Advice to My (Not So) Younger Self

Posted on August 13, 2017. Filed under: coaching, expectations, Leadership and teams, my career |

Yes you may think you’ve seen this before and perhaps you have. The question is have you acted on the hints, tips and insights gained from others.

You can’t put an old head on young shoulders

That’s not what this is about. What it is about is aiming to help others to not repeat the mistakes that I have made – I’d much prefer it if you learned from mine before forging ahead and making your own mistakes in a new area.

mentor-2062999_1920

Hence the theme of advice to a younger self.

As you can see from the title of this post, this one is a lesson that I feel that I am still learning.  Like many people I have a tendency to work hard, especially on topics and issues that I am passionate about. In fact I work really hard when I am passionate about something. The question is whether “working hard” is actually the right thing to do.

Anyone who has experienced burn out or the fact of working yourself into ill health will resonate with this idea. There are times when we get really frustrated, burned out or unwell because it feels like “I am the only one who cares about this”

Pinterest popped up this little gem – Everybody Somebody Anybody Nobody

Are you familiar with it? It’s a little story that pops up in all manner of places.

Workplace lunch rooms or kitchens – especially when doing the dishes or loading the dishwasher seems to be done by one person

Meeting rooms of sporting clubs or volunteer organisations – when the committee members are tired of not being able to stand down from a role because there is no-one willing to step up

I admit that in some voluntary organisations there are people who hold onto their roles and don’t offer anyone else any training so they kind of create their own frustration, but let’s move on.

So what is the advice to myself?

If I am doing something because it needs to be done but no-one else is willing to put their hand up to do it.  There may be a good reason!

If something needs to be done an no-one is willing to do it, 1. why does it need to be me who does it and 2. what will really happen if no-one does it

 

woman-1733891_1920Usually the “worst case scenario” plays out inside my head. Also known as the guilt trip.

The advice is when in this situation what else can be done other than throwing yourself under the bus, or on the hand grenade. (side bar – I thought that was a great scene in Captain America by the way, but I don’t have superhuman powers)

If you are dealing with frustration and burnout or fatigue from taking on too much, then perhaps the piece of advice in this blog is just for you at just the right time.

My lessons learned?

I confess that I am still learning – we are all perfectly imperfect – yet these are my tips

  1. Catch yourself in the act of doing something merely because it needs to be done and no-one else will do it. To avoid frustration and burnout there has to be a meaningful outcome for me in doing that task (the good old WIIFM)
  2. When taking something on be very clear with yourself and others about any terms or conditions. If you are stepping in to an interim position for 6 weeks then make it clear that at the end of that 6 weeks you will stand aside.
  3. Be prepared for the consequences of acting on your “conditions” Learning to let go of things can be as much of a challenge as not taking them on in the first place. We all know examples when someone has started something “just until a replacement is found” and it has hone on as a permanent arrangement.
  4. Be prepared to get a coach or a mentor who can help keep you accountable to yourself. I confess that this is really hard for me as I don’t like to “give up” or to take advice or feedback about what needs to improve – but that is where the power is and where the new insight comes from. So yes I have a coach and yes I take the feedback.

If you enjoyed this or got something out of it, please let me know and please share it with someone who you think may get some benefit.


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