Defining Your Story

Telescope

We all have a story.

However, the bits and pieces may feel somewhat random. (But be assured they are not.)

Discovering that arc — that story — requires reflection. Time to obsess over the threads. To look back at the fabric that is being created.

This exercise also requires help. Guidance. Levity.

Feeling uncomfortable. Seeing patterns. Letting go.

What plots have we written that were destined to fail? What characters are sorely missing from our story. What villains have we failed to recognize and omit?

Exploring that story is worthwhile.

It can be affirming.

Because finding meaning is everything.

Read more about it:

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

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Change is a Muscle

Fireworks

Change is a muscle that we forget how to flex.

As a result, it atrophies and becomes weak.

At some point, we pass a mile marker and have little tolerance for any kind of change. This limits exploration and resilience. We can opt for routines — and that works for certain aspects of our lives.

However, we may not realize what we could be missing.

That becomes risky.

We often say that habits are good. But, when does a “habit” pass its expiration date? For example, when do our daily routines become merely protection? When does an assessment of our own value or potential, become inaccurate? Of where we work?

As with any other muscle that is neglected — we must start slowly and build its capability. If not, we may be hopelessly unprepared if events arrive uninvited.

Today, I’ve altered my Sirius radio presets. (Which have never been revised). I happily discovered a couple of genres I was missing. I’ve also added a couple of new outlets to my morning reading routine.  (There is nothing like a new writer with a fresh perspective.)

To be quite honest, I didn’t know what I was missing.

You may not know what you are missing.

Even small changes can feel like discovered bursts of energy. They help prepare us for what is next in some small way.

Change one thing in your routine today that might energize you — even if it brings a bit of disruption. Challenge your team to do the same. Tolerating change is actually a foundational skill that breeds stability.

See what comes up.

Change is a muscle.

Flex it.

Read more about it here (Vision=Change):

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Seeing Ourselves in Context

Myopia

One of the most challenging thing to do is to see ourselves (and our actions) in context. This is particularly difficult when we work within an established organization. We can become distracted from our mission by so many long-standing biases, including “the way it’s always done”.

When organizations reach an impasse, functions often express that they cannot work together. To be certain, there is myopia operating. Groups are too close to their own work to see how they affect others. Or they simply don’t have the time or inclination to examine what might really be happening.

The art of blame is mastered — however they haven’t considered the larger picture. We cannot fully understand things until we back off and see things from another perspective.

We often think of clients or customers, but rarely think of how we affect our peers. Most of us do not fully understand the demands placed on those in roles that touch our own.

If we took the time to do this — we might see our own actions in context.

Silos hurt all of us.

It’s a start in the right direction.

Great things can follow.

Read more about it:

Please note: I’m sharing more frequently — 30 Thoughts for 30 Days!

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Find Your Audience

startup-photos

Social media is a great tool.

It is quick and nimble.

However, it can never take the place of carefully considering your audience. If we share a message and it gains no traction — we not only have to examine our content, but who it might be reaching. The conversation could be right. It’s the listeners that are all wrong.

Personal branding can also prove useful.

There is ground to be gained by refining our image, resume or developing our personal “pitch”. However, if no one is responding — we have to wonder who is really noticing that crafted presentation. We have to examine where our efforts are landing. To whom are we speaking? Under whose umbrella do we fall? Who needs to hear us?

If we have no audience, no takers — we haven’t shifted a single mindset.

We are just talking into thin air.

With all the hard work that goes into developing our message, a product, a white paper — the effort deserves an audience.

Take another look around. (Whether you aim to affect a school, your workplace or a project’s direction.) When someone truly responds to your message, who are they? Their challenges? Goals? What are you affecting?

Your audience wants to be discovered.

Be sure to find them.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Being a Mentor is About Seeing Yourself as a Mentor

MPW Screenshot

Please note: While the opinions below are my own, I was compensated by Johnson & Johnson for this post.

In the United States more than 50% of the work force is women. Yet, less than 15% hold corporate board seats within global companies. Organizations that embrace women on their boards enjoy a number of potential advantages, including financial performance and problem-solving capabilities. However, the numbers remain dismally low.

It is clear that we are missing something vital — an unsung element that could possibly help more women reach their potential.

One such element that may be vastly underutilized is mentoring.

