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Welcome to Leadership Chaser!

Welcome to Leadership Chaser!

Welcome to Leadership Chaser! I’m so happy you decided to join me.

This is a place where the focus is on the constant pursuit of striving for daily, incremental improvements in how you lead.

Growing up in Northern Alabama, I spent my summers with my Great Aunt, one of the first school teachers in her small Central Alabama town. There was a miniature house on her property that housed all of her teaching materials, which was affectionately known as the “little house.”  Directly in front of the “little house” was a swing set which was located near a small, man-made fish pond.

I spent hours reading books and doing crafts from the “little house” with breaks of swinging as high as I could on the swing set. I would sit by the fish pond and watch the rather large fish swim about. Letting my mind wonder in the heat of the Alabama summers.

My Aunt was a loving but stern woman. She insisted on daily discipline of chores, school work, and free play. When I was challenged by any of the three, she reminded me that I could do anything if I put my mind to it; nothing was outside of my reach; and quality mattered. At the time I just blew it off as a grown up who didn’t understand the life of a kid.

As I reflect on my life, I realize that those words and the constant nudge to be all I can; not willing to limit myself by anyone or anything beyond my own self-imposed limits, nothing was impossible.

Along my journey, I’ve been asked by many, “where my drive and relentless pursue of excellence comes from?” “Why do I defy the odds and win “firsts” in so many situations?” “Where did I get my unwavering commitment to developing others?” It stems from a 5ft 2in petite lady, with her cat eye shaped spectacles, weighting no more than 100 pounds soaking wet, looking at me with eyes clouded with wisdom about things I had yet to uncover that instilled in a little, curious girl that she was equipped with everything she needed to go as far as she imagined she could go.

So, “Leadership Chaser” is devoted to my great aunt, Mary Griffin Martin, affectionately known as “T.T.” (my cousin couldn’t pronounce “Aunt T”). A trendsetter, motivator, teacher, spitfire and leader who was in the constant pursuit of showing up each day, making small incremental changes, striving to becoming the best version of a leader that she could be.

I look forward to seeing you here to join and engage in this journey as we master our quest in pursuit of the “Leadership Chaser!”

Cheryl

Have You Reached the Peak of Mental Fatigue?

Have You Reached the Peak of Mental Fatigue?

Everyday people are struggling. It has become increasingly clear that so many people have reached their mental low and are unable to bounce back. Many factors are at play from family demands of eldercare, assisting with schoolwork, preparing meals, and childcare to professional stressors of excessive meetings, virtual or in person, deadlines, external pricing pressure, stinking margins, turnover, and in some cases decreased demand for goods or services.

A recent survey suggests that it’s the accumulation of lots of small, continuous changes not large, unexpected changes that’s at the center of employee #burnout.

Although these challenges are not new, they have been constant. We are now two years post the onset of Covid and the mental fatigue just keeps on keeping on.

The lady at the checkout at the grocery store, the pool guy, your child’s teacher, the boys football coach, the nurse at the doctor’s office, the receptionist at your client’s showroom, the dog groomer, your boss, you get the picture. Mental exhaustion. It’s the topic of conversation.

Performance, relationships, and wellness are diminishing. You can’t “will” yourself to recovery. How does one flip the script? It starts with improving your #mentalfitness. Uncovering the instigators that generate the negative feelings and emotions like guilt, shame, anger, disappointment, and fear is a first step. Deflating the air that inflates them allows you to shift so that the everyday stressors become recycled fuel to help you regain your mental strength.

This type of work isn’t always convenient. The motivation for most is when the life they are living becomes less pleasant than the risk of changing in pursuit of the possibility of a better unknown that lies ahead. This is #intentional work that will get your head back in the game and your life on track. The stressors will be met differently releasing the ongoing hold they have on you today.

Clients report halfway into the program better sleep, less time being stuck or spiraling in the negative emotions, greater self-awareness of their triggers with faster recovery times, experiencing more positivity towards self, others, and the situations they encounter. They admit things are changing for the better, making better decisions, improved quality of relationships, and less stress.

Based in science, rooted in a multilayered approach, it is more of what Mark Batterson calls a “Go, set, ready” solution. It ends and begins with you saying yes to improved #mentalfitness.

This is not work; this is #transformational #leadership aimed at creating healthier, decisive, innovative leaders who are centered in empathy and compassion for themselves, others, and the situations they face.

I’m off to lead this experience; daily and weekly, while collectively silencing the stressors as positive mindsets guide better outcomes. This is changing the conversation to the response- “How are you doing?”

You are 7 weeks away from being #mentallystronger.

Invitations: Accept or Decline?

