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I have a great mentorship in work with a gent who is always challenging me to think differently. He is an inspirational leader and has been an amazing sounding board over the last year. Unfortunately he has decided it is time to move on and will shortly be leaving the business. I had my last catch up with him this week and as always he produced some amazing pearls of wisdom.
We were talking about a decision I might be facing soon. I won’t give the details away, partly because I don’t want to jinx it, mostly because often when I have a tricky decision to make I like to consider all the angles myself before I break cover and expose my thinking to the world.
There is something about exposing a decision to other people, for all the best reasons people naturally want to solve it for you. (I do this all the time with others). Sometimes you need to get a good feel for what your views are before you allow yourself to explore others views.
This particular decision has two outcomes. Outcome A would be great for me but has down sides for some of those around me. Outcome B is I think the better option for those around me but does not give the best outcome for me. Neither option has a terrible outcome which is great.
I was leaning towards the decision that worked best for others. It is my natural style and actually also makes me happy as I like to think at my core I am a fair considerate person and I like to try to be a good leader.
Much like my hubby my mentor challenged me to consider if making a decision that was better for others was really the best decision. In classic mentor style he landed this nugget with me “You have to lead yourself.”
Dam that got me thinking… in trying to be a great leader for others am I actually doing a poor job of leading myself. I have lots of desires in life which even though I am getting better at understanding and shaping, I still regularly deprioritise.
I am so aware of wanting to be a great mum, wife, friend, employee. Am I actually trying to do a good job of being me?
I could probably stop writing here but I always like our conversations to be practical and empowering, so rather than leaving us with a very deep question I started thinking…
How can leaders be great leaders and what does that mean when leading ourselves?
There are hundreds of articles strewn across the internet about what makes a great leader. I picked one from Forbes … https://www.forbes.com/sites/brentgleeson/2016/11/09/10-unique-perspectives-on-what-makes-a-great-leader/amp/
Then I choose a few of the elements and reflected about what it might mean for me. Here are a few of my thoughts….
Know your team…
How well do we know ourselves? Our own strengths and weaknesses? How often do we look for opportunities to build on our strengths and manage our weaknesses.
I know one of my strengths is I care a lot about people. I should spend more time looking for opportunities to support people as it plays to my strengths. On the flip side I care a lot about what other people of think of me and this can limit my actions. I should notice when my concern about what others think is adjusting my course abs challenge myself to consider if that is the right thing.
How well do we understand our core beliefs, what ever they may be and stick to them? Do we show ourselves care and empathy? How often to we commit to doing things for ourselves, and then let ourselves down?
I would benefit from showing myself more empathy. I am my own harshest critic. I also still struggle to commit too and stick with things that I know are important to show myself care. Is this a sign of a lack of respect for myself that I can’t or won’t stick to something, I want to commit too? Should I respect myself enough to stick with it and so in turn build respect.
Create a vision…
How often do we build a vision for ourselves? How often do we try to create a future we want to be in? How much time do we even spend considering what that future would like like?
I have toyed with the idea of a vision board for years but for some reason I have never been able to execute it. I think my desire for perfection always breaks me at the first hurdle as I can’t find the right board to be the base. (Sounds crazy I know).
I am trying positive affirmations such as “I am a published author”. They have not got me there yet but imaging the future I want as a reality now at least makes me smile.
Push people to be their best…
How often do we challenge ourselves to be better? Do thing outside of our comfort zone?
This one I think I am pretty good at. I am constantly looking for new ways to learn and challenge myself. If it is public speaking or trying a new hobby, I always have something on the go.
Do not lead by force…
How often are my kind to ourselves? Do we give ourselves a break? Or do we just bully ourselves into doing things?
I could definitely work on this, most often I try to lead myself forcefully, I must do something, I am a failure when I dont….
How well do you lead yourself?
All in all I am a fair to average leader of myself at best. It is certainly something I am going to work on in the future. How well do you think you lead yourself? What traits do you think are important in a leader? I would love to know to help expand my ideas of what I should consider.