Hardwired to Fail

Nov 06
2018

Hardwired to Fail You were supposed to be the new vice president, but a colleague got the promotion instead. Instantly, a wave of doubt and humiliation washed over you. Your first thought was “I’m never going to get promoted here.” Your next thought was “This will thwart my life’s work.” You quit on the spot.

In that one moment, you again got caught up in the pattern of negativity that has derailed you from achieving your goals. You acted rashly—and you don’t get to go back in time to do it over again.

You still cringe when you think of the person you were and the choice you made.  You’re wondering, are you just hardwired to fail?

The answer is YES.

But there’s good news, too.  You get to make a different choice next time. You have the power to step off the treadmill that leads to negative thoughts and emotions and unveil a fresh new mindset that primes you for success.

Next time you feel the pressure to give in to negative emotions, here’s what you can do to change the outcome —in both big and small ways.

Step 1: Jot Down Your Fears

Grab a journal or notebook and write down the negative thoughts and emotions that are playing like a broken record, repeating over and over again, in your head. You have to recognize that you’re stuck before you can begin to break free.

Step 2: Reality-Test It

Ask yourself, “How do I know this is true?” Seeing your thoughts and feelings for what they are— just beliefs and emotions that may or may not be true—means that you get to discuss, debate, and decide for yourself if they are truly important.

Step 3: If It’s Not True, Kick It to the Curb

–Negative thoughts and emotions only have as much power as you give them.  When you kick them to the curb and let them go, you find new ways to connect what you think and believe about yourself to the things you’re passionate about.  Be willing to see yourself in new and different ways, and evaluate what resonates with you positively. This primes you to see yourself more realistically.

Step 4: Commit and Act with Clarity

Success isn’t a linear path.  Once you commit to making a different choice, be bold and act with clarity.  Start small and as you build momentum your inner critic will recede. Balance is key: you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and be unable to work through steps 1 through 3.

Your successes will rewire your brain to succeed. Staying there over the long term will mean taking risks and remaining intentional about your choices.

Adopting This Strategy Can Keep Adversity from Bludgeoning You Again

Feb 27
2018

Adversity Your plan to get what you want falls woefully short of the mark. You endure the defeat with discouragement, as the victim — not the victor – yet again. Why? The answer is simple: you didn’t have a plan to counter the wrecking ball known as adversity.

Adversity is part of life. Things won’t always go our way. Without a plan to knock down the roadblocks, adversity will bludgeon you every time. Do yourself a favor: start to plan for adversity and make room for both successes and failures to exist in your life.
Here’s what you need to do – and not do:

Don’t Be at War with Adversity

Practice acceptance. Don’t pretend that you can ignore an obstruction away. Accept that the best way to knock it down is to not try to control it. And accept responsibility for your choices, past and present. Stop fighting to minimize problems as unexpected, impossible-to-anticipate surprises. Instead, focus your energy on the choices you can make to deal with them.

Don’t Be an Absolutist

Life isn’t lived on the extremes. Get comfortable with the world as a mix of success and adversity. Don’t always expect perfection, or to anticipate disaster.

Don’t Rub Salt in the Wound

When adversity arrives, don’t take a wrecking ball to your life. Silence your inner critic. Look at your strengths, shortcomings, and unknowns from many different angles. Kick to the curb anything that won’t help you move past the obstacle.

Do Get Contradictory

Look for the paradox in the situation, and for the lessons you can take from your experience. Think of a way it may have saved you from an even more catastrophic mistake. This practice eliminates the uncertainty that comes with adversity. Biases are exposed, distance is created, and a new clarity of thought emerges.

Do Let It Go

Success and adversity happen in bursts. Throughout your life you will experience moments of both. Let go of your conscious focus on the setbacks when you deal with them and the successes when you celebrate them. The memories and lessons learned can be recalled when you need them in the future.

Plan for adversity, take the lead, and decide what you want to get in life.

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6 Surefire Ways to Survive Crunch Time

Don’t’ Go Down for The Count

Jan 23
2018

Mulligan
You’ve got a few more crunches before you get to 50. That burning feeling on your 47th rep signals the oncoming fatigue of your abdominal muscles. You focus, muster all of your remaining energy, and knock out those last three crunches to meet your goal.
A challenging project, an overbooked calendar, and even the success you’ve always dreamed of can signal that it’s crunch time. But far too often, it hits us harder than we think it will. If we miss the signs, we can fall prey to tension and stress.
When crunch time arrives, here’s how to prevent a flame-out and complete the task at hand.

