Author: MJ Romeo

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon A Time

When was the last time you heard someone tell you a good story? Think about your colleagues, friends and family – are there any great storytellers in the group?

In business, stories are critical because they persuade, help us understand how things work or why things matter. Many business leaders are accomplished storytellers. I often coach executives on storytelling techniques and just hosted a webinar for 50+ engineers on how tell a story. Of course the perfect form of storytelling is a … joke.

#WiseWords

“Storytelling is by far the most underrated
skill in business.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Worth the Share

To build on the point, this article from Harvard Business Review explains what is happening in the brain when it comes to storytelling. Oxytocin releases in the brain which is connected to social bonding. Adding tension to stories is an effective way to improve connection, engagement and recall. To make sure you are on the right path ask the question, “why should they care?”.
Read on…

And Finally...

The storytelling framework made famous by PIXAR is from Kenn Adams, and it is just eight sentences. Try it. Flex your storytelling muscle. Fill in the second half of
each of the sentences below with an existing story or create a new one. Let me know how it goes:

• Once upon a time…
• Every day…
• But, one day…
• Because of that…

• Because of that…
• Because of that…
• Until finally…
• And, ever since then…

To learn more about my 1:1 executive leadership coaching, custom workshops, the Career Transition program or just to connect, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

The Art of Listening

Just ask, and then stop talking and deeply listen.

Just ask, and then stop talking and deeply listen. There is so much to learn from asking good questions. It is a bit of an art form, and a skill that executive coaches work hard to develop.

Open questions are the best because they are open. I imagine that sounds basic, but it is so revealing when someone can answer a question the way they want and share what is on their mind or in their heart. When you ask great questions, with a sense of genuine curiosity, you can learn so much. My favorite short open question is just one word, “why?”

#WiseWords

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”

Albert Einstein 

Worth the Share

Asking short open questions is a great way learn. “Tell me more” is a classic because it encourages the speaker to go deeper. This article from Fast Company takes “Tell me” to a whole new level. Read on…

And Finally...

One important thing I’ve learned about asking good questions is not to stack them. Ask only one question at a time, not 2 or 3 stacked questions at the same time. It is confusing for the listener because they don’t know what to answer. For example: Tell me about the project, what is the deadline? How is it going? What are your roadblocks? Ask just one question at a time, take a breath and listen. You can then ask your second question, building on the answer from the first. This also applies to emails, be sure to not have too many divergent thoughts in one email. If it is absolutely necessary, use bullet points for clarity.

If you want to learn more about my 1:1 executive or communication coaching, custom workshops, Career Transition Course… or just want to connect about what I’ve shared in this email, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Two Ears and One Mouth

Two ears and one mouth

For years I have heard the phrase, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. That quote has been around since 55AD, credited to Epictetus.

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that it wasn’t until I went to Columbia University to become a certified executive coach that I learned how to really listen. Listening to others is a gift, especially when you listen with a sense of curiosity and an open heart. It can be very powerful. With all that is going on around us, let’s talk less and listen more.

#WiseWords

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”

Bryant H. McGill

Worth the Share

Maybe it’s time to listen to your body? This book excerpt from Mark Hyman, M.D. talks about how what we eat impacts our mental health. It presents a compelling argument to, you guessed it, eat more fruits and veggies and less sugar and starch. This is not new for our physical health but this connection to anxiety and panic attacks got my attention.

And Finally...

In the listening framework we learned at Columbia, from the Co-Active Coaching model, the authors talk about three levels of listening:

  • Level 1 – our awareness is on ourselves. We often have a story going on in our own head and are not fully present.
  • Level 2 – there is a sharp focus on the other person.
  • Level 3 – you are truly in sync with that person.

Try getting to Level 2 or even Level 3 and notice the impact on what you actually hear and how you connect to others.

If you want to learn more about my 1:1 executive or communication coaching, custom workshops, Career Transition Course… or just want to connect about what I’ve shared in this email, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Is your resilience being challenged?

Is your resilience being challenged?​

Our resilience is being challenged right now, on so many levels. Whether you are working remotely full-time and trying to juggle family demands, finding yourself unemployed, struggling with what’s happening across the county or laboring to rebuild your company or business, being resilient is critical.

But how do you build resilience? As you go through a change like what we are experiencing now, be open and curious about what matters in the moment, then move forward with a growth mindset. If you’d like to talk this through, reach out anytime.

Take care,
Mary Jo

#WiseWords

“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”

Paulo Coelho

Worth the Share

Anxiety levels are high. We are in un-chartered waters, and it can be tough to know how to handle anxiety in yourself and others. This compassionate article from HBR offers clarity and solid advice, such as “Give everyone plenty of slack, understanding, and validation. Also, when someone seems especially anxious, keep in mind that you may not know the full context.”

And Finally...

