Are You a Leader or a Manager?

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You may be a great manager, yet not a great leader. And if you are aspiring to elevate yourself and your career, regardless of your current job level, you need to be a great leader as well.

So, let’s begin by looking at some of the differences between “leadership” and “management”:

Management is…

  • often bestowed upon an individual through title, hierarchy, or assignment
  • managing by directing, controlling, planning, organizing things, processes and people
  • the transactional side of the business (getting things done)
  • focused on efficiency and productivity
  • operating within shorter time horizons

Leadership is…

  • mostly earned through consistent demonstrated leadership behavior like being a great role model
  • leading people by inspiring, motivating, coaching, impacting and influencing them (even if they don’t report to you)
  • the transformational side of the business (making an impact)
  • focused on effectiveness
  • longer term focused, purpose-driven

You don’t have to be a manager to be a leader. In fact, leadership can happen at any level within an organization. Leadership is about “being” a leader and demonstrating leadership qualities. Competencies such as: building strong collaborative relationships, setting an example for others, developing follower ship, interpersonal intelligence, maintaining composure, courageous authenticity, good decision-making skills, purpose-driven, and the ability to think critically and strategically. And while this is not a complete list of leadership qualities, what we do know is that few people are born with these qualities.

So, why develop leaders?

  • There is strong evidence that links leadership effectiveness to business results
  • Effective leaders outperform ineffective leaders
  • Organizations face escalating complexity requiring more leadership from their people at every level
  • Building leaders is a process

No matter what your role is today, you can be a better leader in your workplace. Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Do your best work and be a star performer. Most people are just average, so with a little bit of effort you can be above average.
  • Build strong working relationships with your colleagues, peers, direct reports (if you have them), and others in your circle of influence.
  • Get better at managing yourself. This includes time and task management, punctuality, preparedness, as well as how you show up.
  • Model the behavior you observe and admire of effective leaders in your organization. Be a student of great leadership.
  • Hire a coach to assist you in developing your leadership competencies.

Leadership develops over time with experience, coaching and training, access to good role models and mentors. You can enhance your leadership competencies and become a great leader.

Leadership development is a journey, a process. If you would like more information or assistance with your personal leadership development, please call Linda at 416-617-0734 or email linda@resultscatalyst.ca

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5 Steps to Move from Employee to Entrepreneur

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Have you been considering quitting your day job in favor of starting a business? Have you just lost your job and are currently exploring alternative ways of earning a living? Have you always dreamt of owning your own business some day?

Before you take the leap of faith into self-employment, consider these 5 steps:

  1. Get clear on your goals/passions – It’s not enough to decide to become a business owner. There are several questions and things to consider before you move forward in becoming a business owner. You will need to think about what kind of business you wish to run. You`ll need to determine if you wish to grow it from scratch, buy an existing business or purchase an available franchise.  But even before you decide that– you should think about how the business will fit in with the rest of your life. Running a business can be a huge commitment of time and money. So ask yourself what do you enjoy doing or what will bring you joy?  You will spend much of your day on your business so it’s a good idea for the business to provide work you actually enjoy doing.  Ask yourself what you are most passionate about? What would you love to do? What is your dream job/business?
  2. Do your research/homework – Don’t make any rash or impulsive decisions and don’t leave your day job until you are absolutely sure of what you want to do and have a plan for doing it. Take the time to do good research by researching the industry, the marketplace, your potential target clients, your competitors. Do proper business research including a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis. Get a good handle on projected revenues and realistic operating costs as well as an understanding on how long it will take to breakeven and generate more revenues than expenses. Identify your personal strengths and skills and determine if there are any skills gaps. Determine how you will close any skill gaps or lack of expertise. Which gaps can be closed through skills training? Which gaps can be closed through recruiting the right people? Which gaps can be closed through coaching or mentoring? Determine what options and opportunities are available to you right now?
  3. Learn from others’ mistakes – There is no shortage of people who have started or run a business. Speak to as many people as you can who have gone before you. Learn what you can about what works, what doesn’t, and what mistakes others have made. Don’t waste valuable time and money.  Be open to hearing others` perspectives on what they would have done differently. Hindsight is always 20/20.
  4. Business Plan ahead – Do the work and develop a business plan.  While it may be a lot of work, it will be time well spent and most financial institutions will require one if you are searching for financing. The process of business planning is not only to prove to the bank that your business will be a success, it’s also a roadmap for you to follow to ensure success. Running your business finances can be like running your weekly, monthly or yearly personal budget – so if you haven’t developed good budgeting and financial management skills, it might be particularly challenging and doubly important to have a solid business plan.
  5. Hire a mentor – Starting and running a business can be challenging or even lonely at times. In addition to the day to day operations of the business, you may be mentally or emotionally overwhelmed by being a business owner.  Having a safe place to go to for advice, guidance, and accountability or simply as a sounding board can be just what you need to help you make the transition into entrepreurship easier and smoother.  Good coaching and mentoring can really help you fast track your transition.

