Archives for emotional intelligence

How to Support Emotions at Work

A recent loss is inspiring me to shine a spotlight on mental health. There’s no knowing what, if anything, might have kept him here longer, but I know many of us at this time who knew and loved him are wondering what we could have done more.

These thoughts, while part of the natural process of grief, are tortuous. Yet there are so many suffering with these thoughts after similar losses, which feel so senseless and preventable.

This is my best effort at this time to implore employers and caring coworkers to implement preventive and mental health maintenance measures. It’s what I know I can do to help at a time that I feel helpless.

In order to de-stigmatize mental illness, we also have to de-stigmatize emotions. We have to de-stigmatize therapy and normalize healthy outlets, like yoga, meditation, journaling, walking, boxing, etc.

Eliminate the words “woo woo” and “new age” in the context of these practices. There is enough science at this point to substantiate their efficacy, so using those words just makes you seem ignorant, insensitive, and obsolete.

Additionally, it’s time the workplace was encouraging, even accommodating, of these outlets.

If an employer assumes that employees are taking care of their emotional and mental health needs outside of work hours, it’s a dangerous assumption.

Every manager and leader needs to be trained on how to create a conducive environment to have and process emotions, whether privately or with you. As individuals, we have to know how to take care of these needs on our own, but as a leader, you should be able to uncover these needs and know where to refer employees for the care of these needs.

What about physical wellness? Science has proven a link between mental health and physical health. Read more about the links and the costs of this in our Mindfulness and EI training report.

What do you do as an individual experiencing emotions at work?

Firstly, do not apologize!

Secondly, fight your inclination to hide or suppress these emotions. Call them out by name. “I’m feeling _______. I need a moment.”

You don’t have to decide anything else at this moment – what to do next, what to say, whether to go home or stay, who you’re inconveniencing, etc.

You can leave the room, or stay there. I find it easier to be with my emotions when I’m alone, at least at first. So, I would likely leave the room. I would head outside if I could, or toward any kind of nature – even opening a window would help.

Just allow it. Think of emotion as Energy in Motion – E-motion. It needs to flow. Breathing helps move the emotion through your body. It’s so easy to forget to breathe in the middle of intense emotion!

Be in it. Tune into your body – where are you experiencing this emotion physically? Your head? Your chest? Shoulders and neck?

Even during “normal” circumstances, nothing impacts your results in life more than how well you are feeling. Do whatever you can to adjust your lifestyle and schedule to incorporate alternative methods of achieving a calm mind, strong heart, clear lungs, and a positive outlook.

Even though we need connection, some of us are already emotionally fragile and need more uplifting versus more gloom and doom. Be careful not to impose your anxiety (which is justified, just not helpful) onto others. So, if you are feeling anxious before a scheduled call or outreach e-mail, take some time to exercise to get endorphins flowing or meditate to achieve a calm state of mind.

Incorporate time in your schedule to be alone and engage in activities that raise your vibration while limiting activities that induce stress. Be aware of any inclination to pick up your phone or device to check for constant updates. Recognize if looking for updates becomes a compulsion that isn’t serving your state of mind. You can find a helpful mini-hypnosis session on overcoming social media addiction, as well as some other helpful videos on this Facebook page.

If you feel like a victim, start processing all that happened to inspire these feelings. Have a pity party. Write down all of the events and feelings. Get them out into the open where you can refer back to them post-processing and sort out what is real, what is truth, what is story, what is assumption, and what is a product of your insecurities and limiting beliefs.

The time it takes to move through the emotion decreases as you get better at being with your pain.

At first, you may need a good 30 minutes, especially if an event was severe or historical. (If a reaction is hysterical, the cause is historical!)

What other possibilities exist?

What is in your control?

What outcome do you want? The desired outcome is not a necessary component of processing emotions, however, once your emotions are processed, you will have better logical judgment about what you want to happen next – if you need to go home, if you need to speak with someone, or if you are ready to face your co-workers and boss again.

You are under NO obligation to explain anything or apologize to anyone if you have dealt with your emotions healthfully. However, if someone was caught in the crossfire before you were able to process your emotion, you will have to decide if an apology is necessary to restore your integrity or your relationships. Depending on the severity of the blow, you may need to do much more than apologize and there may be irreversible consequences.

Learn from these consequences, prevent them in the future, and do not define yourself by these human moments.

What do you do as a leader when a team member is experiencing emotions?

Firstly, always validate emotions. Many managers and leaders do not want to be the recipient of anger, but this is a manifestation of ego, not empathy. So, even if the anger is directed at you, affirm that the person has a “right” to feel how they feel.

Ask them if they would like time to be alone or if they want to talk to you or with anyone else.

Be wary of pulling in human resources if human resources in your company is more inclined to react disciplinarily rather than resourcefully. At their best, human resources professionals are quite experienced and trained in serving in some counseling capacity, but there is too often a conflict of interest in processing events in compliance with policies and being fully emotionally available. There are also varying levels of severity that would certainly exceed the normal skill sets of human resources. If there is not a dedicated, licensed counselor or coach on staff, the best practice for HR is to refer the employee to other resources.

If you become the confidant. just listen. Don’t advise. Give your employees space to speak and process their emotions. Don’t try to fix anything, if there is anything for you as a leader to fix, until emotions have equalized. The message they need most is that you are committed to creating a safe place for them to share their emotions. You will have your own emotions about it, and you are justified in having those, too, but in this moment, just focus on listening. Eventually, it might be necessary to put your compassion into action. Allow yourself to process your own emotions before making any determinations, however.

If you and your company really want to demonstrate that you care and are willing to invest in the mental and emotional wellness of your team, allocate a room just for their emotional wellness.

What kinds of things would an emotional wellness room include?

A variety of tools to express a variety of emotions, from sadness to fear to anger.

  • Privacy
  • A box of tissues
  • Plants
  • A punching bag
  • A small table with chairs in case someone wants to talk it out
  • Papers and pens
  • Coloring books
  • Music/speakers
  • Pillows to scream into
  • Stuffed animals to squeeze or throw
  • A help button
  • A reference list for hotlines and guided meditations
  • A trampoline
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise mats
  • A water fountain

Additional concerns I have that require additional research, perhaps research that has not yet been conducted, include finding out at what rate corporate leaders are medicated for mental illness. How does that impact their centers of empathy in the brain and their ability to make conscious decisions? I am sure there are instances in which the medication enhances their ability to handle stressful situations, but I wonder about the situations that are people-related.

I am not anti-medication generally, and no – I absolutely do not want to stigmatize taking medication. The side effects of many of these medications seem sometimes worse than the condition, and I do worry that drugs are too frequently prescribed when there are other therapies, coping mechanisms, and non-prescription solutions that would present better long-term options for enhanced mental health. I know many people who have found healthier alternatives to pharmaceuticals, are able to come off their prescribed medicines (under a doctor’s care), and then realize just how numb they had been. Numb is the most often used word.

