Have you ever had a moment where you’ve said something and as you’re saying it you kind of can’t believe what you’re saying? You’ve heard yourself telling the same story about how you endured a soul-sucking job, tolerated your obnoxious boss or felt exhausted and stuck in your business.
I was catching up with some old friends this weekend about some of our experiences and how our lives have changed over time. I was telling the story of when I first started my private counseling practice how I was contracted by Social Services to help clients who were “unmotivated and unwilling” (i.e., court ordered) referred by social services who were at risk of losing their children to the court system.
And especially about how I was on call 24/7 (remember pagers?) and we couldn’t take a family weekend away because there was no one else who could be “on call.” Sometimes I needed a police escort to my appointments. How every Monday morning I’d find myself thinking “why am I doing this?”.
Since the social services contract made up 90% of my private practice, I was very busy. I did the “crisis counselor” thing as an in-home-intensive-family-therapist for about 8 years. And for the last six of them I’d be thinking “why am I doing this?”
As I explained this it dawned on me that it had taken rather a long time for me to go from realizing I wasn’t enjoying it to actually doing something about it. Over 6 years. Wow. I was being held hostage by my own habits.
Much of the work I do today with business and executive coaching clients these days gives them a new perspective on their business and their impact. Shows them possibilities and solutions they just hadn’t thought of before.
But often, just like me on a Monday morning, they already know they need something different. Sometimes they even know what that different thing is. But they feel stuck. Held hostage by habits.
Because when you’ve done something for a long, long time it becomes part of you. It’s just what you do. For some, It’s who you become. A mindless habit. It’s easy. It’s familiar. It’s certain. You know how to do it. I’ve heard it all (and done it myself).
Even though you don’t like it, or it’s not really getting you the results you need, it’s a lot less scary than something completely new that might not work at all. Or might make you look silly. Or you might fail.
It took over six years (and a lot of encouragement from my husband) for me to get the courage to give up the certain income that came with that counseling contract and do what I really wanted to do.
Don’t let it take you that long to try something new in your business (or career).
You don’t have to change everything. But pick one thing you don’t think is working well and drop it for a few months and do something else instead. Stop saying “yes” to every request and say “let me give it some thought and I’ll get back to you.” Stop taking on new clients who don’t fit your ideal client profile and say “Thank you, but it’s not a good fit, let me refer you to someone who could be a better fit for your needs.”
If it works, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, try something else – sooner rather than later.
Not rocket science. Obvious on paper. Trickier to do in real life. Therefore the six years.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Don’t you waste six more years, or even six more months doing something that constantly drains you, leaves you feeling exhausted or fails to bring you joy.
What’s one small thing you are willing to do (or stop doing) today so you aren’t held hostage by habits?
Christina Haxton, MA LMFT is the Chief Potential Officer & Founder of Sustainable Leadership. An executive coach, business consultant and speaker, Christina assists busy business owners, high potential managers, key executives and CEOs to achieve successful work/life balance and peace of mind to become exceptional leaders who are built to last.
To apply for a confidential Strategy Session to explore your business or career goals or to inquire about a professional development program for your team, meeting or conference, contact Christina at firstname.lastname@example.org or (970) 387-8935.
As a director, manager or executive, you know growth, while good, has its downside.
You may have even noticed a little more stress now – sleepless nights and ongoing worry wondering how you are going to keep your team on board, headed in the same direction AND get deliver the results everyone is counting on, too.
Stress just comes with the territory, right?
Keeping yourself AND your team engaged and productive while you are going through growing pains may be top of mind right now. You are focused, you delegate, you make critical decisions quickly, and you probably handle high levels of stress much more easily than your peers. Yet it could get lonely at the top, too. And you are (still) human.
There is a lot research and buzz about the rewards of having engaged employees and the costs of having disengaged employees. Did you know that disengaged employees costs organizations $3,400 a year for every $10,000 in salary … and turnover—the inevitable outcome of disengagement—costs organizations between 48 and 61% of an employee’s annual salary?
What would be the cost to you personally and professionally as you have to do more with less, meet even higher demands (from your boss AND your team) AND deliver on time and on budget despite your company’s growing pains? The cost would be two-fold: you could end up being that “stressed out boss” AND have “stressed out employees” because emotions are contagious.
When the early signs of “leadership stress” – a unique type of stress experienced by people who are responsible for the well-being of others. When the first signs appear you might not notice, but others will … and they may not tell you. As you get stretched too thin watch out for the negative ripple effect of stress down the line to your team members, who will then become less engaged, more distracted and less productive.
That would be a problem, especially right now for someone at your level of responsibility … for your team, your career and your company. As a licensed therapist and executive coach for more than 15 years, I’ve seen the devastating outcomes for leaders, careers, companies and families of ignoring the early warning signs of (leadership) stress. I have assisted hundreds of smart, insanely busy leaders to identify the key leverage points and strategies to prevent career derailment.
