Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Spirituality, Well Being
An antidote for impostor syndrome – but it’s not quite what you think
Impostor syndrome is one of those interesting and universal things – in my opinion we all suffer from it. It shows up in many ways – failure to try new things because we’re afraid we’re going to fail, we don’t speak up in a meeting and so we never get credit for the idea, we don’t ask for the promotion, we don’t ask for help, we avoid asking for feedback or we over defend if we do get it, we overwork something to death because it’s not quite perfect yet, we fail to advocate for ourselves… We all suffer silently and repeat the same patterns I could go on and on. And we’re somewhat aware of the cost of this, as it makes life a lot more painful to live. We KNOW in our heads that we suffer from impostor syndrome. We might read books on it, we’ve taken the online quiz, maybe even our therapist told us. So we look for new techniques on how to solve this problem, we look to apply a new perspective and think carefully about what the morning affirmation needs to say (that is, if we remember to do it.). Maybe we practice meditation hoping and praying it will disappear, or we call our doctor and ask for a prescription for the daily anxiety we’re battling and just can’t seem to shake no matter how successful we are, no matter how many things get ticked off the to do list. Because there’s always more. We practice self-care because that’s the solution, right? A massage, getting the nails done, we tell ourselves that we need to be kinder to ourselves. But deep down we KNOW we don’t deserve it. Our nails look great and inside we’re still a mess. And we go about our business of repeating the same cycles, the same patterns of suffering, because obviously there’s no real fix to this, otherwise somebody would have figured it out by now. Impostor syndrome can’t be solved by the same thinking that creates it There is a fix. The problem is we’re often looking in the wrong place. Impostor syndrome can’t be solved by the same problem that creates it. It’s not a thinking problem. It can’t be solved in the head. It can only be solved in the heart. The heart – an interesting concept for many of us to take in. It’s a place many of us aren’t super familiar with and frankly don’t have much experience with. And yet we all have one. How does this happen and how can this be? Because adulthood often entails learning how not to feel things. Learning how to hide things. Learning how to cope with the difficulties of life, and feelings will just get in the way and get us in trouble. We learn early on as children that feelings are often scary and if we express them, we’ll probably get punished, or worse. We learn how to not take emotions to work because emotional […]
October 17, 2023
5.7 min read
Emotional Intelligence, Leadership
The Scary Side of Success
One of the practices I often have leadership trainees do at the beginning of a session is to check in with how they’re feeling. I use a wheel of feelings that has 70-80 different emotions listed. And you may be wondering why – what would be the point of taking up valuable time to talk about feelings, especially when there is so much content to cover? Just get on with it! We often ignore emotion The problem is just that. We often ignore what we’re feeling, push it down, disregard it and just get on with it. But the feeling still comes with us. And what we don’t acknowledge often comes out sideways. Let’s say the crap hits the fan because of a recurring problem with a customer. A problem that you told them was fixed. Now you’re in a bad mood because you’re going to have to eat crow with your stakeholder and then you find yourself in a difficult conversation with a direct report to address the issue. You get triggered and can’t maintain your cool. Now you’ve alienated your direct report, and the customer is mad, and the problem still isn’t fixed. Doh! Or perhaps the feeling isn’t anger but stress and pressure. I’ll use myself as an example for this one. Over the past few months, I’ve been sicker than I’ve been in ages. It’s been extremely stressful coping with that while trying to keep all the plates in the air spinning, and I’ve been worried about my body’s ability to bounce back – something that has never troubled me in the past. I’ve been carrying so much heaviness in my chest and feeling utterly exhausted. I’ve found myself sighing out loud multiple times a day. And I kept ignoring it because I had too many things to do. Foolishly, I was ignoring my own advice. I looked at the feelings wheel the other day and decided to finally lean into it, rather than push the stress and overwhelm to the side. We push stress aside at our peril I’ve often been told that I’m very good at maintaining a façade. That I appear to have everything under control, I appear super calm on the surface, and I never need to ask for help. But looks can be deceiving. I started writing down a list of all the things that have been stressing me out over the last year – and it ended up being a very long list. A lot of it related to work, some to family, some to friends. And a lot of the work-related things were positive. More clients than I could handle, different types of work, expanded scopes, more interdependencies, expanded projects. But even the good stuff can bring stress. And yet I didn’t allow myself to acknowledge it, because the mindset of a coach should be that this is all so wonderful, and I should be positive all the time. I should see everything as an opportunity and never have […]
October 6, 2023
5.1 min read
Authenticity, Leadership, Mindfulness, Well Being
