Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.
Last month I wrote about how leaders need to re-evaluate periodically how they measure success. There are several common business and cultural standards for what achievement could look like but success is also very individualized. Today I’m offering you a leadership story and a tool for learning to measure your true triumphs.
Recently I was working leader who was starting to suffer burnout from too much consistent stress, pressure and activity. She’s an executive in the healthcare industry and that area has been pummeled with dynamic new changes, demands and needs over the past several years. After some conversation we discovered that one of the factors contributing to her stress was that her and her teams were not achieving the vision they had set out for themselves. Not only were they seemingly not getting closer but she herself was starting to lose faith in what that future would be. She typically is quite a visionary in her field and for her to lose her sense of what ‘could be’ made things bleak for her. She didn’t know if she could trust her aspirations because they weren’t manifesting themselves in the way she envisioned they should. Having set certain expectations and then not hitting them as she saw possible created a little loss of faith in her greater vision. This loss of faith deteriorated her motivation and was starting to affect her energy. Needless to say, her energy and faith also had an impact on what her team deems possible.
These despondent moments are a common pattern among The Mastermind archetype*. People running this pattern are used to having ideas flow, being inspired, seeing possibilities and future visions. When they run into some of the realities of creating results; the ‘devil in the details’, seemingly mundane actions or undesired results, they can get discouraged. It is important in these moments to step out of the expectation cycle and start gathering different data, feedback and evidence so energy can be redirected. These moments are perfect times for a leader to innovate and refresh his or her personal definition of success.
One of the things I did with my client to help her refresh her sense of accomplishment was to have her start of Success Notebook. The purpose of the notebook is to create a record of acknowledgements, affirmations, validations, good luck and blessings. Every day she was to take 5’ to pause and think of what she could write down in this journal. This act of recording different evidence was important because her perceptions were getting limited. She was discounting important information and by her lack of attention, was losing steam. Once she had the notebook assignment, and she knew I was going to be asking about it in our next session, different things came to her attention. Someone gave her a compliment on her presentation, she got an email from a former employee telling her of his new job and how he had to give her credit for helping him get where he was in his career. One of the senior leaders asked to grab a coffee together, and a peer wanted to meet and pick her brain about a new project he was working on.
After two weeks of keeping the notebook she noticed that every day she was a value to someone. She in fact discovered that she had more influence than she thought and was a creative force for others. Every day she was making some contribution to the greater results the company was producing. If she hadn’t stopped to literally search for a different perspective, her pending burnout may have had more serious consequences. And more importantly, she started to get her visionary mojo back. That not only inspired her but her team as well.
So I invite you, if you find yourself struggling with feeling achievement, try the Success Notebook for a few weeks. And please, let me know what you discover.
*The Mastermind is one of 5 key leadership archetypes I am writing about and about which I will post periodical blogs.