#Leadership Thought & #Practice: Strategic Interactions

As #leaders, we need to be #strategic in our every day interactions. Too often we rush to reaction. Without awareness of #emotion and the assignment of #feeling, we bypass #choice in response. It’s like being numb to chronic pain.

Emotions are a physical reaction to external stimuli – it’s a powerful tool and it’s part of the human #design.


Feelings are then the meaning we assign to that emotion and often more than one feeling can be selected (eg. frustrated, angry, or embarrassed can be assigned to the same experience). We then make choices about how to respond.

Conscious choice = response, whereas

subconscious choice = reaction.

Leadership Practice:

pauseCatch yourself starting to react to something, then pause. Notice the physical experience(chills, goose bumps, tight throat, stomach butterflies, clenched jaw, cheeks flushed, etc.). Now name the feeling (joy, peace, frustration, love, anger, gratitude, etc.). Double-check, is that the actual feeling or can the emotion be interpreted differently? Now make a choice in how to respond. How has this practice impacted your response? What is different? Repeat, repeatedly.

Categories: coaching, Leadership

I Feel A New Blog Post Coming…

October 12, 2017 Leave a comment

…that’s it…

I feel a new blog post coming!

Categories: You in B&W

My name is Holly, and I am a Hot Hot Mess

SweepUnderRugThe thing about the messiness of life is that it just gets swept under the rug.

We don’t post the real stuff of life on FaceBook.

No photos of tears and bed-head on Instagram.

Won’t find discussions about the inability to find a job on LinkedIn.


I am a driving, strong work ethic, devoted, perfectionist who doesn’t fail, known for my ability to get things done with high quality and on time … kind of person.  It’s in my jeans, my DNA, a familial trait, likely both nature and nurture involved.  Do you recognize this person?  In a loved one or colleague?  In the mirror?

We are reliable and successful, and likely exhausted, too.  We hold things together, so seemingly effortlessly, when life gets crazy.  And life DOES get crazy.  We have kids who get sick, and dogs who pee on the rug, and sometimes don’t shower ALL day because we are up at the crack of dawn DOing all these things. Doing, doing, doing, going, going, going… living up to the standard we’ve accepted, adopted, and created for ourselves.


I’d like to introduce you to a part of me.  Her name is “Hot Hot Mess”.  She showed up at a  LifeisMessytraining class I attended shortly after my 60 year old mother-in-law was suddenly diagnosed with a stage 4 glioblastoma brain tumor.  It was the worst of the worst case scenario.  Not only mom and Nana to us, but confidant, comforter, best friend, chef, encourager, and neighbor; someone we do life with!  Now THIS was MESSY!


The intimacy of that training class was the perfect environment to allow Hot Hot Mess (we’ll use HHM) to emerge.  She is the ultimate definition of vulnerable.  She has emotions and she shares them.  Her house isn’t always clean.  She feels what is happening in life right now, she sits in it and with it.  She is raw and open and authentic.  She is the opposite of just gulping it down, continuing the doing and going, wearing a glossy smile, and pretending like all is OK.  SHE is real. Sometimes I forget her and I have to remind myself, and invite her to be present once again.

BlessThisHotMessWe are literally designed to feel and express and to BE.  Life IS messy and full of the unexpected.  This is the human condition.  It is these experiences that chisel and sand and polish us into being our true and evolved self.  By gulping it down and sweep…sweep…sweeping it under, we miss opportunity to fully benefit from the evolutionary possibility of these experiences. Seeing and embracing our inner HHM is a gift to ourselves – permission to fully embrace the development opportunity in each messy experience.

The worst part, though, is the seeming standard we lay out there for others to see.  A bar so high it’s un-achievable.  An expectation that it’s not OK to be real and messy.  The gift in sharing your personal HHM is permission-granting to others.  It’s freedom to be real.  It opens us to real and meaningful connection and we are meant to live life within community, an essential ingredient to thriving in this life.

Be real, my friends.  Say hello to your HHM.  Embrace what’s possible when you fully feel and are present in this life.  Pay it forward by sharing it with others and reap the harvest of meaningful connection.

THIS is where I’ll meet you…

Greeted with a warm hug, a heart full of joy, tears to share, 

and a wide kind smile.


Exploration of iPad Apps to Use for Work

November 5, 2012 Leave a comment

I started writing this post as a discussion on LinkedIn and then realized I should be putting this in my too-long-neglected blog instead!

Basically, I have been exploring how to better leverage my iPad (and my iPhone) for work and have been exploring apps to support a variety of work needs. I’d very much like to hear how you use apps in your work.

