Live and Lead for Impact with Kirsten E. Ross

Episode 100...Time to CELEBRATE!

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Direct download: DTD_100__Celebrating_Milestones.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:38pm EDT

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Recently, I was at an event and overheard someone talking about how bored they’ve been over the last few months.  It really made me stop and think.  I absolutely cannot remember a time when I have felt bored.

I must admit I’ve definitely been unproductive, lazy, tired, procrastinating, overwhelmed and many other things that have kept me from getting into gear, though these are rare.  But, bored has never been one.  That feeling that I have nothing to do.

I had to stop and think, “what would that be like?”

I must admit that at first a part of me felt a little jealous.  Wow, to just be done with all of the pressing tasks.  No deadlines weighing down, no pressures, no “I really should’s”.

But, as I thought further, I really became sad for this person.  Because the flip side of “I’m bored” is the missed opportunities for excitement, a sense of accomplishment, fulfilling your passion, living life on purpose, making it happen, getting it done, the exhilaration of hitting a big milestone, or that Ahhhh feeling of rolling into bed after an exceptionally productive day.

I’ll take overwhelmed, stressed and driven any day.  I am blessed to live the full life that I am living.  It’s how we are meant to live. To live any other way means to deny the world of our unique gifts, talents and skills.

Yes, I’m sure I push myself a bit too hard at times.  But the fire in my belly, the energy in my step, the smile on my face and the joy in my life are what it’s all about.  And it’s how you are meant to live too!

What will you do today to make it happen?  Your life is waiting and so is the world!

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Direct download: DTD_099__Are_You_Bored_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:01am EDT

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When I work with clients they are often in the midst of change.   Whether they started to transform before our work or it comes out of some new found awareness through the work I find myself helping them maneuver through transitions big or small.

At some point during the process I usually find myself saying, Just Get on With it!

You see, we humans are change avoidant. That lizard part of our brain experiences fear from the thought of anything new and it says – Stop! Danger!

It is our nature to go into tuck and cover. Maintain status quo. Keep safe.

So, transformation can be difficult and my get in action clients like to feel like they are making progress so they begin to research. They read, they web surf, they talk to people, they make a plan, they get feedback on the plan, they think about the plan, they tweak the plan, they do a bit more research, they find another book, they order it from Amazon. They wait for it and then dive in. They put together some numbers, they shuffle them around. They look at all the possibilities and visualize the change from different angles, they talk to a few experts, they speak to a few friends, they journal.

Then they do a bit more research and consider a couple different angles.

It’s at this point I have to stop them and say – The Research portion of this transformation can no longer be considered action.

Just Get on With it!

You’ve heard the term analysis paralysis. Some are plagued with it for even the smallest task. Others get stuck only when it’s a big transformation.

Does change require research and knowledge?


But at a certain point you can learn nothing more about the change unless you make it!

Years ago I was helping to launch a new program. We had done the research, put educated guesses together about how we should launch. Many on the team thought we should wait 6 more months or a year before launch.

I asked the question, “What more can we learn without actually doing what we plan?”

“Many of our questions can not be answered without actually doing.”

We’ll gain new knowledge as we go. We’ll never launch perfectly. We can always tweak after the fact.  Let’s just go!

And we did! And it was great! Did we make some changes after the fact? Yep!

But there was nothing more to be learned by sitting in a room taking guesses about the unknown.

So, where are you stuck in analysis paralysis?

Where have you gathered a satisfactory amount of information?

Where must you begin to act to get the rest of your questions answered about what it will be like? How will it go? Will this work?

Today, where will you stop researching and take at least one actual action towards your goal or transformation?

It will feel great!

If it’s not perfect, and it won’t be, you’ll adjust.

Just Get On With It!

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Direct download: DTD_098__Just_Get_On_With_It.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm EDT

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Let’s face it, life is better if we get what we want. If the world, circumstances and other people would just cooperate life would be grand!

If you’ve had a toddler or have at least been around one you’ve seen that innate desire live out. During those early years there is really no sense of others. All they know is what they want and they will pull out all the stops in their limited bag of tricks to get what they want.

They might try cute first and then move to whining and pleading. From there they’ll head straight for the full out temper tantrum, throwing themselves on the ground, crying, kicking, and screaming like their world will come to an end if they don’t get that toy or candy.

