When Ego Gets the Best of You

When we compare and judge we are allowing our ego to dictate our standards. Nothing will ever be good enough in this state because it is a fear based posture. In this space we are not playing to our strengths, we are playing to someone else’s. We are not authentic, we have sold out to shiny objects and fairy tales. We have lost sight of what makes us unique only to trail two steps behind what our ego reminds us we should have but never get.

When my daughter was diagnosed with a developmental disability I used to sit at playgrounds and compare her to other children, leaving me devastated. When my marriage fell apart I continually asked myself why others were happy and I was so unlucky. When I built my coaching practice I used to study what other coaches did to market themselves, trying something new each week.

Then I defined my life by my own standards. Empowerment was the result. I researched and got my daughter the therapies she needed whereby she went to college on a...

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Disarm the Bully with Your Game

Last evening one of my clients was suffering because of a colleague who was bullying her. This bully was sucking her energy and high performance right out of her. I was so happy for her to watch her become a mindful third party observer of the bully’s behavior such that it even made her laugh.

Losing your cool is as bad as withdrawing. Both render you ineffective. Both dummy down your authentic risk taking ability. People notice both. 

When you play it safe or are reactionary you are playing THEIR game. Play YOUR game. Pause. Critical think. Observe what is behind the mask. Be curious. Then get back to your strengths. 

When the bully senses that you are holding it together his or her behavior will escalate. That is where you become amused. Just stare at them. Observe. It can be quite entertaining.

May you become a silent witness to all your experiences, including your personal history. That’s power. That’s executive presence.

Do you want to advance in...

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Six Steps When You've Internalized Their Bad Behavior to be About You

So often we internalize people’s negative behavior toward us as something wrong with us. If your uncertain about someone's pensive perspective on you follow these steps.

1. Schedule a meeting with the other person with the purpose of creating a better working or personal relationship. Do not handle this through email.

2. Tell her you hope you are wrong yet you sense judgment from her. Ask him what you could do to improve the relationship.

3. Listen for opportunities for self-improvement. Ask her what she believes her role is in aligning the relationship.

4. If after you have done this her behavior doesn’t change, she doesn't own her part in the misalignment or she won’t even meet with you it’s time to let go of your expectations of her. Unrest always lies in expectations. Having them is useless and out of your control. Goals you can affect are far better.

5. Release your desire for a healthy relationship with him and start managing him like a difficult...

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When Controlling Yourself is the Most Difficult Part of the Conflict

     Nearly all conflict in the world stems from one simple necessity – and it isn’t the need to win. Wars, corporate battles, department squabbles, and relationship foes are rooted in the same deep-seated need – the need to be right.

     Compound the need to be right with an ineffective ability to persuade others to believe you are right can lure in feelings of inadequacy and, in extreme cases, an overwhelming feeling of threat. Not only are our emotions running wild with fear, anger, and frustration a physical reaction begins to occur.

     When we sense we are in danger our body gears up to protect itself. You may have noticed your heart racing before a big presentation or your throat tightening as an argument escalates. This is the body preparing itself for what is called “fight-or-flight,” an immediate physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event. This was...

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Three Questions to Eradicate Conflict

When I see conflict in the workplace it often relates to turf. Someone feels threatened. Something is at stake. Some compromise needs to be made that leaves people uncomfortable. And people retreat to their respective corners to protect their territory. After all, change means giving up something - Right?

Not always. Change often means opportunity. But opportunity is hard to see when shielded by the blinding rays of pride. And pride is the rose-colored sunglass of fear. “I’m not afraid. If he/she would just ___________ (do their job, not expect so much, leave things alone, be nicer to me, show respect) this problem would not be happening.”

When you are involved in conflict and feel the adrenaline rush grip you in a panic just pause. If you practice this, over time, you will be able to increase that “Pause Café space” between when you feel fear and negatively react to it, compromising your executive presence. In the pause moment ask yourself the...

