Sitting at my desk, I was livid!
Now, looking back I couldn’t tell you what had made me so angry, but I remember that I probably could have spit nails at the time. A particular staff had once again done something that pushed me so hard that:
I tried to mask what I was feeling
What did I do?
I pushed down the anger as far as I could. I went upstairs with a pasted smile on my face and sat at the head of the table with my group of staff. I then pretended to be polite while I was seething inside as worked my way through the items on the agenda. It was a pretty tense meeting if my memory serves me correctly!
I was focused on making her look bad
Passion and compassion at that moment never came to my mind. Well, violent, angry passion perhaps, but not a passion for my work. At that moment, I had very little desire to connect to the core values of what we were doing or, to the clients we were serving. In fact, my mind was racing with ideas of ways to get back at the staff that had hurt me so much. I was trying to figure out how to make her look bad, instead of me
I wish I could go back in time and try this instead
If I had instead chosen to follow my #leadwithyourheart mantra that I now regularly use to guide me, I suspect things would have been different.
I might have authentically started the meeting with “Something happened this morning that has thrown me off my game. I’d like to do something that reconnects not only me but all of us to why we do this work.”
Here's another way
Or ... I may have sat for two minutes in silent reflection before heading up to the meeting and accessed compassion. But I would have not only found compassion for the person who had made me so angry but also for myself and the situation that I found myself in. That doesn’t mean I would have said “oh poor me” or “oh poor her”. Compassion is about sympathy for another’s misfortunes, but it is also quickly followed by a desire to alleviate their suffering (or my own).
Finding alignment works better
By accessing compassion for a moment, I perhaps would have found where the other person and I aligned. We may both be fighting for the same side: our client. We both may have been feeling concerned about our own work-life balance. We may have had seemingly opposing views yet strikingly similar ones when I stood back and looked at them. A colleague of mine often said we are “violently agreeing”. That may have been the case here too.
Connecting to core purpose and values feels better
By doing this, being compassionate and having the desire to alleviate both of our sufferings, I perhaps would have found a different way of approaching things. Rather, I spend my energy trying to figure out how to get back at her.
Lead with your heart
#leadwithyourheart means that you connect to what is important to you. It is about realigning with your core purpose and values. #leadwithyourheart allows you to slow down and access your intuition and inner guidance. It also pulls out others passions and purpose so that together you align and move forward.
#leadwithyourheart is connected to my other mantra #leadyourway_. I am a compassionate person. By trying to stifle that, I didn't come across as authentic!
Tweaking an Eleanor Roosevelt quote
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” I might suggest, Eleanor tweak what she said to remind us we need to lead both ourselves and others by accessing our heart more often.
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Women leaders often hit a point where they find themselves in over their heads and wondering if they have what it takes to lead.