Are You Minding Your Ps and Qs? Don’t make a career limiting move
Has your mother ever told you to mind your Ps and Qs? Honestly, I never knew what she was talking about. Be good?
I did a little research on the origin of the phrase and my favorite explanation is that ‘mind your Ps and Qs’ comes from 17th century English pubs and taverns when bartenders would keep watch on the alcohol consumption of the customers ‘keeping an eye on the pints and quarts that were consumed.” The bartender would ask customers to ‘mind their Ps and Qs’.
I imagine the wisdom our mothers were trying to impart on us as children was to mind our manners. Be on our best behavior. Behave.
When there’s stress and ambiguity in our lives we sometimes forget this sage advice. We can act out in ways that are out of character and not aligned with how we truly want to be and be seen. Old habits and ingenuous behaviors can show up. We share judgements and opinions without taking a more holistic view. Or we become self-absorbed, thinking that others are somehow responsible for inflicting unhappiness on us. That’s when we’re feeling extra stress and anxiety perhaps. It happens, too, when we’ve been in an organization (or family) for a long time. We start to let our filters down and let some of those less-then-desirable behaviors seep through. My advice is to always have a filter. Don’t mistake familiarity with confidentiality. It can be a career limiting move.
One of the reasons I love coaching people in organizations is helping with that shift in awareness. That no matter what’s going on externally, there are tools to help you take personal ownership of how you can more consistently show up and put your best self forward in a way that’s true to you. Think about how you can intentionally contribute to the conversation, how you present yourself, even the two or there adjectives you hope people will use to describe you. (see What’s Your Billboard for more tips). There’s the plan that you create and then there’s self-awareness and mindfulness techniques to stay on track.
When your mother told you to mind your Ps and Qs she believed that somewhere inside of you, there was the ‘good’ you. The child she was proud of. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you know it’s easier to be the good you when you’re feeling relaxed and at ease. We therefore need to find an activity that takes us away from the stress of life and keeps us grounded. For me, I know when I do yoga I am more rational, clear-minded and capable of gracefully handling life’s twists and turns. What activity works for you?
The Holiday Season is a great opportunity to do some relationship building, mend any missteps and practice being your best self no matter what the external situation. So before you step into your next big meeting, event or function let’s try this out. First, pause for a moment to recharge. Second, get in the right headspace (not fixated, for example, on everything that’s not right in your world). One tip to get into a positive mindset is to think about what you’re most proud of accomplishing in the past year. You don’t have to say it aloud, just think about how that felt and bask in that glow for a few minutes. Got an example? Are you basking? Good. Now mind your Ps and Qs, go forth and behave!
Wishing You Full Career Alignment and Success,
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