In the Streets of Sofia, Bulgaria

I’m sitting in the streets of Sofia, Bulgaria. A European city filled with hidden gems and almost a feel of Barcelona, Spain…but not quite.

This morning I’m finding refuge and laughter in one place where everyone speaks a universal language and shares the same love for a modern vice…Starbucks! I adore immersing myself in foreign cultures, but for whatever reason this Cafe Americano tastes so good.

My lesson this morning is unity through commonality. It doesn’t matter where you are, you can always find commonality with the person or people that surround you. You just have to stop and get curious to find it; when you do unity is inevitable (if even for just a moment).

Today, get curious about the people around you, and find refuge and laughter in the one commonality you share. You may be surprised on how this moment of unity can heal even the most tumultuous relationships.

Turn Around And See All The People

I was asked by a client today, “Why do so many companies have problems with engagement?” 87% of US employees are disengaged to be exact.

It’s not rocket science… It’s because most leaders are faced in the wrong direction. Spending so much time appeasing “higher-ups”, Wall Street and making sure that the lastest initiative gets launched that they forget to turn around and see all the people….people who are the bread and butter to the company. Without people you have nothing.

The sure fire engagement strategy is simple. Every executive needs to model a “people first” management philosophy. Walk around and talk to people, care about them and recognize their value. If you’re thinking you don’t have time for this…then you don’t have time to be a leader and should take up a new individual contributor role. Harsh but true.

Today make your top priority taking Suzi out for a coffee to tell her how valuable she is to you and the company. Then everyday after that take a different employee out for coffee and tell them the same thing. Before you know it, I guarantee you’ll have higher engagement, greater profits and happier customers.

The Boomerang Effect

What you put into the world comes right back to you in strength. Be kind to your team and colleagues and they will be kind to you. Show respect and they will respect you. The Universe runs on a system of equal exchange. If you want engagement, performance, appreciation or loyalty from others, you must first take time to invest in them as a human being. There is no other way. So before you jump into fancy million dollar strategies…ask yourself, “How are my actions creating the current environment? How can I show up differently to inspire a different result?” It all comes back to you.

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.

You’re Bloody Brilliant

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In case someone hasn’t already told you, let me just say, “You are brilliant.” In fact, you are the most brilliant person in your life. You are so smart that you have the ability to answer any life question, accomplish anything you put your mind to, and your ideas are so phenomenal they have the ability to inspire and motivate everyone around you to be better and more self-confident. Without a doubt, you are brilliant.

Now here’s the reality, you may not feel brilliant or that your ideas are phenomenal. In fact, you may feel the exact opposite. You see, our society, especially Corporate America, has taught us the art of self-degradation. In fact, most people have become so good at the art form they literally insult and condemn themselves out loud in order to save themselves from public shame and humiliation. People think things like, If I tell everyone how stupid I am right now someone may think it’s funny. They might even respond by telling me how smart I am–that will make me feel better. And then people might not think I’m so stupid. Reverse psychology at its best.

Here’s the deal: most people have been doing this self-degradation thing for years–some, since they were born. What you may not know is that self-degradation is a form of mental programing. The psychology is simple: the human mind will believe what is heard repeatedly as truth. In other words, keep telling yourself you’re stupid and you will believe you’re stupid. Tell a child, or a young adult they’re stupid and they will believe it for life. I don’t know about you, but I want to live in a society where I am surrounded by brilliance not stupidity. Moral to the story: be respectful when you’re talking to yourself, and show compassion when you’re talking to others.

Today, make the choice to acknowledge your brilliance as truth. It doesn’t matter your IQ score, how far up the corporate ladder you’ve climbed, or what anyone else has told you in this life–you are brilliant. It’s now time to put your head up, stand tall and walk forward in this truth. And when you’re walking forward, and someone chooses not to acknowledge your brilliance, simply say, “I’m bloody brilliant”.

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 get someone to say, “I love my job.”

I-love-my-job_employee-engagementI’ve seen my share of employee engagement programs. The best programs are those that show people they are valued, cared for and appreciated by the business and its leaders–programs that have people saying, “I love my job.” These are two of my favorite programs. Hats off to the fearless businesses that choose to put people first!

