Want to be top of mind the next time an executive-level promotion opportunity comes up?
Then start managing your emotions now.
Women often fear being judged for expressing how they feel, so when I say “managing your emotions”, you may think I mean:
Don’t be too emotional at work.
Don’t let the leadership team see you sweat.
Hold. It. Together.
Nope! None of the above.
My philosophy on managing your emotions has very little to do with what other people think of you…
And it has everything to do with your ability to show up as the Executive Ahead of Time.
I dedicate an entire week of my Executive Ahead of Time program to equipping my graduates with the tools to manage their emotions as they advance into higher levels of leadership.
And in this episode of Maximize Your Career with Stacy Mayer, I am sharing some of these secrets with you by showing you the two ways in which your emotions are preventing you from showing up as a powerful senior executive leader.
What You'll Learn:
- How managing your emotions helps you show up as the Executive Ahead of Time
- The #1 mistake women make when presenting themselves at work
- Why wanting to “get things right” keeps women playing small
- How disengagement is harming your career
- How to make an action plan for moments when you may be tempted to disengage
Listen to the Full Episode:
Featured on the Show:
- Ep #96: Use This Blueprint To Get Promoted By the End of the Year
- Connect with me on LinkedIn
- Join my 6-week group coaching intensive Executive Ahead of Time
- My book Promotions Made Easy is coming soon! Get free content – delivered straight to your inbox – that will help you apply what I teach BEFORE the book comes out. Sign up here.
Hello everyone, welcome to another episode of Maximize Your Career. I'm your host, Stacey Mayer, and super excited, as always, to be here with you again this week. So, we just wrapped up a round of Executive Ahead of Time - that is my group coaching intensive for powerhouse corporate women to give them the tools to get promoted into higher level executive positions. And I couldn't be more proud of the women who graduated from this program. I did a check-in with them at the end of the program and asked who hit certain milestones - and the first one that I want to celebrate with all of you is we actually had a 25 percent promotion rate. So, in the six-week program, twenty five percent of our participants actually got promoted. And that, in and of itself, is amazing; but there are other milestones that we hit inside of Executive Ahead of Time. So, another milestone that we hit is having clarity. So, what are those long-term career goals? What would be your C-Suite title? Why are you uniquely qualified to advance into a senior executive leadership position; what is your leadership style and how can you start communicating that with others? And I asked the group of participants how many of them had clarity and they all raised their hands. So, we had 100 percent. So, 100 percent of the participants now have clarity on where they're headed in their career. And if you're somebody who doesn't have clarity, you know how powerful this can be in terms of actually reaching your long-term career goals.
And another milestone that we hit inside of Executive Ahead of Time is having an actual promotion blueprint. You heard me talk about this a couple of episodes ago, but what is that path? Having a step-by-step process that you can continue to follow long after the program ends. There are two things that graduates of Executive Ahead of Time do to continue advancing into executive leadership and really setting themselves up to exceed expectations once they get there. And one is that they get access to the training modules for life; so, they'll continue to review them as they progress in their career, and they'll see things differently inside of the training modules. And the second thing is they have this promotion blueprint. So, they are reviewing it every single month, they're checking in with themselves. They're asking themselves if they're getting closer to their long-term career goals or if they're staying exactly where they are. So, when you start to do that, when you have that process, even if you receive that promotion in the six-week course, you still have that promotion blueprint to continue along the way. So, 75 percent of the participants said they felt like they had a rock-solid promotion blueprint at the end of the six weeks -they knew where they were headed. They knew how to evaluate their process along the way. So, I just want to congratulate them and celebrate them with you because we are changing the way corporations do business from the C-Suite out. These women are going to eventually be in the C-Suite, and I couldn't be more thrilled to give them the tools to get there; and to also give you the tools on this podcast every single week.
