Kari's email began like so many others: she was discouraged and frustrated. She had been "a rising star" for many of her almost 20 years with the organization, but new leaders and a different culture dimmed that image. So what did she want from a coach? Kari wanted to know how to navigate the politics so she could "survive and thrive" in her highly volatile environment. She was looking for the answer to once again be that rising star.
When we met, Kari spit out years of pent-up frustration and confusion about her workplace. This manager liked her, this one didn't, this VP said her work was excellent, that director thought she wasn't keeping up. She was interviewing for positions in other areas but was always the bridesmaid, never the bride. Kari wanted to know what was wrong with her, what it would take to get her back on her game. She was looking for the right answers. I said, "Did you come here to be fixed?" and she said "yes."
So we started there.
I asked her, "What would it take for you to step into who you are authentically, to use your skills and wisdom to discover you again?" With a few moments of thought, a small smile appeared and Kari said "You mean trust myself?" She got it.
Kari's belief that there is a "right" answer that would fix her, that would make her "fit" into a changing and challenging work environment is the same thing some of you are thinking I'll bet. If only you could find the right way, the right program, the right degree, the right mentor, the right answer then work would settle down and you would be OK. You'd be the confident, respected and stress-less person valued by managers and team members alike.
You can spend a lifetime looking for that and have no confidence or respect from your fellow workers, or you can take a look at what you bring, and define the "right" thing based on that. Who you already are, the experiences you already have make up the wisdom you bring to your work--if you listen to yourself, if you trust your own counsel.
With that little smile, Kari began the process of learning to trust herself again. Her weekly practices are helping with that. She is practicing these behaviors:
1. staying present; not spending energy worrying about the past or fretting about the future;
2. trusting her instincts; she pays attention to what her gut tells her;
3. examining beliefs that may hold her back, that may no longer serve her; she intentionally chooses to shift beliefs that don't support her;
4. paying attention to the supportive feedback she receives and giving it at least as much credence as the negative;
5. stopping the voice inside that comes from the emotional brain, the one that likes comfort and sameness and safety and is mired in fear.Kari stops it with "That's not true because..." to give the logical brain time to think.
Kari no longer expects external approval to drive her best work because she recognizes that she is responsible for her direction and her ability to be a strong contributor.
How about you? Have you learned to trust yourself?