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A Crash Course in Leadership

 

It’s Not Enough to Just Show Up

Woody Allen once said that “Seventy percent of success is showing up.”

Too often, however, we have leaders in place that simply show up and conduct business as usual. They give out instructions, make big decisions and control who works for them and when. But as you all know, showing up is only half the battle. The real success is found when a leader decides to put others first.

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Be Genuine while Faking It

Elisa Hays Speaker

On June 14 three years ago, I woke up in my own bed for the first time after three and a half months in hospitals. It was a Saturday and we had a birthday party for our daughter Sarah. I stepped into a bright new day and the beginning of getting on with living.

Only two days prior in the rehab hospital I had charmed my way into convincing the doctors to send me home a week earlier than they had planned. I had been hospitalized for St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, my wedding Anniversary, and my 47th birthday. I was determined to be home for Sarah’s party. My husband Steve did all the preparations of course, but I chatted with the giggly 14-year old girls and joined in festivities. In brief conversations and on Facebook posts I seemed completely cogent. Like myself. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

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How to Get Off the Leash

We live with continuous bombardment of interruptions – phone calls, emails, texts, Facebook messages, people dropping by, etc, etc rinse and repeat.

They can all seem equally important and demanding. We don’t want to miss anything, disappoint someone or fail somehow because we’re not fast enough to respond to everyone at the moment they want it. But maybe we need to question whether the pressure to ‘multitask’ is valid.

Are we allowing ourselves to be trained into an ADD way of living? Are we allowing others to expect from us what is actually an unreasonable rate of response? In other words, are we the big dog or the puppy?

Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time. That is the truth and there’s a heap of research to back it. When we hop spastically from one interruption to the next we slow down productivity, accuracy and most importantly real connection to humanity. For more on “How Multitasking Hurts Your Brain (and Your Effectiveness at Work)” check out this Forbes article.

Insist on one thing at a time. Purposefully set your intention and focus on what’s right now. Protect your time and energy; it’s really all any of us have. Turn off the sound on your phone while you’re working. Be bold and turn off those ever-tempting instant notifications. You’re not ignoring anyone; just check notifications when it fits in your time and ability to give full attention. It’s OK to control the input in your life. We can respect the needs of others without allowing ourselves to be yanked around like a puppy on a leash.

Remember, a leader is the big dog – neither a lone wolf nor a puppy.

I help organizations build whole-hearted communities through ‘half-assed’ leadership. We work together in three ways: speaking, consulting, and executive coaching. Step up from the ordinary…. Contact me today.

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A Mother’s Foresight

Mother's Day - Elisa Hays _ Keynote Speaker

 

Emotional intelligence is blah, blah, blah.

Wait, what?

As humans, we are encouraged to be emotionally intelligent; just two weeks ago I brought up the importance of being empathetic and how it can positively enhance a workplace. But too often, we stop there. We sit in our high-backed office chairs and smile to ourselves, reveling in our strong management of emotions and good leadership skills. Go us!

There’s a difference, though, between a good leader and a great one. Good leaders demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence. They show strong empathy, are incredibly self-aware and show a genuine interest in the people they lead. However, GREAT leaders exercise emotional foresight.

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Empathy

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

Not too long ago, one of my employees had to do what every employee dreads most: Call their boss to confess that they did something wrong. Prior to the event, I had told my employee not to do the exact thing that she ended up doing. Sigh.

This is where we as leaders are faced with a decision. Whether it is at home with your children or in the workplace with employees, the immediate reaction can be to pull out the shame card. We want to teach them a lesson and ensure that it never happens again, right?  But this is where I invite you to take a pause.

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Go… And Be of Service

In a mere 14 days, people around North America came together to raise over $54,000 to get a woman back home to her family. A strong and supportive team that had worked day and night to keep this woman alive transported her out of an ICU on Good Friday, 2014. This woman’s dad, the last person to talk to her before the collision and the one caring for her kids back home, was one of the first to greet her after the med-jet flight landed in Seattle.

Every single one of these people sacrificed something, whether that was time, money or services, for me.

While some of these people were ‘simply doing their job’, most of them sacrificed voluntarily. Too often we lose track of what true volunteerism means. We participate in acts “voluntarily” but only if it benefits us personally; i.e. I’m on the Board of the National Speakers Association Northwest Chapter as a volunteer. Yes I give altruistic service but of course it also benefits my career.

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Coming Full Circle…

Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo 2017

They say that everything happens for a reason.

I say they’re wrong.

It’s easy to believe that when something tragic happens it’s because it has a “deeper” motive. You catch yourself saying phrases such as: “This happened because I need to learn something,” or “Bad things happen to good people.” Some would even go as far as to say, “I deserved this.” Our minds become incredibly overwhelmed as we try to justify a life event and how it will affect our now altered future. Sometimes life hits you like a truck. And now you’re stuck.

Stop. Take a breath. Pause. And ask yourself: What about right now?

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I Dare You to be Brave!

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, `I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ … If you fail anywhere along the line, it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

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Put Others First

kidney transplant

If I had died, my organs would have been donated to someone in need. I’ve always believed in the value of organ donation. I survived, but unfortunately my kidneys did not. My family was devastated as I was left with only 13% kidney function. My only hope was a transplant.

My 36-year old baby brother, with the support of his wife and two young daughters, stepped up as a living donor. To our joy all tests looked excellent. We excitedly prepared for a transplant at a top ranked hospital near home.

One day we got the call…but not a good one. It turns out Matt is 1% of the population with multiple renal arteries. Crazy, right?! That means he has 3 arteries to his left kidney and 4 to his right kidney instead of the usual 1. The transplant team felt the risk was too high and they turned us down. My whole family cried. Then we got creative….

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The most raw, honest and profound interview.

Friends, this is the most raw, honest and profound interview I’ve ever given.

Please listen and allow it to change how you connect with people everywhere.

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