Let's jump right into a story this week about the amazing results you get when you let your unique, rebel flag fly at the office.
Meet Matt. (Matt is my client's REAL name. Matt said this morning, "I’m happy to hear my story is helpful for others" and is ready to "take the plunge" to share it.)
Matt didn't get to pick me as his coach. I was hired by his company (a large, multi-national financial firm) to coach high potential managers, and the HR team matched us up. Matt's management felt that things were crunchy with his team. The ways he was interacting in meetings wasn't always, shall we say, productive. Shared anxiety was affecting his team's performance.
As Matt and I started working together, it became clear that much of the anxiety was stemming from him. (Yup. He's the leader. Makes sense.) We quickly uncovered three things:
- He is deeply creative and has an elephant's brain. It's a groovy circus in there - full of connections, hilarious metaphors, and a steel trap memory.
- He believed that only a buttoned up, carefully controlled version of himself was going to succeed as a corporate leader. He literally visualized a wall on his commute to work where he turned off big parts of his identity in order to become the person he thought would be effective at the office.
- He ran his life on a tight timetable and set of expectations that was making Matt all work and killing his sense of fun.
Our work was clear: expose the beliefs that were holding him back, uncover the amazing way he already operates, leverage those funky, rebel-y mental processes to bring him success at work, get clear about what he wants in all areas of his life, and teach him how to take care of himself.
If anyone had been a fly on the wall in our coaching sessions, they would have wondered what the heck we were doing. We talked about the ninja on his shoulder, used Sesame Street as a point of reference (yep, the alien Yip Yips), and cleaned out the metaphorical clutter in the attic of his brain. He did homework: meditation, turned off all of his clocks for a weekend to enable him to experience his own pace, and experimented with ways to open up at work. We had a blast.
At the end of 6 months, Matt had worked diligently in coaching to grow himself and created real, practical results for himself and his team. He quelled the anxiety. He lost weight. His team got happy and productive. (In our final status meeting, his boss commended the amazing change in Matt and his employees.) His retention was secured. He started exercising and hosted grilled cheese lunches for his group at his desk. He took walks during the day when he needed to clear his mind. And, (I LOVE this part), he went to a concert with his new open attitude and met the love of his life. They got married a year later. His success has led him to be courted for a new challenging assignment full of interesting risk and potential. Giving himself permission to be his full self created real, lasting, tangible results.
I asked Matt to comment on this story and here's what he said today:
"One thing that came to mind in reflecting on our time together...was the magnitude of the positive impact you had on my life centered around you guiding me on how to get out of my own way. I had and others had 'everything necessary to be successful.' (I remember you repeating this a number of times in our sessions). You cheered me on as I tackled that mental clutter, associated fear and uncomfortableness with the 'unknown and hard to describe,' and helped me realize the value in being my genuine self (and how much easier and fun it was to be)."
I can't make this stuff up, Christina. When a client does something incredible for themselves, I still shout with amazement from the rooftops, "this shit really works!" And it sticks. Matt and I worked together years ago, and the changes he created are still true today.
You deserve to be happy at work. You deserve to understand the fun and funky ways you operate so you can leverage them for your success. You deserve to feel like what you do every day matters and brings you a sense of meaning and joy. (Ok, most days. Some days are still gonna suck. Not gonna lie.) You deserve to let your rebel flag fly loud and proud.
Let's get your rebel flag in the air and get you happy at work. Hop on the phone with me for 30 minutes. We'll strategize your personal situation and transform the way you're thinking about your leadership and your work. Email me at email@example.com to set up a time to talk.
Seriously, this shit really works. (I hope my mother-in-law doesn't read this. I promise I don't teach my kids the "s" word.)
Please forward this email to anyone you think could use some support or consider a session for one of your employees. Being fully yourself is vital to your success.
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