You know that saying: ‘do as I say, not as I do?’
I 100% ‘walk the talk’ with my corporate badasses. Sometimes.
The vast majority of the time I am coaching corporate women on things I would do (and usually have done).
But some of the time?
Some of the time I am giving advice on things that I know from experience will get them massive results…but I absolutely suck at doing it myself.
So here’s what I’m going to do:
I’m going to call myself on my own BS and dedicate an entire 3-part podcast series to detailing everything I am truly terrible at when it comes to professional development.
It’s simply called the Things I Suck At series, and it’s going to be super honest, vulnerable AND fun.
Being committed to growth means being honest about the things you are struggling with.
And you know what? You might really suck at some of these things too.
So let’s learn together.
In part one of the Things I Suck At series, I am tackling the thing I suck at the most:
In this episode, I’ll walk you through how I’m learning to set better, more powerful boundaries and the success I am seeing as a result.
If you want to receive the recognition you deserve, step into a higher leadership position, get paid for your ideas instead of the hours you put in at work, and enjoy more time, freedom, energy, and joy, then you need to get your hands on a copy of Promotions Made Easy. Get your copy here.
What You'll Learn:
- Why I’m so terrible at setting boundaries (and how I learned to love them)
- Why being bad at boundary setting erodes trust with the executive leadership team
- Why you can’t have a voice at the table if you can’t ask for help
- Why setting boundaries actually benefits the other person
- Why friends don’t let friends set boundaries alone
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #112: Things I Suck At Part 2: My Rocky Road To Becoming An Influential Strategic Thinker
- Ep #113: Things I Suck At Part 3: Managing My Emotions
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join my group coaching intensive, Executive Ahead of Time
- Get your copy of my brand new book, Promotions Made Easy: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Executive Suite
- Photo credit: In Her Image Photography
Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacy Mayer, and super excited, as always, to be here with you again this week. So, I am actually creating a series of tick boxes for the number of promotions that are happening inside of Executive Ahead of Time and my advanced Leadership Table mastermind because they're happening so quickly. I can't keep them all sorted out in my head. And to start off today's episode, I actually want to share with you an example as a little bit of a lesson in case this is something that you might be doing to sabotage your own career advancement.
So, you can imagine that when we interview for a position, especially if we're interviewing at the executive level, that it requires a lot of interviews, a lot of time on our part, we might have to put together even some proposals, and I've had clients have to put together slide presentations and what they would accomplish at the organizations. So just a lot of work goes into these executive level interviews. And when I'm coaching my clients, even more, work goes into them. Because how many of you have just shown up to interviews without having a coach or somebody that you go over how you're going to answer the questions and what it is that you want to accomplish in these interviews? And what's the story that you want to be telling and how much money do you want to be making and why are you going after this role? So, all of those questions are usually questions that we don't take the time to answer.
But if you're in my programs, of course, that's what we're doing. We're always asking those questions and we're taking the time to answer them up front. So then when we get the interview, we know exactly how we're going to show up, what we're going to say and what's the story that we want to be telling. Where are we headed? Why do we want this role? Why are we qualified for this role? And what are our expectations in terms of title and compensation? So, all of that stuff is done in advance.
So that being said, when my corporate badasses interview for something, it's a really big freaking deal. And it matters, and they're really putting themselves full on into this process. So then when they don't get the role - another actually a really cool thing that happens for the women inside of my programs because I also preach the 'Next' philosophy, which is when we show up in this really big and strong way to an interview, we truly feel better when we don't get the role. Quite honestly, it seems counterintuitive because we put our whole self into the interview process, and you would think that we would feel even worse. But that's not actually the case. We usually feel pretty darn good about ourselves because we know that we showed up 150 percent for that role.
And if we don't get it, it's not a reflection on ourselves. It's just a matter of we weren't right for that at the time or whatever was happening at the organization or really, quite frankly, their loss. There's plenty more opportunities out there and best fit.
