How to handle a career kick in the butt

Lead Change Group

Think back to the last time you learned a lesson the hard way at work. How did you react? Did you make changes to become better, stronger, and more professional? Or did you entrench yourself in the conviction of your rightness?

What follows are some tips from my new book, "A Leadership Kick in the Ass," to help you benefit from whatever career kicks to the keister you may next endure:

  • Focus on the long game. A humiliating event at work is just a momentary speed bump on your longer career. The spike in pain will eventually yield to worthwhile lessons and changes. Focus on where you ultimately want your career to end up, not the detour it may have taken.
  • Learn from your feelings. Pay close attention to the feelings that come up for you after you mess up. Identify what you’re feeling, precisely. Do you feel embarrassed, fearful, resentful, or something else? Then ask yourself, “What information is this feeling trying to give me?” and “What is the lesson this feeling is trying to give me?”
  • Remember, discomfort=growth. Comfort may be comfortable, but it’s also stagnant. You don’t grow in a zone of comfort. You grow, progress, and evolve in a zone of discomfort. The more uncomfortable the kick feels, the more growth can result.
  • Broaden your view of courage. Being vulnerable, open, and receptive to change is a form of courage. Hard- charging types wrongly see courage as being fearless. Nothing could be further from the truth. Courage is fearful. The simplest definition of courage is “acting despite being afraid.” Courage requires fear. As long as you keep moving forward, it’s when there’s a knot in your stomach, a lump in your throat, and sweat on your palms that your courage is doing its job.
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