Leadership

May Monthly Shorts - In the Nothing Something Shows Up and How to Stay Focused

What I Was Thinking About This Month?
What was I thinking? Actually nothing.
For the last week, I have tried to come up with words, sentences but... nothing, nada, not a word, not a sign not even a little comma. I was out of words. 
What was going on?
I believe that my container of creativity was almost empty. You see, I set myself a goal to send my book draft to beta readers by the first week of May. When I dove into the writing I couldn't stop, and the clock was ticking 11PM, 12AM 1AM, and I just kept going. When I sent the draft to my Beta Readers (the first readers who read an early draft and help the author to better the structure of the book) I couldn't take a pause. I had to keep moving, I had a few more big projects to take care of. It was one of those weeks where I felt like a toothpaste tube, those tubes I keep squeezing and squeezing to get out what's left because I don't have another toothpaste in the house. But as you know there is always something left, it is just the way it felt as nothing left.  
Still, in the woods of nothing I have learned that something will show up. When I stop resisting the emptiness or my want to deliver results and give in to the nothing something shows up. When I give in I look for ways to get inspired so I can refill the creativity container and this system never let me down. Last week, when I spoke to a group one of the attendees reminded me that the best ideas come up not in the meeting room when we force action, but most of our best solutions show up when we let go of the action and connect with the being. For me, it is when I take a shower or go on a run, or when I read an inspiring book, or listen to an inspiring podcast or TED talk. 
Next time when you try to make yourself work or create, remember that in the nothing something will show up. So how can you invest your time differently rather than keep working on nothing?

Focus
Focus, when you zoom in and boom! you see results and you feel good about yourself. Focus became such a challenge for so many of us. So many reasons so many distractions. Sometimes I feel that all I need is to see is a butterfly to get distracted. This is why with the years I developed a few different practices that move me more and more to be focused. There are still those days that I am all over the place, but I realize that since my life can be chaotic at times (not because of others, but because of me  - I would probably get bored with doing the same thing every day, or have the same pace a day after day so to make it interesting I shuffle things around). But Since I am being asked this question a lot there are a few practices that I became very rigid to help me stay focus as much as possible, especially when I write.
Here are my top three - feel free to share with me what are your practices. I always enjoy getting your emails or comments.

  1. Close your email and social media. If you need to knock down a project, set it in your calendar and while working on it close all other channels. Allow yourself time to disconnect so you can connect with self. Some people now even put their smartphone closed in a closet.

  2. Social media - stop checking your social media ego (how many likes etc every other minute) set time twice a day to check it out - put it in your calendar.

  3. Scan your inbox and answer first to emails that bring money, other emails can wait (unless there is an opportunity for income). As service-oriented I am, I am learning that some people will be okay receiving an answer later on. That's okay. Don't get me wrong - I don't ignore people, but I prioritize where my time goes first and if you are a giver like me it is easy to fall into the helping everyone else and look at yourself at 4pm and say: "I didn't do anything today..."

Hope it helps - let me know if you would like more tips that work for me. Now always what works for me, might not work for you - the least you can try but please be consistent. Trying it for a day or two is not enough.


What have I listened to lately?
After dinner, my husband and I like to clear out the living area from the house residents who are under 18 years old and just relax with some good music. A few weeks ago my husband put an album of a guy I haven't heard his music before and I really liked it. A few days later I was working in my favorite coffee shop and in the background, I heard a song that pulled my attention. One of my new little doings is to collect ideas of musicians/music I can listen to while writing. So whenever I hear a song I really like I Shazam it (Shazam is an app that identifies the media playing around you, and gives you full info) Guess what? when I Shazamed the song it was the same guy: Andrew Bird.Check him out. 
 