So, in today's episode, I'm going to talk to you about what it means to manage your emotions at work; and it's not going to be what you think it means. When I say something like 'managing your emotions', and I even have a whole training process - we spend an entire week inside of Executive Ahead of Time talking about managing our emotions. The first thing that people think of is that it means that you have to keep your emotions in check at work. And so, it means don't be too emotional. Make sure - don't let them see you sweat. Hold it all together. And obviously, this leads to a whole ton of challenges that we, as women in particular, face at work where we don't feel like we can bring our whole self to work. And so, then we look for a way to balance that so that we can really bring ourselves and be authentic. And I'll do many, many podcast episodes on what I believe it means to be authentically present at work.
But today's episode, as far as managing our emotions, I'm going to take a total detour. And I'm going to talk about something that you might not be expecting when it comes to managing your emotions. So, the perspective that I'm taking - and I'm going to share with you today - is about what that does to you personally; how managing your emotions actually helps you set yourself up for success. So, it has very little to do with what other people think of you. And if they see you as too emotional or not emotional, or you should smile more or whatever that crap is - I'm not talking about any of that today. I'm talking about your emotions, when it comes to your own ability to show up as the executive ahead of time.
So, what does that mean? Well, the number one thing that I see getting in women's way - in terms of how they're presenting themselves at work, in terms of those conversations that they need to be having at that higher executive level - is one of two things. You've heard of imposter syndrome and the aspect of imposter syndrome that I'm going to touch on here is that we don't put ourselves out there. So, we need to make sure that we're ready, that we have all of our ideas lined up, that we're going to be able to show up perfectly. And actually - I just had this conversation. I just hung up the phone with a really powerhouse director at her company, and she's getting ready to have a conversation with a C-Suite leader. And the words that came out of her mouth was, 'I just want to do it right'. And this is so common. So, we over prepare. We overanalyze it. We put off the conversation because we want to get that conversation right. And this is very pervasive for women because it keeps us small.
And there's all kinds of books about playing big, different things that you need to do to really put yourself out there. But that is, you know, genuinely a problem. But what is really happening there is the inability to manage your emotions. And on the flip side, what this managing our emotions at work in terms of my perspective looks like is not only not putting yourself out there but removing yourself from the game - the corporate game - the ability to get promoted entirely. And so, we have the one side which looks a little bit like imposter syndrome, which is that you're nervous and you want to get it perfect, and you procrastinate because you don't know how to have these higher-level conversations. And then there's the other side of things, which is like, 'I don't care'. Actually, I get a lot more women in my programs who are like, 'I'm over this.' And they're rolling their eyes. They're frustrated, they're annoyed. And basically, what that looks like on a Zoom call is you don't have your camera on (of course), you're disengaged, you're not contributing to the conversation.
So, I'm going to show you why that happens to women in particular and then what we can do to combat that; to essentially manage our emotions so that we can show up as the powerful executive leader that we already are because you are an amazing manager. Your organization loves you, but you need to start showing up as an incredible executive. And that looks a little bit different than just being good at your job. So, I'm going to tell you how to battle these two different sides of yourself that both equate to not showing up fully at work.
So, let's dig into the side of you that is just really nervous, and a perfectionist, and wants to get everything right. So, this is the approach that I take. I take an approach that's called 'AND' - A-N-D. And you have heard me talk about it on the podcast before. But basically the 'AND" approach is that we're doing lots of things, all at the same time. So we're having a meeting with our chief technology officer, and we're also having a meeting with a couple of our peers and we're also meeting with an executive in another part of our institution; and we're also meeting with women in our women's leadership group. Now all of this can sound exhausting to you. You're like, 'Well, how in the world do I have the time to do all of that?' And the way that we make it work is by doing 15-minute ally meetings.
