Do you have people in your life who create drama in their lives? If you have “dramatic” friends or family, then you probably spend most of your time fending off this drama by establishing boundaries. If you don’t, then you’re probably sucked into the drama that only adds stress to your life.
Why is it important to establish boundaries? Why should we keep a lid on chaos?
As a manager, your employees look to you to keep your emotions in check. They need confidence from you that their work world is doing well. If you’re emotions are getting away from you, they might go through this analysis in their mind:
- Is my boss just having a bad day?
- Is my boss having personal problems?
- Is my boss having problems with his or her peers? Does it affect me?
- Is my boss having problems with their boss? Does it affect me?
- Is our company okay? Does it affect me?
Speaking from front line experience, this is the type of catastrophe thinking I would go through when I looked for “smoke signals” from my boss. I was looking for signals on the horizon for things that I should be concerned about. I don’t consider this a healthy approach to work. I developed this line of thinking after going through two economic downturns, where my job was affected. I narrowly missed one layoff by exiting quickly, but couldn’t avoid the second one.
Vulnerable people in our personal lives also are looking for smoke signals. If you have children, nieces, or nephews, then they probably look up to you. They require stability and confidence from you, hoping you’ll protect them from harm, chaos, or any other stress.
As a manager, try to remain calm and consistent with your emotions. With challenging economic times, your direct reports are looking for clues in your behavior to signal if there’s danger that they should be worried about. If you know there’s danger, then carefully communicate your concerns.
If you need to create urgency, then do so without accidentally setting off the catastrophe thinking in your direct reports. Of course, if it’s a crisis, then convey it, but with some kind of action plan for your team that helps you manage the crisis.
If you have other vulnerable people in your life like children, nieces, or nephews, then never let situations or emotions get away from you. Be the calm in the eye of the storm for them, demonstrating strength and confidence to them. Why stress them out when you can be a role model of how to handle stress or be a good crisis manager? Be the one they run to, not the person they avoid.
The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management series outlines my rules of personal and work success. After reflecting on my personal values, I made this list, realizing values are my rules of being or life management principles. Based on your experiences, I hope this list inspires you to identify your own rules. Here are the rules to my success that may help you over the course of your journey:
- The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management
- The Smart Lemming Rules of Life and Career Management: Overview of the Pyramid and Its Levels
Level 1: Rules for Our Fundamental Nature
- #1 Find your own spirituality and practice it.
- #2 Know what you want or the Universe (or God) won’t know what to send you: If you don’t know what you want, how can you get to where you want to be?
- #3 Fate or free will? Regardless of what you believe, we all have a purpose to being here. The tricky part is discovering what it is.
- #4 Don’t wait for your future to happen to you, you have to be vigilant in making your future happen.
- #5 Understand your dark side, but don’t give into it or indulge it.
- #6 Aspire to always help and teach others.
Level 2: Rules of Continuous Learning and Modeling
- #7 Watch or read media sources when you need inspiration. Reflect on why you like a certain movie or TV show, so you understand why it moves you.
- #8 Always be learning. Continue learning through books or any source that gives you new ideas on how to approach your work or feeds your passion.
- #9 Become self aware. If you aren’t, then how will you know you’re screwing up?
- #10 Accept responsibility and make peace with your decisions and the consequences of those decisions. They have created the person you are today. The trick is, do you like what you’ve created? If not, then how can you change?
- #11 Keep a lid on chaos. Never let situations or emotions get away from you. Be the calm in the eye of the storm as strength, reflecting confidence for the most vulnerable people in your life.
Level 3: Rules for the Actual Journey
- #12 Stay still and don’t move if you feel lost, so you can find yourself or let the opportunity find you.
- #13 Always be course correcting.
- #14 Surround yourself with trusted and loyal friends. Be prepared to deal with betrayal without ambivalence. But be prepare to forgive (if the person is sincere, I mean really sincere).
- #15 Learn to channel your inner extrovert, if you’re an introvert. Learn to channel your inner introvert, if you’re an extrovert.
Level 4: Rules of Adapting to Environment and Interacting with Others
- #16 Make peace with your weaknesses. We’re not perfect. Even your strengths will turn into weaknesses. The trick is knowing when your strength has become a weakness.
- #17 Master your emotions and body language. Use them strategically in life and work.
- #18 Mentor yourself via the Space Time Continuum. What would your future self tell your present self? How can you get back on track? What have you done well? What more can you do? What would you tell yourself as a child, teen, 20 or 30 something?
Level 5: Rules of Humility
- #19 Never take your success for granted. Always prepare for the worst case scenarios. Be prepared for two steps forward and one step back.
- #20 Be humble. Treat others well, don’t be arrogant, and don’t drink your own Kool-Aid.
Level 6: Rule of Being
- #21 Be compassionate.