Let’s face it in the last two years with remote realities being the new norm for most companies there’s been a shift in the expectations of your availability as well. Many of you have gone from having more flexibility with your time to now having the expectations of being available 24/7. That’s all good and well when you have fun with your buddies, right? But when the temperature or the vibe of the matrix isn’t healthy for you it can quickly turn into a nightmare.
I’ve been reflecting on what it is that has a stay in environments that aren’t healthy even when you know it’s time to leave. I’m reminded of the story about the frog in boiling water, have you heard of it? It’s a story often used to illustrate how you won’t perceive danger in time and get cooked to death as the bowl of water is brought to a boil slowly. If the same frog would’ve been placed into boiling water it would’ve jumped out immediately. In other words, gradual change vs. immediate, does that ring a bell when you look at what’s happening on our planet?
Any matrix depends on the people in it, even robots need programming after all and at the end of any product or service, there’s a human invention even in the AI world. There are some areas within healthy versus unhealthy experiences that most agree on, and then there are the unseen ones that are more subtle.
A matrix that is thriving and healthy empowers people
An unhealthy matrix is tricky and filled with twists and turns that can be challenging to navigate. There are often multiple stakeholders, maybe you’re not clear on who you really report to and what project to prioritize, and with time it’s so easy to give up.
I’ve worked with many heart-centered leaders that have cracked. As a leader you’re no different, you’re a person, after all, with an added weight depending on your role and level of responsibility. When you have staff reporting to you while navigating a matrix the pressure can get to you if you’re no longer able to make decisions.
Where there is no clear hierarchy, vision, or priority when everything is urgent, and you’re trying to accommodate people on a global scale you simply can’t win, something’s gotta give and why suffer when you KNOW you have talents and lots to offer?
I think of Mr. Anderson in the movie The Matrix in situations like this as it illustrates that it can be easier said than done to exit the matrix and enter into something that inspires you.
Take 5 breaths
When you’re in defense mode you often feel like you don’t have the luxury to stop, and yet that’s exactly what I’m suggesting.
I know it’s not easy, believe me, breathing deeply is often something we stop when we’re stressed out. I’m guilty of getting into the zone or at times hooked into the matrix too. One is an empowering flow state, the other not so much with push energy and never-ending deadlines and last-minute initiatives.
Setting an alarm on your phone can be one way or simply having a note on your screen that says “BREATHE”. Five to ten breaths often do the trick, try it. One step, one day at a time.
Why you may ask?
Performance gets impacted if you don’t take care of yourself. Whether it shows up at work or at home, or with your health.
How do you feel when you’re off the clock on the weekend?
Are you chill or stressing out about what Monday will bring?
When you’re in a push energy environment performance may increase initially but it’s not an efficient way to run a business for any prolonged period of time. I know some companies do and I’d challenge what their corporate culture looks like and how people in the organization feel, are they really happy?
The opposite happens when people are in their zone ongoingly, when talents are matched with tasks, and you do have time to breathe. I remember the first time I visited the Gallup® campus in Omaha in 2016, the energy was palpable. People were happy and super nice, authentically so, they practice what they preach and I remember thinking that I could move there just to work at that campus, and I’m a Cali girl who loves the ocean. That says a lot.
When you’re a leader in small as well as larger organizations the work environment becomes super important. Happy people perform better after all, and there are always solutions to problems when you allow the collective to contribute and value the contribution. It could be someone in shipping, cleaning, or customer service that comes up with something brilliant because they look at things from a different perspective, do you tap into that pool of knowledge ongoingly?
Actions to take
So back to that breath. Take five minutes and collect your thoughts, take a walk around the building or outside while processing whatever issue you’re faced with. Your well-being, sleep cycle, performance, get impacted when there’s too much stress, how healthy is that and how is that going to help your company grow?
Listen to music that inspires you, that gets you into a “yeah, baby” mode. Tap into a vision of what the end result will look like once achieved whether it’s an inner image or vibe that helps you stay focused on what you’re here to contribute. Google pictures, create a collage, set your alarms with a song that turns you on, a mantra that you repeat to yourself to stay present to your priorities, even when you’re in a meeting to stay sane.
Consider setting up a buddy system with someone that you trust. What that looks like is up to you, but you know that personal projects that really matter to you get done when you have to report your progress to someone else.
People will look to you for advice if you’re someone they trust. Treasure that. Empowering your people and listening without judgment is super important from a performance perspective too and it helps create a great company vibe too even when it’s remote.
Gallup recently published an article called Too Many Teams, Too Many Bosses: Overcoming Matrix Madness that reviews the good, the bad, and some action items and considerations to make it work. It’s worth a read if you’re working in a matrix reality or considering one.
When you’re a heart-centered leader you need to feel good. You need to have time with your family, friends, pets, doing whatever activities you enjoy to recharge, gain a new perspective and have fun. I mean really how fun is life without laughter, without connection, without people?
What are the activities that light you up?
I love to partner with leaders in sales and marketing. I help them reconnect, recreate, and reignite their inner power so they can create a life and business that turns them on. Go here to check out my current offers and book a call if interested.