RENEWED FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

Renewed FocusIt’s safe to say that 2020 hasn’t exactly gone how we’d planned. All of those goals and plans we made when we rang in the New Year kind of went out the window. However, despite its disappointments, the year has given us some valuable opportunities for growth and learning. So, how do we walk into 2021 with renewed focus on the future while also keeping our expectations in check? Here are a few suggestions to think about:

  • Let go of expectations and focus on what you can control: It’s challenging, but so important to accept situations that are out of our control. We need to let go of how things “should be” and focus on how things are. Rather than spending your time thinking about all the things that have gone wrong, shift your focus on possibilities and opportunities as a way to move forward.
  • Don’t make so many assumptions: We often go into a new year hoping that it’s going to be our best one yet. While it’s great to be optimistic and hopeful, we also need to stay flexible and willing to adapt to changing circumstances. Otherwise, we set ourselves up for disappointment and have difficulty dealing with these changes.
  • Set goals: Definitely continue to set goals, but maybe don’t get too overly optimistic (that long European vacation might have to wait!). Break your goals into a combination of two categories: ‘achievable’ and ‘desirable’. Accept the circumstances of our current situation and determine your goals within those parameters.
  • Mental and physical health are everything: Despite the challenges, 2020 was definitely a good time to start cultivating a mindset of gratitude. It’s so vital to continue this practice into 2021. Mental health is strongly influenced by physical health, so if you started an exercise and wellness practice over the past few months, keep it up. If you didn’t, now’s a great time to start taking small steps (ie: a meditation practice, daily walks, etc.) that will add up to big changes over time. And keep up those Zoom happy hours!

The past year has definitely thrown us a major curve ball. But perhaps it’s given us some time to think about personal changes we’d like to incorporate. What do you like and dislike about your life right now? What would you like more of or less of in your life? Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help you tackle any of these questions. Let’s get started! Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

PLANNING FOR THE NEW YEAR

Planning for new yearWhat a long, strange ride 2020 has been and it’s safe to say we’re all ready to see what 2021 has in store. If 2020 has taught us one major lesson, it’s that plans can get derailed and we must be willing to adapt. It’s also given us an opportunity to assess our way of doing business within a new framework. For example, what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned this year? What are some of the biggest challenges facing your organization over the next year and beyond? What are your strengths and weaknesses to meet those challenges?

You may have already developed a strategic plan for 2021, but if we’ve learned anything, it’s that plans can change quickly. That’s why it’s important to consider the following when drafting a plan for the next year:

  • Embrace Reality: While we’re all ready for the pandemic to be over, we’re still going to be doing business differently for a while. You may want to keep some of the changes you made over the past year. Or based on what you’ve learned over the past several months, you may need to make additional plans based on existing conditions.
  • Be Adaptable: Organizations that were able to pivot quickly when the pandemic began experienced less impact than those who struggled through the process. Flexible processes and adaptable strategies are your best course of action if things worsen before they improve.
  • Make Your People A Top Priority: People are the core of your department and now, more than ever, you need to take care of them. This includes physical and mental health, as well as work-life balance. With so many people working from home, communication should be a priority. What’s worked well over the past several months? What areas could use improvement?
  • Plan For The Unusual: A long-term strategy that includes various scenarios helps you navigate challenges. For example, additional equipment and tools for remote workers, plans for employees who may be out due to the coronavirus and workers who need flexibility due to school closures are all issues to consider.

Planning in advance is one way effective leaders avoid the stress of falling behind, particularly during times of uncertainty. Leah M. Joppy and Associates has worked with numerous firms to draft annual plans that align and inspire teams to reach their goals for the coming year – and beyond. Then we help you put it all into action. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com.

Happy Mindful Monday!

Last week was indeed a privilege for us as we continue to facilitate a variety of  leadership development opportunities for our customers.  Enlightening discussions were had around managing the challenges, stress and anxiety this pandemic has created. We explored how to strengthen resilience; how to create successful virtual communication; leading in times of crisis; holding on to our personal values; managing blind spots; and dealing with isolation – just to mention a few. Most importantly, we talked about the importance of checking in on each other from time to time.

We were also privileged to have a peek into the participant’s other world. You know,  the roles that makes them SUPER!  We got to see Dads braid their daughter’s hair, clean up spills and provide snacks to their little ones. We heard Moms directing home improvement projects and where to put the new microwave. Every once in a while a little face would appear in the corner of the monitor, trying to see where all the commotion was about. Carrying out these responsibilities while focusing, engaging and sharing their workplace successes and challenges in a 8-16 hour span of training! That gives the definition of multi-tasking a whole new meaning!

