The Power Shift Podcast – Power Comes From Purpose with Christine Miller


My guest today is Christine Miller, President, CEO and board member of Melinta Therapeutics. I am so excited to have a chance to talk with you today, Christine Miller, I am a fan, you are a role model of how to be as a leader who is in her power, and using power for the good of all. So maybe let’s just kind of get started there in terms of those two terms, like, what does it mean to you to be in your power and to be in power?

Christine Miller:

First of all, thank you, Sharon, for having me today, I really appreciate it. You know, I do think that there is a difference. For me, being in your power is a part of knowing your purpose. Why are you here? What are you here to do? And really being able to tap into that, to be confident about your purpose, and staying true to that. As opposed to being in power. This is more of a positional thing, maybe even authoritative thing, but it doesn’t mean that it’s about you, that is more something sitting outside of yourself, per se. So for me, I focus on being in my power, knowing my purpose and staying true to that.


Fantastic. You’ve been someone who has experienced how power works in organizations. Now you have a positional power, just to understand you a little bit better, tell anything about your experiences earlier in your life that helped you to have this view of power that we’re going to hear more about.

Christine Miller:

I think it starts with my family and my upbringing. I come from a family that are actually immigrants to the US from Jamaica, and I think of my grandmother, my mother’s mother, who I felt was such a powerful force within our family. She was someone who really knew herself, what was important to her, she’s a person of faith. And she was so grounded. And she made sure that all of her children were grounded.

Christine Miller:

They knew who they were, what their purpose was. Serving others was something that was really important to her and my family. And that has carried out in the way I was raised. I watched my mother, work, have children. At one point, I was in high school, she had my brother, and was going to graduate school, and taking care of all of us, and being strong, and being able to overcome any obstacle.

Christine Miller:

I feel that there’s so much power in that, you know, like, having challenges, but overcoming those challenges, and getting stronger and more resilient in life. And so that has really shaped who I am as a person and as a leader.


Fantastic. I’m hearing this theme of purpose, come through very strongly for you. Tell us about what power means to you, because it sounds like it has something to do with this sense of purpose.

Christine Miller:

I believe that we are all on this earth for a purpose. There are special gifts that we have, that we are supposed to use to help solve problems. I have always been in pursuit of solving problems, it’s why I went to school for engineering, that’s something that I felt really called to do. And really being clear about what my purpose in life was. And for me, it’s really about solving problems to help people live better lives. Having that clarity is very powerful for me, because it helps guide my choices in life, it helps guide how I treat others. And it’s where I get my sense of power from. The fact that I know my purpose in life is very powerful to me.


So having such a strong sense of purpose, gives you a sense of power.

Christine Miller:



How did that play out as you were going through your career? Successes in early career, then you were at mid career, and now you are in a leadership position of a whole company. How did you create power in organizations, how did you use that power? And I thought it’d be really interesting to understand what it was like when you were in the middle of an organization, and then also, to reflect on it now that you are the CEO.

Christine Miller:

Well, it’s actually all the same, no matter which part of my career I’ve been in, it’s actually it’s all the same theme. And really, what it comes down to, is that by knowing what motivates me, which is really being in alignment with my purpose, that helped me to make good choices about what roles that I took, and also how I operated in those roles.

Christine Miller:

So, I think early back to my career when I was graduating from school, and I was looking for my first job. I had different job opportunities. And I remember having the choice between going to work in pharmaceuticals and going to work in chemicals. And I really thought to myself, what’s my purpose? My purpose is really to help people live better lives. And I guess maybe you could do that in chemicals in a way.

Christine Miller:

I had done internships at Merck, and there was something about Merck and the idea that medicines are for the people and not for the profits that really resonated with me. I actually got a text from my dad today he was telling me about how KEYTRUDA was doing so well and I was like, “Merck is rocking it.” They still continue to rock it because they really focused on medicines being for the people. Being able to make the decision to go to a company that had a purpose that was in line with my purpose, for me, was extremely powerful. And that was a real motivator for me in my role, making sure that I was doing the best that I could in my job to make sure that the company was successful with its overall purpose.


