Thriving Rule # 1 Know Yourself
The biggest damage a Tyrant boss does is cause you to doubt yourself. When your work environment devalues you it is very hard not to feel victimized. The key is to connect to your authentic self and your intrinsic worthiness of respect. Learn how to be internally internally. Rather than taking your cues from your environment as to how you are doing, learn to consider how you feel about your work and allow that to guide you. This is Obama’s gift. Under massive attacks he recognizes that it is not about him. He is rooted in his own council and his own judgement of how to navigate the situation. Connecting to your inner voice provides a reference point from which you are always safe (as long as you are not beating yourself up) and makes you less reactive and stressed. Being able to do this begins with connecting to what you love.
The good news is being aware of what you enjoy, what intrigues you, what is important to you is fun and very powerful. It may seem like a waste of time but biologically we cannot feel fear and love at the same time. Taking time to connect to what you love rejuvenates you so you can avoid spiralling into depression or being frozen with fear. Find a way to bring joy into your workplace. Buy yourself office supplies in your favorite color, take a break to enjoy an ice cream, keep a picture of a loved one close by. Even if you can only practice the art of knowing yourself after work, the effect will be lasting.
Finally, the practice of self-care is fundamental to being creative, and developing good working relationships. Even dealing with difficult conversations requires that you have filled your well with a sense of your intrinsic value so you can bring your best self to the conversation. If you are feeling unloved or unwelcome and you have not countered it with self-care, it will become an undertone in your interactions with people.
Thriving Rule # 2 Find a Secret World
Everything you need to be successful is in your power when you define success as being all you are capable of being. However, this can be a challenge in an unsupportive work atmosphere. Actually it is always hard because we are so vulnerable in the early stages of awakening to our true potential. We are all promise and dreams with very little evidence thay can come true. The key is to create a container within which you feel safe and appreciated. It can be a block of time that is your own (lunch hour?) where you follow an interest, a plan you make with someone to explore a new way of doing something you both are interested in or a new idea you are pursuing that is within your job description.
This Secret World is a physical or emotional place where you are free to explore novelty with curiosity. Create a secret world where you can grow in your connection to what you have to offer. The Secret World makes it possible to remove the noise of what everybody else expects and connect to your gifts even before they are visible to others. (Warning: never use this time to commiserate about your hardships, no matter how tempting.)
Thriving Rule #3 Cultivate Friends
Friends are a crucial part of well-being. They bring out the best in you. They are not the same as allies. Allies are people who share a goal with you. Friends are people who care about each other. A friend will tell you when to step back and get perspective, or when you are amazing.
Thriving Rule # 4 Explore Novelty
The situation may be bad because you are in a box. Taking a 360 degree look can open new possibilities. Notice anything within your workplace that you find interesting. An idea you have for making something more efficient, an occasion that is coming up that you could mark with a celebration, a fund raising event that you and your co-workers could enter to support the community. Follow your interest and find a way to explore it in your workplace. Even though you have no idea where it will lead, follow your interest until it fades, and then go back to the last place it was sparked, and try a new direction. You are awakening to your unique talent. The difference between average work and excellent work is the exploration of this frontier.
Thriving Rule # 5 Give Up Your Limiting Beliefs
Check your beliefs to see if you are continuing an old belief that is no longer working for you. Your Tyrant boss may remind you of your father and you have to separate your view from hers. Or maybe you are waiting to be invited to share your ideas and you really need to just step up because you know you have a good idea.
Generally there is some limiting belief that has made the situation acceptable to you on some level. It is not your fault but you have to change your belief to get out of it. It is probably a belief you adopted in a low power position to fit in and it is no longer serving you.
Once you identify the limiting belief, explore it through journaling, talking to friends, therapy or books. Grow beyond its limitation and show your boss you are capable of things s/he was unable to imagine.
Sometimes people can change and your boss may shift. The key is you have to make the gifts in you tangible to show the benefits of making a place for you in your authentic form. If your boss can’t see it, someone else will.