Need for Perfection Leads to Drama

May 25, 2010

Question: My time management is pathetic. I need some help prioritizing and fitting in important things like exercise and a healthy diet. I expect perfection and have a hard time with expectations.

Answer: I love this question because it truly is an energy issue. All drama has three components in common and one of those components is energetic. I call this energetic charge, RESISTANCE.

One of the ways resistance shows up is in self judgment. Let’s address the self judgment. The need to be perfect is a resistance to our humanity. As a human you will always find imperfections.  When we expect to be perfect we will always fail. Perfection is an empty black hole that is easy to fall in to. So I try to encourage my consulting clients to seek excellence because excellence allows room to grow while perfection is a myth that some day I will have all the answers. This is a big trap that will always have you grasping for something you will never achieve. So there is a bit more flexibility with excellence.

Perfection is all about needing approval and being right. 

There is also some resistance around the issue of time and how we use time, and the myth that technology is going to save you time.  Now let’s look at the myths about technology. One myth is that more advances in technology gives us more time. The reality is it only gives us more choices. Our expectations change to fill up the time. This is very difficult for most of us to accept. We reject the notion that you can never really save time. Time just is. You can be more effective. You can choose differently. You can even master your energy differently but you will never really save time because the expectation changes with the technology. What is called for here is mastering energy.

Energy management is the key issue here. This is a matter of making a decision and sticking to it. Simply spending some quiet time and giving yourself a week to exercise three times for 1 hour would be a nice start. It’s really just a discipline and the willingness to slow down in your thinking just a bit.

Once you follow through your self-esteem and overall sense of well being will increase. This extra energy is what will make you more efficient, not working past your limits, skipping meals and feeling bad about yourself.

In addition, remember that if you don’t give your body what it needs, it will eventually take the down time in the form of an illness or accident. In other words, you can’t fool mother nature.  We always reap the consequences of our choices, even when we fail to choose, it does not keep us from the effect.

Ready to release resistance? Join me  for the upcoming virtual training!


Meetings and Feedback Improve Accountability

May 4, 2010

Question: I have a manager, who is very nice, but just does not follow through with the important stuff? I have been reading motivational books, but it has not helped. What should I do?

Answer: There are two things I recommend for this one.

1. Regular meetings with accountability built into the agenda

2. Feedback using the 1-10 scale system

You will hear me say this over and over. I recommend regular staff meetings with a solid agenda. They can be as short as 15 to 30 minutes. Very few companies do this because they have bought in to the idea that meetings waste time. The only reason meetings waste time is because of poor planning and facilitation skills and a lack of vision.

Have an agenda so it stays on track. One of the things in your agenda is an accountability section to where they MUST report back to the whole group as to their progress. (She will not like coming up short every time in front of others.)

AUTHENTIC CONVERSATION using the scale system
Aside from that you simply must schedule an authentic conversation with her so that she knows how you see her. Start operating with your peeps, with the “scale” method. Before any project, let your people know that besides the formal yearly review (if you do them) you will give continuous feedback that will sound like this, “Jane, on a scale of 1-10, this was an 8. The 2 suggestions or areas for improvement are…” 

In other words, your score must always equal 10. If their performance is a 7, you need to give a good example of the three things they can do to bring it up.

Then when they get it to 10, be sure to acknowledge. This helps set people up for success and gives them a good idea of what the expectations are.

How to Close the Integrity Gap

April 28, 2010

One definition of integrity is the state of being complete or undivided. To live in complete integrity is more of a process than an absolute because sometimes our competing desires come into conflict.  For example, you want to lose weight but you like to eat out. You want to make more money but you also want to have more free time.  Or you say that you value high productivity but you also value relationships.  Eventually these desires will compete and that the competition will either divide your loyalties or strengthen your commitments. When you are divided because of competing commitments, I call this “The Integrity Gap.”

 Aligning all of your intentions is the process of striving toward integrity.  So how do you know if you have gaps of integrity?  You look for the signs that challenge your integrity and character. 

My friend shared a story that I think will drive this point home, and it is something I hope you can use in your business and at your family dinner table.

While watching her 15-year old son play tennis, my friend watched another parent, a father of young tennis player get up and leave in the middle of the same match because his son was playing poorly. My friend listened to the man’s wife justifying her husbands behavior:  “He just demands perfection, and can’t stand to see his son losing or playing poorly.”

