Coach Bob

Working productively in a group

When we join with others to get a job done what roles can we play to contribute our best effort? Certain points stand out: 

  • I don’t want to bring my anger or fears to the situation; they’ll be plenty of that from the others. 
  • I want to listen to what others have to say so I take in all the different points of view, so I understand what the group is thinking. 
  • When things get chaotic, I can remind everyone our frustrations aren’t getting us anywhere. 
  • I can lend support to others where my talents apply. 
  • I can carefully word my constructive criticism so as not to offend others. 
  • I can remain calm and open when others criticize me and not try and defend my position, instead, letting them know I appreciate their point of view. 

Reviewing these points when frustrations set in while dealing with others gets us back on track and makes the experience so much more productive.

Dealing with our anger

A car pulls out in front of us, almost hitting us. This moment is a great example of how important context is. Here are just a couple of ways we could experience this. We could see the other driver in the context of a jerk. We could see them in the context of an old person who shouldn’t be driving. We could see them as mentally challenged and cut them some slack. We could see them as just getting the news an important family member died. I could list limitless examples of context we could believe in. Which one would be right? How could we ever know? Since we can’t possibly know, why wouldn’t we choose a context that makes us stay in control, so we make an appropriate and safe response to the situation? Easier said than done!   There’s a reason our prisons are filled with those of us that couldn’t control our anger.  Getting angry while driving is just one example of how situations like these are a good way to see how the outside world can ‘push’ us over the edge.  I’ve been practicing ‘chilling’ when others interfere with my ‘trip’ whether it be driving or otherwise, and I’m finding it’s so much better for me when I give the other person a ‘break’!  Why pour gasoline on a fire you want to put out??

The benefit of eliminating our worries and concerns

Instead of worrying about the stuff we worry about, we’re learning to nurture the belief it’s better not to worry.  We’ve learned sending our fearful energy into what we’re involved with gets a much different result than when we’re having fun working on it. It can be difficult at times. My worries and concerns can grip me so tight, even though I know they’re not in my best interest. Sometimes I can’t fight them off for long periods at a time.  What’s been good lately, is although they sometimes grip me tightly, I no longer act on them! And it seems the more time goes by, the quicker I can loosen their grip. When I understand my worries and concerns are just part of who I’ll always be, instead of what has to dictate my behavior, it changes the game for me. I see I can’t help but worry, but I see my worry, not as the truth, just the product of how I’m wired. I see I have other choices. I can see when I feel the worry I can step back and get back into control. As the successes pile up, my confidence grows, and the process gets easier.   And remember, you’re best always comes out when you remove the fear.   Tough stuff at times but ALWAYS your best result!

Handling the worries and concerns of learning something new

When I have to do something I’m not an expert in, I can get a little nervous. For me, it’s a choice between reaching out initially for support or giving it a try myself and if I can’t do it, asking for help. It’s unbelievable it took me so long to see how much easier it is when you surround any task with the support you need to make it a fun learning experience.  That doesn’t mean we don’t have to give it a good effort.  It means we don’t have to surround the effort with our frustrations and worries.  I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. When I know it’s over my head and others have done it a million times before, I now reach out for support initially, so I don’t waste my time.  In my past I would struggle and get frustrated to the point I’d give up.  Sometimes, when it’s something I know something about, I like to climb over my fear and at least give it a go. I’m learning the most important first step is for me to view the task as a fun, learning experience.  Prepare first!  Make my energy primary!  My worries and concerns are not helping the situation! I’m now trying to view my challenges as an opportunity to extend my learning curve. When it ceases to be fun, I’ll take a break or ask for help. What I try hard not to do is send my worries and frustrations into the task. I’m learning that’s the biggest mistake I can make.

Overcoming the fear of speaking to groups

I was recently on the largest late-night talk show in America where there was between 3-5 million listeners to the show. As I was listening to the host review the news of the day to start the show, I held my phone up to my ear waiting to go live. The difference between giving a speech to an audience and doing this radio show is when you give a prepared speech you can write it down and practice. On the radio show, I have no idea what the host will ask, and when they do the ‘call-in’ segment I have no idea of what the listeners will ask.  I certainly was a bit nervous, but I keep telling myself I can only know what I know, and my best performance will be if I’m under control.   I prepared for the show by telling myself many times I know my material and the people are listening because they want to hear my thoughts.  So, what’s there to be scared about?   By simply listening to what the host or listeners ask, my brain had no fearful interference and my best came out. The same will hold true for any situation when we have to speak in important situations. It might be with just another person, like in a job interview, in a meeting to a small group, or when we have to get up in front of a large audience. The key to remember is at the moment of truth, you know what you know and the people there are there to hear you! What you want is to let it come out in a way that transfers your message to your audience. Being in control of your state of mind is essential for that to happen. All the preparation in the world won’t save us if we can’t conquer our fears.  Thankfully, reminding yourself you know what you’re talking about and the people are there because they want to hear you; not judge you, will go a long way in overcoming the fears we all feel when it’s our time to perform!

Getting the most of a ‘Job’ interview

When it’s time to show our ‘stuff’, the pressure can really mount. Let’s take a look at what we’re facing when we’re interviewing for a job. We all go through many ‘interviews’ concerning work during our life. No matter if it’s an interview with a new company or trying to advance in our current company, it’s only natural to feel the pressure. In these types of situations, it might help if we remember this concept: The easiest way to handle the pressure is to listen to what they’re asking and honestly express yourself. By doing so you show them you’re attentive (listening) and they find out exactly who you are so they can see if you’re a fit for them. Why would you want to go to work there if you weren’t a good fit? Besides, trying to figure out what they want to hear instead of honestly expressing is easily picked up by a skilled interviewer. So, hopefully, by seeing it’s just a simple job of listening and being honest, you relieve yourself of the pressure and can peacefully enjoy the interaction. When an interviewer sees you’re in control, attentive and honest, you give yourself a great chance of ending up working in an environment you’ll enjoy.   And notice, listening and being honest is the easiest way to handle the situation even if you’re a little nervous. 

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