Smiling your way through No

I am standing in my office hallway, fingers are slowly turning into prunes as the nerves set in and I’m slightly sweaty. I feel my heartbeat faster, it’s almost like the moment I knock on the door, my heart could explode. I hear a faint, “Come in!”, and in I go. The mug on the table read “THE BOSS”, and I sit down for what feels like a grilling. The conversation opens with, “Lea, what can I do for you?”, and off I go.

After about 15 minutes of discussing my career and what I wanted to do, I made a bold move- I asked to begin supporting one particular policy project to help build my portfolio of skills. The look on the face of my boss was UNREADABLE. However, I heard the words that many of us hate hearing, “Lea, I don’t think this is possible”.

Ouch.

I put myself out there to see if I can create my happiness at work- and then THAT happened.

I remember walking out of the office feeling completely defeated, like there was this dark cloud over my shoulders for the rest of day, heck, the rest of the week.

I look back at the situation a couple of years ago now, and I laugh. I laugh a lot because I just walked out of a similar situation last week. I walked into two meetings with senior leaders, and heard NO. Yet, I felt a million times different, even EXCITED when I heard the word NO.

Here are my lessons, from then to now on how I went from REACT to RESPOND when the boss says NO!

What’s Worse?
It won’t always go your way when you approach the boss, but the worst case scenario is one where you don’t bring up your idea at all. Most of us envision the boss saying no before we even mention it. You never know what they are thinking until you talk with them about the topic. Depending on what you ask, the conversation can turn into possibilities and options rather than never asking and never receiving!

Problem versus Solution
Many times we think the conversation ends with the answer to the question, but if you’re proposing something new to the boss, frame it as the solution to a problem. If you have been lacking a challenge at work for example, explain that taking on new responsibilities would help you engage and pick up on new skills that are necessary for you to grow professionally.

Example: Hi Michael, I have noticed there is an increase in demand for breaking news stories and press releases in our communications team. To help support the team and grow my skills in the area of writing, I suggest that I spend up to 40% of my time on quick responses. I will not expect an increase of my duties for the next two weeks while I am supporting the communications team. When I stop helping them, I can support editing and briefings more effectively having worked on this skill.

Mind reading is not a skill found on most resumes
Even perfect preparation can’t help when the Boss still decides to deny your request. Whether it’s taking a training course or new challenge, bosses aren’t always thinking about where your career is going. If you find your Boss saying no to others a lot, think insightfully as to what they are thinking about when they make that decision. Some managers are simply NO people because they don’t like change, others have a specific reason to deny the request.

Defining what no means coming from your Boss is a great way to become objective to the outcome, and not take it personally.

Redefine No
The most important skill to know when you are told no is that it means it’s new, fresh, innovative, different, and those are creative ideas that are required to remain afloat today in the workplace. Navigating a constrictive environment allows you to flew your creativity muscles, to find alternative ways to make your solution happen. If you’ve been eyeing a training which has been denied by the boss, there are a number of sources you can still pursue to make sure you get what you need. Think of no as meaning Not Yet (as in the boss isn’t ready for it) or not the right avenue (if you want it bad enough you’ll find a way and prove it works).

I believe strongly that the universe gives up a multitude of possibilities and options to pursue what we desire. If you look at no as a guide, the Universe could be directing you inwards to gut check if you REALLY want what it is that you’re asking for. In cases where your WHY is strong, you WILL find the way- it doesn’t really have anything to do with the Boss anyway.

Open your outlook calendar, and set that meeting- asking gets you one step closer no matter the outcome!

Charge on Gorgeous!

Lea

Career Confidence...in your Yoga Pants

In today’s world, having the confidence to handle projects, manage people, resolve disputes requires much more than holding your hands above your head in a powerful posture (I’m not hating on that by any means, I do it often!). Building long term confidence to take on your day takes more than feeding yourself with positive thoughts. There is one aspect of our careers that comes up a lot, and it can mean the difference between a better job, higher pay, passion, and ultimately happiness, and that’s confidence.

