Ep #207: Being a Good Employee
Many of the people that I coach have this idea that when they are working for someone else, they have limited control over the results they are creating.
That is the biggest lie that we believe as employees.
I’d like to set the record straight and let you know that whether you feel that you’re living your purpose and being who you are has nothing to do with your job and everything to do with how you approach your work. The company you work for, your boss, and your clients are not responsible for how you feel on the job… that is your responsibility. And I strongly believe that you should always give your all at any job.
On this episode, we take a look at the power of being the best employee you can be, no matter where you work, and explore different ways you can add more value to your employer and live a more fulfilled life.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It’s the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!
Listen to the show
What You will discover
- The biggest misconception about working for somebody else.
- How it’s holding you back from doing a better job on a regular basis.
- The importance of being who you want to be in your job and how you can figure it out.
- Tips for becoming a great employee.
- How to use The Model to start adding more value to the company you work for.
- The benefits of giving your all at your job.
- How to get your boss (or client) to tell you exactly what they are looking for in an employee in your position.
Featured on the show
- Learn more about the Self Coaching Scholars program
Get the Full Episode Transcript:download the transcript
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems, and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Well, hello my friends. Welcome to episode 207. I am thrilled to be here today and I feel like I just want to kind of pause in the middle of my year and let you all know that I am in the middle of it.
A lot of times I share a lot of my successes and what's going well and I think a lot of times people get the misperception that I'm not struggling up in here. And one of the things that I did in December was write an impossible goal. Actually, all of us who are in Scholars wrote an impossible goal for ourselves.
And one of the powers of doing that is that we kind of cut our brain off at the past because our brain is constantly telling us that it's impossible and we're going to fail, and so we just kind of go with the brain. We're like, yes, this is impossible and yes, we are going to fail.
And so I have been working steadily on my impossible goal, and I have been failing pretty consistently. I am in the process right now of really growing up my organization from a solopreneur organization to an entrepreneur organization. And the process of doing that has been a lot of action that hasn't worked, and it kind of reminds me of when I started my business when I was a brand new entrepreneur and I just kept trying things.
I've talked a lot recently about how the answer to how is yes, and that's kind of how I feel right now. I'm not sure how to do everything so I just do everything and then I find out. And as I'm going through this, I think that I know what I'm doing and then I try something and I'm like, that didn't work.
And I was talking to one of my employees the other day and she was saying, "You know, I'm not used to being part of an organization where I just don't do everything well." And we laughed about it because one of the differences between being in a real established corporate organization and being part of an entrepreneur organization is that we really, as an entrepreneur organization, we learn by doing, which means we try something and it usually doesn't work the first three times.
And if you've grown up in our school system and then you've gone through a corporation, that's not how life is. Life is usually very structured, you know exactly what you're supposed to be doing, there's a lot of certainty, you get a lot of direct feedback if you follow the process correctly. It's kind of like here are the steps to your job, do these steps and then you will be rewarded.
What happens in an entrepreneurial organization is we bust our butt creating things and then we decide those things don't work. And it's not that all that effort is wasted, it's just basically that that effort was a learning effort and didn't give us the result that we wanted so now we got to get back to it.
So I just want to share with you that that is what I have been in the middle of and it's exasperating and exhausting and exciting all at once. I don't know about the people doing it with me, I think some of them are pretty excited about it, others of them are like, "What the heck is happening here? Just tell me what you want."
And the truth is a lot of times when you're in an entrepreneurial organization, you don't really know what you want until you see what you don't want. And that's so much of how I learn and we're designing our offices right now, we're in the process of finding a piece of land for our building. We already have our building designed; we just need to find a piece of land for it.
But in the meantime, we have these offices that we're working out of, and so we had set them up with all Ikea furniture and so we want to kind of decorate it for the next couple months at least so we can have a nice working environment. And I had a designer come and create an outline of what she thought we would should in the place, and everything that she presented I didn't like, which was really awesome actually because I'm like, okay, I don’t like any of this stuff and here's why I don't like it.
And she was like, "That's such great information because now I know better how to create what you do like," and I think that's true for so many of us as we're building our businesses and growing our businesses, and even just growing our lives.
So to say all of that at the beginning of a how to be a good employee podcast is really important I think because I think that being a good employee is one of the basis-es of my ability to be a good entrepreneur, and also be a good employer. And so I would say that the majority of the people that I coach and that I work with in Scholars, one-to-one in Scholars are employees and they're working for somebody else.
