iLead Strategies – July 2015

Happy summer! I hope yours is going well.  This month we talk about leading well under stress and how to enjoy the summer “unplugged” and turn off your technology.


*  Lessons From the Trail

*  An “Unplugged” Summer Vacation

*  What’s Julie Up To?


If you had a chance to read the last newsletter, you know I ran in a primary to serve my community as a delegate to the Virginia House of Delegates. The primary election was just over a month ago and while I did not win the nomination, I learned more than I could ever have imagined and built a community around issues that matter.

It’s definitely been a game changing experience and one I hope to share with you over the next few months. But as you move through the summer, here are few tips I learned in the 70 day primary sprint.

Lesson 1 – Things don’t wait for your life to calm down.  During the 70 days, not sure what it was about pairs, but two friends died, two had babies, two got married, two got sick and two were cured of long standing illness. Being there for my friends and family was a given. Making time was a priority even though I almost always had to make it up somewhere. Sometimes that was lost sleep, sometimes it was having someone drive me so I could make phone calls and sometimes it meant delegating, which brings me to Lesson 2.

Lesson 2 – Delegating. Do it. Do it more.  For most things, it’s more important that they get done. Not necessarily perfectly or how you would have done them, but done. On the campaign, it might have meant someone else doing my grocery shopping and having a new brand of peanut butter to try. In business, it might mean having someone draft letters or proposals or social media. But when there is no time, you have to do things only you can do and get help for everything else.

Lesson 3 – Laugh more, worry less.  Not as trite as you think. It’s easy when times get stressful to run fast, to get brittle and easily irritated or to run in the other direction and retreat and shut down. But worry never solves anything and gets in the way of the thinking required to solve anything.  So do what it takes to step back. Go for a run, listen to great music, take a short nature walk, play with little kids, meditate, assign a time for worrying, or watch the Minion movie trailer. Whatever helps you stop, change direction and go forward.

In the thick of summer, it seems that everyone is going off on a fabulous vacation – as they should! A break from “real life” is very important for long-term productivity and clarity of the mind. However, not all vacations require going somewhere. This summer, us at iLead Strategies challenge you to take a vacation from constantly being “plugged in” to your smart phone, TV, iPod, etc. We think you’ll be surprised by how refreshed you’ll feel after resisting the ever-present glow of your iPhone screen, even if it is just for one meal! Check out some of our favorite tips for having an unplugged summer:

  • Invite your friends over for an “unplugged” barbecue. All smartphones must be checked at the door! The night can be filled with non-electronic fun like board games and – if you’re brave enough-actual face-to-face human conversations with no interruptions by checking missed text messages!
  • Buy a real alarm clock! This will help lessen your “need” to have your phone right next to you as your fall asleep at night. Better yet, plug your phone in to charge for the night in a separate room!
  • Engage in a form of exercise that doesn’t require you being chained to your headphones and iPod. Get out and enjoy the beautiful summer sun and go kayaking or hiking. Leave all electronics at home!
  • Challenge your family to go an entire week of sitting down together for at least one meal a day with all electronics turned off (including the TV!).
  • Even little things like turning off or modifying your notification settings on your smart phone will allow you to resist the urge to constantly check your phone. Trust us, that Facebook notification can wait!
  • Another small step towards iPhone independence; move the order of your apps on your home screen. Make it so your most distracting apps (i.e. social media) are either in a separate folder or require a few swipes to get to. This will make it easier to ignore the urge to check your Twitter mid-conversation!
  • Challenge yourself to an entire day without any use of electronics. It will be tough, but we guarantee you will feel clearer minded the next day! Get a friend or the whole family in on the challenge to keep yourself accountable.

Resisting the urge to be glued to your iPhone screen frees up your attention span for things that really matter this summer, like enjoying time with your loved ones. From us at iLead Strategies, we challenge you to implement at least one of these unplugged tips above to have your own unplugged “vacation”. Don’t get us wrong, we love our iPhones too, but they shouldn’t distract from the most important things in life.


Aug. 6-9Fort Collins, Colorado; Authentic Speaker Academy

Aug. 16-18North Carolina; Community Action Association, Strategic Planning Meeting

Aug. 25-27San Francisco, CA; Community Action Partnership National Conference

Oct. 9Northern Virginia; Don’t Await It Create It Leadership Training