Leadership Insights from Brad Meltzer’s Impactful Commencement Speech

Recently, I attended the University of Michigan’s commencement ceremony at the legendary Big House, where Brad Meltzer, an Emmy-nominated best selling author, delivered a very impactful speech. Here’s a breakdown of the leadership insights that stood out, for all of us who are on a mission to lead ourselves and others – even better. 

1. Vision is Everything

Brad emphasized the power of vision. He challenged the graduates to “Imagine making the invisible visible,” urging them to not only dream about what they want to achieve but to actively visualize it. For leaders, this means setting clear, actionable goals that inspire and motivate both themselves and their teams.

2. Overcome Doubts with Persistence

He cleverly stated, “Let your fears vanish like a coin in a magician’s hand.” This metaphor highlights the practice of awareness and managing doubts. Effective leadership requires the courage to face uncertainties head-on and the resilience to persist through challenges. It was a vivid reminder that the barriers we face—both internal and external—are not insurmountable.

3. Adaptability is Key

Brad touched on the need for transformation, not just in tasks but in perspectives. “Transformation isn’t just about changing what you do, but how you see,” he explained. In today’s fast-paced world, a leader’s ability to adapt to new situations and pivot strategies when necessary is crucial for success.

4. Create Your Own Path

Toward the end of his address, Brad encouraged the audience to “create your own magic.” This is a powerful reminder for leaders to take initiative, innovate, and carve their own paths. Leadership involves not just following best practices but also setting new benchmarks and leading by example.

5. The Importance of Support Networks

Meltzer also emphasized the value of building strong support networks. He suggested that like any skilled magician who relies on a team to set the stage, leaders should surround themselves with people who can offer different perspectives and support. This network is vital for personal growth and helps maintain resilience in challenging times.

6. Leading with Integrity

Another critical aspect Meltzer highlighted was the importance of integrity in leadership. He reminded the graduates that the true test of leadership is not just about achieving success but doing so in a way that respects and uplifts others. Leading with integrity involves being honest, transparent, and committed to fair practices.

7. Continuous Learning and Growth

Brad encouraged a mindset of lifelong learning and curiosity. He argued that the most effective leaders are those who remain students at heart—always curious, always eager to learn more, and always willing to evolve. This approach not only enhances personal development but also ensures that one’s leadership style remains dynamic and relevant.

Leading with Confidence and Courage

Brad Meltzer’s speech goes beyond typical graduation advice, offering deep insights into effective leadership. It encourages us to lead with vision, overcome adversity with courage, adapt with purpose, and innovate with integrity. As we take these lessons to heart, we prepare not only to succeed for ourselves but also to inspire and impact everyone around us.

Let’s Go! 

I always love hearing from you.  Get in touch here and follow me on Instagram and LinkedIn to be part of an amazing community!

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Master Your Leadership: Lessons from the NBA Playoffs

 

 

If you’ve watched the Knicks vs. 76ers playoff games, you’ve seen more than just exciting basketball. These games highlight how adopting a mastery orientation—constantly refining your skills—can dramatically boost your success. This strategy is crucial for professional women who are determined to overcome obstacles and achieve big results. 

Mastery vs. Performance Orientation: What’s the Difference?

Mastery Orientation Explained

Mastery orientation (an approach or focus) is about consistently improving yourself and enjoying the learning process, regardless of immediate results. Your emphasis is on personal development and seeing success as surpassing your own past performance. Failures are seen as part of the learning journey and opportunities to gain insight on improvements.

Performance Orientation

On the flip side, performance orientation is when your focus is on hitting specific targets, often motivated by external rewards. You view success as beating competitors, and see failures as setbacks that reflect negatively on your abilities. Your focus is more about outshining others than on personal advancement.

People can display both mastery and performance orientations, but studies show that mastery orientation is more effective for achieving big goals. It emphasizes continuous self-improvement and learning, which are essential for long-term success.

Key Comparisons

  • Goals: Mastery is about growth; performance is about results.
  • Focus: Mastery loves the journey; performance focuses on the destination.
  • Motivation: Mastery is fueled from within; performance looks outward for validation.
  • Feedback: Mastery sees feedback as a tool for growth; performance may take it as criticism.
  • Persistence: Mastery keeps you going long-term; performance might not last without quick wins.

