Change: Blow it Up

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I have missed writing my blog these past few months. Having come off of writing my book, and then selling, buying, and moving my household I seem to have depleted both my time and my energy. For the first time in months, I’m inspired to pick up my pen (or keyboard) and share what I have learned this year.

I started out this year on an intentional path toward sustainability, and to me that means:


Able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed, or able to last or continue for a long time.

Early this spring, my husband and I made the decision to sell our very large family home, downsize, and find a place that would serve us in this next phase of our lives. With our children grown, and mostly gone, we find ourselves defining home with words like Simple, Comfortable, and Easy. I thought for a time this might mean “town home” and discovered I couldn’t live without the word “garden.”

The path between the start of this process and today has been quite rocky, at times undefinable, and yet also utterly remarkable. The home we bought has taken more time, more money, and more work than we initially thought it would…but the final product is turning out to be worth it. I didn’t expect the degree of internal turmoil and dysfunction this would create for me. And it was what I needed. I learned to create a sustainable life I would have to undertake a massive transition, and what that means to me is:


A passage from one state, stage, subject, or place to another; or a movement, development, or evolution from one form or style to another.

I am transitioning, and it’s more than place, it is surely a state of being. I was at a meeting this week and we were talking about our goals for next year, and I realized that I want even more shifting and changing in 2015. Not like a physical move, but rather more like an internal leap.

I remember this one leadership program I went through years ago, the facilitator would say, “if you usually step right, step left.” I find it a bit exhilarating to think about those ingrained ways of being, and play with the idea of noticing and choosing differently.

My intention for the New Year is to embrace even more chaos. What that means to me is:


A state of being open to new ways of being and operating in the world; or a fluid and evolving being that does not accept the status quo.

What do you pick to change this year? Whatever it is do it brilliantly, boldly, and bravely. If you have to break it, then blow it to smithereens. This is your year to make of it what you will. Blow it up.


Self-Awareness: Looking Through Fresh Eyes

I wrote this blog on April 21, while traveling to Billings, Montana. I hope you enjoy it.

I’m on my way to Billings Montana where I will lead week two of Leadership Mastery.  This is a three month leadership program that Xponents developed and we have been delivering it to the Bureau of Reclamation for the last several years. 

clouds1 copyMy group, eighteen phenomenal individuals, will put their attention on the BIG picture, external awareness, political savvy, and creativity and innovation.  These are just a few of the leadership competences identified by OPM and adopted by many government agencies. 

In week one the focus was on self-awareness, and there was an Emotional Intelligence 360 and MBTI, and lots of exercises on expanding self-knowledge of how we impact our experience and the experience of others. 

Every time I stand on the precipice of doing work with a group I find myself wondering: What am I here to give and what am I here to receive? Of late, there has been a lot of personal focus on my own life transitions.  It struck me recently that I needed to step up the self-care as I had depleted my reserves with too much work, worry and whining.

I hate to admit it, but it’s so true.  Between my house woes and a minor health scare, I fell off my game.  I started to feel negative and not enough positive thoughts flowing through my  mind.  I am frustrated that my own leadership journey sometimes feels like three steps forward and two steps back. 

For me, these little wake up calls are like…WTF, Deb! I initially don’t have much compassion for my human tendency to mess-up. But gradually, as I work to find alignment I can hold myself more lightly.  I remember that this is a process and I aspire to more days living my intention than not.  Everyday offers me a new beginning. Every moment is a choice.

 I am proud to report that I went to yoga three times this week, inspired by my dear friend LL. And I had a tremendous massage inspired by my Moxie gals. All of the above moving me toward feeling more centered.  Yesterday morning as I was finishing a sweet practice at Vital Yoga on Tennyson in Highlands District, our leader asked why is it so hard to say, “I don’t know?” And I thought about how not knowing where my home will be, or if the book will be liked, or what it will be like when our son leaves for college are ways I am losing control of my world.  Why is it so hard to live with the unknown?

As I head into my work this week, with my incredible eighteen I’m going to sit with that question. What is it like to step into the bigger picture from a place of not knowing? If I trust that I know myself and what I have to offer, then the rest is just circumstances.

What is it like to look at the world with fresh eyes? I’ll let you know what I discover!

If you are longing to have a different kind of conversation in the workplace, call me at 303-238-9733.  Let’s talk about it.

