motivational coach sheli G

Posts tagged ‘Vulnerable’

10 Surprising Comparisons: Eagles and Leaders

eagle 1

The bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), the US national bird, is the only eagle unique to North America.
Eagles are large, powerfully built birds of prey

Let’s look at some very interesting comparisons between the World Changing Leader and the Eagle. Some may surprise you…

10) Eagles sit at the top of the food chain. This makes them more vulnerable to toxic chemicals in the environment, since each link in the food chain tends to concentrate chemicals from the lower link.

As a leader, there are many dynamics at play when you are at “The Top”.

eagle top

Zig Ziglar’s famous book, “See you at the Top” written some twenty five years ago wasn’t the first nor will it be the last to attract leaders globally with the focus of being at the top! But what does that mean? To be a leader is a huge responsibility. To whom much is given, much is certainly expected. When you rise up to significant leadership positions of a company or a team, you will have all eyes on you for stand-apart organizational and inspirational direction. However, I find that most leaders, myself included- are much harder on ourselves.

We set our own bar EXCEPTIONALLY (freakin) HIGH.

As we work with people, we find that we are deeply involved/invested in their professional bliss, and their challenges. But we also find ourselves in the midst of their personal ups and downs too. Leadership today isn’t a neatly compartmentalized system. Leaders come along side of the people looking to us for inspired direction, and we do not draw those Black and White lines in the sand. So- we as leaders find ourselves exposed. We are exposed to people’s tragedies, toxins and toils. A World Changing leader knows how to authentically help and direct, but not to metabolize and hang on to those toxins inwardly.

9) Eyesight – An eagle’s eye is at least four times as powerful and sharp as that of a person with perfect vision.

eye 2

What is it like, to see clearly from miles and miles away- when others can only see in the short distance? World Changers must be able to not only grasp a vision that inspires themselves, but they must be able to articulate that vision outward, and enroll others successfully into that picture. 

8) Eagles do not sweat, so they use many other creative cool-down methods.

I know- Leaders DO sweat. 🙂

BUT World Changing Leaders don’t show it. Today’s leader knows when to be vulnerable. To be authentic and real in a country where we have a lot of uber superficiality that is promoted- isn’t easy. *I am a big fan of the Leader that understands the necessity and timing of intentional Vulnerability.

https://embracereal.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/leadersblack/

That said, our teams and companies do not need to see us sweat, ie; panic, freak out, over-react, project frustration onto them, or make irrational accusations or decisions. We have all seen leadership like that, be they owners, managers, team leaders or (gulp) the government. What our teams DO need to see from us, is our intentional cool/calm down methods, and come back to them clear, grounded, inspired and ready to continue partnering with them to get through the eye of any storm, together.

7) Eagles tolerate VERY cold temperatures.  A bald eagle’s skin is protected by feathers lined with down. Their feet are cold resistant.

Leaders can take subzero temperatures.

Economy turns. Employee challenges. Stiff Competition. Cultural Apathy. The most difficult decisions. High Stakes meetings. Pressure. Extreme COLD and extreme HEAT.

Simon Cowell, creator of American Idol, once told Oprah Winfrey “I have to be that tough on the contestants. If they cannot handle me, my feedback and challenging them, they are no where near ready to face Hollywood and the cold hard press.” How very true. Likewise, if you are too sensitive and defensive, taking everything personally, you will never make it long term as a manager or Entrepreneur. It will destroy you. Not everyone is cut out for the pressure. We all have different, amazing gifts. That is the beautiful thing.

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6) Beak.  A Bald Eagle’s beak is a strong weapon, but is also delicate enough to groom a mate’s feathers or feed a small portion of food to a newly hatched chick. The beak of a captive eagle is not worn down naturally, so it must be trimmed annually.

I think this is a great metaphor for our powerful voice as a leader.

finding-your-voice

Leaders do well when they are passionate, eloquent, profound, and phenomenal speakers; from the large crowds to an intimate one on one. Our words have the power to heal, help, and honor. Our words can also wound, tear, and destroy. We must be vigilant to be truly responsible for what we say. Are our words valuable, helpful, wise and thought out? If not, trim back the beak! Get a Life and Leadership Mastery Coach to objectively help. And remember, an “I’m sorry” from a leader is powerful- when it’s authentic. We all screw things up sometimes. World Changers own their mistakes.

5) Talons.  Eagles can open and close their talons at will. If an eagle is dragged into the water by a fish too large for the eagle to lift, it is because the eagle refuses to release it. In some cases this is due to hunger.

eagle-fish_1851515i

My friend and mentor Les Brown says “You’ve got to be HUNGRY!”