While there are many advantages to being an entrepreneur, it`s important for you to also consider the downside of self-employment. Become a business owner armed with as much information, skills and tools you can to ensure a successful transition from employee to entrepreneur.

If you are considering making a transition from Employee to Entrepreneur and need some support and guidance, please call Linda at 416-617-0734 or email linda@resultscatalyst.ca

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Stuck, No Options?

Stuck, No Options

We have an epidemic! People everywhere feel stuck in their jobs. Some feel like they have no options to get unstuck. Unhappy at work, they know they are not passionate about what they are doing. Yet, many are unsure of what would make them feel excited to get up and go to work in the morning instead.  They know they need to make a change or at least feel motivated to make some changes. However, moving away from what they are doing to some unknown doesn’t feel right either.

So if this sounds like you, what options do you really have?

  1. Don’t jump ship, just yet – The worst thing you could do is quit your job to try and “figure it out”.  Without a plan, this approach rarely ends well. Unless you have lots of money, you may be forced to take any job and potentially end up in a worse situation than you were in to begin with.
  2. Do your homework – Get to the root of what’s making you unhappy. Is it the company, the work, the people? Or is it you? Maybe, you lack the confidence or the skills to do the work. Perhaps, it’s the commute you dislike or the lack of flexibility. It’s important to identify the elements that you most enjoy, the things you really dislike, and the items that you are okay with. No job is perfect, so there will always be some amount of compromise.
  3. Connect to your “WHY” – I love facilitating transformation and change in people. And while making a difference in people’s lives is my life’s purpose, I recognize that there are many jobs and professions that would have allowed me to serve and live my life’s purpose. I chose to become a “coach”. Others may have chosen to become teachers, counselors, managers, change consultants, etc. Life purpose is not necessarily a job or a career, but rather, how you show up.
  4. Get clear on what’s most important to you – Values shift over time. So what was important to you when you started your career, may not be important to you any longer. Take inventory of what is really important to you now and prioritize the list. You may find that providing a nice lifestyle for your family is number one on your list, perhaps higher on the list than career satisfaction.  If that’s the case, it may keep you in a job or career that you don’t love until such time as the kids grow up or you’ve saved enough money. As your priorities shift and change, so do your choices and options.
  5. Get the right support – It’s not always easy to be objective when it’s personal. Getting an objective third party perspective can be very helpful. Enlist in a good mentor or coach to help you “figure it out” and get you on the right path.
  6. Set a plan – While the decision to change can happen quickly, sometimes there are many steps involved in the process. Identifying what steps to take before you take action will save you time and angst in the long run and give you tremendous clarity.
  7. Take action – Take the first step, no matter how small it is – move towards what you want. Before you know it, you will have made major progress towards what you want.

You probably have a lot more options available to you than you might realize. It’s not always easy to see them for yourself when you are stuck. Start by getting unstuck. And if you need some help to get unstuck, contact a professional coach.

If you would like coaching or some assistance in making this year your best year ever, please call Linda at 416-617-0734 or email linda@resultscatalyst.ca

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5 Life Planning Steps for Career Professionals

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Many people are unfulfilled and trying to get unstuck in their life or career.  Often they can’t pinpoint why they feel the way they do.  They just know they aren’t happy, and they may have no idea how to make themselves happy. Our work together is focused on helping them figure out their passion, and their purpose in life (not just in their career) which leads them to more clarity in direction, to take specific action steps and to have a greater sense of control over their life and their career.