Yeah. And so there you are, with such a strong sense of purpose. And I imagine that you were interacting with people who had a different sense of power, right?

Christine Miller:



You were saying that maybe people experience that their purpose is thwarted, or they see other people ‘playing politics.’ What is your observation and reflection about politics and power? And like, what was your experience? And how do you transcend that?

Christine Miller:

Yeah. So there is politics, everywhere you go. Even if you don’t think a company is political, there’s total politics, because everyone has something that they’re trying to accomplish. The politics of a work environment is around everybody trying to navigate and get what they want, right? That navigation is the politics. Finding people that you are aligned with in common interest or common purpose within a company is something that is really essential, and actually helpful in allowing you to be successful in navigating through the politics of an organization.

Christine Miller:

And so, I know that when people hear politics, they think of it as a negative thing. But it actually isn’t a negative thing. It’s actually a useful tool. What I think when people think about politics, and they think about the negative pieces is when people use it in a way that is disproportionately advantageous to someone versus another. But we, especially as women, we have to be clear that politics is a part of life, and we need to know how to navigate it. And being able to connect with people that have a common purpose, and working with those people to advance your purpose, I think is essential.


And creating allies in the way and I know, you’ve been so effective too.One of the things that I’ve heard you talk about is that some people chase power, right? Title, money, position, and the way that I’ve heard you talk about it is that creates scarcity. So, people are looking at everyone as competition. So I think maybe say more about that.

Christine Miller:

Yeah. I think that this is tied to the politics piece, right? When you have the mindset that you know, power sits outside of you, and you’re having to chase power, right? And that there’s actually a limited amount of power, or even if that’s your objective, of trying to have power, this creates this concept of scarcity, and it creates a lot of anxiety for people, it actually creates a situation where people end up not being collaborative or end up having conflicts that could easily be avoided.

Christine Miller:

And, the way that I look at it is that power actually sits within you, it’s fueled by the fact that you know your purpose, you are confident in that purpose. And you don’t need to have something outside of you validate that. And so if you’re focusing on yourself and your purpose and looking to accomplish, what you need to be, and align with that purpose, then you’re not worried about what’s happening with someone sitting on the other end of the table or in another role, et cetera, because at the end of the day, there’s enough for everyone, because we all have our purpose.


So that scarcity mentality, you’re saying is kind of a traditional definition of power?

Christine Miller:



And you’re here, you’re exemplifying redefining power. And what I’ve seen for you is, your power is so purpose-driven and your purpose is to serve others not to serve yourself. So in that way, by definition, right? It doesn’t come from scarcity?

Christine Miller:

Correct. Yes, and I think this is extremely important to really focus on something outside of yourself in terms of purpose, because this is the way you can multiply your impact.


Tell us about that.

Christine Miller:

Well, if you’re here to just serve yourself, and you’re only thinking about yourself, there will always be more to do, more to get more to, you know, you’ll be chasing something that, quite frankly, I think will never be satisfied. Whereas if you focus on helping others, helping other people grow, or helping other people meet a need, you will actually see the impact of your efforts more visually, externally, and it will be in a way that’s more legacy building, in my opinion, right?


Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Christine Miller:

Right? I want to be able to leave an impact behind way after I’m no longer on this earth. And if I just focus on pleasing myself, and you know only my needs, then when I’m gone, what have I left?


Beautiful. Now tell us, what are your observations about people who are trying to use power, when you’re in the middle of an organization versus now you know, what it’s like when you can lead from the top of an organization. Is it different? What power do you have now? What’s different? And how can you help our listeners to understand kind of that evolution or that difference and what they can do now?

Christine Miller:

Yeah. Well, I think the power you’re talking about in that case is more a positional power, right? So there’s the idea that if you’re at the head of the ship, right? You have a more power than maybe if you were in the middle of an organization. But I will actually contend that you have as much power no matter where you sit within an organization. You hear the words of influencers, right?

Christine Miller:

There are people who can influence no matter where they’re sitting in the room. And it’s so funny, because people think or just assume that if you’re sitting at the big table, that you have a lot of power. And I got to tell you, you can be sitting at a table, like for anybody who wants to get a seat around the table. You’ll get at that table and you’ll realize there are a lot of seats, but not everybody has power.