Without mentors, meeting our potential can elude us. We might fail to build the mastery and confidence we need, or envision our own potential. While there is ample research to back up the merits of mentoring, we need to pause and reflect on the topic.

Why are so many women seeking mentors — yet cannot find them?

It is time to pause and openly discuss this question.

One great example of elevating the mentorship conversation is Johnson & Johnson.

At Johnson & Johnson, they have a steadfast commitment to the role of mentoring in women’s careers — as they are committed to igniting the power of women to create a healthier tomorrow.  More mentors are stepping forward. Two ideas are central to this initiative. Firstly, mentoring is a valid tool to increase the number of women in management (at Johnson & Johnson this is 43% in the U.S.). Secondly, reaching out to young women in their formative years is critical. Through Johnson & Johnson’s mentorship partnership with Girls Inc., women executives are being paired with high school students who would like to make an impact within their own communities.

Why are mentors so scarce? While we often offer support to initiatives that seem worthy, our directed energy may not fully match our commitment. Not because we do not believe in what we are supporting, but because we are unsure how to move forward.

Check out their video, “Igniting the Power of Women & Girls Through Mentorship,” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NKs-IMDDL0.

Why are mentors so scarce? While we often offer support to initiatives that seem worthy, our directed energy may not fully match our commitment. Not because we do not believe in what we are supporting, but because we are unsure how to move forward.

Becoming a mentor can feel like a daunting task. However, it doesn’t need to be. We can all do more.

The bottom line is this: We hesitate to step forward and mentor women. Yet, mentoring relationships can alter someone’s life and career — serving as a loud, positive internal voice in an often noisy environment.

Strong, empowered women are raised by many.

Addressing the reasons behind our hesitation is vital. Research has pointed to the reluctance concerning time commitments and concerns about appropriate expertise. We need to collectively move past these thresholds. Move beyond our fear of a misstep, when we can do so much that is right.

Let’s pose a collective challenge.

Mentor another woman — a young girl, a student. A less established co-worker. Another woman’s daughter. Your niece. Your neighbor.

Someone who might truly benefit from your knowledge and experience.

A few things to consider:

  • You may not see yourself as a mentor — but you do have that capability. Every time a contributor reaches out to you, it is a signal. A signal that you may be viewed as a mentor. Explore the following questions: How can I help or support this individual today? Is there something I have learned in my journey that may help another woman evolve positively? To help them grow?
  • Mentoring is about small steps. We tend to think of mentoring as an overwhelming, grand commitment. However, it takes a community of people to build a strong career. Small moments can matter. They sum to a notably stronger foundation on which to build a career.
  • Be honest about your own journey. Although it may not feel entirely comfortable, reflect on the moments where you needed guidance and received it (or did not). Use these moments as a guide to help others.
  • Consider sponsorship as well. If you remain hesitant to make the mentorship commitment, consider sponsorship as an alternative. Shine the spotlight on another’s work. Make an introduction. Encourage productive collaboration. Help build stronger networks of expertise.

We do not need justification to nurture another’s talent or recognize a job well done.

Mentoring is about seeing ourselves in a supportive role.

It is about being generous.

Sharing what you know.

Supporting the same inflection points, where you may have needed a boost.

It is about building someone up.

Helping someone see their own potential.

Mentoring is the right dynamic.

You are perfect for the role.

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.

Not Finding Your Tribe? You Might Be a “Wolf Pack” of One (and That’s Ok)

woman-sitting-on-bench
Yes, I guess you could say I am a loner, but I feel more lonely in a crowed room

with boring people than I feel on my own. – Henry Rollins

By: Allison McLintick

According to just about everyone, you are supposed to “discover your tribe”.

Oh, that coveted tribe! That sacred group who will naturally “get you” and vibe with your very “essence.” They will “protect” you and explore life’s adventures with you and feed you with their own fingers and…I’ll stop.

My mockery betrays me. (In fact, it even smells a little like resentment.)

However, the truth is this: I’ve discovered that I’m a little bit “wolf pack of one”.

I haven’t found a tribe.

I have also discovered, that I don’t want one.

We are offered contradictory messages 1) Being deeply connected to a like-minded group is the Holy Grail of belonging. 2) only inside that safety, are we then praised for being courageous, independent and self reliant.

Huh?

