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Our Blog Posts will help you reach your full potential in becoming a confident conversationalist. New topics each week.

Learn from a Leader: Believe in Yourself

I love the idea of a fresh start at the beginning of the... and then the “what if’s” set in. Am I the only one? 

Imagining the possibilities is exciting, planning big is inspiring - right up until I have to start taking action and question my own ability to execute. Fear takes over at that point.
 
I don’t think I’m the only one who feels this way. In fact,  Elaina Morris, President and CEO of Ascend Hospitality Group, says that in her experience mentoring the No. 1 thing that holds people back is fear they can’t execute. 
 
I’m curious, what do you do to move past that hurdle and reclaim your confidence? What conversations help you reset?

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Learn from a Leader: Leading with Authenticity

The end of the year is always a time of reflection. It's a time to evaluate what worked what didn't. Where you had success and where you can be even more successful next year.

Goal-setting often starts with what you've done in the past. So does authenticity. 

As former NFL GM Randy Mueller explains, doing the "crap jobs" develop character. It's part of your story and it's how you demonstrate authenticity as a leader. When people know you've failed or you've done the dirty work or overcome adversity they can better relate to you and follow your lead.

So when you evaluate 2021 don't gloss over where you've failed, overcome challenges and persevered. It's just as important as the success and the wins you've enjoyed. 

You can find more insights from Randy and other leaders on YouTube.

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Learn from a Leader: Starring Roles vs. Supporting Roles

learn from a leader Dec 05, 2021

Not every leadership role is a “starring” role. There are supporting roles, in fact, that might fit your personality and skillset more than being front and center. 

Don't downplay your leadership skills because they don't look like someone else's. There are leaders with strategic vision, who innovate, who chart the course and lead a large number of people on a grand scale. 
 
There are also leaders who find ways to make the greatest impact on their team, in their community, in their industry, with their families. It might be on a smaller scale but leadership is leadership and good leaders make an impact regardless of the number of people they're leading. 
 
Former major league soccer player Roger Levesque explained how he approached leadership during his professional career in a Learn from a Leader session. You can find more Learn from a Leader lessons on the Talk Sporty to Me YouTube channel. 

 

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Learn from a Leader: Knowing when to speak up

Leadership is process of discovery. Discovering how to be more effective, authentic, vulnerable. How to be more of your whole self and find your voice. 

It all starts with your willingness to be in the room and your ability to speak up. If you’re feeling your way through it and trying to figure out the best time to speak up, take the advice from Karen Thomas who suggests practicing with small moments when you know you have something useful to add. 

Great leaders have confidence in their ability to communicate, and do it well. Access the full Learn from a Leader library and the upcoming conversation on October 20 at 10am PT with former professional soccer player Roger Levesque using this link. 

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Learn from a Leader: Decision Making

 

Everything changes, including your decisions. The “right“ decision might change based on new circumstances. That’s why it’s far more important to focus on the process you used to make decisions, as opposed to the decision itself. 

Case in point, this interview was taped at the beginning of the pandemic with very little was known about anything. We are still talking about making decisions in the face of uncertainty.

Thanks to Steve Singh of at Madrona Venture group for sharing these insights during a Learn from a Leader session. You can register for the next live session with former professional soccer player Roger Levesque at 10am on October 20th.

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Learn from a Leader: Leading from Your Lane

There’s no one way to lead. Don’t worry about whether you’re doing it right or not. Focus on staying in the leadership lane that feels most comfortable to you and and if you're encouraging others to lead give them a comfortable space to lead.

Personally, I’ve led from the front of the room. (My 8-year-old self was frequently “volunteered” to go first at piano recitals.
 
I've led from the back of the room. (When you’re the only female in a room full of football officials, just being in the room is leadership.)
 
I’ve led when no one is watching. (By continuing to work after everyone goes home to ease the workload on a colleague.)
 
I've led when everyone is watching. (Thousands of people watch my post-game interviews after milestone games.) 
 
You can lead in a number of different ways. It starts by how you lead yourself as former NFL General Manager Randy...
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Learn from a Leader: Leadership Lessons from Improv

There’s a concept in improv comedy called “Yes, and…” It’s used to introduce new topics or scenarios. The performers agree to the premise before expanding on it.

But there’s more to it than just saying “Yes, and…” The key to making the concept work is letting go of expectations in that moment. Performers shouldn’t use “Yes, and…” to shoehorn their preconceived idea into the skit because the outcome is never very good. In fact, Jonni Ressler, improv comedian and CEO of Eleven 11 Solutions, says often it leads to confusion.

Performers need to drop their expectations of what they thought would happen on stage and be open to what is happening in the moment. And here’s where we find a business and leadership correlation. 

Leaders can create confusion when they incorrectly apply the “Yes, and…” technique. For example, let’s say you call your team together for a...

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Learn from a Leader: Own the Arena

Here’s a TV pro tip for making your eyes and your entire face look less tired – wear a dark or brightly colored shade of lipstick. The pop of color draws attention away from your eyes (and the dark circles or bags underneath them) and helps off-set a lack of sleep.

I’ve done this many times and I can tell you from personal experience it’s a small thing that makes a big difference, not only in what the audience sees, but in how I see myself that day.   

Showing up is half the battle as that quote goes, but as an on-air personality the way I show up counts. As a leader it’s not enough to show up. The way you show up is part of your brand and the message you communicate to others.

It’s up to you to own your space, or as former professional tennis player and past USTA president Katrina Adams would say “Own the Arena.” She joined the Learn from a Leader series to talk about her new book and the many leadership lessons she learned...

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Learn from a Leader: Collecting Talent vs. Building a Team

The NFL Draft isn't just about building a football team. It's talent evaluation being covered and talked about as a sports event. 

Every leader and business owner makes the same types of decisions as NFL general managers. They can also make the same types of mistakes. Here's the biggest one: acquiring talent vs. building a team.

There's  one thing that determines whether you are building a team or just acquiring talent: the job description itself. 

Former NFL GM Randy Mueller explains why that's key when evaluating talent and identifying the best fit for your team. 

Learn from a Leader is a monthly series hosted by Jen Mueller and features CEO's, visionaries, thought leaders and action takers. Join the conversation and the next Learn from a Leader session for free. 

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Learn from a Leader: Negotiating and Communicating

This is the time of year NFL free-agent deals make headlines. It's easy to look at those dollar amounts and think you'll never been in those kinds of conversations - except negotiating is a skill leaders use every day.

Creating buy-in is a form of persuasion and negotiation. Without it you won't foster the type of teamwork needed to be successful. Being a successful negotiator comes down to a few basic communication skills.

Sports agent Kelli Masters joined Learn from a Leader and shared her overall strategy for negotiating NFL contracts and it isn't about the numbers - it starts with knowing your stuff and being able to see different points of view. 

Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner negotiating his own contract in 2019. Most players prefer to let their agent handle the details and have the tough conversations. Those conversations could include the employer (the team) telling an an employee (the player) he isn't as valuable or important as he thinks he is. Who wants to hear...

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