How to Speak Up When It’s Not Easy

How to Speak Up When It’s Not Easy

Diversity Training Now What

How to Speak Up When It’s Not Easy

– 2 min –

Your Voice is Important

A number of my recent coaching clients are working on making their voices heard. They’ve received feedback that it’s important for their careers to speak up in group settings. Maybe you can relate to this personally or know somebody who would. It’s a pretty common challenge.

In the training that I facilitate, I suggest that to simply give it a try and ‘just start speaking up’ is typically a fool’s errand. I call that the New Year’s Resolution approach to change — and we know that most New Year’s resolutions are not successful over time.

Here’s the thing — while the outer behavior looks the same for individuals who aren’t speaking up in group settings, what’s going on inside (mindset, thought patterns, and feelings) varies significantly. To make lasting change, we need to address those inner patterns.

Underneath those patterns are ‘stories’ such as assumptions, opinions, conclusions, and beliefs. A ‘deep story’ is a story about one’s self or the world that has been years, if not decades, in the making. You may have heard these referred to as self-limiting beliefs.

Here are just a few of the deep stories of clients who were hesitant to bring their voices into the room:

  • If I speak up, I will be judged (maybe harshly)
  • If I speak up, they’ll discover I’m not as smart as they think I am
  • If my ideas are rejected, I’ll be rejected also
  • I’m an introvert; I simply can’t do this

I think you get the idea.

If you want to start speaking up more in group settings, start by identifying the deep stories that are getting in your way. You can do this by paying attention to what’s going on when you are in a group and find you are censoring yourself.

Be open to the possibility that your deep stories are NOT facts (even though they sure feel like they are). How might you act differently if you did not believe your own stories?

When you are ready to experiment, remember that small shifts lead to big changes over time. You don’t need to start speaking up in every group all the time. Pick a group where you are most comfortable (or least uncomfortable) and set an intention to say at least one thing in the next meeting. It could even be as simple as acknowledging that you agree with another person’s point.

As you start to chime in more often, those deep stories will start to diminish and you can replace them with new ones such as “my voice is important and needs to be heard and considered”.

In this way, you’ll be bending your future and fulfilling more of your potential.

Mike Normant, CEO, Unlimit Group

A former global learning & development director at eBay, Mike is now CEO of The Unlimit Group, an executive coaching and leadership training company. Mike is also an active member of executive coaching cadres at Skyline Group International, Lee Hecht Harrison, and Sidekick.



Coach Your Self Up

Practical self-coaching techniques to identify and break through self-limiting behaviors and thought patterns. Learn to be your own coach and take more ownership of your career development.

Starts June 7, 2021

Instructor-Led Course

6-Weeks Online
12.5hrs Est. Course time
Peer-group Networking

What does it Mean to Resonate with Others?

What does it Mean to Resonate with Others?

What does it Mean to Resonate with Others?

2 min –


  • You walk into a room and instantly sense anger; people have been arguing in here.
  • You voice an opinion in a meeting and sense your words aren’t landing, which is all the more confirmed as the conversation ensues independent of anything you said.
  • You make a presentation and you can just feel your audience is with you; by the end, you’ve positively nailed it.

In these and countless more cases, you’re sensing an energetic quality we’ve long had an intuition for and now have a better scientific handle on, namely, the resonance of relationships. It’s not a stretch to say that the quality of our life and the impact of our work depend on the quality and impact of our relationships.

We are born in relationship and only survive through relationships, So it’s not surprising that our nervous system has evolved into social circuitry and the ability to sense the relationships of our life for safety or danger. Even though what we sense in relationships may include material forms – e.g., hormones, facial expressions, body language – the way we sense it and make sense of it is through the uptake, relay, and re-formation of energetic signals, i.e., through resonance. To resonate is to vibrate with, and we are in constant vibration with people and situations around us. Even to say “around us” is a bit of a misnomer, as we are far from contained by our skin. More accurately, we are interpenetrating energetic fields in a sea of energy with which we, to varying extents, co-create and add up or interfere and garble up.

The emotions that accompany these differing states of resonance are unmistakable, just as you likely felt different emotions reading the three vignettes at the beginning. A pretty good gauge of good vibrations – that is, when relationships click, when we’re harmonizing or are in the flow – is that it feels good. Good vibrations with the people and situations in our lives increase both our effectiveness and joy. We are able to harmonize more than interfere, add up more than garble up, when we ourselves are more attuned and coherent. While resonance is a fact, how we resonate is where we have choice.

It’s a choice that takes on new possibilities in Resonate, through practices that integrate mind and body, tune the senses, and tame the fears of the ego. As you become a more resonant being, you’re better able to make your difference and affect more people in a positive way. Given the turbulent, difficult year we’ve been through, what better time, through the goodness we both feel and create, to bring our best vibrations into the world!

