Joie de Vivre!

The French have an expression that I relate to: Joie de Vivre!  It means the simple joy of living, embracing all that life has to offer – right now, in this moment.  Joie de Vivre is about being aware of things around you. It’s being conscious of life as it happens. It’s being enveloped by the love and laughter of young children. It’s connecting with old friends and meeting new ones.  And of course, good wine and good food.  But most of all, for me Joie de Vivre is about acceptance . . . of the current state of one’s authentic self, while being accountable of the impact on others.

Recently, I was co-leading a team building retreat of senior leaders during which several individuals stated that they didn’t view themselves as particularly bright, creative, or bold enough to be fully effective. That shocked me, for I saw them as more than capable.  What was the difference between what I saw and what they accepted as true?  It was the lens through which they viewed themselves. Instead of being grounded in gratitude and living in self-acceptance, these individuals were viewing themselves as flawed and disempowered.  I was saddened to see these lives overshadowed by the belief they were “less than.”

If you look for pleasure, joy, and satisfaction each day, every day, you’ll find it.  I’m fond of saying, “Take what you do seriously, but not yourself.”  Don’t beat yourself up, as you’ll never be perfect.  Too many of us live in fear of being discovered that we are not ______ enough: not bright enough, capable enough, experienced enough, or courageous enough.  Instead of focusing on what you lack, focus on what talents you do have and . . . bask in the moment.

Enjoy your Joie De Vivre!

RL Team

Global Flavors – Food, Wine, and All of Us

At this year’s R|L Summer Open House, we welcomed several global coaches into our midst with an evening of great conversation as well as food and wine from around the globe.  Thank you for joining us!

The “What If?” Game

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

iStock_000020802379_MediumHave you ever found yourself lamenting missed opportunities? When most people experience a crisis in their personal or professional lives they often further beat themselves up by using language that highlights disappointing, unrealized goals: What if…I had a better relationship with my boss?  I would have gotten the promotion.  Or, What if…I had gotten my MBA/PHD? I would have had an envious career.

I’ve found that when we get entangled in our disempowering beliefs the What If? Game creeps in to every aspect of our lives—feeding our insecurities and fears.  The irony is that the time when people need to be the most confident is often the time when they feel the least courageous.

We have constructed a simple formula that enables people to take their power back:

  • Listen to the language you are using.
  • Determine if it’s empowering and motivating or not.
  • Concentrate on the things you can influence.
  • Visualize a successful outcome.
  • If you are engaged in disempowering thinking/language, immediately shift your focus to positive opportunities, thus putting yourself back in charge, not your “runaway mind.”

What if…I had a better relationship with my boss?

Becomes – What does my boss need and want from me? What would the impact be if I identified areas (and strategies) where I can contribute more?  How can I operate differently to generate even greater support and endorsement?  What if…I asked others for feedback as to how I could more effectively partner with them?

What if…I had gotten my MBA/PHD?

Becomes – What if I fully accessed my current talents, skills, abilities, and experiences?  What’s holding me back?  Where can I go from here?

When you focus on what you are grateful for and what you have, versus wishing your life were different, you open the doors to becoming more of the person you dreamed you could be.

“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” Henry David Thoreau.

What is the one thing you could do this next week that would unlock more of your potential?

Courage Comes in All Sizes

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

My six-year-old granddaughter is one of the most courageous people I know. She signed up for her elementary school’s talent show – something I’m not sure I would have done in first grade!  When she told us her talent was as a magician, she swept her arm and bowed.
Rabbit in Top Hat
At home, my granddaughter’s technique was solid. Her three-year-old brother thought she was funny, and her parents and friends thought her sleight of hand was, as she said, grrrreat!

With her cape, collapsible cane, and top hat she was confident walking into the show’s tryouts. She was ready. That is, until she looked out into the auditorium. I can only imagine how foreboding the packed house appeared. Suddenly our little girl didn’t feel quite so sure of herself. She did what every frightened child does – she hid her face into her Daddy’s legs.

She went home defeated.

The performance was three weeks away and she had one more chance before the big night to try again. When asked if she wanted to quit, she said, “NO WAY!” She listened to advice on how to overcome stage fright and put it behind her. She practiced her routine every night. She chose to learn from her fear instead of ignoring it by becoming even more enthusiastic.  When the night of the performance came, she performed flawlessly. Buoyed by her successful performance, she was so pumped she toyed with the audience: “Don’t try this at home; I can do this trick because I’m a trained professional!” As she walked off the stage to thunderous applause, hand-in-hand with her assistant (dad), both were beaming. She was victorious.

