This week’s guest is a business psychologist, an executive coach, and a Linkedin Learning Author with not one but two courses under her belt! She is a bright light who holds lots of info and on this episode, Erin Shrimpton, is sharing her knowledge usually reserved for Fortune 500 execs with us!
In my mind, Erin is the “Queen of Change.” As a business psychologist she studies, employs, and promotes change all day long. – For those asking, ‘what’s a business psychologist?’, simply put, it is someone who builds great cultures in the workplace. – In short, she helps others manage desired change and unexpected change, i.e. a pandemic.
“My career is all about making work better for people, but the reality of work is that it always involves change which is hard. Making work better often means getting prepared for change.”
If you’ve been working for any amount of time – or at all during the pandemic – you know work life and home life are often intertwined. Many of us are still figuring out how to handle our new normal. Because of this she says she no longer separates work and home life when dealing with change.
“In some ways I feel we were living a lie before where you become your work self at work and your home self at home. There’s no longer a separation between the two, it’s all interconnected. It’s stressful to expect us to be at home & work the way we would have in an office.”
I have theory where I compare life to a bar stool. One peg is family, one is work, and the other is friends. The catch is, you can only have one shaky peg at a time or you’ll fall!
You want to be able to share when a “leg” is shaky but sometimes it’s hard to know how much to share, when, and with whom.
Here’s Erin advice on being authentic in the workplace. “Try sharing in increments with people you feel safe with. It tests the waters to know if colleagues are ok with you sharing about your home life. More often than not we find people are responsive and may even give a similar anecdote.”
Continuing with our theme of authenticity, I shared my new year’s resolution to set clear boundaries. Like most people, the resolution has gotten a bit shaky now that it’s the end of the month.
Erin had two key pieces of advice:
Practice Self compassion – We are in a pandemic with lots of uncertainty, don’t take it to heart if everything wasn’t done as planned.
Be aware of the negativity bias – Instead of focusing on the times you didn’t follow through, focus on the times you did. As you go into the next month the positive reinforcement will help you to uphold your resolution.
It’s one thing for me to stick to my guns when it comes to implementing resolutions but including others can be the real challenge. I was curious to get Erin’s opinion on how to prepare others for change. She shared the most underrated way to have difficult conversations is with humor and lightheartedness. It takes the heat out of it and opens the floor for more honesty and peace.
I find it much easier to make work changes than life changes. Erin agreed. She shared that some use work as a coping strategy for life since it’s predictable. “The stakes are higher in life changes because of the long-term impact. Work change is easier, because it’s often solvable or there’s a framework in place.”
Erin’s response was reassuring. I wanted to know more about how she finds help when change is overwhelming.
“No one can get through the kind of adversity we’re currently experiencing without help. It’s ironic because we can’t fully access the help we need either. I rely on my friends for support – we’re all busy moms so we send each other voice messages through whatsApp. I also listen to podcasts such as those from Brené Brown and Scott Barry Kaufman.
Great friends are a must have, so are coaches. If you’ve followed me for any length of time you know I am an advocate for having coaches and mentors, even if they don’t know you exist – for me that would be Sara Blakely or Richard Branson.
I was excited to know Erin invest in coaching even though she is a coach herself, and she also believes coaching doesn’t always have to come in the traditional way. “Coaching is almost magic. A good coach will ask the right questions then let you talk to develop the answers you’ve been looking for.”
I like to say I’m the “CEO of the House”. There’s just two team members, myself and my fiancée, but that doesn’t mean I can’t practice changing the house dynamics. Erin’s son adorably calls her ‘the president’, and it’s on trend because she too practices work type leadership in the home. She applies the golden rule of culture change in all settings – actively get people involved.
What have you started using lately that you love? I’m late to the party but I’ve just started using Instagram and watching Seinfield.
What is the best gift you’ve given yourself in the last year? Self-compassion
What’s something you’re excited to learn in 2021? I love learning about other cultures and meeting new people from far away places, I’m excited to immerse myself in other cultures once it’s safe to do so.
If you had a magic wand, what universal change about the way we work? Find a way to build trust in your people and get your people involved.
Homework: Connect with an old friend in whatever way you can, connect with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
It’s a solo show where you and I are getting real about our 2021 goals. What’s working? What’s not? Have we fell off the bandwagon? That’s okay, we’re here to hold each other accountable and get back on again. Be sure to join live and bring me some of your tips and tricks for staying motivated.