Jessica Soroky Guest Post #19: Giving Myself A Break From Myself

How do I write a blog post about Leadership and Responsibility when I have been below the line so much lately?

As a coach and scrum master, I have been trained to notice patterns and trends not only in data but also in behaviors.

It is so much easier to confront the trends I see in other people than it is to see – let alone confront – the trends in me.

Responding from above the line from a clear and powerful mindset at work has started to become my natural response. I’m excited to celebrate that at work I have slowed my thinking down, paying attention to vocabulary very intently, before purposefully choosing my response.

The most powerful thing about it is noticing the difference in the responses I get from the people I work with.

The challenge happens after I leave the office. I bring my work home with me — not out of obligation but because I love what I do — and yet the top of The Responsibility Process™ ladder starts to seem as far away as the top of Mount Everest. Emotional responses are much harder to catch before they slip out, and justification comes oh so easy.

For the last week or so I have been constantly fighting with one of the most important people in my life. The hardest part about it is that I am aware I’m contributing, and I’m aware I am attracting the responses I’m getting. Most of all I’m aware of the mental state I’m in before I open my mouth, but there is no safety net at home to catch my words before they come out.

I have the awareness key down pat, yet setting an intention to solve this problem was a whole different beast.

Even though I’m aware of all of this, the link in my brain that controls my choice of vocabulary seems to be cut. Every sentence starts with “You do this…” or “You make me feel…”. I’m not focused on looking at me and my contribution. In the midst of the argument, I’m still laying blame.

I’ve ended long rants with, “I feel like everything I’m doing is wrong.” I’m aware there is no “right” and “wrong,” they are only subjective words, but in my reality in the midst of the fight feeling wrong felt, well right.

My awareness is so heightened that I struggle with what to do with that awareness sometimes. The battle is between looking (a power behavior) and evaluating (a control behavior.)

I have noticed that when I go to “right” and “wrong,” it means I’m evaluating something. That realization was given to me in the middle of one of these arguments. Even though I agreed, the fight continued, escalating more.

The frustration was two sided and the voices got louder before I was very sternly told to, “Give yourself a break!” followed by an explanation that I look or evaluate myself constantly and might benefit from a break from myself.

Give myself a break from myself? What was that supposed to mean? Okay, now I was over-analyzing, and I finally made the choice to stop responding at all until I could process through it, which meant hanging up mid-sentence – not very responsibly.

My house was dead silent, there was no music or television playing in the background to distract me. I had to confront me and process this. I left the distractions turned off as I laid down, hoping I would fall asleep and my unconscious brain would do the work for me.

My mind began jumping all over the place preventing sleep, and doing everything but addressing the current problem. I looked for anything to take my focus and saw the squat challenge I had printed out. I had been increasing my workout each day; it was day 11 and I had yet to skip a day. I was sore from the exercise – maybe I should give my muscles a break today and allow them to heal.

I understood what giving myself a break meant. My brain is a muscle as well, yet I hadn’t given it a break in as long as I could remember. I was willing to allow the rest of my body time to heal, but why was I so hesitant to allow my brain time off to rejuvenate? In the safety of my home, with no one around, I gave myself a break from being responsible.

A little time passed, and when my phone rang, I hadn’t processed the problem but the knot in my stomach had subsided. Each conversation that followed got a little less heated, and after each call, I’d give myself a break.

My 5-Minute Stretch is to give myself a break each day, spending time with just me. Can you allow yourself a break?

Jessica Soroky, CSM
Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

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Posted in Responsibility on 01/15/2014 07:02 am
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