What My Yoga Practice Has Taught Me About Business

By: Charles Edge, Director of Professional Services at JAMF Software

This may sound a little surprising, but yoga and business have a lot in common. Yoga teaches us about depth and focus. But as I’ve yoga can also provide valuable lessons about how to successfully run a business. And not just in regards to emotional IQ. Here are some of the top lessons that I’ve brought to how I do business from my practice.

Make Self-Care a Priority
Running a prosperous business is impossible if you feel down or exhausted. Similarly, a bad mood isn’t good either. If you want your business to thrive, you need to thrive. Yoga teaches you to care for yourself because it is a practice that you do for ‘yourself’. You may have noticed that a lot of times you don’t feel like doing yoga, but when you do it, you’re invariably happy you made that choice. When running a business, always remember to take care of yourself because if you don’t then your business will suffer as well.

Don’t Look at Everyone as your Competition
Everyone in your yoga class has their own yoga practice. There is no point is looking at what others are doing because every pose they do is to bring peace to their mind, not yours. Just because one finds peace in a certain place in a given pose doesn’t mean that you will too. Business is the same; don’t try to do something your competitor is doing. You should do things that make you happy because that is the true path to success!

Set a Certain Goal or Intention
In yoga, we set an intention for our practice. And obviously a business cannot be established without having an intention. Think about your mission, how you want your customers to feel, and what you’d like to accomplish. Have clear answers to all these questions and make sure to communicate that with your partners, clients and the world using social media, as that’s a true message that will resonate.

Find Balance
In yoga, it is important to find balance between challenges, play and restoration. The same goes for business. All work and no play will not get you anywhere as after a while you will start hating your own business. Obviously, this is the last thing you want to feel where a business is concerned. Don’t forget to give your employees flexibility in this same way, as happy and well balanced employees produce better results.

Trust your Gut when it comes to Making Decisions
In yoga, you make your own decisions by going with your gut feeling with each pose and the stress you decide to put your body under for each. You should do the same in business as your body is the best advisor when it comes to making decisions. Not sure about whether you should get into a contract with that client? Listen to your body and figure out what it is telling you to do. The answer is often crystal clear with a little silence.

Take a Deep Breath
One of the most important aspects of a yoga practice is your breathing habits. As Apple recently acknowledged with the addition of the Breathe app, even they are promoting deep breathing. In business, pretty big decisions can be made in less time than it takes to take a deep breath. One of the things I consistently have to learn the hard way is to take a deep breath, or even a few hours, to make a decision. Trust your gut, yes. But that isn’t to say that you shouldn’t think through each issue that arises as thoroughly as required.

Be Real
Being phony and yoga are incompatible. Yoga demands you to be as real as you can be, and that lesson is very important for business. If you aren’t authentic in the business world, people will eventually notice that and that will reduce your ability to impart change, making you less effective and negatively impacting your business.

Be Patient
Patience is a virtue. We hear all the things about patience and try to be mindful and not rush around in life. But it’s more challenging than you might think. Most can’t do a tripod or side crow in their first yoga class. Daily meditations and practice help to keep you mindful and keep your expectations in check. Because matching expectations and needs with timing are the key to properly planning the future of your businesses.

Innovate the Things
Innovation is necessary in todays changing business climate. Yoga is about training your body to consistently do the poses that have been handed down to us through history. But it’s also about coming up with new techniques to help you get grounded. This might be throwing a little changeup into a Sun Salutation or it might be introducing a new option or feature for customers that surprises and delights existing customers and makes it easier to source new customers.

Push Your Limits
You need patience, but you also need to push your limits where appropriate. In yoga, this means stretching a certain muscle just a little bit more each session, getting better at a pose, getting straighter, deepening a stance. In business, this means going after a slightly larger customer, creating stretch goals, and striving to always be better.

Empathize with Others
Leadership in yoga is instructing. And when you’re instructing it’s important to look around the room and be cognizant of where each person is at in their practice, and inspire your students to keep getting better. Provide gentle reminders to stay within limits, not constantly look around and push harder because the person next to you is better at a certain pose than others, and be willing to change out the plan based on the students in the room. In business, a critical aspect of leadership is to look around your organization and push the boundaries, but not so far that you instill a sense of fear or overwhelm those around you.

And here’s a bonus lesson! Keep going. Perseverance. Patience is one thing, but the ability to keep going, week after week and year after year, to inspire consistently rather than in fits and spurts, and survive the lulls that invariably come over time, that is perseverance. And that is what keeps you going through the good times and the bad.
Follow Charles Edge on Twitter: www.twitter.com/cedge318

The Corporate Vortex: We’re Not in Sedona Anymore

downtown-minneapolis-skyline-from-marquette

I recently went back to Corporate America. No, I’m not giving up my writing (obviously), but it was time to move forward with a new experience.

Over the past five years I’ve immersed myself in teaching, writing and speaking about how to create a workplace where people are energized, feel good and are happy. And how to create a work-life people love. Through my books and writings I’ve gained a reputation as the “energy girl” who pushes the envelope with discussion topics like spirituality, meditation and mindfulness at work. Now it’s time to live it–an author is only as good as the sum of their experiences.

Since jumping back into the corporate vortex (that is certainly not Sedona, AZ) here’s what I’ve learned. “Living it” is fucking hard! You can read, write and practice mindfulness techniques sunrise to sunset, but at the end of the day living it is far from easy.

I have found myself becoming my own worst client–unexplained depression, exhaustion, no time for self and a spinning mind that replays people’s perceptions of me and my performance. I don’t tell anyone this–it’s my little secret. On the outside I look like a professional confident woman people look up to. How little they know. Oh, and I automatically gained 10 lbs! How did that happen? Yep, cafeteria food, long hours at my desk, no time to workout and lack of sleep. Hell, I’m living the American dream!

Last week I had a “come to Jesus, come to Buddha moment”. A friend of mine so generously held up a mirror and said, “Wake the fuck up!” Okay, he was a bit more polished than that, but I heard, “Wake the fuck up!”.

Simply put, he reminded me that I had it all backwards. I’ve been giving all my energy, “my all” to this company and giving nothing to myself. (Now listen up, this is key…) I’ve been fitting my entire life into my corporate job rather than fitting my corporate job into my life. So much so, that for the past four months I’ve literally given up everything that I love–everything that makes my soul sing. For god sakes, I even gave up writing!

I’m not going to pretend that after one conversation I’m fixed and have all the answers. On the contrary… I’ve just begun my journey forward, and I have no doubt that every step forward will be a lesson that we’ll all learn from together (because I’m going to write about it).

You see, I’m on a mission. Together, we’re going to crack this nut! We’re going to figure out how to live as healthy well-balanced spiritual beings in a corporate world that’s anything but balanced or spiritual. We’re going to learn how to master mindfulness in the workplace and reclaim our calm–reclaim our life!

Lesson 1: My personal mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of humanity by making the power of good the driving force in business throughout the world. The “power of good” won’t come from forcing change in corporate process and operating models. The power of good will happen when we all figure out how to live as healthy well-balanced spiritual beings in a corporate vortex that is anything but spiritual and well-balanced.

Bring it on Universe! We’re ready.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

3 Ways to Increase Employee Engagement

Published By: David Fralinger                                                  

Have a nagging suspicion your employees are a bit disillusioned? Disenchanted? Just plain bored? They may be suffering from acute employee disengagement, and they’re not alone.

In fact, recent Gallup polling has identified an estimated 30 percent or less of the US workforce as actively engaged in their work—a dismal reality for employers concerned with innovation and productivity.

The cold hard truth? If your workers are disengaged, your company’s losing money.

Engaged employees feel a passionate connection to their company’s mission and values—a connection that compels them to innovate, problem-solve and think outside the cubicle. Increasing employee engagement is not only desirable, but absolutely necessary to maximize productivity and bolster morale within your company.

So what are some ways you can wrangle your workers away from their Instagram pages and into your office infrastructure? Industry expert, Gina Soleil, sheds some light on specific strategies that promote engagement and foster employee trust.

Untitled picture peacock

Expert: Gina Soleil
Site: GINASOLEIL.COM

 

Soleil believes openness and transparency are vital components for increasing employee engagement. She views transparency as “choosing to convey the truth in it’s entirety, absent of any PR Spin,” and openness as “the willingness to become vulnerable and exercise courage by sharing the truth with the masses—because it’s the right thing to do. In other words, honesty is the best (corporate) policy.

“When done right, key messaging is not only 100% truthful, but gains loyal support from employees because people feel trusted and believe the business has their best interest in mind. If employees have a gut feeling that information is missing, or incorrect information is being communicated, they’ll fill in the blanks. If that happens (and it will), a business then will have to manage misinformation, gossip and employee fear.”

Be honest with your workers. Once lost, employee trust can be difficult to restore, and a persisting lack of trust promotes a culture of discomfort. Infuse your key messages and virtual communications with Soleil’s transparency and openness.

Untitled picture 3 stooges                                                                          Source: Dilbert.com

Avoid the mutiny. Tell the truth.

Still unclear on how to foster that feeling of solidarity and motivation in your office? Soleil has you covered. She’s crafted a practical check list that can help you create an engaging environment for your employees.

1: Executive sponsorship: A culture of openness and transparency starts at the top. You’re the leader of your office, so don’t neglect to lead by example.

2: Have a strong communication plan: A strong internal communication plan “becomes the check and balance of truth and integrity,” says Soleil. She recommends designing your intranet as a core vehicle with the intention of “communicating truthful information that impacts employees, the community (local and global), and the earth.”

3: Employee Involvement: Your workers want to feel relevant. Without a sense of inclusion, their motivation dwindles. Soleil recommends creating employee-based intranet communication teams that generate video content, post content, interview employees, etc. “The overall goal,” she says, “is to support employees in their quest to make the intranet ‘their space.’”

In today’s high-speed environment, enduring employee engagement is critical. Harnessing the communicative power of your company’s intranet, and applying Soleil’s strategies for increased openness and transparency with help you engage every member of your team—persuading them to abandon their status updates and rejoin the social community you’ve created.

Untitled picture chickenSource: http://www.agentinengagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Maslows-Hierarchy-and-Employee-Engagement.jpg

 

About Gina Soleil:

Gina Soleil is known for her fresh new approach to business. For nearly two decades, she has been leading teams through transformational change within Fortune 500 and 1000 companies. Today, she is a published author of Fuel Your Business: How to Energize People, Ignite Action and Drive Profits, blogs for Huffington Post, and is a speaker, coach, energy practitioner, artist and business owner. Her expertise is creating a workplace where people are energized, feel good and are happy—and demonstrating how to create a work life they’ll love. Soleil lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Visit GINASOLEIL.COM and follow her on twitter @GinaSoleilWorld.

How to Make Love in the Boardroom

redefining-love-work-foster-sense-connectionPeople are looking everywhere for ways to feel valued and appreciated. We want to be surrounded by other people who are mindful of our needs in a way that says, “I hear you.” We want to be in the presence of other people who joyfully give us the freedom to be authentic and walk in our truth. We want to feel honored by other human beings with acts of integrity and compassion. We want our creative expression to be celebrated and recognized by others, to be forgiven easily without judgment, and to have other people take responsibility for their own actions. To sum it up in one sentence, in our personal lives we say, “I want to be loved.”

In business we don’t call it love. Oh no, that wouldn’t be politically correct. The word love may not go over well in the boardroom. Heaven forbid we use a word that might make people feel uncomfortable. Ironically, the very thing that makes people feel uncomfortable is the exact thing every human being in business is looking for from their leader and company. Rather, in business we call love “engagement”. You see, when people feel loved they want to give love. In business, we call this exchange of love “discretionary energy”—and this discretionary energy is evaporating from business faster than the speed of light.

Today people feel the void of love more than ever, and most businesses have yet to acknowledge the reality that the only way to have an engaged culture is to have leaders who show-up and live high-character values. Values that include: mindfulness, compassion, forgiveness, integrity, and responsibility. In other words, having leaders who are able to show acts of love. It’s only then that people will become fully engaged and the business can create a high-performing culture.

What gets in the way of leaders being able to show acts of love?  Fear of becoming vulnerable.

Vulnerability is the magic ingredient to showing acts of love and receiving the love that others show. Not only is vulnerability the magic ingredient, it’s the hardest thing for a business to attain because it requires not intellect but heart. Vulnerability is the willingness to do something without a guaranteed result, having the courage to be imperfect, having the ability to be kind to ourselves first, and believing that the things that make you most susceptible and weak to the world are what make you most beautiful. The key to joy, love, and happiness is vulnerability.

