Approximately 10 years ago, I was working with a consultant to help me grow my business. I’ll call her Barbara. She came to me with outstanding references and she had some excellent suggestions. Not too long after I met her, she suggested that we spend some time at the beginning and end of our sessions quieting ourselves. She wanted us to connect to ourselves, connect to our breath, connect to the space we were sitting in.
WHAT? I was paying her by the hour! She wanted to spend 10 minutes — 5 minutes at the beginning and end — of our session doing nothing but breathing? Those would be VERY expensive breaths! I thought she was crazy. I thought she was stealing money from me. I thought I was far too busy to spend 10 minutes a day mindlessly. I politely ended our work together.
This morning, having left my hour-long yoga class, I am perusing my calendar to see what time my meditation will begin. Now that I practice yoga regularly and am an intermittent meditator, I can feel, notice, and understand the benefits of trained quietness, trained peacefulness, trained mindfulness. And those benefits extend to both my work and personal life.
I see now that Barbara was way ahead of her time and she knew exactly what I needed. It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t able to embrace her wisdom at the time, but I recognize it as wisdom now.
Who has showered you with wisdom? And what was that wisdom?
Today my yoga instructor, Emily, asked if we would like her to walk around the room and make adjustments. Later, she came to my mat and calmly, quietly, and gently touched my hands, guiding them longer and straighter. She removed her hands as calmly and gently. I noticed that it was easy to hold my hands in the position Emily placed them in.
Afterwards I thanked Emily for the class and the adjustment, and remarked that after she removed her hands I continued to feel the positive energy.
Think about feedback at work in the same way as making an adjustment in yoga; sometimes it is just the guidance and encouragement you need.
For more thoughts see The Gift of Feedback.
What you think about me is none of my business.
What I think of me is ALL my business.
How I think about both is good for our business.
Last week I met with a CFO for her sixth executive coaching session. Each time we meet, we discuss a variation of the same topic: her role as a practiced fretter and worrier. She worries about what everyone says about the organization, about her boss, and about her colleagues. She worries about what everyone is feeling and about how the employees and her peers perceive her. She worries that she worries so much!
Two weeks earlier, in a meeting with another CFO at a different organization, I noticed a different personality trait that pervades his entire workplace; he is so brash that he alienates everyone. No one includes him in their project meetings because he is so harsh, even though having an ally close to the budget would be helpful. Rather than take on anyone’s issues and help solve them, he actually creates more, and as a result, everyone avoids him.
And yes, I do know one baby bear CFO, Lenora, who is “just right.” Lenora might not be perfect, but she is highly competent and her co-workers seek out her opinion and advice. Best of all, Lenora goes home from work, most days, without being a bundle of worries.
The emotional health and balance of the senior executive team creates the workplace culture. What is your organization doing to promote a healthy leadership team?