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“I’ve always known it wouldn’t work out.”

Hello, my name is Marcus Blankenship, and I’m a wallower.
And not just an amateur one.  I’m a professional, Level 80, Grand Master-Poobah wallower.  I’m capable of wallowing and worrying in any situation.

Even when things are going well, I’m secretly waiting for it all to come crashing down.  And when things aren’t going well, the phrase “I’ve always known it wouldn’t work out.” runs through my head.  Along with its comrades, “You’re gonna fail.” and “Nothing you do makes a difference.”

My wallowing prevents me from serving you.  And if you also wallow, it prevents you from serving your team.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs reminds us that unless our basic needs are met, we can’t go on to meet higher-order needs.  I can’t help you unless I’m okay.  You can’t help your team unless you’re okay.

When we’re not okay, we are worried about us.  We can’t see outside ourselves.  This inhibits us from listening, serving, trusting and collaborating with our team.

Truth be told, I realized this morning that my wallowing is why I’ve stopped writing to you as often.  I can’t help you unless I’m okay.  
The same goes for those of you who are struggling to stay afloat at work or in your business.  You can’t lead your team unless you’re okay.

Learned wallowing

My friend Jerry dropped a truth-bomb on me a couple of months ago.  He told me that wallowing was a learned behavior, and asked me where I learned it.

That means wallowing isn’t the result of circumstances?  Or, having a bad day?
And it means that some of you who are reading this have no idea what I’m talking about.  Because, thankfully, you never learned to wallow.

I suspect I learned to wallow at a very early age.  Certainly, before I was 10.

But the question that haunts me is this: if wallowing was learned, can it be unlearned?  I think the answer is “yes.”  I’m going to start my journey by finishing the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck.  If you’re not familiar with it, I highly recommend it.

Safe enough to serve

As servant leaders, we serve our teams.  We build relationships with them, provide them with structure and tools, give them feedback to improve.  We must be watching, caring, trusting, helping and listening.

But this requires that we feel safe enough to take our eyes off ourselves, and look outward to our team.

Easy to say.  Hard to do.  

For me, it took Jerry giving me feedback from outside myself.  I got new information about myself that will help me.

P.S. Thank you, Jerry, for all you’ve done for me.

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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