Category Archives: #WinningApproach

Is Your Renaissance Mind Stuck In A Single-Minded World?

Don’t fall for the single-minded B.S. “Jack of all trades, master of none.”  It might be true for most people. However, it doesn’t mean it’s true for all people.

It can be hard to focus on just one thing and do it well when you feel you’re sacrificing or ignoring your other passions and talents in the process.

You’re perfectly capable of hyper-focusing on one thing for hours at a time. You’re also capable of burning out quickly if you feel cemented to that one thing for too long.

Some of us Restless Successfuls, polymaths, and Renaissance minds do our best work when we allow our minds the nourishing and nurturing inspiration from other areas that feed our natural curiosity.

Do one thing and do it well might apply to some people, but not all people. You might be the kind of person who does several things well and with more clarity when you’re free to use all areas where you thrive.

Imagine if Leonardo Da Vinci had been forced to choose one area of interest. If he had said, “I think I’ll just stick to painting” and suppressed his other passions and talents.

What if Richard Branson had said, “I think I’ll just stick to the music industry.”

Some call this having A.D.D., and some consultants would rather pull their bottom lip over their head than to work with people like this (at least that’s what they tell me).

Call me crazy, but I adore working with people like this!  They have always been my favorites to work with and had the most successful outcomes.

They’re life long and passionate learners, not “scatter-brained.”

Understanding how this multifaceted mind works and creating strategies that work with it, not against, makes all the difference. No matter if it’s consulting outcomes, new initiatives, or energizing your team, it’s most beneficial to work with you where you’re most naturally suited.

Some people will get lost if they don’t “stay in their lane.” Some of us get lost if we do.

I’m Not The Boss Of You | Be A Leader Not A Boss

Be a leader not a boss | Show Up Strong | Leadership and employee engagement

The mindset for how to be a leader not a boss is pretty simple, right? I have something that needs to be done. I choose someone to do that “thing” and offer a price for them to do it. If they accept the price I offer, they begin doing the thing(s) I need done.


It’s the same process no matter if it is a freelance graphics designer, consultant, full-time employee, or a contractor building a room edition.


It seems pretty straight forward, until you get human behavior involved.


It is an agreement between two adults.


Do I have the final say on how it’s done? Most likely. Outside of regulations and governing laws, I’m paying for the thing that needs to be don and have to live with the results.  If decisions need to be made that are outside what I outlined in the instructions and parameters for the task, it’s on me to decide.


Will I defer to their expertise and experience for which I chose them? Probably. It’s my job to give them the tools they need, instruct them on the outcome desired, then get out of the way.


I lead. I manage. I give guidance. I don’t own a human. 


I take a strong leadership role by taking responsibility for how well I provide the tools for others to do their job.


When I hire or enter into an agreement with someone, that doesn’t make me lord and master over them. It is an exchange, not ownership.


I can terminate the agreement if I don’t like the job they’re doing.


They can terminate the agreement if I make it difficult, cause or allow the environment to be toxic, and add tasks to the job that were not agreed upon, without adding to their compensation.


If I have an agreement with other people to do other things I need to be done and those people make it difficult for person one to do their job, it’s my responsibility to intervene, as I have the agreement with both.


The boss mindset is antiquated and must be retired.


The word “boss” is derived from the word “master.”  Have you ever known the word “boss” or “master” to evoke feelings of joy and empowerment? Maybe in some situations, but not in any work environment I’ve ever witnessed.


When treating another human being as property or subordinate, it’s demeaning and strips them of their dignity, their worth, their power. That mentality is not conducive to fostering the sought after “engagement” organizations profess to be seeking.


If you want people to enjoy and thrive in their work (your “thing” that needs to be done) give them the tools to do it. Those tools include dignity.


People who can enter into these agreements are adults, making decisions to exchange time and skill for money. When you treat the relationship as such, you get better results for all involved.



I am not your master. I am not the boss of you.


If you feel you need to be someone’s boss and wield power over them, what you really need is to ask yourself why.


What motivates your need to take on a superior role to another person?


