When there is drama in our lives it involves other people and our emotional reaction to them. If you are miserable at your job, the situation likely implies a boss, colleague or group of people is at its root. If you repeatedly avoid situations you most likely dodge a person who you feel strips your power. If you commonly find yourself angry with someone, it is probably because you feel a need to defend against how they make you feel.
Don’t Personalize Their Behavior
We think people cause our sorrow. Not so. Our interpretation of another person’s actions - our emotional response to having been judged - is what really makes us unhappy. We personalize their conduct. We make it about us. We judge back. We feel left out. We become needy for approval. Right now, there is someone personalizing your behavior that you’re not even aware of.
Recognize Your Own Ego
If you feel that another person’s conduct makes you feel less than you are, that’s your...
Gallup reports that only 33% of the 100 million people in the American workforce are engaged at work, loving their jobs and their organization. Conversely 16% of the workforce is actively disengaged, miserable and poisoning their cultures. The remaining 51% are not engaged – they just show up. This means that 67% of your workforce is disengaged.
Traditional leadership styles, benefits packages and training initiatives clearly are not working. The old command-and-control style of leadership is not only ineffective but not respected by millennials who represent the largest sector in the workforce today. Productive and engaged work cultures are switching from power struggles to coaching conversations. They realize purpose and flexibility trump paychecks and perks. They take less stock in annual employee engagement surveys and have monthly check-in coaching conversations for development. And they make sure their employees know the company is interested in their development,...
As I look back on the challenges my clients are dealing with this week I see two common themes - difficult people and lack of clarity.
First, people are difficult for one reason - they are insecure and unhappy. That shouldn't become your problem, but often difficult people exude what looks like confidence. This gets them promoted to high level positions. That perceived confidence is a smoke screen to hide what is behind the sand they kick up. Underneath they feel unqualified, ineffective and ultimately that they may lose respect, their job and be alone. Knowing this your goals are:
I’ve been an executive coach for more than ten years and I definitely see trends. The people who get hired, advance, are well liked, get promoted, are invited and welcomed almost always are the hardest working people in the room. It’s by no means everything. As a matter of fact almost all of my clients come to me with this trait. But it’s a foundation that can’t be taught and usually coincides with outstanding character - two highly sought after qualities in the work world. These are tenets of highly coachable and engaging leaders. Marry these with vision, execution, working smart, likability and emotional intelligence and you have excellence.
The entitled people are not respected. The difficult people are not welcomed. The lazy people are not revered. And the complainers are not liked.
Congratulating you today for your work ethic. You are among an elite group. Bravo!
If you are struggling with uncertaintly and feel exhasuted and...
Yes, we want to help our loved ones and friends who are suffering. But, how do we help someone ‘get through it?' How do we help them move on and resume their lives as they were before crisis or tragedy. How do we help them usher in something new that they may never have experienced before - something that might be interesting and/or rewarding.
For a long time we thought we were showing strength to suck it up and just move on. The military bred this concept into the armed forces until they realized it wasn’t helpful and actually was quite damaging. When we deny our feelings and try to push past them they get further buried only to resurface with triggers - triggers that keep coming more frequently. Triggers, such as a painful memory, sound or situation, place us right back in thick of the emotion that we never reconciled.
People who are hurting don’t need you to fix them. They just want to know you care and are there. Just be with them. Often their discomfort makes...
When I turn away from the truth in my heart I armor up against what is real and then only a facade of myself is evident to others, stripping my executive presence. The really hard part is that it takes twice as much energy to keep up the facade so I’m feeling not only guarded but exhausted. The sad part is that I become so good at the facade that I lose site and concept of who I really am. Others start describing me as someone I don’t know. And I start to wonder what happened to me.
This big knot of inauthenticity is unwound by leaning into to the very feelings we assume make us weak. The truth is that naming the very feelings we avoid - sad, confused, judged, abandoned, angry, tired, ineffective - disarms their power and opens a window so that clarity may breeze in. It starts with staying present in the moment and not fast forwarding our thoughts to worry about what ‘might’ happen.
Wishing you vulnerability and openness today.
If you are...
Some leaders think they need to formally engage a mentor, advocate or sponsor to advance. Not so. The best of these for me never knew I considered them such.
Sometimes I created a friendship whereby we supported each other in different ways - me being curious, listening and being honest and them opening doors because they wanted to help me.
Some of my mentors never knew me. I simply observed them, their values, their presence, their leadership and their struggles.
And sometimes I asked people to lunch or called them to answer specific questions that I had thought through ahead of time to make good use of their time. Your best teachers are right in front of you. Self-awareness and executive presence build by observing others and then observing yourself.
My clients define leaders they admire and then list why. They watch YouTube videos of presentations and read their material.
Wishing you one person you admire you will study today.
>>> If you are ready to get off the...
You’ve read what the experts say. You’ve collected the necessary tools. You are committed. You are trying. Yet nothing changes. And you feel stagnant.
When I was a divorced single mother of four children under seven-year's old on welfare, food stamps and medical assistance, homeless and without an automobile I didn’t have time to go back to school to learn a new profession. I had four hungry mouths hanging open in front of me like baby birds.
Failure wasn’t an option. I decided to cease seeking what was “fair”, stop throwing money away on lawyers and accept that it was a far better use of my energy to focus on succeeding as the sole provider for my children than to expect family court to give anyone a conscience.
I had to put a plan together to hold my family together. I felt anxious, rejected and exhausted. I can’t tell you that I thought much about planning. There wasn’t time for ideal, only real. There wasn’t...
Willpower. You have it. You are dedicated. You start with the best intentions. And then you fizzle out. So, you start changing things just for the sake of change – thinking change is better than doing nothing. And you soon find out that the same old feelings loom and the same behaviors repeat – just in another setting. You feel overwhelmed.
What is the feeling you are running from? I hope you know because it is taking up a lot of space in your head that you would rather fill with joy. It is robbing you of peace and lacing your days and nights with anxiety. You might think it is fear of failure. But what will happen if you fail? What is the ultimate, deep down devastating result that could happen? You lose the love of those who matter? You will be alone? You’ll be powerless? Isn’t it time you stopped practicing failure in advance in your head?
You know you are on the treadmill to nowhere when you repeat the same thoughts and actions and...
I’ve had a very melancholy week. I’m selling my childhood home for my mother, listing my uncle's home for sale (the home my mother grew up in) to help my mother as executor of his estate, and saying goodbye to a majestic era. This photo is of the beautiful patio of The Hotel Excelsior Grand Vittoria in Sorrento, Italy where we stayed several years ago and reminds me that each day has a sunrise and a sunset for a reason. It’s a metaphor for life. Just as the sun has to set in orderly rise again, some things have necessary endings so there can be new beginnings.
When we grasp onto an ending because we don’t want it to go away it’s like reaching against nature, leaving us forever unsatisfied because what we want is impossible - the energy is against us.
Honor the memory. For me that means taking the birdbath from my parent’s backyard to my backyard and thinking of my dad who loved to birdwatch every time one of them shakes...
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