The Answer to Any Uncertainty

By Rebecca Potts and Susan Britton Whitcomb

Do you remember the days when you sat in class, staring at math problems or a dissected frog, holding your chin in your palms, thinking, “when am I ever gonna use this?”  I learned a lot during childhood that I never ended up using, but something I didn’t learn from school was what my strengths were and how to use them.  If I did, if we ALL did, we could equip our next generation (and ourselves) with the skills to navigate life from a position of confidence and creativity.  Instead we got Calculus.

Much has been written about using strengths for determining career direction or managing teams, but we can do so much more with strengths. For example, using strengths to help us:

Navigate uncertainty
Tackle tough projects  
Resolve conflict
Raise children
Motivate ourselves/others
Deepen relationships
Manage time
Manage health

When you’re faced with a situation that can have many outcomes, rely on your strengths. Choose one of your top strengths, and lean into it. Use it as a strategy to, for example, navigate the uncertainty. It will likely help you choose the correct proverbial door.  One of my top strengths is Learner, and as a result I tend to research a topic tirelessly until I know everything there is to know about it – which means I’m the person at the party who usually brings up something completely out of the blue and unrelated.  But, besides how fun my Learner strength makes me, it can also make me highly prepared to navigate uncertainty.  I can gather information about the situation and make decisions to act based on fundamental knowledge and preparedness.  No Calculus involved.  

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Make Fear Your Friend

Fear can often be a feeling that overwhelms us, or causes us to withdraw, or causes us to become defensive.

What if fear, instead, were a friend. Not a best friend, of course, and not someone you purposefully invite to join you at every appointment of your day. But, what if we framed fear as someone who shows up on occasion—even if unexpected, uninvited, or unwelcome—to offer us a message of insight.

What if you make fear your “friend.” Someone who is there simply to offer information. A piece of data. A clue about how to move forward. In this way, fear can have the ability to protect you, guide you, and be your ally.

Try it yourself. Name a fear you currently have. Next, have some light conversation with the fear. For example:

You: “What are you trying to protect me from?”

Fear: “Failing.”

You: “What strategy would minimize the risk of failure?”

Fear: “Just don’t do anything. That’s safest.”

You: “Thanks for showing up. I will find a more creative, proactive strategy. Bye.”

Or, your conversation might unfold differently, such as:

You: “What are you trying to protect me from?”

Fear: “Failing.”

You: “What strategy would minimize the risk of failure?”

Fear: “You’re not speaking your truth. Say what you need to say. What do you really want to say?”

You: “I want to tell my boss that if I take on another project, I’m afraid the other things I’m working on will suffer.”

Fear: “Take the word ‘afraid’ out and try it again.”

You: “I want to tell my boss that if I take on another project, the other projects will suffer.”

Fear: “Now make it about the bigger picture, instead of about you.”

You: “I want to tell my boss that these projects deserve focused attention to ensure success; taking time from one will slow down progress on the existing projects, and so let’s collaborate on which priorities would give the company the best returns.”

Next time you notice fear—worry, concerns, foreboding, anxious thoughts—try this. First, breathe! Then, give fear a bit of space to be heard, to inform you, to bring clarity about what you really want. Play with questions, such as:

  • “What are you trying to protect me from?”
  • “How would you guide me through this?”
  • “What might you suggest that would prevent this from happening again?”
  • “What new or (tried-and-true) strategy would move me forward?”

Enjoy!

 

Image attribution: Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_logo3in1′>logo3in1 / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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Your Dog REALLY Knows What You’re Saying… So Do Your Clients

Fascinating research on canines reveals that your dog can tell the difference between being told “good-boy” in a neutral tone vs “good-boy!” with a praising tone. That’s right.

Neuroscientists discovered that the left side of the dogs’ brains lit up in response to the word itself, but when delivered with a praising tone, the right side also lit up.

It took both the words of praise PLUS the intonation to light up the reward center of the brain. Bottom line: your pet knows when you’re truly praising them vs. just going through the motions.(More info: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/dogs-know-saying-people-speech/)

And so do the people around us–clients, employees, bosses, team mates, family members, friends.

The next time it comes time to offer an affirmation, a praise, or a thank you to the people around you, PAUSE FIRST, and physically feel the appreciation, admiration, respect, love, etc. well up inside you.

Then offer your comments. Look people in the eye and smile when you say it … and see if that doesn’t cause greater connection (and some tails to wag)!!

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Dear Santa…I Want LESS This Christmas

I’ve been both naughty and nice this year, but I imagine that’s the case for every one of us who share 23 pairs of chromosomes!

As I think about what I’d love for Christmas, much comes to mind:

I want LESS:

>> I want to be LESS know-it-all, less always-have-my-act-together, less “right”, less “on”, less always-in-control, less expert, less, less, less.

I also want MORE:

>> I want to be MORE creative, more expansive, more easeful, more in flow, more calm, more safe, more bold, more carefree, more aligned with who I really am, more, more, more.

I can imagine that all of this is already mine, in fullest measure, right here, right now.

Thank you, Santa.

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