The Subtle Art of Managing Up

the subtle art of managing up

If you’re looking to grow as a leader, expand your responsibilities, or create a better framework for your job, you may want to try managing up. Especially if you’re working for a boss who doesn’t invest much time in leadership, it’s a good idea to take the initiative to build leadership responsibilities into your current role.

What, exactly is managing up?

The Harvard Business Review defines it as, “being the most effective employee you can be, creating value for your boss and your company.” But it goes beyond that. Rosanne Badowski, co-author of Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You, says that when someone tells you to manage up, they are encouraging you to stretch yourself and go “above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager’s work.”

When done in the right spirit, managing up aims to benefit you, your boss, and your company. It’s not about manipulation; it’s about filling a gap in your company’s framework and providing valuable services.

How do you start managing up?

First of all, start thinking in big-picture terms. Reflect on the company’s needs and how you can help fill them. This kind of thinking is akin to “CEO thinking.” As author John Baldini says, “You’re looking at the holistic point of view for what your department does and how it relates to the rest of your firm.” Pay attention and start to understand the processes and people that make your company successful and what obstacles are blocking potential success.

But careful not to step on any toes! Managing up does not mean taking over your boss’ responsibilities. Nor does it mean telling your supervisor what to do. It means educating, rather than intimidating. Strive to create an open dialogue with your boss and share your ideas.

Get to know who your manager is and what’s important to him. What successes led to his current role? What is his vision moving forward? What does he struggle with, that you may be able to help fulfill?

Part of managing up involves building trust between yourself and your superiors. This goes beyond simply turning in assignments on time or reaching sales goals. It means anticipating your manager’s needs and acting accordingly. It also means tracking your time, projects, and progress.

When you measure your efforts, it’s easier to report them to your boss or your work team during a meeting. It also demonstrates your willingness to carve out your own work experience by setting and achieving goals.

Remember: managing up isn’t always about leadership. Part of your responsibility as a valuable employee is to be an excellent follower when the situation arises. Carefully follow directions and ask clarifying questions, if need-be. Make sure you fully understand a project’s goal and the timeline. If you happen to disagree, for whatever reason, with your manager’s decision, make sure to voice your concerns tactfully. Ask questions to understand her reasoning before expressing disagreement.

Take initiative and aim to add value to your current position. Demonstrate your leadership and self-starting tendencies by effectively managing up. Remember to keep your heart in the right place and strive to enhance the workplace and support your boss, rather than manipulate.

 

Need help with your managing up strategy? Feel free to contact me and let’s figure out how to take your leadership to the next level.

How to Practice Self-Care to Enhance Leadership

Happy, healthy leader

Being a leader means you have to wear many hats, often catering to other people’s needs or juggling multiple projects at the same time. Leaders regularly feel pressured to put their team’s needs in front of their own, which can result in sacrificing their own wellbeing for the good of others.

While this kind of self-sacrifice may be fine on occasion, it has the potential to cause a lot of long-term damage.

As a leader, it is crucial to put time into your own care so you will be better equipped to help others and handle the pressures of your job. Actress Lucille Ball put it this way: “Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.” I wholeheartedly agree. If you don’t take the time each and every day to care for yourself, how can you care for others?

Leaders who take the time to check in with themselves tend to be stronger, more resilient leaders. They manage stress better, are more productive, and more creative. A recent study co-directed by a management scientist at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio demonstrates that leadership governed by self-care is both effective and sustainable.

Here are several ideas to get you started down a path to better leadership:

1. Find a healthy routine:

Many successful leaders have regular routines, especially in the morning. Kick off the day with a refreshing walk, a meditation session, or even checking some minor to-dos off that never-ending list.

2. Get out into nature:

Even if you don’t have time for a hike each day, try moving your work outdoors when possible, or take your lunch outside. Many of us find ourselves stuck in a concrete jungle, but there are ways to bring a little nature into your day-to-day work. If the weather is nice, consider scheduling lunch meetings on an outdoor patio or move a one-on-one meeting outside.

And if you can’t often escape the office? Try putting some plants at your desk. Many plants are natural air purifiers; here’s a list of the top seven.

3. Nourish the body:

Not only should we eat the rainbow and avoid junk food, we should also keep moving our bodies as much as possible. Just like our bodies are not meant to eat processed foods, they aren’t meant to sit at a desk all day either. Set a timer to make sure you adjust positions or go for a quick jaunt every fifteen minutes. This can help you clear your head and think through a problem you may be stuck on. Our bodies and our minds are constantly screaming for our attention with each ache. Give them some love with movement and foods that nourish.

