One of the toughest and most impactful learnings in my life was understanding the separation between myself and my thoughts. The more I was aware of it, the more my world expanded. That is when I met my nasty inner “judge” voice that causes fear and doubt, in all of us, and started dwarfing its hold on me. Leaders who are aware of the quality of their thoughts, choose ones that serve them best.
As a leader with Hyper Achiever tendencies, productivity was my focus for many, many years. I thought productivity was talking fast, responding fast, thinking fast and “doing” as much as possible in any given minute. Then I learned, slower thoughts have higher quality and being deliberate has more impact. I also noticed, leaders who take a few seconds to choose their responses, instantly commanded more trust, credibility and effectiveness in their communication.
What a gift especially during these tough times when everyone could use a positive boost. Specific and deliberate comments are even more impactful. The bonus is, the minute we thank, appreciate and acknowledge others, we feel much better too. Instant win-win.
So normal to believe that once we have everything we want in life, only then we can finally be happy. We become “someday happy people”. Oddly enough, the opposite is true. Choosing a positive mindset of abundance and gratitude now is the path to achieving what you want in life. It’s seeing life through the lens of “I am enough, I have enough” vs the lens of scarcity that makes all the difference.
Have you noticed that big, fear-based, nasty judge voice in your head that constantly “should’s” on you? And reprimands you? You can minimize your judge by: 1) labelling that voice when it shows up, 2) consider we are all imperfect human beings, doing the best we can, at our current level of thinking and 3) be kinder to yourself. These 3 steps are a visceral gateway to seeing others the same way– more empathetically.
Sometimes the smallest realizations or adjustments, creates the greatest impact in our leadership effectiveness.
Positivity is a way of “being” that comes from practice. It is a big dose of self-awareness plus a trained mind to know what thoughts and actions would serve you the best. It’s the recognition that an unexamined life or being on “auto-pilot” mode has significant costs that we pay in 3 areas of life: heath, productivity and relationships. It’s a cultivation of inner wisdom to choose well and to succeed without paying the negative costs.
Have you noticed getting triggered lately or your mind getting high jacked by other people’s actions or words? When I am in that mode for sure I have no control over my actions. Next time you are triggered, choose curious vs furious. Everyone is dealing with their own battles in life. Curiosity is an inner power we all have, but lost touch with, in our fast paced life.
If we prioritize our ego in relationships, then we may win in the “self-righteousness” game but miss out on the “being happy” game. Don’t let your ego steal your happiness away from you.
Such a powerful shift measuring our success against our own inner values and truth in life vs the many external metrics the society creates an illusion as a measure of life success. When you win from within, you are in charge, not external circumstances. The bonus is the feeling of fulfillment and adequacy- living your authentic life.
What valuable insights have you recently learned, felt good about, but have not yet put to good use or practice? The other day I realized, when I take a webinar or listen to an amazing podcast, I feel really good- like a dopamine hit. What makes me feel ever better, longer, like a serotonin type feeling of happiness or fulfilment, is when I actually apply my learnings and knowledge to life. Experience the difference. Here’s to living life fully and without regrets.
Focusing on what is going well or appreciating the positive in any part of our work or life will simply produce more of it. What are the top 3 things that you are grateful for in your life or at work today? With your family or your team? The positive energy it creates is so good for your health, and yes, contagious too.
The first time I came across this insight was over a decade ago when I read the book “Slowing down to the speed of life”. It is amazing how when we slow down, our self-awareness and quality of our thoughts improve and when we are deliberate going through our day, we show up with much greater focus and impact. May be the reason why with all the advancements in our modern life, peoples’ happiness and fulfillment has declined with our faster pace in life
Most of our suffering comes from the way we think. One of my favourite quotes, “Pain is real, but suffering is optional” beautifully speaks to this insight. If the way you are currently thinking is creating feelings of negativity, stress, anxiety, disappointment, etc. consider this is not a permanent or fixed state. Building skills to shift to a positive mindset, will significantly change the way you think and feel. So when can we, with clarity, believe what we think and feel? When we train our mind to know the difference between thoughts that serve us, vs the ones that don’t
Next time you need to have a difficult conversation, or you are dealing with a controversial or tricky issue at work with your team, be present to the energy behind what you plan to communicate. Applying a positive energy behind the same words vs the energy of anger, blame, frustration, disappointment makes a world of difference on how your message is received. The energy channel is where your leadership “being” can create significantly more impact than your leadership “doing”.
