• Read The Next Time You’re Guilted into Saying Yes, Think About This

    Leadership, Productivity, Well Being

    The Next Time You’re Guilted into Saying Yes, Think About This

    A lot of my coaching clients struggle with boundaries.  I suppose it takes one to know one.  Like any good co-dependent, it’s the area I’ve probably had to do the most work on. I’ve gotten considerably better at managing boundaries over the years, which has resulted in managing expectations with clients more effectively, as I’m much more upfront about what the role of a coach is and isn’t and have worked hard to not take responsibility for my coaching clients’ learning and growth.  It’s improved family relationships and friendships, as I’ve gotten clearer on what healthy relationships look like, and as a result, no longer spend a lot of time obsessing about things or trying to control things that can’t be controlled.  And then every once in a while, I get triggered.  It’s inevitable; it happens to us all.  And it happened to me the other day when I was asked by a colleague to help them out on something they need to learn to take responsibility for themselves.  Normally I would have let the guilt push me into saying yes. But something interesting happened instead. I got visibly mad, and I found myself stomping around my office and complaining to my husband.  I got mad because I value fairness and accountability and always strive to be the kind of person who takes her fair share of the load.  I got even madder because I’ve noticed a pattern of this individual playing the victim and manipulating others in the spirit of “collaboration” to get them to step in on a moment’s notice and bail them out.  I was mad at her, and I think I was also mad from a cumulative effect of this behavior – over the course of my career I’ve often felt obligated to step in and save the day for others who I have judged (rightly or wrongly) to be stupid, lazy, weak or selfish.  I’ve felt like I had no choice but to help, and inadvertently built up a pool of smoldering resentment, as I erred to compromise myself and my values rather than risk being branded as unhelpful. Look under the guilt and anger, what’s the underlying need? Experience has taught me there’s normally something we need to look at within ourselves when we experience such a visceral reaction.  And the interesting thing about anger is there’s normally something sitting under it that’s begging to be healed.  So I looked. And then I looked some more.  And then I realized what this was really about.  It was really about approval.  We often confuse manipulation with collaboration And then I remembered a 360 I had done a long time ago, a couple of years after I had moved into leadership development.  My colleagues had provided anonymous feedback.  Their perception of me wasn’t stellar – I was completely focused on task and results, with no room for relationship.   And I prioritized my goals and deliverables above everything else.  It was a blindspot. I was so desperate […]

    July 10, 2024


    5.2 min read