Resistance Is Futile

Why deplete your energy by lamenting the situation you find yourself in? Resisting where you are is futile and won’t get you where you want to be. Get crystal clear: identify what is most urgent and take decisive action.

Label It

Notice, name, and shed the negative thinking that only exhausts you emotionally and psychically. Labeling emotions impacts how your brain experiences them. It helps you stay calm and allows your rational brain to function, making you more effective.

Renegotiate

When we have unreasonable expectations of ourselves – or when we think others expect a lot from us — we may set unrealistic deadlines, bite off more than we can chew, and over-promise. Set firm boundaries on your time and on your tasks. Renegotiate deadlines if necessary. Where possible, shift work that isn’t in your sweet spot to trusted colleagues.

Make Tough Trade-Offs

Decide early on what you will and won’t focus on in any given time period. Assess your priorities and make the tough decisions about where to spend your capital each day. Ask yourself – what one or two things are critical for me to be successful today? And what two or three things must be set aside today to be successful?

Connect with Others and Yourself

Preserve time each and every day to focus on an activity that recharges you and another action that strengthens your connection to others. It could be as simple as taking time to scan Facebook for updates about friends, then going for a quick walk or workout or reading a book while sipping your favorite beverage.

Practice Self-Forgiveness

Crunch time is no time to beat yourself up. Treat yourself with care, just as you’d treat a friend going through a pressure situation. Let yourself vent, then forgive yourself and give yourself a pep talk to get things moving again.
Next time you find yourself in crunch time at work or in life, survive and thrive by putting these ideas into play. You’ll emerge successful and in better shape than when you started.
48…49…50!

How to Take a Mulligan: Your 2018 Resolutions Aren’t Ironclad Promises

Jan 09
2018

Mulligan You got caught up in the excitement of seeing the new year as a way to start over, or change direction, and made a set of audacious resolutions to get you there. But as your exhilaration wanes the resolutions you made are more difficult to keep than you thought. Don’t beat yourself up and let the anxiety you feel diminish your self-worth.

The truth is that you’re not really bad at setting reasonable goals, you’ve just made it ridiculously complicated for yourself by biting off more than you can chew.

Every January, I like to remind everyone that your resolutions aren’t ironclad promises.  The best thing about having free will is that, at any point in time, you can take a mulligan and start over again.

If you’re ready to do that here are my suggestions for creating what you want most in your life in 2018.

I encourage you to give one or all of them a try.

Switch Off the Tech

Noticing and asking questions are essential skills for success in life. It’s time you stop looking down at a screen and challenge yourself to spend more time looking up at the people and the world around you. You never know what you’ll see that will spark your curiosity and help you discover what makes you a better person.

Get Risky

Stop the groupthink that goes on around you by asking the tough questions even if you don’t know the answers. Be the person who steps forward and says, “This is risky but….” Watch the relief on everyone’s faces as the weight lifts from their shoulders and they admit they don’t know and are willing to figure it out too.

Welcome Not Having All the Answers

You don’t have all the answers and it isn’t required. What is? Spending time asking straightforward questions of others – ones that show your commitment to getting to the heart of what truly matters to them. But asking questions isn’t enough – you’ve got to listen intently to the answers and use those answers to inform your judgment and shape your decisions.

Soul-Searching is Required

Asking straightforward questions of others only gets you so far. Ask yourself the same questions you ask others – what is it you need, and what is it that truly matters to you. Then listen as intently to your answers as you do theirs and act upon what you hear.

When you do any of these things regularly and fearlessly you’ll get to the heart of what you will lead and live best with in 2018.

The One Surefire Way to Succeed as A Leader in 2018

Dec 21
2017

There isn’t one. Leadership advice isn’t ironclad. There’s no single trend, quality or rulebook that guarantees your success – it doesn’t exist (and it never did!).

Don’t waste any more time in 2018 trying to fit into some other leader’s mold. Emulating exactly what led to their success won’t work for you. Why? Because you’re not like them.

