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Do you have a plan for how you want your life to unfold? Or are you living reactively to the non-stop busy-ness and stress of today’s world? These same questions should be asked of your co-workers and employees to ensure they are maximizing their productivity and engagement in the workplace by honoring their professional AND personal needs and goals.

The key is to take action on shifting around priorities in order to create the life you envision for yourself, your work team and your loved ones. You must ENERGIZE your life with the right activities, behaviors and goals. (You can get a jumpstart on this with my proven Life Map process that is part of the online Stress Turnaroundprogram or my second bestselling bookThe Happy Hour Effect.)

Here are some key questions to ask to get on track with creating an energized life. As you answer each one, think about a specific action step you can take to change areas of your life that are out of alignment with what you want. Use these questions with your employees to create an energized workplace too.

  1. Are you spending time doing things that drain you or make you feel resentful or stressed? Get it outta there. You’re only shortchanging yourself and you’ll inevitably give that activity or task less than your best.
  2. Do you build in time for yourself? Make YOU a priority – no excuses. If you aren’t your best self, you’ll be doing your family, work team and the world a major dis-service.
  3. Is there time each day to move? If you’re stuck at a desk, get your butt out of the chair every hour or so – and be sure to work vigorous exercise into your calendar. Our bodies aren’t designed to sit around all day.
  4. Do you prioritize sleep? Get to bed at a decent hour and aim for 6-8 hours. A tired body and brain leads to illness, poor decision-making and moodiness.
  5. Are you eating to fuel your busy life? If you run, run, run all day long, you must eat healthfully and not fill yourself up with junk.
  6. Do you make time for hobbies? It’s okay to do something simply because it’s fun or relaxing. Not everything needs to be a check on a to-do list.
  7. Are you making time to build relationships with your partner, kids, friends and co-workers? Each person in your life that you want to stay in your life in a positive way requires solid time, development of your shared needs and goals you can work on together.
  8. How is your financial state of affairs? Are you budgeting and sticking to a plan to feel secure? Everyone can benefit from a financial planner – even if you don’t have a lot of finances to manage right now. Get expert guidance and ditch money worries.
  9. Do you have a spiritual practice? No matter what your culture, religion or belief-system, it’s important to feel connected to the world, others and yourself. Make time to read, attend services, meditate or whatever brings you clarity.
  10. Is your job fulfilling and meaningful? You spend a lot of time working so be sure it’s a positive force in your life. Is your skillset and expertise in alignment with your job role? Does your work inspire and motivate you? What do you love to do at work and how could you do more of it?

This is a short list – and it’s still long! The most important thing when building a life that may be a little (or a lot) different from what you’re living now is to start small. Do one thing at a time and be open to experimentation.

SHARE WITH ME! What one thing can you shift RIGHT NOW?

Want more? Check out the FREE 15-Day Goal Getter Challenge to get unstuck, de-stress and go after your goals with support and accountability.

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I wanted to be consistent and write a blog once a week to share my experience leading and competing in the world of athletics for almost 3 decades and now coaching C-Suite leaders and organizations. I haven’t done a great job as I have taken on a number of new clients, starting another new business venture (which is exciting) and I’m in the middle of authoring my first book. So my free time for writing has been focused on “The Book”.

I was asked to write my next blog on Leading With Emotional Intelligence. So here it goes.

There are four competencies to emotional intelligence. EQ is increasingly relevant to organizational development and developing people and teams. EQ principles provide a way to understand and assess people’s behaviors, interpersonal skills, leadership styles and potential. The way people lead years ago does not work in today’s environment and with the number of different generations in the work place, if you are leading the same way, I am sure you are struggling to be an influential leader.

Success requires more than where you went to college and all the titles and degrees you’ve obtained. There are many executives and professionals with a lot of letters behind their names and this does not make someone a great leader that others want to follow. We’ve all met people who are intellectually brilliant who are academically off the charts but yet are socially and inter-personally inept. Success does not automatic follow only knowing the standard theory and being book smart.

