Stop the self-sabotage!

Tactics to help you break through your Upper Limit Problems and live the life you truly deserve.

Why does the average person fall woefully short when it comes to maximizing their potential and living the life they truly deserve?

Is it because of external circumstances or plain ‘old bad luck? Bad choices along the way? Wrong spouse or friends? Can we blame it on upbringing and childhood traumas?

While all of those are valid and serious obstacles along our life’s journey, they don’t slam the door shut on our fully-happy, self-actualized existence.

Instead, self-sabotage holds most people back from their dream life. Yes, we are our own worst enemies in many cases, especially when everything we want is right within reach.

This psychological phenomenon even has a name – Upper Limit Problems, made famous by author Gay Hendricks in his book, The Big Leap.

In my recent blog, I thoroughly examined Upper Limit Problems and introduced their most common (and destructive) manifestation by which we derail our lives just when things are going well: self-sabotage.

Today, we’ll delve into how to overcome our negative belief mechanisms that kick in right when we have the potential to be truly happy, successful, or fulfilled.

With these six simple (but far from easy) six steps below, you’ll be able to smash through self-sabotage forever, allowing you to live the life you truly deserve.

1. Awareness.

Like any behavioral change, the first step is awareness. If we don’t know when, where, and why our self-sabotage manifests, we have little chance of addressing it.

Notice when upper limit problems occur in your life. Observe your thoughts, feelings, anxieties, and beliefs that circulate around those issues. You’ll start noticing things very quickly, like patterns of negative thoughts when something comes up in your life, like relationships, money, or self-worth.

Kelly’s Tip: Observation and self-awareness are great, but it’s vital that you start writing these things down. Take notes in a journal every time you run into these limiting beliefs and the emotions or thoughts that revolve around them. The clarity of putting pen to paper will be invaluable!

2. Understand those triggers – and where they come from.

Many of our beliefs that lead to upper limit problems and self-sabotage are deeply ingrained, going back to our childhood and even past traumas. While you shouldn’t expect to just flip a switch and resolve all of these issues, you can identify where your present-day self-sabotage comes from. Just understanding these origins will allow you to separate from the root of your self-sabotage, de-personalize the causes, and, eventually, move on.

3. Change the narrative = change your life.

This is an incredibly powerful tactic. Many of our psychological processes and how we navigate through life accordingly, are based on the stories we tell ourselves.

While one person may think:

I am a winner.

I will end up happily married.

Money easily flows to me.

Another person may have thoughts playing in a continuous loop like:

I always have bad luck and bad things happen to me.

 I’m just waiting for my relationship to fail, and I’m destined to be alone.

I’ve always struggled with money, and I’ll never be successful.

Those negative thought loops turn into self-fulfilling prophecies through a spectrum of decisions, how we perceive and interpret what happens to us, and the inevitable self-sabotage if our narratives are threatened (even with good stuff).

So, if we consciously set a new story about our life, our thought patterns start expanding in positive ways to conform to that new narrative.

4. Stop the negative self-talk.

Based on those stories we tell ourselves, our brains create self-talk. These internal messages are ongoing, with up to 60,000 thoughts a day for the average person. However, about 95% of those thoughts are serially repetitive, on a loop. The problem is that if we have upper limit problems, up to 80% of those thoughts will be negative or limiting!

Can you imagine the dire psychological and even physiological impact of tens of thousands of negative thoughts popping in our heads every day, regardless of external circumstances?!

It’s not easy to change your thoughts and stem the flow of negative self-talk, but every single person can do it with some self-awareness, dedication, and practice. Soon, those tens of thousands of daily thoughts can be positive, working for you – not against you!

5. Make a plan

With anything ambitious or difficult we want to accomplish in our lives, we need to start with a plan. I’ve created a three-part plan that worked fantastic for me in the past when I was trying to smash the self-sabotage habit.

Part 1:

Identify the upper limit problems and barriers that emerge whenever you have a clear path to growth or success. I highly suggest writing them down, such as in a daily journal. Just through this process of clarification, you’ll be empowered to address and deal with them.

Part 2:

Enlist the help of an accountability partner (or partners) by sharing the specifics of your upper limit problems, limiting beliefs, and how you’re self-sabotaging. The psychology of goal setting shows us that having someone hold us accountable vastly increases your success rates of following through and achieving that change.

Part 3:

They say that knowledge is power, and that’s our next stage of reversing the predilection to self-sabotage. Now that you’ve gained clarity on what you’re doing, when, and why – even writing it down and enlisting an accountability partner – it’s time for due diligence. Research every article, blog, video, and book you can, tapping into the universal knowledge of experts in the field. In short order, soon you’ll have a brand-new tool kit of strategies to face your past habits – and change them.

6. Implement your new plan

The final step in our journey to cease self-sabotaging is to craft new behaviors. Ideally, those behaviors will turn into habits, becoming so ingrained that they completely rewire your brain.

Based on what you’ve learned and the plan you drafted, there are many ways to do that. So, this is somewhat of an oversimplification to put it all in one step or stage.

 It’s a very personal and varied process, and it all depends on why and how you’re self-sabotaging.

I will tell you that no matter what your plan or mechanism for change, it will be a process. At first, it will all feel foreign, overwhelming, and uncomfortable. It may even stir up more of the deep-seated emotions or traumas at the root of your sabotaging behaviors.

It’s crucial that as you deconstruct and then reshape your internal narrative, you also work on building up your self-esteem. Release intrinsic guilt and anger, forgiving those in your life who caused you trauma.

Like any process, it will take time. Be patient and don’t compare yourself to others or focus on the outcome – just try to be better today than you were yesterday. And stick to your plan.

A final note:

Remain conscious of what you do or when you backtrack. At the same time, suspend judgment about it – setbacks are part of the process, too, and compltely understandable.

Be gentle with yourself and laugh along the way, as you’re about to unlock a bright, wonderful new future where you’re no longer holding yourself back from the life you truly deserve!

Kelly Resendez appears as a guest on The Mark Haney Show podcast.

I wanted to share a recent podcast interview where Kelly Resendez was a guest on the Mark Haney Show, speaking about creating a life of abundance.

You can watch the interview on YouTube.

Or listen as a podcast here.