So, I noticed that the women who go on interviews inside of my programs that they're actually feeling pretty darn good even if they're turned down afterwards. So, I want to kind of point that out. But then I want to tell you about something that has happened really recently, actually, a couple of times, this happened for several different women. And so, I wanted to point it out because it feels a little bit more like a trend.
And that is that they showed up in this powerful way and they did the interview. They knocked it out of the park and then they were -two separate women were - turned down for the roles. And then what happened was, I said, 'Let's keep going'. So, connect, and this is what I mean, not keep going at 100 percent. 'Next – what’s the next job?' But at that company - so let's assume that the person that you interviewed with, let's say your boss was going to be the CMO. Let's assume that she really loved you. That you were the number one candidate. Now, if we're looking at it from that place, we stay interested.
The other thing is, is that through the interview process, you got yourself all psyched up as this being the best opportunity ever - as this is the best company ever. I want to work for them. I appreciate their values, and we weren't making that stuff up. It was real. This was your number one choice. And so, if it really is your number one choice, let the CMO know that - continue that relationship with her on LinkedIn or wherever, via email. Make sure you stay connected. No hard feelings. So, when you can interview and walk away at the end of the day with the 'no hard feelings' attitude, then you are willing to stay connected because that person is an amazing asset to the rest of your career.
You spent all of this time and energy and focus on them, so you're going to continue building that relationship. So, I coached both of these women to do that, of course. And it was actually quite simple. It was just: shoot a message to the person. And then we crafted what that message would be, and we worked on how it would sound and what it was that you were going to say - but it's a one-time thing, and then we move on, and we interview elsewhere. So, both of these women now - long story short - they came back and offered them the role several months later.
Do you hear what I'm saying? People don't work out. We make poor hiring decisions all the time. So, maintain these excellent relationships because you never know what's going to happen. So now they've been offered the role, but they have an advantage. It's almost better that they didn't get offered the role the first time because now they have a leg up in terms of negotiation. Now, it's even clearer why they are uniquely qualified for the role. Now they've had some space and time to think about it, and maybe the first salary that they threw out there wasn't the right salary. Maybe they want to ask for something more. And this isn't to be weird, it's just because as executive leaders every single month and especially and I'm not kidding, I'm not just saying this to toot my own horn, especially when you're inside my programs, your confidence is skyrocketing so quickly and it's not fake. It's like you're seeing your value, it's just pouring out of you. You're starting to understand that it's not you, it's the system. It's the company. It's the person who didn't respect you or want to elevate your leadership, but you were not the problem. And when you can really start to believe that about yourself, now, you can really re-engage and be like, 'Oh yeah, I wasn't the problem.'.
Perhaps, maybe they came in at the end of the interview process and this other candidate was way further down the line. And so, the leader felt like they had to go with them. And then they realized they made a mistake. I mean, I'm just making that up. I don't know that for sure. But whatever the reason is, we always want to keep our opportunities available to us because then, when they come back a few months later and offer the job to us, I want you to be able to be like, 'Yes, and this is what I've been thinking about since we met last time.'.
And so, this happened for both of these women. I'm so unbelievably excited for them because they really were incredible companies and roles and places that they wanted to be working. And just I'm really proud of them by continuing to stay engaged, taking the high road, so to speak. Not letting it drag you down and be like, 'Oh, well, they didn't care about me - so that's why they didn't offer me the job. And of course, I'm not going to keep in touch with them.' Like that negative, whatever that awful negative energy is that I don't even know why we do it. I used to do it all the time and be like, 'Well, I don't need them.' Like as if that would make me feel better. And it doesn't. It doesn't make me feel better. What has been making me feel better is to stand in my power and be really freaking awesome all the time; and realize that it's not about me and move on; and stay connected with the people that have strong values that I really appreciate and that I want to be a part of. So, I'm super excited. I'm just so, so thrilled.
And as you're listening to this, I also want to point out that these women have been on the executive path with me for a little while in terms of time. So, I think one of them - I guess both of them, when this happened, it was like four or five months that we had been working together. And so, I wanted to lay out for you before I get into today's episode what that executive path looks like in terms of my programming. Because if you've been listening to my podcast and you heard the story and you're like, I want more of that, I want you to know how you can get more of that confidence, that ability to show up 110 percent and to really know that you are not the problem. Come on, we're not we're not playing that game anymore you're amazing.
You're a total corporate badass. We just have to put ourselves in the right rooms. And the first right room is Executive Ahead of Time. So that is my flagship program - everybody who comes and works with me starts out with Executive Ahead of Time; and what we're doing in that program is really learning the rules of executive leadership. So how to get promoted into those higher-level executive positions, but then also how to have success once we get there.
So, we have senior executives actually come into the program because they have already been promoted, but they don't feel like they're being quote-unquote successful. They're still finding themselves in the weeds. They scaled their bad habits. They don't feel included in the conversation. They don't have a voice at the leadership table. And so, what we're working on with them is really, it's the same process. We also have women who are new managers and just wanting to scale themselves, wanting to get those promotions. But it's that same step by step process. And essentially what we're doing is we're learning the rules.
And then when women move into the next level program after that, it's a six-month program. And I mentioned this in the last episode about how I'm going to be offering a new version of that called Authentic Power and I'll be sharing more about that in the upcoming weeks. But basically, it's a six-month executive mastery program where we learn how to break those rules so that we can bring our full self to the leadership table; but we first must learn what the rules are and then we learn how to break the rules.
And so, for both of these women, they're in that advanced level six-month program with me and what they're doing essentially, when I say, 'break the rules', it doesn't mean that we become this bulldozing bad ass that just tears through your company. What it means is - they understand the rules, they have shown up at these interviews as their whole self. They figured out their own career path. And then in the next-level program, what we're doing is we're essentially settling into their confidence. They feel confident reaching back out to that CMO. They're getting more guidance from me - more directed guidance as to what might be really, really the underlying thing that is holding them back from being successful in their careers, and really showing up as their badass self. So that is what we're doing. I invite you to come in. Everybody starts at Executive Ahead of Time. Learn more about it. If you're not already in there, go to ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com. Get started in that program today because when I launch Authentic Power, I want you to be ready and you need to have already gone through Executive Ahead of Time. It's lifetime enrollment - open enrollment. You can join us any time. We have calls - weekly coaching calls - once a week, so get on in there. You'll be invited to the next coaching call next week. And the earlier you join, the more coaching you get from me. So go ahead, get in there, ExecutiveAheadOfTime.com. Now, on to today's episode.
So today I'm going to be talking about something that I'm actually really terrible about. In today's episode, I am going to be sharing with you something that I am actually really bad at, and I wanted to consider this as a three-part series of me sharing things that I teach, and that I coach other women on. But I am actually not so great at those things myself. And I thought that this would be a useful episode in the spirit of transparency and vulnerability because it made me feel a little bit uncomfortable sharing this side of myself. And I thought, 'Well, you know, then I better share it', because that's how I roll. Because growth is one of my core values and leaning into the growth means that I tell you and be honest with you about the things that I'm actually struggling with.
And so, then you could say, 'Well, if you're really bad at it, why are you teaching us?' And the reason is, is because we always know a little bit more than somebody else. I have a process that I've been working on to overcome certain challenges that I have had my whole career, and I actively work on those things. And so, I do use certain tools to work on different aspects of my personality and things that don't actually help me succeed in life - and I work on them a lot. So why not share my process and what I'm doing? And also, I want you to realize that getting promoted into executive leadership is not a 'you have to be perfect' process. You're going to get promoted before you're ready - before it's perfect - not at the perfect time.
