If you’ve been on the Greatness In Government campus for a while, you may have heard me mention using your Internal Guidance System to keep yourself on track and you bring your greatness into your work and your life so you can make the difference you want to make in the world.
The system is really quite simple, yet many of us don’t use it, or don’t use it well. Why? Because many of us grew up in a world where we were encouraged to ignore, drown out, or cover up the “alert tone” when it goes off.
Recently I found myself back in physical therapy for a shoulder problem that has been nagging me for (hanging head in contrition) more than TWO YEARS! (Yes, you read that right. I can’t believe I’ve tolerated this for so long!) Knowing that this is one form of my internal guidance system at work, I wondered if you could use a few reminders on how and WHY to use your own internal guidance system.
Tip One: NOTICE: Does something feel just a little off?
In the case of my shoulder, it was inexplicably popping and grinding for more than 6 months. The day I got stuck in my sports bra because I couldn’t lift my arm over my head… Well, I just couldn’t ignore the pain any longer!
The same thing can happen in other areas of our lives. You may begin to dread going to work, or snap at your kids more frequently, or realize that you aren’t getting the results you used to get from your team. These are all ALERT TONES from your navigation system. Pay attention to them!
Tip Two: CHECK YOUR ALIGNMENT
When the ALERT TONE goes off, it’s time to stop what you’re doing and check your alignment. Truly identify what is the source of the alert. So often, like I did with my shoulder, we fail to recognize or choose to ignore the warning signs. We figure the situation will eventually just work itself out.
As the alert tone continues to sound, and becomes progressively more annoying, some of us will try to push through it.
Others of us will do more of what we have always done in the past. And still others will try to avoid certain aspects of a situation like the task or the person you don’t like.
These are all various methods of ignoring the alert tones and failing to address the underlying problem.
When we choose to ignore the alert tones, the misalignment does not go away. Its impact just becomes more severe and the steps needed to correct the misalignment – like having a partnership conversation with your boss, seeking another position, or completing an inappropriate commitment – become progressively more difficult and painful.
Tip Three: SEEK ASSISTANCE FROM A PROFESSIONAL
Even once I understood what was wrong with my shoulder, it was still impossible for me to treat it myself. Only with the assistance of a trained physical therapist was it possible for me to achieve the deep stretching and muscular release required to free my shoulder.
The same is true of misalignments in other areas of life. If it were possible for you to correct your misalignment alone, you would have done that already! (None of us LIKE to stay in pain!)
And maybe for you, even figuring out what the misalignment IS can be a challenge.
Regardless, the longer you continue doing things that aren’t aligned with your Pillars (those things that matter most to you), the louder the alert tone becomes, and the more difficult the misalignment is to fix.
As one client said to me last week, “Martha, I have a stack of books as high as my waist. Why can’t I figure this out?”
It’s the same reason why I can’t stretch my shoulder sufficiently without the physical therapist; we are all restricted by our previous experiences.
It takes someone else to stretch us past what we can do for ourselves in order to reach our full potential and allow our natural leadership abilities, our GREATNESS, to emerge.
And that’s what I can do for you! I can be your “physical therapy” for where your “shoulder” is hurting in life. To explore what in your life you’re tolerating, where you’re out of alignment with your Pillars, or just how you could get a good stretch, I invite you to apply for a complimentary Great Life Strategy Session. Just click this link and complete the application – it’s your first step to feeling better!.