Tell us.

Christine Miller:

Well, remember, I said power is in you. So, if you are around the table and you don’t have any ‘power’ the question is, what’s in you? Are you confident? Do you have a purpose for being at the table? What are you doing with your seat around the table? And if you’re not clear about what your purpose is, what your vision is, and what you’re actually trying to drive with your seat at the table, you might as well not even be there.

Christine Miller:

And this matters for whatever level you are in an organization. I contend that there is a table at every level of the organization. The question for you shouldn’t be, “What would I do, if I was at the table where the CEO is at?” The question is, “What am I doing? Where I am right now? And what impact am I going to have in this role right now?” I do ask a very interesting question to my team.

Christine Miller:

So, I had the opportunity to actually meet with everyone in the company since I joined. And as I’ve had several one on ones and small group meetings, there’s one question that I ask people. I say to people, “Do you see this chair?” Oh, you probably can’t see it. But let me see if I can get my camera. But if you see this chair, this opaque chair, and you were sitting in my chair, what would you do with the company?

Christine Miller:

And that always… well some people like, right away, they’re like, “Oh I know what I would do.” And there’s some people who have to really think about it. And the point, the reason why I asked the question is because, first I want to hear people’s ideas, because I think that’s so critically important, it helps me to shape kind of how I think about the future and the company. But I also do it because I want people to think about what is their vision? What do they want? Just because you’re not the CEO doesn’t mean that you don’t have the opportunity to bring that vision to life. You do, you have the power to do that.


Absolutely. So, you talked about the family that you grew up in with these very strong female role models, and really instilled a sense of strength and resilience in you. Anything that you want to share about your own experiences as a black woman in the workplace, radiating and using your power, what reflections do you have?

Christine Miller:

So it’s an interesting question. And I have to say that, I don’t know, what would have happened if I didn’t have these strong women. And, really supportive, male models in my life as well. I mean, my dad, made me feel like I could do anything, he was supportive. I remember he would sit down with me when I was working on my semester plan in undergraduate and he was like, “Okay, what courses do you need to take?” And he was helping me check all the boxes and making sure I had everything straight.

Christine Miller:

And I, what I found was that my parents and my family made me feel as if I could do anything. And it didn’t matter, the color of my skin, I could do anything. And that knowing of support was tremendous. And through my career, I’m very often the only person of color around the table. Almost always the only black person around the table. And many times the only woman around the table, although I’m so excited about my gender diverse team that I want now.

Christine Miller:

And, I got comfortable with not having people that looked like me, but just because people don’t look like you doesn’t mean that you don’t have things common with the people that are around you. It’s really important to get to know people let people get to know you create those allies, because that’s going to be important for you, in your life and in your career. Being authentic is really important, as well.

Christine Miller:

What you see with me is what you get. And being okay with that is important. I mean, I’ve definitely experienced microaggression. I’ve experienced all out racism, but I don’t let that deter me. And you have to decide when you’re going to speak up against certain behaviors. I’m a firm believer in giving people feedback, and I give people feedback in a constructive way. But I do not let any microaggression or even racism, stop me. And there’s times that you have to take a call if there is an environment that you’re in, that isn’t conducive to allow for you to be able to flourish and not live your purpose, then you leave.


Yeah, thank you, for those transparent reflections. And, we had a chance to do some coaching together as you were ascending into this role. And I wonder if you could share with us, there’s just like, you were saying, there’s plenty, as with any professional, especially women, there’s many kind of challenging situations where we might get kind of hijacked out of our power, we have to get back in our power or you want to be intentional to stay in your power.


I’ve observed in you such a strong sense of faith. And that seems to me to be one of the feathers in your quiver to kind of stay in your power or get back in your power. And I wonder if there’s anything else that you want to share with us about how you stay in your power or get back in your power?

Christine Miller:

Yeah, so my faith is actually the is the clear anchor. And it’s tied to the fact that I believe, from a spiritual and a faith based perspective that we all have a purpose in life. And I absolutely feel called to my purpose, I will never forget, when, five years ago, I was interviewing for a lateral role, and I remember being questioned, like, “Are you sure you want this lateral role?” And I said, “You know, my purpose is not about the title, my purpose is about making sure I have a seat around the table to steer a business.” And if I have that seat at the table, that allows me to be in my purpose, then I can stay true to that.