The Mark Haney Show is the business leadership platform focused on igniting the entrepreneurial revolution in Sacramento. Since its debut in 2015, it’s garnered widespread acclaim, attracting some of Northern California’s most notable billionaires, millionaires, and start-up founders as guests.

(Find out more about The Mark Haney Show.)

In this fun, personal, and interactive nearly-one-hour podcast, we spoke about many topics, including the benefits of joining masterminds – small groups that help you “advance the ball” in business and life, as Mark put it.

Basically, mastermind groups put you in a position to win by surrounding you with the right people. The people in your circle that you interact with are a huge part of where you’ll end up in life; as Tony Robbins says, “Proximity is power!”

Kelly Resendez has long been an advocate and big believer in the power of mastermind groups to transform your life, and she now actively participates in two such groups.

One is M-10 with Rock Thomas, a “tribe of whole-life millionaires who don’t apologize for leading epic lives,” where this group of men and women level-up their network, net worth, and life.

(Find out more about M-10.)

The other mastermind is GoBundance, an exclusive gathering (there are only about 100 members or so across the country now) with separate men’s and women’s divisions. Within the women’s mastermind, GoBundance is a “unique gathering of badass, successful and heart-centered women. This is a place to learn, grow and play together as we celebrate each other’s successes, catch blind spots, challenge and support each other.”

(Find out more about GoBundance.)

Whether you’re interested in M-10, GoBundance, or another mastermind group, there are some inherent advantages to membership and participation that Kelly points out.

Benefits to joining a mastermind group:

1.    Gain a new perspective.
2.    Accountability. (This is a big one!)
3.    Break the isolation and solitude that comes with being an entrepreneur.
4.    THING BIGGER! Rise to a new level…
5.    And therefore, be equipped to SERVE on a new level!
6.    Wonderful relationships and even friendships.
7.    Trusted advisors to bounce ideas off of.
8.    Access to experts in different fields.
9.    Clarify your vision and make sure your intentions are in alignment.
10. Be with people who give you permission to feel joy!

Kelly also shared with Mark her huge awakening in 2004, when she realized that there was more to life than just achieving and success. She made the conscious shift to living an existence filled with more mindfulness, joy, and balance.

Now, aside from her role as an executive at GoodLeap, she’s a writer and speaker, guiding others through the same process of how to reduce self-suffering and live a more joyful, positive life – her way of giving back.

A few notable quotes from this podcast interview between Mark Haney and Kelly Resendez:

“It’s about creating a life success plan, not just a business success plan.”

“Success is worthless without joy and celebration.”

“Balance joy and celebration while continuing to create new desires.”

“I want to feel alive and vibrant and radiant every day. I want to live an inspired life and help others do the same.”

“Inspiration comes from challenge, from growth, from new and exciting things – creating intentional adventure.”

“Become a self-care master.”

“Life is very simple…if you don’t judge other people and you stay focused on what you desire, you’ll get whatever you want.

It’s when we judge and when we focus on what’s not working when we get off track and end up attracting more of that”

“Dedicate more time to creating the right mindset.”

“Challenge the beliefs; challenge the standards you’ve set for yourself.”

“We are the creators of our own reality by the steps we take every day.

I welcome you to listen to this podcast with Kelly Resendez, check out M-10 with Rock Thomas or GoBundance mastermind groups, and get in touch with Kelly Resendez.

You can experience her vision and even enlist her help to change your life at KellyResendez.com or BigVoicesRise.com.

And if you’d like Kelly to be a guest on your podcast or speak at your corporate event or seminar, you can contact her here.

From The Mark Haney podcast show notes:

Kelly Resendez, EVP of Talent Acquisition and Development at GoodLeap, Speaker, and Best-Selling Author, shares a little about her philosophies on life, parenting, and professional success with a notable focus on cultivating an abundance mindset and putting the right people in your life. 

She talks specifically about how Masterminds, which offer a curated peer group experience, can fuel personal and professional growth by providing a level of accountability, unique learning experiences, and a forum to develop deep and meaningful relationships. 

Tune in for this engaging and inspiring discussion that speaks to all areas of our lives.

Upper Limit Problems

Why we self-sabotage when happiness, love, and success are finally within reach.

Deep down, there’s a part of us that’s scared senseless by the thought of being truly happy, successful, or fulfilled. For many of us, whenever we get close to achieving something new and great in our lives, our negative belief mechanism kicks in overdrive, often leading to self-sabotage. If the lightbulb just went off, you may be suffering from “Upper Limit Problems” without even realizing it.

One of the best primers we’ll find on the concept of Upper Limit Problems is the book, The Big Leap by author Gay Hendricks. I read it several years ago and had many eureka moments throughout. It was so revealing and powerful that I’ve actually reread it or referred to it several more times over the years.

Hendricks, author, psychologist, and respected teacher in the field of relationships and personal growth, best describes the premise of The Big Leap.

“I’ve worked with hundreds of extremely talented, capable executives and professionals over the past 45 years,” says Hendricks. “Yet even with their awesome skills, there were still areas of their lives in which they kept hitting upper limits and then sabotaging themselves.

In my work, we identify the underlying issues that trigger the Upper Limit Problem, so that people can rise smoothly to higher and higher levels of their potential without bumping their heads against the false ceilings that are held in place by negative belief systems.”

That inner voice that insists only trouble, pain, and disappointment lie ahead if we don’t “play it safe” is like an intrinsic thermostat. Usually programmed since early childhood, it gauges just how much happiness, love, or wealth we’ll allow ourselves.

There are several reasons why we often set upper limits, effectively boxing ourselves into a prison of our own design.

This may hit home – it seems that human beings are hard wired to seek out comfort in life, not happiness. So, happiness – which comes from striving to maximize our potential or chase our dreams, and the risk associated with it, is contrary to the comfort of being stable and safe.

It turns out that we’re programmed to stay in our “safe zone,” however we interpret and perceive that on a primal level.

For that reason, we’re often really uncomfortable with greater happiness, love, success, or wealth because it’s unfamiliar. Achieving those things at previously unfathomable levels and for prolonged states might shatter our self-beliefs that have become deeply ingrained. Our minds, therefore, see these new states as foreign and psychologically threatening, even though they are positive.

