adversity

6 WAYS TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY

You didn’t get the promotion you wanted. You don’t see eye-to-eye with your boss. You feel unqualified in your current position.

At some point in your career, you’ve encountered adversity. I know I have.

What do you do when you find yourself in these situations? What steps do you take to overcome adversity?

A few years ago I was asking myself those questions. I had hit a pothole in my career. Well, maybe more like a sinkhole.

I received some feedback that left me hurt, disappointed and afraid. After the initial shock had worn off, I became angry; I wanted to quit, to give up. Then I started questioning myself; maybe I wasn’t cut out for this job. I was stuck in that sinkhole and could not see a way out.

The capacity to overcome adversity is a defining quality in a leader. Adverse experiences can become defining moments in our careers. They are the moments that you find out what you are truly made of. These are opportunities that allow you to discover your hidden leader. It’s what we do with these experiences that define us.

It wasn’t the negative feedback that changed me; it was how I responded that allowed me to grow as a leader.

What I did in the weeks following, challenged me to become a better person as well as uncover my hidden leader. These are the six things that I learned from facing adversity and eventually helped me to climb out of the sinkhole. 

Explore your feelings

When difficult things happen to us, it’s okay to explore those painful feelings for a bit. Sit in that sinkhole for a little while but don’t set up camp there. You must start your journey moving forward, it might be messy, and hard, but it’s necessary.

During my experience, my anger turned to uncertainty and left me feeling vulnerable. I took this time to examine myself, the situation and re-evaluated my core beliefs. From there I was able to establish a plan to move forward.

Learn from it

Psychiatrist Vikto Frankl’s spent years in Nazi death camps. He argues that we cannot avoid suffering, but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it and move forward.

How can we learn while enduring pain?

First, learn to look at challenges as valuable teaching opportunities. The pain is temporary, but the learning will last. Spend time in self-reflection, ask yourself, “How did this happen?” “What could I do differently?” “Where do I want to be in 5 years?”

Then share your learning with others. Commit to making the most of this learning opportunity for yourself and others.

Writing this blog post is one way I can help others learn from my experience. We owe it to one another to share our new understandings based on our own unique experiences.

Create a vision

For some of us, the new year starts in January, for others, it’s September when school begins. Whatever the time of year, determine a crystal clear vision of what you want to achieve in life. To set goals for yourself, you must have an understanding of what you want to accomplish. Write it down and look at it every day. Align your day-to-day actions to your vision. Set manageable goals for yourself to create winning moments. Don’t let the past be an anchor, but a platform that propels you toward the future.

I asked, “Where do I want to be in 5 years and how can I get there?” I started writing down my thoughts, and those thoughts turned into goals, which lead to action. Start writing every day, write down your goals and how you can achieve them.

Make friends-not enemies

Disappointment, fear, and anger can turn to bitterness. Bitterness can cause you to project negative feelings toward others. Don’t let disappointments stop you from trusting others and acting professionally to accomplish a goal. Choose to trust people and assume they have the best intentions until they show otherwise. You must be able to build relationships with people for them to learn from you and gain from your experience.

It would have been easy to marinate in anger. Anger can be comforting, especially if we get others to join us. But I had already written down my vision, created an action plan and decided where I wanted to be in five years. I realized anger was not going to get me there.

Take responsibility

Lou Holtz once said, “The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.”   The best leaders take responsibility for their actions, regardless of the situations that created them. Recognize that you played a part in the situation. Don’t make excuses, or blame others. Take ownership and move forward. By taking responsibility, you are in control of your future. You determine your next steps.

Had I earned some of that negative feedback? Absolutely. I examined the feedback, tried it on for a while and took responsibility for it, and then I put it away. I didn’t want to be that person, the one who wore that feedback everywhere, that blamed the people that were giving the feedback. Accept it, learn from it and move forward.

See the positive

Ask yourself, “Are there any silver linings in this situation?” Constantly look for the positives, adversity strengthens character, builds resolve and endurance. The one thing you have control of is your response to adversity. Your attitude will be contagious, adopt a positive one.

Digging myself out of the sinkhole made me a stronger, more compassionate and courageous leader. I uncovered strengths I didn’t know I had. I established a career plan instead of aimlessly moving along without direction. I reached outside of my comfort zone and made new, long lasting relationships. Facing adversity can have a positive outcome.

