My boy just got his permit. I’ve aged about 5 years in the last week. It’s a magical time. It’s brought out the best and the worst in me. This a.m. after he set my nervous system on fire driving to school, and I’d had time to drop back into my body and reflect… I realized how much I’m impacting his performance and experience with, YEP, my very own presence and being. For your viewing (and perhaps giggling and/or empathic) pleasure, here’s a bit of a window into that experience. OF COURSE, I’ve looped this right back into how this is a leadership lesson.
You come home from work, walk through your door, and feel... exhausted. You get into your car, notice the to-go coffee cup (from 3 days ago) and your kid's Cheese-Its crumbed in the back seat... agitation spikes. You walk into your office, it's dark, stuffy, messy... energy dips, resistance comes in. You go to write on the white board, and have to move through 4 pens until you find one that works... broken flow and contraction. (Bonus points, if you put those 4 pens back into the bin to create this experience again and again. Oh, come on, you know you've done this.) You go on a date or meet a colleague for coffee and the noise, the lighting, the whatever, is not great...distraction, lack of presence, the "ick".
I had someone call me last week looking for the gold "nugget" of advice that would help them accelerate their leadership impact and influence in the quickest way possible. They have their MBA, they're super smart, they're in a highly visible position, and they care very much about what they're up to. And of course, like any high achiever who wants to have more impact, they're looking to optimize.
I had a meeting with my team last week. All of us were prepared, we had some good stuff to dig into. Everyone showed up on time, checked in, confirmed our agenda, and then…
I blew it.
Yep, me, as the team leader… blew it.
How? My presence. Despite being prepared, having all the “stuff” I needed to have to have a great meeting, and all the right “actions” – my presence was off.
Our normally high vibration, present, positive energy meetings, turned into dysfunctional sludge; the sludge had nothing to do with what I said or did – it was my energy and what I brought into that Google Hangout.
Fortunately, I quickly realized I was sinking the “room”, was able to name it, reboot, and get us back on track. (Ironic. Here we are, a company helping people up-level presence in order to be more effective in their leadership and impact, and I had just sucked the energy out of the room. With my beautiful team. Wow.)
So what happened?
It was 11:00 a.m., on a Tuesday. I jumped on a video call with a client to work on his strategy for taking his career to the next level. He was well qualified for a promotion and very hungry to make it happen.
I was ready to roll. He was... exhausted.
At 11:00. On a Tuesday morning.
As we faced each other on pixels I noticed his energy was low, his face "muted", his voice quieter than usual. His presence communicated drudgery and fatigue. Not only could I see it, I could feel it.
I asked how he was doing...
"Exhausted. I don't know how I'm going to make it through today -- I'm back-to-back in meetings, and all of them are important."
"Hmmm... It's only Tuesday, at 11:00 a.m. What's up?" I asked.
"I had a big weekend; we BBQ'd, lots of hot dogs, chips, and beers... I guess I'm still recovering."
"Was it worth it?"
"Ya, it was great. I'll recover. What are we working on? Sorry, I didn't have time to prepare."