I want to thank all of you for your responses to my TWU College of Business Commencement Speech and my recent article "Are You Tired of Being Strong?" Both seem to have really struck a chord with people. I think that's because they speak to a question we all grapple with: Amid our hectic lives, how do we stay grounded in who we really are and what we really want to be and achieve?
Over the next few weeks, I'll take a deeper dive into that theme with some articles that will help you own your full Purpose, Presence and Power. First, let's take a look at what might be holding you back and keeping you stuck. Have you ever wondered why the same types of challenging situations keep popping up in your life?
You might think to yourself, “Am I a magnet for this? Why does this keep happening to me?” What I’ve come to realize through my own and my clients’ experiences is that there’s a lesson you need to learn when you feel stuck – perhaps a BIG one that you’ll never forget. And then, even when you think you’ve learned it, a situation will arise to help you confirm that you really have learned it.
Today, I want to share three probing questions to give you important insight to move past your frustration. This may be obvious, but don’t attempt to answer these questions when you are annoyed. You won’t get very far! If you’re annoyed all the time, empty your head first: Get a pen and unload all of your negative thoughts — uncensored — onto a piece of paper. Remember to breathe as you do this. This simple exercise will keep your thoughts from swirling around over and over and will begin to create problem-solving capacity.
Now that you’re ready to reflect, here are a few questions and examples to get you started:
1. What pattern exists in the situation?
I am carrying more than my fair share of the workload.
Others don’t notice or appreciate everything I do. They just don’t get it. I am not getting the credit, recognition or appreciation that I deserve.
2. What role are you and others playing in the situation?
People keep asking me for help, even at the last minute, and I don’t say no.
I pick up the slack when I see that a deadline is at risk.
I proactively jump in when I see an unfilled need.
3. What’s really going on for you?
Regardless of others’ motivations, what positive intent or core values are behind your own behavior?
I value my relationships, so I don’t make waves when I am frustrated.
I have high standards and don’t want to fail. I am not the kind of person who misses deadlines or does poor work.
I want to feel valued and play an important role on the team.
I like to help. If I can help, I will.
It may help to handwrite your responses first and then talk though them with someone who knows you well, to see if you gain any other insight about yourself. Just simply being aware of what’s going on with you is half the battle. By noticing your own patterns, you will start to open the door to making different choices in the moment. Remember that you can’t control others or outside circumstances, but you can choose your own mindset, attitude, and behavior.
To help you get started, answer this question: How can you honor what matters to you, in a way that works for you? For most, this usually means setting some boundaries. You don’t have to lay down the law or completely overhaul your approach, but you can identify a couple of small steps to move you in the right direction. You’ll be glad you did.