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Last week I posted about how my clients struggle in their careers.  They dream about quitting and living on a beach somewhere.  They flip back and forth between thinking they don’t do enough and being angry that others don’t do more. 

I was there myself and suffered my own burnout.

I wanted to like the people that I worked with, but I found myself frustrated instead.  I wanted to deliver on all of my commitments, but I consistently made more commitments than I could keep up with.  I beat myself up regularly because I thought I wasn’t productive enough, wasn’t smart enough, didn’t know enough, and didn’t have all the answers.  I had a long to-do list that I never got to the bottom of, I was overwhelmed by that list, so I avoided looking at it and was afraid of making a bad impression on other people, so I would not ask for help. 

I Focused On Performance:

Performance:  I fell in love with David Allen’s productivity method, “Getting things done”.  I happily collected, organized, planned, reviewed, did my next actions, and did a weekly review. As I felt more organized and productive, I would commit to more and more and so I got overwhelmed again.  I began to avoid my beloved “GTD” process, and I beat myself up for procrastinating.  I studied ways to stop procrastinating, reading books like “Eat That Frog”, “First Things First”, and “The Pomodoro Technique.”  I studied many different ways to manage my own work performance, and through that study, it became easy for me to see all of the things I had committed to doing, and equally easy for me to see what wasn’t getting done. 

I Eroded My Confidence

Confidence:  I was managing my performance, and I was giving myself a failing grade.  Although I got good performance feedback from colleagues, peers, and managers, I still believed I was failing.  I could find so much evidence for failure! As long as I had an incomplete task or failed to deliver on a self-imposed deadline, I told myself I wasn’t good enough yet.  I thought that the key to feeling more confident about my work was to create evidence that I was doing a good job at it.  I had to prove my worth.  Then I could be confident.  As long as there was evidence that I wasn’t done, or I had any failure at all, I didn’t earn that self-confidence.  As I became less confident, I started to observe those who impressed me and compare myself to them. 

I Reached Out To Learn From Others, Which Luckily Created Connection

Connection: To try to become a better person, I joined the mentoring program where I worked and I also started to volunteer.  It connected me to a broad network that allowed me to connect to more departments, people, and volunteer organizations.  I met a lot of wonderful people who were great at their jobs.  I thought somehow, everyone else had it all figured out.  Through those interactions, I built relationships that enabled me to see that everyone was just as human as I was. I got honest feedback about what was realistic and what wasn’t. I had the opportunity to talk about my worries.  Everyone had successes and failures.  I was not alone.  These connections helped me to find coaching

Coaching Helped Me Put It All Together. 

Coaching enabled me to put it all together.  All three of these skills are critical.  I want to be productive, but I focus my performance on the things that are important to me.  I desire to know what is important to me, requiring confidence in my worth. By being confident in my worth, I am able to see and trust in the equal worth of everyone around me. 

I am far from having “figured it all out” or gotten to “perfect.”  I still experience real failures and challenges. But I live in a world where I feel good about my work, the people I know, and how I perform.  This is true even in the face of failure, stressful situations, challenging problems, and even people I struggle to get along with.

It is my purpose to teach others to the same. 

I want to help to create a world where everyone trusts their self-worth. Imagine spending time on what’s important to you, doing it well, and letting go of the need to do it all. You will be willing to try something even if you might fail.  You can stop ruminating about what might go wrong or what other people think. You can believe you are just as worthy as other people, and they are as worthy as you.  With this confidence, productivity, and willingness to try, you can cultivate a professional community to learn, and they will help you when you face a new problem. 

Imagine a world where everyone believes in their worth and celebrates the worth of everyone around them.

Imagine arrogance gone and workers who boost each other up and help each other out. 

“Imagine all the people, living in harmony.” – John Lennon

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