There is an old Woody Allen movie where children who are under 10 years of age sit at their desk and tell you who they are now as adults. I don’t remember the specific professions or the movie title but reminded me of something.
I was working with a 45-year-old man recently and asked him about a situation that they were facing. The long and short of it was that he was reminded of a time when he was young and he was yelled at. He started to cry as he realized his fear of making a mistake was reminding him of that time he was yelled at as a young boy.
Today, successful in so many different ways, he was carrying around that memory and holding himself back based upon a childhood memory from more than 30 years before.
So often our professional limitations are shaped by events of our childhood. We may wear nice clothing and speak as adults do. In fact, we are still children with bigger bodies and a nicer wardrobe.
That person we’re interacting with who has let us down does much the same thing themselves. They procrastinate, they argue, they avoid, they do many things that annoy us all because of events that occurred many years before that taught them to cope in that way.
If we can remember that most people want to do the right thing but become misshapen based upon early life trauma, we might feel more compassion and, as important, get better results and how we lead by helping them transcend these self-imposed limitations.
If this seems like too much work, you haven’t noticed how much extra work you’ve already taken on as a result of their avoidance tactics. Don’t listen to their excuses or explanations. Notice the patterns of their behavior, bring them to their attention, and help them be great.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2020
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1900 episodes, and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.
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