And so, you're going to have to rely on the fact that you are a work in progress, we're all works in progress. But if we understand that, then we can really step into our corporate badass self. Our corporate badass self is not perfect. Our corporate badass self is incredibly vulnerable, it doesn't always have the answers. But our corporate badass self has core values and the ability to go out and find those answers, and the willingness to work harder, and to do things that sometimes feel uncomfortable.
So, there's a couple of things that come to mind as I start to share this three-part series with you. The first thing that I'm really, really bad at is setting boundaries. The second thing that I'm really, really bad at is making lists; and I'll figure out how to title that episode next week. Maybe it's a little better than I'm really bad at making lists. Episode number...so we'll see. And the third thing that I'm really bad at is managing my emotions. And I teach a whole module on this inside of Executive Ahead of Time because it has been my life's work to learn how to manage my emotions. I'm an incredibly emotional person and I will never, I don't think I'll ever get to the peak where I come out the other side, where all of a sudden, I feel like I'm a master of my emotions. So, I have a lot, a lot to share there.
But today's episode, I'm going to start with boundary setting. So, I am really bad at setting boundaries - like terrible, terrible, terrible, at setting boundaries. And when I look back at my life, this is a great example of setting boundaries that gone awry - is that my brother was a younger brother, but he was very, very good at pushing my buttons and picking on me. And so, I didn't set boundaries with him. I mean, I don't even know what they would look like. And so, he would pick on me and he would pick on me, and I would take it and I would take it. I would take it. And then I remember I would take it all in, and then all of a sudden, I would blow my top. I would just be like, 'Rah, stop it. I can't take it anymore.' And I would hurt him - actually hurt him. I don't think I broke any bones or anything, but it's like this sort of, this 'holding it all in' thing that we do as women where we just kind of take it and take it and take it. And we don't speak up and we don't share and we're not able to talk about what we need and what our needs are.
And for me, it's like, I can't even identify what my needs are. And I'm like, 'I don't even know what I want'. So please, my friends, if you're listening to this and this is you - know that I get, I'm not over here to preach. I'm not over here to tell you I'm better than you. I am not at all. I'm terrible. I'm terrible at setting boundaries. And I don't want to do that. I don't want to hold and take in the stuff. I don't want to hold everybody else's problems. My own problems hate life and then all of a sudden just explode - that is not me at all. And I just, I don't want to ever do that again.
So that's the first piece of boundary setting that I was like, 'Yeah, that doesn't seem healthy.' So, it always starts with noticing. You're like, 'I don't know if this is the healthiest way to be at work.' And because we're so good at hiding our emotions and what's actually happening for us, we usually don't even blow up. We might blow up at our spouse at home, but not at our boss. I mean, sometimes it does. Sometimes you do blow up at work and that sucks really bad, but we usually take it out on people who love us the most because we won't get fired that way.
So that is the first piece that I want to point out about how terrible I am. And so, I've always known that this was something that I quote-unquote should work at. But as I started to really become a corporate badass and start to own the work that I am meant to do at that executive level - so that is some pretty hardcore stuff that we're doing once we become those executive leaders that really have that voice; that are really pushing decisions at our organization. And my desire to be successful became stronger than my desire to have crappy boundaries if that makes sense. So, I want to repeat that again. So, my desire to have a voice at the table to have the work that I'm doing really matter in the world became more powerful than my desire to hold on to being bad at boundary setting.
And I also realized that being bad at boundary setting erodes trust with executive leadership. It erodes trust with everyone around us. So, for you, I want you to really think about that. I'm going to give you another example of a woman inside of Executive Ahead of Time who completely destroyed trust with her boss because she had terrible boundaries. So, she is somebody who does it all herself, works really hard, you know, takes it, takes it all in. She just pushes through, works longer hours to get it done. So that might be you. And there was a project, and she knew pretty early on that she wasn't going to be able to do it all herself. But she didn't really feel inspired to talk to her boss about it early on when it actually could have been solved with her boss's help.
