When engaging in activity, I find people referencing their experiences as one of two things: HARD or EASY. If we limit ourselves to only the things that fall naturally into our fiber, we don't ever have the chance to find out what we COULD be successful at. We also give up quicker as these terms are limiting and finite. Let's redefine these terms to COMFORTABLE and UNCOMFORTABLE. The change is in the mind and in our relentless pursuit for excellence.
If it is HARD, we don't allow ourselves to ever grow away from that thought. There is no way out of HARD...it just gets HARDER and HARDEST. UNCOMFORTABLE frames the challenge as something that is temporary and that can be overcome. What in life hasn't been UNCOMFORTABLE? Watching people slowly and successfully get out of the UNCOMFORTABLE feeling is one of my greatest joys as an educator. Sometimes it is fast, other times it is wretchedly slow, but with focus, work, and commitment, it WILL become more COMFORTABLE!!
If it is EASY, we don't affirm that we had to do work to create it or have success in it. There is no internal value to our commitment to the task. It almost sounds like LUCK. If something is COMFORTABLE it means we have spent time and worked hard at it. We have worked hard to achieve the most common behavior....we just don't remember. I hear people say all the time that something comes EASY to them. It didn't at the beginning. It has been COMFORTABLE for so long that it seems like you have been doing it forever with ease. Need an example....how about walking, talking, eating. Next time you are with a baby or toddler, ask them how COMFORTABLE those things are (my son could prove to you that eating without a mess is not an achievable behavior for him...YET!)
I hope you can change your vocabulary to give meaning to the things that are COMFORTABLE to you and to realize that you can move away from UNCOMFORTABLE with determination, desire, and plenty of time and energy!
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!! We will celebrate lots of different LOVES this weekend, in many different ways (I just cut out 42 paper hearts for my daughter's class...true love) so I thought we could LOVE Leadership too!!! So how do we L.O.V.E in Leadership?
Immature and ineffective leadership does not LET OTHERS do much of anything. Control, fear, and lack of an ability to share, all contribute to the micro manager, the non listener, and the party of one leadership style, that works in the short term, but over time will lose confidence, lose respect, and lose loyalty of those who work and follow. We MUST LET OTHERS breathe, speak, listen, critique, share, play, run, work, make mistakes, and most importantly LEAD!! Any organization creating a barrier for the young, the forgotten, the new, or the different will eventually find themselves at a crossroads of ineffective leadership.
We are HUMAN.....which means we make mistakes, we have bad days, we hurt ourselves and others, and we might even struggle in the workplace at times. We must take the opportunity to Value Empathy. The leader who ONLY puts value on the PRODUCT will never see the value of the PEOPLE who work tirelessly in front of them. The bottom line is only strong if it can support the people who stand on it. The product is still imagined, and engineered by a human who does need our care. The leaders who have the capability to listen, forgive, and give strength back to the people around them, will find they will do ANYTHING for them!!
So remember to L.O.V.E Leadership this Valentine's (and every) Day! We should probably put it all together and Let Others Value Empathy sometimes too...because leaders are human, and WE will need someone to be there for us someday very soon!!
We make mistakes. That is the nature of being human. We THINK we have to be perfect and often times expect ourselves to be perfect, but it isn't possible. Even the MOST perfect person you know, isn't perfect....they just correct more professionally than you. Those who correct professionally carry themselves three mentalities: Free to Fail, Confidence to Correct, Instinct of Improvisation.
When you are FREE TO FAIL, you have reshaped the way your mind sees the game. Too many people FEAR FAILURE. Those people hide it, they make excuses for it and fear drives them to create worse behaviors to cover their tracks. When you are FREE TO FAIL, you are prepared for the mistake, ready to accept it, and have the CONFIDENCE TO CORRECT.
Failure is NOT EASY. It hits us hard, weighs us down, and often times can knock us off of our feet. CONFIDENCE TO CORRECT gives us the strength to get up, dust ourselves off, and try again. That confidence is something built up over time, through our own conviction, the strength of our team and accountability partners, and through the realization that failure can actually turn to success. The more confidence, the more apt you are to overcome the failure.
Sometimes, you just have to IMPROV! That INSTINCT OF IMPROVISATION is one that has saved me MANY times in the face of failure. It is that ability to navigate to your destination AFTER you missed "your exit". Improvisation allows you to create a new path, one that will allow you to accept the failure and move forward. Improvisation often allows you to find a BETTER pathway toward your goal, and gives you a sense of freedom, newness, and joy that you might not have felt going the "old route".
If you are FREE TO FAILURE and have the CONFIDENCE to CORRECT through the INSTINCT OF IMPROVISATION, you will find yourself correcting professionally, navigating the failure, and moving toward a new and improved success!
Listening is hard. At work, at home, or at school, listening is one of the most difficult and demanding things we do. There are conversations taking place in the boardroom, at the water cooler, behind closed doors, in the lunchroom, or simple conversations between two people. Opinions, values, and perspective frame how we hear the conversations around us. Listening to the right things are important for success, but listening to the wrong things can take us down disastrous paths.
We have to CONTROL THE FILTER. Truth is, there is so much NOISE happening that we have to FOCUS our energy to ensure we LISTEN to the good stuff. We will HEAR everything, but we must CHOOSE what to LISTEN to.
The athlete, on the field or the court, can't let the crowd, the competitor, or the atmosphere get in the way of completing the pass, shooting the ball, or running the course. They have to FOCUS their energy and stop listening to the distractions.
The musician, on the marching band field, can't listen to what is happening 40 yards away or what is happening in front of them. They have to know where, what, and who to FOCUS their listening energy to be part of the successful team.
The successful leader can't listen to the NOISE of the workplace. The negativity, the "I can't" or "I won't", the me agendas, the mutiny discussion, and the sloth mentality won't help you or your mission move in the direction you are working so hard to accomplish.
If we LISTEN to the NOISE we will become part of it. Human nature loves the gossip, conflict, and emotion. Remember, we can't stop the NOISE. We can CONTROL THE FILTER so that you can CHOOSE to LISTEN to the things that matter.
As you hear things this week, take the time to CONTROL THE FILTER, FOCUS your energy, and LISTEN to the people and conversations that will drive you towards success!
Thanks for stopping by. These are musings on how I see leadership in the world and how I continue to try and grow through my lens.