If however, you are someone who actually prefers to walk alone (as I am) and find yourself outside of a group (yet, self reliant) —  you might be looked at skeptically. In fact, you may be told that you just haven’t found that tribe yet. It may also be decided that you haven’t experienced the real joy of life.

Worse yet, potentially viewed as an unapproachable loaner.

What?

My own intense reaction to the idea of “tribe” seeking, is actually a little laughable. For years, I’ve tricked myself into thinking I was experiencing profound feelings of loss and loneliness because of my “non-tribe” status. I’ve always felt like an outlier, alone in a crowded room.

I have also discovered that tribe after tribe, didn’t fit my vibe. The notion of becoming “tribal” actually made me feel strangled, forced and confined.

I found myself trying to back away.

Not sure if you prefer to be tribe-less? Here are a few things I joyfully observed about myself, being the lone wolf.

Perhaps you’ll relate:

  • Groups fail to energize you. You might hang out with a group and don’t feel like you have anything to contribute to the conversation. It just doesn’t interest you all that much.
  • The topics don’t fit. In many groups, you find the things you want to talk about are things that pretty much no one else wants to talk about. (Frankly, you are a little relieved, because they wouldn’t do your awesome topic any justice.)
  • You avoid the hootenanny. You don’t want to go to Wanderlust with a bus full of people — or discover sand in crevices it should never be in — at the Burning Man festival. (Moreover, another Young Living Oil party and drink wine on a Wednesday night.)
  • “Give me space” is your mantra. You actually love Young Living Oils (I do!,) but you would rather shop online from the privacy of your own home.
  • Just no. Shopping with another person makes you itch.
  • You are not often a “regular”. You walk into a yoga class and everyone stops talking and turns to stare. “Who is that?!” someone asks and everyone shrugs.
  • Your need for contact is “Camel-like”. You intensely enjoy a few really great people and every time you see them you think “I love being with him/her” — even if you don’t see them again for months.
  • You don’t drink the Kool Aid. When people start a conversation and it starts to go a little (or a lot) like “group think” you want to bolt.
  • You are content with doing your own thing. You genuinely do not feel a bit jealous when you see group photos of everyone’s fabulous tribes having great fun posted just about everywhere.
  • You totally, genuinely, love being alone.

For all the tribal folks reading this, please know that tribes are great if that is what you are seeking.

But, not everyone requires one.

If you are like me, try not to automatically feel you are less of a full spirit or missing out of something “sacred”. Finding a tribe may be important to many people. However, that doesn’t mean you are one of them.

Keep doing what makes you feel energized and whole.

Be that wolf pack of one.

As for myself, truth be told — my tribe consists of my son, my daughter and my husband.

Because you know what?

They totally “get” me.

Allison McClintick is a seasoned coach & speaker — specializing in influence and consciousness development. She’s a Mom of 2 (20 years & 6 years), a ridiculously talented house painter, lover of quantum physics and is currently pursuing a PhD in Psychology. To balance all that life, work and play — she’s attempting to “think” more effectively with practiced meditation. She’ll keep us updated.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics from running a company — to the fragrance. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

 

 

Planning: It’s All How You Look at It

PlanningMaze

I’m a planner.

I do not share this fact casually.

In fact, as a “planner” nothing about the way I think or act would likely be deemed “casual”. I like to map out what might go right (and wrong) in any situation. This applies — whether I’m going out for a meal or an interview.

Some might label this as obsessive. Others might call this outright anxiety.

I call it smart. I call it planning to avoid trouble further down the road.

I may not stick to my first or even second rendition of the plan — however, starting with a plan is vital.

I’ve been around the block enough times in both life & work to realize that things can go wrong. (This has more to do with experienced data points, than outright pessimism.) Granted, if you are one of the lucky individuals to experience mostly smooth sailing and very few glitches — great. Bravo. Hooray. Wing it.

However, in my mind, a good plan beats luck every single time.

I feel the planning process helps us protect the goals & dreams that are most vital. It helps us see what we might lose. It helps us move forward.

I’m all about parables and a positive attitude. I’m all about “attracting” the right vibrations. But, I will stick with hard core planning every single time.

Call it what you will.

It just feels right.

Are you a planner? Do you like to plan the ups and the downs?

More on the topic from Allison Rim:

Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist. She is a charter member of the LinkedIn Influencer Program. Her thoughts on work life have appeared in various outlets including Talent Zoo, Forbes, Quartz and The Huffington Post.