And so instead, she just did her typical I'm going to keep doing it all myself. I'm going to keep focusing on what I can control. I'm going to keep pushing through, working long hours and go, go, go, go, go. And she did not include her boss. And then about two days before deadline, she included her boss, but it was that sort of explosion that I talked about, which was, 'I can't do this, I can't handle this. I need your help. You need to help me.' So that not great side of, you know, where we just hold it all in and we wait too long and then we just explode it out. And then her boss just looks at her and is like, 'What are you even talking about?' And then, of course, her boss steps in, saves the day, takes the stuff from her, and says, 'Okay, I will help you, but I want you to know I wish you would come to me sooner.' She goes back to her desk. She's like, 'Yeah, I screwed up. I probably should have gone to her sooner.'.
And she's still busy, she still has all of these things to do, so now she's delegated some of the work to her boss. Her boss is saving the day, but here is the - I mean, this is just a terrible story, but it's a terrible story that happens all of the time. You have done this before. I guarantee you have done this before. So, you have to realize that now her boss, you could say, 'well, her boss sees her as somebody who's not competent and can actually get the work done'. But worse - really worse - her boss does not see her as an executive leader at all. Because what does an executive leader do?
An executive leader understands their shortcomings, but in a way where they ask for help early and often. They're not going to let something get that far down the line. It is the responsibility of us as executive leaders to figure this stuff out. So, you could say, 'well, this story could have had a happier ending', which is that she could have finished the deadline and finished the project and got it all done and didn't have to go to her boss. And maybe that would have been better. And maybe you've done that before as well. And especially, I was talking about the senior executives who listen to this podcast and they're like, 'Oh yeah, I've been there.' Because you get promoted because you are really good at putting out the fires in the middle of the night. And you're like, you save the day all the freaking time.
But now let's look at this. Are you really going to have a voice at the table if you cannot ask for help? Seriously, if you cannot ask for help, are you really going to have a voice at the table? The answer is no. Your CEO needs an executive team that she can trust that she knows. is willing to step up and ask for support, that understands priorities, that says no to things. These are all boundaries. Not doing everything yourself is a boundary that you're setting.
So, for me, as I'm going through this process, this is what it looks like because like I said, I'm not sitting here preaching that I know how to do this, but I really want you to understand how evasive this problem is and how trying is going to be really important for you in 2022. So, what I did, first of all, is I realized that boundaries are for the other people. So, when we look at the situation with the boss, she would have been helping her boss to have brought it up sooner. That actually would have made her boss's job easier. And so, we have to remember that us setting boundaries is actually for the other person.
And if you're somebody, it's easier to look at your home life and you think about your spouse and how you don't really have boundaries with your spouse. And then all of a sudden you ask him or her to do something at the last minute and then they're a bit confused. And then you're like, 'Oh, they never help me.' But if you had a boundary and you actually were able to articulate what it is that you need from them ahead of time, then it gives them a role. It allows them to step up and be their fullest expression of themselves. It allows them to share what's on their mind with you.
Now you have open back and forth communication. The same thing goes with your team. We go, go, go, solve every problem in the world for them. We have no boundaries. We sort of let them come and go into our office and pop in whenever they like, and talk about this, and talk about that when they really shouldn't be. And so, we just let things go and then we go on vacation and then we're like, 'Step up, go for it. It's you, you're in charge.' And we haven't set them up to be successful. Why? Because we had no boundaries. We didn't give them guidance along the way. And so then, now they kind of flounder when we're on maternity leave and then we come back and we're like, 'Yep, see, I have to do everything myself.' It's terrible. But if you had set these boundaries along the way, then they would at least know.
So, this is my work for myself right now, which is that I just kind of start from that place, which is - boundaries are for other people and not just for me. Now this works incredibly well in my business because I love everybody. So, it's like if I'm going to not set good boundaries with my husband, then I love him, so if I think about him and think boundaries are for him, I'm much more likely to set boundaries. If I think about my clients, if I think about you as listeners, if I think about the work that you're doing and when I feel that those boundaries are being crossed, then I need to step up for your growth.
