This topic has presented itself on more than one occasion last week so I have been reflecting on human behaviour. I have a tendency to want to know the “why” of everything so my overanalytical mind has been at play.
What has ever happened to honesty particularly when it comes to providing feedback? What stops you from being completely honest with someone?
I get it. We are Canadians and we are nice, eh? We don’t like to ruffle feathers or hurt feelings.
Honesty is not about hurting feelings but sometimes this can be the result.
Last week I sat in front of a manager and provided some honest, constructive feedback in a non-threatening and non-judgmental manner. The intention was to help this manager become a better leader. His behaviour was negatively impacting the work environment and after receiving several complaints, this information needed to be relayed to the manager.
So what happened next? The manager was angry. Angry at me for relaying this message but was the anger really directed at me personally? No, absolutely not. However, if I did not have the ability to separate myself from the situation, I would have taken this as a personal attack.
People say they want honesty but do they? We skirt around issues all the time to “save face” and then when we are honest, our egos get in the way. We don’t know how to handle it. We get defensive rather than see it as an opportunity to improve.
Too many times I have sat across from managers who have an expectation for their employees that is not being met but yet cannot provide honest and constructive feedback to the employee. The manager fails to articulate the expectation and then is annoyed when the employee continues this behaviour pattern.
What is the definition of doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results? I know it drives me insane to watch it so why do we operate that way?
Hard conversations can be challenging. No doubt but what if that feedback changed that person forever? For the better! What if that feedback developed this employee so much, their performance went from average to stellar?
What if that one piece of advice had a lasting impact? What if the person did not know they were doing something wrong?
Sometimes I am brutally honest but this is not done out of evil but for the greater good. I am always reaching for the stars to make the world a bit brighter and sometimes we need to shine a light on what is not working in order to foster all that is good. That takes a bit of courage, tenacity, boldness and sometimes, a bit of risk taking.
Every morning I go to the barn to feed the horses and cows. Every morning, I shovel some manure to make sure the animals stay clean, dry and comfortable.
Isn’t it about time we speak our truth from our authenticity? Don't others deserve to hear it so they can realize their full potential?
My authenticity comes from coaching from the barn! Want to know more? Horses are my partners and they want to meet the "real" you. You don't need to hold anything back. I invite you to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to start your journey.
At the heart of connection… Do you ever wonder where connection begins and ends? What does connection mean to you?
Do you instantly build connection or are you someone where you need a seed planted and over time it germinates into a beautiful relationship?
What supports those you are in connection with? Common interests, values such as trust, honesty and integrity, family, hobbies?
For me, connection starts in the purest form of authenticity. I immediately get a spidey sense when people are not being truly authentic and I can feel a guard go up questioning a person’s intention or mandate. Inherently, I believe everyone has good qualities that could be hidden or need to be uncovered but lack of authenticity is a trigger for me. Maybe I think too much but I always question “why”.
With my horses and dogs, I never question that authenticity and it makes me appreciate them so much more. They hold me accountable to be honest with myself. They expect and push me to show up just as I am and face whatever emotion head on. The bonus is they don’t care if my hair is messy, or that I have holes in my pants, or that I don’t have a name brand whatever. The love is unconditional and I have the pleasure of reciprocating this unconditional love. This translates over to my human connections. Who am I to judge?
When my dog greets me with a wagging tail or I hear a whinny from one of my horses as I enter the barn, a smile is instantly planted on my face.
Animals don’t lie. They are always teaching us to go inward to explore and expand our awareness.
It is the awareness of connection that is so key in this relationship – connection of self and connection with them.
In a world of social media and technology, we think we are more connected, but are we? Or are we more disconnected than ever? On Social Media, you only see what the author wants you to see which could be the absolute perfect life. But is that what is really taking place all the time? Is that life really that perfect? I would beg to differ.
My life is not perfect so if you check my social media, you will see common themes – my children, my dogs, my horses and some other random stuff I decide to post. You will often see posts of how proud I am of all of them but is it always perfect? Trust me, my children inform me when its not.
So how do you know if you are connected with self? What supports you in that connection?
This is the premise of my coaching practice particularly with the horses. They don’t lie and are great supporters of bringing forward some of those hidden demons and I support you to face them head on. When those demons get out of the way, we can face the world in our true authenticity.
Let me help you and contact with me at Soul on Fire Professional and Personal Coaching. How about we get started today? Why put it off until tomorrow? (BTW, they say tomorrow never comes).
If you were to rate your organization on respect in the workplace, where would you excel and where are there gaps? Do you have a set of organizational values that have been communicated and are living and breathing within your workplace? Or are there values that are printed on a piece of paper or the company intranet but employees are not aware and they are not adhered to?
How about policies? Do you have established policies where everyone is treated fairly and equitably according to these standardized policies?
Managers, would you know what to do if an employee communicated to you that he/she is being harassed? Do you understand what harassment means and what falls within this definition? Do you have a protocol to follow for a harassment investigation? Are you aware that you could be held personally liable if this allegation is not taken seriously and you fail to follow through? And your organization could be held liable too?
Employees, are you aware of your rights when it comes to workplace respect, harassment, bullying? Do you know that gossiping falls under the umbrella of harassment?
If you are saying "no" to any of the questions mentioned above, perhaps it is time to introduce in-house training for both employees and managers?
Just click on the "contact me" button and we can set this up at a time that is convenient for your organization and Soul on Fire can help you implement the policies that will support this training. Isn't it time to safeguard your company from any potential litigation. I am here to help.
Life has a way of throwing curve balls at us and the best laid plans need to be reevaluated (I refer to those as Plan B, C and D). Those plans are often meant to keep us safe but what if we trusted in the process? Perhaps there is a bigger plan for us that we don't know about yet? So my question is, how do we limit ourselves?
Renovations on a house is a prime example where you start out with a plan but unforeseen challenges come up throughout the project that can provide additional financial burden or it can be an opportunity to do it differently. Sometimes you need to consider what part of the plan can continue and what needs to be abandoned altogether. TV shows like “Love it or List It” demonstrate this concept very well and the client doesn’t always like to change the vision they initially had.
Coaching has many similarities. When I first started working with a coach, I was derailed on a number of occasions as I started to “shift” and transform my thinking and my behaviours. There was a negative inner voice attempting to “saboteur” all the hard work I had been doing and keep me just the way I was versus what I could be. Thankfully, my foundation had a coach supporting my growth which allowed me to discover something beautiful – untapped potential. A part of me I didn’t know existed or I had covered up for years choosing to "play small" and keep my light dimmed so I wouldn't shine too bright. From time to time, I feel myself "playing small" in spite of the fact I have a "big vision" and one that would serve the community on a higher level - one that would set many souls on fire. A vision that creates connection to self and others.
What stops me? Fear, negative self-talk, scarcity or feelings of not being enough. Are they real fears or perceived fears?
For me, this was similar to “excavation” – removing rubble to build a solid foundation. Coaching has allowed me to excavate the best part of me and I am committed to continue this excavation process even though it can be really hard work (and scary at times) as we move outside of our comfort zone.
For this reason, I have become a coach to help others “excavate” and find their best selves. Forget the plan! Support the house and rebuild the foundation to a new and improved version.
With that being said, what area of your life would you like to excavate? Perhaps you are in a state of transition. Soul on Fire provides programs to support your transition in a positive and gentle way.
What is holding you back? Let's get started today!
This picture is a great example of giving up power. This dog would quickly take power if permitted and in this case, she completely surprised me by jumping up during a photo shoot and grabbing my hand. She doesn't normally do this and she took advantage of the situation - similar to when I am on the phone. How do animals know when you can't react or respond or know that you will choose to not respond? Intuition??
My family has quickly reminded me that I am doing the same thing with our new pup. Not setting clear, consistent boundaries and being firm. I have a vision of what I want within this relationship but I am not asserting leadership and she takes advantage of the situation. Imagine, I am the only one in the family she herds and quickly takes me by the boot to guide me along. In the case of the dog above, she barks at me when she wants her way.
Today, a light bulb was brightly lit as I reflected on these scenarios. Where else in my life do I need to clarify and establish clear boundaries? Where am I giving up power to please others? Where do I need to take the reins and course correct?
Anyone else out there feeling this way? Are you a "people-pleaser" and do not want to rock the boat or forget that it is you that is the captain of your own ship? To refrain from using your voice when the lines are being crossed? Does this help you or hurt you?
How many times do you need this reminder because this is a pattern behaviour that shows up time and time again? You are given life lessons to learn and how often do you turn a blind eye?
Isn't it time to take control, paint the vision, and steer straight ahead to achieve your dreams and live your passion and expand on your leadership?
As a leadership and life coach, I see this often. Given that a sense of belonging is one of Maslow's hierarchy of needs and one of our human basic needs, we want to please others and this often means "avoid conflict". However, avoiding conflict often perpetuates and damages key relationships making it difficult to "trust".
Are you seeing the trend? Giving up power, avoiding tough conversations, breaking trust.
How can one lead from this place? Isn't it time to reclaim and commit to your power?
The name of my company is "Soul on Fire" so I ask that you commit to reclaiming your power wherever it is needed in your life and live with a "Soul on Fire".
I am taking on new clients over the summer months so feel free to reach out for coaching. I know summer is busy so coaching can be done by phone or in person within 30 minute increments or customized for in person sessions - 1 hour, 2 hours, 1/2 day or full day, individuals or teams (with or without horses as my co-facilitators). Remember this is your ship to sail.
I am an experienced business woman, a certified leadership and life coaching and possess an MBA concentration in Human Resources.