4. Create a culture of wellness:

Demonstrate the importance of self-care by being a wellness proponent. Hold lunch meetings with healthy food options, invest in standing desks for your staff, or host fitness challenges. When wellness is encouraged and embraced by your co-workers, it is easier to practice your own self-care.

5. Breathe:

When we are stressed, we tend to take very shallow breaths from our upper diaphragm instead of deep belly breaths. In our busy culture, we often deny ourselves full breaths. Try this breathing exercise from Dr. Andrew Weil. It is a great tool to use right away in the morning, before going to bed, or during any high-stress situations, like before a big presentation.

6. Create space:

Oftentimes, leaders feel like they must take on every project or task that comes across their desk. Overloading yourself with work isn’t good for the company (you likely won’t produce your best work when you’re juggling a million things at once) and it isn’t good for you. Have faith in your team and delegate tasks. Not only will this create more space for you, it will demonstrate that you trust your team to perform without your constant guidance.

7. Sleep:

Make your bedroom a sanctuary and use it to get a good night’s sleep every night. It is easy to prop up your laptop and answer emails until your eyelids are heavy, but that may disrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle. Try avoiding screen time and bright artificial lighting at least an hour before bed and keep devices out of the bedroom. Wind down with a relaxing bath and a good read (in the form of an actual book, not a device).

 

Become a better leader and a better YOU through self-care. What methods work for you? How will you improve your everyday wellness? If you would like help on starting a self-care routine and other tips on being a better leader, please contact me today.

 

Be PRESENT This Holiday Season

Family having conversation homeAs the holiday season approaches, most of us busy our minds by planning for future events, like shopping trips, traveling, and meals, and we forget to be present and enjoy the little moments in between everything else. In pursuit of our own priorities, we may forget to pause, acknowledge, and show appreciation to others and ourselves. Your heart-felt presence is the best gift you can give this holiday season. Here are five ways to be mindful and fully present:

1. Pause and appreciate the positives in your life.

Take time every day to think about the things you’re thankful for, such as your health, your home, your job, and your network of caring friends, family, and coworkers. Even if things aren’t perfect in your career or your relationships, it’s always possible to find the positive embedded in the negative.

When it comes to the people in your life, let them know you’re grateful for their presence in your life through a card, a call, or even a text message. Recount a memory or story that shows them the importance of your relationship.

2. Make yourself fully present to others.

In this busy, demanding world, it’s easy to feel like you have to do a million things at once. However, multi-tasking only divides your attention and prevents you from experiencing truly meaningful interactions with others. Instead of only lending half your attention, make an effort to listen fully and keep the other person at the center of your focus. Whether you’re talking with someone face-to-face or over the phone, remove elements that might distract you and prevent you from giving that person the attention they deserve. Listen to what they’re saying, ask insightful questions, and create a meaningful dialogue.

3. Plan activities that involve togetherness.

Research events in your area that you can participate in with your family, friends, or community. Organize outdoor group activities, cook together, set up a game night, or volunteer. Snap a few photos to capture the fun, but remember to be a part of the action as well.

4. Pay attention to others’ needs.

There are probably people within your circle that are going through a hard time this year, whether they’re coping with the loss of a loved one, health concerns, or financial strife. Offer help any way that you can: cook them a meal, babysit their children, or run some errands for them. If you are the person who needs a little more help this year, pay attention to that need. Make yourself vulnerable and ask your friends or family for help when you need it.

5. Take time for yourself.

In order to look out for and help others, you must first take care of yourself. Whether it’s five minutes or an hour, set aside time for yourself every day. Go for a walk, read, meditate, call a friend, dance around your kitchen—anything that brings you joy. Practice being present for yourself and attending to your unique needs. When you practice self-care, you better equip yourself to be fully present for those around you.

 

It’s easy to lose sight of what truly matters during the holiday season. Sometimes, it feels that meals, gifts, and decorations need to be perfect in order for the holiday to be a happy one, but your presence, both physical and emotional, will be what people remember when they look back. The garlands can wait and the cards can be stamped tomorrow: participate and be present in the holiday season!

What is Conscious Complaining?

conscious-complaining-bear

No one likes to be around a complainer. People who chronically complain can help create a toxic work or home environment with their constant negativity and glass-half-empty attitude. The problem is, it’s easy to do! Complaining gives us something to talk about (“Boy, traffic was terrible today” or “Can it get any colder out there?”) and allows us to vent our feelings.