My Most Watched Video Last Month
 on Social Media 
One of the most watched 'On the Run' videos in April was about our want to Defeat Behaviors or limiting thoughts/emotions that get in our way. We don't like barriers, we like a quick fix. I believe that part of the reason that we think we can get rid of some behaviors is the phrase: "let go" this phrase is so rooted in our cultural conversation that it is as we believe that by saying it we will fix the others' problems.
Can we get rid of them? no, but we can shorten the time they stay with us.
My perspective is that awareness is the first step of moving toward a sustainable change. When we know what we didn't know we are out of the awarelLESS state, as I call it. Knowing is as we say: "I see you behavior/thought/emotion" and for some reason the more we see them the less time they stay to hang out with us.
Click here to check out the video 
For more inspirational shorts and on the run videos check my social media feeds: @NoaRCoach (LinkedIn/twitter/FB/Instagram)



Noa @Next Events - Come and Say Hi :-)

5/17 Monthly Women Walking Mastermind. 
The Women Walking Mastermind group is getting a lot of great vibes from the community and we would love for you to join us this Friday, May 17th 9AM-10:30AM - feel free to come with your workout/casual clothes. 

If you do NOT like to network this is your group. If you like to network but looking for a place to have a meaningful conversation we created a system that shifts the focus from networking to connection. 
Why we do it the way we do it?  Why we do it differently than in other groups? 
There is a lot of thinking behind it - we explain everything before we start :-) 

This month topic is Limiting vs Limitless vocabulary. 
PLEASE RSVP HERE

Isolation

Many times when I speak with leaders I sense that the higher they climb the leadership ladder the lonelier they might feel.

Masterminds

Isolation, I remember the first time I heard that word related to my life context. Few years after our relocation, someone I met told me that I probably have a deep sense of isolation. Leaving our family, friends, and career behind was a very isolating experience for me. Until that person used the word ‘isolation’, I knew there was something, but I couldn’t point my fingers on, but that person nailed it. They were able to express the word I couldn’t find to explain what I had felt for so long. Isolation is one of the deepest experiences you have after relocation, not only you feel alone and isolated, but you tend to isolate yourself. Not because you plan to do so, it is just a natural way to be when you have the feeling that every time you leave your house you feel different than the rest around you.

The second time I chose to use the word isolation was during my last leadership role. You see, there is that unique paradox in leadership. Leaders lead, and when they lead others they need to connect with them, they need to communicate their passion and vision so people will choose to follow them.  When you enjoy leading processes and people this is an exciting experience, but mostly you can not escape the challenge and sometimes the challenge becomes a drama. I could sense in some moments how I escalate when I stepped into the path of a challenge with another person, or a difficult situation. I can even sense how I want to dive into the drama. But with experience, you learn how to manage yourself and see what are your options in the situation. But here is the thing, many times when you are there, in the challenge, you are there all alone. Sometimes your friends are part of the organization and you choose not to gossip about the situation, and again, the higher you go the harder it becomes to share your challenges. With some leaders sharing their challenge might look like they share their weakness, a path they are not willing to take. So what’s left? a mentor or a coach can help you go through the experiences and learn what you can do better, or help you make a new choice, make a different decision, or show up differently. These are one, or two hours in a timeline of many constant struggles, where the leader feels alone.
This is when the sense of isolation showed up again, how can I support myself, especially as an extrovert persona who needs to talk through her challenges with others, how can I go through this experience on my worn? There were many moments of frustration, and a huge need for self-care until I found few different ways to support myself beyond my coach and my mentor. I started with a friend a masterminds group.

Masterminds group was one of my wants, to have conversations with a diverse group of leaders and business owners from different business areas and different perspectives. The main thing that connects us all is our want to be challenged by others, willingness for a new perspective and a deep want to grow as people. It is amazing to see the changes that each one of us went through since we started this group, and this is one of my favorite meetings each month. There is something compelling about knowing that others have challenges as you, and it is inspiring to listen to their vision, creations and willingness to share.

This is when a new idea started percolating. What if I could engage the structure I have created in different Masterminds groups and we could meet outside? There is nothing better than facing your challenge in nature with other bright minds around.  I allowed myself to take some time and think it through, I asked different people for their feedback and then reached out to my friend Ronen Divon who is an integrative healer, yoga teacher and focus on energy work and we co-created a masterminds group that engages mind, spirit, and body.

I am very excited about this program, you know this newsletter is for sharing my messy ideas, and experiences, but feeling messy as a leader created this program, because I can see the need with my clients who are busy people, who never have the time to support themselves, nor to breath but crave walking in nature, or having a deep conversation with another human being while just being themselves.

