What to do when things don’t go as you planned

I get so annoyed and frustrated when something does not go according to plan or when I feel like it’s out of my control.

  • I come home from a work trip and the house is trashed
  • I tell my manager I need to talk with them and they cancel my 1:1 last minute
  • I get alignment on a project and then leadership contradicts themselves
  • I tell my employee how to do something and they still screw it up
  • I’m expected to do more than is possible in a day

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone and totally justified in feeling annoyed about these things, but I hate feeling stuck. When it seems like things are totally out of my control, I get so frustrated which makes it even worse because now I’m frustrated AND annoyed.

This is why we go out for happy hour and complain over IM with friends at work. We are annoyed and feel justified in it and know how to get backup to support how we are feeling. I love happy hour, but have you ever noticed that you don’t really feel better after complain about it?

So, what should you do when you feel stuck in this virtual cycle of needing to eat donuts all day to feel better?

There is one simple and powerful question that helps you get out of frustration and starts you moving forward. Ask NOW WHAT. Crap happened, now what am I going to do?

The house is a mess, NOW WHAT? I can get mad and passive aggressively clean up the mess (read as throw crap around) or talk with my partner to understand what happened and figure out a plan to get it clean it up.

My manager canceled my 1:1, NOW WHAT? I can complain to everyone and bad mouth them for always canceling or I can schedule time with my skip level or a different manager to get some help.

Leadership is contradicting themselves, NOW WHAT? I can point it out to them and spend time arguing or I can get scrappy and find more data to help frame the discussion and move forward based on that data.

You get my point. You can spend time continuing to validate your frustration, but there’s not upside to that.

Next time you feel frustrated and annoyed ask yourself NOW WHAT and get moving. Life happens. Now what.

Chat soon,

LB

P.S. Did you know I offer a free online confidence course? Get instant access to it HERE.

Doing this one thing will make you stop questioning your value at work

Do you ever find yourself saying, “I just want to feel valued?” Do you get frustrated that feedback and project discussions focus on what needs to change, what’s missing, or how we can do it better next time?

You are not alone my friend. So many of my clients come to me frustrated because they knew they were the top performer at their previous gig, and now they don’t know where they stand. They’re so stressed and full of anxiety that they are starting to question their skills and abilities. They were top of their class or promoted multiple times and given tons of praise at their previous job. Now they work with all top performers and are suddenly questioning themselves and their value.

The truth is, at work we don’t spend a lot of time praising ourselves and focusing on all our accomplishments. We focus on the customer and how we can continue to make it a better experience for them.

For example, almost every team I’ve been on at Amazon has tried to start the WBR with the week’s top wins and slowly over time that slide mysteriously disappears because no one submits anything and we spend the entire meeting focused on what needs to change.

If the only way you know how to feel valued is based on external validation, you’re going to constantly be chasing it. I’m not saying we should not spend time focusing on our wins, but learning how to feel value regardless of what your manager does or does not say is so important to learn. Knowing how to be confident regardless of things outside of your control is the fuel to having an amazing career.

So, how do you feel valued when all we focus on is what’s not working? Start by asking yourself the following questions the next time you are questioning your worth:

  1.     What was the hardest part about this?
  2.     How did I overcome it?
  3.     What results did I deliver?
  4.     What am I most proud of?

Answering these questions for yourself is how you feel valued. When you think about all you’ve accomplished, how much you had to figure out, and what you did, you will be proud of yourself. Even if you manager or coworkers don’t see it, you get to feel valued. Value is a feeling and every feeling you have comes from your thinking. This is the best news ever because you get to choose what to think about regardless of the external validation that is or is not there.

So, the next time you are questioning your value and wondering how to know if you are doing a good job or not, honestly answer the questions above and know feeling valued is entirely up to you. You get to think whatever you want so find a thought you believe that makes you feel valued and practice thinking that every time self-doubt tries to creep in.

If you want help applying this to your specific situation, let’s jump on the phone and figure it out together. Sign up for free coaching HERE.

Thanks,

LB

How to commit when you disagree

One of our leadership principles at Amazon is Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit. For many of us, having backbone and stating a case for what we think is right is the easy part. It’s the committing when you disagree that becomes challenging.

We focus on disagreeing and committing not to let leadership have any easy excuse to get their way, but to keep moving forward quickly. Delivering on the project and failing fast gets us to our goal so much quicker than spending time making sure everyone agrees. There are so many variables to our projects that we’re never going to be 100% aligned. Disagree, commit to the project, and keep going.

Now, I know what you are thinking. This sounds great in theory, but in practice it’s not always this easy. No one wants to put their name on a project they think is a joke or wants to focus doing something they think is a total waste of time. I get it. I’ve totally been there, but here are 3 ways I’ve been able to commit when I disagree.

1. Look for a part of the project you do agree with. You might not agree with the overall project, but even being able to commit to a portion of it will help you not dread it as much.

For example, my old team was launching a new feature to an existing product that had a horribly biased name and did not really add any value to the customer. In my opinion, this new feature was us talking to ourselves and thinking we knew what the customer wanted better than they did.

I was asked to create a high-profile marketing strategy to drive awareness and adoption. I did not want my name associated with anything about this feature. I did not believe in its value and was not impressed with its lack of capabilities. I fully disagreed, but struggled to commit because I’m not the type of person that fakes it easily.

I did believe that I could create a marketing strategy that allowed for multiple test and learn opportunities to let the data indicate which message was actually driving customer engagement. So that’s what I committed to. I create the marketing strategy, launched it testing multiple feature messages and used the data to frame the ongoing marketing strategy for the product. Spoiler alert, I was right. The new featured bombed and we quickly pivoted away from it. But if I had not committed to creating a testing plan, I would not have had the data to support my argument going forward.

2. Commit to getting more data. Most of the time, the reason we don’t all agree is because we don’t have all the data to make the decision for us. Sometimes just committing to getting the data makes all the difference.

For example, a client of mine was struggling with her manager. She was asked to create multiple email marketing campaigns that went to millions of customers to drive product sales. She knew this was not scalable, a horrible customer experience, and not going to drive the downstream impact on the business they were working towards. She kept putting it off until her manager started to escalate it.

She disagreed that this was how she should spend her time and the impact it would have on the business, but she did commit to getting the data to find out. She sent all the emails and tracked the performance closely. What she learned was majority of the email test did not meet performance goals and she was right. She also learned a few of the segments did perform and her manager was right.  Being committed to getting the data allows everyone to drop the drama and simply do what the data said.

3. Commit to yourself. Sometimes you just have to do things you don’t want to, but if you can find a way to commit to yourself and find something in it for you, that can be commitment enough.

Maybe you disagree with having a weekly business review that takes up so much time and does not actually improve the business. Commit to yourself that you are going to find a way to get something valuable out of the meeting for yourself. Even if it’s just face time with senior leadership.

Or maybe you disagree with the promotions process because it’s so ambiguous and politically driven. Commit to yourself to not let the process be the reason you don’t get what you deserve.

 Moral of the story, look for one part of the thing you disagree with to commit to and go all in on that. I promise it will make all the difference.

Chat soon,

LB

P.S. Want help applying this and taking it to the next level? Let’s jump on the phone for some free coaching. Sign up HERE.

How to deal with difficult relationships

A relationship are your thoughts about another person. Sometimes similar thoughts are had by the other person, but your relationships with others is entirely yours to own.

For example, Ellen DeGeneres and I are BFF’s. She emails me all the time, I laugh at her jokes and she always makes me feel better when I’m down. Let’s be clear, Ellen had NO idea who am I, but I think we are close. Our relationship is great.

Or my friend from High School that I only talked to once every few years. Whenever we get together, we can always pick up right where we left off. I love our relationship.

So many of us are frustrated with so many of our relationships because we think they have to look a certain way for us to feel good about it. Do any of these sound familiar?

  • A manager should have weekly 1:1’s.
  • A friend should answer you call.
  • A partner should want to spend time together.
  • Your kids should listen.

You can think that in order for you to have a healthy relationship with people, they have to act how you want them to, but how’s that working out?

The reason we struggle with so many relationships is because we have an expectation of how people should act and we having a million thoughts about how others are doing at meeting those expectations. But what if you dropped the expectations and took 100% responsibility for yourself in all of your relationships?

This concept is hard for a lot of my clients and we spend a lot of time talking about this, but really taking 100% responsibility for yourself in a relationship works so much better every time.

Think about a relationship you have with someone that has passed? They are not here actually interacting with you the way you want, but you can still have a relationship with them. It all exists in our mind.  A relationship is a mental construct.

I’m not saying to let yourself be taken advantage of or not have expectations, but when someone acts in a way you don’t like, choose to take responsibility for yourself. This might mean you need to set a boundary or walk away from the relationship, but own it.

For example, if I have plans to meet someone for a date at 7:00 and they are not there by 7:15 I leave. I don’t have to be mad and angry about it. I can respect my time enough to leave and choose to think whatever I want about the date.

Your relationships are the thoughts you have about others. If you don’t like it, clean up your thinking. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • He’s a horrible manager.
    • He seems to be under a lot of stress.
  • All they care about is looking good to their manager.
    • I’m, just like them. I want to look good to their manager too.
  • They always take credit for my work.
    • I wonder if they even realize how that makes me feel?
  • She should be willing to help.
    • I don’t want to do it either
  • I hate that they are always late.
    • They are so predictable.
  • He’s such a jerk.
    • He must be really struggling.
  • You never have time to hang out.
    • When we do get together, it’s so fun.

Chat soon,

LB

P.S. Want help applying this to your specific situation? Let’s jump on the phone and figure it out together. Sign up for free coaching HERE.