And there is this idea that when you're working for somebody else, you have limited control over the results that you're creating, and I think that is the biggest lie that we believe as employees.
One of the most important distinctions that I can give you if you are an employee is that it doesn't matter what you are doing in your organization. It matters who you are being. And I coached someone at the most recent model-thon and he was just telling me like, "Hey Brooke, you told me I should stay in my job until I can really enjoy it, but I hate my job. And I don't want to stay here and there's so many things about this job that I hate that I don't think that I want to make the effort to like it."
And what I said to him was, "Listen, it doesn't matter what's going on in your job. That doesn't determine who you are. So if you don't like yourself in this job, it is not the job's fault. It is not your job's job to make you like yourself or to make you happy, or to make you enjoy yourself eight hours a day. That is your job. And in fact, what you're doing every day, what your job is is of little consequence to whether you're living your purpose and showing up and being who you are."
And I know that this is true because there's a significant part of my job right now that is not in my ideal skill set and that is not in my zone of genius, and it's not in my preferred area of focusing. My zone of genius is teaching and coaching. I teach and coach in a very natural way, I've always been very talented at it, I feel like I have a sixth sense when it comes to coaching people.
And so I know for sure that I can do that all day every day and be in the flow. But what I'm doing now is in the process of building this business, I feel like I am an employee of my business right now, which I truly am. And so I would say that I can relate so deeply to so many of you who feel like you're going to a job every day that isn't the exact job that you want to be doing, but it's necessary for you to - for some of you it's necessary for you to go to your current job so you can pay your bills and so you can support your family. And for me, it's necessary for me to be doing this job so I can learn how to do it so I can better manage people, so I can evolve myself so I can grow.
And so the question that I ask myself every day is who am I being and who am I expecting and what am I expecting to make me be the person that I want to be. Am I looking to the job? Now, I hear myself complaining about it, and I hear myself having negative thoughts about it, and it's so fascinating because I know that any time I have a negative thought about it, towards myself in the job or towards the job itself, it weakens me. It makes me less effective in the job.
And even though I feel like I'm acknowledging my shortcomings, I'm also putting myself down as I do that in my job, and I see so many of you guys do that too. There's one or two things that you guys are doing. You're either going into that job and you're telling yourself, "I'm not good at this job, I don't like this job, this job is a dead-end job, I hate my boss," so it's either you're blaming yourself and then you switch into blaming the job for not making you happy.
So the first thing I want to teach you is to ask yourself not what job you're in, not if you're living your purpose in your job, but if you are being who you want to be every day. Are you being the person that you want to be? And here's a great way for you to test that with yourself.
What you do is you imagine your dream job, you imagine what you would be doing every day in that dream job and then who would you be if you were in that dream job. And the answer is the exact same person that you're being right now. And if that isn't the answer, then you have work to do because what we tell ourselves is, "Oh, once I'm in my dream job, once I own my business, once I'm making my own money, then I'll get to be who I am."
"When all these external things are happening for me, that's when I'll get to be who I really am inside because right now I'm not living my purpose, so I can't truly be who I really want to be in my life." That is the biggest lie, right?
So when I show up to my job and I suffer and I feel sorry for myself and I let myself get easily frustrated, I am not being who I am. I'm not being who I want to be, and I'm blaming an external circumstance for it. I might blame the people that I'm working with, or I might blame my employees, or I might blame the job, or the stage of my business, whatever, it's all BS. None of that determines who I am.
What determines who I am is how well I manage my mind and how purposefully I decide to show up in whatever job I'm in. So I always am saying to my clients, "Listen, I could show up to your job and kill it. I could show up to that job and do the best job that anyone's ever done in that job because that's who I am. I am a person of excellence."
And so when I'm showing up to be the CEO of my business right now, when I'm showing up to manage people and to create processes and to build infrastructure in my business right now, I can be the most excellent version that I am capable of being in that job, and I have been studying and reading and practicing and trying different things and failing and failing and failing and then doing amazing things and then failing some more.
And I feel this tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment for being willing to put myself out there and being willing to work so hard for this business that I absolutely love, and for my husband who is my business partner and who has devoted so much of his time and energy to this business. So I want to set it up in a way that will support us and our legacy in our long-term vision for our life.
So the minute I start feeling sorry for myself I remind myself, "Wait a minute, I am going to work today and I'm going to be the best version of myself." So stop asking yourself what your job is and what it can do for you and what your boss is like and start asking yourself, who do you want to be regardless? Who do you want to be in this job? How do you want to contribute? How do you want to add value?
So the way that you do this in a model is you take the C, so remember, the model starts with the C, which is the circumstance. So in that C line, you want to put your current job. So for me in the C line, I would put CEO of The Life Coach School. That is my current job. What is your current job? Maybe it's human resources manager for a company, or maybe it's administrative assistant, or maybe it's manager for an organization, whatever it is, just put the facts of it without your opinion.
It's important that you know that position is a neutral position. You may have some like, triggered effect from it, but that's because of the thought you're thinking. So you want to put in that C line what your current job is.
And then you need to identify what your current thought is about it. So when I was doing this work for myself, as an employee, I was noticing that I was having negative thoughts about my job and blaming my job, and that was weakening me. It was making me feel weak and insecure and ineffective.
And so I did the work on imagining myself in my dream job, what I would be doing in my dream job, which is coaching and teaching and creating really good content for all of my students. What would I be thinking? This is what I am meant to be doing. This is the purpose of my life.
And what I realized is I can think that thought right now in this current job that I'm in, right? I can think that job anywhere and show up as that person now, and in fact, it's so much more useful for me to do that because it requires me to coach myself. It requires me to be the best version of myself for all of my employees and for my husband, and for all of the contractors that work for us.
So then you ask yourself what your thoughts are and then you imagine how you want to feel every day, compared to how you feel now. So if your thought is, "I'm not doing what I'm meant to be doing," you're going to feel discouraged, you're going to feel upset, you're going to feel aggravated and frustrated. And that's how you're going to show up.
But if you imagine yourself in your dream job doing what you're meant to be doing, being in your zone of genius, you're going to feel excited, you're going to feel alive, you're going to feel enthusiastic about what you're doing in your life and who you get to be. And of course, that's going to affect how you act in your job.
So I was coaching someone the other day who said that they hated their job and they hate their boss, and they're competing with the people next to them and they're not doing as well as they want to do, and it's because of all these other reasons. Then I said, "You know, if you believed that you were doing the exact job you were meant to be doing, to evolve yourself to the place where you need to be in this moment, you would feel excited, enthusiastic, and you would show up in a way that was much more creative and dynamic and energetic and valuable to your employer."
And you have to decide if you are going to be in your current job on purpose. You don't have to do your job. You can quit your job right now, right? I could simply quit my job right now. I could say I no longer want to hire people and build my organization, I don’t want to do this anymore. And that would be fine. I could go right back to being a solopreneur, but you have to decide why are you in the job that you're in, why are you working the way that you are working, the way that you're showing up?
And even if it's just for the money, you have to remember that you are a person that produces value for money. That is how we all make our money. And if you are worried about money, it's probably because you're just doing time instead of creating value.
When you create value in your current job, you may not get a raise in that current job, but it will come back to you in so many ways you can't even anticipate. When you over-deliver in your current profession on purpose, no matter what, it defines who you are. It doesn't define your job; it doesn't define your employer. It defines who you are.
So you have to ask yourself, why are you showing up? And if you're showing up because you want to create money in your life, create as much value as you possibly can. And you ask yourself, what is the reason why this job exists, what is the reason why someone is willing to pay me their money out of their organization to do this job.
Now, your manager might not be paying you out of his pocket, or her pocket, but she may be paying you out of her budget. Why is that job available to you? Why do you have the opportunity to work there? And are you producing at the highest level?
Now, people say, "Well, I don't want to produce at the highest level because no one will notice." You will notice. When you put your head down on that pillow at night, you'll be able to say, "I slayed it today at the best of my ability, and maybe my boss didn't notice it, maybe no one in my organization noticed it, but what really matters is that I noticed it. And for sure, the value that I'm offering the world will come back to me in so many ways that I can't even anticipate."
So you have to decide what are you thinking about yourself and who you are and how you show up. How are you feeling? What are you doing in your job? And give yourself the pillow test. When you put your head on the pillow at night, are you proud of your day? Are you proud of how you showed up and what you did?
It's really, really important for you to know that because the results that you create within your own model are for you alone. You can create the result of pride and knowledge and growth and evolvement and being more and more the person that you want to be every single day, or you can bide your time at a job that you're just basically doing the minimum amount for to get paid for. And you will know that.
Your boss may not know that, nobody else may know that, but you will. If you go to work every day and you're just playing on Facebook and taking coffee breaks or you're showing up in a way that is arrogant or in a way that doesn't represent who you want to be in the world, you're the one that knows. You're the one that puts your head on the pillow at night and knows that.
So please don't think that you are fooling you. You're not. And the more you let yourself down in the way that you don't recognize yourself and blame your job, the more you'll perpetuate that in your life. I think it's very damaging. I think showing up to your day and blaming your job for showing up as a less version of yourself than you're capable of I think is so detrimental to our psyche, to our self-esteem, to who we want to be.
So ask yourself how could you over-deliver, how could you contribute? How could you create impeccable work? Think about your current job. How could you blow everybody's mind in that job? How could you be the best possible you in that job regardless?
You would have to stop making excuses. You would have to stop making judgments about your boss and the way she or he is showing up for you, and about the job duties, and about the customers, and about the corporation, about the red tape, and about all the things that you currently complain about. You'd have to be willing to give it all up.
All the excuses, all the reasons you use for why you can't succeed in your current position. You'd have to stop blaming your boss. You'd have to stop thinking about your boss in the way that you have been and you'd have to start thinking why is this job here? If I was going to be the best person of any person that had ever done this job in the world, what would I do? What would it take to blow my boss's mind?
Then all of a sudden you have to get creative, you have to get interesting, you have to ask more of yourself than maybe you ever have. And if you can do that in a job that isn't your favorite job, then once you go into a job that is your favorite job, you will be able to do it at the highest level.
What is the result that you want to create for yourself? You have to take responsibility for that. What is the result you want to create for you in that job?
There will be times - and this actually just happened with one of my employees. There will be times where you will go to work and you will do your best. You will lay it all out. You will do the best version of you that you could possibly do. And it won't be appreciated, and somebody won't recognize it, and it won't be useful to the organization.
But have you created the result you wanted for yourself? Have you done what you said you would do for you? Do you feel proud about yourself even though other people may not recognize it? That's what you have to decide.
Are you going to let someone else's lack of recognition determine how you show up in the world? Are you going to give your power away or are you going to decide what the result is you want to create for you?
Like, listen, I don't care if this business is going out of business, I don't care if you don't need this job position anymore, I don't care if everything I'm doing isn't something you need me to do. I am going to show up and be the best version of myself and work as hard as I can and produce as much value as I know how to create in each day because that's who I am. You do not determine how I show up in the world.
So you want to look at what is the model that you're creating now. What are the thoughts, feelings, actions, and results that you have now in your current job? And what do you want them to be? What do you want the thoughts, the feelings, the actions to be in your current job that will create a different result?
Notice those two models have the exact same C line, they have the same current job line, but completely different results, completely different actions, completely different feelings and thoughts.
The next thing I want you to do, and this takes so much courage, and this takes so much gumption is you go in to your boss and you ask your boss, "How can I do better?" It's such a simple question. How can I do better?
What I love about the question is it doesn't ask your boss to criticize you or tell you what you're doing wrong. It asks your boss to think about what would be something that you could do that would be better, that would be helpful, that would be useful.
I used to go into my bosses when I worked at Hewlett Packard and I asked them, I said, "What is your dream come true for this position? Like, what does your dream employee do in this job?" And that's a difficult question, right? That's a question that maybe your boss hasn't thought about before, but it's a great question for them to think about.
And their answer may surprise you, and you have to be courageous to ask the question and you have to be courageous to hear the answer. And you have to be willing to incorporate that into the fact that you're working for someone else and creating value for them.
Now, for those of you who are entrepreneurs, you would ask this of your customer. What is your dream come true, you would say in your mind's eye. With your boss, you're going to ask them straight up, what is it? And ask your boss, "What are your expectations of me? Daily, weekly, yearly, what is the most important thing to you? How do you recognize success? How would I know - how would you know if I had been successful?"
Remember, you're asking her these questions for her sake, and also for your sake. Has she thought about what her dream come true is? Has she thought about what the position could do? What's the potential of the position, what is the ability of this position?
And when you have conversations about things like that, like, what is ultimately this position's job, and then you show up and deliver that at the highest level, you don't do it for her. You don't do it for the accolade, you do it because you got the direction and you're able to show up in that way.
The last thing I want to offer you guys, and this is so important, and it's something that I always did in my corporate career as an employee. I always sold myself to my boss. Now, this is very different than brown-nosing. This is very different than trying to please your boss in a really kind of, "Hey, can I get you a cup of coffee? Can I help you? Can I carry your bags? What can I do for you?" kind of energy. Like, creepy, I want your approval energy.
This is more in a way like, I want you to know what I am doing and I want you to know how I am showing up and I want you to know how I'm contributing, and I want your feedback. And so I always was communicating with my boss. "Hey, here's what I did, this is how it worked, this is what I see value in, this is what didn't work," and that communication was always really clear.
I actually just told this to a couple of my employees. I'm like, "Hey, there's a lot of really cool stuff that you've done for the organization that I wasn't even aware of. So I'd like you to keep me updated, I'd like you to let me know, hey, by the way, I did this, I did that." Like, that is so fun for me as an employer to know, like, oh my gosh, all these people that are working for me are doing all these amazing things.
It makes me feel good about them working for me, it makes me feel good about the money that I'm paying them, it makes me feel good to know what's going on in my organization. And I know that that seems like a little thing, but it's huge. It's huge for me as an employer. I see the value and the benefit in hearing about that. But also as you as an employee, it's you kind of marketing yourself and letting your employer know how amazing you are.
And it's you marketing you to you as well because if you're not doing anything in your job, you're not going to be able to share your success with your boss. You're not going to be able to sell yourself because there's nothing to sell, right? So as I ask you to do that, what would you say to your boss?
You know, "Oh, I show up every day on time and I leave every day on time." They're going to be like, "Great." But if you're like, "Hey, here's how I tried to add value, this is what I created, this is how I went above and beyond," and even if they ignore you, that's fine. It's totally fine. It's something that you're creating and producing for you at the highest level.
And people say, "Oh, you're such an overachiever, you're always trying to prove something, you're always trying to be the best," yup, that's me. People used to say to be at Hewlett Packard, "Who do you think you are?" I'm like, "Oh, we don’t have enough time for me to answer that question, sister. But I'll tell you what, I am going to do the best version of me in every job that I have. And the best version of me is pretty great. So if you don't like, that's okay. I'm okay with that because I like it."
So here's the thing I want you to take away from this if you're an employee. Do not let your job determine who you are. Do not let your boss determine who you are. Do not let the company you work for determine who you are. Do not give your power away and complain about who you are because of where you work. Where you work is your choice, and you choose to go there, my guess is, for the money and for the benefits.
But you also always are responsible and you always get to choose who you are in every day and in every hour of your job. And you know if you're the one stealing from your company by taking time off and not acknowledging it, or being on Facebook when you're supposed to be working. But you also know the contribution that you're making, you also know how you're showing up and delivering value and quality and excellence to that company.
And no, you may not get recognized by that company and they may not give you a raise, but it will come back to you in other ways, I promise. And the most important way that it'll come back to you is on the way you feel about yourself and about who you are. And that will take you further than anything else. If you can feel amazing about yourself in your current job, then you will be able to create really amazing opportunities for yourself moving forward.
Do not wither and die within a job, blaming the job. Do not make yourself a victim. That will not solve anything in your life, and it will not make you proud of the life that you're living. And I think that's something that's available to all of us. We may not be able to change our job, but we can change our attitude and we can change who we are being in that job. And I highly encourage you all to do such things.
Before I sign off today, I just want to let everybody know who's a member of Scholars that I am offering three new courses within Scholars. I'm doing a 10-part advanced weight loss training that will be available to everybody in Scholars, and that will be an online course that I will be releasing videos and we'll also have some live versions of protocol creation and questions and stuff like that, and taking kind of all of the stuff that I've taught you guys already to the next level. And I am going to share with you some of the things I've been experimenting with on myself and with my clients that's working really well.
I'm adding another money class, I'm adding another couple of business classes that kind of bring you on board and take you in the journey of my entrepreneurial journey to 100 million dollars a year, and we are well on our way, and I feel really proud of myself as a businesswoman learning how to be a CEO of this beautiful corporation that I feel like is serving the world and creating such a high level of contribution to mental health.
So thank you all for going on this journey with me. I couldn't love you any more. I really genuinely appreciate each of you. Have a gorgeous, beautiful week, and I'll talk to you next week. Take care, bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.