Hungry IS good. But, scarcity; emotionally, physically, financially, or spiritually for too long- isn’t good. When the fish is too big, or you are not ready, drop it before YOU go completely under. There was a time many years ago that after economic turns, competitive pressures, and a bogus former employee law suit all came into play… I realized that a business I had started, also needed to come to a close. It wasn’t easy at that time. I had prepared for the GO GO GO do do do! I had not realized that some dreams are for a time, and they are meant to end too. Those are the lessons, and our teachers, and they are for a time. It’s OK. If a business, relationship, habit, behavior, addiction, job, or whatever is dragging you under, please- don’t go down with the Titanic. Open your talons and let go! Create the space in your hands and heart for the magnificent fish that is coming, that is the perfect one for RIGHT NOW.

4) Most Birds of Prey look back over their shoulder before they move forward in a hunt. Not Eagles.

Some look back. Don’t.

In my favorite book it says: “Forgetting what is behind, and reaching forth unto what lies ahead. I press on towards the goal!” Phil 3:13.

We cannot actually forget the past. But we can absolutely learn from it, move on from it, and put our energy into this very moment and beyond. That is what future achievements are made up of… starting right NOW. It’s about this moment. Let us begin.

3) Eagles Glide.

With a massive wingspan of up to eight feet, their wings victoriously spread out wide.

To help them soar, eagles use thermals which are rising currents of warm air. Soaring or gliding is accomplished with minimal wing-flapping, enabling them to conserve precious energy. Long-distance flights are accomplished by climbing high in a thermal, then gliding downward to catch the next thermal. Their wings are strong but heavy, so this is a VITAL part of the survival mechanism of the Eagle. Eagles are considered master fliers. They can fly to heights that no other bird can. They have been seen flying as high as some of our airplanes fly.

Several eagles soaring in a thermal together is described as a “Kettle of Eagles.”

eagles 2

So World Changers… jump off that cliff. You were born to. You were trained and educated to. You must! Find the warm winds. Use your powerful wings. But also remember to glide, rest, meditate, and lean on your amazing team. Don’t pump those huge wings all the time! You don’t need too, and you may burn out. Soar when you can. You will need that energy later.

2) Though eagles mate for life, they often fly alone.

World Changing Leaders are loyal. We care about relationships and have learned how to succeed in them. Our families are very important to us.

There are days when leaders feel alone. Make sure that when you need help- you reach out for it. Find a “Kettle of Eagles” to fly in; a mastermind group, a Master Life Coach, a small group that you can be supported by, collaborate and laugh with. World changers do not have to do it all alone.

1) Eagles Live on Higher Ground.Don’t ever sell out!

World Changers are honest. They are compassionate. They give. They give when no one knows they are giving. They don’t create followers, they help support other emerging leaders! They take the high road, the road much less traveled. And that WILL make all the difference. World Changers live on Higher Ground.

world changer

Many Blessings,
sheli  G
CILC | CMC | CEBC
www.shelig.com
CEO Women Ignite Idaho Conference and Trade Show
WomenIgniteIdaho.com
International Speaker
Master Certified Business Coach
World Changer Leadership & Life Mastery Coach
“It’s time to ignite the World Changer in YOU!” ~sheli G

Facebook LinkedIn WordPress YouTube pinterest
Contact me: Skype coach.sheli

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The New Black… for LEADERS

Vulnerability.

What does that word bring up for you?

Open. Victim. Brave. Weak. Insecure. Truth-telling.

vulnerable oprah

We tend to associate vulnerability with beliefs, people, and places that we have experienced in our past. In the English language, Vulnerability can reference various states of being, depending on the assumed or referenced context;

  • the state of being vulnerable or exposed
  • easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, financially or emotionally

Most of the Vulnerability definitions you can find online are pretty much referring to an old-school, “bad news” come-from.

If you are military for example, you are trained not to be vulnerable, because vulnerability leaves you open to attack. This is similar to the old Corporate leadership structure. Act tough. Be “strong”. Represent a fortress-like presence so that everyone will respect you, be intimidated by you, and assume you do not have any weak spots they can prey upon.

vulnerable 1

This doesn’t work anymore.
There are certainly moments or situations to “shore up” ourselves, and not be opened up wide. Not every situation or person is safe. However, all of us are vincible, whether we act strong all the time or not. And we all know this- not only about ourselves, but about mankind in general. (cat’s out of the bag!) It used to be fashionable to act tough all the time. But these days, the new coolness, the must-have tool in any leaders tool-belt, the new Black for Leaders is: Healthy Vulnerability, by choice.

