INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
So much of self-leadership is about knowing what to act on. But the opposite holds true, too. It took me a while in my career to realize the value of leaving it alone.
I can’t tell you how many times I regretted sending that email in immediate response.
Or followed up for that third time with someone who was already working on it – after my first request.
Or felt compelled to point out that behavior shortfall to someone who didn’t ask for my opinion.
I’m not promoting inaction, complacency, or status quo. I’m talking about restraint over reaction, prudence over pursuit, letting it play out over rushing in.
So, the next time you feel compelled to act, or react, ask yourself, “What good will come from it?” If you’re struggling to articulate the benefit, or can actually imagine the opposite occurring to what you had intended, move on, without egging on.
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake too easy to make)
I was recently at a Foo Fighters concert in Lake Tahoe, when lead singer, Dave Grohl, belted a refrain from a favorite song,
“There goes my hero…he’s ordinary.”
It got me thinking about everyday heroes – feeling as inspired as if I were in the middle of a three-beers-in guitar solo. You know what I’m talking about – the people who work the hardest, produce the most value, most often in the shadows, without nearly enough recognition and appreciation. The backbone of your organization, or your life; those who toil away, driven simply by their passion for doing a good job, for being a steady contributor, with a work, and personal, ethic, to be put on a pedestal. It’s these people who you can count on, day in, day out, to do what they do so well. And that’s saying something in today’s distracted, self-absorbed world.
The mistake we make is not recognizing, often enough, these every day, “ordinary” heroes that walk among us.
So, I ask, who is an everyday hero at work/in your life that you could stop, pause, and recognize (in a way they want to be recognized)? Do so, and you’ll be making beautiful music, recognizing a “background player,” reminding everyone of their importance to the band.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
Here’s a simple, proven strategy to avoid making bad decisions.
Make high-priority decisions at high-energy times.
It sounds simple, but too often, we end up making an important decision on the back of many other decisions we’ve made. The result is that we decide in the midst of experiencing decision fatigue; which is when you’re mentally worn down from the cognitive load required to make decisions, and so you just make the call with far less thought.
The result is, at worst, a terrible decision, at best, a decision distorted by default.
A famous example of decision fatigue comes from a 2011 Princeton University study that showed prisoners were more likely to have parole successfully granted if their parole meeting was in the morning versus the afternoon.
I’ve certainly experienced this fatigue, and so started a habit of scheduling major meetings with big decisions to happen in the morning, when I’m at my sharpest. Consider doing the same, whatever time of day that is for you, for whatever decisions will matter most.