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“Confidence is silent.  Insecurities are loud.”  Unknown

A guest post by Jennifer Mathews.

Finding balance in anything is difficult.  We have heard time and again “Everything in moderation.”  It’s easy to nod your head and respond with an enthusiastic “of course” when referring to rich food or alcohol or exercise or TV time or even the balance of “work” and “play.” 

But what about how we’re each hard-wired?

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Office politics is no fun.

Getting drawn into workplace drama saps our energy and enthusiasm and can permanently damage our careers. Yet, politics is a reality of life. We may not like it, but it's true.

So the question is, how do we deal with it?

I (along with other thought leaders) was recently interviewed by Robin Madell of U.S. News & World Report about how to avoid becoming a casuality of workplace politics (among other things). There's some really terrific tips in the article that will help you avoid making the most common missteps on the job.

Read the article here: 3 Biggest Workplace Mistakes

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I was recently interviewed by CNN about how leaders can use visualization to improve their performance.

It's something I use with clients all the time.

The CNN piece should be published soon. In the meantime, I've posted below my original Huffington Post article that inspired the interview.

This one's for #throwbackthursday.

Enjoy!

Frank

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These are happy days for professional football fans - the NFL pre-season has started and the regular season is just around the corner.

After watching just a couple of games, something struck me: Pro football players seem bigger than ever; they dwarf the reporters who interview them and appear more massive than former football greats.

This has created a game that is more competitive, faster-paced, and, according to many observers, much more brutal.

Sounds a lot like the current marketplace, doesn't it; fiercely competitive, fast changing, and unforgiving of mistakes.

To compete in this environment, companies need leaders who think and act like professional athletes -- people who work hard at developing the skills and stamina needed to perform at consistently high levels.

What does it take to achieve this level of performance? Three things.

 

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Failure to execute strategy is one of the main reasons businesses fail. We know what we need to do but often fail to put it into action. Strategy is important but delivering results matters more. After all, customers purchase our products, not our planning. We have to hit the mark on execution or our company suffers.

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Dawn climbingIs stress getting the best of you?

I asked my good friend and fellow rock climber Dawn Baker MD to share some ideas about how to perform well when the pressure is on.

Dawn is a board certified anesthesiologist, so she knows first-hand what it takes to function at the highest level in stressful situations.

In this post, Dawn uses her love of climbing to illustrate some powerful principles of stress management and self-care.  Whether you are a seasoned leader or just starting out, you will benefit immensely from Dr. Baker's insights. I know I have. 

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The verdict is in. Americans are bored with their jobs.

The numbers are staggering.

Seventy percent of employees report being not engaged or actively disengaged from their work and it's costing U.S. companies $550 billion each year in lost productivity.

That's a lot of people. That's a lot of money.

External incentives, such as flextime or financial bonuses aren't reversing the trend. Clearly, we need a new approach to employee engagement. One that addresses the cause rather than the symptoms of disengagement.

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Leaders are defined by the decisions they make and the results they produce.

Most executives know this and it weighs on them.  Making high-stakes decisions is risky and takes a toll.

As anxiety sets in, we fall into a trap. We start worrying about making the decision rather than thinking about making the best decision.

This happens when we substitute action for accuracy, swiftness for substance. "We can fix what doesn't work later," is the consolation.

Certainly, we can never have perfect information or foresee all negative externalities.

But in our haste to act, we often overlook the most obvious problems.

The result is a poor decision, which unfortunately, only becomes evident in hindsight.

Bad decisions hurt our company, our career, and our confidence. We begin to worry that we don't have what it takes to lead.

In the words of the late Edwin Friedman, we develop "a failure of nerve."

Have you been in a situation where you made a hasty decision because of stress that in retrospect you wish you had done differently? Did it startle your confidence as a leader?

In this post, I focus on the process of decision-making. When the pressure is on, the steps leading up to making a decision are what set the stage for a successful one. Here is where confidence and courage are vital.

Below are five areas for cultivating clear-minded decisions.