I believe with all my heart that the more leaders connect with other leaders rather than isolating themselves they can create more impact in our community and beyond.

If you are curious to learn more about this program click here, and if you have a friend or collogue that you think might gain from this program would you be willing to spread the word and share with them?

My question to you – are there areas in your life where you isolate yourself?

Open Heart Leadership Mindset

Heart

We all have that person in our life that we can not tolerate. Isn’t that a great opening for a Valentine’s Day post? I think it is. 
A few years ago, I decided to walk my walk of coaching. To walk my walk of coaching meant that I would hold the principles of coaching not only when I sit with my clients face to face or meet with them through the phone but also to hold those principles when I am not with my clients when I am not coaching. You see, the core of coaching is to partner with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential. If you strip the fancy words ICF used for coaching, the nutshell of coaching is the relationships I establish with my clients from the first conversation. Establishing the coaching relationship is what allows me to have a different conversation with my clients.
What I mean by that is that when we start working together, I get curious about my client’s needs and wants in this relationship. They know better than anyone else (including me) what they need. Of course, I make sure that they don't speak the mantra of shoulds and needs that others put in their head. I make sure that they express what is the heart of their want, not the others' want. But to make sure we both can hear the real want we need to have trust. Yes, trust that thing, that "space" as coaches like to say, that makes you want to share your want with me, even if it is uncomfortable. 
What makes people trust you? There are many possible answers to this question because there are many people with different wants and needs. But when you let go of judgment by listening with much curiosity to what they say and shift your focus from what you need or really want to say right now to allow them to talk they trust you because your focus is on them. Also, it is also important that we will ask the person what they need that when we share our feedback or share what we hear, sense or curious about that they will be open to receive our feedback. Think about it, in each relationship the responsibility to give and receive is on both sides. No matter if you are a leader, a business owner or a parent, you are not the only one responsible for the conversation. Think about it,  I can be the best coach with the best tools, and you can be the best leader with the best communication skills, but if the other person in the conversation is not willing to receive your insight or feedback, they just won’t! It is not because we did a crappy job, we followed all the rules, step by step, but we didn’t do something important. We didn’t ask what they need and wanted to be open to receive our feedback. We assume that by asking what we need to do differently, the relationship will get better.


