Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘Gurus’ Category

Not Fighting Back is Exhausting and Rewarding

In anger management, avoiding arguments, breakdown in communication, bullies at work, bullies in the office, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, communicating, communicating by phone, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, David Rock, dealing with a difficult coworker, Detach and Breathe, diplomacy and tact, disagreements, fight or flight, Gurus, interpersonal skills, professional behavior, Uncategorized on April 26, 2017 at 11:00 am

A few years ago, I was challenged by a very difficult client in a fairly visible, corporate position. She would routinely drop the ball on important details and cause mayhem in accomplishing tasks. She bullied and blamed others for problems that she caused. When confronted with a problem (of her making) would say, “Do you know who I am?” (Oh yes, she did!) Anyway, I had to deal with a lot of stress just to ensure that my service to her company was successful, beyond, and in spite of her.

So there I was, someone who touts herself as being an expert in interpersonal effectiveness, and I was failing to build a bridge of trust and rapport with this person, despite all efforts. And after dealing with her for so long, I frankly disliked her so much that it felt too insincere to want to build rapport. Yet, I had to remain professional.

In the midst of all this, she sent me an urgent email to call her ASAP. Taking a deep breath, I called. She then reprimanded me for failing to read the details of one of her emails, berated me for writing back without having done so, and projected onto me her own feelings of being so out-of-control by claiming I was chaotic and acting like a wreck.  Rage boiled and I could feel the sizzle in my brain. I thought I was going to explode and tear her fragile sense of importance into little tiny shreds. (That would have been my old way of coping with someone like this.) But no, I decided to walk-the-walk and model what I teach others to do.

I noticed several things happening as I was holding back my anger and thinking about what to do. First, I know that the act of thinking clearly during high-levels of negative emotions uses more stored glucose than the release of intense emotion. As a result, I found myself getting physically and mentally exhausted. The FIGHT response, my automatic protector, had a full tank of cortisol (stress hormone) at its disposal. My pre-frontal cortex (executive brain) was working really hard to find my way around these feelings and take charge of the conversation. And that was the good news. I had been working to build muscles to think when stressed, and had access to it. I simply used my mantras, “Detach and Breathe” (I wrote an article about the importance of using mantras to manage stress) and, “My feelings are none of her business.” They worked!

Once I got my emotions under control, I used a technique that David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute refers to as “Choose Your Focus.” The idea is to stay out of the DRAMA, PROBLEM and even DETAIL and move up the ladder to where constructive dialog can occur. The areas of focus are on the PLANNING and SOLUTION. So, here’s what the conversation sounded like:

CLIENT: “You need to calm down. If you had read my email you wouldn’t have had to write so many. This is absurd and it cannot continue this way.”

ME: “I think we’re talking about a breakdown in communication, and that’s fixable. So, if I understand correctly, we still need to determine the dates for the training.”

CLIENT: “Yes.”

Once she agreed, I held to the facts, and followed up the conversation with an email. It’s really that simple looking in; you just don’t go down there with the other person. But the effort to keep calm is zapping!  She will never know how much energy I spent keeping myself in a neutral and thinking place.

As challenging as this situation is, I see her as my Guru keeping my skills sharpened. It is so true that “Your Most Difficult Co-Worker is Your Greatest Teacher.”

Calmly yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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The Good News about Being a Square Peg in a Round Hole

In anger management, arguments, assertiveness, being different at work, breakdown in communication, bullies in the workplace, business relationships, career challenges, career-related problems, Catalyst, communication skills, communications between generations, coping with pressure at work, corporate life, David Rock, diplomacy and tact, empowerment, entrepreneurs, get out of your own way, gossiping, Gurus, human relations, interpersonal skills, lack of relatedness, leadership, life skills, manage stress at work, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, NeuroLeadership Group, office politics, ostracized, outcast, person to person dynamics, personal development, personal growth, personal power, personality, professional behavior, professional boundaries, professional development, Professional Reputation, Reputation, self-esteem, self-help, self-image, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, Square Peg Round Hole, team-player, transformation, women in the workplace, work-related problems, working with a younger boss on March 6, 2015 at 4:55 pm

You’re 25, 35, 45, 55, 65.  Your work is excellent regardless of your position. You are skilled, qualified, effective.  You’re making positive impact towards the bottom line for your employer.  You’re not perfect, but you’re fundamentally a nice, kind, quality human being.  Yet, somehow people judge you, misunderstand your intentions, or simply don’t like or trust you:  there’s a look in their eyes as if you have two heads and your skin is blue.  They blame you for the way you say or do things.  They are intolerant of your being different from them.

You feel like the oddball and cannot blend in with the group.  This is a known stress-inducing thing, in fact, David Rock of the NeuroLeadership Institute calls this a ‘lack of relatedness’ that professionals feel.  It causes a threat reaction in the brain, which can fuel the problem and lead to behaviors that further separate us from the group mentality (i.e., withdrawing, arguing, appeasing others, etc…).

I am a square peg.  My entire career, no matter what employer, I am plagued with being so different as to stir the pot, having experienced a host of things from being bullied, to being ostracized, being fired, being gossiped about, you name it.  However, I am so efficient and good at my job that this is never the issue that surfaces.  No one ever blamed me for being incompetent.  I’m just not like the others.

I’ve come to take responsibility for this and see myself as a catalyst.  I am a lightening rod.  I ignite a riot.  I have a strong, assertive energy that makes some people very uncomfortable.  I am honest and direct.  I am confident.  I have a way of working that gets results but is not the norm.  It rattles people who follow the rules and blend in. Now, none of this disqualifies me from having to practice all of my beloved techniques in human relations, communication, leadership and holding myself accountable when I do wrong, but it is a quality that I cannot change because it’s so fundamental to my presence and my spirit.  And I endure because there are people who see my value and embrace my differences.

Does this sound like you, dear friend?  If so, start thinking of yourself as a catalyst that wakes people up.  From a much higher perspective, you and your big energy are mirrors for others to have their own limits kicked-up, and when they are mature enough to take accountability for that, they get to change for the better. (And sometimes they pursue professional development coaches when they do! :)) And if they don’t they don’t – it’s a conscious choice to wake-up or not.  Just know they will always play the role as your Guru, reminding you to be okay with being different. Until then, sadly, you get to be blamed for their discomfort.  Know that some of the time you possess qualities that make them want to push you away, only because they cannot be like you.  How about them apples!

In fact, entrepreneurs are frequently people who are so tired of not being a fit, they leap off to be their own bosses, create their own gigs and work in more autonomous scenarios.  I am one of these, yet always mindful that clients can draw the square peg out of me and I have to be mindful that I am hired to be of service and to get along.

Do not fret, square one.  Round holes are good for your soul.  They help to refine and develop you in a way that allows you to get on with your life; get along in the world even when it’s awkward.  It becomes a life-long workout of blending in to make your life work.  It gives you the objectivity to choose how to behave so that you are being your best.  Good news is that round holes can never demand you to fundamentally change.  You are like the horse that is given water but cannot be made to drink it. Enjoy your power.

Squarely yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Professional Women, Please Stop Trying to Fit In!

In business relationships, career, career challenges, career-related problems, communicating, communication, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, corporate life, dealing with a difficult coworker, dealing with a male boss, Detach and Breathe, empowerment, enlightenment, executive coaching, female discrimination, Gurus, handling tough boss, human relations, interpersonal skills, jobs, leadership, leaning in, life skills, manage stress at work, managing conflict, office politics, personal development, personal growth, professional behavior, professional development, professional women, self-esteem, self-help, self-image, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, transformation, Uncategorized, women, women in the workplace, work culture, work-related problems on January 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I am decidedly a professional woman.  In my 30+ year career, of which there are actually two paths taken (one in media sales, one in professional development), I have felt discriminated against because I am a woman.  I have been sexualized, objectified, diminished, loathed.  I have been given opportunities, I’m sure, because someone thought I was pretty. Both men and women have said and done things to me that where abhorrent.  “Go make curtains,”  one male boss had said to me, in front of male peers, tossing me out of a meeting.  “What’s your favorite position?” a manager asked me after I had inquired about applying for a management position.  Oh, I’ve been there.

And you likely have experienced all that too. But this message isn’t about how to get along as a woman, or about leaning in or out, or about being assertive, or vulnerable, or how to navigate corporate male hierarchies. I’m not here to review the research that proves how ambitious women are seen as bitches while male counterparts are admired for their leadership qualities.

No, I’m writing to say to all of us women: please stop obsessing about being a certain way in order to move up the corporate ladder.

Here’s why:  despite working to create the right perception (by behaving in a way that will yield the best results), small-minded associates who are in emotional pain, regardless of their gender, will see us through their own damaged lenses.  They will have their biases. Their dysfunctional views of the world will be there ANYWAY.  Unless people are aware of the feelings of others, and care about developing themselves at higher levels, they will box you in like miniature chocolates molded into their casings.

Yes, it might mean you are seen as the power-hungry-bitch with 38DDs.  It might mean your high-intelligence is so threatening that you are passed over for a promotion to someone whom your manager feels he can control.  Disappointing, yet with a great blessing:  You have been hired by your Guru so that you can work on YOU.

Business settings are like Gurus or teachers. Work presents us with the most difficult, challenging and sometimes downright painful interactions that feel AWFUL.  These occurrences actually give us the opportunity to become enlightened; to make choices, to build skills, to detach from any personal need to have the boss (or colleague) fulfill a longing and need in us to be accepted, approved of, etc… They are playing an unexpected role — to push those old buttons so we can evolve.  My advice: use these nasty lessons to learn how to step-up into YOU, and don’t worry about who they are.

When I came up with my mantra, DETACH AND BREATHE, it was to deal with a boss who had been actively trying to sabotage me so he could replace me with a guy he liked for my job.  I had been reacting by shutting him out of my work and trying to take control of things without consulting him. The minute I allowed him to manage me, forgot about trying to be right, and went with the fact that our hierarchy gave him authority, HE RELAXED around me, and the threat actually went away.  By the time I quit, it was purely on my terms.  He was my Guru, helping me understand what it means to let go, to stop needing to control, to accept what is.

The freer you are — the more objective and the more accepting of others’ limitations — the better you will feel about yourself and your work.  So, you may be overlooked for a promotion or even get fired.  Sadly, you may have to deal with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Don’t allow regret to eclipse the power of the lesson. The right opportunities lie ahead. You can live out your purpose, carve out your path.  This will happen as a result of your enlightenment and enrichment from these horrific experiences.  Plus, there are always good people around who want to help.  It’s focusing energy on what’s possible, not on conforming to a culture that cannot bring your dreams to fruition.

Professionally and respectfully yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.