Aspire for More with Erin

How to Win Even When You Feel Like You are Losing

August 31, 2023 Erin Thompson
Aspire for More with Erin
How to Win Even When You Feel Like You are Losing
Show Notes Transcript

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Hi, all welcome back to the aspire for more with Erin podcast. I of course. I'm Erin. Today, we're going to talk about beauty from the ashes. Right. How to not put a period in phases of our life that require a comma. I learned that phrase one Sunday morning at church from my pastor and it just lit a fuse inside of me. In explaining that phrase, he gave us examples. Biblical examples of people who have been betrayed. People who have been in the fire, people who have gone through hell and back in their lives that overcame and became the best version of themselves. We all go through those times in our life where we wonder, like, how the heck did we just get here? Or what happened? How did I find myself here? Why wasn't I chosen there? The relationship that we're in Fizzles out. The divorce happens. The termination happens, the promotion that we wanted didn't happen. All of these examples are devastating life altering things that can happen to us. That can keep us where we are, or that can propel us to the version of our future self that we want. And I'm going to give you examples. In my life of Embarrassing stories and inspiring stories. And ways to reframe your negative experience, to turn it into one of the most pivotal and inspiring moments of your life. So that's my goal. So let's get started. We're going to talk about little Erin. Little nine-year-old Erin. And sixth grade Erin. So the first example that I have in my sports world. In the younger version of Erin is two stories that really shaped my life and the feelings have stayed with me. Until today. And now I'm able to reframe those feelings in a more healthy and positive way, but here's where they started. And nine years old, I began swimming. And if you don't know anything about a swim team at nine years old, you have to swim two laps of a pool, 50 yards or 50 meters. So. I had no experience going into it. So as a nine-year-old, I had to learn and become good enough to be able to swim competitively two lengths of the pool. I am not a naturally gifted in coordination. So it takes me a little bit of time to. Get things that sometimes other people can get right away. So I was entered into one race. For that our first swim meet, but they lost my card. And I had to swim the butterfly stroke, which is not a stroke that I was strong in. And if you know anything about the stroke, you have to do a butterfly kick and the arm stroke, both arms have to come out at the same time. So it takes a lot of coordination of your upper body and your lower body. And your head has to come out to breathe. Anyways. I Did not have that stroke down. That was not the stroke I was supposed to swim. Our first swim meet was at a coast guard pool, which the pool was in meters instead of yards. So the length was longer. And I was the person who said, okay, I'll do it. And I did it. And it was. One of the worst experiences of my life. I was choking. I was crying. I think the goggles that I had had water in them, I touched the bottom of the pool, which automatically disqualified me. I didn't do the two handed touch that butterfly requires that the turn and that disqualified me as well. So when that minute and 30 seconds probably was over. I was a sobbing nine-year-old completely embarrassed and never wanted to do that stroke again. But ultimately that became my strongest stroke. Right. That embarrassment, that shame that I felt that level of vulnerability and exposure. That shut me down. I turned into anger, which then turned into motivation. And it was one of my strongest strokes that I swam as a competitive swimmer. A few years later in sixth grade, I decided to play basketball. And. At the end of my first season, I won an award. And it was the most improved award. Because my coach said I could not walk and chew gum at the same time, but yet somehow improve to be able to even play basketball at the end of the year. But I didn't get the most improved award because I couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time at the beginning of the season. And I was able to do that at the end of the season. I believe I got that award because something happened in that season that was ultimately very, very embarrassing. At some point in the beginning of the season. I don't remember what game it was in the season. But I got the ball. And I decided to go down to the end of the court, where there was nobody there and shoot the ball. Problem was my team and the other team were on the other side of the court. So I shot the ball in the wrong goal in the middle of a game. As a sixth grader, you can imagine as a sixth grade girl, how mortifying that is. And again, I remember that feeling of the exposure of the vulnerability of the embarrassment that I felt. That you just want the world to swallow you up whole and disappear. But I went on with the game. And I wish that that was the end of the story. But later on in the season, I did the same thing again. And to make matters worse. I mean, what could be worse than having it have that happening twice in one season? I missed the layup, which was the first