One of the biggest pitfalls for managers and as I’ve learnt over the past few years, anyone who is self-employed – is isolation. Where we are responsible for managing people or projects we often expect ourselves to have all the answers. We may stay all bottled up because of a need to create an impression of being in control, being professional and ‘looking the part’.
All the more reason to choose carefully who we speak to about work, particularly when we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
Bottles without labels
What we need is just one person who will not judge us, won’t label us permanently based on our present worries or actions. If no-one comes to mind straight away then make yourself a list of all the possible candidates. Include people at work and at home. Make a quick note of how they responded to you or others when told of a problem. I would suggest anyone who responded non-judgmentally, listened, or offered just positive suggestions could be your new confidante.
Even if the person you speak to knows nothing about the work you do, has no expertise in the field, just having them listen can make a problem feel lighter, as though someone else is carrying the problem with you. This is a win-win situation even though you might not think so initially. You see, basic human behaviour is at play here. We all have a desire to feel needed or wanted. By choosing to open up to this one individual, you are choosing them and giving them that great opportunity to have this need met. Lucky them I say.
Matching up inside and out
The more you are able to share fully, the more you will feel you are being yourself and so feel more comfortable in your role. How honest do you feel you are with those around you? Allowing yourself to be on the outside what we are on the inside is a key to less internal tension. I am not recommending indiscriminate sharing. Boundaries are of course necessary, whatever the relationship at home or at work. Experimenting with sharing your problems and being more your true self at work can release some tensions and self-imposed pressures.
Time to share
Let me know of a time you shared a work problem with a friend and how it helped you.
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