Tag Archives: Next Level


You Can Go Higher

I really dislike it (okay, I hate it) when I am cruisin’ along, accomplishing goals, thriving in relationships, and then all of a sudden something hits me out of the blue and completely throws off my game. A difficult person, negative situation or perhaps even my own fear sucks my emotional energy keeps me from going in the direction I need to go.

My creativity drops, my optimism is squelched, my heart feels heavy from not being sure how to get out of a funk. Sometimes roadblocks are healthy warning signs, but often they are ceilings that need to be pushed through and broken.

This lesson popped out for me as I recently went paragliding off Tiger Mountain and hit the top of the thermal. I was begging my guide to take me higher so I could see more.

“We’ve hit a ceiling and so we’re looking for a thermal disturbance so we can gain altitude”, he said. He pointed out folks below in the same predicament. I watched as they found their entry point and bounced around a bit. But next thing I knew they were at eye level.

Then he said, “Okay, here we go!” The turbulence rocked us, but only for a moment, and we rode the thermal up to higher altitude. What a great view of the world!

It is the same experience for us as we try to gain ground at work or in life. Have you tried to go higher only to hit an invisible ceiling? Have you given up thinking you’ve hit your highest point, your top moment? It’s a lie. You can go higher!

What bumpy air are you encountering? Do not confuse the sudden jerk as a setback. It may be exactly what is needed to prepare you for the adventure that lies ahead. When it is time to go to the next level, you must allow yourself out of your comfort zone and experience some turbulence.

Perspective and persistence are key to conquering self-imposed ceilings too. My paragliding instructor had to wait and search for the entry point out of our ceiling or we would have eventually descended.

What challenge are you facing that in fact might be a self-imposed ceiling?

Your Coach,


Growth Curve

Overcoming Obstacles To Get To Your Next Level

Do you know what stage of growth your company is currently in and what is takes to get it to the next level? I would like to introduce you to the idea of being a growth curve enterprise, which is a profit driven, people-centered, growth-smart company. Knowing where your organization is in the growth curve is essential to discern how to adapt your style and methods to match the needs of your fast growing entity.

Adding to the True Life arsenal of leadership tools, I was certified last year as a Stages of Growth Strategist by Target Training International based on James Fischer’s research and process. With nearly a thousand high growth companies studied, he devised a complex methodology to navigate intentional growth. To simplify the process, TTI created a battery of online assessments that CEOs could engage their direct reports in and together journey through a process to identify, assess and define the intentional steps to their next level.

Check out this webinar from TTI to get a more in depth overview.


Interested in finding out where you are at in the growth curve? Subscribe to our blog via email to receive your free copy of the Growth Curve Matrix.

My own experience of conducting numerous strategic Stages of Growth sessions has further validated the tool and here is just a taste a few of the take-aways to get you thinking about your own growth:

1. Your Stage of Growth Can and Should Be Defined.

There are 7 Stages of Growth based on the number of employees. Once you hit the defined number of employees, the next stage begins, thus you must begin preparing your team to navigate to the next stage. For example, once you hit 19 employees, your company makes a huge shift from CEO-centric to Enterprise-centric as it enters Stage 3 – Delegation.

2. Know the Top 5 Challenges of Each Stage

Fischer identified there are 27 Challenges of an intentional enterprise. The order and blend of challenges differ for each stage of growth. If you have grown exponentially and fast, you will need to go back 2 stages to see if you have missed any of the critical growth steps and then have headlights to look forward to what you need to start tackling now as a team. Think about the top 5 business challenges you are experiencing today. Get the matrix and see if your 5 compare to other companies in your current stage of growth. Fascinating.

3. The 10 Hidden Agents Impact Leadership Effectiveness

Fischer’s research discovered there are 10 hidden agents that influence a company’s ability to reach their next level. Interestingly, 5 of those 10, have to do with how a leader must adapt themselves first including their mindset, style, mode of thinking and communication aptitude at each level.

Here are a few to get your mind peculating:

Leadership Style is the how the leader links to the “feel of the company.” Your leadership style must adjust at each stage. For now, ask yourself intuitively does my natural style resonate with the style required for this stage of our company’s growth?

Leadership Modality measures the degree of “direct or indirect influence” a leader must apply to see the company goal’s manifest.

Leadership Faces measures the blend (by percentage) of 3 primary leadership roles: visionary, manager, and specialist at each level. For example, with over 40 employees, a CEO should be spending 70% of their time managing the business. Isn’t that depressing for you High D entrepreneurs? But it explains a lot!

Leadership Competencies includes emotional intelligence knowledge as well as other people skills. The assessment measures 18 competencies and identities the unique mixture depending on the stage of growth. Are you growing in your self-awareness and able to scan the landscape to know what skills you need to put away for now and which ones you need to develop?

