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Karen Edwards Blogger

A Leader's Guide to Surviving the Holidays (and Every Other Day)

Posted by Karen Edwards | November 21, 2016

Happy November, everyone!

The holidays are upon us, and so is the busiest season in O&P! Thanks for taking a minute away from the last-month-before-my-deductible-starts-over madness to read our blog and beef up your leadership skills. We are right there with you and are hard at work lining up some great events for 2017. Please continue to share your ideas for ways we can expand ÖWLI to be even more relevant to you. To incentivize you, we are giving away an autographed copy of Elizabeth McCormick's book "The P.I.L.O.T. Method" to the FIRST SIX PEOPLE TO EMAIL US WITH A SUGGESTION OF WHAT YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE US ADD/CHANGE/WRITE ABOUT! Elizabeth McCormick, former Black Hawk Helicopter Pilot, was our keynote speaker at the 2016 Össur Women's Leadership Conference. Email your amazing suggestions to us at

No doubt by now the holidays and end-of-year pressure has most (dare I say ALL) of us stressed and feeling pulled in many directions. So, how do we maintain control of our very full lives, reign in the chaos, and lead our employees, co-workers, and families through the next six weeks? Here are four tips to help you do just that.

  1. Write down what really matters to you. Recently, our entire prosthetic sales team at Össur received the gift of the book "The One Thing" by Gary Keller. This book teaches us to set an extraordinary goal(s) and to focus our efforts on those things which move us toward that goal and to avoid the things that seem urgent, but really only distract us from the goal. While this is important every day of the year, it is especially necessary at this time of year. As we were told in "The One Thing," take time to stop and really think about what matters most to you. For you it might be spending holiday time with your family or closing December with 20 legs in the books (or both!). Find what is truly important, then look at your to-do list and select only those things that move you toward that goal(s).
  2. Let some things get "messy." Focusing on what is truly important gives us "permission" to NOT focus on things that aren't as important. The result is that those less important parts of our lives will get messy. As professional women establishing ourselves as leaders in O&P while trying to "do it all" (work-life balance, anyone?), NOT "doing it all" and NOT "doing it all PERFECTLY" goes against our nature. But, as Gary Keller writes, "To achieve an extraordinary result, you must choose what matters most and give it all the time it demands. This requires getting extremely out of balance in relation to all other work issues…"[1]
  3. SCHEDULE time for YOU. We hear this so often, and, I admit, I am very guilty of not doing it! I read it again recently in a blog I follow by Monica Wofford, CSP called "Monday Moment." In her most recent post she writes about surviving chaotic times (like the holidays) and she stresses how critical it is that we allow ourselves at least a small amount of time to pause and regroup each day. She advises us to, "Take the time, preferably daily, to remind yourself of what really matters, to move at a slower pace and remove yourself from the race to lead your way back to peace and harmony. Even if only in a moment of serenity, leaders need time for themselves to recharge, refresh, and restock the energy level so they can dive back in ready to lead again."[2]
  4. Don't go it alone. Scott Belsky, an investor and entrepreneur, writes on LinkedIn, "When I get stressed, I instinctively become more self-reliant. (Perhaps it is my fear of failure that makes me put my head down and try to solve things all by myself?) Ironically, at the times when it's most important for us to consult our colleagues and absorb the opinions of others, we're inclined to isolate ourselves. To offset this tendency, I make special efforts to engage people around me in times of stress."[3] Make what's important to you known to others and allow others to contribute in ways that help move you forward.

We hope these suggestions are helpful! Looking forward to 2017, we would love to have ÖWLI members contribute and provide your unique insight into leadership, work/life balance, clinical topics, and anything else that helps make you more successful. To volunteer, please email us at ÖWLI@Ö

We also are looking for nominations for female leaders in O&P to highlight quarterly in 2017. Please email us the name, clinic name, and email of the person(s) you would like to nominate!

From all of us at Össur, have a very happy Thanksgiving!
Until December!

Karen Edwards
Director, Össur Women's Leadership Initiative

ÖWLI book recommendation of the quarter: "The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

ÖWLI Quote of the Month: "If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles." -- Doug Larson, Columnist and Editor, Door County Advocate (WI)

Talk to us!! Your feedback is welcomed and encouraged! Please let us know what you think of our initiative, share your ideas, share your victories, or just say "hi" by emailing us at ÖWLI@Ö And follow us on Twitter @ÖWLIÖssur.

[1] Gary Keller with Jay Papasan, The One Thing (Austin, TX: Bard Press, 2012), p. 81.
[2] Monica Wofford, CSP, "Operation Overload: Surprising Survival Strategies," Monday Moment, 21 Nov. 2016 //
[3] Scott Belsky, "Tips for Leading Under Stress," LinkedIn, 16 July 2014 //