A good example of this is why it’s so easy to accept and internalize criticism but way more unnerving for us to deal with praise or compliments.

There’s another good reason why our minds self-sabotage us with upper limits whenever we start achieving good things in life: the more we have, the more we have to lose. In fact, the psychological pain of loss is far greater than that of not gaining that thing in the first place, whether that is money, love, a prize, etc.

So, when we have a new relationship that’s going great, for instance, we may feel more vulnerable and scared of losing it to the point that we don’t even enjoy it, and therefore do something to sabotage it because that feels safer.

This is also a function of human beings as creatures of habit. Once you’ve been fighting and clawing to survive, serially disappointed by relationships, and basically form a vision of life as always a struggle, it doesn’t feel real or sustainable when things start rolling your way.

Think of it as a deep-sea diver who comes up to the surface too quickly and becomes disoriented!

There are many ways that deeply ingrained Upper Limit Problems may manifest in our lives, but they mostly show up in two ways: with irrational fear (in all its forms, such as anxiety) and when we self-sabotage.

Think of those as the one-two punch to make sure we revert back to a more comfortable (but not happier) and baseline state that’s familiar. Since fear is largely ego-driven, it signals a questionable decision-making process that ensures we sabotage the new, scary, and way-too-big change in our life.

According to Hendricks and other psychologists, experiencing these emotions are often signs that you have Upper Limit Problems, especially if you hold several of them or they are exceedingly intense.

You may have Upper Limit Problems if…

  1. You feel like you’re fundamentally flawed in some way or less than normal.
  2. You’re overly anxious and worry all the time.
  3. You tend to project blame and criticism on others.
  4. You’re overcome with feelings of guilt, even though they aren’t warranted.
  5. You experience incessant negative self-talk and doubt.
  6. You literally make yourself sick with negative thoughts and feelings (due to the very powerful mind-body connection).
  7. You feel like achieving success means you are being disloyal, abandoning others, or will lead you to end up alone.
  8. You believe that unprecedented wealth or success will “change you” and become a burden or negative drag in your life.
  9. You’re worried about outshining your friends, coworkers, or those in your life.

If some of these are all-too-familiar, you probably are suffering from Upper Limit Problems. But that’s not reason for dismay, as the first step to reversing that psychological phenomenon is identifying that it actually exists in you.

And with a little consciousness, introspection, and mindful practice, you can actually “solve” these Upper Limit Problems for good, unleashing your potential.

Unimagined new levels of happiness, wealth, and incredibly fulfilling relationships are waiting for you on the other side! 

Inside the Great Resignation

There is a definitive trend taking place in the American workforce, with large numbers of employees quitting their jobs.

If we believe the media’s common neat-and-tidy narrative, this “record” exodus from the office is mainly due to younger workers who are fed up and walking away, rejecting the core concept of being dutifully employed. They’ve even dubbed it the ‘Great Resignation’ in the news. (You may have also heard plenty of spin-offs such as ‘The Big Quit,’ ‘The Turnover Tsunami,’ and the less catchy ‘The Attrition Super-Cycle.’

However, like most things, if we dive a little deeper, we see that the Great Resignation is far more complex, with a host of push-and-pull factors that span every generation throughout the labor market.

So, today I wanted to present a more comprehensive look at the Great Resignation.

At the time of this writing, the latest data reveals that in November 2021, 4.5 million people left their positions voluntarily according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which is being reported as an “all-time high.” That’s a full 3% of the entire non-farm labor force that walked away in one month, which is also touted as a record.

(Each month, the BLS surveys about 20,000 businesses and government agencies to gather their data. It’s also worth noting that most employment statistics are looking at non-farm jobs only.)

In fact, 33 million people have quit their jobs in roughly the last year (since spring of 2021). Through November 2021, we saw an average of 3.9 million workers give their notice each month. That much is true.

The only issue with calling this a record and all-time high is that the BLS has only tracked that data for about two decades. Perhaps there have been other times throughout modern U.S. history when employment numbers were hemorrhaging, too.

We can assume that workers punching out for the last time were just as rampant – if not more – during the dotcom bubble in the late 1990s and early 2000s. To that point, the BLS only started tracking this data in January 2001. That month, 2.4% of workers left their jobs, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think earlier months rivaled what we’re experiencing now.

Another such epoch in American history that saw a diaspora from jobs was post-war WWII, when the troops came home, people were moving to the suburbs and starting families like never before, and the economy boomed.

Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics didn’t start keeping formal data across all (non-farm) sectors until 2021, it did keep close tabs on manufacturing jobs from 1930 to 1979. So, in 1945, at the height of the post-WWII economy, the monthly average number of job losses reached 6.1%. Considering that manufacturing jobs made up about one-third of our economy back in 1945, we can reason that the job losses were actually might higher than our current numbers.

We’re still awaiting December’s job loss data but forecast that, for the year, we may see about 33% of the non-farm workforce quit their job in 2021. That seems (and is) high, but remember that even in pre-pandemic 2019, 28% of the U.S. workforce quit their jobs.

And even though our 3.9 million average per month so far in 2021 is indisputably high, we may be tracking a trend that had its nascent roots even before the pandemic. For instance, in 2019, workers quit at an average of 3.5 million per month, which is only about 11% lower than 2021’s numbers, despite all the buzz.

What else can we glean from our current Great Resignation?

Not all industries and sectors are created equal when it comes to employees quitting. The highest rate (6.9%) of November 2021’s “record” resignations were in accommodation and food services, such as restaurant, bar, hotel, motel, and other service workers. (In that single month, more than one million food service, leisure & hospitality workers didn’t show up for work.)

That is high without a doubt, but that’s also the nature of that work (younger employees, lower pay, seasonal, etc.) in an industry that has been battered by various pandemic-era shifts.

The second-highest quit rate across all industries was in retail, with 4.4% of workers leaving. Together with accommodation and food services, those two sectors accounted for about one-third of all voluntary job losses that month.

Conversely, the quit rates across construction (2.7%), finance and insurance (1.7%), government (1%), information (2%), and even real estate are still relatively low.

