Category

Leadership

Communication, Leadership, Power

How Quitting Helped Me Finally Get Focused, Free & Unstuck

A few years ago, I was meeting with a client and getting emotionally entrenched as she shared with me her feeling of overwhelm about many things in her life: her job search, her marriage, her finances and her strong desire to get some momentum in her business, and she felt paralyzed by so many things to do. She was doing some things but not the right things. She finally said “I have so many moving parts in my life and so many things that aren’t working that I just don’t know what to do!” Prior to our meeting, she sent me an update of what was up for her at that moment, and I felt the sheer agony that she was feeling through her words and knew that our coaching call would require me to empower her in a much different way than normal.

I told her to quit and here’s the reason why…

I could relate to what she was going through – wanting to move forward and stay visible and relevant but paralyzed by my circumstances. After I suffered my second stroke, I had a pretty intense rehabilitation period where I…

  • had to learn how to walk without losing my balance. (I still have a limp, but my stilettos keep me balanced)
  • learn how to fully articulate my words. (Speech therapy helped, but I still have to remain consciously aware due to the side effects of having dysarthria.)
  • learn how to write. (I’m right-handed and the stroke affected my right side, including my ability to write legibly)
  • learn how to work within the structure of how my brain functions. (I was told that two parts of my brain are DEAD.)
I was stuck and hiding out because the new me was different from the old me and I didn’t want to be exposed. I read books, woke up and went into my home office every morning, spending multiple hours unable to produce. I worked with my coaches and leaned on support and encouragement  from my family to give me that push I needed to get back out there and stop hiding. And while my coach and my family gave me a soft place to just be, nothing really worked until I got quiet long enough to hear my inner voice and it simply told me to quit.
  • QUIT obsessing over the need to be visible
  • QUIT obsessing over what people will think of the new me with a slight speech impediment
  • QUIT trying to get a new client right now and focus on serving the ones you have with ease and grace
  • QUIT going into that darn office every morning tormenting yourself, because you haven’t quite figured out how to maximize your brain to produce yet
  • QUIT obsessing over trying to find the old you and fully step into and embrace the new and improved you.

Instead, I want you to simply be thankful, be still and listen.

That’s exactly what I did. I took the time to disconnect from what was paralyzing me so that I could create the space to get clarity on what I really needed to do next.

And…I advised my client to do the same. I told her to do 3 things right away:

  1. Make an empowered decision. Either go hard on finding a job or growing her business but she can’t do both. Neither her financial situation nor her mental capacity can support her trying to do both right now.
  2. Look for the fastest path to cash. Leverage her expertise and know-how to consider her lowest hanging fruit. This would give her the answer on where she needs to focus her time.
  3. Commit to Take Inspired Action. Since she chose the job hunt and leveraging her contacts with prior consulting gigs, I gave her a few ‘set it and forget it’ things that she can do with her business. This will allow her to stay present with her clients & prospects, stay connected within her business industry while giving focused and dedicated time to her family and her job hunt.
By the end of our session, she felt a sigh of relief and a weight lifted. Within 3 days, I received what she committed to give me and she was off managing her life.
getting_unstuck

If you find yourself stuck and paralyzed by uncertainty of your  next bold move, below are six ways to get unstuck, get clear and get going.

Stop Pursuing, Relax and Give Gratitude
You must commit to slowing down in order to speed up. In order to slow down, you have to be okay with your decision to do so. You can’t be in battle with yourself trying to slow down but feeling anxiety about not doing all the other stuff.  Once you become one with yor decision to quit, take some time to be thankful for all that is. You might choose to simply make a mental note, write it down or even send a few gratitude notes to the special people in your life. Do what ever works for you.

Clear the Clutter to Make Room for Clarity and Focus
Clearing the clutter will give you space and peace you need to make empowered decisions. Start by acknowledging what’s tripping you up. If you’re unsure whether it’s really a nuisance or just something that you can easily shift, ask yourself two simple questions:

  • How does this serve me?
  • How does this hurt me?

 Honor Your Internal Authority
Don’t become dependent on others to give you permission to choose. You definitely don’t want to be a lone leader so it is good to get insight from others who have had a similar experience. However, do not let that be your excuse for indecision. Decide based upon your own internal authority. Adopt Cicero’s mantra that says “No one can give you wiser advice than yourself”.