I wonder how much more challenging it is to be empathetic when you are numb.

If you have a personal story about this, I would love to hear it.

How were you taught to deal with your emotions?

How were you taught to deal with other people’s emotions?

Peter Gabriel – Don’t Give Up (ft. Kate Bush)

The official Don’t Give Up video. Directed by Godley and Creme.A standout track from Peter’s fifth studio album and the first one to have a proper title: S…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Toxic Positivity – Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership

Last week, our Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership event was dedicated to discussing Toxic Positivity. Ever since the height of the pandemic when so many of my clients, colleagues, and friends were expected to be superhuman in unprecedented times, I have been looking forward to covering this topic. In addition, as a coach, I am immersed in many communities of practitioners who range from spiritual to pragmatic and was very bothered by some of the advice practitioners were spewing that bordered on shaming people for being afraid, uncertain, emotional, sad, angry – the full gamut.

Our guest panelist, Dr. Laura Dowling, brought with her the latest data, stressing the critical costs of toxic positivity. We also covered:

  • How does toxic positivity harm individuals? Companies?
  • What does toxic positivity look like? How do we recognize it?
  • Can someone have good intentions and still be guilty of toxic positivity? Is it as simple as this?
  • What will happen to companies that fail to provide psychological safety?
  • With parents integrating work and home, how can they model healthful processing of emotion?
  • How can people in the service, hospitality, and entertainment industries maintain customer experience and their mental health?
  • What are some tools individuals can use to process negative emotions?
  • How can leaders create a culture where negative emotions are allowed to be expressed, yet don’t become morale killers?

Join the C3 community now to access the replay and share your experiences. What has the pandemic taught you about toxic positivity?

Nat King Cole – Smile

I don’t own anything, all rights go to their respective ownerslyrics:Smile though your heart is achingSmile even though it’s breakingWhen there are clouds in…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Find It Hard to Break Bad Habits or Form Good Ones? Check Your Self-Talk!

The inner critic… do we all have one? No, but the vast majority of us do. The real question is, what is it saying? Are you consciously aware of it? What decisions does it make for you?

My first professional coach called the inner critic a gremlin. She was a great help in helping me recognize my inner voice. She helped me realize just how much of my decision-making was driven by this inner critic.

  • It inhibited my relationships, because it caused me to feel self-conscious being my authentic self.
  • It limited my future, as it told me what was and wasn’t possible for me.
  • It stunted my growth, as it told me to defend myself rather than take accountability.

When I first recognized this inner critic, I was pretty mad and it. She gave me permission to express that anger, and assigned homework like putting my gremlin’s face on a balloon, giving it a few good punches, and then popping it.

I wrote down the common things I noticed it saying, mostly that I wasn’t good enough and wasn’t deserving of good things. I can directly attribute this work to launching this business nearly 15 years ago. If I hadn’t have recognized this voice telling me how destined I was to fail, I would have never told that voice to shut the hell up!

That voice didn’t go away. It still shows up, and I am grateful for it. Because you know what? Sometimes I am not my highest self, and it shows up to tell me where there is room to grow and love me through it.

I have found that the key to growing consciously is not to make the inner critic an enemy, but to realize the inner critic is YOU, and to start turning your inner critic into a constructive conscious coach who speaks kindly to you and loves you unconditionally.

I once had a coach help me understand if I didn’t have a great relationship with money, I need to think of money as someone I’m dating and wish to attract. How am I regarding money? Do I resent money? Do I expect that it will go, so I put my guard up and refuse to welcome it in the first place? Do I do things to make money know how special it is to me, what a priority it is to me? How am I treating money?

When I thought to apply this lesson to my inner critic, my conscious growth expanded exponentially!

The people who have been influential in shaping us are people. They have not always been their highest selves, and unfortunately, we often define ourselves by those moments. These moments can create trauma and wounds that we may never know need to be healed unless we become aware of them. They form beliefs about our relationship to this world, what’s for us and what’s against us. And, they contribute to the fuel our inner critic uses to “save us” from experiencing that rejection again.

When you tune into your inner critic, do you hear your own voice, or the voices of others who have projected their own insecurities onto you? When I tune in while in a deeply reflective state of mind, I hear my own voice, but I flash back to moments when others shrunk my sense of self.

I’ll be real with you – this can be painful to relive. I recommend journaling. Imagine that you, present day as your highest self, could intervene with your younger self, and, like the parent you want to be, teach your younger self that those hurtful words and/or actions were not about you! They are not the truth. Tell your younger self what the truth is!

You might think this is woo woo crazy stuff, but you already have a voice that speaks to you. It’s already you, so you might as well speak to yourself as your highest self – kindly, with compassion and grace.

Do you feel engaged, inspired, and inclined to do what a bully tells you? Do you want to succeed for this bully, or do you want to sabotage this bully?

When you want to form a good habit or break a bad habit, your conscious mind attempts to give your unconscious mind an order. Your unconscious mind likes to take orders, but like you, it might take or leave orders based on the kind of rapport it has with the “boss.” Otherwise, it will continue along the path of least resistance, which is to keep listening to the inner critic.

We make what is conscious unconscious, or automatic, through repetition, which can be accelerated when the mind is in the most receptive state. In order to make your unconscious inner critic the kind of loving, inspiring leader you want to listen to, be intentional, kind, and patient with yourself. Have regular pep talks with yourself. Send yourself internal verbal votes of confidence. Affirmations have been clinically proven to produce results.

Habits go from a push to a pull once your unconscious mind starts to cooperate. Just like any good leader will get the best results in the short and long-term by inspiring his/her team with a compelling vision and by appealing to their highest selves, you will find good habits more easily form and bad habits more easily break when you convert your inner critic to your most powerful advocate and cheerleader.

Hard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster)

Provided to YouTube by Rhino/Warner RecordsHard Habit to Break (2006 Remaster) · ChicagoChicago 17℗ 1984 Warner Records Inc.Guitar, Keyboards: Bill ChamplinB…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Own Your Words, Own Your World

How many times have you made a judgment call about a person based on a comment they made?

Did that comment really define them and was your judgment accurate? How do you know? Does it matter?

Here’s why it’s been mattering lately.

  • Co-creation – Pharma companies worked together to expedite clinical trials and get out a critically needed vaccine to the world. We have other crises that need solutions.
  • Opportunity – Because of the above, the in-demand skills of today and tomorrow are people-related. Though some are trying, this is a functional area that isn’t expected to be ethically automated with any kind of efficacy.
  • Racial Justice – Silenced and discouraged voices are piping up much louder while they face continued resistance and suppression. We’re not going back to how it was before George Floyd. There’s too much work to do!
  • Division – Politics and personal freedom have literally divided families during one of the loneliest times imaginable for people of this time.
  • We have just had 7 mass shootings in 7 days. Clearly unresolved issues are a public threat.

