It is no secret that I believe in, am certified in, and practice Positive Psychology. Just like it’s now no secret that I grew up in a religious cult, had my memoir, to the moon and back, published, and am on a joyful “warpath” 🙂 to spread a message of hope, joy, and love, even in the corporate world. Or especially in the corporate world.
I know my story is a bit unique, as is, perhaps, my determination to bring love to the work world. That said, nearly all, if not all, of my clients have some sort of “issue” from their past – professional and/or personal – that gets in their way. Some misperception of themselves or others, an overdemanding sense of responsibility (yes, there can be too much) or need for perfectionism (there definitely can be too much), a challenge with trusting others or themselves, an inability to make decisions or a propensity to make decisions too quickly and/or rashly, etc.
Something that gets in their way.
That’s one of the reasons why I got certified in Positive Psychology – so that I can offer resources to my clients to help them navigate – or eliminate – these faulty thought processes that get in their way. I invite you to check out Rick Hanson, a resilience expert, whose work has been life changing for me. His Wellspring Institute offers practical tips and a deeper understanding of our brains. So that we can use them – and care for them – more effectively.
It’s also why I was delighted to contribute to Hanson’s Wise Brain Bulletin – with an excerpt from to the moon and back and my own personal experience of healing my faulty thought processes and building new neural pathways in my brain for more happiness, calm, and ease.
Yes, my story may be somewhat unique, but all of us have something that gets in our way. To combat them, here are my four essential Thoughtful Leadership myths (and truths):
- Myth #1 I need to have all the answers – Somehow, we think we’re supposed to know everything or almost everything. As a coach, I can get caught in the misbelief that I need to have solutions for my clients, and my clients somehow think they need to have solutions for their direct reports or colleagues. That they can’t show that they’re not sure about something.
Truth #1 It’s okay not to know – We really aren’t supposed to know everything nor to know how to handle everything. We really are allowed to admit we’re not sure and to ask for help. In fact, it is a Thoughtful Leadership strength to admit we’re not sure and to ask for help.
- Myth #2 Working harder is always better – A client the other day told me that they were concerned they’d go back to their old behavior of “Go hard or go home.” I couldn’t have been prouder that they didn’t want to do that anymore. We’d been working on that in their coaching. We have been, in general as a society, conditioned to think that bigger, more, and harder is always better. That we need to give everything “our all” and to push harder and do more.
Truth #2 Taking it “easy” is sometimes better – Sometimes we do need to stay later, try harder, and give more, but the reality is that that is often not the best option. When we push and push and push, we often push ourselves into exhaustion and past the ability to think clearly and to show up as our best. Or to do our best. Our bodies and our brains need more rest, relaxation, and “down time” than we’ve been conditioned to think is good or normal. We often actually do better and accomplish more when we try less hard and do less.
- Myth #3 If it’s not perfect, it’s not okay – In many ways, perfectionism is lauded by society and rewarded at work. The other day, a client told me how their boss gave them a project because “I know you’ll do it right and perfectly.” In some ways, that is a compliment, but the reality is that first, perfectionism is pretty much unachievable, and second, we very, very rarely need something to actually be done perfectly (if it was achievable). Aiming for perfect drains our energy, puts unrealistic expectations on others, saps our creativity, and keeps us from other important tasks.
Truth #3 Good enough is good enough – If I were being fully honest here, I’d have to admit that this one is still way, way hard for me to grasp, but the truth is that often, good enough is good enough. We can ease back from perfection and aim for good – and that will give us time and energy to put to other tasks or to take that break we need to take in order to stop pushing so hard. When we stop needing ourselves, our work, and our colleagues (and direct reports, family, friends, bosses, etc.) to be perfect, we allow so much more room for fun, freedom, and fantastic outcomes.
- Myth #4 There is no room for care and concern in our work places – Along with the myths of having the answers, always working harder, and not giving up till things are perfect, is the myth that work is a place for tasks and hard facts and there isn’t space to care for and about the people. That we need to focus on the bottom-line, getting things done, and moving projects forward. No. Matter. What.
Truth #4 Love makes the world go round – I am the Executive Coach who talks about “love” in the workplace. People bring more of themselves and give more of themselves to work when they feel appreciated, valued, and cared for. The bottom-line matters, as does “getting the job done.” But time and time again we realize that we generally get a better job done when people want to be with the people they’re working with, when they care about the project and the people.
There are many myths about leadership and luckily many truths to dispel those myths. We’ve been, IMHO, erroneously taught to only push harder and do more, when, counterintuitively, it is often the pushing less and doing less that yields the best results. We do, again IMHO, need to find ways to navigate through or past the faulty thought processes that get in our way and the myths we’ve been taught to believe.
We need to find ways to allow for our humanity, sometimes take it easy, know when good enough is good enough, and allow for care, concern, and love in our work worlds. To be Thoughtful – present, intentional, and authentic.
How are you dispelling myths? What myths are you dispelling?
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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 support in finding your leadership truths, contact Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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