Now I deep-dive into this and give you all of the tools inside of my Executive Ahead of Time program. But just on a really high level here on this podcast today, the premise behind 15-minute ally meetings is that we build confidence through practicing. So, we're having very short meetings with executive leaders, but on a regular basis. So, one of the challenges that we face when we put so much energy and attention to one meeting is that we can never live up to the high standards that we have set for ourselves, like it's almost like we have unrealistic expectations. So, if you're going to schedule a meeting with your CTO, it's not going to be perfect. It can't be that end-all, be-all meeting that's going to change your life. It's just a meeting. And from the CTO's perspective, it's just a meeting. It's not that big a deal. And so, what you're doing is you're shifting into the mindset of 'I just do this on a regular basis'. So, action, to me, creates confidence. Let me say that again - taking action gives you confidence. Why? Because you scheduled the meeting, you had the meeting. It wasn't as bad as you thought. And then we schedule another one, either with that same person or with another leader, and you're doing all of these meetings at the same time.
Before you know it, you have shifted yourself to a new plateau. You are now seeing yourself as a person who proactively builds trust with the executive leadership team, that doesn't put all of her eggs in one basket; that is constantly bridging out building relationships, actively having conversations. You're showing up as a person who doesn't just wait for their performance review and sees what happens. And so, you're having these 15-minute ally meetings on a regular basis and that automatically combats imposter syndrome essentially. It combats that perfectionistic tendency of you. Now let's go to what this has anything to do with managing your emotions. So, as I'm describing it, it just seems like an outward action. It seems like something that you are just doing. Now I want to ask you if you think that you are going to have a meeting with your CTO on Friday, and you are very nervous about it; so therefore, you schedule lots of conversations with people around you; get opinions from everybody around you. So essentially what you're doing is you're taking your nerves - you already feel nervous because you've never met with this person, which is totally normal. And I'm like, 'Yeah, feel nervous'. It's cool. What you're doing is amazing. But what you're taking that nervousness as, is I need to do it right - so I need to do all my homework. I need to make sure this meeting is perfect.
And so, you're taking those nerves and you're escalating them and you're making them bigger and you're almost making them explosive in a way. And so, then the best that you can do - in terms of managing that emotion - because it feels so overwhelming, it feels like you're about to break, is have the meeting with your CTO but neutralize the meeting itself. So, what you're going to do is you're going to tap down your expectations, you're going to get real, quote-unquote, be realistic - to make yourself survive this meeting with your CTO. So let me repeat again exactly what's happening inside of you in terms from an emotional perspective. So, you have a meeting schedule with a very important person. You're overthinking it. You feel nervous, you expand on that nervousness. You kind of get very worked up. You're like, 'Oh my gosh, I can't. I'm not sure if I can do this. I hope I do it right. Wow. I can't believe I even told him to schedule the meeting.' So, by the time you get to the meeting, in order to regulate your emotions, you don't show up fully. You don't tell your CTO about your career ambitions. You're worried about what he thinks in the meeting because you're tapping down in order literally to not break; because you're like, 'I don't want to show up as this nervous basket case'. So, then the only way not to do that is take a deep breath and then just kind of not say very much. Which is not going to lead to the result that we want, which is how do we show up engaged in this conversation as the executive ahead of time. So, your work is to manage your emotions ahead of time.
So, you schedule the meeting with the CTO. You feel super nervous about it, like you totally should because it's a really big deal, and I'm so frickin' proud of you for doing that. And I'm celebrating that. And then I'm checking in with you. So, let's go back to it, and say it from the first person. I'm saying it right now as the coach, but you're checking in with yourself and you're saying, 'Whoa, I feel really nervous about this meeting'. You notice that the tendency is to make it perfect. I feel really nervous about it. So, the action I'm going to take is to meet with a ton of people and make sure I do it perfectly and do it right. My suggestion to you from a 'managing your emotions' perspective is to notice, 'Oh my gosh, I feel really nervous about this meeting. I feel like I want to throw up. I can't even believe I scheduled it' and then say, 'Yeah, that's because it's a really big deal. And it's also not a big deal'. And this goes back to my 'AND' approach, which is that, of course, it's a big deal. You're getting airtime with the CTO. Show up as the executive. This matters. It can make a difference in your career. And it's also nothing. It literally is nothing at all.
