Is FEAR Holding You Back from Success?

Man in Fear
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it. Rather it’s that we aim too low and we reach it.”

~ Michelangelo ~

Client Susan asks: I am scared to be more visible and take on more responsibility. However, I’ve seen how much my career has been limited by the lack of opportunities. I’m fed-up and ready to take the necessary steps to gain more visibility.

Coach Joel answers: Visibility will help you in your career. Help you create opportunities to interact with people in other departments. Show others how talented and how great you are. Take on projects that will not just have more visibility, but more influence, impact and value to the firm.  Here are three steps you can take right now to overcome fear and gain visibility:

  1. List your talents and strengths. You have unique strengths and assets you bring to the job. Write down all your skills and talents.  What do you do well?  What comes easily to you?  You were hired because your employers believed you brought value to the company. What value do you bring?As you list your strengths, you develop confidence.  These are likely things you do better than those around you.  You might have strong ethics, are dependable, or solve problems well. Give yourself credit where it is due.  If you have trouble with this, ask your friends, co-workers, or family to help you see your strengths.
  2. Dive into your favorite jobs at work.   What do you love to do at work?  What jobs or accomplishments make you the happiest?  When you focus on those jobs and build on those strengths, you’ll have greater job satisfaction and greater visibility. You will also bring more value to the company.There’s a story of a squirrel, a mole and an owl hired at a company. The squirrel worried he lagged behind mole in digging and stayed extra late trying to dig better. The mole feared he wasn’t as good at tree climbing as the squirrel and spent a lot of time practicing climbing. The owl soared on the winds, swooped for the catch, and soon caught the attention of management for her great skills. When we improve what comes naturally, we naturally come to the attention of management.   Study and grow in your area of strength.
  3. Look for gaps and needs. Spend time listening to those around you, especially, those above you.  What are the problems they are facing?  What does the company need right now?  The job of your leaders is to focus on what is the best for the business.  Your job is to make the leader look good.Look for places you can match up your strengths with the company’s needs.  Here is where you will bring the greatest value to the company. It will impress your boss and make him look good. Your leaders will thank you and be grateful to you for solving that problem.

You will have less fear in speaking up and moving into the limelight when you know you have strengths and talents and you are confident you can use them to help the company’s objectives. Automatically you’ll gain more visibility. People will be delighted to hear what you have to say!  You’ll speak from authority… and people will listen.

Personal leadership coaches  work with clients to help them find ways to increase visibility and add value to their company. Find out how this can lead you to overcome fears and produce dramatic results. Contact Joel now to find out how he can help!

Talkback:What’s helped you overcoming fear? Has there been a time you’ve stepped up to add value to the company? What were the results? Leave your comments and advice for Susan below.

Let Your Light Shine:
How to Stand Out from the Crowd

“It is important for aspiring managers to make themselves visible to those with higher authority in order to increase their prospects for promotion.”

~ Bernard M. Bass ~

Janet feels like a wren in a cage full of peacocks. Surrounded by superstars with lots of creative credentials, she has trouble getting noticed in staff meetings or even at coffee. She has heard some of her colleagues talk about the personal leadership coaches they work with, but she’s not even sure what that is, let alone how to find a good one.

Janet knows she needs more than just a boost in her self-confidence—she needs a personal brand that will enhance her image.  She begins with some self-analysis and decides there are three steps she will take immediately.

  • Accentuate the positive
  • Act as if
  • Ask for opportunities

1. Accentuate the positive.

Janet knows that there are plenty of areas where she’s at the top of her game. But when she’s surrounded by other superstars, it’s tough to be noticed. She begins by questioning her colleagues. When Joe brags about his latest successful client presentation, for example, she asks him for more details. This has the subtle effect of both getting Joe’s attention and giving Janet useful information about what’s recognized and valued in her work group.

It also places her on an even footing with Joe and gives her a chance to talk about some of her latest projects and successes. Asking Joe’s advice lets him know that they are colleagues, not competitors. Janet has taken an important first step in showing other people how she expects to be treated.

2. Act as if.

Janet’s next strategy is to look up. She mentally chooses a couple of managers who are two or three rungs above her on the corporate ladder. Part of what she’s doing is looking for potential mentors or advocates within the organization. But she also begins modeling their behavior. She notices how they act in staff meetings, how they take charge in certain situations, how they organize projects.

She begins to build her personal brand by looking and acting the part of an executive. She polishes her writing skills so that her emails and memos reflect her creativity as well as absolute perfection in grammar and spelling. She upgrades her wardrobe with a few classic pieces that make her look and feel more powerful.