Luckily, most toddlers are taught that that’s not an appropriate response. They learn to accept delayed gratification and sharing becomes easier.

When my boys were little and they’d start to whine I would tell them, “I can’t understand you when you talk like that.” Or, “you are just getting farther and farther away from getting what you want.”   And I did my darndest to do nothing to reward them during a rant.

We had sitting time outs in the middle of grocery stores, left restaurants.

As I think back I must say, I do NOT miss those times!!

It was sometimes very inconvenient to follow through with consequences or not give in but I wanted them to learn that whining and temper tantrums were not the route to getting their way.

As adults, we still have that innate desire to get our way.  Most of us have learned to consider the needs of others in addition to our own. Or, have learned the art of delayed gratification, understanding the need to set goals and work for things we want. Others have learned to put their own wants and needs aside choosing, instead, to focus on helping others get what they desire.

And, there are those who still work to get their way. Sometimes it’s okay. We have an opinion or perspective that has helped us make an informed decision about what we think is best. We seek to have our opinion known and understood through assertive communication.

Still others will use more manipulative tactics. Work the politics of the office, start gossip, stay quiet in a meeting and then campaign for your agenda. Or use the stay stuck strategies I talk about in episodes 50 through 53, as a for instance,

They are denial, defensiveness, deflection and defriending. Here are the links:

Episode 50:
Episode 51:
Episode 52:
Episode 53:

Or perhaps you’ve seen a grown up throw an adult sized temper tantrum.

And, do I even need to say it? All of this creates drama!

I have seen through my work that some people will deploy manipulate tactics to get their way for a short period while others will keep going, pulling out all the stops and using multiple manipulation tools. Most will have a stopping point where they throw in the towel and quietly give up.

I recently shared the results of a cultural assessment with a client and felt compelled to emphasize more than usual that the information contained in the report must be kept confidential.

I shared that normally I see a person’s end point. They use manipulative tactics and then give up the fight, realizing they must succumb.

In this instance, however, I was up against someone who continued to use manipulative tactics and covert operations with me during the entire evaluation. This person lied, changed appointments a gagillion times, was a no call no show for a couple of appointments, tried to avoid me during our scheduled times when he did show up by continuing to take phone calls and then dragging them out, telling me had to leave suddenly. And when all of that didn’t work, this person became condescending.

When that failed he got incredibly defensive, belittling, and arrogant. Then there was badgering and trying to block me from key documents I needed to review.

During the entire process, this person, who knew I’d be providing a report to his superiors, never backed down. Instead he continued to escalate his tactics; like a toddler, but in an adult way.

I never did see his end point. What else was he capable of? Thus, the extra emphasis on keeping a report confidential.

It got me thinking. We all have the capacity to try some tactics to get our way. Some overt and some covert, some professional and above board and some not.

It’s time to do some reality checking. My question for you today is:

  • Are you aware?
  • What actions, behaviors, conversations, tactics do you use to try to get your way?
  • Do you use different tactics in your personal life than you do in your professional one?
  • Are you passive, aggressive or assertive with your tactics?
  • Are you engaging in covert operations, working behind the scenes gossiping or working the politics of the office in your favor?
  • Are you sitting quietly in a meeting and then campaigning for your position afterwards?
  • At what point are you willing to concede?
  • Do you take it too far? Do you need to let go sooner?
  • Are you retaliatory after the fact if you don’t get your way?
  • Are there areas where your desire to get your makes you blind to the perspectives, desires, ideas of others?
  • Where are you igniting drama rather than defeating it?

Take some time to really think about these questions and get real. Are there changes you need to make in this area?

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Direct download: DTD_097__What_Do_You_Do_To_Get_Your_Way_.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT

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As I’ve shared before, many of people I work with struggle with people pleasing. Often they feel overwhelmed and resentful. They struggle to get things done on time because they are always over committed.   No matter how busy, they continue to say yes to all the requests people make of them.

If you haven’t mastered the art of saying no this is probably you.

So, let’s look at some key reasons why some people have such a hard time saying no – do you see yourself anywhere?

And here’s one I hear from many of my Christian clients. “God wants me to serve others.”

I do believe this is true. We are all given gifts to use in the service of others. But, here’s the thing, if you are a follower of God, He is supposed to guide your actions, your service. If people are taking up 100% of your time you don’t have the capacity left to follow God’s lead. He does not call us to serve 100% of the people who come asking, regardless of the request.

