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“Coaching with Caro” is a video series that focuses on Developing Conscious Leaders & Mindful Workplaces. Join me on this journey to BEcome YOUr Potential!

Why don’t our visions become reality? Because “our stuff” gets in the way and unfortunately “our stuff” is usually SO obvious to everyone but us! It’s challenging to look at the parts of ourselves that we would rather deny. That’s the greatest gift that unfolds through the coaching process - AWARENESS - which can then lead to acceptance and transformation. 

Do you ever feel as though you're living your life on autopilot? Things seem to unfold in a similar fashion, day after day and you don't feel as though you're experiencing the circumstances you desire? Then you might be feeling a bit like Bill Murray’s character reliving the exact same day in Groundhog  Day! There is nothing he can do to change the fact that he has to wake up in the same place, see the same people, go through the same series of events, and is powerless to stop it all. It takes a mindful approach to lead with intentionality, otherwise we can end up creating outcomes by default rather than by design. 

Have you ever stopped to consider whether you might be chasing goals or building a life based on other people’s definition of success? I know that I was guilty of that for so many years and I didn’t even know it. With so many outside influences ready to define success for us, it can be challenging to listen to our intuition and honor our own voice.

Do you suffer from destination addiction? Destination addiction is the constant preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place: the next job, the next relationship, the next vacation, the next house, the next car. I was a major junkie of destination addiction especially in my professional life- living for the next promotion and the next fat pay check. That kept me on the hamster wheel for a very long time until I realized that unless I gave up on the idea that happiness was somewhere else, I was never going to choose to experience it in the moment.

In 2008 I relocated from Montreal to New York City – which meant I had to downsize considerably. Up to that point, I had not been mindful of how much of my self-worth was attached to my home, my car, and basically all my stuff. So I never expected to feel a huge sense of freedom and relief from getting rid of all most of my things. Since that time, I recognize that everything carries an energetic weight. And sometimes we don’t even realize how our attachment to stuff can hold us back from exploring new paths.

From a very young age, I was taught to achieve. That led to chasing one goal after another and pushing to make things happen. As you’re reading this, you might even be wondering what’s wrong with that? For me that pace of life led to stress, anxiety and the feeling that nothing was ever good enough because there was always something more to chase. Mindfulness continues to teach me the simplicity of just being. It boggles the mind that it takes such discipline to return to who we truly are at the core, human beings. Do you find it easier to be a human doing?

Professor Anders Ericsson introduced the idea of the 10,000-hour rule which became a mainstream concept with Malcolm Gladwell's bestselling book, Outliers. In brief, the idea explains that expertise is a result of "deliberate practice" that can often take 10,000 hours. Why is this an important concept to explore? Well these days in particular, we live in a culture where most people expect instant results and yet very few are willing to put in the time and energy it takes to achieve those results. If you grow impatient because you're approaching mastery like a sprint rather than a marathon, then this week's video might resonate with you - you are not alone!

Has anyone ever told you that you should do everything within your power to prepare for opportunities that will advance you in the direction of achieving your goals and simultaneously detach yourself from the outcome? Admittedly, that is a challenging balance to achieve since it can seem counter-intuitive to want something so badly and to be able to let go of having it simultaneously. For an overachiever, surrendering can feel like throwing in the towel. If that dichotomy baffles you, then you'll want to tune in to this video.

You've probably heard the saying: "Energy flows where attention goes." In other words, our focus directs our energy. If you are committed to being healthy chances are you devote time and effort to practices that promote health. The challenge becomes in directing energy to multiple dimensions of our lives. Studies are showing that the more we attempt to multitask the less efficient we become. Our brains are not wired to function that way. I like to use the analogy of having multiple browser tabs open, which slows down your system and eventually crashes your browser. So today, I’m inviting you to be mindful of where your energy is going.  

Today I’ve got a special gift for you, which is a tool that I like to use with my coaching clients. This quick assessment will enable you to explore your level of satisfaction with different aspects of your life by examining your perception of it. It then allows you to be very targeted about setting intentions that will allow you to shift so that you can experience a deeper level of fulfillment.  To download the FREE Coaching Tool, please visit: https://www.carolinacaro.com/pl/30062

 

There will always be circumstances in our lives that are out of our control. However, taking radical responsibility means that whatever is happening in your life, you choose to play it from the driver’s seat and not the passenger’s seat. The passenger will refer to situations as if they are happening to them and are susceptible to viewing things from a victim mindset. This is not very empowering and can leave you feeling at the affect of life. The driver knows that they have the power to create change and they behave accordingly. Irrespective of what your circumstances might be at this very moment, which one will you choose to be, the driver or the passenger?

