How to Navigate the Gap Between Responsibility and Ability

How to Navigate the Gap Between Responsibility and Ability

The gap between responsibility and ability is where stress lives. Your boss assigns a task that stretches your skillset or overstuffs your schedule – stress!

Two factors influence your response to stressful situations – who you are and learned strategies.

Good people respond poorly to stress because they haven’t learned any better.

One lit egg surrounded by dark eggs. The rejection of inability prolongs incompetence.

Stress is:

  1. Negative rumination combined with catastrophizing.
  2. Determining you are unable to meet expectations.
  3. Encountering an inescapable hardship or difficulty.

Stress revealed:

#1. Unrealistic expectations.

You’re stressed because you beat yourself up with ridiculous expectations. You SHOULD be able to meet a challenge but can’t. You beat yourself down because you don’t do everything perfectly. You stop playing if you can’t win.

The rejection of inability prolongs incompetence.

Lower stress levels by adopting a learner’s perspective. “I don’t know how to do this, but I’m ready to learn.”

#2. Need for approval.

You’re stressed because you believe the boss’s opinion matters. And it does! Pleasing the boss means you’ll earn a promotion, bigger salary, more perks, and better assignments.

The need for approval inside you creates disapproval from others. We like people who like themselves. But neediness is unattractive. Just don’t use self-love as an excuse for complacency.

Lower stress levels by adopting an earner’s perspective. Ask your boss how you might EARN a promotion.

  1. Explore specifics.
  2. Don’t push your boss into a corner.
  3. Focus on performance.
  4. Measure progress.
  5. Seek feedback.
  6. Don’t bring up promotions all the time.

#3. Unhealthy comparison-making:

The achievements of others cause stress.

Sometimes I want to quit writing when I read the great work of others. But it’s stressful, disappointing, and unfulfilling to use others as the measuring stick for your life.

Better to live up to your potential than give up because others exceed you.

The difference between admiration and envy is motivation and discouragement.

How do you define stress?

How are you dealing with the gap between responsibility and ability?



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Week Highlights: 7/19 to 7/23

Week Highlights: 7/19 to 7/23

This week all my posts focused on stress. For your convenience – just in case you missed one – all the posts are listed below with links.

Road sign. Stress relief this way.

“Remember that stress doesn’t come from what’s going on in your life. It comes from your thoughts about what’s going on in your life.” Andrew Bernstein, Philosopher

Monday:

Stressed person with tongue out. Quote,

A REALISTIC APPROACH TO STRESS MANAGEMENT THAT DOESN’T CAUSE MORE STRESS

I hate the expression, ‘stress management’. I get stressed when people tell me to relax. Thick books about managing stress make my belly hurt.

Not all stress is bad.

Tuesday:

Butter sitting on frogs head. Letting go is an iterative process.

3 QUESTIONS THAT RESOLVE STRESS QUICKLY (Most viewed post of the week)

  1. What’s the worst that could happen.
  2. What would you like to do about that?
  3. How much does this matter?

Wednesday:

Picture of a monkey riding on its parent's back. Quote,

STRESS: HOW TO GET SCREAMING MONKEYS OFF YOUR BACK

Sometimes stress is a screaming monkey that belongs to someone else.

4 people with a monkey ownership addiction:

  1. Helpful Helen.
  2. Compassionate Charlie.
  3. Brilliant Buford.
  4. Imaginative Ida.

Thursday:

Two potatoes in a pot with terrified faces.

HOW TO ANSWER THE VOICE IN YOUR HEAD THAT CREATES THINGS YOU DREAD

Stress is made by voices in your head, not circumstances, people, or events you dread.

The false safety of inaction prolongs the agonies of life.

Dr. Seuss believed the waiting place was the most useless place.

Friday:

Picture with one lit egg surrounded by dark eggs.

How to Navigate the Gap Between Responsibility and Ability

Two factors influence your response to stressful situations – who you are and learned strategies.

Good people respond poorly to stress because they haven’t learned any better.



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Summer Reading for Leadership Freaks

Summer Reading for Leadership Freaks

“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Margaret Fuller

I’ve read all the books on this list. Enjoy!

Reading

Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon MacKenzie

In his deeply funny book, exuberantly illustrated in full color, MacKenzie shares the story of his own professional evolution, together with lessons on awakening and fostering creative genius.

Mackenzie worked at Hallmark Cards for thirty years.

Wanting, Luke Burgis

“Models are people or things that show us what is worth wanting.”

Admiration forms and fuels aspiration. This book changed the way I see myself and the world.

Make It, Don’t Fake It, Sabrina Horn

Read the inspiring story of a woman who started her own business and practiced authentic leadership at the same time.

Sabrina’s stories are worth the price of the book.

The Heart of Business, Hubert Joly

“Making money is an imperative, but it’s not the purpose of business.

It’s excellence on the people imperative which leads to excellence on the customer imperative which leads to excellence on the financial imperative. But … the purpose is not the money. It’s about helping people grow. It’s about doing something good in the world.” Hubert Joly

Well Being At Work, Jim Clifton and Jim Harter

The five factors of wellbeing at work:

  1. Career wellbeing: You like what you do every day.
  2. Social wellbeing: You have meaningful friendships in your life.
  3. Financial wellbeing: You manager your money well.
  4. Physical wellbeing: You have energy to get things done.
  5. Community wellbeing: You like where you live.

Practical and actionable.

Man’s Search for Meaning, Victor Frankl

Profoundly simple.

After reading, Man’s Search for Meaning, I read everything I could find by Frankl.

Helpful Hints for Good Living, Mark Twain

Refreshing!! Hilarious!! On occasion a bit dated and offensive by today’s cultural standards.

What’s on your summer reading list?



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How to Pull Weeds Less and Grow Fruit More

How to Pull Weeds Less and Grow Fruit More

You’ve been working to make a difference but every weed you pull is replaced by three more. Worse yet, new weeds seem more malicious than old.

If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up being a weed-puller. But leadership includes growing fruit. This year is half over. What if you spent the last six months pulling weeds, but there’s no fruit in the garden?  

gritting teeth Leadership is more than gritting your teeth and waiting for complexity and difficulty to pass.

Glad it’s over:

Leadership is more than gritting your teeth and waiting for complexity and difficulty to pass.

You might think, “I’ll be glad when this is over,” but that thinking devalues the drive and effort it takes to grow fruit during difficulty and turbulence.

6-month checkup:

A long-time coaching client sent me his half-year assesment form that he uses for himself and his team. It reminded me that reflecting, assessing, and refocusing are necessary, even in turbulence.

Don’t tolerate lack of focus because times are turbulent and the best you can do is pull the next weed.

Halftime – 6-month checkup:

#1. List five wins during the first half of the year.

#2. In what area did you make the most progress?

#3. In what area did you lose momentum?

#4. What could you do to generate new momentum where momentum has slowed?

#5. What practice has served you well in the first 6-months of this year?

#6. What new practice will serve you well in the second half of this year?

#7. What is one thing, if it happened in the second half of this year, that would make your year a major success? (Think of things within your control.)

Time to reflect and refocus protects you from blindly pulling the next weed. Next-thinging isn’t leadership.

It’s most useful to lift your head out of the weeds when you’re surrounded by weeds.

How might leaders lift their heads out of the weeds?



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