Home » Blog » Archives for June 2015

Month: June 2015

What I Learned from Sheriff Callie

If we define leadership as anyone who has influence, we can define leadership in the same way for cartoon characters.

I have a three-year-old which means we watch a lot of Disney Junior. Some of the shows are educational, and some are just downright horrible to watch. It is amazing to me how many now have a leadership principles as the main lesson in the show.

Leadership Lessons in Unexpected Places

The other day we were watching Sheriff Callie on our AppleTV. The best thing about Apple TV, no commercials. No commercials means the child does not desire all that is advertised. But I digress.

My husband says what he has learned from Sheriff Callie is everything is better with a magic rope. While this may be true, most of us will never have a magic rope.

In one episode of Sheriff Callie, Hike to Wish Mountain, Deputy Peck says he knows the way to the top of Wish Mountain “like the back of his wing.” They all wanted to make it to the top of Wish Mountain in time to see the meteor shower and to make a wish.

Sheriff Callie: “Well, you can be our leader then.”

Deputy Peck: “You mean the leader leader?! Woo hoo! I mean, that sounds nice.”

Clearly, Peck was thrilled to be able to lead his friends up to Wish Mountain. As they start on their journey, it becomes obvious that Peck doesn’t quite remember the way to go. Or how to keep them all safe.

He is so excited to be the leader that he isn’t willing to tell them he doesn’t quite know the way.

He falls off a cliff and Sheriff Callie saves him. Then this happens:

Peck: “We made it, we really made it. I never thought I’d see the ground again. Never ever ever. And all because I took the wrong path.”

All: “Gasp”

Sheriff Callie: “What was that Deputy?”

Peck: “What I said was, well, um, I made a mistake. We are on the wrong path”

All: “The wrong path?! Why didn’t you tell us Peck?”

Peck: “Because then you wouldn’t think I was a good leader.”

Sheriff Callie: “Peck, there’s no shame in admitting when you’re wrong. In fact, a good leader always admits when they don’t know something.”

Peck: “Really? I didn’t know that.”

A good leader always admits when they (1)

What I learned from Sheriff Callie: A Good Leader Always Admits When They Don’t Know Something…Sometimes

How I wish that statement was true across the board.

I have followed many leaders who acted like they knew it all, even when it was clear they didn’t. They would not listen to anyone’s suggestions regarding the situation in which they believed they had all of the answers.

There is nothing more discouraging than working for someone who is the smartest person in the room. The person who is never wrong. The leader who makes up an answer even if it isn’t close to being correct, simply to have an answer. A leader who diminishes others abilities and thoughts.

When a leader never admits they are wrong they:

Lose credibility

Lose the respect of those they lead

Do not seem as honest and trustworthy

Admitting Mistakes = Respect

I have worked for both types of leaders. The one who is never wrong and the one who admits when they make a mistake. When my leaders have admitted they are wrong it makes them human. It makes them more approachable in general, but especially when I have made a mistake.

Work on becoming the leader who is open to suggestions.

Work on becoming the leader who is approachable, for both the good and bad.

Work on becoming the leader who admits when they don’t know something.

You will be amazed at the correlation between admitting when you don’t know something and the level of respect and loyalty among your followers. There is power in the phrase “I am not sure, but I will find out.” My level of respect for individuals increases when they are able to say “I was wrong” or “I am sorry for…”

If you have never been a leader who has admitted mistakes before, the apology may seem like a one off and cause some mistrust at the beginning. However, when a leader chooses to put their own comfort to the side and admit when they are wrong, they begin to change the culture of the organization.

The best piece advice (after admitting you were wrong or don’t know) is to invite those you lead to find the answers or gather everyone together to brainstorm the answer. Create buy in. People want to be engaged in their jobs. Help them.

