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Overwhelm – How quickly can you see it in yourself?


Feeling overwhelmed is hardly unique to executives; yet leaders often deny, ignore, or push away the feelings. They accept it as part of their role or assume that they “should” be able to power through it.

Why it matters?

As a leader, you are the go-to person for others when the going gets tough. But what happens when the going gets tough for you, and it starts to affect how you lead?

Leadership Insights

BE MORE – Do Less!

Be more, self-aware as to the various ways, how overwhelm can manifest itself in your life like below examples:

  • Emotional volatility
  • Inability to concentrate or listen
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling pervasive dread
  • Constantly irritated or annoyed
  • Numbness or withdrawal (from people or activities)
  • Physical aches and pains — headaches, back pain, digestive issues, fatigue and more

Challenge: Over the next couple of weeks, work on identifying Overwhelm in yourself. If you can “see it” then you can “take action”.

The link below offers some action steps that can support you in getting over overwhelm.

Awesome Resources:

Have an Awesome Month Leaders!

Declarations vs. Resolutions


It’s a popular tradition to set New Year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year. Since 2020 was a year unlike any other, do resolutions even deserve a place on your to-do list?

It is time to finally ditch resolutions for something more useful like making a “Declaration for Your Future!”

Why it matters?
Declarations are about taking a stand for the future you want to create. Resolutions focus on an action we want or need to take and thus fail most of the time.

Making a Declaration

  1. Take some time to determine what is important to you and what future you want to make possible. This will summarize what matters most to you. This may take several attempts but keep at it.
  2. Write them down so you can easily view them or even hang them in your office.
  3. Share your declaration for your future with the most important people in your life.
  4. Now commit to and live-in accordance to your Declaration and enjoy the impact and rewards of leading a life you deserve.

Examples of Declaration vs. Resolution:
Declaration – I will be a present, powerful leader for my Team.
Resolution – Have more quality Team Meetings in 2021.


Awesome Resources

Awesome Journey: 2021 Leadership Reading List


At Awesome Journey, we are passionate about learning to be great leaders both personally and professionally. One way we challenge ourselves to learn about leadership is by exposing ourselves to others who are passionate about leadership. Check out our 2021 Leadership Reading List recommendations hyperlinked for easy purchasing.

We would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and a New Year filled with happiness, prosperity, good health, and transformation!

Thank You,

The Awesome Journey Team

How aware are you of your leadership presence?


Presence is “the state or fact of existing, occurring, or being present in a place or thing.”

Most leaders have a general understanding of what being present means, but few can translate that understanding into reality. Every moment through the day offers the opportunity to ask what I am present to?

Inquiry holds the potential to disrupt the fast-paced automatic distractions in life, to bring you to the root of what matters. When you are present, you might notice your past, present and future revealed at once, leaving you at choice to commit to what you care about.

To be present is to live in the moment, the here and now, not in the past assertions or future declarations. It is about being alert and aware of your emotional state and its impact on how you see the world and how others see you. Presence fosters intention.

While in a “presence state” you are likely to ask yourself questions like: for the sake of what am I doing this? how does the situation at hand connect with my purpose? and how do I need to act to fulfill a deeper sense of destiny?

A leader’s presence impacts a room negatively, positively, or not at all, and can be influenced between 3 ways of displayed presence:

1. Powerful Presence

A powerful leader is self-aware of who they are being with others. They are being:

    • Collaborative – “we” vs. “I” language.
    • A deep listener from a place of support and empowerment (which has others asking questions that put them into action).
    • A generative communicator.
    • Calm under pressure.
    • Supportive of other ideas, opinions, and beliefs – which makes others feel safe in their presence.
    • Accountable for their promises and agreements with others.
    • A learner.
    • Vulnerable – willing to say, “I don’t know” and “I need your support in finding a quality solution to this issue”.
    • Trustworthy.
    • Open to feedback.
    • Responsible for their choices and decisions.
    • Strong communicators/listeners by using direct eye contact.
    • In tune with their surroundings.
    • Relationship focused as well as transaction-focused – long term thinking.

