Where is the real pressure coming from for leaders?


Where is the real pressure coming from for leaders?

Part of the series:

Ian Watson and Elizabeth Lovius riffing on life as a leader


– What have you seen?

– You know, I was recently having a follow-up coaching session with one of the people that attended our recent course and I noticed that he had experienced the course and he said to me, “I wasn’t sure what I actually saw, “I was trying very hard to understand it.” And yet when we sat down at the coaching session, And we looked at where he was now, he suddenly had this huge flash of insight and the insight was that he saw that he had been experiencing extreme pressure and stress in the job, he’d been promoted a number of times very quickly, being given a lot more responsibility. He was a very diligent, committed individual, wanting to do a great job and he was overwhelmed with all of those things occurring a lot to him all the time, the desire to do well. And he had put himself under enormous pressure despite his mentor saying, “You’re doing a great job, “we’re really happy with you, “please keep doing what you’re doing.” But inside of him he’d experienced this enormous sense of not meeting his own expectations. And the idea that he needed to have a plan for everything all the time, and in our conversation at some point he had this huge insight that not only did he not need to have a plan, but that planning actually got in the way of his natural ability, which by the way, he’d been manifesting all this time. And in that conversation he saw that his whole life he had put this huge barrier between his natural, innate potential to come out and this idea that he had of himself having to be a planner and he wasn’t.

– Yeah.

– And I think that, it’s in that direction that when people look in that direction, suddenly the sense of relief, and connexion with who they really are, you could say shines through and I know that his job, you could see it on his face, was a different job going forward then.

– This is great, because what it flags up for people is that, let’s say the strategy, or the way of being that they’ve learned, which had probably served them well at a certain point in their life, there’s a point where we reach where often it’s past its sell-by date.

– Yeah.

– You know? And it becomes diminishing returns, by which I mean a person has to work harder just to maintain a certain level and people start to feel that as a stress. It’s almost like the body’s way of telling us you can’t continue in that old mode and expect it to work for you. But what’s nice to hear is that when he was able to just see through that and let that go, something more helpful emerges, which was already there and the only reason that he probably couldn’t see it before, ’cause it was because he was too busy in his mind. And I see that over and over again, is that people, it’s not that they have to learn something new, it’s more like a rediscovery of what was already there. But it had been overlooked, you know. And what you mentioned I often see as well, is that when a person starts to recognise it they realise that it’s always been available. It’s something that’s like, oh, well I used that here and I used that there and it helped me out here. Why wouldn’t it help here, too? Suddenly they join the dots and it makes sense.

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