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Confidence: “It’s about being the little engine — I think I can”

“It isn’t about winning or being the best. It’s about being the little engine — I think I can”.

After reading The Confidence Code, by Katty Kat & Claire Shipman, I’ve come to realize even more how important it is to have a regular meditation practice and to include self-compassion in the mix more often. Read more

Until We Meet Again

Until We Meet Again…

Postponing an adventure while in the midst of the journey can be a decision fraught with uncertainty. Recently, a client and I arrived at the mutual conclusion that it wasn’t the right time for their organization to continue their journey. It was a difficult decision to make, but the organization is going through a major transition and the team members are struggling with the changes.

As a Sherpa, I sensed something was going on, but couldn’t put my finger on it. The “somethings” included:

  • Removing individuals from the journey
  • Lack of response via email and phone
  • Lack of knowledge within the organization regarding the activities of each other
  • Failure to complete practice to be done between treks
  • Cancelling scheduled meetings
Back in my controlling days, I would have been quite upset at this disruption of my life. And to be frank, I got a little angry when I didn’t receive a call or email cancelling a meeting.

But very soon I realized that that everyone in the organization was undergoing something very challenging and tough – the dreaded “R” word: Reorganization. My Sherpa-sense was tingling as I intuited that things might get challenging. So, I began to prepare myself mentally for the unknown that lay ahead.

As a Sherpa, my job is to help the journey continue, even when it is stalled. I reminded them to contact me to reschedule meetings when needed. I encouraged them to work on their internal issues before seeing me, so that they could better communicate with each other as well as with me. And above all, I tried to help them deal with the changes they were experiencing as we continued to build the database.

Yet with all my encouragement, accommodation and support, an overwhelming sense of dread permeated every conversation. So at the start of our last trek, I let them talk about their progress – and everyone reported that they were behind. Very, very behind. I even heard, “I’m so behind that I don’t even want to think about it. I haven’t done anything with this project.” That was my cue to gently guide them away from this journey for the time being and let them work out their internal changes.

So, while each expressed that they felt torn, and their collective belief that the database they were creating would relieve the pressure they were feeling, they also realized that they didn’t have the time or energy to devote to the journey. As we talked, we came to a collective understanding that although they are eager to learn and grow, it would be best to put the journey on hold for a few months.

At the end of our conversation, I sensed a collective sign of relief, like an out breath after you’ve been holding your breath for a while. It made my heart lighter. The journey hasn’t been cancelled, merely rescheduled.
mess

Sharing the Mess

I tried something new with a client the other day. I decided to share the “messy” part of database development, specifically the creation of workflows in Salesforce.

Now, before you get excited, I’m not going to teach you how to create workflows, instead, I’ll show you how sharing the mess is a radical idea that’s scary, yet exhilarating.

For those who work with Salesforce know, workflows are both powerful and confusing to the end user. Users often get caught up in trying to get it perfect the first time, which hardly ever works. They also often don’t figure out what they want the workflow to do before they sit down to create it. Needless to say, I’ve always found my clients frustrated by their lack of knowledge.

So, instead of starting over, I decided to guide the process through the mess. Allow the mess to unfold, acknowledge the mess, and then figure out what to do to clear up the mess.

Before we began, I explained that I was going to share with them the process — the good and the bad — on how workflows get created. Together, we had documented what we wanted the workflow to accomplish, so that was taken care of before we began. Then, the big question, how to begin?

I let them decide how and what to start the process. The path they chose was the wrong one, but I didn’t stop them. Not long into the process, they found their choice wouldn’t work. With a little searching on Google, we discovered why, and with help from the documentation we began again—knowing more than we did the first time around.

By the end, we had a working workflow, which they continued to refine after our call.

Why am I sharing this? As a Sherpa, I want my clients to learn and engage in new ways. By sharing with them the mess that creating workflows can generate, their stress levels dropped and they were more willing to try new things, and, to use resources to discover where they have stumbled off the path.

As a consultant, allowing the mess to happen was a new — and entirely scary — experience. I was vulnerable to my own lack of knowledge and even worse, I wasn’t “in control.” For a control freak like me, this was the most difficult thing I have ever professionally done.

When I spoke with the client after this trek and asked them how things were going with workflows, they had already created an additional workflow and had refined the existing workflow. And, the best part was, they made mistakes and figured them out!

So, we often get caught up in being perfect for our clients, but sometimes it’s good to share the mess with the client, because, you can’t learn from perfection, but you’ll always learn from a mess!

Facing fear… fighting back

I have always been a very cautious and practical person. It’s not my nature to run into things full bore without having a plan in place. I always looked at this as being fearful. Fear of failure.

During yoga, I find myself coming back to that feeling. Fear of failure. So, I try that handstand, but I can’t get up. It’s not so much what others think of me, but what I think of myself. I can get into that self-loathing place quickly. That fear keeps me from trying or pushing myself forward.

Then, the question becomes: How can I ask my Sherpa clients to be fearless if I cannot do it myself? That’s a really good question. What can I do to face my fears? Another good question. One way I have faced my fears is to fully embrace the Database Sherpa model, to the point of being a little nutty about it (if you meet me, be prepared to hear about it!). Another thing I’ve done is to hire a company — DVQ Studio — to help me brand and develop the model (more will be unveiled as it is developed). Finally, my good friend, Veronica Waters, is now an advisor to this work. So, I’ve put my reputation, money and friendship on the line.Why? Because, I’m not going to hide from my fear anymore, I’m facing it head on! Is the fear gone? No! I see it from time to time, visiting me again and again. I let it sit for a bit and then blow it away. Goodbye for now, I’m sure you’ll be back!

This way of fighting back is a process, but one that will better equip me to help the Sherpa clients fight their fears. And it’s already working on changing me and how I work with my Sherpa clients. The most current Sherpa project brought me to the place of learning about resources available to use after the project ends. This particular client was given specific work to accomplish using the Google Group, to find answers to very specific questions. They were tentative and fearful at first, but I explained that I only wanted them to look and find. So, with that knowledge, they faced their fear of the unknown.

After visiting the Google Group and finding the answers, they looked around further (you know how that happens when you are searching on the Internet). What they got was so much more than mere answers to questions (which had been my hope). At one point in our conversation one of them voiced, “I could even answer some questions.” My immediate response was, “go ahead and respond next time; see what happens.” She giggled with delight at that suggestion and said, “oh, now I get it – I can get involved and help too. They need me and my time as well.” Now, she faced her fear, saw what she could do and now feels empowered to do something about it. WOW, that was pretty awesome.

With the support of my good friends at DVQ Studio and my special advisor, Veronica Waters, my confidence level has been given a boost and I feel like a better Sherpa.

Who knows what will come next?!