Why Mastery Matters for Success

Mastery orientation doesn’t just build your skills—it builds you into a better leader. It prepares you to handle whatever is thrown at you with grace and expertise.

Mastery is The Path to the Outcomes You Want

For accomplished women aiming to boost their influence, innovate more, and create success and wealth, mastery orientation is vital. It’s about playing the long game—building the skills and insights that lead to real results. This approach helps you not just reach but exceed your goals by fostering innovation and driving success on your terms. Mastery isn’t about quick wins; it’s about meaningful, sustained achievement.

Implementing Mastery For Yourself 

  1. Set Clear Mastery Goals: Identify areas where you want to grow, whether it’s stepping into a new role or enhancing your skills.
  2. Embrace Each Learning Opportunity: Treat every challenge as a chance to learn, not just a box to tick.
  3. Break Down Your Goals: Tackle big ambitions in small, manageable steps to keep progressing.
  4. Welcome Feedback: Use feedback to better yourself, not as a stick to beat yourself with.

Mastery: Your Route to Success

For ambitious women looking to increase their influence and achieve lasting success, focusing on mastery is essential. It’s about the long haul—developing skills and knowledge that deliver genuine results. This strategy not only helps you meet your goals but exceed them, allowing you to innovate and succeed on your own terms. Mastery is more than quick victories; it’s about significant, enduring success.

Choosing between mastery and performance orientation is a huge step toward growth. Mastery, driven by continuous improvement and intrinsic motivation, leads to lasting success. A performance-focused mindset often falls short. Embracing mastery means embracing challenges, setting clear goals, and welcoming feedback. 

Get in touch here to learn more about one-on-one coaching and be sure to follow me on Instagram and LinkedIn to be part of a community committed to purposeful growth and leadership.

Take the first step towards lasting success. I am here with you every step of the way!

Continue ReadingMaster Your Leadership: Lessons from the NBA Playoffs

Feed Your Inner Leader: Insights from the Tale of Two Wolves for Women

You have probably heard the old tale about the battle between two wolves.  In the story, a grandfather tells his grandson about two wolves fighting inside of him – one represents our “good” virtues, and the other our “evil” vices. In the case of empowering women leaders, which is the winner?  The one you feed. 

This classic story of wolves isn’t just a quaint tale; it’s a powerful metaphor for our internal conflicts that influence our actions and outcomes.  The essence of, well, being human.  

This is a reboot!

For women leaders today, the struggle is next level – because it involves a whole different wolf pack of  – our thoughts.  One “species” is the subtle and very challenging thoughts of self-doubt, perfectionism, imposter syndrome, second-guessing and more. 

This wolf pack can devour our confidence and hold us back. 

Here are some internal challenges facing women leaders:

  • Self-Doubt: Questioning your decisions or capabilities, whispering that you might not be up to the task, often leading to hesitation in decision-making and a reluctance to take bold steps.
  • Perfectionism: Striving for flawless results can create unrealistic expectations, leading to frustration and burnout when those standards are not met.
  • Imposter Syndrome: Feeling like a fraud in your roles and doubting your accomplishments. Convinces you that you’re not really qualified, and soon, everyone will discover this.
  • Fear of Rejection: worrying about being negatively judged or not accepted by others, which can hinder open communication and assertiveness.
  • Fear of Failure:  Spinning about not succeeding can prevent taking risks that are part of growth, advancement and creating new results.
  • Constant Comparison: Comparing yourself to others in similar roles can lead to a distorted view of your accomplishments.
  • Second-Guessing: Keeps you looping on decisions made, wasting energy and clouding your focus.

This blog is really a call to action. Better leadership begins internally.  Here’s a great place to begin. 

“The hardest person you will ever have to lead is yourself” – Bill George, True North

The Power of Growth Mindset

On the other side, there is a completely different “species” of thoughts available for us to choose, practice and strengthen –  and which propel us forward: growth, mastery, seizing opportunities, and embracing possibilities.

