Sometimes I’m discombobulated, embarrassed and vulnerable

How many times today have you refrained from saying what you are thinking and feeling?  Are you aware that you are holding back, and if so, are you aware of why?

  • Sometimes we don’t want to hurt another’s feelings.
  • Sometimes we don’t want to hurt our feelings.
  • Sometimes we are frightened of the consequences of offering up our truth; what will it open up that becomes a tide who’s flow we cannot stem?
  • Sometimes it just feels plain uncomfortable to speak up or out and we don’t know why.
  • Sometimes we don’t feel we will be listened to
  • Sometimes we fear being embarrassed

I’ve no doubt that you/me could continue to add to this.  Sometimes too, there is a good reason to hold your peace, to keep your counsel, to just listen and say nothing.

But there are many more occasions when bringing our feelings, thoughts, doubts and fears into the open shifts something.

I got stuck with a piece of work last week; I took away something from someone who was swamped.  Said ” I’ll sort it”.   I struggled all week, I just couldn’t see a start point.  My thinking was muddy and messy, I got distracted.  I had to stop.  Life stuff happened.  I had to manage a little queasy feeling of panic.  I was discombobulated.    I decided I just had to forgo my fees and own up.    I phoned my client, who laughed and described their own week.  Asked me a few questions, which made me realise that whilst I didn’t have much written down, I had done some useful thinking and it sort of freed me to produce something concrete and useful the next day.

But it was really hard to make that call.

Sometimes it’s hard to say “I don’t know what to do next”, or “I’m stuck” or  “I don’t understand you”.    Sometimes it’s difficult to tell a client/boss/partner/friend that you disagree with them.  Sometimes it’s easier to walk past a distressed co-worker than to stress yourself by stepping out of your own busyness into a situation which is unknown and sometimes, it’s easier to ignore emotionality than to enter into it.

Sometimes, the truth appears  harder to share than it is to hold on to that hard knot inside.

Organisations are not designed to facilitate the types of dialogue I am reflecting on here so we have to work on it constantly; but oh wouldn’t the world of work be so much more productive if it was considered legitimate and necessary to sometimes feel discombobulated, embarrassed and vulnerable.

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4 thoughts on “Sometimes I’m discombobulated, embarrassed and vulnerable

  1. Spoke to a client last week about just this – how to structure your organisation & environment where leaders welcome people who are stuck or just having a bad day rather than always demanding (implied or otherwise) that they come prepared and ready to make a decision. It’s surprising just how easy, even with the best of leaders, it is to create an environment where people don’t feel comfy saying they don’t know what to do next.

    It brings me back to some long term musings that perhaps managers & leaders would benefit from independent supervision rather than coaching to help them check in with how they are managing/leading their current situation. Not coaching, not mentoring but perhaps drawing from each. Thoughts?

  2. Well, that is often the route coaching takes, I suppose, depending upon the context within which we are working. Sometimes I feel more equipped to help people work through their real work stuff, than to purely focus, for example, on their aversion to conflict. I feel too it is more practical and actually, I’m building a group programme around this concept.

    But, if there are dysfunctional relationships, you carry the risk of becoming an additional management layer; so there is something to explore around contracting and boundaries.. I like this David; I’m going to write about it in my next piece of reflective writing for my EMCC accreditation!

  3. Oh what timing Meg! Chose to speak up today on something difficult that I had mulled over – it went well, got a good resolution and most importantly the honesty was appreciated! I felt so much lighter afterwards and realised I had been carrying this weight for a little while … So often the case but still hard to do! Great words as usual ….

  4. I’m pleased you finished this. Agree about control and what leaders believe to be rational being the dominant factors in change programmes. I recognise your recipe….

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