Why you end up doing other people’s work

Nothing is more frustrating than feeling like you can’t do your job because someone else is not doing theirs.  It feels like you don’t have time to teach them or hold them accountable so often we just do it for them.

That’s fine in the moment, but it’s not possible to do everyone’s job and it’s just adding to your stress and overwhelm.

For example, maybe you’re responsible for your teams’ monthly business review and you need each leader to submit their updates. You probably sent out a schedule, gave directions on where to put the information and started working on your part. Chances are, someone missed the deadline and another person submitted it wrong. Or maybe someone submitted information that was confusing and missing data.

We end up spending time chasing things down, but at the end of the day we end up doing their work and fixing it. We are the ones responsible for pulling it all together so we don’t want to look bad.

This happening once or twice is fine, but when it’s constant and happening across multiple projects, it’s easy to quickly get overwhelmed and burnout.

No one wants to work when they feel like they can’t get ahead. It’s not motivating to work hard on projects when no one else seems to care about doing their part. It’s impossible to micro manage and double check every detail.

At some point, you have to hold others accountable to do their job so you can do yours. But how do you actually do that?

Instead of trying to tell them HOW to do it, you have to focus on the WHAT. What do you need from them in order to move the project forward. They get to figure out how to get it, but the more specific and clear you are on the what, the less time you will spend trying to tell them how to do it.

Now be warned this is easier said than done. People want the how. They want to know exactly how to do the thing you are asking so they don’t have to figure it out, but guess what. Our jobs are to figure out how.

So if you are feeling overwhelmed because you feel like you have to do everyone else’s work so you can do yours, focus on being more clear and direct with WHAT you need from them and encourage them to get creative on figuring out HOW to do that.

If you want help figuring out how to do this with your work, let’s jump on the phone and figure it out together. Grab time on my calendar to connect.

You got this.

LB

How to stop feeling so overwhelmed

Very rarely do I wake up in the morning when my alarm goes off feeling refreshed and well rested. Immediately my brain kicks into gear and starts telling me to hurry, get up, get the kids ready, get to work, there’s so much to get done.

I’ve noticed that I’m always telling myself there’s so much to do and I’m hurrying through things to get it all done. I think that if I can find a way to get my house chores done faster, then I can go to bed sooner. Or if I can blow through my unread emails quickly, then I can move onto my next project.

I think this is one of my hidden powers. I can do the dishes faster than anyone I know. I can skim a long email like a champ.

Then Monday night happened.  I crawled into bed around 1:00am exhausted from a long day. Around 2:00am, one of my kids woke up because she was not tired. After trying to rationalize with the “not tired” 4 year old, she finally went back to sleep around 3:00am. 3:30am rolls around and she is up again and this time everyone is up. We try getting everyone back to bed and around 4:30am, but realize it’s not going to happen and give in. I turn on the TV for the kids and get in the shower to start my day.

Taking the day off to sleep was not an option so I just decided to cut myself some slack. I was not going to pressure myself to get through everything. I just told myself to do your best and something was better than nothing.

You guys. The craziest thing happened.

I got SO much more done than I usually do.

I was not constantly thinking about my to do list, or the next things, or how I needed to hurry up and get it done. I just got to work and was so much more effective at it.

One of my coaches uses the phrase I love to “run the mile you are in.” I love this and constantly tell myself it all the time, but this belief that I have so much to do has been winning out lately.

The next night I caught up on sleep and found myself slipping right back into the slightly panicked frenzy of plowing through the day. I’m practicing cutting myself some slack and just focusing on the one next task at hand.

There will always be more to do, but the way to do more is not by focusing on the amount to be done. It’s by doing what amounts to something.

If you are tired of feeling overwhelmed about everything you need to do, I can help you feel more on top of things. Grab some time on my calendar and let’s connect. 

You got this,

LB

How to confidently respond when your work is being scrutinized

If you had the option to reach a goal all by yourself or with the help of an entire team, which would you choose and why?

Most people would choose the team because more people equals more ideas, more help, and more skills that can help you get there faster.

So why is it that when it comes to people giving feedback or asking questions about your projects, you tend to get defensive? 

I was watching Shark Tank the other night and the person presenting and asking for money was so defensive I had to turn it off. It was painful watching him repel investors and seeing him refuse to listen validated their concerns.

When someone starts digging into your analysis or asking questions around why you chose a certain path forward, how are you responding?

You know the “right” way to respond and try to respectfully listen and respond to questions. The problem is, deep down, you are probably also defensive about why you are right.

You know how to respectfully disagree or justify your work, but when it’s coming from a place of defensiveness, it always shows through.  Even in small and subtle ways.

Getting defense about feedback can sounds like:

  • Yes, but…
  • But you have to keep in mind that….
  • I don’t think you understand…
  • Then why did we…

Brene Brown says defense is the first act of war.

I think defense is a sign of immaturity. If you are  truly confident you don’t believe you are always right or know the best way. You would encourage and seek out feedback.

A mature leader does not get defensive when people ask questions, they get curious. They try to genuinely understand where the other person is coming from and truly listen and consider what they are saying. They also don’t make it mean anything about themselves. They honestly try to find why the other person might be right.

Learning how to do this requires skill and practice. Humans are amazing at reading each other so while you know the right way to respond, we are also picking up on your defensive vibe.

The next time you feel yourself getting defense, just acknowledge it and instead of trying to prove yourself right, let your brain go to work trying to prove the other person right. Ask questions to better understand their point of view.

You might actually be right in the end, but a confident and mature leader is always willing to be wrong. 

If you find yourself constantly defending yourself and want to start responding in a more confident and helpful way, I can help. Let’s jump on the phone and talk more about it. Grab time on my calendar.

Have you ever cried in front of your manager?

Have you ever experienced something like this?

Manager: How are things going?

Me: Well, I’ve been better….and then the tears started.

Often people run a bit ragged trying to cover for multiple open positions, do the job you were hired to do, manage a team, and hire multiple people. You hate having to say no when someone asks for something, but sometime you just hit your breaking point.

You give so much for so many weeks, but feel like you can’t get ahead. Each day you just continue to get further and further behind.

When you feel the frustration finally surfacing, you probably don’t love when it happens in front of your manager, but sometime you need to let it happen.

Once you are willing to just give in and feel all the overwhelm, it comes and goes in a matter of minutes.

You’ll feel better if you let it happen. You’ll still have a long to-do list, but you won’t feel as overwhelmed anymore. Learning to let your emotions come and being willing to experience them is how to start feeling better. Turing into them and not pushing the stress and anxiety further down make it less intense.

The next time you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and at your breaking point, just let it happen. Feel it. Don’t try to tell yourself it’s going to be okay. Just be not okay for a few minutes.

It’s okay, to not be okay.

This is what makes us human. Living a full spectrum of emotions is so much easier than trying to live on one side of that spectrum.

You got this.

If you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed and nothing is helping, let’s jump on the phone and figure out what’s going on. Grab time on my calendar and let’s chat.

The secret to letting people judge you

One of the key elements to being confident is learning to let other people judge you because no matter what, they will.

What other people think about you is none of your business.

Some of my clients push back on this because they think it sounds aloof and arrogant, but that’s not what I’m saying.

It’s kind of like going paintballing. If you get hit in the leg it hurts. You will probably get a bruise and if you get hit enough times, you might need to sit out for a bit. But if you get hit in the chest where you have protective gear on, you notice the impact and feel it, but keep going. You make sure you aren’t hurt and go back to playing the game.

It is the same with people’s judgements of you. If you are not confident and lack the gear to have your own back, it’s going to hurt. What they think about you is going to impact you. You are going to take it all in and use it as evidence to believe your already crappy thoughts about yourself. If the judgment gets back enough, you might even bow out and stop trying.

But if you are confident and know how to trust yourself, they are still going to judge you. You’ll notice it, but it won’t leave a lasting bruise and stop you from moving forward. You get to decide if you want to take that judgement and learn something from it or leave it by the wayside because it’s not true. When you know how to trust yourself, you are all in the game, but fully prepared to keep moving forward no matter what others think.

What would you have done differently today if you were truly confident? What would you have said no to? What would you have said yes to? What would be different if you really knew how to trust yourself?

Learning how to let people judge you is one of the most liberating skills you can learn. If you want help figuring out how to do this with your specific situation, grab time on my calendar and let’s figure it out.

You got this.

What happens when things aren’t fair

This past week I was working with a client who was frustrated because their promotion was being held up until the product launches.  They’re not able to control when it launches and were so angry. It’s so not fair. 

Another client joined a team to work with certain leaders and literally 4 weeks after joining, their team was reorged and all the leadership left. It felt like they made a bad choice and were getting screwed over. It was not fair. 

One of my other clients told me about a manager that kept canceling and no showing their 1:1’s and then started giving them negative feedback about not prioritizing 1:1’s with them. How is it fair to expect an employee to chase down a manager that keeps canceling and no showing on meetings?

There’s a lot of things that go down that aren’t fair.

But you can’t control what other people say or do. You can’t force your promotion through or stop teams from reorging or make people show up to meetings. It’s rude, frustrating, and not fair, but it’s how it goes. 

So now what?

Now you get to decide what you want to do about it.

This is when you get to advocate for yourself and wait it out or decide to move on and find something else. There’s no right or wrong answer, but the key is to fully own your decision.

Don’t change jobs out of spite or tell yourself you had no other choice. But also don’t tell yourself you were stuck and have no other options. You always have a choice.

You might not love it, but you get to choose. You choose to come to work every day. You choose to work while you are there. You choose to deliver on your projects. You choose to have integrity in your work. No one is making you do anything so you have to stop telling yourself you have no other choice.

Stay and know you are choosing to stay because you are worth it. Or leave and know you are choosing to leave because you are worth it. Either way, own your choice.

It won’t ever be fair, but owning your choice feels so much better than living from helplessness because that’s not fair to you.

If you feel like you are stuck in a position that’s not fair and want some help figuring out what to do, let’s chat. Grab time on my calendar and let’s figure it out together.

You got this.

Why no one is really “fine”

When I was 35 weeks pregnant with twins, there was no hiding my discomfort and struggle. People would offer me their seats on the bus and empathetically offer to help me however they could. Having my struggle be so visible gave people the opportunity to help without feeling like they were offending me. 

There’s this illusion we have that most people at work are doing fine. They’re happy, excited about their projects, and leave work feeling fulfilled. They smile and look so put together. I tell people I’m fine all the time and most people respond the same way when you ask how things are going. I’m fine, you’re fine, we’re all fine.

Expect the truth is, many of us aren’t fine. 

Not because our lives are horrible and things are crumbling down on us (though that has been known to happen), but because we’re human. The human experience is literally going through the ups and downs of life. Sometimes we’re feeling annoyed at the never ending to-do list. Sometimes we’re stressed because we don’t feel like there’s enough time. Other times we’re excited and happy because we’re spending time with people we love.

Most of the time, we’re anything but fine.

I think it has something to do with our constant drive to grow and keep evolving. As kids, we don’t second guess our value, but as we get older and have more opinions on how life should be, we start questioning our worth. We push ourselves to grow and do hard things. Feeling that sense of accomplishment after we’ve done that hard thing feels amazing and makes us crave it even more.

But the uneasiness of doing the hard things is what creates so much stress and anxiety. Will I be able to do it? Can I handle the pressure? Will it work? What if I fail and everyone knows it? It can show up as mild resistance to what’s happening in your life or as extreme anxiety and fear.

It makes me think about those times when my struggles were visible. When I was 35 weeks pregnant and people would offer me their seat on the bus. Or when I broke down in my 1:1 and my manager let me verbally vomit and complain while empathetically listening. 

I wonder if we would be more compassionate with each other if people’s struggles were more visible. I wonder even more if we would be more open about sharing our struggles and allow others to help and support if what we were dealing with on the inside could be seen on the outside. 

Next time you are in a meeting, look around at the people in the room and remember that no one is fine. Some of them are doing amazing. Others are really struggling or just a little bit down, but almost no one is “fine.”

 We’re all going through something, trying to grow and cope with what life is throwing at us. You will be able to connect, support, and love MORE of the people around you by loving yourself more. It’s okay to not be fine and to love yourself anyways. It is the human experience.

 

Here I am at 35 weeks pregnant and feeling as uncomfortable as I looked 🙂 

Why managing a team is a waste of time

At some point in your career you were probably a great individual contributor that did so well you were given more responsibility and became a manager. But managing is such a waste of time. You have to stop managing and start leading.

What really is the difference between a manager and a leader?

A manager is someone that makes sure the team is moving forward. They remove obstacles while optimizing existing tools and processes. They teach their teams how to deliver results.

Being a manager looks like:

  • A very full schedule with little time to stop and think
  • A focus on employee performance and other people’s projects
  • Straddling your time to focus on delivering your projects while supporting your team 

Leaders are the ones that go first when they don’t know the “how.” Leaders have a vision and enable their team to figure out how to do it. They create a safe place that allows for failure to learn and grow.

Being a leader looks like:

  • Obsessing over the data to influence what the next step should be
  • Focusing on enabling employees to plow through the ambiguity
  • Driving results that are not perfect, but move the project forward in leaps and bounds

Humans are so greedy at wanting to know the “how” before they are willing to go all in on that big idea.

Take a step back and think about how you spent the last work week and answer the following questions:   

  1. What % of my time was spent updating reports and status updates?
  2. What did I learn last week? And what data do I have to back it up?
  3. What risk did I take and what did I learn from it?
  4. How did I inspire someone to move the needle?
  5. If I was leading the org, how would I be spending my time? What would I stop doing? What would I start doing?

Be the leader. Don’t wait until you are the senior team member. Start leading today. 

You got this.

Feeling overwhelmed with your never-ending to-do list? Check out my free online course on how to get more done.

Are you feeling stuck at work? It’s because you keep believing this.

Do you notice you make statements about your life that feels like you are just stating reality? It might sound like: 

  • I’m not a morning person
  • It’s so hard to work in this toxic environment
  • Being an introvert at work is hard
  • I’m so busy

We go around saying these things like we’re just reporting the weather. You can’t make it rain or make it sunny. The weather is what it is and there’s nothing we can do to control it.

The problem with believing these thoughts is that they aren’t going to help you move forward. You are just reinforcing and believing your own excuses. And when you state them as facts, often others will agree with you and validate your excuse even more.

But do you really want to keep enabling your excuses?

These statements are not facts. They’re your beliefs about your life.  

There’s no “morning person” club that you have to qualify for or a test that can prove you carry the gene of “morning.”

There’s no check list of a “toxic” environment. Many of us see “toxic” meaning different things. And we can’t statistically quantify the difficulty of the working environment.

We can’t scan someone and prove they have introverted genes and what authority figure decided it’s harder to be this way?  

We don’t agree on the standard for what’s too much, just right, and too little amounts of things on our to-do list.

You can keep telling yourself these thoughts and believing your own excuses, or you can stop acting like an emotional toddler and start calling yourself on your own lies.

You have to start by knowing what weather statement lies you keep telling yourself. To figure this out, write down the answers to questions like:

  • What do you believe about your life?
  • What do you believe about your job?
  • What lessons were you taught as a child?

Once you are clearer about the beliefs you have about yourself, try to be curious about them and look at how they are impacting your life. Write down answers for each belief to questions like:

  • How is this thought helping me?
  • How is this thought slowing me down?
  • If I believed the opposite, what would be different in my life?

I’m not saying you have to go and change all your beliefs about yourself, but I would strongly encourage you to evaluate them every now and again and decide on purpose what you want to keep believing.

Stop giving weather reports about your life. Stop believing your own excuses. Start deciding what you want to believe. The only thing holding you back are your excuses. 

You got this.

Want help figuring out what beliefs are keeping you stuck and how to let go of your excuses? Let’s jump on the phone and figure it out together. Sign up for free coaching HERE.

The real reason we struggle with work life balance

Recently I’ve had multiple clients ask for help because they are struggling with work life balance. They love the fast pace of their job, have a great team, get along with their manager, but they want to do it all and are starting to worry about getting burned out.

They know that working nights and weekends is not sustainable and is going to make them resent their job. But they also want to do all the things and really struggle saying no or pushing back on deadlines.

Knowing how to have work life balance is not really this issue. You literally already know how to turn off your computer, put your phone down, and walk away.

The real reason we struggle with work life balance is because we suck at honoring our commitments to ourselves.

Let’s say you decided you were going to work from 8 am – 6 pm, Monday – Friday and only check your email on your phone twice each night.

Escalations aside, leadership is not telling you to jump back online and finish your work. You are the one thinking all the tiny and sneaky thoughts. These tricky thoughts sound like:

  • I’m just going to check my email so I’ll be caught up in the morning.
  • It’s going to be so much easier to do this project without distractions and over a glass of wine tonight.
  • I just need to send this one thing out before I forget.

These thoughts sound productive and like you are helping yourself, but they are exactly the reasons you struggle with having a balance of work and life.

NOT doing these things is literally how you create that balance, but at the same time, NOT doing these things often feels really uncomfortable.

If you’ve made a commitment to yourself, you have to start honoring it just as much as you would honor a deadline with your team. Each time you stick to your own commitment, you will start building that trust with yourself and it will get easier.

Coaching is the fastest way to learn how to do this because those thoughts that keep you from honoring your commitment to yourself are slippery. They sound so helpful that you need an external view to help you not just find them, but know how to deal with the discomfort of not responding to them.  

This is such an important skill to learn. It’s the key to being able to let your mind rest from work and actually enjoy the time away from the office without the guilt around what you “should” be doing. If you let yourself rest and take a break from thinking about work, it will also make you more productive and more efficient when you are at work.

When you trust yourself to stick to your non-working hours just as much as you trust yourself to hit your work deadlines, that’s when it really gets good.

You got this.

Want help figuring out how to have work life balance with your job? Let’s jump on the phone and get you started. Grab time on my calendar HERE.