In business, vulnerability is overshadowed by fear and shame. As a means of survival and protection from fear and shame people have become experts in denial. We pretend things that are uncertain are, in fact, certain; we pretend we are what we’re not; we put ourselves on a conquest to prefect our existence. All the while, at the core of our human nature, we want to be vulnerable and feel connected. We want to feel loved.

Together, vulnerability and living high-character values is the way forward in business—it’s the solution to employee engagement. Vulnerability is the only way people feel loved, and living high-character values is how love is shown. That said,vulnerability always follows character–it will never happen the other way around. When leaders show up living high-character values, exhibiting acts of love, the culture begins to feel safe. When a culture feels safe people are willing to let their guard down, become vulnerable and give love right back to the business.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profits. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil at ginasoleil.com and follow her on Twitter.

Workplace Stress: The Health Epidemic of the 21st Century

Stress has been called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization and is estimated to cost American businesses up to $300 billion a year. – businessnewsdaily.com

4471686868_d8c256d94f_zIt’s no surprise that workplace stress is a bigger problem today than even 10-years ago. In the 1990’s the term work-life balance was coined to describe the solution for being able to “have it all” and manage it with ease. Time management courses popped up all over Corporate America in effort to help people balance their family, career, health and social life; promising a golden solution via setting priorities, maintaining a schedule and creating time boundaries. People everywhere jumped at the chance to bring solace to their life by way of this new buzzword, but rather than balance many found themselves taking on more and feeling greater pressure to perform better in all areas of their life. The result…more stress.

In the early 2000’s, the phrase smart-hard work surfaced due to 80 million Millennials (those reaching young adulthood around the year 2000) entering the workforce. Smart-hard work was the business solution for accommodating the Millennial characteristic of performing at higher levels when able to work around the clock–on their own time in their own way. The concept of smart-hard work came on the coattails of ROWE (results only work environment). ROWE was Corporate America’s response to the early 2000’s push for a more engaged workforce–measuring people’s performance based on results rather than time in the office. Corporate’s motive for participating in ROWE was increased engagement–a quantifiable link to profit. Both smart-hard work and ROWE was yet another promise to employees that work-life balance was finally within reach. However, rather than balance, people found themselves yet again taking on greater levels of responsibility and feeling increasingly more stressed.

As the 2000’s progressed, two seemly catastrophic occurrences hit Corporate America. The first being the great recession. In 2008 and 2009 the US labor market lost 8.4 million jobs. Throughout the country the corporate mantra became “Do More with Less”. Those who were still employed found themselves working around the clock in effort to keep up with business demands that required them to take on the responsibility of two or three jobs–resulting in dismal cultures and workplace stress levels hitting an all time high.

The second occurrence was the rise of technical advances. New smartphones, tablets, aps and sophisticated enterprise wide systems promised cost savings, efficiency and finally work-life balance via the connected world. Doing more with less was now possible with a click of a button, but yet workplace stress continued to rise. People found themselves connected to their work 24/7 while a new societal addiction crept into homes and businesses throughout the country. As people spent more time with their heads down looking at their phones, checking email and texting around the clock, online gaming, and living through social media their lives shifted to overload and interpersonal relationships suffered. Work-life balance continued to feel like a pipe dream.

In 2013 Gallup announced 70% of the American workforce was disengaged, and the World Health Organization estimated workplace stress costing American businesses up to $300 billion a year. As we welcome 2016, both statistics are a harsh reality and each continue to rise. So much so that stress has been called the “health epidemic of the 21st century” by the World Health Organization. An epidemic that will be one of the most significant challenges businesses face over the next decade–a threat to engagement, productivity, retention and looming health care costs.

To combat the stress epidemic businesses and schools alike will need to start teaching stress reduction skills such as mindfulness and meditation–skills that are proven to reduce anxiety and stress and increase focus and resiliency (Harvard Health Publications).The reality is that the stress factors of today’s work-life will continue to increase. Chaos will continue to surface. And progression guarantees new challenges that will no doubt contribute to engagement dilemmas and continued workplace stress. The solution is to help the American workforce attain a calm state of being and reach true work-life balance.

Although introduced in the 1990’s, work-life balance is needed more today than in the past 30-years. For the sake of both human health and business productivity, we need businesses throughout the nation to actively support people in their effort to reduce stress and find a healthy “balance” in their lives. That said, the definition of work-life balance has evolved. As once believed, it’s not attained through external factors (work schedules, technology, process, policies, etc.), it’s an internal state of being. True work-life balance is a calm mind and body that allows someone to navigate decisions and challenges, honor their personal values, show compassion for others and perform at optimal levels with joy and ease. 