time. But for some reason, the second time I decided to pull up and shoot a Jumpshot when there was no one around me and everybody was yelling my name and I made the jump shot. Cannot even begin to tell you how much shame this brings me. I'm glad I can laugh about it now. But I tell the story because I believe that was one of the catalyst. Those experiences were the catalyst of me protecting myself from feeling that level of exposure, that level of vulnerability, that level of, oh my God, this is so embarrassing. I don't want to live anymore. It's a bit dramatic. I know. But that's what I felt like. Right. But really in, in all three of those scenarios, There's a pattern there. And there's a pattern that I can appreciate now more than anything. I know that at the beginning of everything that I do, that I'm going to struggle. I'm going to have a period of time where I'm going to struggle. And for a long time, I didn't want to struggle. So therefore I didn't try new things. Because I didn't want that level of exposure of negative exposure to be on me. But now I can see. Where it's just a pattern. I see the other side of the pattern, because I may have shot the ball in the wrong goal twice in a basketball season. But as I matured as an athlete, I shot the winning shot of a state championship my freshman year, we won the state championship my junior year in high school. I was an all-star my senior year in the state of Alabama in our league. But I. Honestly forgot about that positive stuff. Which is. Not nice to myself. When I think about my basketball career, I think about my sixth grade year. That's the problem, right? When we think back about things in our lives, do we give ourselves the credit for the good things? Or do we keep the bad things at the front? Ask yourself. That question. Because when we keep those embarrassing moments at the front and not the empowering moments that those embarrassing moments created. We're not giving ourselves grace. And we're not allowing ourselves to grow. And the meaning that we put on those awful things will hold us back. From reaching that goal, that future self that we want to be. I am an example of that, and I will preach that until I've become who I want to be. As Nelson Mandela will say, I like to be known for what I have overcome. More than what I have succeeded at. And to me, those young Erin stories. are a lighthearted example of real adult problems. When we let embarrassment. And that fear of exposure. Hold us back. We lose the ability to be creative and innovative. We lose the ability. To become a learner. Because we're a knower. Because when we blame and we defend, and when we guard ourselves, We're not able to. Use all the gifts that we have. Because failing, wasn't an option for me. I became a bit of a perfectionist tendency. I had to be perfect to be seen because I could not go back to that feeling. I created ways to never get back there again. Now think about this in your own personal relationships. I think about this in your own professional relationship and your career. Do you have any of those same tendencies? When you have this desire to be perfect. You're protecting yourself. And you're not allowing yourself to love you. And are you allowing your spouse to love you or are you allowing your significant other to love you? Are you allowing people to lead you and guide you and coach you. Through. Hard times in your career. Are you being the best parent that you can be, or are you planting seeds of perfectionism and blaming and not being your full, authentic self to the people that you love the most? Being vulnerable as hard being exposed. Is awful being embarrassed is the worst. But there's a lot of opportunity to grow in those moments. And if we shut down. And don't allow ourselves to grow. Then we do put a period at the end of that phase of our life And there is not an opportunity to grow. Because the best growth that you can have is your own personal growth. It's your own personal development. Because as leaders we can achieve what we want, but if we don't know ourselves, we'll never feel successful. I can say for the first time, in a long time that I am a great leader and I can achieve and do great things. But the one thing that I did not have was a true understanding of myself. What I wanted. And owning my story in its entirety. Being known for the overcoming, for the things that I overcame versus only wanting to be known for what I had achieved. Hustling for your worth is not a way to live. let me tell you. It's hard to manage that person too. Right. So the best part of allowing your embarrassment to empower you, the best part of overcoming a negative outcome is knowing that even though you want to put a period at the end of that phase. Really put a comma so you can learn. Because the best is yet to come. And when you own your story, which is the next topic I want to talk about. That's where empowerment comes in. So we have bad outcomes in the senior living industry. We have bad surveys. We have associates who choose to do things that you really questioned why that would happen. There are a myriad of different things that can happen, that could embarrass you, that could affect your reputation. Outside in your town and your county in your state. So, how do you overcome those circumstances with grace and dignity. And still