Meet the Saboteurs: Restless

Written by Darren Kanthal

March 23, 2021

Do any of these sound familiar?

– I hate going to bed before anyone else because I’m afraid I’ll miss out on something

– I have to be the last one at the campfire, or at a party, because I want to be in on the
action…whatever the action might be

– If I’m in conversation with someone, and I feel my phone vibrate, it’s allI can do to not
whip it out of my pocket to see if a ‘better’ opportunity just came along

– I have a hard time making eye contact…usually, I’m thinking about what’s going on
somewhere else that I’m missing.

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling antsy, wondering what you’re missing out on while doing something else, you likely have a strong Restless saboteur at the ready. Maybe you find yourself completely distracted and unable to be present with friends and loved ones. Maybe you have to ask your colleagues and maybe even your boss to repeat themselves because your thoughts wandered during an important briefing or meeting. If any of this resonates with you, hang in there. There’s hope for all of us restless folks to develop tools through PQ to better understand your saboteur and learn how to work with it, rather than letting it control you.

The Restless Saboteur at Work… and Play

For me, my Restless saboteur had me saying “yes” to far too many things, both in work and in play. Over-committing and over-taxing myself because I hated the idea of not being involved and needed. Even though my plate was already overflowing, I was impatient for the next challenge or task ahead. My Restless saboteur physically manifested as butterflies in my stomach, always wondering if I was in the right place, or if there was more fun to be had somewhere else — somewhere I wasn’t because I was tied down by my current obligation (even it was supposed to be fun!). My calendar was a mess. Far too many commitments to honor in a way that made me feel connected to any of my friends or loved ones while we were together. I flitted around, trying only to satiate my feelings of being left out or irrelevant, forgetting entirely about the connections I said I want with them. I’d constantly ask others to repeat themselves because I’d been distracted, or I’d try to respond but my response would miss the mark so much it created even more disconnect than if I’d just ‘fessed up and asked them to repeat themselves. As ridiculous as it may sound, my inability to concentrate on what was happening right in front of me used to be a running joke in my group of friends. We’d laugh about my completely off-base responses when meeting new people at get-togethers. Where am I from, you ask? I would like some watermelon, thanks so much…

But, of course, behind every joke is at least a small bit of truth, and the truth was, I was straining all of my relationships because of my inability to offer them the time and attention they deserved.

Saboteurs are often born from an overuse of a strength!

As with all saboteurs, the Restless saboteur serves a purpose and supports growth in effective ways. For example, I’m adventurous, and active, and I like trying new things. I like meeting new people, which makes networking easy for me. It’s when real connection comes in where my restlessness doesn’t serve me, and where I call upon what I’ve learned through PQ that’s helped me course-correct.

To sabotage my own saboteur, I focus solely on the sound of the person I’m speaking with’s voice. I focus on eye contact, even if it’s virtual or over Zoom, and listen with all that I have to ensure I’m engaged and focused on the person and what they’re saying. I put down my damn phone. Does this mean that I still feel the butterflies telling me I should be elsewhere? Heck no. But through PQ exercise I’ve learned how to keep those feelings at bay and focus on what’s most important: the people and tasks at hand.

Let’s make a plan and fight off your Restless saboteur together. Get a hold of The Kanthal Group today to start learning how.

Darren Kanthal

Darren Kanthal, Founder of The Kanthal Group, is a values-driven leadership and career coach with over 20 years of experience in HR and Talent Acquisition. Darren is intensely passionate about helping mid-career leaders cut through the BS, do the foundational work, and achieve their greatness.

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