You’ve seen it at work and at home. Someone is anxious about something and suddenly you are feeling anxious too. You know this isn’t healthy and that you shouldn’t feel this way which only makes it worse. Now you’re self-judging for not distancing yourself from the drama and begin to doubt your own effectiveness. You start losing sleep and wake up in the middle of the night, running the day’s conversations over in your mind.
Lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and sucked in by another person’s angst. Drama is created when a person can’t accept the way they feel so they try to externalize it or put that feeling off on others, usually in a highly demonstrative or desperate way. This behavior provides them a temporary yet unsustainable relief from their discomfort. Thus, they continue the drama dance to try to unload their despair.
I notice I have been feeling anxious and assuming the anxiety of this person. I’ve...
Last evening a client told me a story of how a customer was being condescending and threatened to report her to her boss in a truly snotty way over something that didn’t make sense. My client felt under siege and desperately asked her not to do that. The customer is doing it anyway. I suggested three things:
My client said that if she had asked...
This list is a guide for when you need to test your aspirations that require a major adjustment to your life and career. It’s a reality check for change. Grab a pen and get started.
Recently I listened to a client who is struggling in her marriage discuss how difficult it is to watch other happily married couples. I understand the feeling. I spent a lot of time in my first marriage wishing I had what others had and comparing myself to them as well as enabling bad behavior by making excuses for him. Then my third child was born with a developmental disability and I used to sit at playgrounds comparing her to other children while somewhat insensitively pushing her and her therapists like machines because I became so outcome focused.
What I realized is that when we compare our lives to others and grasp at what isn’t ours we lose sight of all the good things we do have and this strips our fulfillment. This “less than” focus keeps us from letting go of what boundary maven Dr. Henry Cloud calls ‘necessary endings’ to allow for things to bloom in our lives. A healthy rose bush needs to be pruned for new buds to grow. If not,...
I have a client who is struggling hard in her marriage right now and it reminds me about the stake we take in dreams. Pain and suffering are real and raw when they hit our emotions yet we justify that the situation might not be that bad because we care about someone and the thought of losing them threatens our ability to be strong and rips at our dreams - in this case the dream of happily ever after.
Make no mistake - there is no ‘strength’ in putting up with something that doesn’t feel right and isn't showing any sign of gettng better. That is denial. As much as you love someone if they have it in them to tear out your heart that is a choice and they are not a victim of circumstance. Communication is key. If there is none, you have a problem. If the other person doesn't choose to improve the communication and passive agressively makes you the issue that is a serious red flag.
Separate the person from the dream. The dream can still be...
If you work anywhere you likely have had a colleague try to make you look bad. Most of my clients have had to struggle with this. It is disempowering and injects a fear of losing your job which ultimately leads to a fear of losing people who you love. This is where executive presence is crucial. This is where you don’t react at all. This is where you just pause, stare at them for a count of five and then ask, “Are you trying to make me look bad?” That will stop them dead.
Call them out with curiosity for exactly what they are doing. Don’t characterize them, get angry or defensive. Simply ask them if what it looks like they are doing is in fact what they are doing. If they deflect back to you say, “Ok, I wanted to get clarity on that because for a minute it felt like you were trying to make me look bad.” No one can argue with how you feel.
This scenario gives you a few moments to recenter yourself, for people on the periphery to validate in their...
Most conflict in the world comes from the need to be right - even the conflict you have with yourself. Your ego tells you that you aren’t safe unless you’re right so you argue, defend, act out, withdraw or stand firm on something that most likely is out of your control.
When you find your opinion is a little too strong or there’s a feeling that makes you uncomfortable that’s the very time to pause and ask yourself, “What am I trying hard not to face? That I’ll be _________ if this doesn’t change?”
Draw closer to the nasty feeling that chases you down. Name it. That disarms it’s power. “This is what it feels like to feel ______.” Then give yourself a break. “May I be gentle with myself in this moment. I’ve got this one.”
You’re amazing. Don’t ever forget that.
Here is a free tool to help you navigate your career in a complicated corporate setting: 31 Success Practices for...
I hear so much in our culture about the differences in the generations. I even hear people identifying themselves by a generation. I think it’s wise to understand people’s differences but I think identifying someone’s behavior with a certain generation is no different than identifying them with a race, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.
When I hear, “Millennials are the way they are because their parents spoiled them” or “Boomers can’t keep up with technology” I wonder how comfortable people would feel saying, “Hispanics are the way they are because their parents spoiled them” or “Catholics can’t keep up with technology.” Calling out by generation to make a point is elitist, discriminating and insulting.
When you find in a conflict that you are putting someone in a generational box before you characterize them ask yourself,
“What do they really need me to understand about...
High Tech meet High Touch. There is so much being done in companies around diversity and inclusion - which are not at all the same thing by the way. But I see little focus in either area to include AGE.
Five generations are in the workforce right now and there is so much to learn from each other. Roughly 40% of US workers have a boss who is younger than them.
How do we stop discounting the sage worker who has wisdom, mentoring skills, intuitive experience, relationship building acumen and historical perspective bar none? I have clients with expertise beyond compare in these areas who are being forced out as if their skills are passé. So unwise. Profoundly foolish.
If you fall in this category and would like my white paper on how to avoid age bias feel free to email or message me at [email protected] Or if you want to know how to better utilize this age group in your company the same article will make it clear.
Let’s all open our thought and...
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...
You will be sent an email with a link each time Mary Lee Gannon updates the Executive Coach's Blog. It's great to have you with us!