About Marjorie Johnson

Marjorie Johnson

Four Strategies to Intentionally Grow Your Career

 

 

 

In life, everything depends on being intentional about our thoughts, goals and actions. This is one of the reasons why we hear so much about the value of Mindfulness in so many areas of our lives. In our busy, achievement-oriented “go, go, go” world, it is especially important to pause, and reflect on where we are now, where we are going next and why! This is especially essential in our careers. As an executive and career coach, I work with Millennials through Boomers who want to take their career to the next level or in a different direction. Many lack clear vision about what they really want, what a change might look like or how to achieve it.

Any career achievement begins with a thoughtful assessment of where one is today: what skills and experiences we bring to the table, what we value and what we want our unique meaningful contribution to be. When we approach our work life with this mindful awareness every day, we are more likely to find our actions are aligned with our goals.

Thus, the potential we have for future career success is based on consistent excellence delivered today and every day. The habit of commitment all day, every day demonstrates motivation to achieve at higher levels. Promotions are not just given. They are earned by those who provide value beyond ‘doing their job’ as well as showcasing their contribution. The energy we put in day by day, along with requests for greater challenges and more responsibility, can open the door to higher roles.

The following four strategies will help you on a path for growth! 

1. Begin each day with some time dedicated to quiet.
• Consider formal Mindfulness Meditation, prayer or simply breathing and reflection.
• Invest the time to be in touch with what is important; where and how we want to show up today.

2. Deliver excellence today.
• Define what your company needs to thrive.
• Consistently know and deliver your strengths according to company needs.
• Demonstrate integrity by making decisions based clearly on your values.

3. Think BIG and communicate your vision for tomorrow.
• Proactively assess what the Company wants/needs.
• Look for the source of department/organizational challenges.
• Speak of solutions you can deliver when you discuss any problem with management.

4. Network
• Build relationships outside your department and company.
• Always give to get – listen for opportunities where you can help advance someone else’s objectives.
• Connect face to face: email is overused and easily ignored. Respect others and communicate collaboratively to build long-lasting alliances. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) matters often more than technical skill.

Marjorie works with organizations and individuals to identify what is important, and to communicate in ways that build collaborative relationships to achieve those goals. Her coaching incorporates “conversational intelligence”,* mindfulness, strategic thinking and planning so actions are aligned with meaningful goals.

*Judith Glaser

Contact Marjorie for executive or career coaching or to create a mindfulness program in your organization at www.ascendconsulting.net

**Did you know that Marjorie works with non- profits?**

Executive directors and their teams benefit by her coaching, strategic planning retreats and team building.  For more information call Marjorie at 484-875-3040 or 610-696-4443, or e mail  Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net

A Guide to Letting Go

You have identified an ending or loss, now what?

I wish I could say there were 5 easy steps but that would trivialize your loss.

There is a process to go through that may ease the process.

First, give yourself time and space to feel what you are feeling. Sadness, anger, frustration or ambivalence- all are allowed as you let go of something or someone. This means having compassion and patience with yourself when you think you should be “getting over it faster”.

Acknowledge the positives in what you are letting go of- even with an addiction or other self-hurtful pattern it worked for a reason…it gave you relief or distraction.  What did you give you? What have you learned? As you acknowledge the aspects you will miss, you are clearing the way to think about what you need now to support yourself during this change.

Create a ritual or process to honor what you are letting go of.  A letter to the person or substance lost, a tree you plant in their honor, something active that uses the whole self- your feelings, thoughts, and body.  This integrates the many ways that grief inhabits our person.  If possible, share this with a close friend or therapist so you have a witness and support.

Identify what you need to put into your life to support you.  Is it comfort and guidance from others, time for prayer or meditation, physical exercise?  Professional help and a support group can make the difference between staying stuck and gently moving through the stages of grief.

Begin to think of what is possible.  Not nirvana but, what is possible for you now with the new reality of your life?  As painful as it is, what may emerge as growth, new awareness or a direction for you in the next months?  This is when we know we are coming out of the darkness…when we begin to have hope for the future.

As you go through this cycle of death and loss to new life, know that you are witnessing the truth of what it means to be human and that there others who are willing to walk this journey with you. I am one.

 

Also, check out my counseling website: www.ascendcounselingPA.com.

Celebrate Endings to Open Space for Beginnings

It’s a new year, which means many of us are setting goals and making plans for new beginnings in 2018. There is talk everywhere about New Year’s Resolutions and making a fresh start. All good stuff!

Where will we find room for newness: the new thoughts, behaviors, emotions and spiritual renewal, if we don’t first consider what we need and (hopefully) are ready to let go of?

The goodbyes, the endings; the losses are harder for us to willingly embrace and yet, these are a necessary part to the cycle of change. When you think about it, a new beginning really can’t occur without the ending of something else. In the Christian tradition, this is represented by the parable of the seed that must fall to the ground before new life can spring up. Conversion or a dying to one way of living, one “path”, is necessary before we can turn to embark on another. For those who practice Mindfulness Meditation, there is an invitation to turn from grasping at or rejecting parts of life as good or bad. Instead, we turn toward accepting all that is occurring in one’s life simply because it is occurring. Those who have suffered loss of a marriage or through a loved one’s death, must accept that reality before they can begin to start a new life. This turning from and letting go is a painful necessity before new life can begin.

So, as you think about your New Year’s Resolution, I encourage you to think about what you will let go of to clear space for your new goal. Go beyond identifying obstacles that might hamper you from achieving your goal. What ending is actually a part of the new beginning you are wanting to bring to fruition in 2018? Is there a habit you need to say goodbye to and even mourn the loss of? Is there a job or relationship that you have outgrown and need to release before you can find the job or relationship that will help you grow?
Welcome this process of letting go as a prerequisite step to beginning your new path. Beginning with “clearing the brush”, busyness and anxiety before you can till the soil and begin planting. If you do, you will find that new life begins to emerge.

I specialize in coaching people in the learning to let go of what is holding them back. Contact me if you’d like to begin the conversation. Marjorie@ascendconsutling.net

Reminder! Mindfulness Meditation Group Starts Jan 23, 2018

Starting January 23, 2018
6 Weeks ($180) includes CD “Come to the Quiet”
Location: 937 Prichard Avenue, West Chester, PA 19382
Time: 7:30 – 8:45 PM
To register email Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net or call (610) 696-4443

Unsure what “Mindfulness” is:  read my blog “Mindfulness is the Secret to Success!” for more information and see what all the hype is about! 

A Word About Anxiety

Mindfulness. Mindfulness is the word. Anxiety is based on the past or the future. We have regrets or guilt about what did happen (usually we did or failed to do or say) in the recent or distant past.  Future based anxiety is about what might happen in the next minute, day week or year.  When griped by anxiety, our mind races and ruminates about how to fight, flee, freeze or appease the perceived danger.  Our minds are trying to problem solve about something that is not actually solvable (the past) or about the catastrophe that we are anticipating.

 

Here is where mindfulness has been found to be ever so helpful!  When we are mindful we are fully present to this moment, without guilty thoughts or anticipated fears.  After all, it is only the present moment that we actually have.  Extensive research has been conducted, over the past 30+ years, since Jon Kabat Zinn developed the program called, “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction.  His work has been adapted and applied to Fortune 500 companies like Google and Proctor and Gamble, government agencies like NASA and all 4-armed services, and in hospitals and schools. Why? Because when we are mindful staying in this moment, our focus improves, anxiety, rumination and guilt is decreased and we are calmer and healthier.

 

So how do we begin?  With just this moment!  Simply sit quietly, close your eyes and focus your attention to the breath wherever you sense it in our body. You may feel it in your belly or chest as it expands on the inhale and falls on the exhale. Or, you may feel  the air as it comes in and out of your nostrils or mouth.  When your mind wanders, no worries that what minds do, simply come back to gently attending to the breath. No criticism, just re-focus on the physical sensation of breathing.  There are many techniques that I teach my coaching and counseling clients but the breath practice is always there for us! We can always tune in to our breath, one breath, one moment at a time. Try it. When you do, you will find your heart rate slows, blood pressure lowers and your body and mind are a bit calmer.  Anxiety quiets along with our busy mind as we attend to this one breath.

 

Want to learn more?

My next Mindfulness support group begins in January 2018. Contact me at Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net.  I’ve also trained many  company leaders in Mindful Leadership- Call (484) 875-3040 to plan a program that will boost engagement, alignment and productivity at your company or non- profit!

 

Team Facilitation and Team Building

Looking for relevant, inspiring training and team facilitation for your company or organization? Recent satisfied clients are Concilio, and The Hill at Whitemarsh,  Women in Business at Philadelphia Energy Solutions,  The Exton Chamber of Commerce, The Womens’ Business Connection and many more!