1.  Internal Humanity Budgets

Internal humanity budgets are funds that provide leaders with the ability to take care of the people on their team during times of need. These are funds that someone in need can receive similar to the way a grant works—no strings attached. Example scenarios include someone finding out he is losing his house due to circumstances out of his control. Another example might be someone needing to put food on the table after finding out her child has terminal cancer. A humanity budget is designed to take care of the basic human needs of the people inside the business.

It’s important not to make this complicated. The minute red tape gets involved, humanity budgets will become tainted with bad energy and complicated to disperse. The perceived hassle will automatically give leaders amnesia—they won’t remember the budgets exist at all. So make it simple. Make it one lump sum per leader. Make the budgets known to everyone in the business. Don’t micromanage it, and step away from the red tape. This is an exercise of trust, compassion, and freedom.

2.  Community Barter Sites

A community barter site is an online program that allows people to confidentially request help in times of need, for themselves or for other people inside the business. The site is barter only, and allows everyone in the business to confidentially respond to the needs of others. Again, no strings attached. Barter items may include groceries, clothing, and school supplies. The intent of the initiative is to give people in the business a vehicle by which to help take care of one another when people need help the most. The confidentiality of the program makes it safe for people to participate without shame or guilt.

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.

3 Fast Ways to “Destress” and Feel Human Again

adt-womanLet’s face it people, life is tough, and trying to remain calm and grounded feels virtually impossible among the day-to-day craziness we call “life”. In fact, life can get so out-of-control that at times you may not even feel human. You don’t know what you feel, but it’s definitely not human.

If you’re someone like me and the rest of the world, who needs a little assistance reclaiming your calm, here are three of the fastest ways to destress and feel human again. That said, here’s the deal: you need to commit to the process for a month. And the process includes all three steps. If you make the commitment, I personally guarantee you’ll feel better–more grounded, calm and back in the driver’s seat of your life.

Here are 3 Fast Ways to “Destress” and Feel Human Again:

1.  Morning Pages:
Each morning, before you do anything, write three pages of constant-stream-of-thought. The concept behind morning pages is that we subconsciously house damaging thoughts that we carry with us everyday. These thoughts block us from attaining our goals, feeling good, and being our best selves. When we write our thoughts immediately in the morning we allow ourselves to literally dump any and all negativity into the trash where it belongs–allowing us to be free and clear from the potential blocks preventing us from attaining our goals.

Important Note: Do not read your morning pages—at all. Many people choose to burn their pages at the end of 30-days, or simply toss them in the trash as a form of release. You may choose what to do with your morning pages,, but what’s important is that you do not read them during this experience. Think about it…. would you dig through the trash to eat something you threw out days ago? Why would you want to put those thoughts back into your head?

2.  Creativity Outing:
Your mind, body and soul is in need of a weekly dose of solitude and reward. The world is filled with noise that cloud our thoughts with fear and judgment; preventing us from remaining grounded, confident and clear about who we are and where we’re going. During the creativity outing you are literally cleansing yourself from negative outside influences. Humans are meant to create. When we create, we feel free. I don’t care if you go to a pond and line-up sticks, or decide to be a painter–what you do during the outing is your choice. That said, there are 4 rules:

  • You must be alone (no friends, no dates)
  • You must choose to do something creative outside your “normal” existence
  • You must be on your outing for a minimum of 2-hours
  • No technology

3.  Gratitude Reflection:  
The fastest way to get the results you want is by showing gratitude. It’s proven: what you put into the world is exactly what you will get back. Einstein himself, intentionally said thank you 90-times a day because he knew the Universe would reward him in beautiful ways for simply choosing to be grateful for the things already in his life. Every day, you are asked to write down 10 things you are grateful for. It’s amazing. When you actually stop long enough to be grateful for the life you have, your mind is able to find its calm and relax.

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.

Creating Ethical Cultures in Business

Do you have the courage to stand up for what is right? When you’re faced with a situation that you know is wrong, do you speak up? Or, do walk away and allow deceit and manipulation to flourish? The next time you catch yourself thinking, “Someone should do something.” Remember, that someone is you.

Thank you, Brooke Deterline, for sharing this message with the world.

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 a Happier Life

Imagine_A_Happier_You_logoIf you’re not happy, there’s a 99% chance your life doesn’t align with your values.

What are values anyway?  Values are how we name what we find important in life and what gives us energy. Like the flour and eggs that help a cake become a cake, aligning your life to your values help you become a happy and balanced person.  Values are the ingredients that make the best you.