Your job in a leadership role is to empower people to do their best. Stripping people of power breads resentment, defiance, lowers mental ability to function at optimal levels, and can even escalate or bring about illness.


Fear motivation will not produce the same results as empowered motivation.


A good leader owns their role. A boss doesn’t.


Will some people slack off and take on an irresponsible childlike behavior? You bet some will. That’s when you take into consideration ending the agreement after you have run through your honest assessment of:


  1. Have they been given clear instruction of what needs to be done, how, and when?
  2. Did  I stick to the agreement of the above or have I or others made adjustments or thrown things into chaos?
  3. Have I created the environment for them to thrive in their role?
  4. Have I given them to tools to do the tasks?
  5. Did I somehow strip them of their dignity and desire to do their best?
  6. Have I allowed other people to interfere with their ability to do the job?
  7. Is it possible my personal judgement or perception of the person has become an obstacle in how I enable them to do their job?


If you have honestly answered “yes” to 1 -4 and “no” to 5 -7, then you find another person to do the “things.” If not, you need to adjust your mindset to your true role as a leader.


The key is being honest about the role you have played. A good leader is someone who can be honest about the role they play in influencing the environment, behaviors, and outcomes.


A boss feels they don’t have to answer to anyone about anything. Bosses get bad results.


My sister recently gave me a pair of socks that read, “You’re Not the Boss of Me” because I decided years ago (okay, decades ago), I am my own master.


I am the boss of me, and I have no ego issues that compel me to ever want to be the boss of you or anyone.

Is There A Jerk Waiting To Stop You On Your Path To Greater Success?

a well dressed man who looks like a jerkDo you ever feel frustrated that you’re not keeping up with or surpassing The Jones’? As a successful person, you know that every second counts and time is money. Anything less than what you expect is costly.


You loathe time wasting and people who don’t meet your expectations. That’s normal when you’ve got your eye on a prize and it feels like people are getting in your way and slowing you down. Why can’t they be as focused and driven as you?


The truth is, The Jones Chasers of the world don’t realize, the jerk getting in their way of happiness, surpassing the Jones’ and hiding in their blind spot, could be themselves.


It’s the in between stages of wealth and success where the jerk can often emerge. When you feel like you’ve made it well above and beyond where you started, but not quite locked in to that position where you feel safe. Better yet, better than.


That fear of losing it all and sliding backward can feel like that last sprint of determinaton and focus to get you past the finish line, while your competition is right on your heels. When you feel like you’re in beast mode. Well, maybe you are and that’s not always a good thing.


As the writer came to the realization in this Fast Company article, Why Not Being a Jerk is Important to Your Happiness and Success, we need to step back from our wild ambition often, to appreciate where we are. We need to appreciate where others are on their journey as well. No need to worry, gratitude will not stop your momentum.


The Uber driver wasn’t trying to destroy your success and drag you down to his income level because he didn’t run the red light. The new employee trying to navigate your wild and unclear ambition isn’t incompetent and trying to destroy your business.  Most likely, it’s the complete opposite.


In my decades of working and playing with the ultra-rich, the homeless, and everything in between, I’ve learned that The Jones’ are an every moving target and there will always be someone who doesn’t care how much success or money you have.


Remember when you were in the position of the person you’re being impatient with, blaming for something out of their control, or just plain being a jerk. Be thankful that they are there, doing the best they can and most likely, whishing you would just say “thank you, I appreciate you doing the best you can.”


It’s easy to make a boat load of money being a jerk. To do it with elegance and grace is what takes strength and skill.


If you want to know if you’re being a jerk, feel free to ask me. I’m not afraid to tell you the truth.


Successful People Don’t Wear Someone Else’s Shoes

business man on beach walking away from his shoes

What’s wrong with success checklists?

How many lists of  ‘how successful people ______’ (fill in the blank) have you read? If you search the internet for “how successful people” in 2015 you would have found 409,000 results and today, in 2019, you will find “About 1,100,000,000 results (0.43 seconds)” . Fill in the blanks with anything from brushing their teeth to where they part their hair and what kind of shoes they wear.

If you think about it, these lists set the rest of the success seeking world up for failure, negative self-talk and low self-esteem. It also sets such high expectations for the ‘successful’ to live up to.

To find successful people that are a mashup of all of these lists  would be as easy to find as the Loch Ness Monster.

If you’re already successful, what do you think when you read these lists? Sure, some of your do’s and don’ts may match, some you may be working on, but do you feel you could put a checkmark next to all  those ‘what successful people do and don’t do‘?

What list you need to subscribe to?

Successful people are human.  We each have our own quirks and flaws. We are not perfect, we are messy in our own way. What we all have in common is this; we became successful because of and in spite of the roles we played in navigating our journey.

Those who continue to stay successful have more times than not, adjusted their behaviors, habits, and roles along the way.

We can both teach and learn from others, take tips, model certain procedures and behaviors, follow a map, however, the map is not the territory or the climate.

We need to realize, we are all a bit different, we all wear different shoes on our path to success. You can imagine being in someone else’s shoes, however,  we all need to navigate through the ups and downs in your own.

The most important checklist is:

  1. Know how to choose the best fit for you
  2. Know which you need to conquer the territory of the day or moment
  3. Know when the time is right to get a different size
  4. Admit if they start to stink and replace them
  5. Never borrow someone else’s shoes, you don’t know where they’ve been


Does Success Require Being Pretentious?

How often do you find yourself feeling like you need to be polite and spend time interacting with people you really don’t care to be around? Perhaps they make you uncomfortable or maybe they have personality traits you find offensive or toxic.

Given the choice, you would probably never speak to a certain person or group of people again….. but, it’s part of business, family or forced social connections, so you have to.

After all, you wouldn’t want to insult someone by choosing not to have them in your personal or business ecosystems, would you? There could be considerable backlash from people who play certain unfavorable roles if you did choose to eliminate the contact. Am I getting close?

In the business world, it’s a widely held belief that our network is our net worth. What then, does it say about your ‘net worth’  if, deep down inside, you don’t like some or even most of the people in your network?

There came a time when I asked myself that very question. The answer to my own reflection was this; I was behaving no different than the shallow, pretentious and toxic people in my life, that I didn’t want in my life.

If I really didn’t want them in my life, wasn’t I being just as fake and toxic as they were by keeping them around and ‘playing nice’? I was in a position where I felt forced to play nice and tolerate people because that’s what successful people have to do.

It comes with the territory, at least, that’s what I was taught. I must admit,  I never did master holding my tongue when someone was extremely out of line and disrespectful. It took something serious for me to speak up, that’s not being very authentic. Did I ever let people know what I really thought? How I really felt? Who I really was? What I felt was truly important? Rarely, if ever.

That’s when I realized my definition of success does not include:

  1. being painfully uncomfortable with the people in my business/life
  2. spending valuable time with people I find highly toxic and revolting
  3. being pretentious and shallow
  4. suffocating rules dictated by a group, class, institution or gender
  5. faking my smile
  6. selling something I don’t believe in
  7. faking my belief system/values

If I came to be successful through pretension, if I have to be someone I’m not, I’m not really successful! I’m a slave to the pretension of success!

I felt the success was a fraud and so was I.  That’s when I decided to redefine what it means to be successful and the way I would navigate my new path and version of success.

[This pretentious blind spot can be one of the many contributions to being successful and unhappy, instead of successful and satisfied.]

One of the widely held beliefs in the business and personal world is the need to be, what equates to, pretentious. Pretentiousness is veiled in networking, social etiquette and growing a sphere of influence, justifying it with the belief that’s the way to build relationships, influence, and success. Somewhere along the way, we lost sight of the difference in genuine relationships and the real meaning of success.

We all have our own unique meaning of success, however, I’ve never heard anyone define success as “spending time with people I don’t like and trying really hard to impress people”.

If I discover a person I’m connected with in some way, displays toxic behavior, I choose not to allow them into my ecosystem, my circle or sphere of influence. That does make a lot of people with toxic personalities a lot more toxic and angry, it may even cause them to plant little toxic seeds out in the world about me, yet, I no longer engage with trying to clean up the mess they create. I do not engage with toxic people and their behavior. That’s not in my definition of success. My new success is based on authenticity.

I may slip up once in a while and bend to the expectation or fear of not being accepted, but then, I go right back to my new rules of engagement. I realize I have a choice in how I live my life and who I spend my time with.

I’ve been told many times, that kind of success is unobtainable; I need to lower my standards. I choose not to believe that as truth.

As long as I know my achievements, connections, relationships, and smile are authentic and genuine, I am successful. When I can spend my time with people I enjoy, people I trust, people I like, I am successful. When I wake up every day, doing what I love and making a positive impact for the money I earn, I’m successful. If I know my successes and accomplishments didn’t come from sacrificing my authenticity, I’m a success!

So, the answer to the original question; NO, I don’t believe success requires pretension. Pretension to me is failure.

About the Author: 

Tamara is an international leader in human and business performance. Developing high functioning navigational skills in rapidly changing and volatile environments, working with high functioning individuals looking to grow into more meaningful success and leadership roles in their unique situations. Whether leading a growing business of 1,000 or leading their individual lives, she helps them Show Up Strong® in every situation. Their businesses and personal lives gain in the quality of their strengths, growth, and impact.

Why Don’t You Have Your Shit Together?

Yesterday, someone said to me they thought a person their age was supposed to have it all figured out and have their shit together by now. Have you ever felt that way?

While I understand the need for us humans to have goals and markers along the path of life to keep us motivated, it’s often demotivating to compare; especially when what we’re using as a comparison is an illusion. 

How often do you find yourself comparing your life to the life other people appear to have? 

Comparing your life to where you “should be” at your age or with your education, experience, success, relationship, etc… Comparing your life to the lives everyone else seems to be living.

Have you ever found yourself thinking if you were only strong, more disciplined, or [fill in the blank] enough to follow the countless lists of “things people with their shit together do,” you too could have it all together?

There’s an endless supply of those lists for every aspect of our lives; you just need to follow the recipe. Right?

Life and recipes don’t work that way.

Not everyone starts with the same ingredients.

Not everyone has access to the same quality ingredients.

Not everyone has the same tools to work with or in the same working order.

Not everyone was given a gourmet kitchen with Julia Childs as a mentor growing up.

Not everyone has had a Wreck-It Ralph come through their kitchen, destroying everything they worked hard to achieve.

Not everyone was taught how to substitute ingredients to make the dish work.

Not everyone chose a recipe that was good for them, not knowing until it made them ill. 

Cut yourself some slack. But don’t slack off. 

Our decisions and behaviors can and often do influence our circumstances.

Take responsibility for the role you play in circumstances that have caused your detours and setbacks. 

 Our circumstances influence and can often dictate where we are in life.

Where your circumstances have landed you in life does not define you, it defines your new starting point.

 What we do with those circumstances determines the life we have. 

Work diligently to improve the roles you play that contribute to your circumstances.

Either let go of who or what contributed to, caused, or completely blindsided you, or use the experience as a tool for building your future. 

The length of recovery time can vary, depending on the ingredients in which one has, the needed assistance one has, and the amount of influence or control one has over the interfering circumstances.  

The cycle of disruption repeats throughout our lives, no matter who we are. Learn how to dance with it.

The best things we can do for ourselves when assessing where we are in life:

 Stay focused on what is meaningful to you, not social expectations. 

 Stop shoulding yourself. Every person is different and so is their position in life. 

 Do the best we can with what we have. You know if you’re being lazy or making excuses. If you are, find out why then fix it.

 Have compassion for ourselves, while staying motivated to continuously improve. It’s easy for some of us to beat ourselves up over every little thing we could have done better but that’s not learning, it’s self-abuse.  

No matter how much it looks like people have their “shit together,” life is cyclical for everyone.  It’s how we navigate it that makes the difference.