In conclusion…

I am thankful for the leadership lesson, for what I learned from Sheriff Callie that day. It was a great reminder for me as I navigate leading that I do not have to know all of the answers. Admitting when I don’t know something, when you don’t know something, can change the culture of your organization. It eventually equates to greater respect. This in turn gives us a chance to utilize our followers to find the answer. Empowering employees will make them feel more valuable to the organization, creating greater loyalty. People want to feel useful, not that they are being used.

Has there been a time when you pretended like you had the solution to the problem even though you had no idea what you were doing? 

Do you think a good leader admits when they are wrong? Share below.
Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

Why You Need to Be Intentional

Do you ever think an event or time that is 5 years away is going to take forever to get here and then all of a sudden that time has arrived?  It’s been five years in a flash? It is something you have anticipated doing. You set goals. You made a plan. Yet in the planning stages it felt like it was going to take forever to get there.

Then one day you look up and time has gone by in an instant. In almost a blink of an eye, the time has passed by.

And you didn’t even realize it.

Where did the time go?

We live at the very edge of development in our town. About four years ago they ripped out the mature trees in the orchard. We thought they were going to be putting in a commercial center. Instead they replanted the trees. I remember thinking how small they were. I remember thinking how it will take them a long time to grow.

This morning when I went to exercise, I walked by those trees. The trees that I drive by every day all of a sudden were mature, full trees.

Where did the time go?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I want to make sure we live the story we want.  To live out a purposeful life and invest in those around us.

I want to make sure we live the story we want. Click To Tweet

That doesn’t mean that you quit your job, give up the security of a paycheck to do what you love or spend time with your kids without being responsible. I think that you can find purpose where you are. That doesn’t mean you have to stay in that place forever, but it does mean to look for the silver lining where you have been placed. You can make an impact right where you are at.

Be intentional about the story you live.

When did that happen?

Looking at those trees automatically made me think of my kids. See, right now they are small, but I have a fear that all of a sudden I’m going wake up one day and they are going to be teenagers. And I’m going to ask myself “when did that happen?”

With the end of the school year, people are posting pictures of their kids growing up. I saw pictures of kids that finished junior high or high school. Some were even pictures of kids graduating from kindergarten. And each person said “where did the time go?”

It is not as if each of these people had the thought “I am going to sit back and let time fly by.” I know many of these families personally and they live abundant lives. Yet in the busyness of life, even when they see their kids daily, time still seems to fly by.

What if I get so busy in the midst of life that I forget to look up? Did I forget to engage in a way that I should be engaging with my kids and my husband? Am I investing in what matters?

I’m really big on keeping my priority straight, but even then I feel like I fail miserably. I have my list of what’s important in my life and of course my relationship with God, my husband, and my kids are at the very top of the list.

I say that, yet I’m not sure of my life reflects that. Now it says in the Bible where your treasure (money) is there your heart is also. For me, it is where my calendar appointments are is where my heart is too. As I use my calendar for everything, and I need to be more intentional about investing in the things that truly matter.

Ways to be Intentional

We all have various areas of our life that we place a higher priority on. Here are 3 areas in which you could choose to be more intentional.

  1. Personal Development

Having a high level of self-awareness allows for you to see your flaws, recognize your strengths, and evaluate the areas in which you want to improve in yourself. This could be learning to be better with your finances, deciding to get healthy by exercising and changing your eating habits, or deciding to read a book a month, to name a few.  Be intentional about your personal development.

  1. Professional Development

You are most likely not the expert in your field or even at your office. Knowing where you want your career to end up allows for you to be intentional about professional development. Read articles and books on your career. Get hands on experience. One of the best ways I have developed professionally is by jumping in and offering to help with various projects. My knowledge has expanded as well as my experience. Be intentional about your professional development.

  1. Family/Relationships

The way you interacted with and loved others is how you will be remembered in this life. Your family, your spouse and kids, should be the most important people on this planet. You may have friends that are like family.  Be intentional in the time you spend with them. Plan date nights. Plan dates with your kids. Plan lunches and coffee with friends. Be intentional about the time you spend with your family and friends.

