We can all agree that judgment permeates our world views these days. Hop on any social media platform and within nanoseconds you are blasted with a fiery back and forth about:

  • Politics (particularly now in the US with the 2020 election just around the corner)
  • Covid-19: mask/no mask, vaccine/no vaccine, is it really that bad?
  • Race: black lives matter vs. all lives matter
  • Police brutality/power
  • Sexual orientation 

You name it, we can find a way to be divided on it.

Just yesterday I was scrolling through LinkedIn and noticed a post from a transgender man celebrating his new identity as well as his company for its support through his transition. Since my practice and company are founded on the vision of fostering unwavering self acceptance and self worth to believe anything is possible, I celebrated with him by commenting on his courage and determination to speak and embrace his truth. 

The comment directly below mine, however, was filled with disgust around the topic and judgment for posting it on LinkedIn. The person believed transgender transition doesn’t belong on a social media platform geared toward connecting professionals – “there’s no place for that here”. Well curiosity got the better of me, and I scrolled through more comments. Judgment was more prevalent than support … for at least as long as I scrolled.

And the cycle continued

Because I’m human and can be triggered, I immediately went to judgment. How can people be so hateful and unsupportive? How can they say something is too personal for LinkedIn when our profession is rooted in our person? Have we really gotten here? Is this truly the level of hate and divisiveness that exist? 

I could feel the anger and resentment rising in my throat. I wanted to scream and respond to these people to let them know their comments were disgusting and rude; that their close-minded views are wrong and only add to our continued divide. 

As I started to craft a response, I stopped. I stopped dead. Not only was I perpetuating my own pattern of anger, frustration, and judgment, but also theirs. Additionally, I was allowing my need to be right hijack my energy and take away from what I always want to accomplish; to show empathy and compassion for everyone’s point of view, regardless of my agreement with it, and break the cycle of constant judgment.

Where judgment starts

The root of all judgment is one of three of things (in no particular order):

  • Self [ego] preservation. Our self judgment is so strong we judge others to level the playing field. We get into a pattern of beating ourselves up so badly (i.e. our established insecurities), we project it onto others to give ourselves a break. It also creeps up when we see traits in others we want, but perceive we don’t have. We judge to make ourselves feel better.
  • The absence of a highly regarded personal value. We all hold certain values near and dear to our hearts whether we know it or not. And when one (or more) of them are missing from a situation, relationship, whatever, our anger and judgment rise because we can’t access it.
  • A highly regarded personal value is triggered from the outside. When someone is in direct contrast to what we hold dear, we judge their inability to understand it. We can’t grasp any reason as to why they also don’t find it important.

Regardless of the source, it convinces us we have to win and hijacks our minds and energy until we think we have. We’ll keep the cycle going until we’ve perceived that we have the upper hand. It distracts us from accessing the most effective sides of ourselves and moving forward in a productive manner. Rather we engage in forcing our way or will onto or into something/someone else. Our minds and hearts are blocked by our own destructive energy. It’s in this space we make rash decisions that don’t reflect our truest selves and how we truly want to show up.

Interrupting my Pattern

I deeply honor everyone’s right to speak their truth. We’re all here to be individuals and live in a way that’s meaningful to us. And so when the transgendered gentleman’s truth was challenged with so much hate and disgust, I snapped. I wanted to project and protect my point of view as well as a fellow human. All of which makes total sense! It’s important to me, and I want to be able to speak up and out for what I believe is just. I’ve struggled to find my voice when it matters most and I wanted to show up for someone else whose truth was being bashed. But with that, my anger and judgment were all consuming. They were all I could see, taste, and feel. Responding with such disdain was not how I wanted to show up.

So I asked myself these 2 questions:

  • What about their point of view is actually mine to judge? 
  • What will I keep myself from accomplishing today if I hang onto this judgment?

Yes. I vehemently disagree with every dissenting comment I read. Yes. The collective points of view fly in the face of love, compassion, support, and genuine human connection, all of which are deeply important to me. But what is judging them going to change? No comment I write will change their minds. It will only fuel the fire and my anger, as well as maintain our [collective] divisiveness. 

The only thing my judgment does is hijack my energy and prevent me from accessing my highest self. The self that wants to demonstrate empathy towards everyone even when it’s REALLY hard. And plus, if I honor one person’s truth, how can I not honor another’s? Though there’s no part of it I remotely agree with it, it’s their truth. 

Interrupting your Patterns

Differing points of view are a fact of life. Judgment and anger are inevitable because we’re made to be different. It’s unnatural for 7B people to think the same and agree on everything.

Without a doubt something said in a meeting, on a text, in a Facebook post will set you off today, if it hasn’t already. The urge to fight, stand your ground, and prove you’re right will bubble up inside of you. You’ll be tempted to keep punching until you have the upper hand …  

Which makes perfect sense! Of course you want to speak up for what you believe in, establish your sense of self, and protect yourself and others. Though if that desire brings about a pattern of judgment and anger that hijacks your energy to the point it’s all consuming, take a breath and ask yourself these 5 questions:

  • Where’s my judgment coming from? (self/ego preservation, absent value, triggered value)
  • What about this situation has me thinking I have to win?
  • If I go down the combative path, what will I have actually won?
  • How will a “winning” outcome further my ability to get what I want?
  • What’s another way to approach this situation to more effectively control my mindset?

Taking the next step

Nothing about this is easy or simple. It takes A LOT of work. Despite the fact of having the awareness of where my judgment comes from and tools to redirect it for the last 18 months, it’s been only in the last nine that I’ve made progress in interrupting my patterns. 