Christine Miller:

And that’s my anchor, in terms of my career, but how I stay anchored in my purpose is that I really take the time out everyday, maybe several times a day, you’ll see actually, in my office, I have a little prayer meditation stool. And I take time out. I had a long day and a great board meeting yesterday, and you came in my office, you saw me on my stool, and I was just taking that time to recenter and to be grateful.

Christine Miller:

Being grateful is so important, really spending the time to reflect. I journal a lot. You know, one of the things that I did, especially leading to this role, is I took the time to actually think about all the times in my life where I had overcome challenges, and how that came to be and how I felt that God had driven things in my life.

Christine Miller:

It was all I felt driving to this moment, in my life that allows me to be in a position to have a vision for a company, being able to share that vision and help bring it to life and to be able to serve others in a way, that is, for me, motivating, but also motivating others. Being able to see that kind of path in my life and being grateful for it also gives me confidence about the future. That’s also why I’m able to stay grounded in who I am, and my purpose, because I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. It doesn’t mean that I’m not going to have obstacles, and it doesn’t mean that I’m not going to have challenges, but I know that I will overcome them.


When you were kind of coming into this next level role, what I recall is, you really felt like, “My whole life was making me for this moment.” Right? You are a leader who is so self managed, you are so intentional, right? Even in your daily practices, and how powerful an executive presence you have, right? And how powerful an impact you are able to have, because you always come back to your center, right? That you are so grounded in your faith, in your gratitude, in the clarity of your vision, and you can see how it’s enabling you to be so successful.


So just as a final question, what you really wanted to have power for is to be able to create the culture in your company. So, what is your vision? And what can each of us do to play a part in the vision, I mean, maybe not in your company, necessarily, unless we live in your company, but in our own lives, and in our culture?

Christine Miller:

It’s interesting, because when people talk about business, they often think about business strategies, and the numbers and all that. And that’s important, because you have to make your numbers. But I believe that really what drives companies is people and culture, so that’s where I’ve spent a lot of time working with my team, on building just that. My vision is to build a company that is a high performing team culture where you feel empowered, and that we have the right people in the right roles, and that they feel rewarded. The recognition is there, and they have what they need to be successful, we have the right processes and governance and we have the right products, that we’re meeting patient and customer needs.

Christine Miller:

And then we are just driving great performance, because we know that we have all these other pieces in place with a clear strategic vision and priorities. And that we do what we say we’re going to do. Credibility is so important, you need to do what you say you’re going to do. I believe that if you have all of these things brought together, that you will be successful with whatever you put your business actual business target to. I have a great team, great organization. I’m feeling very privileged to be able to be with them.

Christine Miller:

To me, it’s not about leading, it’s about the followership we have and we create with each other in the organization, I believe that creates amazing results.


Fantastic, fantastic. Thank you, Christine Miller, President, CEO and board member of Melinta Therapeutics, a leader in her power, and using her power for the good of all.


The Power Shift podcast is all about redefining the idea of “power” and how women use it for good, not with the traditional idea of force. Listen to thought-provoking and practical interviews to help listeners understand power from every angle– how a person gets ‘in her power’, how power works in the workplace, and how power can shift.

Host Dr. Sharon Melnick is a business psychologist who’s a best-selling author, speaker, and sought-after executive coach who helps women executives be an intentional Culture Carrier in their organizations and helps women get promoted to next level opportunities. Because every woman in her power is a Change Agent!