Some unexpected aspects of accountability in leadership came up yesterday while Lawrence Henderson and I were on Clubhouse (which we are every other Tuesday, so please follow us and join us on the app @BossLLab and @ripplemaker).

The consensus seems to be that the art of civil discourse is lost. The perception of recent conflict seems to be that it has been counter-productive. Lawrence and I are huge fans of Cy Wakeman’s No Drama approach. What’s the difference between drama and conflict?

It’s drama when:

  • You have an issue with someone and, instead of addressing the source, you involve other people.
  • You address the source, but are combative and/or accusatory.
  • You allow your conflict with someone to prohibit your performance and fall short of expectations.
  • The source of the issue is a perception, not a truth, and that perception drives decisions.

However, conflict is necessary for innovation. And, it’s necessary for conscious leadership. We may have learned that confronting someone makes things worse. The thing is, few are trained to effectively address conflicts, so what we see is conflict making things worse, now more than ever.

Social media has enabled keyboard warriors to develop habits and expectations that real-world consequences for words put out into the world don’t exist. Is this what has bled into the workplace, or was it something else?

  • Was it the fear that a confrontation can erupt into violence?
  • Was it the idea that we should leave emotions at the door?
  • Was it the constant threat of litigation?
  • Was it punitive Human Resources practices for causing workplace drama/toxicity?
  • Was it ill-advised codes of conduct and compliance training?

Too many trainings right now use subjective language, like “good values,” “professional conduct,” and “respect and dignity”. Another speaker in the Clubhouse room, Tamiko Drummond says that Human Resources needs to own properly training each and every manager on facilitating conflict From the top, leaders need to encourage going deeper into conflict rather than side-stepping it.

Ms. Drummond advises people to ask for clarification when they hear something about which they are passing judgment. “Unpack that statement for me” is a phrase she recommends. I’ve shared before how my former boss’s catchphrase was “help me understand.” At the women’s event I wrote about last week, one leader shared this list of responses to micro-aggressions.

Lawrence shared a story about one of the first private sector leaders he had who shocked him by asking him how he’d like to be approached when he was having a bad day. Wow! What an amazing question! She went on to teach and demonstrate that conflict is inevitable, and when it’s dealt with appropriately, it can make a working relationship that much stronger.

In our last Clubhouse room two weeks ago, one of the most poignant phrases shared by a speaker in the room was “Silence is dangerous.” Just because you aren’t actively hearing about a problem, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and won’t sabotage progress. Ignorance is only bliss temporarily. Furthermore, ignorance is becoming increasingly unacceptable to those who have been marginalized. Silence is the antithesis of progress, so don’t expect your comments to go without response anymore.

We talked yesterday about how anonymous 360s can be as destructive to morale and team cohesion as social media posts from keyboard warriors. Anonymous feedback is so widely used to identify performance issues, and has led to such mistrust and discouragement. It breeds a lack of accountability for what is said. When there is a void of accountability, there tends to be a perception spin machine. It wastes a lot of energy and resources.

Next, we talked about how to determine if the feedback is even accurate. Another speaker in the Clubhouse Room, Ray Abram, author of Connect Like a Boss, recommended a tool called the Johari Window. This can help leaders determine if there’s a perception issue or an opportunity for growth and development.

I shared another story about my boss, who had been informed that I was not pulling my weight, and that’s why my team was underperforming. I refuted those claims and he gave me the biggest gift. I had suspected for months that two women in the office who had become suspiciously silent toward me were gossiping about me. One I addressed directly; I thought we were friends. She coldly told me there was no problem. The other was on my team and had accused me of underperforming, which I supposed our other teammates agreed with. Thankfully, I had been working with a mentor and all activities were tracked in a database, so the resolution my bosses proposed was to get everyone in the room and put everyone’s cards on the table. The issue was diagnosed as a “perception problem.” I left the firm not long after to start Epic Careering, with my reputation and relationships intact thanks to that meeting.

When people are accountable, they want to know (and need to know) if there is an issue. There are many different ways people communicate. Some are more effective than others, but thankfully communication is a skill everyone can develop – if they’re willing.

So, for the sake of innovation and progress, what opportunities do you have in front of you to question a perception you have about someone?

Come Talk to Me

Provided to YouTube by YouTube CSV2DDEXCome Talk to Me · Peter GabrielUs (Remastered)℗ 2009 Peter Gabriel LtdReleased on: 1992-09-29Auto-generated by YouTube.

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Leading With Vulnerability – Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership

Vulnerability in leadership proved to be a very fruitful topic, and I thank our C3 community for selecting it as our March Answer the Call to Conscious Leader event topic. Senior Human Resources Leader, Vince Blando, and The Believe Coach, Nick Dillon, offered us invaluable insight from their personal experience as leaders who model vulnerability. If you didn’t make it live, catch the replay by joining the C3 community.

Here are the questions we answered in our hour-long discussion:

  • How can you create other leaders who model vulnerability?
  • How can you be a true vulnerable leader?
  • Can you really be open to every opportunity without being open and vulnerable yourself?
  • What does being vulnerable really require of leaders?
  • What does vulnerability feel like when you don’t possess those qualities?
  • How did our panelists develop those qualities?
  • Why do you have to be willing to be vulnerable?
  • What happens when a leader holds back?
  • Are people born leaders?
  • When does being vulnerable serve a leader well and when doesn’t it?
  • What is it that you express to people that makes vulnerability an effective leadership tool?
  • What is something we all need up-skilling in?
  • How can a leader who admits being vulnerable inspire a team member to elevate performance?
  • How does lacking vulnerability backfire?
  • What is the major gap that keeps leaders from being effectively vulnerable?
  • What do leaders need to do to welcome vulnerability?
  • What is it about being a vulnerable leader that enables your team to show up as their best selves?
  • What is the only way to be effective as a leader these days?
  • What are perceptions of vulnerability that are now very outdated and need to go?
  • What happens when you are a vulnerable performer working for a leader who does not model vulnerability?
  • What happens if you grow weary of being available to your team members?
  • Is it appropriate to show your team members that you feel their pain or should you detach?
  • How has compartmentalizing pain and trauma been working?
  • How have our panelists navigated modeling and normalizing vulnerability in the workplace?
  • Why is now the time for us to go from aspirational to executable in being whole at work?
  • How do we gain traction in the movement to normalize vulnerability and empathy?
  • What are the consequences of not enabling empathy in the workplace?
  • What are the hard business reasons companies need to go in this direction?
  • What is the only true way to attain 360˚ leadership and be effective?
  • Do people leave jobs or leaders?
  • What happens when people practice the new brand of leadership in traditional business environments?
  • Where can a leader start introducing vulnerability in traditional business environments?
  • Where do EAPs fall short and how does a leader fill that gap?
  • How has the lack of financial stability spurred a greater need for vulnerability in leadership?
  • When your past has mistakes, what is the mindset to move forward from that as a vulnerable leader?
  • What does the military teach around leadership and does it conflict or align with being a vulnerable leader?
  • What is a major mistake that leaders make after having success in leadership that inhibits vulnerability?
  • What is “contextual empathy”?
  • What does a leader have to do to maintain psychological safety to continually nurture vulnerability?
  • What are the landmines associated with being a vulnerable leader?

