10 Signs You’re A Frankenboss

This is a wonderful article to ponder, whether you’re a new or a seasoned boss…

Leading with Trust

FrankensteinFrankenbossnoun; 1. A mean boss that terrorizes his or her employees; 2. A boss whose behavior closely resembles that of a half-brained monster; 3. A jerk.

With yesterday being Halloween, I thought I would republish one of my favorite posts. Three years ago I told my wife that I wanted to write an article about the bad, clueless behaviors that make a leader a “Frankenboss” (see definition above). Sadly enough, it only took us about 3 minutes to brainstorm the following list. If any of these describe your leadership style, you might want to take a look in the mirror and examine the face that’s peering back at you…you might have bolts growing out the sides of your neck.

You might be a Frankenboss if you…

1. Lose your temper – Some leaders think by yelling or cursing at employees they are motivating them. Baloney! Losing your temper…

View original post 1,128 more words

Robin Sharma on productivity

I left my corporate job two years and almost two months ago. I’ve had lots of fun, time to travel and ferry my father to radiation treatments halfway across the country in Montreal, play in my garden and nurture a growing consulting and coaching business. I’m volunteering on several boards and speaking at events. Even with all of this activity, I still have a nagging feeling that I’m not accomplishing enough.  Apparently, my constant drive to be productive – honed by 20 years in fast-paced executive jobs – hasn’t gone away. I still wonder at how I haven’t written a book yet, or learned calligraphy.

It’s simple really. I’ve lost focus. I start each day pretty well – meditation, a strong coffee, a journal and my cat purring in my lap. Coffee with my husband, who is a late riser. And then organizing my day and week, a meandering gander through emails, writing strategies or speeches. None of it at a breakneck speed. I got so thrilled with so much unstructured time that I took on a zillion things. I was reminded of this when I saw a great article today.

I remember seeing Robin Sharma about 15 years ago here in Regina, Saskatchewan when we hired him to come and talk to all our managers about leadership.

Here’s a link to a great article he wrote about productivity. It’s basically about focus …

http://www.goalsontrack.com/blog/2015/09/10/the-methods-for-superhuman-productivity/

One of the things that he recommends is spending the next 90 days spending the first 90 minutes of your work day on the single most important thing that you dream of or want to accomplish.

I’m going to do that. See you in 90 days 🙂

Prayers for Peace in Syria

Ways to peace, inside oneself and for the world.

It is Not Your Job by Caitlyn Siehl

It is Not Your Job by Caitlyn Siehl. Great poem.

Two years of freedom from executive life

Two years ago today I left my executive job and jumped with both feet into sweet freedom. I took a few months off to play in my flower garden and go to Italy and a Mediterranean cruise with my husband. And then calls started coming in for work, from coaching to speaking. “This is great”, I thought. In mid-December 2013, everything dried up for about two months. “I was a legend in my own mind,” thought I. And then it snowballed and I haven’t looked back. My website is beautiful, but it hasn’t been launched yet, because yours truly hasn’t written enough content for it. My former procrastinating ENFP self has returned with a vengeance. My former messy self also has blossomed once more, and my filing system tends to exist on my office floor.

I started seeing a personal trainer in August 2013. He’s helped me to lose 15 pounds and grow muscles I didn’t know I had. Sometimes they protest whenever I do anything approaching a squat. I feel great, even though wine is still my favourite libation.

My flower garden is my favourite earthly joy (a saying from 11th Century Wales). I get to play in it daily during the spring and summer, which is great given how short the season is here in the Canadian Prairies. Below is a picture of one of my garden containers beside a wonderful peace pole – part of the world peace project. (Thank you, Susan Siegmund, for introducing me to them.)

If I don’t have a deadline, I can choose to go out with friends or declutter (not sure why I love doing that, but I do) or hang out with my retired, zen husband. Each year, we choose a faraway place to visit. This year, it’s London, England, where I will be taking a course with Brené Brown, who wrote Daring Greatly, and whom I admire greatly 🙂

I’m taking a coaching supervision course with UK expert Edna Murdoch along with some peers in the U.S. I’m trying to write a book, and the words aren’t flowing, which baffled me at first. And then I read Hemingway’s quote, “Writing is easy. You just sit at the typewriter and bleed.” That’s about it, alright. But I am persisting…

In December 2014, we helped our 22-year-old autistic son to move into his own apartment. It was wrenching because he cried for six weeks. (His mom cried every time she left him.) We had an opportunity to move him into an apartment building that has many residents with intellectual disabilities. He has a social worker drop in on him once a week and the building supervisor is marvelous. Our 24-year-old son just started his first permanent job this spring and lives with a friend in an apartment. So the boys are launched, even though we help the younger one frequently.

