4word: Washington DC leader Kristen Stockton dives into the topic of personal issues and when to bring them to someone’s attention at work. This is often a frightening and delicate situation to be in, so we hope that her tips for addressing your situation help give you a peaceful game plan.
We all have a “situation” in our personal life that can be a real struggle to leave at the door and instead be 100% engaged and focused at work. It could be a personal health issue or diagnosis, family situation that has heated up, or a significant personal change or life event. These challenges, whether short or long-term, may have a significant impact on your work performance and lead to other challenges in the workplace if left unmanaged or poorly self-managed. It’s important that you have a “God plan” for knowing what, when, and to whom to disclose personal matters in the workplace. Sometimes we underestimate the toll these issues can take in how we perform at work.
Life events or significant challenges, particularly personal or family health issues, affect our ability to do our best work. We know God wants us to put in our best effort into any work we do as if we were doing it directly for Him. So if there is something in your personal life that is going to derail that consistent and diligent work, the right thing (otherwise known as “The God thing”) may be to disclose that issue to your manager or human resources leader. Doing so may activate help and support from your manager, team, and employer to help you through this time and perform your best.
Before you open the floodgates of the situation, think about why you need to share the situation at work. What will it cost you if you don’t? When contemplating a decision like this, scan your emotions and observe what surfaces when you think of the situation. Get clarity about the emotions concerning your decision to share and what is important for you.
As humans, we resist sharing personal issues at work for a variety of reasons, but they mostly are rooted in either pride, fear, or condemnation.
“I’m afraid of being judged, pitied or [fill in the blank].”
“I can handle this on my own, I don’t need anyone.”
“I screwed up in my personal life. I can’t get this situation resolved. No one will trust me at work if they knew.”
Shut down the self-limiting beliefs—it is the work of the enemy and we fall for these irrational deceptive lies far too often. The best way to sort these emotions out is often the last thing we do — get still. Read Psalm 46:10 or Psalm 37:7 — both good grounding scriptures to meditate on for two minutes as you seek God. Let Him be in the center of your decisions. This is not the time to self-manage, this is time to let God in on the action. Allow His peace about the situation to give you comfort as you move forward.
If we humble ourselves and admit our fear, pride, and condemning thoughts or trepidation, He forgives us and strengthens our faith through our weakness. Isn’t that amazing? He literally takes the very thing that could derail us and uses it to make us strong! He wants to give us a peace inside which equips us with the tools we need to weather the storms circling in our head, in our heart, or spinning around us.
When sharing a personal situation in the workplace, we need to get grounded in our intention and motivation, and embrace the humility needed to have the right conversation in the right way with the right people. We may not know how the conversation will flow, so be at peace and trust God. He will show up in how, when, and with whom we decide to share. He will not leave you when you seek him. He has you!
Here are four steps anyone should take when preparing to discuss a personal situation at work. Give yourself the time and grace to walk through each of these. They will help!
Breathe in a still quiet, uninterrupted mental space that is free from all distractions. “Sit” with the decision and breathe into it. (If you have a coach, this is the kind of issue they can support you through. As a member of 4word, you receive a free coaching session. So, if you have not used this member service, and this blog is speaking to you, consider contacting 4word for more information.)
Pray and ask God for wisdom and discernment regarding how to manage your personal situation in the workplace and to guide your steps. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal your motivation for sharing this issue at work and ask for the right words at the right time and to the right people. Then trust, be at peace, and move forward.
Explore these 10 questions:
- What do I want to share about this situation?
- How will disclosing this support me?
- What will I gain from disclosing this situation?
- What makes this uncomfortable?
- What needs to happen for me to be comfortable?
- Am I willing to ask for the help I need?
- Who is/are the person(s) at work who should know?
- What do I need from this person(s)?
- What needs to happen so I can be my best self at work and outside of work?
- What support do I have in place?
- What will it take to move forward?
Trust in the confidence we have through Christ and that you are equipped to handle the situation. With God’s love and care, you will have the emotional balance to handle what’s next.
Your workplace may have a process for disclosing a disability, such as cancer, or other qualifying physical conditions, along with mental illnesses or conditions like anxiety or depression. Your first discussion should be with your Human Resources contact. They can support you in how best to disclose with your manager and team if necessary. It is always your choice to disclose any personal information.