What Are You Willing To Let Go Of?

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Has anyone ever accused you of being a bit of a control freak or micromanager… and have you ever reframed it as simply “having high standards” or being a “perfectionist”?

Yeah, me neither. (*Cough! Cough!*)

There are so many things that we cling to out of fear or not-so-thinly-masked fear.

Yet inevitably, growth, freedom, and long-term success are usually just on the other side of that fear.


Like what, you ask? How about:


  • Rather than (re)doing the work yourself when one of your direct reports “can’t do it right,” use it as a teaching/coaching opportunity to help them grow in competence, ultimately freeing you up to take on other things


  • Leaving a dead-end-but-predictable-and-stable job for a new job or to start a business of your own


  • Being willing to start a new relationship even though you’ve been hurt before (who hasn’t?)


  • Acknowledging someone’s pain/loss/struggle with something as simple as a text saying “just want you know I’m thinking of you/here for you” instead of leaving the elephant in the room and perpetuating the awkward silence because you’re unconsciously prioritizing your own comfort over theirs.


Yup – all of these situations stem from the same place.


And they’re all addressed in this week’s episode of the Speaking to Influence podcast.


My guest on the call is Martha Sharkeyfounder and CEO of Today Is a Good Day (TIAGD), a beautiful nonprofit organization that provides support for families who have experienced the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She and her husband founded TIAGD after spending months in the NICU with their own prematurely born babies, as a reminder to all that each day in the NICU means there is another development milestone to celebrate.


As business leaders, non-profit founders, and expecting and new parents, Martha shares personal and professional risks, decisions regarding things to hold on to and what to let go of and how, and triumphs of all sorts.



Just to name a few, Martha gives insights into:


  • The creative way she empowers her team members to take the lead and solve problems – and has them hold her accountable to letting them do it (i.e. how they keep her from micromanaging!)


  • How she first decided to make the leap from a very happy, successful and stable executive job into the world of starting up her own non-profit organization


  • The simplest and most powerful way YOU can support a colleague, friend or loved one going through a challenging time, such as loss of a job, (anniversary of the) death of a family member, or end of a relationship, in a way they will truly appreciate


And more.


This last example is not to be glossed over. One of the most powerful take-aways for me is the importance of simply acknowledging others who are going through difficult times.


As Martha and I explored, we often avoid saying anything at these times for fear of making the other person feel bad by bringing up the situation, or not wanting to say the wrong thing… but the reality is that when someone is hurting, and they know it’s public knowledge, it often feels even lonelier when nobody acknowledges it, because it feels like nobody cares.


We don’t need to play therapist or get involved in a long, dramatic exchange. Ironically, in this situation, less is usually more. The beauty that Martha shares is how to acknowledge the situation simply, with meaningful empathy, in a way that both mitigates your emotional risk and allows the other person to feel seen and appreciated.


Sometimes, that little acknowledgement becomes the ray of sunshine peeking through the clouds which can lift another person’s spirits and enable them to say, “Today is a good day.”


Listen to the full conversation here or watch the video on YouTube here .


What else would make today a good day? Don't forget to take two minutes to take my Leadership Communication and Influence Self Assessment! Identify your strengths to celebrate, and areas that make you say, “Ooh, I never thought about that as part of my executive presence and leadership image… I really need to work on that.”

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