Do you notice how you speak to yourself? This week I was working with a client who is a highly accomplished leader in a large private equity fund. When you meet her, you’ll notice an air of confidence, and can-do attitude. You see we observe people’s behaviour, we do not know how they feel.

The truth is that beyond  an exterior of confidence, there is a very strict “roommate” occupying my client’s (let call her Jo) head.

Jo’s “roommate” has been one of the drivers of her success. It drove her to do more, to always question herself, compare herself with best performers and to improve. It helped her achieve safety and stability for her family.. and yet now, this strict voice is holding her back. In her new leadership position the load on her plate is extensive.. Her typical approach of filling up her to-do list and doing everything to ever increasing perfections of her “roommate” is resulting in feeling overwhelmed and missing her previous more junior role where her list was much smaller, clearer and more doable. Add to it Covid-19 which removed boundaries between work and home, and her usual belief of “doing more to achieve more” started to drain her energy, and her zest for life. She started noticing that even things she used to enjoy like yoga sessions, became another item on her ever expanding to-do-list. She was definitely getting lost in the list of yes’s, and her best tool from before, ie her perfect to-do-list has become her limitation. She gradually was shifting from thriving to surviving, she’s been gradually becoming “Success-Empty”. You see what got you to where you are now, will not get you to your dreams! 

At least 70% of our behaviour is habitual, so what helped us reach our level of success becomes engraved and we gradually shift into unconscious completeness. That has huge benefits.. however, it has a dark side too. To get to the next level of our dreams, we need new tools and approaches, at a leadership level it is about creating space to think, about creating space for creativity and it is very much about ability to say “No” to most things. As Warren Buffet said: “The difference between successful people and really successful people, is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

So, it is time to thank your “roommate” for their contribution, explain to them that you got things under control and there are some different resources and tools you need right now. Ask your “roommate” to get “on the back seat of the car” on a journey to your dreams, you’ll call on them when needed!

Meanwhile, start noticing when they speak to you from “the back seat” .. with the words like: “You should…” “ You are about to mess up..”, “Look everyone is resigning and taking charge of their life”, “What’s wrong with you?”. Thank them for their comments (in the end they helped you before), and say with kindness that you are at the next stage and you got it under control; that you are on your path.

Become clear on what is most important for you on this part of your journey. Where are you heading?

Which new skill do you need to cultivate? Who can support you? To whom can you delegate?

Check which three items from your to-do-list you could delegate (remember delegation is really empowering for your team)

How can you create space in your diary to rejuvenate your energy and to think?

What on your to do list drains your energy and what enhances?

And start with small steps.

If you’d like to have a conversation, reach out to tatiana@tatianaceo,com