I’m So Busy…..But I’m Not Getting What I Want!!!

February 18th, 2015

The rally cries of many professionals today: “I’m so busy”. Which when pressed they can often feign that they are happy and successful. Yet deep down the silent tape running in their head completes the sentence with “but I’m not getting what I want.”

First, you have to take the time to actually truly, I mean really truly, know what it is that you want. We can wave our hands and say we do, but do you, really? Busy-ness doesn’t necessarily mean you’re driving towards your goals.

Recently a client told me about her challenges of needing to become more visible in her workplace so she could move up into another, more expansive leadership position at the company where she really loved working. But as she explained not only was it a corporate objective but her own. However, the inflection around the word “leadership” felt laden with annoyance. When I enquired, she simply said, “I really don’t want more responsibility” with a big sigh. “Well then why are you seeking something you clearly have a negative response to and don’t want?” She laughed and admitted there was an internal conflict. “Do you think that’s why I am not getting the stuff I need to get done to achieve this goal?”

There’s 3 parts to this epiphany.

  • You will never really drive, whole-heartedly, towards a goal that is in direct conflict with your hearts desire, ethics or belief system. That’s what’s called a “double bind”.
  • You may engage on the surface to be considered “in the mix” but often times there is not enough positive emotion (heart) in it to take you to the goal line.
  • Being “too busy” is often a smoke screen to avoid having to be fully engaged in the goal and/or project which would get you to the goal causing the conflict.

This is no different than the person who says they are going on a diet and only halfway commits to the program they select. Why? It could be they don’t feel safe in the world without the extra layer of protection. Or it could be something else that causes the conflict. The desire to move forward is nullified by the internal conflict causing a stalemate.

There are a few ways to overcome this self-imposed stalemate. How we communicate with ourselves is as important as how we communicate with others in the world.

  • Identify It – Identify what the conflict may be. That would mean the place where you’re not making progress and may be feeling frustration.
  • Reframe It – Those of you who know me, know this is an invaluable tool I use often. If, in this case, leadership means more responsibility you really don’t want, look to what is important and valuable to you. In this case, for this client, she loved teaching. I reminded her that a leader actually is someone who inspires others to do, be and have more than they currently do. Which can translate to teaching others (i.e her team or future teams) so they can do, be and have more at work and in their lives. She perked up! Now THAT made leadership a whole lot more enticing than thinking about paperwork and filling in time and attendance types of forms. Post this over your desk as a reminder. (Lisa hyperlink this to the graphic quotecovers image)
  • Reprioritize it with the Reframe in Mind – If the goal is now real and important to you and conveyed in a manner that tickles your sense of fulfillment or exploration then you will make time for it in your schedule.

I am not an organizational genius. All you have to do is look at my desk to know that this is not my best quality. However, what I can tell you is that when we are focused on a goal that is palatable to us, then break down the tasks into columns that reflect the goal with a reminder of the reframe we are using, our brains DO reorganize what is important.

Get clear what you want and why. Meaning, I want X so I can have Y. That’s your anchor. If there is a conflict you now have tools to over ride that hindrance. Never forget that there are times we will be very busy, but if this is a constant state, busy-ness may be a smoke screen to cover something else one may be avoiding.

What the Women at Kronos Know About Change

October 28th, 2014

A few weeks ago I have the privilege of flying to Atlanta to speak at Kronos Incs Annual Sales Conference. Part of that conference was segmented out for a Women’s summit. My audience was several hundred women who are committed to their growth, advancement and responsibility within this large organization. They were an amazing group. All discussions we had were couched around “change” and how to navigate it fearlessly, with grace and ease.

Change within any aspect of ones life can be difficult to navigate. Even those who crave change, beg for it and lament, “Well if this changed I’d be much happier” still find it painful. It may be true that even positive change would bring about happiness and fulfillment. The greater truth is that most people don’t like or feel comfortable when things around them change.

As human beings we like things to be familiar and predictable. Each individual requires a different level of familiarity and predictability in their lives. This is the dynamic, which makes life and ones existence feel safe. Even if what is predictable and familiar may be unhealthy, broken or painful.

