Going home for holidays can be stressful and require a great deal of planning and thought - this is true for anyone living away, but especially for expats who only get home once a year or less.
For expats, short holidays can mean intense periods of trying to "make up for" the long time spent away from family and friends. It can also mean taking on the expectations of others, and falling back into patterns established by parents or other people during our childhood or formative years. This can be stressful in itself! Often, we find ourselves reacting to things that normally don't bother us, or experiencing feelings we haven't felt in years. It can sometimes feel like all of the personal learning and growth we have done is erased in a matter of hours!
In the last post, we asked ourselves, "How am I getting in my own way?" Ideally, you will have already completed that exercise by spending some time thinking about it and working through the guiding questions. I did it, and came up with several self-limiting beliefs, behaviours and habits that are not serving my intentions and goals.
It was worth it to me to spend some time getting curious about this question. And be wary of your inner critic! Mine was in overdrive when I started. It is a temptation to be overly critical and slam all your failings. But when I got quiet and curious, I came up with deeper, more meaningful answers. I would love to discuss with anyone who wants to have a conversation about this!
Today, we're going to switch gears to external obstacles. I suspect this exercise will be much more satisfying than the previous question. This week, we're asking, "How are other people getting in my way?"
One of the reasons I decided to keep a blog is to bring ideas that are working for me or my clients to even more people. Today, we are going to ask ourselves a tough question that I believe is a powerful step towards conscious action which helps us step into our authentic leadership. It is also one of the most challenging for me when I am most triggered by others.
When I was in Canada, staying local for holidays was not a big deal. There are tons of people who stay-cation for their work holidays. But, when my husband, John, and I decided that we would stay in Qatar for this Eid holiday, it gave us a lot to think about.
It was an intense discussion yesterday over a lovely lunch at La Spiga restaurant at the W Hotel in Doha with an interesting group of leaders from different corners of our diverse Qatar community!
We had difficult conversations about difficult conversations! Our brains and emotions were challenged as we considered the possibilities for how a difficult conversation could be different from what we expect, what we have experienced, and what we may assume will materialize.
Here's what some of the participants had to say about their take-away's from today's Authentic Leadership Conversation™ in response to the question "What did you learn from this session/What has changed for you?":
"It's been awhile since I've had to have a difficult conversation, so this session really got me thinking about how to prepare for one in the future. Listening to other people's experiences was also very valuable."
"[I need] better preparation and better awareness of how my values and the differences with others affect these conversations."
"I learned more about my tendency to judge people's psychology or analyze their actions immediately, rather than sitting in the moment."
"I appreciate being able to discuss difficult issues and I think I need to be aware that the process is difficult. Today helped me realise that a bit more."
The express lunch (98QAR) was excellent, and we all appreciated the very attentive wait staff who were exceptional. Thank you for hosting us La Spiga!
Join us on 19 September when we continue with the next 4 conversations of the series! Contact me on the Reach Out tab to register!
We are all ready to go for our first two Authentic Leadership dinners in Doha!
If you haven't signed up yet, there is still space in the May and June sessions, so get in touch soon to register. Click here for more information.
Wednesday 17 May 2017
Conversation 1: "Who do you think you are?"
How do I manage my inner critic (negative inner voice) and how is it limiting my leadership?
Saturday 10 June 2017
Conversation 2: "I can't say that!"
How can I have difficult conversations when I feel intimidated? How do I stay centered and clear in a difficult conversation?
I am so excited to get started! I have heard from many of my clients and friends in the community who believe this informal community is something that is currently missing from leadership development opportunities. So, we will be growing a community in which to share and practice authentic leadership with other leaders who may be experiencing the same challenges in their lives and workplaces.
Reach out if you are interested in learning more about how Authentic Leadership Conversations™ can support you in your personal and professional leadership growth.
I can't wait for May 17th!
"I can't say that!!": How to Have Difficult Conversations
I had the privilege of hosting an Authentic Leadership Conversation™ today with a wonderful group of women on the topic of "How to Have Difficult Conversations" (part of a series that I am offering in Qatar starting in May 2017).
The amazing thing about this topic is it brings up questions and fears that we all experience. Today was truly an opportunity to reflect on what connects us and how we can prepare ourselves for the inevitability of difficult, uncomfortable, or intimidating conversations.
There are so many resources out there on the "techniques" of having difficult conversations. One of my favourites is Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.
But the real work of difficult (fierce, courageous) conversations comes through our personal groundwork and the practice of getting to know ourselves, our patterns, and how we want to show up in alignment with our core values. We see results when we focus on the consistent effort of paying attention (awareness), developing strategies (i.e., breathing, observing, or other in-the-moment practices), and taking action (journalling, role-playing, trying new strategies in low-stakes situations, etc.).
If you're looking for a way to get started, set a goal for the next month to focus your energy on the following:
Practice 1: Observe with a beginner's mindset:
Observe how you feel (emotionally, physically) when you are in a difficult conversation or when you think about one that you have been avoiding. For example, do you feel anxious, angry, fearful, etc.? Does your mouth get dry, do your hands get sweaty, or do you notice your voice getting louder or higher pitched? Without judgement, observe these responses with curiosity and openness, as if you were an impartial third party.
Practice 2: Journal about your observations
Notice and reflect on any intimidating conversations after the fact and write about what was happening for you in the moment. The sooner you can do this after the conversation, the better. This works even for low-stakes conversations where you walk away thinking "I should have said...". What do you wish you said? What would have been important about that for you? Is it too late, or can you find a way to return to the issue with the person in the coming days in order to find a better resolution that fits with your values?
I would love to hear about your experiences with these practices or others you find helpful.
What works for you? Post below to begin the conversation!
Contact me to learn more about the Authentic Leadership Conversations™ Series!