You can measure when you are being a leader with a powerful presence by your impact on others. Your impact creates sustainable action with others. People leave a conversation with you, engaged, inspired, and motivated to execute on their promises made to you. People who work with you are confident at providing feedback and information that is real to support the success of the organization.

2. Forceful Presence

A forceful leader is less self-aware of who they are in the room. They are being:

    • Accountable for their own performance and expect others to do the same.
    • A listener for others from a place of “fix, help and rescue” – which has them telling others what to do to be in action.
    • Exclusive with others which shows up as controlling of their environment, information, and decision-making power.
    • Aggressive when others challenge their decisions or ideas.
    • Less open with others when they are unsure or do not have an answer, they see vulnerability as a weakness, i.e.:” “You are paid to know and if you don’t know, go and figure it out quickly so that you can be reliable for others”.
    • Less collaborative in their communication abilities:
      1. They like to tell vs. ask others for their ideas and opinions.
      2. They speak in the first person, i.e.: “I did this, I accomplished this…”.
      3. Their feedback tends to be critical and unsafe, i.e.: “You should have known that…”.

You can measure when you are being a leader with a forceful presence by the impact you have on others. For example, you create unsustainable action with others, or people leave a conversation with you, confused, uncertain and worried about how to be in action to support the project and how they will be supported by you. Feedback is rarely given, and open-door policies are seldom used.  People who work with you learn to tell you what you want to hear vs. what you need to hear to support the success of the organization.

3. Powerless Presence

A powerless leader’s presence shows up as unwilling and inauthentic. In a conversation, they are unwilling to own their authentic voice, don’t share their ideas or make people feel like they don’t matter by saying phrases like, “sounds good, I’m sure you will make it happen, I have no comments on this topic…”.

This may leave others confused, uncertain, disempowered and lost as to how to be in action to support the issue or opportunity at hand. When a leader is not present with their team, others see you as a powerless leader because they are left in a space of uncertainty or inaction.

Practices to Support Developing A Powerful Presence:

A leader who chooses to be intentional about living a powerful presence has a set of practices that has them being self-aware of their presence (overall energy) which they bring to the moment. Here are some examples of practices:

  • Healthy lifestyle – proper food choices and balanced sleeping patterns.
  • A daily breathing, mindfulness, or meditation practice.
  • Uses slow down techniques like “Power of the Pause”.
  • Reflecting at the end of each day to support self-learning.
  • Daily exercise.
  • Journaling – putting their thoughts on paper to create new awareness and learning
  • Learning in a community.
  • Giving and receiving feedback to expand self-awareness.
  • Self-care – quality sleep, time for self, time for play/fun/laughter, time for creativity and time for quality relaxation.

Want more? Check out our resource material for this:

  1. Article on the Power of Presence – https://www.bhavanalearninggroup.com/in-the-power-of-presence/
  2. Book entitled, “Leadership Presence” by Belle Linda Halpern & Kathy Lubar – https://www.amazon.ca/Leadership-Presence-Kathy-Lubar/dp/1592400868/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1602172801&sr=8-2
  3. Article on the Power of the Pause – https://www.bhavanalearninggroup.com/3-conditions-cultivate-attention/
  4. Article on Fixing, helping & rescuing – https://www.uc.edu/content/dam/uc/honors/docs/communityengagement/HelpingFixingServing.pdf



Have you ever said to yourself?

“Oh, if only there were more hours in a day, or another day in the week, then I could get it all done?”

Let’s be honest, even if there were more hours in the day, you probably still wouldn’t get it all done. We don’t really need more time; we need to make better use of the time we have. 

More than any other word, “overwhelmed” captures the state in which most of us find ourselves. There’s simply too much to do and not enough time to get everything done. *

The Oscar-winning movie, “Crash,” aptly details how we are all so involved in our everyday lives that we really never notice – let alone care about – anyone else … unless we crash into each other. We have no time to care or to even think about having time to care. *

We are on the verge of collapse but have not found the time for that either.