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When It Makes You Cringe

Have you ever had a visceral reaction to a colleague where just to be around them made you cringe? Generally that discomfort is based in ego - your competitiveness gone haywire. We get triggered into fight-or-flight and our ego hates to lose.  

Prepare before these encounters by anticipating the experience going well - where you shift from being defensive to being CURIOUS about HIS ego and need to be right or superior. Imagine if you could watch her arm wrestling her ego because that is exactly what is happening when people are mean - they are at war with themselves. Happy people do not hurt one another or seek attention.

Be the curious servant leader. “Jean, I sense that I’m not meeting your needs. I want to be helpful. If I were meeting your needs, what exactly would that look like?” She will likely not be able to be specific because she’s so tied up in attention seeking ego. If she is specific you’ll have great intel.

Your coach,

Mary Lee

...

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Dealing with Work Drama

Direct communication is the best way to go through life. But instead, people practice avoidance (ignoring the person or the problem) or triangulation (bringing in a third person to validate that your condemnation is correct).  

Leadership expert Dr. Henry Cloud’s Law of Exposure says, “Life is better lived in the light — that is, things are better out in the open, even if these things are negative. Conflict or hard feelings cause a break in the connection between two people, and relationship can only be restored by communicating honestly. 

One of the biggest traps that we all fall into at one time or another is getting stuck in the whirlpool of unnecessary drama.” 

What I see is that avoidance of direct communication happens when we fear conflict. Rightly so. Everyone hates conflict. Except for those who thrive on drama - the most dangerously insecure people of all.  

But what if we shifted the perspective from conflict to...

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What do you do when someone is jealous of you at work?

Jealousy is a wicked emotion that will leave you feeling powerless and empty until you can be vulnerable enough to admit the root cause of it and accept yourself with all your imperfections no matter what anyone else thinks, does or has. Most of the time we are dealing with our own jealousy of people who have what we think we deserve – a better job, more authority, better executive presence, a better life. Self-acceptance without expectations is king.

 

Sometimes, however, we are bound by the jealousy of others. You can feel their resentment by the way they respond to you – ignoring, dismissing, dirty looks, excluding.

 

Six Thing to Do When Someone is Jealous of You

 

  1. Allow him his feelings. It’s his journey not yours. It is not your job to change his feelings. It is your job to get along with him in a productive manner.

 

  1. Be true to yourself and a servant leader to all, including her. Treat her as you would anyone else. Don’t vary...
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How to Keep Your Cool When Someone Threatens You at a Meeting

Dear {{first_name}},

Have you ever been in a high stakes meeting or in a conversation where someone challenges your position and you immediately start to feel the world closing in on you? Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl describes that moment this way ~ “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” 

It’s important to have actionable strategies when our thoughts take over and rule our actions. You are not your thoughts.   

The Pause Café 

When you feel anxious or aggravated practice what my clients and I call “The Pause Café.” It starts with a deep breath where you ask yourself, “What is going on with me?” Invite in the tension by being curious to it, not turning away. What we run from chases us down until we deal with it. Identify where the tension sits in your body. You may...

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The Seven Deadly Sins Leaders Commit That Hold Them Back

The Seven Deadly Sins is a group of vices within religious teachings that are known as excessive versions of one's natural faculties. Though identified by desert fathers in the third century as passions one needed to overcome, these shortcomings play out today in the workforce. And they can make you pretty scary to deal with.

  1. Pride that you are more capable than your employees. How gratifying is it to be dubbed ‘King Know-It-All’ when everybody hates your guts? When you make all the decisions and give continual directives it cuts off their independence and desire to take risks. Innovation suffers and disengagement grows. Hire good people and get out of their way. 
  1. Sloth in your dedication to develop your personal growth and that of your team. You develop projects but how often do you develop your emotional intelligence? When was the last time you asked an employee, ‘Where do you see yourself three years from now? What project would you like to...
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