You can listen to The Power Shift Podcast with Dr. Sharon Melnick here at these links:

How to Create the Culture on your Remote Team (and the family members in your household)

I want to acknowledge and thank you today.  
You’ve been putting out so much energy and caring to take care of the people around you – your team, your family, and people who might be suffering more than you in this time.  That’s the kind of person you are, and I want you to appreciate yourself for it. 
After spending the week talking to my individual clients and leaders at companies who have brought me in to train their teams on Success under Stress, I’ve heard some themes over and over.   
A common one was: how to ‘get’ your team members to be productive while still being supportive. And a variation on that was how to ‘get’ your children to accomplish what they need to? 
The answer is that WFH is a new way of interacting with your team and family, so its an opportunity to do a reset.  What you want is to be intentional about creating that culture.  
First, Be Intentional about who YOU show up as. 
Think about the outcome you want for your team or family. Then ask yourself,  Who do I need to show up as in order to create that culture? 
You have an opportunity to re-define what is needed of you as a leader and as a parent. You might think first about how can you ‘get others’ to act a certain way, but the prerequisite for that is ‘how do YOU need to show up’ to create conditions for them to act that way.  I call this idea your Horizon Point.   You have probably been busy reacting to other people, but instead Ask yourself: who do I want to show up as?  That is your purpose, that you CAN control!
Second, Be Intentional about the culture you create 
You can lead a team discussion about what is the culture we want to have on your team.  I call this the Ideal Day discussion.  “What would an Ideal Day look like now?” How would we communicate together; what is the most important work, and what’s less;  how can we maintain a sense of feeling connected and have ‘virtual hallway chats’, etc When you lead this discussion, you are starting to create a collective positive future vision that bonds everyone.  Your ongoing conversations will be about how to reverse engineer your interactions to create that day.  
You can also do this with your family too – they and your pets are your new co-workers!   Ask your loved ones “what is the experience we want to have as we go through this time together?”  Go around the dinner table and get everyone’s input.  Maybe each person gets to plan an evening activity. Maybe do a dance break or take an afternoon walk together (or maybe you need space to do this on your own). The idea is: How do each of us need to act in order to have that experience? 
When you crowdsource input to your Ideal Day from everyone involved, then all your team or family members feel they have ‘skin in the game’. They are bought-in, and want to do their part.  Tapping their own motivation is 100x stronger than you trying to ‘get them’ to be productive.  
Third, Be Intentional about your Schedule 
Structure sets up success.  You want to impose a structure on your day.  Think about Steven Covey’s concept of the ‘big rocks’ where you populate your schedule with the MOST important activities first, then build all your meetings and interactions around them.    Are you building your day around your most important activities?  (e.g., a morning routine of exercise, meditation, time for writing own your 3 big things for the day) that sets your head up to in the right place?  And are you creating a structure for your children?  They will benefit from routine and predictability.  Make it a part of your Ideal Day discussion to ask about what activities they want to do so you can balance them with the activities that you want them to do. 
Here’s to your Success under Stress, 

How to Shift From Fear to Focus

With the gyrations of the stock market, apocalyptic visions of health, and an uncertain future,  many of us are feeling either a low grade ‘back of the mind’ anxiety, or more full blown fear to the point that its hard to concentrate or make decisions.  I noticed myself totally distracted with checking my news outlets every 10 minutes. 

There have been moments I’ve gone down the rabbit hole of fear. What if I lose my business? What if my parents get sick?  What if we run out of food supplies? What if the world as we know it no longer exists?

Here are 3 questions I ask myself to pull myself up from the downward spiral of anxiety. Hope they help you shift from Fear to Focus.

I ask myself: 

1. What are the mental movies I’m playing that are setting me up to feel this way? 
Even though I haven’t seen the movie Contagion, I’ve already ‘seen’ that movie playing for a fleeting moment in my own mind. Not to mention the scenarios of all the money being sucked out of the economy, having all business come to a grinding halt, and no one is working.  At that point, I realize it’s time to use the remote control to change the channel!
Then I can ‘remember who I am’ and ‘what I’m here for’. I can reconnect with the abundance in the world. I look out at the water view outside my window. I look out at the trees in the natural world, continuing to grow unphased by the human scenario. I appreciate all the people I am in constant connection with and feel their prayers and love. Then the world feels full of possibilities again, and I can get back to problem-solving.   

2. What part of my body can help me access a positive and focused state? 
When I notice that I am spinning with negative movies inside my head, I seek ways to get out of my head. The best remedies are going for a run/exercise (or a walk in nature), or put on a song that reflects the mood  I want to be in and do a dance break (Yes, why not do a dance break with all the people you are sheltered in with!)
If you find that your thoughts are racing and it’s hard to concentrate, you may simply need to get back to a state of calm. The fastest and simplest way to do that is through your breath.