Invitations: Accept or Decline?

We are in a season where invitations are plentiful. Holiday events, business meetings, luncheons, dinners, year-end company celebrations, award trips, and more. Some of the most common invitations in the business community this year have been offers for new opportunities, jobs- stay or leave companies, teams, career changes, retirement, entrepreneurship, sabbaticals, buy or sell companies, and the like. The job changes are referred to as, “The Great Resignation” and every company is on full alert to find ways to safeguard their organizations from any negative fall-out.

December is typically a time of reflection. We are contemplating where we’ve been, what we’ve accomplished, misses, happiness, energy levels, relationship status and viability, employment and financial standing, and our health.

It’s something about the ending that starts our beginnings. This leads me to the invitation. During this time, the invitations start to materialize. The question lies in whether to accept or decline. Simple, in theory, but sometimes there is more to the invitations we receive than what lies on the surface.

Recently, I was contacted by a CEO who was referred to me by another executive. They were interested in exploring if I was interested in assisting with some of their services. On the surface, one might have thought that this was a great opportunity to generate additional revenue for my firm. This is similar to the LinkedIn message, email, or calls you might receive regarding a new job or business opportunity. Let’s face it, it’s nice to be wanted, invited to participate, or be sought after.

As flattering as it might be, it’s important to be clear about your goals and objectives for your career, life, and future. It’s also wise not to let a downturn, disagreement, miscommunication, unfavorable outcome shift your sails too soon. We all have hiccups, people disappointments, policies that we don’t agree with but have to adhere to, and more. Organizations are complicated as they are composed of people.

As I reflected on this invitation, I decided to decline. I’m very clear about the work and spaces in which I provide the highest ROI to my clients and focusing on my “sweet spot” instead of becoming distracted by a shiny object, could derail me. This wouldn’t have been clear to me at the time if I hadn’t taken the time to identify my goals and business strategy. I needed to understand how I want to use my gifts and energy while continuing to maximize the profitability of my firm.

As you are faced with like invitations, be sure to draft your goals, strategies, and personal needs to ensure your compass is set in the right direction before deciding to accept or decline. I see it far too often where individuals don’t have the longer-term clarity or are in a season of disappointment with their organizations, managers, co-workers, results, or themselves and think accepting an invitation is the best way forward.

As part of the #mentalfitness work I practice, I quickly explored what were the gift and opportunities in this invitation, since I wasn’t moving forward. I created a new contact, one where there was respect for the work and reputation I have established with my firm; I have a new referral source to share with potential individuals who may be a fit for their needs or potential prospects that could benefit from their services; the acknowledgment that the original referral source thought enough to share me as a valuable resource within their network; I didn’t exert unnecessary time, energy, and resources in something that wasn’t aligned with my needs; and it allowed me to stay laser-focused on what I do well!

Are you clear as to whether to accept or decline the invitations that come your way? Have you created your goals, objectives, personally and professionally to serve as your compass? How can you make this a priority now so as you begin the reflection process ensuring you are equipped with a roadmap to assess whether to accept or decline invitations that come your way?

As a Change Management professional, I welcome invitations. They create opportunities whether we accept or decline. I also recognize the value of going deep within to evaluate and activate the gift of knowledge in these situations. “What do I need to understand to take action?Sometimes, the opportunities are where you currently reside. If you are seeking more compensation or promotion, begin keeping a monthly achievement tracker that lists everything big or small that you have accomplished; research market salaries for your job and skill level; think about perks or other non-monetary rewards that could enhance your work-life and enjoyment; request 15-minute one to one check-ins with your manager, leaders of teams you have interest in learning more about, peers that are instrumental in maintaining the type of culture you desire; ask for constructive feedback based on strengths and areas of development, on your skills, teamwork interactions, and performance then use this to create a development plan for yourself.

I’ve found in my 15-year entrepreneurial run, that it’s so much more valuable to learn and grow within the organizations I’m currently affiliated with, than being in the constant pursuit of chasing new business. I manage a balance of current versus new business to meet and achieve my business and personal goals, as life has to be about enjoying your non-work-related interests too. We need downtime, to relax, recharge, and refresh our minds, bodies, and spirit. We need to intentionally reconnect and build upon the relationships that we care deeply about; and if you find you don’t have these kinds of relationships, then include specific plans of action to begin to establish one or two. Don’t buy into personal relationships does not matter, as human beings, we are here for each other.

The invitations will come, be prepared to discern which ones to accept or decline. Your decision can make the difference in whether you are on-purpose or derailed. There is always a gift or opportunity in whatever decision you choose, it’s all a matter of your mindset. #LeadershipChaser

What Does Being “Thankful” Look Like in Your World?