As a Leadership Coach, I have a responsibility to my clients to nudge them out of their comfort zone. If they’re playing it safe, there’s no progress, so what’s the point? And we all know that we only get to the next level of success (however you define it) by going through the growing pains, not avoiding them. The Navy Seals use the motto “Embrace the Suck” to adopt a positive mindset regarding the challenges they encounter. In addition to viewing it that way, I encourage you to find evidence from your own life where adversity has not only served you it has been the platform for your current success.

Have you ever had the experience where things in your life seem to line up effortlessly? The people and the resources that you need show up to support you at just the right time. If you've encountered those moments of serendipity, then you're probably wondering, why can't it be that way all the time? Often we learn certain habits and coping mechanisms from a very young age that keep us from embodying our full potential. So it actually takes discipline to unlearn the behaviors that can keep us playing small. In other words, we need to commit to the process of returning to who we are at the core, to align ourselves with effortlessness. And that is not always easy!!

 

The aspects of ourselves that are typically referred to as our “shadow” are the parts that we generally deny or push away because we think they aren’t socially acceptable. So instead of showing up authentically as we are and owning our full power, we put on a mask that we believe will be preferred by others. Not only is shadow work important for our personal development but collectively we also have to face the shadow that keeps us perpetuating models of inequity. As Ram Dass said, “The shadow is the greatest teacher for how to come to the light”  

More and more we are seeing a leadership trend towards authenticity, where people are embracing their imperfections and creating the space for “failure”. Many of these concepts might seem like the obvious approach to cultivate leaders who are more empathetic and compassionate. Yet, this deviates from the command and control culture that has typically beaten us to uphold perfectionism. So it’s no wonder that many of us carry the blame and shame of unworthiness. We have not been conditioned to nurture ourselves. At times, we are much more adept at tearing ourselves down rather than building ourselves up. But luckily, we can change our behavioral patterns if we choose. 

In a previous post we explored how easy it is to live on autopilot since it takes intentionality to live by design rather than by default. It also doesn’t help that most of the thoughts and decisions we make in a day are under the influence of the unconscious mind. In brief, our lives are governed by patterns that we are not aware of! Why is it so important to understand this? As leaders, we don’t want to be showing up based on conditioning that we may have picked at a very young age that no longer serves us or reflects our current circumstances. That’s how outdated leadership models are perpetuated because it can be challenging to see ourselves clearly and acknowledge that the approaches we might be using don’t resonate with our audience.  

Have you ever caught yourself making up an entire story about a person or a situation and then it turned out to be a total fabrication of your mind? Well, then you’ll want to learn more about a leadership tool called the ladder of inference, which gives us insight into our patterns of thinking. Basically what is says it that we don’t see the world as it is but rather as we are conditioned to see it. As a result, we create assumptions rather than being focused on the facts. Unfortunately, some of our default patterns are not optimal in supporting our best leadership potential.

Have you ever noticed how our “stuff” is usually obvious to everyone except us? It’s often a challenge for us to see the stories we have created about the world around us because we operate as if they were fact rather than perception. Interestingly, these blind spots are usually at the core of what keeps us blocked from the things we desire. With my clients, I’ll notice that their stories naturally emerge repeatedly as you ask them specific questions. The challenge is always to give them the opportunity to acknowledge and experience their behavioral patterns by reflecting back to them their lens rather than telling them. So how can you uncover those stories on your own? 

More and more it seems as though we are collectively gravitating towards leadership models that encourage us to express our individuality. We resonate with people who keep it real and allow us to see their humanity: the good, the bad and the ugly. This is a huge deviation for some of us who were taught to strictly show certain aspects of ourselves. Or worse yet, for those of us who felt the pressure to conform to a mold of the celebrated norm.  So today, I invite you to reflect on what aspects of yourself might you be hiding from others in order to conform or feel more accepted?

 

Your identity is how you see yourself, while your reputation is how others see you. The best leaders I’ve worked with are those who are self-aware of both their strengths and their weaknesses. Most of the time, these individuals have mastered the art of soliciting feedback. And more importantly they seek out individuals who will be honest and transparent in their assessment. That is the only way we can truly support one another to grow. We do each other a disservice when we don’t have those tough conversations. So one of my recommendations is to proactively conduct your own 360-evaluation.