Deepening your self awareness and taking control of your mindset are the not-so-secret ingredients to untangling the mental and emotional chaos that’s preventing you from finding the clarity and confidence to run after what you want.

If you’re struggling to let go of anger and judgment and you believe it’s getting in the way of accessing your most productive self, reach out today. I’m passionate about working with women to step up, step out and go after their dreams on their time and on their terms. The most effective way to do that is to interrupt the judgment and anger patterns that hold you back and repurpose them to drive you forward.

Be the version of yourself you’ve always dreamed of being. 

I can’t. I literally can’t. I work my ass off 60 hours a week. At no point has a PTO day been remotely “O”. I spend more than half of my days off answering emails, fielding calls, putting out fires, and trying to get actual work done. And yet, I’m still hearing that I’m “inaccessible; no one can ever get a hold of me for answers or direction”.

I’ve rewritten next week’s strategic plan three times trying to hit the ever moving target of Stan’s message and direction. I’m just gonna leave it; can’t do anything else at this point.

I can’t stop thinking about my tone and delivery during today’s team meeting. Angela was visibly upset and left without making eye contact with anyone or saying another word. 

Not to mention, it’s 11P and I have 50 emails to get through along with the project plan I promised Stan 3 days ago.

Sh*t! I just remembered I have the 7:30 meeting tomorrow morning and Zac needs a treat for his class party. **** it! I’m just going to bed.

[Fast forward 2 hours later still lying awake].

I feel horrible about what I said to Angela. I didn’t mean for it to come out as harshly as it did. She was visibly pissed and immediately shut down. I really need her to take a big role in next week’s presentation. Now I’m worried she won’t want to after today.

I should have taken a breath and counted to 10 before I just blurted out I wasn’t onboard with her idea. I know pausing helps me find more filtered and compassionate words. I didn’t even give it a fair shot.

Damn it! Why did I do that? I’m her manager. I should know and act better. Great example I’m setting.

UGH! Tomorrow will be so awkward. I don’t even know what to say. I really don’t want to deal with it. 

[4 hours later when the alarm goes off]

Oh for the love, when will this stop? When will I have some control?

Oh ****! I still have to get those damn treats. 

When Life Feels Out of Control

This is an excerpt from my life 2 years ago. When it seemed as if level one lens was superglued to my face and I was convinced the weight of the world was mine alone to bear and there was absolutely no way to escape it. It was, and always would be, my life. There was no way out. I was stuck. 

Not only did I feel I had absolutely no control over my situation at work, nor any say in how to make it better, but my husband was a SAHD because he had just left his job. I was the sole breadwinner and I had just taken a new position. There was no way I could leave so quickly. It would definitely be noticed and noted on my resume. So, every morning, I woke up to this crippling despair and anxiety because there was literally no way out. 

The Zone of Destructive Energy

This is the zone of no glimmer of constructive/anabolic energy. It is destructive and catabolic through and through. It’s the zone of apathy and inaction. The moments when you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know what to do, so you choose nothing. It’s as if all your decision making skills completely vanish because you don’t see anything but what you’re experiencing. The thoughts and feelings are so deep and have such a strong hold, you’re convinced life couldn’t be any other way; there are no other options to explore. You’re blocked from seeing a way out. And it’s in this space your sense of worth and confidence are little to even non-existent. You’re constantly worried about what happens and what’s said feeling shame for your part in it because you “should” have done it differently. All of this weight prevents you from moving forward.

This is also the space your inner naysayer is screaming the loudest. Why? Because the thoughts and feelings are so heavy. They’re painful and so your naysayer steps in to offer a bit of protection from them. That’s how he/she/it got there in the first place – to minimize the weight that comes from experiencing destructive energy.

But … Not All Hope Is Lost

One of the most imperative tenets on this topic – i.e. energy and how it’s experienced – is that there is no good or bad, right or wrong, black or white. Whatever we experience just … is. Plain and simple. And while based on the narrative, it may not seem as if there is any upside, there absolutely is! When experienced, this energy allows for moments of sympathy and support from others.

Think about your own experiences in this space. No doubt you can pinpoint when others gave you attention and offered their sympathy, and maybe even some advice and help to initiate action. 

BUT … There’s a Flip Side

With every advantage comes a disadvantage. Experience this energy too often (that is, form unconscious thought, feeling, and action patterns when it surfaces) and you run the risk of alienating friends, family, and coworkers because you’re unable to get out of your own way. You’ll struggle to get out from the weight of your thoughts and feelings, and genuinely believe your naysayer’s message that you’re unworthy, making it that much harder to go after what you actually want.

Moving Forward with Awareness

The first step in any journey is awareness. Awareness that this energy exists. It’s a part of the human condition, though we’re always at choice as to whether we experience it or not and knowing that if we do, there’s a reason for it, which brings us to the second step in the journey … 

Taking the Next Step with Acceptance

Acceptance that it’s perfectly normal to experience everything that comes with this energy state. Because of course it is! You’re human! You live to be autonomous; to make your own decisions; to freely practice free will. So when your life experiences continue to pile on (from work, work, family, or even a global pandemic) and their collective weight seems insurmountable, it makes total sense you feel

  • overwhelmed and unable to keep up
  • worried about what will or won’t happen next
  • guilty about what you could have done differently with hindsight being 20/20

Speaking of 2020, this year is a phenomenal case study in this energy space. With 95% of our choices taken away from us, we collectively put on our level one lenses and spiraled to some dark places. (Hell, I’ll be the first to admit as a coach who’s trained in all of this, I had some ROUGH moments to be coached through over the last 7 months). Places we weren’t certain we’d ever escape, and yet here we are! Open to seeing more options available to us, and making every effort to move forward to the third step on our journeys. 

