3 Things to Do When You’re Not Feeling It

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Here’s a ditty about Jack and Diane. One random Wednesday, Diane meandered into Jack’s office and said, “I just need to tell you I’m not feeling it anymore. I don’t feel inspired these days — and honestly? I’m on the verge of quitting.” (In response, Jack scratched his head and did his best James Dean.)

Ok, so that would never happen. Most of us probably dream about being that honest, or even dream about quitting on days (or weeks) we’re stuck in a rut. But we don’t. We carry the secret around and wait for the solution to present itself.

Are you just not feeling it at work? Maybe you’re not jibing with a new client. Perhaps you’re not feeling the love from your boss. Maybe the work or your company just doesn’t excite you like it once did. Whatever it is, and you’re not exactly sure what it is, you’re not feeling it.

This “not feeling it” phenomenon may be a new experience for you, or maybe you’ve been carrying it around for some time. It could be you’ll snap out of it rather quickly. For a little while, this “out of sorts” feeling or boredom may not have an impact on your work, but you run the risk of negatively impacting your personal brand if it settles in for too long.

Here are three ideas on what to do when you’re just not feeling it at work:

  1. Quickly take stock of the last time you took a day off. Chances are, it has been a long time. Even if you have a vacation planned a couple months from now, it’s time to take at least a day off. I’m not talking about doing that “work from home” thing either. I’m talking about a real day off in which you unplug, keep your laptop in your bag, and resist the urge to peek at your phone. This isn’t a day for errands or scratching items off your to-do list either. It’s a day for you to recharge and reflect. Go to a museum. Enjoy that long lunch you keep meaning to schedule with an old friend. Go for a long walk. Do anything that takes you out of your normal routine and gives you an opportunity to rest and reflect and see what comes from the day.
  2. Think about that thing, that one special something you’ve been dreaming about but just haven’t found the time. Maybe it’s a sailing vacation. Maybe it’s a class you’d love to take but keep putting it off (cake decorating, anyone?). Perhaps you’d love to volunteer and work with kids. Now is the time to sign up. It’s likely you would benefit from external interests to help you relax and breathe new ideas into your life and, as a result, also into your work.
  3. Remember that hobby you loved as a child? Maybe it’s time you got back in touch with something you have long since put aside. A few years ago, a client of mine, through coaching, remembered his love of drawing and architecture. He had forgotten over many years of pursuing his demanding career how much he enjoyed drawing and sketching. As a result of this re-discovery, he was able to feed this valuable insight into research to start his own company. Where is he today? In his first season as the owner of his own small business, where sketching and architecting are key to his craft. He couldn’t be happier. While he has a ton of work ahead to get his small business off the ground, he’s happier in his work than he has ever been because he found a way to incorporate a past love into a new career.

These ideas represent more than just recommendations. They represent opportunity. From this list, after taking up one of the recommendations, see what materializes for you. What opportunity is there for you at work that you perhaps otherwise didn’t realize? What are you starting to realize about the lack of “oomph” you feel in your work? What’s next for you to do to reach for more and take your career growth to the next level?

– Jackie Simon

Leading your Boss is More Important than Leading your Team

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Mike: “Jackie, I’m completely overwhelmed and feel as though I’ve really accomplished nothing in the past week. My team seems to over-rely on me and it makes it difficult to focus on my own projects. Whenever I finally have a great idea to help get me out of the weeds, my boss says no.

Jackie: “Tell me more.

Mike: “For example, I have a great idea to bring on a new member to my team to focus specifically on purchasing. I think by focusing the role to one dedicated person, we can create efficiencies and save the company money. I presented the idea to my boss but he dismissed it, saying we don’t have the budget.

Jackie: “What did you do next?

Mike: “Well, nothing so far. Since I can’t get approval to hire, it looks like I have to figure out how to make time to handle purchasing myself. I swear, my boss expects me to do it all.”

Does this dialogue sound familiar to you?

A lot is written about the importance of leading your team, while little is written about the importance of leading your boss. We view our boss as the individual we work for and therefore rely on him or her to make the final decisions, approve direction and clear the obstacles. While we may do the heavy lifting, we ultimately put everything in our boss’s court to resolve and decide. Essentially, we disempower ourselves by believing our boss is the only one with the final say.

