Whether you’re a new leader or you’ve been in your role for a while, you may not feel equipped to lead. Instead of empowered, you might feel ineffective and stressed out trying to juggle all of your responsibilities. You look for tips and tricks to help you better manage your people and your time, but nothing seems to stick. Dr. Daphne Scott has been in your shoes.
Daphne wrote Waking up a Leader: Five Relationships of Success to show leaders that the struggles they’re facing originate in their relationships with time, money, self, friends, and the unknown. She teaches readers how to mindfully assess these five relationships to see whether they’re helping them thrive or holding them back. In addition, she teaches transactional skills that will not only improve their leadership and time management capabilities, but help them address the real-world challenges with these relationships in a pragmatic and direct way.
I recently sat down with Daphne to learn what inspired her to write the book, her favorite idea that she shares with readers, and how this idea has changed her own life.
What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?
I was preparing for a conference I was speaking at and recalling all of the things that people talked to me about and also, that I used to complain about. I thought to myself that maybe I should talk about those things and our relationship to them. After the conference, one person told me it changed their life. So, I thought, maybe some other folks would benefit too. I know that all of the practices in the book have changed my life, for sure.
What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?
My favorite is the practice of generosity. Generosity allows us to experience a deeper sense of peace and plays a significant role in learning to let go willingly, especially of the self.
The act of generosity can be lived in many different ways. We can be generous with our patience with others and ourselves, generous with our time, and generous with our money. The key is to give freely, without expectation of return and without obligation. True generosity involves a letting go without anticipation. This letting go has great power in working with our identities, which want so much to hang on.
Generosity impacts the one who is giving and correlates strongly with psychological health and well-being. Research on generosity demonstrates that those who volunteer report a greater quality of life, those who offer help to others freely have a greater sense of vitality, and that generosity in the workplace is associated with reducing burnout.
In addition, we can practice generosity with ourselves. If we understand generosity as a letting go, we can be generous with ourselves and let go of painful states like frustration and envy when they arise. Just as we might encourage a friend to let go, knowing he will not feel good by keeping jealousy or anger around, we can be generous with ourselves and release those painful feelings. We practice generosity to ourselves by letting go of our suffering.
What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?
I remember the first time I gave away more money than I felt I could actually give. This is to say that most of us can feel that way at times. I had the thought to give it to this person. She was a young mom that I worked with and the truth was, I knew I could pay my bills. I wasn’t sure she was going to pay hers. So, I gave her a thousand dollars.
As it turned out, it was the best thing I could have ever done; for me and for her. In an ongoing and more expanded way, I apply generosity to myself when I make a mistake and also, of my time and talents.
I love opening my phone conversations with others with the words, “How can I help you?” It’s my favorite!
For more advice on becoming a more mindful leader, you can find Waking up a Leader: Five Relationships of Success on Amazon.