Tag: intuition

11/4/12 “Compromising your integrity for your career”

Good day, team.

This past week, I’ve been thinking about what happens when an event at work causes us to question our own integrity. This week’s challenge is about these kinds of dilemmas — when we are faced with the difficult choice of protecting our integrity or doing what seems right for our career.

Here’s a good example:

One of my clients was part of an executive team in a company. He reported to the CEO along with five other people, each representing one of the core functions in the organization — finance, technology, marketing, sales and operations. He had been in his role for about two years when he began to understand that the CEO was lying. He first experienced this when he flew from Chicago to New York for an important customer meeting. The CEO had asked him to attend the meeting and gave him detailed instructions about what results the company hoped to achieve through the discussions. When my client asked if the CEO would also attend, she said, “Of course, we’ll both be there. This is too important of a deal for me not to attend. But we will position ourselves better if you lead the discussion and do the negotiating. I’ll be there to support you, and our customers will see that by my being there, this deal is our top priority.”

My client prepared diligently, and when he boarded the plane, he felt confident that the meeting would go well. The next day, he settled into a chair in the reception area at his customer’s offices. His boss wasn’t there yet, and he hadn’t heard from her. He began to scroll through e-mail on his phone and found an early morning message from her. He was shocked to read that his boss would not be attending the meeting. Something had come up that prevented her from making the trip, but she didn’t say what it was. She wished him luck and asked that he call her as soon as the meeting was over to let her know how it had gone.

His heart rate increased and his throat tightened as he saw his customers coming down the hallway to greet him. What had happened? How could she miss this important meeting with their top customer? How would he explain her absence? He didn’t want to lie, but he thought he’d better come up with a pretty good excuse. And what did she expect from him? Was he supposed to shoulder this one all on his own?

The customer’s first question was, “Where’s your boss this morning?” My client felt his face redden and replied, “She had a family emergency come up at the last minute.” As he looked his most important customer in the eye, he could tell this guy knew he was lying. But he could do nothing about it. He had to play his role the best he could, even if he had to lie and compromise his own integrity.

After the meeting, his boss didn’t answer when he called to tell her how it had gone, so he left a message. Later that day, he received an email from her saying how pleased she was with his efforts and that she had every confidence the deal would turn out the way they hoped. She also said she was sorry she couldn’t be there but staying in the home office had been important for her to do. They could talk more when he returned to the office.

Two days later, after other meetings in New York, my client boarded his flight back to Chicago, still depressed by what had happened. He still couldn’t resolve the nagging feeling he had about lying to his customer. How would the customer be able to trust him going forward? Why did his boss put him in that position? He couldn’t say, “She blew off the meeting.” Should he have said something else? But anything short of “family emergency,” would have implied that this meeting was not her top priority. My client tried to rationalize his actions by saying to himself, “My customer isn’t stupid, he knows that anyone put in my shoes would have done the same thing. What difference did it really make anyway?”

As he settled into his seat, much to his surprise, he saw his boss board the plane and sit down in first class. Not only had she lied about not being able to attend the meeting, but she was actually in New York all along! Anger replaced shock, and for the rest of the trip, my client seethed. He felt betrayed and duped. Underneath the anger was fear. What did this mean? Why was she doing this to him? Was she planning to put him in a position to fail so she could fire him? What would this mean for his family? His son was a year away from going to Stanford. How could he afford to send him there without a job?

As he walked through the terminal after deplaning, my client kept his head down. He didn’t want to see her for fear that he would completely lose it and express his anger toward her.

After a sleepless night, my client arrived at his office the following morning caught in a quandary. Should he confront his boss, tell her he saw her on the airplane and ask for an explanation? Should he avoid the conversation all together? He knew what was politically correct, but what was he going to do about his anger, frustration, sense of betrayal and desire to tell the truth?

Later that morning, when he met with his boss to review his trip, he could not stay quiet. His desire to clear the air, tell the truth and ask her for an explanation became too great.

As their meeting began to wind down, he finally asked “Can you level with me here? I saw you on the flight back to Chicago yesterday, which means you were actually in New York. Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you attend the meeting? What’s going on?” One eyebrow raised slightly, as his boss remarked, “Oh, I didn’t get a chance to tell you. I had to make a quick turnaround trip to New York to talk with some of our analysts.” There was a slight possibility that she was telling him the truth, but his intuition knew she was lying. He understood in that moment that she was now just piling lies on top of lies and that trying to get to the truth would be a waste of time.

As he left her office, he thought, “Whatever trust I had in this woman is gone. I better watch my back from now on.”

To make matters worse, weeks later, in the quarterly meeting with their board of directors, his boss described the trip to negotiate the deal with their best customer in New York as if she actually had attended. She took credit for the work he had done as though she had negotiated the deal herself. He watched in a state of complete disbelief and resentment when she didn’t even mentioned all the work he had done. He got no credit. Just when he thought he couldn’t bare the lies any longer, during the break, the chairman approached him and asked in a low voice, “Tell me Dave, how did the meeting in New York really go?” Although my client was encouraged by the chairman’s obvious acknowledgement of his role in the deal, he was now being challenged to speak the truth about what really happened and, in doing so, reveal his boss’ lack of integrity.

