“Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.”
~Vaclav Havel

Recently I read a story excerpted from a book called The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander. The punch line of the story was to “not take yourself so $#@!* seriously.” That advice has stayed with me this week.

When a project at work didn’t gel correctly; when a meeting with a potential client took a “wrong” turn; when a difficult conversation ended badly – all of these moments were opportunities not to take myself so seriously. By fiercely holding on to my view of things, treating each moment as a matter of life or death, or focusing on the “drama” of it all, I simply take myself and my life too seriously. When I can let go, relax, and even laugh at myself, I feel calmer and there is more room for things to work out.

The project turned out beautifully. The disastrous meeting had a surprise good ending. The next conversation brought us closer. All of these situations in which I first chose to feel completely angry, defeated, and frustrated had endings that weren’t horrible. I do believe my choice to stop taking myself so seriously, and to even laugh at my foibles, helped bring about better solutions.

The next time a situation appears hopeless or disastrous, take a moment to pause, take yourself a bit less seriously, and perhaps even laugh at the situation and yourself.

Where are you taking yourself too seriously? Where can you lighten up and laugh at yourself?
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If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For help in lightening up, contact Robyn at rmcleod@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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