Recommended reading: Brené Brown, The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection and Courage.

Once in the C3 Community, make sure you engage – like, comment, further the conversation, invite panelists and other members to connect.

Potential future ATCCL topics this conversation spurred:

  • Increasing access to resources and exposure to opportunity
  • Contextual empathy

Are you an expert in any of these topics? Introduce yourself inside of the C3 community and maybe you’ll be a panelist!

Here are other upcoming opportunities to share the stage with your C3 co-hosts:

Are you on Clubhouse?

Every other Tuesday at 1:15 p.m. EST, including this week, March 9th, Lawrence and I will be going live on Clubhouse to further discuss topics related to conscious leadership and find out what content the conscious leadership community most demands.

>> Follow us both on Clubhouse – Karen: @ripplemaker and Lawrence: @bossllab

On Twitter?

I have returned to do Twitter chats. Join me Wednesday, March 10th at 11 AM EST to engage in Q&A around Conscious Leadership by following me @EpicCareering and the hashtag #ConsciousLeaderChat.

See you there!

The Human League – Human

Vote for your favourite 80s hit of all time: https://lnk.to/80BestHitsListen to more from The Human League: http://TheHumanLeague.lnk.to/EssentialsStream a p…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Have You Ever Cried at Work?

Have you ever cried at work? Whether personal or work-related?

How about on the playing field?

What were you taught to do with that emotion?

Suppress it? Fight it? Hide it? Turn it off?

Did anyone ever tell you to just sit with it? Let it out? Journal about it?

Do those methods work, and even if they work in the short-term, what are the long-term impacts?

How many people, let alone leaders, are taught how to process emotion?

How many people have turned to medication or self-medication not as a last resort, but as a go-to to not deal with emotion?

What has toxic masculinity, rugged individualism, and toxic positivity done to contribute to the prevalence of mental illness in adults and those entering adulthood – the generation with the highest rates of mental illness (even pre-COVID) ever?

Or, has it been the increased stimulation and distraction that has led to the increase? Has it been the increase in expectations from our young people to thrive academically and athletically without allowing and accommodating room for our youth to just be still?

The prevalence of mental illness and high-profile mass shootings and bombings has forced some of these questions to the forefront, but what place do these questions have in the workplace?

I am thankful that I started therapy young – in the 5th grade. It was the first time someone told me it was okay to have feelings – to have MY feelings.  Still, it has taken a lifetime to make peace with the intensity of my emotions.

In order to de-stigmatize mental illness, we also have to de-stigmatize emotions. We have to de-stigmatize therapy and normalize healthy outlets, like yoga, meditation, journaling, walking, boxing, etc.

Eliminate the words “woo woo” and “new age” in the context of these practices. There is enough science at this point to substantiate their efficacy, so using those words just makes you seem ignorant, insensitive, and obsolete.

Additionally, it’s time the workplace was encouraging, even accommodating, of these outlets.

If an employer assumes that employees are taking care of their emotional and mental health needs outside of work hours, it’s a dangerous assumption.

Every manager and leader needs to be trained on how to create a conducive environment to have and process emotions, whether privately or with you. As individuals, we have to know how to take care of these needs on our own, but as a leader, you should be able to uncover these needs and know where to refer employees for the care of these needs.

What about physical wellness? Science has proven a link between mental health and physical health. Read more about the links and the costs of this in our Mindfulness and EI training report.

What do you do as an individual experiencing emotions at work?

Firstly, do not apologize!

Secondly, fight your inclination to hide or suppress these emotions. Call them out by name. “I’m feeling _______________. I need a moment.”

You don’t have to decide anything else in this moment – what to do next, what to say, whether to go home or stay, who you’re inconveniencing, etc.

You can leave the room, or stay there. I find it easier to be with my emotions when I’m alone, at least at first. So, I would likely leave the room. I would head outside if I could, or toward any kind of nature – even opening a window would help.

Just allow it. Think of emotion as Energy in Motion – E-motion. It needs to flow. Breathing helps move the emotion through your body. It’s so easy to forget to breathe in the middle of intense emotion!

Be in it. Tune into your body – where are you experiencing this emotion physically? Your head? Your chest? Shoulders and neck?

If you feel like a victim, start processing all that happened to inspire these feelings. Have a pity party. Write down all of the events and feelings. Get them out into the open where you can refer back to them post-processing and sort out what is real, what is truth, what is story, what is assumption, and what is a product of your insecurities and limiting beliefs.

The time it takes to move through the emotion decreases as you get better at being with your pain.

At first, you may need a good 30 minutes, especially if an event was severe or historical. (If a reaction is hysterical, the cause is historical!)

What other possibilities exist?

What is in your control?

What outcome do you want? The desired outcome is not a necessary component of processing emotions, however, once your emotions are processed, you will have better logical judgment about what you want to happen next – if you need to go home, if you need to speak with someone, or if you are ready to face your co-workers and boss again.

You are under NO obligation to explain anything or apologize to anyone if you have dealt with your emotions healthfully. However, if someone was caught in the crossfire before you were able to process your emotion, you will have to decide if an apology is necessary to restore your integrity or your relationships. Depending on the severity of the blow, you may need to do much more than apologize and there may be irreversible consequences.

Learn from these consequences, prevent them in the future, and do not define yourself by these human moments.

What do you do as a leader when a team member is experiencing emotions?

Firstly, always validate emotions. Many managers and leaders do not want to be the recipient of anger, but this is a manifestation of ego, not empathy. So, even if the anger is directed at you, affirm that the person has a “right” to feel how they feel.

Ask them if they would like time to be alone or if they want to talk to you or with anyone else.

Be wary of pulling in human resources if human resources in your company is more inclined to react disciplinarily rather than resourcefully. At their best, human resources professionals are quite experienced and trained in serving in some counseling capacity, but there is too often a conflict of interest in processing events in compliance with policies and being fully emotionally available. There are also varying levels of severity that would certainly exceed the normal skill sets of human resources. If there is not a dedicated, licensed counselor or coach on staff, the best practice for HR is to refer the employee to other resources.

If you become the confidant. just listen. Don’t advise. Give the employee space to speak and process their emotions. Don’t try to fix anything, if there is anything for you as a leader to fix, until emotions have equalized. The message they need most is that you are committed to creating a safe place for them to share their emotions. You will have your own emotions about it, and you are justified in having those, too, but in this moment, just focus on listening. Eventually, it might be necessary to put your compassion into action. Allow yourself to process your own emotions before making any determinations, however.

