Suriving and Thriving Together

By Anne Harbison

The Power of Stories to Transform

"To fashion an inner story of our pain carries us into the heart of it, which is where rebirth inevitability occurs." -  Sue Monk Kidd

If You Knew Me Well...

You'd know that I grew up in Kentucky, I was a national speech competitor in college, and my first job was at Procter & Gamble. I received my doctorate researching leadership development. I've been married to my college sweetheart, Steve, for over twenty years. We love being parents.

Pretty basic stuff, which makes it a tame (and lame) icebreaker in the retreats I facilitate for leadership teams. But conversations like these get more interesting when we start telling the stories behind the stories. So...

The plot thickens...

Before joining P&G, I spent a year with a music group that traveled around the world. We were in Eastern Europe when the Berlin Wall came down, performing in the shipyards of GdaƄsk where Poland was invaded at the start of WW2.

After P&G, I joined an...

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The Achiever's Dilemma

Working harder, longer, faster may be the way to climb the first part of your career ladder. But is there an end in sight? Decades of drive can easily turn into a grueling treadmill of effort and exhaustion. That's a dangerous place to be in the middle of a crisis. Now is the time to purposely navigate, not mindlessly execute. Stepping back to allow others to step up has its benefits.

There is hardly a senior executive that I coach who isn't in some way caught in what I call the "Achiever's Dilemma." Their success is a testament to their stamina, but increasingly the "good soldier" drive feels more like a tyrannical trap.

Getting stuff done matters. Of course! Executing with excellence is important, sure. In times of crisis and complexity, however, what we need to "execute" changes as new data, insights, and needs emerge. Dexterity actually matters more than drive. If we're too busy racing down the highway to bother to stop for gas or ask for directions, where...

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The Next Right Step

I’ve gotten pretty lax with television time in our house during this stay-at-home period. My kids are watching a LOT of Disney (giving me some time for Netflix binges). Frozen’s Let It Go has been on a replay loop in my head for years. Now “The Next Right Thing” from Frozen II is playing right along beside it. If you have to have an ear worm, these empowerment ballads are pretty great.

Yesterday I encouraged you to purposely toggle between the big picture and the immediate need (zoom out, zoom in). Taking the next step without a broader frame of reference (and meaning) can lead you unconsciously down a path you never meant to travel. You may be moving forward, but is it the right direction at the right time for the right purpose? Is the decision, action, conversation you’re having today actually the next right thing?

It’s especially hard to discern the next right thing when that “ zoom-out" horizon...

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