This confidence is about how we continuously cultivate a powerful internal posture- not just the type of power that’s stereotypical for a man, but the type of ease and flow that feminine power that can create the outcomes we really want. One overlooked confidence booster is the link to physical exercise and how that can directly impact your work performance in the long run.

People acknowledge that the benefits of being healthy are numerous- but is there a connection between how we treat our bodies and our career/business success? Science says yes. Harvard Business Review wrote that our performance and management skills improve when we have time when we get in physical exercise.

Research talks about physical exercise enhancing brain functioning and how well you can focus on tasks, prioritize and remain sharp during the sometimes grinding workday, but many don’t realize how important self esteem is with confidence in your work. The type of confidence that allows you to go after more opportunities, and navigate the uncertain waters with more ease.

This is where physical exercise comes in- it’s one of the only times when we have the ability to connect with ourselves, with our humanity, and with the present. Physical exercise is also the main avenue to building your physical resilience to the demands of work. Building up your confidence is much easier when you feel physically strong. When I began coaching, I challenged a client to complete a 60 day exercise program to help her gain courage to speak up to her boss more often, and it worked. Not because she needed to get in shape necessarily, but doing resistance training and cardio gave her to grounding posture she needed to speak up.

It’s no surprise that women make up a majority of College attendees. They also tend to build their knowledge of subjects in greater detail before they present or speak up. Whether you’re proposing a new project, asking for a raise, or just trying to speak up in the weekly team meeting, many tend to shy from speaking up especially in the beginnings of their careers because of the lack of information they could have at the time of the conversation. This is a great use case for why confidence matters- and gives women the internal push they need to speak up and say what they are thinking.

If you’ve found yourself shying away from creating a consistent workout routine, try looking at it with new eyes. It isn’t just about getting fit, though it does give you a lot of great compliments, It’s also about slaying your career goals. You miss the shots you don’t take, and if exercise gives you the brain functioning power you need to kill your current projects, allow your stronger core and body to also help you find new challenges that you may not have felt confident in asking for previously. Having physical strength to hold yourself in the agonizing wheel-y chairs can prove more than just useful for relieving back pain, it can actually spur your creativity- and increase your confidence in producing new results and helping to move the needle in your career or business.

To your confidence,
Lea

{Guest Blog} My Journey to Alignment

I always thought following one path would mean finding my “forever happiness”. For me, it began when I was in College, in Michigan, when I decided to intern for over a year with my State Representative. As luck would have it- they promoted me to District Manager before I graduated. I knew my position was temporary because my Rep was terming out in the Fall which was perfect timing, because I knew that my move to Washington D.C was just on the horizon. I had dreamed of living in D.C throughout my entire collegiate career. I always felt so drawn and connected to the Nation’s Capital.

When I moved to D.C, I felt like it was finally time to see my career goals unfold the way I had always hoped. I saw this unfolding by landing the perfect position at a renowned organization, finding a solid core group of friends, and of course successfully juggling both a professional and social life simultaneously! Needless to say my plan didn’t unfold exactly how I envisioned.

I ended up finding an internship with a really great company that lasted 3 months before I moved on to my current position as admissions counselor at a prestigious all women’s serving institution. After two months of working within my role I began to feel this agitating angst. I was not being fulfilled by my work. Although it was meaningful to some degree, it was not serving my passion.  My frame started to shift and I began to wonder if I made the right choice by moving to Washington D.C.

I began to search for ways in which I could find and serve passion. I didn’t at the time fully understand what that meant. Around the same time, a really close friend of mine started a blog. I read a few of her posts and was really intrigued by the confidence she exuded. There was a shift in her voice that was evident, and I was so curious about what had ignited her passion.  I asked her one day what had changed.  She told me that she had enlisted the help of a life coach. She explained how the life coach helped her to find her strength to be the passionate woman she had always envisioned. Right then and there- I realized that I was seeking the same strength to be able to live my own passion.

I found my strength in redefining my purpose and learning to live through it. I was guided and challenged by my very own life coach Lea Berry. The first step I learned was that I needed to get out of my own head- and connect with my higher self. Connecting to my higher self helped me understand what my purpose truly is. I’m so proud to know that my higher self surrenders to all possibilities of growth, and lives wholly in my truth. This experience was a big challenge. I leveled up to think, act and behave in a way that constantly served my higher self.  