Yesterday one of my clients used the metaphor of relationships as a cards game and here is the deal, I see you, I listen to you, I focus on you, but at the end of the day there are rules to the game. I need to get the rules from you, or we will play on the board game without a win for you for too long, that can be exhausting for both of us. What do I mean by that? First I share with you how I work with you, but then I also ask for your wants and needs beyond your goals, I need to understand what kind of conversation, a way of communication you would like to have that will serve you. Some clients need more of quiet time to process, and for me to stay quiet and wait, some clients want me to challenge them a lot, while others don't like if I push too hard, some need to report about their progress in between sessions while others need to process on their own. I dance with each one of them differently while also get the permission from them to be me. There is no one size fits all, there is no recipient there might be a need to switch the dairy with nut milk for one person, and the wheat with almond flour with another. So how do I walk my talk outside the coaching session? I see people as people. This is the heart of a strong leadership. I think in the last few years it became more and more of a narrative in leadership, parenting and owning a business - see people as people, see the human in the other no matter how different they think and behave. 
But what does it mean to see people as people? I love to use the explanation that Arbinger Institute use in their books. The core of seeing people as people is to stop seeing them as objects. There are three ways to see people as objects:
1.    Seeing people as an obstacle -   when you look at people as something that gets in your way of achieving your goal you see them as objects. If a person slows you down and becomes a barrier in your way, you become impatient, when you become impatient you communicate that with your body and with your words. It can happen with the cashier in the supermarket or one of your team members who doesn’t deliver what you need. You stop seeing them as people, achieving the goal becomes more important than the people themselves.
2.    Seeing people as a vehicle - you can also stop seeing people as people when they become a tool for you to achieve something, a vehicle. You all experienced when someone used you as a vehicle. It will start when they come to your desk, or stop you on your way and probably flatter you on what you wear and then ask you if you can give them something they need that you have. Did you ever experience being a vehicle for someone else? I sure did….
3.    Not seeing people – this is when the other person is invisible, we don’t notice their existence. Have you ever experience sitting in a meeting with another person and they talk about their business/themselves/their mission for 60 minutes and never find the time afterward even to ask you one question about yourself? Would you do any business with that person? 
How do you see people as people? It starts with noticing that we all at times see others as objects. Me too. Now, when we are ready to admit that we have our moments when we don't see others as people, we can start noticing ourselves and learn to switch. How can we switch? We move our attention from focusing on our needs and wants to the needs and wants of the other person. A little example from our current flu season. Like many of you, our family hit with the flu as well. Since Thanksgiving every week I had one or two family members sick in our house. A few days ago while my two older kids stayed home with a cold and a fever I drove my youngest to school. My husband was on a business trip, and I was tired. My little one got into the car and said: “mom I have a headache and I feel like I am going to throw up” It was the sixth time that he used that excuse in the last month. Twice he did have something but this time like the two other times the week before he did not have a fever or anything else. I was tired. I was ready to just go to my meeting with a client and get some peace and quiet from all the germs in my house, so I did what sometimes parents do when they get tired. I yelled. Remember this is a messy blog. I yelled that enough is enough and he is going to school. There was more yelling from my hand, but the underneath the yelling was my try to say to the world to let me be. My youngest gave me the unhappy nine years old guilt look, and we both stayed quiet until we were one minute away from his school. That's when I noticed myself. I shifted from seeing my son as a barrier, being in my way of achieving peace to a child that might try to communicate with me a need or want. “Hey little guy," I asked him "is everything is okay at school? Do you have trouble with your friends, teachers?”, 
“yes mom,” he said, “I have some trouble with the assistant teacher.” 
You see, stop seeing people as people, is something we do more than we think, not only with our team members, or with our clients, but also with our family, or when we go to the supermarket or at networking events. Don’t be upset with yourself, just notice. The more you notice yourself, the more you will open your heart. 

People can sense when you see them as objects, think about it, see me as a person someone compliments me, see me as an object someone compliments me, do the compliments feel the same? 

Happy Valentine's.


 

Giver vs. Receiver (not a taker)

give receive.jpg

to all the Givers out there. A true story…

Funny enough when I started writing this blog post I realized that today is Giving Tuesday. So it is a good place to start and share my thoughts about Givers.

Here is an interesting learning, until not so long ago I was a pure Giver. You might have read the book The Givers, by David Callahan. I didn’t know I was a giver, until a few years ago when I read this book and realized that this is me – I am a Giver. As much as I have enjoyed being a Giver at times, I also suffered from being the victim (yes, yes… it is my pattern, and I have learned how to shorten this way of being) of the takers. I haven't noticed this trend until I was part of a special program where I realized that some people picked up the phone or met with me only when they needed some information to understand the material in the program. But after they took the piece of information they needed they disappeared and when I needed something from them? They were no way to be found. That is when I have learned that takers will take knowledge, but will never share it with others.

Givers, on the other hand, will give knowledge, time and resources to anyone in need. They don’t see knowledge as power; they don't even understand this conversation around power, mostly they will come from a place of abundance. By the way, if you are not sure if you are a giver, here is a clue for you, you will always leave a meeting with another person too late because you want to make sure they got everything needed from you.

But the thing with givers is that we Give, and we enjoy giving, but because we put people before tasks, and many times we will also over commit to too many things, one day we wake up with the victim feeling and say: “Hey! What is happening here? I give and give and give, and no one is supporting me! no one is referring business to me, no one shows a place of an open heart to me, and the people I have trusted and helped grow to his or her leadership had turned away." How come that a Giver who comes from a place of kind heart suddenly feels as if no one cares?

I believe some of you were thinking to themselves: "Hey Givers! make up your mind! Do you help others just because you want to do something out of the goodness of your heart, or do you all just a bunch of manipulators who give so you can get something in return?”