If you approach your boss with the understanding that you work for him or her, you’re likely missing the big picture. Arguably, your boss is a member of your team and in many ways, the most important person on your team who you must lead and influence daily. It’s not up to your boss to make the big decisions and clear the obstacles. It’s up to you.

To be most effective, you must lead your boss. And, believe it or not, your boss wants you to lead him or her. I’ll say it again: your boss wants you to take the lead. Meaning, he wants you to make his job easier by lining up the facts, making the business case, recommending the direction, and making the decision. Your boss wants to spend only 5 minutes weighing in on an important issue, not five hours figuring out the pros and cons on her own based on what little information you may have provided so he can make the decision.

You may not be leading your boss effectively if you feel:

  • your boss says “no” to you more than “yes”
  • you can’t seem to get on her calendar
  • decisions have stalled to a halt
  • your boss gets the small things out of the way first; e.g., the things you sent to him only as an FYI
  • frustrated that you seem to have to run everything through your boss
  • you could be so much more efficient if only your boss would respond to your emails

If you feel you’ve been waiting a long time for your boss to get back to you, you’re going to continue to wait a long time. So, change your approach. It’s time to lead your boss.

Let’s say you want to grow your team but you haven’t received approval from your boss to hire someone new to add to your team. Why stop at “no” or even radio silence? How about putting together a plan for your team structure and a description of the role you want to hire for. Paint the bigger picture for your boss and make it easier for him or her to decide. Don’t just stop because your boss said “no.” Change his or her mind.

By leading your boss, not only will you find that your job becomes much easier, you’ll also find you’re getting things done much faster. Not to mention, you’ll be positioning yourself for promotion in the process because you’ll be showcasing your adeptness to lead, manage, take on greater responsibility and get things done.

– Jackie Simon

Alesya Opelt – Founder, Alesya Bags

It’s in the bag.

Alesya Opelt came to Cultivated Coaching 10 months ago with a brilliant business plan. While on a quest for the perfect laptop bag, she found there was nothing that fit the bill. Alesya discovered that fashion and style hadn’t yet met women’s laptop bags. She was the perfect person to make that introduction. Having been a Marketing and PR executive, Alesya found an opportunity to leverage her professional skills and combine her exceptional fashion sense to design stylish yet functional laptop bags for the busy professional woman. With that, Alesya Bags was born.

While Alesya had the idea, she realized the importance of working with a professional coach to help her stay on track. She came to Cultivated Coaching for support to grow her passion and idea into a full-fledged business.

Here’s what we did:

During our half-day kick-off meeting, we talked about Alesya’s vision for herself and the business. We also focused our discussion on fears, self-limitations, and day-to-day challenges. Together, we uncovered three key focus areas for coaching:

1. Leveraging core strengths:

Alesya is exceptionally creative and she possesses Marketing and PR talent like no other. These skills combine beautifully with her natural eye for style and fashion and her keen business sense. Together, we identified her vision for herself, which was to launch Alesya Bags and be the driving force behind it, at the helm of design, marketing, and promotion.

2. Closing the gap:

While Alesya had the ability to make her vision a reality, she experienced self-imposed limitations that threatened to slow down her success. Together, we identified skills that she needed to grow and develop to reach her goals. We set a schedule for regular check-ins and established realistic goals and milestones for her to achieve throughout her journey. Once goals were identified and the pace and the structure for coaching was set, Alesya came to each meeting with her agenda for coaching.

3. Creating a balance between career and life:

Alesya juggled starting a business, which is intense in and of itself, with a busy family life and the day-to-day curve balls that life throws. She needed to use her time to the fullest. When outside forces bucked and threatened, we focused back to her vision and she found her way again to her desired path. When business and personal responsibilities created a bottleneck, we identified the most important issues to tackle, prioritized them, and set a plan of action.

Alesya’s Coaching Journey

Along the way, Alesya embraced her strengths, let go of self-limitations and perceptions, and became a stronger communicator and problem solver. Her idea is now a reality as Alesya Bags officially launched this week.

To see the fruits of Alesya’s exceptional talent, commitment, and hard work for yourself, go to: www.alesyabags.com

For more insight about how coaching can help you achieve your vision and goals, learn more here: Cultivating Change