Building Momentum

One week ago the new Nevada Grand Officers were installed. A brand new year, brand new offices, responsibilities, experiences… all of this is so exciting. It makes everyone feel energized and ready to take on the world! With this much energy, it’s easy to get started working on some things and you can end up accomplishing more now than you will all year long. That’s called building momentum!

Great leaders know how to take advantage of this momentum. There are a couple of important things to do right now to really build on it and use it to start off a great year.

  1. Write things down. Use the Notes section of your phone, a pretty notebook, scrap paper, napkins, whatever works! Write it down because with all that might be coming to your mind right now, it’s really easy to forget some of your best ideas.
  2. Set some goals. A plan without a goal is just a dream. Decide the who/what/when/where/why right now. You can change those as you need to get things approved or coordinate with other people, but write down the details so they become as “real” and actionable as possible.
  3. Make them SMART goals. All of your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed. See this post for more on the topic.
  4. Tell other people, preferably people who will support you and hold you accountable. Don’t just tell your “easiest” friend who won’t give you “side-eye” when you admit you dropped half your ideas after the 1st month in your office. A good friend should always be able to give you a nudge and say “Hey, what happened?You can do it! Go for it!”
  5. Write down a few things that are making 
    Processed with VSCO with a6 presetyou excited right now. Maybe it’s things you love about your office, the work you get to do, people you get to work with, your ritual part, etc. It’s those things that are helping you stay so energized right now and can keep you charging forward. Make sure you don’t forget all that makes you happy in this moment!
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Don’t Just Appear, FEEL More Confident

I’ve seen lots of advice about how to appear more confident… to improve your posture, tone of voice, eye contact, etc. But what good will that do if you don’t actually FEEL confident? Feeling more confident wont come quickly, but it could be pretty easy if you just create a few new habits. Here are some confidence-boosting activities to help you get there:

  1. Set aside some time each day to think or write about a time you’ve done well. You probably already spend some time thinking about a mistake you made or the perfect thing you wish you’d said earlier. The next time you do that, stop yourself. Change that thought to a time you were happy with yourself, when you performed well, were kind, made someone think, clap, “wow”, smile, or laugh, worked your hardest, gave your all, created something, helped someone, etc. Change your habits to focus on when you did well, and to re-creating those experiences.
  2. Start a gratitude journal. Every night before bed write down 5 things you’re grateful for that day. It’s a wonderful habit to start. It helps you get into the mindset to think about your life and yourself in a positive light. Write it down (or type it into your phone) rather than just think about it, so you have it to look back on when you’re feeling down.
  3. Wear clothes that are comfortable and make you feel good. You might own some things you love, but they just don’t fit your body. This makes you tug on them, stand awkwardly, slump, or feel insecure when you leave the house. It can ruin your confidence, even though you love that outfit. Of course you can’t go out and buy a whole new wardrobe, but the next time you shop be really picky about your clothes. Wear them around at home with the tags still on to make sure you don’t feel awkward in them. Take them back if you do and keep shopping!
  4. In moments you feel you’re losing your confidence, take a moment to calm and re-center yourself. Take up yoga, stretching, meditation, mindfulness, etc. You can find websites, apps, videos on youtube… lots for free! There are some great how-to’s out there for beginners if this is new for you. If you don’t find something you like, try something else until you do. The reason this works is because many people feel a lack of confidence because of emotions or thoughts running wild. These activities calm your mind and those emotions.
  5. Take time to learn something new! Building a new skill, trying new things, making new friends can do wonders for your confidence. It stimulates your brain and gets you excited about something new. And at the end of your “lessons” you’ll be proud that you’re now able to do something you couldn’t do before! This doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive. There are tutorials on youtube for how to learn lots of things: create charts in Excel, use graphic design software, photography, knitting, cooking, professional make-up artistry, playing guitar, etc.

These are just a few ideas. Can you think of some other ways? Some things you’ve done in the past to boost your confidence or maybe you’ve seen a friend or family member do? Give it a try! Share it with your friends. Don’t keep it to yourself! Everyone has a reason to feel confident. Remember yours every day so you can face the world and spread that positive energy!