Instead, turn your focus to what will define success for you, a bespoke model of leadership, one that comes from discovering the one of a kind set of skills, talents and abilities that you lead with.

There is a straightforward way you can discover and embody the values, talents and skills that power your leadership success in 2018 and it starts with:

Listing the Pivot Points

Think back on your career.  You’ve had many moments that caused you to act, make a decision for good or ill.  These are your pivot points. These taught you something about yourself, about how you think and lead. List those that stand out and changed the direction of your life.

Self-Reflection Illuminates the Secrets Within

Take a few minutes and whatever you think of your choices then, acknowledge that they taught you something about yourself.  Write a few lines about why that moment mattered, how it changed your life, your mind or both.

See Things with A Grateful Eye

It isn’t that you can’t learn from other’s advice and perspective. The trick is to see those experiences through the lens of gratitude and then tailor the advice to mirror your own experiences, style and needs. Survey people whose perspective you value. Include people in that group whose perspective on things differs from your own. Hearing divergent perspectives helps highlight opportunities your biases keep you from seeing.

Unpack the Insights

This is where you’ll put it all together.  Reflect on your own observations and the feedback you received from others.  Unpack the insights by creating a list of tweaks and game changers, and plan your next steps for 2018 to become the most successful leader you can be.

There isn’t one right way to do this. And if there isn’t one right way to do this, you might be wondering if you’re on the right track.  You might even be feeling overwhelmed.

If so, I’ve created a FREE resource – a Lead With IT Kit © workbook – that you can download to help walk you through the process.

I hope you give it a try in 2018.  I promise, you will learn what you lead with and it will open doors that you never imagined possible.

Go Rogue as a Leader Or You Won’t Survive

Oct 25
2017

A leader who clings to conventional wisdom is relying on a model that just doesn’t work anymore. A new generation of employees has redefined their expectations for top leaders and global organizations. And I’m going to tell you something your employees won’t: if you aren’t meeting their needs, they’ve already decided to jump ship and find a new team or company that will.

You’ve got to grow or lose them. It’s a struggle for every leader — but you can’t afford not to go rouge. It’s the only way to give your team the chance to thrive.

Here are a few ways you can go rogue:

Hire Up

Everyone you add to the team should raise the bar for everyone else. That includes you. Only hire people you could see yourself working for one day. The goal is to constantly boost the talent pool, create ongoing intellectual diversity, and learn from each team member’s knowledge and expertise.

Give Up “Kitchen Sink” Meetings

Stop holding catch-all weekly team meetings. Instead, switch to meetings driven by subject matter. For example: Mondays are project meetings, Wednesdays are budget meetings, and so on. Invite only the key players to keep things simple. A focused meeting makes for quicker and better decision-making.

Think Big and Let Them Call the Cadence

As the leader, paint the big picture for your team. Share with them where you’re heading, tell them that you expect them to get there the quickest way possible, and assure them that you’ll clear the speed bumps if need be. Then step back and let your trusted team members call the cadence, approach, and path they’re going to take to get there.

Kill the Annual Review

Only one thing matters when it comes to connecting with your people: putting them first. Spend more time focused on them and less time worrying about technical aspects of the business. Don’t wait for an annual review to share what you’re thinking; coach and develop them in real time.  Your investment in them will pay big dividends over the long term.

Isn’t it time you threw out conventional practices to go a bit rogue as a leader?

Meet Susan

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Susan Gilell-Stuy is a top-tier corporate executive coach and consultant. For more than a decade, she has coached Fortune 500 leaders across industries, from technology to financial services, biotech to cosmetics, pharmaceuticals to internet startups, and many more.

Under Susan’s guidance, executives and leaders unlock the distinct abilities and skills that will lead them to outstanding results — and to brilliant success that perfectly suits them.

Approachable, funny and whip smart, Susan tailors her approach for each client, drawing on deep experience in evidence-based predictors of executive success, leadership development, conflict management, emotional intelligence, and stakeholder-centered coaching, as well as expertise in coaching millennial leaders. She serves as a kind of alchemist, taking people’s most difficult leadership problems and turning them into gold.

Prior to becoming a coach and consultant, Susan held leadership and senior leadership roles in Fortune 500 companies, among them JP Morgan Chase, Prudential Investments, AT&T, Merrill Lynch.

