Releasing Patterns for Success

Recently I had the pleasure to work with a client who has a successful business, however, finds her coaching client work exhausting. During our coaching session, we chatted about her ‘need to be needed’ and how this played out for her and her clients. This pattern was sabotaging both her clients’ and her success. You see, she became over-invested and her clients stopped doing the work and waited for her to inspire, energize and take full responsibility for their work. Whether you are an Executive or Business owner, how you play out your own unmet needs impacts others. For some, it’s an addiction to perfection and you will find yourself correcting the reports written by your direct reports. You may tell yourself,  “it is vital to get this right and professional” is your motivator. Yet, when you make all those corrections, your direct reports never learn how to do it for themselves and thus a dependency is created. For those folks who are consistently getting re-written, it’s frustrating and demeaning. And many of them give up and submit reports that are mediocre because they know it will be edited anyway.Or maybe you are “in the weeds” all the time, wanting direct reports to inform you of their work and progress on each task. Or as a consultant or coach, you are double checking if your clients are taking action on the tasks they committed to and/or completing some tasks for them. When this plays out, you’ve lost your leadership and/or coaching edge. People will experience this as a lack of faith in their abilities and it can erode their trust in you.Being aware of your patterns and how they operate, often outside of your conscious awareness, is paramount in great leadership. Here’s a process to help you understand what’s happening under the surface for you:

  1. Think about what irritates you or tires you in your work/others – these are often our “energy leaks” where unmet needs are playing out at some level. By energy leaks I mean that you are expending your energy in a manner that will leave you feeling drained, overwhelmed and stressed. How do you typically act in these situations where you feel tired or irritated by others?
  2. Ask yourself, when I do “X” (your unmet need or habit) I find that people consistently do “Y” (their actions/words). Then pull out your journal or piece of paper and using the good old-fashioned cursive writing, make a list of what creates that pattern for you by responding to these questions:
    What thoughts arise when you think about this situation?
    What questions are you asking in your mind?
    What emotions are you experiencing?
    What needs is this pattern meeting for you? This is a tough question – you may need a good coach to help you get to the bottom of your pattern.
  3. How does this mindset serve me in my day-to-day interactions? How does this pattern create chaos in my day? What would I gain by releasing or letting go of this pattern? How might that create space for something different and better to arise?
  4. Now that you’ve identified your pattern and underlying need, how might you directly meet that need? Make a list. For example, if you discover a perfectionist pattern, you might explore other ways to address your anxiety of imperfection such as taking deep breaths, going for a walk, or reviewing what the worst possible scenario would be if the imperfection wasn’t corrected. Most often you’ll find that the consequences are not that dire.
In every area of life becoming increasingly aware of your own patterns of behaviour can unlock success for you. Allowing your patterns to continue to run unaddressed is exhausting and creates those energy leaks. I challenge you to uncover those old patterns and explore new ways to interact that support you, your direct reports and clients.

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