Telling someone who is visibly upset to "Just calm down" is like saying, “Just stop overeating” to someone who wants to lose weight. Intellectually, you know what you need to do yet your self-management skills aren’t keen enough to cease the behavior or the unresolved feeling. And quick fix advice such as “be positive” makes you feel worse because it denies the inadequacy you feel inside.
I used to be more of what could have been labeled a ‘distant’ leader. Calming down was not my issue. Relatability was.
Three things changed that for me and for my clients struggling with how to manage emotions:
1) Allow them.
2) Be curious about them.
3) Be compassionate to yourself and others.
This wasn’t a quick fix. It was a repeated practice of continually taking myself through this exercise of self discovery which lead to self acceptance.
I was a single mother and only provider of four children who was stuck in survival mode. I neglected...
Positivity is a powerful concept but not a strategy. Pretending that you have a positive attitude when it is inauthentic is exhausting. And it doesn’t work. When you can’t get think positive and sustain it even though everyone tells you to be positive you feel worse - another failure.
Honor the hurt. Go deeper with it. Own it. Name it. Blame all you want. Realize the shame. Write about it. Journal about it. Tell someone. Get it out. We can release what we own. When you own your feelings, you can purposely RELEASE the negativity. Otherwise it keeps hanging around.
Next, name what you feel you DESERVE - happiness, career, opportunity, love, friendships, etc.
Open yourself with vulnerability to ACCEPT all that is good and that you deserve. It means releasing the expectation that failure and negativity will continue. Be curious about the process. Yes, it’s scary not knowing how the story will end. But so is a life of negativity.
We all think we are self-aware. Of course, you know yourself better than anyone else. Right? Not necessarily.
You rewind and replay those thoughts in your head so many times a day you think nobody else could know them better than you. That may be true. But that does not make you aware of how they show in your behavior. And this blind spot is the biggest deterrent to executive presence, relationship building and confidence.
Two Kinds of Self-Awareness
Self-awareness has two factions. First, there is internal self-awareness – how well you understand yourself. Second, there is external self-awareness – your understanding of how others view you.
You think you are a good manager. You write good concise descriptions, screen for attitude as well as experience, align the bench strength of your team, and clearly communicate strategy in tandem with the business plan. You mentor your employees because you care about them and provide personal development...
When people hire me as their executive coach many times they are struggling with a stagnant career, feel stereotyped or are having a difficult time finding clarity, balance and being effective. As we dig into the real root cause nine times out of ten the biggest issue is their confidence in feeling worthy to deliver. This doubt presents itself in our behavior, though we don’t realize the subtleness of our eye contact, voice intonation, relationship savvy. Everyone has a blind spot. The problem is that others see it with what they perceive as pinpoint accuracy and then apply their own bias to it resulting in prejudice. And therefore, you don't get what you want.
If you struggle with any of these issues let's have a conversation to see if coaching is a good fit. You can request a free call with me at the link below. If you don’t know where you'll be at the end of the year, you're already there.
Success is freedom. Not more hours. Request a free call now so we can see...
At first I didn't believe this graphic. Be careful how you interpret your responsibility for an unhappy person’s environment. I do believe as leaders we have to nurture our team culture and provide a safe place for mistakes to happen without shame. I believe we must encourage and be accepting. But when someone is stuck and their behavior is disrespectful and uncalled for boundaries are necessary. We don’t own or placate someone else’s bad behavior or it just enables more bad behavior. If we constantly need to rescue someone from themselves by making excuses for them or declaring that others do the same and cater to them we’ll be rescuing and enabling for a very long time. And the person being rescued’s behavior will only get worse as will their unhappiness.
It’s not our job to fix the flower. It’s our job to create boundaries around what we will and will not allow for ourselves. We can’t change them. Only our own behavior. That...
This was me - utterly exhausted as a homeless welfare single mom of four children under seven-years-old, putting on that everything was ok. I felt judged, tired, and inadequate at almost everything. I was edgy, unhappy and anxious that I wasn’t doing enough or being good enough.
Did I make time to take care of myself or remind myself that I am awesome as is with all my imperfections? No way. No time. I just kept surviving and wearing myself down while pretending I was superwoman. I wore busyness like a badge of honor.
As I look back now I see that this treadmill to nowhere left me not only stuck but exhausted. I already had everything I needed to go from food stamps to where I am today - CEO of a $24 million organization, a mom, employee, friend, leader and wife. I just needed to slow down enough to be gentle with myself. I needed to release my need to be perfect which had become a shield for shame. I began to accept that I deserved all that is good and quit...
Having gone from being a single parent of four children on welfare, food stamps and medical assistance, homeless and without an automobile to a CEO of a $24 million organization and married to a wonderful man I know a thing or two about evolving versus repeating old patterns. Both are hard.
The difference is that the with latter, the end of the story is familiar yet you deny the truth and feel like a victim when you get to the last page and already knew the ending. With the former you have no idea where you might go, it scares you to death because you don’t want to believe happiness is attainable yet sustainable for fear of being let down. Then you risk openness and release all the assumptions disguised as excuses you used to grasp onto. Here you realize you deserve all that is good and your tory keeps unfolding.
When we repeat old patterns we are stuck. Most achievers tackle being stuck by getting back on the treadmill to nowhere and working harder only to find that not...
You know that leader who annoys you more than anyone else – the one you can’t believe got to their level? He likely has a primitive and impulsive ego that needs to be repeatedly reminded of how wonderful he is to feel good about himself or he’ll erupt, pout, manipulate or control. Inside is a little child screaming for attention who feels very unsafe. When that child gets triggered to feel the feelings she desperately tries to avoid, her behavior turns hurtful and dangerous. She’s tired – exhausted from the lack of self-acceptance that haunts her. He’s shattered at the thought that someone might actually discover how unworthy he is. Unconscious defense mechanisms are deployed. And worse yet, without mindful self-awareness she might not even realize any of this. So, she keeps putting on the take-no-prisoners exterior, feeling less than enough, drained and victimized. Sad.
Don’t engage. They are in the fight-flight-or-flee mode of a...
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:
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