What Can You Allow Yourself to Believe?

Maybe you’re not yet out of your 2020 funk, or regardless of this year, this energy state is prominent for you. One, it’s perfectly normal. When this energy is experienced, it’s a lot to work through. It incites deep established patterns of thoughts and feelings around being trapped and overwhelmed, which take time to unravel and repurpose. So take just a few steps forward to recognize there are options available.

  • Step 1: Gain awareness that change/something different is possible and it’s what you want
  • Step 2: Accept that you absolutely have the courage ability to make whatever change you want happen.
  • Step 3: Continually allow yourself to believe in your awesome and unique talents and creativity to bring it to life

What can you allow yourself to believe about yourself that will propel you one step closer to stepping into your power and creating a life true to your most authentic self?

Challenging yourself in these moments takes courage and support. If you’re struggling to alleviate yourself of this energy and feel consistently stuck in a pattern of overwhelm, lack of options, and inaction let’s connect. There are several coaching options we can explore to get you moving forward. I’d love to hop on a 20 minute call to hear what comes up for you in this space. What’s the number one thing that keeps you from going after what you want?

Live your truth. Unabashedly you. You are worthy.

Energy – the lens through which we filter our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and thus see ourselves, our peers, and the world at large. We now know the concept of energy can be split into two categories: 

  • Destructive: that which when experienced brings us and our awareness of what’s possible down
  • Constructive: that which when experienced raises our awareness and ability to move forward 

The coaching certification I completed, iPEC, labels them as catabolic and anabolic respectively. Similar to the hormones of the same name that produce similar effects within the body.

The 7 Lenses

So what if I told you energy can be labeled even more specifically? Categorized into 7 different lenses that help to deepen your understanding and awareness, and further your ability to articulate how they shape your view of yourself and the world? 

What follows is my interpretation of iPEC’s teaching and the philosophies set forth by its founder, Bruce Schneider.

LensThoughtsFeelingsActions
1I’m stuck. No way out.Apathy; IndifferenceWallow; No Action
2I must win. There’s conflict.Anger; ResentmentDefy; Judge; Fight
3It’s Fine. We’re good.ForgivenessTake responsibility; Compromise
4I care. There’s concernCompassion; KindnessServe; Help
5There’s opportunity.Peace; CalmAccept differences; Believe
6We’re all connectedJoy; Delight; Pure EmpathyConnect; Lead with Intuition
7Complete & full objectivityPure passion; BlissCreate from nothing; Manifest
7 Lenses of Energy based on the teachings of iPEC and its founder, Bruce Schneider

One

Represents the most destructive [catabolic] state we experience. It’s here where impostor syndrome and our loudest inner naysayer thrive and play over the loudspeaker. Fear is abundant in this space. We stay small because we have no confidence and we don’t see any other options. We make very little movement, if at all, toward anything. 

Two

Our fight response. When we’re triggered by something or potentially grown tired of our own wallowing, we experience anger and resentment toward someone or the situation. We start to fight to gain control and we judge others to [typically] avoid our own pain. 

It’s with lens 1 and 2 that we deflect. We lack (or don’t take) responsibility for what’s happening.

Three

The tipping point into more constructive [anabolic] energy. With this lens, we start to experience more responsibility for what we think, feel, and do. It’s marked by more compromise and cooperation partnered with justification and rationalization to move forward. 

Four

This is where love and compassion reside. It’s here that we experience energy focused on support and service aimed at solving problems and fixing what seems to be broken. (*ahem* moms).

Five

The land of opportunity! This is where we experience and often think, “everything happens for a reason”. We’re more open to recognizing when and how circumstances that don’t go the way we intended could actually be a lesson learned and beneficial in the long run. We eliminate judgment and experience peace in this space.

Six

We tap into the visionary side of our existence. We feel connected not only to our highest potential, but to everyone else with pure empathy and understanding for what they think and feel. Knowing full well it doesn’t affect our energy or ability to move forward. This is where intuition kicks in and we feel an empowering sense of joy and purpose.

Seven

The most constructive [anabolic] of all. This is where we experience THE absolute highest version of ourselves. The one capable of creating something out of nothing, as well as complete and total objectivity around everyone’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

Reacting vs. Responding

It’s apparent by now, the higher the level, the more constructive [anabolic] the energy experienced. To best understand and apply each lens, envision them along a continuum. Each one represents a point on that continuum that can be experienced at any given moment. There are a few very important things to note:

  • Each lens has its advantages and disadvantages – we’ll dive into that in future posts
  • You cannot BE a specific lens. They’re not labels; simply experienced based on what you experience
  • You’ve experience all 7 at some point in your life; and potentially in the same day

This last point often surprises clients as we dive deeper into their journey. Now that you’ve learned a little bit about each lens, you can likely pinpoint very specific instances in which you experienced some of them. It’s also likely any instances that brought about lenses 1-3 stand out more than others, which makes total sense! It’s there we experience some of the strongest and lasting thoughts and emotions (guilt, shame, fear, anger, resentment, judgment). However, it’s 100% true that you’ve also experienced 6 & 7, you just didn’t take as much notice. Why?

Well one, as a human, you’ve gotten REALLY good at never giving yourself enough credit for something so enlightening. And two, you don’t experience them as often as you’d like because you’ve created default patterns in what energy you experience. Those default patterns typically run through the lower, more destructive [catabolic] lenses. Meaning, you’ve gotten really good at unconsciously reacting to situations and running default programs to deal with life vs. responding  more consciously in a way that represents who you really are at any given moment. It’s the difference between showing up how you “always have” vs. how you want when any stimulus is thrown your way. (Though here’s a hint – you haven’t “always” shown up destructively. It was learned over time, which is totally normal! 7 billion others have done/are doing the same). 

