Strengths Are Not Good Enough to Succeed in the Workplace

That phrase seems to go against what we have been taught in school: if you are good at your job, you should have job security and should rise to the top and be unstoppable. So, if you are a brilliant communicator in a PR firm or a math wizard at the actuarial department of an insurance company —the plum jobs should be  up for the picking.

Yet, we know so many of the brilliant people who are stuck in low paying jobs or are constantly in peril of losing their jobs. When you talk to them, both you and them are at a loss about why they are in a Performance Improvement Plan—it does not make sense —They seem to know their jobs pretty well and have the best degrees have the excellent technical skills to perform excellently.

One of the culprits could probably behavior! Mr smart guy may  have destructive, annoying and disturbing behaviors that simply turn people off so much that no one wants to work with him, let alone help him advance in his career. People who are unlocked by others are a magnet for disaster in the places where they work —they cannot launch successful projects, attract lawsuits or harassment cases. It is really a matter of time before they lose their jobs.

My coach to you:

If you are not getting assigned the key projects, have been passed up for promotions, have a challenge getting people to work with you —-look within before starting to blame others:

  1. Do you have bad etiquette: inappropriate dress, poor hygiene, bad odor. Do you have annoying habits of coming in late or lack social graces or keep cutting people down
  2. Is your stress reaction to fight: do you bicker over every difference in opinion? Are you able to take negative feedback constructively?
  3. Are you a good fit for the company: do you fit into the company’s norms or do you come across as awkward, weird, and obnoxious

There are ways to salvage the situation. Ways to develop savvy needed to succeed in the workplace. If you have aspirations greater than where you are now, I strongly suggest you hire an executive coach. A coach can help you learn about how you come across to others, and give you insights about your strengths and potential blind spots.

Reach me at to learn more. about executive coaching programs I offer.


Employee Mental Wellness is Key to Career Success

Mental wellness  has become a core challenge in the 21st century. Information from a report published by Drug company Elsevier provides information on the prevalence of mental health disorders in the EU population. Research shows that if one combines the full spectrum of mental disorders, there is an estimate of 38% of total EU population have mental disorders. Of those, there are more women than men.

The highest single contributor to the total disease burden is depression. other mental disorders. other frequent mental disorders are anxiety, insomnia, somatoform, alcohol and drug dependence. Job stress has been known to contribute to mental stress which could lead to the mental disorders mentioned. And, one way of circumventing mental distress is to know how to work effectively with challenges on the job. Instead of feeling overwhelmed about handling a new team, or stressed out over new responsibilities of a promotion, enjoy the challenge by working smart. There is a science to working office politics, managing the power base , working with team members with different agendas.

Finding an effective way to deal with challenges makes you feel less overwhelmed, more in control, and shows proper coping with everyday job problems. A Harvard Business Review Article: Nine Ways Successful People Defeat Stress, provides some steps you can take to handle job stress on a daily basis. Click article here.

If you need concrete tools or want to  talk about developing a customized plan for you, reach me at You can reach me anytime and I will respond within 24 hours.

Why suffer from burnout or rack up sick leaves, or wave the white flag in defeat when there are concrete solutions that provide measurable results making work fun, exciting, challenging rather than a dark deep black hole.

Resource for Mental Illness Article:
Title: The Size and Burden of Mental Disorders and Other Disorders of The Brain in Europe 2010
By: Wittchen H. U., Jacobi, F et al
Published by: 2011 Elsevier B. V.

Stop Sabotaging Your Career feat

Stop Sabotaging Your Career

This article is for women in the workplace who find themselves wallflowers in the boardrooms and other important meetings. Stand up and be counted! Staying silent does not make you ‘a good girl’. It makes you a pushover in an arena where you must shine to staying the game.


Dare To Be Human. Risk Vulnerability

Men or women, child or elder, educated or high school graduate. You would think that makes them happy and what they would strive for would be so different. I find it’s not so. They all look for engagement, love, trust.

The starting points of their story may be different—a job failure, loss of family, a wish unfulfilled—- but they unraveled because they had no one to share their experience with, no one who they trusted enough to reach out to for solace. No relationship with themselves to be their own reservoirs of kindness and understanding.

It’s the same in the corporate space where competition is constant, stakes are high. Projects go awry, in-team fighting, someone gets the big job, evaluations are unfair. Everyone tells you ‘you shouldn’t have shared the accolades‘, ‘you shouldn’t have helped your competition out’, ‘you should’ve been more autocratic with your leadership style’.

What do you do when the chips are down? Keep your cards close to the chest or become vulnerable and share your pain.