A tip for releasing negative self talk
As human beings we are masters at creating narratives. We create colorful stories that have the capacity to stir up emotion. And that can be very wonderful and inspiring. I’ve often said that emotions are the elixir of life. The problem with our innate gift for story telling is that we often tend to cling to the negative and painful narratives and replay them repeatedly in our minds. If she just hadn’t said that. If I just hadn’t done that. Then the relationship wouldn’t have been ruined. I wouldn’t be in such dire straits. We create headlines of negativity And off this rumination we create high level headlines, scripts that sound like: I am always getting taken advantage of. I am estranged from this relative. I am always making bad choices. I am bad at leadership. I am horrible at relationships. I am not assertive enough. I am weak. I am not hardworking enough to pull that off. I am overweight. I am stupid. I am never going to get ahead in life. I am damaged. I am a victim. I am powerless to change anything. Just let it go, right? We’re often told by self help experts that we have to let go of these negative scripts. Release the negative self talk, they exclaim! But how? Especially when they’re so ingrained. Many of these stories have been kicking around in our brains for decades. Maybe I’m crazy for saying this but “Let that sh%t go” sounds trite and condescending. If it was that easy, I would have done it by now, is what I often think when I’m met with platitudes like that. I often speak about the power of language with folks I am coaching, and direct coaching clients to pay particular attention to anything that comes after the phrase “I am.” Why? Because words are literally magic. And they have the capacity to expand the possibilities in our lives or close them down for good. Words, whether spoken out loud or spoken in our head, are incredibly powerful. If you’ve ever read or heard of the book, The Four Agreements, Ruiz speaks to this when he addresses the first agreement – Be impeccable with your word, who says: “You can measure the impeccability of your word by your level of self-love. How much you love yourself and how you feel about yourself are directly proportionate to the quality and integrity of your word.” Beware of the negativity bait and switch So what would impeccability of word look like as it pertains to releasing negative self-talk? Would it be the converse? Instead of I am not weak, perhaps the answer lies in the reverse – I am powerful. That would be convenient, wouldn’t it? Just a simple bait and switch should be enough to do the trick, right? In my experience it’s tough to go from one extreme to the other. We as humans also have an animalistic ability to sniff out the falseness of a message. If […]
August 23, 2023
4.8 min read
Leadership, Motivation, Productivity
When work feels like a daily grind, think about this…
The last few weeks have not been the easiest. I’ve got a condition in my inner ear, that when it flares up, I have an on again off again low-grade fever and get dizzy, where every day I’m on a boat that is rocking in the wind as I try to do my best to coach, facilitate, or do whatever it is I’m tasked with. Not fun. And then things pile up, I get stressed, I try to exercise self-care and ask for what I need, reschedule where I can, show myself some much-needed compassion and empathy. But as you know, these things aren’t easy, especially when you run a business. All this to say that some things fell off in the shuffle last week, which included this blog. And at that time, I practiced compassion and told myself it was okay, that in every life a little rain must fall, and took the opportunity to congratulate myself on my fine efforts up to this point. Which is all well and good. Yay me. And this week I’m still muddling through as the dizziness isn’t gone yet and heard a pesky little voice ringing in my ear, the voice of the workhorse, full of type A authority – “Pull your head out of your rear Shelley, and just get the blog done!” And guess what happened? Absolutely nothing. I started looking for ways to procrastinate. My mind was filled with anything else I could do, and I really do mean anything else. Taking out the trash, scrubbing the toilets, making a grocery list. I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel to be sure. Why? Because it felt like a grind. A soul destroying, sucking daily grind. And who can easily muster energy for the daily grind? We unknowingly create our own daily grind And then I remembered the fundamental lesson on why it’s important to approach life more focused on the journey than it is the destination. Or in other words, the being is just as (or even more important) in life than the doing. So often in life and leadership we’re focused on the latter. I’ve just got to get this deliverable out the door. Make another phone call, send another email. Complete another performance review. Give another presentation. And then I can relax. I’ll have more time later to think about things and enjoy things. But the problem is we never do. This is how we fool ourselves. And then we wonder why we feel so empty, and life just feels like an endless daily grind of one thing after another. I’m not saying reframing this is easy by the way, we live in a world that rewards output and productivity. We set ambitious targets for revenue, we set stretch goals, we live in a VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world where everything needed to be done yesterday. And I’m also not saying that we shouldn’t get goals or visualize success. As a coach […]
August 17, 2023
5.2 min read
Leadership, Life Direction and Purpose, Well Being