Stay Real and Check In With Your Intellect 
Let your intuition guide you, but balance it with a reality check with your intellect. You’ll notice that I didn’t tell my client what to choose, because only she knows the gravity of her situation. Her choice determines her hustle and her hustle is based her reality. I did, however, help her get free by encouraging her to make a choice, because decision liberates you to move forward. Then and only then did I offer her some suggestions on what would get her the best results in the shortest amount of time.

Share Your New Commitments 
Share your commitments with 1 or 2 other people. It has to be someone who you can trust to hold you high so that you do not lose sight of your revised vision. In the case of my client, I also encouraged her to share her commitments with her  family so that they not only understand them but more importantly, they need to know that family is a priority for her.

Live Your Life!
Time is a non-renewable commodity and it certainly doesn’t sit still while we’re stuck in the valley. I know that this one is tough, but one of the many revelations I received in the midst of my revival, is that although I sometimes dreaded ‘getting out’ once I did, I felt pretty darn good. When I got out of my ego and into my heart, I was able to be fully present in my fellowship with my family and friends. I was able to relax, have fun and be perfectly okay with my decision to quit.

If you’re stuck in the midst of your chaos, commit to doing whatever it takes to get unstuck. Until you commit to leading yourself, it will be impossible to lead others! Join us in Phoenix, AZ on Saturday, July 1st for the 4th Annual Women Powered Up Experience.

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Communication, Leadership, Power

5 Things Black Women Need to Lead Powerfully

What are your thoughts about the future of the HR industry?”

That was the question that stumped me during an interview for my first leadership role in HR. I still remember it so vividly like it was yesterday. After getting the courage to go directly to the VP of HR and ask for an interview, you can imagine how much I prepared and practiced everything from my walk to my handshake to my eye contact and of course my interview questions. I went into the interview with a calm confidence and everything was going exceptionally well until Bob asked me three very pointed questions:

  1. “What are your thoughts about the future of the HR industry?”
  2. “What do you think women’s role need to be in shaping it?”
  3. “What will YOUR role be in shaping it?”

I was completely caught off guard because no one had ever asked me these questions before so I was completely unprepared to answer them. Luckily, I managed to fumble my way through with what must have been a decent answer because I got the job.

i-feel

This was my first real lesson in truly understanding that simply loving HR and wanting to help people succeed wasn’t enough. I had to have an opinion about what it takes to win in the industry AND have the courage to share it with others. This also taught me that as I was making the shift into leadership, my presence, my voice and my opinion mattered now more than ever and Bob was challenging me to step up in a way that would make a difference.  After I settled into my new role, Bob told me that it wasn’t uncommon for people to be caught off guard by those questions and he urged me to get crystal clear on my answers to all of them as they would be the driving force for how I would not only ascend on his team but also as a leader.

I realize that I was fortunate to have my first leadership experience in HR was led by someone who really cared and it helped to shape who I am as a leader today. I didn’t get everything perfect, but I eventually figured out the answers to all three questions and through experience and my fair share of mistakes, I became clear about my path to success and I was committed to doing whatever it took to make it happen. In fact, by the time I hit my 7th or 8th year in HR, while I worked for several companies, I never had to do the traditional ‘job hunt’ again.

As we head into the second quarter of 2017, I have a different but equally important question for you: 

Are you willing to become unrecognizable to yourself a year from now?

If your answer is ‘Yes’, I’d love to help you make it happen.

You’ve probably noticed that there is an uptick of women who are being celebrated for doing some amazing work and while I’m extremely happy for and celebrate them too, it doesn’t erase the fact that there is still a disproportionate number of women who are tired, frustrated and ready to tap out due to fighting an uphill battle with things like gender bias, lack of mentors and sponsors, being caught in a double-bind and unfortunately that nasty thing known as the imposter syndrome. Couple all of this with the fact that when I think about all of the people who were instrumental in my success, it’s disappointing to say that there were very few women helping to show me the way and it’s even more disappointing to say that there were no Black women in that equation.

This is a sad reality for me and a lot of women I speak with and it makes me even more committed to do my part to create a new story. It’s why I wasn’t surprised when I heard Mellody Hobson say that she has encountered powerful women of color who say their afraid to vouch for other minorities due to fear that they will fail and their failure will do damage to their credibility and reputation.  It’s things like this that make it increasingly difficult for women to get and sustain their seat at the table over the long-term.