Ginny Whitelaw, Author & CEO, Institute for Zen Leadership

A biophysicist and former senior manager for integrating NASA’s International Space Station, Dr. Whitelaw has trained leaders on the path of making a difference for more than 25 years, working with mind, body, energy and resonance through the Institute for Zen Leadership.




Expect to be surprised by the joy, resilience and “effortless effort” of working with resonance in real-life applications from a challenge you’re facing, to strengthening a relationship, to leading change in a team or system.

Starts May 17, 2021

Instructor-Led Course

6-Weeks Online
9hrs Est. Course time
Peer-group Networking

The Game Has Changed

The Game Has Changed

The Game Has Changed

3 min –


As we continue to deal with the challenges of our uncertain and changing world, one fundamental concept leaders need to embrace is that success looks very different now. Our “best next move” looks nothing like the concrete, incremental wins that we are used to achieving. It is hard to shake the belief that our prior experience, knowledge and success are the currency that puts us in a position to know what is coming next and enable us to understand what we need to do as we face the road ahead. Our identity and self-worth are tied up in our resumes and achievements that brought us to this point in our careers. It’s a big mindset shift for us to acknowledge that the game has changed.

So how do you respond when a major change to how your work – where the structure or process that you normally follow – shifts all of a sudden? How do you help your team adjust their focus from relying on what they have done in the past, from what is known and comfortable, and what has consistently generated those incremental wins that are so seductive?

Here’s an example: one of my clients, a software sales executive in a growing technology company, and his team were facing a major change in how their sales territories would be assigned and worked. While salespeople in general are very optimistic and resilient, this change was disruptive and anxiety-provoking — a wholesale change in how they would sell.

The executive was apprehensive and worried; his team of highly trained, ambitious and successful account executives were rocked back on their heels – not understanding why this change was being put in place when they had demonstrated consistent success in the previous structure. He was concerned but — rather than digging in his heels and resisting the change, or plowing ahead in a “business as usual” manner, or hoping the change was just another “flavor of the month” that would soon go away – he knew he had to prepare his team to think differently about how they sell.

He set a process in place that was grounded in some of the structure and assumptions his team already knew, then carefully urged them – one step, one “best next move” at a time – to work through this new framework. They would not have that same, step-by-step, predictable sales structure they were familiar with; the one that yielded concrete, incremental “wins”, that demonstrated progress and fueled their success along the sales process. But what they would have is the ability to always find their “best next move”, to feel confident in their own personal agency to act and to understand that progress – even in a competitive sales environment. This new strategy was defined as a move that pulled them forward.

It was definitely unknown territory for them, but over time they saw results and built a confidence based on knowing they could chart their path forward through anything that was thrown at them. They were miles ahead of their peers, who were still desperately holding on to their old ways, resisting the changes that continued to come.

Whether you are in a sales, product, engineering or any other function where your team is used to creating success through a familiar, known and recognized process, when things change – and you know they will – your role as a leader is to help your team understand that expectations have shifted. We are all playing a different game now, one where we don’t know what is ahead, but where we need to confidently make our moves, even without knowing what the outcome will be.

Big solutions are no longer the expectation. It is the smaller “best next move” that we now need to define so that we can pull forward together as a team and continue to achieve those incremental wins.

Roberta A. LaPorte, Organizational Consultant

After spending 25 years leading Fortune 50 organizations and technology start-ups, Bobbie draws on positive psychology and her experience as a six-time Ironman triathlons finisher to help organizations navigate uncertainty and get ready for anything



Leading Through Uncertainty

Build leadership skills to navigate through the unrelenting uncertainty of our times. Learn practices that are science-based, scalable and easy to implement.

Starts June 21, 2021

Instructor-Led Course

4-Weeks Online
6hrs Est. Course time
Peer-group Networking

Trust and Emotional Intelligence

Trust and Emotional Intelligence

Trust and Emotional Intelligence

3 min –


The topic in a group discussion this morning was TRUST, and how to assess your level of trust. The starting point is honesty. Without honesty, one cannot experience trust. You can’t have trust without truth.

Sometimes people lie deliberately, but more often it is a matter of withholding the truth. Society teaches us to hide our true feelings under the guise of being polite. (Just read any “Miss Manners” column.) We’re afraid of being honest, afraid of being exposed, being vulnerable, being hurt, or hurting others. Some of us are afraid of being seen as less than perfect, showing our darker side, exposing our “flaws”. This was me before I worked my way out of the dark side of perfectionism.

Tell Yourself the Truth

Trust starts with you. Be willing to acknowledge what you are feeling, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you. The discomfort will pass quickly enough, and you will then have access to valuable information and more energy. This is the foundation for a healthy relationship with yourself and with others. When you are emotionally honest with yourself, you access your ability to choose – what you believe, what actions you want to take, and if or how to express yourself directly.