Working with documents, collecting and storing information, ideating, writing, taking notes, handwriting / text / voice to text options, sketching, to do’s, etc…


Most recently, I’ve been using:

– QuickOffice Pro: Creating and editing office files (Word, Excel, and PPT)

– OneNote: Sync entire notebooks and edit real-time via SkyDrive to my work Windows-based laptop

– Evernote: It is my lifeline for mostly personal and some work related content. I have been exploring accessory apps to make the most of Evernote. I just discovered that they are releasing a (rather pricy) Moleskin notebook that integrates VERY nicely with Evernote. I LOVE Moleskin notebooks for my “idea” books and I’ve had the HORROR of losing one of them … of losing many months of ideas, thoughts, recommendations, etc. This is already on my Christmas list, if I can hold out that long ($25)

– Handwriting apps: I’m trying a few (PenUltimate, Notability, NotesPlus) to see which one works best for my needs.

– I have Dragon Dictation on my iPhone and have played with it a little.  If I drove more, I would use that tool more.  Don’t really think I have a heavy need for a voice-to-text tool on a regular basis.- Sketchbook (Free): This is a fantastic tool to sketch-out that stuff that I’d normally doodle on a whiteboard or on paper and then take a picture to insert into a notebook app (Evernote or OneNote). It supports layers, too. Great for process mapping, too.

– Index cards: There are a few different apps (one is called Index Cards) for just capturing ideas, then easy grab and move organizing. I like this method for initial ideating and outlining. I looked up storyboarding apps, but didn’t really find anything better for my needs than index card apps.

– Manuscript: I’m looking at a couple that help you to brainstorm, craft out aspects of a book or other written deliverable. This app seems quite robust, allowing you to have brainstorm ideas on the left as you write on the right.  I’m thinking I might be able to use an index cards app to get started and then transition to using a simple writing interface with minimal distractions (theres a few of those out there).

– TouchFire Keyboard:  I chose this one because I don’t use a keyboard for extended periods of time and this one is very portable and 1/2 the price of most.  I mostly use a keyboard while traveling for work and on airplanes and I’d rather not have a much bigger cover and clunky keyboard to add to the bulk.  It takes a little getting used to, but it’s working for me and I feel that $49 is a reasonable price point.

– To Do’s:  Anyone got a great app you love for managing to do’s?  I’d prefer one for the iPhone over the iPad. I’ve tried a few and none worth really mentioning because I’m still searching…

– Mind Mapping: I haven’t really used an app in a while, but this method of ideating is something I often go back to.  Any recommendations?


I’ll try to add links to apps later, but I’d love to hear your tips in the meantime!

The Organization as a Complex Adaptive System

November 11, 2011 Leave a comment


Following is an image of the workings of a Complex Adaptive System – developed for a presentation about applying Complexity Science to Knowledge Management at the KMWorld 2011 Conference last week in Washington DC.

The basics:

  • When looking through the lens of Complexity Science, a company (organization) can be viewed as a Complex Adaptive System (just like an ecosystem).
  • It is made up of a diverse set of agents that interact with each other (people, budget, tools, etc.).
  • These agents interact within existing boundaries (geography, teams, business units, processes, etc.).
  • Patterns emerge from these interactions.
  • The agents respond to feedback from the emergent patterns and continually adapt to the feedback.





Click to view the prezi presentation from the conference presentation.

Categories: Complexity Tags: ,

Start Your Career Transition: Step 3 – Word Research

October 17, 2011 1 comment


In this step, you get to do job REsearch, without job searching.  Job research for the sake of finding words and work activities that sound interesting to you.  This step will help you focus future job search (or job creation) activities on the type of work that most interests you, leverages how you are uniquely wired, and provides engaging challenges.

Online Job Research

  1. Go online, at least two or three times, and look at job postings that look interesting.
  2. IGNORE job qualifications at this stage (remember, this activity is NOT an actual job search).
  3. Capture critical information along the way:
  • search terms that produce interesting job results,
  • job titles that seem exciting and just sound “cool” to you, and
  • job responsibilities that you find within job descriptions that seem exceptionally interesting.

Read more…

Start Your Career Transition: Step 2 – Engage Others

October 10, 2011 2 comments


Step 2 – Engage Others

Now that you have a clear picture of yourself (see Step 1 post), take some time to engage others who know you, such as:  friends, family, co-workers, peers, clients, professional colleagues, fellow volunteers, etc.  Think of ~15-25 people who you can invite to participate in your journey – more is better.  Tell them you are seeking some feedback from people who know you or who you’ve worked with as you do some career and life planning.  Ask for 15 minutes of their time (or take the opportunity for a longer coffee meet-up or lunch, or …).


  1. How would you describe me and my work?  As if you were recommending me for a job or someone asked you as a reference.  Please be honest with things you think are good or might seem bad.
  2. How does it FEEL to work with me?  They may struggle with this one a little, but allow them time to think and process.  You may need to offer one word that another person used in response to this question to help get them started.

What You Are Doing During the Conversation

Read more…