After the Webinar: Leading for Influence. Q&A with Dr. Kimberly Miller

Webinar presenter Dr. Kimberly Miller answered a number of your questions after her presentation, “Leading for Influence: It Matters What You Choose Each Day.” Here are a few of her responses.


Audience Question: Kimberly, what books or resources can you suggest to try to help me overcome my tendency to think negatively? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller: There’s a ton that I like. One is called “Mindset.” I think it’s by Carol Dweck. It’s a hugely influential book about training your mind. Another super good one is called “Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself” and it’s by Joe Dispenza. This totally gets at the idea – remember I was just saying how I used to overuse my strengths all the time and aggravate humans? Like 40% of the time in my life, maybe more like 50%? These books talk about how you can get out of that automatic reaction just being yourself thinking the way you think, using the strengths the way you use them, helps you moderate yourself and totally reprogram yourself so those are two of the top of the head. If you want more, email me.


Audience Question: When you’re seeing a lot of bad stuff from your employer or for those who are parents, from your kids, how do you not turn into that nagging supervisor or that nagging parent?  

Dr. Kimberly Miller: Yeah, it’s hard. One of my really good friends has a teenage daughter who is, I know many can relate, driving him up the wall. Cause he’s like “How many times do I need to tell her to put her phone down? How many times do I need to tell her to take her earbuds out at dinner? She’s still doing it.” You know when I see him just getting frustrated, frustrated, frustrated. It’s hard to not do that.

One thing I would encourage you to do is get back to talking about your expertise when you’re talking to them. Here’s my experience, here’s the outcome that you’re creating. I would ask the person, “Is this the outcome you want?” Now again you’re going to have your people go “Yeah, I want you to be mad or whatever.” But most people, even most in your kids are not going to want to aggravate you all the time because none of us wants an aggravated parent, that’s not fun. Then we can discipline the kids etc.

So I would talk to them about this is what’s going on and this is your outcome that you’re creating. “Is this what you want? Okay no.” Even if the people say,  “I want you off my back.” So then say, “Okay. Let’s agree to behaviors so that I’m off your back. Because I also don’t like bugging you every day about this stuff. So let’s check in once every three days or whatever, and let’s make an agreement that I will be more curious instead of judgmental and let’s make an agreement that during dinner and for two hours after you won’t have your earbuds in, you won’t be on the phone.” Whatever, get them bought in. Talk about what you need and then talk about what they need and then the other final thing about that: Do self-care. When the other things that I know trigger my irritation and aggravation and my negative mindset and my harping on things is I’m burnt out. I’m stressed out. I didn’t get enough sleep, I  haven’t gone to the gym in a week. I don’t feel good about myself. The more I do my own-self-care, my buckets full, the more patience I have for other people and their flawed humanity.



Audience Question: As a manager, I have a hard time letting go of mistakes. When an employee blows it or a lets me down, I have a hard time forgiving that. How do I get over it? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller: Feel free to send me an email about this too. My guess is that you are high on perseverance because we have a hard time forgiving. For whatever the reason you have a hard time forgiving I would encourage you to think about a couple of things.

Number one, what is not forgiving costing you? For me, a couple of things come to mind. In my experience, not forgiving cost me sleep. It cost me positive emotions because I was mad all the time, I was angry all the time. I was stressed when I saw certain people all the time, and it cost me relationships. It cost me influence. So I had to learn to be more forgiving and it was super hard. I’m happy to give you resources for that too, so reach out to me.

But I decided that what I wanted was more attractive than what I had, and me being aggravated and angry and all these stuff wasn’t attractive to me. I wanted more influence. I wanted better relationships. Another thing I would want you to think about is how forgiving are you for yourself, and usually, we’re not. Usually, that comes from perfection. We want to be better on all these things and sometimes I think we lean toward perfection, but that just leads us to beat ourselves up and we think in doing so, we will get better. Actually, that’s not true. The more you beat yourself up, the worse you feel about yourself and the less motivated you are to do anything cause you’re beating yourself up and you feel terrible. So I would encourage you to think about those couple things and if you want some other resources, reach out to me. I could give you some other good books you can read.



Audience Question: Kimberly, you’ve talked about triggers. I’ve been told I overreact when I think I’m being disrespected. Now that I know the trigger, how do I work on that? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller: Yes. So I feel like a broken record with my first statement but manage your self-care. You are less likely to get in a negative space or react negatively or become defensive when you’re sort of calm and peaceful and centered and your bucket’s full. A helpful tool is meditation, it really changes changes my mood and my mindset. And then next I would say, do some work with yourself around why is disrespect such a big trigger for you because the solution would be somewhere in that. So what I mean by this is you really push back and you get angry when you perceive disrespect is that because you’re struggling a little bit with your confidence. Are you new to a certain role and you’re trying to prove yourself in the role and you’re so much more sensitive to disrespect? Or is it about something else? Then I would encourage you to examine that and figure out what’s it going to take to let it go? Because granted are some people sometimes do a little bit disrespectful. Of course. There are times that somebody unintentionally disrespectful, sure they don’t mean it, they didn’t know it came across that way. Most of our reactions to the world are based on our own stuff, our own negative story, our own fears instead of about the other person. I would encourage all of you to have whatever the trigger is, do some work and say, “Man, why is this such a trigger for me? What’s the deal?” Uncovering that will usually eliminate what you need to work on and practice.



