MAY BLOGCARD: Are You Still Cutting the Ham?

May’s Insights…

We are in the middle of 2nd Quarter…almost to the ½ way mark of 2017 and I thought it would be good to pause, take stock and an opportunity to course correct. 

A few years ago, I remember hearing the story about the HAM…if you haven’t heard it yet, let me share.

There was a family cooking a holiday dinner.  The mom’s specialty was her delicious ham.  As the family watched, she proceeded to cut off the end of the ham. 

Wanting to know her secret, the husband asked: “why do you cut the end off of the ham?... is the sweeter meat more toward the center?” 

The wife replied… “well, no”. 

“Well, is the meat tougher at the end?”

The wife replied… “well…no”.

All out of ideas, the husband asks, “then why do we cut the end off of the ham?”

She just replied, “well that’s the way I was taught to do it by my Mom”. 

The husband replied…” well, all righty… then do we know Mom’s reason?”

They looked at each other….and the wife said… “that’s a good question”! 

Well, now, everyone was curious….so they decided to call Grandma and put hear on speakerphone.  She was so excited to hear from everyone, but was surprised when they asked about the ham recipe…. she was all set to respond about the cloves, the cooking time, the honey and brown sugar.  When they asked her about cutting off the ends…she just laughed…and got quiet…because she had a fond memory.

She shared: “when your father and I first got married, we didn’t have much so we made good use of everything that was given to us…including our cook ware.  Your father would always bring home a nice ham for the holidays, but my baking pan was always too small for it, so I had to cut the end of the ham off so it would fit!” 

Of course the family was dumbfounded when they heard this.  They’ve been carrying on a tradition that was not even recipe-driven, but out of sheer necessity. 

So this month, I want you to think about, where are you ‘cutting the ham’…doing things just because you’ve always done them?  Think about your existing practices (personal and professional) …what should you STOP doing, START doing and KEEP doing? 

Need help figuring this out?  Check out May’s Leadership Resource!

Much grace, Bernadette

Serving Leaders who make a difference by BEing the difference!

Leadership Matters

The Right Way to Start a Meeting by Liane Davey (article)

The Daily Fuel featuring Tim Cook, CEO Skidmore Studios (Detroit) (2-minute video)

Pressure Doesn't Have to Turn Into Stress by icolas Petri (article)

The Neuroscience of Trust by Paul J. Zak (white paper)

Three Essential Tips for Delivering Bad News by Andy Molinsky (LinkedIn article)


Ah-ha Quote

May Leadership Resource: Strategic Guided Sessions

This month, that help comes in the form of coaching.  For the month of May, I have 3 (three) openings for Strategic Guided Sessions (6-month commitment).  Providing private support and strategic guidance enabling you to leverage your experience, knowledge and wisdom to align your professional journey. 

Perfect if you are a high potential leader who is:

·         Ready to prepare for a BIG leap…

·         Did you derail?  Let’s get back on track!

·         Need to scale your team, but know you have to scale first…

You and I will partner to:

  • Strategize how to get from where you are to where you want to be
  • Focus on achieving six-month career and leadership goals
  • Lean into and strengthen leadership muscle
  • Overcome personal barriers and situational roadblocks.
  • Use assessments to understand leadership strengths and communication style
  • Create a 6-month custom plan: a 'roadmap' to achieving goals

Are you or a member of your leadership team ready?  Let’s first see if we are aligned…

Let’s Work Together:

As leaders, we have the potential capacity to transform organizations into environments that nurture the human spirit while achieving breakthrough results. Working together we can maximize your leadership’s team development, guide their shifts through change/transition, stimulate innovation from the inside-out and assist your organization in leveraging its ‘awesomeness’…it’s what we’re really good at and it’s our passion!  Email me at: so we can get started!

APRIL BLOGCARD: What are you OPEN TO this month?

Greetings Inspired Leaders!

Happy 2nd Quarter! I recently looked up the month April and according to Webster:

Though April’s derivation is not certain, a common theory is that the name is rooted in the Latin Aprillis which is derived from the Latin aperire meaning “to open”.
— Webster

I love it! So, my question to you is what are you open to this month? New direction… people who don’t look like you…a different way of thinking…listening without judgment…acceptance without protocol?