The exhale part of your breath is the part that gives you the most relaxing effect. Any time you breathe OUT for a longer count than when you breathe IN, you will start to experience more calm. There are many variations on this theme, but an easy one to remember is to breathe in through your nose for 4 counts, breathe out for 8 counts – within 2-3 minutes you should start to feel a greater sense of calm.
If it is frustration you need to release, you may to do something that helps you “let it out.” ‘ My go to is the punching bag. After a few minutes of taking it out on the bag, I can think clearly and have more sense of possibility for the future. If you don’t have access to equipment right now, try doing the “karate chop”. Place your hands, palms facing each other, in front of your torso. Vigorously move your arms up and down as if you are doing a karate chop. If you do this as vigorously as you can for 1-2 minutes, you’ll dissolve a lot of the pent up negative energy. (Those of you who have been in my Resilience trainings may remember this, its one of the things I hear you practice the most 😉

3. How might this be happening FOR me, not TO me
We may not be taking this situation personally, it does feel like these changes are happening “to us” (and at too rapid a pace). When I think that there is nothing I can do to prevent this tsunami of events from occurring, I feel helpless. Even if I do everything possible to protect myself and my loved ones, will I be able to keep them from getting sick, or losing their jobs, or even from losing my business? Then I’m in a mental swirl of fear.

So, I’ve been asking myself the question: How might this be happening FOR me, not TO me. What relationships will this give you more bandwidth to develop (including with yourself?) What skills can you develop that will set you up for your next level? What realizations will this force you to have that you’ve been hiding under the rug? 

This question empowers me, and I hope it enables you to see how to turn crisis into opportunity as well.

I now have talked to a lot of people who are bonding with spouses or family members in ways they hadn’t had the time for (or had been unconsciously avoiding through long hours at work). Others are using this collective restriction to ‘catch their breath’ and learn new skills or pay attention to projects long dropped due to lack of time. 

Personally, it’s requiring me to take what I’ve been doing mostly offline and bring it online for many more people, and take this video-friendly but social media shy gal to grow into sharing herself and her strategies daily! I’ve needed that ‘kick in the butt’ for a while, and I am turning this crisis into an opportunity.  

So, journal about or share with your family tonight your answer to the question: How might this be happening FOR you, not TO you? 

Do you want to make others feel they belong?

I was already a foot shorter and I shrunk further in their presence.

Yup, that’s how I felt in my college years.  The culture seemed to be dominated by tall men who went to prep school. They played basketball or rowed crew.

Their discussions seemed to take place literally above my head.

I felt I didn’t belong.  At social gatherings and parties, I felt like I didn’t have anything to add. I felt those parties were not for me. Sometimes I would just slink home from the party, by myself

We all have a story (more likely MANY stories) of times we felt we didn’t belong.

As my colleague Denice Torres (former C-suite leader and President of multiple divisions at Johnson and Johnson) says:

Flex time, free lunches, and modest raises won’t fix the problem of a tight labor market and 20% of millenials changing jobs each year. We’ve “been there, done that.” The revolution required by leaders and their organization begins in the heart. Through genuine caring about our people and working to ensure every individual feels like they are heard, appreciated, rewarded for their work, and celebrated for their differences we can dramatically improve our financial performance and employee engagement.

Does this sound good but maybe naïve or pie in the sky?

Actually, we’ve got numbers on our side on this one.

According to Gallup, companies who created this sense of Belonging posted sizable gains through the last recession, compared with a significant decline at those who didn’t.

Recent research even found that a sense of Belonging is as good a retention strategy as good pay and benefits  

When we are happy and feel connected we are more productive.

Are you creating a sense of belonging on your team?  In your organization?  In your family and community?

Here are five things you can start doing today to create a sense of Belonging around you:

1. Check in – A recent study by EY found that people feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally.  Yes it can be that simple, Just Ask.  And Listen!

