Getting Along with Your Coworkers: It’s All Relative

One of the most amusing statements I hear people say is how different they are when they’re at work than when they’re at home.

Getting along with your coworkers is a tall order. Ever wonder why some people are easy to work with, and others get under your skin? It’s all relative.

“I just don’t understand why my coworker bugs me so much.”

“I work in an office with so much drama. UGH. I hate it!”

“I’m a completely different person when I’m at the office.”

The truth is, we’re the same everywhere. Chances are if you’re bothered by certain types of people, or if you fall into the drama triangle at work, you’ve probably seen the same patterns at home. Like it or not, pleasing your boss and getting along with your coworkers often mirrors the dynamics you experience with your family.

In fact, we spend much of our time at work. So, it’s natural we would build strong relationships. After years at work, many people find they’ve recreated their family relationships and dynamics at the office. That hard-to-please mother? She’s your boss. Your easy-going relationship with your dad? You might see the same dynamic at play with your favorite manager. That coworker who pisses you off? He has the same traits as your brother (and probably gets under your skin for the same reasons).

We automatically recreate our expectations of the world and our relationships right there in our office from 9-5. So, if you want to start getting along with your coworkers, it’s important to remember—the dynamics are all relative!

The Hierarchy of Authority at the Office

Within most workplaces, there is a hierarchy of authority. Well, guess what—growing up we also experienced a hierarchy of authority. For most of us, the authority came from our parents, but no matter how your family was structured, there was a power dynamic at play. In most households, Mom and Dad were the first authority figures in your life. Your relationship with them is reflected in your relationship with and feelings toward authority figures throughout your life (whether you like it or not).

Let’s say you had authoritarian parents who were very demanding. Mom and Dad only wanted what they wanted, and they didn’t care what you wanted, or you didn’t get a say in what you wanted. Well, you probably learned to resist them. Possibly, you learned to passive-aggressively resist them by not really doing exactly what they wanted. Or you learned to openly get mad and fight them and resist them. Welcome to your authority issues today.

If you were competitive or in conflict with your parents, you’re probably going to struggle at the office when you feel bossed around (which is, as we all know, a natural part of work).

If your parents were inconsistent and the hierarchy and the power balance between you was hard to figure out, you’ll often see this same scenario play out again as authority issues at work. You may face a tough time figuring out your boss. You may feel the need to question your manager or balk at orders and instructions. Or you may put on an air of agreeability but bemoan the orders the moment your manager is out the door.

All these reactions speak volumes about the way you view authority today, as well as the authority you were raised with when you were growing up. Eventually, you’ll face similar feelings in the workplace to those you experienced in your childhood and felt toward your parents. It’s a natural, normal part of human behavior.

A lot of people realize they have authority issues, but identify the problem as, “my boss is a jerk.” When we pin the problem entirely on the personality of our boss, we fail to recognize these issues stem from and exist within us. Don’t like your situation at work? You have the power to explore and change your relationship with authority.

You were born in your family issues—long before you had any say in the matter. But recognizing this truth will help empower you. Even if your boss or coworkers are vastly different from your parents, you will eventually create and experience the same patterns over and over again that you played out during your childhood, so it’s important to explore these dynamics and their origin.

Another family pattern that’s become especially common these days is what I refer to as the super enmeshed family. This is where the family is overly involved in a person’s life and they fail to separate once they reach adulthood. The enmeshment stems from parents who are extremely focused on the happiness of their kids. While wanting your kids to be happy is positive, it’s possible to pin your identity and focus entirely on your children. What ends up happening with super enmeshed parents is their kids don’t know if they’re living for their own happiness or their parents’ happiness. We’re seeing this type of dynamic more and more in the age of the “helicopter parent.”

What happens to those who grew up in super enmeshed families? We see people who grow into middle age without ever really becoming adults. They never truly disconnect from their parents and learn to function as whole, adult human beings. This plays out in relationships at work and even within romantic relationships. This over-parenting leads to a lack of independence, confidence, and ability to make decisions.

So, what does this mean for you? Do you want to break free from the patterns? Do you believe they don’t affect you? Well, first of all, tough luck.

You take your family everywhere. It’s impossible to avoid recreating the dynamics because it’s an integral part of your programming. You will find your parents’ traits in others throughout your life. If you can’t find the traits of your parents right away within the people you meet, then you’ll recreate those relationship dynamics as your connection develops.

No matter what your relationship with your parents was like (and there are no perfect parents out there, so if you think your parents were “saints” think again), you will see this play out in your relationships later. We call this your unfinished business.

Understanding Unfinished Business

The realization we’re carrying around our familial issues is tough to take. In fact, most of us don’t love the idea. It may even make us feel angry. The good news in all of this is your work relationships create a great opportunity to explore your unfinished business and apply personal growth lessons in the real world.

If we’re interested in learning, growing, and becoming more complete human beings, then our work relationships provide us with an excellent chance to really explore our dynamics with others. At work, you have a perfect laboratory of sorts to look at how your relationships play out; to think about how getting along with your coworkers or not getting along with coworkers mirrors your connections with your family members.

In an ideal setting, you are the authority in your own life. You embrace the power within you and consequentially, you fully acknowledge the authority of those over you, such as in a work setting, without resentment. In fact, in an ideal situation you, empower those authorities without undue competitiveness or anger.

But of course, most of us still have growing to do. We have unfinished business to address!

Getting Along with Your Coworkers, Means Exploring Yourself

I had a fantastic experience working with a group of executives recently. These execs reported to a few CEOs who they described as erratic egomaniacs. Since they reported to the jerk bosses, they were able to justify all kinds of rebellious, underhanded behavior. Working for challenging bosses gave them carte blanche to “match” the behavior with equally deceptive and nefarious actions.

When the execs and I began our work together, I immediately put a stop to this mentality. I told them, “No! You’re going to start living the values espoused by your company!” (Even if they weren’t being displayed at the C-level.) “You aren’t going to use them as an excuse for breaking the golden rule, treating your underlings poorly, or pushing them too far. If you want your team to excel, you need to support them fully. You need to live the company mission, and if you want your team to do the same, then you support them as they go forward. You aren’t going to just accept that the head of the company is a jerk you answer to and use that to justify passing those traits down.”

To understand the dynamics at play with their bosses, these execs had to roll up their sleeves and start to explore their own unfinished business. To figure out how to become better leaders, they had to examine their upbringing and their relationships with their parents.

One of the executives I was working with had a parent who was irresponsible and often absent. It became his job to take on the role of the adult in his family growing up. Sure enough, when he was discussing his CEO, suddenly he said, “Well, I don’t want to be the adult for this jerk!”

I told him, “You don’t need to be the adult for him, but it’s your role to help him win.”

Another executive I had, grew up with a father who was a nice guy, but largely distant. His mother was erratic and enmeshed. He was reporting to the CEO of an international company who was an egomaniacal fool. At an event with 10,000 people, the CEO took the opportunity to humiliate him.

This particular executive had never confronted his mother for her behavior, and he was struggling with how to cope with addressing the embarrassment from his boss. The moment when it all clicked for him was when he was able to confront his mother about the unfinished business he was carrying around with him. As he begrudgingly examined the issues with his mother, he realized his CEO had filled that role and taken on the same dynamic. He had projected his business onto his boss.

Once this was addressed, he was able to reshape the dynamic with his boss and eventually became his righthand man. He realized he’d gone from the verge of getting fired to a position of confidence and trust. Within his role, he was able to temper his boss’s reactions and advise him as well. The miracle at hand wasn’t due to a change of heart from his boss, but a change of heart within himself. He confronted his unfinished business.