Healthy Vulnerability…. What?
“Vulnerability is the absolute heartbeat of innovation and creativity,” Brene Brown says. “There can be zero innovation without vulnerability.” Brene has a couple of very powerful and humorous TED TALKS on Vulnerability. Brené Brown Ph.D. LMSW is an American scholar, author, and public speaker, who is currently a research professor at the University of Houston

Entrepreneurs, Leaders, Managers, CEO’s, Bloggers, thought leaders…we are all vulnerable. Yup. There you have it. Don’t fight it. You’re expending pointless energy if you resist- something leaders don’t like to do! The minute we choose into putting ourselves, our beliefs, our ideas out there, we are vulnerable. The more you do it, the more vulnerable you are. To be a WORLD CHANGER, vulnerability is a huge key to success.

vulnerable armsAccording to Brown, vulnerability is: the combination of uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.
Hmmm. This is pretty much entrepreneurship.
I know- I’ve been in it since 1995. Vulnerability is the natural culture of what we do. To pretend you are not vulnerable, is to lack authenticity. It’s tough to respect, much less follow that leader. He or she is perpetuating an atmosphere of denial and anxiety. It’s real, it’s healthy, and it is more courageous for every leader to be OK with healthy vulnerability. We ask our teams to do it. So- how can we inspire our teams to be honest, and take searching self-inventories of what IS working, and what is NOT working, if we do not lead them by example?  It is what I do, not just what I say. And if what I say and do are not in alignment, (that includes alignment with the companies results) it’s quite obvious.

So, just be pathetic all the time? To everyone?

vulnerable question

Um…No 🙂

Again, vulnerability is powerful when it’s accessed at the proper time, place and crowd.

I am not saying go drinking with your peeps, and totally breakdown, with no resolve or value as a net result. (really- don’t do this)
I am also not implying you should tell all your deepest secrets to your whole team or company.

I am not saying cry all the time. That would be exhausting. 🙂

Balance and being intuitively appropriate are also leadership keys.
You don’t throw out those other skills that you have worked so hard to cultivate. You integrate them all, intuitively.

Some leaders go to extremes. “I want to be strong and have them believe I can do anything! I don’t want to be vulnerable and show my fears, failures or weak areas…”
It’s NOT either or. It is BOTH/AND. How cool is that? Knowing what tool from your belt to use, when and how is critical.
measure
LEADERSHIP then is a customized set of skills and methods, masterfully woven together in doses, at the right times and places to be effective for all. Lots of solutions, winning and connecting will come with that combo. So will production, employee retention, and stunning innovation.
 
If you are open to it, being real about both your strengths and your blinders can be inspiring. At times you may reveal things to everyone. Sometimes that may be to a small elite mastermind group in the profession, company or team.

Sometimes both the bravado of releasing a vision, and the passion behind it, followed by humble tones of the obstacles that you face, and even a tear can be a winning combination. *I am not saying put that kind of speech together. If it’s too thought out, if it has a hook or contrived agenda- then it’s not inspiring. That’s not vulnerable, that’s manipulative theatrics. Big difference, and they can feel it.

puppet on a string

When I am speaking, I am open to all facets of my personality, strengths, and tools. I know where I am going, but I feel free to authentically use the words that come up for me in that moment, not scripted out. I also access both positivity and passion, vision casting and encouragement, with vulnerability in telling real stories, and addressing REAL challenges, so that I meet people where they are. I have had bliss and failure, and so have they. We are no different at our core. We all want to have purpose. We all want successful relationships. We all have dreams to fulfill. So resonating with your team, audience, or company, versus towering over them really works. It works because it’s connection. People dig true connection. They trust it. And trust is hard to gain these days, but so magical when you do.

vulnerable 2

An Island vs. a Village

We were not born alone, on an island. We don’t get anywhere without others, bad or good.
We accomplish things in communities of people. Family, Friends, Work, Church, Charities, Clubs…..it doesn’t really matter what we are creating; we do it better together.

happy meetingWhen a leader says: What are your ideas on this issue? Let’s brainstorm on this challenge or event…. Let’s bring all our experience, education and collective wisdom together in creating a new paradigm… THAT is inspiring. That is motivating. It’s engaging! People pay attention, and feel worthy when THEY are engaged.

That means you don’t have all the answers. And- you don’t. I don’t. That means you are taking time to listen. That means you care what others are thinking. That makes a great leader. There are times when time is short, and we just get to GO, with little collaboration. I get that. If that is most of the time, you may be trying to accomplish too much, too soon, with too little perspective and feedback. Narrow scopes offer narrow results. But there can be more time, blocked out intentionally, to collaborate and grow your company, your vision, your production, your influence and reach…by enrolling others.

To enroll others, we deserve to be vulnerable, as well as all the other traits that make a phenomenal leader. Perhaps in my next blog I will tell the story of my own personal “ONE DAY” when I totally got it, that vulnerability is paramount for a great leader. It’s mandatory for me.

Not always easy. But often necessary. And worth it.

I would love to hear YOUR comments and thoughts on vulnerability, especially for leaders. And any likes, shares…always welcome! 🙂
Many Blessings,
www.shelig.com
sheli  G
CILC | CMC | CEBC
www.shelig.com
CEO Women Ignite Idaho Conference and Trade Show
WII neon sign woman light
WomenIgniteIdaho.com
International Speaker
Master Certified Business Coach
World Changer Leadership & Life Mastery Coach
“It’s time to ignite the World Changer in YOU!” ~sheli G

Facebook LinkedIn WordPress YouTube pinterest
Contact me: Skype coach.sheli

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