What are your values?  Be careful… I didn’t ask you for your parent’s values, the values of the business you work for, or the values of any other influence in your life. Many people fall into the trap of aligning their life to the values of something or somebody else due to their fear of judgement and disappointment–one day turning around and saying, “Why am I not happy?”

Today, make a choice to be happy. Choose to align your life with what YOU value and what gives YOU energy. You most likely won’t be able to align your entire life to your values overnight, but even the most subtle shift can have a profound affect on the state of your happiness.

Here’s how to start living a happier life:

Take a look at this list of values, and choose the top 10 values that jump out at you. These are the values that you instinctually know are important to you. Once you have your list, then narrow it down to your top-five values. To do so, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What moment has been the highlight of your life? Describe it. Why was it a highlight? Who was there? What did the environment look like, feel like, sound like? What words were spoken or written? How did you feel, and why? What value(s) was being respected or honored? 
  2. Describe a moment when you have felt wronged. Who or what wronged you? What did the environment look like, feel like, sound like when it happened? What words were spoken or written? How did you feel, and why? What value(s) was being disrespected or hurt?

It’s the values that were respected and honored, or disrespected and hurt, that are the most important to you. These values should be in your top-five list. Your emotional experiences are always the window to what’s most important to you. 

Lastly, look at your top-five list and ask yourself, “Are my current life choices aligned with my values 100%?” If not, start brainstorming all the different ways you could shift your life in order to honor your values. Skies the limit! This is your happiness we’re talking about. Don’t cheat yourself–shoot for the moon.  Now choose one idea and bring it to life.

Don’t stop there…. everyday make one shift, until one day you turn around and say, “Wow, I’m happy.”

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 Make a Leader Better, Stronger and More Inspiring

argentina_flag_by_chokorettomilkku-d7idrpsIf you want a leader to change; to become more authentic, compassionate and kind, send them on a mission trip. If you want a leader to become better, stronger and more inspiring, send them to a place where the culture is rich in respect for humanity and the Earth. 

One of the greatest life-changing experiences I’ve had to date was when I went on a two-week mission trip to Argentina, from Buenos Aires to Patagonia to Iguazu Falls. Argentina is not a wealthy country. It was at one time, but the country has suffered great economic hardship, and many people are still living in poverty. And yet, as a visitor, you would never know that was the case. Every person with whom I came in contact had a sense of life inside him or her that I had never seen before. I could look into people’s eyes and instantly see and feel how much gratitude, appreciation, and love they had inside them. The people I talked with listened, asked questions, and cared enough to keep the conversation going, even though we didn’t even understand the words that were coming out of our mouths. In fact, many conversations ended up with both of us just laughing, because we had no clue what was going on.

When the trip ended, we cried. In two weeks amazing friendships had formed and no one wanted to leave each other. But we said our goodbyes, and in that moment I realized I was actually saying goodbye to who I was and hello to someone new. You see, here’s what happened on that trip: When I looked into the eyes of these people who had nothing, I saw people who had everything. I saw life. And I realized that they were no different from anyone else I knew; I was the person who was different. For two weeks I was immersed in a life without materialistic items, status, or money—those distractions were gone. I lived simply, because I didn’t have a choice to live otherwise. And with everything stripped away I actually noticed life, and I noticed it inside another human being. I stopped long enough to see, feel, and experience what it meant to actually connect with another human being—and change happened.

I came back to the States a different person; a better person. I started to look at life differently. The experience was an igniter, and it put me on a path where I started to align my life with my values and my purpose, and it helped me begin to understand what it meant when someone said “authentic relationship.” And I realized, once I was home, that if I stop long enough to look into someone’s eyes, life always looks back into mine.

Mission trips are important, but not for the reason everyone thinks they’re important. Sure, you physically help other people who need your help, and you have a significant impact on the world in amazing, tangible ways, but the real point of a mission trip, and the real change, is that you come back a different person—a person who begins to understand life. It’s that understanding that has the power to open eyes, and it’s that understanding that has the power to improve the well-being of humanity and change our world.

So before you jump into your next leadership course, or send one of your leaders off to another leadership course, consider this… Real change—in people, communities, and the world—only occurs through experience. If you truly want a leader to change; to become better, more authentic, compassionate, and kind, you need to immerse them in a culture where authenticity, compassion and kindness thrive. So rather than attending another leadership course consider going out into the world to literally be the change.

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.