It seems counter-intuitive to ‘let it all hang out’, but that’s what real leaders do. Instead of the ‘know it all ‘ stance or ‘it’s someone else’s fault’, the ones who make it through show a vulnerability of imperfection and humanness that everyone can connect with.


Do You Have A Compelling Future?

Its the nth interview I’ve done with patients after weeks of being interred at the Philippine General Hospital wards. It comes to me how differently people experience the condition of Depression. There are some who have been at the wards for weeks, close to a month. Others do not have themselves checked-in and simply come for the prescriptive drugs. And others who have tried to take their lives after weeks of hopelessness. What makes the experience of depression different from another ‘s experience? How is it that patient resolve is different when the intensity of the condition is the same? How does one come to choose whether to withdraw from life, take their lives, or keep engaging life? As a coach, the question is important as it informs my intervention plan.

After working extensively with different cases, I learned that emotional fitness is key. This fitness is developed through a 3 steps process: 1) realistic awareness of the current condition; 2) visualization that the situation can be improved; 3) development of a plan to bridge the gap.

Everybody needs a compelling future to survive a challenging situation. Everyone can take hardship, frustration, and failure if they know that working the situation will bring them success and victory in time. If one does not have a compelling vision for his life, he is at a loss because there is no reason to go through the pain. He loses direction because he has no roadmap to follow. Floundering and thrashing aimlessly, he burns out, energy giving out, because its impossible to be strong all the time.

Similarly, in the corporate space, if you do not have a vision for your career, you will work yourself to burn out. It is not possible to continually work long hours; take on streams of projects, and be 100% of the time switched on to the office politicks. The smarter way is to: 1) identify the position that you want to occupy and work from there. 2) Understand the politicks that will bring you that position, identify the relationships and cultivate the skills that are valuable to that position 3) then steadily market yourself by volunteering for the correct projects: presenting at the right meetings; appearing at the correct social events.

If you are working a 15 hour day everyday of the week and yet being beaten for the promotion by a the manager at the next table who goes home at 6PM, then its a sure bet you are doing something wrong. You definitely coach to help you get your career in the fast lane. Contact me and lets see if I can help you out.


Crazy Love

The wards have a different energy. There is an over-hanging sense of sadness, despondency.  A wail far left, a whimpering cry in the corner,  babbled poetry from an accordioned bed, a love song sung mid-verse by a wavering out-of-tune voice.  The gurney rushes by with a patient restrained, doctors, nurses and caretakers in tow.

The greatest demand upon everyone  is to keep the  love alive when all are rendered helpless in the face of a  battered physique and broken spirt  of a loved one suffering from an impossible-to-understand mental condition. It is the deep love that the caregivers  provide that shines its ever faintest to lead the patient out of the dark; the deep love that gives families the strength to endure the life long ordeal of unrelenting service and dedication  to care and ‘see’ the person under the ravishes of the disease.  It take passion –intensely enthusiastic inexplicable love — for only those emotions can bully up the strength to succeed despite the  frequent failures, setbacks. It is this passion both from the patient and those that care that will eventually raise up the patient from darkness to regain and then become victorious in their second wind.

Similarly, it takes crazy love to succeed in the corporate world. That intensely enthusiastic, very empowered or infatuated passion for what you  do is the secret sauce to soar and stand out in the noisy workspace where everyone is gunning for that next promotion. It is not the long hours toiled or that intense research that brings the ideas for a new product or service or process flow. New ideas and insights come from passion —the love and interest for what we do. Passion goes beyond our conscious  understanding and short circuits to our intuition. Passion is a light from within, an inner intelligence that helps us make the complex simple;  It allows us to connect with our inner wisdom to identify ‘when things are just right.’ A baker cannot really explain ‘when the batter feels right’; a therapist cannot explain why ‘that thought is where most problems are generated’; the inventor cannot explain why he knows ‘that path will lead me to the solution quicker.’

Many people take a certain job because it ‘makes more sense as it pays more.’ They discount their talents in writing, singing, the arts, trading it in for project management, math, or marketing for that blue chip company. And then they fail. they flail forever in the dark, wandering from job to job, never happy and never quite making it. Why ? because there is a a real cost to not doing what fulfills.  That extra zing of secret sauce just never comes because it has been deadened. And so, many people wallow at low positions when then can be great if they only chose what their heart calls out for.

Coaching question: How can you configure your job such that you can use your unique set of talents, setting you apart from the herd? If you don’t know how to find it, a coach can help you do that.  Contact me anytime.

visual of Eternity’s gate is borrowed from art

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Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines

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