As we begin to experience a shift to leadership models that celebrate compassion over command & control and collaboration over competition, we’re also seeing the rise of leaders tuning in to their intuition. Inherently we all know that we have access to so much more intelligence than we could conceive. And yet, we have little training and experience in tapping into that inner wisdom.  

Wouldn’t it feel amazing if you could approach each decision you needed to make with the confidence that you could experience a whole body YES! (or No if that’s what the situation calls for). In other words, most of us want to feel certain that we’ve made the right decision. This can be agonizing when there are difficult choices to make with a lot at stake. For many of us that is a tug of war between our mind, our heart and our gut. Today I’m sharing a decision making process that will helps you access and honor all your centers of intelligence to reach a place of congruence. 

Have you ever found yourself rationalizing how you needed to get the laundry done and even organize your sock drawer by color before you could possibly tackle the next task on your to-do list? If this resonates with you, then you can relate to my procrastination tactics. I’ve been guilty of using various ways of postponing daunting tasks! Then, If you’re the type of person that excels at setting a vision or outlining goals but falls short on implementation, then this week’s video is for you. I’m a firm believer that those who are able to accomplish more in a day are not superheroes but rather disciplined individuals who use systems and workflows that consistently produce results. 

Have you ever noticed how some people are more forceful, direct and results-oriented, while others are optimistic, fun and talkative, while others are steady, patient and relaxed and others are precise, accurate and detail-oriented? If you’ve noticed how some of these behavior traits are more prevalent in some individuals than others, than you’ve observed the DISC communication styles in action. Find out more about the DISC assessment and the importance of this leadership tool.

 

 

As we continue to explore preferred communication styles, we highlight the importance of recognizing the characteristics of the four core DISC styles in order to adapt our communication style to meet each person at their preferred style. Without knowing an individual’s DISC profile, you can still make an educated guess about their preferred style based on the behaviors you might observe. In order to provide more guidance on what to observe, the DISC model introduces us to four gauges we can use to learn more about an individual’s preferred style of communication.

Most of us will choose to communicate with others the way we want others to communicate with us. In other words, using the Golden Rule and not the Platinum Rule. The Platinum Rule underlines the importance of communicating with others in their preferred style. In today’s video we use the example of what giving feedback to each style could look if we were using the Platinum Rule. If you’re interested in taking the DISC assessment to find out what your preferred communication style is, follow this link: www.MyDISCtype.com

For many years before becoming a professional coach, I had taken the DISC assessment and always believed I was a particular style, namely the Dominant style. When I became a coach, I became versed in different DISC assessments and one in particular that would allow me to differentiate between my natural vs. adapted style DISC. So my natural style is who I am at the core vs. my adapted style is how I show up in a particular environment, typically assessed in professional environments. For me the eye opener was how different the two were which allowed me the opportunity to reflect on why that might be. 

In today's fast-paced landscape, the demands placed on us are increasing exponentially and affecting our mental faculties. This is compounded by our dependence on digital devices which is causing addictive patterns in our brains. Our attention spans are negatively impacted, along with overall performance, creativity, innovation and so on. As a result, it's no surprise that most people feel overwhelmed, exhausted, stressed out and sometimes on the verge of burnout. 

What's the first word that pops up for you when you think about mindfulness? For many people it's the word meditation. Definitely meditation is one tool that can heighten your mindfulness practice but it's not the only thing. I invite you to consider associating the word "awareness" to mindfulness. I like to think of it as becoming more and more cognizant of how I show up in the world. And let me tell you, that might seem simple but it's definitely not easy. 

Do you know the saying, "we teach best what we most need to learn?" This couldn't be more true of my relationship with mindfulness and particularly this week's focus, accepting what is. I've definitely been trained to be quick-paced and results-oriented so you can see how that doesn't exactly match up with a mindful approach. And for that reason, every part of my being gravitates to this practice, knowing that everything else I've learned is just another symptom of a society that praises non-stop doing and undervalues cultivating a sense of being.

Have you ever noticed how the things that we most need to do in order to grow are the things we usually procrastinate or avoid? Whether we like to admit it or not, we live in our comfort zone even when our comfort zone is anything but comfortable. Exercising your brain through mindfulness is similar to training your physical muscles. Both require the intention, attention and repetition in order to reap the physiological benefits. And the cool thing about mindfulness is that you can start with just one minute a day and after just a few days of daily practice, you're bound to notice a difference. Are you up for joining the brain gym?

If you're still reading after seeing today's title then you must be at least curious about adopting a mindfulness practice. So this week I'm going to invite you to do a little short exercise to put this into play right away. Are you ready?

 

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