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Leadership thoughts and strategies, plus upcoming (virtual!) events from Deb Elbaum Coaching
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When you define "better," you help your brain

I want to feel better.
I want to be a better communicator.
I want to do a better job at this.


My clients often make statements like these, usually at the start of our coaching engagement. And when they use the word "better," I follow up immediately by asking, "What does better mean to you? What will we point to specifically to know that you are better?"

We all frequently use words like better, good, and bad in relation to how we work, live, and feel. The challenge with these words, though, is that they are vague. They don't convey a shared understanding about a situation or opportunity. They don't encourage clarity. They are, as one client renamed them, "placeholder words."

I am always listening to the words my clients choose, because the words we speak create our reality. To be intentional with our lives, with our personal and professional choices, we need to have a clear roadmap of what's important to us, where we want to have impact, and what we want to achieve.

That's why it's critical to catch yourself when you use the word better, to pause and reflect on exactly what you mean. What does it mean to be a better leader, a better mother, or a better person? Defining this word for ourselves gives us a more detailed roadmap of exactly what we want to communicate, how we want to show up, and what we want to work towards. And because we all mean something different when we use the word better, we each get to define it for ourselves.

Here's an example: My client Tom told me that he wants to feel better. If someone tells you they want to feel better, what comes to your mind? That they want to exercise more? Get more sleep? When I asked Tom to explain what he meant, he said that better would mean feeling optimistic about the potential for change initiatives at work, and making a choice about whether he wanted to stay at his current organization or leave. Understanding his thoughts then gave our coaching conversation a focus and foundation for creating an action plan.

Defining better also helps our brain think more effectively. When we drill down into what we mean, we engage our prefrontal cortex -- a part of our brain that lets us make thoughtful decisions, long-term goals, have empathy, and have more self-control. That's because in order to define the word better, we need to use our prefrontal cortex to decide what we truly mean, to sort through choices and identify the most accurate ideas.

We all want to be better at something -- whether better writers, better colleagues, or better partners. This month, I invite you to catch yourself whenever you use that word. When you do, ask yourself what it would look like if you were better. Clarifying what better means to you will help you pinpoint exactly where you need to invest your energy next.

I also invite you to listen to colleagues and those around you. When they use the word better, ask them to define what it means to them. In addition to creating more alignment and understanding, you'll be helping their brains think more effectively.

If you are ready to feel or work better, and want to dive into exactly what that means for you, please email me for a complimentary conversation.

Here's to staying healthy and positive!
Best,

Deb

p.s. A new podcast episode of In the Right Direction is available! If you ever feel frustrated and want a tool for getting back on track, listen in to learn two quick breathing and body-based tools. And tune in next Tuesday to hear my bonus interview episode with Sober Curious Coach Julie Dereshinsky, founder of Julie Dereshinsky Coaching.

UPCOMING CLASSES:

Network Your Way to Success
Wednesday 2/3/21, 7-8:30 pm EST


Offered through Arlington Community Education 

Introducing Yourself or Your Business in 30 Seconds (or less)
Wednesday 3/17/21, 7-8:30 pm EST


Offered through Newton Community Education

 

NEW OFFERINGS:

"Zoom Fatigue" Workshop: The Science Behind It and What We Can Do

Many months into our reliance on virtual platforms, many of us are now realizing how draining it is to stare at a screen all day. There are scientific reasons behind that! This workshop explains the neuroscience of Zoom fatigue and then dives into strategies for you and your team to combat screen fatigue. Please contact me for more information.


On-Demand, Single Coaching Sessions

For former clients, for those times you need a quick boost of clarity, confidence, or inspiration. Whether you are making a big decision; feeling like you need a plan for today; or just wanting to feel re-energized -- let's dive in! 

What: 50-minute coaching session, by phone or Zoom
When: Choose your time! Use this scheduling link
How: Pay per session

Book a 50-Minute Coaching Session

Are you ready to transform your thinking and leading?

What do you want in your work and life, and what's keeping you from it? Book a 30-minute complimentary consult through the link below or contact me to uncover what's really holding you back, and what new thoughts and behaviors will move you forward to increased success. If you want to read more about me and my approach visit my website.

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