In my executive coaching work I often hear clients, especially Boomers, talk passionately about being fiercely loyal to their work or employer. In a recent session with a client who wanted to rethink her work priorities, she spoke of how difficult it was to say “No” to co-workers who were asking more and more of her in her leadership role. She was conflicted: she loved the praise and admiration from others who appreciated her skills and wisdom; and yet, she was resentful, exhausted and feeling adrift in responding to everyone’s requests. “I am just too loyal to everyone. I always have been. I can’t continue to work this way.”
As I listened to her story, I wondered about the importance of loyalty in her life and asked, “How are you loyal to yourself?” which then led to a rich discussion of how she had always placed the needs of others before herself and gradually lost herself along the way believing that loyalty to others precluded being loyal to herself. In our time together she began to see how she could work differently by: partnering with others; questioning if the request from co-workers was truly a priority; discerning if and how the request could be done differently; and questioning if it reflected the highest and best use of her time and skills.
By giving herself the time and space to pause, reflect and re-think her commitments to others and to herself, she began to establish a new framework for working with greater ease and awareness of what truly matters.
- How does loyalty show up in your work?
- How are you loyal to yourself? To your values? To your priorities?
“If you want to do your best for future generations of humanity, for your friends and family, you must begin by taking good care of yourself.” Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche