The Lead Yourself First Blog

Here Today. Gone Tomorrow…Why Customers Go Elsewhere In A New Economy

In a memorable Seinfeld episode, Jerry and Elaine are incredulous as the customer service representative from “Worthy” Car Rentals informs them that her company has no mid-size cars available, despite the fact that Jerry has reserved one. The exchange becomes heated when Jerry exclaims “you know how to take the reservation…you just don’t know how to hold the reservation.” The customer service representative discusses the matter with her supervisor and offers Jerry a compact size vehicle instead, which he accepts. The scene ends as Jerry agrees to take full insurance on the vehicle, informing the agent that he will be sure to “beat the hell out of this car.” Continue reading “Here Today. Gone Tomorrow…Why Customers Go Elsewhere In A New Economy”

Forget New Years Resolutions: Start With Your Mindset

As we reflect on the events of the past twelve months, we are inundated with advice regarding New Years Resolutions, why they fail and what we need to do to achieve our goals. Like most of us, I look forward to the beginning of a new year with positive anticipation. However, while I do believe in setting objectives, I don’t make resolutions, nor do I place unrealistic expectations upon myself. Instead, I’ve come to the realization that if I wish to change any aspect of my life, the process starts with my attitude. I cannot create new outcomes without adjusting my thinking. Continue reading “Forget New Years Resolutions: Start With Your Mindset”

Resentment, Resistance, Rejection: Demystifying the Fear of Change

Nothing changes if nothing changes. The only constant is change. All great changes were preceded by chaos…Wise and witty sayings on the subject of change that have become popularized and shared through the ages. Yet, many of us continue to baulk at any organizational change initiatives, despite the evidence presented by leaders who tell us that if we don’t move forward and break from the past, we risk becoming irrelevant. Continue reading “Resentment, Resistance, Rejection: Demystifying the Fear of Change”

Five ways to take the help when your leader abandons ship

Better the devil you know…. The reaction was predictable as the shock waves spread quickly. Dave, our beloved leader, was leaving after 20 years. As soon as the news began to sink in, panic spread throughout our entire organization. The fear was palpable and the gossip attempting to explain his departure, albeit deliciously juicy, proved totally unfounded.“Wood Steering Wheel In Big Ship” by worradmu

The competition had not snapped him up, he was not fired, nor was there any scandal. Dave, the most charismatic and beloved leader in our company, simply decided it was time to ride into the sunset and enjoy his well-earned retirement. Unfortunately the impending cloud of uncertainty over the plans of his successor became darker by the hour.

Many organizations are surprisingly unprepared for this scenario, whether the departing leader is in a C-Suite or a pivotal middle management position. In addition, the manner in which a leader’s departure is handled leaves many scrambling as they attempt to fill the void.

As the successor, your immediate response is critical, especially when the departing leader was adored, astute and exceptionally good. You are now no longer the understudy… and you had better be ready. Continue reading “Five ways to take the help when your leader abandons ship”

image: group of people giving the thumbs up

Why New Year Resolutions Fail: Five ways to lead yourself in 2015

re·solve verb \ri-ˈzälv, -ˈzȯlv also -ˈzäv or -ˈzȯv\ :To make a definite and serious decision to do something.

Eat less. Exercise more. Get a new job. Start a savings plan. Ditch your partner…whatever lofty goal you decide to set for yourself, it is likely you will give up before the first month of 2015 comes to an end, if not sooner. Sadly, the statistics aren’t good. Although millions will start the year with the best intentions, only eight percent will achieve their new year’s resolutions.

How does one explain the fact that year after year, the vast majority who set resolutions succumb to the comfort of the status quo?

Continue reading “Why New Year Resolutions Fail: Five ways to lead yourself in 2015”

image: MIchelle Ray's Dad August 2010

Remembering the heroes in our lives – Tribute to my father

“My legs are swollen and I don’t feel like going up to the coffee shop today.”

As soon as I heard my father utter those words on the telephone, thousands of miles away from his bed in the nursing home in Sydney, I knew that everything was different, even though I didn’t want to believe what was happening. Dad was no longer able to dial my number, so I would call him instead, all too often finding him in his room. Time was slipping away.

