John was a successful executive, had climbed the proverbial corporate ladder and career wise everything was on track, or so it seemed. He was running a subsidiary of an international company and when he started first he was over the moon; it was where he always wanted to be. However after a few years something unsettling began to emerge for him and he couldn’t quite put his finger on it.
Despite the fact that he enjoyed great autonomy, ironically he also felt restricted in what he could do. Nothing had changed externally as the relationship with his reports, peers and bosses were all very positive up to this point. However internally he sensed something was not right and this began to have an impact on how he behaved with others.
What quickly became apparent was the autonomy he enjoyed was also fueling a need for even greater independence and that some sort of entrepreneurial endeavor was calling out. More importantly, in the absence of this greater independence, resentment had developed that was beginning to show up negatively in his working relationships with those around him.
Through a combination of coaching and John’s own self awareness, he was able to consciously address this and, in the short term, mend some of the fragile relationships that had developed. Two years later he left the company and set up his own business. The moral of this story is that how you feel inside has a tremendous impact of how you show up on the outside; internal feelings significantly impact external actions. More significantly is that by being aware of these feelings it actually puts you in control of the actions.