2. Give Personal Recognition –  Recognize people for their contributions. This is the #1 thing that makes them feel they belong.For example, in my virtual coaching program that gets women next level roles, I start each coaching call asking for ‘wins/accomplishments.’ When a participant shares,  I reflect back to her the qualities that enabled her to create that win. Then I require her to “own it.”  From this watering of her soil, you can feel each woman blossom and take chances she wouldn’t before.

3. Pay personal attention Everyone around you is going to have some differences on dimensions of diversity, whether that is gender, race, age, cognitive styles.   Elicit their input and opinions, value their ideas (especially from those that don’t speak up as much). Care about their concerns.

4. Inspire – Create a vision that is so inspiring it raises everyone’s sense of possibility.  Make it a burning platform. Striving toward a stretch goal with a compelling purpose bonds your team members to one another and to the organization.

5. Create a No B.S. Zone around you.  Be real, talk like a human! Move out from behind the shield of corporate speak.  Be appropriately vulnerable.

Do you want to create a sense of belonging in order to increase loyalty, retention, engagement, and productivity?

Denice and I are training leaders in companies how to create a sense of belonging.  Email me to learn more about what we’re doing to help companies create this in their culture.

Thank you for making your world a better place,


P.S.   When I was asked to speak at two of my ‘big number’ College reunions,  some of those ‘tall guys’ I never spoke to came up and talked with me. We immediately connected and talked ‘real’ with one another.   That greatly increased my sense of belonging and now I/we all crave to be together.

How to Remove Last Year’s problems and Make a Fresh Start in 2019

One moment the water is calm and the next moment I am swept away faster practically faster than I could react. 

That’s what it was like for hours when I was surfing in Panama over the holiday.

The wave comes with a force that is beyond one’s control.  It surrounds you and sweeps you into its current.  You must deal with it.

It’s the same when you are in a situation that is acutely stressful (like my new client who’s business partner started to push her out of the business).

Or a situation which is chronically frustrating (like a boss who won’t support your promotion or a relationship mate who is always ‘all about them’ and makes you feel bad about yourself).

In these situations, you feel like your life is being affected by the force of someone else’s ‘stuff’. You feel thwarted, you spin and obsess about it… but you are still subject to their forces.

On a surfboard, as in life, when a wave surrounds you,  you have choices.

You can be overcome and hold on in fear. That will keep your head looking down at the board and hands gripping the sides in hope.  What happens next?  That’s right, you’ll nose dive into the wave!

You’ll get tossed around, and lose your sense of who you are and where you’re going. You’ll end up with an outcome you didn’t want AND suffer in the process.

Or you can maximize what you can control: lift your chest up, redistribute your weight, and ride the wave with a thrill.

That’s what it means to be ‘in your power’.

Most of the situations that created stress and drained your energy in 2018 were perpetuated because you were not ‘in your power’.

A lot of people are going to have a 2019 . . . that’s 2018 all over again.

So the most important question to ask yourself starting now is:

“What am I going to do differently in 2019 to make THIS year the year I live up to my potential and break through to my exciting next level?”

Because the truth is, the only path that’s going to get you to that highly paid position where you have significant impact is YOU knowing how to be IN YOUR POWER.

You want to make it a practice to find your power.  You can do a simple Power Analysis: “Where’s my power in this situation?”

You are in your power when you can take actions that get you the outcome you want. If you have been passed over for a promotion or aren’t getting the support you need to advance you are not in your power.

For example, a new client felt burned by a boss who wasn’t advocating for her and conflicted between loving her job but not getting what she feels she deserves.    She hired me to help her get her desired promotion and raise.

Within our first session, we identified where she could be ‘in her power’ and this seemingly stuck situation suddenly had many solutions.   One solution came from creating a stakeholder map and looking beyond relationships with her frustrating bosses. We realized there is a very senior woman in her group who could serve as advocate and Sponsor for her. We put in place an initiative to connect and involve this senior woman.  Within 2 weeks, they are in ongoing conversation and my client has new visibility over her situation (and a Sponsor on the way). If I were a betting gal, I’d give it 3 months until she has her promotion and raise!

Similarly if you are in a business partnership or a personal relationship where you lack the confidence to feel good about yourself inside, you are not in your power.