If you and your company really want to demonstrate that you care and are willing to invest in the mental and emotional wellness of your team, allocate a room just for their emotional wellness.

What kinds of things would an emotional wellness room include?

A variety of tools to express a variety of emotions, from sadness to fear to anger.

  • Privacy
  • A box of tissues
  • Plants
  • A punching bag
  • A small table with chairs in case someone wants to talk it out
  • Papers and pens
  • Coloring books
  • Music/speakers
  • Pillows to scream into
  • Stuffed animals to squeeze or throw
  • A help button
  • A reference list for hotlines and guided meditations
  • A trampoline
  • Resistance bands
  • Exercise mats
  • A water fountain

Additional concerns I have that require additional research, perhaps research that has not yet been conducted, include finding out at what rate corporate leaders are medicated for mental illness. How does that impact their centers of empathy in the brain and their ability to make conscious decisions? I am sure there are instances in which the medication enhances their ability to handle stressful situations, but I wonder about the situations that are people-related.

I am not anti-medication generally, and no – I absolutely do not want to stigmatize taking medication. The side effects of many of these medications seem sometimes worse than the condition, and I do worry that drugs are too frequently prescribed when there are other therapies, coping mechanisms, and non-prescription solutions that would present better long-term options for enhanced mental health. I know many people who have found healthier alternatives to pharmaceuticals, are able to come off their prescribed medicines (under a doctor’s care), and then realize just how numb they had been. Numb is the most often used word.

I wonder how much more challenging it is to be empathetic when you are numb.

I hope for answers someday, and have been looking lately into pursuing a Ph.D. to dig into this deeper, among other research. If you have knowledge of any resources and/or research on this topic, please connect with me on social media. If you have a personal story about this, I would love to hear it.

How were you taught to deal with your emotions?

How were you taught to deal with other people’s emotions?

Guns N’ Roses – Don’t Cry

Music video by Guns N’ Roses performing Don’t Cry (Original Version). (C) 1991 Guns N’ Roses under exclusive license to Geffen Records

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

What We Can Learn From the Success of L’Oreal’s Mindfulness Program

Yesterday I attended an online L’Oreal mindfulness case study hosted by the Institute for Organizational Mindfulness and facilitated by Andy Lee, former Chief Mindfulness Officer at Aetna/current Senior Consultant for the Potential Project.

Jade Ku Sonlin, Assistant Vice President of People Development and Learning at L’Oreal, spent the hour talking about her personal mindfulness journey. She described how she went about gradually getting the C-level on board for a pilot, the success of that pilot, and how the pilot grew into a wellness program. She then expressed the continued impact on those who are now participating in that wellness program across the organization.

Sonlin started at L’Oreal in Marketing after burning out in LA agency life and adopting mindfulness as a practice.  Her marketing background proved very valuable in gaining buy-in and funding for this pilot (they outsourced to MindFresh.) Below are ways she applied her marketing know-how to eventually gain the approval and funds to move forward with a pilot.

Meet them where they are at

People are practicing mindfulness at some level, whether they know it or not. When you engage in activities in which you find yourself “in the flow,” take in all the details of something, and that moment before you do something that requires physical acuity when you take a breath you are practicing mindfulness. Sonlin’s boss is a mountaineer. He had some resistance to not just mindfulness, but also to the idea of dedicating time at work to it. So, Sonlin asked how he gets focused when he’s on a mountain in a precarious spot. He breathes. That was merely a seed planted that she could water later. More importantly, she now knew a way to frame mindfulness in a way that had relevance and resonance to him.

Throughout the pilot, they gathered feedback to continue to tap into messaging that would make the training more palatable, for instance eliminating names for yoga poses that weren’t understood by a non-yogi.

She also made sure the program was clearly named for what it was and dispelled some common myths, such as mindfulness is all about being still, or being still for long periods of time. In fact, there are various ways that you can practice mindfulness, and many take under 3 minutes!

Change is a marathon, not a sprint

Time is a precious commodity for anyone, but employers literally commoditize it. That’s why it’s not an easy sell to ask a company to spare any of it. The Aetna case study, which I had included in an accredited training that I did at an HR summit for my local SHRM chapter, proved that investing time in meditation creates … more time. (Read my Mindfulness and EI training report to find out more.)

Does that make people jump on board? Well, as Sonlin shared, mindfulness is a practice. This was repeated frequently throughout the training. So, not only is mindfulness training an investment of time, but something that must be practiced ongoingly in order to produce the ongoing benefits. You’re not just asking people to spare some time, but to accommodate something new permanently. That can feel overwhelming, especially for people currently experiencing burn out. This will likely cause resistance.

It is best implemented in stages for sustained longevity. First, it’s just about trying and learning. Then it’s noticing that trying and learning is making a difference. Then, it’s getting the brain to crave that difference and draw you into the practice, and that’s when you find yourself in a habit, or practice. The more social proof you can offer, the easier it becomes to enroll new people.

It starts with a ripple.

Offer evidence

Sonlin did a deep dive to find evidence that the investment of time and money would have business payoffs.  There are various case studies, some of which I’ve written about before. Since “because Google does it” is losing its luster as a compelling enough reason to try something, it’s thankfully really easy to point to the science.

The report I wrote a few years ago could have really come in handy for Sonlin since it lays out the science-based business case of mindfulness (and emotional intelligence) training.

L’Oreal’s mindfulness program was initiated in 2016, and Sonlin credits this program for L’Oreal employees sustaining productivity and morale during COVID.

Here are some other self-reported results from L’Oreal’s pilot participants:

  • 100% reported improved clarity
  • 96% reported increased patience
  • 95% reported it had a positive impact on their work
  • 84% discovered a technique that can use to de-stress

I have started to compile a curation of case studies to help you as a supplement to the Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence Training report.

Mindfulness isn’t just a trend; it’s a breakthrough technology that will help forward-thinking leaders solve today’s and tomorrow’s problems. Read more about this in the report, and let me know if you want help promoting this to your company.

New Radicals – You Get What You Give (Original)

New Radicals Song Get What You Give…Ultimate 90’s Song!!I Claim NO Ownership Of This Song, All Credit Goes To New Radicals And Universal Music Group!!I Wis…

Karen Huller is the creator of the Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint and author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days. She founded Epic Careering, a leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, in 2006. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. Her solutions incorporate breakthroughs in neuroscience, human performance optimization, bioenergetics, and psychology to help leaders accelerate rapport, expand influence, and elevate engagement and productivity while also looking out for the sustainability of the business and the planet.

Mrs. Huller was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She was an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business. As an instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, she has helped two of her students win the 2018 National Competition to be named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, to win the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and to land in the top 8 during the (virtual) 2020 National Competition.

She is board secretary for the Upper Merion Community Center and just finished serving as Vice President of the Gulph Elementary PTC, for which she received recognition as a Public Education Partner and Promoter from the Upper Merion Area Education Association. She lives in King of Prussia with her husband, two daughters, and many pets, furry, feathered, and scaly.

