People often seek executive coaching when they are stuck in a particular way of doing something or thinking about something that no longer works for them. They are, as it were, seeing the world from a perspective that isn’t moving them forward or connecting them with others in ways that they believe is best.
We recently met with a VP of IT who described being irritable, angry and short with family and colleagues. He was focused on all that was wrong in his life and work and couldn’t see any of the “gifts” in his life.
After talking, for some time, about how crappy work was, how stressful it was having teenagers, and how much money his wife had spent on their yard; we asked him to pause a moment and then to consider what was good about work, having teens, and a yard remodel.
At first he scoffed at the question, insisting nothing was good. Then he paused and looked away and you could see the shift . . . the shift in perspective . . . and he smiled just slightly and said “I was recently given a compliment by the most critical guy on the executive team. He never pays anyone a compliment; not only did he pay me a compliment, he did it in front of the team!” He looked like a different man. As he talked more about the compliment and what had made it so special, he interrupted himself and said, “And I do love having teenagers . . . though they make me crazy. My daughter has taught me about lacrosse and I’m learning I love the game and my son, well my son has learned to drive. He has some problems with depth perception so we weren’t sure he could… but he passed the driver’s exam with flying colors.” By now he was beaming, laughing and more relaxed. So, we had to ask, “and the yard?” “Well, the yard is just beautiful. It was too much money, mind you, but she really has a vision for these things!”
He left the meeting with a different perspective.
If you find that you are stuck in one way of seeing the world, responding to a colleague, interacting with your kids or relating your partner, shift your perspective by focusing on what you are grateful for. At this time of the year, heading toward Thanksgiving, people toss around words about giving thanks and being grateful without really understanding the power of gratitude to open you up to your life and your light. One exercise that people find helpful is to spend 30 seconds, 4 times a day to notice what you are grateful for.
When you wake up – consider what you are grateful for. Aim for 1-2 things each time you pause. (It may be a simple as a warm bed.)
Then as you leave the house – identify 1-2 more things you are grateful for. Look around, see the day and notice what you have.
As you return home – think about 1-2 things you are grateful for. (It may only be that your meetings were timely.)
And finally, when you climb in bed take a moment and close your day with 1-2 bits of gratitude.
Gratitude can be a game changer in your life, your relationships and at work. It’s a way of living life with greater joy, delight and peace.