Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘Imposter Syndrome’ Category

How to Recognize when you’re Bringing your Inner 9-year-old to Work

In ages in the workforce, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, Emotional Intelligence, emotions management, generations at work, growth mindset, Imposter Syndrome, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, negativity at work, personal development, personal growth, personal life at work, professional behavior, professional development, Professional Reputation, self-awareness, work-related problems, work-related stress on February 4, 2021 at 2:54 pm

Corporate life is the perfect laboratory for inner development. For every negative thing that the workplace triggers in us — aggression, low self-confidence, avoidance, the “imposter syndrome”, procrastination, hate, fear, inability to learn, the need to please, — you name it — the dynamics of a competitive, results-oriented, shared environment can become the springboard for deep personal growth. 

Corporate life, by nature, creates a family-like dynamic: managers may inadvertently play parental figures (whom we wish to please or rebel against) and colleagues might show up as jealous siblings. When adults move into careers with an unhealed emotional life, work can become pretty dysfunctional. This is because grown-ups can drag their inner 9-year-olds into the present. Signs of this can be a lack of self-awareness, unchecked emotions and behavior, and overall poor Emotional Intelligence. 

For all you know, you are unknowingly triggering the 9-year-old in a coworker. Or, your boss is bringing your 9-year-old to the surface. The key to help you see if this is happening is to watch for patterns. Here are some:

*Do you have the same kind of struggle with a boss no matter the job?

*Do your performance reviews routinely disappoint you?

*Are you at times called out for behavior that offends others?

*Have you been overlooked for a promotion multiple times?

*Do you tend to have conflicts with colleagues?

*Do you fear asking for what you want and wish your boss would just acknowledge your value?

When I worked in advertising sales, it took me over 20 years to realize that my 9-year-old had been holding me back; causing me to act out aggressively to overcome the fear of being annihilated by the power of a boss’s authority. This eventually led to a wonderful healing, but not until I was good and ready.

One day at work, I called a dear friend, because I was in the middle of a rage about having to deal with a manager whom I disliked intensely. At that time, I was a VP for a growing internet company, and became infuriated when my boss made a decision that I felt would cause a major problem for my sales team.

So, I called my friend asking her how to deal with this, because I was maxed out. By that point in my sales career, I had had many managers whom I disliked, mistrusted, fought with, thought little of and here it was again, in my face. I spewed all of my frustrations to my friend, asking her, “Why do I always have to deal with managers who are so stupid and thoughtless and who undermine me? 

She asked, simply, “Can you surrender?” “Surrender!” I shouted. “Why should I do that?” 

Several years later, in a new job, with a similar manager, the pattern emerged yet again. He was someone with whom I fought constantly and I finally reached a breaking point. One day, battle-fatigued, I complained to the head of HR that he had cut my team’s summer Fridays down to 4 days while other sales groups in the company could enjoy 6 days. I knew my complaint would get back to him. So, the next day, when he called me into his office, I was prepared for a fight. 

“You don’t support me,” I said. “Really?” he sneered. “You don’t support me!” he barked. 

Now I was 23 years into my career and it finally dawned on me that he was right. He was my boss, he had hired me, and I wasn’t letting him manage me. I had been shutting him out of everything I could for two years. In that moment, I flashed on my friend’s advice about surrendering. My rebellious 9-year-old, had always needed to be right; to feel in control and to keep a distance between myself and my managers. Regardless of my managers’ limitations, I was responsible for the disregard for their authority and responsibility. All because I could not surrender. 

“From here on in you will feel my support 100%,” I said in earnest. “We’ll see,” he said.

I then ran to my desk and wrote on two different colored post-its, the words, DETACH and BREATHE. I was determined to let him manage me even if I disagreed. I owed this to myself and I knew it. I wanted to be free from this pattern.

I posted my notes onto my computer, at home on my refrigerator, my bathroom mirror, and I repeated them over and over.  I wanted to change.

During this time, I realized that I didn’t actually own anything at work, everything was the property of my employer; I was there to get a job done to the best of my ability, with the hierarchy intact.

Within two months, my boss and I relaxed around each other. He allowed me to make unilateral decisions. He rarely told me what to do or how he wanted it done. Trust had been built. By 44-years-old, I had finally learned my lesson. I didn’t have to be right and I didn’t have to feel in control.

It was soon thereafter that I felt the urge to pursue my next career, the one I have now. I believe that my freedom allowed me to move on. It’s been 18 years and I think back to those times now, with gratitude, for all of the managers I had, who were my mirrors, reflecting back to me exactly what I needed to see, so I could grow.

Your journey may look very different from mine. But, if you are reliving the same pain at work – over and over again – you may have the opportunity to look in the mirror to members of your work-family to see who the 9-year-old is and if it’s you, congratulations! You are on your way!

Happy journeying!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2020. 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.