In Conclusion…

I hate the phrase YOLO. Usually that term is connected with temporary things, events. The reality is, you do only live once. This is why you need to be intentional. You need to be intentional about the story you live.

Looking at the orchard today was the best reminder I could have had about how I want to live this life.

What area of your life are you afraid time is going to fly by? What story do you want to live out? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

4 Steps to Help You Get Unstuck in Life

I like to think that I have it all together and can conquer it all. The reality is, that I am far from what I could potentially be.

This is due to my own mindset. I often doubt how smart I am or compare myself to what others are accomplishing, and I put myself in a box. Thinking outside the box is difficult when you are stuck with your thoughts all day and not engaging with articles or individuals who help you expand your thinking.

Often it is our own worldview, our own small thinking that keeps us stuck in the position we are in. We are stuck in our own paradigm and can’t figure out how to create a paradigm shift in our circumstances. To help us think outside the box we have created.

I have had co-workers tell me they dislike their job. I always encourage them to begin seeking out new opportunities. Some do. Others do not. Those that do not are keeping themselves in this place of misery.

I came across this quote the other day in the most unlikely places…

quote-braver than you believe (1)

You are most likely braver, smarter, and stronger than you give yourself credit. Don’t let your mindset turn into a ceiling to what you can accomplish.

If you find yourself stuck in a certain area of your life, either personally or professionally, you need to find a way to move forward.

Here are 4 steps to help you get unstuck in life

 Think through your current situation.

What is it about my current situation that I do not like? Is your living situation horrible? Are you in a relationship that is ok but not great? Are you in a job that you hate going to, but have to go since it pays the bills?

For me, I seem to not have time to work out. When I don’t have time to exercise, I feel off in other areas in my life.

Write down exactly what it is that you feel stuck in.

  1. Think about where you want to be.

If time or money was not an issue, what would your current situation look like? Where is it that I want to be?

This exercise is difficult due to the fact that we have trained our brains to think a certain way and react to circumstances in a particular manner. Let yourself dream a bit. If you could change your current situation, what would the perfect situation look like?

If I had all the time in the world, I would work out 5 days a week doing an intense workout program such as Insanity Max. I would also hire a personal trainer.

  1. Find resources to help you get there.

If you are looking to make a career jump and need resume help, contact someone who can help you spruce up your resume. If you want to become healthier, to make better food choices and exercise, read articles on nutrition to make the best choices.

We are making some healthy lifestyle changes (I hate the word diet). I plan on reading up on nutrition and what amounts of each food group we need to be healthy.

  1. Make a plan to make a change

This is the most difficult step. Remember my co-worker who kept saying she hated her job but would never do anything about it? She is choosing to not make a plan to make a change. Making the plan is scary. It means you have a goal, and what if you don’t achieve that goal? The plan you make to make the change you want needs to have bite sized steps to it. When we set the big goal to begin with, we become frustrated when we don’t see the major result in a short time frame. Breaking it up into small goals will help motivate you to continue on.

My big goal that would end up making me frustrated is to say I am going to lose 20 lbs. Instead, I am going to focus on the first 5. To get there, I am going to work out 3 times a week and eat healthier.  Meal planning allows for us to make better food decisions.

In Conclusion…

We often get stuck in one area of our life once in a while. That is ok, as long as you can recognize it and make a plan to move forward. Hiring a coach may be a good next step for you. I am in the beginning of launching my coaching business and will be offering services at an introductory rate. If you are interested in learning more about coaching, please contact me at stephanie@www.stephaniegerman.com.

You only have one life. Make sure to make the biggest impact possible and to live it to the fullest.

Is there an area of your life, personally or professionally, in which you feel stuck? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

How Being a Parent is Similar to Being a Leader

When I go to work, I look to my boss, who is supposed to be the leader, to be an example. It often happens that what is said and actions displayed do not match up. When that happens, my level of respect goes down for my supervisor.