Like these executives, we all face a challenge to become whole and complete human beings. It’s incumbent on each of us to address our unfinished business, so we become more honest and straightforward communicators. It’s not about simply “tolerating” or getting along with your coworkers, but rather digging in and understanding why you click (or why you don’t click).

One of the best steps we can take to improve and understand our work life is to understand that our dynamics at work are relative—a direct reflection of our family of origin.

Work gives us a great sandbox to experiment with these dynamics and explore our connections. So, look around at the people you like a lot at work. Who do those people remind you of in your family? Then take a look at the people who get under your skin. Who do they remind you of? Push yourself to explore the lesson at hand. What immaturity and unfinished business are you bringing to the office?

For more on building your relationships and power at work, visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming networking event where you will connect with others and learn more about yourself. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.



Relationship Dynamics: Why We Click with Certain People

Have you ever wondered why some relationships just click and others drive us nuts?

Ever wonder why certain relationships click and others drive us nuts? Significant other, acquaintance, coworker, friend--our relationship dynamics are different with each person we meet.


Does your partner ever get under your skin for reasons you can’t quite understand? Do your friends tick you off without meaning to? Do certain people’s comments leave you feeling hurt (even though you’re sure they didn’t mean it)? You chalk it up to just the way it is or the way different relationship dynamics play out, but in truth, there’s probably more going on under the surface than you realize.

When you find yourself really bothered by something someone says or does, it’s a great opportunity to explore the deeper reasons why. As it turns out, your partner pissing you off by being on the phone, failing to replace the toilet paper roll, or making a joke at your expense isn’t about them being a “jerk.” It’s about the whole history of interactions that came long before they were even in the picture.

This realization may feel scary at first. We all want to believe we’re always in control of our feelings and emotions, no matter the situation, but we’re fooling ourselves. The reality is, a big portion of our personality—our likes, dislikes, beliefs, feelings, and reactions—are set long before we’re even aware of it. Much of this makeup, or what we call our “matrix” is formed when we’re very young.

So how does our matrix affect our relationship dynamics? How does it play into our romantic relationships and friendships? Does it really all come back to our relationship with our parents? Most importantly, can we change relationship dynamics?

How Our Early Experiences Affect Our Relationship Dynamics

Our past experience has a direct and complex effect on our present relationships. When we’re babies, our interactions with our parents shape and “wire” our brains. We depend on our parents for our very survival and to an infant, the mother is their entire world. This shapes us in many profound ways. The foundation of our matrix is laid down early on. This includes our beliefs about ourselves and our place within the world.

If we don’t decide to examine, explore, and change these beliefs, they will dictate our lives and behavior, including our relationship dynamics. If you’ve ever noticed your partners’ behavior ticks you off because it reminds you of your mother or father, this is an example of your matrix influencing your perception.

So, why can’t we just shut this off? None of us likes to believe that our feelings and beliefs might be beyond our control, right? Well, sometimes the memories and pieces of our makeup are unconscious. They’re so deeply buried in our core, we don’t even realize they happen.

Has someone ever just bothered you for seemingly no reason? Maybe you look back at the moment later and think, “what was that all about?” or “I don’t know why, but she just really bugs me.”

Interactions with others may trigger a series of feelings and emotions for reasons we can’t even understand. We may get hurt, angry, or sad because of the behavior of our partner or friends, but not completely understand why these feelings come up. Why do they piss us off so much? This is especially puzzling when little actions of others bother us but don’t seem to bother anyone else.

These early-instilled beliefs conscious and unconscious affect our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and actions. They even affect who we choose to pursue a relationship with.

You may find yourself inexplicably drawn to the “bad boy” or “good girl-next-door” for reasons that aren’t so clear. Or you may find yourself in an echo-chamber of friends with similar beliefs, backgrounds and tastes. Once in a while you meet a stranger that you just hit it off with—you click with certain people for reasons you can’t even explain.

These are all examples of how your matrix plays a part in how you interact with others, how close you allow them to get, how comfortable you are expressing your feelings, and even how you feel about intimacy.

So, does this mean we’re all doomed to feel irritated with our partners for unconscious reasons? Or we’re only going to get along with people who remind us (or don’t remind us) of our parent? No! Of course not.

We can’t do anything to change our past, but we certainly have control over the here and now. Not a single person had a perfect childhood (and if you think you did, you’re fooling yourself!). But how exciting is it that as adults, we can continue to fill in those gaps, grow, and evolve into our fullest potential? By identifying these lessons from our past, we can use it to form better, more dynamic relationships and deeper connections.

Understanding Implicit Memory

If our matrix began forming before we were even aware, how do we change it? How can we even know what it is?

Part of picking up where our childhood development left off is gaining an understanding of implicit memory.

This early matrix encoded in our neural circuitry works almost entirely within our implicit memory, which means it is outside of our conscious awareness. Implicit memories are stored sensations and feelings, which aren’t attached to an explicit event or memory in time. Early memories are formed before we have language, logical thought, or explicit recall (Siegel 2012a). Chances are you don’t remember exact incidents when your parent picked you up in your crib and reassured you as you cried or how often your diapers were changed, what you wore, how your mother smelled, the color of your bedroom, or what lullaby your father sang to you. It is only within the middle of our second year that we start to develop explicit memory where we remember specific incidents and details.
Why does all this matter? Because while implicit memories from the past are stored outside of our awareness, they arise in the present moment, and are masked by what we think we are experiencing in the current moment. Our matrix shapes our present experiences from the implicit foundation. When we are angry, panicking, or feeling deeply hurt, our present feelings often stem from our implicit memories, and we assume the present situation is causing our reaction.
When strong implicit memories are triggered, unbeknownst to us, childhood pain and fear comes raging to the surface. This may happen when you sense your partner isn’t there for you, for instance, and you don’t have a clue that you just activated a pain pocket from your matrix through an implicit memory. You think your charged emotional reaction is all due to your partner’s insensitivity, and while that is a trigger, the bulk of the charge is coming from the past.
The Heart of the Fight

To identify and examine the root of our feelings, in this case, our frustration or anger, we must look closer to figure out what’s triggered our reaction. Our partner may have done something insensitive or just plain crummy. Our feelings are validly hurt by their actions, but it’s important to recognize the hurt is often stemming from several places (not one insensitive misstep).

Express What You REALLY Want

We all know we want certain qualities in a relationship, but we may not understand why we want our partner or friends to act a certain way (and why it frustrates us so much when they don’t). For example, many of us feel frustrated when we can’t seem to get our partner’s attention, when they “phub” us in favor of their smart phones. Now, granted, there’s a lot to be said for putting down your phone and truly engaging, but do you ever ponder why it bothers you so much when someone brings out their phone at the dinner table?

When we’re interacting with someone else, we’re asking for their attention. We’re basically saying, “hey see me!” We want them to see us honestly, in the here and now. It’s a universal yearning many people share—to be seen, to connect, and to engage.

When our partner instead opts for their phone screen, our yearning isn’t being met. Consequently, we feel hurt. Now, it’s not up to them to meet all our yearnings. We are responsible for our own emotions and feelings. But we can certainly explore where our frustration and hurt is coming from so we can speak up and say, “Hey, I feel ignored and it’s hurting me. Put the phone down!”

As infants, we have a powerful desire to see and be seen. From those early moments, our very survival depended on getting attention (in this case from our mothers). When we didn’t get attention, we were triggered to cry and make our presence known. After all, we relied on our mother for food, safety, and our very existence.

Studies show that babies read emotion by looking at their mothers’ faces. When a mother is non-reactive, the baby cries even if the mother is there. We want acknowledgement, not simply a presence on the other side of the dinner table. We want to be seen! We want our existence known! We want our partner to look up from the screen and look into our eyes!