Our public servants are “getting it done,” “moving and shaking,” helping our brothers and sisters all over the world during these very unpredictable and stressful times.  LMJA is so honored to be a part of their story; to support our customers in any way we can. Whether it be ‘staying after class’ to provide guidance on a pressing career decision or helping to create ideas for ‘fun food’ for their kids, we are here for our customers. We hope to return to some level of normalcy soon.

In the meantime, be MINDFUL of your team mates and loved ones and most importantly, BE MINDFUL OF YOU! We are all in this together.

Be safe.

Leah Payton

Benefits of Mindfulness

Mindfulness benefitsYou may have heard the term “mindfulness” thrown around, but what exactly is it and how can it help during times of crisis? Jon Kabat-Zinn, psychologist and founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, defines mindfulness as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.” In short, to be mindful is to be purposeful about where you direct your attention. Instead of letting your thoughts run wild, you take a step back and become intentional about where you put your focus.

We are all dealing with different stressors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For some, work responsibilities are greater right now and it’s difficult to juggle professional and personal duties. For others, work has slowed down or stopped and the anxiety of remaining productive and dealing with uncertainty can feel paralyzing. Research has shown that practicing mindfulness reduces activity in the part of your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is central to switching on your stress response, so by practicing mindfulness, you’re reducing your background level of stress. And who doesn’t need a little of that right now?

Here a few of the benefits of practicing mindfulness:

Physical and Emotional Health: According to research, practicing mindfulness regularly can help manage anxiety. It also complements medical and psychological treatments and can help reduce pain and symptoms of conditions such as depression, high blood pressure and addiction.

Emotional and Cognitive Regulation: A regular mindfulness practice has been shown to increase focus and help with memory and problem-solving abilities. It can also improve the brain’s capacity for decision-making.

Happiness and Joy: By practicing mindfulness, you’ll find it easier to take a few deep breaths and respond in a more patient and thoughtful way to a challenging person or situation. You’ll begin to slow down during particularly challenging parts of your day and not react to a problem hastily. That enables you to more easily tune in to pleasant experiences that are around you, even during times of stress.

Mindfulness takes practice, but the effort is well worth the reward! Leah M Joppy and Associates has been conducting webinars focusing on strategies we can all use to get through these challenging times. We can tailor a webinar that focuses on mindfulness practices, stress reduction and more. How can we help you? Call us at 301-670-0051 or email leah@lmja.com to learn more.

 

Coaching For Mid-Level Managers

Coaching mid-level managersMiddle managers are often dealt a difficult hand. They’re expected to play the dual role of both boss and employee and the balancing act that accompanies this type of position can be tricky to navigate. If you’re in a middle management position, you’re probably required to deal with day-to-day issues and complaints from your employees, while also understanding and implementing big picture goals from upper management. It can really make you feel like you’re caught in the “middle”!

Many middle managers can feel like they’re thrown to the wolves, particularly if they were promoted to the position with little to no training. Mid-level managers must build their soft skills in addition to so many others. Here are a few skills needed to be an effective mid-level manager:

  • Proficiency in Hiring Top Talent
  • Excellent Communication Skills
  • Strong Delegation Skills:
  • Collaboration Skills
  • Strong Decision-Making Skills

Working with a coach can really help with honing these skills. By assessing the unique challenges you face in a middle management position, a life coach can work with you on the best ways to tackle tough situations and develop a clear and detailed plan of action. You can also learn the best ways to advocate for yourself and what you need to perform effectively in your position. Best of all, a coach is someone who has your best interests at heart and is going to help you achieve that balancing act – both in and out of the office.

Whether you’re new to a mid-level management position or you’ve been in one for a while, it’s always beneficial to take a step back and examine what areas you’d like to work on both in and out of the office. If you’re ready to make some meaningful changes and looking for a life coach that can help you through it all, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

Why Should I Work With A Coach?

We’re glad you asked! Below are 14 possible reasons why people work with a coach. Do you recognize yourself in one of these reasons?

  1. Coaches know how to help you get what you want.
  2. Coaches know how to help manage and prevent setbacks.
  3. You have decision fatigue.
  4. You need accountability.
  5. You have trouble following through with goals.
  6. Limiting beliefs have been holding you back.
  7. Anxiety and stress are recurring themes.
  8. You are unable to define a clear vision.
  9. Your finances, health, relationships, career or business is in complete disarray.
  10. The passion you once had for life is gone.
  11. You get easily distracted by time wasters.
  12. Your friends and family aren’t supporting your dreams.
  13. You’re completely lost and feel like all hope is gone.
  14. You simply do not know where to begin.

 

If any of the above sound familiar to you, maybe it’s time you thought about hiring a coach. We can help.

Find out more about the coaching process and how a coach can help you get off of the fence and actually accomplish those goals you’ve been carrying around for years! No matter your career level or station in life, together we can develop a successful coaching plan for you so you can begin to MOVE FORWARD!