So back to my question…

Are you willing to do what it takes to be unrecognizable to yourself a year from now?

The reason why this question is so important is because on the other side of all of the frustration of feeling stifled, a recent study by the Center for Talent Innovation revealed that there are five fundamental things that black women want most:

  • the ability to flourish
  • the ability to excel
  • the ability to reach for meaning and purpose
  • the ability to earn well
  • the ability to empower others and be empowered

If any of these things line up with what you truly desire as a leader, I’d like to invite you to join me in my next Leadership Brand Accelerator which is designed to help you tap into each one of the five fundamentals.

elevate360

Elevate360 is a 90-day exclusive and creative experience designed to help up to 10 women leaders design a game-changing leadership brand.

Key components of the program include:

A one-day LIVE intensive in Phoenix, AZ to kick things off and set the foundation for our next 90 days working together

A proprietary Leadership Branding Assessment

Elevate360 templates and worksheets

A structured and proven process to guide your learning

What we’ll cover:

(we’ll go deep in these five core areas where new and emerging women leaders struggle most)

IDENTITY CRISIS: You feel really uneasy about what you’re putting out there as your leadership brand and messaging.  You are not getting the recognition and respect you deserve and you’re not projecting an image that supports your desired level of leadership.
VOICE CONFUSION: You have not been communicating with authority in your area of expertise and it’s impacting your ability to be seen as an influential leader.
VISIBILITY PARALYSIS: You are laying low and staying on the sidelines and this is preventing you from being respected for the value of your contribution.
LACK OF BRAND AMBASSADORS: You have not developed key relationships with people who will champion, support and help move your agenda forward.
ROI & CREDIBILITY CREATION: You’re unable to articulate your value proposition and position your expertise in a way that prevents commodity treatment and compensates you very well.
Why Participate?

*Leverage my 20+ years as an HR Executive with in-the-trenches experience

*Connect and collaborate with a group of like-minded women leaders

*Generate new ideas to increase your credibility and position

*Brainstorm in an intimate, creative environment

*Get a clear vision and strategic plan for your brand

*You’re done feeling frustrated and you’re ready to take your leadership to the next level!

*After spending more than two decades as a Human Resources leader, it’s quite possible that I have personally experienced and worked with women with similar challenges as you. This experience (not theory) allows me to intimately know what’s required for you to succeed at navigating the organizational landscape. 

Is Elevate360 right for you?

Elevate360 isn’t for everyone, but if this sounds like something you’re interested in, let’s have a brief conversation to ensure it’s a fit with what you’re hoping to accomplish and more importantly, if I’m the right person to help you.

Click here to schedule your free consultation.

malissa-green“My work with Felicia gave me the strategies I needed and the confidence necessary to position myself to be chosen over my competitors!”

I received a clear sequence of learning modules related to everything I needed to know about getting respected and rewarded for my work. Felicia had an incredible way of helping me see and understand the big picture and breaking it down into a smaller, more tangible way for me to connect it to my work. All of her assignments were actionable with an immediate impact! -Malissa Green  

 

Branding, Leadership

5 Smart Ways for Women to Power Up in the New Economy

As we celebrate International Women’s Day today and women’s history all month, I get giddy when I think about the considerable amount of progress that we’ve made over the years. Things like Imelme Umana being elected as Harvard Law Review’s first black woman president. In their 130 year history, they have never had a black woman as president. There’s also Stephanie Johnson who recently became Delta Airlines first black  female Captain. And I’d be remiss if I neglected to mention one of my former clients, Loretta Cheeks who was recently recognized by Black Enterprise for the amazing work that she’s doing in the tech space specifically a STEM-based program that she created for our future generation of tech leaders. Loretta’s STEAM program was harnessed out of one of the leadership programs that I offer and seeing her vision come to life along with all of the other amazing work women are doing is what keeps me inspired to keep serving women in the best way that I know.

While we must continue to celebrate our wins and the wins of others, there is still so much work to do.   The VUCA environment that we’re currently in calls for us to be more intentional in how we show up. I can certainly feel a new level of energy and ownership rising up among women, because it’s clear that we can not afford to lay low or operate in a silo when it comes to doing our great work. There is a lot of chaos and controversy swirling around us but that means there is an equal amount, if not more opportunity for us to be an architect or catalyst for change. If you’re anything like me, it can be easy to get consumed and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of challenges that are before us. I try to manage that overwhelm by focusing on one BIG ROCK every quarter. This allows me to be deeply entrenched in one issue that will help move the needle forward in developing more women leaders in ways that matter most.