For businesses, this means meditation training will need to be included in leadership programs and executive coaching. Mindfulness will need to be part of team meetings, incorporated into value systems and taught to employees at all levels. Environments, schedules and cultural norms will need to reflect compassion and kindness, and opportunities for people to “get away” and relax will need to be readily available far beyond what can be found in corporations today. Employee health will need to be owned and supported by every executive throughout the business.

In order to overcome the health epidemic of the 21st century, Corporate America needs to turn its attention back toward helping people finally achieve true work-life balance. It’s then and only then that the United States will begin to win the battle on workplace stress, collectively improve engagement and achieve a workforce that’s healthy enough to move our nation forward.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48276340@N06/”>Daryl Cauchi</a> via <a href=”http://foter.com/”>Foter.com</a> / <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>CC BY-NC-ND</a>

 

THE REAL STORY: Why Transparency in Business is Important

images (4)Are you transparent at all costs?

From e-mails to texts to the intranet, people are writing and reading 24/7. Writing is a great art and privilege. People rely on the written language for everything. It’s how we communicate messages, transfer information, gain alignment, and stay connected. That being said, “You can’t believe everything you read” is a statement that holds true in many businesses. To fuel healthy energy, you need to make sure that the messages being written in your business are transparent, and free from deceit, manipulation, and lies. If the words you’re choosing do not deliver a clean message, the whole story, and a positive intent, people will sense deceit a mile away. When they do, your business throws trust right out the window, and the toxic energy those words create will destroy the productivity of your business. People will go from wanting to work for you, to having to force themselves to show up and do the bare minimum just to get paid. No one wants to do anything for someone who uses deceit to manipulate their actions. You need to ensure that your business is not using the art of writing as a form of manipulation. It happens more than you think, especially when the financial stakes appear high.

Transparency is the bridge between truth and clarity, and it’s the action that keeps a business honest. Transparency is how a business delivers the whole story and presents all the details. Transparency is the living action of truth. You might be thinking, A business can’t always be transparent. Spin it however you want from a business leader’s point of view:

We don’t want too much information getting out. If all the information came out it would be detrimental to revenue and profits, and our stock would go down.

We don’t want to rock the boat and harm performance.

We don’t want to take people’s focus away from what they really need to be doing.

They don’t need to know all that information to do their job.

They can’t handle the truth!

Here’s the deal: The truth is going to come out sooner or later. All the information will reveal itself, whether you want it to or not. If you’re not transparent, the truth will start as gossip, and people will take the gossip as truth because that’s the only “information” they have to hang onto. A leader may break under pressure and share everything with a line-level friend, and that line-level friend will share her version of the truth with everyone else. Before you know it the news has spread like wildfire. Now the business has to spend hours fixing, smoothing over, and making excuses for why it wasn’t transparent to begin with; not to mention the effort that now has to go into rebuilding trust rather than nurturing the trust that already exists. Rebuilding is always more costly than maintenance.

As a business leader, you have choice. You can choose to be transparent by delivering truth and clarity with conviction, or you can you choose to only deliver a partial message that causes confusion and emotional turmoil. For every leader there is a defining moment: Someone will ask you to withhold the whole story. If you do, the people in your business will see you as a liar. I get it; you’re in a high-profile business, and some very important people who make six or seven figures are telling you to “Keep it a secret. Don’t show anyone. For your eyes only—and only while you’re in the club of leadership.” I get your reality, but here’s the deal: If you choose to continue the dysfunction by not sharing the whole story, you are a liar. That personal label never feels good, and it’s incredibly difficult to get rid of.

If you’re not being transparent, you can’t justify being frustrated that people aren’t doing what the business needs them to do. That’s like inviting someone to a meeting, not telling them the room number or time, and then getting upset because they didn’t show up. When someone has clarity because he inherently knows that he’s being told the whole story, he’s motivated to move the business forward.

