At the start of the Confidence Catalyst programme for women leaders in STEM, we discussed our goals for the programme. While most people focused on what they wanted to achieve for themselves, one engineer insightfully discussed the benefit she wanted for other people. Samantha noticed she made more headway with everyone, herself included when she focused on her ‘emotional wake.’
Leave Them Feeling …
Your ‘emotional wake’ is the pattern of energy you leave behind after you interact with others. This approach is slightly different from your ‘brand,’ which women leaders in STEM often hear they need to be improving. Your emotional wake is not what people say about you after you leave the room, but how they feel about you.
This is a key part of level-up leadership, and one that makes sense to many of the women on any coaching programme I run: you are not primarily focused on what could be better for you, but on the impact you have on others. That’s the focus my coaching clients often want to build on in our work together – and is often what their stakeholders quickly notice.
Flicking the Switch
Samantha’s outward focus was a new decision. Her epiphany came when she reflected on her inner critics; the voices who told her she ‘wasn’t good enough’ or ‘not quite ready’ for the challenges ahead.
Samantha’s lightbulb went off when she realised: ‘I wouldn’t talk this negatively to a stranger, let alone anyone on my team! I’d be far kinder and point out what they are doing well – even when giving any ‘constructive feedback’. So why do I often believe these things about myself?’ This lightbulb insight served her well.
Samantha recognised that if she wanted to be more engaged with others, that had to start with being easier on herself. She observed: ‘I saw that optimism is both a predisposition and a choice.’ She chose to work on it until it was more of a disposition.
Treat Yourself as You Would Treat Others
Indeed, Samantha’s colleagues on our call complimented her on her new outlook. It demonstrates that this perspective – the very outlook we are focused on within the coaching programme – can be learned for the benefit of you and everyone around you.
If you suspect this perspective could benefit you and your co-workers, join our next Confidence Catalyst programme, starting January 29th, or invite me to run one for your team!