“Men go forth to wonder at the heights of mountains, the extent of the oceans, and the courses of the stars, and omit to wonder at themselves.”
Human beings are, in general, captivated by, motivated by, and inspired by wonder. We are social animals, and we search for meaning and a connection with the world and with other people. The sense of wonder provides those for us. We are moved by beauty. We marvel at nature, at love, at joy, at friendship – at all things wonderful. And all of this can bring out our best selves.
Yet, we can so easily miss the wonder around us, especially when we’re caught in the “seriousness” of leadership. But it’s there for the noticing, if we’re on the lookout.
If we’re on the lookout, we can find wonder in the innovative ideas that our teams generate when we give them time to play and create. We can find wonder in the job we’re hating at the moment, or maybe even the colleague that’s driving us crazy. Whenever our clients are frustrated or challenged by the people around them or situations they’re in, we challenge them to look for something positive. It’s often there, but we have to look for it, and it can give us a new perspective and lift us out of our stuckness.
We seem to have an even harder time finding the wonder within ourselves. Many of our clients are quick to tell us what they haven’t done well enough or the balls they’ve dropped or conversations they’ve mishandled. Many of our clients are quick to judge themselves and critically list their flaws. We’ve somehow learned that we have to fix what’s wrong with us and focus on our weaknesses in order to “get better.”
We’ve somehow learned this, but the opposite is true. When we own our strengths, we build on them. When we can recognize what we’ve done well, we can focus our efforts to do well again. When we can wonder at ourselves, and admit and embrace who we are – what’s great about us, and yes, even our “flaws” – we actually strengthen ourselves to do even more and better.
As a leader, looking for the presence of wonder within yourself and your team – and encouraging others around us to look for that as well – can bring even more inspiration, motivation, and captivation to the teams and organizations we’re leading. It can help us find a new path, come up with a new solution, and engage with each other in more meaningful – and effective – ways. If we only look for it.
How have you looked for wonder and how has it strengthened your leadership and your team?
Please leave a comment.
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 support in finding more wonder, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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