What makes the story a little more interesting is that this parent is a celebrity entertainer, and I’m 99 percent certain that if you asked this entertainer if he has integrity he would answer “yes” without a second thought.  Obviously a celebrity entertainer understands the work ethic and what it takes to get ahead. Too bad the celebrity entertainer does not understand the difference between perfection and excellence. Perfection can often be attained without integrity but excellence can only be attained through integrity. 

Perfection is about winning at all costs. Excellence is about winning with integrity.  In reality, there are two games going on here: the game of winning a tennis match, and the game of being a good parent. When two compelling desires compete for the championship, integrity often suffers. 

 Surely this father loves his son, but his ability to show support fades in the face of another competing desire: to see his son win a tennis match.  The father’s behavior shows that is greatest desire is to see his son win a tennis match, and this desire outweighs the desire to show fatherly support, or to teach a lesson about good sportsmanship. The lack of integrity (being divided) surfaces when the test of courage presents itself as an opportunity to sit though a tennis match at which his son is losing.

In his quest for perfection the tennis player’s father communicates an imperfect message to his 15 year old son:  Winning is more important than my relationship with you and my support is conditional on you performing perfectly at the tennis match. Teaching the lesson of integrity means living a life congruent with valuing integrity.

 Another father at a soccer game encouraged his kid to bad mouth the referee.  Again, the message is I value winning but I do not value due process, respect for authority or even learning how to accept and benefit from an occasional loss.  Again, I’ll bet if I asked this father if he has integrity he would say, “Yes.” What this father doesn’t realize is that he is teaching his son to disrespect authority, to think he is above the rules and to rule by intimidation.

In his book Seat of the Soul, author Gary Zukav calls the conflict of mixed desires a state of being “splintered.”

 In the business world splintered messages are responsible for the distrust, the lack of loyalty and the perceived lack of fairness.  For example, when productivity is sought and achieved without regarding the relationship outcomes, a company creates a competition of relationship versus productivity. If there is integrity within the company relationship and productivity are two symbiotic entities. When one suffers then there is a lack of integrity between the two desired outcomes. 

 An example of competing desires is the workplace bully who just happens to be the highest producer.  In my consulting work I have seen time and time again the workplace bully who just happens to be the highest producer.  Management often fails to notice because they desire the productivity levels and mistakenly believe without their star performer the company would suffer; therefore they do not address the bullying issues and thus sacrifice relationship outcomes for immediate productivity outcomes.  What the management often doesn’t recognize is that because of the “splintered” message they are giving the other co-workers by ignoring or denying the issues results in delayed relationship outcomes that eventually affect the bottom line: absenteeism, turnover, low morale and workplace drama.

In the end, clarity can change any situation. If you wan to close the integrity gap, get crystal clear about the “island” you want to row to and know what is required to get there. Then you won’t take the left hand turn to the island of competing desires, no matter how compelling.

Stop the “I’m Too Busy” Excuse

April 20, 2010

QUESTION: A frequently heard response from coworkers on why work has not been completed:  “I’m too busy” or “I’m so busy”, many times followed with a dramatic recital of all they have to do. How should I respond? 

ANSWER: Well, the sarcastic approach is to say, “Well, you certainly have an extra five minutes for excuse-making.” (Of course, I don’t recommend the sarcastic approach except in your fantasies.)

In the time that they spend arguing about how much time they DON’T have, they could have already completed the task you asked them to complete!

A good come back is, “What if you weren’t so busy?” Then hold the space, then wait for more excuses, then ask, “Are you willing to find a way?”

There are three circumstances worth looking at: A celebration system may be in order,  they really may be too busy, they may need a little peer pressure. Let’s look at each scenario.

A celebration system is in order
Employees need a time when they feel complete. Sometimes what we do as managers is just keep piling things on them and they always feel behind. This is a management skill of delegating but also what I call “celebrating on the island.” If work is nothing more than a list of tasks it’s going to be hard to keep the motivation. If however there is a time for intermittent celebrations of what we accomplished, then you are going to get a lot more compliance. 

They really are too busy
I recently heard Nick Fabrizio, a consultant with MGMA Healthcare consulting group, say that you cannot give more than 10 percent more work without increasing resources or reducing work in some other area. In other words, make sure what you are requesting is actually possible given their current workload and responsibilities.

Use peer pressure
At your regular meetings, give acknowledgement for all the tasks accomplished and milestones reached. This will feel so good that people will be more willing to step up instead of make excuses. What this will require of you though is to keep note and a log of what gets done. 