  • Growth Mindset: Viewing challenges as opportunities to expand your skills and knowledge, rather than as threats.
  • Mastery v. Performance: Shifting from a perfectionism-driven approach to one of excellence, focusing on continuous improvement rather than flawless outcomes.
  • Ownership of Achievements: Recognizing your past successes as evidence of your capability and using this as a foundation to build further success, mitigating feelings of being an imposter.

By becoming aware of the thoughts you’re unintentionally feeding, and choosing instead to nourish those which support you, you pave the way for creating exactly what you want. It’s about making a conscious choice every day about which internal thoughts you give power to. 

Lead Like You Mean It

Better leadership means making deliberate choices about your thoughts every single day, because that choice impacts everything. Every day, you get to choose which thoughts get your time and energy.  Check-in with yourself to see if they are the ones that help you feel powerful, capable, and downright unstoppable.

 So, which wolf are you going to feed today?  I’d love to know. 

It’s always great to hear from you.

Get in touch here to learn more about one-on-one coaching and to follow me on Instagram and LinkedIn to be part of my community committed to purposeful growth and leadership for AMAZING WOMEN.

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Oscar-Winning Insights from SXSW 2024

I recently got  back from SXSW 2024, where I had the chance to hear from Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert–known as “the Daniels,— who are the creative geniuses behind “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” They talked a lot about an ancient Japanese concept called Ikigai, which basically means finding your purpose. 

Although their panel wasn’t about leadership coaching, it got me thinking about how Ikigai is a phenomenal process for my clients and for all women leaders who crave more impact, influence, and success.  Ikigai can shift you into consistent and intentional creation and action, paving the way for that outcome you really want.

Finding Your Purpose: Ikigai

So, what’s Ikigai (pronounced “ee-kee-guy,) all about? It’s basically your personal roadmap to leading yourself with purpose, and leading others.

Think about it as a blend of four elements : 

  • What you love, 
  • What you’re good at, 
  • What you can get paid for,
  •  & What the world needs. 

It’s about figuring out what truly lights you up and using that to guide your choices. Finding the overlap of these four elements may sound challenging, and while it may take some effort, it is WORTH IT.

By thinking about  these elements and exploring where they overlap, you’re well on your way to leading yourself with a sense of purpose that can keep you very motivated and in action.  That’s MAJOR. 

Leading With Intention

Leading yourself with intention is everything. Discovering your Ikigai means you are no longer drifting aimlessly, you have a clear path in mind and are the sole architect of it. You turn autopilot mode off  and forge a new direction that resonates with your own values and aspirations. By clarifying your purpose, you can make every decision through this lens and easily sync that up with your actions.  No more feeling stuck! Whether it’s pursuing impact, influence, wealth, or any kind of success as you define it, you do so with intention, conviction and consistent action..

Ikigai isn’t just about you though. By leading yourself with purpose, you become a motivating spark for those around you. Your clarity and authenticity motivate others to find their own Ikigai and discover what they are capable of. Together, you create a chain reaction of purpose-driven leaders making a real impact in their world and in the world.  AHHHMAZING!

Taking Action

Ikigai is such a great fit for my coaching clients and all women leaders because it isn’t just about deep thoughts and reflection – it’s about taking action. Armed with your newfound sense of purpose, you’ll have the confidence and drive to pursue your goals with passion and determination. Whether it’s launching a new initiative, founding a company, or mentoring the next generation of women leaders, every action you take is infused with purpose and intent. 

Ready to explore Ikigai? 

Here’s how you can get started:

  • Reflect on what makes you tick – what do you love, what are you good at, what gets you fired up?
  • Explore how each answer aligns with your current role and what you really want to create and do,  as a woman leader.
  • Then, try it out and use your Ikigai as a guiding compass to inform your decisions and actions going forward..
  • Share your journey with others and encourage them to discover their own Ikigai. 

Ikigai in a nutshell:

In his Academy Awards acceptance speech, Daniel Kwan took the opportunity to encourage everyone to tap into this creativity. 

