“I am so tired; I feel like I’m doing all of the heavy lifting and not making much progress. Nobody else seems to share my drive to make this organization a better place to be. It’s time to dust my resume off and possibly start looking for another role.”
That was the ‘theme’ of many of my coaching conversations recently. Can you relate? Have you ever felt like that?
When we’re feeling tired, we can so easily feed a sense of hopelessness through the messages we deliver to ourselves, the questions we don’t ask ourselves, our lack of forgiveness to ourselves and others, the celebrations we miss, and very often – owning responsibility for results that others actually own. All of it – exhausting!
We challenge you to sit quietly and reflect on the following questions so you can face tomorrow with some renewed energy or clarity of purpose, or share these with someone who is feeling that sense of hopelessness:
Importance of Shared Vision & Values
We under-estimate the power of shared vision and values, and yet it is at the very core of our success. If we want something for the organization that all, or at least the majority, of the senior leaders have not bought into – we will feel like we are banging our head against a wall.
• Take a minute and think back to what the organization/role was when you started this journey? What was the culture like then? What was important to the organization then? What has changed?
• What did you appreciate most about the organization when you joined? What do you appreciate the most today? Why are you still there?
• As you look ahead, what is your vision of success for this organization? For your role in the organization? Does that agree with the organization’s vision of success? Are they congruent? Are your values congruent? Where are the gaps? Is it possible to close that gap? Have you already made progress closing that gap?
• Take a few minutes and name five decisions/steps that have moved you/your organization closer to your vision of success over the past three to six months? Write them down.
• Describe where your team’s energy is today; what have they specifically accomplished along this journey?
Sifting Facts from Emotion
It is easy to move to emotion-based thinking when we are tired and feeling defeated. These questions are designed to help you step back:
• Where do you feel you have not made any/enough progress? Can you describe your ‘desired state’ three or six months ago, and your ‘current state’ today from a purely factual perspective? What progress have you made – measurable facts only?
• What progress have you and your team made?
• What have you contributed? Where did you get in the way? Where did your ‘rigidity’ interrupt communication?
• Did your organization have reasonable expectations when you started? (The biggest consideration here is often time expectations.)
• Did you have reasonable expectations of yourself and others?
• What barriers existed? (facts only) Were you proactive or reactive regarding those barriers?
• Did you share the ‘accountability’ with others, or did you own it all? Where did you rob others of their responsibilities?
• Do you still believe your ‘desired state’ is possible?
• If you just listen to your heart today – what is it telling you to do?
There are many reasons why we don’t celebrate our success; often we don’t feel we have time because there’s already another burning issue waiting, sometimes we only see what is slowing us down and don’t see the small successes along the way, etc… Celebration builds excitement and energy!
•How easy is it for you to celebrate success? If you knew it would feed your energy, what and how might you celebrate personally?
• Have you identified clear milestones that make it easy for you to celebrate?
• Have you reached any of those milestones?
• Have you communicated those successes to your team so you all can feel the energy that generates?
• What do you have to celebrate right now? Today?
• What does your team have to celebrate right now?
• What will that celebration look like? How might that move them forward?
That’s probably enough ‘thinking’ for now, but that is just the beginning of the journey. Some of the next reflection exercises are focused on what have you learned, what/who do you need to forgive for the mistakes that have happened (including yourself), what resources do you need to move forward, how do you want to show up as a leader and what action needs to happen right now. Reflection reaps rewards…..indulge yourself NOW!