I have found that this is true for me being a parent as well. My daughter has a way of reminding me when my words and actions do not match up. She is only 3, so it’s not as detrimental as it will be when she is 16.

Thinking through these two scenarios, I have found great similarities between the times I have led a program and when I have led my kids as their mom.

Leader vs Parent

Here is a brief breakdown of how being a parent is similar to being a leader…

As a leader, you have people under you. These people are called employees, or followers. They watch everything you do and say. Sometimes they ignore you completely. In a business, those that are disobedient are reprimanded. And eventually fired.

As a parent, you have people under you. These people are called your children. They watch everything you do and say. They let you know when what you say and what you actually do does not match up. Sometimes (most of the time) they ignore you completely. In a home, those that are disobedient are reprimanded, and there is usually screaming involved, because timeouts are clearly the worst thing in the world (amiright?).

What’s the point?

It’s about integrity.

When we ask our followers to do something, they are watching to see if we are going to act in the same manner we are asking of them. As a leader, if I don’t show the way, they will do as they please. This is true in my home as well.

My three year old, who is going on sixteen, has begun to repeat the words and tone I use.

All too often I do not like what I hear.

Show the way is to guide

Changing the Story

To change the story being told in our house, I have to change the way I speak to, and interact with, my three year old. This doesn’t mean I let her do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Clear boundaries need to be set. However, there is nothing more telling than hearing your child repeat the words you have spoken to them.

To the change the story in your organization, you as a leader need to be willing to serve those you oversee. If you are not willing to do the work, why should those you lead willingly go about doing it? You begin to take long lunches, your employees see that and follow suit. You sit in other offices gossiping, others notice and follow suit. You should not expect your employees to behave in a manner that you are not willing to behave in yourself.

To show the way is to guide followers in the way they should go.

Shown integrity leads to a higher level of respect and loyalty.

Shown integrity leads to a higher level of respect and loyalty. Click To Tweet

In conclusion…

Integrity and honesty are shown time and again as the two highest qualities employees and followers desire out of their leaders in studies conducted. There is a higher level of respect when you as the leader do what you say and show the way. Whether you are the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or the CEO of your home with 5 little ones around you, make sure you are showing the way. Eyes are always watching.

In what ways are you being a person of integrity with those you influence?

Here’s to the Journey!

Redefining Success

I’ve been struggling lately with the definition of success. My definition of success. I wonder if it’s time I start redefining success.

We are told that the definition of success is graduating from college and establishing a great career. I graduated from college, started what I thought was going to be a career, have made several detours, earned my Masters in Organizational Leadership, and am currently working a job that has nothing to do with my degree or strengths.

I am now in a place where I think I should have a career established. Instead, I have a job.

Doesn’t everyone have it all together and figured out by the time they are 30?

I have my Masters degree.

I have had multiple jobs.

But no set career path.

Definition of Success

Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; achieving a goal you set. From the time I could remember, my goal was to work for a corporation in business and become an executive.

I was indoctrinated with the idea that I needed the high salary, big title, and large house. Besides, that is what is emulated in the world.  I know that I have bought into that. Being an achiever has allowed me buy into it. And my head believes this definition of success.

The other day, in an online community I am a part of, one of the participants was bummed due to the fact that a product he was wanting to launch was launched by another company/individual. He was reminded by several of us that due to who he is, he will connect with a different audience than this other company. He has his own worldview, personality, and experience that will connect to a specific audience.

If you are an entrepreneur, we are told that to be a “real” business you must have a Facebook page and twitter handle and now periscope with thousands upon thousands of likes. The reality is that is not true. One can be successful with a couple hundred likes or followers if they have connected with the right audience.

Redefining Success

What if we changed the conversation around the word success?

What if we redefined success as the legacy we leave behind?