I took a mindfulness course here at home and then went on a meditation retreat in May for five days with a friend who was kind enough to share a treasured experience with me. She is a follower of Russell Delman, who teaches mind-body-spirit work (meditation, higher consciousness, Feldenkrais movements). I loved it, even though some of the longer meditation ‘sits’ had me squirming. I now actually can meditate, and I have learned how to incorporate stillness into my life, including in traffic. My favourite way of being present remains gardening, where I am entranced by whatever is in front of me.

When my father had to have 25 radiation treatments in January, I flew to Montreal to take him to some of them and just hang out with him. I cry more and allow myself the luxury of emotion. I’m not in a boardroom anymore, so I can let ‘er rip. All those years of trying to be a repressed, together executive have vanished. Now I can just be me. Creative, chaotic and emotional. I finally quit fighting my authentic self. Aaaaah.

I’m learning how to say no to work that doesn’t feed my soul. At first, it was hard to decline any opportunities, because I didn’t know if more would come along. But the pipeline is steadily filling.

There are so many small joys in having the freedom earned from leaving the daily grind of going into an office.

I love my new life and feel intensely grateful. Now excuse me, I am off to the couch to play Scrabble with my husband and play with a purring cat.peace pole

O’ mindfulness, wilt thou be mine?

Redefining life after being an executive

Mindfulness for Beginners

Usually, a new year fills me with the zeal to create a vision board, filled with resolutions and many aspirations. I sat at my computer last week and felt numb. Nothing I wrote fed my soul. So unlike me. (Or maybe not.) So I set it aside – physically and mentally. In the background, my mind tried to process what was going on.

I turned 55 a couple of weeks ago and the number hit me hard. It feels like the dark side of middle age, a feeling that was compounded by the onset of a cruel headache on the bottom right side of my skull. I’ve had migraines and wine headaches, but this one was weird, constant and didn’t go away. So I did what any modern adult does, and sought Dr. Internet, who talked about brain tumours and a bunch of other stuff.

On day one, I fly from…

View original post 1,182 more words

O’ mindfulness, wilt thou be mine?

Mindfulness for Beginners

Usually, a new year fills me with the zeal to create a vision board, filled with resolutions and many aspirations. I sat at my computer last week and felt numb. Nothing I wrote fed my soul. So unlike me. (Or maybe not.) So I set it aside – physically and mentally. In the background, my mind tried to process what was going on.

I turned 55 a couple of weeks ago and the number hit me hard. It feels like the dark side of middle age, a feeling that was compounded by the onset of a cruel headache on the bottom right side of my skull. I’ve had migraines and wine headaches, but this one was weird, constant and didn’t go away. So I did what any modern adult does, and sought Dr. Internet, who talked about brain tumours and a bunch of other stuff.

On day one, I fly from home from Toronto. My father calls to tell me that his cancer has spread to his back. He is strangely chipper because he says that the radiation will shrink them and make his back pain go away. I get off the phone and cry. My husband is baffled and tries to comfort me by saying that my Dad is positive, so why can’t I be as well. (Because one day I will lose him, and I cannot bear it.) On day two, I fly to Saskatoon for meetings, and land a big coaching contract. Day three, I run a full-day strategy session and then meet a coaching client. The headache is a constant, nasty force. Advil makes no dent. Day four, I go to the doctor.

After describing my symptoms, my doctor went, “Hmmmm. You are one of my stoic patients, so I think we need to take it seriously.” (I feel briefly superior about the ‘stoic’ comment. ) “Earlier this year, a woman with these symptoms had a brain tumour, but it could be musculo-skeletal.”

“A BRAIN tumour!!!!” I shrieked. “That’s what the Internet said!”

My doctor is a lovely, zen woman, and she just smiled at me. “I shouldn’t have said that,” she said gently, followed by, “and you know what I think about computer medicine. Let’s try a prescription muscle relaxant and pain killer, and go for a therapeutic massage twice in the next five days. If it gets worse or interferes with your vision, or you vomit, call me or go to the hospital.”

