It’s time to reframe your story of leadership from just the execution of the inbox to the development of a deeper, more substantial frame around who you ARE and what you DO. You cannot and will not lead past your level of maturity and formation. You can’t sustain leadership for any length of time without growing, transforming and maturing.
That is hard work, it requires focus, consistency, humility and the discipline to change. And it’s oh so worth it.
Here are four better questions you can ask yourself halfway through the year:
- Am I proud and energised by who I am becoming?
- Am I confident that I have contributed my best?
- Is there anything in my private world that might derail me?
- Am I clear and passionate about my direction?
In more detail….
One – Reflect
Am I proud and energised by who I am becoming?
It’s that beautiful blend between your private and public worlds. It’s the time where you stop and consider that if you changed nothing about your current life would you be pleased with who you are? Would you partner be? Kids, if you have them? Are you tolerating anything in your life and leadership that if left unchecked can and will derail you?
The focus around loving who you are becoming brings with it an authenticity and humility as you self regulate in order to sustain your best contribution. It has an innate energy to it. You like who you are, you do good work, you get good results, you like who you are, you do good work and so on and so on….
Kids get it, they are intuitively proud of themselves. It’s time to bring back the conviction of your superpower AND the humility in your contribution. I believe that will inspire who you are becoming big time.
Two – Analyse
Am I confident that I have contributed my best?
Leaders have an inbuilt drive to do their best work. And a comparable intolerance for less than acceptable work! By your own standards have you done your best? Where have you seen your biggest contribution? What feedback and evidence are you getting?
Stop and think about one project you’ve done in the last 30 days and ask, “Is this the very best work I can do?” You’ll know the answer in an instant. No excuses, no explanations. Just let the answer be. Learn the lesson. Leverage the good and adjust the less than good.
Leaders lean towards success and fruitfulness, we are attracted to it. That’s not to say mistakes are made, that’s not to say things aren’t challenging at times. That’s not to say you might have to go backwards in order to go forwards. It IS to say that we can hold our heads up high and do our best each and every opportunity we get. Less to perform and more to deliver the work in a way that reflects our values and ethics.
If we took a ‘fast fashion’ approach to leadership you can guarantee no-one will be standing in front of our legacy 500 years later mesmerised by the art of whatever your ‘Statue of David’ is. Great work takes a lot longer than a discount shirt or jacket. Great work costs you greatly. Great work requires tenacity and discipline. Great work has a magic to it that most people tend to see after the fact, do the great work anyway.
Three – Assess
Is there anything in my private world that might derail me?
Dwight Morrow said “I’ve had more problems with myself than any other person I’ve met.” Does that make sense to you? It does to me, I am that statement. In a recent podcast about self leadership, Andy Stanley discussed that every regrettable decision that has been made by me had me front and centre of it. Same same for the good decisions too, of course. They just hurt less.
Here’s the hard bit. If all the unformed, selfish, insecure, narcissistic, driven parts of you were left unchecked for 12 months, where would that take you in your life and leadership? You have the capability to be incredibly successful. You also have the capability to be a spectacular failure. It’s in the acknowledgement of your humanity, your need and the maturity with which you approach mitigating these weaknesses that will set up your future.
Four – Dream
Am I passionate and clear about my direction?
Dr Sean Richardson says that energy management beats time management every time. I love this distinction. When you manage your energy in the best interests of your purpose, you can do your best work, and add the most value. That’s where the critical idea of direction comes in.
Your direction has a greater impact on your destination that ANYTHING else in your life and leadership. Where you have your head and heart pointed right now is exactly where you will end up in three, six and 12 months time. Whether you like it or not.
Similarly to the derailment question, draw a line from where you are now to the likely conclusion if nothing changes. Mind, body, spirit, relationships, finances, family, work – they are all headed somewhere. The question is do you want to end up where your direction is taking you?
I can honestly tell you I am more excited about the future I am creating now than I have been for a few years. Where I am headed, who I am with, what I am creating and contributing are all energising me big time. There are significant challenges, obstacles to get over, and a few issues that I have to navigate, but in the light of my direction and purpose, they are all issues that can be addressed, at least as I see them.
As you head into the second half of the year know this. The best gift you can give someone is the gift of your personal and leadership wholeness. The more you work on that the better you are able to contribute and add value. That’s worth focusing on for the second half of the year.
This is for leaders. I am for leaders.