No, True Givers don’t want anything in return, they are so inclined to give that they get to the point (and it happens again and again) where they just feel as they have no resources left. A deep sense of sadness and exhaustion arises, and then stress and fear crawl to the inner giver who steps into an overwhelming state. So what they do? They shut down, close the door and roar at anyone else who is trying to steal their time. Without saying a word, they look at you as they say: “Stay away! This is MY time; it is MY MY MY time to take care of myself because no one else does! I have some work to do, do you see the “No Disturb” sign? until I am done, I am not here!”

So after years of being a pure Giver, I felt as something is missing for me to enjoy giving, and then I asked myself: “What if I will become a receiver? What if I will allow my self to choose when I want to be a pure Giver but will also open my energy to receive?” And that’s when an interesting journey started for me because after years of giving without anyone leaning my way, suddenly people just showed up and asked: “Can I help?” sometimes they didn’t even ask, they just Gave without asking if I wanted to receive. Actually, they didn’t need to ask – because I communicated it without words, I communicated it through a new energy and new way of being that now I am willing to receive, they were able to sense.

When I was looking internally, I was able to notice that for years I was stuck in a positive way of being that blocked any opportunity I had to receive. I must confess that I know what was the reason I blocked my way of being as a receiver, but I will not go there. Still, if you are a giver who wonders why? Why no one leans my way? Ask yourself if there is something within that blocks you from wanting to receive, maybe you have learned long ago that when you receive you need to pay back for receiving? Maybe you have learned that when you receive you lose your power, or it might even bring a sense of shame? Perhaps you have learned that receiving could diminish the giving? and maybe you are confusing receiving with taking? When you go deep, ask yourself what is it that you block from receiving that doesn’t allow others to help/support/promote/mentor/advocate behalf of you/for you? 

So how would it be to Give and also be a receiver?

 

Followers?

Yes, I became one of these people who read 2-3 books at the same time. Most of them are books around what I do as a coach. I am looking for inspiration, nuggets, a line that will pull my attention to dig deeper and this week was no different. The inspiration came from the word followers. I got caught in the leader-follower term that we all use now. I think before it was the word "subordinates, " and since we are moving from the top down management to leadership so now we have the word: followers. But the more I think about it; I am not sure I would like to stick with this term, followers, let me tell you why.
 I believe that my role as a leader is not to make all the decisions, but to create an environment that makes others shine. It is interesting watching myself struggle with not going into solutions when I lead (or even when I parent). As a coach, you stay away from fixing, or go into solutions for your client which is 99% very easy to me. But as a leader to allow the other side to come up with solutions, experiment with them and see where it will take us that's a work in progress. Everyone talk about what the leader needs to do to make people follow them. Leadership by its very definition presumes that there are followers to lead. And if there are followers to lead, that creates the necessity of an actual leader. Essentially, leaders exist because of followers and followers exist because of leaders (Hogg, 2001). I admit that I see it the other way around. I think that as I see it, it is about what the leaders need to stop doing, or even just do less? The less they do, the more space they create for others to shine. So if you stay with me, we move into Zen approach leadership where less is more. The less you suggest, the more others shine, the more you go to the back, or to the side, the more others want to go to the front. Even in the messiness of others, I have learned that it is what I don’t do or try to fix in them that will allow their storm to calm down and come back different when they are ready. So that made me think… if... I as a leader go more and more to the back if I focus on asking questions, if I manage myself to do less and create more space for others to move to the front, they are not followers. 
Pause for our story time. Last time I talked about one of my biggest gifts, this time I will share one of my biggest weaknesses. My orientation, my sense of direction is just horrible. Put me in the car with GPS, and I will probably get lost. Every time I am sure that I walk or drive in the right direction without a map or GPS I walk/drive to the opposite direction.
When I was in college, my friend and I attended the same class for a year. For a year, every time we left the classroom, she slowed down and let me lead the way. Every time we left the class I took the wrong turn, then I would look at her and realized that she was giggling. After a semester she stopped and said: “Noa, I can’t believe, we come here every week, and every time we leave the classroom you head in the wrong direction”. 
Yes, luckily my husband and my two boys have an incredible sense of direction, and I follow their lead, which takes me back to the word: followers. When I walk with my husband in a new city I don’t even try, I trust that he will take me to the right place, but in that trust, I let go of curiosity or learning, I move the responsibility to him. You see, as a follower, I don’t need responsibility, it is my husband's job to make sure we get to the right place. Now, in the next day, if I will need to walk on the same route that my husband and I walked the day before, I will have no memory of the path, I will need to start from scratch with a map as I have never been there before.
So you see, my concern when we use the word followers is that as leaders we want our team, our employees, our client or members to be engaged, to be responsible – but we come from an intention/mindset of seeing them as followers. How can they take on responsibility??? by the way as a leader do you want everyone to follow you?

