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Over the holiday, I had a major revelation: I may be the toughest boss I’ve ever had. Not the toughest in terms of being difficult, tough to read, or vindictive, but the toughest boss in terms of having ridiculously high expectations. I’m at the Business Marketing Association Unleash conference this week in Chicago. It will be a great learning experience, Seth Godin is doing a luncheon session, and there are a variety of panels on creativity, innovation, and other topics presented by lots of great business-to-business practitioners. It’s not a financial stretch for me to attend, and it’s a great opportunity to be away from the office and soak in a lot of stimulating marketing and business content.

Yet Monday night, before leaving, I told Cyndi of my concerns about not getting the full value out of the Business Marketing Association Unleash experience. Perhaps it was not being diligent enough about scheduling pre- and post-conference appointments to use every minute of time while in Chicago. Maybe I won’t make THE contact I’m supposed to or will pick the wrong breakout session instead of the one which would be most valuable. It could be not striking up conversations effectively when presented with opportunities to do so.

Wow.

If a boss had ever dumped all that negativity on me before going to a conference, I’d have tried to get away from him or her as quickly as possible.

Yet, I dump all that damaging talk on myself almost as if it’s the most normal thing in the world to do.

You can’t run away from yourself, though. You have to simply reflect on what you’ve done well in similar situations previously and realize you’re still the same “you” who created success before.

And keep telling yourself about it over and over.

How about you? Do you ever feel like you’re the toughest boss you’ve ever had? If you do, how do you deal with it?Mike Brown

The Brainzooming Group helps make smart organizations more successful by rapidly expanding their strategic options and creating innovative plans they can efficiently implement. Email us at brainzooming@gmail.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can help you enhance your brand strategy and implementation efforts.

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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8 Responses to “Discovering the Toughest Boss I’ve Ever Had”

  1. Cheri Allbritton says:

    Oh my gosh yes! Toughest critic too! I’ve been working hard on the deep breath and slow exhale technique before I open my mouth. It buys me a few seconds to think before I speak. And without really personally knowing many people in real life that I know via social media sites, I am 99% certain most everyone can identify with this post.

    • Anonymous says:

      I figure it’s a common, but not necessarily widely shared feeling, Cheri. It is easy though to beat yourself up for even the smallest things.

  2. Ricardo Andorinho says:

    Another great post Mike,

    From people that is really commited with his work is very hard to process or optimize the expectations level. This way “of being” is independent of working through other orders or your own orders. The responsibility you feel to excel in your commitment will make you feel like that, which is bad most of the times… in my opinion.
    cheers
    ricardo

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks Ricardo – you’re right in that this isn’t a new feeling that just started after working for myself. @ToddSchnick has a new ebook coming out where I wrote more about the phenomenon and how it can intertwine with success.

  3. Marybeth Hewitt says:

    I think it’s good to be your own toughest boss / critic / etc – I can’t demand excellence from others if I do not demand it from myself first.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s better to be your own tough critic than leave it to someone else who blows you away with something you overlooked. But it can also go too far. In this case, it was beneficial to catch myself going overboard. The trip turned out well, and by the first lunch on the day I got there, the interaction that drove me to attend was clear. When you add in the great content and blog posts from the conference, the value of the trip was apparent.

    • Anonymous says:

      It’s better to be your own tough critic than leave it to someone else who blows you away with something you overlooked. But it can also go too far. In this case, it was beneficial to catch myself going overboard. The trip turned out well, and by the first lunch on the day I got there, the interaction that drove me to attend was clear. When you add in the great content and blog posts from the conference, the value of the trip was apparent.

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