What do you answer when someone asks you “What do you do?”?  I’m guessing you can easily reach for one or two explanations about what you get paid to do, or what you spend most of your time doing.Brazil loses to Germany

If you’ve been practicing something deeply and mindfully for years, it is likely that you’re very good at what you do. Your colleagues and clients defer to your expertise; your family and friends look up to you, and seek your advice in the area of your expertise.

And then … you make a really bad call.

It’s almost unimaginable: you failing in something you’re great at. And yet, it’s happening.

Maybe,

… you lost focus for a minute, even though it is unlike you.

… your call was too risky or too conservative, atypically for you.

… you didn’t make time to keep up with the latest developments, and trusted your experience to “swing it”.

… the result was entirely outside of your control, even though you’ve accounted for most things that could go wrong. And yet, the responsibility is still on you.

What do you do when your expertise fails you? What do you do when you feel like a failure in your own eyes, and possibly in the eyes of those you care about?

And when I say “you”, I really mean … “I”. I worry about it frequently.

Among other things, I’m a professional intuitive (not a psychic, no, but I do use all of my senses to perceive information that is not always available solely through data spreadsheets). I know that there will be a day when I walk into a situation which I should have avoided. The question I dread most, from myself and from others in a situation like this is: “If you’re so intuitive, how could you get this so wrong?!”

Questions like these can make you question your own value.

“What kind of a marriage therapist are you if your own marriage is falling apart?!”

“Why are you teaching classes for raising happy children if your own children are not talking to you?!”

“What kind of an innovator are you, if you fail launch after launch?!”

“If you’re such a good parent, why is your kid such a bad student?!”

“If you’re such a good doctor, why do I feel worse after your treatment?!”

“If you’re such an experienced lawyer, how could you lose this case?!”

“If you’re such a good writer, why aren’t you on the New York Best Seller list?!”

“If you’re taking such great care of yourself, how could you possibly get that diagnosis?!”

Here’s the deal: no matter how excellent you are, failure will happen to you. Failure is something that happens, it’s not what you are. *You* are not a failure. Failure has happened to every person you admire; it’s just that some of the people are more transparent about it than others.

You may be an excellent driver, but if you’re on the road all the time, you probably will get in an accident at one point or another (hopefully, nothing more than a fender bender), because you encounter a lot of different kinds of drivers drivers. If you make many important decisions, some of your decisions probably will be worse than others.

When you fail in your area of expertise, here are two things you need to do in order to make the shift from feeling defeated to feeling like your usual competent self:

1. Analyze the situation in order to see what you could learn from the failure. There may be transferable lessons you can take from this situation into your next tough call, but you’ll see that this won’t always be the case. Sometimes, even when you do your very best, when no one is better prepared than you to make a decision, failure could still happen.

2. Get up and try again. After all, you’re an expert, you’re a pro, you know your stuff, and you are one of the best people for the job. If you begin avoiding critical situations similar to the situation in which you failed, this by itself will make you feel defeated. If you’re truly an expert at what you do, and if you keep working on a project, you will inevitably figure out how to create a better outcome. Try again, as it is the only way for you to feel on top of the game again.

* * * * *

NEW WORKSHOP: Developing Reliable Intuition. Sun., 9/18, 4-6 p.m., in Northern NJ, small group. See Details

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This summer has been filled with more questions than answers for me. About parenting (is it better to cut kids some slack, or to continue with sports practices 5 times a week through the summer?), about work (is the safety net of an internal corporate Exec Coaching position an upgrade or a downgrade from running my own business?), about friendships (sharing what resources leads to an “upgrade” in the quality of friendship?), about education (is formal education always an upgrade of informal knowledge and experience?), about politics (let’s not even go there)…

How do you decide what’s already good enough, and what requires an upgrade? And moreover, how do you decide that something is, in fact, an upgrade?

If you think of it, everything could potentially have an upgrade – your house, your car, your relationships, your job… Everything could potentially be better.

So, should you constantly seek upgrades like job promotions, self-improvement projects, and new models of stuff that you own?

Is chasing upgrades a natural part of life, and a necessary part of our growth?

I’d love to hear what you think.

My take on upgrades is to go with the way you feel.

If you current situation feels good to you, makes you smile from ear to ear, helps you relax, gives you relief, and evokes joy, it’s good enough. Enjoy it.

If, on the other hand, your current situation irritates you, makes you uncomfortable, tense, stressed, anxious, then go for that upgrade! (If you’re not sure how you feel about a situation, email me, I’m really good at helping people figure this out.)

What are your thoughts?

I’d also like to share with you my new offers that are not on the website yet (stay tuned, or reach out to me via email at AlinaIsabelle@gmail.com , please):

Strategic Planning Session. Decide what you need and want right now, evaluate your options, and chart out a general plan of action. A combination of an energy shift, strategic analysis, support, inspiration, and feeling “clued in”, using traditional and alternative decision-making strategies.

Work-Life Clarity. A partnership to structure your life as a whole to achieve your most important goals. We’ll figure out what’s not working, determine why you don’t feel at your best even though everything looks ok, and get you moving on a path that feels successful to you.

Career Upgrade. Align yourself for a promotion that you want, and come out strong from any career transition. Get all the support that you need: we’ll brainstorm, practice, reflect, and create a powerful path for you to follow to your desired career goal.

Leadership Challenge. You have arrived: a new powerful position, a new role in the organization, a new team to form and to lead. Get support for positioning yourself in the organization, get clear on your new career goals, define success in the new role on your terms, have a safe lab for self-reflection and practice the use of your authority for optimizing results.

Awareness Consulting. Get additional information about your situation by tapping into the power of perception/sensing. I can help you increase your self-awareness and strengthen your natural power of perception (really, nothing supernatural, just sight, hearing, smell, touch and other), or provide information based on my ability to perceive information.

Customized workshops for corporations and groups on managing life and career through learning to manage your energy.

My calendar is solidly packed from August 8th for about a month. Although you won’t be able to automatically book time on my calendar during that period, please, email me, and I’ll work on finding the time to make good things happen for you.

And finally, here are some of the interesting things I’ve learned so far this summer:

– Great summary of ways to criticize with kindness, based on the book of Daniel C. Dennett (Courtesy BrainPickings.com)

– Strong article from Stanford: “How Smart Leaders Build Trust

– Insightful audio from This American Life called “Choosing Wrong”, about why even smart people make bad choices. Great for listening during your commute.

– TED talk on what we can learn from shortcuts (useful if you decide to observe where your kids, friends, and colleagues make shortcuts)

– Research proves that hugging trees and taking walks in the forest/park reduces brooding and physical stress.

– Article from HBR on what great listeners actually do (and it’s not just “not talking”)

– Incredibly relevant research on the positive power of a simple hug

What are some of the most interesting things you’ve learned this summer?

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Did you buy a ticket for the Powerball? I  hope that you won! The chances are that you didn’t. Below are some ideas to help you get closer to your dreams, even if you didn’t win 1.3 billion dollars this time around. (Originally, the article below was posted in April of 2012, but the topic is […]

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As the Ball Drops…

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Dear friends, As you mark the new 2016, I wish you a peaceful, joyful, inspiring, insightful, and healthy year. I am thankful for our connection, and I deeply appreciate the opportunity to be a part of your life. Please, know that you are a part of mine, too. I read all of your emails, I […]

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What To Do When You Can’t Bullet-Proof Your Life

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This post was originally written in December of 2012, immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut. Unfortunately, it is just as relevant today as it was in 2012. ***** How do you construct a building so that it doesn’t fall if an airplane hits it? This safety question is prominently on the map now, […]

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