I am freaked out but simultaneously notice extreme tightness my shoulders and neck. I call Wendy Hendren, the Wondrous Goddess of Bodily Help. She doesn’t answer, likely because she is busy pounding some poor client’s bod into submission. Stripping ligament thingies like scraping paint.

Moments later, she calls. “Help!” I exclaim, and explain the pickle I’m in. “Come in two hours,” says the angelic voice.

I lie on Wendy’s table and she goes to work, with that look of fierce concentration she gets when she’s problem solving. “Ohhhhhh,” she murmers, and then, “Yeahhhh…”

“Ow! What?” I ask, not sure that I want to hear Ms. Bodily Help’s diagnosis.

“I can’t believe that your doctor said you were stoic. You’re one of my wussiest clients. You have fluid in your upper back, neck and head. Your muscles are so tight that they’re compressing nerves.”

“So it’s a pinched nerve?” I say with relief, images of tumours receding from my aching head.

“Essentially a bunch of them, and some other stuff.” This is code for ‘let me do my work now, Journalist Garrett.

So I quit asking questions and she digs around and kneads things, strips stuff, pulls at my arm. Pain shoots up higher in my head and down into my hip. She is now Dark Wendy, Underlordess of the House of Pain.

I hobble home with instructions to ice. I call Evil Personal Trainer Jared Feuring and explain that I cannot come to the gym. He is uncharacteristically compassionate.

I meet with clients the next day and can’t move my head. I stop the painkillers so I can drink wine on my birthday, which helps wayyyy better than the prescriptions. I feel older than 55. For five nights, I sleep on the floor on a mattress at my autistic son’s new apartment so that I can help to ease the transition for him. Connor is so anxious about this move and cries easily. On day five I cry myself.

Wondrous Wendy says that she thinks I have occipital neuralgia, which is essentially chronic pain caused by compression of the nerves from your spine into your neck and head. I google that and feel that my days of physical activity – including my gardening, favourite earthly joy (other than sex) – are over. I cry.

After four massage treatments, and savvy advice from my friend Jody Waldie, I start to feel better. Jody is a similarly driven woman who had to slow down earlier this year due to chronic pain. She said that it forced her to do less and nap more, which has its own blessings, although it didn’t present itself as such.

I continue to work, giving a speech, running an evening strategy session, and coaching. Meanwhile, it is Friday before Christmas, and the house is upside down because wallpaper is being installed in our living room. My immaculate husband is hanging in ok, but the anxiety level is rising, especially when they can’t finish and announce that they’ll be back on Christmas Eve day. My family is arriving from Ontario that night. My neck gets tighter. We make it through Christmas without major mishaps, but I cry when everyone dances at our house one evening and my hubby doesn’t. I seem to be crying a lot lately, which is not like me at all.

I go to see a potential client, and she tells me that she is offering a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction course. “Jon Kabat-Zinn?” I ask. She’s surprised that I know about him. I tell her that I’ve tried meditation, listened to his tapes and essentially suck at applying his teachings. She hires me as a coach, and I enrol in her course. I want to master this inner peace thing.

At yesterday’s three-hour session, she has us lie on the floor under blankets, and we participate in a 45-minute full body scan. It is relaxing at first, and then I want to scream. The person beside me is snoring, there is a truck outside beeping every time it backs up, and I truly don’t give a rat’s ass about the feeling of my toes in their socks. I am itchy, and I know I’m supposed to just notice it, but I give in and start scratching. Now every part of my body clamours to move or be touched. My neck hurts, so I put my hands under it. I start making lists in my head. I feel like a failure. I am a failure. I am one with the failure to do this thing that is supposed to help me stop being a failure.

We debrief and everyone else found it a serene and uplifting experience, confirming my failed mission to become mindful. I ponder quitting, but that seems worse.

I go home to my zen husband who smiles at me and doesn’t understand why I have a squirrel in my head.

This morning, I make my Nespresso and feel mindful. I am in the moment. I can do this. I simultaneously turn on the machine and pour milk into the whipper thing. The coffee pours out … onto the counter. I’ve been so busy congratulating myself on my ability to be present that I forgot to put the coffee cup under the machine. I smile and don’t get pissed off at myself. (Victory!!!!) I clean up, and mindfully drink the blessed elixir. Now I am off to the gym to see Igor, the Evil Trainer, aka Jared.

Stay tuned on my one and only goal for 2015. Mindfulness.