These things happen to all of us from time to time as we try to navigate our way through our daily jobs. Whether we are part of an executive team or a part-time clerk working in an accounting office, we all see things that make us question whether something is being done right and if the people we work with are telling the truth. How should we handle these situations? Do we just play our roles as best as we can, even if it means we have to lie or cheat to cover for our bosses, team members or directors? My example may not seem like a big deal, but for my client, the inner turmoil it created was torture. He was placed on the razor’s edge between being true to himself and doing the right thing versus doing what he thought he had to do to keep his job and not confront his boss’ lack of integrity. As a result, he no longer trusted his boss and spent the rest of his time at the company in fear and trepidation about his career. Eventually, he left.

In his new job, my client often encounters similar situations but not to the degree he did in his previous position. He was careful when selecting his new job and asked about his potential new boss’ personal values. He got feedback from people who worked at the company and asked, “Does he have integrity and how does it show up?” His new job is not perfect, but it’s better.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, learn to tell the truth in a way that it can be received. I often help my clients reframe their messages. If I say to someone, “You lied to me, why did you do that?” I know I won’t get a good response. It may be true and direct, but generally, this approach can make the other person feel backed into a corner. It’s more likely to bring out defensiveness. On the other hand, when I say, “Tell me what happened here,” I’ll usually have a better chance of hearing the truth from the other person because I’m not being so confrontational.

Another approach can be to find a time after the challenging incident has occurred to sit down with the person you’re dealing with and bring up the subject of integrity. Ask how he or she balances his or her own integrity with the actions of others that are not in line with that integrity. It may seem manipulative, but if you ask in total sincerity with the hope of understanding what’s really important to the other person, it may result in a better overall picture of that person, and ultimately, it can only help in your on-going interactions.

Each of us has to come to some resolution within ourselves about our actions. In the case of my client, when the chairman asked him what really happened in New York, he said, “The good news, Bill, is that we closed the deal. I’m happy we can continue to do business with these folks under our new contract. It will really raise our revenue numbers for the year.” He actually answered the question and by-passed the implied question. The chairman smiled and shook my client’s hand. “Good deal!” he responded, and walked away.

Have a good week!

Kathleen Doyle-White
Pathfinders Coaching
(503) 296-9249

© Copyright 2012 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.

12/4/11 “Inner Wisdom”

Good day, team.

This week’s challenge is about inner wisdom. After a week in silence at a meditation retreat, I had an opportunity to get quiet enough to hear my inner wisdom. Frankly, I had forgotten just how quiet you need to get to hear it. It’s not just an opportunity for external sounds to dissipate, but also for the internal voices of the mind, heart and body to begin to quiet down so that you hear that quiet voice within.

This inner wisdom has many labels. Some people call it conscience or intuition or a sense about something. Whatever we call it, we all seem to know what it is — that inner voice that quietly says what we know is true. So, as the mind continues to analyze this solution or that, or strategize about the next best move, that quiet voice simply makes a statement that our inner awareness recognizes.

Here’s a good example. Years ago when I changed careers, I remember distinctly hearing that inner, quiet voice continuing to give me the same message. I had been recruiting for 20 years and I was successful, at least in terms of having plenty of business and making good money. But when I got very quiet and really asked myself what was true, that inner voice told me it was time to move on. In looking at it, I realized that I didn’t find recruiting very satisfying. So I hired a coach to help me determine what might be a better career path for me. My coach was very helpful. She encouraged me to explore lots of different possibilities and to continue to listen to that quiet voice within. But that voice wasn’t telling me what profession was right for me, it was just telling me it was time to move on. Of course, my mind went into overdrive because it desperately wanted an answer right away, but my inner voice told me to be patient, that when the time was right, the opportunity would show itself to me.

As time passed, I found myself resting in the question. Instead of trying to force an answer, I continued to question and inquire. Eventually, it became clear that I wanted to become a coach. As I explored training options and figured out how to become a coach, things just fell into place. Movement from recruiting to coaching took place naturally.

This is one of the characteristics of inner wisdom: It isn’t forced. The Roman lyric poet Horace wrote, “Force without wisdom falls of its own weight.” As the mind and heart struggle to figure something out and we push or pull to make things happen, the entire experience becomes heavier and harder to do, and we often get farther away from what’s actually true for us. Conversely, that quiet voice has the energy of acceptance and spaciousness about it; it’s as light as a feather but as sure as anything can ever be.

Another aspect of inner wisdom is that like an ability or a muscle, hearing your inner wisdom actually strengthens it. I find that when I make the time to be quiet with myself each day, that inner voice is more accessible. It’s not that it’s louder; it’s just easier for me to hear.