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Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation. She is also the author of “The Cycle of Transformation: Igniting Organizational Change Through the Leader Coach”. Order your copy on NOW!

Another Form of Stuck

Being oblivious is another form of stuck. I am not talking about avoidance, or turning a blind eye, but rather being completely unaware. Those unconscious parts of oneself are real even when they go unseen. They exist.

I recently had an example of this on two different levels.

remodThe first was related to the process of selling our home. As we moved through to the inspection phase there were two significant issues that were revealed to us. Evidently with older homes they now run mini-cameras through sewer lines. We were unaware of any problem but the inspectors were able to determine that there was a weakness that would eventually create a failure. Next, an old crack in the basement wall, that had been repaired before our time, became the subject of many debates.  Three structural engineers later, each with a different view of severity and solution had my husband and I dazed and confused.  This lovely old home that appeared so strong at first glance was flawed. 

The second example relates to this old “house” that I live in…the one I carry with me everywhere I go. As we moved into deeper levels of uncertainty about the state of our home and how much it would cost to resolve the issues, my physical body became noticeably stressed.  Sleep disruption, exhaustion and anxiety quickly impacted my well-being. I thought I was pretty centered and grounded, and then I wasn’t.  This old girl who appeared to be on solid ground was brought down by ambiguity.

I have been observing myself these past few days, and what I realize is that my sense of security is strongly linked to how I manage my physical environment. I carefully build a fortress in my own mind. A place that keeps me safe.

I remind myself that the crack was there all along. Not knowing doesn’t change things…except my reality. 

Flaws are the outcome of the world pushing on us, and how we give in to that pressure in small and big ways. Just like my sweet old house is slowly giving way under the earth’s power, I give way with uncertainty and ambiguity. These are not events deserving of shame, but a complex and intricate part of the richness that creates our character.

Down deep below our consciousness are truths that when revealed can unhinge our reality.  Staying oblivious is another form of being stuck.  The Cycle of Transformation begins with feeling enough safety inside yourself to explore new and deeper levels of awareness. 

If you like this blog, I think you will like my book the Cycle of Transformation. Available for order soon!

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Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation.  If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement through the development of the leader within contact us now.



Does Your Vision Add Value?


You must give birth to your images.

They are the future waiting to be born.

Fear not the strangeness you feel.

The future must enter you

                        long before it happens.

Just wait for the birth,

For the hour of new clarity.

                        Rainer Maria Rilke

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This January has been busy with updating budgets and marketing plans.  It has been a time of deep reflection and challenging our thinking.  The Xponents team has been consistently and carefully considering and creating the future.  We have been revisiting the Xponents vision and asking ourselves, is this still viable?

At Xponents we elevate individuals, teams, and organizations above self-imposed limitations to recognize their limitless potential through honoring and unleashing the unique talent, values, vision, and purpose inherent in all.

I have been holding this vision for more than ten years.  I wonder at the start of a new budget cycle, is my vision still something I am called to do?  Are others as inspired as I am by the power that exists when we see and are seen for the seeds of greatness we possess?  Am I being self-indulgent, or is this work we do adding value to our customers?  

Today during our morning meeting we were discussing our value proposition:

  • What problem does our product or service solve?
  • Exactly who are we solving the problem for?
  • What are the key benefits of our products and services?
  • How are we different from our competition?

Here are some of the things I have been thinking about.

What problems do we solve?

Often our customers come to us to grow leaders.  They ask us to educate and build awareness so that leaders transform performance by going beyond managing results and instead lead people to greatness.  The business problems they want to solve are weak sales or service performance, issues with productivity, low team member engagement, challenges due to conflict and collaboration, or lack of alignment around goals and strategies. 

Who are we solving the problem for?

Our ideal customer is in a mid to large corporation or a government agency.  We hold a GSA Schedule, and have done work in a variety of government agencies.  We like to think we attract Senior Business and Learning Professionals who are progressive and understand the link between business results and human performance.  We believe these individuals recognize the value of having a different kind of conversation in the workplace which stems from knowing the formula for developing authentic trust and connected and transparent relationships.

What are our products and services and their key benefits?

We solve these business problems with out of the box and customized products and services that develop leaders and teams to balance a drive for results by being caring and connected to others.  We say our mission is:

Designing, developing, and delivering cutting-edge, experiential leadership development products and services that have a dramatic, transformative, and lasting impact on performance.