Give us a call at 301-670-0051 or send an email to leah@lmja.com to schedule a 15 minute interest call.

And for more information on coaching, check out our articles below:

  • Leadership Coaching: We’ve all had at least one job where it felt like leadership was lacking. You probably remember what it was like – a lack of communication, no clear expectations or defining of roles and difficulty handling conflict.
  • Leadership Coaching #2: Football legend Vince Lombardi said that, “leaders are made, not born.” When it comes to effective leadership, we can all use a strategy that helps us hone our skills and bring out the best in our team. But figuring out how to do that can be a challenge and can feel overwhelming when you already have a lot of other responsibilities on your plate.
  • Coaching For High Level Admin Staff: If you’re an executive assistant, does it feel like you make the impossible happen every single day? It’s a job that requires a lot of knowledge and flexibility, along with the ability to deal with all types of personalities.
  • Coaching For Any Level: Wherever you stand in your job right now (entry level to executive), chances are you’re wondering what the future holds in the next year or five years and beyond. Do you feel like you’ve reached your full potential or do you feel like there’s something better for you out there?
  • Life Coaching For Single Women: If you’re a single woman, it can sometimes feel like you’re part of a forgotten group. And if you’re a single woman of a certain age, it can feel like that times a thousand. Gone are the days where single women feel like they need to get married in order to feel fulfilled.
  • Coaching To Expand Thinking: When most of us face a challenge, our typical response is to fall back on the old ‘tried and true’ way of doing things. This is usually what we’ve learned has worked for us in the past. However, Oliver Wendell Holmes may have put it best when he said, “Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
  • Coaching For Self Reliance: What is your first memory of feeling truly self-reliant? Maybe it was the day you received your driver’s license and the possibilities that came with the feeling of independence. Perhaps it was when you became financially independent from your parents and started paying your own bills. Whatever the example that comes to mind, self-reliance is trusting your abilities to get through the challenges of life on the back of your own resourcefulness.
  • Coaching For Personal Accomplishment: When we think about our life accomplishments, we often reflect on what we’ve achieved career-wise. We received the promotion and big raise, moved to the corner office or changed companies to move forward in our careers. But what about our personal accomplishments?
  • Why Everyone Needs a Coach. What exactly does a life coach do and how can one help you with your own unique set of challenges? A life coach is someone who counsels clients on anything from career obstacles to personal struggles.
  • Coaching For Mid-Level Managers. For mid-level managers, the juggling act of being both the boss and employee can lead to stress and burnout. Working with a coach can assist in so many ways.

 

 

 

What Is A Mindful Moment and Why Do We Need It Now?

MindfulnessThis article is an excerpt from our Mindfulness Webinar: If you weren’t able to join us for the webinar, here is a snippet taken from the discussion. Stay tuned for further topics.

What Is A Mindful Moment and Why Do We Need It Now?

We live during uncertain times. Politically, culturally and economically, these are complex times that we have not experienced to this degree until now. Taking the time to pause, slow down and not overreact to any news or problem that crops up helps us both physically and mentally.

Try these 4 steps to practice your Mindful Moment.

  • Pausing. When feeling a difficult emotion, or struggling in anyway, take a mindful pause.
  • Breathing. Tune into your breath, allowing yourself to fully feel it. Two thoughts that can help with this are:

“What can I feel within my breath right now?”
“Where can I feel my breath most strongly?”

  • Body. Tune into your body. Allow yourself to fully feel any sensations there. Ask yourself:

“What sensations can I feel in my body right now?”
“Where does my body feel tight / clenched / held?”
“Where does my body feel strong / grounded / steady?”

  • Emotions. Name your emotion. “What am I feeling right now?”

For more information, please read our other articles on Mindfulness:

Is it time for some coaching? There are lots of reasons why people work with a coach. Take a look at this article on coaching and decide whether it’s time for you to reach out!

EOY BUDGET NEEDS: POPULAR COURSES

It’s been a long, strange year (to put it mildly!) and your team may be feeling the stress of working from home and isolation from the day-to-day routine of the office. It may feel more challenging than ever to communicate effectively with your staff and teamwork may be lacking right now. Or you may feel like you want to do strategic planning for the future, but it’s hard enough to just deal with daily tasks. LMJA has a number of courses that can help with the challenges you’re experiencing during the crazy year of 2020. Courses are now VIRTUAL.

Here’s a look at four of our most popular courses and how they can be a great investment in your team. These courses can be tailored for a half-day session. Courses can also be spread out into 2 half-day sessions. A variety of self-awareness assessments are used in all of our courses.

