Saturday, February 13, 2010

Raging Tiger

2010’s off and running! The Saints have won the Superbowl, China’s ringing in the Year of the Tiger and the Winter Olympic Games are taking off in Vancouver. But these celebrations don’t give us that much-needed time off of work. Winter vacation seem so long ago, and now it’s just  go-go-go, do-do-do. But where are those bright blue skies that put a bounce in our step? The skies are still grey, the ground covered in snow and spring just seems so far away. With so much going on, are we on the fringe of burn out?
A few things have come up this week that have reminded me of the importance of perspective-taking, of community and of support. First, as an extrovert, I’ve found the “virtual” nature of my job a bit taxing. I long for interaction and deeper connections with my colleagues. On one hand, having researched the human capital field, I know that the best virtual workplaces are finding ways to create community. This is, without a doubt, the advice I would give an organization such as mine if I were on the outside looking in. Instead, I’m on the inside looking out, and the self-talk rises. Am I the only one in the company who feels this way? Am I just a needy new employee? Do I just need to grit my teeth, pull myself up by my bootstraps and get to work? It’s funny how we tend to throw our own best advice out the window when we’re in the middle of the situation … even if it’s to our detriment.
Which gives rise to another thought – sometimes it’s ok that we can’t overcome the doubt and our fears on our own. It doesn’t mean that we’re weak. We’re simply created to need other people. Find those people in your life who bring out the best in you, who can help you step out of your fear and make decisions out of strength. It could be a friend. Or, like me, you could hire a professional coach. The thing I love about my coach is that she asks just the right questions – not the ones that make me doubt myself but ones that help me realize that I do have good ideas and, deep down, I know the steps I need to take. I can move forward, acting out of strength, not out of fear.
So if you’re muddled down, overwhelmed and at risk for burnout, I’ll ask – what advice would you give if you were on the outside looking in? Imagine you are your boss, your clients, or, perhaps, your kids. What does success look like to them? What unreasonable pressures are you giving yourself because you think you have to be everything to everyone? And what do YOU need in your life that will help you achieve that success? More downtime? More connection with friends? More fun? Don’t be afraid to own your needs. While they differ from person to person, we all have them!
Joy, peace and success to you in the Year of the Tiger!

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