Consciously Choosing a Lens

One of my deepest held values is listening, being heard. By now you likely know my loudest inner naysayer convinced me I didn’t have a voice worthy of being heard, so I spent years not living my full truths because I couldn’t say them or if I did, feeling unbelievably unworthy if they weren’t acknowledged or listened to. 

When I became a mom, I didn’t have any challenges speaking my truths to my kids. I’ve always been very vocal about my love, adoration, and expectations with them. Well wouldn’t you know, they’re kids. They don’t always listen. Level 2 came in waves the second my boys didn’t listen at all or had to be told 1,587 times to do something. My default pattern was, “Well someone isn’t listening to me. I must fight to be heard!” I’m sure you can imagine what happened next. 

It wasn’t until after learning about the energy lenses (and A LOT of deep work into my inner naysayer) that I understood why I reacted the way I did. It was my go-to programming. Not being heard?! Well, fight until you are! With my raised awareness, I now realize their lack of listening has nothing to do with me, and my reaction absolutely does! When situations like this pop up now, I tend to choose lens 5. What’s the opportunity for me here? How can I present this in a way that resonates more with them so that I am heard in a way that works for me?

I can’t say with 100% truth that I’m always able to consciously interrupt my anger pattern when not listened to, but I’m much more effective at choosing a different perspective to avoid a fight. 

You’re in the Driver’s Seat

Having the awareness of the energy lenses and how they show up allows you to change yours at any given moment. It gives you more succinct and specific language to acknowledge what you’re thinking and feeling, and to take control so that you work them vs. them working you. You’re in the driver’s seat! From this moment forward, you’re empowered with the notion that no one can make you feel anything you don’t want. Sure their words, actions, or lack thereof can trigger something, but that’s completely up to you! 

So what does this matter?

So what does this have to do with transformation and fostering self worth and self acceptance to accomplish your dreams? In a word, everything. Knowing and understanding the concept of energy and how it manifests in your life is at the heart of self acceptance, growth, and ultimately achieving your dreams. It provides the avenue to get out of your own way, to stop playing small; to alleviate any guilt, shame, anger, fear, frustration that you’ve believed is who you are up to this point. It’s not! It’s simply the lens you unconsciously chose to wear. Now you have 7 from which to choose! Which do you want to wear?!

It’s Time to Take Action

There is so much to this concept of energy. So much so, it’s at the epicenter of my coaching strategy. It drives every client relationship. Simply put, I don’t follow your story. I follow the energy around your story. Together we maximize your constructive [anabolic] energy, and actively work through the destructive [catabolic] energy. We acknowledge it, unpack it, and release it so that you’re in the best possible position to propel yourself forward to accomplish your biggest desires.

Any destructive energy you’ve experienced until now does not define you. It’s not who you are. You are capable of experiencing constructive energy at any moment. The first step in the journey is awareness. Now that you know there are other choices, it’s time to take action. 

What lens do you want to put on today? 

Live your truth. Unabashedly you. You are worthy. 

Two years ago, I was struggling… BAD! I constantly found myself asking, “what the hell is going on?” While I experienced joy and connection in moments, it felt as if I had become frustration, anger, overwhelm, and resentment. It was exhausting because while I was doing a lot, I wasn’t doing anything of significance. I couldn’t stand myself. I wanted a way out from my own thoughts and emotions. I wanted to be something, do something bigger, better – in line with the person I knew myself to be, but couldn’t find among the chaos of crippling emotion.

The High 

Every morning I’d wake up well before any human really should, excited to get a jump start with my daily workout. I practically ran to the gym to see my coach and friends, beyond eager to find out what was in store for us that day. To say my giddyness and motivation soars when it comes to working out is a gigantic understatement. When faced with a challenging workout, nothing stands in my way. I have every confidence I can and will make it through. So by 6A I was physically exhausted and on cloud 9. 

The Low

By 6:15 no shred of that ready-to-take-on-the-world Lauren existed. It was as if my high never happened. The dread of work settled in, and it was very deep. So deep I would cry and then find every excuse to delay the inevitable of getting ready and making the commute. 

  • Scan FB and Insta for a good 20 minutes after I got home
  • Put my clothes away from yesterday’s laundry
  • Help get the boys ready for school (even though Brad was a SAHD at the time and had it all handled)
  • Root through the fridge to see what I might make for dinner … tomorrow

If it distracted me from the suffocating anxiety associated with any thought of work, I was all in even if it wasn’t something I overly enjoyed. 

By the time I arrived at work, the weight of the world was lighter than what weighed on my mind, heart, and soul. There was rock bottom, 50 ft. of crap, and then me. (Free mini coaching session if you know that reference…seriously. Schedule here). There were fleeting moments of laughter, joy, connection, and movement forward, though the majority of the time I felt trapped, suffocated, angry, resentful. 

Every email was like straight pins under my fingernails. Waterboarding was more attractive than meetings. I couldn’t think or reason. My mind was a bowl of mush. I was short and defensive in communications. Actively avoiding certain people and situations just to breathe and find moments of clarity became my MO. “Are you ******* kidding me?” was my go-to, under-my-breath  catch phrase. Yet stuff got done. Things moved forward. I received praise for what I accomplished. Though NONE of it was easy or of any interest whatsoever.

I was burned out, stressed, and worn down. Simply put, I was a hot mess. And funnily enough not just because of work, but because I intuitively knew my thoughts and feelings, and ultimately my actions, weren’t me. 

