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Scott Eblin offers his take on lessons in the news and his advice on your pressing leadership questions.

Three Ways to Stop Judging Yourself

What would it take for you to stop judging yourself?

When my coach asked me that question, it stopped me in my tracks. More than 15 years later, it remains the most meaningful and impactful coaching question I’ve ever been asked. When she asked the question, I was a Fortune 500 vice president in my thirties and, by a lot of external standards, a success.

I never felt that way though. My modus operandi was a cycle of self-criticism and self-judgment. My coach picked up on that and one day, seemingly out of nowhere, asked me that question: “What would it take for you to stop judging yourself?” Her question hit me so hard and so deep that it almost brought me to tears. It took me years to come up with my answer.

Since then, I’ve become a coach myself and have written a couple of books. The first bookhttp://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=wwweblingrouc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1857885554 was for leaders who want to succeed at the next level. The latest bookhttp://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=wwweblingrouc-20&l=as2&o=1&a=1118910664 is about how to manage yourself and your life when you get there. I couldn’t have written it if I hadn’t learned to go easier on myself. What I’ve found...

5 Simple Ways to Make Creative Thinking a Daily Habit

Where or when do you get your best ideas?

I ask that question to a lot of clients and executives attending my presentations and seminars. The answers I often hear are things like "In the shower," "Walking the dog," "Working out," "On my commute," "Taking care of the yard," or "Cleaning the house."

But do you know what answer I never hear? "At my desk in front of my computer." In fact, when I ask if anyone gets their best ideas at their desk, everyone laughs because the very idea is absurd.

People hardly ever get their best ideas at their desks, and yet that’s where most professionals spend most of the day. If it’s not the desk, it’s a conference table, and hardly anyone gets their best ideas there either.

The irony, of course, is that most of the great work any of us do depends on the sparks of insight and creativity that come when we’re not actively focusing on a particular task or trying to solve a problem. We need to create and leave time for unconscious thought.

As neuroscience researcher Loran Nordgren explained to strategy+business magazine, unconscious thought is the more...

How to Get Your New Team Off to a Strong Start

If you’re a leader in your organization, there will be multiple times in your career when you have to get a new team off to a strong start. One of the critical steps in that process is when you bring the team members together for the first time. That’s a rare opportunity to define the purpose, build trust, establish the ground rules and set the priorities. Like they say, you only get one chance to make a first impression. Make the most of it by giving some thought to that first team meeting and taking some time to prepare for it.

One of my executive coaching clients recently faced this exact situation. He’s leading a startup team and has been in heavy recruiting mode filling the key positions on the team. After months of hard work, he’s gotten everyone hired for his leadership team. In talking through what he wanted to accomplish in his first leadership team meeting and how he wanted to approach the meeting, we came up with a simple four-part agenda that would work for almost any first meeting of a team.

It’s built on four one-word questions. Feel free to use...

Pope Francis' Nine Rules for Happy Living

In case you haven’t been paying attention, it turns out that Pope Francis is one of the most popular people in the world. A recent Pew Research Center survey found that he has a 90 percent favorability rating among U.S. Catholics and a 70 percent favorability rating among all Americans. Another Pew study at the end of last year found that he has a median favorable rating of 60 percent across 43 nations and only an 11 percent unfavorable rating.

Timothy Egan’s recent column in the New York Times, "Pope Francis and the Art of Joy," does a great job of explaining how the nature of the pope’s positive personality helps make him a transformational leader. It’s definitely worth five minutes of your time to read.

For now, though, let me share a slightly reformatted quote from Egan’s column that I found particularly compelling.  Egan wrote that last year the Pope was asked about his secret to happiness. He responded with nine rules that I have listed here (again, big hat tip to Timothy Egan for sharing these):

1. Slow down
2. Take time off
3. Live and let live
4. Don’t proselytize...

3 Simple Ways to Be More Aware This Week

If you’ve been reading my posts, articles or books for awhile, you know I do my best to keep things simple. Most of us have too much on our plates to make life any more complex than it already is. Hence, my emphasis on simplicity.

For instance, the definition of leadership presence I introduced in The Next Level breaks that concept down into three sets of behaviors: personal presence, team presence and organizational presence.

For another example, when I coach people who want to be more effective leaders or less stressed in their lives, I encourage them to start by focusing on doing one or two things that are in the sweet spot of relatively easy to do and likely to make a difference. If that works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else.

As yet another example, the definition of mindfulness that I offer in Overworked and Overwhelmed is that mindfulness equals awareness plus intention. So, in this week’s Mindful Mondays post, I thought I’d go a little deeper on the first part of that equation – awareness. Here are three simple ways you can be more aware this week:

Listen: This week, look...