If you are currently feeling stuck or lacking direction in your career or in your life, here are 5 life planning steps you can take:

  1. Clarify your values – Values are what’s most important to you right now. And while values do not change in the short term, they do change throughout your life as you enter and exit various life stages. It’s good practice to regularly review your values to ensure you are aligned to what’s most important to you. I remember a time early in my corporate career, when career progression was important to me and I worked long hours, took night classes and did what I believed was necessary to get promoted. As I moved into motherhood, I found kids and family were more important to me and while my career was still important, I did forgo career moves that would have meant relocating my family. Later, I left my corporate role in favor of running my own business to create more freedom and flexibility. If you are finding yourself at odds in your career or in your life, it may be that your values have shifted and you haven’t yet aligned your life to support what’s most important to you right now, in this stage of your life.
  2. Identify your passion and purpose – What do you most enjoy doing? Are you doing “it”? Many people believe their passion should be their career. But there are many ways to fulfill your passion even if it’s not your main career. I know an artist who is accumulating some amazing pieces of art he sculpts hoping to exhibit them one day. Art is his passion, and yet he earns his living as a teacher. He finds many ways to integrate his passion into his work. For example, he volunteers for set design for school productions, he teaches art during the summer months at a local art studio, and he sculpts in his spare time. If you are one of the lucky ones where you are passionate about the work you do in your career, congratulations. And if you are not, there are still many ways to feed and nurture your passion.
  3. Define your goals – Do you have a clear set of goals for this year? And for the next 3-5 years and beyond? Life is a marathon, not a sprint and your life plan should reflect that. A methodical, disciplined approach to realizing your dreams and goals. What do you aspire to be, to have? Even if the goal seems too big or too unattainable, think about and plan for how you can move forward in the direction of what you most desire? Taking regular, baby steps will get you the results you desire eventually. Also, make sure you look at all areas of your life not just your career. Consider: money and finance, relationships, personal and professional development, health and wellness, spirituality, family, fun and recreation, and physical environment.
  4. Organize your finances – Do you have a financial plan? Many years as a banker taught me that some goals need to be planned for financially to be achieved. Generally, people don’t adequately plan for their future and then live a life of many regrets. You may have a goal to retire at 65 or start a business at some point, but unless you have planned for it financially, it may not be attainable.  I worked with a client who desired to leave his corporate job and start a business. Through our coaching work, he determined the amount of money he needed to cover his expenses until his business broke even.  He continued with his corporate job long enough to amass the money he would need. While it was not easy to save, be disciplined and continue with his job, it set him up for success and took a lot of pressure off his finances in the early stages of his business.  Make sure you have adequately planned for emergencies, set aside monies to realize your goals and plan for your future including your retirement. A good financial plan is an important component of your overall life plan.
  5. Create your career plan – No matter where you are on your career path currently… at the start of your career or perhaps nearing the end and thinking about retirement – you need a career plan!  A good career plan will include a review of your values, interests, passions, strengths, skills and experience as well as your career goals, options, and opportunities. A good plan will identify and address education/experience gaps, personal and professional development needs as well as available support and mentorship. Having a well thought out plan provides you with focus, direction and the confidence to take action. The better prepared you are for the future, the easier it will be for you to slide into your next career move.

If you wish to live a life of fulfillment and abundance and no regrets, it will take some personal reflection and planning. If you don’t have the motivation or know how to do it on your own, seek the assistance of a professional, whether it’s a financial advisor to assist you with a financial plan or a professional coach to assist you with your life and career plan, take the first step and get on track to realize your dreams and goals.

I’m currently taking on new clients, If you are thinking about working with a professional coach to help you with your life or career  challenges, or desires, schedule a no-obligation 30 minute consultation with me, : https://my.timetrade.com/book/FX6ZQ

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Wrapping Up The Year!

This is a great time to reflect on the past twelve months and acknowledge your personal and professional growth,Christmas gift

your accomplishments, and all of your experiences. As you look back and review the year, it‘s also a terrific time to celebrate yourself!

