Feeling resentful about something? Think about this.
Giving feedback is never an easy task. I’ve recently mused about this topic quite a bit, and written a blog recently on the art of straight talk, which highlighted the three elements that are critical to doing this well. And then there’s real life. It’s one thing when it’s a colleague. It’s another thing when that colleague is also a very close friend. My friend Jenny and I have known each other for years, and we’ve also collaborated on a number of projects. She’s one of my favorite people, she’s funny, insightful, hardworking, caring and full of entrepreneurial spirit. She’s commonly the ideas person in our dynamic duo, and I work behind the scenes to help execute her ideas. Lately I’ve been experiencing some frustration relative to what I’m calling the whiplash effect. She has a grand idea, I rush behind the scenes to make it happen, and then it gets shelved. we create resentment when we don’t speak up And so, a couple of glasses of sparkling rose into a business lunch we were having the other day, out it came. I shared with her my frustration, and the grief this had been causing me. It wasn’t a perfect delivery as far as feedback is concerned. I didn’t follow each of the straight talk steps in perfect unison, but then again perfect is the enemy of good. I was still scared, even though she’s my friend. I was scared especially because she’s my friend and this relationship really matters to me. I fully expected her to listen, and she did. I fully expected her to acknowledge the frustration and the mixed messages she’d been sending, and she did. What surprised me was the text she sent me later on. “I’m going to do better.” And she expressed sincere concern for hurting my feelings and sending mixed messages. I had to ask myself why I was so surprised. And then I had a realization. I’m not used to people owning things. I’m not used to reciprocity in relationships. And this isn’t because I think other people are inherently selfish, or I was picking horrible people to surround myself with (although in some instances I could have done a better job on that front). In the past I often took the path of please and appease rather than assert myself and share my concerns. I took that path because I was desperate for people to like me, to have a ton of friends in my network. Unconsciously, this was a hidden measure of success. Interestingly it didn’t matter whether I liked them. I got used to giving more than my fair share. I got used to not sharing my voice or truth on things, then feeling resentful, and rather than expressing it, shoving it down and shaming myself instead. Then I’d have to find ways to numb the pain. Or it would spill out in other passive aggressive ways and ultimately pollute the relationship. when we know our worth, we can […]
September 2, 2022
4.3 min read
Put down the mask and allow yourself to be seen.
As we navigate life’s path, it’s interesting the things that will come up over and over again. I’ve often mused that life will keep giving us the same lessons over and over again until we really learn them. And really learning something is more than learning it on a theoretical level, or a “head” level as I tend to call it. Many of life’s lessons are what I call “heart” level lessons. These are the ones that we must feel. The ones that we need to feel to heal past experiences, so we can let more love into our life, and the shadow of the inner saboteur becomes fainter and fainter. We all wear a mask I had one of these experiences this past weekend. I was on a girl’s trip to Rockport with some friends of mine. The four of us met in a hiking meetup group during the pandemic and have been very close ever since. I hadn’t slept very well during the trip and the last morning I found myself in a very raw and emotional state. The final morning, I started to cry, more like allowed myself to cry and feel some things I’d been shoving away for a while. And then I found myself worrying about things like: “What will they think of me?” “I’m ruining the trip.” “I look silly and I’m embarrassing myself and them.” I sat out on the dock in front of our lovely pastel colored condo and watched the sun come up. The beautiful purples and pinks shimmering through the clouds, the seagulls diving into the water looking for a morning treat. I cried, I was breathing deeply, I was letting out fear I’d been carrying for a while. But I didn’t want to bother the group. I separated myself on purpose so I wouldn’t be a burden to them. The fear and embarrassment of showing strong emotion in front of my newish friends was just too overpowering. I was startled when I felt Carol’s hands on my shoulders. She started to rub my back, and I let her. The important point of this story is I let her. It wasn’t easy I will say, even for me, a coach, someone who teaches communication skills and emotional intelligence. It still wasn’t easy. So often in life, I think we learn that we must be strong. And we take on a very limited view of what that means. We put on a mask that hides our true nature from the rest of the world. I think I’ve often prided myself on being that person in the group that has her proverbial “shit” together. That knows what she is talking about. That never loses her cool. Because I somehow deduced that people won’t like me or want to be friends with me if I let them see who I really am. That it’s not acceptable to ever be “out of control” or need a moment to cry. Which frame do you choose? […]
