I am Sharmin Banu, Leadership and Career coach working with mid-level technology leaders to bring more growth, purpose and joy.
Few years ago I volunteered as a treasurer in an organization. My motivation was to build some skill in accounting work and to get engaged with the leadership team. It was going well for the most part. The reason I say “most part” because from time to time one particular member was giving me unsolicited advice on how to do my job. At first I tried to ignore her, but eventually, it pushed me over the edge. I needed to do something about it! Being relatively new to the team I decided to talk to someone I trusted.
Fortunately this trusted member was a coach. She agreed with me that the other member wasn’t particularly demonstrating a high standard. Then she asked, “Why does it bother you so much”? I felt indignant, “What do you mean! She is constantly advising me on how to do my job and you are telling me that it’s wrong to feel bothered!” This was my immediate reaction. I didn’t say it out loud though. I brought that feeling and the question home. I vented with a friend and got some empathy. As my emotions calmed down, I started thinking about this question, “Why did it bother me so much?”
Someone did something, and it was my choice to bring it to close to my heart. Question is why I brought it to my heart … unless I had provided a place for it. Being a treasurer I was stretching myself to prove my competence. May be I was implicitly seeking approval from others about my performance. When I got advice instead, I immediately concluded, I was not doing a good job. Since I was not considering myself to be good enough, I was highly sensitive to any external sign supporting that belief!
What a discovery! It bothered because I actually had the critic inside me. Now I have something to work on. Thank you my friend for asking the hard question — “Why does it bother you?” Since then it has become an essential tool for me to dig out the root cause of my feelings whenever someone’s behavior affects me significantly.-Share this page- Tweet