Redefining Success

This new definition of success does not have to do with the big title. Or amazing office. Or the great perks associated with a corporate job. The items that no longer matter once you are not around.

What if the new definition of success included the impact that you made on the lives of those around you that spanned for generations? When we live out our purpose in this life, we will be successful. We need to learn that when we invest time and resources into what matters, into what is eternal, we have become successful.

My new definition of success is whether I am living out my purpose or not where I have been placed. When I live out my purpose in this life there is great joy and fulfillment.

As For Me

I can make a difference where I am, even without the large office and big title. I can influence those around me by engaging in positive conversation that moves the organization forward. I can challenge the status quo to make the organization run smoother.

Where my definition of success has changed the most is how I am investing in my family and kids. I know I need to be available for doctor appointments and conversations at the end of the day. My definition of success is investing in the time my three year old needs of me, including the thirty questions that somehow made it to right before bed time. This means I put aside the things that do not matter, the things that the world says matters, and live a life that allows me to be fulfilled in my new definition of success.

In Conclusion…

I still struggle with which definition of success I want to follow. The definition that says I need to look important to the world and the definition that says the greatest job I will ever have is raising my little ones. This is another step in the balancing act of life. One thing I know for sure, is I want my kids to know without a shadow of a doubt that they come first.

How do you define success in your everyday life? Do you think you can have it both ways?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

How Big is Your Dish? 3 Ways to Move Forward Once You Have Hit Your Limit

We all have responsibilities in our life. Jobs, chores, spouse, kids. The level of responsibility varies in each person’s life. How much each person can handle, both emotionally and physically, also varies.

687650583_126a1ae7f8Photo Credit: Mike Gogulski via Compfight cc

How Big Is Your Plate?
A great way to describe how much responsibility a person can handle is to describe them by the size and type of plate. Someone who can only handle a small amount of responsibility and cannot focus on too many tasks at once, may be a saucer. A person who can handle a bit more may be a salad plate. A person with a career, home to run, and kids may be a dinner plate. A person who can handle a high level of responsibility and many tasks may be described as a platter.

The size of plate you are does not matter.

It is knowing which plate you are that is important.

Determining what size plate you are is not easy. The more you can handle, the larger your plate is.

If you can handle a certain amount, it does not mean you are at maximum capacity all of the time. It means you are able to handle that much.

When You Have Reached Capacity

When your plate runs over, you can feel overwhelmed to the point of debilitation. Knowing the size of your plate will allow you to say no once you have hit your max. This takes a level of self-awareness that most do not have.

I recently reached my maximum capacity. I would consider myself to be able to handle a variety of responsibilities, both personally and professionally, and to be able to handle a platter of responsibility. However, we have a lot going on and I am maxed out. Professionally, I started a new job recently, I am starting a business, I will be teaching as adjunct at one of our local universities in the fall, and I try to write daily. Personally, we our selling our house, looking for a new home, have two kids with extra-curricular activities, and we are dealing with a personal situation that leaves us scratching our heads as to what to do.

When I realized I was at my maximum, I had to take a step back and re-evaluate my situation.

Ways to Move Forward

What happens when you have reached your limit? Here are 3 ways you can ensure you can move forward once you have hit your limit:

  1. Make a List of your Responsibilities

List out everything that is on your plate. List out the big stuff and the small stuff. Besides, it takes up physical and emotional space on your plate. My list above shows the big issues in my life. Make sure to write down everything that you would say you “have to deal with.”

  1. Filter Through Your Priorities

Look over your list. Which of the items on your list would be considered part of your priorities? Which items on your list are you putting too much pressure on yourself to accomplish? Make a list of those responsibilities that fit into your priorities.

  1. Toss Out the Things that Don’t Matter

This is the hard part. If the responsibility that you feel for certain items on your plate does not line up with your priorities (or obligations that cannot be avoided), then throw them off of your plate. There is no point in putting in physical time and emotional effort into responsibilities that do not fit your priorities.

