You First: Tapping Into Your Most Powerful Leadership ToolOct 13, 2022
It's going to be harder and harder to lead these days without first getting really good at managing your own mind. It is, after all, the only thing you truly have control over and how well you manage your mind is what determines how much and how well you influence your culture and team.
Ultimately, the thoughts and actions of the leader impacts everyone else on the team long after they go home from a day of work. Think about how you carry home someone else's mood. Ever complain or vent about colleagues when you get home? Of course you do, we all do. Now, just imagine how your own moods hover over those you lead. They get to carry the impact of your moods home just like you carry the impact of everybody else's moods to your home.
That brilliant mind of yours thinks thousands and thousands of thoughts each day and those thoughts are responsible for every kind of result you create - the good, the bad, and the not so helpful. Those thoughts are also responsible for how you feel.
Many leaders come to me swearing that it is their circumstances or other people giving them headaches but that is not how it works. It is your thoughts about your circumstances and other people that create your moods.
If someone calls an impromptu meeting just as you are leaving for date night, you might feel frustrated or disappointed or maybe even upset. You might also blame how you feel on the person who calls the meeting. Maybe you think - "This guy never thinks about the time." Another thought might be - "I don't see why this can't wait until tomorrow."
It's not the circumstances or others or even what they say or do, it is those thoughts about the circumstances or others or what they say or do that determine how you feel.
But here is the good news. You get to totally control which thoughts you think. I'm not saying you should always change your thoughts to create a more pleasant emotion. I'm just saying you have a choice.
When you can see what your thoughts are creating, you are usually more able to see your options. Being open to checking out what your thoughts are creating helps you to see other, more intentional, ways of experiencing your circumstances.
Leadership starts with leading yourself first. Here are some helpful strategies to help you have the most managed mind:
Notice Your Thoughts
What does your inner dialogue sound like? What emotions are you creating with those thoughts? Check out your patterns and what happens as a result of your thinking. Remember that you can always change those thoughts if you want a different outcome.
Be OK With Your Emotions
In the beginning of adopting a thought and emotional management practice, it's common to judge your own emotions. Don't. It's OK. It is part of the process of getting to know yourself better. Which emotions do you feel most often? What thoughts are bringing them up? Be curious about it all. Your emotions are data. Use them to help you experience your leadership and life more fully. More on this later so stick around.
Stay With It
As much as you want to believe that you are already very self-aware, I'm telling you that you have not yet tapped into your most serious magic. This is deep and quiet work and it requires time. In fact, once you start, you will find that it is never ending. While you may or may not be ready to do this work, the moment you will be, you will know. When it clicks, it clicks. Why not just be open to it?
This is the greatest gift you can give yourself and it is the first step to creating the leadership and life you desire.
You cannot control what happens or what comes at you on a daily basis but you can control what you think about it all. You get to determine how you will experience your circumstances by choosing your thoughts which, by default, means that you also get to influence the experiences of your team, your culture, and results.
As the leader goes, the rest of the team goes.
It starts with you first.
Ready to love your leadership life?
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