Work from developmental psychologist, Emmy E. Werner, tells us that those who are most resilient:

  • are problem solvers
  • have had good role models
  • thrive on helping others
  • are strong communicators
If you want to learn more about my 1:1 executive or communication coaching, custom workshops, Career Transition Course… or just want to connect about what I’ve shared in this email, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

What does it take to maintain a positive attitude

What does it take to maintain a positive ATTITUDE?

What does it take to maintain a positive ATTITUDE when it feels like you are in a gray funk? When will things be back to “normal”? Will they ever be back to “normal”?

Personally I am so tired of these questions. I’m tired of reading the news, and I’m sad about so many things, BUT I know I can work on my  attitude… and that gives me some solace.

Take care,
Mary Jo

#WiseWords

“Hope is being able to see that there is light
despite all of the darkness.”

Desmond Tutu

Worth the Share

Anxiety levels are high. We are in un-chartered waters, and it can be tough to know how to handle anxiety in yourself and others. This compassionate article from HBR offers clarity and solid advice, such as “Give everyone plenty of slack, understanding, and validation. Also, when someone seems especially anxious, keep in mind that you may not know the full context.”

And Finally...

Having an “attitude of gratitude” can make a huge impact. Research shows that simple things like saying, “thank you” (and really meaning it), keeping a gratitude journal, acknowledging who and what you are grateful for each day, and truly appreciating others, leads to a healthier heart. 

If you want to learn more about my 1:1 executive or communication coaching, custom workshops, Career Transition Course… or just want to connect about what I’ve shared in this email, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

I keep hearing the word Outlook

I Keep Hearing the Word OUTLOOK.

During this challenging time of Covid-19, I keep hearing the word OUTLOOK. Our mental attitude or how we look towards the future colors the lens through which we see everything. At times likes these, it can be very dark indeed. Is that useful? How can we reframe our outlook so that it better serves us? Actively practicing gratitude could be a good place to start.

Be safe,

Mary Jo

#WiseWords

“Happiness is not the absence of problems but the ability to deal with them.”

Montesquieu

Worth the Share

What most struck me about this article from McKinsey & Company is how far management has evolved to incorporate gratitude, belonging, compassion: “Leaders are uniquely positioned to serve as influential role models for compassionate acts and demonstrating care for people’s basic needs.”

And Finally...

One of the upsides of sheltering in place is group Zoom calls. As an alumni of Columbia’s executive coaching program, I’ve been on the call with other Columbia coaches from around the globe. The other day we talked about the Comfort Zone work from A. White in 2008, reimagined for Covid 19 by Dr. A. Valijevac. Today, many of us are stuck in the Fear Zone…how can you draw yourself out to the Growth Zone.

If you want to learn more about my 1:1 executive or communication coaching, custom workshops, Career Transition Course… or just want to connect about what I’ve shared in this email, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

Think about the word STRENGTHS

Think about the word STRENGTHS

Think about the word STRENGTHS. What does that mean to you? What are your strengths? Lean into them, especially during these challenging days, to be your best, authentic self. One of my strengths is being a positive person. Always being on the lookout for the upside helps me as an executive coach, and I think that it is really helpful right now too!

Be safe,

Mary Jo

#WiseWords

“There are two kinds of opportunities:
ones which we chance upon and the other which we create.”

Ruth Benedict

Worth the Share

Get comfortable with ambiguity, don’t play into the fear, and communicate consistently are just some of my key takeaways from this article in Fast Company. It has a lot of solid advice from truly great leaders in history.

And Finally...

Last week, I had the privilege of presenting a session on Occupational Wellness for Camp Southern Ground alumni who are military veterans. What struck me, when we talked about their favorite jobs, was their passion for giving back, mentoring, leading, and teaching. When we give to others, we get so much in return!

If you want to learn more about my 1:1 executive or communication coaching, custom workshops, Career Transition Course… or just want to connect about what I’ve shared in this email, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com

SOAR – Strengths, Outlook, Attitude, and Resilience

SOAR - Strengths, Outlook, Attitude, and Resilience

These sure are interesting times. We are all facing a myriad of challenges, and
making decisions that will affect our personal and professional lives.

So today – and every other week moving forward – I will share a few thoughts to help you SOAR: Discover your Strengths, transform your Outlook, maintain a positive Attitude and build Resilience.

Be safe,

Mary Jo

#WiseWords

“If people are doubting how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.”

Michelle Ruiz

Worth the Share

This article from Forbes about the value of humor for leaders is worth the read.
Key Point: “Humor reminds us that we can’t take life too seriously”.

And Finally...
Recently I participated in a small group session with Dr. Richard Boyatzis – noted author, distinguished professor and quite a character. There were many golden nuggets, but my favorite was: “Build better relationships and we can help people change.” Let’s do that!
If you want to learn more about my 1:1 executive or communication coaching, custom workshops, Career Transition Course… or just want to connect about what I’ve shared in this email, you can reach me at info@mjrcac.com