A key aspect of emotional intelligence is knowing how to process your feelings appropriately. Every time you stay present with your emotions, discern their meaning, and value their messages, you build trust in your ability to cope with all kinds of situations.

Tell Others the Truth Respectfully

While it’s not easy to openly express feelings to another person, learning how to communicate honestly, in a way that makes the other person feel safe, builds trust. While I teach various techniques for effective communication, the key is to show respect. When someone feels respected, they are less likely to become defensive and are thus more open to receiving your message.

What is your level of self-trust?

Recent times have shown us what has been true all along: we never know what outside circumstances we’ll face. What you can know, however, is how you feel about those circumstances. Being emotionally honest builds self-trust, which in turn supports your ability to cope.

Take a moment now. Tune into yourself and ask, “What am I feeling?”

Joie Seldon, Author & EQ Leadership Coach

Joie Seldon spent forty years building her work as a trainer, leadership coach and expert in Emotional Intelligence, teaching executives and business professionals how to benefit from one of the most valuable yet underutilized aspects of a successful career, their emotions. The author of EMOTIONS An Owner's Manual and an electrifying speaker, she's presented to worldwide audiences online and onstage.



Emotions at Work

Strengthen your emotional intelligence to better navigate the complexity of emotions in ourselves and others. Enhance work relationships and minimize stress amidst the pressures of today’s fast-paced world.

Starts April 19, 2021

Instructor-Led Course

8-Weeks Online
16hrs Est. Course time
Peer-group Networking

Post-Pandemic Rebound & Recovery

Post-Pandemic Rebound & Recovery

Post-Pandemic Rebound & Recovery

3 min –


It’s Time to Prepare for the Next New Normal

We’ve been waiting a long time for good news. And now there’s hope on the horizon. With vaccines rolling in, cases trending down, and some regions already declared “fully open,” it may start to feel like the worst of the pandemic is behind us. But will we truly return to where we left off before this all began? The answer is no, and I submit that we won’t want to return to our old ways.

The pandemic has shown us a few things.

The fact is, amidst lockdowns, disruptions and adjusting to isolation — plus new ways of conducting ourselves in public, caring for our children, and working (or not working) — many of our personal boundaries for what we can tolerate or adapt to have been steamrollered. Even worse, millions of families worldwide are still deep in grief over loved ones who were taken too soon.

We’re not out of the woods yet. More uncertainty lies ahead. Alarming variants are on the rise. It will take a very long time to vaccinate 80% of the world’s 7.8+ billion people.

How can we possibly handle more disruption?

Any time our boundaries are pushed, it provides us with the opportunity to look in the mirror. We should all be able to recognize that we’ve stumbled along the way. And we should always be forgiving of ourselves for doing so.

Let’s take an inventory of our experience in the past year.

Seven points to consider:

  • How well did we deal with uncertainty?
  • Have any non-constructive habits or behaviors impeded our experience?
  • Did we appropriately handle an emotional situation?
  • Did we make our best decisions?
  • Were we able to effectively coach our teams or those who look up to us?
  • Have we had a consistently mindful presence?
  • Are we truly making a difference with our contribution to the world?

Even when we do get back to a more comfortable existence, we’ll find that our world has forever changed. Some of our favorite restaurants or businesses may have closed. The online experience will continue to occupy an ever bigger component of our lives, as more office workers than ever will spend more time working from home. Online education and training, even after children have returned to classrooms, is also here to stay.

While we grieve our losses, we should also recognize that something better generally arises following big disruptions. I believe that we’ll enter a mini-renaissance of sorts. The pandemic will have accelerated new, innovative ways of engaging our colleagues and environment. So now is the time to ask ourselves if we’re prepared.

A mentor once told me, “it’s not so important to know what our future will bring as it is to know how we’ll receive it.” She was talking about embracing a growth mindset — continually developing ourselves so that we become ever more graceful and adept with whatever comes our way.

As we anticipate our next chapter in life, here are some key questions to ask of ourselves or our teams. Am I putting my best self forward? Is my organization’s culture growing and thriving? Is it sustainable? Are we truly making a difference here? How can we prioritize our personal or organizational development to better receive our future?

What better time than now for us to invest in developing and strengthening our grace?

Curt Dowdy, Interplicity Co-Founder and CEO

Curt Dowdy is Co-Founder and CEO of Interplicity, the parent company of the leadership & professional development catalog. As a former corporate executive and now entrepreneur, Curt and the InnerProfessional team are on a mission to deliver transformative adult education experiences, modeling improved practices toward engaging our lives and world.


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Coach Your Self Up

➤ Practical self-coaching techniques to identify and break through self-limiting behaviors and thought patterns. Learn to be your own coach and take more ownership of your career development.

Ginny Whitelaw
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