Would you believe I caught myself in the very mental trap I coach my clients to climb out of. 

You would think after 33 years of coaching I would be invulnerable to living below the line. 

I mean really, once you get what disempowered thinking is, you’d assume nobody would allow themselves to fall below the line, least of all a leadership coach. 

What line am I talking about?  

The Respond or React Line.  

You see, when I get emotionally triggered and don’t recognize what’s happening, a whole cascade of chemicals causes me to react. 

You can think of the brain like the command center of a spaceship, where all the controls and buttons influence how the spaceship behaves. In your brain, there are lots of chemicals that act like the spaceship’s controls, helping decide how you feel and react to things around you. 

When you start doubting yourself or when something happens – like if someone cuts you off, or your decisions gets questioned –  your brain releases different chemicals that make you feel a certain way. 

So, when you react emotionally to something, it’s often because these chemicals are clouding your perspective and driving your behavior, pushing all sorts of buttons in your command center. 

Leadership coaching is about activating the Executive Functioning of your brain to buy yourself the time you need to identify and manage your reactions so you can effectively respond to the trigger.  It can be like learning how to pilot your spaceship smoothly, even when there are lots of buttons to push!

effective employee training program

Now for the vulnerable part … who exactly did I become?  

The person I can sometimes become when I’m unaware of what’s bugging me and that  brain chemistry overtakes my executive thinking brain.  

Then I start mulling over what I shoulda, coulda, woulda done or said – in other words I go into overthinking about it, punishing myself, like a needle in sewing machine. 

And, that’s when I caught myself.

You see, I made a mistake in my business that cost me a lot of money. And I’ve been kicking myself around the block instead of recognizing the pivot point sooner. 

This feels vulnerable, but here’s my mistake:

I allowed Self-Doubt and Cynicism to rob me of my clarity and certainty. I fell into a cycle of resentment and guilt and taking it out on myself with negative self talk and recrimination.  

I work with CEOs and senior executives to become better leaders, to assume their executive presence and authority, and in a way that engages and inspires their teams.  

I know how busy they are so I designed an online course they could sign in to and go at their own pace at their own convenient times.  It is awesome, it flows, it’s minimally demanding and punched up with a lot of value, value, value – for themselves and their teams.  

I did a lot of marketing and spent a lot of money and only had 2 enrollments.  

I was on the verge of giving up on that strategy when it occurred to me … to turn my attention to my own thinking, prioritizing, strategizing and decision making and I did a forensic review of who I am and my own success. 

And, even though many of the CEOs I coach with fall into this same cycle for their own reasons I’m able to help them “see” themselves, I sure wasn’t able to see my own pit of despair. 

So, I took stock of where I am.  Am I above the line or below the line?  When I’m above the line I’m curious, open, acknowledging, taking stock objectively, making decisions, planning and getting into action.  

I re-minded myself that the way I built my business back when I was one of the pioneers in the field of coaching was through life coaching. And I love it. It’s very nurturing and I’ve incorporated it into Executive Coaching – but straight up life coaching is so rewarding. 

I turned my moment of self – flagellation and recovered my executive thinking, authority, certainty, decision-making and strategizing skills and created an online coaching program with all the same benefits but offering it as a life coaching program.  

Of course, it’s high touch – that’s what makes it so rewarding for me and for participants.  I get to coach, teach, facilitate and connect privately and in group settings with everyone.  My goal is to engage, inspire, challenge, and encourage people to go for their personal, relationship, career or business goals.

Terry for the win!  

If you’d like help to get above the line in your life, drop the word CHOICE in the comments below.