Liberator 018: Leading in the Midst of Stress

In Episode #18 of the Liberator Podcast, Jeremie and Steve use a practical and live example of how being sick can create stress and the importance of learning how to lead in the midst of it. They connect the 5 Voices into the conversation and show you how your personality and wiring affect the way you handle stress.

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Liberator 017: A GiANT Guide to the New Year 2017

New Year’s represents a new start. Most of us will evaluate our strengths and weaknesses. We make our resolutions and start our workout programs.

In episode #17 of the Liberator Podcast, Jeremie and Steve share some big ideas for your future as a leader and help you kick off the year with a GiANT Guide to the New Year. Click below to listen to the episode and be sure to download the GiANT Guide to the New Year PDF. Read more

Year-End Review

Liberator 016: 7 Questions for Your Year-End Review

As the year comes to a close, it’s always a great idea to do a year-end review.

In episode #16 of the Liberator Podcast, Jeremie and Steve come to you from their strategic review and planning week with questions that you can use in your own year-end review process. Read more

leadership digital age

Liberator 015: Leadership in the Digital Age

What does leadership in the digital age require? How are millennial’s wired?

In episode #15 of the Liberator Podcast, Jeremie and Steve discuss the 3 major challenges of leadership in the new digital world. Read more

Liberator 014: How Each Leadership Voice Can Be More Present & Productive with the 5 Gears

Each Leadership Voice has a unique set of skills and tendencies. When it comes to emotional intelligence, connectivity and being productive, each person has behavior that is actually pretty predictable.

In episode #14 of the Liberator Podcast, Jeremie and Steve unpack each of the 5 Voices and how you can begin using the 5 Gears system to increase your influence. Read more

be present and productive 5 gears

Liberator 013: 5 Gears – How to Be Present and Productive

The 5 Gears is a simple (but powerful) system that will help you be present and productive when there is never enough time.

In episode #13 of the Liberator Podcast, Jeremie and Steve unpack each of the 5 Gears and discuss how you can begin using this system in your day-to-day life both at home and at work.

be present and productive 5 gears

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My first car was a 1972 Alfa Romeo GT2000. It was a sleek, candy-apple red, two-door, five-speed beauty. As a 16- year-old living in a small city in central Oklahoma, it felt as James Bond-ish as any car could. The windshield wipers alternated toward one another and the smooth lines along the small car gave it a very distinct, European feel. The crown jewel of my beautiful “new”, old car, however, was the elegant wood. The steering wheel was made from a distinguished walnut wood, as was the manual gearshift handle.

As a new driver who was getting acclimated to a manual transmission, that poor car had to deal with my grinding gears and timid use of the clutch. I had to practice shifting, learning to listen to the engine to know when to shift, and then practicing a smooth transition from one gear to the next.

As I became a bit more confident in my driving skills, I remember trying to start driving straight out of second gear while avoiding first gear altogether. Starting in first just took too long and I had places to go, people to see, things to do. I thought I could just skip a gear and get to fourth or fifth gear as fast as possible. That was a mistake. It didn’t take long before I learned what such impatience did to the engine, not to mention my plummeting gas mileage, and the lurching effect it caused.

Twenty-plus years later I found myself living in the English countryside, staring at a right-sided steering wheel and a left-handed manual stick shift in our first rental car. Learning to drive on what the English call the correct side of the road is one thing. But adding a left-handed gear shift to the equation made driving on the opposite side of the road even more challenging, given how intently I had to focus on shifting as we drove on the tiny lanes of London. I would sum up the experience with the following words: Grinding gears, close calls, lurching motions, and terror—I mean, excitement.

There are parallels with shifting gears in a car and the rhythms and routines of our lives: There is a right order and a right time for each gear.

Conversely, there is also a wrong gear and a wrong time. People who figure this out tend to drive smoothly and effectively. People who don’t shift well tend to cause damage to all those around them—people and vehicles.

There is a right time and a right place for each gear.

1st gear is meant to lead to 2nd and so forth. Each gear has a purpose, and if you understand the purpose and apply this driving analogy to the way you “drive” your life, aligning the right gear with the right speed and situation of your day will allow you to have a smooth journey. Conversely, if you choose to skip a gear, as in my example, then you may rev to screaming levels and cause the engine of your life all sorts of problems.

The 5 Gears is a metaphor centered on an everyday, manual transmission vehicle or stick shift. Most European cars have a manual gearbox, while most American vehicles have an automatic transmission. In both cases there are gears that start in 1st gear and shift through until you reach 5th gear (unless you drive a very expensive car that adds a 6th gear). Reverse is also a gear, which could make up a 6th or 7th gear depending on the car, but for simplicity we will use 5 Gears as the overall theme of the metaphor.

