An Individual Self Awareness Journey…

Great leaders demonstrate a keen sense of self-awareness. Leaders who know what they do well , and where they need to develop are more effective, produce better results and enjoy working with highly engaged teams.

Photo by Amanda Klamrowski on

Through some really great coaching, robust, authentic, open and honest feedback, I’ve been afforded so many opportunities to become a more self-aware leader. Regularly asking for honest feedback is an important skill to master – acting on it, taking personal responsibility and developing oneself is really a hallmark of a great leader.

There are so many tools, resources, books, articles, white papers, courses and classes to help improve leadership skill and acuity. Even something as visually simple as getting grounded in the panes of Johari’s window is helpful – remember this?

Image result for joharis window

Recently, I came across this post from our friends at the Center for Creative Leadership. It reminded me of how far I have come over the years and the developmental journey i have been on. Being a student of CCL was one of those many developmental experiences in my life and my business career I will always appreciate and will never forget.

I hope you enjoy this post just as much as I did. Share it with someone you care about.

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Boost Your Self-Awareness

4 Sure-Fire Ways to Boost Your Self-Awareness

Great leaders are often seen as outward-facing — communicating and influencing others as they drive an organization to success.

While communication and influence are two of the “Fundamental 4” core leadership skills identified in our research, the other two — learning agility and self-awareness — are more inward-focused.

Self-awareness can be the most challenging of the 4 to develop, but it can also serve as a foundation for strengthening all your other leadership skills.

Leader effectiveness is constrained or amplified based on how well leaders understand themselves, their awareness of how others view them, and how they navigate the resulting interactions.

Self-awareness has 4 facets that are most critical for leaders:

  1. Leadership Wisdom. These are insights from your experience that you can apply to the challenges you face.
  2. Leadership Identity. This is who you are in your current professional and personal context.
  3. Leadership Reputation. This is how others perceive you as a leader based on your current and previous behavior.
  4. Leadership Brand. This is what you aspire to and the actions you take to support that mission.

Let’s explore each component in more detail so you can maximize your self-awareness for greater success.

4 Facets of Self-Awareness

Leadership Wisdom

The best leaders have a bank of lessons and anecdotes they can bring to bear on new challenges. These insights don’t arise spontaneously, but are the result of ongoing practice.

The key to cultivating leadership wisdom is taking time to reflect on your experiences. This includes revisiting your experiences from multiple perspectives, engaging in “surface reflection” to identify past actions and behaviors, and practicing “deep reflection” to examine underlying beliefs and assumptions.

This reflection must be done time and again, and good leaders often return to the same experiences repeatedly to gain new insights as they grow.

Leadership Identity

Your leadership identity, whether you’re aware of it or not, influences how you lead. In our diverse, global marketplace, it’s even more critical to understand our own identity and how it shapes interactions with others.

Think of your leadership identity as 3 concentric rings (which may overlap). In the outer ring is your given identity — characteristics you have no choice about. These natural traits include age, nationality, race, some physical characteristics, and the like.

The second ring is your chosen identity. These traits describe your status, characteristics you control, and skills. Common attributes in the chosen identity are your occupation, political affiliation, and hobbies, among others.

The innermost ring is your core identity. These are the qualities that make you unique; some may change over your life, while others remain constant. Included here are behaviors, values, and beliefs.

Knowing your own leadership identity may help you find common ground with others that leads to stronger relationships, or reduces the likelihood of misunderstandings during critical communications.

Leadership Reputation

Your leadership reputation is what others think of you as a leader. Understanding your leadership reputation helps you comprehend how you may be perceived and judged by others. Knowing how you’re perceived will strengthen your ability to communicate with and influence others.

To understand your leadership reputation, ask questions about the reputation you’ve established, try to view your behavior as others may, and check to see if your reputation aligns with your values and your desired leadership brand.