As I prepare to host my annual Women Powered Up Experience in July, I’ve thought long and hard about who and what absolutely needs to be present in this years event given the environment that we’re in. Along those same lines, I realize that it’s also imperative that I incorporate experiential exercises that will open the hearts and minds of attendees in a way that inspires them to rise up as leaders.  It’s important for me to be very intentional in how this years event is curated, because it can be so easy to get caught up in the race to do more and that’s not my intention at all. In fact, a core part of our conversation will be around embracing your power to slow down in order to do more. With that in mind, below are five tips that I feel will help you powerfully lead and succeed in 2017:

  1. Get Clear on Your Why – This is nothing new as we’ve all heard it before and it became wildly popular when Simon Sinek brought his best-selling book Start With Why to the masses several years ago. It’s a simple concept but sometimes hard to grasp in a way that feels good and authentic. If you’re clear about your why, this is the time to reconnect with it in a very intimate way and ask yourself what exactly have I done that impacts my Why in a way that truly makes a difference. Doing this gives you the clarity you need to know what your next steps need to be.
  2. Know Where You Stand, Stand There  & Advocate for It– If you’re used to laying low, sitting on the sidelines and having not voicing your opinion, this has to change if you’re really committed to seeing change. Think about everything that’s happening around you and what ONE issue is so important to you that you’re willing to stand out on the skinny branch alone to support it. A few questions to help you unpack where you stand:
    1. What is it about that issue that causes you to pause?
    2. What emotional energy comes up for you when you think about that issue and why?
    3. What’s one small thing you can do today to start initiating change around that issue?
    4. Who can you talk to for insight and guidance around your next steps.
    5. If absolutely nothing comes to mind for you, you are asleep at the wheel and I’d suggest you take a personal weekend retreat with no distractions so that you can get clear.
  3. Use Your Voice Wisely – In the age of social media stardom where the more obnoxious you are, the more attention you get, you must be very thoughtful around what you’re saying that will rise above the noise and have people lean in and pay attention. This requires you to understand what matters most to the people you care about including their aspirations, challenges, concerns and secret fears. The only way to authentically do this is through a container of intimacy where you’re connecting with people in much more meaningful ways.  Once you’re clear on this, focus your energy on bringing fresh new insights to their awareness and educating them in ways their unaccustomed to. This will serve them at deeper and higher level while further solidifying your credibility and your relationship.
  4. Find Your Community & Lean In – One of my favorite personal mantras is ‘Success doesn’t happen in a silo but it does start with you.’ Allow that to sink in knowing that while you may have been given the Vision, you’ll need others to help you carry out. Not only will you need others to help carry it out, but you need a community that you can support and be supported. Your community may be large or it may be an intimate group of like-minded people who have come together after having a direct and purposeful conversation around what each person needs and how you’re going to support one another. Get agreement around what ‘support’ means so that expectations are level-set from the beginning.
  5. Embrace Your Pace – This is probably the most important thing that you can do as you move forward in doing your work. If I’ve learned nothing else from suffering two strokes is that self-care is essential. Don’t get caught up in the comparison loop feeling like you’ve got to keep up with everyone else.  I know this can sometimes be a lot easier said than done as I was recently put to the test when having to decide whether to move the date of my event which typically happens during Women’s History Month in March. It was a test of my commitment to the people who had already registered, the speakers who had committed to partnering with me and quite frankly my ego around what would people think about me changing the date.  Ultimately, the decision to move it to July was easy for personal reasons, but I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that all of those thoughts went through my head as I was making phone calls and sending emails.  Fortunately, we only had one registrant and one speaker have to cancel due a scheduling conflict BUT we also gained five new registrants due to the date change. So my decision to embrace my pace was a win and I want to encourage you to do the same as you decide how best to use your time. Know that staying in front of the curve and keeping up require two different levels of energy and as long as you’re committed to #3, everything you do and every decision you make will be the perfect one for you!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments around your thoughts and how you’re planning to Power Up in 2017.