November’s lofty job loss numbers also reflect clear lines along age demographics. According to ADP’s monthly report, the majority of turnover in November was among 16-24-year-olds (who often occupy those low-pay service and retail jobs), who quit at almost three times the national average.

But that age split was not consistent throughout the pandemic. Back in July 2021, resignations rates were greatest among employees in the middle of their careers, who tended to be 30 to 45-years-old instead of 16 to 24. Those mid-career employees actually resigned 20% more from July 2020 to July 2021, while resignations among workers aged 20 to 25 actually decreased slightly.

And while the media narrative around the Great Resignation also says that large numbers of seasoned workers are being pushed into early retirement, resignation rates for 60-to-70-year-olds actually fell.

Likewise, different industries were suffering from employee shortages and high quit rates in mid-2021 versus late 2021. Back in July, the technology (4.5%) and healthcare (3.6%) sectors saw the greatest number of job losses compared to food service and accommodation losses with our latest data.

Others who crunch the numbers and look past the neat and tidy narrative are questioning whether it’s a Great Resignation at all or if a ‘Great Reassessment’ or ‘Great Renegotiation’ is more apropos, a moniker coined by NPR’s Planet Money.

In an upcoming blog, I’ll delve into the motivations and factors that are driving this Great Resignation, and what employers can do to adjust and keep – or attract – quality staff.

***

Conversations on Leadership w/ Kelly Resendez: #2 The age gap, leadership training, and are great leaders born or made?

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.”
—Jack Welch

There are many definitions of leadership, as well as checklists that attempt to define what makes a good (or bad) leader.

And yet, a crystal-clear concept of leadership still alludes us in many facets of life, from relationships to self-achievement and certainly at work.

So, I decided to create a series of blog posts for you, each one taking a few smaller – but just as important – parts of the leadership phenomenon and examining them thoroughly before giving you some sound advice.

Last month, we delved into three important aspects of leadership: the stakes for businesses and companies, leadership development, and identifying potential leaders.

Today, we’re going to continue our deep dive into leadership by talking about the age gap in leadership positions, leadership training, and answering the critical question, are good leaders made or born?

I hope you enjoy it and get something substantive to take away – and I’m already looking forward to our next conversation!

The age gap and Millennials in leadership

One of the biggest challenges to U.S. business and commerce over the next ten years is the exodus of experienced supervisors, managers, and leaders from the workforce.
This issue stems from the changing demographic of the American (as well as global) workforce. Put simply, there is a massive swell of younger workers while, at the same time, older generations are aging-out and retiring from their well-entrenched positions.

In fact, by 2025, 75% of the U.S. workforce will consist of millennials, a trend that’s rapidly accelerating due to pandemic-era early retirements and Boomers walking away from their leadership roles.

Why does the fact that millennials will make up about three-quarters of the workforce by 2025 create such a pressing challenge? In surveys, 77% of that age cohort described their company’s leadership development as “weak,” and 63% said their leadership skills were not being developed. Few firms get sterling reviews when it comes to developing young leaders.

Add it all up, and there’s no doubt that we’re facing a profound void in leadership, in large part since 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every single day.

To that point, 55% of CEOs say that developing the next generation of leaders is their #1 challenge and 47% predict a leadership shortage in the near future.

Leadership training

As we covered in our last blog, developing leaders is an incredibly vibrant industry, adding up to $165.3 billion in the U.S. and Canada in 2020.

However, the capacity to properly train our emerging leaders still falls short. Too often, strong or dominant personalities or recognition dictate who ends up in the C-suite or management positions, but the skills to lead others to success are still lacking. According to industry surveys, only 14% of CEOs have the leadership talent they need to put their company on a path to survive and flourish.

Likewise, 30% of Fortune 500 companies don’t create effective internal leadership development programs at all. That’s nearly one in three major firms that fall flat when it comes to identifying and fostering the people who will be leading their organizations in the not-so-distant future.

To that point, an alarming 42% of managers develop their leadership methods by observation alone instead of benefiting from formal training.

Looking at it from the perspective of age and the emerging demographic chasm, 63% of Millennial workers surveyed said that their company wasn’t developing their leadership capabilities or encouraging their talents. Even more profound, 77% called their company’s leadership training “weak,” a telling indictment of our collective capacity to train and develop tomorrow’s leaders.

Are great leaders born or made?

We often embrace the archetype of the natural leader, who appears to possess the inherent qualities to motivate men and women in their DNA. However, that’s far from the reality.

Instead, it’s estimated that only 10% of people have natural leadership ability. That’s about one in ten who have the talent to lead people to success without formal or conscious training. And according to Gallup polls, another 20% of the population have some sort of talent or potential for leadership, which can be brought out with proper development.

Far from that myth of the bold, born leader, our CEOs, VPs, board members, and managers are usually nurtured into the role (or should be).

Of course, it’s possible that someone has some innate leadership potential or talent, but that only emerges and is honed by training as well as experience.

Add it all up, and researchers estimate that the quality of effective leadership is about one-third naturally-born and two-thirds made. That’s encouraging for those who are looking to climb the corporate ladder but don’t feel strongly that their natural gifts alone can get them there.

So, in our next conversation, we’ll talk about the important qualities and personality traits – both born and developed – for leadership.

Until then, lead on!

-Kelly

***

Conversations on Leadership w/ Kelly Resendez: #1 The truth, leadership development, and identifying potential

As I sat down to write a few thoughts on leadership for my blog this month, my notes quickly grew past the confines of a single post (that someone would actually take the time to read!).

That’s fitting for the topic of leadership, as it’s not something we can define, illuminate, and nurture with a few paragraphs or a top-10 list. Instead, leadership is one of the most fundamentally imperative qualities in many areas of our life, from relationships to self-achievement and certainly at work.

So, I decided to create a series of blog posts for you, each one taking a few smaller – but just as important – parts of the leadership phenomenon and examining them thoroughly before giving you some sound advice.

To begin today, I will delve into three important aspects of leadership: the stakes for businesses and companies, leadership development, and identifying potential leaders.

I hope you enjoy it and get something substantive to take away – and I’m already looking forward to our next conversation!

-Kelly Resendez

The truth about corporate leadership today

The stakes have never been higher for companies, businesses, and organizations when it comes to finding, hiring, and nurturing leaders. It’s as vital to their future success as any other enterprise.