And when you're doing the 'AND' approach and you’re meeting with lots of executives on a regular basis, you are essentially showing up as that Executive Ahead of Time all the time. So instead of trying to get this meeting perfect, you realize that you have a lot of tools in your tool belt. You are very powerful. You are an amazing corporate leader, and you're going to show up and have a conversation with your CTO as a peer, essentially. You still get to feel nervous. It is still a big deal, but you're also realizing this is the first of many conversations that I'm going to have with this person. How cool does that feel? This is the first of many, many, many conversations that I'm going to have with this person. So now you show up fully. You engage deeply in the conversation. You keep it short because you know that there's many more conversations to be had. You don't do anything awkward or weird at the end of it. You just simply say, 'Wow, this was great. I think we should do it again.' How amazing would that be? So, the process that I just walked you through is a process of managing your emotions. That is all that we're doing here. We're noticing the nervousness instead of doing our habitual pattern of being perfect and making sure we're getting everybody else's opinion but ourselves. We check back in with ourselves. We say 'Yes, of course I'm nervous. This is a big deal, and it's also not a big deal at all.' Amazing. It is so, so so, so powerful.
The second side of things, which is the disengagement of rolling our eyes like, 'Oh, I don't even want to deal with this,’ is what's happening there for like 90 percent. And so, I want to normalize this - 90 percent of the women that I work with have this challenge. And there are two things that are happening. We work in very male dominated societies. Most of the women that I work with and their companies, even if they're on an all-female team, they have their colleagues. They might have masculine sides to their personalities. And so, the conversations really escalate quickly. And so, you'll get a lot of people in the room that are trying to one up each other that get louder in terms of their voices. And the conversation just gets bigger and bigger and bigger. And you're looking at it and you're like, none of this is important. Why are they going off on these tangents? I can tell that this person is just trying to kiss up to that person. And the worst thing is, is that you probably have an idea that you would love to share, that you would love to insert into the conversation, but it's like, 'well, nobody cares about me or my idea, because clearly all they care about is themselves.' And so, you disengage. You pull yourself back out of the conversation because you don't want to be a part of all that crap - and who does? I don't want you to be a part of all that jibber-jabber. We don't want to just add more noise to the conversation. Now here is where the process of managing our emotions works so effectively in terms of how we can continue to engage, show up as that executive ahead of time, yet not get swept up in all the crap.
So, the first thing that I want you to know is that this level of disengagement is actually harming your career. So you look at this room full of people jibber-jabbering and screaming and talking over each other and one uppi. each other, and you're disengaging because you're just like, 'whatever, I don't want to be a part of this'. But the problem is that you get walked all over. Even in that moment, no one knows you're in the room. Then later on, you might get passed over for a promotion. You don't have that executive level of support. And so, then you get frustrated, and you say, 'okay, well, I'm going to have to look at another company and just find my people. People who really do support me.'
And I want to offer you an alternative approach which allows you to really show up and engage fully at work now. You don't have to disengage completely from this chaos, from what is happening in the room. And this is the way that we're going to do it in terms of managing our emotions. So, the first thing is to notice that your frustration - that you're pulling back, that you're closing down, that you're shutting down - is not helping you. It's not helping you emotionally. It's also not helping you in terms of the impact that you really want to be making. Because you want to be engaged, you would prefer that, you just don't want to do it in this way. So, the first thing that you're going to do is notice that that is happening to you and make a decision to do something different. And a lot of times for my graduates of the Executive Ahead of Time, this is enough to re-engage them. They're like, 'You know what? I know my judgment, my eye rolling - it's not helping my career. It's definitely not helping that impact that I want to be making.' So there has to be an alternative approach. And then they'll just start to find it. So even just acknowledging and saying 'no' to this. One of the things that I ask all of my Executive Ahead of Time graduates to do, is to own up to a no-judgment zone, so that we're not judging others constantly like 'that person is stupid or this person'. That's sort of that eye roll zone. So, I will always call - lovingly call - my students on that and be like, 'you know, we're doing it again. We're judging' - And they're like, 'Oh my God, there I go again'. And so that is the judgment free zone that I create inside of Executive Ahead of Time because ultimately it doesn't help us.