Emotional intelligence is the X Factor in each of us that sets leaders apart. To be successful it requires two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence. Personal is self awareness and self-management skills which focuses on you individually. Some key areas are self-confidence, emotional self-control and adaptability. Being able to be aware, control your emotions and manage your behaviors and tendencies sets you apart from the rest.

The two social competencies are focused on recognizing and understanding other people’s emotions and being able to manage relationships and managing the emotions of others.

By developing our emotional intelligence in these areas we can become more productive and successful leaders, helping others be more successful too. The process and results of emotional intelligence development contain skills to reduce stress for you and your organizations. Also being able to decrease conflict-improving relationships and creating continuity and harmony are developmental areas also.

Can you increase your emotional intelligence? Of course, we all can. If you can become more self-aware of your behaviors, train and practice intelligent behaviors, you will eventually get to the point where you will not have to think about good behavior.

Emotional intelligence takes a secure leader and one that wants to be the best. It will take learning more about themselves and changing behavior into new and effective from old and destructive. This is the X factor that separates the extraordinary leaders from all the others.

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“Personal power is a source of influence a person has over his or her followers.”

In business, as in life, there’s nothing more permanent than change. These are times of speed and split second decisions in business. This level of change can be fearful – exhilarating to others. One thing for sure is the world operates bigger, faster and stronger.

Do you have the ability to get others to follow? Are you a leader who can inspire others and they will “jump in your boat?” Sharing your vision, being authentic, and credible – people will be drawn to YOU and your vision.

As a long time coach in athletics, executives are beginning to realize learning from successful coaches was not only intriguing, it is an incredible experience.

Coaches take a group of kids and get them to perform and excel in high pressure, hyper speed, and time constrained situations during competition. That’s what business is – speed, change, and decision making under pressure.

Pulling high performance from a team of employees brings about similar challenges and experiences, especially working in an environment where you are motivating different generations with a high percentage being millennials.  Employers are recruiting and trying to attract younger employees who are more experienced with a platform and bringing an incredible skill set to the table.

From decades of coaching, I focused on six core values with my teams and athletes that I currently use coaching executives. It comes from practical experience, it works and it’s an incredible experience for high-level leaders.

  1. Personal Power: Influence and success. As a leader, do you have the personal power to influence others? Who is jumping in your boat and following your vision and passion? Look around is anyone following?
  2. Achievement: What are your goals, results and accomplishments? How do you measure success? What are your “wins” daily, weekly, and in your life?
  3. Intimacy: Part of emotional intelligence is a leaders ability to develop and manage meaningful relationships. What is your communication style, openness and genuineness as a leader. How do you build trust with your board, staff, employees and customers?
  4. Play and CreativityInnovation and forward thinking. What gives you energy during the day? What is your workday like? How do you express yourself?
  5. Search for Meaning: What is your purpose and are you looking for more meaning in your life? What does a meaningful life look like? Clarify your values, align your strengths with values and come up with a vision and purpose.
  6. Compassion and Contribution: What will your legacy be and what mark will you leave in this world? Connect with people – their energy and passions.

As a leader you have a lot of talent that may not be quite as seasoned in the workplace. They have the skill set and a lot to contribute, but not a lot of experience. Successful leaders are always looking for ways to ensure they are being the right leader for their team.

Personal power is internal. It is what you have inside and what you can create with your own resources. It includes your social and emotional intelligence, your ability to communicate effectively and to reason. It’s also the ability to manage your emotions, of others and groups.

Personal Power is learned through experience and support. I challenge you, as a coach should, to choose two of the six core values and focus on taking these to the Next Level.

Pam Borton is CEO of Pam Borton Partners, a coaching and consulting firm based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul. She has an extensive background in the sports industry as a head basketball coach in major college athletics and has an advanced certification in personal and executive coaching. Always a coach, but also an entrepreneur, and business leader, she applies real life experiences, lessons learned in athletics with her teams and business with her clients and key stakeholders. Co-Founder of TeamWomenMN and Founder of LSWAG.