Leadership Brand

How do people know the leadership you’re capable of, and how do you communicate it? That’s what your leadership brand is — an aspirational set of leadership traits and behaviors.

Understanding your leadership brand — how you’d like to be perceived — allows you to act to change those perceptions in a positive, authentic way. Your leadership brand should identify your unique strengths, communicate them to others, provide a consistent experience that meets others’ expectations of you, and make explicit that which is implicit.

The key here is to bring to the surface, enhance, and polish your greatest strengths and make sure you’re communicating them to people you encounter inside and outside of your organization. A strong leadership brand can only be developed if you’re self-aware — you need to know what your leadership reputation is now, and have a deliberate plan for strengthening it to fuel your leadership aspirations.

For those leaders who work at it, greater self-awareness in these 4 areas will pay significant dividends.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Help your leaders develop self-awareness and the other “Fundamental 4” skills that are key for all leaders with our program, Lead 4 Success™, available online or as a licensed program. 

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Opportunity Zones: Increasing Investment Where It’s Needed Most

June 27th, 2019

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – How can Northeast Indiana and Fort Wayne boost development in economically distressed communities?

Many federal incentive programs have been created over the years, including the New Markets Tax Credit, Empowerment Zones and more; however, the newest investment incentive—Opportunity Zones—may have the most significant tax benefits yet.

Check out this great review of the program – be sure to check out the webinar on the opportunity zones hyperlink – it’s a fantastic overview of the program and gives great examples on how public and private partnerships come together to help communities success. We are #bettertogether

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Insights on the Second Set of Qualified Opportunity Zone Regulations

Insights on the Second Set of Qualified Opportunity Zone Regulations

Insights on the Second Set of Qualified Opportunity Zone Regulations
— Read on

Really good overview of Opportunity Zone program.

Posted in Banking, Business, Opportunity Zones, Tax Shelter, Uncategorized, Vince Liuzzi | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Leadership Development

Exploring Johari Window as a tool to improve self awareness. This overview posted on Sarah’s blog describes the four panes.

In the terms of learning how group therapy works in the field of art therapy, it is understood that personalities vary through the individuals in the group you are working with. Getting to know your group and building a relationship with the individuals is one of the main priorities in group therapy. The Johari Window is a model to guide the art therapist to notice different aspects of their individuals and can also help the individuals in realizing areas of themselves that need more assistance than others.

The Johari Window consists of four main “Selfs” or “Areas.” They are labeled Public Self/Open Area, Blind Spots/Blind Area, Hidden Self/Hidden Area, and Unconscious Self/Unknown Area. Each self is different in which what they keep to themselves and reveal to the world. Using the Johari Window is promoting self-awareness and guiding the group be aware of themselves and parts who they are.


  1. Public Self/Open Area – area of the indvidual that is known to themself and others around them. For example, a teenage boy who is aware of his anger problems and knows that others are aware of this too.
  2. Blind Spots/Blind Area – a part of the individual’s personality that others only see but the individual does not notice. For example, a teacher who thinks they present a happy persona, but students see that he/she gives off a mean or scary vibe. The teacher has no idea that she presents a mean persona, but her students do.
  3. Hidden Self/Hidden Area – only the individual knows about this aspect, they do not reveal it to others. For example, a depressed teen who sulks and cries when she is by herself in her bedroom because she does not want to present her feelings in front of others.
  4. Unconscious Self/Unknown Area – this is a part of the individual that absolutely no one knows about or notices. For example, an individual uses an unhealthy coping mechanism without noticing that it is unhealthy and others do not realize that is unhealthy as well.

I never heard of this model beforehand and found it to be extremely helpful. The Johari Window can not only be used when working with groups, but even in self evaluating. This model is one of the few things that can be used for yourself and for clients as well in art therapy. Versatile models like these are so helpful and really eye-opening.

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Keys to Home Ownership – Welcome Home Grant Program

Important Information for Homebuyers!

