My thoughts lately have continued to be focused around finding the lessons, leaning into this opportunity we have to learn, reflect, and move forward with purpose – to prepare, to transition, to reinvent ourselves, to scrap old, broken ways of being that are holding us back from being our best selves. I will admit, in March and April, I spent some time in denial, particularly on the professional front. I was just beginning to gain momentum with my coaching and consulting business I had worked so hard to build up the courage to start and launch, and I had a tough time admitting to myself, my work would need to pause and I would need to pivot. Thankfully, my sense of resilience and hope set in, both built from life experiences and hardships overcome.
I began to look at this time of uncertainty and chaos as a time to get quiet and listen, to reflect and learn. I decided to focus on my academic endeavors, my personal growth, and my kids, and to prepare for the unknown future. I started to feel hopeful that in this time of treading water – of suffering, disappointment, fear, sadness, anger, conflict, confusion, and unrest – this forced slow down and slow breaking – that we might find new answers, new ways of being, new ways of connecting with our humanity and our fellow humans. I have begun to hope that we may have the courage to reinvent, to scrap broken systems of injustice, to not simply renovate or patch, but to simply begin afresh, to build new ways forward.
I have been inspired by the resilience of others, by the creativity and connectivity that has come forth, by the encouraging words of a neighbor and the kindness of a stranger. I have been inspired by the opportunities for expansion and by the people taking opportunities to progress, develop, and shift. I have been reinvigorated by the extra time we’ve spent in nature and living more simply with fewer things to distract us like the hustle and bustle of filling our kids’ time with summer camps and activities.
When people mention “getting back to normal” I cringe. I sincerely hope we do not simply return to life as it was, that returning to our old ways is not our goal. Rather, I hope that we fully lean into our human capacity to learn, expand, adapt, and rise to the challenge with the courage to create something different and better than what we knew before. I hope we take this time to sit in the mess and learn from the past. Of course, sorting through the messes of life involves facing hard truths, limiting beliefs, painful triggers, and doing the work to process them and prevent them from continuing to hold us back – this is all hard and often painful work. I hope we choose to rise, to do the hard work, and to look for the treasures in the mess in order to thoughtfully and carefully build something more beautiful, equitable, and true.
Quote(s) I am sitting with, pondering and finding inspiration:
“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.”
~ Eden Phillpotts
“Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything. Maybe it’s about un-becoming everything that isn’t really you, so you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.”
~ Paulo Coelho
As I watch my own children grow, and I reflect on my own work to return to the essence of my being, to unbecome in order to be who I was always meant to be, I think often of how I can help them simply become. I think about how I can help them hold onto their inner light and self-knowledge, their truth, confidence, and wonder. Or at least I think about how their journey may be different if they aren’t striving to become who others think they should be, but simply working towards becoming the best versions of their true and authentic selves.
Podcast I’m Listening to:
Coaching for Leaders Episode #479: Leadership Lies We Tell Ourselves, with Emily Leathers
Emily is an executive coach and software engineering manager. She has led teams and advised other managers for years. She’s seen the difference a truly passionate leader and manager can make for their team and the world around them. Like a lot of managers and coaches, she’s had a front-row seat to the patterns that cause a lot of leaders to overwork and overstress. She is the author of the guide The 7 Leadership Lies and she’s the host of the Emotional Leadership podcast. She’s also a member of the Coaching for Leaders Academy.
In this conversation, we discuss some of the common lies that leaders tend to tell themselves that lead to frustration and impostor syndrome. Then, we explore better ways to frame these beliefs, to lead with more confidence and effectiveness.
Lie #1: I’m supposed to do everything I, my manager, or my team can think of.
Truth: A leader’s job is about prioritization – and that means prioritizing how we spend our own time as well.
Lie #2: There’s a timeline.
Truth: There is no rush. Work gets much easier when we turn off the unneeded sense of emergency. Prioritization is the aim.
Lie #3: Emotions don’t belong at work.
Truth: Every action we take is driven by an emotion. You are going to experience emotions at work – that or you’ll be staring at a wall all day without a single thought in your mind. Turning them off isn’t an option. Learning to allow your emotions and use them to your advantage is critical for your success as a leader.
Lie #4: I’m supposed to have an answer for any problem or question a team member asks.
Truth: A manager’s role is to help your team solve problems, not to solve problems for your team.
- The 7 Leadership Lies
- Anger + Allowing Strong Emotions with Vivien Yang (Emotional Leadership podcast)
- How to Build Psychological Safety, with Amy Edmondson (episode 404)
- What to Do With Your Feelings, with Lori Gottlieb (episode 438)
The Way to Be More Coach-Like, with Michael Bungay Stanier (episode 458)
Book I am Reading:
The Emotionally Intelligent Manager: How to Develop and Use the Four Key Emotional Skills of Leadership by David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey
We have long been taught that emotions should be felt and expressed in carefully controlled ways, and then only in certain environments and at certain times. This is especially true when at work, particularly when managing others. It is considered terribly unprofessional to express emotion while on the job, and many of us believe that our biggest mistakes and regrets are due to our reactions at those times when our emotions get the better of us.
David R. Caruso and Peter Salovey believe that this view of emotion is not correct. The emotion centers of the brain, they argue, are not relegated to a secondary place in our thinking and reasoning, but instead are an integral part of what it means to think, reason, and to be intelligent. In The Emotionally Intelligent Manager, they show that emotion is not just important, but absolutely necessary for us to make good decisions, take action to solve problems, cope with change, and succeed. The authors detail a practical four-part hierarchy of emotional skills: identifying emotions, using emotions to facilitate thinking, understanding emotions, and managing emotions―and show how we can measure, learn, and develop each skill and employ them in an integrated way to solve our most difficult work-related problems.
Please check out my latest blog posts on Lessons from the Run, Part 1: Mile 18 – Endurance, and Lessons from the Run, Part 2: Resilience, and stay tuned for the next addition Lessons of the Run, Part 3: Rest, as well as my upcoming blog post on My Vision: The Power of EQ to Create Change! If you missed my June edition of Three Thoughts for Thursday, you can find it here, on my blog as well. As always, thank you for your continued support and readership! Stay strong, stay brave, stay true to you!