As I explained this to the many groups over this past year, I am sometimes met with some blank stares. I notice resistance and could practically even hear some of the participants saying, “not me!” Perhaps you feel the same reading this piece.

So here goes:

o How many times have you dated the same person for longer than you knew was good for you just because it was familiar to you?

o How many times have you worn a pair of shoes that made your heels bleed because they were beautiful regardless of nearly crippling you?

o How often do you take the same route home from work, every day, 52 weeks a year?

o And how often do you utilize systems and methods you’ve always used in your work life just because that’s how “we’ve always done it”?

o Or criticized someone as practically being a heretic because they’ve introduced a new way of thinking, problem solving or executing a task?

The truth about any company and its people is that they must evolve to stay current and to move forward. That takes courage and flexibility. Evolution of anything comes down to the ability of those who can best take the next 3 steps.

1) Change to suit market or environment needs
2) Adapt methods, behaviors and attitudes to meet those market and environment needs
3) Grow as a byproduct of steps 1 and 2

A group that digs their heels in and tries to stand still will only be passed by. The world, the globe actually, continually spins. When we do not move forward we are literally passed by. Don’t let your ego hold you back from joining the evolution that’s going on. I’m certainly not saying throw everything you know and how you’ve done it out the window. I am saying, keep what you need and let go of what no longer works after an honest assessment period.

Can you take the challenge to Change, Adapt and Grow within the context of your own business and personal life? I hope so, I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this next leg of evolution in this lifetime.

As we march towards the end of 2014 the topic of change will be a focus for all of us. Does one really need a new years resolution? Or perhaps just a tweak to what they’re doing now? If you want help with this, contact Carrie Ann (info@mariagamb.com) to ask about our coaching programs.

Can Your Rely On Karma for Your Next Raise?

October 17th, 2014

When asked about the pay gap between men and women, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that women should trust karma instead of asking for pay raises. According to him, the solution to unfair pay is to trust the system and leave your career and advancement in the hands of karma. Really? Even though he has apologized for his remarks, the conversation is still out there and making headline news. That’s a good thing. It’s been a catalyst for conversation, introspection and assessment by many corporations and individuals. Not to mention those of us, like myself, who often advocate and teach women tools for advancement.

How is karma working out for the women at Microsoft? According to Glassdoor, a website that contains information about jobs and salaries, men at Microsoft make more than women in similar positions. Men that work as a senior software development engineer make around $137,000 per year compared to $129,000 for women in the same position.

I have to wonder how many other leaders out there were thinking the same thing and chuckled when Nadella said what they were thinking all along but were too afraid to say it themselves.  Or as Dr. Patty Ann Tublin, author of the upcoming book, Money Can Buy You Happiness: Secrets Women Need to Know to Get Paid What They Are Worth,  points out, “Nadella’s statement reveals one of the many unconscious biases women face in the workforce regarding both pay and how they are perceived as professionals.  Can you imagine Nadella asking the question: ‘How should men go about asking for a raise?’ Have you ever heard it suggested that men should negotiate for anything with karma? Covert childhood messages surface: it is unladylike and unattractive for women to embrace the desire to make money.”

Research by the White House on equal pay revealed that the gender gap in pay continues to persist. Women are earning only 77 to 78 cents to the same dollar as their male counterparts.  The pay gap is even greater for African-American and Latina women, with African-American women earning 64 cents and Latina women earning 56 cents for every dollar earned by a Caucasian man.

It doesn’t seem to me that the system is actually working, at least not well enough for the women who make up more than 50% of the workforce today. Nor do I think the karmic option is the way to go.

How about asking for what you want?

We can blame others, or karma, if we like. But the more empowered way to go is to actually figure out what you’re worth in the market place. Then go for it.

Here’s what Victoria Pynchon, co-founder of She Negotiates, has to say, “If you haven’t had a raise in some time (or have received only incremental increases) pull out your old job description from the cobwebs on your in-box and see whether you’ve taken on new duties.

