Do you ever feel like you’re just going through the motions in your leadership role? Like the pleasure you once got from leading your team now feels like a far-away memory?
This happened to our client Rania (name changed for privacy).
Rania is an extremely bright and also very heart-centred leader who came to work with us last year. She’s rated highly by her clients and has more requests to mentor people in her division than she has hours in the day.
When we first started working together, she said she wanted to evolve her leadership role within her company from technical expert to becoming a change maker.
Then the pandemic hit and, as the mother of young children and the leader of a big team, she put her head down and set about taking care of everybody– her family, team, and clients.
At first it felt necessary. After all, we do what we have to do to pull through tough times, right?
But after month on month of the same taxing drudgery it started to drain her of her most important currency– the joy of doing her work.
“I’m just going through the motions,” She told me. The company she once saw a bright future with had lost its lustre and she wasn’t sure that she would be willing to “put up with the grind,” even if she got back to being more inspired.
But this thought put her into a bit of a bind because the idea of leaving the stability and income to which she is accustomed left her quite scared.
Being the bright leader she is, she quickly came up with an action plan to fill her “joy cup,” consisting of :
- Exercise every day
- Connect with friends more
- Stop working early enough to play with her kids…
And guess what? It didn’t work.
The demands kept coming and the weeks passed by without her “fitting in” the things she believed would bring her joy.
Rania did for herself what most well-meaning, smart leadership coaches tell their clients to do to remedy situations just like hers– insert more “self-care” into an already packed life. (As a younger coach, I would have told her to do the same.)
So why doesn’t this well-meaning strategy work? Because fitting in more “shoulds” into an already packed life is not a recipe for more joy.
It’s a recipe for more burnout…and feeling like a failure.
It would have been easy to collude with her and come up with all the things she needs to “do” to find the impact and joy she seeks.
But that would have just set her up for more failure.
Why? Because her issue wasn’t about motivation or balance, or even about getting more rest.
This awesome, but tired woman, had a clarity issue, not a “self-care” issue.
Once we shifted lanes to help her get clear on exactly what she wanted out of her leadership role, and how she could take care of all the feelings that were keeping her going through the motions, it was like a lightning bolt struck.
Her voice changed. She knew what she had to do.
In a single session, Rania saw how she can chart her own course without anyone else needing to give her permission or approve.
And spoiler alert, leaving her company wasn’t her conclusion!
We’re offering complimentary Thrive Sessions to leaders/professionals who want to go from exhausted to enlivened.
My client is off charting her own path. You can too. Even during a pandemic.
See you on a Thrive Session soon!