Susan is now the managing principal at Susan Gilell-Stuy, LLC. She is also an executive coach for The Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania EMBA and MBA programs and coaches pro bono for the Dress for Success GPN Worldwide Program, sponsored by ADP  and Steps 2 Success program.

Her comprehensive training includes a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching from the University of Texas Naveen Jindal School of Management and a B.A. in Psychology from St. John’s University.

Susan holds a PCC level credential from the International Coach Federation. She is professionally certified to deliver top industry assessments, including the Emotional Quotient Inventory, Conflict Dynamics Profile, Decision Style Profile and Core Values Index.  Susan is certified as a Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coach.

Susan is a sought after speaker on leadership, emotional intelligence, and conflict management. She moves and motivates her audiences with humor, storytelling and real-life experiences as a high-ranking call center executive and corporate coach.

She is an active member of such professional coaching leadership organizations, organizations as the Institute of Coaching – McLean Medical Center Harvard Medical School Affiliate; International Coach Federation; Academy of Management; Association for Talent Development; and the American Psychological Association.

Susan lives in New Jersey with her husband, Tim.
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The best leaders in the world aren’t born with a talent. They don’t follow one model or process. And no two are alike. The key isn’t to be like anyone else- but to identify what makes you different-and lead with it. On the Lead With IT Podcast, executive coach Susan Gillel-Stuy interviews top talent, experts, and entrepreneurs who help you tap your true potential by asking the question, “What are YOU leading with?”
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5 Things To Do to Outsmart the Unexpected

Sep 23
2017

Carefully plan and you’ll avoid the unexpected, right? But, life doesn’t work that way. Don’t underestimate life’s ability to surprise you, the unexpected happens every day.

You can’t possibly know what unknowns tomorrow will bring. Increasing your ability to cope demands that you make decisions quickly and with limited information.

Here are 5 things you need to do each day to outsmart the unexpected.

1. Practice Purposeful Distraction

Physical and mental exercise alter your body’s responses to heightened stress. Spend 5 to 10 minutes a day practicing things like deep breathing, acupressure and “purposeful” distraction techniques like doodling or thinking of words that start with the letter “a”. Practiced daily these become habits that you intuitively call upon in a crisis to calm you enough to decide, act, focus and survive.

2. Go Toward Problems

Think counterintuitively – don’t retreat, go directly toward solving problems. Break things down – solve smaller problems within the larger ones first. Savor the small wins and use them to formulate your plan B.

3. Add Humor to the Mix

Give yourself the fuel and tenacity you need to get back in the zone of optimal performance – find humor in the situation. Levity lessens the tension and anxiety so you can reframe the situation and win the contest of determination over fear.

4. Don’t Be a Risk Denier

Don’t be blindly in denial about the risk of failure – it guarantees you’ll take unnecessary risks and make failure a certainty. Create solutions that you can test against what is real versus what you feel is real in the moment. Even if these experiments aren’t successful you’ll learn what you need to keep moving forward. 

5. Get Out of the Tunnel

Get out of the tunnel where you’re susceptible to being blindsided by the biases that won’t serve you in an unexpected situation. Find, outside your sphere of interests, people who are trusted advisors, mentors, and resources willing to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Reaching outside your inner circle increases the resources you have to draw upon outside of your own knowledge base when unfamiliar situations arise.

Avoid the all-consuming anxiety that comes from the unexpected and see opportunity in the world of the unforeseen by being ready for the unexpected before it comes.

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Except as set forth in the Statement of Work, Buyer may terminate the Contract Agreement for convenience prior to commencement of work by giving written notice to Susan Gilell-Stuy, LLC. Buyer shall pay for any Work performed before receipt of notice and any additional costs of termination (including third-party commitments, reasonable profit, and overhead as may be more specifically provided in the Statement of Work) upon submission of Susan Gilell-Stuy’s invoices.

Terms & Conditions

The Terms and Conditions along with the Statement of Work will be provided by Susan Gilell-Stuy, LLC in a formal written proposal (the “Agreement”) representing the entire agreement of the parties, superseding any previous agreements and understandings, whether oral or written. This Agreement exclusively will govern the sale by Susan Gilell-Stuy, LLC of the Work and any other Products furnished under this Agreement. No addition or modification to this Agreement will be binding unless mutually agreed to in writing.