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Shake It Off: When To Let It Go

Shake It Off: When To Let It Go
“Shake off all fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion.”
~ Thomas Jefferson

Bad stuff happens. Life is unfair. Stupidity drains our energy. We must learn from the tough stuff. And then, shake it off.

  • You’re highly qualified, and don’t get the job, again.
  • Irate customers take their bad day out on you.
  • Your peer is stressed out at home, and is making the project miserable

Of course, you have a role in the story. You must learn from each scene. But, it’s not only about you. Don’t get defeated. Like the proverbial duck, let the dirty water roll off, hold your head high, and swim on with grace.

Shake it Off, A Time Out Story

We on our way to go tubing. My 7-year-old had invited an older friend he admired and desperately wanted to impress. The banter in the back seat turned to conflict.  Something felt unfair. Suddenly, all that “I’m trying so hard” energy erupted in an outburst of tears (from my kid). His hard work to fit in as an older guy, left him looking like a baby. I stopped the car (had a gentle parenting moment) and then said, “okay now shake it off.” We both physically shook our arms and legs, and got back in the car. He rallied.

Grown-Up Shake It Off Moments

The Job Search

Every week I get compelling emails from our LGL community. Beautiful leaders stuck in bad situations. Feeling defeated. The job market is still terrible in many areas around the world (I received 3 emails on this topic from subscribers in 3 different countries just this week). You are not alone. Sure there are important actions to take resumes to hone, interviews to streamline. Do all that. Most importantly, don’t let defeat get you down. Know your worth. Shake it off, stand tall, keep knocking.

Customer Interactions

In the customer facing world, looking to “wow” customers in every interaction can be tough. Face it, sometimes customers are mean. They’re mad at something in their lives, that is not about you, or even your company. Create connection, find empathy, do everything you can. Once you hang up the call, shake it off. Don’t transfer that negative feeling to the next (mostly likely reasonable) customer.

Weird Vibes

Yesterday, I overheard a conversation on the train. I’ve had that same conversation hundreds of times. The guy in the next seat was trying to calm down the woman on the other end of his phone. Her peer was acting like a jerk, the situation had mushroomed and work was suffering. The side of the conversation I could hear went something like this. “It’s not about you. Your peer is really dealing with some complex issues. Try to be as caring and helpful as you can. And, as hard as this sounds, some of this you need to just let go.

A pretty cool poem that may help, She Let Go.

Real leadershipNote: This week, I’ll be dealing with angles of “energy” the second branch of the REAL model. Holding on when we need to shake it off, will drain energy. Reclaim some of yours. Stay tuned this week for other angles on energy. Add your own thoughts. Don’t want to miss any of this? Enter your email to receive updates. Share with a friend. Let’s grow this community together.

Where do you need to shake it off to be the best leader possible?
Filed Under:   Authenticity & Transparency, Energy & Engagement
 
 
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt
Karin Hurt, is CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders and a former Verizon Wireless executive. Karin was named on Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership Speakers for Your Next Conference, the American Management Association List of 50 Leaders to Watch, and as a Trust Across America Top Thought Leader in Trust. She’s the award-winning author of two books, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results— Without Losing Your Soul, and Overcoming an Imperfect Boss. She’s regularly featured in business publications including Fast Company, Entrepreneur, and Inc.
 

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

Steve Borek   |   05 August 2013   |   Reply

I work with many people on finding their career passion.

When they come to me, all they want to do is find a job. They want me to look at their CV. Give them tips on interviewing, Job searching. Blah blah blah.

Nyet!

I do none of that.

Instead, I help them to discover their passion. “Who to you want to become?” I ask.

A big reason people have a hard time finding a job is because they’re not jazzed about doing that job in the first place.

If you’re not crazy about the job, how do you expect to find it? Huh? Law of Attraction works perfectly every time.

Once they get honest, face the music, and embrace what they really want to do with their life, the perfect opportunity and gig comes along. Effortlessly.

p.s. Taking the day off to drive west to Rochester, NY (75 minutes away) and watch the pros practice at the PGA Championship. Psyched!

