Recently I was on a call and the tables were turned on me- Instead of doing the coaching, I was the one being coached. -Which by the way is always a valuable exercise if you ever want to improve your skills. When was the last time you switched roles with someone on your team or one of your clients? But that’s another article for another time.
On the call I brought up something that had been bothering me for a few weeks and thought it would be a good topic of discussion:
Lately I’ve been having a hard time “Unplugging from the Matrix.” This simple act was really upsetting me since I’m usually the one challenging my coaching clients to Unplug themselves and set up boundaries in the their own lives to create a work/life flow that helps them be effective leaders and create meaningful relationships both in and outside of the business.
I’ve written about this topic time and again and even devote an entire section of my book to this extremely disruptive force. I realize how important it is to be “unavailable for a few hours or a few days” to disengage so that you can re-engage more powerfully.
And yet here I was a victim of my own well-defined curse. This was compounded by the fact that I have re-arranged my work schedule to be home for my son Dylan’s 18th birthday.
As I talked about this with my surrogate coach I started making futile attempts to rationalize why I couldn’t put down my smartphone when I was with my family. Why I felt the need to be in constant contact with prospects and clients thousands of miles away- who by the way didn’t really need an immediate response to requests and as I’ve learned over the years usually never do- and certainly not at the expense of the precious time I have committed to being with my wife, the boys and my friends.
On the call I started reciting the strategies that I’ve coached my own clients with to help them unplug and have employed myself to get great results but these tactics still weren’t enough to uncover the mystery.
What was it? Why couldn’t I identify the real issue? How could I ever hope to control, what I couldn’t even articulate. On the call I bounced around from topic to topic so quickly that my Coach even got confused.
Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… I was trying to control something beyond my control and checking my smartphone was my way of a feeble attempt to control something in the midst of it.
You see school just started back up here in the state of Michigan and I have two boys in high school, one of which (Dylan) as I alluded to earlier is a senior and just turned 18. I’ve been talking for months now about it and saying out loud how I’m not really ready to have a senior. After all, this is my little Dilly Bar-as I called him when he was a baby. How is it possible that my little guy is all grown up and sometime real soon he’s going to be leaving home.
This I realized was the real issue I was facing and no-matter how much I wish time would stop or even go backward, this is something that I have absolutely NO control over.
I’ve always known this would be a big deal and that it would be something difficult for me to come to grips with, yet until this coaching conversation about my relentless pursuit of checking and responding to meaningless emails, I would never have allowed myself to be present enough to find out what was really happening.
The real lesson is that this is something that really would never have occurred to me since I’m not what one might call a control freak. I’m more of an influencer and I believe I can influence any outcome that I’m placed into whether it’s business or non-business- put me in a room with people and I have a better than average shot of getting a desired outcome.
Yet here in the most important of situation I’m faced with, is an outcome that I have no say in whatsoever and I get to learn to be ok with that… but clearly I’m not just yet.
After the call ended I jumped on yet another flight to meet with yet another group and do my best to go have an influence on their leadership team. This is a challenge to which I am well equipped to deal with and believe I will influence in the right manner.
Yet on this flight I was able to take some time to process my thoughts around the real issue at hand. I was really able to dig a little deeper into my feelings about the situation and more importantly come to terms with the reality that I’m going to get to let go of feeling that I need to control one area of my life in order to overcompensate for the areas that I have no influence or control over.
By engaging in my own coaching process- one that I have enabled thousands of others to pursue with similar results- I was actually able to deal with the root cause of my challenge, rather than waste a lot of valuable time and energy focusing on merely the symptoms.
This week ask yourself:
Where am I avoiding the root cause of a challenge or situation because it’s more comfortable to focus on the symptoms?
Who’s coaching me right now? Are they the right person for the job?
How and when do I allow myself to be present enough to figure out what is really going on with me in my business and in my life?
What will I commit to this week to start paying attention?