We are all a by-product of how we are wired during our childhood or forming years. What might be possible if as adults we get to examine this programming, understand where it is serving us and where it is “costing” us …and get to choose? An unexamined life is living in our “mind prison” -without knowing the difference.
Have you heard of the saying: Happiness is not about a perfect life, it’s about having the perfect attitude? Are you aiming for perfection? A big part of creating the perfect attitude as a leader is recognizing and fully accepting that we are all imperfect human beings and a mix bag of strengths and weaknesses. To expect perfection from yourself as a leader doesn’t allow space for you to be vulnerable, efficient or human. It may also make it more difficult to see feedback as a gift. The aim for perfection is warranted if you are a surgeon in surgery, a pilot flying a plane or an engineer building a bridge. Outside of these special circumstances, seeking perfection usually results in negativity, judgement and stress- derailing us from achieving the desired outcomes.
Taking inventory of what motivates your behaviour as a leader is a fascinating journey. One that is humbling and extremely courageous. Is the backdrop of your thoughts and actions motivated by serving your team? Or at times validating your ego? We are all guilty of doing this because we are human and managing our ego is part of self-regulation and inner work as a leader. We all have a tendency to respond to “ego-threatening” circumstances as if they are “life-threatening”. The induced stress is necessary and serves us only in the latter.
Great leaders are successful due to their many strengths. You can be a hyper achiever, or a data driven hyper rational, or a people pleaser type of leader. All these behaviours represent solid strengths that would serve you well when used with awareness. When these strengths are on autopilot and get overused or abused, they could create negative impact. Consider taking time to celebrate your team’s wins and focus on positive feedback if you are a hyper achiever. Recognize the rational mind can’t be the master of your mind when you are dealing with people issues and emotions. As a pleaser, ask yourself: what are you saying “no” to every time you say “yes” to a situation.
I remember when I learned about this insight in a leadership wisdom program, it helped me in so many ways in team and business interactions. First, I learned that I don’t need to address every comment or situation especially when negativity sets in. Silence became a good friend and as a result I became a better listener. It also helped me understand people better and what their inner needs or vulnerabilities may be… especially if they were triggered or hijacked. Everyone is dealing with a tough issue or situations these days and cutting people some slack is a great act of kindness.
Step one, is awareness. Do you pay attention to your inner dialogue? Step two, is distinction. Is your inner dialogue negative or positive? Step three, is action. Upgrade your dialogue to more POSITIVE. Staying in negative thoughts increases stress, reduces clarity, and productivity….and doesn’t serve you.
Push strategy uses fear and force to create results. Pull strategy uses positivity and inspiration to create results. They both can produce results. The difference is “PUSH” energy results are short term. “PULL” energy results are long term AND makes the experience much more meaningful and enjoyable
Someone once told me the most powerful tool we have in our possession as human beings is the power of words. I keep forgetting how true this statement is. Our words have the power to lift, inspire, encourage, appreciate, acknowledge, and co-create but too bad (due to no fault of ours), our brain’s natural survival wiring focuses mostly on the threats, judgment, what’s wrong and the negative. One word I’ve tried to eradicate from my vocabulary is “should”. I don’t like “shoulding” on others and “shoulding” on myself. Some others are…”ALWAYS”, “NEVER”, or absolute positions putting me in FIXED vs GROWTH mindset. What are some words you like to stay away from?
Most people think feedback is mainly negative because that is what we naturally focus on. Great leaders develop their team by creating a “feedback culture” that is committed to ongoing individual growth. They use positive feedback to elevate and inspire. They are a stand for their team’s development; and most importantly, they provide constructive feedback with “blameless discernment”. It may be uncomfortable to give and receive feedback but it’s a gift whenever you do!
This past Saturday was “World Kindness Day”! Hope you had a chance to celebrate by first being kind, appreciative and loving to yourself. Being kind to yourself will create a higher capacity to be kind to others. Why? Because If we don’t have it within us, it is hard to give it away! We can’t give, what we don’t have.