I invite you to think about what areas have you been closed? Afraid? Skeptical? Procrastinating? Avoiding? It’s an important question to ‘sit’ with because all of those behaviors become our norm…just the way we are…because we’ve been holding on to this for so long.

However, if we do not question our behavior, test our assumptions, and challenge our beliefs, then it’s hard for us to grow into our highest selves…our greatest selves…the ones our 90-year-old selves will smile and look back with pride and our 10-year-old selves would gaze up in amazement!

As leaders, the first person we lead is ourselves and then we earn the right to lead others. I invite you, in this new beginnings month of April, TO OPEN up to the possibility of your greatness! Shoot me your thoughts and any questions that surface! 

If you know someone who would find value in this article, please, by all means, share.  It will enable us to reach those who are striving to be better leader and who can benefit from these types of ideas or need our support.

If there are any topics that you’d like to hear more about, please email me at!

Much grace, Bernadette

Helping YOU leverage your Return On Leadership!

Leadership Matters:

How People Learn to Become Resilient by Maria Konnikova (article)

Pressure Doesn't Have to Turn Into Stress by Nicolas Petrie (article)

Who You Are Is How You Lead by Jesse Sostin (article)

The Eight Habits of Remarkably Coachable Leaders by Henna Inam

Being Engaged At Work Is Not The Same As Being Productive by Ryan Fuller and Nina Shikaloff

A-ha Quote

April Leadership Resource: GUIDANCE ON THE GO!

Over the last month, I’ve gotten phone calls that were ‘on-the-spot guidance’…

  • How do I lead myself through change before my team?

  • I just got promoted…what can I do to feel more confident?

  • What are some tips for building up the courage to say “no”?

  • How can I tell if I have a fear of success or a fear of failure?

  • I am at a cross-road and feeling paralyzed by choice…how can I move?

  • I need an exercise that will bring my team together at our next meeting…any ideas?

  • I’m leading my first meeting with upper management, how can I be sure they hear me?

What about you? Do you have an issue that has got you stumped? If it’s a short question, we can schedule a one-time targeted phone call (or Skype) for 30 minutes or an hour to get you going in the right direction. Guidance is just a phone call away! This is a great option if you have a specific leadership question you want to dialogue around. My intention is that you receive immediate potential solutions from our conversation.

I’m here to help!

What are you open to this month?

Let’s Work Together:
As leaders, we have the potential capacity to transform organizations into environments that nurture the human spirit while achieving breakthrough results. In our ever changing environments, we are invited to the roles of stewards of the culture, in-house change agents, communication savants and inspirational coaches. 
This type of leadership calls for Leading from the Inside Out. This is about knowing yourself intimately; having a deep awareness of the skills, talents, and knowledge that shape who you are and most important is knowing what your purpose is, what drives you and gives you passion.
Working together we can maximize your leadership’s team development, guide their shifts through change/transition, stimulate innovation from the inside-out and assist your organization in leveraging this ‘awesomeness’…it’s what we’re really good at and it’s our passion!  Email me at: for more information.


March Blogcard: How Asking a Different Question Yields a Different Result!

Greetings Inspired Leaders!

As we enter into the end of the 1st quarter for 2017, are you where you thought you’d be? March is very inspiring because it’s not only the third month of the year, but its other meaning of activity. In the spirit of forward movement, David Cooperrider’s quote below is so powerful. The questions we ask really do direct our thinking, our choices and our actions.

One of the reasons Intentional Dialogues are a part of my practice is because it creates a space for possibility through questions…through curiosity. Whether café conversations, dialogue circles, appreciative inquiry or open space…the questions begin with “what” or “how”. These two words prompt inquisitiveness and broad thinking. The word “why”, on the other hand, is rarely used because it requires us to look back…to ponder something that has already happened and to venture to guess its path to existence. So our question this month is:

What question should you be asking that will cause you to shift directions?

March's Resource will put you on your right path: How to Leverage Your Highest Potential for Breakthrough!

Leadership Matters:

HR for Humans: How Behavioral Economics Can Reinvent HR by Jim Guszcza, Josh Bersin, Jeff Schwartz

10 Business Trends that Will Grow in 2017 (article) by Leonard Kim

How Can You Lead With Influence (blog) by Joe Garfinkle

These are the Top Three Reasons People Quit Their Jobs by Lydia Dishman

The Neuroscience of Trust by Paul Zak

Aha Quote:

Your March Resource Spotlight:


1-Day LIVE MasterClass in Lansing, Michigan

April 3, 2017 / 9:00-4:00

(This session is NOT open to the public... it is a Special Session for BlogCard Subscribers AND March event participants.)