This means we provide consulting services, coaching services, and workshops that focus on developing leadership skills, such as emotional intelligence, coaching skills for managers, and collaboration and partnering.

While there are many benefits that our customers experience, the three key benefits are:

  • Our products improve performance by defining what success looks like and we support you in developing the map to get there.
  • Our products are designed to create sustainability through an emphasis on systems thinking and change management methodology.
  • Create reliability and repeatability by deepening individual awareness of strengths to leverage and obstacle to manage.  We link awareness to action.

What makes us different from the competition?

At Xponents, our vision is not only about Leadership Mastery of the soft skills.  We stand for transforming organizations by transforming the conversations that happen in the workplace.  We believe that organizations that are leadership centric are employee centric, and customer centric.  You might say that we are people centric.  When we truly care about others success then everyone wins…especially the shareholder.

If you are longing to have a different kind of conversation in the workplace, call me at 303-238-9733.  Let’s talk about it.

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Deb Siverson is a seasoned executive coach, certified as a PCC through the International Coach Federation.  If you want to schedule time to discuss how you or your organization can increase engagement through the development of the leader within contact us now.

What is Happiness: An Internal Game that Only You Can Decide to Play

What does it mean to be happy?  Psychologist Ed Diener, author of Happiness: Unlocking the Mysteries of Psychological Wealth, defines happiness as life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions.

Since we know that the more fully one lives into his or her values, the more deeply satisfied they will be, Diener’s definition supports the absolute importance of values clarification and alignment work.  He also makes a strong case for practicing and appreciating what we have, rather than dwelling on what we don’t.  If you find that you aren’t as happy as you would like to be, one option is to explore your values and another is to practice the art of gratitude

Being happy is largely an internal game that only you can decide to play.

Martin Seligman, author of Authentic Happiness, describes happiness as having three parts: pleasure, engagement, and meaning.  Pleasure is the “feel good” part of happiness. Engagement refers to living a “good life” of work, family, friends, and hobbies. Meaning refers to using our strengths to contribute to a larger purpose. Seligman says that all three are important, but that of the three, engagement and meaning make the most difference to living a happy life.

Again, Seligman reinforces that deciding to do our own internal work (self-awareness, knowing our values and talents, and exploring how we use ourselves to make a difference) can lead to happiness.

I’ve also seen the research that shows we each come into the world with a set-point, or our natural genetic tendency to be happy.  And, I am no Pollyanna; I understand that we can only work with what we have been given.  But if you could be as happy as it is humanly possible for you to be, wouldn’t you choose that over the alternative?

Clearly it is easier to be happy when life is treating you kindly, and based on the research, it also helps if you are more aware of who you are and what you have to offer so that the external world can invite you to the party.  I will also agree that it is hard to be happy when shame and doubt get between you and your full potential.

“Feeling good” and living the “good life” requires our full attention as we spin around the dance floor to the music of life; easy listening, then an up-tempo celebration, and next a tragic opera.

There is a natural cycle to all things.  I recall that what goes up, must come down, and vice-versa. This too shall pass, becomes my mantra, and it helps me remember that all things must come to an end; both what I perceive as good and bad.  If I let my happiness become dependent on that which I don’t control, I may grow weary of the dance.

I interpret both Diener and Seligman’s definition of happiness as more a function of what happens on the inside, than some external circumstance that brings me fleeting moments of pleasure. I have to do my internal work as the price for maximizing what happiness is possible for me.  But what does that mean in terms of society’s responsibility for the happiness of others?  Why is this topic relevant to where we work?

When we cultivate happiness in the workplace the value to the organization is: higher quality of work, greater creativity, increased productivity, and an increased likelihood to be more cooperative.  It’s true that each individual is accountable for his or her own happiness.  But here are a few of my thoughts on ways we can support others to be happier at work. We can teach Managers:

  • how to lead and inspire team members to be the best version of themselves.
  • that the role of Leader is to unleash personal values, talent, vision, and purpose and that this type of coaching inspires, aligns, and engages teams.
  • to listen as much as they talk.
  • to balance feeling with thinking. 
  • that people contribute more when they feel empowered.
  • to remember what drives each of us is our inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

I would love to hear from you. Let me know what you would add to the list of how we can increase happiness at work