I had someone call me last week looking for the gold "nugget" of advice that would help them accelerate their leadership impact and influence in the quickest way possible. They have their MBA, they're super smart, they're in a highly visible position, and they care very much about what they're up to. And of course, like any high achiever who wants to have more impact, they're looking to optimize.
After a bit of discussion and unpacking, we found that some of their highest leverage moves were not what they'd expected and currently lay in #1, 3, and 4 below...How about you?
- Take excellent care of yourself. I mean this in every sense of the word here: self-care and self-kindness, food as fuel, hydration, sleep, days off, white space, "me" time, family time... What ever nourishes your mind, body, and spirit -- attended to well -- will ultimately nourish your leadership and therefore those you serve. You cannot lead from burnout. (Well, you can, but not sustainably, compellingly, or enjoyably -- so hop to.)
- Tell yourself the truth. Need I say more? Okay. In those moments of suffering, overwhelm, frustration, and blur... If you take a moment to breathe, check in, feel your heart beating, and listen to yourself -- there's a lot of inner wisdom to tap into. Listen for your truth. Be disciplined enough to tell yourself the truth (even when you don't like it). And move from there.
- Stop blaming your parents, your childhood, lack of time, or your professional nemesis. Your parents? Well, their job was to get you here, keep you safe, love you up, and introduce you to the world. Whatever your childhood or circumstances (no matter how great or grim), it worked. You're here, you're reading this so something went well. Your time? Time is a great compass for what we truly value and want to get done, when you honor it, your relationship with it can change. And your nemesis? He or she is here to teach you something, what might that be? Don't waste another moment of energy blaming or begrudging what you didn't get, what you don't have, how much time you don't have, or who's in your way -- instead, step into the invitation of gratitude, curiosity, and grit. After all, your tough childhood, your nemesis, that time you just didn't have enough time and had to make a hard choice? These situations and people all taught you something valuable; i.e. self-sufficiency, values, drive, grit, leadership, love... what was it for you? Say thank you and hop to.
- Focus on the right things. What you want versus don't want, what people are doing well, versus where they're blowing it, creating results together versus drama -- all of these are places for intentional focus. Use the information where things are going "badly" to help course correct, coach, and remedy as needed, but really -- spend 93% of your time focusing on where you're going, what you want, and what's going well.
- Be an awesome collaborator and relationship pal. It's so easy to wait for others to shape up and show up better; so easy to wait to be appreciated, respected, seen, heard, valued, listened to, and understood -- so easy, so true. However, the path for waiting for others to change or show up can be a slow painful trek. OUUUCH. Instead... You go first. They'll likely follow. (You have a way better chance of influencing them here by how you show up.) Listen better. Be more present. Catch people doing things well. Acknowledge who they are and what you appreciate. Make requests in service of them, your relationship and the business at hand... but all the while, honor them and see the best. Again, you go first, they'll follow. (And if they don't, you're still ahead of the influence game.)
Any of these 5 alone can be game changers. Pick one, pick all. Breathe and hustle.
This article appeared on Inc.com on August 22, 2016.
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