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In our world, we’re told to work hard and be proud of our accomplishments. And I agree. But amidst the countless career self-help articles and networking events, sometimes it’s easy to forget that other people in our lives have helped guide us to the path we’re on today.

Today marks my third year at a company I love (Versique). Let me share with you how I got here. I was recruited by my former boss (Spoleto Partners). I landed at Spoleto Partners by way of a network connection from my previous company (Olson). And I was introduced to Olson through a network connection I made through a professor at college (Northwestern University – St. Paul).

Each transition has brought me closer and closer to what I was looking for in a career – in terms of company culture, type of role, and skill-set I wanted to utilize and develop. I worked hard at each role, and learned more than I thought possible, but at the end of the day, it’s more than just my drive and skill-set that brought me to a career I love – it’s also the valuable connections in my life who selflessly networked on my behalf and encouraged me to follow my passions. It’s those who helped me get to where I am today – and where I will be in the future.

Take a moment to think about where you are today – in your career, amongst various networking groups, sitting on boards, in great friendships you’ve made along the way, etc.

Now think, who helped you establish those connections? What connections have you helped established for others?

Networking is so much more than a cliché term used in 99% of career articles. It’s a living, breathing verb that jumpstarts careers, inspires helpful turning points, and truly helps to guide our careers.

Today, on my third work anniversary for a great company I love, it’s amazing to look back and see how much my career has been impacted by people in my network – to see the growth around me, and the growth in my career since I graduated from college (2010), embarked on a journey to Olson (the great land of advertising agencies), took on an adventure to explore the recruiting industry (marketing for nimble start-ups), and then landed at where I am now (marketing for a strong consulting and executive search firm).

What does your story look like? Has your network helped jumpstart your career, or helped you make valuable decisions that led you to where you are today?

Let’s make today the day we say THANK YOU to those who’ve helped us. And let’s make tomorrow the day we decide to do the same for others – to have coffee with a recent grad, to make an introduction at a networking event, to recommend someone for an intriguing job opportunity.

Networking is what drives careers and brings amazing breakthrough when you’re stuck. Need somewhere to start? Reach out to someone you admire, or someone who has the career you want – just a few years ahead of you.

Here’s to beautiful years of networking – and to the hope that if you’re not in your dream job, it’s just a few network connections away!

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I just returned from the 2015 WNBA Draft and my mind is on top talent – the best of the best or emerging leaders. I was surrounded by 12 professional athletes for a few days leading up to the draft and as the President of the league announced the names – dreams came true.

My former player, Amanda Zahui B, was drafted #2 overall and I was a proud coach and second mom.  What a great feeling being around individuals with top talent, physically and mentally. The way they think, speak and carry themselves is very unique. It’s the third draft over the past ten years I’ve attended. It was a reminder as a coach and consultant the similarities recruiting, developing, and retaining top talent in your organizations.

Retention of top talent is one of the hottest topics in corporate America and athletics. The number of transfers has sky rocketed. Is it the generation or are organizations lazy in hiring, recruiting, a lack of development, and are you leading the same way you were 10 years ago? Many times the individuals who should be taking responsibility are always pointing the finger at someone else. 

Relevant tips in retaining top talent in your organization or program: 

  1. The most important, surround yourself with smart and talented individuals. To do this, be secure in your own abilities and believe in yourself. It’s not about you; it’s the talent you surround yourself with. This is a must in order to experience success and to be the best. Many leaders are too insecure to hire people better and smarter on their teams. Insecure leaders surround themselves with “YES” people. What does your staff and team look like?
  2. Identify your needs and key positions. Identify needs, tendencies, strengths and skill sets needed on the team. Are you creating a new position or filling one? Many times leaders lose their jobs because they hire the wrong people.
  3. Recruit and hire people who fit your values. Communicate your values, expectations and vision before bringing them into your organization. Many times it’s the employers fault for making the wrong hire or not recruiting the perfect fit. The number of transfers and low retention rates – the work wasn’t done up front. Check your hiring practices and strategies.
  4. When you hire or recruit top talent, continue recruiting them. What are you doing to retain your top talent? Here are proven best practices to keep your best: Listen, engage, include them on projects, hold them accountable, provide instant feedback, allow flexibility, value their contributions, provide coaching and training, and it must be a healthy culture.