Finding Clarity

It wasn’t until I was introduced to the concept of energy through coaching that this roller coaster started making sense. Simply having more succinct language to describe my thoughts and emotions brought peace and clarity. It provided a way to compartmentalize and separate what I was feeling from my person. I had felt such destructive emotions for so long I started to believe it was just “who I am” even though intuitively I knew it wasn’t. I couldn’t create distance between them and me until I learned about energy and how it shows up for me. 

Types of Energy

Destructive energy is draining and noxious. It incites: worry, fear, guilt, shame, helplessness, dread, confinement, paralysis, overwhelm, anger, judgment, resentment, apathy, frustration, and resistance. All the things you feel when you’re burned out and stressed; pushed passed your limits. (i.e. work)

Constructive energy is uplifting and expanding. It incites: release, motivation, compromise, inclusion, love, forgiveness, joy, empathy, compassion, peace, understanding, joy, connection, passion, and spontaneous creation. All the things you feel when you’re completely committed to something and believe in your ability to reach full potential. (i.e. working out)

Neither are good nor bad, right nor wrong. Both have advantages and disadvantages. Destructive energy allows you to push through in the face of stress and difficulty. It’s your lizard brain at work! Something really challenging in front you? You experience a surge of stressful power to forge ahead. Experienced long term it will take its toll on your mental, emotional, and physical well being. 

Constructive energy provides the opportunity to make your dreams come true. It gives you clarity and spurs inspiration to fulfill your passions and give you genuine joy. Stay in this space too long, and you can disconnect from those around you and the human experience, or perhaps take on more risks than intended. 

Energy Awareness Deepens Self Awareness

The introduction to these concepts blew my mind and world wide open! Simply putting words to my thoughts and emotions brought about a new level of personal influence, particularly during my destructive moments. That it “wasn’t just me and who I am”. It’s a concept and phenomenon shared by all humans.

As a coach, energy is at the very heart of what I do. It’s the nucleus to every coaching relationship and the foundation upon which every client builds their awareness and thus makes their intended shifts. When I introduce it I’m usually met with a “oh this ‘touchy feely’ concept should be stunning” kind of look. Any new concept can be challenging to accept at first, particularly when it’s intangible like energy, so it’s understandable skepticism rises to the surface. But once we dig in, there’s no going back. It’s so powerful it’s hard to imagine life without the knowledge of energy and its influence on our individual and collective lives. Energy is the lens through which we view ourselves, others, and the world around us. It’s the essence of our success.

Making Energy Work for You

Destructive energy halts progress. It’s the barrier standing in front of you. It prevents you from making the leap to run after your dreams. You’ve been dying to do something big in your life, but find yourself stuck in a swirl of chaos. Now’s your chance to start getting out of your own way by understanding when you experience energy that works for you and when you don’t. Take the next week to scan your energetic environment. Each day record moments to bring more awareness and clarity. You’ll likely start to see patterns.

  • What’s the situation?
  • Who’s involved?
  • What time of day?
  • What kind of energy do you think you felt?
  • What thoughts came to mind?
  • What emotions surfaced in the moment?
  • How do you react?
  • How did the reaction serve you?
  • What emotions did you feel a few hours after the incident?
  • What did you learn about yourself related to that specific instance?

Awareness is the first step to every solution. Armed with the knowledge of energy and how it shows up in your life provides a level of empowerment and influence that puts YOU in the driver’s seat. Once you have a better understanding of how each type of energy shows up for you, then you’re in a position to start unraveling the why, which is the real game changer! More on that to come … 😉

I recently started a guilty pleasure on Netflix, Selling Sunset. It’s a “reality” show that follows the real estate agents of the Oppenheim Group – one of the top real estate brokerages in the Hollywood Hills. The entire workforce (except for the owners) is about 6 20-30 something up and coming, competitive women real estate agents. So you can only imagine how things are positioned between them to spice things up (and get ratings). Complete and utter train wreck, though it actually teaches a great deal about workplace dynamics and leadership.

Side note, they absolutely need an HR leader because, for the love of everything holy, some unbelievable inappropriateness goes down in every episode. I literally cringe.

How Reality TV Connects to the Workplace

Well from the most obvious standpoint, it follows a company 🙂 To get more granular, one of their many arguments struck a chord when someone said, “well at least I’m being honest.”

For some backstory, there’s quite a bit of gossip that goes on among the team. It can be painstakingly awkward and uncomfortable. Long story short, two of the women were having a private conversation about one of their co-worker’s relationships. It later got brought up with the entire group. Drama immediately ensued (and understandably so. The topic of conversation wasn’t appropriate in any work setting). One of the women tried to be more delicate about this situation and soften the details, while the other was much more direct and forceful. Both threw the other under the bus, and as you can assume, it was an absolute hot mess.

So what does this have to do with honesty and [personal] leadership? The character who was being more delicate discussed what happened, but excluded relevant details that didn’t paint 100% accuracy of the situation. The other, who said, “well at least I’m being honest”, was more truthful about what the other woman said, but didn’t give her own whole side of the story either.

The crazy thing is neither were right or wrong. Clearly ineffective, but not right nor wrong. (Mind blowing, right?) They both presented their sides of the story based on THEIR truths. One happened to come from the vantage point of trying to skirt her full involvement and spare everyone’s feelings. The other came from wanting to get it all out in the open and present her truth as the only one.

Either can work because they both have their advantages (and disadvantages). The ultimate [leadership] lesson is to know that neither is good nor bad and that YOU possess both (and much more). It’s a matter of knowing which tactic to utilize and when.