No wonder it gets under our skin when our partner scrolls through social media instead of engaging with us over the dinner table. By examining how these feelings started, we can better express our likes and dislikes. We can express our frustrations and ask that our partner acknowledge us and tell us they’re seeing us. We can ask that they listen to us and meet our yearning to be seen and heard. Often, a simple realization and request is all it takes.

When we examine the origin of our feelings, beliefs, and makeup—our matrix—we start to understand ourselves more completely. We can engage with others more clearly and improve our relationship dynamics with all those we interact with.

For more on improving your relationship dynamics, visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming Foundations weekend, where we’ll explore these topics in depth and help you build connections with others who are seeking to strengthen their relationships and maximize their potential. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.


Room to Move: A Journey in Creating a Responsible Team and a Self-Sustaining Culture

Is your team working independently to ensure the success of your organization?

Do they feel empowered to move independently? Do they want that authority and have they earned it?

These are many of the questions I’m asking myself as our foundation moves to its next level of development.

I have the privilege of coaching CEOs and top executives every week. As a transformational leader, I have the responsibility and opportunity to be constantly applying the things I coach others to do. Recently, my focus on my own executive coach has been looking at these questions myself.

In the Wright Model of Human Growth and Development, the sixth level focus is on the principle of responsibility. Responsibility is the principle whereby you create your reality. Its regressive aspect is superiority. Having lived with purpose, you learn more from others and can elevate yourself above others. Superiority is regressive because you only feel good in relation to others and not as an independent but dependent on being better than. In superiority, you spend more time focusing on the failure of others than on developing yourself. Once superiority is lived with enough responsibility, you move to the progressive aspect. This aspect is authority.

The principle of responsibility carries you from superiority to authority. Responsibility causes you to claim the gap between ideals and behavior as your own creation. You cease blaming or excusing and see yourself as the author of your own existence; there is no longer anyone to blame. You narrow the gap between your behavior and your stated ideals by living with authority. You do so in order to move closer and closer to living with full consciousness in connection to the source of all life.

As I’m looking to our organization moving forward, I have a focus on creating more room to move for our staff. I’m intentionally focusing on giving them the space they need to make decisions and move with them. At the same time, not all employees are at the same level of their own development. Some employees have worked diligently and have touched this level of authority, but other employees are still in Level Three, Reactivity to Authority. What I’m starting to see is that providing room to move for my team may be different for different individuals. For those working on their own personal responsibility and sharing in the outcomes of the business, they have a certain level of room to move. For others, they may still need to be working on being responsible to follow through on tasks provided and so the room they have to move is more narrow.

One of the organizations I have been working with lately is a global leader in technology, and they have built-in levels of responsibility within their organization where all individuals have the ability to contribute but depending on their level of responsibility and ownership this ability varies.

What about your team? Your organization? Yourself? Have you given individuals too much room to move who haven’t earned it yet? Or do you have employees who need more room to move and you need to loosen the reins?

I’d love to hear your experiences and thoughts. Comment below.

Want to learn more about the Wright Model of Human Growth and Development?
Download the free PDF from Dr. Bob Wright by clicking below.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.


Discovering the Potential
for Becoming Your Best Self

Inside each of you is unlimited potential for becoming your best self. For many people, this concept seems lofty or hard to reach.

Wondering how you can live your best life? Becoming your best self doesn’t happen overnight. Untap your potential and discover a life of greater joy and fulfillment.

I want to get in the best shape of my life by 40.

I want to retire debt-free by 50.

I want to have the best marriage, be the best friend, be a great parent…

We assign arbitrary markers and set open-ended life goals. But too often, that leaves us wondering, well, what’s next? Do we simply cross the item off our list? Do we sit back and rest on our accomplishments? Do we even know when we’ve attained our goal (what does the best marriage, career, or life even look like)?

People have been talking to me about my potential since I was a little kid. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times teachers said, “Bob needs to work up to his potential.”

In fact, the concept of potential was a bit nebulous to me. I had no intention of reaching my potential in school—why should I when I could get by with good enough? There was no internal motivation because as a youngster, I couldn’t see the reward. Why work harder only to reach my potential? What was the benefit?

Fortunately, as we get older many of us find more motivation to push ourselves toward goals. But are those goals really what encompasses our potential? Is running a marathon, buying a fancy car, or going on a great vacation the result of me really living up to my potential?

Since the time of the ancient Greeks, there has been a deeper concept of what becoming your best self really means. A life where we’re pursuing more knowledge, deeper connections, and greater understanding is thought by most to be a “quality life.” But how do we define a quality life for ourselves?

Benjamin Franklin once put together 13 basic precepts outlining the quality of his life. This personal mission statement gave him a clear path and vision he could follow. Writing a detailed description of his ideal life outlined his next steps—what areas he was excelling at and where he should focus his efforts.

Franklin was excellent and disciplined in his writing and clearly a principled man. The history of his life tells us the story of a man who was a scientist; creating bifocals, working with electricity, and being instrumental in the success of the US postal system. He clearly succeeded in living up to his potential.

The key to his great success wasn’t just that he set goals and articulated his vision. Of course, the goals helped guide him, along with the 13 precepts he used to guide him through the life he wanted to live. The biggest key to his success was that he surrounded himself with allies.

He gathered together a group of fellow entrepreneurs, thinkers, and great minds in a regular meeting. These people would give each other feedback on their various projects. They would question the direction and challenge ideas. These men acted as a sounding board for each other. They were allies. They pushed limits, challenged the government, and fostered progressive thought.

So, what can you learn from Benjamin Franklin on your path to becoming your best self?

We Are Creatures of Transformation

It is possible for us to become more than we ever thought possible. We can live beyond what we perceive to be our potential. We call this transformation. Each human is a naturally born transformer. We must learn to tap into our transformative potential.

When a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly, there is no new substance that’s introduced. It becomes a butterfly by growing from what it previously was. It transforms from the original form. Similarly, when we transform, we’re taking the form that is already inside us and using it toward our transformation.

Transformation requires discipline and learning. It requires that we listen to feedback and use the feedback to foster greater growth and self-exploration. Transformation requires engagement at a high level. We must connect with others in a way that’s real, true, and speaks to our yearnings.

Those people who are great transformers often evolve to fulfill their yearnings more successfully. This means they’ve spent time learning about themselves. They’ve explored their experiences, beliefs, and makeup. They know what drives them and they understand the longings, or yearnings of their heart. They understand how fulfilling these yearnings leads to greater satisfaction and fulfillment.

What are yearnings?

If you’re like most people, you know what you want. In fact, if pressed, you could probably rattle off a laundry list of wants: cars, houses, vacations, jobs, electronic devices, and so on. But when it comes to what you yearn for, you may draw a blank.
There’s something vaguely old-fashioned about the term. It has an Old Testament ring to it. Or it sounds like what a heroine in a Victorian novel might say as she stares out the window of her Gothic tower waiting for her lost love to return. As a result, you probably haven’t used “yearn” in a sentence recently. It feels awkward on your tongue, uncertain in your mind…and hardly the dynamic power a fuel of transformation.
When we talk of transformation, we are not talking about a formula but rather about something deeply personal that emerges from within—a unique, new you. Take a moment to reflect upon what you yearn for. Let your mind go blank and listen to your heart. Imagine if your soul had a voice and could articulate what it wants most in the world. Or, more simply, consider what you desire deeply, what would turn your good life into a great one.
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Learning to follow our yearnings is a powerful way to tap into our transformative potential. When we’re following our yearnings, we’re engaged. We have new experiences. We start to surround ourselves with those who challenge us, who push us toward becoming our best selves. This is the start to transformation.

