Once upon a time, in a land not far away, in a workplace not unlike yours…
…there lived a woman who wondered if she were brave enough to live and lead from a new kind of authenticity. This is a story about money. About business realities, math, leadership, performance and important profit projections. It’s also a story about LOVE (not warm-fuzzy romantic movie love. Capital L Love; wisdom-truth-power-and compassion in action.) And how these all came together one fateful day for truly inspired success. So grab your favorite beverage, and enjoy this tale that we hope pays this Love forward (and the financial growth that flows from it) for your journey. For our shared journey of better lives, better business, better world.
“These numbers look great, run with them!” Lori’s boss & COO said with an encouraging smile, and off she went, feeling in sync with doing a great job and sharing new production goals for the year with hundreds of employees across the 36 teams she oversees.
I encourage you to listen to Lori share in her own words and energy. Note: there’s a pause after “What if this is the best thing that ever happened” then audio continues:
I'm so grateful and encouraged by our work together. It’s such a cool story for her own growth and how a year’s worth (if not multiple years) of profit, employee engagement, multiple stakeholder goals, and the whole enchilada flourishing could be lost or saved in a one-hour conversation! Her longer term journey is also rich and reveals how so many of us have been “taught” to try to succeed. If we are fortunate to wake up to a deeper truth, we get to lead and live from Love, starting from an inner core that reminds us that we are infinitely sourced and need not try to succeed by being a good girl (subconsciously until we realize we can be choosing a new waking up inspired life). I’m also a former pleaser and workaholic (pried white knuckles off that lucrative ladder way back in 1995!) and in awe of the layers of becoming our true best selves continuing through waves of pain, confusion, clarity and joy (probably for the rest of our lives.)
LorI & Marian together; avoiding vulnerability to conscious choice, self-LOVE, and REALLY leadING from Compassion & GROWTH POSSIBiLITies vs. OLD PARADIGM Performance (AUDIO):
Before we go on with our story, let’s hit the pause button and check in with You. I want to understand why you might be here, why this story could be relevant for you and who you are meant to become. I’m so excited and grateful to share this experience of what is possible when an inner shift really is the most important job for all the outer outcomes you desire for yourself and for being the change you want to see in this world. And for hitting your numbers at work. :-)
We hope this gives you hope for your own journey forward. It’s a great example of the amazing pay off from gaining awareness about “what’s been trying to run you” in your inner programming. Consider how many times you might keep trying to solve problems or get happier by getting what you want and other success strategies we’ve inherited that end up not really lasting and another new “problem” pops up the next week and so on.
Imagine we’re having a coffee date (well, tea for me) and we really discover more about what’s working or not for you these days. And what might be a hidden key to success that hasn’t been turned all the way yet. What’s in your heart of hearts?
When Lori and I first met, she was dying to be more authentic and less exhausted from trying to please others. I didn’t really know that yet, but we both knew there was a reason we’d met and today we’re delighted to share her triumph with the intention that it will spark new possibilities in your inspired life. Let this plant a seed in you towards feeling that you can indeed be your most fulfilling, real self and succeed in the real world!
OK, back to our story. A few days after Lori (senior leader in large organization) had been told by the COO to “run with her numbers” she received an unexpected surprise. The CFO notified her that she can’t use those numbers, and she must use these higher numbers that can’t be changed (the board already approved). Lori is a caring leader who deeply values and cultivates trusting relationships with her people and happens to teach emotional intelligence. In that “uh-oh” moment, the thought of having to go tell all these people that they now have harder to achieve numbers (and look bad, or ruin all that trust that can take years to build possibly being lost in 30-seconds) was heart-wrenching and frustrating. Somehow the COO had mistakenly not cleared the earlier numbers with the CFO. Oops. These things happen every day in normal business life, hmm?
Imagine how you might be in reaction within your inner board of directors. She was in a state of upset, fear about the lost confidence, trust and performance motivation with her people and all the potential impact across the org chart and out to customers, understandably so! In the past, she recalled feeling like she just had to suck it up, deal with it and deliver news to her people with a fake smile. She’d come so far in her authenticity journey and cultivating authentic relationships, that she didn’t want to stomach that again.
Luck had our session time already booked the same day, just before for a critical meeting with the COO. We facilitated a deep shift in her to come from very different energy, perspectives and possible solutions that included embracing this as "the best thing that ever happened because..." We did not START there. This is an essential nuance in coaching and human energy management. We started with some vital breathing to regulate her nervous system and open up receptivity to self-awareness and non-judging welcoming of what was really happening. After this we could begin to explore perspectives and choices beyond the reactivity. Rather than a potential "premature positivity" bypass into sugar-coated strategies, we spent some time in unconditional compassion and acceptance of her own state, emotions, et al. And then we moved into what we could call a "radical okayness" with everything as it was, with a combination of mindfulness and embodied practices. We explored different points of view (e.g. let's get up in the balcony and look in on this situation coming from compassion and curiosity for everyone involved). Although she was quite triggered, her capacity for self-awareness, compassion and inner energy regulation were available because she’d been in this inspire leadership lab exploration for many months. We played with brainstorming- What matters most? What serves the higher good beyond individual wants, stories, emotions? and so on. We ended with some very pragmatic next steps for her to show up as an authentic, inspired leader aligned with the greatest potential in herself and all stakeholders in this system up and down the organization hierarchy.
This changed everything- starting with her COO’s surprise (he was bracing himself for blame) at how she was showing up, then their ability to collaborate, then new interactions with the CFO, and then communicating with her teams in a way that let humanity and prosperity flow rather than become one of those things that could ruin everything but no one really would talk about openly. You know what I’m talking about, hmm?
We could say we had a great leadershift that’s fueling a happy ending instead of years of resentment and lost revenue.
What’s even more exciting (and makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time) is how Lori is now reporting what she describes as a “permanent shift” into being a “Warrior of Love and Compassion” (her words)
I admire her so much in her unique flavor of the way she gets to embody inspired leadership. As she says, she’s not all done with this learning lab of being able to shift from default reactions to much more resilience and agile responses from Love and Compassion. I think this is “work” for the rest of our lives :-) And we get to choose creating this as an essential investment/most important job for our Joyful Missions.
Maybe the Love and compassion she’s cultivating in herself, and our just-in-time session that day de-armored her so she could meet with the COO as her authentic warrior queen, not a good girl or blaming angry girl trying to get him to X or this should not be happening because Y. Thus his armor could also melt off and then they could together come from new energies and so on and so on! She later reported that by the time it trickled down to the teams, it was a non-event. I love this. You can imagine how it could have gone differently.
There’s a fascinating paradox of “de-armoring” to to be a new breed of warrior queens and kings, coming from real power (rather than our inner protect-avoid-control personas typically trying to run the show) to actually serve the greatest good. Does that make sense?
Imagine all the conversations taking place in workplaces across the globe and what a difference there could be.
What is the conversation you are having- starting inside your own mind and heart? I really would love to know.
Now what ?
Math matters. I’m humbled and tickled at how this story demonstrates that what’s running you from the inside counts just as much, if not more. I’m even more humbled in the ongoing discovery of what “authenticity” actually means in effective embodied expression and how we allow or suppress this.
I would be delighted to share with you the tools we used (in that session and accumulation of 18 months in our inspired leadership lab explorations so far).
It would be fun to get your input and learn from your unique situation (inner and outer!) and how this could be paid forward for you and more leaders to flourish with the ripples of impact. :-)
What would you love to explore about yourself and how to enjoy being an authentic leader who is waking up inspired and falling asleep grateful? I look forward to a compassionate conversation with you soon.