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Useful Tips for Introverts on How to Get Out and Network

“I’m Jane, I’m an introvert, and I’m networking challenged.” In the comedy routine of my mind, I feel like there should be an introvert support group where we introduce ourselves. If a group like that exists, I’m sure it would be small, just the way we like things.

Like several of my coaching clients, I need to get out and network as part of my business. I find it’s an activity that in the past I have avoided, postponed and outright dreaded. The thought of walking into a room of strangers, all happily talking and networking away, scares the hell out of me. Learn More →

Fear is Your Friend

With all the “think positive” advice out there, what’s a person to do with their fear, anxiety, worry and other “negative” emotions? Block them? Stomp them out?

I have found it useful for myself and my coaching clients to think of fear as a friend. All of our behaviors, beliefs and feelings have a positive intention behind them. Constricting feelings like fear and anxiety exist to keep us safe from something, like failure, embarrassment or pain. They broadcast loudly to get our attention. (Robert Dilts, an outstanding thought-leader in NLP, provides excellent detail on the concept of positive intention.)

What I do with constricting emotions like fear, worry and anxiety makes all the difference. If I let them hobble me and stop my progress, then I’ve missed their gift. If I stop and listen carefully to those emotions, there’s always a useful message about what I want and need to feel balanced and take the next steps along my path.

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Move Toward Desire to Reach Your Goal

I woke up one day with 15 pounds on me that had never been there before. Do you know this one? I know I was there every day while it happened, but somehow it snuck up on me and I was living in a body that didn’t seem to be my own. I missed myself.

Suddenly I was faced with the mountain of advice and struggle that so many people I know go through every day. For a year I struggled to pick out what might work best for me and give it a try. No results. A lot of money spent. A litany of reasons why I couldn’t work out today, why I couldn’t make more changes in my diet.

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Challenge of Introversion: How to Speak Up More in Meetings

“You’re not adding enough value in meetings”. Just in the last year I’ve coached close to a dozen people who all got the same feedback from their manager. All turned out to be introverts on the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). As I asked more questions about each situation, I realized “not adding enough value” was code for “we want to hear you
talk more”.

One of the biggest differences between extroverts and introverts is how we process and share information. Extroverts talk to think. Introverts think before they talk. For many introverts, trying to talk in a team meeting is like trying to jump on a fast moving merry go round set in motion by the extroverts in the room. The extroverts are happily processing their thoughts out loud. The introverts are listening intently, trying to process everything they’re hearing, find their own insight or opinion, then find the right words to express it. Learn More →

Stay on Track With Your Goal Using Your Emotional Compass

We all have our good days and bad days, positive and negative thoughts. It’s part of being human. Staying on track with the right mind frame to accomplish our goals requires that we keep our focus on what we do want, not on what we lack or don’t want. In his audio program The Secret of Deliberate Creation, Dr. Robert Anthony uses a wonderful travel metaphor to explain the importance of keeping your thoughts focused on your goal destination.

Here’s my version: Imagine you are taking a trip from your current state, let’s call that the desert in Arizona where you don’t have what you want, to your desired future state, which we’ll imagine is a refreshing beach on the California coast where you do have what you want. The journey to get from your current state to your desired future state takes time. If we are traveling in a car or a plane, it’s easy for us to understand how long the journey might take. But on a journey to accomplishing our goal, many of us get impatient with the time it takes. We doubt, we worry, we fret, and we turn our attention back to our starting point, to all the things we don’t have yet.

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Passion Mapping

In a previous post Notice What You Want, I commented that many people I coach have a desire to create something new in their life, but can’t figure out exactly what. They have a vague goal like “find a new career that let’s me be creative” or “get a job that inspires me”. When I ask what creative would look like or what inspires them, I find most people don’t really know. A common question I get from friends and colleagues familiar with my life and all the unusual opportunities I create for myself is “How do you think of all these possibilities for yourself? How do you know what you want to create next?”

What are your passions in life? What brings you joy and energy? These are the elements to begin with if you are searching for a new, more satisfying career or creative expression of yourself. What follows in an approach I first learned when facing a particularly difficult career transition. I have been refining it over the years. Now it never fails to help me locate and launch myself on a path to whatever I want to create next in my life.

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Notice What You Want

So many people I coach have a desire to create something new in their life, but can’t figure out exactly what. They set vague goals like “find a new career that let’s me be creative” or “get a job that inspires me”, but never actually make any progress because they can’t figure out what exactly they want to do. How do you unravel the clues, read the signs, and sort out the hidden messages you send to yourself about what you really want to create in your life?

I have done this for myself multiple times in life. I have it dialed in now, and it’s one of my favorite things to coach around, but the first time was like groping around in the dark. For years I thought I wanted to get an MFCC and become a psychotherapist. In the middle of grad school, on the cusp of doing my first internship, I started feeling huge inner resistance. With dismay, I realized this wasn’t the right path for me after all. Now what?

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Creating a Communication Plan for Influence Management

Just got off the phone with a coaching client who has goals that rely completely on her ability to influence others to do the work. We looked at how she could create a focused, intentional communication strategy to guide what she says to whom and how best to do it.

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Four Elements of Effective Delegation

One of the senior leaders I coached today told me a classic failed delegation story: “I delegated some research work to one of my junior staff members. I asked her to follow up with a client who needed us to assess the effectiveness of their web site. I gave her the client’s phone number, asked her to call and get the URL, then look over the web site and give me a report on what she found on the web site. A week later, she emailed me ‘Here’s the URL you requested.’ ”

You can almost hear her sigh of frustration, can’t you?

I find as I coach leaders that there are very specific elements that go into effective delegation. Without these, delegating becomes a frustrating cycle of failed attempts to get work done that leave you wishing you’d just done it yourself. Maybe even questioning the competency of your staff. Learn More →

4 Ways to Wade Through Low Motivation and Stay Productive

When you have a long to-do list and low motivation, how do you stay productive? A coaching client posed this question to me on Thursday. I knew exactly what he was struggling with. It’s been a hot September week here in California. My body wants to kick back and stay relaxed like it’s still summer. My mind knows that it’s fall, and the typical crush of 4th quarter work is barreling down on us. Now is the time to get in gear, not fall behind. But getting myself to be productive feels like wading through mud. Learn More →

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Success Stories

Jeanne Loomis, Retired Executive Administrator

Success Story: “Jane’s coaching has changed my life. She helped me recognize that my approach [to my role as Executive Admin to the CEO] wasn’t working. I think she held a mirror up, in a very kind way, that made me look at how others see my actions, whether they were physical actions or my words. Jane helped me become comfortable with who I am, without my title. Across my entire life, this made a difference. For example, instead of sitting away from people, I sit next to them, I sit with them. I’m much happier with my life, with myself.”