As a breakthrough-performance catalyst, it’s my job to deliver the tough news that makes an impact. To shine a light on the invisible harnesses that hold us back. It’s my way of loving my clients. So are you ready for some loving?
Picture this: it’s Thursday afternoon and GASP — you have lost track of time and need to rush to a meeting with a potential client! NOW! You breathe a sigh of relief as you step into the empty elevator that will deliver you and your stellar proposal to your client. As you turn around, you catch a glimpse of a fellow across the lobby carrying a huge box, huffing and booking his way to your waiting elevator. He feebly signals you with his free pointer finger and you quickly look away doing your best to avoid eye contact.
You look down at the door and see two choices :
DOOR OPEN. DOOR CLOSE.
Which one do you push?
You push the “DOOR CLOSE” and the fellow looks at you confused as the doors shut him out.
Of course, you are a good person, you feel bad for a moment. But then if you listen you will hear something – - a little voice. This voice is telling you a story that quickly breaks up your guilt and turns your attention towards him. Can you imagine what it says?
I’ll give you a moment.
Are you back?
You Sold Out.
You knew that guy was burdened and in a hurry. The gracious thing would have been to hold the elevator – but it would have inconvenienced you. You closed the door and told yourself a story. Selling out can be the hardest thing to own. The details may be different but the bones are always the same:
1. Something happens.
2. A story appears that justifies the sellout.
The key to how we feel lies in the stories we tell. More importantly, the actions we take and the effectiveness of those actions consist of the stories we believe.
I hear a lot of woeful business tales. Lord knows, I’ve even had my own. Many end with a tone of acceptance resignation and the words:
“There’s nothing else I can do.”
Beware! These elaborate stories are filled with characters and twisted plots, masked by emotion and logic. They are creative and clever and designed to help us justify shortcomings and lack of results. Let’s just call it what it is: The Helpless Story. Behind it lurks a sellout. A painful sellout.
Gloria Steinem said, “The truth will set you free. But first it will piss you off.” If you are upset about something… chances are somewhere you’ve sold out.
Consider these common sellouts that you may have recently used. Think about the story you told yourself to justify the results.
• You say yes when you know you should say no – - and then hope that no one follows up to see if you kept your commitment.
• You believe you should talk to someone about concerns you have but you don’t because you are embarrassed.
• You believe in listening respectfully to others but find yourself becoming defensive instead.
• You see big problems with a plan someone presents and believe you should speak up but you don’t.
• You fail to produce a deliverable on time and believe you should let others know but you don’t.
These amazing CEOs know how to explore the causes behind their feelings and their results. They kick their brains into action before their emotions take over. How do they do this? They revisit their stories and do their best to understand the thoughts behind their emotions. I’m sure you will be as inspired as I was by their stories and learn how to adopt the skills that change your heart, your behavior and your results.
On Asking for Help When You Are Embarrassed:
“When I was growing up my mom always said, “If you don’t ask, you won’t receive!” She taught me to ask a long time ago for what I wanted, so it came naturally to me. When you have that philosophy you don’t even think about it and “asking” is just part of the day.
Since 1989, Neutral Posture has been a pioneer in designing state-of-the-art furnishings that improve employee health and well-being and we had experienced tremendous success. But 2 years ago was our toughest year. 2010 was a difficult year from an income standpoint. I was at a meeting of The Committee of 200. The members are women running companies that have at least 20 million in sales or are managing budgets of 250 million and reporting directly to a CEO. So you know you are amongst women who are already at your peer level… a group that has been through this already. Several friends made comments to me saying, “What’s wrong, you don’t seem like yourself? Is everything okay?” I played it off and didn’t really open up which is unlike me because I had always been comfortable with asking. The truth is I didn’t open up because I was embarrassed. 10 days later, I was at a meeting of the Belizean Grove, when I encountered similar friends saying, “This is not you. Where did you go? What is happening?” At that point I knew that if my friends who knew me could tell that I wasn’t the same person, I had to speak up. I asked for help and guidance. I realized I had gotten out of sync with who I am and became averse to risk. With the challenges I had been facing, I got very conservative which was not true to my entrepreneurial spirit. That was the day I got my mojo back. I needed to ask for advice and understanding. I came back from that meeting and my staff was thrilled to see the changes in me. I was back!! After that I turned things around and 2011 was one of our best years ever.
~Rebecca Boenigk http://www.neutralposture.com/
On Reaching Out To Someone Bigger Than You / Or Out Of Your League:
“When I started along this path many years ago I quickly became aware that I had to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously, due to the line of work I had chosen, so I decided to do just that! I wouldn’t waste energy on things that I could not change.
If that means introducing myself to the president of a billion dollar company then that is what I have to do. I remember there was a company that I had been trying to break into since 1986. Can you imagine? I kept calling and calling but never could get an appointment. It turns out the gentleman I wanted to meet with had a nephew working with my direct competitor and as a result I got nowhere forever. So finally, he retired 4 years ago, and I started calling his replacement. Again. No response. This gentleman also wouldn’t return any of my calls.
So I got to thinking, well I’m at the top of my company. I don’t get as many calls as I used to get, perhaps I should just go straight to the top? At this stage, I had nothing to lose. That is what you have to keep in mind. Deep down I can be scared to death but really, what is the worst thing that can happen? So, I called the president of this billion dollar company and left a message telling him what I did, that I had a WBENC certification and I would simply like an opportunity to sit down and talk to someone about what we offer. All I wanted was to be granted an appointment with Sam, and I was having a difficult time getting a response from him. All on a voicemail.
The president called me back within half an hour. He surprised me by doing that, but he did. He was very nice. When he called back he said, “I already spoke to Sam and he is expecting a call from you.” I met with Sam 3 days later and am happy to say after 25 years they are a client because I reached out.”
~Brooke Anne-Scott DeGraaf http://www.compass2.net/pages/home/
So next time you start to hear The Helpless Story you can break out of the sell out by asking three key questions:
1. What’s the story telling me?
2. Am I pretending not to notice my role in this situation?
3. What should I do right now to move toward what I really want?
Decide what you want. Think about the behavior that will get you there. Act. You got this babe.
Let me know how it goes…