Tag Archives: challenge


Leading Through the Political Season

Surely you shuddered when you saw the title of this month’s Leadership column. The national conventions are not until next summer, and the presidential election is more than a year away. But unfortunately, even if you are determined to put your head in the sand and sing la-la-la until the fall of 2016, we all have to admit that the political season is upon us. On the macro level it is happening all around us.

On the micro level it is swelling within each of us. We run every candidate’s comments through our own set of values and quickly determine if they match or not. That candidate (or party) quickly gets one point in our plus or minus column. Our running total either solidifies our commitment to a candidate, or causes us to throw up our hands in disgust that none of them are reflecting what matters to us.

Leadership skill: Think, listen, and share.

Resist the urge to ignore it all.

  •          Too busy.
  •          Too early.
  •          Too many candidates.
  •          Does not matter what I think.

It does matter what you think. And that is the place to start. Inform yourself about the issues, especially those that are particularly important to you. Know the true facts. Determine what you believe will fix the issues, and why you think your ideas will work.

Once you are clear where you align on the issues, you will be tempted to read only the newspapers, posts, and blogs that share your viewpoint. You most likely will watch only the programming that agrees with you. That is human nature. We feel reassured in our beliefs and safer from attack when we “flock” together.

But if we remain confined to our flock, stuck in our box of the “right” way to do things with all of the others who agree on the “right” way, we will contribute to an “us” and “them” mentality. You know … the “us” that are “right” and the “them” that are idiots. We miss the essential opportunity to contribute what we know and what we believe. When this mentality is played out across the nation, our politicians are left with the message that it is more important to support their political party than their nation. A true belief in the importance of constructive conversation must “trickle up.”

The opposite of remaining ensconced in the flock is believing that those with different political views are intelligent human beings. That they, too, have arrived at their views through a level of thoughtfulness. Reading their posts, watching their programming, inviting them into conversation with the pure intent of wondering what they are thinking, invites them and you to understand each other. It may cause a shift in beliefs, or offer you both a better understanding of the other’s issues surrounding the topic. It will help you both know how to bring more value to the conversation. In other words, if you understand each other’s position, you can engage in constructive conflict more intelligently.

How are you doing, 0 – 10, when faced with political challenges?

I, like you, find it difficult to understand how others can be so shortsighted, naïve, stuck in their ways, and yes, stupid. But I have committed to looking past my temptation to flock and judge, and face politics with curiosity. It is from a simply curious heart that we can pull our heads out of our political boxes. Our nation’s huge tapestry of ideas is essential to a strong democracy. Imagine a nation of respectful curiosity and intelligent conflict. Make it happen.

- Mary Beth King

This article also appears in Blue City Monthly


STOP BEING BUSY IN 2014 – Life Coaching Tools for New Year Planning- Clarity #40

What if this year you were “intentional” about everything you did and left being “busy” to people who have no direction, discipline, or desire? Think of how fun your year could be if everything you did mattered…even your REST? I believe it would make a huge difference in your overall happiness and fulfillment. AND, don’t tell me you are too old or too young to live intentionally!

Each year, I share with my newsletter subscribers a new year planning tool. Let me know if you want the whole story (complete with pictures of my high school goal setting journals) but here is the gist to get started on your new year planning right now. 

The Coach’s Challenge:  Please, I beg you to take this week between Christmas and New Year’s and make it purposeful, meaningful, and intentional.


Unplug! Let yourself get “clear” and detoxed from all the stress and activity from the holidays. Sleep, exercise, relax, play with your kids, eat good healthy food, read a novel, do a brainless project, watch your favorite movie. Do not answer emails or read business books or anything else that makes you think too much. Just relax and let all the adrenaline leave your body — at least for THREE DAYS.

If your organization is not taking the week off, then take your lunch hours and evening time to engage in the R.E.S.T. process. Being intentional is the key!


After a few days of intentional rest where you are full of peace and clarity of mind, heart and soul, begin to let your new year unfold before you in a passionate but relaxed manner, using the R.E.S.T. Model = Reflect, Evaluate, Stratagize, Think

Reflect on the Past

Get a notepad or journal and reflect on the year. Think, write, feel, and truly reflect on your year. Don’t just look at the outcomes; look around in a 360 holistic way and see the good, the bad, the wins, the pain and the progress. If you want some good questions to help in this process let us know in the comments section.

Evaluate the Present

Armed with insight, it is now time to evaluate and recalibrate where you want to be at that end of 2014 based on where you currently are today.

  • Revisit your 5 core values and grade yourself 1-10 on how you are honoring those values.baton
  • At what percentage are you living your personal mission and fulfilling your ultimate purpose?
  • What needs to be shored up this year to make sure you are focused on what matters, not just the bottom line or short gain wins.

Like my daddy always told me: “Sis, you’ll keep gettin’ whatcher gettin’ if you keep doin’ whatcher doin’.” Evaluate your story, challenge your self-talk, and prepare to script a new story that will get you where you want to be. Write it out! If you are stuck, try writing your holiday letter a year in advance!

Strategize the Future

With proper reflection and evaluation, you are now ready to construct the strategic plan for your best year yet. Keep your top 5 values, purpose and mission statement at the forefront of your mind as you strategize the best way to get there.

What are the top 3 things you want for 2014 to move the ball down the field toward accomplishing your strategic life plan?

With this level of clarity, you are ready to put the pieces together and set your 2014 goals —or intentions, as I prefer to call them. Make sure that every intention you create for the 2014 is based on one of your core values, fits strategically into your long-term life plan, and is truly meaningful to you.

State the outcomes you are looking for, write them out as if they have already happened, include why it matters to you. Then create S. M. A. R. T. action steps.

I suggest that you make it simple. In fact, maybe it is just ONE thing you need to concentrate on all year. Every year, it will look a little different if you go through this process correctly.

Now, take your intentions and put them where you can see them. One of my clients laminates his goals and puts them in the shower. At the very least, paste your plan into your calendar on a weekly, monthly and quarterly rhythm for review.

Think Long Term

This is the hardest step by far for most of us control freaks. After all that hard work of careful reflection, evaluating and strategizing clear and measurable goals —now you must surrender the outcomes. Let go.

WHAT? Yes, let go. Here’s why I prefer the term intention, rather than goal. This is what I intend to do. I will put my entire effort into fulfilling this plan, however, not at the expense of “life.”

Life happens. Humans are messy. Curve balls are thrown. You are ultimately not in control. With all our great planning and proactive living, some of your plans will not come true. Not only that, you will change and be eternally grateful some of your goals didn’t come to fruition, I sure was after seeing my long-term goals from 1981.

I believe we need to . . .


Be Focused and Flexible

Be focused fiercely on what you have set out to accomplish. Be flexible to realize the plan may need to change. I had a client say, “Hey, I always have a plan, but I am always ready to “trade-up” for a better plan.” That is the key — stay flexible in your focused plan.

Practice What We Preach

To practice what we preach, our offices are closed through January 5th but you can continue to find great end of year help via our social media and our blog next week.  Please like our Facebook page or follow us on twitter for more tips and tricks. 

REST in the fact that you are loved!

Your Coach,