Don't Make it Look Hard

It’s easy to make what you do look hard. What’s hard is to make it look easy.

We’ve all heard the saying, “Never let them see you sweat.” And yet, the world of work is filled with more complexity and ambiguity than ever before. The pace of change is breathtaking.

It’s not easy to be a manager today.

You are human, so you feel the pressure. Sometimes you’ll need to vent. When you do, share the hard stuff with your manager, a trusted colleague, or mentor – behind closed doors.

When it comes to the rest of the world, make it look (and sound) easy.

Not long ago, I coached a client who managed a technical team. My client, let’s call her Lori, was passed over for a promotion. She was frustrated and confused.

The problem wasn’t with the quality of her work. Lori was a high performer. Turns out that it was the way Lori talked about her work, that held her back.

Lori was in the habit of sharing her challenges. She talked freely about how much she had on her plate, the conflicts she was navigating, and the stress of it all.

When I asked her why, she said, “To be honest, I guess it makes me feel important.”

Talking about how hard we’ve got it can bolster our sense of self, but it can have the opposite effect on the people we work with. In fact, it can make us seem overwhelmed, uncomfortable, and maybe even a bit insecure.

No wonder Lori was seen as not ready for the next level.

Do you ever find yourself “over-sharing” about your challenges at work? If so, here is what to do instead...

First, slow down and breathe. Smile. You will seem more in command if you are calm.

Take time to prepare your response to “How are things going?” Write down what IS working, what you are excited about, or what you are learning. Decide what you will say in advance, and don’t leave it to chance. Get in the habit of sharing good news first.

You can make it look easy or you can make it look hard. The choice is yours.




P.S. – As a bonus, you’ll find that as you focus on the positive, you’ll feel more positive too.

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