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It Is Personal and Forget Being Fearless

By November 15, 2015February 2nd, 2019No Comments
J. Kelly Hoey - Build Your Dream Network

What is getting in your way?

In May, I was locked away in the Gran Hotel de Ciudad de Mexico for a corporate offsite. Out with the old top-down command and control thinking and in with a collaborative, entrepreneurial mindset — all while the conversation is happening in a majestic art nouveau structure overlooking the Zocalo, the historic center of Mexico City.

Innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurial thinking are not just for the young, nimble and tech-focused start-up, they are necessary tools for a 21st century career.

I shared facilitator duties with author and chef turned leadership psychologist and executive coach, Edgar Papke — and gained as much from his insight on leadership, risk-taking as well as food as the business team attending the offsite. My take on a few of my favorite Edgar’wisdoms from last week:

  • “Don’t take it personally” is crap. So is “I’m not being judgmental”. We all filter and view the world based on our own experiences and five words don’t magically change a judgment into a non-judgment. Own your perspective and its limitations. And most definitely, take it personally.
  • What’s the definition of teamwork and collaboration?Being fluid and dynamic with making expertise accessible and available.
  • Empowerment = the ability to make decisions for yourself.
  • Strategy is a change plan.
  • The foundation for the highest performing team is truthfulness.
  • Can we commit to change? At the hint of change, we anchor to the known (however misguided that may be). Rather than committing to change, be receptive and open and commit to exploring change, that is, explore the anchor or assumptions that are holding the organization back.
  • Yes, and (Edgar will explain. Follow him on Twitter @EdgarPapke).

My challenges to the attendees included:

  • Forget thinking outside the box. Rather, bring outside thinking inside the box. We never operate from a place of unlimited resources (talent, time, money, ideas) so coming up with creative solutions to challenging situations (or dull, routine ordinary ones) with only the resources immediately on hand, is a necessary skill-set. If you need more convincing, I suggest watching the movie Apollo 13 or Phil Hansen’s “Embrace The Shake” TED talk.
  • Ditch the notion that people accomplish great things because they are fearless. Greatness happens when we take action in spite of our fears. I thank filmmaker, Abigail Disney for transforming my thinking on fearlessness. Abigail was introducing Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee at a Girls Inc. event in New York City in 2013 (Leymah, being the recipient of the organization’s Champion for Change award). Leymah together with other Liberian women (both Christian and Muslim) ended a bloody civil war by taking on the violent warlords and the corrupt regime of Charles Taylor, armed only with white t-shirts and the courage of their convictions. How do you move ahead in the face of unfathomable fear? Unshakeable moral courage.

J. Kelly Hoey

J. Kelly Hoey is a problem solver who believes that most professional challenges—whether funding, landing a board position or getting a new job—are solved by tapping into networks.Kelly is a popular speaker on networking, community building and investing issues, especially as they relate to women, and has worked with the IEEE, PGA, Bank of America, Apple and countless others. Follow Kelly on Twitter @jkhoey and on Instagram @jkellyhoey and join the #BYDN community at