Freedom From The Rat Race
The alarm clock rings. You wake up already dreading another day of high-pressured stress at the office, where your boss seems to constantly move the goalposts. Performance feedback is often delivered with personal judgments, and nothing ever seems good enough. When you leave at the end of the day you feel drained and weighed down by persistent self-doubt. This was Amber’s story.
Amber had ambitions to rise in her organization, and to do it without risking burnout. However, her boss’s impulsive management style and lack of a consistent vision resulted in a daily stew of new obstacles and expectations for Amber. Growth and upward momentum were very difficult, if not impossible, to achieve under these circumstances. Worse, she had been in a similar work situation earlier in her career and she wondered if she was in a pattern.
As for burnout, the hostile work environment magnified Amber’s self-doubt. She began to question her abilities, and considered changing her career path. Worse, the ongoing climate of shame and blame made it hard for her to think clearly and find solutions. It seemed like a no-win situation.
At one point, a close friend of Amber’s noticed her elevated stress level and lack of energy. The friend had used coaching in the past, and had achieved significant improvement in her own life. She recommended that Amber look for a coach.
Amber was reluctant, however; in her mind, coaching meant acknowledging failure.
She told her friend she wasn’t ready, preferring to tough it out despite being plagued by overthinking and sleepless nights. But when she found herself crying at work, agonizing over decisions, and losing her temper with staff, Amber decided to give coaching a try.
Patterns Revealed by Coaching
In the first several coaching sessions, Amber was inclined to spend a lot of time explaining her story. She would recite the details of each event and attempt to problem-solve them without considering what was authentic for her, emotionally. Coaching opened the door to identifying this pattern, which was directly increasing Amber’s stress.
The same pattern showed up at work when Amber made decisions based entirely on logic, rather than on her inner knowledge. The resulting policies did not support her staff’s growth and autonomy. Inadvertently, she had created conditions which made her staff even more dependent on her!
Amber also realized that when her staff did not agree with her decisions, she became angry with herself and would retreat. Needless to say, becoming quiet and withdrawn did not reduce her stress. Her staff saw her as responsible for everything and, not being able to meet their needs, she withdrew, perpetuating the cycle. This dynamic left her feeling like a failure.
Amber also realized that she needed validation from her boss and colleagues. She wanted to be acknowledged and valued for her contributions, but this was not happening in the blame-and-shame environment of her workplace.
Eventually, Amber admitted that her stressful work environment was spilling over into her personal life. Her relationship with her family was suffering and she was not enjoying her children. She was stuck and didn’t know how to escape.
Amber’s breakthrough came with a series of insights, as she realized:
- The belief that she was not important and did not matter was false.
- This false belief was reinforced every time she made a decision out of fear.
- When she made decisions from a place of loving accountability, she and her staff thrived.
- She also thrived when her needs and values were no longer compromised.
- Staying in her high-pressure, intense work environment was a way to avoid dealing with how she was really feeling deep inside.
Ultimately, the coaching process liberated her from the false assumption that she was destined to suffer abusive bosses.
Amber courageously began to take new and different action in all parts of her life. At the end of the coaching process, she told me she was grateful for having overcome her reluctance to consider coaching as a solution in the first place.
Here are Some of Amber’s Results:
- She now actively chooses what she wants in life, rather than just going along.
- She now sets expectations for what she will and will not do, at home and at work.
- She empowers her employees to be autonomous, accountable, and effective problem solvers.
- She changed her job and found a corporation that was truly in alignment with her values. And at a higher salary!
- She now chooses her friends with more care, opting for those she truly feels safe with.
- She now chooses to look at problems as opportunities to build her skills.
- Her relationships at home have improved.
Amber was scared when she started: scared of herself, and scared to admit what she truly, deeply wanted. She took a brave step in seeking out a life coach. She has told me that it was transformative across all parts of her life.
Inspired by Amber’s story? Are you ready to take action for what you truly and deeply want?
Transformation is possible.