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If You Can’t See It, You Can’t Be It

In his book, The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey from Helplessness to Optimism, reflecting on decades of research leading him to found the field of positive psychology, Martin Seligman writes, “I spend an enormous amount of my time imagining futures, daydreaming what-ifs, turning possible scenarios over and over, upside down, and backward, and the older […]

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Coming Attractions: How to Be a Fortune Teller

A wise old sage hosted a dinner. Toward the end of the meal, everyone was given fortune cookies and told that they’re holding their future in their hands. The guests eagerly opened them to read the words of wisdom they contained. The paper slips inside each cookie were blank. “Is this a joke?” they asked. […]

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Beware the Prediction Affliction: Don’t Get Sucked In by Forecasts and Projections

Years ago, an elderly couple went to a country fair. The husband was captivated by an animated psychic promising to tell his age and what kind of person he is. He inserted a coin, and the machine sprang to life. The animatronic clairvoyant peered into her crystal ball, mumbled a few words, and pointed to […]

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Antidotes for the Pessimism Plague

New Year, new newsletter! Since LinkedIn has become such a widely used professional network (nearly 800 million members), we’ve moved The Leader Letter to LinkedIn’s Newsletter platform. The Leader Letter will now become a “try-weekly” — I’ll try to post a weekly article. Each issue will focus on one of the personal, team, or leadership/organization […]

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Are You the Servant or Master of this Powerful Force?

I am your constant companion. I am your greatest asset or heaviest burden. I will push you up to success or down to disappointment. I am at your command.   Half the things you do might just as well be turned over to me, For I can do them quickly, correctly, and profitably. I am […]

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Thoughts That Make You Go Hmmm on…Mindfulness

Don’t believe everything you think. “… listen to your thoughts with mindful awareness. You will see the evanescent nature of thoughts, that they are fleeting ideas, all impermanent. And then you can begin to realize that just because you have a thought doesn’t mean you have to believe it — much less act on it […]

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It’s Now Forever: 9 Tips for Gifting Yourself the Present of Presence

A road sign on a winding mountain highway warned, “Slow Down or Die.” Simple, succinct, and great life advice as well. If day after day of stressful racing around doesn’t manage to physically kill us before our time, it will surely kill our happiness and enjoyment in being here. Think of times you’ve felt high […]

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Time to Reflect and Redirect to Course Correct?

With this fall’s release of Peter Jackson’s documentary series, Get Back, and Paul McCartney’s book, The Lyrics, I’ve enjoyed hearing more about The Beatles’ groundbreaking work. As a long-time fan, it’s fascinating to get more background and context for some of this iconic music. Year-end is a time for reflection. And after a year like […]

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PERMA: A Proven Framework to Increase Optimism and Happiness

How can the absence of ill-being equal the presence of well-being? Does lessening unhappiness increase happiness? Does getting what is good in life require more than eliminating what is bad? These are among the key questions underlying the rapid evolution of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) pioneered by University of Pennsylvania psychiatry professor Aaron Beck and […]

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Explanatory Style: Don’t P and Should Yourself

Last week’s post outlined key points from Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. This groundbreaking book laid the foundation for the rapidly growing field of Positive Psychology that Seligman went on to establish during his presidency of the American Psychological Association. In his follow up book, Authentic Happiness: […]

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Cognitive Psychology: Choosing Our Reality

As posted last week, Aaron Beck pioneered the field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This approach was a major change to helping depressed patients focus on underlying negative beliefs. It upended traditional psychoanalytical theory and opened up a powerful new field of treatment. University of Pennsylvania psychology professor, Martin Seligman built on CBT theories and […]

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Cognition and Mindfulness: Thinking About Our Thinking

Last week 100-year-old Aaron Beck passed away after an incredibly productive life. Beck was an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania. The American Psychologist has called him “one of the five most influential psychotherapists of all time.” Beck is the founder of Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT). CBT approaches are now widely used […]

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Dealing with a Bad Boss: Are you Leading, Following, or Wallowing?

A sociologist was researching the long-term effects of family violence. He interviewed two sons of an alcoholic and abusive father. Both brothers were now in their sixties. One son looked back on a life of alcoholism, violence, failed marriages, joblessness, prison terms, suicide attempts, and poverty. The other son was a very successful professional. He […]

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Boss Leadership Tips and Techniques

“Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle” is proverbial wisdom that sure applies to dealing with a weak boss. It’s so easy to get on the BMW Boss Bus — bitch, moan, and whine — about the boss. Or we ride the Bitter Bus into Pity City and curse the darkness of “them” — head […]

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Why is Your Boss a Weak Leader?

Have you lost the boss lottery? Did the boss quiz show your boss is a poor leader? As you decide how to lead your leader, it can be helpful to understand where he or she is coming from. Some bad bosses are bad people. Their personal relationships are disasters, they’re miserably unhappy, and their values […]

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Bad Boss or Bully Boss? Don’t be a Victim

Surveys show that many people have been bullied by their boss or have witnessed bullying. As I wrote in Is Your Boss a Bully or Just a Really Poor Leader? there’s often a fine line between a bad boss and a bully boss. Bad bosses are frequently good people doing a bad job. Bully bosses […]

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Do Your Values Pass the Sniff Test?

When he spotted his grandpa asleep on the family room couch, the rambunctious ten-year-old saw his chance. With cat-like stealth, Lucas quietly crept up on grandpa and gently smeared a small bit of smelly old cheese into his moustache. As grandpa mumbled and stirred, Jason bolted from the room. Peeking around the corner, Lucas fought […]

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Mind the Gap: Are Your Values Rhetoric or Reality?

It’s easy to spout motherhood statements about caring for people, teamwork, trust, partnering, we’re all in this together, and the like. Tough times expose a leadership team’s true values. When the pandemic panic set in last year, some executive teams showed their true beliefs that employees are human capital or assets with skin to be […]

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A Trust Cause: Leadership Stimulates or Stifles Trust and Engagement

Recently I was asked if I could deliver an online workshop for executive team leaders to “relearn/develop trust and empowerment in his/her team members when the team members feel they are not getting the trust or empowerment from their leader to do their jobs. How does a team lift this message upward, have the message […]

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Stop Bribing and Starting Leading

An author writing a book on motivational techniques asked for my thoughts: How do you feel about increased Personal Time Off as an incentive? Flextime? Job sharing? Work from home? Employer-sponsored socializing (BBQs, bowling, game night, etc.)? Are there any hidden drawbacks to these incentives? If these approaches are used to “empartner” people, they can […]

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