Burnout to Leadership

Ep#35 Taking your power back

June 10, 2022 Dex Randall Season 1 Episode 35
Burnout to Leadership
Ep#35 Taking your power back
Show Notes Transcript
  • Executive reinvention for leaders who must make the impossible happen.
  • What got us here won't take us there.
  • Letting go of interpreting what SHOULD be happening.
  • The Last Word on Power, Tracy Goss.

Hi everyone, my name is Dex Randall, and this is the Burnout to Leadership podcast, where I teach professional men to recover from burnout and get back to passion and reward at work. Hello my friends, this is Dex doing pretty well this afternoon. Even though it has been slapping down with rain for 24 hours at least, am indoors, which is good for Monday. Anyway, I hope you're having a beautiful day. I hope you're sitting in the seat of your personal power today, 'cause that's what we're going to talk about, and I do read quite a lot of books, and I don't always talk about them on the podcast, but this week I am re reading for probably the third time, The Last Word on Power by Tracy Goss from 1996, subtitled, and this is what attracted my attention, Executive Re invention for Leaders Who Must Make the Impossible Happen. It's basically a book about, how, "What got you here won't get you there." It's leaders who need to grow to accomplish the next challenge. Now, if you're listening to this and thinking, "Crikey, I'm still in burnout, I just wanna be able to sleep through the night without worrying myself to a frazzle." Well, then maybe this might not be your first episode to listen to start the podcast at episode one. And in the following episodes, you'll get lots of practical advice and tips for managing stress, anxiety, frustration, exhaustion and so on, all the other testing bits and pieces of burnout. And then come back here when you're ready, or if you need help getting out of burnout, and you want to work with me to fast track your recovery visit dexrandall.com and come and talk to me. But this episode is for those of you who've gotten a bit of resilience, a little bit of Joy, better relationships, better status, your family lives kinda settled down, you're more on an even keel. You got more success, less efforts, it's really for when you've put a rocket under your performance and you're feeling a little bit chuffed with yourself and ready for a new challenge, because then we get to your untapped leadership potential, whatever is left unexplored that you can tackle once you're out of burnout, 'cause really, this is the journey I work with on clients... With clients in coaching, I help people get out of burnout so they can explore their bigger dreams and aspirations, usually by setting a big goal that's been lurking around for a little while, or maybe just having a new idea, where they just want to leverage their... New strength their new self assurance their new way of being and make some exciting new plans. So if that's you, buckle up, and I do recommend the book I mentioned, The Last Word on Power, but it is a little unusual, just to warn you, it's written in a style, a language that I initially found a bit hard to come at. Anyway, I'm bringing it here because Tracy, I think she's onto something. So if you're an executive with a daunting challenge at work or in a major business growth phase, for example, or maybe you got a market shifting forces, you need a big change in your leadership style, and a little bit you doubt your ability to pull it off, you might like these ideas, I'm just gonna give you a little taster. It basically about reinvention of yourself and your organization, or your role in the organization. So the first thing I think to think about is, Why is this challenge you have at the moment hard for you? Or why didn't you create the change to overcome the obstacles and the difficulties until now? You might have hit a little bit of a wall and got stuck, you might even know you're stuck, but not what to do about it, because after all a lot of us don't get formal leadership training, we just get promoted and promoted and end up there, we just learn on the job. Right? So if you're listening to this, I'm gonna hazard a guess that you're a very talented person, you can do that, that's normal for you to be able to fix any problem that comes up, but Tracy's idea on that is that we need to abandon the skills that got us here and adopt a new way of being, to take our organization and indeed ourselves to the next level. Well, I think many professions or many professionals, particularly people who come and work with me, start with what I broadly call a technician role in their career, extremely highly educated, skilled, experienced, very high standards, usually working in a risk, intolerant, systematic procedural profession, but still pretty much exchanging time and expertise for money. And I'm thinking here about Engineering, Medicine, Law, Accountancy, Finance, IT, Academia and so on. So then you move into management and leadership, you have to abandon entirely your reliance on working harder to solve problems, you know the very thing you established your career on, but really now that you're in a strategic position, making, if you like bigger, more complex, far reaching decisions that involve a lot of other people, relying more on leading and empowering people to perform at that top level, you need to kind of let go of the technician MO and it's hard to let go. I find it hard to let go. So what Tracy contests is that we've all got a winning strategy that helped us stay on top, what got us here is our winning strategy, it's a strategy, that sits behind every decision we make, because we learned early on, that's what keeps us safe, but now that strategy is holding us back and we need a new one. What got us here won't get us there. It's kind of basic, but once you kick the tires of this idea a bit, by reading the book, obviously, you might be a bit surprised... I guess I think about it like this, If you got a bunch of kids in a family, each one of them has a role and they stick to that role, one might be the boss, others might be the caregiver, a hard worker, the peacemaker the emotional rescuer, the rebel and so on, and each of those roles has it's own winning strategy. As the rebel, how do I remain safe and keep my place? How about as the hard worker, and how we do it is we spend all of our time listening out for some cue in our world. For example, I listen for, "What's really going on beneath every conversation?" And we do that in order to take some protective action. For example, take over responsibility to make everything work out. And we do that so that we can be safe, really. For example, I can be in charge and not feel trapped. So it's all about survival, and that's the game we play as children, and we never stop playing it because it works. There are certain level of leadership that's gonna hold you back. And in this example, you simply won't be able to takeover and fix every problem. So that's where as leaders, we can hit the wall. The other thing, I'll just change tack slightly, that Tracey suggests holds us back, and I think she's a genius in this, particularly 'cause she agrees with me, is our addiction to interpreting what happens. Whenever something doesn't go how we want to in the world, we think it shouldn't have happened and we call it bad. Sometimes... Personally, I use worse language than that, in fact. Anyway, we think, "Okay, something went wrong or someone was wrong or we ourselves were wrong. Something's wrong with me, it or them." So for example, we paid a contractor a quarter of a million for some work and they went bankrupt. Or we invested in crypto only to discover that it was fraudulent. Or we ordered chip supplies for the year, but the semiconductor supply chain collapsed. And this is one of the pillars of coaching, the meaning we give to the things that happen. All the things that people say is what causes our pain. The meaning we give to things that happen, or things people say, or things we think people think is what causes our pain. It's not the actual thing that happened, which is what we blame. The thing that happened is neutral, it's just the thing that happened. In the sense... It's neutral in the sense that someone else could have interpreted it differently and felt differently. Let's take the crypto seller, for example. We think we've been ripped off, and we're angry. He thinks he's got our money and he's laughing. Same event, different interpretation. So something happened that wasn't going according to our expectations, we think it shouldn't have happened. Or something didn't happen, and we think it should have happened. And then we waste a lot of energy being angry and railing against reality. And as Byron Katie says, "When I argue with the reality, I lose." At only 100% of the time. So what if there was no such thing as right or wrong, good or bad, should or shouldn't? It was only what happened, and that didn't mean anything about anything. And it certainly didn't mean anything about us. Remember the last time you were blocked or swarted at work something didn't go to plan. How much time did you spend talking about it to other people, trying to get them to agree with your opinion? How much time did you spend ruminating, thinking about ways to get retribution even or simply manipulate a different outcome that would suit you better? And did that work out for you? Or was it just a bunch of hot air and angst? Just typically, it doesn't work out very well for me when I try that. How much faster did you think you might have progressed if what happened was just information? "It's just what happened." Because then, when one avenue is blocked, when something didn't go according to plan, instead of staying wedded to your original expectations and plans, you just decided what action to take next. If you didn't need to have things turn out your way, what other possibilities exist? We often don't think of that so much. We're too busy being right and getting everyone else to agree we're right. And we've had the guts full of that right here, 'cause we've had a federal election this weekend. Anyhow, each of us has a lot of power in this world. Not force, power. Intelligent and benevolent power. Power to achieve wonderful things. But no, we don't have it while we're busy bashing our heads on the rock, wanting things to turn out as they should. 'Cause the world isn't taking any notice about what we want, it's deaf to our shoulds. Stuff is just happening, and stuff will just keep happening. So what if we simply change? What if we abandon our winning strategy? What if we stop listening for our trigger in taking charge? What if we eliminate expectations and just work with what happens? What if we stay in the present moment? Because if you ever sit in meditation, if you ever sit in the present moment, usually the thing that we're thinking about has gone wrong in the past or might go wrong in the future, it's usually not wrong right now. And staying in the present moment can really show us our expectations and release us from some of the mind chatter that isn't really very likely to fix anything. So I meditate, and I've also used coaching. It's an amazing tool for noticing where my inner narrative runs contrary to reality. When I'm gutted because I think something shouldn't have happened, but it did, or should have happened, but it didn't. And coaching really puts the power back into my hands about how I want to experience that reality that I can't change. Here it is from another favorite, author Dr. Joe Dispenza, "We don't perceive reality as it is, we perceive it the way we are." And I gotta say, I'm less of who I was these days. I've become pretty aware when the way I think is limiting my results. Because my brain only comes up with one preferred solution to every problem. It's called the Deck solution. And often, it's an impossible one given the presence of other organisms on this planet, other people, for example. My mind mostly recycles old thoughts, it doesn't really have new ones very often. And that's by design, that's what the brain's supposed to do to save energy, and also to reinforce safe behaviors that have worked in the past. So it doesn't really know or care that there might be unlimited potential solutions available once I let go of my ideas. I can wrestle with my mind sometimes with coaching, and I can't help but open to the new. And this is what leadership growth requires, in my experience. We have to start unknowing things. We have to let in some fresh possibilities. And I use traces where it will lead to alter the trajectory of my life and my business. And actually, it works. It's going a lot better, thanks. And I also use it in coaching clients. All of us, it turns out, are a little bit scared in leadership when we hit a wall. Don't tell anyone I said that, right. But really, a team will always outperform an individual in any business or organization, and a really diverse team will outperform the best of the other teams. So it all kind of comes back to asking for help, really, admitting we don't have the answer. That one's from Shawn Achor, by the way, in Big Potential. So then, yes, it comes a day when we just have to unclench our vice like grip on what should have happened... I believe we don't actually know and assume that if something is possible we will find a new way and grow. And here's a quote from Shortbus, the film, spoken by an old mayor of New York about his handling of the AIDS crisis. He said, "I was scared and impermeable. Everybody knew so little then. I know even less now." And that's what I got for you today. Thank you for your time. I love that you're here. I hope this episode got you thinking a little bit. And if it did, then go ahead read the book. But if you're in burnout, you must come and talk to me about how to recover quickly, sustainably, and to come back to your best performance and enjoyment inside work and out. And as a leader, if anxiety, stress, exhaustion or obstacles are holding you back from your best performance, if you feel there's more in the tank and you really want to explore that name a bit higher, this is also the place for you. Listen at the end for the link and come talk to me. If you're in burnout and ready to recover, come and join my Burnout To Leadership program. You can book in to talk with me @burnout.dexrandall.com. Just tell me what's bugging you, and let's make a plan to fix it.