When You Need to Hit the Reset Button

When You Need to Hit the Reset Button

My daughter ran track during high school and will soon participate at the college level. She favors the mid-distance runs, not too short or too long. Her favorite seems to be the 800-meter run. For those non-track people like myself, that means running two times around a track as fast as you can.

It’s probably one of the most challenging events because it sits in between a sprint and longer, more endurance heavy events. The 800 meter is notoriously demanding, tricky to pace and apparently hurts like the devil. The key seems to be going hard in the first lap but not hard enough to waste all your energy for the second lap.

That’s how the month of September is for me. After 24 years of teaching, the balance of starting the school year has eluded me. Unlike my daughter, I don’t pace myself; I expend all of my energy in the first lap and crash before getting to October.

Exhausted and emotionally drained, I turn to the solace of books. I need to slow down and take some time to rest and regain my strength.

If you find that you too have crashed and burned after expending so much energy in September, you may need to push the reset button. One way I do this is to lose myself in a good book. I just recently finished an Audible book listening binge. Audible is an app that lets you listen to books while doing other things like cleaning and exercising. During my binge I didn’t do any of those things though, I just stretched out on the couch and enjoyed the sweet sounds of a good book.

If literary escapism sounds like what you need, read these titles below to escape to a meth lab farmhouse, a female concentration camp, a design firm in Scotland and ten years back in time.

eleanor

After a slow start, I found myself not wanting this story to end. Be warned; it can be dark and depressing at times. Eleanor is a prim and proper loner but believes in good manners and doing things right. She is completely alone in the world until she meets Raymond. The author pulls you into Eleanor’s life, and you find yourself rooting for Eleanor to settle her past and find true happiness. Be prepared for a roller coaster ride of emotions.

 

 

what alice forgot

If you could have a do-over of the last ten years of your life would you? That’s what Liane Moriarty wants to know in What Alice Forgot. Author of Big, Little Lies and The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty addresses the family unit, infertility, loss, and love. Alice is a single mother of 3 going through a messy divorce. An accident at the gym leaves her with a bump on the head and missing the last ten years of her life. She wakes up thinking she is pregnant and madly in love with her soon to be ex-husband Nick. Travel with Alice through this touching and thought-provoking story as she tries to unravel the mystery of the last ten years.

 

Lilac Girls

Martha Hall Kelly’s story is centered around three very different women with three very different situations during WWII. Their lives come together when one of them is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Inspired by the life of a real World War II heroine, this novel explores the depths of love, the shared human story and uncovers secrets hidden for decades. An uplifting story during one of the most horrific times in our history.

 

all the ugly and wonderful things

This novel pulls you outside of your comfort zone and asks you to read without judgment. It reveals things that are ugly and uncomfortable like family discord and mental illness while showing you wonderful things like unconditional love and understanding. Simply put it’s about Wavy, the young daughter of a drug dealer and his abusive wife, and Kellen, a loner drug runner, and ex-con fall in love. However, there is nothing simple about this novel. Just read it, you’ll see.

 

If you sprint through September and need a breather, take a weekend and choose a book from our stack. For more titles check out our Pinterest page for a glimpse into our literary life.

Tell us what you are reading. We’d love to know!

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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Lead Like A Mother

There is no doubt that mothers are the glue that holds it all together. Perhaps Kelly Corrigan said it best in her novel Glitter and Glue:

“The mother is the most essential piece on the board, the one you must protect. Only she has the range. Only she can move in multiple directions. Once she’s gone, it’s a whole different game.”Lead Like A Mother

Mothers really are the true game changers. You can almost feel the power mothers provide for us all, and for those who are living without their mother—the loss is profound.

These hidden leaders are an infinite source of wisdom on how to lead others with compassion, humility, and love. These qualities don’t always make the list of top leadership traits, but they should. When we started this blog, we wanted to celebrate the raw, unpolished, not-sure-I’m-doing-this-right kind of leadership. The way mothers lead.

Here are three ways to start leading like a mother:

     1. Lead with love.

When it comes down to great leadership, love is always the bottom line. Some of the most successful corporations have built a culture around relationships. This culture is very similar to the way mothers love their children. They love them through setbacks and celebrations; they love and accept flaws without blinking.

I learned the power of this love from my supervisor. She loves the people she leads relentlessly. She clearly sees a person’s strengths and weaknesses, and chooses compassion every single time. Working for her feels like home.

Leaders who love are more likely to see the best in the people around them—and this makes all the difference.

     2. Give the credit away.

Moms are selfless with their children and the thought of taking credit—for anything—never crosses their minds. I watched a mom in my neighborhood clear leaves from her yard while trying to keep her 3-year-old son busy. He got bored after awhile and started placing one leaf at a time in the wheelbarrow. When her husband pulled in the driveway, he complimented the cleared yard. The mom beamed at her son and said with sincerity, “I couldn’t have done this without you!”

While it may come naturally for mothers, leading so selflessly takes a vast amount of humility and self-discipline. It takes a conscious decision-making on the part of the leader to give the credit away.

Humility inspires others to want to be even better. It builds momentum instead of slowing progress. Practice humility in your brightest moments by asking, “Who supported this vision? Who pushed through when it got difficult?”

Here are some ways to give credit (and inspire) others:

We wouldn’t have finished without your help.

You were so important to this project.

I couldn’t have done this without you.

     3.  Forgive yourself.

One of my favorite quotes about motherhood came from writer Donna Ball: “Forgive yourself, over and over again, for doing everything wrong.” Motherhood is beautifully messy, and as soon as I embraced this myself, everything started falling into place.

Fear of failure prevents so many people from stepping into leadership and starting the journey. Leadership is about getting started, and we learn so much more when we make mistakes than when we sit around and wait for perfection. Let yourself be imperfect.

If you will be leading others (and we all do, in some way or another), try embracing the qualities of nature’s best nurturer. Love those you lead and empower them with all of the credit. And please, forgive yourself.

Ali

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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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