The next step in your career starts here…
When you reflect on your experience at work, do you notice certain recurring issues or patterns that you’ve been struggling with for months… even years perhaps?
You’re quite good at keeping your emotions in check… but there are days where you hit the send button on emails a little too quickly.
Or perhaps you’re generally a positive person but there are certain negative people at work that make you feel like you’re spinning your wheels. Nothing you say or do seems to help shift them their outlook.
Or maybe you’re usually great at making decisions, but when the stakes are high and emotions are intense, you lose your balance and struggle to choose the best path forward.
And despite countless attempts to address these issues, you still aren’t happy with the way you’re handling them.
Whatever area you’re struggling with, there’s some problem or challenge that’s making it difficult for you to achieve the outcomes that you truly want for yourself, your team, and your organization.
You Keep Trying to Fix the Problem, But It Won’t Go Away.
You’ve tried everything.
You’ve practiced taking a few deep breaths before pressing the send button on those emails… but you press it anyway.
You’ve tried talking to the negative person that makes you feel like you’re spinning your wheels, but the issue keeps resurfacing. Maybe it’s a staff member who always seems to find something wrong with your feedback… or perhaps it’s a colleague who is consistently unhappy.
You’ve tried consulting others when you have to make a tough decision, hoping that this will help you finally choose the right course of action in the situation… but it only ends up confusing you more.
Why is that?
The Real Reason You May Not Be Achieving the Impact You Desire in the Workplace
The real reason these problems persist isn’t necessarily because you haven’t found the right “fix” yet.
The real reason these issues keep recurring issues could be related to your connection to your own inner compass. In the 15+ years that I’ve been working as a coach, I’ve found that leaders and professionals who work on this one key competency gain the most powerful skill required to transform their careers.
I’ll share more about this inner compass in a moment, but first here’s a snapshot of the quick fix strategies I see people using instead:
1. Rushing to solutions when problem-solving.
Let’s say you send unedited emails a little too quickly when a particular staff member refuses to do what you ask of them, even when it’s clearly in their job description.
Your quick fix strategy (sending the unedited email) isn’t really a fix at all because it doesn’t get to the root cause of the issue: there’s a communication gap between you and this individual.
Until you find a way to bridge that gap, the patterns you’re hoping will go away will continue to persist.
Here’s the thing, there will always be someone or something in the workplace that frustrates you. And until you get to the root cause of what causes you to react impulsively in those moments, you’ll keep spinning your wheels.
And speaking of spinning your wheels…
2. Doing the same thing to address a recurring issue and expecting a different result.
I know what Einstein says this indicates… but in my non-clinical opinion, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve lost your sanity, it just means that you’re human.
For example, certain people in the workplace bring us down. It might be a negative person in your workplace or a working relationship that’s sapping your energy.
Your “quick-fix” might be to avoid the person indefinitely (which is often impossible), or to try to convince them that they should be more upbeat, or to simply tell them what you need of them without ever getting a true commitment from them to change.
Whatever the case may be… when you’re feeling dragged down at work, you’re not at your best. Your bandwidth for coming up with creative and courageous solutions is limited and you start to feel like a broken record. You keep trudging along with your preferred quick-fix, hoping for a change but not necessarily taking the new steps needed to implement one.
3. Over-consulting on tough decisions and not looking inwards enough.
In some ways, this is the easiest of the 3 quick fix strategies that I see, because you can simply blame others for your indecisiveness.
Perhaps you need to make a tough call on a file or an operational matter, deliver some difficult news to your staff, or have a challenging feedback conversation with one of your colleagues.
Instead of speaking with trusted mentors or colleagues and then making your own decision, you get caught up in everyone else’s opinions and you lose sight of what you actually think yourself.
Asking others for their thoughts is a much easier strategy than the deeper level introspection needed to find your own voice when confronted with the variety of challenging situations that leaders and professionals must inevitably face in their careers.
If you don’t know how to tune back into YOU after you’ve consulted with others, you’ll keep feeling increasingly indecisive in these types of situations.
Here’s the Problem…
None of these strategies works because they’re band-aid solutions. Recurring workplace issues often require time, patience, and most importantly introspection to resolve.
As long as you keep engaging in these types of strategies, you distract yourself from what you really need to do to move forward in the situation and in your career – work on YOU.
The moment you recognize that your journey at work is a marathon, not a sprint, and that everything begins with YOU is the moment that everything changes.
When you learn to engage in deep, targeted introspection, you minimize your risk of feeling constantly frustrated with others and spinning your wheels during difficult moments at work. This is because you stop resisting the people, situations, and working relationships that throw you off balance and instead accept them as part of your learning journey.
You learn how to accept yourself, other people, and situations for who or what they really are without judgment and this then allows you to find creative solutions that actually work.
But knowing where to start is the biggest challenge for most.
Your Inner Compass
So what exactly is this inner compass?
Your inner compass is essentially your own unique internal GPS system. It’s constantly guiding you towards what’s right for you and steering you away from what’s not in alignment with your values, needs, and goals.
The challenge is that in order to really tap into it, you need to sit quietly with whatever is going on for you in the moment – your fears, your frustrations, your judgments, your self-doubt… you name it. And most of us don’t find this very pleasant.
It’s also particularly challenging in today’s working world, which never stops… There are pressing deadlines we need to meet, tough decisions to be made, stressful situations to deal with and way too much email to sort through.
The payoff, however, of taking time to tune into YOU is beyond worth it. Tuning into your inner compass can help you:
- Avoid rushing to solutions, because you have time to reflect on what’s really going on underneath the surface.
- Stop doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result because you have space to figure out which strategy will have the best impact.
- Connect back with your own internal wisdom after you’ve consulted others so that you can make decisions with more confidence.
How do you tune into your inner compass?
Meditation is a great way to do this! It’s also been shown to have many benefits on your general sense of health and well-being. The trick is to find a way to do it that works for you and stick with it. It’s kind of like going to the gym – you can’t just go once and think you’re done. There are lots of meditation apps, YouTube videos and online groups available for you to try.
If meditation is not your thing, a quiet walk, your favourite exercise (mine is yoga), or even a creative hobby can help you reconnect to your internal compass enough to help you stay away from those quick fixes that keep you spinning your wheels and instead come up with creative solutions that actually move you forward.
One of my favourite ways of tuning into my internal compass these days is to wake up a little early and sit quietly with myself. During this time, I reflect on the day and the energy I want to bring to the meetings and office work that lie ahead to me. This helps me to shift into greater alignment with my deeply held values, goals, and needs, so that I can be more creative and have the impact that I truly want to have at work.
Looking for a Better Way to Tune into Your Own Inner Compass?
This program is for busy leaders and professionals and it’s specifically designed to help you:
- Enhance your self-awareness so that you can feel more confident when you encounter tough situations.
- Support your emotional well-being so that you can tackle the week ahead with greater insight and impact.
- Recharge your internal batteries so that you can restore your energy and create a healthier, more sustainable future for yourself.