In our Total Leadership Connections Program it becomes clear in our discussions that we all, yes all, fall under the cultural illusion we are supposed to behave differently at home than we do at work. This illusion of separation leads to both physical and mental stress.
And when stress hits the hot button we all, yes all, revert to behavior patterns we learned for security and survival when we were five or nine or twelve. In TLC, participants are taught how to observe these annoying old behaviors and change them to their positive and productive opposite.
Recently a TLC group watched this in action. Here is the skinny on what transpired:
One of the participants was downsized from a job he loved and there was not much on the horizon. There were moments of gut knotting anxiety. He did the best he could to remain positive. Yet, his wife was a typical VICTIM who initially blamed his boss. When no job was in site she began to blame him.
The relationship at home became icy.
Not such a dramatic story, this happens all the time. So why keep reading?
Because Mike is a great example of what occurs when you can observe your outdated behavior patterns and not get sucked into old ways of responding.
Mike could not help his wife be less fearful. Yet, from what he had learned about patterns and how they repeat and repeat, he decided to stop being the RESCUER, a behavior of his that he got in touch with in TLC. He simply let her talk about how close they were to the edge of the cliff. Mike became a MENTOR and asked lots of questions rather than giving solutions.
Rather than saving her he encouraged her to look at her own knee-jerk reactions. Eventually she was able to see herself and her fears differently. She began to look for ways to support her family through the rough patch. She moved from Victim to Explorer.
This story has a happy ending.
Eventually a recruiter called with a dream job. When Mike interviewed he won not only because of his qualifications, he won because of his attitude, his ability to understand the emotional overlay of problems and the tool kit he had developed from TLC for coaching others. What he practiced at home he could now take to work.
Mike was given the green light to put his team together, ten new hires in the new section of the organization he will lead. When he interviews, he told me, he hires on attitude as much as aptitude.