Let's LEAD - August 2021

Well, that didn't FEEL like a gift!

Throughout the month of July, I've been participating in a program based on the book Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine, the book I mentioned in my April newsletter

The goal of the program is to create habits that build our mental muscles so we can shift from behaviors rooted in judgement to what he refers to as a 'sage' perspective; adopting positive non-judgemental behaviors like empathy and curiosity, for ourselves and others. 

During the last month, I've had an opportunity to really put that shift into practice. In mid-July, both my husband and I came down with a breakthrough COVID infections. We were able to navigate our illnesses at home; I believe our vaccines kept both of us out of the hospital.

For me, days 1 through 5 were the worst. By day 7, I was feeling better, but still pretty crummy. That's when the brow-beating began:

Work Boss GIF by Sadie
While this was the worst I have felt in years, my typical pattern is to power though it; this is a default pattern I also described in my October 2020 newsletter. For three more days I was in that 'in-between' space between being really sick and on the road to recovery.

Thus began my 'mental muscle' test; my Judge (who I now call 'The General') was on point, especially since my defenses were low.

'You've been laying around for six days.'

'The fever and body aches are gone...there's no excuse for not working.'

'You've got a newsletter to write! Get to it!'

The General was relentless. In spite of the lingering fatigue and a body that wanted to stay put, I pulled myself up from the couch and headed for my home office. As I sat in front of my laptop, I could hear her cheering me on:

'See? This is why you keep me around. I make sure you get things done!'

Dammit! She is HIGHLY skilled at pulling out the guilt and shame cards to get her way. 

Gratefully, I was able to remember what I learned in my Positive Intelligence program, so my awareness of my Judge and her crafty ways was high. 

Then, that awareness reminded me that I have other tools to help me shift my perspective. One of those tools? My own model for developing Self-Leadership!

Here's how I used it:

Building Block Helped me to see...


...how my Judge was able to take advantage of my weakened state! Come on, Camille...you know she's waiting for moments like this!


...my old limiting beliefs about the value of being productive was how I prove that value. Lying around feeling sorry for yourself? No way!


...that my Judge IS crafty, and because I feel lousy, my defenses are down. Yes, I'm feeling better, but I'm still not well.


...that I am worthy of time off to recover. My body, mind and spirit are entitled to some down time. 


...how prioritizing my health by setting boundaries, even with myself, is important. Just say NO!


...that there's an opportunity to be of service here. Maybe sharing this story with others will help someone who is feeling stuck in THEIR old stories and patterns.

Now, it's not lost on me how my story parallels a more public figure's experience with saying 'no' to her Judge. Simone Biles is one tough cookie; she is so aware of her body/mind connection that she knew what was at risk if she ignored the 'twisties' that were plaguing her.

THAT'S courage.

As a leader, what example do I set for others when I push through the 'twisties;' when I know I should STOP and take care of myself? Am I willing to step into a vulnerable space, in spite of what others will think, including my own Judge? 

One of the greatest gifts we can give our teams is a willingness to seek out opportunities to learn and grow, and share that learning with others. 

What lessons have you learned that might help your team grow?  

3 Tips - Look for growth opportunities

Personal growth rarely occurs when things are going well. As we learned more about the 'Sage perspective,' Shirzad reminded us frequently that in every situation, good or bad, there is a gift or opportunity. It may not be obvious, but if you look for it, it will be revealed.

I've talked about this in previous newsletters: 2020 was a tough year, worse for some than others. What have you learned about yourself while navigating something over which you had no control? 

As leaders, it's our responsibility to help others in our charge to navigate choppy waters. Here are some tips to help you and others look for the growth opportunities:

  1. Pay attention. You are receiving all sorts of internal cues that can range from subtle nudging to sirens blaring. As with my Self-Leadership model, self-awareness comes first...it's foundational.

    How might these cues show up? Maybe its physical; that knot in your stomach or that lump in your throat. For me, it was an internal showdown between my Judge and my Sage, who wanted me to exercise a little empathy for myself.

    On day 7, my Judge was winning the battle; I did take a meeting I had on my calendar, which quickly sent me back to the couch. Maybe THAT was a gift, because on days 8 and 9, my Sage won the war.

  2. Learn the lesson. Our Judge can be a great teacher. This is typically because they are like broken records; they repeat the same or a similar message over and over again. Here are some questions to ask yourself to move toward a change in perspective:

    • What EXACTLY is my Judge saying to me? (see my examples above)
    • How do I FEEL about what my Judge is saying? For me, I felt guilty, like my Judge was trying to keep me in line--to keep my old, limiting beliefs about myself intact.
    • What's the TRUTH? This is where the rubber meets the road in my Self-Leadership model; it's the point when what's true and real is acknowledged, and that's when I can change.
    • What do I NEED to make the shift? Maybe it's extending myself a little empathy, getting curious about what's possible, or asking for support from a trusted source.

  3. Share it. Will others benefit from your experience and learning? Share your story and what you learned about yourself. This is the Self-Less part of Self-Leadership; a willingness to be vulnerable and to be of service to others. They will take what they like and leave the rest.

Opportunities to learn abound...if we are willing to notice and acknowledge them.   

Are you willing? 

Cool Resources

What I'm reading (articles, books*):

The 10th anniversary edition of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown (what...more gifts?) was released last year, and to celebrate, Brene and her two twin sisters released a six-part podcast series on Spotify called The Summer Sister Series on The Gifts of Imperfection

This was the first book of hers I read...and I was hooked! Check out the book AND the podcast!

NOTE: At her suggestion, I took the Wholehearted Inventory that shows which 'guideposts' I'm cultivating pretty well (Meaningful Work and Value Clarity/Commitment) and where I need some help (Play & Rest). Given my Judge's focus during my illness, this is no surprise... 

*I use Amazon links (no affiliate relationship); please check with your book retailer of choice


"Worthiness doesn't have prerequisites." -- Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection 

...and something more:  

I love a good guided meditation, and I have a favorite meditation teacher on my Insight Timer app: Sarah Blondin. Her meditations cover a variety of topics, including a few of my favorites:

  • Remembering Your Worth
  • Learning To Surrender
  • Loving and Listening to Yourself

Check it out!  

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I look forward to connecting!

Camille McKinney
Leveraged Leaders