As we discover new aspects of ourselves we share them with others. We will discover and identify where we have limitations, what areas we need to work on, what beliefs we need to challenge.

Even those of us who regularly work on self-discovery gain new insights all the time. Self-reflection allows us to look back on our own personal growth and realize how far we’ve come, how our growth has helped develop more positive, honest, and open relationships with those in our lives. We learn valuable lessons, like why we hold these relationships and how our deepest values have developed, leading us closer to the best version of ourselves.

This personal growth work—evolving—is a big deal. It begins with catching on to our deeper yearnings. We start to explore the reasons behind we say certain words or take certain actions. We identify our limiting beliefs and how we can overcome them.

During this process, surrounding ourselves with allies who challenge us and who hold us to keeping our actions in line with our personal principles is vital. We each have a vast, limitless potential inside and it’s up to us to work towards it.

If you’re wondering how to start becoming your best self, you’re already on the path. Explore the yearnings of your heart, surround yourself with allies, and align with your principles as you continue the process of transformation.

For more on living your best life, visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming Foundations weekend, where we’ll explore these topics in depth and help you build connections with others who are seeking to maximize their potential. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Writing a Classified Ad for
Your Ideal Life

Wanted: A life of fulfillment, adventure, and satisfaction.

Are you wondering how to live your ideal life? Ask yourself if you were writing a job description for your ideal life, what would it entail? Would you be the right candidate?

Imagine posting an ad for your ideal life to the classifieds; what would the life description say? What does your ideal life look like? If you were designing your ideal life, how would you construct it? What would you fill your time with in your ideal life? Who would you surround yourself with?

It’s an interesting and thought-provoking activity for most of us. This question, “How would you describe your ideal life?” is one we pose in many of our seminars and classes.

Seeking Your Ideal Life

When seeking your ideal life, there are two sides to ponder. First, what does that life look like? Think of your classified ad. How do you describe your best life?

For most of us, we wouldn’t design our life to include 2-3 hours of looking at our phones. It probably wouldn’t include the time we spend surfing the web, over-eating, shopping for items we don’t need, or many of the other activities that eat up our time.

We refer to these time-wasters as soft addictions: the activities we seek to fill our time, zone us out, and avoid the activities that truly nourish and sustain us. These soft addictions are often a very big part of our day-to-day lives, but yet, we certainly wouldn’t include most of them when we imagine our ideal life.

No, for most of us, our ideal life would include fulfilling activities, adventure, play, and joy. We would imagine ourselves as active participants in our ideal life—engaging with our friends and family, experiencing great conversation, and building stronger connections.

Perhaps you think of your ideal life as it pertains to your career. What does your ideal job description look like? Does it include 8-10 hours a day engaging in mediocre activities we don’t find stimulating or exciting?

No! Of course not. Your ideal day probably includes work that is meaningful and fulfilling. You probably imagine yourself doing a job that’s deeply satisfying. You imagine a career that you excel at, that also brings you happiness.

Are You the Right Candidate for Your Ideal Life?

On the second side of the ideal life description is another question to explore. If you were hiring for this ideal life you’ve just described, would you be the right candidate to fill the position?

Many of us have a vision of our life that we follow. We have an idea of what our life should look like—how we want it to be structured. Yet, when we picture that ideal life, how do we fit in? Are we able to carry out that vision based on who we are right now? Do your values align with your actions?

We worked with an international pharmaceutical firm a few years back, where this question was posited to the participants. The firm was seeing a lot of success at the high-performing c-level, but not company-wide success or satisfaction. They didn’t want to focus on the gaps between the levels of performance. They didn’t want to discuss the value gap. We adjusted the seminars, took them down a notch. Yet, still, they were still uncomfortable with this idea of fulfillment. They didn’t want to be confronted with themselves.

Even big Fortune 500 companies struggle with the question of what brings their employees fulfillment. In the Venn diagram of what’s ideal for the company and what’s ideal for the employee’s life, where is the overlap? How do they invest in what they want their employees to become?

It’s a tough question across the board. For many of us, when we really ponder this question, we might be surprised and even dismayed by the answer. Like the saying, “you should dress for your next promotion,” you should also be living for your next, greater version of your life.

To continue with the metaphor, imagine an intern on their first day of work. If they show up in a suit, looking polished and put together, it sends a message to their boss (and the rest of the office). “Notice me! I’m someone who cares about my performance. I pay attention to details. I’m ready to put in the effort!”

As a result, that intern often stands out and gets noticed (provided their performance does indeed match their polished appearance). They’re positioning themselves for a job offer and for the job they want, not the job they have.

Similarly, when we envision our ideal life, how are we positioning ourselves for the next steps? Are we learning and growing? Are we getting out there, engaging with others, and really jumping in? Do we avoid conflict and downplay our feelings? Do we see life as a playground where mistakes are simply opportunities for more learning? Are we mindful, present, and engaged in life, or are we living on the sidelines? Are we working to become our next, best self?

These can be tough questions to explore. Yet, if we really want to be the right candidate for our ideal life, we need to groom ourselves up to the right standards. We need to start living our lives in the way that’s intentional and deliberate. Our interactions and activities should be pushing us forward—toward the next hill, over, and beyond.

Living Your Ideal Life

I’ve been living intentionally and working toward my vision for years. Really, since an early age. Most of the world begins compromising. Most of the world is fixated on making the “right” decisions and following the “right” solutions.

In truth, the right solutions are actually B.S. There’s no right degree, right job, right relationship. The things many people think they want (or are supposed to want) aren’t the activities and decisions that will truly bring them satisfaction. There’s no formula for the perfect “ideal life.” What’s ideal for me might not be ideal for you, and that’s totally okay.

The only universal truth to an ideal life is that it brings YOU fulfillment. Your ideal life should satisfy your deepest yearnings.

I see many people who have a broken “wanter.” They imagine that as they go down the list, checking off the items they wanted to do, they will discover satisfaction. Yet, they aren’t really living the life they want to live. They may have achieved a magical solution—like having the right career to retire early, enough money to travel around the world, or an attractive partner to spend their time with. But hey still aren’t living the life they want.

One client I was working with recently couldn’t ascertain why he wasn’t pulling the trigger on his next big money-making acquisition. He knew it would make him serious money.

When we discussed the issues, he started to tell me how he has three grown children that won’t talk to him. He didn’t know why. He gave them everything that money could buy. He had been raised poor and swore his kids wouldn’t have to live the life of struggle that he had grown up with. Yet, the kids weren’t happy. He wasn’t connecting with others in his life either. He was lacking in relationships and close friends. He was wheeling and dealing in his business, but it wasn’t bringing him fulfillment in his life.

After a great deal of discussion, he decided against the acquisition. He didn’t want another business to turn around. Instead, he took an adjunct position teaching business to students. He began building the business he wanted to run. Even though it was less lucrative, he discovered more fulfillment. He started working on his relationships and engaging in some tough discussions with his adult children, realizing there were many actions and inactions in his life he needed to resolve. His values needed a shift.

Most people aren’t living to their higher values.

So, if you were designing your life from scratch, how would it be different? Would your body and health be different? Would you have different relationships? Would you make different career choices?

This isn’t an easy task. It means soul searching and taking a long, hard look at your current values. It means measuring your friendships and relationships against those values. If you’re ready to get “hired” for your ideal life, become the best candidate.

For more ways to get the life you want, visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming Foundations weekend, where we’ll explore these topics in depth and help you build connections with others who are seeking to maximize their potential. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Hire a Great Candidate:
Don’t Fall in Love with Your First Interview

Anyone who’s been through the hiring process knows it’s a challenge.

