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:
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...
This week a very capable client was struggling with some of the work I am having her do around ‘doubt’ and ‘letting go.’ She said she “came up blank” on what she was angry about, what she can terminate right now, where she feels shame and what she feared.
Questioning our thoughts and feelings often uncovers that they are assumptions and not true at all. These questions help you get deeply into the thoughts and feelings that hold you back - keep you guarded, resentful or powerless. Nobody wants to face them. But, if we don’t they chase us down the rest of our lives. Think of the last time you lashed out, withdrew, or quit something. What FEELING was at the heart of the behavior? I want you to be able to re-examine that feeling as to whether it is an assumption or really true. (This photo shows the process of finding the pause moment to accomplish this strategy.
She then shared that she does feel shame around weight and being...
If you could name one thing that weighs you down from your dreams what would it be? You might say, “Oh that’s too abstract and meaningless of a question.”
Achievers like concrete thinking. Give them a task and they will complete it early and exceed expectations. They are masters at this. I know. I was one of them.
Yet somewhere along the way the internal mechanism of “doing” keeps going faster when it is your go-to practice. You start to feel that you’re on the treadmill to nowhere. You wonder why you’re working harder than ever with less positive results.
Step off the treadmill and remember what you used to love to do when time and money were not factors. Take that to the next level. Dreaming is where inhibition lies. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Now what is one thing you can set aside to get there? We must know what that is so we can commit to progress. Swap it for a thought or action you like better.
Clients come to...
By nature we home into a negative bias. It’s how we’ve evolved as a species and not become extinct - by keeping ourselves safe. We are very good at noticing danger - so good that our ‘danger antenna’ is primed more than our ‘happiness antenna.’
So how do we break through this false-prison-comfort-zone we trap ourselves in?
Certainly not by pressing down the gas peddle on more of the same - complaining, blaming, victimizing, playing it safe. These are the very thoughts we need to let go of to take the risks that bring growth.
Deal with the things you run from. It is the only way to let them go. Yes, it’s hard. But if we don’t admit what feeling is at the root of our pain it will bubble up each time that feeling you haven’t accepted is triggered. You may have felt abandoned, rejected, dismissed, hurt. Whatever it is examine it. Don’t turn away. “I feel dismissed and it hurt.” Get...
Last summer my father passed away. It was a difficult time for me as I know it is for any of you who have a dying parent or who have lost a loved one. I did a lot of journaling during that time and I share the passage below with you in hope that it inspires you to embrace the difficult feelings of grief. My wish is that you may process and won the feelings you turn away from - that you allow them to flow through you - not get struck inside you and fester. That is how we have freedom. Namaste.
Last night I held a hand for the first time. Indeed throughout my life I have held many hands - extending myself to help, reaching for comfort, joining in an act of love. But last night I held the hand of a man who knows he is dying and it felt like we were the only two people in the world.
My father is the epitome of grace, leadership, and strength. At the end of his life all of these qualities still stand in spite of a failing body. I coach and train on mindfulness, the...
RESILIENCE is not just bouncing back after a difficult challenge; it is the speed at which we bounce back.
I watch clients struggle with things that have been ongoing or happened years ago. We carry with us the burdens we don’t know how to release. We can’t release something we don’t want to face and own.
Maybe what's happening was not at all your doing. But we own that we might be taking it personally or blaming it away. Own the feeling. It hurts.
Feeling the hurt is the first step of letting go. Don’t armor up against it. Sit with the discomfort and it will flow through you. If you turn away it will just keep chasing you down. Release it once you've processed it. And use it as a stepping stone.
Don't let it hold back your leadership, vibrancy and executive presence any longer.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach who helps leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere with confidence, candor and calm so they can be more effective leaders and have...