be able to grow your occupancy. And change people's lives. You own the story. You cannot worry about what other people say. And still grow. But when you own the story, What other people say doesn't even matter. Because when tours come to you, And they go to your competitor. You are owning your story. Especially if it's a bad survey. So I'm going to give you two examples. I started as a new administrator at a community that had a really bad survey. Alabama, at that time, they scored the surveys and it was a 57 now who is going to eat at a restaurant that has a department of public health score of 57. Not many people, right. And at the time the occupancy had dipped down to 55%. So there wasn't really much going for this community. But. Here's what I will tell you. Here's where I learned. That a community is just a community. Until someone steps in and leads it. And it becomes a community that thrives in every situation. It allows your team and your residents to work and live in an environment that is. Amazing. Changes lives. Even with negative experiences. So. The first thing I did was learn the plan of correction. Yes, this community had a bad survey and no, I wasn't a part of that bad survey. So I had a bit of an advantage there. But if you're the leader inside of the community that had the bad survey, you have an advantage to: you learned. So you go into every conversation with every family member, with every tour that comes in talking about, yes, we had an opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Yes. We had the opportunity to grow in our knowledge inside the state regs. Yes, we had a bad survey. And here's what we're doing to solve it. And here's why it is an amazing time to live inside of our community. All of those situations are owning your story. And owning the consequences and now you're reframing that into why it's good for them to be there at your community. You're owning it. You're not blaming. You're not projecting. And you're not discounting the experience. In fact, you are elevating the experience because of your growth. When you own the story. Nothing that anybody else says matters, period. Because they don't know the truth, you know, the truth. And if you bring out the plan of correction, even if it's three inches thick, You're proving to them. That this matters, the safety of your residents matter the growth of you as a leader matters and the happiness of your residents matter. You're proving that this really is an experience that is worth being a part of. And a lot of families that I did that to chose to live in that community. And we grew that occupancy from 55% to a hundred percent in 18 months or less because we owned the story. And that 57 stayed on the wall for the entire time that I was there. As the leader, we did not have the opportunity to change the score. But the story remained the same. This negative experience actually turned out to be one of the most positive experiences for me as a leader. Because I was able to learn. From the failure that the community had. And there's nothing more powerful then learning from failure. Because success leaves, clues and failures leave clues. You just have to find them and apply them very quickly. And another community that I worked at. We had an experience that took me by surprise. I certainly was not expecting this An associate made a decision to make a video of a resident in a very vulnerable situation. And that video became public. And the circumstances don't matter, but it became public. Eventually. And then it became viral. And the hit that the community took and that I took personally was intense. The social media backlash was You know, knock you down on the floor negative impact. I lost a few managers because of it. But I owned the story. I did not cause the story, there was no way for me to prevent that from happening. It happened on a night shift. But what we did was, we counteracted that negative media attention with a video of ourselves. Because one person's actions do not determine or define who this team is because this team is still the same team that's been changing the lives of your residents and adding value to your life as a family member. And we still care as much, if not more, now, today. And so we didn't blame. We did not reject. We owned what happened. But we doubled down on our identity and not the mistake of one person. And the family and the residents wrap their arms around us and shielded us from the negative attention. And that was one of the most powerful moments of my life. How you could be on the floor. Embarrassed and ashamed and yet loved and respected at the same time. And it was very easy. It would have been very easy for me, to blame reject. Defend, all the things that I wanted to do, I wanted to do that. Real Erin wanted to do that. But leadership Erin knew that you have to own it. Something that awful, you have to own. And it didn't define who I was as a leader. And it didn't define who we were as a team. And it didn't. But we had to prove. That we knew that and then communicate that. And I think that that's the same type of motivation that you have to have in your relationship with yourself. Everything has meaning. I tore myself apart. With the meaning that I put with that video. Me. I did, I did not do well with myself for that. I, there were many a nights