What messages about your availability are you inadvertently sending? Part 1 – Email -How to set boundaries at work
I’ve decided to write a multi-part blog on a topic that is so important, it warrants a little extra attention. I was talking about how to set boundaries yesterday with a client, a freelancer who is working on growing her business, and struggles to optimize her time effectively. I think many of us fall into this bucket. I mean, who really does have perfect time management skills? But all the fancy apps and time management tricks mean nothing if we don’t challenge the limited beliefs that are guiding the everyday choices we make. Our beliefs about availability drive our behaviors I’ll give you an example. My IT guy, James (who is awesome by the way) has a way of working with clients, which he communicates clearly. I know in an emergency I am to call him immediately. A real emergency, not a fake Shelley kind of emergency like “could we change the color of the banner on my website – it looks too blue?” James knows me all too well… So far, I’ve only had to do this once, when my site domain got hijacked and my website got pulled down – a real thing by the way, and now I’ve learned all about the importance of 2-factor authentication. But I digress… Otherwise, if there is something non-emergency related I need I am to email him. James checks his email twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. And aims to respond to client requests within 1-2 working days. If something is going to take longer than that, he gets back to me with a time estimate of when he can most likely complete the task. It’s a clearly communicated policy of how he deals with email and client requests. It’s so simple, it’s so brilliant, it’s so effective, and yet, most of us do the complete opposite. Why? Because deep down there’s often a dark, hidden, limited belief lurking in the shadows that says something like – “You have to be available all the time.” Or “If you’re not available, people won’t be able to trust you and rely on you.” Or “You have to be available 100% of the time for your clients or your business will fail.” Sound familiar? The people pleasing poison These beliefs are rooted in what I call one of the three poisons – or reactive tendencies that end up creating a lot of problems in our life and leadership. This particular poison is the one of the people pleaser – My self-worth is related to how much people like me. And we human beings are super inept at sitting with the discomfort of feeling like we are not liked. Notice I say “feeling” because often this is our perception, and perception does not equate to reality. Healthy people respect and honor appropriate and properly communicated boundaries. And because we’re not conscious these fears are lurking in the background, then we do stupid things like have the email notification […]
June 30, 2023
4.3 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
Bummed Out Because You Messed Up? Try this…
I heard something today in yoga class. Sweaty and out of breath, laying in savasana, the teacher reminded us to tune into our breath, and said, “ If you find your mind wandering, find your breath and focus on it. The beautiful thing about your breath is it’s always there. You can always go back to it. You can always start again.” The Choice Trap And yet, we often act like we can’t. “I screwed things up with that client, I can never build it back up again.” “I didn’t major in the right thing in college, now I’m trapped.” “That acting thing didn’t work out. And now I’m too old and don’t have the right experience, no one is ever going to hire me.” “I was doing so great with that new habit, and then I lost traction. What’s the point, I may as well give up? I’ll never be able to get back into it now.” That last quote was mine today, in relation to this blog. I had set myself the task of writing 2 times a week, and this week it got away from me for no good reason. And then I look at my watch and realize it’s Thursday afternoon and I’ve written nothing this week. And then I told myself, “See Shelley, you knew you’d never do this. This is why you never should have started that stupid blog again in the first place! You don’t have what it takes to sustain this new habit. You might as well give up. You suck!” And then it got even worse, and I found myself in a pit of self-induced shame. Telling myself that I “should be” better at this by now, and I “should” practice the things I preach to my clients. The Problem with Should Until I realized I was “shoulding” all over myself – also something I warn my clients about. Dang. I hate it when I’m right. So here I am, MacBook in hand, and I told that voice to shut up today, because I choose to remember what my teacher said. I also choose to remember what William Glasser said, who wrote Choice Theory, one hell of a book, and coincidentally one of the best books I’ve ever read. (He’s dead, just in case you’re wondering, but not from making bad choices.) His premise was that every moment of every day is a choice. I can choose to believe I’m a failure, or I can choose to believe otherwise. I can choose to move closer to this person in this moment, or I can choose to move away from them. Will that choice serve me or not? In every moment there is some element of agency. Some element where I can become the master of my own fate, even if it’s just changing what I choose to believe about what happened. A very helpful thing indeed if I choose my own interpretation, because unfortunately I haven’t become omnipotent yet. Otherwise the […]
March 3, 2022
3.3 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.