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A life-changing development program for women: In Her Element

NOV 2018

Women are different than men (yep) – so why not invest in a program designed specifically to address the differences with women?  We did our research: Women make up 47% of the workforce today and are consistently ranked higher in potential than men in 75% of critical leadership competencies, yet 73% lack the confidence to pursue a job opportunity beyond their experience (HBR). 7 out of 10 believe they are under more pressure to conform than men (Edelman Intelligence). 67% say they need more support in building self-confidence to feel like they can be leaders (KPMG).

What if I told you there is a leadership program focused on Women’s Development, and NOT focused on closing the gap between Women and Men? An interesting concept, I know! The In Her Element program is designed to ignite a participant’s inner ability, unleashing untapped potential and take your organization to the next level.

What We Know - Work Life Balance

Navigating the world of work today can be difficult. Learning to trust your instincts and capabilities (as you get promoted, as you move to that ‘perfect opportunity’) can be swallowed up in the unparalleled noise of your ever-evolving careers, your ever-changing lives. This can be quite the balancing act! No matter what stage you’re at in your career, no matter if you are a CEO, a Director, or a Manager, finding a way through all of this alone can be overwhelming.

I came to the business of coaching and leadership development after spending 30+ years as an executive in corporate America. I realized one day that for the next stage of my career I needed to do work that mattered in a different way than the work I had done so far. My business partner and I have spent years watching women not leveraging all they have to reach their full potential. That’s why we designed In Her Element (IHE). This program can truly make a sustainable difference in women’s potential.

About In Her Element

A combination of one-on-one Coaching, Brain Science (Neuroscience), Mindfulness and Community; this program is designed intentionally as an 8-month cohort program.  In Her Element allows for a maturation of personal insight coupled with an expansion of your toolset to capitalize on your capabilities. Your confidence grows as you share and create more of what you desire, discovering the power of belonging in a community of women, personally and at work. The outcome is a life changing development experience that drives innovation, change, and forward movement.

After almost 4 years of watching women participate in this program, we now know that the impact of IHE is immeasurable, the shift in perspective is palpable, as those who participate discover a path to a reservoir of unlimited opportunity. Developing the insight and skill to tap into this reservoir of opportunity, at will, is the essence behind IHE.

Connect into this growing community today. Find out how IHE can accelerate a path through the noise that blocks the vision you have for yourself or a female leader in your organization. Learn more about the In Her Element program and sign up here.

Bumpers for your Brain!

May 2018

If you want a unique idea, talk to a five year old. Their minds are wonderfully focused on possibilities, uncluttered by fear of failure, deadlines and daily to do lists. Like children, great artists are those rare adults who have retained that clarity and ability to grasp great ideas before they float past and explore them fully, staying true to that original vision. 

But take that artist out of her studio and put her in charge of a team of 65, a dozen competing deadlines, and three kids. Creativity? Are you kidding?

The good news: It is possible to stay innovative, even for most of us who have increasingly complicated lives and long lists of responsibilities. And that ability to innovate has never been more valuable. 

We live in a world where the concept-to-market cycle moves faster than ever. Startups generated by a single good idea are everywhere, competing with big organizations and forcing them to think 

– and work – differently. Companies are reinventing existing processes and workspaces to foster collaboration and innovation. 

Even so, daily pressures are high. And there are no signs of a slowdown. The National Institute of Mental Health states that 40 million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 54 are affected by anxiety disorders. This is no way to live. We all deserve to feel the thrilling spark of creativity, experience more joy and still realize our full potential.

Mindfulness practice is a concept that works. It’s not a new trend or a quick fix. It’s been around thousands of years and has been practiced by everyone from Oprah Winfrey to Bill George. Leaders who practice mindfulness make better decisions and are more trusting and tolerant. Teams built on trust are more willing to take risks and explore new ideas.  

Mindfulness, simply put, is practicing how to focus our thoughts. Think of it like a bowling alley with bumpers. When your thoughts veer off, you nudge them back to center. Over time you don’t need the bumpers. And when you get really good at it, you become more focused during conversations, meetings, and on those good ideas that used to float right on by without being noticed.

There’s a physical health benefit, too. People who regularly practice mindfulness report lower blood pressure, less pain. The simple daily practice of mindfulness can actually create structural changes in your brain that reduce the tendency to waste time worrying about what might go wrong instead of taking steps to constructively move forward. We know that less stress means a healthier heart. 

With all of that research, a lot of people are willing to give mindfulness a try. Sticking with it long enough to see the results is the challenge. We recommended the book Finding the Space to Lead: A Practical Guide to Mindful Leadershipby Janice Marturano to one of our clients and asked him to practice for 10 minutes a day for eight weeks. This is a person we knew would stick with the assignment. What we didn’t expect is what we would hear eight weeks later.

After two weeks, practicing 10 minutes each day, the client described a surprising awareness of hundreds of thoughts going on inside his head. He finally understood why he struggled to focus, which in itself was a huge relief. That brought him to the next question, “How can I sort it all out?” Simply put, he started thinking about thinking. This practice of identifying a thought or feeling, choosing to use it or put it aside for later, helped him get control his thoughts and emotions for the first time in his life. Today, he describes a level of clarity in meetings, conversations and interactions that makes him a better listener, contributor and problem solver. Which makes him a calmer, happier person. Who wouldn’t want that?

Even if you’re 100% convinced mindfulness works, it’s hard to get started. Sit still for 10 minutes a day?

Ha! Most of us are too busy with careers and families. Many of us are prone to irritability, forgetfulness, and we’re just plain tired. We’d rather sleep for 10 minutes than think about thinking. 

The Disruptive Element team is no different. We decided that the only way to be advocates for mindfulness was to try it ourselves. We needed to take our own advice or we had no business giving it.

So we tried it. 10 minutes a day. It was hard at first. Our thoughts went everywhere. We skipped a few days here and there. But we went back to it again and again until we practiced for eight solid weeks. We were determined to see for ourselves. 

And it happened. 

We started telling each other how we were able to listen to our friends and family at dinnertime without going to the office in our heads. We were able to tell ourselves “just listen” and our brains did! One of our greatest fears was that if we didn’t capture those fleeting ideas the second they flew past we’d never see them again. But we realized something very different. When we acknowledged those thoughts and put them firmly aside, they were still there for us later…when we were ready. We all came away feeling that we get more out of every moment today than we did two months ago. Because we are using our whole brain, we are better listeners and more creative problem solvers. Most surprising of all, we feel happier. 

We know this isn’t an eight-week assignment that we can cross off our to-do list. It’s something we need to continue to do every day. But we all agree that 10 minutes a day is a small price to pay for a ticket off the gerbil wheel to really enjoy our lives, our work and our relationships. 

Give it a try. Let us know what you think.