Will You Answer The Call To Conscious Leadership?

If you missed the inaugural Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership event, you’re invited to watch the highlight reel of June 4’s event below.

Hosted by Lawrence Henderson and co-hosted by me, we invited two panelists to yesterday’s discussion, David Guerreso, Leadership and Purpose Coach and former IT leader, and Kristin Corson, human resources veteran, former trauma counselor, and current talent acquisition specialist.

Without a real agenda, but more of a need to just get the conversation started so that we can start processing what is going on, what’s led up it, and how this needs to look going forward to create a more equitable and just future, yesterday’s conversation was rich with topics. We focused especially on the qualities that leaders need to embody.

Here are some of the important topics we covered:

  • Top-down leadership – Organizations keep trying to fix problems from the bottom up.
  • Model vulnerability to create psychological safety so that people know it’s safe to share how they feel.
  • Resilience – How do you build resilience if you haven’t naturally built it by going through tough times? Get comfortable being uncomfortable.
  • Fear of alienating employees and customer base as well as organizational culture that has modeled the military has stifled forward progress.
  • Start the conversation, then listen, then act! You don’t get across that you care until you act.
  • Invest time in understanding where your people are coming from and meet them where they are.
  • “Us vs. Them” doesn’t work.
  • Commitment to personal development – be willing to accept that you have room to grow.
  • Purpose – it doesn’t feel like you might expect.
  • “Cooperetition” – Working up to the best of your ability to raise the bar for everyone around you.

Watch the highlight reel here:

06-04-20 Answer the Call to Conscious Leadership Event

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Lawrence and I are going to do these events bi-weekly. Please join our LinkedIn group, C3: Corporate Consciousness Co-op, to attend live, watch recordings, and meet other leaders committed to transforming the corporate landscape.

 

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Racial Injustice, Economic Injustice, Health Injustice

It’s funny how coincidences work, isn’t it?

I ordered the 2nd edition of The B Corp Handbook to see how it was augmented with new case studies of companies that profit, thrive, and grow, all while doing good in the world.

I usually force myself to read prologues, forewords, and introductions because, even though I’m anxious to dig right in, I often find there are critical context and additional resources in these sections that can exponentially increase the value that I get from a book, and this edition was no exception.

Co-author Ryan Honeyman seemed to anticipate some backlash from B Corp prospects on the diversity and inclusion focus of the new edition, justifying that you can’t really have a company that does good in the world without acknowledging how racial injustices impact economic, social, and environmental injustices; they are directly correlated.

In light of the events of the week (#GeorgeFloyd), and unfortunately too many weeks before that (#AhmaudArbery, #CentralParkKaren, just to name a couple), it seems more like a sign than coincidence that this was the focus of the introduction, but it was the way Honeyman seemed to need to justify its inclusion that bothered me.

When I was in college, I was told by someone who shall remain nameless, but who was a very influential person in my life, that I should despise affirmative action, because it meant that even if I was qualified for a job, a [person of color] would get it just to make the numbers look better.

Why were the numbers so bad, was my response. Their reply – including blatant racism, lack of empathy and understanding, and justifications – reinforced that, while this person will always be in my life and I cherish them, I cannot possibly adopt their world view, and I became a skeptic of theirs ever since. It wasn’t until years later that I became a recruiter and found myself challenging my own biases while also being exposed to others’, that I became a stronger advocate, and in a position to do so, for equality in the workplace. It was…. messy, though.

I’m excited to dig more into this edition of The B Corp Handbook, but today I wanted to share just a few of the wisdom bombs within the introduction because they directly correlate to what is happening right now before our eyes.

The other co-author, Dr. Tiffany Jana, is the representative voice of diversity in this book. I think it’s only fair to start with her wisdom:

  • “If we fail to leverage our collective economic power to address what we can clearly see our gross injustices– economic, Environmental, social, medical, educational, and more– then are we really walking the walk?”
  • “There are no perfect role models for DEI. The important thing is to acknowledge your error, apologize whenever possible, and be more present and intentional next time.”
  • “Equity… means everyone gets treated according to their individual needs or circumstances.”
  • “If you use people as tools to get work done but don’t engage their minds and hearts, that is not inclusion. If people’s opinions are not sought out, taken seriously, or at the pond, that is not inclusion. Inclusion is sharing the work, and the opportunities, the glory, the fun, and the failure.”
  • “In order to restore trust in business, the business community needs to respond to those people’s legitimate desire for jobs with dignity the business community also needs to make the case that economic justice for all isn’t inextricably tied to, and dependent on, social and environmental justice.”
  • “Companies that thrive on the exploitation of people should not thrive.”

Quotes from Mr. Ryan Honeyman:

  • “It’s should not be the burden of people of color, women, or other marginalized groups to educate folks with privilege about institutional racism, institutional sexism, and other forms of systemic bias.”
  • “If you choose to walk away from an uncomfortable conversation, you are exercising your privilege, because people of color, women, and others cannot walk away from their identity.”
  • “White supremacy is the system that perpetuates many of the problems our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are attempting to solve.”
  • “I had never considered that challenging and unraveling the norms, assumptions, and culture of white supremacy is self could be part of the solution.”
  • “Only by naming it, disrupting it, and dismantling it can we successfully create an economy that works for the benefit of all life.”

I invite you to consider Mindfulness Training and Emotional Intelligence (MT/EQ) training for your company and/or team. When applied correctly, over 200 studies prove that MT/EQ helps companies control profit bleeding by contributing to improved problem solving, enhanced motivation, higher performance and productivity, and more while also helping to replace bias/discrimination, corruption, workplace drama, harassment with consciousness and kindness.

What are your thoughts on how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Natalie Merchant – Break Your Heart

Music video directed by Sophie Muller, featuring N’Dea Davenport and filmed at The Chelsea Hotel in NYC.

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

7 Qualities to Weave Into Your Brand to Overcome Ageism

 

I have covered ageism before, as it directly relevant and impactful to the demographic of talent I most often work with as clients – baby boomers. Sometimes perspective clients, even after walking them through the outcomes that they can expect by working with me, doubt that those results are possible for them because of their age.

Let me be clear – Age has stopped NONE of my clients in the past 12+ years from landing an epic job. Most of my previous content about ageism was aimed at helping people shift your thinking, refocus your energy, and inspire a greater sense of hope that landing a great job where their years of experience are appreciated is not just possible, but probable with the right brand, plan and execution.

Do companies sometimes discriminate? YES! They do. It happens, but it doesn’t have to stop you from landing a great job where you will be valued. You don’t have to work for @IBM, or any other company where age has seemed to impact employment.

It is absolutely important to make sure that your mindset serves you, but you do also have to have the substance that gets you hired.