91% of millennials expect to stay in a job for less than three 3 years. What can you do to change this? Embrace this generation, if you don’t, you don’t get it. If you find yourself frustrated managing or leading millennials, you are part of the problem. Embrace them and you’ll learn from their unique skill set.

Hire and recruit the right people for your organization. If you see a lot of turnover in your organization, most likely it’s the employer’s fault. Slow down, recruit the right people, respect them and their talents, build relationships, and have fun. If not, it will be very difficult to retain top talent and then you should take look in the mirror. 

We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. Being surrounded by top talent at the WNBA Draft reminded me of how athletics can teach lessons about how to take on tough business problems and prevail in retaining our top talent.

Pam Borton is CEO of Pam Borton Partners, a coaching and consulting firm based out of Minneapolis/St. Paul. She has an extensive background in the sports industry as a head basketball coach in major college athletics and an advanced certification in personal and executive coaching. She also co-founded a non-profit and owns two small businesses. Always a coach, but also an entrepreneur, and business leader, she applies real life experiences, lessons learned in sports coaching her teams and business with her clients and key stakeholders.

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We all have Traditionalists, Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials in our workplace. You’re lucky if you manage or lead these generations on a team. It’s a great opportunity to become an expert in motivating across generations. If you engage and motivate them all the same, you’re not taking into account they tend to be motivated by different things and styles. Read more

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I have written a lot about how important it is to build meaningful relationships and value your people. This is the secret to long-term employee (people) retention and loyalty, to strengthen your understanding of basic human behavior and emotional intelligence.

Instilling confidence, your employees and team will feel valued and powerful in what they bring to the team and organization. Pointing out one’s strength, complimenting an employee, creating a vision and hope for your organization and valuing their role seems simple.  Read more

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Why don’t women have more confidence?   Male business executives ask this a lot, usually in connection with their reasons for not promoting women into upper management. Having observed women’s behavior (and mine!) over the last 20 years, I understand the frustration expressed by some men.

Have you walked down a grocery aisle and heard women shoppers say “excuse me,” “sorry,” and “pardon me”.   Women often say, “I am sorry but….” When asking a question or offering an opinion in a meeting. Although our world generally suffers from a manners’ deficit, these women don’t make me happy to hear them say they’re sorry. Read more

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We all go through different phases of maturation. How we grow and evolve shapes how we view the world and how we function within it. And the things we discover about ourselves along the way help us work, collaborate, and lead better.

In my 30s, I would preach the good word, “Life begins at 30.” I truly believed it (and still do). By then, we’ve shed the drama of our 20s, we’re more centered and aware of who we are, and have some sense of who we want to be. We move out of the murky forest characterized by our 20s and into the beginning of a path that we choose (at least that’s the hope).

If you’re doing it right, by the time you hit 40 (and sooner if you’re lucky or your parents raised you without a speck of insecurity), you care less about what other people think and you are more focused, deliberate, and thoughtful about your decisions. One phrase that I hear often describes this — the idea that we suddenly embrace ourselves or become comfortable in our skin.

But what does it mean to be ‘comfortable in your skin’? And how does it really change or enhance who you are in business and who you are in your world?

You stop being so hard on yourself. You just stop: stop worrying about being “less than” or “not enough.” You let go of that competitive voice that says, “This person is so much better than me,” which is followed by a threatening panic. You start to realize that we shouldn’t be comparing ourselves, we should be celebrating ourselves: what we have to offer, what we bring to the table, and what makes us unique. You see and embrace your strengths and your weaknesses. When I finally owned what I’m good at and what I’m not good at, I realized that other people lift me up and I can lift other people up. And you can be better: a better colleague, parent, and partner. When we each use our gifts and allow others to use theirs, real team work and collaboration happens because everyone brings something to the table.

