How you show up matters. Set the tone for 2018 with this choice.
Lately, everywhere I go, I hear the conversation of time come up. Over and over again. "I'm out of time," "ran out of time," "need more time," "have no time," "lost track of time," all offered in the context of a goal not met, a relationship on the rocks, five pounds gained, or a dream not realized.
Recently I was asked to consult with an organization to help them shift their culture to one of greater health, leadership, productivity, and morale.
The team pulled together consisted of several thought leaders from different industries, some of the organization's leadership, several of their employees, and me.
It was a powerful group.
After digging in and assessing what was up in this particular organization, we found some very rich and delicious low hanging fruit.
The organization originally thought it was going to take lots of money, initiatives, tools, training, and all sorts of new skills and magic to make the changes they wished for.
For some of the suggestions we unearthed, money, initiatives, tools, training, and all sorts of new skills and magic would work, be helpful, and in the end be very cool. They'd also take more collaboration, more money, more time, and more planning. Some of them they came up with I'd file under "let's check culture change off the list" things -- so we tossed those.
All good. They chose to do some of the highest leverage and well intentioned initiatives.
But, here was the real magic. Some of the highest leverage things they could do were actually "none of the above". They were free, easy, and effective.
And, even better, they could be implemented immediately.
The catch? They did require awareness, intention, attention, and of course... a decision to Show Up.
Want them? Here you go... don't underestimate the power of simplicity...
Be Present: With yourself, with your people, with what is happening IN the room.
Moving fast, jumping from meeting to meeting, focusing on the past and the future -- but not the now, is one of the most challenging epidemics we've got going on right now in the land of leadership and "humaning". Slow down. A little goes a long way.
Breathe. No matter what's happening, breathe. Notice where your body is right now. And then be IN it. In this moment. This is all you have. (Yep, reading this, with me, all you have. Right now.) Give this quality of presence to yourself, and to whomever you're with, and you open up more space, clarity, connection, and ironically more resourcefulness and therefore productivity.
Know the Why, Know Your Why: Connect to purpose.
It's fairly easy to get so caught up in the day to day that we forget WHY we do what we do in the first place. This is low hanging fruit and incredibly powerful fuel. It doesn't have to take a lot of time or energy to access. You need awareness and acknowledgement to cross the bridge of purpose.
Remember WHY you're doing the work you do in the first place. Help your employees connect to WHY they're working with your organization, how their impact matters, and how their job ties directly to the mission and what you're all there to do.
Appreciate your people (and yourself): A little goes a long way.
You expect the best -- or simply A LOT -- from yourself and others. And then, when it happens, you move to the next without acknowledging the win, the who, the what of what's just occurred. The train keeps going... but no one feels seen, appreciated, valued, or acknowledged. Boo. This counts for you too. Self-appreciation is gold (and free) here. Even in the failures, especially in the failures, there is treasure in acknowledgement.
Let your people know you care about them. Acknowledge and honor wins AND fails -- and especially the risks taken -- even when they didn't net out so hot. (That risk could have taken your company or relationship to the next level so keep the energy moving and the gates open for more inspiration and risk.) And of course, you too. The more solid your own self-appreciation and self-care, the stronger your energetic field, and the better you are for them.
Go get it.
This article first appeared on Inc.com on February 27, 2017.
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Catching up with an old friend this past weekend, talking about the upcoming New Year and how 2017 2019 is looking, he launched into a rant about 2016 2018. "2016 2018 was so brutal, dear Lord I was just so happy to get out of that year and into the next. 2016 2018 terrorized me. Constant anxiety. People were just a*holes. It sucked. Was so happy for 2017 2019." And on and on and on.
As I listened to him go, I was struck by how many times I'd heard or read some version of this as the year came to a close. Either online, on Facebook, at the airport, or just in the grocery line, there was a song that went basically like this, "This year sucked, thank God it's over, we'll be saved by next year. Phew! Oh ya! This year blew! This next year I'm going to be new!" (I'm not a song writer, but you get my gist.)
The death of celebrities was blamed on 2016 2018. Bad health? 2016 2018. High tension and stress? 2016 2018. Political nightmares? 2016 2018. Financial pressures? 2016 2018. Getting fired? 2016 2018. Not getting a book deal? 2016 2018. That break up? Oh ya, THAT break up?2016 2018.
You name it, 2016 2018 did some bad stuff to people.
I was working with a brilliant business leader last week on her leadership impact with her team. She's smart, huge heart, highly talented, and wicked quick (I'm heading to Boston right now as I type -- excuse me while I get my "Boston" geared up). She needed some support with some of the team dynamics she was seeing -- specifically around trust and safety on the team. She also had a strong sense she was a part of creating said dynamics.
We got to work. Dug in. Half way through our conversation I asked her three questions:
What was she doing to take care of herself on a daily basis? What was her level of self-trust? And how kind was she to herself?
Simple questions. I was curious.
She burst into tears.
This is not uncommon.
I get to work with all sorts of people in all sorts of industries, in all sorts of positions, in all sorts of rooms, and at all sorts of venues.
Here's the thing, no matter who the human, the industry, their position, or their intended impact... these humans engage to be even better. They Show Up to lead.