where. A shame cycle came and I felt as if I could have done things differently and. Ultimately, there was nothing I could have done. To avoid that from happening. But. The meaning that we place. On failures that happen to us or rejections that happened to us. Is very important because those meanings will prevent us from moving forward in a healthy way. If we're not careful. So reframe each negative experience. Each embarrassing moment. To where it's empowering you. And you're bouncing back in a new and enhanced version of yourself and not a diminished version. People are going to say whatever they want to say. People will think whatever they want to think, but none of that is your concern. Because you know, the truth and you've learned from it. And when you own it and you explain it in a very confident and ownership way. People will be thinking twice about what everybody else says, and you will be a different and better version of you. Because you went through the experience. And this is another lesson that I've learned in the final point to talk about when it comes to rejection and embarrassment and overcoming vulnerable circumstances. Whether it's divorce, whether it's termination, whether it is not getting the promotion that you wanted. And you're in that moment where you feel like you have nothing going for you. When you feel like you have nothing going for you, I want you to reframe it. To when you have nothing going for you. You have all the power you need. Because you have nothing to lose. So you can do it. Anything you want.'cause the best thing that could happen to you is to let all the expectations die. When all the expectations die. You are free. To be creative. To try, to grow to experiment, to be curious, and to learn. It's one of the most powerful seasons in your life. Change happens. When we no longer. Can stand where we are today. That rock bottom feeling. Resilience begins in the dark. So in some ways, when you enter the deepest, darkest time of your life, Be excited. After you feel your feelings right? Because if you allow it. Change is coming. We don't want to bounce back. We want that rubber band to propel us into the new enhanced version of ourselves. Because when we overcome the trials, the fears, the failures, the rejections in our life. We become better. We become stronger. And we're given the tools that we need to walk into the destiny that we want. I want to read some of these thoughts that I have been collecting over, over time. So this is going to speak to relationships. And I think that we can take relationships from a professional and a personal way and apply them the same way. This is from Mike Erwin. He is a military leader strategy guy. He wrote a few books. I'll put those links in the show notes. But here are some quotes from him. Relationships are wildly complicated, but investing in them. And investing in others is the largest return of investment that you can have. Sometimes the biggest exercise of power is the choice to forgive instead of punish. Life becomes easier when you learn to forgive without receiving the apology. A culture of forgiveness breeds a culture of bravery. And every story of resilience begins in darkness. It takes hard times, embarrassment, failure in order to create beauty again. Expectations die and the ability to double down and do it anyway, because the worst has already happened. When you feel like you have nothing going for yourself? You actually are in the most powerful position to succeed. Because you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. And one of the things I want to know, like if you have these moments, like I did with the viral video or the bad survey outcome resilience is strongest with a community. You as a leader lead by example of how we forgive ourselves of how we forgive each other. And how we can become better because of it. We all have choices. Do we forgive or do we move on, depending on the circumstance of the community and the severity of what has happened in the community and in our own personal relationships. And sometimes we're in environments that are just toxic and are not good to our mental health. In these situations, you have to choose whether or not you're going to grit it out. And be successful no matter what, head down, moving forward. Or you're going to pivot. And when you pivot, it's more of an intelligent perseverance. It's not quitting. I used to think that pivoting was quitting, but really it's not, it's actually changing the environment or changing the circumstances around and in doing something else. To avoid it. Or to overcome it. That's part of leadership. That's part of personal development. That's that leadership development where you are able to understand when to grit it out and when to pivot. When to forgive. And when to expect an apology. When not to put a period on a phase of your life that deserves a comma. Because beauty comes from ashes. And every hard, dark moment in our life can transform us into a new version of ourselves that we are very, very proud of. So I hope this episode has helped you has motivated you. Give yourself time to feel your feelings. But don't wait too long. Because there's stuff to learn and things to apply. For you to invest in the future, you. It's worth it. So in the meantime, Find your tribe. And aspire for more for you.