Of course, most leadership positions in the business world are focussed on achievement and results.
Meeting targets, getting results, setting goals are usually the main focus of any board or CEO. After all, isn’t it the job of the leader about taking and leading others to a pre-determined destination?
Usually when that destination is reached it is deemed to be successful, if it isn’t reached it can be viewed as a failure. Any good leadership course will tell you that of course there is no failure, after all most of us know the famous Edison quote:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
― Thomas A. Edison
But what if we do fail? What if even after 10,000 attempts it seems nothing in this world will make an outcome different? If you haven’t wished for an outcome which hasn’t materialised, or come across a disappointing result, then you probably don’t live on this planet.
There are going to be times, no matter how focussed you are, or how much effort you put in; when things don’t turn out the way you want them to. If you have only been focussed on the outcome, then life can become very difficult and painful, and even though you may mentally tell yourself “there are no failures”, emotionally you suffer the pain of living up to your own or others expectations. Even when the goal wasn’t achieved because of forces out of your own control, the disappointment and fear experienced can be overwhelming.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer in setting goals, and outcomes and getting results. Because with the right focus making things happen, shaping your life and creating your idea of success can be fun, and stimulating. It just shouldn’t be the overriding focus of your life. While you are focussing on the future, achieving and getting results, the journey (life) is happening, and you may well not be aware of it!
Letting go of your expectations and desire to win not only helps you to deal with the ebbs and flows of life, conversely it also helps you to meet those targets, reach those goals and create those successes, because by letting go you take away the fear and the defence mechanisms which result from fear of failure. Letting go also allows you to enjoy the journey.
Of course, letting go intellectually is easy, letting go emotionally can sometimes take more work. Here are some tips about changing your perspective, which can help you to feel empowered, at peace and alright with your world, even when it has all gone wrong. Treat life as if it were a school. Life is a learning experience. Your experiences, whether you judge them good or bad, teach you something. Learning from your experiences opens you up to the possibility that everything might not turn out the way you expect it, and that is ok.
- Learn to deal with uncertainty. If the team is disbanding, or the work has dried up, or money is tight, or whatever circumstance comes along to throw your imagined future into disarray, learn to believe that even though you might not know where you will be in 6 months, develop the faith that it will be in a better place. (Even if you’re not in a better place in 6 months, worrying it for all that time, is not going to help!).
- Pay attention to your values and your relationships. Take time away from your tasks, and your schedule and concentrate on what is happening with your team. What values are you demonstrating, how much attention are you paying? Do you know what makes them tick?
By focussing on the journey, instead of the destination, slowly but surely your definition of success changes.
What about you? Are you leading your people through the journey? Or are you leading them to the destination?
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