The Elegant Executive Blog

Destructive Delusions #6

6. Worry, Fret, and Fear: “If something seems dangerous or fearsome, I must preoccupy myself with it and make myself anxious about it.” Are you an expert when it comes to playing the anxiety tape over and over in your head, convincing yourself that something is dangerous and fearsome? If worry did anyone any good, I’d be all for it, but it only serves to make the worrier, and often those around her, miserable. So much of life is out of our hands completely, so it makes sense to drop the worry beads, and trust that the world is unfolding…

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Destructive Delusions #5

5. Others Cause Misery: “My emotional misery comes from external pressures that I have little ability to change.” It’s known as the blame game and most of us participate in pointing fingers at others when the trouble lies within. Most unhappiness and misery is a direct result of the choices we make day to day, year to year. Accepting that we are responsible for our own happiness is the first step toward full fledged adulthood and genuine contentment. When you think the thought, “I’m miserable because of what he or she is doing,” think again, and honestly look at how your thinking…

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Destructive Delusions #4

4. Catastrophize: “When I get very frustrated, treated unfairly or rejected, I have to view things as awful, terrible, horrible and catastrophic.” Drama queens (and kings!) are expert at turning small incidents into big-time disasters. Do you make mole hills into mountains requiring lots of energy and effort? Do you get others into the mix, convincing them of the catastrophy? Check your thinking and if the words “awful, terrible, horrible and catastrophic” come up often, it’s time to regroup and keep things in perspective.

Destructive Delusions #2

2. Making Mistakes: “I must prove thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving at all times.” Re-read that sentence, and really let it sink in. Now, think about some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned over the course of your life. In each case, I’ll bet you learned more through your mistakes than your accomplishments. To err is human, right? We have good days and bad days, and many days somewhere in between. Give yourself a break when you make mistakes. Admit when you’re wrong, learn from the experience and move on.

Destructive Delusions #1

For the New Year, I invite you to review the “Dirty Dozen Destructive Delusions” put forth a number of years ago by the American Management Association. Some may not apply to you, but I’ll bet a box of bons bons that at least one does. Let 2012 be the year to detatch from these energy drainers and realize that the name of the game is progress, not perfection. 1. Needing Approval: “Everyone I work with must approve of me at all times.” You feel that pit in your stomach when someone in a meeting disagrees with something you said. You second-guess…

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Why Male Execs Dress Better Than Their Female Counterparts

The truth is male executives cultivate a sense of style and dress as they develop professionally and climb the ladder to success. It’s expected that they dress in a powerful way and most rise to the challenge. No mentor would shy away from saying to up and coming Bob Smith, “Bob, that suit is atrocious! For goodness sake, go see my tailor and tell him I sent you.” However, no one will coach rising star Brittany Sanders with this admonishment: “Are you seriously going to wear THAT to the client meeting? Call my stylist and ask for an appointment asap.”…

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The Age of Entitlement

I am fascinated with the concepts of entitlement and it’s evil end, narcissism. After reading Jean Twenge’s book, “The Narcissism Epidemic – Living in the Age of Entitlement,” I have a better understanding of where a lot of bad behavior at work is coming from. In a nutshell, Twenge and her co-author, Keith Campbell, explain: Historically, entitlement meant having a social position or a claim to ownership granted by some legitimate authority. Having a title (or being entitled) meant having a clear claim to a social rank or piece of property, such as being a lord or duke in British…

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Dwelling on Past Mistakes?

My pal Julie, an incredibly gifted and creative marketing exec, recently took a job she was certain would be fantastic, only to find three or four weeks into things that the new organization was rife with problems, infighting and chaos. Julie made a quick exit and is now looking for a new opportunity, but her confidence, she tells me, is shaken. “How did I make such a bad choice?” she asks herself constantly, and the follow up to that of course is, “Will I do it again?” Today’s Wall Street Journal article about the parallels between professional athletes who encounter…

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Destructive Delusions #2

2. Making Mistakes: “I must prove thoroughly competent, adequate, and achieving at all times.” Yeah, right. Every waking minute you must be perfect! Thinking like this is a one-way ticket to crazyland. As humans, we have good days and bad, triumphs and failures – it’s called living! Do your best to prepare, think through and execute the best way you know how. Find a mentor who will be honest and straight forward with you and go to this person when you’ve made a mistake and turn whatever happened into a learning experience. And don’t forget, when you fall short, be kind…

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