For example,  my (high achieving) client had a boyfriend who was ‘all about him’ and put her down. When she came to me, she didn’t have a voice and she couldn’t seem to get out of it.

Where was her power? Yes, she could set boundaries,  Boundaries are being in your power because they are not meant to change others’ behavior, they are meant to protect you.

But he was so relentless it was hard to enforce them.

So where was her ULTIMATE POWER?  She was staying in the relationship because she believed SHE needed HIS validation in order to feel beautiful.  She gave away her power, thinking that it was what he said to her that determined her beauty.

Once we did my Magic Bullet Exercise she got unblocked and connected to a newfound love for herself.  With this deep knowing of her own worth, she no longer looked to him in order to feel loveable.  Then she didn’t need to stay in the hurtful dynamic in the hopes she could get him to love her.  She was free of suffering and is playing bigger in the world.

Do you want to find where your power is in a situation where you are stuck, and spinning, and playing small?

If so, I’m opening my schedule for 5 people to have a ‘Power Analysis’ Strategy Session.  We will help you get unstuck and find your power so you can influence others and have the confidence to increase income and impact.  Simply click here to make an appointment for our consultation.

Make 2019 the year you stop spinning, you stop playing small, and you finally step into your power.  Then, and only then, will you make 2019 the year you reach your exciting next level.

Happy New Year!


P.S.  Thanks for asking, yes surfing was a blast until I got stung by a stingray

How to Have a Strong Personality without Coming on Too Strong

Do you have a strong personality and been told you come on too strong? If so, I bet you are someone who gets results and goes the extra mile. The Problem? You get to the answer much quicker than other people. Other people frustrate you. And then you have a frustrated tone. You get controlling.

You’ve probably been given feedback about it. (And if you are a woman, you feel in a struggle around how to come across as “confident”, but NOT “arrogant” or “strident”.)

Do you ever wish you knew: “how do I make other people accountable and WANT to do better work? And how do I stay calm instead of reacting to them?”

Here are two strategies to get you started…

1. Shift from “doing tasks” to “doing people”

In every communication there are two levels: the level of the “Content” (the information, your request) and the level of the “Process” (how the person feels in the relationship with you).

Which level do you pay the most attention to? Probably the “Content”, the point you want to make.

Which level do most people pay attention to first? How they feel in the relationship with you.

People ONLY listen to your information and requests once they feel comfortable and respected in the relationship with you. Feeling dismissed causes stress and constricts listening. Say things with an intent to preserve other’s self-esteem and people will be motivated to do what you ask.

Whenever possible, try to ‘make people right’ instead of making them wrong. Build on their ideas instead of tear them down.

(I know you: I’m not asking you to do this to be “nice”! Do it because it increases their follow through. Just like our stomachs absorb aspirin better when it has enteric coating around it.)

2. Shift from controlling to collaborative and get better results

Your judgment about people who don’t have your standard of excellence sets up your tone. See if you relate to my client’s situation: “The compliance people in my company said they couldn’t give me the waiver I needed to grow the business. I got frustrated and told them they needed to find a solution.” (Then my manager told me I needed to deal with the situation better!)

Here are a few excerpts from our coaching session about it…

Me: When the lawyers said they couldn’t give you the waiver you needed to grow the business, what was your explanation of why they did that?

Client: They are lazy….

Me: And what does that mean about you?

Client: About me?? Well…they were setting me up to do a bad job.

Bingo! That’s why you get frustrated. A confidence concern gets activated. Your dedication to doing things right feels threatened. You think failure will be YOUR fault. So you try to regain some control.

Here’s how she worked it out by the end of our session. Notice she changed her “story”:

Client: “I now see that maybe it’s not that they are stupid, it’s just that they didn’t know how to do the ‘out of the box’ waiver I asked for.”

“Instead of controlling, I want to show up like a “pilot” who is in calm and in control of herself – then guide people through the stormy part of the skies…”

Next time she gets frustrated because she sees people as ‘lazy’, she will instead ask structuring questions that help them tap their problem solving and bring others along to catch up to her thinking.

What are your best ways of having a strong personality without coming on too strong?