Next, go to glassdoor.com,  salary.com or payscale.com to see whether you should be receiving a promotion together with a new job title. If that’s the case, search these three online resources to see what the current market value is for people in your new job. I’ll wager it’s more than a little bit more (2 or 3%) than you’re making now. From this information you can benchmark what others are making to state your case for a raise.

Your next strategic step is to integrate this information into a pointed conversation by saying, ‘Right now in the open market, someone doing my job is being paid $X. I’m hoping we can discuss ways in which we can bring my total compensation package in line with how my job has evolved.’  If your company prides itself on paying its people competitive salaries, then that is powerful phrasing.

Silence is golden. So wait. There’s nothing more useful to a negotiator than silence. It makes your bargaining partner eager to fill the space and you’ll want to learn as many of their thoughts as you can. The point is, you do not need to, nor should you wait to be noticed, to be selected or to let the system work for you when you have the power to control your career and your financial future. The days of women allowing unconscious and conscious biases to interfere with economic freedom needs to be over. The power is in your hands. In order to change anything you must be clear about your options—steadfast and persistent.”

Maria Gamb is the CEO and Founder of the leadership training and consulting firm, NMS Communications.  She is also the Amazon Top 10 best selling author of Healing the Corporate World. Website: www.MariaGamb.com Twitter: @mariagamb

The Rule of Three: It’s Not Networking, It’s Building the “Right” Relationships

June 19th, 2014

Here’s what’s so cool about what I do. I meet amazing people along the way who instantaneously become friends and trusted advisors. I don’t need a million of them, just quality rather than quantity. The “Rule of 3” is in effect where ever I go. Therefore, I don’t need to meet everyone at any given event.

I certainly will not participate in what I often times call “the ram and cram” of shoving business cards into other peoples hands. Empty discussions that tip into some odd void with only a vague remembrance of a face in the days that follow. Instead, it’s more important to me to focus on seeing only those whom there is a resonance with in that moment.

Afterward, when we speak we talk about our lives and then business, which always starts with “what are you working on and how can I help?” It’s natural. Uncontrived. And most importantly, in earnest. The hour passes like magic and at the end we both feel energized and complete.

How do you know who is that person in the crowded room?
You really just have to trust your intuition. Learn discernment. And while we love to give to others, there also needs to be healthy boundaries.

In all things remember, Quality over Quantity every single time.
The people you choose on this journey will determine your enjoyment or anxiety.


Subway Angels & The True Meaning of Happiness

June 12th, 2014

PressureIf you follow me on social media you know that I’ve been busy traversing the continent teaching and speaking over the past 8 weeks. It’s been such a profound honor and privilege to speak to literally thousands of men and women about how to create gender-intelligent leadership and teams (code for: learning how to play nice together and motivate others). It’s remarkable when people finally understand that a motivated and productive team is always made up of happy, healthy and heard individuals.

One of the stories I tell at the end of just about any platform speech given is on the importance of choosing happiness. Happiness IS a choice. Conflict, resentment and disagreements can oftentimes be overcome solely by the willingness to let go of 1 critical character flaw.

Today I’ll share that story with you.

7:15am and I’m running for the subway. The doors close behind me and I slink into my seat. Another day in the big city on my way to my job. Dressed head to toe in black – the uniform of NYC – expensive boots, matching purse and a pair of large Prada sunglasses. I don’t want to be engaged at all; I have my red Chanel lipstick on as a sign to the world: “don’t mess with me”.

As the train trundles down the tracks I spy an older couple standing in the doorway. Within minutes they melt my façade and I offer to help them get where they want to go. Quickly I realize they are hearing impaired.

She smiles at me and mouths “talk to him, he reads lips.”
His kind soft blue eyes melt my resolve to isolate, and I smile back. Something warms inside me. Satisfied with the directions I provided them, I turn and look out the window.

He taps me on the shoulder and our eyes lock again. He asks me “Where are you going?” I explain, “To work, although I wish I could stay in bed.” I laugh. He nods with concern and serves up the 20 million dollar question: “Are you happy?” I felt like I had just been hit in the stomach.