Want to hire a great candidate for you next job opening? Don’t make the mistake of getting attached to the first prospect who walks in the door.

If you want to hire a great candidate, there’s the screening, sorting through resumes, conducting interviews, and following up on references.

Hiring takes time. It’s tempting to fall in love with the first candidate who falls in the door, just to finish the search. Sure, they might be great—in fact, they may even be the right person for the job—but failing on due diligence sets you up for failure.

So, how do you hire a great candidate who will blend seamlessly with the culture of your company? It’s not difficult, but it means taking a step back and examining your hiring expectations and practices.

How to Hire a Great Candidate

As part of our blog series focused on entrepreneurs, we asked one of our Ph.D. graduates, Dr. Rich Blue to relate what happened to him during his recent hiring experience and how his coach helped him rethink his approach.

“My business was exploding and I needed to hire a new staff member.
Secretly, I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find someone who could meet all my needs. I went through the proven channels to attract qualified candidates. I had numbers of staff screen the applicants to identify those that were best qualified and who aligned with our values and culture.
Interviews with the most promising candidates were set up. After my first interview, I knew I had found the perfect new hire. What a relief!
Later that week, I met with my Executive Coach and extolled the attributes of my soon-to-be newest hire. I was expecting a round of applause and instead got a stiff correction. My coach confronted me for falling in love with the candidate without going through the whole interview and hiring process.
I was angry and hurt. Why couldn’t he just celebrate my good fortune?
Underneath, however, I knew he was right. I was operating from scarcity and wanted to be rescued from the process of finding and training my new hire. I was looking for a savior.
Instead, my hire was the first step on a long journey of human and professional development.”

There’s No Perfect Candidate!

Just like there’s no such person as “the one” in our relationships, there are no perfect job candidates. First, this realization should come as a relief, not as discouragement. After all, can you imagine the process that would go into search and hiring if there was only ONE candidate out there for you?

Instead, it’s important to realize every candidate will bring strengths and weaknesses to the table. If someone appears to be the perfect fit, check your perception again. Are you looking for a savior? Someone to take you away from the hiring process?

In the long run, it’s more important to follow the steps to hire a great candidate who’s trainable and growth-minded. Discovering a qualified candidate who’s willing to learn and grow is more important than finding someone with the perfect skillset.

Follow these tips to help you hire a great candidate:

  • Interview an abundance of qualified candidates.

Interview many before hiring one. Make the investment to find a pool of excellent applicants. When you take the time to interview several solid potential hires you will feel more confident when you find the individual you want to begin developing and training.

  • Know what you are getting into.

Identify the leadership challenge your new hire represents. In Dr. Blue’s case, his mentor was completely uninterested in the candidate’s amazing qualifications and life experience. Instead, his coach questioned the factors that would make the new hire a challenge to lead and manage.

  • Remember there is no savior.

The hiring process itself is like the wedding. Once the party is over, the work really starts. You have chosen your next employee, now the work of training begins. This individual represents a wonderful potential contributor to your team. Avoid the fantasy of thinking they will solve all your problems.

As an entrepreneur, you have tons on your plate. Often, you may also need to wear many hats in your company. This means you must act as the company leader, trainer, manager, and even HR director. It’s important to recognize you will also experience a learning curve with hiring new employees—don’t expect them to know the ropes overnight (and don’t expect you’ll lead them perfectly either).

Personality is Important: For EVERYONE

In many hiring situations, you must take the time to test drive the candidate. See what they can do and put them through the paces, so to speak. Let them show you where they need more training and leadership, as well as what they do well. It’s important not to let a new hire’s resume or experience dictate what they need in terms of training and leadership. Remember every company’s culture and environment is different.

Each employee will come with their own personality strengths which will blend (and sometimes clash) with others in the office. The real-world dynamic can’t always be determined until the honeymoon period is over and the employee has settled in. As relationships form, it’s important to continue to encourage dialogue and even conflict in your workplace. Remember conflict is a healthy part of the growth process and a vital part of deep, productive engagement.

Often, we’re tempted to lead from above—dictating what to do and expecting candidates to follow directions and “jump in.” It’s important to consider not only the logistics of the job but the personality dynamics and strengths at play.

For direction, consider using the C.A.R.E. Profile to help identify each person’s communication and work style. The C.A.R.E Profile identifies core communication styles: Cooperators, Analyzers, Regulators and Energizers. The profile will help you determine who works best together with your new hire.

Some members of your team may fit naturally as trainers (the cooperators and energizers), whereas others may focus on accuracy and be less patient during the new hire’s early days. Often, regulators and energizers with natural leadership qualities can help the new person learn the ropes. Analyzers are more suited to check work for accuracy and help ensure there’s no slack or gap during the introductory period.

Help Your New Hire Understand Your Company

Remember each company is unique. Even companies that do the exact same job may have completely different internal cultures. As the leader of your company, it’s important you identify where the new hire will need more direction.

It’s also a good time to remember your new hire may identify gaps in your company or organization. During the hiring process, you may see cracks in your process that need to be filled. You may realize there’s a lack of procedural knowledge, a shortage of cross-training, or a dearth of documentation.

Use the hiring process as a chance not only to groom and train your new candidate but as an opportunity to assess the strengths and challenges of your management style and leadership as well. Broadening your office population means there are more people to lead, more eyes on strategy, and new insights you haven’t considered. Listen to the new ideas from a fresh perspective.

If you want to hire a great candidate, it’s important to be a great leader. Don’t expect a candidate to be the perfect new hire. At the same time, realize you won’t always be the perfect employer either. Embrace this opportunity to grow and learn together as you move your company forward to the future.

For more on leadership and growth, please visit the Wright Foundation. We’re proud to offer many great resources for business, as well as wonderful networking opportunities. Don’t miss our courses and lectures, which are available for download at a special introductory price. Discover your potential today!

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.


Don’t Make These 3 Pricing Strategy Mistakes

Throughout our coaching, we meet with many entrepreneurs navigating their way through the business world.

Entrepreneurs, are you making mistakes with your pricing strategy? Here are three common business missteps to avoid during the pricing process.

While on their journey, we help entrepreneurs and executives adopt best practices to deal with the competitive economy. This week, we’ll address three common pricing strategy mistakes many entrepreneurs make.

Now, plenty of people struggle with identifying mistakes, especially in the entrepreneurial world where a great deal of confidence is required. As John C. Maxwell once said, “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.” As an entrepreneur, mistakes are part of the game and growing your self-awareness is critical.

To keep your business profitable, you’re doing whatever it takes to stay afloat. The truth keeping entrepreneurs up at night is that your clients have plenty of options to serve their needs. It’s up to you to offer them the best price and stay competitive. But this leads many entrepreneurs into a semi-existential crisis: what is the real worth of my product to the world? What about my business as a whole?

When customers are your boss, you may tie up a great deal of self-worth in pricing your product or service. After all, for entrepreneurs, it’s personal! But it’s also important to realistically consider the problem from all angles. When it comes to setting a price for your product or service, avoid these three mistakes or you’ll no longer need to hang your shingle.

Pricing Strategy Mistake #1: Not Enough Data

When establishing pricing for a product or service, many entrepreneurs don’t gather enough data to drive their price-setting decision.

It’s important to weigh all the factors involved in processing your product or service. Shipping costs, materials, and credit card charges add up quickly to strip you of profit. Don’t forget labor costs—not just for producing the product, but for promoting, advertising, and selling the product as well. Sales commissions and marketing costs also factor into your pricing strategy.

