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Do You Focus on the Field of Wheat or Stone on the Hill?

A favorite ritual this time of year is decorating our Christmas tree while the movie Christmas Vacation is playing in the background. I’ve watched it often enough to recite most of the dialogue. But after repeated viewings, it still lives up to its tagline – “Yule crack up!” Yes, I do realize how pathetic my […]

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Quotes to Note – “From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life”

My last post reviewed Arthur’s new book. It’s very well written with Arthur’s openness about his personal struggles, solid research, engaging examples, and practical advice. The book aligns very well with my study and writing about positive psychology and personal vision, values, and purpose.   Here are some quotes from the book that strongly resonated […]

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Review of From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life

  One of my favorite annual Christmas season rituals is watching the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” starring a young Jimmy Stewart. It’s a 1946 classic that tells a compelling story about making a difference in the lives of others. In the movie, Jimmy’s character, George Bailey, becomes a reluctant leader in his small hometown […]

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I Exam: Negative Nuggets of Pessimism or Positive Points of Optimism?

In the Shakespearean tragedy titled after the main character, Hamlet ponders his imprisonment by Denmark and the King as well as in his own mind when he says, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” In my previous post in this series of posts on the nature of “reality,” we […]

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May the Force — of Inspiring Leadership — Be with You

Today is Star Wars Day. May 4th has become an annual commemoration of the Star Wars media franchise. “May the Fourth be with you” is a punny take (I do like to jest for the pun of it…) on the Star Wars catchphrase “may the force be with you.” I don’t dress up on any […]

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War, Pandemic, Inflation, Climate, Politics, …Let’s Not Lose Perspective

Which dot is bigger? It looks like the right dot is quite a bit larger than the other one. But they are the same size. Go ahead, measure them. The framing around each dot changes our perception of its size. When hanging a painting on your wall, the size and color of the frame or […]

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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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How to Counter COVID Fatigue and Build a Thriving Workplace

How are workers doing as our pandemic drags on? Is it possible to thrive amidst the chaos and struggles of these turbulent times? What can leaders do to build thriving workplaces? These are key questions addressed by Michelle McQuaid during a recent webinar on workplace wellbeing. Michelle has a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and […]

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Use Feedback to Pinpoint Your Blinking Blue Dot

A few years ago, our family visited a corn maze. It was a series of pathways cut through a large cornfield. The corn was 7-8 feet high. Once in the maze, there was no way to see over the corn. It was a long and complex maze with many dead-ends and circular loops. Before we […]

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How to Turbo-Charge Your Leadership with Informal Feedback

One of our most recent popular blogs was on bully bosses and featured a quiz to help determine if your boss is a bully or just a poor leader. A follow-up blog on leading up included five ways to deal with a bad boss. But what if you’re a bully or poor boss — and […]

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Many Leaders are Allergic to Feedback and Blissfully Ignorant

In our executive coaching and Extraordinary Leader workshops, we see a wide variety of responses to leaders receiving their 360 assessment feedback. We generally see one of these four responses: Prisoners of Score These participants are most often in workshops where the leader was forced to participate. They want to serve the minimum time in […]

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How to Avoid Spinning into the 360 Degree Feedback Death Spiral

The use of 360 degree assessments has exploded in the past few decades. They’re now widely available in a bewildering variety of tools used for leadership development, executive coaching, performance management, personal growth, etc. Do a Google search on variations of 360 degree feedback, assessment, or tools and go shopping among millions of options. The […]

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Many Competency Models are Failing. 5 Keys to Make Them Flourish

Competency models are widely used for 360 assessments, performance management, and leadership development. When used well, they provide a strong framework for defining and developing key behaviors, increasing leadership and culture effectiveness. But most aren’t used well. That’s a key reason so many studies have documented so many failed leadership and organization development programs. I […]

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Are you a Bully or Bad Boss? How do you KNOW?

We’ve just completed a series of blogs on leadership hypocrisy and bullying or bad bosses. You may have completed our bully boss quiz. It’s very easy to see bad or bullying leadership in others. It’s much tougher to recognize our leadership shortfalls. As American social psychologist and Professor of Ethical Leadership, Jonathan Haidt, says “we […]

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Bit by Innocent Bit, Are You Becoming a Sincere Hypocrite?

Most leaders don’t live by the motto: “do what I say, not what I do.” Their apparent hypocritical behavior is innocent and sincere. They simply don’t know that their actions are seen as out of step with their words. Not checking blind spots can lead to deadly highway accidents. Leaders who don’t seek feedback often […]

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Is What’s Missing Throwing You Off Your Game?

One of my favorite podcasts is Terry O’Reilly’s “Under the Influence,” focused on the advertising and marketing business. Terry’s a master story-teller. He continually finds unusual and interesting stories to start each podcast. His recent podcast, “Setting the Table: Best Opening Stories,” looked back at his stories from over 300 episodes that generated the most […]

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Navigating Change: Leading in Turbulent Times

Sailing through life is easy when our seas are calm. It’s much tougher when clouds begin to gather and the gentle winds of changes suddenly turn to a full blown gale. Now more than ever our response to changes we can’t control determine whether we’ll thrive, survive, or dive. Leadership is an action, not a […]

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