Achieving Higher Performance
When professional pressures collide with private struggles, performance at work can suffer. Feelings of shame and fear arise. Shame that you are not managing things better. Fear you may lose your job. Fear that you have lost “it” – your inner strength, resilience and hope. Fear you’ll be discovered, and your reputation will suffer. With no safe place to share your experience and seek support you keep it a secret, which only adds to the pressure and your distress.
Today’s executives face a tremendous amount of pressure to be perfect, exceptionally productive and always on-call. Overwhelming and unsustainable, this becomes too much to manage, leading one to mask one’s private struggles like illness, violence, emotional distress and loss. Fear of retribution prevents us from reaching out for help.
Pulling Back the Curtain of Shame
In a candid article posted to LinkedIn, Michelle Tenzyk, CEO and Founder of East Tenth Group, shared her personal struggles with severe depression and suicide. Her story resonated with thousands of other high-achieving executives and the article went viral.
In the article Michelle talks about the increasingly difficult paths high-achieving professionals have forged for themselves and the lack of open, honest support structures. She shares her deeply personal and painful challenges of living with mental illness in the hope of pulling back the curtain of shame and embarrassment so others do not feel as alone as she did.
We invite you to read and to share Michelle’s article with others: The Truth Behind My Title: A High-Achieving CEO’s Candid Story Of Depression, Suicide, And Hope
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Michelle founded the global movement ‘The Truth Behind Our Titles’ “to transform the conversations we have about the private challenges that affect our corporate lives – so we can find our own personal power, realize our unique potential and inspire other professional men and women to do the same.”
“For many years I have been thinking about corporate and professional men and women – the increasingly difficult paths we have forged for ourselves by “leaning in” just a bit too far at times. The seeming lack of open, honest support structures. Having my own personal struggles with an often-stigmatized illness over 20 years of my career – and never feeling safe about speaking up about it – got me thinking that there had to be a way to create a conversation, a discussion for men and women, to find hope by hearing another professional’s story of adversity while holding a prestigious and coveted title and positions. I wanted to pull back the curtain of shame and embarrassment that some of us feel from these struggles. I wanted to make it ok. I wanted others to not feel so alone as I had when I was suffering the worst of my illness and there was no one coming forward for me to relate to. How do you keep climbing the proverbial ladder when something so dark and difficult seems to be enveloping your life? The more we can shatter the belief that in order to be professionally successful, we need to hide or disguise our inner struggles and difficulties, the better. I truly believe it is quite the opposite…our greatest challenges are often the key, and the door, to our greatest successes.”
Michelle Tenzyk, CEO & Founder, East Tenth Group
The organization’s inaugural event in 2014 in New York City inspired a panel of high-achieving professional women to lead by example: sharing their stories of illness, violence, emotional distress and loss – and how they overcame them.
The mission of the movement is to encourage professional executives worldwide to participate, share their own stories, learn from others and benefit from the fuller, richer life it leads to.
Learn more about The Truth Behind Our Titles. Share your story, join the conversation and Truth community, and realize your full potential while helping others to do the same.