Gather and review market data as well: what does your competition charge? How much are customers and clients willing to pay? What’s the fair price in your market? Often, this information is readily available but requires legwork through data-gathering and analysis. This is well-worth the effort and investment because the data paints a clear picture of demand.

The other important datapoint to remember in your pricing strategy? The value of your time! Remember, your time comes at a cost, both professionally and personally. I’ve seen entrepreneurs run themselves ragged because they didn’t account for their own time and proper compensation. Your time is extremely valuable; don’t overlook it when you price out your product or service.

Pricing Strategy Mistake #2: Undervaluing Cashflow

It’s important you consider your profit target and how to keep yourself liquid as you generate revenue. This is often where entrepreneurs fail to see the forest for the trees. They get so bogged down focusing on their immediate profit margin that they become short-sighted.

Ask yourself, what profit do you need to generate from the product to grow your business to the next level? If your profit margin is too small, your business will fail to thrive. It takes money to make money, so don’t forget to look at the long-term plan for investing in the growth of your business.

A small profit margin means you won’t have the resources you need to keep your business trending upward.

Entrepreneurs often think they’ll compensate for this gap later, once sales increase and a customer base is established. The reality is, later never comes.

Your long-term strategy will impact how you structure your payment schedule as well. To improve cashflow, you must collect enough upfront or early in the project to cover for your costs. Cashflow is vital to the long-term health of your business. Remember, if you borrow to fund a project, it often costs you more money in the long term.

Pricing Strategy Mistake #3: Failing to Create Additional Value

What value can you add to your product or service that isn’t price-dependent? It’s common to focus only on offering the lowest-priced option out there. The cheaper-is-better myth is a common entrepreneurial-mindset leading to trouble. Always remember, customers and clients buy based on factors outside of price.

Look at the car industry, for example. If cost was the only factor, everyone would drive a Nissan Versa. But consumers don’t buy cars based only on price. They consider size, reliability, performance, brand status, style, color, and many other factors before they purchase. In fact, price is usually a much lower factor on the car-buyer’s value list.



Often, entrepreneurs believe they must offer the lowest priced option because they don’t hold the value of what they offer. They also may slip into this mindset because they’ve failed to creatively brainstorm ways to add value to their product or service.

When estimating value, consider:

  • What is unique about your product versus your competitors’ products?
  • What does your brand offer that sets it apart?
  • What value does your product or service offer beyond price?
  • How will you clearly communicate this added-value to prospective clients?

Wondering how you get this information? Get out there and talk to your prospective clients and customers! Many entrepreneurs are so single-mindedly focused on innovation and product development, they fail to engage with their consumer base and get to know them.

Ask your customers about their problem. Listen to their concerns and what they value about the product or service you provide. Brainstorm ways to solve their concerns better than anyone else and include those methods in your value proposition. Encourage customers to confide in you because you know how to help them. Become their trusted advisor. When this happens, customers won’t think twice about paying more for your product or service.

If you’ve already made one (or more) of these mistakes, it’s not the end of the world. Mistakes are simply a chance to learn. Take the opportunity to steer your ship back on course. This week, set aside time to review your pricing policies. Consider your long-term growth and projections.

Focus on the value you’re bringing to customers and clients. How will your product or service improve their life? As an entrepreneur, your innovation skills and visioning are strong. Consider how to convey the worth of your product or service to the customer in your pricing strategy and you’ll keep them coming back for more.

To learn more ways to improve your business and your life, please visit the Wright Foundation. We’re proud to offer many of our lectures and courses for download at a special introductory price. Learn how to get ahead in business, build your relationships, and create the life you want to live!

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.


Insight for Entrepreneurs:
Sales Is Service

I’m often asked for the secret to becoming great at sales. How do you close deals? How do you win people over and what’s the trick to getting them to say, “yes?”

Entrepreneurs, do you want to be better at sales? Sales is service! Shift your mindset to remember you’re helping customers solve a problem.

At the very core, selling is an act of service. Salespeople are offering customers a solution to their problem. Sales means helping someone fulfill a need. Entrepreneurs are all about solutions. Remember: solving a problem is an act of service.

How many of us think sales is service? Most of us think sales are the opposite. We imagine the cliché of the Glengarry Glen Ross salesman: the guy who’s “always closing,” who’s chasing leads, who’s ruthless in getting the deal.

But to truly become great at sales, you’re required to become the antithesis of the “used car dealer” stereotype. Truly great salespeople know that to win people over, you need to spend less time convincing and more time discovering. Spend less time talking, more time listening. Less time swaying and more time engaging.

Service and Love: At the Core of Sales

When I think of sales and service, it calls to mind the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said, “Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

You don’t need to hold an MBA to become a great salesperson. Industry training and knowledge aside, to be really great at sales, what you need is to build up high emotional intelligence.

At the heart of sales is service. Every invention, idea, and concept are created to solve a human problem. When you’re an entrepreneur, you may feel you’re simply attempting to get people onboard—to convince them to “give” you their business.

But if you step back and really consider it, you’re giving your customers a gift as well. You’re giving them a solution to their problem. You’re helping them resolve an issue they’re facing.

The best sales people realize it’s their role to serve. Their prospects and clients are real people to them – not simply a potential closed deal. They take the time to get to know who they are. They understand their hearts, they empathize and recognize their intentions.

Truly exceptional sales leaders help people solve problems or achieve goals – whether that means recommending a good dentist or selling a service. It’s that love of humanity and desire to better the lives of others that exists in the heart of every great salesperson.

Why Entrepreneurs Fear Selling

I speak to many entrepreneurs who seem to forget sales are an integral and vital part of their business model. Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean simply being inventive and forward thinking. You might be a genius at product development and business logistics, but if you can’t sell your concepts to the right people, success is nearly impossible.

Being an entrepreneur means learning to sell. Whether your company can afford to hire a sales team or you are a one-person operation, the buck stops with you. When you’re the leader, you must learn to share ideas and get people on board.

Yet, many entrepreneurs balk at the very idea of sales. They avoid selling and even actively rally against it. Why? Perhaps they feel their ideas and products should sell themselves (in truth, even the greatest ideas and solutions need to be enthusiastically shared), or perhaps they cringe at becoming the cliché “typical salesperson.”

What’s often holding back entrepreneurs from making sales? Fear.

Entrepreneurs may fear rejection of their ideas. After all, for entrepreneurs, business is personal—this is your concept, your product, your invention. Your blood, sweat, tears, and hours of hard work went into your company, and requesting buy-in puts you in a position of vulnerability. You could be rejected.

You may find yourself falling into a scarcity mentality, where you believe there’s not enough success to go around. You may doubt the merit of your ideas or fear what you’re offering isn’t good enough. This is called a fixed mindset, as opposed to a growth mindset.

Yet, growth is often part of the entrepreneurial spirit. An entrepreneur embraces challenges, seeks and learns from feedback, looks at other’s success as inspiration, and persists even in the face of setbacks. A growth mindset is a core part of innovation and entrepreneurship. These same traits are also at the heart of great salespersonship.

Shift Your Mindset: Sales is Service

If you’re ready to test the idea that sales is service, conduct an experiment. Imagine you’re taking on the role of Director of Sales for your company or organization. In this role, everyone you meet is someone you are meant to help in some way.

Perhaps the way you’re meant to help them is by selling your product or service. You could also be meant to help in another manner as well. Every time you meet a new person over the next week, think: How can I help them? How can I be of service to them?

This sales as service approach will change the way you interact with prospects. You’ll notice your questions become more pointed and personal. Your engagement becomes deeper, more genuine, and more heartfelt.