Let’s take it a step further. When was the last time you were excited, motivated, and inspired to do something nice for someone who was deceitful and manipulative to you? When was the last time you walked up to your significant other or friend and said, “I really wish you we’re a complete liar. That’s the type of person I want to be around. That’s the type of person I want to give my all to. That’s the type of person who gives me energy.” Yeah, the green kind that comes in the form of slime. Yuck! If you think this is harsh, you’re right, it is. And it needs to be, because it’s the truth. It’s the whole story that no one wants to talk about. Or it’s talked about, but we don’t allow it to get personal. We justify it by saying “It’s my job.” No, it’s not. It’s called leadership dysfunction at its best.

We convenience ourselves that being a liar is okay as long as we’re getting paid to do it. The more we get paid, the more we’re asked to lie. The more we lie, the more toxic energy gets dumped into the business. You and everyone one else in the business are now caught in a cycle of perpetual deceit that generates enough destructive energy that your whole body feels like it’s stuck in cement and you can’t move anywhere—certainly not forward. Yet we still go back to justifying it. Hell, we even feel important when we make it to the top and get to be one of the few people who not only know the whole story but also get to lie about it. When you look at it from the perspective of being in a personal relationship, you know it’s sick, demented, and wrong.

Just thinking about being on the other side of deception is enough to give anyone anxiety and heartache. Think about the last time you were lied to, the last time you were impacted by someone who chose not be transparent and give you the whole story. Do you remember the feeling of heaviness? Can you feel it now just thinking about it? That heaviness you’re feeling is the toxic energy that lives in a business when the business is unhealthy. It’s the same heaviness that every person, from the part-time janitor to the CEO, gets to carry when the business chooses to withhold truth. It’s the heaviness that businesses are asking leaders at all levels to deliver to the rest of the people in the business. Congratulations—you’ve made it to the top. Now the question is, do you have the courage to change it?

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Email Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Thank You Encourage Her Network

1781883_881815898573092_4300827763038315812_nI spoke at the Encourage Her Network- Encouraging women in life, family, and business! Signature event on Monday. Thank you Shannon Johnson for giving me the opportunity to be in the presence of such an amazing group of women!

I invite you all to check out Shannon’s Encourage Her Magazine. This girl is worth keeping tabs on; she’s changing the world one woman at a time. Keep shinning!

Author, speaker & coach, Gina Soleil is acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy.  Visit Gina Soleil  and follow her on Twitter.

True Leadership: Courageous, Compassionate and Vulnerable

flower-in-cement-smallest-blog-nymucdLet me start by saying, “You are a leader.” It doesn’t matter where you sit, what your title is, if you have people reporting to you or how much you’re being paid. Maybe you’re part-time Joe cleaning the toilets, or maybe you’re sitting in a cubical wondering if anyone knows you exist. It doesn’t matter the box you think people put you in, or the box you put yourself in; you are a leader. And there is no one person who is better or more important than you.

Our society has created an industry of “leadership development” with fancy rules and sophisticated terminology one must know in order to be a great leader. In businesses of any size, the word leadership often separates those “who have arrived” from those “who have a way to go”; creating a perception that those in leadership are special. In fact, there are special meetings for these special people, and these special people get special perks. One of which is special training on how to be a great leader. And if you’re really special, you get to even sit in mahogany row with a window.

Let me break the news to you…true leadership is not granted by special made up rules created by someone higher-up in a business. Many people sitting at the top are not leaders at all. Yes, they may be management. They may have been given authority, title and money to run a portion of the business. And they may have participated in hours of leadership development courses in order to help them become a great leader. None of which makes them a leader. These fancy privileges will never cultivate the authenticity, vulnerability and courage exercised by a true leader. In fact, these special privileges, driven by our society’s ego, are often the very thing getting in the way of true leadership.

We all have a true leader within us. Wherever you are in this moment, scrubbing floors or sitting in mahogany row, you can make a choice to exercise your true leader within to change a business, your life or the world. Your energy, intent and actions have tremendous power, and when fueled in a specific direction with courage, compassion and love that power can overcome and accomplish what is perceived as the impossible. Be careful, some of you are thinking, “You can’t run a business on courage, compassion and love alone.” You’re right, you can’t. That’s what management practices and processes are for. Don’t confuse them.

True leadership is having the courage to stand up and walk toward your fear in order to make your life and the life of others better. It’s having the strength to accept yourself exactly as you are, messy and full of baggage, in order to help others gain the strength to accept and value themselves exactly as they are. True leadership comes in our moments of vulnerability. It’s in our moments of vulnerability that we stop long enough to see the people in front of us as human beings–beautiful human beings that together have the collective strength to change the world.