Finding the Most Effective Angle

You may not always pick the “right” tactic, but there are some go-to considerations to keep in mind when unearthing “truth”/handling conflict:

  • Your energy: If you’re approaching from the vantage point of wanting to spare feelings you’re experiencing “nurturing” energy. The pull to take care of others and ensure they feel OK, safe, [somewhat] happy. And potentially sacrificing your own point of view. If you’re approaching from “well at least I’m honest”, you’re experiencing “competitive” energy. You’re judging the other person, you feel compelled to win (at all costs), and you aim to take the other person down. You may “win” the argument, but damage the relationship.
  • Their energy: You can’t guess or predict where someone is coming from nor how they’ll progress in a disagreement. The only thing you can control is YOU. You can pick up on where they are based on what they say and how the act, but you can’t fully know. That provides you the opportunity to adjust YOUR energy as warranted to generate the most effective outcome.
  • Context: While the argument may be about one thing, energy presented could be something totally different. You can never know what just happened to someone before the conversation started. Maybe they just had a bad meeting or received an annoying email that set them off. Hell, you may not even know/realize where your immediate energy came from in the moment. While you may have been harboring nurturing or competitive energy (or something completely different), it could have just been amplified x1000 by some un/subconscious thing and you’re in a completely different space than even you anticipated.

What it all boils down to …

Any form of leadership is ALL about self awareness, which is the ultimate truth. You can be the absolute best at strategy development, presentations, delegation, organization, but if you don’t know yourself and how to manage YOU in any situation well then it’s all for nothing. Conflict and the “need for honesty” stems from our respective truths never quite being equal because we all come to any proverbial table full of baggage that clouds our ability to see anything else beyond our personal truth. Building self awareness, humility, adaptability, resilience, and empathy stem from taking intentional time to unravel our own mental, emotional, and behavioral DNA. Once we have a deep understanding of our past experiences and how they contribute to our baggage, only then can we move forward with our highest potential and most effective [personal] leadership.

Interested in learning more about your workplace DNA? Schedule an appointment to talk about coaching options or sign up to take the ELI assessment.

The last few months, more specifically the most recent weeks, have raised a lot of emotions. And understandably! 2020 rolled around; looked at us all square in the eyes and said, “Hold on to your hats folks! You’re in a for a bumpy ride!”

For months we upended our entire lives. We conducted everything out of our homes with only our immediate family. As social beings who crave connection, both in and outside our family unit, nothing about it was normal! It took its toll on our collective physical, mental, and emotional health. In the middle of all that, a heinous crime caught on tape sparked a racial conversation that has all sides of the spectrum constantly posting, commenting, writing about it – working to convince everyone else to see it their way.

These are difficult times! Values are being challenged, perspectives are being pushed, and so of course emotions are running high all over the place. How could they not be?! It would be shocking if they weren’t.

And so of course it stands to reason in the midst of all of this, equality is top of mind.

  1. It’s extremely important
  2. It’s a universal right [that should be] bestowed on every single human
  3. It doesn’t exist consistently

Though what I’ve noticed is that because we’re all trying to get someone to see our side, genuine equality evades us. If someone doesn’t see it (regardless of what it is) we move to judgment and alienation. We continue to state our claim and expect others to jump onboard. And when they don’t, we shut them out and move on. Thus never reaching or maintaining an equality mindset on any side of the spectrum for any spectrum (race, politics, sexual orientation, religion, pandemic, etc.)

And so around and around we go.

Equality extends well beyond the physical demographics and labels we’ve created. It includes difference in thought. We can’t claim to seek equality and acceptance on say something like race, if we’re unwilling to accept a different point of view on it. That includes any point of view that differs from ours in any way – even if we’re working toward the same outcome from different paths. In those moments, we’re seeking equality solely on our terms. When we choose to shun and/or shut people out of our lives because they think differently or they’re not showing as much emotion and vigor about a topic, we’re not willing to seek equality and acceptance for that [different] mindset.

How can anyone approach or respond to a topic in the same way you do? They simply can’t. They don’t have the same value system – or if they do, it definitely doesn’t translate in the exact same way for them. Nor have they had the experiences that dictate your thoughts and feelings. It’s not anyone’s responsibility to carry the emotions you carry for a certain topic or cause in the exact same way you do. And vice versa. Nor is anyone’s reaction to a topic or cause yours to judge. And here’s the toughest part – even when it’s abhorrent, heinous, controversial, or painful.

And so the divide remains. And when there’s any divide, there is no equality.

Equality is the outcome.

Just because someone thinks differently than we do, doesn’t mean they’re against us. We all know the world is not that binary. But in moments of high emotion and challenged perspectives, it’s only natural to think, “well if she doesn’t see it exactly how I do or doesn’t come at it with as much emotion, she must not support me.” It’s a form of protection and personal safety. We don’t want to feel someone isn’t in our corner, so we return the favor. We bar them from belonging with us and we bar ourselves from belonging with them.

Equality is the outcome. Creating and fostering belonging is the path for getting there. Until we can all embrace each other’s differences and create a sense of belonging, (even in the most divisive and emotionally charged instances) equality will continue to evade us.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m still on the journey of living this kind of life. By no means have I mastered it. There are specific instances and people who trigger me to no end and challenge my values to a point I can’t even see straight, which induce self-imposed barriers that can be difficult to tear down. But damn it if I’m not trying my hardest to walk this talk.