“There is greatness in every single person, it doesn’t matter who they are. If you have a genius that is waiting to erupt, you just need to find the right people to unlock that.,”

As a successful woman leader, exploring  Ikigai can be an incredible tool. By finding your purpose, leading yourself with intention, and inspiring others through your actions, you’ll create a ripple effect of positive change for yourself and everyone around you. 

Inspired by the transformative power of Ikigai? You’re not alone. I invite you to explore the depths of your own purpose and potential with a guide who’s walked this path and helped many women leaders like yourself illuminate their journeys. It is my passion – and profession – to do that with you EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!

Dive deep into the heart of your Ikigai with personalized coaching designed to unlock your unique blend of passion, skill, vocation, and mission. Together, we’ll craft a roadmap that not only leads you to success but also fulfillment and impact. Whether you’re aiming to redefine your career, enhance your leadership, or simply find more meaning in your everyday actions, our one-on-one sessions provide the clarity, strategy, and support you need to lead with intention and thrive.

Get in touch here to learn more about one-on-one coaching and be sure to follow me on Instagram and LinkedIn to be part of a community committed to purposeful growth and leadership.

Stay true to your Ikigai and watch what happens. 

Continue ReadingOscar-Winning Insights from SXSW 2024

Women And Leadership: Ditching Autopilot for the Win

Always in motion, women in leadership roles are usually tackling endless agenda items on a very long to do list. In our extremely fast paced lives, most of us operate on autopilot mode. Our days fly by. Our lives are so busy that we totally forget to check in with ourselves. It’s easy to slip into autopilot mode, but is that truly how we want to lead ourselves and others?

Have you ever stopped to wonder how you got here?

I have thought a lot about autopilot mode and the negative impact of operating this way exclusively. It can come at a very high cost especially for women in leadership roles. Learning why, when and how to turn it off, has a huge payoff.

Understanding Autopilot Mode

Autopilot mode is our brain’s default system—it is a built in tool that allows us to do things automatically and efficiently, without the need for constant conscious effort to function. When you walk, there’s no need to consciously instruct yourself to move one foot in front of the other. This helps us to make snap decisions in everyday life.

Some of those mindless decisions are insignificant. But others have a significant impact over time, on our professional, and personal, lives.

It is extraordinary how much of the day we spend in this way.

Our brain’s autopilot mode is meant to give us more time and energy to devote to more important tasks and to prevent overload. How’s that working out for most of us? Not so well. We aren’t taking advantage of it, if we never look up.

The cost to us is that autopilot mode completely bypasses conscious choice and decision making.

SIMPLE STEPS TO SHUT DOWN YOUR AUTOPILOT AND SWITCH GEARS

“Autopilot is a growing problem,” says Dr. Mark Williamson, Director of Action for Happiness. “It has gone from being an evolutionary protection mechanism that stopped our brains overloading, to our default mode of operating whereby we sleep-walk into our choices. It has seeped into more and more areas of our lives and relationships making us feel out of control.”

So, how can we stop sleep-walking through our choices? Here are three easy steps you can take to shut your autopilot mode off and shift gears into conscious decision-making:

1. Pause and Notice. Dr.Williamson says when people are running on autopilot, they feel trapped by their obligations and routines as if they are living somebody else’s life.

Sound familiar?

“The simple step of encouraging people to notice their autopilot behaviors is crucial,” says Dr. Williamson, “because then you’ve begun the journey towards changing your habits and making more conscious choices.”

Yes, the brain is lazy—it prefers the autopilot setting. No problem! We can train our minds to pause and notice we are operating this way and then switch it off.

2. Ask yourself the right questions. Why am I doing this? Is this what I want to be doing?

In asking these simple questions we step out of autopilot and shift into the present moment. We can see our own autonomy. This is incredibly powerful—these questions connect us to our values and allow us to see, and intentionally make, choices. WOOHOO! We don’t actually have to stay stuck on a treadmill of repetitive behavior any longer. This is leadership from the inside out!

3. Switch on your intentional thinking mode. Thank goodness, our beautiful brains have another operating system. WHEW! Think of it as a more rational and intentional thinking system that is there to help us manage more complex things like critical thinking, problem solving and learning.

It’s not that our intentional thinking mode is better than autopilot.