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Life can and will knock you down every once in a while. Even push you into a sinkhole. Leaders climb out of the sinkhole as soon as possible, emerging as stronger, more compassionate leaders ready to serve others.

What do you do when you find yourself in these situations? What steps do you take to overcome adversity?

Lisa

 

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ted talks

5 TED Talks That Will Change the Way You Lead Tomorrow

Here at Leading with Imperfection, we believe that you can redefine yourself as a leader in small ways every single day. It doesn’t take much time to shift your perspective. That’s why we are so hooked on TED talks. They deliver big inspiration in bite-size portions. TED curator Chris Anderson describes the average length of 18 minutes as “long enough to be serious and short enough to hold people’s attention. It’s the length of a coffee break.”

I have made it a practice to think of one clear, actionable step I can take from a TED talk and make changes that matter. Below are some of my favorite speakers and how they can change the way you approach leadership—the very next day.

  1. Brené Brown helps us embrace vulnerability

In Brené Brown’s insanely popular talk, ‘The Power of Vulnerability,’ she categorizes people into two groups—those who feel worthy and those who don’t. The difference between them? The courage to be imperfect and the willingness to embrace vulnerability.

Her talk is hilarious, yet startlingly raw and honest. She urges everyone to stop chasing perfection and trying to control and predict life. You will laugh and nod in agreement through her delivery. And then in the very last minute, Brown’s steady and reassuring words will lift a burden from your shoulders that you may not have even known was there.

Lead differently tomorrow: Identify something specific that makes you uncomfortable in your work with others. Acknowledge it. Decide to be vulnerable. Choose courage and give up comfort. At the end of the day, you can’t choose both.

If this talk inspires you like it did millions of others, check out her book Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.

 

  1. Adam Grant teaches us how to be original

In ‘The Surprising Habit of Original Thinkers,’ Grant focuses on what we can all learn from nonconformists—people who “not only have new ideas but take action to champion them.”

He puts a new spin on procrastination by renaming it “thinking.” This time that we allow ideas to develop in the back of our minds before taking action is the sweet spot for creativity. He explains, “Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.”

Another quality of original thinkers is their fear of regret. Grant explains that we are all afraid of failing, but innovators are more afraid of not trying. “They know that in the long run, our biggest regrets are not our actions but our inactions. The things we wish we could redo, if you look at the science, are the chances not taken.”

Lead differently tomorrow: I’ve been experimenting with the word “yet” and it opens up so many opportunities to continue after failure. We started this blog in May and we don’t have a large amount of readers—yet. That one simple word gives you the freedom to be original instead of shutting down after a setback. Think of a problem you previously defined as a roadblock. Approach it again. This time around, take your time and continue to doubt yourself in order to improve. Innovators are the ones that fail the most times.

 

 

  1. Celeste Headlee reminds us to listen

We spend a lot of time avoiding conversations we don’t want to have. In ‘10 Ways to Have a Better Conversation,’ Headlee encourages us to stop avoiding connections with others by teaching us how to talk and more importantly, how to listen.

She keeps it simple. “You need to enter every conversation assuming you have something to learn.” This can be a shift in mindset in leadership, where we often believe we must arrive armed with all of the answers.

Lead differently tomorrow: Start with her advice to genuinely be interested in other people. Make a stronger connection tomorrow by releasing everything you want someone to know about yourself—and inspire by letting them truly, and without interruption, show you who they are.

 

  1. Simon Sinek urges us to ask why

In How Great Leaders Inspire Action’, Sinek tells us to look inward and ask, “Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?”

This fascinating talk on how to move people to believe in what you do will turn your approach to leading others inside out. Give it a watch and prepare for a thought-provoking experience that will keep you reflecting on the “why.”

Lead differently tomorrow: Start just one day with this perspective in mind. Instead of mentally going through your to-do list tasks and how you are going to accomplish them, ask yourself why you are showing up in the first place.

  1. Drew Dudley puts leadership in perspective

‘Everyday Leadership’ encourages emerging leaders to value the impact they have on others-no matter how small. Listen to this talk when you are not feeling adequate. Don’t make these excuses for not feeling like a leader.

‘Everyday Leadership’ encourages emerging leaders to value the impact they have on others-no matter how small. Listen to this talk when you are not feeling adequate. Don’t make these excuses for not feeling like a leader.

 

It’s time for that coffee break. Go get inspired 18 minutes at a time. And if you just can’t get enough of TED, add Want to Talk Like TED? to your summer reading list.

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The 6 Women Leaders You Should Be Following

A typical day for me begins around 5:00 am with a cup of coffee and a few scrolls through social media. Twitter and Facebook are my chosen tools for procrastination before starting my day.

Apparently, I am not alone. A recent survey by Ipsos Mori reveals that we spend 3.6 hours on social media; this is 25% of our waking time. If this is true, I want to use this time purposefully.  Rather than continue with aimless scrolling, I set out to find pages and people that could inspire and encourage me on my journey of discovering my hidden leader.

What I found were many, many Facebook and Twitter pages that inspire, motivate and inform on every topic from business, to writing, to marketing, to simply boosting how we feel when we get up in the morning.

But the majority of them were written or founded by men. I had to ask, “Where are all the women?”

In education the majority of teachers are women, but what about in leadership roles? In corporate America, for example, women hold only about 15% of senior executive positions and 17% of board seats. After some research, I narrowed it down to these six women or companies founded by women that share one common goal; to empower women. They each have a different approach, represent different kinds of content, post regularly, and frequently engage with followers. They all inspire.

All of the women or companies on this list are on many social media outlets. I have included their Facebook and Twitter handles as well as their website information.

The goal is to follow at least one of them on the social media platform of your choosing and personalize your growth this summer.

1. Lolly Daskal

Lolly Daskal is the founder of Lead from Within, global leadership, executive coaching, and consulting firm based in New York City. Lolly Daskal’s new book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is a Wall Street Journal Bestseller. Her Facebook page is a positive mix of quotes and blog post.

She brings an interesting perspective when searching for your hidden leader.

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2. LET’S GROW LEADERS

Karin Hurt is the Founder of Let’s Grow Leaders, and author of two books: Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She believes that building trust and relationships with people is the only way to lead. Signing up for this Facebook page provides you with a steady stream of content that includes personal stories, videos, podcast and blog posts.

Though provoking questions are frequently posted to engage the audience in the conversation.

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3.  Random Acts of Leadership

Founded by Susan Mazza, Random Acts of Leadership focuses on empowering people to become their best selves. Creating relationships is the key to making a difference and delivering results that matter. The site includes interviews with authors, strategies for improvement and building positive relationships.

This page has an intimate, personal feel.

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4.  Natalie MacNeil

Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award-winning media entrepreneur, author of She Takes on the World. She is a mentor to women entrepreneurs at shetakesontheworld.com. where helping women reach their potential and build the lives and a business of their dreams is her passion.

She Takes on the World is a fun, quirky page full of personal insights, encouraging quotes and informational videos.

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5.  Lean In

Lean In is the nonprofit organization founded by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg to empower all women to achieve their ambitions. The page offers inspiring stories as well as expert advice. The web page, Lean In, offers Lean In Circles, where like-minded individuals can connect to learn and grow together.

This page offers real life stories about women all over the world who are Leaning In to change lives.

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6.  Tiny Budda

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and the site’s editor. Tiny Budda offers simple wisdom for complex lives. It features post written by over a 1,000 different blog contributors. It truly is a community where people share what they’ve been through and what they’ve learned to help themselves and others, it just happens to be online.

You’ll find posts about happiness, love, relationships, change, meaning, mindfulness, spirituality, simplicity, minimalism, letting go, and more.

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I am challenging myself to learn a little bit through social media this summer. I have followed all of the women on this list.

Let me know who you decide to follow and what you learn this summer.

 

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summer books

10 Books Every Hidden Leader Needs To Read This Summer

          Summer is a great time to redefine yourself as a leader. You can make small changes or completely transform yourself.  If September is a fresh beginning, the summer months are for deciding what kind of beginning you want for yourself.

If you are looking for more joy, bravery or meaning:

leading with imperfection

Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu have been tested by great personal and national adversity, in their book, The Book of Joy, they share their personal stories of struggle and hope. According to them, joy is more than just plain happiness; it’s a state of being. Read their stories and teachings about joy, examine the most recent findings in the science of happiness, and uncover the daily practices that anchor their own emotional and spiritual lives.

 

leading with imperfectionDoes being afraid stop you from being your best self? Adam Kirk Smith explores the 10 most common fears in The Bravest You. With stories and examples, Smith examines the foundation of fear and how to use 5 easy steps to not necessarily overcome the fears, but bravely face them and learn more about who you are and what you are able to accomplish. Discover newfound bravery and the confidence to find your passion and live an extraordinary life.