According to a recent report by the 2021 Global Leadership Forecast, companies and businesses are facing a dire leadership shortage. Only 11% of survey respondents feel they have “very strong” or “strong” leadership in place, which is the lowest benchmark in the last ten years.

And a paltry 10% of CEOs believe that the leadership development programs their company has in place are even making a clear impact on the bottom line.

In fact, 79% of employees will quit after feeling underappreciated by their managers and company leaders.

Putting the wrong people in positions of leadership can be catastrophic to an organization. We just have to follow the news cycle to see leaders fall from grace, whether it’s the CEO of a company, a politician, or other notable people.

Leadership does not just affect those in the boardroom or the C-suite but impacts all the way through the organizational ranks.

Leadership development

Training and developing leaders is big business. Leadership training was a $357.7 billion industry worldwide in 2020 and topped $165.3 billion in the U.S. and Canada alone.

It’s no mystery why companies and organizations invest huge sums into hiring and developing their captains.

But despite these impressive sums, the push to groom tomorrow’s leaders still isn’t resonating with most organizations. As of 2019, 77% of all organizations polled report that they face a leadership gap.

Looking under the hood, it’s not hard to see why. A mere 5% of companies have integrated leadership development into their organization, and 58% of managers say that they received NO management training on the way to their job or even in their current role of leadership. (Sources: GoRemotely.net and Linkedin Pulse – see below for links.)

More than three-quarters of organizations (77%) now report that leadership is insufficient within their ranks, and 83% of companies now report developing future leaders is crucial.

Identifying leadership potential

Now the hard part: how can we identify natural leaders or those with leadership potential? It’s not enough to take current CEOs and leaders and reverse engineer their qualities. Instead, we’re tasked with identifying those who may blossom into those roles early on.

According to Psychology Today, most successful leaders have these inherent traits:

  1. Score high marks on social intelligence scales.
  2. Highly adaptable and embrace – not fear or resist – change.
  3. Self-awareness and the capacity to step out of themselves and their situation.
  4. Discipline.
  5. A high level of focus to stay on track with the most important tasks and issues that truly warrant their attention.

Other industrial psychology studies posit that some of the most important qualities in young, new, or under-utilized employees include:

  • Natural communicators, which includes great listening skills.
  • Humility and self-awareness while at the same time having inner confidence.
  • They want to take on responsibility but have no issues being held accountable or responding to constructive criticism.
  • They’re engaged, energetic, and focused on their work – and that attitude spreads to others.
  • They show initiative and always are looking to learn or improve.
  • Their co-workers, their team, and the organization always come first.

Granted, that’s an ambitious list and incredibly difficult to spot from the other side of a cubicle, at the company picnic, or in passing in the hallways.

But, as we’ll learn in future conversations, there are ways businesses of any size (and budget) can reaffirm their leadership development efforts, allowing them to find and nurture the CEOs, managers, and visionaries of tomorrow.

***

The Greenest Cities Around the World

Around the world, there’s a huge push to combat the effects of climate change and create a cleaner, more livable world, and much of that is already underway in Green Cities.

Spanning six continents and a host of countries, these cities are making a concerted effort to vastly improve their ecological footprint. They’re doing so in a variety of ways, such as increasing renewable energy use, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cleaning up waterways, improving public infrastructure, green development, and more. But the result is the same: Green Cities that make life better and healthier for their residents.

Let’s take a tour of some of the most notable Green Cities around the world:

Berlin, Germany

Berlin is both the capital and largest city in Germany and yet one of the greenest cities in the world. While most cities have gone in the wrong direction for CO2 emissions, Berlin has actually cut their CO2 output by 1/3 since 1990. 

The city features more than 2,500 green spaces, countless bicycle lanes, the lowest water consumption of any city in Europe, widespread education initiatives, and an incentive-based recycling system. Add it all up, and Berlin pledges to be carbon neutral by 2050 – and is one track. 

Copenhagen, Denmark

The capital of Copenhagen, Denmark, has been named Europe’s Coolest Green City by Ecologist magazine. From public policy to green investment to the smallest details of its residents’ lives, the city focuses on sustainability and environmentally friendly measures. The coastal city not only accommodates but is seemingly built around bicycling and walking (only about 29% of households own a car there!), and even features a water quality warning system. It was the first city in the world to mandate a green roof policy and is aiming for a target of being carbon-neutral by 2025.

The city was the first in the world to adopt a planet-cooling mandatory green roof policy and continues its bid to become carbon-neutral by 2025. 

Madrid, Spain

Another European capital city shows up on most lists of green cities – Madrid. From biking to walking to solar-powered boats, Madrid integrates green spaces and environmentally clean endeavors into its leisure, architecture, and public spaces. For instance, Madrid’s taxis are mandated to be eco-friendly, plants life is woven into public buildings, and even their streetlights will soon be 100% energy efficient.

There are plenty of reasons to love Madrid, and now you have another one!

Medellin, Colombia

Once known as a war-torn drug haven, Medellin has completely turned around that reputation, becoming one of the most progressive and livable cities in the world. In fact, Medellin is known as the Silicon Valley of South America and is now pushing to become South America’s first Eco City. City officials and the business community are working together to cut carbon emissions, improve green infrastructure, expand cycling lanes and provide free electric bikes, and strike a balance with the beautiful spring-like environment that hosts the city.

One of the signature projects that really signaled a cultural shift and turned the city around after its bloody period was the Escalators Communa 13. Lined with street art, murals, shops and vendors, these outdoor people movers that connect the poor barrios on the steep hills that once were home to Pablo Escobar to the central city. 

Oslo, Norway

Another northern European nation on our list (sensing a theme here?!), Oslo is known as the Electric Vehicle Capital of The World. For many years, the vast majority of vehicles sold in Oslo and Norway are electric, and they’re fast moving towards 100% efficiency.

With a commitment to bicycle lanes, vibrant public transport, carefully rehabilitated streams and rivers, and a Green Belt Boundary that zones-off wildlife areas from further development, Oslo was awarded the coveted European Green Capital designation in 2019.

All of Norway is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050, and it looks like they will reach that goal sooner than expected, continuing their tradition of ecological responsibility.