Welcome Home Program

The Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati (FHLB Cincinnati) offers grants of up to $7,500 for honorably discharged veterans and active duty military homebuyers and up to $5,000 for all other homebuyers to assist with down payment and closing costs for income eligible homebuyers through the Welcome Home Program (WHP). Homebuyers must apply and qualify for a mortgage loan with one of our Member financial institutions to utilize the grant.

Who are Eligible Homebuyers?

A homebuyer would be eligible for the Welcome Home grant if all of the following guidelines are met:

  • The total income for all occupants who will reside in the home is at or below 80 percent of the Mortgage Revenue Bond (MRB) limit for the county and state where the property is located;
  • A fully executed (signed by buyer and seller) purchase contract on an eligible property is in hand;
  • The homebuyer has at least $500 of their own funds to contribute towards down payment and/or closing costs; and,
  • If a first-time homebuyer (typically anyone who has not owned a home in the last three years), a satisfactory homebuyer counseling course is completed prior to the loan closing. Note: Applicants do not have to be first-time homebuyers.

What is an Eligible Property?

A property would be eligible if all of the following guidelines are met:

  • The property will be the homebuyer’s primary residence;
  • The property is a single family, townhome, condominium, duplex, multi-unit (up to four family units) or a qualified manufactured home. (Manufactured homes may be eligible if they are taxed as real estate and affixed to a permanent foundation); and,
  • The property is subject to a legally enforceable five-year retention mechanism, included in the Warranty Deed or as a Declaration of Restrictive Covenants to the Warranty Deed, requiring the FHLB Cincinnati be given notice of any refinancing, sale, foreclosure, deed in-lieu of foreclosure, or change in ownership during the five year retention periods.

How Do I Apply?

Only members of the Federal Home Loan Bank can offer this program! Check with your local community banker and ask about their participation in the “Welcome Home” grant program.

For more program information, homebuyers should contact a FHLB Cincinnati Member financial institution. A list of Members is available at

The Process

  1. Execute a purchase contract on an eligible property
  1. Complete application with FHLB member mortgage banker
  2. Eligibility determined, grant funds reservation request submitted
  3. FHLB reviews and issues an approval letter
  4. Loan closing with member bank.

Congratulations Homeowner!

Information for Homebuyers Page 1 ©2019 Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati, all rights reserved. Revised 01/18/2019

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Spring Forward: 4 Fast Ways to Save Time and Money

An hour of sleep might not be the only thing you lose when the clocks spring forward—daylight savings time could cost you money, too.

“Researchers have estimated the economic cost of that one lost hour at $434 million per year, with effects including higher rates of workplace injuries, lost productivity and sleep-impaired bad judgment.”

Myelle Lansat from shares 4 ways to get that lost hour back:–4-fast-ways-to-save-time-and-money/

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The Truth About Millennials and Retirement

We all know millennials get a bad reputation for spending too much on avocado toast. The truth is, millennials are not only spending beyond their means, but also not saving for their futures. recent study from the National Institute for Retirement Security states that about two-thirds of millennials have nothing saved for retirement

So why is this?

A report from the National Institute on Retirement Security titled “Millennials and Retirement: Already Falling Short”, the Great Recession caused this financial insecurity for millennials. The Millennial generation earns 20% less in wages and have accumulated about half of the wealth of their parents at the same stage in their lives.

Of the millennials that have some money saved up in a retirement fund, the median amount is just $19,100. Experts suggest contributing at least 15% of your paycheck to some sort of a 401K retirement plan. The average amount contributed by millennials is about half that. 

Millennials have an average debt burden of $42,000, most of the debt coming from student loans.  Grant Sabatier of the Millennial Money blog states that retiring early for millennials will not be an easy journey. Millennials will be able to reach retirement, but maybe not the same luxurious retirement their parents have. But many millennials are hustling and putting in the work now, working 50+ hours a week at a corporate job, maxing out a 401K, and supplementing their income with a side hustle or two.

