Before opening his menu to order breakfast, Scott reeled off updates on his life. His concern? “It’s turning into a season.” (An extended life experience instead of a speed bump.)
Last week a key player on his team suffered a stroke. Fourteen years of expertise, experience, and knowledge held hostage. His contribution lost, perhaps forever.
Scott’s time is divided 60/40 between his two areas of responsibility. Truthfully, both roles require full-time attention to truly succeed. However, the home office doesn’t seem to recognize this; besides, “the numbers won’t support adding talent.”
Meanwhile, he clearly loves his growing family. With the addition of their third child, his wife’s early warning system recently logged a high-alert message: “I need a vacation.”
Change the details and it could be your Story. Pressure. Stress. Unexpected twists and turns. Unrealistic expectations. Weariness.
Having created space for the breakfast, it was time to engage Scott in support of his escape from the dumpster. When a season marked by resistance, opposition, setbacks, additional pressure, stress, and change … when “life happens” — how do you climb out? Here are the four steps I walked Scott through; perhaps they will benefit you or someone you know today …
- What are 3 things you are grateful for at work? In your personal life?
- What 3 things do you do really well (strengths)?
- How do you know you made progress at the end of the day?
- What is out-of-your-control and its time to “Let it go?”
ONE: Cultivating a spirit of gratitude greases the gears of life, especially when there is fear and friction. Likewise, communicating appreciation helps adjust the attitude.
TWO: Reviewing your strengths helps quiet the inner-critic’s voice. You may find it helpful to rehearse your successes. Exercise: What are your top 3 accomplishments in the past 30, 60, or 90 days?
THREE: Recognizing progress energizes. Seeing your progress supports taking the next step, especially when your work is project, process or knowledge-based.
Here’s a simple plan I shared with Scott. Create your daily planner by drawing a quadrant. Label each quadrant with one of the following headers or something along this line:
- To Do
- To See
- To Call
- To Write
Limit your list for each quadrant to your “Top Three” items.
FOUR: It is an illusion to think we can control others; the leadership goal is influence, not control of others. Learning when to “Let it go” is vital to our freedom and leadership effectiveness.
Down in the dumps
My ham and cheese omelet arrived. Scott devoured his pancakes and two sausage patties while continuing the story. Hit repeatedly for several months I could see it in his face, read it in his body language, and hear it in his words … he was discouraged. Weariness, confusion, and fear had chased the fun away.
Exiting the restaurant, he dumped the dumpster for freedom again. His follow-up email used the word “encouraged.”
What happened? Scott created space and sought support in pursuit of being the leader he is created to be.
Here’s to your next level…
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