You’re not afraid of the hard stuff, like confrontation and criticism. You learn that the uncomfortable moments are often the ones that bring the most growth and some of the best solutions. We spend so much time tip-toeing around each other, being afraid to offend or be offended, that we miss opportunities to learn, evolve and fix things. You start embracing confrontation: having real conversations about differing opinions or ideas. Confrontation doesn’t mean conflict, it’s simply the coming together of two distinct ideas and coming out on the other side with something better. And when you get criticism, you use it productively. Rather than feeling bad or getting mad when I get negative feedback, I take it for what it’s worth. That feedback can help me be better and grow. I stopped reacting with insecurity, and started seeing the opportunity.

You trust yourself. When you’re comfortable in your skin, you start to settle into what you can do, what you should do, and what you want to do. All of a sudden, you’re fearless. You can take risks, assess situations, and confidently choose the more difficult — but potentially more rewarding — path. You have the confidence to commit to ideas and dreams, and you do so without hesitancy. Time is precious, so when you want something, go for it. And when things change, or you get new information, you realize that it’s okay to move on or switch directions, and to do so without shame. You stop being afraid of failure, and start being excited about conquering the rocky roads and hurdles.

You’re you. You stop worrying about what other people think of you. I read a great quote once that said, “What other people think of you is none of your business.” At an early age, we’re taught to be afraid of being different. We’re encouraged to look like, act like, and be like the kids around us. Forget all that — just be different. Every day, I see people embrace differences by speaking up and speaking out on behalf of themselves and their values, and they soar. If you worry whether your clothes, your body, and your ideas are acceptable to others, you stop being your real self. Truly, when you let go of what others think, you free yourself up to be you. And when you put your best, authentic foot forward, you excel.

For all the good I see within people, I still see them get hung up on their imperfections. But it’s these imperfections that make them perfect, and perfectly who they are: unique, interesting, flawed, textured, and fascinating. What we celebrate shouldn’t be the biggest, brightest, or prettiest things, it should be the stuff in the middle — how we think, work, communicate, and connect. These are things we all possess and until we explore them and embrace them, we’re short-changing ourselves and everyone in our lives — professionally and personally.

When you fully embrace all that being in your skin means and hold yourself to it, your life is better. You naturally become more patient because you’re not hustling, or trying to be things you’re not, or worried about catching up with other people. You’re just you. And when you’re patient with yourself, you’re more patient with others.

This year let’s really embrace what it means to be comfortable in our skin. Let’s tackle each day with our gifts, our flaws, our strengths, and our weaknesses. It stands to reason that life will be so much more interesting and more fun when we do.

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No one uses this phrase more than a coach. Coaching major college athletics for 27 years, TEAM has meant so much more to me than just my players. Trust me, it takes a village to accomplish something special. My team consisted of my players, parents, staff, support staff, alumni, donors, high school and club coaches, fans, the campus and community. This broad and diverse group was my team.

This team was nurtured and valued for many years and meaningful relationships were the evolution of this village developed into a culture of teamwork. It created an authentic and genuine relationship of trust among thousands of people who believed your passion and values. It was an environment of collaboration and support. This same culture has been created within TeamWomenMN. As a professional women’s organization in the Twin Cities, building a strong foundation of passion, support, and collaboration has been embraced.

As a team leader, I accept the responsibility for helping this team, and everyone on it, to succeed. As a team and organization we value one another more than competing with one another. We have lifted each other up and have brought out the best in each other. As TWMN continues to grow, like my team did for 27 years, it will become broad, diverse, and powerful. The village is growing and Together Everyone will Achieve More.

Here’s to a Successful 2015!

CEO, Executive & Global Leadership Development and Coach

President & Co-Founder – TeamWomenMN

© 2018 -TeamWomen