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.

Discard and Replenish: What Will You Stop Doing in 2013?

You had a great year, you worked hard, you achieved results, and learned along the way. Great, now what can you discard?

2013 will bring new challenges, exciting initiatives and inspiring ideas. With that will come more work, new project plans, and of course new metrics and reporting. The new initiatives will come on fast and furious, likely with sizzle and inspiration.

Your days were already full no matter how refreshed you feel, you cannot add more stuff, without discarding what has become clutter. Your team can’t either.

How can you empower them to discard?

What Can You Discard?

Before the new year excitement.

Make some room.

Ask some good questions.

Push back to others as needed.

Be sure your team is doing what matters.

What Goals No Longer Serve?

  • What was important in 2012 that no longer aligns with the evolving vision?
  • What are you pursuing because you always have?
  • What are you doing because it feels good and comfortable?

What Must Stop?

  • Revisit your team’s daily routine. Are all tasks still vital? How do they align with your 2013 goals?
  • What tasks have become less important?
  • What agendas are others still pushing which no longer align with your vision and goals?
  • What can you stop doing?
  • What???

What Metrics No Longer Serve Your Vision?

  • What reports haven’t been used in months?
  • What metrics have become less vital?
  • If you were only able to measure 3 things, what would they be? Why?
  • What other questions should you be asking????

How Must You Evolve?

  • How has your team matured?
  • Which leadership behaviors are no longer needed?
  • What do they need most from you this year?
  • What?

A new year provide opportunities for fresh starts and new challenges. Consider having a deliberate discard conversation with your team. This can also be done as a team building exercise, where each team member asks for feedback on what they should start, stop and continue doing to achieve the teams vision.

The 3 Gifts: Grateful for Growing

They say “feedback is a gift,” but much of the time it does not feel that way.

So, what was different this time?

It was a cool, crisp night. The warmth of the make-shift spotlight was both frightening and friendly as I stood ready to give my final speech at the SCORRE conference. Frightening because my own expectations were high, and I knew the feedback would be deep, direct, and dead on. Friendly, because any feedback would be delivered with generosity and compassion.

I had come to this conference to hone my speaking. What I had not anticipated was how much I would learn from experiencing and watching the coaches coach. By the third day, I began taking as many notes on  how the coaches were giving feedback as to what they were saying.

What was it about their approach that made it both compelling and easy to hear?

Why was I so thirsty for more?

How was it that my group full of experienced speakers were transforming into magnificent motivators before my eyes?

and mostly…

What could these coaches teach me about giving better feedback?

Tonight I write to you not from the perspective of a leader growing leaders, but of a leader being grown. And so I re-gift the wisdom I gained from experiencing great feedback, and watching others do the same.

The Gift of Discovery

Focus on the behaviors to get to root cause.

Why did her eyes keep looking above the audience, what was she afraid of?

Why did he keep stumbling on the same words, perhaps he didn’t believe them?

What is the real message? What story lies underneath? How can THAT message be shared?

The Gift of Becoming

Focus on hidden strengths

What is her real passion and how do we draw it out?

What are the deeper gifts lying dormant? How can we get them on stage?

When is he brave? How can we translate that to this context?

The Gift of Letting Go

Give permission to discard

Who told him he wasn’t good at _____? Why does he still believe them?

What image is she trying to uphold? Why does she need it?

What old patterns keep joining her on stage? What can we put in their place?

Time To Re-Gift

When feedback is truly a gift, it feels like one not. Because it is sandwiched between snuggly fluff, but because it gets us further along our journey to what we are becoming.