I am very excited to announce a resource that could be of interest to you! Through extensive research and experience, I have compiled 30 key questions to isolate and identify …
An 8 minute, quick and easy assessment tool so you can identify the early warning signs and make simple changes before it’s too late :
THIS IS NOT a computer generated assessment! As a licensed professional I will evaluate your results, which includes a customized, personalized and confidential review AND solutions, your unique leverage points and a strategy for turning it around. Your results are 100% confidential and will be shared with no one but you.
To help you be exceedingly more productive, get more done in less time with fewer resources, resourceful, optimistic, agile, resilient, effective, engaged, confident, happier, satisfied and connected “best boss” (and help your team do the same). Most importantly, you can love the heck out of what you do again or through this exciting time in your growth period.
I have reserved a limited number of appointments on my calendar for the first 10 leaders who complete the survey to receive a complimentary Leadership Strategy Session to review your results with you.
I will personally provide you with a customized, personalized and confidential review AND solutions, recommendations for leverage points so you can turn it around quickly.
Whether you can benefit from knowing the signs for yourself, or knowing the signs to assist someone on your team from stress leading to burn-out leading to disengagement, you’ll want to know the critical signs … before it’s too late!
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(This is a follow up to “What do you do instead of what you are supposed to be doing?” I introduced 10 things people (like me) do when we should be doing something more important. It also introduced the idea that shame and fear came from BS inside our heads. To catch up, check out the previous post.)
BS: The SHOULDS and the SUPPOSED to’s
What do I mean by “BS?” Okay … let’s go with that one.
BS also can refer to our “Belief System” which for the most part is full of BS.
Now I’ll put the shoe back on my own foot: If I believe I SHOULD NEVER PROCRASTINATE or I SHOULD NEVER WASTE MY TIME DOING SOMETHING UNPRODUCTIVE especially because what I assist others to do is to be productive, and if I procrastinate, then I must also be hypocrite.
Now who’s the one with the big dark hairy secret? That would be me. And I feel incongruent because “I don’t practice what I preach.”
Are these rules similar to what you heard growing up?
This BS or belief system will not make me feel very confident, creative, inspired or motivated. Just guilty and inauthentic … and those feeling states will not get me very far today.
Read more about the 3 Steps to Confront Procrastination at LeadChangeBlog[sharebox4 sharetext=”Share This Page”] [/sharebox4]
If you are a leader in your company, you might be overwhelmed not just with “change” but how to keep up with the speed of change. My clients say this is what keeps them up at night.
And you may also feel some panic rise up in your chest when you think about not only the lightning speed with which change is happening all around you – but the sinking reality you’ll never keep up, much less catch up.
In Mike Myatt’s blog N2Growth he nicely outlines 3 Essentials for Every Leader when it comes to Change.
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It’s 6:00 AM on Sunday morning and I am visiting my old house in Pine, CO,
the one I lived in two years ago before we changed our whole lives 180
degrees and moved to the resort town of Steamboat Springs (to establish a
corporate headquarters for Experience HORSEsense Team Building and
I am sipping tea in the room that used to be my home office, appreciating
the familiar sounds of the hot tub whirring, the refrigerator humming.
I forgot how gorgeous the sunrises were as the sun streams through the
ponderosa pines and reflects on Lion’s Head Mountain to the East.
And I’m wondering if I’d want to move back here. Wondering if we made
the right decision to change everything and leave what we’d known for
14 years to start over in a new place … I wonder ..
Then I realize, it’s not me . it’s just my brain. Our brains thrive on
what’s familiar, certain, and known. Our brains do not like change.
Even change for the good, for better possibilities. It’s similar to the experience
of being back in high school, and breaking up with our girlfriend or boyfriend,
feeling lonely the first Friday night as a single person, and wondering
if breaking up was the best decision after all.
Understanding the strengths and limitations of our brain at the time might
have kept some of us from going back into those old patterns, only to discover it
wasn’t such a good idea after all. What if we could have said then, “it’s
okay, it’s not me it’s just my brain” and rode out the discomfort of the change, knowing it
was temporary and our brains needed time to adjust to the “unknown” until it
became the new normal .
Recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience about the strengths
and limitations of our brain can not only help us in our personal lives, but
can also help us in our business lives as entrepreneurs, as managers and as
leaders a gain a very competitive edge.
As Peter F. Drucker said, “We now accept the fact
that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of
change. And the most pressing task is to teach people
how to learn.”
Our businesses operate in a knowledge economy, where people
are being paid to think to solve problems to be creative and innovative.
Combine this with information overload and constant change, and
no surprise there is more pressure than ever to improve how we learn.
As David Rock of the Neuroleadership Institute states,
“Perhaps these findings about the brain can start to pull
back the curtain on a new world of productivity
improvement: in our ability to bring about positive, lasting
change in ourselves, in our families, in our workplaces,
and in society itself.”
So I’m going to smile and say . “it’s not me, it’s just my brain” and get
on with my business here . and when I’m done, say “goodbye” to the old
neighborhood and go back to the new one in Steamboat!
Free resources for Developing Sustainable Leaders at Sustainable Leadership, Inc.