Start with the people you are hanging out with – the people that are influencing you the most. People who are also hustling in second jobs, following the markets, and looking for promotions and raises are the people who are going to help you in your financial independence journey. 

I have a friend in LA who is currently working at a corporate job 50+ hours a week, doing freelance graphic design, babysitting, launching a company and website, and even squeezes in time for modeling. My goal for 2019 is to max out my company’s 401K plan at $19,000 (up from $18,500 in 2018). My take-home paycheck will be a little lower than last years, so to supplement that, I plan to generate at least two more sources of income.

My second piece of advice is to start throwing what ever you can into your employer’s 401K plan. Most employer’s will match your contribution around 2-4%. 

The earlier you can start stocking money into your 401K account of choice, the better. Seriously, you wouldn’t believe how much faster your money will grow.

Say you are just starting to save for retirement at age 45 into an individual Roth retirement account (tax-free). Let’s also say you are contributing $400. Historically, you can assume you will generate a 7% return on your 401K contributions. By age 70, this account will have $326,000.

If you started contributing $400 at age 35, this account would be worth $725,000.

If you are lucky enough to start saving $400 a month at age 25, by the time you are 70, you will have more than $1.5 million in your retirement account. And this doesn’t even take into account what ever 401k matching options your employer offers (*dollar signs for eyes emoji*).

If you are reading this thinking “Oh my god I am so far behind already”, don’t worry. A recent study fro LendEDU shows that 37 percent of millennials are contributing no money at all to any form of retirement savings plan.

If you are lost, or just curious about your retirement plan options, I would suggest starting small:

  • Play around with a Roth IRA calculator
  • Ask your HR department what savings plans your employer has to offer, and what percent your company matches
  • Ask around people you trust what kind of savings plan they are currently contributing to
  • Do your own research to find out what options are best for you
  • Just dive into contributing! Even if you can squeeze in $50 a month for now, it is better than nothing!

via The Truth About Millennials and Retirement

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How to Create Organizational Impact with Leadership Development | CCL

What factors increase the odds of success in organizational leadership development initiatives? These 7 things can make or break your investment’s impact.

How to Create Organizational Impact Through Leadership Development

  1. Involve
  2. Clarify
  3. Partner
  4. Prioritize
  5. Focus
  6. Think
  7. Share

In the world of leadership development, if you can demonstrate an impact, you can influence the organization in very important ways. Begin with the end in mind and be clear about what it is that you’re trying to accomplish with your leadership development efforts.

Source: How to Create Organizational Impact with Leadership Development | CCL

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Top Workplaces 2018: Panda Restaurant Group’s ‘whole person’ approach helps employees move up — Orange County Register

“At Panda Express, we seek candidates who are values-driven, team-oriented and hungry to learn,” she said. “We offer internal programs such as one-on-one coaching, mentorship programs and leadership courses through the University of Panda to help our associates develop both personally and professionally.”

The company touts its “whole person” approach to employee health, which entails physical, mental and emotional well-being.  #culture #leadership #wholeperson

Panda Restaurant Group, parent company of the fast-casual Panda Express restaurant chain, has forged a culture based on respect and the opportunity to move up in the organization.

via Top Workplaces 2018: Panda Restaurant Group’s ‘whole person’ approach helps employees move up — Orange County Register

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Stimulating engagement through respect — HERCULEAN, that’s how I feel today

Treating employees with dignity and respect – fundamental performance and engagement drivers.  Check out the attached Harvard Business Review article:

Do your employees feel respected?

“When you ask workers what matters most to them, feeling respected by superiors often tops the list.” That’s Kristie Rogers’ opening statement in her latest article on Harvard Business Review. Though hardly shocking for any contemporary leader or executive, it seems the business world hasn’t yet fully grasped the impact of it. As Kristie goes […]

via Stimulating engagement through respect — HERCULEAN, that’s how I feel today

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