In Conclusion…

It really comes down to self-awareness. I knew when I came home from work a couple of weeks ago that I had reached my max when I sat numb on the couch. My brain and body could not physically handle the responsibility that was placed on me. I took part in the exercise above. You know what? I still have responsibilities, I still have stress, but I am back to a place that I can handle.

Do you know what type of plate you are and how much you can handle? Let me know below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

Keeping the “Nine to Five” from 9-5: How Technology Creates a Work-Life Balance Struggle

With the use of technology today, we can work anywhere, anytime. This provides more flexibility in how our jobs are accomplished, and when they are accomplished. This can be a great asset.

iPhone

Photo Credit: Janitors via Compfight cc

Without the appropriate boundaries, we can see technology slowly hurting our families. There was a study done two years ago by Accenture stating technology allows employees to be flexible with their schedule and that flexibility is extremely important to their work-life balance. However, 70% say that technology has allowed for work to be brought into their personal lives. That is a large percentage of individuals who believe technology creates work-life balance struggle.

Technology blurs the workday boundaries that used to be clearly defined.

Technology blurs the workday boundaries that used to be clearly defined. Click To Tweet

Several years ago, I was promoted at work and was given another person’s job on top of my current job. This led to extremely long work hours and taking work home with me. I was near burn out when I realized I did not have boundaries in place that helped me to thrive at work and at home. I checked my email at night, took my computer home with me every night, stayed late at the office, and even checked my email, while on vacation, in Hawaii (seriously, what was I thinking?!).

I read a book that described me; Mad Church Disease: Avoiding the Burnout Epidemic.

And it freaked me out.

I realized if I continued down the path I was on, I was going to burn out very quick.

I made a list of what I could do to create balance in my life realizing technology was here to stay. I realized that a big issue was having the technology at my fingertips. I also needed to be realistic about the use of technology when I had a heavy workload.

Here are 4 actions I took to leave behind the work-life balance struggle in light of technology and to leave the “nine to five” from 9-5 in light of technology:

  1. Turn off your email

If you have your smart phone connected to your work email, turn off your work email daily. As I drove home from work every day, I turned off my work email on my iPhone. It was as easy as going into settings, mail/contacts/calendar, selecting my work email and sliding the green button over. This way, I didn’t have the urge to check my email all evening. I didn’t have the constant dings letting me know a new message had arrived.

  1. Leave your computer at work

Don’t bring your lap top home. Seems easy, right? I struggled with this one, especially the first few weeks. I fought the urge to bring it home. I thought to myself “I will only finish that one ______ if I take my computer home”.  Leaving your computer at work ensures that you will not do work that you can only access from your computer.

  1. Review Your Upcoming Week

Looking at the calendar at the beginning of the week will help you gauge what to expect in the week ahead. Do you have meetings in the evening? A big work project that will take extra time? Knowing in advance can help you plan out your week.

On Sundays, my husband and I discuss our upcoming week. We talk about both work and family obligations to make sure we are on the same page. This allows us to discuss any work obligations that do not fit into our normal routine that would cause one of us to work late or have to bring unwanted technology time into our home.

  1. Don’t carry your phone everywhere

Your cell phone may be the only phone you have at home. You may not have a land line. We have not had a land line for 6 years. This does not mean you have to have your phone on your hip every second of the day. Set your phone down, turn the ringer up, and be free from technology for the evening.

Only 15 years ago the majority of the world did not have cell phones. When you called someone’s house and they were not home, you left them a message. Many did not have answering machines 20 years ago. Delayed gratification was still in place. And everyone survived.

You do not have to be available 24 hours a day.

In Conclusion…

This is how I was able to ensure that technology didn’t take over my life 24/7. I made sure I was fully present at work during work hours and fully present at home when not at work. This made all the difference in the world for me and my family. These are boundaries that are still implemented years later.

Does technology impact your work-life balance? I would love to discuss below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)