The Coach's Corner

Are you ready?

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #53

If you’re connected in any way to small children you know that getting them ready to head out the door in the morning, prepare for a doctor’s appointment or event, even to venture to a park or museum involves a bit of planning.

I’ve watched our grown kids, nieces and nephews strategize what’s most important as they load stuff into the stroller or the car.

  • Blanket – check.
  • Pacifier – check.
  • Water bottle – check.
  • Sunscreen – check.
  • Snacks – check.
  • Special toys – check.
  • Shoes – check.
  • Diapers – check.
  • Wipes – check.

Missing just one of those items can force them to return home or there will be heck to pay.

The presence of kids, pets, or older family members prompts many of us to have these check-ins to accomplish tasks. These steps keep us on our toes and we feel like we’re ready when we get to wherever we’re going.

Without these external influences, how do you manage on your own to travel, head to work or engage with others? I’ve discovered that putting together a checklist of sorts for even small tasks allows me to be at my best. Winging it can be fine, until I get to my destination without something that was critical for my presentation or event or job.


Are you ready?

In our first session this week, Jill shared that an SVP in her org has been urging her to take the next steps toward a role she believes will suit her strengths, increase her responsibility and bring more value for her inside the org.

After this disclosure, she was silent.

What comes up for you when you hear about this kind of opportunity?

I wondered.

I’m not ready.

She described what she’s doing now in a very senior role, and where she believes she currently adds value.

This new position would give me the chance to lead a team and direct a project that is hugely significant. I would have a dotted line to this SVP and be included in more meetings that are critical to the org. But…

We sat in silence again.

But what if I blow it? What if the success I’m having now would be obliterated if I had to manage a team and they didn’t like my style? What if I failed?

All possibilities. Then we talked about what it feels like to be tapped by this leader and have doubts.

Jill, what if those doubts are there to help you clarify what you really want and how to prepare for these next steps?

Hmmm, when I said I wasn’t ready, the truth is I haven’t done a thing to get ready!

And from this point, Jill began to lay out her values and where she wants to go in the org. By voicing her own values she realized that where this leader is encouraging her to go lines up with her own goals.



4 steps to work through fear and take action

Everything happens right on schedule.

I’d just read the article, Unsure if you’re ready for that promotion? Try this framework to find out, by leadership coach and speaker Kelli Thompson.

So Jill and I walked through Thompson’s 4-step framework to see if this might inspire her about how to approach her situation.

Notice it: Can you lean into the discomfort? When you think about the promotion, what do you feel?

Name it: According to psychologist Susan David, giving a name to feelings helps us effectively process and deal with them. Naming our emotions doesn’t give them power; it creates emotional clarity and resiliency.

Normalize it: 70% of people experience imposter syndrome. Doubt is a normal and healthy emotion, and it can be useful to remind ourselves of this. We will feel doubt any time we stretch our comfort zone.

Reframe it: One of my favorite reframes is “This is what growth feels like—I’m stretching my comfort zone.” Leverage your reflections and write your own reframe.

Jill decided her action plan for this week is to take these steps into consideration and see if they provide her with a framework about how she wants to proceed.

My takeaway

I became a girl scout in high school so that I could go on a 10-day backpacking trip to Yosemite National Park. To prepare for this significant event, I had to get ready.

I’d never carried a 40-pound pack, chosen to use outdoor facilities for more than a day, navigated directions with a compass or eaten freeze-dried stroganoff or ice cream!

There were lists, dry runs, packing tips – a lot to consider for a 16-year old.

And so worthwhile, becoming one of the most memorable events in my life. Because I was ready, the trip was manageable and hard and amazing.

So it is with much of our lives, whether we’re carting kids to school or directing a team of dozens of engineers around the world. Getting ready is where you begin. Especially because, even then, things can and do go awry.

By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.

Benjamin Franklin


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