This week I’ve been teaching a course on straight talk. I often refer to this skill as “Speaking the Truth with Love.” The crux of getting this right depends on three important aspects. There are three elements to straight talk: Caring personally (compassion) – Caring personally about the individual who is on the receiving end of this conversation and demonstrating this care with your words in the conversation. Sharing your perspective and/or challenging directly – Or in other words, being clear about the issue that needs to be communicated and not beating around the proverbial bush. Inviting others to do the same – Creating the space to have a two-way conversation rather than merely talk at someone. Any straight talk conversation is a great opportunity for two-way dialogue and not merely a “dump and run.” Don’t Bury the Lead You’d be surprised how often we do the opposite. When it comes to challenging directly, I notice one thing in particular. I often sit in practice runs where participants are role playing a difficult conversation they need to have. I’ve seen people do a million times something I call “burying the lead.” At the end of the conversation, I ask the initiator what the issue was they wanted to communicate. The person on the receiving end of the conversation often had a totally different impression of what the conversation was about. The gravity of the issue had not been conveyed clearly or accurately. This happens all the time, and people walk away with completely different perceptions of a conversation or an issue. No wonder there’s so much conflict in our personal and professional lives! Remember that honesty without compassion is brutality But the caring personally aspect is just as important as challenging directly. It’s crucial to remember that honesty without compassion can be brutality. E.g. “I think your idea is stupid.” I’m reminded of an old friend and colleague that I used to spend a lot of time with. She prided herself on her ability to give straight talk. She had mastered the art of being direct. On that front there was no one better I will admit. The problem is her words were often not couched in compassion. Over time it took a toll on my ability to relate to her, and eventually after I’d been stung enough times, I abandoned the relationship. It just wasn’t worth it. So why don’t we engage in straight talk? Or why don’t we do it well when we try? Mindset is Everything Mindset plays a huge role when it comes to this skill. Do any of these sound familiar? It means being unkind. I must act professionally regardless of the cost. I can’t upset people. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I must tell the truth at all costs. Silence is golden. I can’t challenge someone senior to me. Which of these beliefs are true for you? And how are they getting in the way of […]
July 13, 2022
3.1 min read
How free are you really?
I spent the last few days up in Taos in the mountains on vacation, desperately trying to keep up with my energetic husband on the high mountain trails. As I was huffing and puffing up the slopes of Wheeler Peak at 13,200 feet, one has some time to think deep thoughts, the alternative is to be consumed with fear about sliding off the mountain. And as the 4th of July holiday passed, it inspired me to think about freedom, and what is means to be truly free. There are things like freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the types of rights contained within our constitution. And then there are the more subtle elements that lie within the recesses of our minds. Because when you really start to think about what it means to be free, quite often, the inhibitor of our freedom lies within. Fixation on the Future To what extent do I really have control over my thoughts? Or am I a slave to anxiety, negativity, burnout? Often each day we’re locked in unconscious patterns of thought. Our focus and attention are hijacked. We forget our innate self-worth and often fixate on accomplishments and accolades as proof that we are worth something. Am I good enough? Am I smart enough? Have I accomplished enough? Will I ever have enough time to get everything done? We worry unnecessarily rather than focus on the moment we are in. We float through our day, half present, consumed by the thoughts in our head, not really connecting with others, not really enjoying the moment, or appreciating where we are at, because we’re so consumed by where we need to be. Once we get to where we think we need to be, we’re consumed by a new need, a new want. A new client, a new project, a new job, a new career. Because unfortunately when we’re fixated on the future, there’s no end in sight. Our needs and wants are unlimited. No wonder we’re so exhausted. Fixation on the Past Or maybe we’re ruminating on the past. Which can often be a recipe for depression. I should have done that differently. I shouldn’t have had that conversation that way. I messed up. I made a bad decision. If I knew then what I knew now… But the point is you didn’t. What are you holding onto from the past? How is holding onto this limiting your capacity to feel fully free? One of the principles of my coaching philosophy is “It’s impossible to make a mistake.” This is often difficult for many folks to grasp. We think about people we’ve wronged, bad decisions we’ve made, tests we’ve screwed up on. The list is long. But when you really get down to brass tacks and you think about those moments, you didn’t set out to “make” a mistake. Typically, you did the best you could in that moment with the level of consciousness you had. Or maybe instead of shame it’s anger and resentment […]
July 6, 2022
4.2 min read
It was a privilege to work with Shelley as my leadership coach! The process was structured and yet flexible enough to meet needs as they arose. Shelley helped me to grow, learn more about myself, and to really achieve what I set out to accomplish. We worked on planning, navigating a promotion successfully, and so much more! I experienced many successes as a result of working with Shelley, she has great resources, knowledge, and really helps with setting the foundation to this coaching work. She won’t let you down!
Having the opportunity to have Shelley as my Leadership Coach could not have come at a better time in my career. I was recently promoted to CFO and was new to the Senior Management Team. Shelley helped me navigate joining the team as well as helped me to determine who I wanted to be as a leader. The Leadership Circle Profile helped our team to discover our blinds spots and to be able to understand each other better. Working with Shelley not only has affected my professional life in a positive way, but also my personal life. She helped me take leaps and has given me the resources to continue this journey of self-improvement. If you’re looking to find more about yourself and how you can be the best version of yourself, I highly recommend working with Shelley.
I have been working with Shelley for the past 2 years on my leadership development journey. What I thought would be a straight line, I soon learned with Shelley’s guidance, was a winding path with several ups and downs along the way. Shelley supported me as I took a deep dive into my professional and personal history and learned how it affects my approach and my perceptions. She helped me to slow down and recognize certain behaviors and understand that I can pivot in the moment or try again next time. Ultimately, my work with Shelley turned out to be so much more than what I expected. Her approach to coaching was exactly what I needed.
Senior Vice President, Consulting
I’ve learned more about leadership in the past six months working with Shelley than I have in my 10+ year career. She is an incredible coach with many tools in her toolbox. The guidance and mentorship I’ve received from Shelley has been life-changing. She will challenge your limiting beliefs and inspire new ways of thinking.
I highly recommend Shelley if you need a coach, thought partner, and guide as you consider the next steps in your career. She provides practical tools and advice to help launch your career exploration, but most importantly, she is an expert at helping you cut through the noise of your limiting beliefs. At the end of our time together, I had a much clearer vision of what I wanted in my life and a plan to make it happen. My only regret is that I didn’t find her sooner!
My career coaching sessions with Shelley have brought me back to living. It’s been contagious, spreading throughout my personal and professional life. I now have the building blocks I need to continue setting healthy boundaries, the freedom to show up as my authentic self, and an adaption of a growth mindset that has allowed me to make bold decisions and try new things. I’ve discovered that there’s always another way and how to eradicate barriers that lead to tunnel vision. These sessions with Shelley have been a great gift and have given me the momentum I need to continue the journey to be my best self.
It is amazing to think where I was only 10 months ago when I first started working with Shelley and where I am now. Not only professionally but mentally and emotionally. Shelley helped me navigate out of an unhealthy work environment by challenging me and asking me those tough questions we never seem to ask ourselves. What are the values of a true leader? How do those values align with my own? Shelley challenging me and guiding me through some of those tough questions is what led to my epiphany and me having the courage and confidence to leave an environment that threatened my well-being. She taught me how to become more self-aware and self-compassionate. Reminded me to be kind even when the world would understand if I did otherwise. And the biggest one for me, shutting down that crazy inner voice (we all have it!) and replacing it with being present. Shelley has armed me with tools that I will carry with me for a lifetime. Tools that will help me to continue to grow and learn. Life can be hard but working with someone like Shelley does make it easier. She will help you navigate the good and the bad and you’ll learn so much about yourself in the process.
Director of Marketing
First of all I would like to say that I would recommend Shelley to anyone needing career guidance. As my counselor Shelley helped me transition my career from bartending to Tech Sales which was a difficult and scary transition for me. From the start Shelley was fantastic. Initially I had no idea of which direction I wanted my career to go, I just knew I wanted it to go somewhere else. Shelley was so kind and patient as she helped me figure this out, and gave me a step by step guide on how to explore my options and make an educated decision. She also helped me assess my skill set which played a large part in directing my energy. I landed a great job within days of my final session with Shelley, and now I’m month 3 I am absolutely loving it and doing very well. It was the perfect job for me and Shelley was the one that got me there. Working with Shelley was one of the best decisions I have ever made, she literally changed my life and I am so much happier for it.