From Kat: Are you overextended?
Do you ever feel like this at work?
Our Outer Circle is made up of the relationships in our professional lives, social circles and acquaintances. In the Modern Western World we work more hours than any previous generation and 40% of workers bring work home. This creates a situation where the lines between our personal and professional lives are often blurry. Some folks will argue that professional boundaries belong in the Inner Circle because so many people place a high value on their professional lives. On the other hand, many friends are made at work, so the argument could also be made that to be elevated to the Inner Circle, your relationship needs to take an extra step towards being more personal and intimate outside of work.
One of my coaching specialties is helping people navigate their careers. Folks come to me when they want to make career changes or have profound professional decisions to make, such as whether or not to stay or leave their current job, career or project. I regularly see people professionally overextended, which can impact judgement and productivity. It is one of the most important aspects of a career to manage.
When someone is overextended at work, it may impact their day to day lives, professional reputation, and ultimately their careers. We live in a society where we are encouraged to overachieve in all of areas of our lives, especially at work. Many companies use a term, Work-Life Balance, but in my experience it is rare when a company truly walks their talk in this respect. As our economy shifts, and companies continue to downsize, they have to learn to do more with less manpower. In this climate, individual productivity becomes essential to one’s Work-Life Balance, reputation and career. Having strong professional boundaries is essential to thrive in this environment. It is better to do a few things well than to spread yourself thin and set yourself up for failure. Learning how to prioritize, where to focus and communicating clearly is key to ensuring that your workload is manageable, allowing you to succeed.
Are you, like so many others, overextended? Here are a few questions to help you identify whether or not you might want to consider making adjustments at work or to other Outer Circle relationships:
Do I have too much on my desk at work?
Is clutter getting in the way of my productivity?
Do I have trouble saying no?
What is driving me when I say yes?
Is it more important for me to be liked or to be good (effective)?
Am I able to keep the commitments I make to myself and others at work?
Am I being strategic with my time and energy?
Do my colleagues trust me to do what I say I am going to do?
Do my peers trust me to communicate clearly and diplomatically?
Am I able to prioritize effectively?
If these questions sparked some new insight for you, I want to encourage you to take small steps in the direction of what you desire to change. If you think you may be overextended, you are not alone. Maybe you’ve seen someone at work become snarky due to stress? Or extra-sensitive when discussing a project? Chances are, they are overextended.
Here’s the deal: When you are overextended, you are simply not going to be as effective, and this causes stress for you and reflects in your work and peer relationships. If you can identify where you overextend yourself, you can put a plan in place to help reduce stress. You may need to retrain yourself to communicate more often and with clarity, and to develop the diplomacy to have uncomfortable conversations effectively. You may also need to shift some of your long-held beliefs about what productivity is and what it is not.The most effective folks I know at work are the ones who are willing to admit that there may be a problem and acknowledge it. Then they start taking steps to shift it. The most effective company cultures allow for mistakes with personal accountability.
Have you ever worked on a project that intrigued you, but wasn’t essential to your bottom line? It may be that pulling back from this activity would be the best action for you and for the overall good of the project. If you can’t give your best because other priorities need more focus, it will be felt by all involved and the project may suffer. If you are not giving your best in your career, your reputation will likely be impacted as a result
Ever had a tight deadline? Anyone who has engaged in a career or run a household should be familiar. Especially when working in groups, deadlines sometimes need to shift, yet other departments or colleagues are relying on agreed upon timetables. Missed deadlines not only impact the continuity and flow of the group, but also have a very real financial impact on the company. The longer a project takes to complete, the more expensive it becomes. If there are too many missed deadlines, a company may need to invest a substantial amount of financial resources to fix it. Those responsible can find themselves “tagged” as unreliable. Would you continually put faith in a person who repeatedly could not deliver due to lack of communication? The most effective and respected professionals I know address issues as they arise and communicate as soon as they become aware of the changes needed. It is all about clarity in these cases. As long as we communicate, we adjust expectations and change a potential mess into a triumph with ease, grace and the respect of our colleagues. Instead of being “tagged” as unreliable, you can actually become the hero of the project.
Little shifts in consciousness and professional boundaries can add up to big changes. I am a proponent of doing something every day that helps you move toward your goals, dreams and desires. As with everything we have been discussing in this series, it starts with your own clarity. Once you have clarity, you can choose to make adjustments and take steps that move you forward. You can choose to be your own hero.
We still have a few spots open for our training in November. This is a rare opportunity to work with both Elizabeth and I in a small group setting. We will be staying at the beautiful Pelican House right at the beach and we will enjoy delicious meals prepared for us. The early bird pricing is $697 and that includes accommodations, all meals, plus (weather permitting), we have some wonderful field trips planned to visit the wild ponies of Shackelford Island and a sailing cruise to connect with the wild dolphins of the area. We are also planning on connecting with local massage therapists and bodyworkers for you to schedule a massage for yourself – optional and not included in the price of the retreat.
We’re gonna have fun and and we’re gonna rock our boundaries in a safe and nurturing environment supported by the natural beauty of the Crystal Coast. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and reserve your space now!!