What Does Being “Thankful” Look Like in Your World?

This week those of us that reside in the United States will gather with family, friends, and in some cases strangers to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday. I know there will be lots of well wishes for this day, but this caused me to move pass the traditional way we think of this day and reflect on “what does being “thankful” look like in the eyes of others?” Join me as I share the ways “being thankful” has and is showing up in the lives of my clients and others I encounter.

We all know that the Pandemic impacted everyone differently. I’ve found that for some clients, they experienced record sales years while others were holding on for survival and a few even folded. Like any challenge, at some point the band-aid is ripped off and the wound is revealed. This is where things can get really hairy and hard decisions, that clients may have been avoiding dealing with the underline issues they knew existed, but simply didn’t deal with, must be addressed.

Despite where clients may have fallen on the pandemic spectrum, the act of being thankful has been realized by all. Here are a few stories.

I remember as if it was just yesterday when I met this client. She was full of excitement and passion for her business. Experienced in the industry, she was ready to create a new vision for her new endeavor. People like her are contagious as you can’t help but grab ahold to their excitement and join in on this amazing feeling. Fast forward, her company was negatively impacted by the pandemic. Recently, as we reflected on her journey over the past 18 months, it was refreshing to hear, that despite all the challenges she had and continues to face, she was thankful. Thankful for those who rose to the occasion to offer assistance of resources, encouragement, willingness to listen, a shoulder to lean on, a joke to make her laugh, and in some cases, the hard truths that caused her to make change. She found hope as she rekindled her faith and utilized tactical ways to manage her negative emotions through her mental fitness work. Most of all, she found that despite all that was happening, she chose to look beyond the things she couldn’t control and intentionally seek and act on what is good, in herself and others.

Another client, experiencing record sales and a demand that has set his business on a path of exploring acquisitions, purchasing property to meet the growing business needs, hiring additional employees and dispersing record payouts to employees that have compensation tied to sales growth. Yes, there have been some hiccups here and there associated with supply and demand, but business is great! What struck me about this client was despite all the financial success, growth, and opportunity his business is experiencing, he is most thankful for his family, immediate and extended; his health, the opportunities to continue to grow and contribute to those within his companies and beyond. Instead of riding the wave, he balances life the best he can and continually strives to explore how he can show up in the best version of himself.

What both of these clients share as they express “what does being thankful look like in their world,” it starts and ends with an intentional decision to focus on the positive. They aren’t negligent by ignoring the challenges that exist, but they choose to be guided by a positive mindset; focusing on what will best help them propel forward in the most effective way. They realize that being thankful isn’t about them at all, it’s about the impact of having others in your circle, family, friends, colleague’s, trusted advisors, professional accountability resources, emotional and spiritual beliefs, and the willingness to get outside of themselves because this life isn’t meant to be traveled alone. Being thankful requires each of us to reach out and pull up others and allow them to do the same for us. It’s through the exchange that the human element displays, no machine, code, or formula will ever be able to duplicate, the power of people coming together and supporting one another in this journey of life.

I’m sitting here feeling a bit melancholy, because I know there will be people who will read this and feel alone and defeated. They won’t even know where to begin to tap into this shared positivity that my clients have chosen for themselves. Perhaps, they have been let down one too many times from the same people and resources that uplifted my clients. They simply may feel they have little to no control over where they reside at the moment. As this US holiday approaches, they are experiencing anxiety and sadness, whether they have family, friends and colleagues to celebrate with or not. Where does this lead them? How do they identify what being “thankful” looks like in their world? I’m a simple kind of leader, so I have a simple answer, “look for all that is right in your life right now, big and small, and be thankful.”

Being thankful is a choice. It’s a choice to look for the sun behind the clouds; seeing the Fall leaves hit the ground and know that green leaves will follow in the Spring; it’s the sound of “hello” from a stranger who chooses to share their joy with you at that moment and time; it’s the invitation to break bread with others even when you don’t feel like going, but you do it anyway and leave with a pep in your step because you had a wonderful time; most of all, it’s the intentional decision you make to grab the joy that is right in front of you, simply because you can.

This Thanksgiving holiday, my family will be in different places, some with new friends and others with family. As I reflect on what being “thankful” looks like in my world, it’s living an abundant life, guided by my faith in God and choosing to see His hand in all things.

I’m thankful to you for taking the time to read my blog. I’m thankful for the gift of having a platform to share more about the clients I serve and how my purpose is being fulfilled in and through them.

No matter where you will be or who you will be with on this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, take a moment and give thanks for what lies right in front of you! #LeadershipChaser

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

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