My client is a woman in a senior position in her company. She’s extremely bright, hard-working, capable, a seasoned MBA from one of the top business schools. She wants to get promoted to the next level. There’s just a small glitch. She doesn’t get along with her boss. He’s the person who has a lot to say about whether she will get promoted. Research shows that emotional intelligence, the ability to know and manage yourself and others is the single greatest factor in achieving career success. The problem is that she doesn’t trust him and doesn’t think he trusts her either. In fact as we got into her work background, she has had a hard time trusting many of her prior bosses. How does this limit her power and potential?
She feels defensive. In meetings instead of fully listening to others and understanding where they are coming from, and fully expressing her own point of view, she is waiting and ready for the rebuttal. She is ready to do battle and defend herself. The problem is when you approach life ready to do battle, guess what you see all around you? A battle. Your way of seeing the world, “your story” is how everything shows up for you. We generally see only what we believe. It’s a well documented phenomenon called “cognitive dissonance”. As it’s uncomfortable for us to hold two competing beliefs in our heads, we filter the data we receive to fit into our existing beliefs.
Anais Nin said “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are”.
In the process of not seeing things as they are, we lose our power. We discovered a childhood experience that caused my client to “lose trust”. She has relived that childhood experience in work and personal relationships. It’s a decision she made when she was young that has limited her power and what is possible for her in terms of collaborative relationships. As she fully saw her story, my client realized that she had a new opportunity to create a more empowering story about herself and others. There was a visible shift in power.
The mind always works to look for the evidence of any story you have created, so create an empowering story and harness the full power of your mind to prove it right!
So here are the questions you:
1) Where do you feel like your power is limited?
2) What stories have you made up about yourself or others that limits your power?
3) What is a more empowering story you can create for yourself?
4) What is some evidence from the past that your more empowering story is believable?
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To become more aware of your story: Listen to How You Listen
To learn to be more present: Mindfulness practice
This article was written by Henna Inam, executive coach, speaker, and consultant. She works with women to help them realize their potential to be authentic, transformational leaders. They create organizations that drive breakthroughs in innovation, growth, and engagement. Her corporate clients include Coca Cola, UPS, Nestle, J&J, and others who know female leadership talent is good for business. To accelerate your own growth connect with her here. Connect on Twitter @hennainam.