$1197 (Public: $1497)

There is profound value in knowing and understanding who you are and how you intentionally show up in the world…it’s your story. In this session, we will explore how we currently have a unique opportunity to redefine who we are as professionals by harnessing our highest potential…from the inside out…. beyond the outside packaging.

This is perfect if you are READY to:

  • Change your current tools in order to increase self-awareness in order to define, refine and grow your leadership skills

  • Discover and focus on the secrets your talents offer to further strengthen your leadership muscle.

  • Build confidence to have a more meaningful and mindful professional life.

  • Chart a breakthrough course to show up strong, on purpose and impactful!

READY for a breakthrough…click here for more information! Open enrollment from March 1 through March 23, 2017. Limited invitation…limited seats.

Much grace, Bernadette


February BlogCard: Getting in the SOLUTIONS Zone!

Greetings Inspired Leaders!

 I hope your year is starting out the way you’ve planned. As challenges start to show up, if you’re like me, you get frustrated because they are not part of your plan. Of course, being a recovering perfectionist…I had to teach myself to ‘push pause’. This can only happen if I trust my SELF and not allow that pesky 'perfectionist gremlin' take me down the proverbial rabbit hole. I've learned to not hold so tightly on the view change with dance with adversity and to keep my sense of wonder.

I then realized it’s ALL a part of the journey if I want to have a greater impact in the world…that these challenges don't exist to frustrate me...quite the contrary...they exist to help me to grow and to think more deeply and broadly.  February’s ‘aha quote’ is a great reminder that it begins and ends with us.   Ready to shift into your SOLUTIONS Zone?


Much grace, Bernadette

Leadership Matters:

·         How to Tackle Your Toughest Decisions by Joseph L. Badaracco (article)

·         Listen to Your Employees, Not Just Your Customers by Beth Benjamin (article)

·         How to Learn to Love Networking by Susan Cain (article)

·         Why Diversity and Inclusion are Crucial for the Success of Organizations Today  Jacob Morgan (podcast)

·         How Can You Lead with Influence (blog) by Joe Garfinkle

Aha Quote:

You are the only problem you will ever have and you are the only solution.
— Jim Rohn

January Blogcard: What are your going BIG on for 2017?

Greetings Inspired Leaders!

If you're like me, at the end of each year you have a ritual to ‘close the books’ on the previous year…that way you start your year off fresh, on target and with clarity.  Let me share mine…feel free to adopt and adapt! 

My closing ritual includes:

·         Reflecting on the lessons learned from the challenges that presented themselves

·         Yelling out loud "woo-hoo" for the victories!

·         Declaring what I will let go…the things that no longer serve me AND

What will I embrace as I go forward

·         Finally, remembering to thank those who helped along the way

Strategize for the next year:

·        What is the mantra that will act as a guide when I make decisions?

Say YES only to work that feeds my soul!

·         Who do I crave to work with and can make the greatest difference?

Value conscious leaders who are ready to take their work, their team and their business to the next level.

·         Take time to think about what I want to go BIG on…my ‘dent’ in the universe!

What about you?  What are you going BIG on for 2017?

Much grace, Bernadette

Leadership Matters: Some articles to get you on your way...

·         If Employees Don't Trust You, It's Up to You to Fix It by Sue Bingham

·         Five Tips for Building Your Awesome Team in 2017 by Hari T.N

·         The Four Key Benefits of Employee Engagement Surveys by Sabrina Son

·         How to Manage Managers by Amy Gallo

·         Powerful Catalyst for Remarkable Change: Mentoring 3.0 by Jodi Wehling

Aha Quote:

Are YOU ready to LFIT OFF in 2017, but don't know where to start?  Check out February's SOLUTIONS HUDDLE!  Limited time!



Are YOU ready to LIFT OFF in 2017, but don't know where to start?  Check out February's SOLUTIONS HUDDLE!  Limited time!

December Blogcard: What in your current life provides the seeds of the future you want to create?

