“You cannot get to a new place — ever — by repeating the same skills and processes that were used to get to the place we’re at today.” ~ Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom
As I’ve often noted, it’s our professional value rather than our transferable skills that becomes more important through the arc of our careers. As we move along that arc, we become more valued for the wisdom we bring to situations and challenges.
October is Legends of Wisdom month here at the world headquarters of Scott Woodard Coaching. Each week, I’ll present a profile of folks who I believe are Legends of Wisdom, (a mashup term taken from Chip Conley’s Wisdom at Work and Mike Tyson’s Legends Only League of retired elite athletes).
This week: Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom, CEO and Founder of Mindful Employer, based in Portland, ME.
Elizabeth Ross Holmstrom: Using Mindfulness to Improve the Human Work Experience
Elizabeth is on a mission to reimagine work, beginning with facilitating the evolution of relationships between employers and their employees. She excels in partnership development and engagement turnarounds, which she led for Fortune 500 companies, and has improved the well-being of nearly a half million people.
What Mastery Do You Offer? How Do You Add Value To Your Work and Colleagues?
Elizabeth noted three qualities in how she adds value:
1) She’s learned how to create space for listening, processing, and asking questions to allow the answers to show up.
2) She collaborates with others to arrive at solutions.
3) She engages in conscious listening. She not only asks questions; she’s fully present. “We typically listen from the eyebrows up…we listen with our brain. We need to be aware of what else is going on.”
What Are The Durable Traits or Qualities That Define Your Professional Reputation?
One of Elizabeth’s key strengths is as a strategic thinker. She has the ability to see patterns among seemingly unconnected things and create a vision for others to move toward their objectives. She also has tremendous self-awareness to understand that others may well possess the answers they seek. She sees her role to provide the space that enables them to articulate the necessary solutions.
Elizabeth also tries hard to build the trust so that people can safely talk through their challenges to arrive at solutions.
As You’ve Evolved Into A Legend Of Wisdom, What Traits And Qualities Have You Had To Give Up?
“Having to have THE answer, hands down,” Elizabeth responded. “Yang energy is knowing the answer and being able to set the direction. It’s beautiful stuff…What’s been the shift for me is embracing yin energy, the intuitive aspect; trusting that I have everything I need to handle this moment.”
What Traits and Qualities Have You Repurposed To Be More Meaningful As A Legend Of Wisdom?
“I’m an organizer. I know how to create products, programs, and processes from scratch. I’ve repurposed my organizational strengths to spend more time on what wants to be created. Instead of defining the vision for the team, I’ve learned to enable the team to define the vision. My role is to ensure the inquisitiveness aspect of the vision: Who does the vision serve? What do they need from the vision?”
Elizabeth has used her organizational strengths to bring the right people together to make a vision happen. She assembles people who are committed and engaged and will take on the responsibilities that yield tangible, and often innovative, results.
“Bringing people together, committed to a project, is something that I don’t really think about,” she notes; “But it’s the only reason I’m able to get something done. We’re able to resonate with each others’ gifts and provide the space where they excel. That’s what most of us want.”
Elizabeth’s gift is allowing that to happen within a team. That kind of leading is predominantly yin-based.
What Would You Like Your Professional Legacy To Be? How Do You Want To Be Remembered At The End Of Your Career?
“I can see no greater honor than being able to gather people and empower them to raise loving vibration on the planet. I’d love to be able to say that I positively impacted the lives of one million people.”
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