Your power lies in choosing when to leave autopilot on and when to deliberately turn it off.

THE BIG PAYOFF

Turning off the autopilot mode has SO MANY tangible benefits for women leaders, including:

Boosted Creativity and Innovation: Turning off autopilot encourages fresh ideas, new possibilities and innovative solutions.

Sharper Decision-Making Skills: Women leaders develop stronger decision-making abilities by making conscious choices.

Improved Adaptability: Leaders become more flexible and resilient in navigating challenges and changes.

Power, Purpose and Results: Taking control of actions aligns leaders with their values and goals, driving real progress to desired outcomes.

I CAN – AND WANT TO – HELP!

We each have our own unique autopilot mode that impacts our decisions, and us, in different ways. The key takeaway is to pause, notice what mode you are in and make a conscious choice. That is your power and there is nothing better than that!

So many of my clients are doing this work with me and seeing the ginormous benefits of it.

If you’d like to talk more about how coaching teaches you how to leave autopilot mode behind so that you start leading yourself, and others, more consciously, I’m always here to help.

Continue ReadingWomen And Leadership: Ditching Autopilot for the Win

Goals Are Great. Awareness Comes First.

2024 is well underway. We’ve all made our resolutions. We’ve all made our ambitious declarations. We have big plans for the New Year. Bring it on, we say!

A fresh calendar marks a demarcation line for a fresh start. Opportunity abounds. It’s natural for you to feel the urge to set goals—for yourself, for your business, for your relationship with the world around you.

News flash! In this annual rush, we’re skipping the first step–awareness. Before the resolutions, declarations, and big plans, before all the January goal setting–first take the time to look inside.  

Goal setting.  It’s an inside job.

For years, I took part in the annual goal setting rush. I compiled exhaustive to-do lists—feverishly cataloging the goals I hoped to achieve over the next year.

It didn’t work. But why?  Why did all this goal setting trip me up instead of pushing me forward?

I was building out goals blindly, without first taking the time to look at my own values, behaviors and thoughts, the results I really wanted or the blocks that got in my way of achieving my goals. I couldn’t see how I was getting in my own way because I wasn’t looking.

When I learned this, it changed everything about my goal setting and achievement.

I discovered that I had a tendency to absorb the expectations of others, to define my goals according to perspectives that were not my own. We’re all subject to so many external influences —professional pressures, personal relationships, cultural norms. It isn’t obvious to us that these external influences, and many unexamined patterns of automatic thinking and old stories, are driving our goal creation in the first place.  Awareness allows us to look at all of this for what it is. 

Awareness is so vital to your journey as your own leader and as a leader of others. Once I understood this–and only then–I was able to move on and get down to the business of identifying different goals that I wanted and make different choices to accomplish them, from the inside out.

Step One: Block Out the Noise

Awareness comes out of creating the conditions for it –  muting the noise all around you. And for women leaders, life can be extremely noisy!

At any given moment, your child is texting you for homework help, your aging parent is calling because they still can’t figure out the remote control, and your email inbox is piling up.

Push the “Silence” button on all of it—just for a little bit.

Hear your own thoughts more clearly, notice your feelings, remind yourself of your core values and you can see the results you actually want with your eyes wide open. Let your who and your why drive your goal creation. 

Try it.  

Step Two: Take Stock of Your Core Values

We face unique challenges as women leaders. Awareness plays an especially important role in staking out your own identity, defining your leadership style, and steeling yourself against unproductive, default patterns.

Take stock of yourself. The benefits are considerable including:

  • Improved performance;
  • A clearer sense of purpose;
  • Stronger conviction in your beliefs, values, and identity;
  • A richer relationship with yourself and with others; and
  • An internal compass that guides your decision making and keeps you focused on the right things.

Your core values, your greatest aspirations, the endeavors that give you more energy than stress–identify these things before you set your goals. 

Take a look under the hood before you get on the road.  

Step Three: Shift Your Perspective

So how, as a leader, do you prioritize reflection when you’ve made your success through always rushing into action? It takes a shift, in perspective, mindset, energy – whatever you like to call it.