Also, let me make it clear that I cam NOT condoning ageism, “or any ism, for that matter. Isms in my opinion are not good.”

This topic was specifically requested by someone in my network who responded to my previous blog requesting people to tell me what topics they want most. (This one’s for you, @BillGutches!)

So, I’d like to go into a few more specifics about the qualities that, if weaved into your brand and proven by your content and experience, will help you put age at the bottom of a list of reasons you might not get a job and inform you of some reasons that actually trump age as reasons you might not get a job.

While at the same time, I have to inform you of a caveat – your brand needs to be authentic. You can land a job by faking it, sometimes, but you won’t set yourself up for success by faking it. The good news is that, even if some of these qualities don’t come naturally to you, they can be developed, some of them more quickly than others.

Prove your brand is authentic by telling stories. When I say “tell stories,” I mean introduce them in your résumé succinctly by identifying the results, the outcomes that were possible because of those results and the skills you applied to achieve them. In your LinkedIn profile, you have more freedom in telling your story as you would, though you still have character limits and brevity is still valuable. Then there is telling your story to people with you network, and then also people with whom you interview. Each of these story formats have different requirements for being optimally effective. Contact us for custom-crafted content and coaching on how to do this.

  1. Value/ROI

A company’s budget is a company’s budget. Any company starting out or rebuilding is going to have to stretch what they have, and they may believe that hiring younger talent and training them enables them to get further faster. As a company starts to gain traction, growing and scaling, however, it becomes very clear that expertise is needed. This is a perfect time to strike.

I am NOT advising you to lower your salary expectations. Some of my former clients were willing to do this in order to step down from stressful positions. This created challenges they had to overcome in order to prevent being dismissed as “overqualified”. Too many believe that this will be the fastest way to land a job, and find that even after they decide to pursue something lower.

I am also NOT advising you to do this. Don’t apply for jobs that ask for someone with 3-5 years or less of experience when you have 15+ and expect someone to have an open mind. More about that here.

This particular article is about promoting your experience as something that will create value above and beyond what someone less experienced can offer. If you try to promote your value, but then ask for a low salary than what you are proving you can offer, you inspire doubt in your value.

Walk a fine line between promoting yourself as an expert and as someone who knows it all.

Tell stories that not only demonstrate that because you have “been there and done that” you can save the company money and accelerate their initiatives, but you have to also demonstrate how you listened, how you made mistakes, and how you trusted the expertise of your team members.

Disqualify employers who care about age as well as bosses whose egos will not appreciate when your experience can help them course-correct. That’s not to say that they will go with whatever you advise. You have to be able to articulate your case in business terms, and the first test of whether or not you can do this is how you promote your own value and fitness for a job.

Some employers have steered away from hiring more experienced workers who would report to less experienced managers because it didn’t work out in the past. You can’t refute people’s life experience. If you say “Believe me!” when their past experiences have proven the opposite, you won’t be influential. You can say, “I’m not the person who burned you, and I can prove it if you give me a chance.”

You can say, “I know how you feel; I’ve seen and experienced a lot, too, enough to know that one bad experience can change your mind, but that you also have to keep an open mind because sometimes going the opposite way isn’t always the right decision, either.”

Prove that you recognize that someone who has fewer years of experience than you, perhaps even a LOT fewer, can still effectively leverage and coordinate the expertise of his or her team, by telling a story like this. When have you yielded your years of experience to someone less experienced?

  1. Health

By promoting a commitment to your health, you can overcome stereotypes that more experienced workers are health risks. This is obviously another area where it’s illegal to discriminate, but hard to prove unless the person applying presents physical evidence of illness or unhealthy habits. However, if you come in NOT smelling like booze or cigarettes and share your passion for biking, hiking, yoga, martial arts, intramural sports or healthy eating/cooking, etc. on social media (yes, they are checking that!) then you can promote yourself as having a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle means fewer sick days, more resilience to stress, and better emotional stability.

On the other hand, you might be promoting a high-risk lifestyle if you are a rock climber, mountain biker, motorcyclist, etc. Companies might perceive that you are at high risk for long-term disability with that kind of lifestyle. Other companies might perceive these as signs that you fit the adventure-seeking culture they are promoting. If you refuse to be anything less than yourself, just make sure you are targeting companies who will appreciate someone who lives life on the edge.

  1. Energy

Companies who have a 24×7 critical operation or high volume need people who can operate at a high level for a sustained period of time. Tell stories that demonstrate your ability to do this.

Demonstrating energy in an interview is a slippery slope. While some cultures are full of extroverted people who feed off of the high energy level of everyone there, most companies prefer a balance. Coming across as too energetic can cause just as many concerns as lacking energy.

Passion usually naturally expresses itself in greater animation in verbal and non-verbal communication. To many bosses, energy = passion. Passion is what will carry you through challenges when natural energy subsides. If you are not naturally high-energy, leverage your passion.

If you’re not someone who naturally comes across as high-energy, then promote yourself as the grounding influence. Every company needs this, but some fear that someone who will bring over-zealous visions down to earth might also be a stick in the mud, naysayer or even worse, a bottleneck to innovation. You have to be able to demonstrate that you can raise awareness around potential obstacles and limits in a non-threatening way and can also support viable solutions that overcome them.

  1. Agility

Here’s a direct quote from a comment left just today on a LinkedIn news article about former employees suing IBM:

“I don’t know to many folks over 40 interested in anything new related to technology. They change because they have too, leaving companies in an interesting position.”

If I had to guess how old she was, I’d say just shy of 40 – old enough to be a hiring manager, even an executive, though she’s not, thankfully – with that kind of bias.

Agility is not just the ability to pivot a project when new intelligence justifies that a different direction will produce a better outcome, but also your ability to change with the times and technology.

IBM claims that they didn’t let go of the workers for age-related reasons, but because they needed to hire workers with different skills. Except that the company could have just trained its workers with updated skills. However, the consulting arm of IBM released a paper in 2006 calling its boomers “gray hairs” and “old heads,” concluding that younger generations were more innovative and open to new technologies. This bias is why they didn’t just train their older workers.

Besides avoiding companies who allow bias to be so influential in decisions on talent, you can overcome this bias by proactively learning technologies that are coming down the pike. Being savvy with social media and how to present data in modern formats, such as in infographics, is a great way to demonstrate this.

Additionally, there was a day when making a 10-year plan made sense, and 18-24 month projects were commonplace. Now we are finding that the market and technology change too fast to make investments in these projects pay off. Everything has to be done faster, and this is why automation is a necessity. If you are in a job that stands to be replaced by automation, it’s time to re-skill NOW. Learn something that will still be needed – leadership (we teach that), strategy, communication, liaising, auditing, compliance, etc. If you insist on promoting the value of a function that in time will be automated, you will soon find yourself unemployable, while also demonstrating that you are the opposite of agile. You may also be inclined to advise based on your need for job security rather than advising based on what is best for the customers/clients. This puts you squarely in the category that creates bottlenecks to innovation.

