A simple but profound practice to ease the tough in transition.

By Cathy Jacob / April 11, 2022

Sometimes life brings you just what you need when you need it. At Fire Inside Leadership, these gifts sometimes come from what we learn as we support our clients to grow and develop their leadership. Recently, while working with a group of leaders inside a client organization, a number of the participants announced significant life changes that meant they would be leaving the organization.  As it came time for each one to leave, we shared a simple practice to ease the change. We invited each leader in the group to speak from the heart to the one who was leaving…

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Top five ways to ease your re-entry and fuel your new normal

By Cathy Jacob / June 21, 2021

Is it too soon to talk reset? Do you feel like a bear coming out of hibernation? Are you torn between being impatient to put pandemic living behind you and wondering where you’re going to find the energy to re-engage? As the world begins to re-open, it may be tough to get excited about jumping back into your life if your gas tank is empty. In this final article of my five-part series on the Leadership Long Game, I share my top five recommendations for pressing reset and fueling your new normal. Whether you’ve already adopted many of these practices or…

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Too overwhelmed for self care? Make it easier with these two skills.

By Cathy Jacob / May 10, 2021

If you ask, most leaders know what they need to do to improve their well-being. They’ll tell you they need more sleep or to reduce their stress or eat healthier or get more exercise. But many struggle to do those things consistently. In this fourth article in my series on The Leadership Long Game, I explore the knowing-doing gap and how we can bridge it. Why is knowing not enough? Typically, leaders tell me they don’t have enough time to take care of themselves. Sometimes, they say they just aren’t wired that way – “I’m not a morning person” or “I’m…

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Mental Habits of Long Game Leaders

By Cathy Jacob / April 13, 2021

“The quality of your mind determines the quality of your life.” Author, neuroscientist, meditation teacher Sam Harris. If we’ve learned one thing through this last year, it is that leadership and life require what sports psychologists call, a strong mental game. But what does that mean, really? Is it something you are born with or is it something you can cultivate? In 15 years of coaching leaders, I’ve observed in clients and colleagues a set of common mental habits or mindsets that seem to support their ability to weather unpredictable challenges like the ones we are facing now. With advances…

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First Aid for the Leadership Long Game: Seven small changes that can make a big difference

By Cathy Jacob / March 26, 2021

Last week, I received a link from a client to a Globe and Mail article entitled Working from home is causing breakdowns. It echoed a conversation we had just had about a general sense of creeping malaise he had been experiencing. As I read it, I thought, “This is how a lot of people are feeling right now.”  In the article, Tim Kiladze and Tamsin McMahon cite a number of troubling trends. According to Statistics Canada, there was a sharp increase in stress leaves in 2020, while hours spent on vacation dropped 20 percent to a nearly 40-year low. Insurance company,…

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How to build your Leadership Long Game

By Cathy Jacob / November 25, 2020

As I write this, most of the world has entered a second and more ferocious wave of COVID-19. What makes wave two even more challenging is that at the very moment we are all weary and discouraged after long months of social restrictions, school disruptions and isolation, we are being called to brace for more. At the very moment when our resolve is weakening, it seems the worst is yet to come. For leaders, this is the time when you are being asked for more and you are running out of both stamina and compassion. This is the moment in…

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Five things this pandemic can teach us about how to inspire

By Cathy Jacob / September 23, 2020

Do you ever notice that light is most intense when it is streaming into a darkened room or shining in a night sky? In the same way, it is often easiest to spot inspiration in very dark times. COVID-19 is teaching us a lot about both the cracks in our institutions and systems, the darkest aspects of human nature and the increasing fragility of our health and our environment. It is also teaching us about the resilience of the human spirit and the places where we are strong. Among the many things this dark time is teaching us, is that…

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Are You Ready for the New Normal

By Cathy Jacob / August 12, 2020

Are You Ready for the New Normal? What have you learned from this experience of a global pandemic so far? What has it revealed to you about what is and isn’t working in your life, your organization, and your community? What needs to change and what is the resulting new normal you want to see? These are the questions we’ve been asking in conversations with leaders in our community and here is some of what they are telling us. People want a new normal There is something about getting yanked out of your life that has you see it with…

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How Darkness Can Sometimes Light the Way

By Cathy Jacob / August 12, 2020

“The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It’s our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows.”  Brene Brown. I have found these last few months profoundly disorienting and I know from talking to clients, colleagues and friends that I am not alone. COVID-19 has been shockingly revelatory. It is as if it has shot dye through the organism of our planet and revealed all the organs and structures that are wounded, diseased or broken.  Many of us are seeing with new eyes what has been present all along and are feeling shock and…

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The Uncomfortable Truth about Transformation

By Cathy Jacob / July 3, 2020

This pandemic is challenging us on multiple fronts. It challenges our need to know what is happening and what is going to happen; it challenges our desire to be, and feel, in control; it challenges our sense of safety and security; and it challenges our confidence in what to do next. Most profoundly, it is challenging who we are, and who we see ourselves to be.

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