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Happy International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and what better way to celebrate than to thank the International Order of the Rainbow for Girls? Thank you for being a place for young women to grow and learn. Thank you for being there for us… something constant and steady where we can always find a smiling face to warm our hearts, some beautiful words to feed our minds, and the opportunity for service to nourish our souls. Thank you IORG, for helping us become the women we are. We love you!

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Why We Celebrate

As Black History Month comes to an end, I’ve been thinking about why we celebrate. There are many reasons, of course, but how about from a leadership perspective? How does it make us better leaders?

pexels-photo-185762One of the things that inspires, motivates, and gives us ideas is the stories of others. We’ve all read a book, watched a movie, or known a person with an inspiring story. Unfortunately, in the history of our country, there are many inspiring stories that haven’t been told. That’s why we take some time to make sure we talk and think about them. They are the stories of our country, of our neighbors, and we can all benefit from hearing them.

What stories are out there that you haven’t heard yet? What words, ideas, thoughts, and actions of others could help you on your journey to become your best self, to becoming a better leader in your world? Use these observances to find out. March is Women’s History Month, May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month as well as Jewish American Heritage Month, September is Hispanic Heritage Month… and that’s just a few. Go out there and get inspired!

Sorry Not Sorry

There are many ways women communicate different from men. One of those ways is “I’m sorry.”  I’m not talking about when you make an error and say “I’m sorry.” I’m talking about using it at times that don’t really require an apology. Here are some examples:

  • Sorry to bother you…
  • Sorry, I have a quick question.
  • Sorry, do you have that information for me yet?
  • I’m sorry, but this isn’t what I ordered.
  • Sorry, but can you turn that music down?
  • Sorry, can I scoot by?
  • Sorry, but can you help me?
  • Sorry! (when SOMEONE ELSE bumps into you)

The issue isn’t with the word itself. It’s the meaning behind it. We often use “sorry” as a filter to mean “I’m not trying to be aggressive” or “I’m not nagging.” It can say to people that you feel uncomfortable asserting authority or aren’t confident in your decisions and actions. No matter the good intention, it starts the interaction off on a negative foot by you assuming the role the role of an unwanted interruption.

You’re not unwanted. You’re not nagging. It’s okay to assert yourself.

One of the worst side-effects of “I’m sorry” is that it affects you physically too. We often say “sorry” with bad posture: scrunching your body down, raised shoulders like you’re bracing for something, fluttering eyes, tight mouth or gritted teeth… overall nervous behavior.

“Sorry” can sometimes come off as passive-aggressive, too. I’ve even seen it used when insulting someone. “Sorry, but that outfit is terrible!”

There are many occasions in which to say “sorry.” Apologies are for mistakes that cause someone some kind of harm (some mistakes don’t affect anyone, like making a grammar error, for which a simple “Let me correct that.” will do). “I’m sorry for your loss” and “I’m sorry you don’t feel well” are appropriately used to show empathy. But consider positive statements too, like, “Your grandmother must have been a wonderful lady” or “I hope you feel better soon.”

Some other ways you can drop “I’m sorry”:

  • Do you mind if I interrupt?
  • Thank you for your patience/time.
  • Do you have time to talk?
  • Will you help me with something?
  • It looks like there was a mixup – this isn’t the meal I ordered.
  • Excuse me.

You can still be considerate and kind, while remaining strong, ask for what you need, and assert yourself when appropriate.

I think this sums up the message pretty well:

Happy Black History Month

February is Black History month and is a great time to look at some wonderful leadership influences that come from this history.

Let us all think about this quote from Maya Angelou the next time you’re feeling impatient about accomplishing what you want in life.

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Listening

As we’re talking about communication skills this month, we cannot overlook the other side of communicating. Listening.

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We’ve all done this. Either because we’re in a hurry or because we’re nervous about our own replies. But imagine how much better things would be in this world if we all tried to understand each other a little better. Lets listen to understand more. Listen to others as you’d like to be listened to.