“Know you will make mistakes and have failure points along the way, but keep your head up, forgive yourself fast, and keep moving forward. Progress, not perfection.” (Teresa Royer)
This opening quote really hits home during a long year that has had everyone wound tight—and has left humans more stressed than most of us care to admit.
So, how are you doing, professionally and personally? Struggling? Surviving? Thriving?
All of us at Leading Edge Teams want to know. We definitely relate to the ups and downs you may be experiencing. We coach entrepreneurs and their teams, and like everyone, we make adjustments within our own company. We know people have faced many changes and challenges these past months.
I recently met a longtime colleague and friend, Nikki, for coffee. I’ve always admired her, because she has an active family life and is an owner/operator of a growing business, and frankly, always seems to have her act together.
I walked into the cafe where we were meeting, and at first glance I could see the strain on her face. Her usual calm presence was silently screaming, I’m on edge and near meltdown!
After one sip of coffee, she blurted out, “I’m so glad to see you, because now I can be me—and quit pretending everything is okay! I’m feeling overwhelmed from the chaos. There’s no getting away from it—I’m so exhausted, I can’t hide that I’m not. So… the truth is—I’m a mess…”
And as she continued to talk, tears began to slowly drip down her cheeks. Her usual leadership and confidence was no place to be seen. I felt for her, and wanted to support and help her. I listened…
Blowing her nose, she spoke between sniffles, “The glitch this week… It took me forever to get my porcelain finish quite the right color; and now the manufacturer is short-staffed and running late. I can’t launch the line next month as promised. I’m going to let down my customers.”
I responded with “I’m so sorry,” then encouraged her to tell me more…
Like me, I’m sure you’ve been overwhelmed and disappointed more than once in business and personal life. After the fact, we often think to ourselves: That was so hard, but I am stronger now; I feel some relief, and renewed emotional endurance. I can help myself if I accept what happened and keep putting my energy into today, right now!
I wanted to encourage Nikki to let go of all that had gone wrong yesterday, so it didn’t exhaust her and drag her down today. And just as draining for her were her fears about tomorrow; the late product launch. She had been up at night tossing and turning, and it had added to the emotional and physical exhaustion she was experiencing.
I did share with Nikki about trying to live in today, this very moment. For most of us, it has to be a conscious choice. By doing so, I knew she would have greater endurance for showing up strong, as she began to tackle each new goal with courage. It would be uncomfortable after this setback, and that’s okay.
I was glad we were able to meet; she seemed encouraged. For all of us, choosing to connect with people, and not isolating, is important. She was able to talk about her worst and her best, and not hide it. I could see she felt some relief. Perspective was returning. It helped me, too, to hear what she was dealing with—a reminder that I wasn’t alone in “my stuff.”
We talked more about her team, and if she was utilizing them to do their part. She hired good people, so she delegates to the correct people, and she does trust them to do their job. That’s a plus. Also, she chose to anticipate—Nikki had clear direction, even though she said she was a mess. She knew what she was working towards, and the business outcome that she expected.
Over the years, I had seen her level of excellence and leadership. She chose to model Self-Leadership by self-regulating. That’s why she needed to let herself fall apart with me; she hadn’t wanted to show that side to her team to protect them from feeling any unnecessary, added pressure.
It’s cleansing to let it all out in a safe place, with a safe person. It can help any one of us from reacting in self-protective behaviors that hinder progress and teamwork.
After a couple of hours together, Nikki left. Smiling, she promised that she was going to spend the rest of that afternoon choosing to pause her business concerns, and focus on self-care. Walking to my car, I smiled too, because I realized I needed to do the same!
Need endurance? You might PAUSE today and try the following:
- Take a break from your desk
- Walk around the block
- Take a few deep breaths and a timeout
- Take your dog for a walk
- Count to ten; drink some water or tea
- Take an exercise break
- Dance or sing it out
First and foremost, keep going, you’re going to get there. I have to tell you, more than likely, you are doing better than you know!
Even so, we know that 2021 continues to cause change and challenge in your business as well as your personal life—so don’t be too hard on yourself. (Check out this blog post that’s all about self-compassion as a business leader)
A great majority of people in business (and otherwise) admit to needing professional support and help with decisions and direction right now, because they’re feeling mentally, emotionally, and physically worn down—and that’s okay.
Here are some things to take note of and avoid as you strive to lead your team and progress in your business:
- Isolation / hiding
- Lack of giving or receiving honest feedback
- Old habits of self-protection and emotionally reactive behaviors
- Limited self-awareness about situations and people in the workplace
- A shortage of leadership skills that build working relationships (relying instead on the worn out model of top-down authority that decreases mutual working relationships)
- Ineffective leadership direction and goals that restrict people’s ability to move through challenges and change (e.g. poor communication, interactions and teamwork, and action-based vision).
Since you are reading this, we are confident you are one who is making the most of today, and choosing to focus on strengthening yourself, as you gain skills and strategies for endurance. You will not give up, and you will keep driving forward. Such an attitude demonstrates excellent leadership and perseverance.
Productive and satisfying work days are what you want, and we want for you, so if you don’t feel you’re experiencing enough of those kinds of days right now, and are falling into self-protection more than you like, let us offer you our help.
Contact us anytime. We’ll chat.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. You’ve come this far, so keep going. Others on your team (and at home) are watching how you make the shifts. Your willingness to change and make consistent and renewed effort models leadership—and endurance!
Keep showing up strong!
Annie and the Leading Edge Team
For a personal introduction to our coaching and methods, check out our series of leadership journals on Amazon.com:
30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #2
Power of Agreement
What A+ Leaders do differently to generate extraordinary results.
30-Day Self-Leadership Journal #1
How to be a thriving ‘A+’ Leader in the fast paced,
ever-changing landscape of business today.