3. Ask for opportunities.

Janet consciously begins to build her success portfolio. She keeps a written record of her successful projects, as well as making a list of ideas for future assignments. She meets with her boss, briefly reviews her recent accomplishments, and asks for a shot at managing a new client proposal.

She takes the same list of ideas and accomplishments to the executives she’s been watching. She asks them to become her mentors and advocates. As mentors, they can provide coaching and advice in internal company structure, plans, and politics. As advocates they can speak up for her and help her publicize herself within the company. They can also advise her about some of the personal leadership coaches that others in the company have used.

Janet’s efforts pay off, not only in increased self-confidence but also in substantial recognition for her contributions. She decides to enhance her progress even further by asking her colleagues how to find a good executive coach.

If you’re feeling shut out or unrecognized, you can implement Janet’s growth strategy on the job, starting tomorrow. And for even better results, get a personal leadership coach who can help you maximize your upward progress.

Talkback: How’s your personal brand? Are you being recognized by your colleagues and your bosses? Share some ideas that have worked for you.

How to Become a Change Leader & Transform Your Organization

Change Ahead Sign

“Every generation needs a new revolution.”

~ Thomas Jefferson ~

Leaders are everywhere–from multi-million dollar corporations and sports arenas to schools and political parties. By understanding how different leaders handle change and lead in various situations you can learn a lot about how to become a powerful leader and handle change and adversity under any circumstances.

Effective leaders understand that bringing change, reorganizing, and implementing new reforms are things that are necessary for positive transformation. If you’re a smart leader, even though you have an enormous vision and passion for change, what you propose might not be as easily accepted by your team as you might think.

Whether you lead a company, a religious organization or a sports team, if you want to learn how to become a change leader and bring transformational change start by following these five steps:

  1. Arouse passion for your cause. You need to hit people at an emotional level. Without inspiration and motivation to bring change, your team won’t have the drive to roll up their sleeves and get to work. A powerful speech from a change leader can help instill passion and give your people the push they need to implement change.
  2. Create and communicate the vision. Being a change leader comes with many challenges. Communication (and lots of it) is essential to convincing people to adopt change for the better. One enlightening speech might not be enough. You may find you need to coax people using various forms of communication including sharing personal stories, quoting notable texts, using practical examples, and talking to people one-on-one.
  3. Don’t make the mistake of going it alone. Once people start siding with you, you may think you have what it takes to lead solo. Don’t make that mistake. Training a team on how to be change leaders can multiply your efforts ten-fold. Identify members who share your vision for transformation or bring new ideas to the table, and work together to develop a plan of action for change.
  4. Emphasize immediate rewards. You need to keep everyone motivated throughout the change process. If your team can’t see substantial benefits to change, it’s less likely they’ll continue to support it. Showcase any change-led accomplishments, publicly praise those who take extra initiative, provide feedback, and allow people to feel the positive effects of change as it happens.
  5. Secure the vision as the new way of life. Once change starts to take shape, and your team experiences the benefits of change, you’ll see it becoming a movement. Sure, this will take time and effort, but you’ll start to notice that what seemed to be “change” is now the new norm and that your vision is no longer a vision, but has manifested into reality. Lead powerfully to secure this vision in the new team culture you’ve worked so hard to build up.

Want more tips on how to become a change leader? Read this recent blog post I wrote on 5 Ways to Be a More Influential Church Leader for essential tips on building a reputation, cultivating executive presence, and using persuasion to lead a team.

It doesn’t matter if you lead a congregation or a company – all leaders need help. Find a wealth of FREE information on my website, including articles on leadership development to lead change with confidence!


Overcoming the Challenges of Gender and Race in the Workplace

glass ceiling

“The glass ceiling gets more pliable when you turn up the heat.”

~ Pauline R. Kezer ~

There is a great discrepancy between the percentage of women and minorities sitting in America’s board rooms and their percentage of the general population. Although there are likely several barriers to career success for women and minorities that have led to this lack of representation, the result is the same–increased challenges faced by women and minorities in the workplace. Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working as a professional executive coach for many women and minorities. With the use of my PVI (perception, visibility and influence) model, they have been able to advance their careers further and faster than they had dreamed!

Recently, I wrote a blog post for Keith Ferrazzi, New York Times bestselling author, world-renowned speaker and relationship development expert.  In that post, you’ll find three common challenges women and minorities face and strategies to overcome them. You’ll learn some of the ways you can apply the three key principles of the PVI model to improve how you are perceived at work, increase your organizational visibility, and become an influential force in your company, propelling your career forward and smashing that glass ceiling.

For more ways to increase your visibility at work, read my new book, Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.