You may also find you’re listening more intently. If you know you’re meant to help every person you meet, you immediately begin listening with your heart. You’ll start to embrace a greater purpose and meaning behind your interactions. After all, it’s no longer just to make a sale or close the deal. It’s to help better a life. Perhaps there’s a product or service involved, or maybe helping them involves something else. The point is to embrace the larger vision of serving others.

When we embrace the sales is service mentality, our jobs become infinitely more interesting and exciting. You may feel yourself more enlivened, engaged, and excited about your job. Often, this shift in mentality will transform your view of sales as drudgery to the most exciting part of your job!

If you want to improve your sales skills, shifting your mindset is the first place to start. Look for new opportunities to practice and grow your salespersonship. Learn to engage with others, listen, and embrace the idea that sales is service!

Discover more steps to success at the Wright Foundation. Learn to improve your life and the lives of those around you. Join us for an upcoming networking event. Don’t miss the opportunity to download many of our courses and lectures at a special introductory price. We have great resources to help you live your best life and unlock your potential.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Why Am I Afraid to
Ask for a Raise?

If you want to ask for a raise at work, you may find yourself filled with some apprehension…and for good reason.

Are you wondering how to ask for a raise or promotion at work? There are a few questions to explore before you meet with your boss.

Asking your boss for a raise implies you believe you aren’t being fairly compensated for the work you’re performing. It means you’re literally assigning a dollar value to your performance, which is often an extremely nerve-wracking experience.

In saying you deserve a raise or promotion, you’re also sending the message to your boss that you are worth more than you’re being paid. This puts you in the vulnerable position of learning the hard truth about how your performance is viewed.

The first question to ask yourself before approaching your boss is: have you really earned the raise?

The Way We Ask for a Raise Has Changed

Many times, the fear we feel has to do with our own perceived inadequacies. The way we ask for a raise has changed since our parents and grandparents were in the workforce. Today’s workforce, particularly the youth, often feel entitled to a raise with less effort than ever before.

Today’s workers may feel they deserve to earn more money or receive a promotion. Why? Because they’ve earned it? No, because someone else in their department received a raise or because they hit an arbitrary time marker (six-months, a year, three years) and feel they deserve the next step. When this is the case, there’s no wonder the “ask” is fraught with fear.

The workforce has changed greatly over the last few decades and not only because of technology. Those who were raised by WWII parents or Depression-Era parents were raised in households where we were constantly inundated with fear, survival, and scarcity. After all, our parents had been through a war and understood what extreme poverty and scarcity was like.

As time moved on, life moved more and more toward the cities. People experienced a greater wealth than ever before. While savings became more common, so did debt. Prior to the 1950s and 60s, few people would even consider a mortgage. Now, it’s very rare to find someone who buys a house outright.

With this change also brought a changing labor market. Women became an integral part of the workforce. Teenagers no longer worked on the farm until adulthood and then carried on their parents’ legacy. Now they were expected to enjoy their youth and attend college before starting their career and family. While some aspects of this social change brought stability, other aspects caused a shift in values.

Baby Boomers and now Generation X and Millennials face more kinds of job opportunities than were ever imagined before. You are no longer doomed to follow in your parents’ footsteps.

If your father was a carpenter or worked in a mill, it’s no longer your destined career path. With the Boomers generation, came a wave of people earning more money than their parents did.

This set the expectation that we deserve to earn more money than our parents. We believe we’re supposed to get incremental raises. Our salary is supposed to continue to move along an upward trajectory. In our parents’ and grandparents’ generation, the goal was to earn your age in thousands; a 40-year-old making $40,000/year was considered highly successful. Now, $40,000 is often a low starting salary in most industries—suited for someone who just walked out with their diploma.

The current workforce has the expectation of making more money than their parents. In fact, they feel as though they should be paid more money by right. But many of them haven’t developed the needed skills, nor have they resolved the fears involved in asking for a raise, presenting, and displaying their value to the company. They’re under enormous pressure from their parents, and society in general, because that’s the view they were raised with; yet they can’t overcome their fear of asking.

When is the Best Time to Ask for a Raise?

Studies of the workplace and compensation show that the best time to negotiate your salary is when you begin a job. While this may seem disheartening, it makes sense. For most employers, salary and compensation is set at the least amount to elicit the maximum performance. You have the most flexibility when your potential boss is getting you to sign on. Beyond your start date, you’ve already agreed to work for a certain range. You’ve assigned yourself value.

But of course, many people take a job with the expectation of incremental and cost of living raises throughout their career. They may also hope for promotions and growth within their job as they work their way up the ladder. With each step on the rung, it’s safe to assume you can negotiate a higher salary.

An interesting phenomenon that’s quite common among today’s employees is that the people who ask for a raise are often not the ones who “deserve” it. Many times, those who push themselves harder and set broader higher goals are constantly measuring their performance. They may not feel they’re entitled to a raise, because they still see themselves as stretching to reach their next goal or milestone.

Not in all cases of course, but in some, employees overrate their performance and expect a raise. If their extra performance was notable, their boss would have compensated them for it. Of course, there are bosses who are clueless, stingy with raises, or who leave salary to HR.  In these cases, a request is often necessary (let’s face it, most bosses won’t notice your frustration with compensation unless you bring it up).

If you feel your performance merits a raise or a promotion, you should document your value to the company in measurable data. How many new accounts have you brought in? How many new duties did you take on? If you’ve been engaged in professional development, and how are you applying your learning to your job? How are you taking the company’s vision and making it your own?

In short, look at the value you’re bringing to the job. Not your longevity in the position and certainly not what those around you are earning (unless you feel there’s discrimination or an HR issue that needs greater attention). Have you earned the raise, or do you simply want the raise?

Why Asking for a Raise is a Vulnerable Position

After exploring and documenting your value, your fears should be alleviated. If you’re still apprehensive about asking for the promotion, it’s time to address what’s going on inside of you that’s getting in the way of asking for the raise.

If you’re asking for a raise, it means you think you’re worth more than you’re being paid. Your boss has the right to ask you, “Okay, what makes you think you’re worth more? Why should I pay you more or give you the corner office?”

This puts us in a vulnerable emotional position. Our feelings could easily be hurt. After all, what if we’re not deemed as valuable as we’re perceiving ourselves to be?

Different personalities may also view the situation differently. Those who are outgoing and enthusiastic may see their presence as a blessing to the organization. They may easily believe they deserve more and are quick to talk it up. While this type of energy is often noticeable, many employers will also want to see a strong follow through to back up this value. The challenge for this personality is to learn how to offer up the proof to their request.

Other less verbal, less outgoing personality types may struggle more with the idea of asking for a raise. Those who are more supportive and who prefer to take a behind-the-scenes role, often struggle to appreciate their own value. To ask for a raise they must be driven by a very strong personal need. While this is a good impetus for examining your value to the company, most employers will need to know more about what you plan to do for the company than what the raise will do for you personally. Make your case, focusing on your indispensable value to the organization rather than focusing on how you need the additional compensation.

Goal-oriented individuals often think there’s another hoop they need to go through to get their raise, and they’ll only act on a certainty. They’ll ask for a promotion when they know they’ve fully earned it. Similarly, careful, analytic types often have extremely low-risk personalities, and they’re typically so buried in their work they may not even think about the raise at all. Again, only if they’re driven by a strong personal need will they muster up the courage to make the request. This is where their analytical personality will help them document their performance.

Depending on your personality type, you may find the conversation more difficult and intimidating. It’s important to always bring your focus back to the main question. Do I deserve a raise? Has my performance merited a promotion?

If the answer is no or you still aren’t certain, ask yourself what personal goals you should set to bring you to a comfortable place. Do you need additional training? Professional development? A higher sales goal?

