(of The McCarthy Show
) and I collaborate on many ideas including the posts for the series Difficult Bosses
. The other night when we were talking about applying the Serenity Prayer to workplace conflict and difficult bosses, Michele mentioned, "the courage to change bosses
What if you've done all that you can to change your perception and your boss is truly a difficult boss as defined by Michele's No. 1 Criteria - your boss stops you from doing great things? Then it's time for the courage to change bosses.
Pixie: Why do you think it takes courage to change bosses?
Michele: I think a lot of people think of their workplace as their home instead of a place of business. Home feels safe and you don't want to leave that warm, comfy safety, so you put up with a lot of mediocrity to avoid making a change.
Pixie: I work with clients who agonize over making decisions for fear of making a mistake. I reassure them that there are no mistakes; just new decisions.
Michele: I tell my clients that I would expect they would make mistakes if they are growing. And mistakes are when you learn. For me at least, I have had the biggest growth spurts after making big mistakes.
Pixie: What I hear you saying about a bad work situation is that people fail to act in order to avoid discomfort. And some people get locked up for fear of making a mistake.
Michele: "Mom, I don't want to go to school, it's scary out there. I can't make a decision what to wear, so I'll have to stay home from school today."
Pixie: We think we're safe if we stay put. We fear the unknown.
Michele: I also think we love sameness, ritual, and tradition.
Pixie: I know others who change jobs too much because they get bored without the chaos of change.
Michele: Yes, chaos junkies. I don't have many clients with that issue, but I have seen it. I think it's more common to avoid change, though.
Pixie: Yes, traditions, rituals, sameness makes us feel secure. Courage in this sense, to change bosses, is like a leap of faith. How do you move your clients toward that change?
Michele: I ask them what they want. I investigate in detail what they have now and what they want. Only they can decide whether they are willing to change.
Pixie: Yes, it is much better when we know what we want.
Michele: Deconstructing what they have and why they have it usually helps them make better decisions. I talk to them about their feelings too.
Pixie: For example, you'd ask "How do you feel about where you are now compared to where you want to be?"
Michele: Right. You have to repress a lot of feelings to stay in a mediocre job. When you are aware of your feelings, it is easier to take action. Anger, for example, is a great motivator in a mature adult.
Pixie: I think it was easier for me when I left the legal field because it had changed from a career that I enjoyed to a job that was a means of making money. But I was looking for a calling; some way to be of service and to make a contribution.
Michele: Yes, I like those categories. That's a useful structure for people to think about: Do you have a job, a career, or a calling?
Pixie: I didn't need courage to change. The change came to me when my department was closed. I was in alignment with that event.
After identifying my clients' desires (often they don't know what they want), I try to help them move into alignment with those desires. When we are in alignment with our desires, the change takes place organically.
Michele: Yes, it becomes a flow if the resistance is low.
Pixie: Resistance is low when we have clarity. It's the murky middle that takes courage. In recovery the opposite of fear is faith. A saying used in recovery is that "all men of courage have faith". The truth for me is that I don't even need faith or courage unless there is fear. It is the fear that creates the need for courage.
Michele: Yes, that's right. And having a great life takes courage.
Pixie: My clients ask how to have courage; how to have faith. My response is - ask, listen, receive, take action. People seem to believe faith is a feeling. For me, trust is the feeling that I get when I take actions of faith.
Michele: Next time, let's talk about the drama we create as an excuse to change.
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