Another thing that I always say is 'do you want to be right, or do you want to be included in the conversation?' And so sometimes that judgment is really just saying like, 'I'm smarter than you. I'm right. Why don't they listen to me.’? So that's where all of that comes from. So, the first thing is to notice and acknowledge and just make that decision to do something different.
Now I want you - from a 'managing your emotions' perspective - to start to plan for some of these kinds of conversations that seem to escalate, and moments when you seem to disengage. So, you're going to preemptively decide what you're going to do for that particular situation. So, let's say that it is a team meeting, and you have an all-male team and they're always one upping each other and you don't seem to get called on. And when you do speak up, everybody's just like, 'what? Why is she talking? Excuse me?' And so, let's say that that's the situation and that you've disengaged from this situation; but you would like to do something differently. So, the first thing that you're going to do is figure out what you want to do. And then this goes back to just standard women's leadership approaches, which are like, how do we as women insert ourselves into these conversations?
And there are so many tools out there to figure out how to insert yourself - anywhere from actually having to raise your hand. And this can happen on Zoom as well -'Excuse me, I have something to say. What? Wait, wait, wait a minute. '- actually, inserting yourself into the conversation; all the way to asking your boss or whoever's organizing the meeting, asking them if you can present first so that you can offer your ideas up, literally talking a little bit louder, to engage in the conversation. And what you're going to do is realize that when the conversation is very loud and it's happening, even if it's happening over Zoom and people are talking over each other when you come in at a different cadence, whether it's slow, they're going fast; or whether it's quieter and they're going loud, the energy of the room shifts to being on you. Now, when the energy shifts to being on you, then you can ask a thoughtful question. You can engage in ways like, 'Mark had a really great idea', and maybe that's enough, but you're making the commitment to continue to engage in the conversation.
And then in the meantime, what you're doing is taking my 'AND' approach again. You're building those relationships, building trust with executive leadership on the side. You're having one on one meetings with people, so that you continue to feel engaged as well. And you're even saying things to me, to these leaders, 'hey, can you call on me in that meeting? I'd love to talk about this.' And so, you're allowing the leader to step up and to include you in that conversation without necessarily complaining, but because you have something to offer, some value to add to the conversation. But the only way that you can do this - and you could think of it like taking the high road - the only way you could take the high road in this way is if you let go of your judgment. Those emotions that are causing you to be frustrated, annoyed and you make the commitment that even though you are smarter, even though you have better ideas than everyone in the room and they really should include you and listen to you - that you are going to engage anyway. And when you start to show up in that way, you can also choose to disengage. You might show up to a meeting and not say anything, but you're doing it from a neutral place in terms of your emotional state.
The judgment is not there. The frustration is not there. You're just doing it because you're like, 'This is not the meeting where I'm able to make the impact.' You know where I'm able to make the impact? In my meeting after this meeting with my boss one-on-one, where we're able to talk about the high vision, the bigger vision for our team and the direction that we're going.' That would be awesome. But we have to quote- unquote neutralize those emotions first, really start to notice them. Make the choice to do something different and then realize that being engaged at the executive level is part of your job. So, everything that I teach here on this podcast and in my Executive Ahead of Time programs, is about shifting the perception that you are capable of leading at that executive level. And one of the ways that we are capable of leading at that executive level is by continuing to stay engaged. They do not want to promote someone to executive leadership if they're constantly annoyed and constantly checking out of the conversation. No. They need somebody to show up to engage, fully engage, and be a part of the leadership table. They need to know that your voice is worth being heard and you're going to start to show them by managing your emotions right now. Thank you so much for listening. I'll see you next week. 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 “Maximize Your Career 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.