On the other hand, if the answer is yes, you do feel your performance merits a promotion or raise, and you’ve explored the question thoroughly, you may way to practice the conversation with a trusted ally. Go through the documentation and present your case. Troubleshoot worst-case scenarios. What will you do if your boss says no? How will you handle any additional work requests or duties contingent on your new position?

Once you’ve examined the topic openly and honestly, you’ll feel less fear moving forward. Asking for a raise is a vulnerable position, but if you are truly performing well you’ll feel more confident. Focus on learning and growing in your position each day. Take on new tasks and opportunities to push yourself further in your career.

For more on how to maximize your potential at work, visit the Wright Foundation. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures. Explore our courses, or join us for an upcoming free networking event to learn more.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.


Learning and Growing with the Assignment Way of Living

Many people realize the concept of personal growth and learning is an important component of fulfillment and living an exceptional life.

Are you looking for ways to continue learning and growing in your career and personal life? The assignment way of living is a unique approach to discovering greater fulfillment every day.

Yet, time and time again, I meet with individuals who admit they have no clear path or concept of what it means to be learning and growing.

Now, of course, we all know what learning and growing mean. We take classes, we engage in professional development opportunities…heck, we even download apps on our phone to teach us new life concepts like how to meditate, “train our brain,” or learn a new language.

But are these learning opportunities enough? Is this really bringing us the personal growth and fulfilling life we’re seeking?

The Wright Way of Learning and Growing

One of the biggest challenges we face is helping people maximize their quality of life. This may mean helping them learn ways to reduce stress. It could mean helping them discover the path to moving forward with their career. It may also mean helping them navigate their connection with their partner and figuring out how to grow in their relationship. For many, it’s simply becoming all they could become.

No matter what the ultimate objective, it comes down to helping people learn and grow. We define learning as discovering new concepts and increasing your knowledge. In short, it’s knowing what you didn’t know before.

Growing is the change you make from what you’ve learned; learning is gaining knowledge to facilitate growth.

For many of us though, we grew up and passed through a school system focused on simply regurgitating facts and “correct” answers. Schools often view students as empty receptacles for knowledge to be poured into. Unfortunately, this system was originally designed on the conveyer belt model of factories: producing students, not developing their human potential.

So, when faced with a new student at the Wright Foundation, our first job is to help them overcome the various and sundry traumas of their upbringing, whether they’ve succeeded in their education or not. In fact, it’s often those who succeeded in school who are more difficult to help. Those who fit into the school system, received high marks, great board scores, and understand the metrics of test-taking, often have a harder time with the creativity and freedom of exploration that comes with lifelong learning. They’ve become hypnotized by a system that’s turned them into perfect test-takers, not experiential learners.

I’m reminded of a recent meeting we had with a fabulously successful entrepreneur and business leader. This gentleman also serves on our board and had the opportunity to address our graduate students. He was so moved and inspired by the methodologies we use in our University, to engage our students.

At the Wright Graduate University for the Realization of Human Potential, we focus on inspiring and teaching people to continue learning and growing during every minute of their lives.
We call this the assignment way of living.

In the meeting, our friend was watching our students with great awe. In our teamwork, we use a great deal of feedback. There’s often a lot of excitement and animation going on within our teams: resolving arguments, using the rules of engagement, coming up with creative solutions to problems. Our teams often vote between different resolutions. There’s no tenure. Students don’t get a job they can rest on; they’re constantly moving, shifting responsibility, and facing new opportunities.

We teach our students that conflict shouldn’t be avoided but embraced. When discussing hot-button topics, there is often argument but it’s constructive. Students learn when conflict is approached with good faith, it often evolves into a greater solution.

Growth is an Ongoing Process

Learning and growing isn’t an activity that takes place through your college years and then ends. No! It’s a lifelong process each of us should embrace each and every day.

One of our brightest and most excited students was a fellow in his 80s. He came to a weekend with his daughter and was so enthralled with the program he brought his wife back and they both signed up for our year of transformation classes.

Each day, he was delighted to stay after class and discuss his discoveries with me. His wife broke patterns she’d been living since her childhood. In fact, she started standing up to him and going for what she wanted! Their marriage grew stronger and their connection grew deeper. They discovered new connections with their children and families as well.

This gentleman ended up passing away a short time after completing the program, but his family reported thanks to the discoveries made during the year of transformation, he experienced more fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction in his final year than he had ever before. It is never too late to learn new lessons and discover our potential.

Understanding the Assignment Way of Living
When you’re on a transformational path you achieve more, you feel more, you experience more. No one is bored on this path. So much novelty and challenge exists when you transform that every day feels like an adventure. And while great, traditionally celebrated events happen because you’re on this path—job promotions, marriage, kids, travel—you are also on a journey of inner discovery.
Be aware, too, that this is an ongoing process. What we mean is that you don’t just benefit when you reach a goal, but you benefit over and over again. Too often people make significant changes, in their lives, feel good about their accomplishments, and then unthinkingly slide back into pre-change behaviors. They aren’t vigilant about change and thus can’t sustain the gains they’ve made.  The Transformed! process doesn’t allow that to happen. It requires transformation to become a way of life.
The benefits of transformation, then, are large and small, external and internal, focused and multifaceted, daily and for the rest of your life. And then there’s the benefit of taking action. At Wright, a personal and professional development organization and graduate institute, we refer to the “assignment way of living,” and by that we mean that our students are expected to act on what they learn, to practice new behaviors, to try new things, to be willing to take risks. The most common complaint about traditional seminars is that they end and the results are neither sustainable nor cumulative. Still, others complain that traditional therapy is all talk, though, and no action. As much as we believe in the value of reflection, meditation, and dialogue, we know that you have to take what you reflect meditate, and dialogue on into the world.
Sean, the Chief Information Officer for a global financial firm and one of our students in his first quarter of study, best expressed the benefit of making consistent small changes at a high velocity:
“I’m finding myself flowing with life and not holding so much anxiety. I’m not spending as much time worrying about the thing I need to do, I’m just doing it. I feel I am starting to get better at changing my behavior on the fly. The little changes make such a huge difference, and the more I can make these changes, the more powerful I become. I am feeling joy in this.”
Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living

Using the assignment way of living means seeking challenges. We encourage students to assignments to stretch and help them grow. Remember, growth isn’t easy. In fact, there are times when growth is even painful, but with the pain comes transformation. It’s not comfortable and actually, the discomfort indicates it’s working!

If you’re shy, for example, you may want to pick a simple assignment to speak up. If you’re afraid of making mistakes and veer toward perfectionist tendencies, allow yourself to mess up. If you’re a lone ranger, ask people for help. Of course, these may all be daunting prospects! Staying in your comfort zone often feels easier. Unfortunately, it also leads to stagnation.

But when you take on the assignment you experiment with a new pattern. You begin to recognize the feelings arising when you break out of your comfort zone. Do you feel fear? Do you find yourself offering up explanations or making excuses? Do you go into the situation assuming people don’t want to give you what you want? In these reactions is the profound field of data. If this data is used correctly, it becomes the tool of transformation.

Each day and in each situation, embrace a new assignment to challenge your limiting beliefs and mistaken perceptions. Explore the possibilities and celebrate each new success.

We’re all living our own life project. It’s important we take each opportunity to grow, discover more meaning, and seek greater fulfillment. It’s never too late to grow and transform our life into the life we want to live!

For more ways to push past your limiting beliefs, visit the Wright Foundation website. Join us for an upcoming Foundations weekend, where we’ll explore these topics in depth and help you build connections with others who are seeking to maximize their potential. We also want to announce the availability of many of our courses for download. Don’t miss out on the special introductory price for many of our courses and lectures.

About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.