Resistance to change is a natural, unconscious reaction. Become more self-aware and override the fear. If you can’t help steer the change, at least learn how to surrender to it.

Tell stories that demonstrate how you pivoted for the sake of the company or customer/client, even if a large investment of time and money was made.

  1. Optimism

I was accused of being an idealist by a former boss because I believed (and still do) that people could afford to pass over opportunities that didn’t fit them or pay them what they were worth, because great jobs were out there and with the right tools and campaign, they could land them. This was what my experience taught me after a few years as a career coach, and my clients’ success still affirms this 10 years later. However, he believed that with more wisdom and maturity, I would come to be more “realistic.” That’s what he considered himself. Had I continued recruiting, I might have grown to believe that people should take what’s offered to them, because from my point of view, offers wouldn’t have come along for everyone. The one who got the offer was one in thousands.

First, we have to admit that our views of reality are completely subjective. What one sees as possible, another will have determined is impossible. When we default to assuming things are not possible, we become cynical. This is deadly to innovation. An optimist will assume things are possible and see challenges as opportunities to provide solutions.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” Winston S. Churchill

Which force do you think will propel us toward a better future?

Demonstrate your optimism by telling a story about a time when you were faced with a challenge and designed a solution, even if that solution ultimately failed, but especially if it worked and others doubted it.

  1. Future-thinking

This closely relates to being agile and staying up-to-date, but is better demonstrated by how you make plans. Are you accommodating future trends with plan Bs, or are you waiting for the future trends to become current trends? Are you able to complete a current project while lining up a future pipeline (that, of course, will remain flexible)?

This is the whole purpose behind the interview question, “What is your 5-10 year plan?” Though, as I stated earlier, a 10-year plan is hardly something that can be considered viable without knowing what industry, technology, politics, etc. are going to be like. That doesn’t mean they don’t have their benefits. A vision is a biological tool to activate the motivational centers of the brain. Having something bigger to reach for is exactly what makes being future-thinking valuable. Big-picture thinking, it can also be considered. These are the disruptors and visionaries. Many of these from the last few decades have come from the millennial generation, but most of them have achieved this status after earning their chops (and credibility) and gaining deep industry experience, by being able to see problems from various perspectives and vantage points to be able to better identify a breakthrough solution.

Tell stories about previous pitches you have made while still delivering on current initiatives to demonstrate your ability to be a future thinker. Even if you don’t feel like you know enough about the future to know if your 10-year plan is viable, have one.

  1. In Tune

Yes, this can apply to trends and technology, but it also means being in tune with people and younger generations. Having emotional intelligence is a key need for employers everywhere of all kinds, as I have certainly covered in depth in previous articles. There is such a thing as reverse ageism, and I have heard some people, the same people who assume they are being discriminated against for being a senior professional, say some biased things against younger generations. I understand the hurt of being discriminated against because of your age. An emotionally intelligent person would empathize and not inflict that on another. Instead, they would give each person a chance to be appreciated for their individual strengths. The best innovations will transpire when all generations contribute their value and benefits as a collaborative force. Each generation has its strength. Ideally, younger generations would be able to learn from the past experience and trial and error of senior generations to avoid certain pitfalls while older generations can learn how to use technology to get more done with less.

Transcend biases, no matter what direction they are turned. Increase your self-awareness of your biases. Aim to understand and appreciate. Bring people together of all ages, races, genders, and credos. Tell stories about how you built a sense of community among a diverse group of people for a common purpose, while still allowing people to bring to the table what the do well naturally.

 

I realize that some of the content in this article may have struck a raw nerve. It just doesn’t feel good to expect that you won’t be considered good enough just being who you are. I’ve always been committed to crafting and campaigning authentic brands for my clients. You may be at a place where you plain and simple feel as though the years you put in, the previous value you’ve delivered, and the expertise you curated should make you good enough to earn the job. You’re not wrong.

The thing is, the job doesn’t always go do the most qualified. People get interviewed for their qualifications, but so many managers would rather train and develop up and coming talent, considering it something noble to create opportunity for future leaders. They’re also not wrong.

Ultimately, the offer goes to someone who demonstrates they have the aptitude to learn, develop and grow with the organization, the passion to endure growing pains, and the personality and values to thrive in the culture.

This is true for all professionals, even if the person being hired is expected to be the expert and authority.

Most people have some kind of challenge to optimizing their career transition. Age can be one of them. But, like all of them, with a strategic, authentic, powerfully demonstrated brand and campaign, they can be overcome.

Contact us if you want more help on crafting your authentic brand and executing a strategy that enables you to work smart instead of hard and landing an optimal job with optimal pay.

certainly covered in depth in previous articles. There is such a thing as reverse ageism, and I have heard some people, the same people who assume they are being discriminated against, say some biased things against younger generations. I understand the hurt of being discriminated against because of your age. An emotionally intelligent person would empathize and not inflict that on another. Instead, they would give each person a chance to be appreciated for their individual strengths. The best innovations will transpire when all generations contribute their value and benefits as a collaborative force.

Transcend biases, no matter what direction they are turned. Increase your self-awareness of your biases. Aim to understand and appreciate. Bring people together of all ages, races, genders, and credos. Tell stories about how you built a sense of community among a diverse group of people for a common purpose, while still allowing people to bring to the table what the do well naturally.

 

I realize that some of the content in this article may have struck a raw nerve. It just doesn’t feel good to feel like you won’t be considered good enough just being who you are. I’ve always been committed to crafting and campaigning authentic brands for my clients. You may be at a place where you plain and simple feel as though the years you put in, the previous value you’ve delivered, and the expertise you curated should make you good enough to earn the job. You’re not wrong.

The thing is, the job doesn’t always go do the most qualified. People get interviewed for their qualifications, but so many managers would rather train and develop up and coming talent, considering it something noble to create opportunity for future leaders. They’re also not wrong. The offer goes to someone who demonstrates they have the aptitude to learn, develop and grow with the organization, the passion to endure growing pains, and the personality and values to thrive in the culture.

This is true for ALL professionals. Most people have some kind of challenge to optimizing their career transition. Age can be one of them, but like all of them, with a strategic, authentic, powerfully demonstrated brand and campaign, they can be overcome.

Contact us if you want more help on crafting your authentic brand and executing a strategy that enables you to work smart instead of hard and landing an optimal job with optimal pay.

Bon Jovi – I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead

Seven days of Saturday Is all that I need Got no use for Sunday Couse I don’t rest in peace Don’t need no Mondays Or the rest of the week I spend a lot of time in bed But baby I don’t like to sleep no I won’t lie to

 

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a corporate consulting and career management firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play.

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales.

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer and Certified Career Transition Consultant and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot.

She was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business and recently instructed for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy at Cabrini College, where her students won the national competition and were named America’s Top Young Entrepreneurs.