, ,

Self Knowledge is Power

English author and philosopher Francis Bacon, an advocate of inductive reasoning in science, wrote, “Knowledge is power” in 1597.  This phrase has come up with many of my clients recently in a new form: self-knowledge is power.

One of the first steps in coaching is creating awareness of strengths, motivators and stress behaviors, typically through a personality assessment and confidential feedback from colleagues.  The challenge then becomes what to do with that information.  I often tell my clients, “You don’t have to agree with all of the feedback but you can choose what to do with it.”

Knowing …

  • your strengths gives you the power to resist buying into destructive comments from an undermining co-worker.
  • what motivates you gives you the power to pursue a role that makes you look forward to work every day.
  • what triggers your stress behaviors gives you the power to stay calm and in control when your brain wants you to do the opposite.

What do you need to know in order to be your most powerful self?

Managing Survivor Guilt

It’s common in the aftermath of a traumatic event to feel relieved that we’re safe and then to feel guilty for wanting life to return to normal.

To a lesser degree, people can also suffer from survivor guilt after their colleagues are laid off.  The confusion of feeling relieved while grieving can affect productivity, morale and trust.  Team leaders who acknowledge these feelings and ask for suggestions on how to handle increased workloads can help restore equilibrium.

I invite you to be aware of and accept feelings of loss and then to make a conscious decision to follow the Parisian example and carry on.

,

Can’t Lose

I binge-watched Friday Night Lights this summer and wrapped up with the final episode last night.  If you haven’t seen the show, the football coach’s motto is “Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose”.  He starts the chant and the team finishes it before they head into every game, committed to doing their best.

As you might expect in a show set in high school, there are a lot of transitions over five seasons and 65 episodes – students graduating and leaving home, parents losing jobs and relationships ending.  The motto was a good reminder of how to handle some of the transitions I have been observing with my clients and some I am experiencing myself.

When we can get past the negatives to clearly see the positive lessons in these transitions and respond to them with hearts full of courage, then we can’t lose.

,

How Will You Be Remembered?

My sweet 87 year old mother-in-law passed away recently and my husband wrote and delivered her eulogy. It was a wonderful tribute to a very loving, caring person with a great sense of humor and an amazing amount of tenacity. I couldn’t help but think about my own life and how I might be remembered. The idea of writing my own eulogy seems like a good way to assess my priorities and commitments to myself and to others.

If you decide to explore this yourself, here are some questions to consider:

  • What words did you live by? One of my favorites from Gandhi is “You must become the change you wish to see in the world.”
  •  Which accomplishments made you the most proud? These might be personal, professional or both.
  •  What will people miss most about you? This would be a good question to ask someone close to you.

Once you are clear about the kind of person you want to be, I invite you to identify anything you need to change, how you will do that and who will hold you accountable. You never know how much time you have left so don’t delay!

, ,

It Might be a Train

Have you heard the expression, “That light at the end of the tunnel might be a train?” For a lot of us who work in the energy sector, the impact of the rapid drop in the price of oil has felt like being hit by a train we didn’t see coming. The ripple effect on other industries hasn’t started yet but the forecasters tell us it won’t be long.

So what do we do now? Hunker down and play it safe or find ways to be creative?

It is easy to keep doing what works when times are good. In the face of an unexpected setback, our first response may not be stepping out of our comfort zone. Research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology suggests that any experience, good or bad, can lead to creativity if it pushes us outside our normal thought patterns.

If you use this opportunity to think creatively about your business, your team or yourself, how might you ride that train through the downturn and be well-positioned for the recovery?

, , ,

“No Thanks”

Are you tired of people telling you to be thankful this month? You already know that is important. What about saying, “no thanks?” This isn’t about the second piece of pie at Thanksgiving dinner although it is about resisting temptation – to saying “yes.”

Do you keep saying “yes” to everything you are asked to do until you are so overwhelmed that you can’t do any of it well? I’m not discouraging going above and beyond to exceed performance expectations. I am encouraging strategically prioritizing the things to which you say “yes.”

How do you say “no thanks?” In this month’s issue of Fortune the CEO of Priceline Group shares this advice: “It is far more important (and difficult) to decide what you are not going to do than what you are going to do. Try to replay every direction in the negative: We won’t do X, Y, and Z. Focus and simplicity are a workforce multiplier.”

Try (politely) saying “no thanks” to one thing to which you usually say “yes” and see what happens. Enjoy the holiday and the pie!