It was 6:30 am when he came in the building wearing a green baseball hat. Had he been at any other YMCA in Chicago, it wouldn’t have been an issue, but this YMCA was in the heart of Cabrini Green, a housing project rife with gangs. Depending on how a hat was worn, and its color, it could constitute a gang sign, so we had a “no hats” policy in the facility. At 6:35 am, one of my staff members came to tell me a man was refusing to take off his cap. I went out to meet him, knowing that once he understood the reason behind our policy, he’d be happy to comply. [Read more…] about Top 10 Ways to Lead Yourself
In my last blog, I shared the painful struggle of being fired over 20 years ago. As a result, I began a 20+ year journey of learning to choose well, lead well, and finish well.
Being fired all those years ago was an incredibly painful experience. I lost confidence in my abilities, felt like a total failure, and simply wanted to crawl into a dark cave and lick my wounds. I seriously thought about giving up my YMCA career and starting all over in a new field. I had to make a choice. While on the surface the choice was between two career options, in reality it was a choice to either pull out of the self-criticizing death spiral I was in or let failure win. When you’re in the never ending cycle of defeating thoughts, it’s pure choice to replace those negative thoughts with ones that start to speak truth to your soul about who you are and Whose you are. Choose truth. [Read more…] about Nine Minute Moments
Monday, October 29th found me in Nyack, NY waiting for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy. As the day went on, the wind picked up, the chimney in the old brick house I was in along the Hudson River rumbled, and the trees swayed. Power went off twice that afternoon and each time came back on within 20 minutes. At 6 pm the power went off – the wind started screaming and howling, the trees bent to the ground, and Sandy was here. I taught the group in a circle of candlelight. When a power substation or transformer would blow, we’d watch through the windows as blue balls of flame and light illuminated the dark and stormy skies. [Read more…] about Avoiding Soul Insanity
Years ago, my husband and I spent 3 weeks canoeing in Canada’s Quetico Park. There were 5 of us, and we portaged 24 miles and paddled 150. We went in to the park before it officially opened, so the ice had just melted. It rained constantly for the first 10 days. I would wake up each the morning, praying for sun. By day five, the only way to cook supper was with our little cook stove since it was too wet to start a campfire. On day eight, we arrived at a portage called Tough Sloggins. In normal condition, it was a path of muck and goo that made the portage difficult. With all the rain, we paddled through the portage, found a beaver slide to ride the canoes on, and went on our merry way. [Read more…] about Tough Sloggins
This is a guest blog from a colleague I met at National SPeaker Association UNconference. Bonnie’s discussion is about a person who takes the ideas of others and promotes them as her own. In my next blog, we’ll be discussing people who lead out of mutual fear vs. mutual trust. Nancy
Fear, concern and even intimidation are very real feelings that develop in many work groups. It’s not uncommon to see a group in which “ladder climbing”, striving, and metaphorically speaking, scratching, is done in order to put one’s needs and desires ahead of others’. I saw this recently in a group where I was consulting. The operations manager was determined to be seen and heard above all others, to the point of bypassing her co-workers and staff members to achieve her goals. She was known to take others’ ideas and present them to leadership as her own. What drives this type of unethical behavior? [Read more…] about Unethical “Ladder Climbing” in the Workplace