Over the years, I’ve found the biggest challenges and personal rewards come not from what I do, but how I do it. Certain reminders keep me centered and able to navigate the best and worst from the right perspective.
You know, the profoundly lovely, simple reminders that somehow escape you when life seems to have morphed into a fear factor gauntlet.
Walk in the power of your identity.
Um.. It helps to know your identity before you go struttin’. In the event you’re not sure, write that out too. What are your gifts and talents and how do they fit into your identity? What’s your purpose? (Yep, write that out also.) Certainly, you’re someone’s child and grandchild, friend, spouse, parent, leader or peer.
Wouldn’t it be alarming if the POTUS heard crazy good (or bad) news and responded like he wasn’t a husband, father, son, grandson, and leader of the free world? Yeah. Bad news bears. Strengthen your actions by always asking before you act, “What is my identity?” Then act from the best version of you.
Spread honor and truth.
Honoring others is treating them like the best version of themselves, and in doing that we honor ourselves too. Bad treatment isn’t always obviously violent. Sometimes its not greeting someone, not sharing with them, not showing you give a flying hoot who they are and what’s going on in their life. Rising above shallow interaction to look for and understand the truth as it is, not as it’s presented will change your life. But first, you’ve got to also only offer deep interaction, and real truth.
Order steps, ignore distractions.
I’m so not an american (or other) football fan. But for whatever reason, when distraction takes over, I think: The quarterback doesn’t stop to tackle every opponent. No game would ever be won that way. You’ve got to power your way through, especially past distractions, to the end goal. The game has a structure, order. If the players just wandered out there and made up their own rules on the spot, football would look a lot more like sandbox play.
Don’t trust bad reports.
Sadly, a lot of us have been conditioned to believe in the power of numbers. The more people agree with us, support us, say the same thing etc., the more right something ought to be. Well. Ya know how many scenarios that allows where you, are outnumbered? You can’t go through life believing in the disbelievers and disqualifiers. At some point, if you and the authority you report to are on the same page, you gotta know and trust in that… Even when, especially when the majority says otherwise.
Understand and be understood.
Instead of listening as a debater, or persuading to do what you want, just figure out what the heck is going on with someone else first. I mean, it’s helpful to know if someone I’m asking to operate heavy machinery was up all night and can’t wait to get home. No judgment. Safety and such. Likewise, don’t spew words at someone. Speak to them where they are, and make sure what you hat meant to say, was what they hat understood. Often two very different things.
Do what you know to do.
Congratulations! Every second of your life, you have everything, and I mean everything, you will ever have or need to deal with that moment. It’s one of those fancy little truths we forget when we feel inadequate, unprepared or ill-equipped. If you truly needed something, it would be in hand. If not, it’s clearly out of your control so quit worrying and use the resources you do have. Can you imagine how silly you’d look with all the wisdom, manpower and money in the world, like… “Eh, I’ll get started when the weather’s perfect.” Folks are waiting on you. Use what you have.
Seek help. Build Leadership.
If there’s something you don’t have, ask for help. Don’t then tear down the source of the help with the same perfectionist attitude that said you don’t have or can’t do what’s needed. No suh massa.
Okay, relevant sidebar:
I sing and what-not, and was working with an amazing visionary who knew exactly what they wanted… But wouldn’t tell me. They insisted on using the, “I’ll let God lead you there approach.” Which in this case, was wildly ineffective. He put them there to lead and I was ready to follow. Why this visionary leader wouldn’t walk in their identity, confused the bejeebers outta me.
I gave it my all repeatedly, with increasingly disappointing critiques. After tons of trial and error reinforced the fact that there was a specific expectation that needed to be shared, I pressed hard for direction.
“Please, just tell me what you see, so I have some parameters to work with.”
“Nope,” they said, clearly pleased to be presenting such a challenge.
Determined to find a way through, I thought about what I’d gathered from the trials and tried to sum up what they wanted while they shook their head in disagreement.
Undeterred I pressed, “I think you want me to do this and this, and improvise creatively.”
With a final exasperated shake of the head, they insisted, “No.”
Then, with what seemed to be an epiphany in hand, the visionary looked at me and said with great sympathy, “You’ve never had freedom like this have you?”
With a sigh, I thought to myself, “No. No suh, massa I ain’t neva seed the freedom like this suh.”
I proceeded to execute what I’d guessed they wanted and they loved it.
“How did that feel? That kind of freedom is scary, huh?”
Yes. Yes it was. Scary.
Alright I’m back.
That exchange highlighted a nuance of great leadership that is still hardest to grasp for me:
We’ve got to lead not only with love but also from a place of discernment: figuring out what is best for a given moment. Sometimes more direction is called for, other times less. Sometimes group discussion and decision making is needed, others not.
When we are constantly trying to build up leadership, we strengthen our relationships and truly reinforce our own power.
My encouragement is to find reminders that keep you centered in your daily life.
What you do, as a living human with limitless potential depends on it, as do the rest of us.