, and Facebook? If you want to be more productive, cut down that to-do list. Focus on getting results instead of showing everyone else how skilled you are at filling your time. 

Which ones are your downfalls? Where do you most need to make a change to create the life that you want to lead?

The post 10 Ways You’re Holding Yourself Back from the Life You Want to Lead appeared first on Alli Polin | Break The Frame.

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