Continue reading “Remembering the heroes in our lives – Tribute to my father”

The trouble with leadership: It’s Time to Lead Yourself First

Leadership is always a subject that finds its way into the headlines. Unfortunately, we are witnessing a decline in the high standards that we expect to see from our leaders. Whether we are talking about sports, politics, business or religion, why are we so often profoundly disappointed in our leaders? Why do so many fall from grace and how does it come to pass that character becomes secondary to title?

Continue reading “The trouble with leadership: It’s Time to Lead Yourself First”

image: book cover saying 'change your mindset'

Do you manage change or does change manage you?

Addressing the subject of change instills fear in many people. The very thought of disruption to the status quo brings up feelings of anxiety and distress in many individuals and organizations. Pending gloom and doom consumes the collective consciousness as people grapple with the new reality. Viewing change positively isn’t usually the norm, although it could represent an exciting opportunity to do things differently.

Continue reading “Do you manage change or does change manage you?”

image: boy and girl holding valentines

Are you feeling the love? Five tips to be happier, productive and inspired at work

I will always remember the antics of one of my co-workers whose desk was beside mine at my first corporate job. Dan would saunter into the office whenever it suited him and immediately announce his arrival to the entire staff. In a bellowing voice, he would ask the same question every morning: “Who can I annoy today?”  Continue reading “Are you feeling the love? Five tips to be happier, productive and inspired at work”

The fear of success is bigger than the fear of failure

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough – Og Mandino

“My goodness! What would it be like if I had the life I always wanted! How would I cope if everything I desired to achieve actually came true! Wouldn’t that be terrible?” This kind of self-talk is an example of someone who possesses a “fear of success.” Sounds a little silly, doesn’t it? While “fear of failure” is an all-too-familiar term in modern-day ethos, we don’t often hear about the “fear of success.” At first glance, these phrases look different, but, in fact, they have similar interpretation. It is not unusual for people to be afraid of success because of the connotations attached to the word. The idea of success can elicit an equal, if not greater “fear” response as failure. Furthermore, many people cannot “cope” with success and, as a result, they unconsciously sabotage it. How does this happen? It is important to understand the ramifications of such thinking, as well as the rationale (or should I say the “irrational”) behind it.

Allowing your inner critic to surface on occasion in human. However, if it becomes a way of life and you continue to move in a downward spiral, your journey to success will become even more daunting. By interpreting setbacks as a sign of the universe conspiring against you, the potential risk of sabotaging your own success increases as negative thoughts intensify. Many of us maintain a personal belief system that keeps working against us, without understanding its origins.

The fear of success is based on three factors:

1. Regard we have for ourselves (self-concept)

Fear and Courage

A individual’s belief system cultivates either a positive or negative self-concept. Based on the internal lens we use to view ourselves, we attribute meaning to the terms “success” and “failure.” Self-concept goes beyond being placed under the “self-esteem” umbrella. Psychologist Albert Bandura says: “Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s capabilities to organize and execute the sources of action required to manage prospective situations.” In other words, if you believe in your capabilities to manage and overcome whatever life throws at you, you will find success in your life . . . however you choose to define “success”.

2. Lack of clarification in relation to success values

Just as the word “money” is laden with values attachments, the same can be said about the word “success.”  It is essential to achieve clarity around your personal, uniquely individual definition of success in order to actually live it. There are widely held assumptions in our society that success and wealth are synonymous, almost interchangeable terms. It is at the core of many a values struggle! However, not everyone measures “success” and “wealth” in financial terms. Once we achieve clarity regarding what success actually means on a deeply personal level, the experience is invigorating.

3. The Impact of Conditioning

We are conditioned to think of ourselves, our values, and other people in terms of either/or. By polarizing our thoughts into society’s concept of good or bad, right or wrong, etc., it becomes difficult to discern our own unique value proposition regarding work, career, family, money, success, politics, institutions, etc. A powerful set of influencers have shaped our ideas throughout our lives, either subtly or otherwise. Examples of these influencers include our family of origin, culture, education system, religious credo, media, etc. When we are able to identify those influencers and in turn, recognize their impact, we can see our own version of the truth through a fresh set of eyes.

Now is as good a time as any to examine what you think about yourself, to look through that internal lens and focus on how you manage your life in the world. Change any self-perceptions that are fueling a fear of success.  Equipped with a healthy self-concept and clarity regarding your values, you will find success in your career, your business, and your life.

About the Author: Michelle Ray is the CEO & Founder of the Lead Yourself First Institute