Steve Borek   |   05 August 2013   |   Reply

On letting go.
When you let go, you’re in control.
Agree?

letsgrowleaders   |   05 August 2013   |   Reply

Wow, Steve a double decker today ;-) I can tell you’re on vacation. Love both comments, fully agree. It’s the times that we let go that we leave space for the magic we couldn’t see or feel when we were grasping so tightly.

David Tumbarello   |   05 August 2013   |   Reply

I find it interesting on LGL you have a post about shaking it off, an example from a car ride with your 7 year-old, and an overheard example from a train.

My point? Leadership lessons are often mundane. The leader is not just a leader at work, managing personalities and budgets. The leader is not just a leader when in front of the sales team or coaching junior partners. The leader is a leader 24×7. Driving the car. Listening to the kids. Looking (or not looking) for lessons on the train.

I went to a baseball game yesterday with a group of four friends. I have had conflict with one of these guys during the past two years. Can you imagine the best 60 minutes of my night? It was talking to this sometimes difficult individual in the back seat of the car on the way home. We connected. I didn’t feel the difficult personality I felt from him in the past and we connected. Leadership in the mundane? Sure – avoid judgement, seek opportunities to connect, have empathy and allow others the opportunity to peek below the surface.

Thanks Karin for the meaningful lessons. Ideally, Shake it off is not about when I am inspired. It should be a value, a practice. That way I treat each situation and each individual as a prize.

letsgrowleaders   |   05 August 2013   |   Reply

Wow, David, your comment is a post in itself. Thank you for your powerful example. Leadership lessons in the mundane. I agree, they’re everywhere. Let’s all go find some today.

Matt McWilliams   |   05 August 2013   |   Reply

For me personally, about 97% of the time.

By nature, I take offense easily. It’s pretty much a crappy way to live, so I decided about a year ago to stop taking offense to things.

That doesn’t mean people get away with anything. It just means I don’t take offense.

And I am calmer as a result.

letsgrowleaders   |   06 August 2013   |   Reply

Matt, beautiful. I’ve found that working on that makes me calmer too. And more grounded. Thanks for sharing.

Dallas Tye   |   06 August 2013   |   Reply

I’m often surprised that leaders don’t know more about how to manage their energy. This is no slight on them; more the university or business courses made available to them.

Letting go will stop the energy drain you experience in the situations described on this page.

To be clear, I mean the physical energy drain. The drain that sends you home at night feeling tired (and cranky), even though today you’ve been in the office, not a marathon; and the drain that will send you back to work tired.

Not letting go also means you will suffer what Daniel Goleman calls an ‘amygdala hijack’ (the part of the brain that is supposed to keep us safe) and have your smart thinking shut down, and so begins the emotional drain as you struggle with the negativity.

Letting go stops the energy drain by first changing your emotional reaction to the situation.
Kind of reversing the process.

This change in your emotional reaction then sends information to your body that helps slow the pulse and lower certain chemical levels while raising others in order for you to feel more at ease.

Not convinced your pulse has been racing? Next time you have an argument, or even invest emotionally in someone else’s argument, take your pulse. I’ve induced this state on stage at conferences by having a volunteer do math (under time pressure) while hooked up to a heart rhythm monitor. A negative emotional experience can get your heart rate well over 120 bpm while sitting perfectly still in a chair. People are often shocked as they watch the monitor during this demonstration.

I’ve probably gone off into lecture mode (sorry), however I wanted to highlight just how important this branch of the REAL model is. I’ve not seen many (any) models that call it out specifically like Karin has done.

Energy will facilitate your success (or not).

letsgrowleaders   |   06 August 2013   |   Reply

Dallas, Thank you so much! You have added important depth to this concept. I always appreciate your thoughtful contributions to the LGL community.

Steve Borek   |   06 August 2013   |   Reply

Dallas, great point.

It’s all about managing your energy.

During one of my first calls with a client, I ask about energy and it’s sources:

* How much sleep do you get each night?
* What’s your exercise routine?
* Tell me about the foods you eat?

People are consumed with time management. They need to be concerned about energy management.

Great book on energy is “Search Inside Yourself.” It was written by a Google engineer (badge number one hundred something) who moved to HR. Must read.