Image courtesy of Gualberto107/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
We have met the enemy and he is us. – Pogo, comic book character
In a recent post I talked about “stinking thinking” that we can fall prey to in our role as leaders. (Read it here.) The same phenomenon also happens in our self-leadership. Self-doubt can grip us in its scaly tentacles and we find it hard to break free.
When I find myself in this state, I know it is time for me to check out “the view from someone outside my head.” It’s like staying inside the same house all the time. Our view becomes only what we see from that limited perspective. Soon we believe that is reality, but in fact it is only our perception.
The voice of self-doubt shouts to us to err on the side of safety. It says:
- You can’t
- You shouldn’t
- You won’t
- You will never
- That won’t work
- You must not
- That’s too risky
- What are you thinking?
It’s helpful to pay attention to our emotions when we are caught in periods of self-doubt. The voice of self-doubt becomes louder during times of stress, exhaustion, risk, and as deadlines draw near.
Our best strategy for silencing the voices of negativity is to listen to our cheering section, our fans, our positive partners and our encouragers. They give us the perspective we need to break free from the hold of self-doubt.
No one makes it alone.
These treasured people remind us of what we have going for us and how far we’ve come. Sometimes we need them to come along side to give us a good swift kick in the behind to get us back on track.
Take down the voice of self-doubt. Go find your eagles, so you can soar once again.
Who are your positive partners?
This week I watched Rita Pierson’s powerful TED Talk about her life as an educator. Have you seen it? It’s got more than 1.5 million views. You can see it here: http://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion.html. She talks about how we all need encouragers and people who bring out the best in us. In a follow-up interview on the Ted Radio Hour on NPR, she said, “I don’t know why we celebrate failure. We think that by telling you what you didn’t do right it will inspire you to do better, but it doesn’t.” She goes on to talk about the people in our life who “insist that we recognize the excellence in ourselves.”
It is true in every area of life. Everyone needs a champion.
As leaders, we set the tone for the teams that we lead. A team that is praised by the leader for what they are doing right is in a better position to live up to what the leader believes about them.
We are more motivated to be on a team or in a job where our contributions are recognized and our strengths praised. There is tremendous power in praising people.
The opposite is true. Constantly pointing out what is wrong without balancing it with the positive, drains and demotivates people.
Think about our own leadership journey. Who were the people who meant the most to us? It was the leader who stood with us, praised you and challenged us to do better.
What is your team doing well? What individual team members need someone to point out what they are doing right?
As Ken Blanchard reminded us many years ago in his classic book, The One Minute Manager, catch people doing something right and praise them for it. That’s the kind of leader I want to be. How about you?