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Take a moment and think about what has changed in your work life, your community, your family – things that have affected your attitude and mindset over the last 18 months.

Anything from company mergers to management changes to kids going off to college. The reality is the world as we know it changes all the time, whether we want it to or not.

We know that a resilient mindset is essential for coping with change successfully and that lack of resilience is a barrier to ultimate performance. 

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Atlanta Jewish Times article: Mother-Daughter Style Spans Continents

“Mother Nadia Bilchik and daughter Julia Kesler, are as colorful, outspoken and accomplished, and as different as they are alike.”

Read the full article at the Atlanta Jewish Times.

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What is Your RQ (Resilience Quotient)?

Take a moment and think about what has changed in your work life, your community, your family – things that have affected your attitude and mindset over the last 18 months.

Anything from company mergers to management changes to kids going off to college. The reality is the world as we know it changes all the time, whether we want it to or not.

We know that a resilient mindset is essential for coping with change successfully and that lack of resilience is a barrier to ultimate performance.  Resilience is defined as the capacity to positively manage change, adversity and stressful situations.

The question is how well do we cope with these inevitable changes? What more can we do to take care of ourselves, to survive and thrive both personally and professionally when things around us are in flux?

In other words, can we do more to control how we react to change and disruption?

Yes! In fact, a mindset for dealing with change can be taught. We can do more to control our reactions to change. To do this, the first thing we need to understand is our cognitive biases. What I mean by cognitive biases is the brain’s negative association with change. Our brains are wired for survival and to look out for threats. Change is often associated with danger at a very primitive level. The brain often has a negative bias towards change.

The good news is that your reaction to change is not fixed. It is changeable. So, we can change our instinctive reaction to change as stress by doing the following:  STOP. CHALLENGE. CHOOSE.

Stop:  Take a moment to reflect.

Challenge: What is really going on, am I reacting instinctively or logically?

Choose: What is the most evolved, mature, logical response?

The key here is to engage our logical brain. Train ourselves to be calm and rational while avoiding the tendency to react in autopilot mode.

So whatever change you are faced with right now, ask yourself if you are thriving or if you are allowing fear of the unknown to sabotage you.

The acronym for FEAR is False Events Appearing Real and, more often than not, your anxiety is not based on logic but rather discomfort of uncertainty. What if you could re-frame your conditioning and embrace the opportunity to face change with a different mindset? The possibilities are endless.

Leadership Presence

Talking or Listening — What’s You’re Challenge?

I have been delivering keynotes and workshops on communication skills mastery for over 30 years, and I have never come across an audience member or participant who didn’t see the benefits of being a more  skilled communicator.

The first step on the road to becoming a skilled communicator is to become more aware of your specific communication style. According to Mike Bechtle, the author of Confident Conversation,  all of us fit into one of two broad categories:

-Those who have trouble talking, and
-Those who have trouble listening

While I have met many individuals who are skilled at both talking and listening, if you happen to be one of those individuals who sabotages themselves by being extreme in either category, I am writing this for you.

As an extrovert who has no trouble talking, I have to be very conscious about working on becoming  a  mindful, active listener.  I am a naturally curious person, so it’s not that I’m not interested in what others have to say; rather,  I am prone to jumping ahead and formulating my response.

With this awareness, I have learned to work very hard at letting people finish their sentences, ask qualifying questions and listen to understand rather than to respond. Indeed, in my classes I emphasize the importance of listening. In one communication exercise, a participant is tasked with sharing an anecdote describing the biggest challenge they have faced. The listener then has to ask questions to gain further understanding, but not interject with a “me” statement.

Mike Bechtle describes himself as the very opposite. He says he was one of those people who walked out of a meeting chastising himself for not speaking up,  and wished he could initiate a conversation.

Note I said he “was” one. He understood that the trouble he had speaking up was sabotaging him, and he took conscious steps to gain the mindset and skills to overcome his discomfort.

So, if you are reading this, and can relate to either scenario, the next step is to be deliberate in how you communicate going forward. The positive thing is that each and every one of us can be a more skilled communicator. Our brains have sufficient plasticity to develop the mindset and skills to alter our responses and learn both conversational and listening skills.

 

Own Your Space: Confidence, Competence, Charisma

Your PHYSICAL Space — How to OWN it to Persuade and Influence

We’re often told not to judge a book by its cover. But the truth is, that’s precisely what most of us do a lot of the time. We make judgments about the people we encounter very quickly. Therefore, it’s important to make a strong first impression. And to do that, you need to learn to own your physical space.

Own Your Style

While we may wish we could go to the office in yoga pants, in reality, your style speaks a lot about you. So be sure to look professional and put together. This will signal to others that you’re organized and competent. And you can still express your individual sense of fashion with accessories.

Own Your Wardrobe

Dressing professionally is the first step. Dressing in a way that’s best suited to you – your body type and clothing preferences – will help you appear even more chic and put together. Always be sure to use a full-length mirror when assessing your outfits. Don’t dress provocatively – no short hemlines or low-cut blouses. Make sure your hair, nails, makeup, and skin are tended to. And remember, a simple blazer and pair of pumps can go a long way toward making you look professionally stylish. You’re not going to a fashion magazine photo shoot, so this doesn’t have to be something that causes you unnecessary stress. But keeping up with the basics and maintaining your appearance can have an important impact.

Give Your Wardrobe the SPF

Structure – Clothing with defined lines will almost always look sharper then outfits with a looser fit. It looks more tailored and professional.

Proportion – Learn to balance your presence. Tall and large women already have a more significant presence, so bright colors and big buttons may be unnecessary. On the other hand, accessories on more petite women can help to create a larger presence.

Fit – Know your body and how clothes fit you. You don’t want to be popping out of your outfit, but you don’t want it to look like you’re wearing a curtain, either. Know how outfits fall on your unique body. And if you have any doubts, consider working with a professional image consultant.

Own What You Say

Your appearance is just one aspect of your overall presence. Another important factor is your ability to communicate. You can have brilliant ideas, but if you can’t effectively communicate them, you won’t succeed. But not to worry, in my book, Own Your Space, I discuss methods of becoming more articulate and developing greater charisma, both in front of a crowd and in everyday conversation. Here are a few tips:

-Be your authentic self. Speak from your heart.

-Be polite and mind your manners. Say thank you, and remember names. Don’t interrupt others.Don’t always be the one saying no and shutting down other people’s ideas. Instead, propose ideas of your own.

-Steer away from gossip.

-Cut out filler words like “um” and “you know.” And of course, avoid expletives in the workplace.

-Enunciate clearly, especially if you’re speaking in front of a group.

-Be mindful of the emotion reflected in your tone of voice