To quote Marshall Goldsmith, “What got you here won’t get you there.”

I once worked with a client who was reluctant to “waste time” looking “underneath the hood.”  She was in a rush to set goals and take action.  

It was only when we began to look at her core self that she started to make connections. Suddenly, she could give a name to what her gut had been telling her for years. Her thinking shifted. She could see what she really wanted, and could then set goals to get there. 

It was like turning on a light switch. 

Awareness is a Practice and a Journey.

You can tell how I feel about Awareness by this point. It is one of the most important practices you can develop within yourself for your goal setting, your leadership and your life.  I am excited for you to start today in your own practice. Be gracious with yourself and as always, have some fun too. Let me know what you find and how it impacted your January list of goals! 

XX,
Michele

Continue ReadingGoals Are Great. Awareness Comes First.

How to Achieve Big Goals: Celebrating Small Wins for Major Impact on Your Way to  Success

Here’s a revelation that I’ve had in running my own business and coaching clients: celebrating small wins is not just a nice-to-have; it’s a strategic leadership practice with a profound impact on both personal and collective success. For those looking for a leadership hack, recognizing and celebrating the small wins might seem inconsequential, but they can have an impressive ripple effect for both you and your team.

In my work coaching women leaders, we delve into the transformative influence of acknowledging and celebrating these seemingly minor victories. Many leaders underestimate the significance of everyday achievements, dismissing them as inconsequential. Yet, when prompted to pause, recognize these small triumphs, and celebrate them, the results are eye-opening.

Identifying Small Wins: Everyday Milestones Toward Success

What constitutes a small win? The possibilities are vast, encompassing a range of accomplishments, including:

  • Initiating a crucial conversation
  • Sending a pivotal email
  • Embracing something new
  • Crossing off an action item from your list
  • Voicing your opinions in a meeting
  • Providing constructive feedback that is well-received

The list is endless because it’s dependent on so many different factors that are personal to your experience. Embracing these small wins are the building blocks of significant achievement.

How to Achieve Big Goals: One Small Win at a Time

If you’re seriously thinking about how to achieve big goals, know that you have to start thinking about celebrating small wins as more than a feel-good exercise. It serves as a potent catalyst for your personal and professional growth as a leader, with far-reaching effects:

Sustained Motivation: Small victories fuel motivation and positivity, making it easier to figure out how to achieve big goals.

Confidence Boost: Each small win contributes to building confidence, enabling you to approach more significant challenges with self-assurance.

Continuous Momentum: Celebrating small wins maintains energy levels and guards against burnout, ensuring continual progress.

Focused Approach: It helps you stay concentrated on immediate tasks, breaking down the journey into manageable steps.

Positive Mindset: Regular celebrations cultivate a positive mindset, fostering resilience in the face of challenges.

Team Morale: In a team setting, celebrating together enhances morale and encourages collaborative efforts toward overarching goals.

Reflective Learning: Acknowledging wins prompts reflection, fostering continuous learning and personal growth.

Tangible Progress: Ensures a tangible sense of progress, even when the ultimate goal may seem distant.

Purpose Alignment: Celebrating small wins reinforces the purpose behind your efforts, keeping you aligned with your overarching goals.

As you can see, celebrating small wins has the power to redefine your self-perception, expand your perceived capabilities, reshape your approach to challenges, and influence your future actions. It’s a transformative practice that transcends the act of celebration itself. And it’s the first step to figuring out how to achieve big goals.

Making Celebrations Your Own

Your celebrations can be personal, private, and swift or as elaborate as you desire. Keeping a record of these wins allows you to reflect on your journey.

Personally, I vocalize my achievements to my family, while others may treat themselves to a quick coffee, share with a friend, dance in their office, or even throw confetti in the air (like one of my clients). The key is to enjoy the process and discover what resonates with you.

So, how will you celebrate your next small win on the path to greater impact, wealth, and influence?

Coaching For Women Leaders

It’s my passion, and profession, to support women leaders in reaching their big goals in the coming year.

XX,
Michele

Continue ReadingHow to Achieve Big Goals: Celebrating Small Wins for Major Impact on Your Way to  Success

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