How to Build Confidence – 3 Elements to Consider
Developing a healthy sense of confidence, whether it’s in your leadership, or whether it pertains to your career direction, is important. We often report feeling like we lack it. But how to build confidence? It’s intangible and fuzzy – it’s nice to say we need it, but what do we do about it? There are three elements critical to building confidence in my experience as a coach. As I describe these, think about for yourself which of the three you would rate as high, and which you would rate as low. How to Build Confidence – The Three C’s of Confidence Clarity – Direction is important, and to the extent we lack it, we can feel rudderless in our lives and in our leadership. Do you have a vision for your career? Do you know who you want to be as a leader and how you want others to experience you? I remember when I was making my career change from accounting to leadership development back in 2012, I knew what I wanted, I had a direction. I might have had no idea how I was going to get there, but the passion I felt for the vision I was cultivating kept me going. Clarity is inspiring. Once we have it, we can take steps to materialize our vision. I often have clients think about their values as a method of making a way out of the fog. It can sometimes feel like an arbitrary exercise, but it’s not. Our values guide the choices we make, and we all have values, whether we are conscious of them or not. One of mine is autonomy. It came into play recently when I was faced with a difficult business decision. Tuning into my values helped to navigate this situation, knowing that I was tuning into my own True North. Competency – Building skills builds confidence. Every job has competencies associated with it. Some are technical, and some are what folks often refer to as the softer skills. Things like communication, presentation skills, time management. Leadership does as well. Good leadership is about two main things – building relationships while getting tasks accomplished. We often sacrifice one for the other. Maybe I over-focus on delivery and ignore important opportunities to coach and mentor my team. Or maybe I focus too much on relationships at the expense of deliverables. Good leadership requires balance between these two elements. How do you stack up on the competencies for the role you’re currently in? Do you even know what they are? What are you strong on? What needs some work? When we’re feeling less confident, we often try to hide our inadequacies. We’re ashamed of them. We may shy away from things that will challenge us because we’re afraid to fail. The more willing we are to cultivate a growth mindset by leaning into our strengths and working to improve our weaknesses we better we will feel. Movement in this direction generates energy and motivation. Compassion – […]
July 14, 2023
4.7 min read
Career Coaching, Emotional Intelligence, Life Direction and Purpose, Motivation, Well Being
Are you comparing yourself to others? Look inward instead.
I look around and see everyone is pursuing these amazing careers and they have great lives. They all seem to know what they’re doing, and they have a purpose. I don’t understand why I can’t get in gear. What’s wrong and missing in me that I can’t figure it out? I hear this a lot as a career coach. And I also recognize it’s hard not to compare yourself to others. When we are caught up in the cult of comparison, we are often caught up in the trance of the inner critic. It’s our brain’s flawed way of trying to motivate ourselves to move into action by using comparison as the carrot to dangle in front of our faces or more aptly the switch to use on our backs. It works up to a point where it stops working as a motivator. We prove and we prove and we prove and then we get tired. And wonder what it was all for. And that is when we find ourselves on the messy path to growth. To wholeness. To uncovering our true value. When I first started out as a coach, my confidence was lower. I was trying something new; I was worried about whether I would be a success and I spent a lot of time and energy ruminating about what I was doing in relation to other coaches. I’d see their fancy LinkedIn posts of workshops they were running, filled with pictures of smiling participants, complete with slick materials bearing perfectly polished logos and I’d feel woefully inadequate. I’d use it as fodder to beat myself up with. I’d start to spring into action to post something, to plan something, in a desperate desire to compete, to put my own words out there too. And then I’d be riddled with thoughts about how my idea wasn’t as good. It would never work. And I’d abandon the idea to the graveyard we each have in our heads. Following your true north isn’t easy The inner critic comparison attack still happens from time to time for me, and chances it does for you too. But it looks a little different now. Recently I’ve turned down a few opportunities that have come my way, because I’ve sensed they weren’t the right path for me and didn’t resonate with my values. Perhaps they would have been right for a different coach, or if I had a different idea or vision for my business. And it was extremely hard to do because I knew deep down my inner critic wasn’t going to like it. I was afraid of the fire that I knew saying no would brew. Now Gertie (my inner critic) is telling me I was crazy to walk away from the revenue. Telling me I am woefully inadequate compared to the coaches that took that path and look how successful they are. And it’s getting in the way of progressing a couple of initiatives I want to kick off, which was […]
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.