The stories that your ego and inner critic tell you about yourself may help you temporarily navigate a challenging situation or maintain your self-esteem, and this is a good thing. However, the stories you tell yourself can also lead you to incorrect conclusions and have a negative domino effect on subsequent decisions.
Your ego and inner critic play a big role in how you participate at work.
You may not realize it, but you tell yourself hundreds of stories every day. I don’t mean stories that you share with others about what happened to you when you were a toddler, in college, or at the mall last week. I’m referring to the dozens of stories that you tell yourself every day to explain why something bad happened or why another person is behaving poorly. These stories come from your ego and inner critic.
What story are you telling yourself?
As we’ve discussed, you are being asked to do more, faster, and with too few resources. You feel as though you are doing the jobs of three people. Your Outlook calendar is triple-booked. Recurring acquisitions add new responsibilities with no additional resources. Consolidations and downsizing shift the jobs, previously handled by your colleagues, to you. You wish a magic wand existed to take away all of the urgent email, last minute requests, and unexpected phone calls that are created by your colleagues.
Participating with a Purpose
“Interacting with others” is comprised of ways in which you can raise your visibility “one-to-one” with others. Unlike interaction, “participating with a purpose” is focused on “one-to-many” experiences with colleagues. Participating is comprised of activities where you raise your visibility when many of your colleagues are present.
Participating and Overwhelm
The most dramatic symptom of our newly christened PTSD (professional traumatic stress disorder) is the belief that “I can’t afford to be out of the office!” If you believe that this statement is true, “I can’t afford to be out of the office!” is at risk of becoming a mindset that hinders your ability to raise your visibility. You may hate Bruce Willis and scowl anytime you see one of his movies advertised. You might hate conflict and do everything you can to avoid a confrontation. Whatever your mindset might be, it is at risk of pre-determining how you interpret and respond to a situation.
Mindset is a habitual mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to a situation.
Carl wants to participate – honestly he does
“Oh, no,” Carl says to himself as an email from his boss slowly unfolds before his eyes. “Not another team building offsite!” Like a hungry ant craving a watermelon for lunch, Carl wonders how to digest this news. Blink. Blink. Blink. He stares at the light on his office phone, silently reminding himself that he has messages waiting. Buzz. Buzz. Buzz.
Coming next, we’ll take a look at participating purposefully. You may be wondering what the difference is between interacting and participating. In the Raise Your Visibility & Value model, interacting is defined as “one-to-one” interactions with colleagues, while participating is defined as “one-to-many” experiences with colleagues.