 

leading with imperfection

In a world obsessed with happiness, why are so many people miserable? Emily Esfahani Smith ask us to examine three questions: What makes life worth living? How do people find meaning in their everyday lives? And how can we build cultures of meaning that allow us to thrive? The Power of Meaning offers a new perspective and a toolkit to help you achieve a life of greater depth and significance.

 

If you want to completely change the way you lead others:

leading with imperfectionPeter DeWitt understands what it takes to build collaborative leadership in schools. He aligns the work of John Hattie’s Visible Learning to school leadership and integrates his own experience, best practices, and research to empower school leaders. In his book, Collaborative Leadership, he provides leaders with strategies to strengthen their practice and build their team’s collective efficacy.

 

leading with imperfection

What’s standing between you and your potential? In The Leadership Gap, Lolly Daskal reveals an interesting and insightful system of how we lead and the gaps associated with our strongest leadership styles. Once you have identified your leadership style and it’s gaps, you can begin to grow towards a better and more efficient leader. You’ll be inspired and invigorated as well as informed.

 

 

Daring Greatly is dense with information on how to combat shame and become leading with imperfectionvulnerable, authentic, and courageous – not just in personal relationships, but at work and with your children as well. Dr. Brené Brown offers a vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. A must read for anyone who feels a bit closed off from the world and/or the best parts of themselves.

If you want to be inspired by real-life leadership:

leading with imperfection

Turn the Ship Around! is a true story of how a US Navy Nuclear Submarine Commander changed from a “Leader-Follower” style of leadership to a “Leader-Leader” style, where everyone is a leader and is fully engaged in the decision-making for the ship. L. David Marquet offers guidelines to create a workplace where everyone around you is taking responsibility for their actions, where people are healthier and happier, where everyone is a leader.

 

leading with imperfection

In Victor Frankl’s memoir, Man’s Search for Meaning, Frankl examines how the pursuit of meaning allowed him and so many others to endure one of the most difficult burdens in human history: a Nazi concentration camp. Frankl’s story teaches us how anyone can choose to make meaning out of any situation, no matter how bad things are. After reading it you’ll see your own challenges in a different light.

 

leading with imperfection

 Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, this memoir about the J. D. Vances’s journey from a troubled, addiction-torn Appalachian family to Yale Law School, Hillbilly Elegy is shocking, gut-wrenching, and hysterically funny. The image that emerges is a complex one and is the cry of a nation in crisis. It is a call to action for greater self-knowledge and personal responsibility.

 

In this rivleading with imperfectioneting memoir, Hand to Mouth, LindaTirado shares in vivid detail what it’s like to be a college graduate in the throes of poverty. Raising important questions surrounding the distribution of wealth in American, she drives home the struggles that so many of our population deal with on a daily basis throughout their lives.  Hand to Mouth is a quick read that could change your perspective or further illuminate what you already know.

Download our summer reading list to take with you to the library or save on your desktop to go directly to Amazon.

Happy Reading!

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Lisa

I'm a learner, teacher, and reader. I began writing to uncover my hidden leader and peel away the layers to discover my best self. I hope you join me on this journey so we can learn from one another.
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Celebrating Imperfection

Celebrating Imperfection

Someone, at some point, came up with this very bad idea that an ordinary individual couldn’t make a difference in the world. I think that’s just a horrible thing.” —John Skoll

 

What if you could go through each day without replaying every misstep before you fell asleep at night? What if we told ourselves that we were absolutely good enough? What if we could shift the way we view our imperfections?

Our schools and our communities need all educators to see themselves as leaders in some way. As the true gladiators of our time, teachers have an opportunity to embrace leadership while still trying to find their way.  Since when did being a leader mean that you have to have all the answers? It’s time to stop pretending that leadership is reserved for a select few outside of the classroom.

A leader doesn’t need a title, a degree or sign outside their door. A leader hides in all of us. Let’s stop making leadership something bigger than it is. Because when we do that, when we devalue everyday leadership, 99% of us take a step back instead of charging into the arena.

In a culture that demands the impossible, nobody can do this alone. We know that together is better. That’s why we teamed up to write Leading with Imperfection. We wonder what could happen if we remove the burden of perfection and find joy and strength in good enough.

The timing is imperfect. Step into the arena.

 

 

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