I get asked a bunch of questions about… you know… stuff. And in the early morning hours I enjoy responding (hopefully) thoughtfully and thoroughly. A couple members of my team suggested I start sharing my advice. Previous AMA’s are here. So, without further ado, please enjoy this installment of Ask MilEs Anything:
A reader asked me: “How do you handle feeling overwhelmed at work?”
Over the past year I’ve been studying a lot about teamwork, leadership, and change. I started by reading the same business books that other people have read about these three topics, and what I saw was that the way we’re working isn’t necessarily working.
According to the Gallup Organization, disengaged workers cost US companies more than $450 billion dollars, and we don’t have fewer distractions, we have more and more every day.
So instead, I took a different approach; I learned quite a bit from some very strange sources. I looked at people from various little corners of the globe who are doing really amazing things in those three areas…outside the world of business.
I looked at doctors (both M.D.’s and Ph.D.’s), rocket scientists, Girl Scouts, professional wrestlers, United States Marines, coaches, preachers, teachers! Generally, any person or group I could think of that was affecting change and building strong teams. And I asked myself, “What are they doing?”
And you know what I saw time and time again?
When it came to being more effective through teamwork, leadership, and change, at the very top of my list (and also what I just gave a talk to McDonald’s about) was truth and loving someone with truth.
A lot of times in this day and age we’re afraid to tell people what we really believe to be true, both positive and negative, because we’re afraid we’re going to repel them.
The very first person with whom we do that is ourselves.
Loving yourself means being honest with yourself. Knowing you need help and admitting that to yourself – that is the first step.
Next, you need to follow-up with trust.
There should be a leader in your organization who you can go to and say, “I’ve got a real problem and I’m willing to admit it and I’m going to be very vulnerable with you. “
Then, you have to be vulnerable and lay it out on the table. There’s no way around it, if you want help, you have to open yourself up to receive it.
What if you can’t think of a person inside your company to go to and trust with your issue?
Well, that says more about the negativity of your company than it does about you and it’s time to have a hard talk with yourself in the mirror. A truthful talk to say “Maybe it’s time that I make a change. I can’t find someone here who can help me. Maybe this isn’t a place I need to be.”
It all starts with truth, loving yourself enough to give yourself permission to ask for what you need, and trusting someone enough to be vulnerable with them (even if that someone is yourself).
Lastly and probably most importantly, if it goes deeper than that, if you are struggling with depression or anxiety, please seek professional help. Seek people who have actual learned degrees in research, in psychotherapy, in cognitive behavioral analysis that can help you identify accurately your problem and point you in the right direction to solve it.