Greetings Inspired Leaders!
I hope all is well.  We are finally wrapping up 2016....still time to finish strong...BE the increase our broaden our thinking!   I have a practice of viewing the new year as planting seeds...whether that be relationships, learning, research or's all growth!  It's with the understanding that this all has to be nurtured, watered and weeded in order to have a bountiful harvest. 

The following "seeds" are just the thing to give you the extra nourishment to finish 2016 strong as well as prepare fertile ground for 2017.  Sending you and yours holiday blessings and a prosperous, intentional new year!

Much grace,

Leadership Matters:

How a Culture of Silence Eats Away at Your Company by David Maxfield

Your Guide To Becoming A Superstar Leader by InsideOut Development

How Effective Hiring Can Make You Money by Jodi Wehling

How I Became Obsessed With Personal Development and Why You Should Too by Tim Denning

 5 Professional Development Opportunities Businesses Should Offer by Tom Schulte

 “A-ha” Quote: 

What in your current life provides the seeds of the future you want to create? Plant...nurture...water...repeat...harvest!
— Bernadette Johnson

January Resource Spotlight: 
Save the date and mark your calendars for January 16, 2017!

1 Day LIVE Intensive: Harnessing Your Highest Potential

Back by popular demand AND in time to chart 2017 on purpose and for success!  In order to keep the session intimate, we have 15 spaces available.  Are you prepared to start 2017 strong?  Our goal is to leverage our past, recognize our gifts in the present and then craft our future.  We begin by recognizing we are the main character and the author of our own story…our life. 

 Purpose-driven and results-oriented outcomes:  

  • Assess your ‘true north’ to discover how to stay centered to make a greater impact as a leader
  • Identifying your top 5 talents and how they can best serve you professionally
  • Analyze your driving beliefs and values and how to leverage them for success
  • A solid course correct roadmap for the rest of the year to follow
  • Opportunity to connect, be supported by and support others tapping into their highest potential

Open enrollment is from December 21, 2016 through January 6, 2017.

This is an exclusive offer…if you are ready, find out more here!

 Next session: January 16, 2017!           Individuals: $1497      Group rates available

Inspired Action Motivates!
2017 Inspired Leaders Connected: Insight.  Enlighten.  Engage. - Enrollment soon!




(plus a bonus book)

by Bernadette Johnson

These are my top 5 books that have inspired a pivot in my life both professionally and personally.  Below I share my take on each book, an insightful quote that gave me pause and my main take away.  What are your favorite inspirational books?

What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn) by Seth Godin

My thoughts:
Seth Godin does it again...making us think deeper and harder!  Lots of examples of ordinary folks doing extraordinary things and the difference they have made in their world, if not, THE world.  Seth throws down the gauntlet, encouraging us to make a ruckus! 

Quote: "Be missed if you're gone"

Bottom line: It's YOUR turn...what are you waiting for?


The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

My thoughts:

Steven Pressfield is a cross between a coach and your loving, but blunt uncle Steve!  His no nonsense approach to DOING the work will light a fire under you and keep you devoted to your purpose. 

 Quote: “We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”

Bottom line: Recognize that resistance is alive and well...prepare to battle it everyday in order to bring your best work!


Disrupt You: Master Personal Transformation, Seize Opportunity, and Thrive in the Era of Endless Innovation by Jay Samit

My thoughts:
Jay Samit brings the concept of disruption, usually saved for organizations, to the personal level.  I loved that he shared a plethora of research to support his reasoning for why we should disrupt ourselves, not to mention the potentially huge difference disruption could make in our lives.

Quote: “The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is that successful ones know that the most unprofitable thing ever manufactured is an excuse.”

Bottom Line: YOU need to disrupt you...the world NEEDS you to disrupt you!


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

 My thoughts:
Elizabeth Gilbert encourages us to give space for our ideas and to breathe life into them.  If The War of Art's Steven Pressfield is your tough uncle Steve, then Gilbert is your gentle cousin Liz.  Have you ever seen something on TV or a book and said "hey, that was my idea!"  Liz beautifully personifies "ideas" and shares that they come to us to come to life, but if we don't take action they will go to someone else who will bring them to the world. 

Quotes: “Basically, your fear is like a mall cop who thinks he’s a Navy SEAL: He hasn’t slept in days, he’s all hopped up on Red Bull, and he’s liable to shoot at his own shadow in an absurd effort to keep everyone “safe.”    

Bottom Line: If you think fear, perfectionism, lack of creativity have you by get it...Big Magic will get you to re-think it all.  It did for me!


Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

My thoughts:
Greg McKeown calls us out on our 'everything is important' mentality.  Challenging us to choose what we want to 'go big' on and get laser focused, as that one thing will likely have the greatest impact in the world.  It is the antidote to splintering our time, resources and thinking into so many directions that we are exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually with no real gain.  It is owning our time and choosing with purpose.  In essence, do less, but better!

Quotes:  “We can either make our choices deliberately or allow other people’s agendas to control our lives.”  

Bottom Line: This gave me reason to pause and to get crystal clear on the impact I wanted to make in my business, in my life and in the world as well as what to release.


Waves of Influence: Words that Speak to Your Heart and Lift Your Spirit by Bernadette Johnson

My thoughts:
Welcome to my book!  Waves of Influence gives a voice to what we feel, but so often, can’t find the words to say. It’s a poignant combination of noteworthy themes and powerful insights followed by quotes that bring the insights home.  Each chapter wraps up with “Waves of Wonder”, a call to action to share your own insight and dig deeper to reveal a higher ideal and, ultimately, your higher self.

Quotes: "When you think about your purpose...your breath actually catches...your heart beats a little have a smile that radiates from within.  From this perspective the 'how' doesn't matter, because you understand the reason you ARE!"

Bottom Line: It's been said that "We are all just walking each other home".  My wish is to walk with you as you find solace, inspiration, and insight from this collection.  Something that sparks your passion, pushes you out of your comfort zone and calls to your highest self.

My Journey: Mentors are On the Top of the Guest List!

By Bernadette Johnson

There’s an ancient Chinese proverb that says,

“When embarking on a journey, never ask directions from someone who has never left home.”

That is the principle of mentoring. It’s someone who has left ‘home’ and is willing to help you on your journey while sharing the experiences of their own.

I was asked to share why I chose to be a mentor.  Ironically, I found that I was unable to share my "why" without first exploring my personal mentoring experience.  Being raised by a single working parent in an inner city environment created the need for mentors. This environment is fertile ground for making choices that may not serve your greatest self.  My mentors, when I was growing up taught me to respect myself, be an independent thinker,  a leader and instilled the thought of I could do anything if I put my mind to it.

The mentors, that I had in my life from my Mom to my bosses to my professors in college upheld the ideals I was taught. They helped me set my own path through the hills and valleys of life by sharing their journeys. They shared their triumphs as possibilities and their challenges as growth in spirit while simultaneously supporting my journey as well as the proverbial ‘heads-up’ when they saw life pot-holes. They strengthened the belief in myself, helped me find clarity while sharing honest feedback so I wouldn’t get in my own way.

As I look back at the people that took the time to be a mentor to me, I realize that some were chosen and others decided to step up to the opportunity.
In both the on purpose and intentional mentoring, these wonderful people believed and saw something in me that I may not had discovered yet…my hidden potential. To this day, as I take different paths on my journey, I still have mentors, some I have chosen, and others have chosen to mentor me. To my both the enlisted and volunteered of the past...I give my humble gratitude and continue to appreciate my current mentors.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to choose to be a mentor, but I recently learned that I had been a mentor to others, though I have not known about my impact on their journeys as I try to live my journey authentically.  To the times when I’ve chosen this role, it offered an opportunity to make such a difference in someone’s life.

"The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves." ~Steven Spielberg

Mentoring holds a special place in my heart because I have found that sometimes when we are lost on our journey, we need someone to hold “what is possible” for us until we are able to see it for ourselves...someone to believe in our potential…such is the role of a mentor.  I am truly honored to pay it forward to those I’ve consciously and humbly accepted the role of mentor, to contribute to another’s highest potential and greatest self!

If you have ‘left home’…pay it forward and share your knowledge, experience and hope…become a mentor. If you are “leaving home” for your journey, seek someone who has traveled your path…partner with a mentor!


Bernadette Johnson is a leadership consultant and collaboration strategist who guides Leadership Teams in transforming their organizations/businesses by leveraging their collective wisdom, experience and strengths while aligning their practices with their desired outcomes. Bernadette is also the founder of the LinkedIn group: LEADing from the MIDDLE and the author of Waves of Influence; a book of insights and quotes that give voice to our experiences as well as its companion guide: WOW! Insight to Your Highest Self.