Check out more at www.ascendconsulting.net  or send me an email at Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net

Overcoming Communication Roadblocks

Mary, a valued high producer at her company, has a difficult time performing one-on-one check-ins with her staff. As a self proclaimed introvert, she is unsure of topics to discuss beyond assigning and reviewing work product. Jack, a successful, senior executive, is courting a potential new employer. He is undecided whether the company culture is the best fit for him. Sarah works in a matrixed team, where most of her staff reports to “Pat”, who works in a different department. She feels frustrated that herself and her peers are not “rowing in the same direction” Sarah is concerned her employees feel pulled in 2 different directions.

All three of these talented, conscientious leaders are challenged by a common issue: communication. Beyond talking and hearing, communication gets at two of human beings’ most basic needs: the need to connect and the need to be safe. Three of the most common breakdowns that occur in business; 1) manager- employee conflict, 2) unease about accepting a new job or 3) leader- to-leader conflict stem from communication problems. This is critical because when communication goes awry, whether due to conflict or lack of person to person sharing, people don’t feel connected, they don’t feel they can trust and they don’t feel safe! This subtle but real disconnection elevates the stress hormone cortisol which hampers critical thinking. Conversely, when people feel connected and trust is high, their brains release the hormone oxytocin which makes them feel happier and helps them think more clearly.

Thankfully, Mary, Jack and Sarah were excited to learn about the neuroscience behind positive communication and wanted to master this critical skill set.
Mary learned to manage her feelings of anxiety (lack of safety) when chatting informally with staff. She learned simple, effective ways to begin and then navigate conversations about common human experiences, such as, family, weekends and hobbies. As she focused on getting to know her employees they felt cared about as people and became more engaged and productive.
Jack learned to clarify what he wanted in a company. I asked him what was most important about work culture. How might her get at that? What kind of culture might he want to co- create in his next company? As he asked these questions and listened to his intuition he was able to find a best fit culture and role.
I asked Sarah about her assumptions and beliefs about why “Pat” seemed to have different priorities. Together, we created a series of questions to open communication between Sarah and “Pat”. The end goal being to work together to meet the needs of both their departments and the business entity.

All three of these coaching clients learned best practices to communicate clearly, hot to listen to connect and how to work together to design an environment that was enjoyable and productive. Your company may benefit from similar coaching. For more information I suggest Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser. Call me at (610) 875-3040 or email me Marjorie@ascendconsulting.net if you want to learn more.

Vacation Means Better Business!

vacation take it

Vacation Means Better Business!

The sound of birds early in the morning, long warm nights and the smell of food on the grill can only mean one thing; it’s summer time!  Remember how relaxing summer used to be? Remember when you used to take vacation? Have you thought about taking some time off this summer? As a leader, you’re probably asking yourself, “With all that’s going on in business, how can I find time for vacation?” Well, actually you can’t not take time off!

Americans take less time off than any developed nation in the world (working 9 weeks longer per year) and they have the highest rate of depression.  According to one World Health Organization & Harvard study, overwork is correlated with obesity, heart disease, insomnia and fatigue. We are the only industrialized nation without mandatory paid leave. “Great in theory”, you say, “but we need to get work done, we can’t afford to take time off!” In fact, research shows that more work does not correlate with more or better output! It often costs more in mistakes and accidents in the workplace.  The lack of time off costs companies in absenteeism, turnover and rising health costs.   We know that when we have too many computer programs running at once they can get hung up so we power off, wait a bit and reboot the system.  Humans, too, need to regularly power off and re boot our “computer” so it works better.

Productivity Worry

Worried about deadlines missed or mistakes that might occur in your absence? Taking a vacation can actually be empowering for your team!  When you delegate and give others authority to act it builds their confidence and forces them to take on expanded responsibilities and new tasks.  Morale is boosted when a company honors the need for time off and life balance.   This increased employee engagement more than makes up for time spent on vacation.

We only have so much time and energy to expend in our daily lives.  No one ever got to their deathbed and wished they’d worked more!  While it can seem difficult to start taking time off, the benefits of doing so (less stress, less anxiety, calmer attitude, etc.) will result in more productivity and innovation.   You may even have time for family, friends and community involvement- all those things that make for the balanced life you thought you had no time for!   Make yourself a priority and take care of you.  Your business will be the better for it.

Women Business Connection-Chesco Event. 8/8/17

Follow the link for more information and registration for this great upcoming event! https://wbcchesco.com/events/#!event/2017/8/8/august-luncheon-workshop-dealing-with-difficult-people

Three Ways to Take Charge of You and Your Mental Health this Summer!

Take Charge of Your Summer, TODAY!