Negativity, self-doubt and that little voice that served as a constant reminder of what I couldn’t do before were all silenced. As this shift began to occur the universe started to open with possibilities- it felt like by understanding what I really wanted to do allowed the universe to start handing it to me.

I am driven by faith, and I believe that God doesn’t allow you to go to the next level until you are prepared to do so. As I aligned to my purpose, opportunities sprang forth. One opportunity after another began to be introduced and it was so invigorating! I received a scholarship to attend the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women Leadership Summit. Throughout the course of the conference I was surrounded by such innovative and powerful women. My passion was rekindled and I was certain that I was in alignment with my purpose. My network began to flourish within the weeks to come I made several connections with women in the Mayors Office on Women’s Policy and Initiative, NARAL, and WIIN. I chaired an Equal Pay Day event with the organization WIN that helped women gain insight on how to negotiate their salaries.

Aligning with my purpose has allowed me to “level up” and gain an understanding of what I want and need from my career in order to be fulfilled. I also have such a renewed sense of self and confidence that I feel entirely unstoppable!

-Giovanteey Bishop

Ever Lost a Passion?

Ever Lost a Passion-.png

As a coach who focuses on bringing out millennial’s passions, it’s #ironic that I’m writing on a lost passion- one I’ve let go. Call this a nostalgia post, but I think there are a lot of old passions in our lives that we let go, and perhaps there are reasons, we grow out of it, or maybe they remind you of a past hurt. In this case, my old passion definitely brings up some great memories, but also some sad ones.

When I was young, I can remember picking up my very first instrument with my mom, it was a Viola (not to be confused with the Violin), and I was so unsure but excited to try out music. I remember the very first time I came home from school after a lesson, and I started to practice. My Dad called it the most beautiful screeching he’d ever heard- I was determined. I came back into the class and played, and I’ll never forget how happy I was. I continued playing the Viola, in concerts, private quartets, traveling groups, and State orchestra until I graduated high school.

The passion for me was loving how I could think about the music without even playing. Every song was a new chance to try something new- to obsess about getting through the rhythm and making sure your hand was positioned in the right way to hit the note with precision. It was unfortunate, but a series of mistakes that I made as a kid, i.e. letting it go, led me to never pick up the Viola again.

It’s been over ten years, YIKES, since I’ve even picked up my passion for playing music.

When I moved fully from my childhood home, the Viola would go with me, from apartment to apartment, but it sat in my closet. I never touched it, and when my husband asked if I ever would, I couldn’t answer him. It’s almost like I was waiting to be asked or struck by the muse again in order to pick it up and fall in love all over again.

I think with anything that used to bring you such joy and ultimately a sting of pain, there is healing involved. I have to move past the barriers that I felt when I let it go- I let my pride get the best of me, and as such the talent and promise I had to go to music school did not materialize. What did happen from my musical experience, was a never ending love for music. I think in many ways, walking away from a passion that wasn’t serving me, was such a life lesson in choice. It made me realize that in order to love what you do- you have to choose it much like it chooses you.

If you have a natural talent that others pressure you to pursue- you may not feel excited by it. Heck, you may never love it. I think we innately know and can feel when something is truly right for us- and sometimes it’s about timing, and sometimes it’s about something else. We wait to be called to pursue something- we wait for the sign around us- asking what’s my purpose or what’s my passion?

I think we have the unique ability to defer to what we don’t know to answer what we do know. Maybe we need to reverse this. Start with what you do know- maybe it’s a lifelong love for music, or maybe it’s something else. If it brought you incredible joy and happiness at one point- you probably still love it deep down. I have found many different ways to express my love for music aside from touching the Viola- from performing on stage, to singing Opera and musical theatre, to choirs and bingeing musicals with my GBF, I have found plenty of ways to enjoy it.

To quote one of my favorite composers, “Neither a lofty degree of intelligence nor imagination nor both together go to the making of genius. Love, love, love, that is the soul of genius.”

- Mozart.

Go get your genius on this week!

Xx Lea