This actually helps you be a better leader when I think of it that way that I do it. It's so much easier for me because I love you guys so much. And then with my team, it's the exact same way because I am here to serve you, to serve my family, to serve the collective. We, these organizations, the work that I am doing inside of this podcast in my trainings and every single thing that I do is way bigger than me. And so, when I think about boundaries as being to help all of that, to help me expand the work that I am able to do; to really double the number of women promoted into the executive suite each year worldwide, I get out of my way, and I start setting freaking boundaries. So that's where I'm at right now. I'm just starting with that mantra and just literally reminding myself: how could this boundary be for the other person?
Now I'm going to leave you with this. So how do we know if we're not setting a boundary? We feel icky about it. We can tell. We just feel like, 'oh, it doesn't feel good inside'. So first you notice that you don't feel great. Then you're going to ask yourself, how could setting this boundary be good for the other person? And then you're going to decide on the action that you're going to take based on that.
And now here is the final thought that I want to leave you with - is that friends don't let friends set boundaries alone. And I have obviously changed that quote around a bit. But friends do not let friends set boundaries alone. So, you notice that you're not setting a boundary, you make the decision that you need to set the boundary; and you can sort of think about: how could this boundary be for the other person and not just for me? And then you get coaching on it. And I really want to stress that third part because I think as women that we're still going to wait a little bit too long to set the boundary. Or we've got so much pent-up energy surrounding the boundary by the time we actually are going to say something that we might not set the boundary in the best possible light.
And so inside of Executive Ahead of Time, I offer weekly coaching for all of the women and sometimes it'll be - I want to say this to my boss. I want to send this email to my boss. I want to say something at work, and it might not even be a heated something. It's just like, I want to ask for help. So, let's go back in time to the situation with the woman who I mentioned, if she had come to coaching and she said, 'Look, I'm feeling really overwhelmed and I want to ask my boss for help', early, early on. I could have coached her on what to say to her boss, so that she is setting boundaries in a really healthy and effective way. And this allows us, especially as women, to be able to do the hard thing.
So, for me, I get coaching on all my boundary settings. So, who do I get coaching from? I have actual coaches. I hire coaches all the time because I love coaching so much and it's so effective. I have trusted advisers. I have peers that I go to and ask for support. So, if you have your personal board of directors, you can ask them, if you have family members that are your go-to that you can really trust from a business perspective to really guide you and not be wallowing in their own crap, go to them. So, I really want to stress the importance of talking this through out loud - before you actually set the boundary. That way, you don't find yourself in an even more difficult situation of having to clean up afterwards.
I hope this episode was useful. I am working on this myself; I'll continue sharing on LinkedIn, my process, how I'm doing with boundary setting. I hope you will share with me as well. And if you're thinking of setting a boundary this week, I encourage you - get on inside of Executive Ahead of Time. Show up to our weekly coaching call and ask me about it. I will help sort things out for you and make you the best possible boundary-setter out there.
And more importantly, you will start to shift how you're being seen at work. You will start to be seen as that executive leader, as that powerhouse corporate badass who not only is going to start getting promoted and getting higher pay, but will actively have that voice at the table, will be making that bigger impact at her organization right now. Today, not six years from now. Today - you can become the executive right now, and I'm so thrilled to help you get there. All right, my friends have a great week. I'll see you then. Bye.
About Your Host
Hi! I'm Stacy Mayer, a Certified Executive Coach and Promotion Strategist on a mission to bring more diversity to the leadership table by getting 1000 underrepresented corporate managers promoted into senior executive positions each year worldwide.
I help undervalued executives scale to the C-Suite using repositioning strategies that build your confidence and visibility, so you can earn the recognition and support you need from key stakeholders while embodying your unique leadership style.
My podcast “Women Changing Leadership with Stacy Mayer” tackles topics like executive communication, getting more respect in the workplace from challenging bosses and team members, and avoiding the common mistakes that sabotage career advancement.