The best question to boost your courage in the face of fear

The best question to boost your courage in the face of fear

In her book Lean In and the movement that it launched, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg challenges women to answer this question: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”. I think this is a positive message that helps bring self-awareness to limiting beliefs and barriers to courage. And she does implore women to “then go do it.” And I want to build on it and extend it.

For one, I do not wish to only address women. I want to address men also. Because fear holds a lot of people back.

In my work as a leadership development strategist, speaker, and facilitator, I meet a lot of people. And unfortunately, way too many of them are playing too small, too safe. I see a lack of courage – not Courage with a capital C like the kind that makes you run into a burning building and saving babies and puppies. No. Small-c courage that lets you see your fears, face them square on, and take action toward your big, scary goals IN SPITE of that fear.

So I want to build on that question and make it more actionable. I want to "yes, and" it.

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Why you should stop distracted listening

Why you should stop distracted listening

Does listening involve just your ears? Halelly Azulay of TalentGrow says definitely not. In this short video blog (vlog), she describes the commonly experienced negative effects of distracted listening and why you should stop doing that to people you care about. This advice is crucial for leaders of all levels (but it will also help you in your personal relationships).

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FOCUS: The secret to crushing your goals in 2016 and beyond

FOCUS: The secret to crushing your goals in 2016 and beyond

We are living in a world of always on, always connected, information overload and constant distractions. Meetings, emails, web surfing, social media, reacting to other people’s priorities, and saying ‘yes’ to requests that don’t get us closer to achieving our goals are just some of the ways we get seduced into doing work that ultimately doesn’t “move the needle”. It doesn’t move us closer to achieving our goals.

I certainly struggle with achieving focus and avoiding the incessant distractions. Here are some of the best ideas and tips from science and experts that can help us all make 2016 our best year yet.

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Why email sucks (for really important conversations) [vlog]

Why email sucks (for really important conversations) [vlog]

Have you ever had someone react emotionally to an email you sent and catch you completely off-guard? Did you ever re-read and re-write the same email eleventy-million times before hitting 'send'? Do you want to communicate more effectively and not damage your relationships at work and otherwise? Watch this short video blog (vlog) to learn the common mistake many leaders and team members make when choosing email as their mode of communication when it comes to important conversations. Learn the science behind the negative reactions people often have to your carefully crafted emails and how to prevent these situations from happening. Improve your communication effectiveness and become a better leader.

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The 3 secrets of the value-creator mindset

The 3 secrets of the value-creator mindset

Great achievements are not easy. Most value creators are prepared to put in lots of hard work, effort, and energy toward their important goals. But many of us are caught off-guard when we experience fear, discomfort, or major set-backs. Learning to evaluate the risk and creating the resilience and grit necessary to push ahead will generate momentum and satisfaction with the progress of the journey, not just the rewards of the final outcomes.

Here are some tips and techniques to help you overcome fear and push through the discomfort that often accompany really big breakthroughs. You’ll see that failure is not only inevitable, it’s actually something you should NOT avoid at all costs.

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How to Be Indispensable as an Employee or a Leader [vlog]

How to Be Indispensable as an Employee or a Leader [vlog]

By making yourself indispensable (which means "absolutely necessary" according to the dictionary), you create a much higher chance for promotion, selection for prime assignments, and in general make yourself more employable. In this video blog (vlog), I share four highly actionable ideas for ways you could make yourself more indispensable at work.

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Intention + interest + practice = communication success

Intention + interest + practice = communication success

I was facilitating a workshop on the three keys to communication success. We were talking about the need to consider the style and preference of the audience in shaping our communication approach when a participant spoke up.

“I hate when people do this. When my manager comes to talk to me and starts beating around the bush and giving me positive comments, I always get real skeptical and feel like there must be something bad or something more coming. I just want to tell him, “just come out with it! Give it to me straight!”.”

Here's what I told him.

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3 tricks to take networking from icky to awesome [vlog]

3 tricks to take networking from icky to awesome [vlog]

Do you hate networking? Most people I meet do. But networking doesn't have to be a 4-letter word. In this video, leadership development strategist and communication expert Halelly Azulay will teach you 3 simple, easy tricks that will help you take networking from icky to awesome!

