I hate to say it, but several people I work with have annoying habits. Some interrupt too much, some don’t say what’s really on their minds, some are so detail-oriented they make my teeth ache. But I too inflict an annoying habit on others: I often indirectly ask for recognition. This ‘addiction to approval’ is a habit I’d like to break. What’s wrong with seeking approval? Not much if done in small doses, but I’ve become dependent. Do I really need to ask my wife to praise me for taking the trashcans to the curb? Yes. So with the idea that I am not the only person on earth cursed with this affliction, I herein submit my self-improvement process. Perhaps you or others might benefit from my efforts: I’ve tried unsuccessfully to stop asking for recognition before, so I sought help from Carrie, one of my coaching colleagues. Her challenging questions and insights yielded surprising results.
A dear colleague and I were talking at lunch about the usual subjects – our work, our families, the miserable state of the world. We commiserated about our aging parents growing more frail. I said, “It is what it is,” and my friend replied, “No it isn’t.” I repeated, “Yes, it is what it is,” and she repeated, “No it isn’t.” After a few more rounds of this craziness, I said that though it may be cliché, the phrase indicates acceptance of a particular situation. She countered that this might be true in some cases, but that I should listen more carefully.
In a freak accident eight weeks ago, I was hit by a truck and pinned against a highway guardrail. The impact broke my femur in half and fractured my knee. Wheel chair bound for four weeks, I’m now halfway through a 6-month recovery period. Needless to say, I’ve had to rely on others a lot. And, like many people, I’m really uncomfortable asking for and receiving help. Yet a recent coaching engagement has helped me understand how impactful this discomfort can be on an executive’s, and on my own, influence.