Growing up on a cattle ranch in Wyoming, I learned to survive by being scrappy enough to make-do and hungry enough to keep moving. Department stores were big buildings in places 100 miles away, and if a rattlesnake came between me and where I wanted to go, guess who came out on top?

As a kid I learned a lot about mental toughness. When I joined the FBI, I learned even more. My defensive tactics and firearms training drilled one thing into me: never choke when faced with an obstacle that looks bigger, meaner, or uglier than you.

In other words, always be game-ready so you can have the mental toughness to rebound from disappointments and missed opportunities. Our coaches trained us to have a hardiness for enduring the downside of a situation.

Entrepreneurs, leaders, and business owners have tough situations to face in today’s competitive environment. They need to be ready to meet those challenges with their best mental game. (read more…)

If you think you are beaten, you are. … If you want to win, but think you can’t, it’s almost a cinch you won’t. … Success begins with a fellow’s will. … The man who wins is the man who thinks he can.” ~ Walter D. Wintle

When Ford CEO Alan Mulally was president at Boeing, it was widely expected that he would be made CEO after a decade of successes at the company, which included shepherding of the aircraft maker through a vibrant recovery following the heavy impact of 9/11.

Understandably, Mulally was devastated when Boeing passed him over for the top job. But he refused to harp on the negative because, as he said, “a bad attitude simply erases everyone else’s memory of the incredible progress achieved.” Why become “the bitter guy” and tarnish his great progress, he thought, when he could remain in everyone’s eyes as a proud, successful leader? (read more…)

Many leaders come about the role and title by accident. Due to good technical skills, a great work ethic, seniority, or the unexpected exit of a former leader, a new leader is promoted. Without warning, and often without support or development, the new leader goes from “one of us” to “one of them.” This type of unplanned instant promotion is the root of many management and leadership problems resulting in workplace drama in the form of low morale, poor team coordination, and lowered engagement.

If you fall into this category of leaders who have been promoted without support, training and development, here are three steps you can take to start developing yourself so you can become the leader you want to be.

Step 1: Define your leadership.

Step 2: Make friends with reality.

Step 3: Build a plan to close the gap.

Step 1: Define your leadership (read more…)

As an FBI agent making an arrest, success wasn’t an option — it was an absolute necessity if I wanted to stay alive. I couldn’t wait for success to show up before I became confident in my abilities. The confidence was there first; the successful arrest came afterwards.

Confidence is a critical building block for a successful career because it is the one mindset that will take you where you want to go. The good news is that confidence is a set of learned skills and beliefs.

No one is immune to bouts of insecurity at work, but they don’t have to hold you back. For entrepreneurs, leaders, and business owners, it means having the grit you need to get through those times of doubt and the presence of mind to learn the lessons they can teach you about yourself and others.

Here are five bulletproof confidence strategies to get you where you want to be:

recite-2fducy1. (read more…)

When I entered the workforce as a part of “the tech industry,” most people could do their jobs (even in tech) without using a computer. Today, every company is dependent on technology, to the point that just about every leader is to some extent a “tech” leader. Yet, we still have leaders who are directly responsible for teams who design, build, test and deploy complex, science- and technology-based stuff.

After years working in tech, I really enjoy supporting these STEM leaders in my executive coaching practice. While many other leadership groups receive training on the people skills a leader must refine, many STEM leaders don’t get that same encouragement. They’re more often sent to technical conferences. I don’t want to play too heavily on stereotypes, but it’s true that many science and technology leaders rise to their level of technical competence long before they achieve the same level of human competence. (read more…)