My mind flashed – yes, happy, yes. After all, I have a family that loves me, as crazy as they are, I own my own home in a great neighborhood, I have great friends and a job that many aspire to have. I make good money etc. The list ticked through my mind in rapid-fire succession. I smiled at him and said, “Yes, I am.”

He put his hand on my arm and looked deeply into my eyes; “That’s good. Because the secret to life is to always do whatever it takes to be happy.”

The pit of my stomach dropped out. I thought that I meant it. I thought that it was real. The subway doors opened, I found a seat on the platform and spontaneously burst into tears.

It took years for me to realize that I was not happy. Happiness is not external. Yes, external things bring comfort, but they do not bring happiness. There’s an important difference.

Happiness is an internal state of being eternally grateful, appreciative and generous. Happiness is the belief that one is always taken care of and that everything works out for your highest good. When you are and know these things, you will stop looking outside yourself to create your happiness because it is inside of you. It always has been.

Happiness also means giving up the need to be right all the time. Think about it.

These two sweet subway angels, as I call them, changed my life. Their message of kindness and compassion towards our selves and others can do the same for you. Remember, the key to life is to always do whatever it takes to be happy

Friday Finale: Attraversiamo…Let’s Cross Over!

April 25th, 2014

The past few weeks I’ve observed a very clear and concise theme in the world around me. Everyone I sit down and talk to tells me a story about his or her journey. In summation the crossroads they are standing upon is right here and right now. Not a cross road wrought with fear, instead full of so much joy, hope and anticipation. The energy feels so …. Huge!

I often recall the scene in the movie “Eat, Love, Pray” where Javier Bardems’ character shows Julia Roberts character the way forward in life and love saying “attraversiamo”. Which in Italian means, let’s cross over. Initially she resists and doesn’t go with him literally or figuratively. That is, until at the end of the movie. She is ready. Then it is she offering the invitation: attraversiamo – to cross over into the unknown with great excitement.

Those exchanges have always stuck with me and it’s a word I use often in my work with clients and in my personal life when a crossroad has been reached. It becomes clear that it’s time to cross over, meaning: move to the other side and take the next step on ones evolutionary path. Without fear. Without hesitation. But in full willingness to grow, change, expand and enjoy.

As we close out another spectacular spring week consider for a moment where the invitation attraversiamo has been offered to you. Will you take it this time? Are you willing to step into the next phase of the unknown or unexpected to see what possibilities lay there for you?

Just because I’m such a sap; here’s Julia’s invitation. Enjoy!

4 Faces of Greed: The Everyday Wolves of Wall Street

March 31st, 2014

Greed is sometime amplified and made popular by blockbuster movies such as “The Wolf of Wall Street.” In the film the star, Jordan Belfort, tells the audience “Was this all legal? Absolutely not” in regards to the millions of dollars he had made. Additionally, the movie “Wall Street” (1987) featured Gordon Gecko telling his young protégé “Greed is good.”

The movies may be different but the message is the same. Greed may be good, even great, while you’re compiling your treasures. But ultimately, it is a destructive source. In everyday life we may not experience the Belfort and Gecko levels of greed, but in other, more subversive ways, we do. Oftentimes it is something we may not even categorize as “greed” but by definition it is.

Greed is a practice of gluttony: to take more and more without reservation. It doesn’t matter what the “it” is. Gluttony implies that there’s just never ever going to be “enough.” This kind of behavior is one that can be embodied by anyone. It does not discriminate by race, gender or social standing in life or business.

Now before I share the Four Faces of Greed let me say this: there is nothing wrong with wanting to experience abundance or advance yourself. Not at all. However, an excess of any good thing procured in an inappropriate manner can often turn its head and nip us in the butt.

Do you see yourself?

* The Hoarder – The hoarder stockpiles what they have. They can never find enough stuff to insulate themselves with. It’s not unlike the TV show where people are dug out of their homes with a bulldozer. There’s never enough stuff to satisfy them, to allow them to feel safe and secure in the world. A hoarder at work would be someone who piles up accomplishments, bonuses, physical trophies, or has symbols of their success on display at all times and makes this a big part of their identity. The thrill is more about having all this stuff around them that props them up to show their importance and self-esteem, or false esteem.