But, at what cost?

As I discussed in last month’s newsletter on the science of gratitude, a constant negative attitude can lead to myriad health issues, including obesity, heart and circulatory complications, and mental health problems.

Complaining can also lead to confirmation bias, which Science Daily defines as “a tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions.” In other words, if you view the world as a terrible place, you will likely ignore the good parts of it and focus on the bad.

A constant barrage of complaining in the workplace can promote a lack of productivity and innovation, downtrodden attitudes, and unhealthy relationships.[1] But, what is the alternative? Are we supposed to bottle our emotions and pretend that everything is fine?

Not at all. Letting out our feelings can be healthy, if it is done in a mindful way that is considerate of others. In her book, The Language of Emotion, author Karla McLaren encourages us to practice conscious complaining. She advises that we occasionally take time for ourselves to find a private space and speak our frustrations out loud. She even encourages setting up a “complaining shrine,” which can be as simple as some photos on a bulletin board that we can talk to about the things that are bothering us.

But not every negative thought has to come out as a complaint. Some frustrations can be turned around and viewed in a different light. When we do our best to see the good in every situation, complaining becomes less necessary. Author and professional speaker, Kevin Clayson, advises us to search for and think about the positive parts of bad situations. He says, “find the good within the bad. Find the blessing embedded in the hardship, the joy embedded in the despair, the success embedded in the failure. After a while, this search will become increasingly fruitful, as you begin to notice more and more things that you can consider amazing.”

Start building a positive mindset that you can carry into your office, your home, the bank, the grocery store. You have the power to search for the good buried within the bad. And if you must complain, do it consciously.

 

[1] Kjerulf, A. Top 10 Reasons Why Constant Complaining is so Toxic in the Workplace. The Chief Happiness Officer Blog. http://positivesharing.com/2007/08/top-10-reasons-why-constant-complaining-is-so-toxic-in-the-workplace/ (accessed 11.10.2016).

Winter is Coming…So What?

 

winter

The leaves are on the trees, the sun is shining and the kids are barely back to school. Yet, the agony of winter looms large. Anyone who lives in a four season climate knows all too well the constant chatter surrounding the weather, especially winter. But I have an idea: How about we enjoy the rest of summer and fall first?

There is something to be said about being in the present instead of constantly worrying about the future. A present mindset can help ease anxiety and keep us more focused. “Ordinary thoughts course through our mind like a deafening waterfall,” writes Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, a biomedical scientist who introduced meditation into mainstream medicine. He says we need to “rest in stillness—to stop doing and focus on just being.”

Of course this can be difficult to manage when we are surrounded by the future. The stores are already stocking the shelves with Christmas décor and your family can’t stop talking about how much snow to expect this year. But you can cut through the noise with some of these helpful tips on mindfulness and being present.

1. Start each day with a relaxing ritual that you enjoy.

A cup of tea, a bike ride, yoga, or even 15 minutes of meditation can help focus your mind so you are ready to face the day. A great app to get started on simple meditation techniques is Headspace.

2. Breathe.

Just the simple of act of taking a few breaths can help ease fears and scattering thoughts by bringing you back to the present moment. Dr. Andrew Weil offers an easy breathing exercise that is helpful for calming both the mind and body.

3. Take a digital break.

We get so wrapped up in distracting ourselves with smartphones and television that we forget to listen to our bodies. This causes us to think of anything but the present state of things. When you have a little break in between tasks, instead of filling it with Facebook, try just sitting and observing your thoughts and how your body feels in the moment.

4. End your day in a peaceful way.

Playing on your phone or working until bedtime can make good sleep hard to come by. This can throw you off balance for the day ahead and make it difficult to keep stressful thoughts at bay. Take an Epsom salt bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil. Read a good book. Journal about your day. Anything to keep your mind calm and ready for a good night’s sleep.

While it is good practice to dream and look down the road of the future, it is also important to enjoy the present. Bring on the snow, I say. Until then, I’ll be busy taking breaks to sip my tea and watch the leaves change color.

 

If you would like to talk more about how to be present in both your career and your life, contact me.

7 Steps for Navigating A Career Transition

Career Transition

 

You know it’s time. You’re not satisfied in your current job and are ready to make a significant career change. But how do you begin? What steps should you take to facilitate a smooth transition from one career to another?