Moving forward

This isn’t easy. If it were, it wouldn’t surface for us to deal with. And our 21st century world of instant information and opinion sharing doesn’t make it easier to effectively process. When we think we have a handle on our own thoughts or emotions, something else pops up and we starting spinning to make sense of it all. To struggle in this moment with these topics is human. If you’re willing to step into this uncomfortable space and root through what’s coming up for you, reach out. Let’s connect. Life wasn’t meant to gone alone and whatever the thoughts, we all belong here.

If your mind immediately when to Ross Gellar, we’re BFFs.

Every business – regardless of industry, focus, or size – pivots at some point in its journey. If not multiple points. My business was officially opened in November 2019, and has pivoted 4 times. Some of that has to do with me being new to this game and feeling my way through it. The other stuff has to do with it “just not feeling right”. My intuition knows when something just isn’t quite “right”. It does an amazing job of letting me know too; whether or not I listen in the moment.

The first turning point

When Covid-19 hit, I went into support mode. As a business owner and coach, I wanted to put myself in a position to be there for those who didn’t want to go it alone or maybe felt they couldn’t in the moment. My immediate thought went to HR because as a function it hit hard. I lived through the 2008 recession in HR and it wasn’t fun. Spending weeks gathering information on who needs to be let go in silence is thoroughly exhausting. The mental capacity it takes to walk around with 100s of people’s livelihood and well-being in your hands is enough to break anyone – no matter how tough. So I created the HR Chat Series the #otherfrontline. I spoke with a number of people in and outside the industry who supported me and I ran!

Every session has been AMAZING! I’ve re-connected with a lot of great people in my network and met even more! The experience has been nothing short of incredible, and I’m confident attendees have gotten a lot out of the experts who’ve been showcased.

So why change?

Jenny Williams was my guest on the most recent episode. Her mindset moment touched my soul and intuition deeply that day. “If you knew you could always accomplish your dreams, would you dream bigger?” I was a resounding, “HELL YES!” I’ve had loads of fun with the HR space, but I want to take it bigger. And ironically with a more focused audience.

(Nearly) Every marketing guru and/or business coach will tell you, make your niche very specific. Admittedly, I’ve had a hard time with this one as evidenced by my 4 pivots thus far. It wasn’t until Jenny’s question along with some deep meditation and reflection that it finally made sense. As a coach:

  • My clients are wildly successful working moms who down play their superpowers and convince themselves they aren’t special.
  • Though at the same time, my clients feel they’re not stepping into their full potential and want something spectacular for themselves. They are hungry to make a big splash!
  • My clients are tenacious go-getters who take accountability for getting in their own way, but more importantly, want to do the hard work to get out of it!

With this new found clarity, the HR Chat Series is pivoting to focus on this space. The segments will focus on supporting badass working moms whose intuition constantly reminds them they’re capable of so much more, but who’s minds and hearts have convinced them otherwise. #ReleaseYourHero

Jenny Williams, Sr. HR Business Partner with GE Aviation, kicked her servant leadership mindset into high gear when Covid-19 hit. One tiny LinkedIn post about helping displaced workers with their resumes blew up – in the most amazing way! In the last 10 weeks, she’s supported 62 individuals … and still counting … doctor up their resumes and find new positions. Her energy, outlook, and approach to not just this project, but life in general, are truly inspiring!

Who is Jenny?

Jenny has worked in HR for over 20 years. She’s held positions in every aspect of the employee life cycle. From recruiting to performance management to salary design to labor relations and everything in between. She’s seen it all. Her experience runs far and wide. So when she decided to employ her recruiting and resume services, it wasn’t a stretch. She often says, “I’m not unique,” but that certainly isn’t the case – AT ALL. As part of her process, Jenny utilizes a graphic resume template. Something outside the traditional chronological list. Something to spark a recruiter’s interest. She also sends each individual a summary of how to manage a phone interview, as well as a personalized piece of encouragement. Something that speaks to the individual she’s helping. That encouragement is the magic. That encouragement is what makes Jenny and her servant leadership so unique.

Highlights from our chat

  • Values and faith-based leadership brand: Jenny connects herself spiritually to a higher power and has taken a lot of time to develop her closest held values. Every time she needs to make a decision or is presented with a new situation, she gut checks those values. If everything is aligned to them as well as her heart, she moves forward. Living in this way has strengthened her leadership style. Her business partners know they’ll always get authenticity and transparency with her.
  • If you knew all of your dreams would come true, would you dream bigger? Jenny left us with that mindset moment using me as an example. She walked through all the dreams I’ve had in my life to date and how I’ve accomplished nearly all of them. Knowing that I … and you … have achieved most of what we set out to have in our adult lives, how much bigger could we dream knowing we have a history of accomplishment and success behind us? We’ve done what we wanted, what’s stopping us from going that much bigger!?
  • Interested in Jenny’s energy and services? Contact her on LinkedIn. Her InMail is pushing it’s limits, (understandably) but she is organized and process-oriented. Turn around time is quick.

Check out the full episode

I’m so honored to have met Jenny and to feature her on the series! Her energy and outlook align so well to the idea of setting yourself up to accomplish everything you want in this life once you’ve cleared your mind and heart of the things that convince you otherwise. Remember, you are unique. You are full of potential. You are absolutely and unequivocally … unlimited.

I’d like to petition for a permanent shift in perspective among the human race. So often as a coach I hear, “I just don’t like change.” Makes total sense! You were humming along doing really well at something. Then BAM! Some catalyst rocked your whole world. Now you’re standing in some abyss of unknown and you’re not a fan. Of course you don’t like it. You’re in a position to learn something new, which often brings with it self-consciousness, resistance, and a myriad of other thoughts and emotions that can be challenging to manage.