Four Ways To Stop the Drama at Work

June 18, 2009

Have you ever felt taken advantage of in the workplace? Your co-workers manipulate situations, do underhanded petty things, gossip and leave you out of conversations?  How do you get them to stop? There are four areas where you have a measure of control. To illustrate, read this true story about Miriam.

For several years Miriam, 52, has worked for a large corporation that has gone from a word processing department to a desktop publishing unit.  Although her coworkers are younger and have more seniority, Miriam has a degree in art and extensive graphic experience.  Miriam wants to retire with the company in six years but lately she feels like an outsider at work and she perceives this as a threat to her career.In her view, three of her coworkers are competitive and do underhanded things to get the “fun” jobs or the jobs that make them noticeable to management.  They withhold information, manipulate situations, steal ideas, or act helpless so that others will come to their aid and give them extra help. Miriam resents their skills at self-promotion and she finds it hard to sell herself, or to be taken seriously. She wants recognition for her work yet she finds it difficult to accept a compliment for fear of being perceived as haughty or ‘too proud.’ Miriam has tried on occasion to fit in with her coworkers by joking around but they act disgusted and make Miriam feel as though she has been inappropriate. When Miriam has tried to participate in the conversation she gets ignored and interrupted even to the point to where she has had to ask them to let her finish.  Miriam came to me for advice. She wanted to know how she could take charge of this situation.

There are four areas where Miriam has a measure of control: By exercising her choices, taking responsibility for her own career, changing her communication and becoming aware of the message she is sending.


None of us can control how coworkers act, but we can choose our reaction. Miriam must decide who she is (in the context of this situation) and continue to choose reactions that reflect confidence and centeredness.  When coworkers brag on themselves, rather than being envious or discounting them, she can agree with what is true and follow up with a question, “How did you do that?”   When we put ourselves in the position of believing we have all the confidence in the world, we’re not so hungry for the approval of others.  With this attitude and belief system in place, Miriam has more choices: to be come interested rather than envious, to become curious instead of competitive. With new choices comes the freedom to compliment her coworkers without discounting herself.


It is your responsibility to take charge of your own promotion at work. Waiting for others to notice our attributes and talents is a poor way to gain personal power.  You can be ‘good’ in a closet and no one will ever know it.   Miriam can emphasize her background in graphic design and art by going to the library and brushing up on trends, and reporting the findings to her boss in an attitude of sharing knowledge. Instead of trying to compete with her coworkers and continue the cycle, Miriam can take credit for her ideas by telling the boss she would be glad to hold a session to teach some of her techniques and skills to her coworkers.  She might offer to train new hires or those that lag behind. She will be communicating that she is a team player and a leader.


Communication is tricky-it’s more than mere words. Since Miriam feels rejected and distant it is most likely her communication is reflecting these emotions and perceptions, if not in her words or her tone, then perhaps in her body language.  One reason Miriam doesn’t receive support is because she communicates to her coworkers that she is uncomfortable with praise and doesn’t know how to react.  It’s best to acknowledge appreciation with a smile and a “thank you,” instead of arguing the point.  Rather than begging coworkers to let her finish her sentences, she can show her interest by asking open-ended questions. Miriam can monitor her communication to insure that the message received was the message intended.


For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  Without making assumptions it’s likely that there is a reason Miriam is being received the ways she is.  Let’s look at the reactions from her joking:  My question to Miriam:  “Are you interjecting sarcastic comments or trying to be subtle in letting them know you feel like an outsider? Are you rolling your eyes when you disagree with your coworkers?”  Miriam admitted she was a big eye-roller and it was an ah-ha moment. We can’t cure or change what we are unaware of.  Without self-awareness it’s difficult to choose differently, or change our communication. Self-awareness is the key that unlocks the door to taking charge.

To get more information about how to identify the drama, sign up for The Drama Stops Here.

Drama Signs: How to Spot the Red Flags

October 29, 2008

If only I had a sign I would know what to do. If you’ve ever said this while battling a state of confusion, let me tell you that the signs are all around you. Be thankful for the discomfort because if you notice it, it’s speaking to you.

Otherwise you are like the frog who gets boiled to death because the discomfort crept up on you at such a slow pace you failed to notice.Here are four ways drama shows up in various areas of life.