Consider the following questions to help you wrap up the year and get ready for next year:

  • What were your greatest successes and accomplishments? Sometimes a series of minor successes and accomplishments can add up to major strides forward. It’s a good idea to reflect on the small wins as well as the major accomplishments. Consider maintaining an annual journal to track your successes all year long.
  • What would you like to celebrate? Perhaps this year you received a promotion, started a business, grew your family, moved residences, or left a job you didn’t like. Whatever it was, whether you initiated the change or not, you grew from the experience and that’s cause for celebration.
  • What risks did you take this year that you are most proud of? Perhaps this year you stepped out of the box and did things differently than what comes naturally to you. I.e. you are an introvert and you chose to attend networking events to break out and meet new people.
  • What areas did you experience breakthroughs in this year? Did you have a shift in perspective? Did you breakthrough a mental, emotional, or physical boundary you previously held? Reflect on your breakthroughs and how you have evolved.
  • Who and what are you grateful for? These may be your friends, family, employees, bosses, colleagues, mentors, or others in your life. How did they support you? What role do they play in your life? Who do you wish to acknowledge most?
  • What was your biggest learning this year? How did you grow from it? How will you apply this learning moving forward?
  • What was your biggest disappointment this year? How did you handle the situation? How did you or how will you move on from it?
  • What do you wish to complete before the year ends or early in the new year? What’s left undone that needs to be wrapped up before the year is out. Prioritize what’s left and do what’s most important to you. Delete or delegate what you can. Most importantly, determine what action you will take.
  • What was the central theme for you this past year? If this year was a chapter in the book of your life what title would you give it?

You are now ready to start thinking about the next year and all that has to offer you.

 

 

 

The History of Holiday Greeting Cards

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Wishing friends and family a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays via an annual greeting card is something we take for granted today. But have you ever wondered when it all began or how greeting cards have evolved?

  • Early greeting cards started out as simple slips of papyrus that were exchanged by both the Egyptians and Chinese as messages of goodwill.
  • The British Museum has a Valentine from the 1400s that is considered the oldest known greeting card in existence.
  • By 1840, the introduction of the postage stamp assisted the popularity of greeting cards. These early cards were created as works of art.
  • In 1843 Sir Henry Cole (London) commissioned a card illustrated by John Callcott Horsley. The focus was on the image rather than the greeting card message. 1000 of these cards were produced and sold for 1 shilling each.
  • By the 1860′s when cheap colour printing came along almost everyone could afford cards and a new industry took off. What was once relatively expensive, hand-made and personalized item, became an effective and affordable way to communicate.
  • In the 1900′s greeting cards, particularly christmas cards evolved based on the designs and fashions of the times. These were the influences of the 1920′s Art Deco movement, the satirical commentaries on poverty and prohibition during the 1930′s and finally the humour oriented cards of the 1950′s.
  • Humour continues to be popular today, as does religious motifs, winter pictures and romantic scenes of times gone by.
  • Today greeting cards are a billion dollar industry and come in all sizes that include singing cards, digital cards and e-cards

Finding the right card or perfect message can be alot of fun and for many people a way to get into the spirit of the holiday season. Happy Holidays everyone!

Do you have a spiritual bucket list?

It’s that time of year again, a time for celebration, and spending time with friends and family. For some, it may also be a time to honor culture or religion. Regardless of your spiritual practice, for many this is a great time for self-reflection and clarifying personal and professional priorities for the New Year.

As the year comes to a close, and I prepare to reflect on this past year, and set my intentions for the New Year, a colleague suggested I consider developing a spiritual bucket list.

What is a spiritual bucket list? When I think of a spiritual bucket list, I think of activities that fuel my personal growth and development, items that help me be a better person, become a better version of myself and to truly live my highest potential. I also imagine things that feed my soul, and focus on my inner vs external development and journey.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “What lies before us and what lies behind us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within out into the world, miracles happen.”

So in the spirit of the holidays, I’m sharing some of the items I came up with for my spiritual bucket list. I intend to use the list as my inspiration over the next 12 months.

1. Visit at least 10 of the sacred/holiest places in the world.
2. Learn to live in the now by living more intentionally.
3. Practice yoga regularly (at least 2x per week).
4. Meditate on a consistent basis (at least 3x per week).
5. Attend a silence/spiritual retreat.
6. Watch an inspirational movie at least once per month.
7. Read an inspirational book at least once per month.
8. Volunteer in my local community for a cause that I am passionate about.
9. Start the lessons in “A Course in Miracles”.
10. Practice compassion with friends, family and strangers.

Perhaps my list will inspire you to develop your own spiritual bucket list, or to at least consider some ways to tap into your highest best self now and always.

3 Massive Mistakes Career Professionals Make

I work with so many career professionals who are frustrated about being passed over for promotion or overlooked when it comes to plum job opportunities. Often they don’t know what they are doing wrong that is keeping them stuck and not realizing their full potential.

So here are the 3 massive mistakes even smart career professionals make and what you can do about it:

Mistake #1: They don’t CELEBRATE themselves!

To celebrate yourself does not mean you are self-serving or even narcissistic. Rather, it means to acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments and to take credit for a job well done. It is important to celebrate your successes and to self-promote yourself. Successful people know how to celebrate and share their wins in a way that gets them noticed. And if you are one of those career professionals who expect their work to speak for itself then expect to be disappointed when the work goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Here are some effective self-promotion strategies you can use:

1. Copy your boss on specific emails that highlight or showcase your successes

2. Keep track of all your successes and accomplishments

3. Make sure you are heard by contributing at least one relevant point in every meeting you attend

4. Look for opportunities to take a leadership role in the workplace

Mistake #2: They lack CONFIDENCE!

To be confident is to feel good about yourself and your abilities. To know what you stand for and why. Not to second guess yourself but rather to be self-assured. To be confident is to feel empowered. Confidence does not mean arrogance or power tripping. Here are some confidence building strategies to consider:

1. Use the power of your voice and the power of your body language

2. Take your place at the meeting room table

3. Network internally and externally

4. Learn from others

Mistake #3: They don’t have a CAREER PLAN!

One of my favorite quotes is: “when you don’t have a clear vision, any road will get you there.” A career plan is a blueprint for success. And in today’s job environment you want to be in charge and in control of your own career. You can no longer rely on your employer to prepare you for your next promotion or job opportunity. The responsibility to perform and to ramp up quickly is left to you the employee and that means you need to approach your career in a very different manner. Here’s the best way to develop your career plan: Get an expert coach to guide and mentor you!

No matter where you are in on your career path currently… at the start of your career or perhaps nearing the end and thinking about retirement – you need a career plan!

5 Lessons Learned Walking The Camino

I’m not sure why I felt so compelled to walk the Camino de Santiago. I do know my determination was reinforced about 6-7 years ago after a friend of mine and her husband hiked it. She described the path as being a spiritual journey of self-discovery, cathartic in every way (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually). It just felt like something I would really enjoy doing and could also benefit from. My natural tendency is to be in a state of “doing” rather than in a state of “being”. Walking “the Camino” is all about the state of “being”. So this past September, the timing seemed just perfect for me to finally walk “the Camino”. The plan was to walk from Ponferrada to Santiago over 10 days, walking about 20-25 km per day. Over the course of 10 days, I had lots of opportunity to cross paths with others on the same trail and I also had plenty of time to just be with myself, alone in thought.

I learned many lessons while walking, many of which are applicable to career and in life. Here are just 5 of the many lessons learned while walking the Camino de Santiago:

1. Keep it simple and be prepared. It seems inevitable and yet how many times have you left things to the last minute, not leaving enough time to be fully prepared only to scramble needlessly? Before I walked “the Camino”, I had a checklist of items to pack, and to purchase for my trip. Because I was travelling with only a backpack and a carryon, I had to be very selective about what I would bring on the trip and what I was willing to carry in my daypack. Every morning, I would prepare for the day by putting baby powder on my feet to avoid blisters, wear the appropriate clothing and pack only what I needed in my daypack. Keeping it simple and being prepared made it easier to focus on my daily walk.

2. You almost always have what you need most. I quickly realized that I was carrying too much in my daypack and that purging was needed. I carefully considered what I absolutely needed. This became a daily ritual. Did I really need a full roll of toilet paper in my backpack? Did I need the whole first aid kit or just a bandage or two? Could I do without the flashlight? Would it rain today? Every day I became more discriminating about what to wear and what to carry. The essentials became quite apparent. It’s amazing how little we need when we become more discerning and clear on the difference between necessary and nice to have. How many “things” are you holding onto that you really don’t need?