Audience Question: So many of us are working mandatory overtime, what are some quick easy ways I can take of myself knowing that I’ve only got so many days in a year of vacation and off time? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller: A couple of ideas. One, maximize your vacation and off time. One of the things that I think a lot of people struggle with is being off when they are supposed to be off. They’re off on the vacation at the beach. They’re on their phone and they’re on their email. You’re not off. You are just working at the beach. You just have to have better visual things to look at. I would encourage you unless there is some reason that you can’t be off, don’t be on your email. Don’t be on your phone with work people during your off time. Other people I know, CEO’s of organizations say the only way I can be off is going somewhere where they don’t have cell service. If that’s what you need then go to the Grand Canyon or somewhere else that doesn’t have cell service and you can’t be bothered with it. That’s the first thing. The second thing we often think about self-care and filling our bucket as three days away or a week away or whatever. I will tell you, it’s about the self-care in the little things. I don’t know ya’ll but is it going to the spa? Is it getting a massage? Is it sitting out in the hot tub looking at the stars for 30 minutes twice a week? Is it making sure you get to the gym three times a week? Is it making sure on Sundays or whenever your off-day is that you cook healthy food for the week? Is it getting an extra 30 minutes of rest on your day off? Is it getting a babysitter and going on a date with your sweetheart? Couples don’t date near enough when they have children. If you are a couple in any kind of relationships, you need to date. You need to put the kids in a competent babysitter and maybe that’s what you do. There’s also a lot of good, I just told you to get off your phone and here I’m going to counter it myself. There are a lot of great meditation apps and you could do a 5-minute daily meditation if that’s your thing or listen to music throughout the day. You have to put boundaries on your time. Another thing that deals with the mindset then we can move on to the next question is to stop thinking about work when you’re home. Turn it off. Find a way to turn it off. Turn it off. That’s a mindset thing. You have to find a way to train your` mind that when you’re at home, you’re home. When you’re at work, you’re at work. If you let the two bleed over, it burns all of our energy.



Audience Question: What do we do when it’s our manager that doesn’t have the characteristics that we hoped for and often some of the damaging behaviors coming from your own supervisor. How can we help our manager take their game up to the next level without putting ourselves at risk? 

Dr. Kimberly Miller: That’s super tricky. A couple of things, if I get more details, I can probably get a little bit better advice. Again if you want better information, reach out, we can talk. First, I would say ask yourself how much influence you have with your current manager. What would it take to get more? For example, we talked about putting money in the bank account in terms of developing relationships with people you lead. When’s the last time you put money in your manager’s bank account? Again if you have a Darth Vader, it might be harder to find things. Again, you have to find things to like, find things to appreciate. Ask them about how their birthday was or their vacation was or whatever. Start working to build that relationship up. You can also, depending on the quality of the relationship, bring them some things you learn in this class that spoke to you. Talk to them, “Hey, I learned this thing or I want to talk about this thing, how we can all raise our leadership mean and what you think about talking with our team about that etc.” See what they think, what they say. I would say first, try to see if there are ways you can get influence, build relationship etc. Sometimes people are resistant to that. they don’t want people to be close to them. They see everything as a threat. They truly are sort of a Darth Vader supervisor. When that’s the case and they are not open to influence and you tried to build a relationship and nothing’s working, you have to go into self-protection mode. That’s really a mode of last resort. You have to basically say in your interactions, okay, is this about me or is this about them? If it’s something about you, you need to own it, address it, fix it. A lot of times when people have Darth Vader supervisors the negative stuff is about the supervisor and not about them. This gets back to control your own energy. Don’t let your Darth Vader manager contaminate you on a daily basis. When I teach live, I have a couple of tools I use to talk about this. I carried poop emojis around and then I carry around a can of Pam and I tell people we let people poop on us all day with their own stuff and we don’t let the poop come off. We walk around angry and mad. It’s not even about us. It’s about them. You go home and your family will poop on you by, attacking you and being judgmental or whatever. I keep the poop emojis to remind myself, is this my stuff or their stuff?  If this is their stuff, I’m not going to let the poop stick. I’m going to put on some Pam and let all the poop slide off. That might seem silly but I know tons of people who have been in my classes that buy poop emojis and Pam and it helps them decontaminate from the world. I’ve already told you what some of my Pam is. My Pam is I keep a positive mindset. My Pam is I practice my coping skills. I look for a gift and a challenge. I use music to get myself in a good mental space. I use meditation. I engage in self-care because I can’t control everybody else’s poop. I can control mine and not getting contaminated because that’s their stuff. That’s the kind of quick answer to that.


Click Here to Watch a Recording of  “Leading for Influence: It Matters What You Choose Each Day.”

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