The Four Agreements: Unlocking Your Best Self

Sometimes a book can change your life. The Four Agreements, by Don miguel Ruiz changed mine.

This international bestseller takes less than an hour read, and provides a simple (not easy) roadmap for releasing long patterns of self-judgment, worry, and self-limiting beliefs.

The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
  3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
  4. Always Do Your Best.

A few thoughts:

Happy Women’s Day

Meet my trailblazing Aunt Judy—-my mother’s sister and the woman I choose to highlight today on International Women’s Day.

Dr. Judith Alice Lesnaw is a virologist, photographer, and inductee of the University of Kentucky’s Hall of Fame. She was the first woman hired into Biology, the first woman to be tenured, and the first molecular biologist at the University of Kentucky. Judy is a major reason why I am here at AstraZeneca, inspiring me from the moment I could walk to believe in myself, be curious, and reach for the stars.

I’m grateful for Judy and all the women who have shaped and inspired me in my life and career. From my mother, my aunts, and grandmothers, to my mentors, colleagues, and friends, these amazing women have taught about strength, compassion, authenticity, and perseverance.

Hurray for the progress that has been made in the pursuit of women’s rights and equality, and for the many trailblazing women who have paved the way for future generations. We still have a long way to go, and I am committed to continuing this important work.

As a professional, I know the value of inclusion and diversity in the workplace. I am grateful for the contributions of the many talented and dedicated women on my team, and for the opportunity to work alongside them in pursuit of our shared goals.

On this International Women’s Day, let us celebrate the amazing women in our lives.

#InternationalWomensDay #InclusionMatters

Be An Audience Magnet🧲

After watching Julian Treasure’s “How to Speak so that People Want to Listen” TED talk, I feel proud and terrified at the same time.

I’m proud because I already have mastered some of these positive behaviors, and consider myself a pretty decent presenter. I know how to vary my timbre and prosody. I’ve held my own in front of audiences of a thousand or more on many occasions.

But, I’m terrified, because I realize that I’ve been missing out on making my best impact —- I need to better harness the power of silence…the magic of pitch…There is so much to learn!

After you watch this video, please tell me, what stands out for you?

Here’s Julian’s description of his TED Talk:

“Have you ever felt like you’re talking, but nobody is listening? Here’s Julian Treasure to help. In this useful talk, the sound expert demonstrates the how-to’s of powerful speaking — from some handy vocal exercises to tips on how to speak with empathy. A talk that might help the world sound more beautiful.”

Praise Publicly, Correct Privately

“Praise Publicly, Correct Privately” is an inclusive leadership approach that helps leaders establish a culture of trust and effectively communicate with their team members. I first learned the concept decades ago when I read, The One Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. Praise Publicly, Correct Privately changed the way I lead others. In fact, it changed the way I interact with the world. Praise Publicly, Correct Privately isn’t just good leadership advice; it’s also just common sense. But sometimes common sense isn’t all that commonly practiced…

I witnessed a situation today that runs counter to Praise Publicly, Correct Privately. Calling out someone in front of a group, especially when you are in a position of power, does not reflect on the person being shamed as much as it reflects on the person doing the shaming. It is astonishing how quickly positive energy and enthusiasm can dissolve into awkward silence and injured retreat. Repair can certainly happen, but it’s hard to “unhear” public shaming. A high-performing team has plenty of room for light-hearted jokes. But how do you know when the line is crossed from light-hearted to heavy-handed? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the difference. Thoughts to begin the conversation:

When people are praised for their work in front of others, it can have a powerful effect on their motivation and productivity. On the other hand, when people are criticized for their work in front of others, it can be demotivating and damaging to their self-esteem.

The key to effectively using this technique is to understand when and how to use it. When praising a team member, it is important to be specific and to highlight their specific contributions to the team. For example, instead of simply saying “good job,” it is more effective to say “I really appreciate how you took the lead on that project and made sure it was completed on time.” This type of specific feedback helps the team member understand what they did well and how they can continue to improve.

When correcting or giving feedback/feedforward to a team member, it is important to do so privately and in a constructive manner. This means that the criticism should be focused on specific areas of improvement and should be delivered in a way that is designed to help the team member learn and grow. For example, instead of saying “you did a bad job,” it is more effective to say “I noticed that you struggled with X and I think it would be helpful if we worked together to improve this area.”

Praise Publicly, Correct Privately helps to create a positive and supportive work environment. When people feel that their work is appreciated and that they are being given constructive feedforward, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work. Additionally, this technique can help to improve communication and trust between team members and leaders.

I would love to hear your ideas on Praise Publicly, Correct Privately.

Carpe Momentum: Two tips to accelerate success

“I could be so successful, if only I had more time…”

Have you ever started the sentence, “If only I had more time…” then finished that sentence with realization that you would fill that extra time with more hassled, stressful tasks that would leave you even more exhausted than you already are?

Time, precious time

Author Harvey Mackay says that time is the one commodity that we can’t reproduce, alter, capture or revisit. We each have the same quantity of time on a given day, day after day. How we use that time makes all the difference.

Think about the Food Network television show, “Chopped,” where several chefs open a mystery box with a tiny window of time and a mission to create fabulous food fare. Invariably, one contestant groans as the clock runs out and Chef Ted shouts, “Time’s up!”  The contestant stares at the unfinished dish below and states as if it’s the first time this has ever happened, “I ran out of time” as their reason for not including all of the required ingredients on their plate, or for not cooking their dish to the judges’ satisfaction. Each chef had the same ingredients, the same cookingtimesup station, the same pantry, and the same amount of time. Why were the other chefs able to finish on time with the intended delicious outcome, while Joe/Jane Too-Late is standing with a raw slab of pork on the station?

So how to make the most of this precious, limited resource? How do super-successful time managers seem to breeze through tasks and still have time to show up at the kids’ soccer games or catch a concert in the park?  Continue reading