You Don’t Suck

At my speaking engagement in Toronto this week, I noticed a gentleman really struggle with his Kolbe results.

When he evaluated his results from the workshop I conducted, immediately saw the conflict between who he instinctively was, and what was required of him in his occupation. He was clearly distressed by this thud of realization and didn’t really know what he could do about it.

What am I supposed to do, tell my boss that I suck at creating schedules and planning? Because I can tell you that she will tell me to leave her office and come back with a better answer!” And his anxious conclusion after this realization? “I guess I’m just stuck here, and I’ll have to suck it up.

My first response to him was to change his language about himself. We all have our natural talents – the low hanging fruit - what we know works well for us. Conversely, we will all find ourselves reaching sometimes far beyond our natural “factory settings” and working really hard in order to get a particular task accomplished. 

We all have our own way of working.

Some of us are great planners and organizers, and some of us find our way around the system, or we just want to make it up as we go along. Because you work instinctively one way or the other, does not mean you suck at life, or that you need to suck it up. That kind of self-defeated thinking is like walking into your own prison cell, locking the door, and throwing the key out the window.  

Delving deeper in conversation revealed that he had a person on his team who had the strengths that were required to get the task completed. So, why didn’t he enlist the natural instincts of said team member? The truth was, he didn’t want to let go of control of what he thought he needed to accomplish himself, to let somebody help him. How would that look to his boss? (Isn’t that relatable?) Upon learning that, I provided viable options to him that preserved both his sense of responsibility and his sanity: how technology could give him a hand with structure, or how he could utilize his team member on a part time basis, or how he could get someone else to build the structure around him, so that all he had to do was follow it. 

Do you know the reason why geese fly together?

A flock of geese fly together because, working in sync, they create a formidable force against the prevailing winds. As they soar in flight they paint a perfect picture of helping one another get to where they need to go. Imagine if a flock of geese held our insecurities and self defeat! No self-respecting (imaginary, talking, stay with me) goose says, “Well, I can’t fly fourth in line, so I guess I won’t fly at all!” The reality is that maybe for some of the trip, he flies tenth with nine other geese in front of him, and for another part of the trip he leads the flock. It depends on what the flock needs at the time, to be successful in their journey. That is the critical take-away from their example: what does the flock need to succeed? 

Bottom line is, we all have strengths, and depending on the job demands, some people have strengths to match the task, and some don’t. It doesn’t mean that you suck. What it means, is that to fulfill your responsibilities, you either have to pull in other resources, do things in smaller quantities of time to save your mental energy (if possible), or take a hard look at the demands of your position and decide if it’s for you or not - unless you have grown quite fond of that prison cell that opens from the inside. 

No one gets out of bed and says “Gee, I sure hope that I do a crappy job today”. If we are part of a flock, we need to fly in front of, behind, or beside each other so that we can support each other on the flight path to success.

We are better together. You don’t suck - you just need a little help from your flock!  

Heather Murphy