* The Sneak – This is the person who sneaks around to get what they want. They are often stealthy in their activity. They take more than they should. Like those who cook the books, falsify documents or reporting for their own gain. Many would say that there aren’t a lot of those around except the ones we’ve seen in the news. So, let me ask you: have you ever hidden something from others on your team or from your superior to make yourself look good? Have you ever minimized facts until you could get the accolades, saving this type of reward all for yourself? Not being truthful or disclosing to others for your own personal gain is sneaky and greedy.

* The Bully – They take something no matter whether they want it or not, just so someone else can’t have it. I liken this form of greed to the playground bully. This is a power play, “You want this?” Whatever “this” is – a promotion, a recognition, a place on a special project – it doesn’t matter. They want it because you want it. It’s sport for them to take something away from another person because “they can.” This is a bully mentality that says “no one should have more than me, no one should feel good about themselves other than me, and YOU certainly cannot have more than me….ever.” You could also call this a form of self-entitlement… which may require its own category of greed!

* The Thrill Seeker. This person acquires stuff for the sheer thrill of it. Not because they feel the need to bully anyone or take from another person. It is purely because they like the thrill of the chase – but once the chase is over they are uninterested in the reward. Some will do this with rank and status in the office, in the real estate they acquire, or even the relationships they have with others. The thrill IS the chase. The mounting stuff is discarded and is rarely ever actually utilized.

If you work with any of these greedy sorts, there’s not much you can do aside from understand the personality that goes along with it. Knowing why and what they will do can help you steer clear of any personal trouble. Your job is not to change anyone. EVER. But knowing what motivates someone, will help you communicate better with them.

If you can identify yourself in any of these 4 faces, reconsider your behavior and your motives. Adjust your perception of what is enough to satisfy you. Shift your behavior from lack to knowing there is more than enough to go around.

Think long terms gains rather than short-term instant gratification and conquest. In other words, don’t be a Jordan Belfort or Gordon Gecko.

Why We All Must Fall: An Olympic Lesson

February 19th, 2014

Skiing Slalom DownhillSkiing Slalom DownhillSkiing Slalom DownhillIt’s that time again. We watch top athletes assemble to compete in the Olympics. We watch from our TV’s cheering these spirited young people on. Along the way there have been a number of unexpected falls and spills. Some have had to side step competition due to injury and forgo the drive to the podium until the next Olympics.

It never ceases to amaze me. The power: the fortitude and persistence of these young people. They fall down. They get back up. Sometimes there are tears. Sometimes a burst of frustration emerges. Other times a pure and simple resolve. But these competitors get back up. Dust them selves off and move forward. It’s inspiring.

Often times we are judged and criticized for the normal human reaction to a fall or disappointment in our lives. It’s that span between doing and having where the bottom falls out. Emotions swell to the surface. We cry. We shout. We may even have a burst of energy leave our bodies in the form of a pillow getting punched. These are normal reactions to disappointment. They are the safety values on the pressure cooker going on inside of us.

3 Important Factors to stay focused on:

1. What is the lesson?
2. What have we learned in this stumble?
3. Avoid thinking you are being punished – this is critical!

This is not defeat. It is merely a moment of correction in our approach. That’s why we must fall (and fail) at times. How does one course correct if there isn’t a correction to be made. That would mean that we are perfect. Now, come on, that’s not reality.

So in the falling and in the correction we learn to be agile, adjust and be our own Olympian – we dust ourselves off and move forward having learned a important lessons so we can move forward stronger and potentially faster than before.

It is hard to remember this while we’re in a free fall situation.
It’s even harder to be the person watching the fall of a love one, a friend or a colleague. Judge not. Have compassion. Be constructive in a loving manner. Help them get back up and make the adjustment without feeling ashamed of themselves.

For those of you in the corporate arena – sometimes taking a conversation off line and outside the office IS the best coarse of action. You have permission to be human with others.

Friday Finale: Don’t Get Taken Off Your Game

February 14th, 2014
Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day!

