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Creating Successful Leaders

Category Archives: Goals

Everyone’s put together a resume at some point. It compiles your experience, accolades, and awards. It shines a light on your main accomplishments. A resume is made to make you look good. So, why on earth would you consider putting together a “failure resume”??

I first learned about failure resumes from acclaimed author, Daniel Pink. This concept, created and articulated by Stanford professor Tina Seelig, can help us deal with disappointments, contextualize failures, and move forward in a positive way.

What is a failure resume and how does it work?

A failure resume is an ongoing list of the things you got WRONG. It’s your mess-ups, flubs, and things that went south. A failure resume is meant for YOU and your personal development, and is not something you would necessarily share with others (unless you want to!).

You can treat your failure resume like a journal at first, compiling your list of screw-ups in one spot. But it is not just a list. It’s a tool.

How do you use it?

After creating your failure resume, it’s important to go through the list and think about each item. Ask yourself what happened in each instance. Why did the failure occur? What might have prevented it? And, mostly importantly, what lessons can you glean from the failure?

Sometimes, a failure can be caused by unfortunate circumstances or happenstance, but oftentimes something could have prevented the failure. Spend time reflecting on this. Do you notice any patterns? Do your failures usually occur because of one or two things you are doing consistently?

Perhaps you are constantly overstretching or overcommitting yourself, thus failing to do your best work.

Or maybe you are not properly preparing for certain situations (meetings, presentations, etc.) and need to focus more on that.

Or, perhaps, your main issues are caused by communication—failure to clearly communicate a message, follow-up, communicate with the right people, etc.

By taking time to think about the “why” behind the failure, you can start making positive changes. And, hopefully, your failure resume will seem less discouraging and more empowering.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

Her new eBook is called A Quick Guide to Courage
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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This month, I’ve been focusing on the topic of courage. I’ve released an eBook on the topic (A Quick Guide to Courage), and I continue to receive feedback about personal struggles to be courageous. If you’re struggling to find your courage, let’s talk.

When we think of courageous people, we might envision firefighters or soldiers, CEOs presenting in front of large audiences, or adventurers scaling mountains. But…what about you? Do you ever pause to consider all the mountains you’ve climbed and storms you’ve weathered? Do you recall the times when you’ve had to tap into courage—asking for a raise, giving a presentation, making a major life decision, daring to step outside your comfort zone?

You, too, have acted with courage in your life, even if you don’t often think about it. You have the capacity to taking daring steps and make courageous decisions. Don’t discount the small acts of courage you undertake each and every day. Even getting up in the morning and pulling up your email inbox can take courage! You’re opening yourself to a host of “unknowns,” and it may take mental and emotional fortitude to address the everyday problems that await you.

Even if you don’t always feel courageous, take heart in the fact that we are all capable of building and developing courage. Just as we build muscles by going to the gym so, too, can we build courage and take it to new heights. Mostly, it takes practice and persistence.

Here are 7 ways you can grow your courage every day:

Invite an acquaintance to lunch.

For many, it can be uncomfortable getting to know someone new. Dare to face that discomfort and arrange a lunch or coffee meeting with someone you’d like to get to know a little better. If it doesn’t work out, dare to ask the next person on your list!

Create healthy boundaries.

Dare to say “no” to projects that do not align with your area of expertise. Reject or postpone tasks when your schedule is jam-packed. Answer emails on your own terms, and during work hours only. By having the courage to set these healthy boundaries, you show respect for yourself and protect your mental and emotional health.

Send a message to someone you admire.

Looking for a mentor? Seeking advice from a trusted expert? Reach out and contact someone who may have the answers. Don’t let the person’s status or title intimidate you. We’re all humans, after all!

Set aside personal time.

Dare to set aside time for yourself, take breaks, and go on the occasional vacation. Too often, people are nervous about what others will think of them if they choose to take a break. It’s time to set a new standard where meaningful breaks are the norm. Be brave enough to know when you’ve reached your limit and need time off.

Say no.

If something doesn’t feel right, have the courage to say no. I challenge you to think through every task, offer, or project before deciding on your course of action.

Be a leader.

If you have an idea for a new project, a new way of doing things, or a fresh approach, it may be time to step up and take initiative. Don’t wait around for someone else to lead the charge; dare to do it yourself!

Be your true self.

Be authentic and don’t shy away from who you truly are. Of course, we all need to act appropriately in certain settings, but that doesn’t mean we have to fundamentally change who we are (just dial it back or up, depending on the situation!). Be genuine; be yourself.

Step into your day with a courageous heart and a plan to make positive change. You are in charge of your future. Dare to seize the day and make the right decisions for you, even if that can be a little scary. You’re braver than you think you are.

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 

Her new eBook is called A Quick Guide to Courage
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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Do you have days when you’re feeling timid or unworthy? Are there times when you’re afraid to participate in a certain meeting or take a certain action? Do you occasionally feel like you’re the only one in the room that doesn’t “get it,” while everyone else is coasting along with ease?

Believe me, you are worthy, your input is valuable, and you deserve to be in the room alongside everyone else. The problem isn’t you, it’s your courage.

Courage comes in many forms. It takes guts to ask for a raise or negotiate a severance package. It takes self-assuredness to lead a team project, give a major presentation, or engage in a difficult conversation. Courage can mean many different things, and has largely to do with mindset (yes, it is possible to train yourself to take on this mindset!)

Many of us suffer from self-consciousness or a lack of courage. We’re our own harshest critics. Whenever I deliver a presentation or workshop on my book, The Ten-Minute Leadership Challenge, I usually ask about the leadership attributes the people in the room would like to work on. One of the most common areas of improvement is courage.

Because of this widespread desire to become more courageous, I decided to compile the decades of information and techniques I’ve acquired into an eBook: A Quick Guide to Courage. This eBook is an easy read—46 pages filled with illustrations and activities—but it’s packed with information. It also includes links to others resources, such as my video on the 5 Ps of Courage.

To celebrate the launch of this book, I’m declaring April “Courage Month!” This month, all my blog posts will be dedicated to an aspect of courage. I’m also offering my book at a special discounted price.

Let’s celebrate courage this month, and carry that courage with us into the year ahead!

MARGARET SMITH IS A CAREER COACH, AUTHOR, INSIGHTS® DISCOVERY (AND DEEPER DISCOVERY) LICENSED PRACTITIONER, AND FOUNDER OF UXL. SHE HOSTS WORKSHOPS FOR PEOPLE WHO NEED CAREER OR PERSONAL GUIDANCE. 
CHECK OUT MARGARET’S ONLINE LEADERSHIP COURSE.

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