One of my early career experiences evolves around me telling a colleague they cannot do something.
The response I received all because I said “…you can’t…I can’t…” was very enlightening. I received some very insightful coaching after that, which became a defining moment in my career.
Today, my Swim Coach sent our team the below poem. It is beautiful and so true. It’s a little long, but take a moment to read it. I am pretty sure you CAN take a moment, if you really want to. 😉
Can’t is the worst word that’s written or spoken
Doing more harm here than slander and lies
On it is many a strong spirit broken
And with it many a good purpose dies
It springs from the lips of the thoughtless each morning
And robs us of courage we need through the day
It rings in our ears like a timely-sent warning
And laughs when we falter and fall by the way
Can’t is the father of feeble endeavor
The parent of terror and half-hearted work
It weakens the efforts of artisans clever
And makes of the toiler an indolent shirk
It poisons the soul of the man with a vision
It stifles in infancy many a plan
It greets honest toiling with open derision
And mocks at the hopes and the dreams of a man
Can’t is a word none should speak without blushing
To utter it should be a symbol of shame
Ambition and courage it daily is crushing
It blights a man’s purpose and shortens his aim
Despise it with all of your hatred of error
Refuse it the lodgment it seeks in your brain
Arm against it as a creature of terror
And all that you dream of you some day shall gain
Can’t is the word that is foe to ambition
An enemy ambushed to shatter your will
Its prey is forever the man with a mission
And bows but to courage and patience and skill
Hate it, with hatred that’s deep and undying
For once it is welcomed ’twill break any man
Whatever the goal you are seeking, keep trying
And answer this demon by saying… “I CAN”
(Poem by Edgar A. Guest, Courtesy of Mark Moore, Nadadores Masters Coach)
My career has been defined by determining how to collaborate with those I work with. There is no more important work relationship than the person you are accountable to. Most of the time the person you are accountable to is your manager. I have been fortunate, because the most impactful managers for me, have always been my partners and mentors. And they have inspired me to want to be the same to my people. That said, my ability to manage up has been the core of my success. Managing up is not a fad, or a way to try to suck up to my bosses. It is a real and authentic way to be of service and do my best in trying to meet the expectations of those I report to.
My friend and colleague reminded of this today. I focus so much on managing up, I don’t realize that my people manage me or attempt to- and my best people do a dang amazing job. They don’t always agree with me, but they focus on managing up and they authentically want to understand my vision and join me on my path. I share the below article about managing up. There are many great lessons online about this concept but we can start here….for now 😉
#leadership #manageup #management
“I lock away the pain, put aside the fears, show you only smiles, not the hidden tears.” – Unknown
Are we led by our thoughts or by our feelings? Often we hear people look down upon those who express emotion in the workplace. Specifically negative emotions such as fear, hurt and betrayal. Why is that? Is it a result of a culture that has continued to perpetuate over centuries that emotions are weak; that only logic is strength and shall prevail?
When a comment is made about someone being emotional, or referred to as an ‘emotional person’ although it may just be an observation, it is typically not perceived as a compliment. So we spend our careers toughening ourselves up, building up walls, and building what some refer to as a ‘teflon barrier’.
I have to admit, I have coached others in the past to let things go, and take caution in sharing too much of their emotions in the workplace, specifically those perceived as negative. So I have to ask myself; have I become a soldier of stereotypes instead of a champion for change?
After much deliberation between me, myself and I… the realization occurred to me that in our attempt to teach others to manage through their emotions in a healthy way, we instead may be teaching them to hide and shut off their emotions.
What do you think a person will do, if you tell them they shouldn’t let a situation frustrate them? Or that they should not allow a circumstance to make them cry or feel sad? Unless you provide them with the tools to learn healthy release of these emotions, they may just shove them down or push them aside. Or as today’s subculture of the popular Vampire Diaries TV series refers to it; shut off their humanity. And what happens when the cup runneth’ over and the emotion is allowed to creep back up? It will explode with a force so strong, that without the proper tools they will not be equipped to tame the wild emotional beast that has been sequestered in the deep dungeons of their heart.
A little dramatic? Sure. But you do have to admit it resonates.
The reality is; in an attempt to deal with the taboos of feelings in the workplace, some people will turn to unhealthy ways to keep that emotional beast down. Anxiety, depression and unhappiness begins to take shape. Most of the time people will attribute this to stress and the hectic lives they live. Suppressing the beast with alcohol, food, drugs and other not so healthy vices.
Yet…. it doesn’t have to turn into a beast that must be kept out of sight.
