Do you feel stressed and overwhelmed at work? You are not alone! It’s worth exploring what you would need to feel more engaged, productive and happy. The tools I am about to share will help you identify your needs and thrive at work.

Getting Your Needs Met Creates a Positive Ripple

When I was a teenager, I had several experiences of fainting at doctor’s offices when I had to have blood work done. Extremely low blood pressure and a fear of needles were causing me to lose consciousness in these situations. After several collapses and finding myself on the floor, looking up into the alarmed faces of doctors and nurses, I decided to share my predisposition to fainting during my next physical exam and asked if I could lie down. I was a bit worried that the nurse was going to belittle me. To my surprise, she thanked me for letting her know: “I much prefer patients who tell me.”

The nurse offered me to lie down on the exam table while she drew my blood, and suggested I look at a picture on the wall, to distract me from the syringe. A few minutes later, she told me she was done. I was still in full consciousness and so relieved. The nurse encouraged me to rest for a bit and then get up slowly.

asking for what you need creates a positive ripple effect

From that day onward, I have never fainted again in a doctor’s office, as I continue to request lying down when getting my bloodwork done. This experience taught me that asking for what we need not only makes our lives easier; it often also improves the lives of the people around us. When you ask for what you need to thrive at work, it can also positively transform the performance of your colleagues and even the whole organization.

Get in Touch with Your Needs

If you’ve been feeling stressed and overwhelmed for a while, you may have become accustomed to not getting your needs met. Deep down you may even believe that your needs won’t or cannot be met. These limiting beliefs  get us out of touch with what we truly need. The first step towards getting your needs met is to notice them.

To help you grow your awareness, let’s do a little experiment. Imagine you’d been given authority and resources to make some significant changes at work. What would you most like to change? Imagine this change being implemented. What’s the impact on your level of energy? How do you feel in this vision? Write down your vision and how it makes you feel.

envision your need being met

Here’s what my clients, Maya, Stewart and Iris (not their real names), came up with: Maya envisioned herself in a bright office with an adjustable desk, where she alternated between standing and sitting throughout the day. She saw a steaming kettle, a set of beautiful cups and delicious tea collection in the nook of her office. She felt calmness and ease as she envisioned these changes. Her chronic back pain was gone. Stewart imagined himself working remotely from different cities that he wanted to travel. His vision felt like an invigorating adventure. After receiving her free career clarity consultation, Iris envisioned receiving coaching paid for on company time. She felt inspired, energized, valued and appreciated.

Courageously Ask for What You Need

Now that you have envisioned your needs being met, the next step is to ask for what you need. This usually involves a courageous conversation with your supervisor, business partner or someone in a leadership position. Here’s how to prepare for this kind of conversation:

  1. Put a chair across from you and imagine your supervisor sitting on that chair. Then speak to your supervisor as if they were truly there. Notice how it feels in your body to share your need. Is your heart pounding? Are your palms sweaty? Once you feel complete, shake this experience off. Shake your arms and legs, laugh out loud, cough or yawn to fully release this experience.
  2. Then move over to the chair that you assigned for your supervisor. Imagine yourself becoming your supervisor and notice how it feels having heard what your employee just shared with you. Then respond as if you were your supervisor, speaking directly to the “you” that’s sitting on the other chair. Notice how it feels to be your supervisor. What are you noticing in your body as you play this role? Often people feel a lot more compassion for their supervisors. What have you learnt about your supervisor, by sitting on their chair? Shake this experience off, as you did before.
  3. Move to the side of the two chairs and feel the atmosphere between these two people. What are you noticing here? Is there tension in the air? Does it feel calm and relaxed? Are you picking up some static? What’s it like? Once you have a good sense of the atmosphere between you and your supervisor, take a moment to shake this experience off.
  4. Now, move back to your own chair. Notice if there is anything else you want to share with your supervisor, now that you’ve had a chance to widen your perspective. If so, repeat from the beginning.

courageous conversations help you get your needs met

Once you’ve gathered enough information to refine your approach, ask for a meeting with your supervisor. Before going into the meeting, take a moment to ground yourself, connect with your confidence and with your vision of success.

Flourish as Your Needs Are Met

Maya is now happily working in her beautiful office. Her supervisor appreciated that she brought a solution to her back-pain issues to his attention. He realizes that the investment in a new desk will quickly pay off with Maya’s improved productivity and happiness. Maya brought her favourite cups and tea selection to the office and now enjoys sipping tea at her desk.

When Stewart asked for flexibility to work remotely, his manager was thrilled. He shared with Stewart that the company was planning to expand and open offices in several North American cities over the course of the next few years. Stewart’s travel would help building relationships with the local business community and with choosing locations.

Iris made the business case for coaching and received a three-month coaching grant. Because of the outstanding results Iris achieved in the following three months, her supervisor extended this privilege. Fourteen years later, Iris is still receiving coaching paid for on company time.

thrive as your needs are being met

Just like, Maya, Stewart and Iris you too may be nervous about asking for what you need. And just like them, you’ll be happy you did. Even if the outcome of your courageous conversation is not as fruitful, it will be valuable information. If your needs aren’t met, it may be a sign to look for an employer who has a deeper appreciation of your contribution.

It may indeed be an opportunity to explore more extensively what you want at this stage of your career. What kind of role would cater to your needs and allow you to contribute with your unique strengths? You don’t have to figure this out alone, ask for support on your career clarity journey.