INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
You’re better equipped to handle difficult co-workers by keeping one sentence in mind:
We all fear something, love something, have lost something.
Yes, even that difficult co-worker. Let’s break this down.
We all fear something, and fear explains so much of undesirable human behavior. Perhaps that difficult co-worker really fears failure, criticism, change, or rejection (yes, even your rejection of them). The problem is that fear engages our brain in the wrong conversation and distorts reality. It causes us to act in ways we don’t intend or are unaware of. Heck, neuroscience has proven that our fear of failure literally shuts down the part of our brain responsible for risk-taking and exploration. Maybe this is what’s behind that conservative co-worker’s behavior that’s driving you nuts.
We all love something, are loved by someone, and have the capacity to love. So even that miserable co-worker is loved by somebody, even if it’s not you. And to be loved requires qualities worth loving. Might you consider that in the case of your co-worker? Might you expand your own capacity to “love” and begin to look for what others see in that co-worker? Could you try to see them for what they are that is wonderful (to someone at least), rather than for what they aren’t (according to your own narrowed worldview)?
We’ve all lost something. Yup, your difficult co-worker, too. It might be a loved one, even recently. Or perhaps that difficult person has lost their dignity, support, sense of confidence, or career momentum (to name just a few culprits). Might you consider this and approach that co-worker with compassion? Compassion is the underpinning of community, and worth every ounce of energy you can invest.
So, yes. We all fear something, love something, have lost something. Now go add to the list, have repaired something.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake many often make)
Research frequently draws a correlation between self-confidence and success. And yet, it’s a natural mistake we all make, letting our self-confidence fizzle. You just need a SPARK to reignite it, the acronym S-P-A-R-K:
Stop comparing. Yourself to others, that is. The only comparison that matters is to who you were yesterday and whether or not you’re becoming a better version of yourself. Get better at catching yourself comparing to others, and stopping when you do so – it instantly eliminates irrelevant context. You can then shift to self-acceptance, the most basic building block of self-confidence.
Preparation. There’s no confidence booster that replaces the power of being prepared. I often give keynotes to big audiences and get asked afterwards, “Weren’t you nervous?” Well, no, because my preparation takes over. I quickly get into the flow. Muscle memory kicks in, and my self-confidence roars into action. Think of something you must do soon that you’re not confident about. Ask yourself, “Have I honestly done all I can to be prepared?”
Authenticity, not approval. Chasing authenticity (being your whole, true self) instead of chasing approval (being accepted by others) gives you greater control over your confidence level. Constantly seeking approval is an empty victory at best and a soul-sucking pursuit at worst, because the pursuit never ends. You’re subject to the whims, moods, and biases of others. Better to focus on being authentic. It sparks confidence from knowing you’re bringing your unique gifts to the world.
Resist catastrophizing. When you blow the size of a challenge or the consequences of a setback out of proportion, you’re directly eroding your ability to feel confident. It’s hard enough to remain confident when things don’t go well. When you unfairly exaggerate the magnitude of adversity, it weighs down a key ingredient of confidence, your optimism.
Know that you’re enough. I interviewed a hypnotherapist who told me across all her patients, no matter their ailment, whether it was overeating, over-drinking, depression they didn’t get that promotion, you name it– they all had THE SAME root cause to their problem. An inner voice that says, “I’m not enough.” Sound familiar? This feeling intensifies when you make irrelevant comparisons to others and gets worse still when you forget this: We think our differences make us LESSER then, but they make us GREATER than. You. Are. Enough.
So, use the SPARK acronym to reignite your self-confidence, and success.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Try this tool to push back or renegotiate when you’re asked to take on new work – the Bermuda Triangle of Bargaining. There are three variables to anything you’re asked to do – time, resources, and scope. These three points form a devious triangle, into which effort can quickly and mysteriously disappear if the proper balance across all three isn’t in place. A fair and effective way to push back is to negotiate for variances. For example, you can do the full scope of that new project with the agreed upon resources, as long as you get twice the amount of time. Or you can meet that deadline and budget, as long as the scope of what’s requested is scaled back. You get the idea.