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What is your reality?

Last week I was having a coaching conversation with someone going through a very tough time. After understanding the context, I immediately went into Cy Wakeman’s 3 big questions.


  1. What is really happening?

  2. What can I do to help the situation?

  3. What does great look like?


In the 1-hour long video from SXSW, Cy talks about her


reality. She was hiking and thought she saw a snake, her emotions got all out of whack but in reality, she saw a piece of rope that her brain turned into a snake.


As humans, we may find ourselves turning situations into something they really are not. First, BREATHE. Get oxygen back to your brain and calm your reptilian brain. We need to take a step back and see what is really going on. We sometimes get blocked into what we think we see, or constraints that have been placed on us, but maybe we placed those constraints on us. Ask yourself, what is really happening without injecting our ego which may tell us a different story.


The second step is to ask, what can we do to make the situation better. Again, breathe, don’t be flustered. Take one step at a time and address the things that are within your control to make better. Being stressed out will only cause you to make mistakes. Ask yourself or your team, what is the first most important thing you can do to start with and then add on. If you are a leader, and you and your team have been faced with a new challenge, before sharing your thoughts, ask them what are their thoughts or ideas. Get them to throw out wild and crazy ideas but don’t shoot them down. Build on those ideas to help solve the problem.


The third question is “What would great look like?” I have done a retrospective or lessons learned session with teams where we focus on moving a team, a team of teams, or product forward where we look at what great would be and what crap would be. From where we are, what are the things that would need to happen for great to happen. Be hard on yourself, what do you personally need to change, what team dynamics need to change, what practices need to change, how will your output be valued within your organization, or on a TED talk or an even larger stage?


If you need help changing the mindset of your leaders or organization, set time up with me. I can help.

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