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Working and Career

Prescription - Overcoming dysfunction

October 5, 2011 6:48am (EDT)
Prescription - Overcoming dysfunction
Prescription - Overcoming dysfunction

“Am I dysfunctional?” How many of us have asked ourselves that question? That has been our theme this month. Simply put, if you continue to relive the same unpleasant patterns over and over again in your life (Ex: you consistently have co-worker issues regardless of the job, you’ve never gotten along with any of your bosses throughout your career, you’ve been fired more than a few times, you have a long history of failed personal relationships, etc…) and you are the only common denominator, it’s time to look in the mirror. There comes a time when the answer lies within.

Diagnosing the Problem

The first step to any treatment is diagnosing the problem. Way back in my clinical days, when we were assessing a patient we would always ask: “is this person in danger of hurting him/herself or in danger of hurting others?” If the answer was “yes,” we had to step in. As you consider your unique dysfunctions and what they might be costing you at work and in life, consider this version of that very same question:

“Are my beliefs and actions costing me from having the life I want… and am I hurting others along the way?”

To that end, here is a work/life dysfunction quiz for you. Note how many times you answer “yes” to the statements below. Oh, and one more important point before you get started, be gut-level honest with yourself. After all, you’re the one who has to live with you!

Am I Dysfunctional? – QUIZ:

1. The number of hours I work each week equals or exceeds 80 hrs.

2. I’ve been fired for the same reason 3 times or more.

3. I never like to stay in the same place (either town and/or company) for more than 3 years. I’ve got to keep moving.

4. I don’t tell other people “no.” I have a difficult time setting boundaries and have a tendency to over commit.

5. I don’t trust anyone I work with… ever. People will eventually turn on you so it is best to always stay on guard.

6. I have a history of poor personal relationships because of my work getting in the way AND/OR I’ve been divorced 3 times or more.

7. My workplace reminds me of my family dysfunction growing up. I’m repeating unhealthy life patterns in the kinds of work environments I choose AND/OR I’m attracted to dysfunctional work environments.

8. I don’t trust myself and my decisions – ever. I’m always second-guessing myself.

9. I have a tendency to stay in one place, one role, and one relationship too long.

10. I have to win at all costs. If you’re not first, you’re last (thank you Ricky Bobby).

The Treatment Plan

Regardless of your particular flavor of dysfunction, the treatment is always the same – Self-Acceptance. “Huh” you say? “What is he talking about?” Let me explain. Whether your particular dysfunction is any of the following:

  • You are a workaholic
  • You are attracted to the “shiny”
  • You have a difficult time trusting others
  • You have a difficult time setting boundaries
  • You don’t trust yourself
  • You are constantly looking for approval
  • Etc…

It always tracks back to the same thing: not believing you are enough. One of my mentors, Len has a beautiful saying, when we are at our healthiest and best, we hold in our minds “I’m enough in my limitedness.” We believe that we are enough even though we are not perfect. We are comfortable that we can not only set healthy boundaries with others, but we can also be intimate with them and trust them. We can keep ourselves safe. We don’t believe that our self-worth is tied up in fancy titles, shiny companies or pats on the head. We have value because we are who we are. This frees us to live the life and have the impact that we've always dreamed.

So, while I could go on and on about all of the little things you could be doing every day, at the end of the day it boils down to believing that you are as wonderful, as beautiful, as powerful as I know you can be.

Accepting and loving yourself for you who are is the first and most important step to overcoming any dysfunction.

Are you ready?

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