Peggy Lanum is the author of the brand new book, just released, titled: Navigating Uncertainty: An A-Z Guide for Well-Being. She’s also the owner of Better Working Together, a business consulting and executive coaching practice focused on building better teamwork, creativity (something we truly love), and leadership.
Meet The Author: 7 Quick Questions
Recently, Peggy was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer some questions we posed about her new book and her work. Her thoughts on gratitude and organizational culture alone are more than well worth our time. And if you don’t already know Peggy, we think it’s time you get to know her.
1. If you could only keep one chapter of your book which chapter, would it be, and why?
Gratitude. Being grateful is not only good for us, it is good for the people around us.
The rate of human knowledge is doubling at an unprecedented rate, and our brains are swamped with information --- much of it negative. Unless we consciously make the effort to swim against the current, it is easy to get swept into a whirlpool of negative thinking. One way we can combat negativity is by practicing gratitude.
People who feel gratitude reap so many rewards: better heart health, lower blood pressure, lower rates of post-traumatic stress syndrome, greater life satisfaction, greater emotional resilience, increased productivity, more motivation, and all -around better personal and professional relationships. This is why philosophers have called gratitude the “parent of all virtues.”
Gratitude is so powerful, neuroscientists have even shown how being grateful over time can rewire our brains by increasing our ability to handle stress. Gratitude is a beautiful gift to give ourselves and those around us.
2. What's the number one tip you can share about writing?
My one tip: there is no magic formula. Discover your own unique recipe for success.
The next time you are writing and everything is falling into place, take a moment to reflect on what is working well. What environment optimizes your productivity? What time of day? Are there any routines and rituals that help you focus? Our brains respond to signals in our environment. Paying attention to these details, like how, when and where your brain works best, can help you find the best way to return to a productive path.
Pay attention to what type of writing task you are doing. Research indicates when you do creative work and need to generate ideas, it may be best to be in a well-lit room, with high ceilings and view of nature. On the other hand, for editing tasks, a quiet, distraction-free environment may work better for you. Set yourself up for success by putting yourself in an environment that best serves you.
3. What do you enjoy most about your work coaching people?
I love coaching people and seeing them connect the dots on how they can create positive and lasting change. Through active listening, powerful questions, feedback, and designing action steps, coaches become partners in the process of creating positive change. It is rewarding to see people get “unstuck” and accomplish goals that are significant to them.
4. What do you see as the biggest hurdle for organizations moving from a toxic to a thriving organizational culture?
Changing organizational culture is not a quick and easy task. Toxic patterns can be deeply embedded in a system, and it takes a lot of intention, dedication, and commitment from the C-suite to change a toxic culture.
Fortunately, change is possible, and it begins with the right leaders. Recognize, develop, and empower positive leaders. Leaders with positive energy have a remarkable ability to cultivate an amazing work culture. Positive leaders inspire and infuse others with their genuine gratitude, honesty, and integrity. They don’t turn a blind eye to reality, but their own resilience can become a catalyst for problem solving. Research shows that businesses with humble leaders who create psychologically safe environments tend to create successful organizations.
5. What's your go-to process for creating good and lasting habits?
I like to use a little trick called self-gamification. Whether it is on the treadmill or writing a new chapter, you can do anything – despite feeling unmotivated -- for ten minutes. If I’m feeling stuck, I set a timer and see how much I can accomplish in ten minutes. Then I stand up and take a quick break. I find the first ten minutes of any project are the hardest, but once I begin to make small, measurable progress, the little dopamine hit can increase my motivation and cause me to want to continue to move forward.
6. What education path do you recommend for someone wanting to enter the executive coaching arena?
A good executive coach has a solid understanding of the business world. A bachelor or graduate degree in business, psychology, or related field would be a great start. Additionally, having a certification from a respected organization, like the International Coaching Federation (ICF) is also important.
7. How important is it to get self-talk right for individuals?
Paying attention to our self-talk is vitally important not only for our mental health but to drive us towards meaningful accomplishments. The negative conversations we have within ourselves aren’t necessarily all bad. Critical self-reflection is important. However, when our inner dialogue gets stuck in a negative spiral of constantly re-hashing past failures or catastrophizing over possible future calamities, it no longer is helpful.
Healthy mental habits start with asking our inner voice some questions: Is this true? How will I feel about this event in 10 years? What would the kindest, wisest person say to me right now?
We may think beating ourselves up is motivating – it’s not. Self-criticism and rumination don’t inspire us to move forward and live our best lives. Becoming aware of our inner dialogue is a powerful game changer.
Big thank you to Peggy for taking the time to share some quick insights into her new book and for the valuable contributions she’s making everyday through her work with people and teams at Better Working Together. Keep up the great work Peggy!
Navigating Uncertainty truly is “An A-Z Guide for Well-Being”, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, what with all the ups-and-downs we face everyday in this fast-paced, and crazy world of ours.
Not only has Peggy brought us a great read, she’s also provided us with a great resource of well-being topics to tap into as needed, 26 of them to be exact.
Our top 3 include: Anxiety (something most of us face at one time or another), Gratitude (we know, we get it, this is talked about everywhere today, but seriously can we really hear enough about gratitude’s positive impact on our lives, we don’t think so), and Routines and Rituals (as one would expect, we simply love routines, rituals, and building great habits).
“A healthy routine provides a protective scaffolding for our over-extended brains.” ~ Peggy Lanum
All 3 of these topics as well as the other 23 play a huge part in our lives everyday and Peggy breaks each one down into quick, well-researched sections, worthy of our time and attention. Don’t miss this great read!
Creative Thinking Misfit