How to Find True Balance in Your Life

Last week we talked about my former client Janice, who had the terrible realization that she didn’t like who she was at work. Through a values analysis, we came to see that Janice’s high need for certainty kept her in a job that didn’t support her core values. This self-betrayal pushed her into an Unhealthy Contractive state in which she felt miserable, reactive and stuck. When your needs are not being met in positive ways and you fall out of alignment with your values, you experience an Unhealthy Contractive state. Not all contractions are bad. There is such a thing as a Healthy Contractive state. In fact, it’s necessary to contract. If a balloon keeps expanding and expanding and expanding,

What's Holding You Back?

I don’t know about you, but I have a little voice in my head. And it seems to know better than me. It’s popped up at various times in my life. During my first marriage, when I was a corporate VP. When I was a startup CEO. When I was a strategy consultant. Each time, the voice said, “This isn’t me”. And it was right. I was unhappy in all of those situations. We all have a little part of ourselves that sees better than the rest of us. Some call it your soul. Some call it the observer. I call it your true self. Many of us forget our true selves. We prioritize all the things we should do and be over all the things we could do and be. And we fear our true selves, because the true self is a dange

Great Leadership Begins with Solid Values. What are Yours?

Last week, I wrote about the six basic human needs and how they impact your leadership style. This week, it’s all about values. As you’ll recall, the six basic human needs are certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, growth and contribution. When you find a healthy and effective way to meet a need, it can become a value that you make a priority in your life. Values and needs and needs and values are inextricably linked. For example, if you learn to meet your need for certainty by putting away 10% of your income each month, Financial Responsibility may become a value. Or, if you meet your need for variety by writing short stories, or painting, or decorating cakes, and you find

How Your Six Basic Human Needs Affect Your Leadership Style

When I work with a new Unstuck Leader client, the first thing we do is a needs analysis. Before we can begin to understand the limiting patterns of belief and behavior that may be keeping us stuck, we have to understand how we are fulfilling, or not fulfilling our six human needs. These needs drive our behavior, whether we’re aware of them or not. And each of us prioritizes their fulfillment in different ways, which can be positive or negative, and can lead to internal and external conflict. Let’s start with Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. If you’ve ever taken a marketing or psychology class, you’ve probably heard of it. Our lowest level needs are Physiological. To survive, we all need food, wa

Are You Addicted to Firefighting?

Every organization has its fires. You know - those big emergencies that pop up from time to time requiring our immediate attention. Maybe a product launch has gone off the rails. Or something’s broken. Or someone walked out the door at the worst possible moment. And every organization has its firefighters. Some orgs have a whole team of firefighters and some orgs are made up entirely of nothing but firefighters. For those organizations, firefighting is a part of who they are. We don’t like fires (or at least we say we don’t). Fires are scary. They cause chaos, unpredictability and each one could very well mean the end of us. That’s why the people who extinguish the fires are organizational s

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