São Paulo, Brazil

One of the world’s megacities with more than 20 million residents, São Paulo also counts on renewable energy like few others. Since 2014, São Paulo’s new Strategic Master Plan focused on people-oriented development, improved public transport, and other clean energy initiatives. 

To that point, there are more than 200 farmer’s markets throughout the city, providing locally sourced and environmentally friendly food sources that reduce the need for carbon emissions from big agriculture and transport.

Singapore

Singapore is both a city and an island nation, located on the southern end of the Malay Peninsula. It’s also long been known as one of the cleanest and most environmentally conscious cities in the world, starting with its Singapore Green Plan back in 1992. 

Touring through Singapore, you’ll see a marvel city planning, with green spaces, natural elements, and renewable energy technologies woven right into its architecture. Its towering skyscrapers look like something out of a futuristic movie, so much so that people often see an image of a Singaporean building and turn to Google to find out if it’s real. 

The vast hive of parks and green spaces extends to 46% of the entire country, and Singapore is working towards having zero landfill waste by mid-century. There is even a city-wide initiative to build and maintain therapeutic gardens and parklands just for the elderly. 

You’ve got to love Singapore!

Stockholm, Sweden

While Denmark has taken the title of Greenest city in Europe, Stockholm was the original European First Green Capital, awarded in 2010 by the European Commission. These days, it’s the model for a green city around the world, counting entirely on renewable energy. 

Stockholm renews its efforts to lead the environmentally friendly revolution with two important pieces of legislation: The Climate Action Plan and the Environment Programme. With those, they set they have the budget, the technology, and the will to become climate positive and fossil fuel free by 2040.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo may be a sprawling megacity, but it’s also one of the smartest cities in the world, with technology integrated to improve daily lives and living conditions. A lot of that hi-tech focus is to keep Tokyo clean and green. As early as 2002, Tokyo was implementing initiatives to improve green infrastructure and new development. With plenty of electric vehicles, renewable energy, and smart planning, Tokyo was the first Green City in Asia.

Vancouver, Canada

Western Canada’s Emerald City is the cleanest and greenest city in Canada and one of the most environmentally conscious in the world. Vancouver has the lowest greenhouse gas emission of any city in North America and more than 300 buildings certified as Green by the Vancouver city council.

Right now, Vancouver runs on more than 90% renewable energy, a large portion of it, hydroelectricity. City officials and residents are focused on improving upon those numbers and frequently retrofit buildings and revamp infrastructure and public transportation.

Thanks to its environmentally friendly footprint, Vancouver is also home to several prominent Green organizations, such as Greenpeace and the David Suzuki Foundation.

Vienna, Austria

The venerable and storied city in Austria is actually a marvel of progressive green policy and planning. For instance, more than 50% of the city’s entire landmass is designated for parks, walking trails, and nature reserves. Additionally, Vienna’s residents have fully adopted the use of public transport, planning, and zoning responsibly, and other measures that encourage renewable energy.

***

Hopefully, we’ll start to see more cities adopt the initiatives, policies, and attitudes that made these the greenest cities in the world!

Biohacking your way to health and happiness. ⚡️

You may have heard of the term ‘biohacking,’ as people try to convince you that their diet, coffee, Ted talk, or system will vastly improve your health and happiness. And while some of those may be effective, each and every one of us can biohack our own lives and consciously improve those outcomes.

There are many definitions and meanings to biohacking, some of them slightly nefarious if not outright commercial. But the simple, layperson definition of biohacking is the manipulation of conditions to upgrade our brains and bodies. Basically, we all want to optimize our health and happiness, and what we do, eat, think, etc. holds great sway in that process.

As we undertake any conversation about biohacking, it’s important to understand the core biological and neurological processes that dictate your mood, happiness, and positive emotions.

Together referred to as the “happiness chemicals,” these include a host of hormones including the major four:

  1. Dopamine
  2. Endorphins
  3. Oxytocin
  4. Serotonin

While there are whole volumes of scientific journals documenting the intricacies of these four hormones, I will try to summarize here.

  • Dopamine is best described as the “reward drug,” as it triggers feelings of pleasure or gratification and acts as a great motivator.
  • Endorphins, short for “endogenous morphine,” are hormones that act as natural pain killers. They do so by interrupting and limiting the flow of pain signals throughout your body.
  • Oxycotin is known as the “love drug,” instilling powerful feelings of warmth, tenderness, and physical or emotional closeness. Oxycotin plays an integral part both in romantic relationships and childbirth or paternal emotions.
  • Serotonin is a different animal than the others, as it’s a neurotransmitter with far-reaching positive effects throughout our bodies and systems. Most prominently, it limits aggression and impulsiveness while bringing calm as relaxation. Therefore, serotonin is known as nature’s mood stabilizer.

Serotonin manifests itself in many positive ways for your health and happiness, including appetite regulation or suppression, sleep, memory, and learning ability.

Here are some simple and effective ways to biohack the release of these four feel-good hormones, and more:

  1. Sleep

Sleep is our greatest natural healer, resetting and recharging just about every process in the human body. Quality and abundant sleep has also been proven to boost the immune system, prevent disease, and prolong the years in our lives. While we do know that sleep basically purges metabolic toxins, getting a good night sleep is easier said than done these days. Avoid electronic screens before bed, leave the phone out of the bedroom, skip the evening alcohol or caffeine, and try to keep a regular sleep schedule.

2. The great outdoors

Time spent in nature is one of the fastest and most effective biohacks. It makes perfect sense that fresh air helps us feel better, and numerous studies back up the assertion that time spent outdoors (often combined with physical activity) has been proven to improve health.

3. Exercise and physical activity

One of the single best ways to nearly-instantly facilitate the release of “feel good chemicals” is to get up, get moving, and break a sweat. From just taking a walk or taking the stairs to hitting the gym and leaving soaked in sweat, any sort of physical activity or exercise floods our system with the endorphins and even dopamine.

4. Eating healthy food

Across the world, there are almost as many types of food and cooking as there are cultures, but one thing is consistent: eating healthy, nutrient-dense, natural foods greatly boosts health, discourages disease, and enriches mood and happiness (not to mention leaving the pounds off!).