It’s Valentines Day and I’m getting ready to close up shop early. Outside I can hear the love in the air as the sounds from the street below are filled with “F-bombs” and honking horns. Ah the sites and sounds of NYC. Did I just hear the local engine company come around the corner? Yes, that’s them. And that sure is their horn. “Move ya’er car buddy!”

My point is, there is a lot that can distract you and take you off your game each and every day. Life can be messy. Life can be unpredictable. But life is also colorful and there is so much good to be enjoyed. Having a human reaction to challenge doesn’t make you weak. It makes you human. Process it. Concentrate on the good and try to leave the hurt and pain on the curb.

Maybe I should tell this to the group of teamsters wreaking havoc outside at the moment. But somehow I think they’d tell me that the idiot in the mini-van blocking the street is keeping them from their…well…zen…life…and love. Well they might say that in between a few more F-bombs. Maybe that’s what we’d all say in regards to the challenges and mistakes made this week. LOL

Love yourself.
Love your love ones more than you can imagine you already do.
Have a great weekend people!

7 Steps to Mastering The Art of Listening

December 18th, 2013

“Can you hear me now?” is a masterful part of Verizon’s marketing these days.
We’ve become a generation of cell phone users, texters and emailers. (Well, aren’t the kids today telling us that email is oh so passé now?) These are allwoman great technologies for communication but….

But do we really hear each other?
Are we aware of what we are really saying to one another? Listening goes well beyond the sense of hearing – you’ll need to learn to listen with your eyes, heart and soul to be an effective influencer and leader in the world.

Sitting in her office with the senior manager on her team, Harriett looks through her glasses and begins to fiddle with her pencil.

“If we try to resolve this problem in another manner, I’m sure it would be more beneficial to everyone around us”.

Harriett begins to drift off into her thoughts of the meeting the day before where tempers had flared and she felt completely uncomfortable and out of sync with what was going on.

“If we can roll out the strategy…” the woman continues, mapping out a plan on a blank piece of paper.

Harriet’s thoughts are far away. Her mind roams to her own fear in regards to her standing in this business. She begins to wonder if she’ll ever feel like she knows what she’s doing. Moreover, will anyone realize what a great job she does? Ever? She sighs heavily, clearly off in her own thoughts.

“Harriett, are you there? Did you hear me?”
“Yes, yes….of course” she smiles at the woman “I’m listening.”

But is Harriett really listening?
Are you really listening to others around you?

Possibility, like Harriett, off in your own thoughts, fears, wants and desires and not really completely present for those that are talking to you. You may be listening with your ears but are you listening with your other senses? This is the art of listening from a much higher level.

There are 7 characteristics of a good listener;

  1. Never interrupt
  2. Create a sense of physical proximity to the person speaking to you without invading their personal space. i.e. stand or sit directly in front of them
  3. Practice empathy and avoid criticism or any tone or words that could be perceived as patronizing.
  4. Observe their body language. Notice if they are distracted, agitated or relaxed. Take notice of your own body language as well. Remain relaxed and neutral.
  5. Share your own personal experiences but not too much or too soon in the exchange.
  6. Be aware of the context of the person’s life – it will help you understand their perspective faster.
  7. Allow yourself to listen not just with your ears and mind, but with your heart and spirit (intuition). Trust your intuitive guidance in your gut.

As a leader you must be able to identify and fulfill the needs of your people and/or clients. The art of listening fulfills the need for cooperation. In cooperation a person/people need to be heard.

If you agree with what is being said or not is not the objective. The objective is to allow the individual in front of you openly express themselves, to be treated with respect in that expression and to be responded to in an appropriate manner. Even if your answer if “no”. This is one of the foundational principles in building trust with those around you.

Bio Box:
Maria Gamb is an author, speaker and mentor to emerging leaders in business. Her first book ever “Healing the Corporate World”  was launched on Amazon in 2010 broke into the Top10 Bestsellers in Business/Leadership joining the ranks of the highly influential all boys club of authors such as Jim Collins, Daniel Pink and Carmine Gallo. http://amzn.to/998R9p