In this post, I will discuss some of the strategies you can use to pursue a new career path. It piggybacks off my last blog post, which focused on how to identify when it’s time to make a significant career change. As a career coach, I am well aware that each career transition is unique (and requires varying degrees of re-education, networking, and rebranding), but there are some fundamental steps you can take, no matter the circumstances of your career change. Use the following list as a springboard to get started.

Even though your next steps may be challenging, remember that you are attempting to make a positive and healthy transformation in your life. Go boldly in pursuit of your dreams!

 

  1. Enlist help from a career coach

Seeking a new career path can be daunting, confusing, or frustrating at times. You don’t have to do it alone! A career coach can help you clearly define your direction, create a game plan for reaching your goals, and work through practical details (such as revamping your résumé or helping you with a cover letter). As a career coach, I emphasize the importance of identifying your core values and how they translate into a career. I also address the other side of the job search: What types of jobs, work environments, and management-types do you want to AVOID?

A qualified career coach will offer guidance, support, and professional assistance throughout your career transition. She will enable you to work through all of the steps listed below and empower you in your search.

 

  1. Uncover the reality behind the dream

Sometimes your dream job turns out to be a lot different than what you might have envisioned. You may think, for instance, that a naturalist gets to spend most of her time in the field, but there is actually a lot of paperwork and meticulous record-keeping that accompanies this position.

To get a clear idea of what someone in your dream job does on a day-to-day basis, start researching. Look for information online and set up informational interviews or lunch meetings with people who work in the job you’d like to pursue.

 

  1. Set goals and a timeline

When you make up your mind to go after a new career, it can be easy to lose focus or motivation after the first few weeks, especially if you feel somewhat secure in your current job. Fight complacency! Set a timeline for yourself that lays out when you’d like to make a full transition into a new career and what steps you need to take along the way. Look at your timeline every morning and ask yourself what you need to do TODAY to work toward your end goal.

 

  1. Educate yourself

Depending on the career, you don’t necessarily have to go out and invest in a whole new degree. You may already have some of the skills necessary to make the switch. Oftentimes, education can come from meeting with people, online research, free webinars, low cost community classes, conferences and seminars, or even working or volunteering part-time in your desired field.

 

  1. Talk to your support system

When you’re making a major change, it’s always a good idea to call upon your family and close friends for support. You’ll likely run into obstacles or emotional lows during your career transition, and your support system can help build your confidence or give you a shoulder to lean on during these trying times. Additionally, your support system can also act as an accountability system. Ask your friends and family to periodically check in with you about your progress. When you have someone (or multiple someones!) invested in your career change, that can motivate you to keep on going!

 

  1. Build a financial safety net

Oftentimes, there is a little lag time between leaving your old job and stepping into a new one. You’ll want to be financially prepared, in case you have to wait several weeks (or months) between paychecks.

And, what if your new job doesn’t work out? What if you find yourself in a position or company you dislike and decide to return to the job hunt? It’s best to build up your savings account so you can handle unexpected financial hurdles.

 

  1. Celebrate milestones

Although the road between one career and another can seem long and arduous, you will have victorious moments along the way. Recognizing and celebrating your achievements can give you a motivation bump and help you remember that you are making progress. Celebrate when you finish revising your résumé or when you complete your continuing education classes or when you’re asked to come in for your first interview. Remember: having a positive frame of mind is an essential component of any successful job hunt.

 

Your goals are worth pursuing! If you’re thinking about making a major career switch, contact me today and let’s start discussing your first steps toward a new future.

If You Have an Itch: 5 Signs It’s Time for a Career Transition and What to Do About It

Chimpanzee scratching itself with funny face

Are you yearning for a career change? Perhaps it’s time to scratch that itch! As Tony Robbins put it, “By changing nothing, nothing changes.” That is sage advice; you must take action because life is too short to be miserable at work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics performed an American Time Use Survey in 2014 and found that employed Americans ages 25 through 54 spend the majority of their waking hours working (8.9 hours), which is even more than time they spend sleeping (7.7 hours)! If you’re not satisfied with your job, that’s a lot of time spent in a place that makes you unhappy.

There can be many reasons to seek a change. Maybe you’re working under poor management, you’re bored, you’re not making good use of your skills, or you’d like to pursue a budding new interest. Here are a few signs it truly is time for a career shift and what you can do to make that happen.

 

  • Sign #1: Your body and mind feel worn out. All. The. Time.

