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Judith W. Umlas getting into a tractor

Is Judy Losing Her Mind…or Just Her Fear?

By Judith W. Umlas

In the spirit of putting together my IPM Day 2015 keynote address focused on the 5th C of Acknowledgment for Grateful Leaders: Courage (“From Cowardly Lion to Lion-Hearted Leader”), I have been thinking a lot about what stops us from doing the brave and inspiring things we want to and are able to do. That would include acknowledging and appreciating our people in a heartfelt, authentic and profound way, even when it makes us feel vulnerable!

So I must admit that when I was offered the opportunity the last time I was conducting Grateful Leadership training at Volvo Construction Equipment to drive a massive earth mover, I think I found my schedule to be “just too tight” to accommodate this incredible adventure. But this time, when I was there to co-lead a Grateful Leadership Book Club session with Michelle Madsen, Delivery Specialist, Volvo Group University, I was thinking a lot about overcoming fear or else doing what we want to do that terrifies us … doing it in spite of our fear.

So this time I ASKED to drive a massive earth mover! I must have been out of my mind. But the kind and courageous Wade Turlington, Director of Volvo’s Customer Center said, “Of course!” and volunteered to risk his life and limb to sit next to me as I drove.  So after the great book club session we had, I mustered up my courage and drove the A35G Articulated Hauler that they provided!!! (My family members will tell you how they feel like THEY are risking life and limb when they drive with me in my normal vehicle). And ooooooooh, that was some wild and crazy ride on that A35G! It was also transformational. If I could do that, I knew I could do virtually anything, since I was taking on the challenge of doing something so out of my normal reach.

Okay, so hang gliding is NOT up my alley. But name something else and maybe I will try it. In the meantime, you can overcome YOUR fear, muster up your courage as I did,  and deliver heartfelt acknowledgments wherever they are truly deserved. Have a ball doing what terrifies you — it is a heck of a good ride! And my thanks and deepest gratitude to Volvo Construction Equipment for allowing me to do this!!!

Judith W. Umlas

Judith W. Umlas is Sr. Vice President, author and trainer at International Institute for Learning, Inc. (IIL), a global corporate training company.  She is the publisher of IIL Publishing, New York. She is also the author of the ground-breaking book, The Power of Acknowledgment ©2006, IIL Publishing, New York, which has been credited with changing workplaces and lives by making use of the 7 Principles of Acknowledgment she developed. Her book on Grateful Leadership, Using the Power of Acknowledgment to Engage All Your People and Achieve Superior Results was published by McGraw-Hill Professional in association with IIL in early 2013 and You’re Totally Awesome! The Power of Acknowledgment for Kids was published in late 2013 by IIL Publishing.

Judith delivers inspiring, motivational, and transformational keynote addresses on Grateful Leadership and The Power of Acknowledgment all over the world. She also leads webinars and teaches full day virtual and traditional courses to organizations such as Volvo, the U.S. Army, Prudential, JMP Engineering, the World Bank, Fannie Mae, IBM, AT&T, Google, Amway, CCL Industries, the New York Police Department, and many others. She has trained over 100,000 people through her leading edge, highly interactive and engaging courses, and keynotes – with outstanding and long-lasting results. She heads up the Center for Grateful Leadership, a division of IIL, whose members from around the world are committed to practicing and implementing the Grateful Leadership initiative in their organizations.

Judith W. Umlas
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