So, if you are a people pleaser who has used this as your excuse I ask you to stop.

Here are six strategies to help you say no. Use them, practice them, take back some control of your time.

Buy Time: “let me check my calendar, or I”ll get back to you in a couple of days, or let me think about that, or check with my partner

Policy Statement: sounds office –cast in stone, out of your hands. “I have a policy not to volunteer in the evenings.

Shift the Focus – this is not about you, I need to say no for me. – said with empathy for the other person’s situation and with eye contact

Know Your Priorities: If you set a priority of the family eating together then say no to all intrusions to this.

Keep It Simple: no long-winded explanation or excuses – just sounds more defensive.

Tackle Easy Situations First: start by saying no to the paper boy or the phone solicitor first – build the muscle on the easy ones and then tackle your overbearing relative

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Direct download: DTD_096__6_Tips_to_Help_you_Say_No_without_Guilt.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

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Taking swift action can be very rewarding and fruitful at times. You get an idea and put it into action. Or you jump on the bandwagon for a new product and it works out well for you.

I am definitely a fan of action and forward momentum. If you are like me you feel the same.

A too Swift analysis with a final verdict can sometimes lead you astray, however. So many of my clients suffer the affects of jumping to conclusions too quickly. I call it Living in the World of Assumption.

Our assumptions generate ideas and feelings about a situation and these drive our actions.

We make assumptions about what others want from us and why, we take guesses at what our boss meant by that, we decide what the look on a co-worker’s face means about us.

I love the poem, “The Cookie Thief”. It illustrates what can happen when we assume. I first heard it read by Wayne Dyer years ago.

Here it is:

The Cookie Thief

by Valerie Cox

A woman was waiting at an airport one night,
With several long hours before her flight.
She hunted for a book in the airport shops.
Bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see,
That the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be.
Grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between,
Which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock,
As the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock.
She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by,
Thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took, he took one too,
When only one was left, she wondered what he would do.
With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh,
He took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other,
She snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother.
This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude,
Why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled,
And sighed with relief when her flight was called.
She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate,
Refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat,
Then she sought her book, which was almost complete.
As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise,
There was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair,
The others were his, and he tried to share.
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

How many times in our lives,
have we absolutely known
that something was a certain way,
only to discover later that
what we believed to be true … was not?

So, yes,

Jump on the bandwagon

Jump for Joy

Do Jumping Jacks

But do NOT jump to conclusions!

All I can say is clarify, clarify, clarify! When in doubt, ask clarifying questions rather than jumping to conclusions!

Once while working with a client he exclaimed, “since I started working with you I feel like I’m constantly asking, ‘can you clarify that for me?’”

I laughed and told him there are all kinds of ways to start a clarifying conversation. I’ll make you a list.

That list become a .pdf with 50 different ways to ignite clarity. If you’d like me to send it to you shoot me a message. Go to Click on the podcast site and then go to the submit your drama challenge form.

I’ll happily email you a copy!

Apply For A FREE Leadership Breakthrough Session with Kirsten Today!

Direct download: DTD_095__Jump_But_Not_to_Conclusions.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT

Apply For A FREE Leadership Breakthrough Session with Kirsten Today!

Today I want to share a quick problem solving strategy that can work with your team.   It works nicely with the simple process improvement strategy I shared in episode 13. Here’s the link if you haven’t listened to it already or need a refresher:

I once had a client with a major problem. They ran out of boxes and were unable to finish their work. At first glance it would seem that they just needed to order more boxes. Upon analysis, however, they learned that the real issue was that people were moving the boxes and not scanning them in or out. There were plenty of boxes they just weren’t in the right spot and no one knew where to find them. Totally different solution is required to fix this problem.

Often a problem has many underlying issues or challenges causing it.

So, the first step to problem solving is to bring your team together with all of their wonderful perspectives and knowledge to brainstorm causes for the problem.

Once you have a list of possible causes discuss briefly and then vote.   Vote until you have it narrowed down to the top 2 or 3.

Next, it’s time to brainstorm solutions for the top 1 to 3 main causes.

Repeat the same process. Use multi-voting to narrow the list to the seemingly best solutions.

Once you’ve narrowed it down it’s time to put a game plan in place to implement the proposed solutions.

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Direct download: DTD_094__Learn_a_Super_Simple_Team_Problem_Solving_Strategy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT