Fierce Leadership, A sign of hope in complex times

Fierce Leadership, A Sign of Hope in Complex Times

By Eileen Reardon / December 15, 2017

I have been struck of late – in awe really – of extraordinary leadership shown by an uncommon breed of leaders I have the privilege of witnessing in my personal life and as a professional coach. Their brand of fierce leadership has inspired me to write about them as a way of understanding and sharing their recipe. I’m talking about educators, civil servants and business leaders I observe everyday, navigating an unprecedented and increasingly complex terrain of inadequate budgets, politics, an increasing prevalence and awareness of mental health issues, or all of the above! Our world is filled with seemingly…

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The Leadership Path by FireInside Leadership

The Biggest Difference You Can Make

By Cathy Jacob / September 17, 2017

Next month, my grandson Liam, will turn two. In the last 23 months, he has undergone an incredible transformation. He looks, sounds, acts like a completely different human being than the little bundle of flesh and blanket I held in my arms the day he was born. His language skills are coming on line and he is now able to call me by name and tell me which storybook he wants me to read him. Yesterday, we were playing with building blocks in front of the TV. It was on mute, but behind Liam’s head, I could see pictures from…

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10 Ways To Say No Gracefully

10 Ways To Say No Gracefully

By Cathy Jacob / June 9, 2017

Saying no with authority and grace is a lost art in leadership. It can lead to better results, better decisions and an improved quality of life. It also goes hand-in-hand with two other vital leadership skills – focus and discernment. Few of us do it well. If you struggle with saying no, here are 10 tips for putting it back in your vocabulary in a way that garners respect. Find a more compelling yes. When I meet with clients for the first time, I ask, “If you could spend your time any way you wanted, what would you do more of?…

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10 Simple Habits to Renew Your Energy and Enhance Your Performance

10 Simple Habits to Renew Your Energy and Enhance Your Performance

By Cathy Jacob / March 24, 2017

My personal journey to a balanced and healthy lifestyle is a work in progress. Case in point: It’s the weekend and I have a Neo-citron in one hand and a tissue in the other. Having contracted a second miserable cold this season, I’m finally clueing in that my body is trying to get my attention. I believe that sometimes the very things we struggle with most can also be those areas where we can make the greatest contribution. And I think this is perhaps why the art of recovering to balance has become a major focus of my own personal…

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The Gift of Grace by Cathy Jacob,

The Gift of Grace

By Cathy Jacob / January 20, 2017

I have a black and white framed photo of Nelson Mandela hanging in my office. If I imagined what the state of grace looks like, it would be that. The photo, purportedly taken the day he was released from prison, is spellbinding. His eyes are closed, his lips are open in a peaceful smile and his long graceful fingers cradle his chin. It stopped me one day as I was flipping through a magazine, grabbed my heart and squeezed. I cut it out, framed it and hung it where I would see it every day. I find solace in that…

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Listening for Leadership

One thing you can do to transform your leadership

By Cathy Jacob / January 8, 2017

If you asked me, what ONE THING could I do that would make me a better leader? I wouldn’t hesitate. This one thing can be learned in an instant, can be practiced easily every day and takes a lifetime to master. With conscious practice, this one skill can build self-awareness, improve your relationships and grow your impact. The one thing? Attention. More precisely, the conscious practice of harnessing and directing your attention to where it is needed at any given moment. Most of us spend our days in a state of unconsciousness distraction, slaves to our own programming and oblivious…

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Human Beings vs Human Doings by Eileen Reardon,

Human Beings or Human Doings?

By Eileen Reardon / December 12, 2016

Somewhere along the way in my journey to becoming a coach I remember reading the phrase “we are human beings, not human doings.” The author was making the point that as leaders we sometimes tend to focus solely on results and getting things done – the doing part of contributing to the systems we serve. And consequently, we sometimes forget about how we are achieving things – the being part, which can be critical to recovery and creating capacity in our teams and organizations. But what does it really mean; this doing versus being thing?  We still have to get stuff done, you may be saying. …

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Do we need to change the way we think about leadership? via Cathy Jacob at

Do we need to change the way we think about leadership?

By Cathy Jacob / June 3, 2016

It was a demoralizing set back. Olivia (not her real name) had poured herself into the most challenging project of her career – a massive corporate growth initiative that, if successful, would alter the trajectory of her organization. It was high risk, high pressure and high profile. By all accounts, the first critical phase was a resounding success. As the initiative left the pilot phase, a new division was created opening up a leadership role and a promotion opportunity. Olivia believed she was the natural choice. When the time came, however, she was not offered the promotion. Instead, she was…

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Why you can't lead from the neck up

Why You Can’t Lead From the Neck Up

By Cathy Jacob / April 14, 2016

A client of mine was once chastised by her boss for shedding tears at a farewell gathering for one of her peers. They were standing together listening to their colleague’s farewell speech. As tears began to trickle down her face, he quickly ushered her into an adjoining room. He was irate. “Pull yourself together! You are a leader in this organization. People are watching you. This is place of work. This is no place for emotion.” Even as he admonished her, he was contradicting his own point. He was triggered by her tears and, as a result, not in command…

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Unexpected Light by Eileen Reardon for

Unexpected Light

By Eileen Reardon / December 12, 2015

“When it is dark enough you can see the stars.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emmerson It’s amazing how a tragedy can crystalize our thinking or galvanize us:  a call for peace in the days that followed the Paris bombings, a desire to respond to the plight of Syrian refugees, kindness in response to the death of a loved one.  In a single week I was touched by all three of these events and began to notice the natural opposites that emerge in circumstances like these.  Whether it is a world–wide cry for peace resulting from violence or overwhelming kindness and support in…

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