Find Your Power in Self-Management

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In my last blog, Finding Truth in Feedback, I talked about a key lesson I learned a few years ago when I attended a yearlong intensive leadership program with 23 other participants led by Co-Active Training Institute. This program included four residential retreats as well as several homework projects that all focused on observing and learning about leadership impact. 

After writing about this lesson it reminded me of another one that was even more difficult to learn from and even more valuable in all aspects of my life.  

It was about self-management.  

During one of the retreats, we were to persuade the other participants on something we believed in. We were to sway them to our side. Convince them.  

I remember giving a very passionate and heartfelt talk to the group. The talk even included unexpected tears as I so believed in what I was talking about.  

After a vote of all yeas but one person, I felt like a winner.  

Until that one person explained to me why he wasn’t a yea.  

“Pat, I want you to know that you are a very passionate person. I feel you. Your passion is palpable. But. You need to tone down your passion.” 

What! How dare he confront me and tell me to tone down that which I am passionate about. Isn’t that what passion is all about? Excitement! High energy! Power! I almost walked out but decided to see what the truth was in what he said.  

“In your passion about your subject, you can become overwhelming and in that overwhelm you unintentionally shut people down. They just can’t match your energy. I suggest you spend some time watching peoples’ reactions to you when you are getting passionate and see what you can do to manage it to your benefit.” 

Sigh. He was right. As I observed myself in my passion over the next several months, I could see people turn off. They stopped looking at me in the eyes. They pushed themselves away from the table ever so slightly. They began to look around the room. Yes, my passionate energy was making them shut down and when they shut down, I knew they were no longer listening.  

Over the years, I’ve learned to self manage that energy. I can now turn up the volume when needed or turn it down. I control my energy. 

I have a sign that hangs on my office door. “Please take responsibility for the energy you bring into this space.” I now do realize the power it has.  

What are some areas that you need to self manage to become more impactful with your energy? 

 

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