At a recent one-on-one coaching session, Keith was very frustrated about a new employee, not meeting his expectations.
Keith is a young entrepreneur, three years into growing what is fast becoming a very successful organisation.
He sees Possibility in business, has the attributes necessary to create a great organisation and, importantly, seeks coaching to develop and build on his high-level skills and innate talents.
Even so, his thinking around Raul, the new employee, was dense and vexatious – absorbed in impossibility thinking.
Keith’s impossibility thinking was expressed often, through a variety of statements like;
‘I’ve made a bad decision’.
‘He doesn’t seem to understand what to do. I can’t hold his hand.’
‘Raul oversees these men but arrives after they do, what sort of example is that?’
‘Should I stop the process right now and sack him – and cut my losses?’
‘I have spoken with him, kept my frustration in check and maintained a veneer of rapport. That meeting went okay, but I strongly doubt it will make any difference.’
‘His mind is not on the job.’
During our coaching session, Keith began to see clearly that the real source of his frustration was his thinking – not Raul’s lack of responsiveness.
He recognised, at a new level of understanding, his self-admitted judgemental approach. In that recognition his thinking softened.
EXPECTATIONS CAN MORPH AND CONSUME US
Of course, it’s appropriate for Keith to have certain expectations of his new employee. That’s common sense. However, his disappointment around those expectations was debilitating him.
His expectations were in the way of finding positive solutions.
In our coaching session – looking at his internal world and not the external world – Keith revealed that his upset state was relatively constant since Raul started.
Gripped by distressed thinking, he had been barely coping – certainly not thriving.
Keith recognised that his state of mind was counterproductive. By becoming immersed emotionally in his expectations, he had become part of the problem.
He could now see that a more productive approach – influenced from the Realm of Possibility – is to maintain perspective and work towards a mutual solution.
Like all of us, Keith can’t change others, only himself.
During our conversation, his mind had cleared: he saw from the Realm of Possibility.
Keith realised he had seen the issue with Raul through the memory of his earlier conditioning – the realm of impossibility.
That resulted in his set-in-stone thinking like ‘it’s my way or the highway – shape up or ship out!
By bringing pre-conceived judgements and set-beliefs (expectations) to the current situation, Keith had created a binary choice – win or lose. Nothing in-between.
But now, realising his thinking was the issue, Keith regained perspective over what he initially thought was an external matter he wanted to control.
He felt better, more at ease, heading back towards the top of his game.
With the clarity of thought, Keith could again bring his true talents to his role. He became the conscious leader – not the unconscious boss.
WHAT HAD BEEN GOING ON FOR KEITH?
Keith had been re-living his memory-stored ways of coping, overlaying past thinking on the situation facing him now.
He had been creating his reality with the embellishment of his conditioned mind – memories formed decades back.
He habitually dealt with issues like that. So, he did it again. Which means, he attached all sorts of accumulated meaning to the situation.
He was blaming himself: ‘I’ve mucked up.’ ‘I’m at fault.’ ‘I’m stupid for employing the wrong person.’
And blaming Raul: ‘This person’s a dickhead’. ‘He’s hopeless’. ‘What’s wrong with this jerk?’
He wasn’t seeing what is – the reality of a person struggling in his new job.
Instead, in a moment of insight, Keith came to see that reality, free of the emotional turmoil he had transported through time from his past.
Keith realised that impossibility is simply a state of mind.
Impossibility is experiencing life through our conditioning – unconsciously applying that pre-set meaning to whatever we are facing right now
Possibility is also a state of mind.
Possibility is seeing what is, free of our conditioned thinking (good, bad or indifferent) about whatever we are facing.
SO, WHAT HAPPENED?
Keith’s side of the relationship became healthier.
Now that he saw the storm he had created in his mind, he related to Raul in a much kinder, more understanding, wiser and commonsense way.
By seeing that his thinking – not Raul’s behaviour – was the real cause of his distress, his mental pressure eased.
Even more, this internal shift by Keith (the business leader), created the psychological space for Raul (the under-performing employee) to see things more clearly.
Keith was now handling the situation in a way that avoided what could have been an ugly, confrontational situation. Which among other things, would have created the environment for upset and turmoil among the other staff, affecting the wellbeing of the organisation systematically.
Through his clarity of expression and honesty, without emotional distress, Keith was able to offer Raul a clear perspective on his new role.
He explained what was needed.
It worked: the situation resolved within days, with both men ultimately respecting the other and each making decisions for the better. (See postscript).
This article could have been about expectations between a parent and child, a couple, or two friends.
To have expectations is part of being human.
It’s when expectations ‘have you’ that life becomes more complicated and unpleasant than it need be.
Living life imbued with Possibility is a far cry from one dominated by impossibility.
Warmly … John
Ps – If you think this piece might be helpful to a family member, friend or colleague, please forward it to them. For more information – including Workshops, more articles and the book Possibility … a state of mind – please feel free to explore our website: https://www.therealmofpossibility.org.au
Just three days into Keith’s more enlightened approach, Raul resigned in good grace. He had come to realise that he wasn’t the right person for the job. He recognised he wasn’t up to the task. Gratefully, he had secured a position back at his old firm, but not in the supervisor role he held at Keith’s company. He sensibly took a step back to something he thought he could handle at this juncture in his life.
They departed on good terms, and Keith was pleased that Raul had landed on his feet. Keith was encouraged with the way he had turned things around and navigated his way through this challenging leadership situation- with kindness, understanding and common sense – not with protracted harsh judgements, stress and worry.