“Hey! I need your help” I texted my husband who was sitting in an Irish Pub at the other side of the world “do you have a different word for 'follower?'” 
Yes, that’s another problem I have, I start from my end thought and forget about all the intro. So I began my text message again, now with a full intro, or at least as much as I can write when my create brain wants an answer right here right now. I waited to see what words he will share. 
I know as a leader and as a coach that I can’t allow myself to use the mindset of wanting others to follow me or invite others to create a culture of followers. 
So I came up with the term: WALKERS.
When we walk, we can walk side by side and have a real conversation, but sometimes when the path is too narrow, you can walk before me, or choose to slow down and allow me to lead. It doesn’t matter unless we are hiking in North Carolina during spring, or summer or early fall and then I will probably ask you to go in front just in case we bump into a snake, but that's a topic for another post.

By the way, my husband came up with the word: “Devotee.”
What would be your word?
        

Easy Doesn’t Mean Yes

Focus. If you live in our ADD generation, many of us are struggling with how to keep ourselves focused. I see two levels of how I can keep myself focused. The first level is how to commit to myself to do what I promised to do, and the second one that I am going to focus in this post is how do I focus on my primary purpose and its goals without being all over the place.

I think that being a leader and having my own business open the door for me to be mindful of what and how I do things and what are my thoughts and emotions about every step I take (or don’t take). You need to deal with so many fears, demons, and challenges and for each one of us they are different, and since not doing results in no money, or no clients/people who support your vision – it is very easy to see when you are not showing up fully even though you want to. 

So here is a fascinating lesson I have learned in the past two years around keeping myself focused or being all over the place and not following my desired path.

What I have learned in the past two years relates to a gift, yes, a gift that I have. For me to take on a big project, a complicated project, something that I have never done before is really fun. In my former life, I was a project manager and change management consultant. I didn’t need to have complicated workflows and documents to run projects, I have had a simple workflow, and most of the other components were in my head, and I remembered EVERYTHING – yes it is crazy, but this is my gift. It is easy for me to orchestrate and run the project and then to bring on board the people that will join me to do their part. I am totally at flow when I execute a complicated project. So this is one of my biggest gifts. I can tackle complicate projects easily. And here is the BUT.... What I have learned is that my gift is also what stands between my desire to stay focused on what is important to me and my fear to be all over the place. 

What I have noticed is that whenever someone reaches out to me and asked if I can help and take on a complicated project, my answer was YES!
 
But then one day I set with my whole life projects, I made a long list and realized that I said YES to too many projects that are easy for me. When I looked even deeper, the sad news was that none of the projects on the list served what was important to me (no matter if it is in life or business). 
My YES was to “EASY”, easy to pet my ego.  What I mean is that if I will be very honest with you, saying yes makes me feel good that I can do it easily and I can save others' world at that moment. Of course, it serves them and it also serves my ego, but does it serve my goals?
And that’s when I STOPPED.
Don’t get me wrong; there are still moments when it feels like I can be the only one that can save the day and my first tendency is to say: “Yes, I can do it”, but I have learned slowly to control the four words and STOP. Then I ask myself: “What is the purpose of saying YES?” If it is only because it is easy for me, that’s not a yes. If it is to pet my ego, it is defiantly not serving me nor others. So now my focus is to say YES only to projects that serve my purpose. So next time ask yourself: Am I doing it because it is EASY for me, or am I choosing to say YES because it serves the goals that are the purpose of what is important for me. And YES it is okay to say NO.