Kevin Eikenberry

Article Summary:

By dwelling on the negative aspects of the moment you're missing opportunities.

Adult Pouting - Getting Over Yourself

Let me tell you a secret.

Things don't always go the way we want them to.

Let me tell you another secret.

We don't always hear what we need to hear.


These two statements are hardly secrets; we all know they are true. If they aren't secrets, then why do we act surprised when it happens? And worse, why does the surprise often turn to pouting?

Adult Pouting
Most adults don't walk around with a pout on their face, but that doesn't mean they aren't pouting. Pouting is when we are having an internal pity party because we haven't gotten what we wanted, things haven't gone the way we'd hoped they might, we heard something we didn't want to hear or disagree with, or we have to work on something when we would rather be doing something else.

So we pout.

Some Examples
We are called to a meeting, when we wanted to be working on the important project on our desk. We think things like, "I don't need to be at this meeting. Tammy could have handled it. Why am I here? Can't they see that my time could be better utilized elsewhere? This is ridiculous."

Or we aren't asked to go to the meeting and we see ourselves as really being able to contribute (or really wanting to be there because it is about an important change that we want to be in-the-know about). We think, "Why can't I be there? My experience would make a difference. Besides, this could have been my chance to shine for the new VP over in Marketing. Being there would be a much better use of my time than working on these numbers. This is ridiculous."

Or we sit in the airport because of a delay. We sit and we sit. We miss our connection because of the delay. We miss the events we had planned for the evening. And we are still in Buffalo (or wherever). We think about what we are missing. We think about the stupid airlines or the stupid weather or the stupid travel agent that booked this itinerary.

Poor us.

In all of these cases (and a hundred others I could share) we keep our thoughts inside ourselves. We are so busy with our own internal conversation about us, that we miss any chance to benefit from the situation. In order to capitalize on any experience we have to be present for it. When we are pouting, we clearly aren't present in the situation or experience. We are too busy focusing on ourselves.

It is time to get over ourselves. Lose the pout and get yourself out(side) of yourself.

We can become much better leaders and professionals we can get past our internal language and live in the present moment. The present offers us:

  • Opportunities to learn
  • Opportunities to teach
  • Opportunities to reinforce positive behaviors in others
  • Opportunities to see our world in new ways
  • Opportunities to enjoy our day more fully

Staying in pouting mode closes the door to all of these opportunities because we don't see them - we are too busy thinking about ourselves.

Getting the Pout Out
To capture the opportunities in the present we have to "Get the Pout Out," here are some ways to do that:

  • Acknowledge your feelings and move on.
    Give yourself permission to feel bad for yourself. You have one minute, starting now. Then let it go, get on with life and the situation you are in.
  • Hear the opportunity knocking.
    Remind yourself of the opportunities you will find in the situation, even if this isn't where you would prefer to be. Have you ever gone somewhere you didn't want to go and were surprised how much fun you had? That can happen again, right now, but only if start looking for it.
  • Listen more completely.
    One of the best ways to become more present is to listen more carefully to those around you. Pay closer attention in the meeting. Listen for ideas and perspectives that interest you.
  • Observe more closely.
    You never know what you might miss. You never know what you will learn.
As a leader you have a responsibility to be present. People look to you for direction, ideas, and a good example. Staying present, even in tough or challenging situations is a great example to set.

More importantly though, as an individual, striving to reach your own potential, moving past the pouting moments give us a chance to fully live our lives. This habit allows us to find enjoyment, growth, and better relationships in situations that might not have seemed that favorable at the start.

Kevin Eikenberry is an expert in converting organizational, team and individual potential into desired results, and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group. He is the two-time best selling author of "Vantagepoints On Learning And Life" and "Remarkable Leadership: Unleashing Your Leadership Potential One Skill at a Time." Kevin has spent the last 15 years helping organizations all across North America reach their potential. His specialties include: teams and teamwork, creativity, developing organizational and individual potential, facilitation, training trainers, presentation skills, consulting and the consulting process and more. He offers monthly tele-seminars through a program called the Remarkable Leadership Learning System. Kevin can be reached at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER and through his website,

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