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  • Writer's pictureStephen

Last week I gave a presentation on Authentic Leadership to a group of individuals from our community. Since it was a very brief presentation, I only had time to go through a couple of the most critical elements I believe are absolutely necessary for being an effective, authentic leader.  One of those elements is something I call WITHness, and since that flows well with my post last week about Connection, I thought I'd share some thoughts about that with you this week.


The basic idea of WITHness is when an individual or leader helps those who are around them feel like "we are all in this together." It's about being willing to jump in and do what's necessary to accomplish our mission.  It's marked by an attitude that no task is "beneath" me, so what can I do to help?

Now, before you stop reading because you don't think you are a leader, let me also say I believe leadership has way more to do with how we use our influence than it does where we may be on an organizational chart! And if that's true, then everyone has the capacity to help cultivate a sense of WITHness in lots of different areas of our lives, not just work.

Here are some examples of what WITHness can look like in action. As you read these statements and questions, think about the various areas of your life and how you might use some of them to foster a greater sense of WITHness with the people around you.

WITHness says:

Let's make sure we are clear about expectations and roles - who's doing what, when.

WITHness asks:

Just checking in.  How are things going and is there anything I can do to help?

WITHness says:

I know this is hard and a challenge right now, but I believe we can do this as we all pitch in together.

WITHness asks:

Where are the frustration points and what can we do to alleviate those as much as possible?

WITHness says:

Please speak up and let me know what I can do to help and support, because without your input, I may not be able to figure out what we need to do on my own.

WITHness asks:

What can we celebrate together, and who can we thank for their efforts?

I hope these spark some ideas and places where you could be intentional about creating WITHness in your life.  What areas came to your mind? How could you implement some of them this week? Where might you have influence that you didn't really think was a place of "leadership" but is a space you could work to cultivate WITHness?

I've said this before and I'm sure I will say it again, but we are all contributing to the culture of the spaces around us, so we might as well be intentional about the kind of culture we want to create with our influence and leadership!

Here's to being a Creator of WITHness this week!

Be well,


Center was created to support individuals and teams so they can live from their Purposeful Center.  We specialize in professional coaching and leadership development and we’d love to support you!  Click on our Services page to book a free consultation.

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  • Writer's pictureStephen

I know that last week I said I had one final idea to go along with my series on starting the new year well (ReflectProject (the Verb)Grace, and Forward vs Failure), however, I thought of one more concept I wanted to share before we switch gears.


Most of what we have been thinking about these past few weeks involve how we are managing ourselves. That's actually critical, especially when we remember we really only have control over ourselves and our own choices and responses to others and life circumstances. We can certainly have some influence over others, but the hard reality is, we can't actually control anyone else, just ourselves.

While all of that is true, it's also incredibly important that we recognize we can't travel this journey of life on our own.  We really do need others to help us learn, grow and navigate this journey.  Therefore, it is vital that we make intentional connections with others who can be good partners and helpers in our lives.  Allow me to suggest two connections I think are absolutely necessary for us to live well.

Connections that Stretch Us

Do you have people in your life who make you think and cause you to stretch?  I have some individuals like that in my life and I have to admit that sometimes I wish they wouldn't challenge me! Life would be so much easier if they didn't ask hard questions or challenge my thinking.  But when I pause and reflect on how they have actually helped me with their questions, I am incredibly grateful! I know I wouldn't be half the person I am without them! Their willingness to connect with me in ways that challenge and stretch me, helps me to grow and develop into a much more balanced, stable, and emotionally healthy individual.

Connections that Support Us

Do you also have people in your life who are in your corner no matter what may be happening?  I've heard these people described as "my ride or die," or as "the people who will come when I call, no questions asked." I've got a few people like this in my life too, and wow am I thankful for them! I know that I can count on them to support me no matter what may be happening.  They'll do whatever they can, whenever they can.  However, it's often hard for me to ask them for help.  It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking I should be able to navigate most things on my own rather than remembering that if the tables were turned, I would be honored to offer them that kind of connecting support too! When I do remember and ask for help, I am always humbled and grateful for the ways in which these people offer me their deep love and support, and I am a much more balanced, stable, and emotionally healthy person as a result of their connection.

What other types of connections have you found to be helpful in your own journey?  Are there individuals you need to thank for being an important part of your life? Have you been neglecting some of those vital connections, trying to manage on your own without help and support? How could you take some intentional steps to strengthen those critical connections?

Here's to being people of Connection this week!

Be Well,


Center was created to support individuals and teams so they can live from their Purposeful Center.  We specialize in professional coaching and leadership development and we’d love to support you!  Click on our Services page to book a free consultation.

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  • Writer's pictureStephen

In light of my recent messages related to ending and starting the new year well (ReflectProject (the Verb), and Grace), I thought I would add one more idea for us.

Forward vs Failure

Last week we thought about how we can offer ourselves and others Grace when we encounter situations where our intentions aren't fully met. That is absolutely critical to helping us maintain the right internal perspective and it can lead us to some significant actions. But what happens when we flat out Fail (which, by the way, is part of the inevitable process of being human!)? How can we face failure in a way so it doesn't completely sabotage us?

I'm so glad you asked. Here's my short answer - just keep moving forward! That's it.

Allow me to expand on that just a bit. As a person who has experienced failure, I know how easy it can be to allow that failure to stop me in my tracks. It's so tempting to fall into a space of self-loathing and self-criticism, flooding myself with lots of "shoulds" and "woulds," and then sprinkling in a hearty dose of "now what's" and "way to go's!"  I can literally become paralyzed from forward movement by focusing so much on the failure that I just get stuck there.  

However, if I can remember that most of the time failure isn't actually fatal, and in fact some of my greatest lessons of learning have come through my failures, then I can start shifting my attention off of the failure and back onto what it means to keep moving forward. This simple act of shifting my focus from the failure to a simple next step, can often be all that is necessary to help me keep moving forward.

Allow me to use an exaggerated example, but I think you'll get the application. Let's say I just got pulled over by a law enforcement officer for a traffic violation. If I stay focused on the failure (the ticket in my hand), I could sabotage myself into greater paralysis by making the decision that, "I should just stop driving altogether! That will prevent me from ever getting a ticket ever again!"  OR...I could shift my focus from the failure toward a simple movement forward and decide I am going to pay more attention to my driving while I am driving. (I know, seems like a wild idea, but you know how easy it is to get somewhere and realize your mind was somewhere else while you were driving and you don't remember exactly how you got there!)

Of course, it's easy to see how this connects to so many other situations. If we stay focused on the failure, we can get stuck in that space and sabotage ourselves. But, if we pause and think about how to shift our attention back to some simple forward movement, we can keep going and maybe even learn some valuable lessons from our failures!

Do you have any failures that are currently keeping you stuck? How could you start to shift your focus toward a simple step forward to help get yourself going again?  If you started by offering yourself some grace, how could that be the first step in shifting your focus? Then, what action could you take as a result of that grace which helps to move you forward?

Here's to focusing on Forward vs Failure this week!

Be Well,


Center was created to support individuals and teams so they can live from their Purposeful Center.  We specialize in professional coaching and leadership development and we’d love to support you!  Click on our Services page to book a free consultation.

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