When I asked her how she did so well after she got scared, she grinned and replied with the wisdom of a six-year-old, “I just wanted to have fun – not fail. It’s what I wanted. I made the fear disappear and I just did it!”

If a six-year-old girl could courageously shift her focus from overwhelming fear to envisioning rousing success – what could you do?  What could you accomplish if you – just did it?! What steps can you take right now to turn a defeat into a victory?

5 Top Accelerants to Your Effective Search

By Clyde Lowstuter

Wind-up CarPower and patience are the yin/yang of the job search. You need power to feel confident in your skills and patience to help you step back – so you can deeply reflect and choose the right next step. The future might seem uncertain, but ultimately you are in charge. You determine your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Only you control how you present yourself, what you say, and where you focus. If you tell yourself, “It’s a tough job market out there,” you will find it exceedingly difficult to network and land the perfect job. If every day, you remind yourself of the value you have contributed to an organization, you will be more confident and self-assured, while seeing a multitude of possibilities in the market. It is easy to get derailed and frustrated during your search. Take heart, we have all been there. Here are some strategies to help you regain your footing.

1. Manage Your Emotional Roller Coaster:

It’s not the lack of technical competency that will derail your search; it’s those strong negative emotions that dominate your thoughts and rob you of a positive, motivating frame of mind. Focus on what you are thankful for. Let your gratitude influence your attitude. See R|L Blog Article: Gratefulness Buoys and Motivates

2. Strive for Networking Mastery:

Networking is a process that is both an art and a science. It’s interwoven with heighten common sense and driven by courageous resourcefulness. Bottom line: if you are not receiving at least 2 additional names from each of your networking sources, something is amiss. If you find that your contacts are hesitant to open up their contact list, your approach might be experienced as presumptuous or overly demanding. Alternatively – you might not be positive or confident enough to generate interest or enthusiasm for your search. R|L Blog Article: I’ve Heard There’s a Recession: I’ve Decided not to Participate

3. Entitlement Mentality:

If you find yourself outraged that you were terminated, welcome to the world of entitlement. When I got zapped a number of years ago, I was the poster boy for a victim operating with a high level of entitlement. “It’s not fair!” was my sole mantra. Until I had my epiphany in which I realized that it was absolutely proper for my boss to terminate me, I was zigging and zagging in our relationship. Once I took complete responsibility for how my life and career looked, only then did my search efforts take off. I invite you to look deeply into your life and identify those dimensions in which you feel that you entitled to a “Get Out of Trouble” pass.  See R|L Blog Article: Martyr No More

4. Interviewing Savviness

There are myriad nuances to interviewing. If you are not prepared – You. Will. Fail.
Minimally, you should know the details of your credentials backwards and forwards. You also absolutely need to confidently and positively articulate why you left, the results you achieved, and how you can contribute to this other organization. Put yourself in the interviewer’s’ shoes – ask yourself the questions, he/she would ask.

Do your research on the company, its competitor, and major trends that might influence the company you are interviewing. Do ask open-ended questions that demonstrate your interest and the depth of your business acumen. Don’t talk more than 40%; the impression you make by waxing ad nauseum is never positive. See R|L Blog Article: Interview Impression.

5. References and Reason for Leaving:

References are worth more than your weight in gold. They provide a glimpse of who you are, what you can do, and your core values. Faint praise from a reference is damaging praise because it raises red flags that might knock you out of consideration. If you feel that your relationship with your former boss is rocky, fix it. Take a minute to get your head on straight and, if possible, pay him/her a visit. Take complete ownership for your exit. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to work there. Be specific about the things you learned and the skills you gained. Elaborate a bit on your vision for the future and your career trajectory. Share your goals in a confident and enthusiastic manner. Get them excited about your future endeavors. Then, discuss the references process. It is critical that you and your boss be aligned with a reasonable explanation of your exit. Anticipate, prepare, and practice discussing this in a positive manner with zero defensiveness and a rational explanation. Chapter 10 – Your References are Like Gold – Worksheets 33-37

Don’t rush; take some time to think about what you want and where you want to go in the next five years, ten years, fifteen years. Passion is contagious. If you can envision your future you will become enthused. Layer this enthusiasm with the ROI of your past successes and you will have the ideal presence for your search.

You’ve got this.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi.