Many of the conversations I’ve heard lately are about people’s frustrations…with their employer’s return-to-work decisions, with other people, with rising prices, and so on.
When coaching executives, I often ask “How’s it supposed to be?” I use this question when I hear a complaint to uncover a person’s vision for what they wish were the case or want to have happen in a situation. Having, sharing, and acting on vision is one of the marks of brilliant leadership.
Vision isn’t always some grandiose image that’s massive, documented, and shared widely – like with big corporations whose “company vision” is intended to get people aligned in a certain direction.
Many of us have some sort of vision for our life—even if we’ve not articulated it clearly. Throughout a given day, we tend to envision things we want multiple times. The deal is, though, visions aren’t always expressed as aspirations and can sound more like griping. So, it’s important to be aware of, and examine, a “complaint” or frustration.
Do you hold a personal vision for something? Perhaps you’re not fully aware of what that is, or maybe you haven’t yet expressed it outwardly. Maybe your vision seems distant (like a hope), remains subtle (like something you imagined), or feels unreachable (like a wish). For example:
- Your work…maybe you’re hoping to keep your flexible schedule despite your company changing its work policies.
- Your home life…perhaps you’re imagining how you want an evening with your friends to play out.
- Your finances…possibly you’re wishing to retain a comfortable level of discretionary income as you face increasing demands on your spending.
When you don’t voice your vision, it’s possible things won’t go the way you want. This can lead to frustration.
Hence, it’s important to get clear on how it’s supposed to be. Here are three steps you can explore to help bring your vision to light:
- Be mindful + bodyful: Get curious and notice what’s going on with both your thoughts and the emotions being expressed through bodily sensations you’re experiencing. Do this by allowing yourself 15 minutes (or more) of sitting in silence or in nature.
- Be curious + intentional: Without judgment, get curious and explore more about what you noticed in Step #1. Specifically, ask yourself what, how, when, where, and who questions to become more intentional about what you want (i.e., your personal vision for a situation). TIP: Avoid why questions as these can put you on the defense.
- Be open + communicative: Once you’ve gotten in touch with what you’re noticing and wanting, be open and communicate this to the people for whom it will matter…before things go sideways!
This Week’s Challenge: When you get frustrated, stop yourself in your tracks, ponder “How’s it supposed to be?” and explore the 3 steps above to help turn your frustration frown upside down.
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