Until my mid-20s I had been fired from every job I had had. Then I found myself in my dream job-coaching young (and at times at-risk) unemployed people to have the right mindset in order to get and keep employment. The irony was that I was still struggling with my own attitude, was fired from my dream job, and then management graciously reinstated my position with a stern caveat that they needed to see improvement.
Every six weeks or so I would have a week break from my students as a result of proactively organising work experience for them. I had enough autonomy in my position to be able to use this week to catch up and plan for the following six weeks, but because management was still unhappy with my attitude and with my unwillingness to align myself with their decisions, I was told to use my week without my team around to spend some time cleaning up the organisation’s resource room. I didn’t respond well to this request - deeming the task irrelevant to my job description and ‘beneath me’. It was the kind of job that would normally be given to interns or people from school on work experience, and I understood it to be a test of my willingness to submit to authority. It started to chew me up inside. I felt my motivation drop and my mood darken.
Despite, or maybe because of this I managed to have some kind of revelation that my attitude is my responsibility and mine alone. While I had originally intended to challenge the request, I instead adjusted my plan to ‘gritting my teeth and bearing it’. However, that did little to address the ensuing resentment I felt towards management. Fortunately for me, the ‘light went on’ inside me and I suddenly thought to myself; “Why am I allowing my attitude to be effected so dramatically?” A menial task, regardless of the agenda of those making me do it, was actually insufficient reason to alter my mood so dramatically. Ironically, at that time I had a quote on my wall in my classroom for my students which said; “Chasing the snake that bit you will only push the poison faster through your system!” So, I opted instead to make a 180-degree change in my attitude, and rather than do the bare minimum, I would perform the best resource room clean up that I was capable of. With my reformed attitude, I undertook a task which should have taken no more than a couple of hours, and spent three solid days - not only tidying up the mess but also formulating and implementing new and helpful processes such as a VHS video cataloguing system (that’s showing my age). At the end of the three days I felt proud of the job I’d done and the attitude I had maintained. Management were shocked at the turn around in my demeanour and I felt ‘in control’ once again.
That 180° shift my attitude also ushered in 180° shift of my relationship with management, with unprecedented levels of trust and respect from both parties. My son has since worked for the organisation, I’ve spoken at their graduations, and since that turnaround I’ve never come remotely close to ever being fired again. I had inadvertently experienced a shift from below the line to above the line without even being aware of such a model or thinking. I’m so passionate about helping others to live and lead above the line because of the powerful difference that it’s made both in my professional and my personal life, and this genuine desire to do life taking as much personal responsibility as possible drives the impetus behind this presentation which covers content such as:
- Why people get stuck below the line?
- How to shift yourself and others above the line
- The fours essential pillars which build relational trust
- How to conduct challenging conversations with below the line people
As with all of my presentations I customize this Living and Leading Above the Line presentation to the specific industry or professional realm that I’m speaking to. I do this by initially consulting the client to understand the needs of the audience. I then solicit both the names of senior leaders and those closer to the front line to conduct interviews to ascertain pain points and specific challenges. This provides invaluable information for me to customize my presentation specifically to the audience in question and in doing so I’ll make at least 25 references specifically to their world in any 60 minute presentation.
And one thing I can guarantee with all of my presentations- that no coroner will ever provide a ruling of “Death by PowerPoint!” I have my audiences laughing, on their feet, interacting with each other, and have audience members on stage with me doing live demonstrations! And all of this mixed in with thought-provoking, and riveting stories that keep the audience engaged the entire time!
Call me to discuss this presentation further!