The Courage to Be Yourself: Susan Caba

She's written nonfiction books. She's been published in the New York Times. She's written short, serious pieces and social media posts that make me belly laugh. In fact, Susan Caba can write about anything, the most boring topics imaginable, and make them compelling. Her writing looks simple. Its looks like it was easy putting those words together. Oh how I envy that. I've noticed how Susan sometimes forgets the gift she possesses: making good writing look easy. Perhaps she, like her readers, focuses on the smooth-flowing end product, forgetting how much effort and thinking and refining and sweat it took to get those final words down on paper. Susan does know that she's touched lives with her writing. She says she's grateful to have had many opportunities to meet and memorialize truly interesting people. When pushed, Susan admits that she's  even righted wrongs now and again. On what she calls her newspaper career 'luck,' Susan writes: I was lucky enough in my newspaper career to work for two of the greatest, during the period they were the greatest. I honed my reporting and writing skills at the Des Moines Register and, in the process, developed a great understanding of … [Read more...]

Lead Yourself First

Guest post by Susan Caba The ancient Greeks said it first: “Know Thyself.”  That timeless piece of advice was inscribed on the Temple of the Oracle at Delphi, and it’s been the basis of philosophical, psychological and self-help theories ever since. Most great leaders know themselves--their strengths, weaknesses and motivations--very well. Their self-awareness contributes to their effectiveness as leaders. Why? Because in order to lead others, you must be able to lead yourself. Self-leadership only comes with self-knowledge. It gives you insight into how others see and respond to you; it confers the ability to interact more successfully with others. This is as true for a relationship between two people as it is for the CEOs of enormous organizations. 4 Ingredients There are four basic ingredients in everyone’s personality or behavioral style. All four are present in every person, to different degrees. Just as the flavor and texture of a particular bread depends on its ratio of ingredients, spices and baking time, an individual’s personality depends on the varying ratios of all four traits. Nobody is all one style or another; no particular mix is better than the myriad … [Read more...]

The Best of 2014 from Jone Bosworth

by Susan Caba What do Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Walking Dead have in common? What’s the connection between a hug and a personal manifesto? Which is better, striving for power or learning to relax and let go? Oh, the questions we ask! And where do we turn for answers? To Jone Bosworth, of course. I’ve been reading closely for more than a year now, and I’m consistently impressed with Jone’s knack for pulling leadership insights from unlikely sources—the Rolling Stones, Mister Rogers—and, more than that, for encouraging women to both recognize and use our power while, at the same time, giving us permission to relax and release responsibility for making the entire world run right. Not only that, she makes me laugh. Here are some of my favorite posts from 2014: Leadership Guidance from the World’s Nicest Grown-Up: To tell you the truth, I was never a fan of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. As a hard-bitten newspaper reporter, I frankly found the show sappy. But Jone, wiser than I, gleaned 15 leadership lessons from him that I have since come to appreciate. Here’s just one: “You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need … [Read more...]

Sitting the New Smoking? What Leaders Can Do

Sitting the New Smoking? What Leaders Can Do Susan Caba Complete Idiot’s Guide to Leadership, Fast Track I’ve heard it three times in conversation in the last month: Sitting is the new smoking. Meaning that inactivity is killing us. Which we’ve known for quite some time, but “sitting is the new smoking”makes the point in a concise and dramatic fashion. So, what are we—especially those of us in leadership positions—going to do about it? First, let’s check the reality of the statement. Is sitting the new smoking? Not quite, according to Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center and author of Disease Proof, a book on what it takes to maintain good health. In a post to CommonHealth newsletter, Dr. Katz said that the message isn’t literally true—chronic sitters who smoke die younger than non-smoking sitters. But there is “truthiness”to the message. “Being too sedentary, spending too much time on our backsides…is an unnatural position. It is a position that sort of wrinkles us and folds us in ways that, in addition to just not moving, are probably detrimental. …This slogan is an attempt to say, “I want to get people up and moving and, in … [Read more...]

Maya Angelou: A phenomenal woman…

Leaves a legacy and many lessons By Susan Caba Maya Angelou, poet, author and phenomenal woman, died earlier this week. I realized, when I heard the news,  that I really knew very little about her. I had read only her best-known book, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” So, with her distinctive voice echoing through the house in tributes to her passing, I Googled the poems I was hearing for the first time on the radio. What an eye-opener they were, especially “Phenomenal Woman.” That poem should be given to every girl on her 12th birthday, again when she graduates from high school and college, and thereafter pasted next to her bathroom mirror. The poem so courageously—no, I mean brazenly—celebrates attributes that, as women, make us powerful and in which we should be proud. Pretty women wonder where my secret lies… I say, It's in the reach of my arms The span of my hips, The stride of my step, The curl of my lips. I'm a woman Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, That's me. Now, before you complain that Ms Angelou is referring to, and I’m lauding, the use of physical feminine charms as the source of our power, she’s not and neither am I. I read the … [Read more...]

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