I like to think of it as a ‘pitbull’ pup. If raised with care, compassion and training, it will be controlled, loving and obedient. Or it can become unruly and out of control if ignored, mistreated and used in fight.
So next time, we see tears and strong emotions in the workplace, lets show compassion and kindness. Let’s begin a revolution that says that feelings are not bad. After all, we are emotional beings which IS a part of the human experience. We can find healthy ways to manage our emotions and respect them simulatoeulsy.
Ask yourself as you reflect on the following three bullet points; do you have a healthy oversight on your emotions or have you imprisoned them in an effort to contain them?
- Do you reflect and talk it out sincerely? Do you acknowledge that feelings are a natural and healthy response to life situations? Or do you shove powerful emotions out of sight, quick to forget, deflect and deny?
- Do you take the time to release physical tension that builds up through highly emotional situations? Do you take walks, exercise, hike or do yoga regularly? Or do you bury your emotions in unhealthy vices?
- Do you let love in? Pause and appreciate the beauty around you? Hug your loved ones often? Say thanks for all you have instead of dwelling of what you don’t have? Surround yourself with people who are your rocks? Or do you shut yourself off wanting to be alone to simmer in your emotions?
Don’t deny your feelings and emotions.
Acknowledge and find healthy ways to express them in the appropriate way…at the appropriate time.
Most importantly, let’s show the value emotions have in our society today by respecting them and honoring them. By doing that we will help others, including ourselves to build our self-esteem and learn healthy ways to process that which we feel. Isn’t there already enough judgment in the world today? Is life not complicated enough already? The last thing any of us needs is to have the additional pressure of having to come off as if nothing bothers us.
So next time someone hurts you or makes you feel frustrated at work due to their actions, I dare you to tell them. After all, we hear about how important it is to be authentic in the progressive workplace. Be real, be sincere, be respectful ….and be an advocate for change.
Image courtesy of liveluvcreate.com
Written by Lauren Schultz, a BDSmktg Newme
The New Year brings with it a new slate for most of us. It is almost as though whatever hardships occurred in the previous year are now more manageable in the New Year. The obstacles we faced last year that seemed insurmountable at the time have only made us stronger this year. What is it about the New Year that makes people have this sense of optimism? Do our problems really fade once the clock strikes midnight on January 1st? Can a day truly make that big of a difference and if so, than why does this only happen once a year?
I am guilty of the idealistic “New Year, New Me” attitude. Every year I proclaim that this is it- this is the year that things are going to be different and better than ever before! The new Lauren is always so much cooler than the previous year’s Lauren. She is fitter, wealthier and overall happier; in fact 2014 Lauren seems pretty lame compared to the new and improved 2015 version. But then again that is what I said last January. It is hard to say for sure really how much has changed and in reality things may stay relatively the same from one year to the next. What I can say for sure has changed is that with both the good and bad experiences each year has brought it has challenged me to grow more as an individual.
We can also challenge ourselves. A few BDS employees have taken on a 30 day challenge. They have committed to themselves and their peers tasks they are going to go to do for the next 30 days. I have proclaimed that 2015 is going to be different and it will start with this challenge, making a little changes one day at a time.
Now, most of you may not need a 30 day challenge to incite change in yourselves, you know your goals for the year and you are fully committed to them. Some of you may be content and not interested in making any resolutions or challenges and would rather go with the flow of life to see what happens.
However you feel about the whole New Year’s resolution idea; I want to leave you with one question. I found this question after looking to my dear friend Google for articles on New Year’s resolutions.
The question that I want to end this article with is…
What can you do now that you couldn’t do a year ago?
P.S. If you are interested in doing your own 30 Day Challenge, check out the Try Something New for 30 Days TedTalk by Matt Cutts, to help you get started!
Do you ever wish you could turn back time? Press rewind on a conversation or a situation?
If you could, how many moments in your life would you redo?
Certainly, the positive moments full of love and care. Moments of regret, when you wish you could handle something differently or when the outcome of a situation doesn’t align with your intentions. It is in those times that we realize, how powerful our actions and words are. So powerful that within a moment they can alter the dynamics of any relationship, personal or professional.
In reality, life keeps humming forward, there are no replays and no rewind buttons. For that reason alone, our response to any situation is vital, therefore teaching yourself to respond versus react to the world around us, is a critical self-management skill.
Few years back, I read a book called the Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of the very first agreements the author introduces the reader to is “…be impeccable with your word”. Ruiz defines this agreement as “…speak with integrity and say only what you truly mean…” and “…avoid using the word to speak against yourself or others…” Finally he reminds us to “…use the power of your word to speak in the direction of truth and love.”