Maybe you walk around stressed out to the max, day after day. Maybe you develop a chronic illness, like an autoimmune disease, which is all too common these days. You are tired, crabby, or lack stamina. You can’t recall the last time you had a headache-free week. And to top it off, your concentration is lacking at both work and home, while at the same time perhaps your temper is short. This is the point when your work is affecting your entire life. “All great changes are preceded by chaos,” says Deepak Chopra. Stop the chaos by changing your life and the rewards will be monumental.

 

  • Sign #2: You think about that dream job day and night.

Do you find yourself distracted all day by thoughts of a new job? So much so it is affecting your performance at work and your personal life? It is probably time to take action and explore the job you are actually interested in.

Think it’s too late for a career change? Think again. Julia Child worked for the CIA until she decided to try her hand at French cooking at age 37 and the famous folk artist “Grandma” Moses didn’t start painting until her 70s! You’re never too old or too established to make a major career transition.

 

  • Sign #3: You are bored.

 Oftentimes people “check out” when they are not fulfilled by their career. When you start to feel your work has no purpose it can be very difficult to stay engaged. This is a sure sign you want to be somewhere else, so take the steps to do just that!

 

  • Sign #4: You are underappreciated

If you’re putting in long hours, going above and beyond on projects, and making an extra effort to help your co-workers, you deserve to get a little recognition in return. Whether it’s a pay bump, a promotion, or just some old-fashioned praise (like a shout out at a company meeting or a thank you card from your boss), your efforts should be rewarded. If not, there are plenty of companies out there that would love to hire an over-achiever like you! It may be time to start looking.

 

  • Sign #5: Your company/industry is struggling

Our modern world is constantly changing. As new technologies and ways of living develop, outdated systems and products fall by the wayside. In the 1950s, you could easily make a living as a switchboard operator, milkman, or elevator operator, but it would be difficult to do so today! Similarly, the tech industry looks a lot different than it did in the mid-1990s. The focus is less on desktop computers and more on tablets, smart phones, 3D printing, and mobile app development.

Sometimes, it pays to take a step back and examine your industry (or company) with a critical eye. Will your company be a viable business in 10 years? 20? Look for warning signs like major budget cuts, an increase in outsourcing, or similar companies closing their doors.

So what do you do if you know in your heart it is time to move on? Take action! By making even baby steps, you will eventually reach your goal. If you take mammoth steps, you will make it all the quicker! Move toward your vision, even if you are scared. Instead of letting fear debilitate you, use it as a motivator. Embracing fear means embracing growth.

 

Need help forming your exit strategy? My next blog post will address specific steps to follow when transitioning from one career to another. Or, feel free to contact me for advice on navigating a transition.

5 Ways to Show You Care About Your Work

Show you Care Conversation

You probably know the saying, “What you give is what you get.” That concept is absolutely true in the workplace. If you only show up, do the bare minimum, and go home, you likely won’t find fulfillment in the work that you do. On the other hand, if you truly care about your work and approach it proactively and passionately, you’ll find that others will reciprocate your enthusiasm and your boss will likely take notice.

Here are five suggestions to show that you care about your work:

  1. Share stories.

The power of storytelling is no secret. Emotional dialogue connects people much deeper than a surface-level chat about the weather. Until you attempt to relate to co-workers or customers on an emotional level, you may never unearth your shared interests or backgrounds. And don’t forget that storytelling is a two-way street. Ask open-ended questions and actively listen to what others have to say. This kind of engagement shows that you not only care about the people around you, but also your workplace as a whole.

 

  1. Ask questions and ask them often.

Keep track of questions you encounter—your own, or those that customers or co-workers ask you—and share them with the rest of your team. Questions mean growth. By staying curious and conscious of potential confusion within the workplace, you are showing concern and taking positive action.

 

  1. Give the best you.

You need to care for yourself in order to care for others. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise. Stretch throughout the day. Do what’s necessary to be the best you–not hungry (and grumpy), sleepy (and disengaged), or sick (and unfocused).

 

  1. Share gratitude daily.

When you work alongside the same people every day, it can be easy to get into the social habit of curtness when communicating, for efficiency’s sake. Not only does this inhibit the aforementioned storytelling and question-asking, it can create a negative workplace atmosphere.

Consciously make an effort to share gratitude toward those you work with, daily. The attitude of gratitude spreads. Smile. Listen. Trust. Appreciate. Never assume a person knows how you feel—acknowledge accomplishments and praise often.

