Head in the SandDeveloping empathy is only part of the process in connecting to others. Another major aspect has to do with self-expression.

Mike had been downright depressed about his job: he’d been overlooked for a well-deserved promotion and just wasn’t feeling appreciated. It left him down and dismal. After further discussion, Mike brought to light the true qualities he had to offer that he hadn’t been aware of.

At times, there was personal challenge. He was beginning to feel more accountable to himself about how he was moving ahead. He began to look at himself more realistically and, over time, it felt better to know how he came across to others more completely, more honestly. He had to admit some negative things about himself, about not being open to negative feedback in the past. He sometimes felt a tension between the more comfortable, older, head-in-the-sand approach and his emerging real self, more open to who he was, more open to others’ assessments of him, more open to the challenges that lay before him. Was he ready to take them on? At the end of the day, he felt a deep satisfaction at taking charge of his life and moving forward in a more confident manner.

Mike was eyeing what he could only describe as an “alternate universe,” from which he was able to convert self-defeating energy to more constructive self-empowerment. As he became more open to feedback and to gaining control over his destiny, he saw himself as more competitive, assertive, as compared with his “old” self. He became adept at serving his own needs toward job satisfaction, to advance himself with the help of others. He was able to blend his chosen area of expertise with the needs of the organization. He became more responsive to those needs as well as to his own.

Over time, he uncovered the confidence that had been buried and necessary to have an open-hearted talk with his boss. That talk turned his career around. Not only did he get a promotion but it was a “double” promotion, getting him to a position a level higher than he expected. Now his career truly has an arc that bears watching. Mike is a happy man who finds much more meaning in his work, and he’s earning much more as well. Making your job more enjoyable is certainly an attractive feature for most – if not all – people who work for a living.

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