You are a leader. No books, buzz words or special perks needed. Today, make a choice to stand up and walk toward your fear of vulnerability. Accept and love yourself exactly as you are–beautiful, strong and full of life accomplishing ability. Then be a true leader and reach your hand to someone who needs help seeing their strength and beauty. In that moment, as one, walk forward to accomplish the impossible.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

Leadership Transparency: How to Show the World You’re Human

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Great leaders understand the power in human-connectivity and the importance of personal transparency.

Leadership transparency is about showing up to the workplace authentically and allowing people to see that you’re human. It’s about connecting with people on a personal level and having courage to become vulnerable. Leaders who value personal transparency show people they care through both words and actions, and they clearly understand that leadership effectiveness comes not from “driving numbers”, but from having strong one-on-one relationships with the people on their team and throughout the business.

Leaders who are transparent are liked and respected by all; generating a following of people who want to work for them no matter what area of the business they’re leading. People want to know their leaders are human. In fact, the perception of leaders not being human is incredibly harmful to the business, because people only connect to other people who show their vulnerability and have a genuine desire to be in authentic relationships.

If you have leaders in your business choosing to avoid transparency and human-connectivity, they’re fueling your business with toxic energy. No one wants to follow a leader who chooses to not show people they care. If they do, it’s out of fear, and they will leave that leader as fast as possible and never look back. In the meantime, performance and engagement will be a constant uphill battle that’s impossible to win.

Moral to the story… If you’re a leader, take off the mask and show the world you’re human. Your team and the business will thank you for it.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.

How to Live the Good Life: It’s easier than you think.

GoodLifeBannerB

Do you ever have those days when you feel like you have all your collective shit together? A rarity, I know. It feels great. You’re calm, relaxed, able to maintain a positive perspective, and even have a smile on your face as you walk through the office or down the street. It’s in these moments life is good.

The reality is that for most people days of calm and relaxation are few and far between. Half the time you’re running from one thing to the next while trying to eat breakfast, send off a last-minute email and chase the dog back into the house–at the same time and before 8:00 a.m. I’ve even been known to race my daughter to the bus while putting my shoes on as I run down the sidewalk–barely making it because I couldn’t wake up at 4:00 a.m. to get everything done! I haven’t even addressed the insanity that happens for most people after 8:00 a.m. So why do we continue to subject ourselves to days of insanity? Is it even possible for us to feel consistently relaxed and together in our modern-day age of hectic schedules and 24/7 connectivity?

I have good news. The answer is yes. It’s all about choice. And before you roll your eyes and say, “Yeah, right.” Choose to stop for a moment and think about this…

The Power of Choice
Fr. Norbert Weber

The power of choice is real.

We can . . .Choose to love–rather than hate.
Choose to smile–rather than frown.
Choose to build–rather than destroy.
Choose to persevere–rather than quit.
Choose to praise–rather than gossip.
Choose to heal–rather than wound.
Choose to give–rather than grasp.
Choose to act–rather than delay.
Choose to pray–rather than despair.
Choose to forgive–rather than curse.

Each morning, you have the power of choice. The most profound choice in our modern-day age is the choice to stop. You have the choice to stop, slow down and live in a state of calm. Yes, your life may feel like a constant hurricane or tornado, but you have the choice to exist in the eye of the storm. How do you stop when you’re already feeling out of control? Here are just a few additions to Fr. Norbert Weber’s already brilliant list…

Choose to say no to work, volunteering and enabling an energetically unhealthy person–rather than saying no to yourself
Choose to put away your phone, stop replying to text, looking at Facebook and answering email–rather than disappointing a child, pet, friend or your spouse
Choose to set time boundaries–rather than being on call 24/7
Choose to look up at the sky and in someone’s eyes–rather than racing to the next activity
Choose to do what you love–rather than doing what you loath

You have choice. When I ask people, “Do you ever have those days when you feel like you have all your collective shit together? Days when you’re calm, relaxed and able to maintain a positive perspective? Days when you have a smile on your face as you walk through the office or down the street? Days when you feel life is good?” The response I get is this, “Yeah, but it’s usually when I don’t have a lot going on.” Maybe it’s time you choose to stop and make the good life an everyday reality.

Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.