If it Weren’t for Other People, I Could Get a Lot Done! by Laura Neff
It’s the irony, right? None of us can make our company’s vision or team goals come to life on our own, but it can so often seem that it’s all those other people who get in the way of doing our part.
Thanks to my colleague Gary, I recently had a revelation about dealing with that very thing.
It was lunchtime on the second day of a three-day program he and I were co-leading. As we drove to Jason’s Deli, we talked about where we should dig in deeper with participants and where things were going well and with whom.
And then Gary said, “Well, all that aside, how are you doing?”
As soon as he asked, I realized my body felt like dead weight and I could have taken a nap right then and there. “I’m tired,” I said, “which doesn’t make any sense, because I slept really well last night.”
There are some kinds of tired that don’t have anything to do with the physical mechanics of our body. They’re the kind brought on by mental/emotional “stuff.” As I let myself slow down and feel the fatigue in my internal system, I also realized how foggy my mind felt.
And out of nowhere, I found myself blurting, “I’m kind of ‘on it’ with Sue.” (Not her real name.)
When someone on our team says they’re “on it” about something or someone, we mean we’re triggered, or mentally/emotionally hooked, and it’s getting in the way of what we’re there to do and what’s possible.
Without missing a beat, Gary said, “Well, you just love on Sue. Just love her.”
Of course, he meant “love” in the sense of, “She’s human. Instead of allowing yourself to be hooked and have walls up, choose to lean in. Love her despite whatever it is she’s doing or not doing. Don’t let a little humanity get in the way of being fully committed to her growth in this program. Step past whatever’s got you, and get back out there with her.”
That was it. There wasn’t any big exploration of why I was on it with Sue, or any colluding about what it was that had me be on it with her. There was just the pointing: LOVE HER.
I could feel a part of me wanting to resist the coaching, wanting to dish about Sue and what she’d said and her reactions to things we were presenting. But the bigger part of me was curious about Gary’s blunt suggestion. So I exhaled a little, letting myself reconnect to the bigger picture of what we were up to.
And by golly, it worked.
Over lunch, I could feel my mood shift. By the time we got back to the program room, I had forgotten all about being tired. And while my being “on it” reared its head a time or two again over the remaining day and a half, I kept remembering Gary’s coaching: Just love her.
In a world of instant fixes AND big goals for our businesses and lives, I can’t think of a better “shortcut” for getting things done with others.
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