The sound of birds early in the morning, long hot summer nights and the smell of good food on the grill can only mean one thing; it’s summer time!! Ah, the ease and laid back attitude that is summer.  What a nice change! It is the perfect time to dive right into living a healthy and balanced life. Sunshine and time are on your side in the summer.  The atmosphere could not be more ideal for reinventing yourself and taking the time for you.

You’re probably asking yourself, “I barely have time to shower.  How in the world am I going to find time for making a change in my life?  Spending my time reading a blog post about what I am doing wrong is not encouraging.” Well, we are not here to scold you or make you feel bad for the choices in your life.  The point is offering simple, doable options to the lifestyle choices already being made.  Think of these options as a decompressing tune-up.  The end goal is keeping things simple and engaging for even the most stressed out person.  The three suggestions below can help put you on the path for making the most of your summer and a balanced life!

 

Three Tips to Try this Summer

  1. Utilizing the Extra Daylight to your Benefit!

Using nature and summer to your advantage is the goal behind the first idea. The amount of daylight hours increases in the summer; essentially offering you more hours to work with when making plans. Pack a picnic for you and your family; letting you spend dinner at the park.  Eating dinner at the park lets the kids get out that extra summer energy, while you spend some quality time with everyone.  Sounds like a win/win!

Can’t seem to squeeze in time for a workout during the day; switch your workouts to an early morning time slot or make it a late evening affair.  Allow yourself time for a late snack or cocktail with friends.  Making the most of the additional hours of light can help you check some things off your daily to do list. Being able to check things off your to do list and getting creative with what to do in extra daylight will ultimately begin taking stress off.

For more ideas of things to do with additional sun light, check out these great lists: http://www.windsweptwriting.com/10-things-extra-hour-daylight/http://www.thepartnerstrust.com/blog/12-things-to-do-with-an-extra-hour-of-daylight/https://www.theodysseyonline.com/10-things-to-do-with-the-extra-sunlight-we-get-from-daylight-savings.

2.Enjoying the Plentiful Healthful Food Options during the Summer. 

What better time of year then summer to start thinking about the type of food you eat. The variety of fruits and vegetables available during the summer months makes it hard not to reevaluate food being ingested.  Since availability of healthful food increases during warmer months, the cost of the same type of food tends to decrease. There are so many options to make eating healthy in the summer easy.  Many farms and orchards have “pick your own” days, where you visit and pick the latest offering. The amount of farmer’s markets open to the public increases during the summer months as well. What better time than summer to start your own garden.  There is nothing like a fresh homegrown tomato!

The opportunities for garden fresh food are endless in the summer. Plus the healthier of diet you practice, the better your body handles stress. These links can help get you started on the path to fresh and healthful eating: Farmer’s Markets – http://www.localfarmmarkets.org/, Local Farms and Orchards  http://www.pickyourown.org/, https://www.localharvest.org/organic-farms/ , Home Gardening – http://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/vegetables/planning-your-first-vegetable-garden/, http://www.almanac.com/vegetable-garden-planning-for beginners

3.New Summer, New You!

Instead of claiming the New Year as the start of a new you, why not proclaim the summer of 2017 as the summer of “YOU”! There is definitely something about the summer months that brings out motivation and happiness in people.  Start today with the mindset, “If it doesn’t serve me, I will learn to let it go”. We only have so much time and energy to expend in our daily lives.  Why exhaust this energy on things, places and people that do not serve a purpose in your life.  Yes, it can seem difficult to start saying no and releasing your time for other things, but the benefits of doing so (less stress, more time, less anxiety, calmer attitude, etc.) are the trade off.  Make yourself a priority and take care of you.

Try new activities this summer you have always wanted check out but could not seem to find the time to do so.  You may surprise yourself and like something you never thought possible. When you choose yourself, it is amazing how time seems to be added to your day.  Step outside of your comfort zone and meet some new people.  Aligning yourself with individuals who share in the same mindset and goals are an instant morale booster.

Check out the links below for more ideas of making the change towards a new you: https://www.livingsocial.com/, https://experiencelife.com/article/50-ways-to-make-the-most-of-summer/, http://www.everydayhealth.com/healthy-living/take-time-for-yourself-this-summer.aspx

 

April PowerPoints 2017

The April PowerPoints newsletter is out! Take a moment to read about my upcoming events and how I can help your business and life through my coaching. A brief excerpt from my newest blog “How do you Plan?” will hopefully entice you to read more at my website. Have a great spring and remember, “It is not where you start that matters, it’s where you are going, who you become, and the positive impact you have along the way.”

April PowerPoints

Daily routine

Change your life daily routine