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Business and Leadership Lessons I learned from Speakers at the National Speakers Association #Influence15 Convention in DC

Business and Leadership Lessons I learned from Speakers at the National Speakers Association #Influence15 Convention in DC

In addition to helping my clients with leadership development strategy and workshops, I am an international professional speaker at conferences and meetings. Therefore, to keep my own skills sharp, I belong to the National Speakers Association (“the other NSA”). This week I’m attending their annual convention right here in DC (taking advantage of the fact that it’s still ‘local’ for me, even if for less than two more weeks!). Although I’m still not finished (that won’t be until later this evening), I thought I’d recap some of the many lessons I’ve learned this week that can apply to all leaders and team members no matter the business and not just relevant to speakers.

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Summer reading for life-long learners: 5 books to inspire, inform, and intrigue the non-fiction crowd

Summer reading for life-long learners: 5 books to inspire, inform, and intrigue the non-fiction crowd

I’m a life-long learner. I love reading new books. But I’m not much of the fiction, beach reading type of reader. Perhaps to a fault, I always prefer to read books that I can directly learn from, even on vacation. So if you’re more like me, and would like to add to your summer must-read list with books you can learn from, here are five new books from friends of mine that I think you should check out. There’s something on this list for almost everyone.

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3 research-based tricks to help control emotions during critical conversations

3 research-based tricks to help control emotions during critical conversations

Maybe your particular upcoming critical conversation doesn’t involve a rude conversation counterpart like the one in the story I tell in this blog post. But regardless, it’s got your attention and you’re probably feeling anxiety-ridden about it. It’s got you in its grip, am I right?

So when you know that you have an upcoming challenging conversation that may lead to conflict, disappointment, and/or disagreement (initially), how do you manage your own emotions effectively to stay productive and not get caught up in the emotional reaction swirl of fight, flight, or freeze?

The key to not reacting emotionally in critical conversations is to learn to regulate our emotions. Here are three tricks from research to help us regulate our emotions during critical conversations:

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The common mistake we make during critical conversations and how to avoid it

The common mistake we make during critical conversations and how to avoid it

Often, we go into critical conversations with a certain predetermined outcome we want. And while it's really good to have a goal for what we want to accomplish in the conversation, there's a risk to becoming attached to a particular solution or approach.

What I suggest is that you have a goal for what you want to accomplish, but that you stay tentative and open about HOW you will accomplish it and allow that to be co-developed DURING the conversation, with full involvement from your conversation partner(s).

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Halelly goes to Hollywood

Halelly goes to Hollywood

In a recent podcast interview, my wise friend and goal setting guru Caroline Miller, MAPP, challenged me to share something I’m doing that is pushing me squarely outside my comfort zone that I consider a big scary risk. My answer was that starting my business was an example of doing that. But there was something else that was brewing and that I wasn’t yet ready to share...

And now I am…

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Who Cares Whose Idea it Was? Why People Love Your Idea Much Better if They Thought of it First

Who Cares Whose Idea it Was? Why People Love Your Idea Much Better if They Thought of it First

We like to get credit for our great ideas. It’s natural.

We all like to think our ideas are the best, most clever, and best fitting ones. Generally speaking, of course.

And that’s why we should try to give that experience to the people we are trying to influence or convince or co-create with. Because they’ll be more likely to get on board with the idea if it’s something they thought of. Or at least helped shape.

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The Top 10 Conversations Every Leader Should Have with Every Employee

The Top 10 Conversations Every Leader Should Have with Every Employee

Last week I visited sunny Ft. Lauderdale to speak at a financial services association’s conference about how to radically transform the way in which we do performance appraisals. The number one tip of the 5 best practices for a better performance management approach I shared with the audience is this: Make performance feedback an ongoing and informal practice. Ongoing, regular, and timely conversations with employees about performance, goals, career, and feedback contribute tremendously to their current and future level of performance and engagement at work. Here are my top 10 types of conversations that I think every leader should be having with every employee throughout each year:

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