 

  1. Have a plan and share it.

Come up with monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. By careful planning and goal-setting, you can consciously move toward an improved company (and self) every single day. By sharing your business plan and vision you are opening up a dialogue and encouraging others to get involved and grow as a team.

 

Opportunities exist every day to demonstrate how much you care about your career and your company. Taking advantage of these opportunities can be the difference between merely punching a timecard every day and inspiring change, encouraging growth, and acknowledging a deep-set happiness within yourself.

 

Looking for more ideas to engage with your workplace and show you care? Feel free to contact me anytime.

How to JUMPSTART Your Morning

alarm clock jumpstart your morning

The buzz of an alarm clock can be a dreaded sound, but sometimes a new element in your routine can make a difference. Here are some helpful strategies to prepare you for a day at the office:

  • Prepare the night before:

When you know the location of all your daily work necessities, your morning won’t feel like a mad dash around your house. Packing your gym bag, compiling work documents, prepping your lunch, and even setting out your keys can help you avoid that stressed-out feeling you get when you’re searching for that one last thing. When you can transition from home to work in a calm state, instead of an anxious one, you set the tone for the whole day.

 

  • Switch up your breakfast routine:

Sick of cold cereal every morning? Tired of the same ol’ bagel and cream cheese as you rush out the door? Plan a new, delicious breakfast. Introducing new foods to your breakfast menu breaks up the monotony and gives you something to look forward to. Swap out your instant oatmeal for steel-cut or Irish oats. Trade your yogurt for cottage cheese with fresh berries or cinnamon. Ditch your bagel for an English muffin with jam and honey. Put your morning apple or banana to work by throwing it in a smoothie with greens, ginger, avocado, or almond butter. There are plethora of recipe websites that can inspire your next breakfast.

 

  • Exercise:

Waking up in the morning is difficult enough; waking up early to hit the gym might be downright impossible. However, the benefits of an early-morning workout are multiple: better sleep, improved metabolism, better long-term results, and increased mental clarity for four to ten hours after exercising. Your workout routine doesn’t need to break world records, but it needs get you moving and be enjoyable enough for you to stick with it. With your mental clarity, plus the endorphin boost, you will be alert and ready to take on your day with a clear head and positive attitude.

 

  • Meditation, affirmations, and visualizations:

Though these might feel unnatural at first, mental preparation for the day ahead can bring great benefits. As few as five to ten minutes of meditation in the morning exercises your brain so you can sustain voluntary attention throughout the day. Reciting affirmations and visualizing goal achievement bolster self-esteem and solidify ambitions. Write down affirmations and stick them somewhere you will see them every morning, and recite them as you brush your teeth or wait for your coffee. When you visualize yourself accomplishing a goal, it makes the event feel possible, and gives you confidence to chase down those goals. With your eye on the prize, you can enter the office with determination and a sense of direction.

Any or all of these changes can jumpstart your morning. A word of advice: just like New Year’s resolutions, don’t try to overhaul your whole life overnight. Start with one change, maybe two, and incorporate more once you have mastered the first few.

Your OS!M (A concept developed by Steve Farber)

Your OS!M, on taking daily risks

In my last newsletter, I discussed taking a personal leap and making a major career change. That was the kind of life-altering move that only comes around every once in a while. But there’s another kind of leap: the kind you have the potential to make every day.

If you are truly striving for growth or pursuing authentic leadership, you will encounter many moments where you’ll be required to take a leap—to either act and push forward, or stop and back away. This is the moment that Steve Farber, founder of Extreme Leadership calls your “Oh Sh**! Moment” or your OS!M. It’s the moment where you realize you’re on the edge of a major decision. You can either look your fear in the eye and overcome it, or you can back away.

Great leaders will choose to face their fears and do what they think is right, even if it’s scary to do so. If you’re not a little scared, you’re not achieving growth. As Steve Farber puts it, “[If] you’re not experiencing that visceral churning in your gut, and you’re not scaring yourself every day, and you’re not feeling that Oh Sh**!Moment as regularly as clockwork, then you are not doing anything significant—let alone changing the world—and you are certainly not leading anyone else.”

Ask yourself as you step into the New Year:

  • Have I challenged myself lately?
  • Do I regularly stand up for my beliefs and values?
  • When was the last time I took a substantial leap?
  • What vision do I have for myself and my leadership and how can I achieve it?
  • What’s holding me back from making major changes?

Are you ready to embrace your fear and face your OS!Ms? Let’s talk.