How will this help you be present and productive?

With our metaphor, each gear represents a different mode of connecting through living, leading, working, and resting. We will define each one and give concrete examples through- out to help make this a practical system for increasing connectivity, improving work–life balance, deepening emotional intelligence, and identifying how to be present with those in our lives.

How to Be Present & Productive

The same thinking applies to our metaphor: To lead yourself well and connect appropriately in your relationships, your day needs to begin in 1st gear, after which you shift up into other gears. You can go from 1st gear to 5th in life, but it is not recommended and the consequences can be damaging, just like with your car. You can also go from 3rd gear to reverse, but just because you can, does not mean you should, considering cause and downstream effect. The best drivers understand when to shift and when not to.

The same is true with the best leaders. They understand the gears.

  • 1st gear represents being fully recharged.
  • 2nd gear represents connecting with family, friends, or
    colleagues.
  • 3rd gear is the social gear.
  • 4th gear is the task gear that allows us to work hard while
    also multitasking.
  • 5th gear is focus mode that allows us to “get in the zone”
    without interruption.
  • Reverse is the responsive gear. It is used when we need to
    back up and start again or apologize.

Each gear has its own purpose and place. Once you learn to use the gears consistently with those in your life, you will notice the common language that begins to form, enabling objectivity to characterize your conversation instead of the subjective judgment or condescension that becomes pervasive when each person is speaking a different “language.” With the gears, you will also be able to incorporate some shorthand sign language to describe what gear you are in with a hand signal, which makes conversations more efficient and effective among people who share the same language. It’s a proven system thousands of people are using to be present with their friends and family, as well as more productive in everyday life.

Self-Awareness & Applications

Knowing yourself before you apply.

How can I learn about myself/my personality to prepare for an application?

So you’re getting ready to graduate. The pressure is on. What do I do? What am I good at? Who should I work for? Where should I work?

Before you answer those questions, my question for you is, how well do you know yourself? It’s a good exercise to think through your skills and talents as well as how you are wired. What’s it really like to be on the other side of you? This insight is significant for every relationship in your life and also as you consider the type of organisations to work for, the working practices that you like, the people you want to work with and whether your values align with those of the place you’d like to work.

A wise friend of mine says if you can work from your natural strengths for over 70% of your time, you will be energised and enjoy what you do, you will also cope with the 30% of tasks you don’t enjoy!

How do you find out how you’re wired or your natural strengths? There are numerous tests out there which will help you understand your personality. I’d highly recommend https://www.giant.courses. But, here’s a word of warning! Tests are a helpful starting point but you are a complex mixture of nature, nurture and choice. A test won’t accurately reflect your personality; it will describe your behaviour today. Your education, upbringing, friends and culture will have ‘taught’ you to respond in certain ways but is that your natural preference? ‘Experts’ in personality can help you understand your nature but if you can’t use an expert what else can you do?

I’d suggest you do a test but also talk to people you trust. Ask them how they experience you. Use it as an opportunity to become more self-aware. Pick a range of people and find out what it is they value you for? What traits do they most admire in you? What traits do they not like which might trip you up in later years?

As you begin to apply for jobs take all this learning and use it. For example, if you love being with people, don’t apply for a job where you’ll be on your own most of the day.

As a graduate, I learned that who I worked for was the most important criteria for me. Work for people who will shape your character, help you grow and develop, who inspire you and help you navigate the political landscape of work.

Knowing yourself is a gift that will set you up for your whole career and ensure that you are a leader that people will want to follow. As hard as it might be to hear the truth it will differentiate you from many others.

Liberator 012: 4 Methods for Leadership Multiplication

Leadership Multiplication

Welcome to the Liberator Podcast, episode #12. Discover the 4 methods for leadership multiplication and how to begin using them inside your team and organization.

The 4 methods are:

  1. Informing
  2. Training
  3. Coaching
  4. Apprenticeship

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Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest

Liberator 011: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest

Welcome to the Liberator Podcast, episode #11. Discover a handful of leadership lessons from Mount Everest in this powerful episode with worldwide adventure icon, John Beede.

Jeremie and Steve go on a journey with John as he retells his experience of climbing Mt. Everest and the lessons for leaders along the way.

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20 Things You Should Never Assume

For Goodness Sake, Stop Assuming!

As I look back at my journey, it’s amazing to me how many leadership failures came from poor assumptions. Success, greatness, breakthrough, liberation and overall peace are all at risk when we assume.

So here are 20 things you should not assume in the future, in no particular order: Read more