As a leader, it can sometimes be difficult to discover your true purpose in life and live according to this. I’ve always wanted to do a good job and wanted to be accepted, and sometimes just wanting to fit in can put us under a lot of pressure.
It is important to get valuable feedback
One thing that I’ve found is valuing others’ opinions over your own can be debilitating. Trying to become everything to everyone means we become nobody to ourselves. Instead, we need to try and become someone to ourselves, which in turn will make us someone to others; it’s not rocket science!
Of course, when it comes to leadership, it’s important to get valuable feedback from people around you and use that feedback, whether in a workplace environment or just from family and friends. But perhaps we should focus more on giving ourselves feed-forward (a different way of thinking about feedback), rather than relying on others for it.
Time is a great healer
When it comes to giving yourself feed-forward on a difficult situation, time is a great healer. When you reflect on a situation sometime after, things don’t seem so bad and time can fundamentally alter your outlook. I remember a recent argument I had, it was with someone from a call centre. I remember that, hours after the argument, I found myself thinking of all the things I could have said to them to make my argument better. On reflection, the after effects of that argument actually ruined most of my morning! But actually, I found that I remembered the event from a different perspective later on in the day and didn’t seem so angry about it anymore.
Therefore, changing your perspective of an event or situation can transform your whole experience of it. It’s important that we focus on changing our own circumstances in order to achieve this, because if we rely on outside circumstances to change in order to be happy, we may have to wait a very long time!
I am not saying don’t seek feedback at all
If you’re struggling with your own thoughts and feelings about yourself, and are constantly seeking feedback either at work or through family and loved ones, you end up not seeing how amazing you truly are. The result is that you measure your success and self-worth through the eyes of another, which isn’t good for effective leadership. I should know, I’ve done it for years. I am not saying don’t seek feedback at all. Just notice how much importance you place on others’ feedback versus your own feed-forward.
Make a shift in your perspective
We all want recognition, acceptance and to feel like we fit in at some point in our lives. Tom Marshall describes this as the spiritual dimensions of intelligence underpinning leadership. But it’s very important to pay attention to the degree in which you seek approval from other people. I suggest making a shift in your perspective and being proactive in seeking approval from yourself, then you’ll no longer be dependent on external circumstances.
So, next time you’re reflecting on an event or situation you’ve been involved with, I invite you to ask yourself these three questions:
- What did I do well there and what should I do more of next time?
- What could I do next time to improve the situation for all involved?
- What am I grateful for in myself?
If you do this regularly and use your own values as a benchmark for thinking and feeling, you will be much more successful at living through your true values. Thereby being the authentic leader you know you are.
In time this ushers out the self-doubt and you become somebody who puts yourself first; the secret to finding your purpose, becoming someone to yourself, and in turn, becoming a truthful leader!