LEADER’S FIELD GUIDE
According to the American Psychiatric Association, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a “psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.” With all due respect to those who have suffered much more, I think hard-working professionals can also experience traumatic events in the workplace. This could include an interaction with a co-worker, 16-hour days while traveling away from home, or intense responsibility for the financial success of an entire organization.
Even football players, known for living out childhood dreams while making millions of dollars, experience traumatic experiences. Here’s what we heard from two professional players:
“I’ve been stuck in this process. I haven’t been able to live the life I want to live. …When I played in pain and was unable to regularly practice, I made a vow to myself that I would never go down that path again.” ~ Andrew Luck, Former NFL Quarterback (8/2019)
“I had countless injuries and nine surgeries, which took an absolute beating on my body and my soul. I was hurt both mentally and physically day in and day out. I decided to walk away from the game.”~ Rob Gronkowski, Former NFL Tight End (8/2019)
Let’s unravel four misconceptions that set leaders up for traumatic experiences:
- Suffering ≠ Work Ethic: Though circumstances differ, dedication in the workplace should not equate to a constant and intense regiment of “soul and pain management.” Escapism, seeking distraction and relief from unpleasant realities, only masks the issue and causes problems of its own. A good work ethic is necessary, but suffering doesn’t improve the outcome.
- Pride ≠ Identity: Pride is the belief that we should be able to handle extreme work environments and expectations (which we, ourselves, often define). Yes, we are smart enough, strong enough, and dedicated enough to handle challenging situations, but that doesn’t define our identity or make us more worthy.
- Greed ≠ Career Strategy: “Golden Handcuffs” are highly prized compensation packages or benefits designed to retain employees. It is very tempting to feel stuck in a role or organization and yet we know money isn’t everything. Eventually, we must evaluate the advantages and liabilities of the situation and create a personal strategy.
- Survival Mode ≠ Forever Mode: There are seasons of difficulty in every career, short periods of time when phrases like: “Suck it up, Buttercup!” and “If you’re not crying, you’re not working,” are actually inspiring. However, there are also times when we must formally define the root cause of harmful patterns, determine what will be different, and commit to an alternate path.
Though football fans were shocked by Luck’s retirement, I wager it did not surprise those close to him during his four-year “injury-pain rehab cycle.” It takes a lot of courage to make a change that is both unexpected and financially or logistically impactful. It also takes a lot of reflection and planning to break down old survival patterns and create new habits for freedom. Setting boundaries and trusting yourself to stay within those boundaries becomes the next challenge. But, remember, we are smart enough, strong enough, and dedicated enough!
Please seek support if you or someone you know may be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
— Join a Synergy Group where we will discuss what the
Bible says about Survival Mode. —
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michelle Sugerman (PMP, PCC) is a speaker, author, and leadership coach with Leading Synergies. She hosts global masterminds, called Synergy Groups, for REALLY BUSY Christians leading with powerful confidence and humble hearts. She works with high-performing leaders focused on organizational effectiveness by refining strategy, inspiring teams, and delighting clients. Michelle specializes in the areas of information technology, project management, franchise management, and business as mission. Michelle lives in Colorado where she hikes fourteeners and enjoys gourmet meals with her loving husband of 22 years.
SYNERGY GROUP MEETING
Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works. And let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us encourage one another with words of hope. Let us do this even more as you see Christ’s return approaching. ~Hebrews 10:24, 25
Welcome (~5 Minutes)
At the beginning of each meeting:
- Open in prayer to get focused.
- Welcome new guest(s) to the Synergy Group.
- Provide short introductions (end with guests).
- Share a brief summary of high-points from the Leader’s Field Guide (above).
Leadership Development (~15 Minutes | 00:05)
Be prepared to share from professional experience and ask follow-up questions.
- Which of the four misconceptions stood out to you the most: Suffering ≠ Work Ethic, Pride ≠ Identity, Greed ≠ Career Strategy, or Survival Mode ≠ Forever Mode?
- Where in your work could you make a courageous decision to create new habits, set boundaries, and/or trust yourself?
Spiritual Growth (~15 Minutes | 00:20)
Apply Biblically-based and Christ-centered principles to your work and responsibilities.
- Read Psalms 62:8: Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. (ESV)
- In what areas do you trust yourself more than you trust God?
- What areas of your work do you want to surrender to Him?
Report, Praise, Prayer, & Goal (~15 Minutes | 00:35)
Let us know how you did on your goal from last week. Discuss recent successes and current business needs. Share what you are grateful for and request insight, collaboration, or help with accountability. Include a goal for next week based on your discoveries today! Prayer is an important part of seeking him first (Matthew 6:33). Some groups share a list after each meeting; then update one another throughout the week! Pray together now and for each other during the week.
Networking (~5 Minutes | 00:50)
Share announcements and make professional connections. You are invited to connect via LinkedIn and offline, too!
Challenge (At Home)
This upcoming week, strengthen your relationship by reading about, praying with, and listening to God.
- Read Proverbs 22:3: The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. (NIRV)
- What could be seen as danger or become dangerous in your work?
- If you “keep going,” what penalty or penalties could you pay?
- Who else or what else might suffer?
- What does it mean to take refuge?
- Define prudent.
- As you reflect on your answers above, how can you be most prudent going forward?
Leading Solutions for Leading Business • www.LeadingSynergies.com
Please share the Synergy Group Agenda with Guests and Members.