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The Whole You!

In order to be successful in life, so many of us think we have to compartmentalize who we are, presenting different sides of ourselves to our work colleagues, family or friendships. At work we think we must “be professional” and adhere to our “role,” at home we think we must be “compromise” or “keep the peace.

We believe in being professional and in the value of compromise, but we think most of us err on the side of getting stuck in our role or giving ourselves away. We believe that when do this we lose our creativity and aliveness.

The relationship suffers. Our results suffer. We are good, bad, awesome, ugly, loving, controlling, angry, brilliant and lazy. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it meant to define everyone. However, it is meant to demonstrate our range and the vast stage on which we are living our lives. It would be amazing if we could compartmentalize ourselves in such a way that we could utilize the aspects of ourselves we like, and push away, or better yet, rid ourselves of the less than ideal qualities. It would also be great if we could easily balance our work life with our family, friends and hobbies.It’s not that simple.In spite of the famous quote from the movie, The Godfather, “It’s not personal. It’s just business,” life isn’t that black or white. We take all of who we are to work and we bring all of ourselves home. We can pretend to compartmentalize everything, but very, very rarely are we ever successful for long living that way.

Symptoms show up from the wear and tear of cutting off parts of ourselves. Sometimes those symptoms might appear as a minor blow-up at work, a poor performance review, or a relationship issue; and sometimes the signs are much more significant: a heart attack, acute anxiety or depression, an ugly divorce.

In western culture our go-to approach to solving problems is to focus on the symptoms and assume that “fixing that problem” will resolve the issues. Sometimes that works, especially in acute situations. However, in the long run that approach isn’t particularly effective.

The key to living a healthy, fulfilling life is being able to bring more of who you are to everything you do. (You’ll notice we say that a lot.) What we mean is – having the ability to know yourself well enough to:

  • Be self aware: identifying what’s going inside you, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually

  • Self-define: express what you really think, feel and want in a way that people can hear

  • Be vulnerable: dare greatly, and access your courage to be real, authentic and open

Developing this type of self-awareness, self-definition and vulnerability is what leads to having choice over how we respond to whatever life presents at home or work. Without this awareness, definition and courage – we are simply reacting.

Denying parts of ourselves doesn’t get rid of ugly or angry emotions, it simply moves those aspects of ourselves underground. When we are under stress or challenged, those aspects suddenly emerge and take over.We are our best friend and our worst enemy.Our job is to be fully present, embracing all of who we can be, owning and responding to the impact we are having on our world.

At Work

Generally when we are coaching executives we are bought in because they are experiencing problem behaviors or team performance issues, along with their desire to improve or develop areas that have been identified as challenges or blind spots.

We look at leadership through the smart and healthy lens. Leaders need to be well-developed, both in terms of skills and competence in order to do their jobs, as well as, possess an ease in connecting, relating and empowering the people around them. Often a leader has been targeted to rise in an organization based on a set of skills and talents that are very different than those that initially placed them in a leadership position. Success in the new role requires a high level of self-awareness, self-definition and vulnerability, a shifting and re-aligning from “doing” their work to “empowering” others to do the work.

Learning to be vulnerable, goes against most of our training in business. Yet, vulnerability is critical in developing teams and leading people. It is easy to fire someone or use command and control to instill fear in people, which may temporarily get results. But that style of leadership will not inspire people to step up, and eventually will result in people leaving the company.

In our view, leaders need to step out first, meaning, leaders need to model vulnerability, self-awareness and self-responsibility before they can demand it from their people. That style of leadership takes courage, heart and curiosity.

At Home

We also coach individuals such as people:

  • in career transitions

  • dealing with health challenges

  • entrepreneurs struggling to move forward

Our business paradigm does not separate business from the personal.

We believe there is always an interplay between work and home, business and pleasure, colleagues and friends. Where ever we go, there we are!

Exploring, what we call, the ME axis, involves taking a whole-person approach. We believe that includes body, mind, emotions and spirit. Often people are aware and well versed in some aspects of themselves and very uncomfortable or numb to others. The more we are willing to dive into the unknown, discovering what we really think, feel and want, the more we can act on our own behalf in these areas – creating the results we want.

CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

Check out their website: Connect with CrisMarie and Susan on LinkedIn. Watch their TEDx Talk: Conflict – Use It, Don’t Defuse It! Find your copy of The Beauty of Conflict: Harnessing Your Team's Competitive Advantage here.

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