I wanted to be the bravest partner my clients would ever have. Then I realized, it is actually about helping my clients be the bravest person they want to be.
Our clients are about to show up differently in their world: say something unexpected, set new relationship boundaries, and ask for a promotion—sometimes all in the same day! That’s what happens in “Bravetown.” Bravetown is where conversations change, new careers start, suppressed big dreams are spoken out loud, and leading a team transparently occurs. It’s exciting and scary.
Does your client have everything they need to make this leap into the unknown? Has your client done the hard work to make decisions based on their values, and not the world’s expectations of them? Here I share what I find necessary for a client to have energizing AND sustainable change.
THE BRAVE NECESSITIES:
- Separate self-worth from others’ opinions. If a client grasps that they are the constant in their life and that there are situations and people who come and go, they will more likely have the resilience to confidently stand their ground when people attempt to coax them back to their old ways.
- Decide who they want to be. A clear, memorable statement describing the qualities they aspire to be can accelerate their focus and decision-making. Qualities like “fearless leader,” “strategic navigator,” or “all-in partner.”
- Identify a clear reason to change. Clients who can communicate their aspirations are halfway there—they also need to confront reality and articulate why their current state is no longer acceptable.
- Develop a clear picture of the opportunity. In this step, clients are moving beyond the vague notion of wanting something “more meaningful” to communicating the new experiences they will have and the benefits to them.
- Set a 14-day goal to practice it in their world. This goes beyond internal reflection and journaling; this is practicing the skill they want to have. If a client is afraid to ask for a promotion, what action can the client identify that would build their confidence to work their way up to that?
- Watch “The Power of Vulnerability” TED Talk by Brené Brown. Change requires moments of feeling vulnerable. Each client hears something surprising in this video.
- Choose a relevant power quote. When I relive times I feel exposed (and start to break out in a cold sweat), I rely on a saying pertinent to my change, like “I’m not in this situation to be liked” or “It takes time; Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
- Use observational humor. Self-growth is hard work, and mistakes will be made! Clients can create some distance from their learning journey by finding humorous anecdotes to share with friends, children and those they mentor.
- Update a supportive person. It is rewarding to share with someone, “I did something new today,” and have them respond with encouragement. If it’s a text, it’s the person who responds with exclamation points. This someone should be enjoying the client’s growth almost as much as the client. If clients are at a loss for who this could be, I ask them to list everyone who was supportive of them in the last week. They are always pleasantly surprised and begin to see their support network in a broader perspective to help find that special supportive person.
To start, next time your client shares a situation they are wrestling with, listen for times they are factoring in other people’s reactions to decide how to feel. For example, “I had a bad day yesterday because my teammate criticized me, but today is better because my coworker complimented my presentation skills.” Explore this cause and effect relationship. Ask the client to articulate their intent in both situations, and ask how much control we have over other’s reactions to us.I trust that the client’s colleagues, friends and family have seen the client’s potential and will many times encourage their bravery throughout the process. When practicing a new skill, clients consistently come back reporting, “Not so scary after all!” And THAT makes the preparation worthwhile.