The Art of Feedback (In a COVID world)

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Create a Safe (Virtual) Container

Just the thought of feedback can activate our brains threat response and make us less receptive and more reactive.  Create a safe container by checking your own intent as well as choosing logistics thoughtfully.  Don’t give feedback if you are upset—allow yourself to cool down first.  When you’re ready, assume your own positive intent reminding yourself that feedback allows you and them to both grow, support the team and the organization. 

Once you’ve checked your intention, choose logistics thoughtfully.  Do not give constructive feedback in front of others (not on a group zoom call, please!).  Create a container that allows them to feel safe (like ordering them their favorite seamless meal and asking that they set time aside in a quiet place for a feedback conversation.)

Be Clear and Kind

Directness and transparency go a long way in feedback conversations. Do not sidestep the tough stuff because you feel uncomfortable and do not save difficult feedback for a future conversation.  That can undermine psychological safety.

Be direct, but kind and empathetic—considering the other persons feelings.  Do not talk about this feedback with others (unless it warrants other managers or departments) and do not, in any circumstances, gossip

Give Actionable Feedback

To keep us on track, use the following format to guide your feedback.  Context, action, impact, solution. Describe the context—the where and when of the challenge.  Then, share specifics on the action that lead to the breakdown or challenge. It’s important to share the impact of that action—what happened as a result? And then finally, what is the solution or next steps?  Feedback without a solution attached is simply complaining so ensure you have some ideas on-hand as to next steps or solutions.

Talk it Out

Now that we’ve shared the feedback in the most constructive way, we want to open it up for a dialogue.  Ask a few open-ended questions such as “how do you see this challenge?” or “does this makes sense to you?” and even “what’s your reaction?”  Allow them to speak to freely and check in on their body language and listen for what isn’t being said (so important in a virtual space).  Hold space with kindness and don’t avoid the hard stuff.

Make Agreements

Reaffirm your intentions for moving forward + your own role in the initial breakdown.  Identify with them how you more effectively support them moving forward.  Restate what you will do moving forward to ensure they have the support they need to achieve the desired outcome. 

 Write down your agreements and next steps.  Follow up as often as it makes sense to both of you.  If there is no progress made, establish next steps.

Check in With Yourself

Afterwards, self-assess and see how you did.  Did you create a safe container?  Were you open and empathetic?  What was your intention? Were you receptive and kind in the dialogue? Were you clear on your role in the breakdown and on the agreements? What can you improve for next time?

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2020 Holiday Gift Guide from BIPOC Companies

Posted by Amina AlTai on

Hi, my sweets!


Can you believe we’re in December already?! How is this happening?!  


I have lots of fun things in store for you this month, including my annual Reflect & Manifest exercise (but with a 2020 spin on it!) coming to your inbox soon!


But, meanwhile, I wanted to pop into your inbox to share my holiday gift guide spotlighting BIPOC founders with some pretty incredible offerings for you all.  


Here’s what some of my loved ones can expect in the mail this year ;) 


This “I’m Speaking” Sweatshirt from Phenomenal Women. 

 

This stunning “Hope” necklace from ByChari (spoiler alert, ByChari created Michelle Obama’s famous “vote” necklace).

 

This Maelove Anti-oxidant Serum. It’s a way more affordable version of C, E, and Ferulic acid and it seriously makes you GLOW! 

 

A Promised Land by Barack Obama from Cafe Con Libros book store.

 

I kind of want everything from Oui the People, but these F#ckFlawless Socks are amaze as is this patriarchy candle

 

This Breaking Racial Bias course with my beloved Anu Gupta. I took the course live and it’s seriously phenomenal.  

 

This amazing coconut bath soak from Chloe & Chad.

 

This Ode to Self Clarifying and Hydrating Face Oil


And, of course, for anyone on your list who needs a little extra nourishment, The Nourishment Journal is the gift that keeps on giving (but I may be biased!).


To great gifts and an even greater 2021!


Amina xx

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Before You Do Anything Else, Find Your Why

Posted by Amina AlTai on

There's been a theme in my coaching practice this last month.  

Conversations have gone something like this.  

"My friends are launching XYZ, so I think I should too." 

"I need to make more money, so I'm going to add XYZ to my offering even though it requires a lot of effort and I haven't tested."

And my first question back is, "Why?  What's the goal here?  What is this in service to in the context of your bigger mission?"

And those questions are usually followed by a long, long, super-pregnant pause.  Because truthfully, we don't always revisit our why, or our big juicy mission.  We react.  We get lost in the emotion, the comparison and forget to come back to our true north.  

And sometimes that's totally fine, right?  On occasion we need to get lost to find ourselves and the answer.  But sometimes, when you've gone round in circles so many times you have the spins, it's good to get a grip on your why.  

When coachees come to work with me, this is the first thing we do together.  I ask the below questions to get a sense of their greater mission in the world.  That way, every time we feel compelled to launch something new, take a turn, and evolve, we come back to that why and ensure that whatever we create is in service to this higher mission.  

So if you're wrestling with some big questions in your business, or deciding to change careers, take yourself through the below exercise for a little smidgen of clarity.  Then I invite you to keep these answers front and center so you can always refer back to them.  

Questions: (Got your journal ready?!)

1. What's your mission with this business or your career?  Complete this sentence: I am on a mission to __________ with my work.  Think big here.  You didn't come here to play small.  And if you are playing small, ask yourself what you're afraid of or hiding from?

2. What's the impact you want to have on the world?  Complete this sentence:  The impact I want to have on the world is ____________.  The world will be a better place and I'll have done my job if_______________.

3. What do you value?  Think of pivotal moments in your life where your values were called into question or came to the forefront.   Complete this sentence:  The values I want to uphold with my work and contribution are____________. (And this list can be long or short.  The first time I wrote down my values it was 11 pages long.  Seriously.) 

4. Where is your fire? Finding your fire is like finding an endless fuel supply.  When we are connected to our values and our fire, very few things can get in our way.  A quick way to find your fire is to think about the spaces where you're in conversation that you can't help but use your voice.  It's usually something you are incapable of staying silent on because the information just pours through you.   You might feel heated, impassioned, even angry about these topics.  

5. And once you've gotten clear on all of the above, pressure test your new ideas.  Ask yourself, "does this new body of work/ career/ business/ product/service connect to the bigger mission, values and what you want to impact?" And if not, how can you either connect it to them or decide that it might not be a fit for you right now?

I hope this exercise was clarifying for you.  If you want more direction on starting a new business I invite you into a session or to my digital course, Entreprenourished.  

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Thriving Through Change As An Entrepreneur

Posted by Amina AlTai on

“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.”

― Robert Jordan

As entrepreneurs, our ability to be nimble is one of our absolute biggest assets.  But often times, that nimbleness can allude us.  But why?

As business owners, we wear many hats and things can change quickly.  So how can we roll with that? Before we jump into how we can thrive through change, lets first define what it means to thrive in our own business.  

I define thriving via the below graphic.  It's the ability to be in alignment with communication, your strategies and tactics, money, your team, your values, your role, the impact you want to have and the joy you feel.  When you're filling up your cup in all of those areas, you're moving towards thrive culture.  

It's not necessarily about being balanced in these areas because balance implies stasis.  It's about prioritizing what has the biggest impact on your triple bottom line (people, profit and the planet) and then being as nimble as possible when change does come our way.   

But what get's in the way of our nimbleness and ability to thrive when, let's say, the market changes, you get acquired by a bigger company, or you merge with someone your same size?

Failure to thrive, in my belief, falls into two buckets—lack of business planning (agility and preparation) and lack of integrity in our mindset (living in the fear mindset).  

If you're feeling really fearful of change, that fear can consume all of your thoughts and really own you.  Have you ever been so fraught with worry it consumed all of your thoughts every waking hour?  I'm raising both hands over here.  If your mindset or the voice of fear is getting in the way of thriving, I want you to journal on the following:

Any good insights?  How did that feel?

Once you've moved the mindset roadblocks out of the way, it's time to get in integrity with your actions as well.

What are your current business challenges?  What goals can you assign yourself and your teams to move through those challenges (make them SMART)? What vital actions can you take each day and what milestones do you need in place to ensure you're tracking?  Fill out the table below with your plan.  

Once you get on the court with your vital actions, you can check in with your milestones and see if you're meeting them or not.  If you're not meeting your milestones, chances are there are some lingering mindset blocks getting in the way of your success.  In which case, I invite you to take yourself back through the mindset exercise around your fears above.  

Change is inevitable and as entrepreneurs we tend to come up against it more often, and faster, than most.  Approaching change nimbly and with a growth mindset is the best way to equip yourself.  What did you learn about yourself from doing this exercise?  What did you learn about your business?

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Stepping Into Success

Posted by Amina AlTai on

There's been a common theme in my one-on-one coaching sessions this month and it's tied to the idea of success.  Tell me if this story sounds familiar to you.  

You're really smart and great at what you do.  Like the best.   You've paid your dues, you work really hard and you're pretty evolved in your thinking.  You've done decently well in your career—but you know you're capable of so much more.  So when you evaluate your current status and the money you're making, you feel like a  big failure. And feeling like a failure make you feel worthless and creates and endless cycle of negativity.  

I get it.  I've been there.  I've had several careers over the last 12 years and I didn't always feel great in them.  In fact, when I launched my agency back in 2007 and didn't make the millions I'd envisioned, I felt like a huge flop and wallowed in shame.  And even when I launched my current business and wasn't immediately featured in Entrepreneur Magazine and hailed "coach of the year" I felt like I'd failed and felt shame there too.  But shame owns us and keeps us stuck.  So it's our job to find the shame, heal the wound and move fully into your badass amazing potential.  

Below is the exercise I take myself and my clients through whenever the weight of "success" or "failure" is feeling too great.  Find a quiet place and give yourself at least  30-minutes to journal on all the prompts below.  And if you need more support, you can always book a session.  

1. Journal on why you might currently feel like a failure.  Identify and name the fear in the story you're telling.  I.e. "I'm such a failure because I set a goal to get two juicy corporate clients by March and nothing has come through.  I'm afraid that if I don't get those clients, I won't meet my annual goals." Notice what's a story and what are cold hard facts.  

2. What is the limning belief tied to the fear? Limiting beliefs are thoughts that keep us small and stuck.  I.e."If I don't make enough money and meet those annual goals it means I'm capable or good enough aka my value is tied to how much money I make."

3. Turn the thought around.  Cite three examples from your life where you didn't hit your fixed goal, but still felt innately amazing and valuable because you lived and you learned.  I.e. "I felt valuable when I didn't meet my revenue goals in my last sales cycle because I learned that my timeline to close these projects is 4-6 months and I got wiser about how to close these deals.  So that was a major win and I felt really valuable." Make this turnaround thought your mantra and even take it into daily meditation with you, make it the background of your phone or place it on your fridge.  

4. Define what success looks and feels like to you from a growth mindset perspective.   According to Carol Dweck author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success "in a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” What would make you feel successful through that lens?

5. Create an action plan to success. Based on your evolved definition of success, what actions do you need to get on the court with to achieve your newly defined success?  Does it mean learning a new body of work?  Getting curious about what works in your sales process?  Create a 30, 60 and 90 day plan with SMART goals so you can start to embody your new definition of success.  If money is coming up a lot for your in this exercise, I want you to do the money exercise in the blog post below.  

6. Check back in whenever you feel stuck.  If you're meeting resistance, are you in the fixed mindset?  Owned by shame?  Stuck in a limiting belief pattern?  The process of discovery and growth is on-going so lean into it and run yourself through this process as often as you need to.  

And if you need  more support reach out and book a session.  

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