INSIGHTS (on leadership/self-leadership)
Music gave me a sign this past weekend. I was at the BottleRock music festival in Napa Valley, and was struck by the number of artists who expressed the same sentiment. The past several years have been laced with anguish, loneliness, and even hopelessness for them, being away from the connection they craved to make with people, face to face, through their music. But now, being back in front of an audience again, they realized it’s just been a pause in their happiness – nothing permanent. John Lennon reminded us of this when he said,
Everything will be OK in the end. If it’s not OK, it’s not the end.
My insight this week is simply to ask that you see the insight in this, and truly believe it, especially since so many of us have suffered in so many ways of late. Repeat it to yourself. Out loud. I did, as I stood there in the sparkling sunshine, bathed in the healing power of music. And singer Michael Franti offered the same refrain from the stage in a different way – a simple, “Hallmark store coffee mug saying” on his shirt that actually has tremendous power if you really follow it:
IMPERFECTIONS (a mistake I make)
American landscape painter April Gornik reminds me of a mistake I make all the time. She said:
Don’t pretend that you’re not proud of your work.
I do this too much – I wear the noble belt of humility and “aw shucks” my way out of a compliment, sidestepping appreciation, and all too often playing down my accomplishments. The cost is this: when you don’t take pride in your work, you cheat yourself out of powerful, reaffirming reflection that your effort led to something. You miss out on a replenishment of the energy it takes to keep working hard. Research even shows that taking pride is one of the most meaningful experiences of daily life. So, learn from me, stand proud, and take a moment to bask in what you’ve accomplished.
IMPLEMENTATION (one research-backed strategy, tip, or tool)
I saw this on a t-shirt the other day, and it made me laugh out loud:
Your secret’s safe with me because I wasn’t listening.
As funny as it is, it’s also true all too often. Here’s a few tricks that will help you get much better at listening. Before engaging with someone, imagine that your brain is a dry erase board, and take a wet sponge across it to wipe it free of distracting thoughts. Then, and only then, you’re ready to listen with intent. It’s about preparing to zone in so you don’t zone out. And when you catch yourself starting to drift versus listening carefully, ask yourself, “What has my attention right now?” Acknowledge that thing, then set it aside to attend to later, when you’re done listening.