Things to remember to help you be your best self and the best leader you can be
It was brilliant to meet and work with the leaders who participated in CEO/Executive Team Network last November.
I wanted to take a minute to remind participants—and to share with CUES members who couldn’t attend—all we covered in the closing keynote, “The Inner Game of Executive Leadership,” and to check in on their inner game and see how they are doing.
1. Remember: You Are a Success.
You have reached the pinnacle of success. You are a leader of a value-based organization that serves thousands, no doubt positively impacting many more people in the communities and businesses in which you operate. Well done!
It is extremely important to your future leadership impact and success that you really accept this acknowledgment. Why?
Because what you do inside of yourself you will do with others out there.
If we cannot acknowledge, validate and champion ourselves, we simply can never do this well for others. And in your role, it is imperative that you easily and frequently acknowledge, validate and champion those in your care.
2. Remember: Nothing Could Matter More Than You Feeling Good as a Leader.
And by good I mean whole, loved, enough; valued, seen, recognized; alive, excited, inspired…
Simply because your life matters. Because feeling good will make you a significantly better leader. Because how you think and how you feel affects everything you do and how you do it. And you impact and touch so many! You are kind of a big deal!
Your ability to focus your thoughts on all the beauty, success, and joy that exists today will make life wonderful for you. When you feel that life is wonderful, you will be great with other people—present, available, encouraging and inspiring!
Because everything—everything—gets done through human relationships, it really does matter that you learn how to feel good and wonderful daily.
3. Remember: The Most Important Thing You Will Ever Do Is to Learn to Think Thoughts That Make You Feel Good.
Have you been able to focus your mind on good-feeling thoughts?
Again, you are doing this so that you have the inner resources to not only handle the numerous challenges in your day job but to do so with greater presence, humanity, grace and compassion.
Have you been feeding your mind a diet of good-feeling thoughts daily, such that it is starting to become a natural way for you to think and experience the world? If not, keep reading for how you can begin to do this today.
4. Remember: Neurons Grow and Recede According to Use Throughout Our Lives.
The more we think a thought, the more we will continue to think it. By repeating a thought, we strengthen the neural connection and shape, in a very real way, the physical structure of our brain and what we experience as reality.
5. Remember: Research Tells Us All of This Impacts the Bottom Line.
Over the last 16 years, The Leadership Circle has surveyed more than 110,000 C-suite and senior-level leaders in more than 20,000 organizations, 180 countries and more than 60 industries and found that 70% to 75% of these people lead with a reactive level of mind or quality of thought: one that is largely critical, distant, arrogant, passive, complying, autocratic and overly driven.
This reactive level of mind is strongly correlated with leadership ineffectiveness and diminished business results. In addition, it is simply a much less enjoyable way of life.
Only 20% to 25% of C-suite and executive leaders are moving towards or currently lead from a creative level of mind or quality of thought: a teacher, coach and mentor orientation focused on caring human connections, emotional and interpersonal intelligence, composure, integrity, courageous authenticity, self- and systems awareness—one that is visionary and purposeful. Not to mention, this is simply a much more enjoyable way of life!
6. Remember: What Does My Daily Inner Dialogue Need to Be?
Truly effective leadership requires an inner identity and dialogue that sounds something like this:
- I like who I am.
- I am proud of all I have accomplished and achieved. I know I am a success.
- I am pretty great at the couple of things I do exceptionally well. I am also pretty bad at most everything else. And that is just fine.
- There are so many talented people around me; I don’t need to look smart, be right, know all the answers or go it alone.
- I love leading, learning, and investing in the talent and success of others.
- I love the camaraderie I feel and foster among my board members. I know we are all in this together.
- Because I know I am a success, I no longer need to look for evidence of this or external validation in its many forms. I am finally free. I can now fully focus on making interactions that advance the success of others.
It is an inner identity that says “I am good. I’ve got enough inside,” and is, therefore, able to focus on these daily questions:
- Who needs me today?
- What do they need most? What are the human beings behind those powerful titles really hungry for?
- How can I best assist?
And, because I am still a human being, what do I need today to ensure that I can be my best and highest self for others?
7. Remember: Your Photo Card. Is It Where You Can See It Daily?
In Florida, participants selected a photo card that easily created a good-feeling thought for them. For five minutes, they wrote down as many positive thoughts as that image could inspire in them.
Participants were encouraged to take this card with them and place it where they could see it daily, allowing it to be a reminder of all the great thoughts they can always choose to think.
If 2020 is to be an exceptional year—your most rewarding year yet—this is a daily practice we highly recommend. It is our gift to you.
8. Remember: Do This Daily.
This one exercise alone has the potential to improve virtually every aspect of your leadership and life.
Each morning set five minutes on a clock and do the following:
- On a blank piece of paper, write down your intention for the day: the top two or three things you want or need to accomplish and who you want to be as you accomplish them. On the latter, you might write a single sentence like “I want to be present, encouraging, and inspiring.” Or “My intention today is to be open, curious, and approachable.” Or “I want to have fun and make the day fun for those I work with and through.”
- Then write down as many good, exciting, inspiring thoughts as the day ahead could hold for you if you let it. Capture what you are most grateful for and what you could be excited about if you wanted to be. The purpose is to ensure you are in the best emotional state to handle the events of your day with the intention you set above.
- Fold this paper and carry it with you. Schedule a time to take it out at least once during the day to remind and refocus yourself and to give you one moment of pause in your hectic schedule.
9. Remember: Love and Lead Yourself.
The world is changing faster than ever before and in order to thrive, we each need to acknowledge and champion ourselves in ways most leaders are not yet skilled at doing. What we know is that if you can champion yourself well internally, you will easily be able to do so with others and do it well under pressure. You will then be a magnet for talent, as others will love working in your presence, thriving under your leadership and gladly giving you their best and all their discretionary efforts. Then together, you just might find yourselves having the time of your lives serving others, as it is the only real purpose of leadership.
May 2020 be your best, most rewarding year yet!
Susanne Biro is a master coach and a co-founder of Syntrina Leadership.