I love seeing entrepreneurs build intentional companies that want to fulfill a great purpose and willing to invest in their people to get there. Grateful for those of who are out there living it and making a difference in the world.

Your Coach,



How EQ Training Launched Me To My Next Level – Clarity #36

I would like to share my story on how working on my EQ has truly shifted my leadership and increased my joy. Emotional Intelligence is increasing in its popularity and acceptance as the number one leadership advantage. Your EQ, which is the measurement of your Emotional Intelligence (EI), is just as essential as your IQ to advance in most evolved organizations today. EQ can be measured through validated assessments, which BTW all True Life Coaches are certified in.

Unlike your IQ, your EQ is something that is learned and developed through training, experience, and wisdom. A great working definition from Robert Cooper is

“Emotional Intelligence is the ability to sense understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate high levels of collaboration and productivity.”

Even though I have taught EI for nearly 2 decades, I had a huge eye-opening experience when TTI unveiled their EQ Assessment at 2011 Winter Conference. It was here that Dr. Izzy Justice explained what happens to the brain under stress. When it gets to a certain level of stress, emotion takes over our body before we are even aware of it and when that happens emotion always trumps judgment and overrides our logic.

As he explained the process of decision making, I fixated on the teaching that when your stress elevates to a “red” level your amygdala shuts down your “thinking” brain and your survival brain takes over. In very simple terms, emotion takes over to make sure you can survive. Your brain doesn’t know if its being chased by a brown bear or a devastating email, so your body takes over before you even know what happened to you.  Once that happens and the “crisis” is resolved, it takes 3-4 hours for your body to return to its “clear” state.

All I heard was it takes 4 hours for your judgment and logic to return.

When you have prolonged stress and your body starts running on adrenaline, you are no longer employing your logic, your competencies, your cognition — you are surviving on your instincts, your emotions, your reactions. You are no longer choosing and responding, but solely reacting. Back to 4 hours… why would I let anything hi-jack my rational brain for 4 hours? What is worth that? The truth is…

I spent decades surviving on this adrenaline!

The EQ assessment with training helped me see where I was in my EI development and then gave me tips on how to work on it. The first two aspects of EI are Self-Awareness and Self-Regulation. Once I started to work on my self-awareness and recognize when I was moving quickly to “red”, I was able to employ new self-regulation techniques. Slowly but surely I started to see dramatic results. I now teach it with passion and vigor.

Here’s a short clip to illustrate:

Almost 3 years later, I see the fruit of my labor and so does my staff. I work much smarter accomplishing much more with ease. There is greater success with greater joy. Things that triggered me have lost their power and I am able to stay logical even when the temptation is to quickly ignite and react. There is more peace and joy everywhere in my life not to mention the results to the bottom line.

If you are interested in taking the EQ Assessment, just leave me a comment below by noon on Friday (11/22/2013). I’m happy to gift you one for asking as long as you commit to working on EI and blessing the world with your greatness.

Your Coach,



Next Level Training

What are you going to do different in 2012 to live at your next level? We love to train intentional people who want to pursue higher living and not settle for where they are at today. Here is what we can offer to support you on your journey.

A brief overview with links to more details:

Quote of the Day - BRAND NEW! Launches 1.1.12 – simply reply QUOTE and get started.

Life 301 Workshop begins in January 26th we have 5 spots open.

Clarity Campaign - Shandel’s book Clarity: Focusing on What Matters has 52 weekly readings and we write a supplemental blog post with tools and further thoughts on the subject.

True Life Blog – Have you subscribed to get your shot in the arm weekly inspiration? Subscribe here.

Twitter – Follow me @shandel

Facebook – Like us at our True Life Page. I post interesting articles and encourage you to share your next level learnings as well.

Quote of the Day

beta launch starts 1-1-12

I hate too much email and I love quotes. I subscribe to a daily inspiration that I read, forward, save or mostly delete. In less than 6 seconds, my thinking has been challenged and I move on. Sometimes “moved”. Sometimes hit delete to get “on” with it. I have thought for 7 years, I would like to inspire people on a daily basis like this guy does. So this morning I woke up and thought…


With the 2012 things challenge, I thought what a perfect time to launch this quote email idea. The first quotes will be on gratitude and help you get the habit started. In fact, read this and leave your own quote at the bottom. Simply reply to this email with QUOTE and we will put you on the list.

Life 301

If you had a difficult time in naming your values in the Goal Setting Section, feel stuck as you start 2012, or simply ready for more – Life 301 is for you!

New LIFE 301 Workshop – BEGINS IN JANUARY!!

The new year is a great time to get clear! If you need to take a fresh look at your core values and learn what might be holding you back from getting to the next level, Life 301 is for you! Continue reading