5. Gratitude

There are many names to it: mindfulness, intentionality, or just gratitude, but it all comes down to the same thing: taking a moment (or more!) to catalog the good things in your life and feel thankful for them. Numerous studies show the incredibly quick and transformative power of simply making a Gratitude List or meditating in gratitude every morning. But no matter what time of day you choose to be thankful for the people, places, and things in your life, it will release plenty of feel-good hormones, including serotonin.

A simple moment for gratitude can almost-instantly change your chemistry, one of the best biohacks there is for health and happiness!

6. Meditation

Meditation is an essential biohack, with proven results for even 10 or 20 minutes of focused meditation every day. Deep meditation triggers the release of plenty of neurotransmitters and feel-good hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, endoprhins, and many more. You don’t need any equipment, a dedicated space, or even an hour free to effectively meditate – it can be done virtually anywhere and with mounting benefits the more you stick with it, making it a vital biohack.

7. Purpose in your life

I wanted to include the next two items on our list because they aren’t as commonly covered as the other items, but pivotal for a long life of health and happiness. One of these is having a purpose to your life.

Having something to believe in, be a part of, and contribute to – greater than your basic needs or just money – is proven to emit strong dopamine release and other neurotransmitters. Whether it’s a passion, a hobby or interest, or just contributing to a group in a utilitarian fashion, purpose leads to positive health outcomes.

8. Community and connection

Similar to the purpose-drive biohack listed above, being part of a community and having abundant human connections opens the floodgates for happiness chemicals. Deep relationships with other humans – or even our pets – biohack our chemistry in powerful ways. Basically, no woman or man is an island, and social isolation or lack of human connection is linked to numerous health risks and conditions.

We see evidence of this human-community-biohack relationship in Blue Zones, which are those geographic pockets around the world where people commonly live past 100 years old. Aside from diet, exercise, and other factors, one of the key indicators of living a long, healthy and happy life is the presence of strong human connections. Of course, that could mean your spouse, children, or family, but it also could include friends, neighbors, people at your church or house of worship, or civic group.

But just being connected to others and part of a community goes hand-in-hand with purpose in your life.

By no means is this list exhaustive, and there are plenty of other ways to biohack the release of happiness chemicals and hormones.

Other quick and easy biohacks:

  • Stand up desk at work
  • Eating dark chocolate
  • Laughing and joking with friends
  • Exposure to sunshine
  • Music
  • Finishing small tasks
  • Self-care
  • Celebrating even small victories
  • Playing with animals
  • Complimenting someone
  • Giving (and getting!) a hug

Can you implement some of these biohacks into your life to improve your health and happiness? I’d love to hear about it, so thanks for sharing your journey!

References:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2021/03/25/six-biohacking-tips-guaranteed-to-boost-productivity/?sh=211dd4a07ab7

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2019/03/top-biohacks/584584/

https://www.goodnet.org/articles/happiness-biohacks-to-feel-your-best

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorphins

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopamine

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxytocin

https://commons.clarku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1017&context=surj

15 MORE things you didn’t know about clean energy. 🌿

15 MORE things you didn’t know about clean energy:

Last month, I shared a blog that delved into a topic that’s near and dear to my heart, clean and renewable energy (you can read it here.)

Today, I’ll explore 15 more facts about clean energy – which is ready to change our world!

  1. The use of the sun, wind, and water to provide heat, fuel, or other utility is nothing new. In fact, many ancient cultures utilized natural elements to improve their lives. The ancient Egyptians designed their homes to maximize the sun’s heat, and in Greece, Socrates even gave lectures on solar architecture. The Romans used solar to keep their homes and structures light and warm and built advanced aqueduct systems to provide water to their citizens. From ancient Chinese dynasties to the early pre-American civilizations and more, embracing the sun and nature to improve our lives is almost as ancient as humankind itself.
  2. Fast forward all the way to 2021, and power generation from renewable energy sources just hit an all-time high. In fact, about 30% of the world’s electricity comes from renewable or clean energy sources these days, and that number is even higher if we add in nuclear power or other hybrid sources.
  3. For the first time ever (ok, since the industrial age at least!), that 30% of the world’s energy from renewables surpasses the percentage generated from coal.
  4. Is the adoption of renewable energy viable for large industrial cities and population centers? At least 100 cities across the globe now use 70% renewable energy or more, and many are committing to reach 100% use of renewable energy sources.
  5. If the U.S. went with 100% renewable energy right now, it would save $321 billion in energy costs in the first year alone – and that includes the cost of much-needed clean energy infrastructure improvements.
  6. In September 2021, the United Nations is hosting a High Level Dialogue on Energy, the first symposium of its kind in 40 years. The UN-Energy organizer hopes to unite nations, the business community, international organizations, and civil societies with the goal of taking broad and definite action to implement renewable energy and more.
  7. By 2050, it’s estimated that solar power will supply approximately 50% of U.S. energy needs! Add in other renewable power sources, and the vast majority of electricity will be clean and green within a few decades.
  8. If you compare the cost per MWh, solar comes out a clear winner for consumers who want to save. In fact, Solar P.V. is $30-$60, Gas $50-$90, and Coal $50-$120.
  9. The role of fossil fuel use on greenhouse gas emissions has now been scientifically proven without a shadow of a doubt.
  10. The energy sector is by far the largest offender when it comes to the use of greenhouse gases that enable climate chaos.
  11. Two-thirds of all growth in renewable energy now comes from wind and solar power.
  12. Most fossil fuels are woefully inefficient. For instance, coal only emits 29% of its original intrinsic value in energy. On the other end of the scale, wind power gives off 1,164% of its value in energy, the most efficient of all energy sources.
  13. According to the Wall Street Journal, geothermal, hydro, nuclear, and solar power all over 200% efficiency, while natural gas (38%), oil (30%) and coal are all emphatically below 100%.
  14. “We’re #1! We’re #1!”
    Actually, the U.S. is decidedly #2 in clean energy growth, with China leading the way by a wide margin. China alone is responsible for nearly 50% of the world’s increase in renewable energy sources in 2021, then followed by the U.S., the E.U., and India. However, the renewable energy market is set to explode in the U.S., so we very well could be #1 soon!
  15. The U.S. is already taking ambitious steps to reach that goal, including investing about $2 trillion in clean and renewable energy, rejoining the Paris Climate Accord, and “decarbonizing” the power sector fully by 2035. Those measures and more will help us achieve our vision of having net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Sources:

