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The Plight of a Lone Seagull

by Mary Lee Gannon
I was away this weekend, just witnessed this and wanted to share. Pay close attention to this little guy. Watch his composure when he watches his buddies take off. Sometimes you just gotta plant your feet firmly on the ground and stand in front of everyone, alone with the wind in your face, and know that's where you belong even when others fly by you chasing shiny objects. That's confidence. Seagull leader

Leaders I Admire

by Mary Lee Gannon
When I think of leaders I admire I always think of people who helped me see things I couldn't at the time. Things like: "Give the glory to others. Smart people will know you were at the root of it." "Get at the heart of what people need, not what you have to offer." "Character is everything." "Why is this important?" We need not tell others what to do - just help them pull back the curtain to their own brilliance.

Protect Yourself from Your Worst Instinct

by Mary Lee Gannon
Today I'd like to share a quote from one of my favorite authors and an icon in the field of leadership consulting, Dr. Henry Cloud, "Plug into resources outside of yourself. Get coaching, join a leadership group or forum, avail yourself of continuing education, attend a leadership conference...these resources are needed to help a leader refuel or develop, stay motivated, get through a valley, or overcome obstacles. Sometimes they are needed to protect the leader from his own worst instinct."


by Mary Lee Gannon
This week I had the good fortune to attend an award ceremony for a dear friend. As I walked into the Fairmont Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh I was struck by this beautiful image. As I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and stared at the clouds reflected in the glass windows it made me think of all the people on the different floors of the hotel and what all of them were thinking and doing. People on the street stared at me was I took the photo. But then they started looking at this wonder themselves. It occurred to me that [...]

Oscar Wilde Knew Your Key to Success

by Mary Lee Gannon
One can only imagine how genuine the words felt to Oscar Wilde when he penned the expression, “Be Yourself, Everybody Else is Already Taken.” I wasn’t even sure myself until I stumbled upon the quote, laughed at its honest humor and researched the Irish writer’s background to understand what he meant. Wilde was an intelligent, once privileged and highly educated playwright who suffered greatly for opinions and choices that were outside of London society, eventually leading to his imprisonment, poverty and an early death. No one strives to live a life in exile.  Adversity comes at us every day in [...]

First Find the Clearing

by Mary Lee Gannon
Yesterday this exercise helped a client of mine totally relax and be able to strategize on three different issues where she was stuck. When you are overwhelmed, just slow down with whatever relaxes you - meditation, prayer, yoga, physical exercise. Notice the clearing that opens up. Allow the answer to present itself to you instead of ruminating on it. In that space if you are still overwhelmed, write everything down that concerns you. I call this a brain dump. Then address each issue thinking about which option will resonate most with what you value. Part of the science of this is to also note what you need [...]

Stop Being Defensive with Four Mindful Strategies

by Mary Lee Gannon
Defensiveness is simply a war mindset in a non-war situation. Sometimes we react defensively when we feel threatened, intimidated, vulnerable and that failure is imminent even when the issue doesn’t call for extreme behavior. A trigger fast forwards the mind to how you MIGHT experience a dreaded feeling so the defensive gremlin shows up to protect you. It’s like practicing failure in advance. Once the defensive gremlin is unleashed it is very difficult to soften to a more rational perspective. Fight-or-flight takes over and the defensive gremlin keeps dancing in front of your eyes, reminding you to armor up against [...]

Just Released: Reinvent You – From Welfare to CEO

by Mary Lee Gannon
“Every New Year’s Eve people set what they think are goals that are never reached,” said Mary Lee. ‘I will lose weight,’ or ‘I will get a new job,’ are not goals they are notions. The let-down of not achieving these perceived goals conditions you to set lower reaching goals the next year: ‘I will not swear.’ ‘I will stop drinking coffee.’ Then when you can’t even stick with these lower-bar goals you stop setting goals all together because what’s the point. “As a CEO I know that notions don’t come true. Measurable goals that are grounded in values married [...]

12 Mindful Steps to Lead a Productive Meeting

by Mary Lee Gannon
How many times have you attended a meeting where everyone got their opinions out on the table, but nothing was decided? Or how many recurring meetings have you sat through where you wished you could have been anywhere else because even if you were to express an opinion, nothing would change? We’ve all been in dreadful meetings. I’ve worked with executives who planned for their direct reports to page them out of meetings 15 minutes into it.  I’ve seen people schedule telephone conferences to purposefully conflict with meetings they do not want to attend. I’ve witnessed people repeatedly bringing work [...]

26 Tips from Resilient Leaders

by Mary Lee Gannon
I had the pleasure of profiling 11 successful individuals who had to start their lives over, some more than once.  Their stories vary from being laid off to dodging bombs in Bosnia to losing their mother to murder to divorce to the death of a husband. All of these champions overcame immense challenges to meet with professional and personal success. What I have done below is tried to capture for you some common themes in things they shared with me so that you may learn from others who have truly succeeded at their own personal turnaround. Stop being a victim. [...]