3. Stay in the moment. For most of my life, I have been conditioned to be in a state of “doing”. In my corporate career, I was rewarded for planning and taking action, doing stuff, accomplishing things and quite frankly even in my personal life, my “to do” list is a mile long and my sense of worth was and still is tied to how much stuff I get done in a day. So staying in the moment and just enjoying what I was observing, hearing and feeling was foreign to me. But when you are walking for 4-6 hours a day, sometimes on your own with no one to talk to, it becomes much easier to stay in the present moment. To take in all that you are seeing, to notice much more than you otherwise would, to hear the birds, the rustle of leaves, the babbling river, the feeling of your feet on the stones beneath you, or to take in the view and fully immerse yourself in your surroundings, that’s the joy of just “being” with it. This was a new and exciting experience for me. Staying in the moment gave me great clarity and was extremely grounding and centering.

4. Change your perspective. Along the path, the view changes frequently. Sometimes you walk along the highway and it requires you to be more vigilant, sometimes you find yourself in the forest smelling eucalyptus, other times you may walk alongside a river or a well-worn rocky trail, or in a small village or larger town. One minute you are looking uphill and wondering how you will ever make it up that hill and half an hour later you are looking downhill into a valley appreciating how much easier it was than you had ever imagined. The perspective is very different moment to moment. It allows you to appreciate where you’ve come from and where you may be headed without expectation or attachment.

5. Embrace opportunities. There are so many opportunities you don’t even need to look for them; they magically appear in your path. Like the medieval festival in Ponferrada the first night we were there – what a wonderful way to spend our first day in Spain assimilating to the Spanish culture. Or the cafè that landed on my path serving delicious cafè con leche at just the right time I was ready to take a break. Or that amazing massage therapist/reflexologist that happened to reside next door to where I was staying on the day my feet needed it most. The opportunities are everywhere, you simply need to notice them, and then embrace them.

Walking over 200 km of “the Camino” reminded me of the simplicity of life and just how much we strive to make it much more complex than it needs to be. Since being back from my Camino walk, I have vowed to keep things simple, stay more present, and eliminate daily clutter and complexity from my mind and my life. I have everything I need to embrace the opportunities coming my way and to adjust my perspective as the view changes.

How Self Aware Are You?

Self awareness is a key leadership competency which is sometimes undervalued and much overlooked in leadership development. To be self aware means to really know yourself including how you are wired, behavioral traits and preferences, habits, motivations, emotional responses as well as your thought processes. Self aware leaders are introspective and have a really good, conscious sense of self without being self critical. Does this resonate with you?

Take this quiz to see how self aware you really are. For each statement indicate if it is True or False for you. Be honest with yourself!

  • I know why it’s easy for me to connect with some people and not with others
  • I have a great sense of which tasks are easy and enjoyable for me and which ones are just plain drudgery
  • I know how to make the most of my strengths
  • I have a really good understanding of my blind spots and what to do to compensate for them
  • I know how to foster high performance teams
  • I know how to optimize my personal productivity and effectiveness
  • I know how to bring out the best in myself and in others even under stress
  • I have tremendous understanding and impact and influence over others
  • I am able to easily identify behavioral styles others use as well as how to best respond to them appropriately
  • I know where I am vulnerable and prone to excess in using my strengths
  • I am aware of how my preferred behavioral style changes under stress and the impact of that on others
  • Self aware leaders make better leaders

If you answered True for 10 or more of the above statements, congratulations! You are probably very self aware already and likely attracting a great deal of success.

If you answered True for 6 to 9 statements, you probably have some self awareness but could benefit from becoming even more self aware.

If you answered True for less than 6 statements, you could definitely benefit from some increased self awareness through self assessment tools and/or self awareness coaching.

Self aware leaders make better leaders. They have an interpersonal compass that guides them to get the most out of themselves and others. If you are looking to better understand yourself, the best place to start is from the inside. Self assessment tools (like The LIFO® Method) can be highly beneficial in helping you understand how you are wired, how you may be perceived by others, what your blind spots are and how to get the most out of yourself and others.

If you would like to better understand yourself and maximize your personal and professional effectiveness, consider a LIFO® Assessment. Receive a 50% saving when you use LIFO50 at the time of checkout. Here`s the link to register for your LIFO® Assessment, Debrief & Action Planning session now: http://tinyurl.com/LIFO-Assessment