My 60 years of life shifts

Last week, we ran our 3rd workshop in our ‘Paradox of First Time Leaders‘ program.  This one is all about the shift from being an expert to being an expert in leading a team of experts!

It is a paradox near and dear to my heart. Apart from being the core reason we started this course, it also seems to me that one of the keys to success in life is being able to identify the shifts we are going through, and to work through them intentionally.

Some shifts I have worked through are obvious, others… less so.  Some have to do with the external roles we play at work, hobbies or in our families.  Others have to do with our inner world.

Here are a few of mine during the last 60 years…

  • Expert to leader
  • Scottish to American to Swiss
  • Corporate employee to entrepreneur
  • Leader to coach
  • Solution provider to thought supporter
  • Doing to being (this one is still a major work in progress)
  • Youngest in the room – to oldest in most rooms
  • Single to married
  • Cat owner to dog owner
  • Paper orientated to screen / tech tools
  • Judging to acceptance (this one is also a major work in progress)
  • Beginning coach to experienced coach

Some of these shifts were easy, needing little work or focus. And some of them are not so easy and require a lot of intentional work. Reflecting back on what helped the most in these shifts, I realised that there are three steps that stand out.

  1. Realise that I am in a shift.  This sounds obvious but in real life – it is not always so.  A few times, it needed major events to help me out (an avalanche, a burn-out, an unhappy client, to name a few). Having an outside sounding board who offers feedback like a life partner, friend, or coach has also helped.
  2. Identify what the shift is all about.  What I am shifting from, and what I am shifting too, and why? How do my values play a role?  How does this impact my life goals? How does this impact those around me?
  3. Plan how to make the shift. The first two steps are the hardest.  Once I have worked through them – then it is about figuring out how best to make the shift.  My two big lessons here is that (a) it is important that I plan but that I hold those plans lightly and (b) it is about small little 1% incremental improvements most of the time.

So, some questions for you:

  1. What “shifts” have you or are experiencing?
  2. What are your signs that you are in a “shift”?
  3. What has helped you “shift” successfully in the past?

With the pace of the changes in our world these days, the external shifts and inner shifts we experience are probably going to increase in frequency and maybe also in size and relevance. Building our “shift” skills is a key life skill for all of us!

What do you think?

And, I would just like to add a note of gratitude for our current and previous participants of our “Paradox of First Time Leaders” course.  Your honest and vulnerable discussions about the various paradoxes you face as leaders and your support of each other is always inspiring. Thank you.  I know my fellow coaches feel the same!

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