Unfortunately, as beautiful and simple as it sounds, this agreement is much harder to live to. Most of us are on two opposite ends of the communication spectrum. We either say what we feel immediately without filtering our reply, which is a typical reaction and has been known to quickly escalate to over-reactions. Or we freeze and become paralyzed, not taking any action. We may have grown up with the teaching that it may better to say nothing if you do not have anything nice to say. While the rest of us were raised without a filter and hence do not hold great concern with voicing our thoughts, and their resulting implications. Keep in mind that not addressing an issue, does not mean it goes away. It will remain inside you and overtime will begin to leak out via resentment and frustration which will build, until eventually it will explode and cause an unplanned and likely unhealthy reaction.
Having no filter, or being “brutally” honest on the other hand, may feel freeing. It may make you feel proud of your ability to “tell it like it is”. Some people have likely complimented you on your courage to not hold back in “telling the truth”. However the reality is this; it is still a reaction, a first impulse that breeds from your feelings toward the situation or person. And by the way, those feelings are YOUR truth, not THE truth. It is your perspective which exists from the lens only you, alone, view the world through.
So here is MY truth.
Somewhere out there lies an invisible line that teeters in between saying too much and not saying enough. If we give ourselves time to respond to a situation versus reacting to it by shutting down or not shutting up, then we can be more deliberate with our messaging. Emotions will always create a haze over any situation. When you acknowledge this and give yourself time for the haze to pass, clarity will come. I am not saying by any means that we should lose our sense of urgency when time is of essence. Just remember that when running the race, you may have to slow down and pace yourself a bit, so that you can get your sense of direction back…..and still get to the finish line which you initially set out to reach.
Since life does not come with a rewind option, let’s make the most of each moment we are presented with. Let’s acknowledge that how each of us behaves, the words we use to communicate have a powerful impact. Don’t you want certainty that your actions are in alignment with your intentions?
In closing, we can all use a little reminder to be deliberate in our behaviors, to be aware of our actions and impeccable with the words we put out into the universe. After all, who does not want the world around them to hum in harmony with their true intentions?
Image published courtesy of monsterthinking.com
written by Lauren Schultz, a BDSmktg Millennial
Life is filled with expectations. Speaking from a 20-something year old perspective and as a member of the millennial generation, when I graduated from high school I had certain expectations of how my life would unfold.
The expectation I had coming out of high school was; if I invest another 4 plus years of my time in college, along with investing “x” amount of dollars into my education then I will certainly get the career of my dreams and blast past any other competition.
Easy breezy…life secured, right??
However, the reality was that after getting out of college I realized the only place for a Psychology major such as myself to go was either a) back to school to pursue even higher education, or b) into a field that had nothing to do with my degree. This was a little bit of a shock. Why didn’t anyone tell me this? I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I thought the Psychology degree just gave me lots of options and many directions to choose from. Just as many Psychology graduates probably thought.
Now, of course this is not true for everyone in my generation, but I think for some of us millennials the expectation is that you don’t necessarily have to be sure where you are going, when you get out of college and start working. You think that maybe if you take just one step in the “right” direction, it will automatically lead to another opportunity and sort of like a domino effect, the rest of your life will perfectly fall into place….oh and probably and hopefully without any major hurdles.
In contrast, it has become more and more apparent that the only assured way to move forward in any direction, is to decide for yourself where it is you want to go and then make the best decisions to get you there one deliberate step at a time.
Simple, but it can be a concept that is difficult to grasp when for most of your life you have had your journey mapped out for you by others. Deciding what you want to do on your own can be difficult, and develops out of a lot of failed attempts, taking chances and being lucky, rather than knowing with certainty from the start where you want to end up.
I have realized during these last couple of years that to just coast along on a degree hoping people will take notice will not give me a fast pass to developing my career. And although, my manager can guide me on what steps to take in getting to the next level, the drive that I have deep within me is what will actually get me there overtime. The reality is that time and experience is not something a college degree comes with, it is something that must be gained over time, just as is personal and professional credibility in the workplace.
To quote one of the great rap artists from my generation, “…we started from the bottom, now we’re here...” Most of us will start from the bottom and work our way up to the top, but in doing this , we will build up our corporate acumen, gain a better understanding of every piece of the business, and with that we will strengthen our credibility and become more knowledgeable and influential in our role as we grow within our career.
Lauren Schultz is an Employee Relations/OD Specialist for BDS Marketing Inc. She graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in Psychology. Lauren resides in Orange County, California. Lauren is currently working in Human Resources focusing on employee development, learning and performance initiatives for BDS.