  • Effective Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, soft skills or emotional intelligence skills. Valuable interpersonal skills include: teamwork, leadership, empathy and active listening. In this course, we discuss verbal and non-verbal cues, why they matter and how to build strong interpersonal skills that will enhance both the harmony and productivity of your office.
  • Conflict Management Skills: Problems can arise on any team and you will likely need to resolve conflict at some point in your job. Our course helps you develop conflict resolution skills, deal with constructive criticism and gain important counseling, mediating and problem-solving skills.
  • Developing Inclusive Teams: While most managers believe having a diverse and inclusive work culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know the best ways to achieve that goal. Our course covers a broad range of topics, such as examining the culture of an organization, identifying current and potential problems and providing tools for change.
  • Organizational Strategic Planning: Organizational strategic planning involves setting priorities, determining where to focus energy and resources, ensuring that employees are working towards common goals and much more. Our course helps you develop an effective strategic plan that clearly lays out where your organization is going, the actions needed to make progress and a blueprint for success.

If you are interested in making meaningful, long-lasting change in your department, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.

LEADERSHIP COACHING

leadership coachingWe’ve all had at least one job where it felt like leadership was lacking. You probably remember what it was like – a lack of communication, no clear expectations or defining of roles and difficulty handling conflict. Add it all together and it makes for a less than pleasant work experience and likely one where you didn’t want to stay long-term. Strong leadership matters and it’s the backbone to every successful work team. Team leaders are responsible for more than just delegating tasks and monitoring employees’ progress. To be effective in this role, true leaders must understand each staff member’s overall goals, strengths and weaknesses and then use this information to build a strong team.

What do you need to do to be an effective leader? There are many lists out there outlining what it takes, but when it comes down to it, they all focus on these 6 core strengths:

  • Communication
  • Cultural Competence (the ability to work with people from other countries and cultures)
  • Flexibility
  • Vision
  • Empathy and Emotional Intelligence
  • Personal Skills (areas such as authenticity and trustworthiness)

When you look at your leadership style, how would you rate your strengths in these areas? Whether you’re new to a leadership role or been in the boss’s chair for years, it’s important to take a step back and look at how you’re leading your team. Frequent changes in focus and conflicting priorities can leave staff feeling stressed and anxious. That’s certainly not the environment you want. Working with a coach can help you identify areas where you need improvement, develop leadership skills that you can begin using immediately and learn techniques to develop a stronger, more cohesive team. The benefits are numerous: happier, more loyal employees, increased efficiency and greater productivity. And who doesn’t want that?

There are so many differences between being a boss and being a leader. Bosses command, while leaders influence. Bosses discipline, but leaders act as a mentor. That’s just the beginning. If you want to improve your leadership skills and be a team leader who inspires, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com. And if you’re wondering if you should be working with a coach, check out our article on Why Should I Work With A Coach?

EOY BUDGET NEEDS: POPULAR COURSES

If you’re examining your EOY budget and have last minute money that needs to be spent, now is an ideal time to invest those dollars in your team. Looking back on the last year, can you identify areas that need improvement? Perhaps there was a conflict that could have been resolved more effectively? Maybe communication is an area that needs improvement? Or maybe you just want a jumpstart on strategic planning for the next year and how that may look during the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, LMJA has a number of courses that have changed the way offices communicate, operate and deal with issues.

Here’s a look at four of our most popular courses and how they can be a great investment in the most important part of your department – your people:

  • Effective Interpersonal Skills: Interpersonal skills are sometimes referred to as people skills, soft skills or emotional intelligence skills. Valuable interpersonal skills include: teamwork, leadership, empathy and active listening. In this course, we discuss verbal and non-verbal cues, why they matter and how to build strong interpersonal skills that will enhance both the harmony and productivity of your office.
  • Conflict Management Skills: Problems can arise on any team and you will likely need to resolve conflict at some point in your job. Our course helps you develop conflict resolution skills, deal with constructive criticism and gain important counseling, mediating and problem-solving skills.
  • Developing Inclusive Teams: While most managers believe having a diverse and inclusive work culture is critical to performance, they don’t always know the best ways to achieve that goal. Our course covers a broad range of topics, such as examining the culture of an organization, identifying current and potential problems and providing tools for change.
  • Organizational Strategic Planning: Organizational strategic planning involves setting priorities, determining where to focus energy and resources, ensuring that employees are working towards common goals and much more. Our course helps you develop an effective strategic plan that clearly lays out where your organization is going, the actions needed to make progress and a blueprint for success.

If you have money left in your EOY budget to spend and are interested in making meaningful, long-lasting change in your department, Leah M. Joppy and Associates is ready to help. Many of our courses have been reformatted to deliver in a virtual format.  We also have a half-day course delivery option.  Whether you’re a novice or a pro, our excellent course producer ensures a smooth delivery of our virtual courses.   Call us at 301-670-0051 or email us at leah@lmja.com.