Meet Kari. And how she became a Career Owner.

Kari’s email began like so many others: she was discouraged and frustrated. She had been “a rising star” for many of her almost 20 years with the organization, but new leaders and a different culture dimmed that image. So what did she want from a coach? Kari wanted to know how to navigate the politics so she could “survive and thrive” in her highly volatile environment. She was looking for the answer to once again be that rising star.

When we met, Kari spit out years of pent-up frustration and confusion about her workplace. This manager liked her, this one didn’t, this VP said her work was excellent, that director thought she wasn’t keeping up. She was interviewing for positions in other areas but was always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

Kari wanted to know what was wrong with her, what it would take to get her back on her game. She was looking for the right answers. I said, “Did you come here to be fixed?” and she said “yes.”

So we started there.

I asked her, “What would it take for you to step into who you are authentically, to use your skills and wisdom to discover you again?” With a few moments of thought, a small smile appeared and Kari said “You mean trust myself?” She got it.

Kari’s belief that there is a “right” answer that would fix her, that would make her “fit” into a changing and challenging work environment is the same thing some of you are thinking I’ll bet. If only you could find the right way, the right program, the right degree, the right mentor, the right answer then work would settle down and you would be OK. You’d be the confident, respected and stress-less person valued by managers and team members alike.

You can spend a lifetime looking for that and have no confidence or respect from your fellow workers, or you can take a look at what you bring, and define the “right” thing based on that. Who you already are, the experiences you already have make up the wisdom you bring to your work–if you listen to yourself, if you trust your own counsel.

With that little smile, Kari began the process of learning to trust herself again. Her weekly practices are helping with that. She is practicing these behaviors:

1. staying present; not spending energy worrying about the past or fretting about the future;

2. trusting her instincts; she pays attention to what her gut tells her;

3. examining beliefs that may hold her back, that may no longer serve her; she intentionally chooses to shift beliefs that don’t support her;

4. paying attention to the supportive feedback she receives and giving it at least as much credence as the negative;

5. stopping the voice inside that comes from the emotional brain, the one that likes comfort and sameness and safety and is mired in fear. Kari stops it with “That’s not true because…” to give the logical brain time to think.

Kari no longer expects external approval to drive her best work because she recognizes that she is responsible for her direction and her ability to be a strong contributor.

How about you? Have you learned to trust yourself?

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6 Responses

  1. Great post Janine. Thanks for all you do for emerging leaders.

    If we are open to it and trust ourselves our intuition usually let’s us know the right choice. I think part of it is recognizing the signs.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Jim…I’ll get reconnected when I get this book out…

  3. The “Meet Joe CareerOwner” posts are turning into a great series. Meet Kari is so relevant for so many of us.

    You didn’t give Kari anything she didn’t already have. Yet, the journey you took her on, allowed her to see that what she has, is good and very,very valuable. You are the Wizard of Oz when it comes to coaching about Career Ownership.

    Well done!

  4. I appreciate your observations, Ray. I’ve found that self-trust, self-confidence, self-efficacy–all of these things are eroded or destroyed in traditional workplaces. And, without them, people can get into a vicious cycle that self-sabotages. So sad…

  5. I love this Janine! I was having lunch with a business friend and he wants to launch a new career and keeps saying who am I to think I know this much to help people? I told him to quit thinking with the fear based mind. That is the biggest problem is to meet your fear, face it , learn from it and move forward in action. I told him just “do it”, you have customers waiting that your fear is holding at bay. I know, I too as an entrepreneur will be held back by fear, but learn why the fear is there and release it. Thanks for your blog, love it!

  6. Hi, Mary Jane: thanks for the valuable observations. If only there was a simple way to get to the fear-based beliefs that hold us back, or to help people understand how they do…seems like morphing and transforming would be so much easier.

    I know that as a coach, too, you work with folks to help them get beyond these obstacles…it’s so important. Please stop back…would love to hear your comments!

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