https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/energy-and-resources/articles/renewable-energy-outlook.html
https://irena.org/publications/2021/Aug/Renewable-energy-statistics-2021
https://www.iea.org/reports/global-energy-review-2021/renewables
https://www.undp.org/blogs/five-reasons-be-optimistic-about-clean-energy-2021
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/renewable-energy
https://www.undp.org/blogs/five-reasons-be-optimistic-about-clean-energy-2021
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-06/the-10-ways-renewable-energy-s-boom-year-will-shape-2021
https://www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/local-renewable-energy-benefits-and-resources
spectra.mhi.com/fastest-growing-energy-sources 
c2es.org/content/renewable-energy/ 
thinkprogress.org/clean-energy-more-jobs-than-fossil-fuels-32f615915399/ 
iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2014/september/how-solar-energy-could-be-the-largest-source-of-electricity-by-mid-century.html 
ewea.org/wind-energy-basics/faq/ 
rewiringamerica.org/ 
https://www.inspirecleanenergy.com/blog/clean-energy-101/renewable-energy-facts
https://www.visualcapitalist.com/capturing-the-renewable-energy-shift/
https://energydigital.com/top10/top-10-companies-adopting-green-energy
https://cleanchoiceenergy.com/news/Ancient_Solar

15 Things you didn’t know about clean energy. ☀️

2021 will be known as a pivotal year in human history, and not just for the reasons you may think.

While it may not be front page news, the world is taking a monumental leap forward this year when it comes to adopting renewable energy.

Renewable or clean energy refers to a broad spectrum of technologies and power sources. But the one common denominator is that renewable and clean energy sources help to reduce pollution, protecting our environment and keeping our communities healthy.

Since promoting renewable energy and helping to heal our world is my passion, I wanted to start a great conversation with you by introducing 15 notes, facts, and little-known stats that may get you excited about renewable energy too.

Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to continue the discussion – and look out for part 2 coming soon!

15 Things you didn’t know about clean energy:

  1. The terms “renewable energy” and “clean energy” encompass many different methods and technologies used to provide power. The most common renewable and clean energy sources in the world now include:

• Solar energy
• Wind
• Biogas
• Geothermal
• Biomass
• Hydro-electric
• Wave and tidal power

  1. According to the United Nations Development Programme, the price of residential solar energy has dropped 89 percent since 2010, and it’s now the cheapest source of electricity in history.
  2. Just by instituting smart and efficient energy policies, countries around the world can reach 40 percent of our planet’s needed emission cuts. Technological innovation and widespread adoption will help us boost past clean energy use and meet our environmental goals.
  3. At least 115 countries and counting have signed the United Nations Climate Promise to build a greener future with carbon neutrality or net-zero emissions.
  4. The list of those countries includes largescale, high-emitting economies like the UK, EU, South Korea, Japan, and China. Those nations combined constitute about 65 percent of all global CO2 emissions and 70 percent of the world’s economy. The US is now on board with the clean energy revolution, too, and plans to catch up quickly with those other nations!
  5. Fossil fuels may have been the status quo for decades, but don’t be fooled that they are cost-efficient or even financially sustainable. In fact, the US spends about $500 billion on fossil fuel subsidies every year. Also, over 100 oil and gas companies went bankrupt in 2020 alone.
  6. Clean energy not only benefits the environment and saves money, but creates an abundance of jobs. The shift towards cleaner energy is expected to create 18 million new jobs by 2030.
  7. In fact, investment in clean energy creates between three to five times more jobs than the same investment in fossil fuels.
  8. Clean energy jobs in the US actually outnumber the jobs in fossil fuels by two-and-a-half to one. Put another way, there are five clean energy jobs for every one in fossil fuels!
  9. Not only are there a lot of clean energy jobs in America, but they’re high quality positions. Hiring in renewable energy is local. These jobs can’t be exported abroad. Work on homes, like installing rooftop solar or efficient heating and cooling systems, takes place in cities and towns across the nation. These are year-round jobs that many people can do right from where they currently live.
  10. If you think renewable energy makes up just a minuscule portion of our global energy demand, think again! As of 2020, 29 percent of the world’s energy came from renewable resources, with renewable demand growing approximately 45 percent each year.
  11. Hydropower is the most commonly used today. Generated by dams and turbines, hydropower accounts for 54 percent of all renewable energy produced around the world, and therefore meets 18 percent of the world’s total electricity demand!
  12. For many homeowners and even renters, one of the chief reasons to transition to clean energy at home is the cost savings. According to a study by Rewiring America, by switching to all renewable energy tech, the average US household would save about $2,500 annually.
  13. Solar power is the leading form of power in residential homes – and growing fast. Solar at home is now cheaper, easier, more sustainable, and smarter than ever!
  14. In fact, the International Energy Agency Solar anticipates that solar will be the world’s leading renewable energy source by the year 2050.

If this trend continues – and the excitement around renewable energy grows – within one generation, just about every home, business, school, and office rooftop in America will be equipped with highly efficient solar panels to meet our energy needs!

***

Sources:

www.undp.org/blogs/five-reasons-be-optimistic-about-clean-energy-2021

www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/renewable-energy

www.undp.org/blogs/five-reasons-be-optimistic-about-clean-energy-2021

www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-01-06/the-10-ways-renewable-energy-s-boom-year-will-shape-2021

www.epa.gov/statelocalenergy/local-renewable-energy-benefits-and-resources
www.spectra.mhi.com/fastest-growing-energy-sources 

www.c2es.org/content/renewable-energy/ 

www.thinkprogress.org/clean-energy-more-jobs-than-fossil-fuels-32f615915399/ 

www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/pressreleases/2014/september/how-solar-energy-could-be-the-largest-source-of-electricity-by-mid-century.html 

www.ewea.org/wind-energy-basics/faq/ 

www.rewiringamerica.org/ 

www.inspirecleanenergy.com/blog/clean-energy-101/renewable-energy-facts