Let us start by looking at the relationship we have with time.

Do we own our time or does time own us? Another way to look at is to ask ourselves are we “busy” or “productive” with our time.

People tend to work harder at getting ahead to complete their workload, ultimately creating more interactions, more timelines, more meetings and more follow up, all resulting in overwhelm. This cycle is what we a “vicious circle” at Awesome Journey, as illustrated below.

There are a few steps that we can support our leaders with, to break this vicious circle.

A big one is learning what gets in the way of a leader saying no.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” Warren Buffett


Challenge: For the next two (2) weeks journal each night on how your relationship to time was for that day.

  1. Where did I automatically commit to tasks and experience overwhelm as a result? –
  2. Where did I say no to avoid overwhelm?

Did time own you or did you own your time?


*Courtesy of – Tony Zampella of Bhavana Learning Group.

Leading in a Hybrid World!


As we start to re-enter the workplace in person, many of our clients are asking us:

“What are other leaders doing to lead in a hybrid world?”

The phrase “hybrid world” means functioning between video platforms and live in-person interactions. Technology alone is not going to serve us, so we must shift some of the conversation to focus on the human aspects of re-entry.

Take a few minutes to self-reflect on your recent experience of operating in a hybrid world  and ponder these two questions:

1: Where do I need to upgrade my listening skills to support my team living in a hybrid world?


  • Being Fully Present for Others. One of the biggest mistakes we see leaders make is having back to back events in their calendar. Creating space between meetings supports “being fully present” for others by minimizing carry over from one meeting to the next.
  • Fixing or Supporting. As we lead ourselves and our teams in this VUCA world, we have two places where we can listen from:

A. A place of “fix & rescue” – we hear what is wrong and then we tell people what to do (or we do it ourselves)


B. A place of “support & empowerment” – we hear what is missing or emerging, then we focus on asking questions to engage others, to take ownership and action for their projects.

A great paper to support your learning journey on listening is Helping, Fixing & Serving. (10 min read)

 2: What self-care practices will you expand and include in your daily schedule to support yourself in this hybrid world?


Highly functioning leaders are disciplined in the following areas:


The 4 pillars of your physical well-being are:

  • Rest
  • Exercise
  • Water intake
  • Quality Nutrition

Ask yourself: where are you in these 4 pillars?


A key pillar of your mental well-being is the “quality of attention” that you bring to every conversation. The 2 key components are:

  1. Your ability to focus
  2. Your ability to concentration

Insight: An excellent practice to strengthen your “quality of attention” is to have a daily meditation practice. Download the Headspace or Calm app and get started today!


A key component of your emotional well-being is your awareness of your emotions. Are your emotions using you or are you using your emotions to create sustainable action with others? You become a more effective leader when you are intentional about strengthening you emotional well-being through daily practices of:

    1. Harnessing the Power of Pause. This allows you to convert a perceived threat into an opportunity through leveraging your breathing practice and asking empowering questions.
    2. Not avoiding conflict and concern when they arise, you address them by noticing it and then naming it so you can then speak to it
    3. Expressing gratitude daily. Start and end your day with expressing gratitude for the support, guidance, and love in your life.

Exercise: Pick 1 of the 3 emotional well-being practices, develop a daily practice for 7 days and measure the impact to your emotional well-being!

COVID-19 Response


If you haven’t heard the term VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous), it’s probably a good time to get familiar with it.  VUCA is a common leadership term used to describe the fast-changing world we live in.

There’s no doubt that leaders of today’s industry have experienced the impact volatility has played in their professional and personal lives. COVID-19 and the crashing price of oil and financial markets have left people swaying between everything’s fine and panic.

How well equipped are your leaders prepared to manage high-stress environments where tomorrow’s world looks nothing like yesterday?