Here’s my petition for the shift. It’s not the catalyst or change that’s the challenge. It’s where you ended up that’s eliciting feelings of discomfort, uneasiness, maybe even some shame mixed with anger and resentment.

When’s the last time you experienced a major change?

Think hard. (Too soon?)

The last 10 weeks have been a complete and utter cluster. Only a certain few privileged individuals saw it coming, (again, too soon?) so of course when it hit the general public we were understandably thinking and even saying, (in the presence of our children) “What in the literal *%#!?” But here’s the thing. Change surrounds us at every minute of the day. We can’t escape it. In addition to death and taxes, it’s the other major constant. Unless you’re a weatherman named Phil, your days are never remotely the same.

So it wasn’t the catalyst of our respective government officials saying kids won’t go to school, business need to close, and you need to stay home. It was the environment that was created as a result that we weren’t prepared to handle. And it makes TOTAL SENSE we all lost our respective minds and hearts in the immediate aftermath of those announcements. And then again when the reality of our new normals really settled in. Every working parent across the globe screamed a collective, “I”m sorry, I’m supposed to sustain what now? You want me to work full time and teach my children whatever the hell they were learning in school? Yeah, ok.”

So where do we go from here?

If change isn’t the issue, how do we effectively manage new normals? By training our adaptability and resiliency muscles. They’re a combo pack. You can’t have one without the other. Adaptability is the quality of being able to adjust to new conditions, and resiliency is the capacity to recover quickly. To most effectively manage the catalysts of change, both are required.

For years, I’ve talked about the importance of adaptability and resilience as top priorities for personal development – no matter your role, title, or any other demographic. And they often come up in every coaching session. They’re the essence of life, no? No matter what you want – be it more love, compassion, joy, wealth, health – adaptability and resilience are #1 and #2 for getting there.

So how can you build adaptability and resiliency muscles?

  • Hit the mental and emotional gym: Since change is constant, the opportunities to train for adaptability and resilience are limitless. And like the actual gym, repeated effective movements build muscle the quickest. Since the Covid catalyst changed so much of our normal lives, think back to an adjustment you handled well. What mental or emotional exercises did you employ to respond to the new normal? Now shift to an adjustment you didn’t handle well. What was the difference? What was the resistance to that specific new normal? How can you apply what you did from what went well to what didn’t?
  • Recognize the importance of easy or rest days: Every [effective] exercise routine requires light or off days. They allows muscles to recover, which make them stronger in the long run. The same goes for mindset shifts. Take a break. Give yourself some grace. Either don’t actively work on it or consciously experience a setback in your progress. Have you ever gone to the actual gym and not been able to lift what you did 2 days ago? Yes! It happens. So what do you do? You pick up lighter weights to do some movement, and you come back a few days later being able to lift way more than you thought you could.
  • Track your progress: Keep a journal or scribble notes in your phone or tablet. What went well today? What didn’t? What are your thoughts? Emotions? What are they telling you? Consciously reflecting on what goes through your heart and mind are pretty damn powerful. Clients often tell me what they write during reflection exercises actually surprises them! They often tell me their “true” consciousness comes out when they write something completely out of the blue and it makes complete sense! They just let it flow without fear of judgment or ridicule (since no one will ever see it) and the most profound realizations surface.

You’re more powerful than you know. You were born innately super with everything you could possibly need in order to achieve what you want in this world. Expand your human consciousness to see your inner super hero. You’ve made it this far … clearly you’ve mastered some level of adaptability and resiliency.

In today’s episode of the HR Chat Series #otherfrontline, we were joined by a very good friend, Cheryl Czach, founder and CEO of Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting. The topic? CHROs make some of the best CEOs. In a UofM study, “which concentrated on 14 aspects of leadership, grouped into three categories: leadership style, thinking style, and emotional competency.  Except for the COO (whose role and responsibilities often overlap with the CEO’s), it was CHROs who had the most overlap with CEOs.” (HCAMAG Mar 2015). On top of this, she offered several other examples as well as her own story to prove HR leaders have what it takes to reach the top of the organization. As long as they’re willing to dream big for it and find creative ways to learn about the business.

Dive into Cheryl’s perspective on how to go from HR to CEO:

  • Be willing to learn: Find ways to step outside of HR and explore the business. Take on business projects, get formal training on topics you’re not familiar with (accounting, finance, project management).
  • Keep it simple: One of the best ways Cheryl learned the business was writing articles for the company’s customer newsletter. She interviewed employees across various functions and roles and shadowed them for a few days to see it all in action. By writing what she saw and heard, she learned so much about the business in a very short time. She used that information to ready herself for roles that took on some of those functions and prove her ability to effectively lead them.
  • Be daring: Find someone who’s willing to push you outside of your comfort zone. Someone who can help you realize the negative self talk in your head is simply your inability to see your own greatness. One of Cheryl’s pivotal moments was working with her first professional coach. She was in her early 30s and her first “real” leadership position. Without that accountability and support to step outside of herself, she never would have gone after roles that put her in charge of functions she never actually worked.
  • Solidify your role as a leader: Once Cheryl reached president, she focused on her role as a leader: facilitator and talent developer vs. doer. She centered her energy and strengths around leading her teams to find the answers for themselves and grow in their individual roles vs. being the expert in every single function.
  • Advocate for psychological safety: Enable a company culture that embraces failure without repercussions and be transparent with business decisions, even if you don’t have all the answers.
  • Dream big: “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” (Christian D. Larson)

Check out the full episode here:

Cheryl is one of the most down-to-earth and engaging people I’ve had the privilege of connecting with in this world. If you’re interested in coaching and resonate with Cheryl’s style, check out her website and sign up to connect!