This week, spend some quiet time with yourself. Try sitting quietly for 10 minutes doing nothing. Experience sitting still and quieting the mind by not attaching to any thought as it comes up. Thoughts do come and go, but they only stick around when we get stuck to them. Emotions come up and seemingly overtake us, but if we don’t continue to feed them with our thoughts, they also pass away. Sensations come and go as we continue to sit and be quiet. At some point, you may hear that voice within arising from some deep part of you. It often sounds to me like a pebble that’s been dropped into a well. You drop the pebble and wait in quiet stillness until you hear the pebble hit the water deep down at the bottom of the well. You know that eventually the pebble will hit the water, but you don’t know exactly when and you must be very quiet to hear it. When it does, you’re always a little surprised and yet you knew all along what it would sound like.

Be quiet for a time each day and listen. There’s a wealth of truth and understanding that each of us carries within the deepest part of our being. It doesn’t make a lot of noise and it doesn’t demand to be heard or understood — it just is. Try being silent enough to hear it.

Walt Whitman wrote, “Wisdom is not finally tested in the schools, Wisdom cannot be pass’d from one having it to another not having it, Wisdom is of the soul, is not susceptible of proof, is its own proof.”

Have a good week,


© Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.

1/3/11 “Beginnings & Intuition”

Good day, team,

There’s no better time for new beginnings than now. It’s the first of the year, the beginning of a new cycle, the root of the musical scale for the year or the “do” of the octave. However you see it, it’s a start, and with all new beginnings, comes energy. Sometimes I see it like running a foot race. I start off with lots of energy that bursts forth and propels me down the track. Along with this burst of energy, comes an increase in intuitive powers. My ability to see things in a new way is heightened, and my perspective is broader – so many more things are possible. This week’s challenge is about paying attention to your intuition in the midst of a new beginning.

For the new year, I moved my office into commercial space. It’s a big change for me. I’ve been working from a home office for many years. About a month ago, I looked up and suddenly realized it didn’t feel right any longer. This was a surprise because nothing had changed and I wasn’t at all sure where the thought came from, but I tend to pay attention when these things happen. Strangely, there was no intellectual basis for my intuitive experience, so I decided to just sit with it for a while and observe.

The next day, I walked into the bakery around the corner, and as I was waiting for my coffee, I saw a sign on the wall that said, “Office space for lease — contact Dan.” That’s interesting, I thought. I wonder who Dan is? I looked around the shop and saw a man sitting in the corner having a coffee and muffin, working on a computer. I walked up to him and asked, “Are you Dan?” and he replied, “Yes, I am.” The next thing I knew, we were ascending the stairs to the office spaces above the bakery. When we walked into the space for lease, it just felt right. My normal reaction in these situations is to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. But my mind cautioned me to think about this for a while and get more information. I thought I should talk to my husband, some other coaches, my accountant and my attorney before I made a final decision. Of course, none of that was going to change the initial intuitive message that it just felt right. However, I’ve learned over time that when it comes to business, doing your due diligence is important.

The real challenge came over the next two weeks as I went through the process of weighing all the positives and negatives, consulting others, negotiating with Dan the landlord and reviewing the lease agreement with my attorney. The more I looked into all the details and spent time analyzing whether this was a good decision or not, the farther away I got from that intuitive feeling and the more I doubted whether or not it actually happened to me.

In the end, I decided to lease the space. But I wonder what difference would it have made if I had taken the space in that first moment when I felt it was right, rather than two weeks later after all my information-gathering and analysis? You can make the case that by waiting and looking into all the details, I made sure that there would be no surprises and that everything was in good order. However, the more I looked into it, the more energy I lost. And I didn’t feel nearly as excited about my decision to rent the space as I did in those first few moments.

The lesson I learned is that sometimes, going with that strong intuitive feeling in the moment is important because it gives you a rare kind of energy and enthusiasm that cannot be created any other way. If you need to jump, that’s a good time to do it because you’ll have all the energy you need to jump high and wide. At other times, using that energy to check all the details and engage others in your decision makes the most sense, particularly when longer-term commitments are being made. Understanding which action is appropriate is the challenge.

This week, as you experience the beginning of the new year, pay close attention to your intuition. Take a look around you and sense whether things feel right. Do you need to do some adjusting to realign things? Maybe your desk at work needs to be moved or your team needs to be reorganized. Perhaps you need to change a process or approach to something at work or in your home. Whatever it is, spend this week observing people and processes around you. See if you can feel what needs to change and what the best way to make that change would be. Maybe you can jump in because the risk is minimal and the pay-off might be great. In other cases, analyzing and processing are the keys to making the right decision.

Most important, use the special energy of the first of the year to observe what needs changing and don’t be afraid to take action in whatever way is best. There’s nothing like new beginnings to revitalize us and renew our goals.

As Plato wrote, “The beginning is the most important part of the work.”

Have a good week!


Kathleen Doyle-White

Pathfinders Coaching

(503) 296-9249

©Copyright 2011 Pathfinders Coaching, Scout Search Inc., all rights reserved.