So what? A powerful question
Are you neglecting your own development and forgetting to ask yourself 'So what?' every now and then? It's a very powerful question!
Over the last few weeks, I've been taking some golden opportunities to expand my thinking and challenge my practice. I have joined online conferences, webinars, networking sessions and awards ceremonies, meeting new people as well as talking to friends and family, some of whom I haven't met in person for a long time.
As well as managing technology more competently and getting used to my online face (initially by turning off the self-view, but now - progress! - by sticking to the gallery option), I've been learning more about my profession and practice direct from thought leaders from around the world.
I have also been getting back in touch with the things that matter to me; shaking off old thought patterns to delve into what I am feeling and trying to understand why. If I can get to grips with my own situation, I am better able to help others.
Acknowledging and understanding the impact that someone is having on me; considering the impact I am having on others and the world around me - both are a necessary part of being a coach. It takes me back to the ambience of my youth when flower power was still a thing and love was all we needed. When there was time to think because everything went more S - L - O - W - L - Y and, largely, only one thing happened at a time.
Listening to the many online discussions this last few weeks has compelled me to get to grips with my own situation, so I am better able to help others. Heading off my own capacity for self-sabotage and doubt to accept the uncertainty of our volatile world has made me revisit some of the traps I have fallen into over the years. You may recognise some of these traits in yourself.
Being busy-busy-busy all the time; pleasing other people by being efficient at dealing with all the stuff they didn't want to do, learning to manage the difficult things and becoming the good egg who makes it all happen ... oiling the wheels of industry.
Changing course, as I have done a few times now, means rebuilding your reputation over and again. So, I have tended to jump to the offensive in proving to others what I am capable of, yet neglecting my own development needs and forgetting to ask myself the 'So what?' question. Why am I doing this? What is in it for me? I've been too busy being STRONG for the team. Always wanting to say 'Yes' isn't necessarily the right thing to do.
It is flattering to be the go-to person on whom the team relies. For a while. It's not so great when, repeatedly, team members float off up the career ladder, shouting over their shoulders how they couldn't have done it without you, before disappearing into the ether. You can't move on yourself if you are the keystone, the rock that others rely on. Don't get me wrong, we all need to play our parts as trusted team members. But if it is always coming back to you, then there is something wrong.
The scales first started to drop from my eyes when I took part in a development programme for female leaders. Able to take the time to think about what on earth I was doing with my life, I put the focus back on my strengths and where I wanted to make a difference in the world. The programme ran for six months and gave me the push I needed. I was much better for it.
Some time later, I was playing more to my strengths. I was involved in a leadership team development programme , designed to make us think differently, break down long-standing patterns of behaviour, and stand in the future to paint a compelling vision for a large, global organisation. I enjoyed some great 1:1 coaching as part of that programme. The coaching made me face up to how my future is in my own hands. My decisions needed to be better. I had to stop hiding behind the busy work I was doing, and ask myself 'So what?' more often. And challenge others to do the same.
So what? Well, now I am a qualified, self-employed coach, standing in my own future. I love to work with people to help them recognise their inner flame, and thrive. If you recognise anything in my story, then you may want to work with me to help you define your own development journey, refine your leadership style, shine in your career and design your own self-awareness programme.
Give me a call to start your own 'So what?' conversation. There is no time like the present!
Tel: +44 (0)7391 668526