1. Relationships
2. Workplace
3. Health
4. Clutter

Relationship drama

The reason so many people are surprised when they get divorced is because they didn’t read the signs. They slowly started taking each other for granted, failing to be polite, take each other into consideration until the small trespasses become incivility such as eye rolling, voice raising and down right rudeness all the way to separate lives. The same is true in the workplace.


It starts out as gossip, then complaining, to backstabbing to full blown negativity resulting in turnover and absenteeism. When you gripe about your boss, spend time at the water cooler talking about how unfair the new vacation policy is, you only add to the drama. Find a way to change it or accept it, anything else is just drama.


First you skip a day at the gym. Then you have the second helping. Then it’s Ok to occasionally eat a handful of chips while watching the nightly news. Eventually exercise is the exception rather than the rule and second helpings have turned into thirds. Your pantry is full of fattening snacks for your evening television habit. Fast forward three years and you are 20 lbs overweight with high cholesterol. Set up a system of checks and balances so that your habits remain  your servant instead of your master.


You feel overwhelmed so you leave the dishes in the sink. You’ll get the mail opened next week. You’ll get to that stack of magazines, or maybe you just need to cancel the subscription. Procrastination leads to clutter and clutter leads to feelings of overwhelm. It’s a vicious drama-producing cycle.

So…look for the signs all around you. You can look for evidence of success or evidence of drama.
The choice is yours. Get my free audio Reclaim Your Power to Create.

Feeling Resistance? Get in the Shade or Go Home

September 24, 2008

The sun was shining with not a cloud in the sky. “You couldn’t ask for better weather for Cider Days,” I said to my neighbor.

“Yes, I’m glad it isn’t raining,”  my neighbor responded.

Cider Days is a community event where vendors from around the region set up booths to display and sell their pottery, jewelry, photography, paintings and other artistic wares.

After about 10 minutes of walking around,  I noticed how hot the sun was on my head. My hair felt like it was on fire.  Without much thought I heard my voice say, “It’s really hot.”

My neighbor agreed.  “That sun is really bearing down.”

“Yep, there’s not a cloud in the sky to give any relief,” I continued.

Several times I would go to a booth and get under the awning and feel a sense of relief, but every time I stepped out into clear view I felt the heat of the sun and with the sensation the impulse to “COMMENT” on how hot it was.

Get in the Shade or Go Home!

Get in the Shade or Go Home!

Finally a thought occurred and it was almost as if I heard an audible voice saying, ‘Get in the shade or go home…everything else is just drama.”

Because I TEACH this stuff (how to eliminate negativity and drama) I’m sometimes painfully aware of my own resistance to what is.  This may seem minor, but the fact remains that we spend way too much time in drama which is due MIND PATTERNS and a lack of discipline, awareness, and self-mastery.

As a leader  SELF-MASTERY is a tool that will serve you well.   William Penn said, “No man (or woman) is fit to command another who cannot command himself.  I KNOW that I must hold myself up to a high standard if I am to have the “privilege of the platform” in speaking on these subjects at corporate events and association speaking engagements, not to mention my consulting projects.

DRAMA (which I define as any obstacle to your peace or prosperity) can manifest in a multitude of ways,  yet there  is always a level of RESISTANCE with any drama that is present.

When you look at your own levels of resistance without getting attached emotionally you can see that there is always another choice.  See the short list below.

  • Griping about the heat | Get in the shade or go home.
  • Worrying about the economy | Call your financial planner, get a second job or sell something
  • Comparing Yourself to others | Network with those better than you or quit looking
  • Outbursts and Temper Tantrums | Beat a pillow, take a nap or go for a walk
  • Talking endlessly about how someone did you wrong | Confront or forgive
  • Judging your boss, you staff or your co-workers | Ask for what you want or set a boundary
  • Justifying bad behavior | apologize, read some self-help or get counseling

Well, this was fun and I could go on and on. The bottom line is each of us is responsible for creating the life, the relationships, and the business we want. Everything else is just DRAMA. Drama often shows up as a  non-acceptance of what is.

So now I’m setting up a challenge for myself to come live life from the perspective of  “No complaints, no excuses, no regrets.”

This means I have to notice in my own life where I’m failing to master my thoughts, emotions, relationships or physical health. This means I must notice when I am resisting versus choosing consciously.

My challenge to you is to pick one area of DRAMA  or RESISTANCE
that you are willing to eliminate this week.  E-mail me your commitment!

Better  yet, join the Release Resistance Training and really FREE yourself. It happens on July 1st.