Once upon a time, I hired a fun-loving woman with great recommendations, strong experience, and impressive tenure. (True Story!)
Not long after she joined our team she began to struggle. Things that she thought would be easy to learn were harder than normal, which chewed away at her confidence, which made it even harder to learn, which ate away even more confidence. Sometimes when we spoke privately, tears flowed.
At one point she shared that in her last role she was so confident that she would put on a pink feather boa. And when she wore it – everyone knew a special announcement was going to be made. Here she wanted to be her authentic self, but was afraid…
Each time we spoke, I would remind her:
- She was grieving. (She had just left a role that she knew backwards and forwards and upside down in a place where she felt understood, appreciated and loved and moved and started a new job.)
- She really was smart, capable, fun and wanted!
- She was focusing more on her mistakes and emotions than on what she knew she could bring and that was causing her to struggle harder.
Then I would pull out Ken Blanchard’s Situational Leadership Model and remind her that SHE WAS NORMAL!!!
- …And then we’d talk about what I could do, what the team could do and what she could do to help her work through the change so that she would feel confident again.
A few months later she bounced into my office to let me know that her brother-in-law had just started a new job and she had shared her lessons and Blanchard’s chart with him!!! (Goosebumps!)
Sharing that experience with her caused me to do a deeper dive into the emotions and needs that each of us have as we experience any type of change in our lives.
I’ve looked backward at my own life, and recognized:
- Distinct patterns of emotions when we relocated to any new city.
- Times that were so challenging they led to confusion, tanked confidence, decreased productivity, and sapped joy.
- Times that I handled change well and swam through it and times I sank.
Paid more attention to others and noticed their struggles much more quickly…
As I coached recent university graduates that hit the same hurdles in their first career jobs. And then as I met with their hiring managers, to help them learn to support their new hires at a higher level… I’ve had the honor of watching men in infamously macho industries recognize their own struggles with change and actually admit them to each other. (Chills!)
And I’ve become much more aware of how change is impacting me in the moment.
This weekend I spent time reviewing the articles I wrote as we prepared for our expat journey and during the first 6 months here and was reminded about how my own thoughts, fears, delays, unknowns and choices fueled my thoughts and emotions. If you are in the midst of any change – at work or personally this swirl of constant thoughts and feelings may be familiar:
Interrupted by a conscious choice to turn this into a fun learning opportunity
- Awe and Thankfulness
- Confusion and Frustration
- Doubt and Fear
Interrupted by conscious choice to admit my fear and adjust my thinking
- Unproductive (I don’t do limbo well!)
Tempted to be frustrated, but chose laughter instead
If they are familiar – then read on! I penned these words during that time and they apply to anyone in the midst of change, yes – even the ones you thought you wanted:
I am in a new place, filled with wonderful people and lots of new opportunities.
I know from past experience that it is wise to meet many people and have lots of experiences as quickly as possible.
I know that even though I’m busy I have not found my “groove” yet.
I know that the human in me wants to grab the reigns and be a part of something as quickly as possible.
I know that I need to stay in explorer mode for a little longer.
I don’t know yet how I will make a difference here. …Time will reveal where I should plug in, and I will make a difference!
Want more about navigating change for yourself or others?
These two are FAVORITES written by others and must be purchased:
- Self-Leadership and The One Minute Manager (This one includes the Situational Leadership Chart I mentioned in the post!)
- The Change Cycle (Includes another incredible visual to help you navigate change.)
These are free from me:
- Click here to read from my change learning laboratory – AKA our expat journey!
- Click here to subscribe to this blog and receive a free download about How to Instigate Change.
Image from The Valley of The Kings Egypt where life from the Nile meets the death of the desert!