I see this a lot in the corporate setting. People wear “busy” like a badge of honor. Early in my career I did too. It’s our way of grasping at perfection or averting the fear that is under the surface. Either way it’s a dance away from intimacy - away from the story we’re attached to that is fraught with flawed perceptions.
I don’t have time.
I don’t have enough experience.
I’m too old.
I’m too young.
I’ll never get this right.
It hasn’t worked til now so what’s the point?
If I let up, I’ll never catch up.
I’m too overwhelmed to think of a different way.
I have to try harder than others.
I’ll sit back and let my work ethic speak for itself.
Hard work is not a differentiator at the senior level. Everyone works hard there. You have to show self-awareness, be able to manage your emotions in the moment, strategize quickly especially in a crisis moment, execute a well articulated vision,...
Reflecting on what I’ve learned from the clients I have the privilege to work with. Human behavior has always fascinated me. I’ve studied it for years. It’s amazing how we can repeat patterns over and over and don’t see the regularity of them as we continue to victimize ourselves by externalizing the origin of our unrest.
“It’s their fault.” “This is so unfair.” “Why does this always happen to me?” “Only I get treated this way.” “This is never going to change.”
Strong people who are uncomfortable enough with the unrest of failing relationships, lack of career advancement, poor sleep and health habits and frustration with a stagnant life commit to do something about it.
But if that commitment isn’t a look inside themselves they’re just busying themselves with change for the sake of change on the treadmill to nowhere. Then when nothing changes not only are they...
The work in progress continues. Last weekend I started oil painting. This weekend I’m still at it. Not a quitter here. I have had no formal training and haven’t oil painted since high school. This was a whole new territory for me. It is a little scary and intimidating.
You probably can identify with the excitement and doubtful feelings of trying something new – looking for a new job in a different industry or with a different title, trying to stick to a daily exercise routine to get in shape, committing to better relationship skills such as listening and pausing.
You have the best intentions. You tell yourself you will do whatever necessary to get the outcome you want – a new job, a healthier lifestyle and better physique, a closer relationship. And the first day you find you have already fallen off plan. Now, you feel even worse because not only are you discouraged, but you don’t see any hope because although you want change, you...
Ok - Intellectually we know we can't change what people say and can only change how we react. So, how do we stop overreacting, stop taking things personally, and stop the expectations and assumptions that leave us disappointed?
The answer is acceptance. Happiness is the shortest distance between what you want and what you have.
When we can observe our life and all our situations from a third part perspective without judgment there is a major shift to peace. It’s like watching a documentary of your life. It’s the fly on the wall perspective.
We accept others and situations at face value - not trying to change them or control them. And, most importantly, we accept ourselves the same.
In this space…
We don’t live in fear of all the things our thoughts tell us might happen.
We don’t feel unseen, invalidated, disregarded, irrelevant or as if we don’t matter.
We don’t wallow in all the guilt and blame we use to avoid what we...
Do you procrastinate? Last weekend I made a commitment to try oil painting so I bought the supplies with the intention to start this weekend. Saturday I filled my day with meaningful activities - a plant sale, visiting my mother, a long walk with Arnie and the dog, planting perennials. By the end of the day I figured I might be procrastinating.
Sunday I filled my day with meaningful activities - a work event, a long walk with Arnie and Bailey, work stuff. By 4:30 pm I was sure I was procrastinating.
I could not believe I was getting beat by tubes of paint and new brushes. So, I got out a canvas, unscrewed the paints, thinned them with linseed oil because that’s what a YouTube video said to do, started mixing colors and had one hour until I needed to start dinner.
Sometimes you just need to get started. Forget about the outcome. Just start.
I’m not sure where this painting is going but I made a determination - oil painting is more expensive and far more fun than...
Happy people do not hurt one another. Period. If you are at the wrath of anyone’s bad behavior you already have the upper hand. If that person is your boss you still have the upper hand. You’re not compromised by the level of fear and anxiety that they carry around. Don’t be a victim. Draw on your emotional intelligence. It’s your superpower.
If they are toxic don’t seek approval they don’t have to give. This gives them power. Stay entirely off their radar screen.
Only go to them when you need information or a decision and then give them two choices. Busy people don’t want to create but prefer to decide.
Use phrases that remind them that you have their back. “I know that (X) is important to you so I wanted to make you aware that….”
Deal with your own fears and anxieties by getting curious about what’s under your initial reaction to them. Fear of losing a job or respect? If the worst happens...
“Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us, unplayed.” ~Oliver Wendell Homes
Please don't do this.
It is essential for the world to hear your voice. Are you "pulling away from conversations, feeling powerless and not good enough" as a new client put it?
Do you notice the same patterns developing in a current role that showed up in a previous one?
Do you have trouble avoiding overthinking?
Have you neglected healthy eating, exercise, sleep and time management habits?
These challenges are not a life sentence. But they can rob you of executive presence, efficacy, rewarding relationships, and happiness.
Racing thoughts and turbulent emotions are symptoms of stress, frustration, and the general feeling that nothing is going to change. Most people think that to fix this they just need to do what they always do – work harder. This strategy just compounds the problem. Now not only are things not changing but you...
I have a client in Silicon Valley who I’m very proud of today. She is smart, well educated, successful and came to me to grow her self-worth to show up differently at work and in life. She was struggling in relationships with people who were close to her. I felt the pain of her suffering. I felt her despair at how some people treated her. It made me sad.
We worked on healthy boundaries. We worked on self-awareness. We worked on defining her values and her vision of a life in alignment with them. We worked on mindful daily practices that help her self-regulate fear. We worked on being with discomfort long enough to see that it wouldn’t overtake her because it’s only her imagination. We worked on self-acceptance with all her imperfections. We worked more on boundaries.
We did not work on her being better than anything or anyone. We didn’t work on what she didn’t deserve. We didn’t work on why change would be better.
We worked on...
According to research conducted by Gallup, 52% of voluntarily exiting employees say that their manager or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving their job. While you can’t make everyone stay, you can improve your retention rates if you take the time to check in with your people.
Stay interviews help employees feel they are more than just workers - that you care about them, their career and their future. Here are some questions I give my clients to ask and that I ask my team regularly.
Do you ever feel completely overwhelmed such that you don't know where to begin? Then because you can't jump start anything that seems to work you become self-critical in the process and start taking everything personally.
"This will never get better. It always seems to happen to me. Nothing is working. I wish I could just stop being this way. When will I get a break?"
Here is a practice I share with my clients for when you feel stressed:
1. Notice how stress shows up in your:
a. Body = ________________
b. Feelings = _______________
c. Thoughts = ________________
2. Welcome stress. Get curious about it. The body, mind and thoughts are designed to heighten how we deal with stress. This is good unless fear takes over. Disarm fear by answering…
a. I am stressed about __________________________________ (WHAT?)
b. Dig deeper. Ask yourself WHY? 5 times: Why is that important to me?
Why is that important to me?
Why is that important to...