Strength in Nature

Call to Action: Emails that drive Action

writing tip wednesdays Jan 27, 2021

Why are you writing an email?

Earlier in this series, we talked about telling a story and two different types of email formats: the CTA (call to action) and the CYA (cover your assets). Today, let's dive more deeply into the Call to Action emails. The CTA emails exist to connect with your reader so that they take an immediate action.

In marketing literature, the copy is intended to drive you take a specific action, "Click Here!," "Let's get started," "Lose 10 lbs. Start today!" In each of these buttons, it is the clear which action the user should take. Unfortunately, work emails are seldom written so clearly.

As a servant leader, it is our duty to write with clarity and connection. To help our reader quickly come to the conclusion we want them to find, we must be precise in our writing. Precision, in this case, means stating the desired outcome explicitly.

 Hot tip: if you have a deadline, include it in your call to action.  

~Angela Buckley

In a CTA email,...

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Finding Peace in Goal Setting: Inch by Inch

achieving goals overcome Jan 24, 2021

Goal setting is an activity that takes place at the beginning of each new project. During the month of January, we take stock of where we were in the previous year and where we want to go in the current year. There is a natural tension between setting these large goals and the day to day of setting setting the small, achievable goals. Let's examine this natural tension today.

Goals v. Resolutions

Most resolutions set in January have an element of dream associated with them and 82% of them are forgotten by the end of the month. By the end of the year, 98% of the resolutions have been forgotten. So, what is the difference between resolutions and goals?

Goals represent milestones along the path to achieving dreams. They are strategically placed within the journey. Achievable, actionable items are associated with goals. Certainly, the benefits of SMART goals are well documented. If you are not familiar with SMART goals, here is a quick rundown. SMART goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • ...
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Formatting for Effectiveness

writing tip wednesdays Jan 20, 2021

Written communications for leaders require clarity and connection. As the authors of written communications, we seek to deliver information to our team members quickly and accurately in a manner they can understand just as quickly and accurately. Using formatting is just one very quick and simple way to reduce the cognitive overload associated with reading a long email.

"A servant leader understands that clear writing saves time by reducing cognitive overload and questions in their readers' minds." Angela Buckley


Luckily, email communications are not governed by APA or MLA style guidelines so we can break a lot of the rules that you learned in school. (If you don't know what those are, but are curious...follow the links.) Emails are better understood when written following a more journalistic approach:

  • Short sentences
  • Short paragraphs
  • Vocabulary aimed at 4th to 6th grade reading level.

Listen, writing at this secondary level is not to criticize your readers or team...

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Take a Walk

overcome Jan 17, 2021

H! Angela here again. As we collectively try to overcome the overwhelm we see in the world, let us focus on one little habit that we can control and work into our daily lives: take a walk. Followers of my Instagram will regularly see posts reminding you to get outside 20 minutes a day. Personal friends will attest to my personal application of this habit. Let's take a few minutes to look at the science of how walking outdoors positively impacts our mental health and ability to perform.

Physical Manifestations of Overwhelm

Overwhelm physically mimics the process of grief in our body. The hormones in your body align to begin to protect you from the stress and stress-related hormones that activate when we are under stress. Your body's initial response is a sense of fatigue.


Your body seeks to protect you from stress by sending signals to you that are tired or need sleep. During sleep, your body is rebuilding its hormone profile. Stress on the body requires high levels of...

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Tell A Story: Emails for Leaders

Today we are going to talk about telling a story. If you are writing an email, you most likely have a specific point in mind. Most business emails fall in to one of two categories: CYA or CTA. First we are going to examine the information and point of each of these types of emails and then we will follow up with the importance of storytelling.


Do I need to elaborate on its meaning? Covering your assets means that you are sharing information. Perhaps the information isn't interesting (to you). Perhaps you aren't sure how else to communicate the information. The CYA emails are highly informative, often filled with industrial jargon, and let's face it...dry.

 "Research shows that including statistics in the story format leads to increased retention by 25x."

However, writing a dry CYA email is selfish. By writing a dry email of this nature you burden your readers with the following responsibilities.

  • understanding,
  • reading through the lines, and
  • information filing.

In a busy...

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Overcome the Overwhelm: Succulent Sundays

overcome Jan 11, 2021

Hi! Angela here. Welcome to Succulent Sunday.

I have chosen succulents for my Overcome the Overwhelm series for 2021. We'll talk about overwhelm in a second, but first, let's talk about cacti and succulents. No, this is not a lesson in herbology or flora. I love nature, but I'm not herbalist or botanist.

Why are succulents are the theme?

These hardy guys and gals just keep on keeping on. They are hardy, continue living when forgotten, and bloom unexpectedly when tended properly. They accept poor soil conditions yet bring beauty and joy into the world. These plants offer us a lesson in resilience that we will do well to remember and honor.

Three Tenants of Overcoming the Overwhelm

During our Overcome the Overwhelm series, we will examine the three pillars of overcoming: Emotional, Physical, and Spiritual. We will look to experts who have studied these three tenants individually and collectively. I do not research these topics as an academic, but I am a lifelong learner, and I look...

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Writing Tip Wednesdays: Leadership Writing for Clarity and Connection

writing tip wednesdays Jan 06, 2021

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays! Thanks for joining me. I'm so glad you are here.

Have you been writing more emails than you ever dreamed of? Wondering if the message is getting across to your team? If you have little seeds of self-doubt or questioning when you hit send on those emails, then this blog series is aimed at you.  I intend to address your leadership writing questions, woes, and concerns.  

What will we discuss?

  • Leadership communications that seek connection with your audience.
  • Tips and tricks to clarify your message.
  • Repetition, Repetition, Repetition.

Who will benefit?

  • Leaders and emerging leaders who are suddenly finding themselves in a midst of emails, Zooms, and on-line interactions.
  • Team members who are reading your communications.
  • Friends and family, because these tips can apply to all your communications.

Why is this topic important?

  • Clarity & Connection drive action.
  • With facemasks, distance working, and increased challenges, writing is...
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When the map you're following is wrong!

We've all been there. We did everything we were supposed to do, but somehow, we just didn't get the expected results. We followed the map, but we didn't get to where we wanted to go.

Recently, we were hiking in the mountains. The trail map was wrong.  This happens in the mountains. Trails become overgrown or unused. Winter and spring destroy trails faster than maps and trail markers can be updated. To survive, we need to be aware of our surroundings.

Situational awareness means that even though we are following the instructions, we are checking in with our environment. As leaders, we cannot always follow the plan. We need to be constantly checking in to see if our plan is working. In business, we use Key Activity Indicators; in life use our friends, coaches, and confidants for feedback. We use the feedback to modify the plan.

Perhaps we picked the wrong map. Perhaps the map is outdated. When we first detect that something is wrong, we must spend time seeking out the cause,...

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Resilience and Self - Reliance

On a recent adventure, it was my son's turn to navigate the trail. The map was challenging. The trails weren't always marked correctly. We took solace in taking [A LOT of] trail photography. I discovered that he is/was fascinated by the snails. We're talking maybe 100 photos of these little guys along the trail.

When we discussed the snail, I loved how he recognized the importance of simplicity and resilience of carrying its shell on its back. It got me thinking...

What is resilience? It is the ability to overcome. Snails are able to hitch a ride to new homes by surviving being eaten by birds. It's an amazing and fun fact, and it's true. It is a great example of resilience.

Landing in a new area, snails already have their home with them.  Their self-reliance helps them survive being eaten and dropped, both literally and figuratively, into new situations.

As leaders, we need to look for inspiration for ourselves and support others as they develop their own resilience and...

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Grow where you are planted

Check out this pitcher plant! It grows in the ferns and bogs of the Adirondacks. The soil of the Adirondacks is famously nutritionally poor and thin. This tough plant has learned how to survive.

Its leaf forms a pitcher, thus the catchy name, to catch water. The flower shoots up and sends out wonderful, sweet scents to attract ants and other creepy crawlies. Once in the plant, they slip down the internal pipe-like stalk where their bodies provide nutrition for the plant that the soil cannot provide.

These plants are colorful and resilient!

Sometimes, we simply land in thin soil. As leaders, it is our jobs to adapt and overcome. At times, the surroundings seem dark. How can we challenge ourselves to overcome? Perseverance and resilience make us tougher. We can dig in and find new ways to challenge our thoughts.

When have you decided to grow where you were planted?

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