We know performance is directly related to how we feel, and, in times of major disruption, connecting and communicating will make a difference.

Awesome Journey wants to acknowledge the stress of our environment and, the important role moods and emotions play in your daily life. We are an experienced resource for helping leaders lead effectively by mastering their emotions and overcoming fear.

To support you, and our community, Awesome Journey is offering our time, at no charge, to be with others via video conference using ZOOM. In this space, we will focus on effective methods for reducing stress to promote wellbeing and peace of mind. For more information, please reach out to your Awesome Journey coach, or email contact@awesomejourney.ca.

In the meantime, to navigate this unchartered territory, we strongly recommend focusing your attention on the following three areas: 

  1. Personal Self Care

It goes without question to take care of yourself in times of heightened stress and extreme vulnerability.  Here are a couple tips:

  • Get proper sleep
  • Watch your consumption
    • reduce/eliminate social media
    • eat healthy food
    • drink adequate water
    • reduce/eliminate drug and alcohol abuse
  • Meditate daily
  • Self-reflect
    • Journaling
    • nature walks
    • sitting in quiet
    • listen to ambient music
  1. Community

The more people collaborate, the greater the possibility for co-creating a better future.  In the right community, our lack of certainty and personal insecurity can almost instantly vanish. Consider the following steps to make sure you have the right people around you to lean on, and that the right people can lean on you:

  • Are the conversations my community are having creating the future, or are they complaining about the past?
  • Do our conversations reflect my values and needs?
  • Have I asked for the right support? If not, when will I?
  1. Collective

Every effort each person makes is a part of the greater whole. While most people may discount the effect, their efforts have on global change, we encourage everyone to go inward and reflect on the following 2 questions:

  • Provided what I’m dealing with, what can I be responsible for today?
  • What are the implications of me not taking this responsibility?

Give yourself some space to consider the long-term impact your responsibility has on the world around you.  Think about the impact of people buying the last 5 packages of toilet paper or hoarding all the hand sanitizer.  We can set the example and be the change we want to see in the world!

How Strong Are Your Support Structures?


As a leader, you are either in “Action” or you are “Stuck”. I experienced my own teachings last week. I thought that I was in “Action” when in fact I was “Stuck”.

I was complaining, justifying and rationalizing my “Way of Being” with one of my colleagues about another member of our team. To me, this was “Action”. After I had finished being right, and making my team member wrong, my colleague asked me a powerful question: “Is your righteousness going to generate action with our other teammate?”

At that moment, I got that I had been “Stuck”. I looked at my colleague and said “No! Thank you for helping me see that I am stuck.”

What got me “Unstuck”? My support structures!

  • A colleague who cared to listen to me and hold me accountable to my commitment to lead from our core values
  • A conversation with my team member to generate action

How strong are your support structures?

When you are “Stuck” you are:

  1. Closed to other ideas, feedback, and opinions
  2. Defensive
  3. Non-accountable in your language (I should, I guess, Probably…)
  4. Committed to Being Right (I am right and others are wrong, don’t they see it, that I am just trying to help them)

When you are in an “Action” you are:

  1. Open to other ideas, feedback, and opinions
  2. Curious
  3. Accountable in your language (I will, I can, I do & I choose)
  4. Committed to Learning

What can I do to shift from being Stuck to being in Action?

  1. Pause & Breathe Deeply and then ask yourself this powerful question – “Is this a Threat or an Opportunity?”
  2. Make a request to a colleague for support
  3. Take action!

Ideas for this Blog come from two sources, my weekly experiences coaching Executives and from an amazing book entitled, “The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership” by Jim Dethmer, Diana Chapman, & Kaley Warner Klemp.

2020 Reading List


At Awesome Journey, we are passionate about learning to be great leaders both personally and professionally. One way we challenge ourselves to learn about leadership, is by exposing ourselves to others who are passionate about leadership. Check out our 2020 book recommendations below hyperlinked for easy purchasing.

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