I have heard many speakers on the topic of leadership talk about the idea that you have to keep your head on a swivel. Our job is to operate at a level the enables our team members without getting mired in decisions or issues that can be managed by those people. But as often happen, new topics and challenges don’t come at you as a flurry….some days it can feel like a blizzard.
Earlier this week, my head was anything but on a swivel. It felt like it was spinning. I felt a kind of fogginess begin to cloud my mind by midday and even taking a five minute walk wasn’t working. I just saw the fog of issues. Issues that couldn’t be quickly solved. Opportunities with big gaps that I, alone, didn’t have the answers to. Frustrations that I had let a couple of things drag that finally needed to be dealt with. Oddly, it felt as if I were a million miles removed by the fog from where I wanted and needed to be.
As the day went on, a thought came to mind “Life’s still there.” I thought about my kids, they would have been sitting in school at the time. I thought about some of my team members that I know in the coming weeks I would be working to support. And gradually, focus began to return. And as the clarity and traction returned, I considered a few things that I will remember and I offer as my own learning:
- Get past “Woe is me” – I had a recent boss, who while I was wallowing in a challenging predicament, said “HEY, no woe is me. Figure it out.” At the time the comment seemed incredibly callous, but turns out to be one of the best pieces of advice I ever got. Things happen. Some things you can control. Some you can’t. No amount of time or energy spent on a pity party is helping you move towards a solution.
- Ask yourself a different question – One of my favorite questions came out the book “Playing to Win” by Roger Martin and AG Lafley and it goes “What would have to be true in order to…..?” The idea is that often we bias ourselves by focusing on an obstacle or negative momentum preventing us from solving a problem or reaching a goal. The question about what would have to be true forces you to think about possibilities and to see past the mountain if you will, to see the one or two steps you need help with or needed to be identified to help reach resolution.
- Find your North Star, your WHY – We talk a lot about finding your WHY on this blog. As I mentioned above, as I was shaking off the fog of the day, I thought about people and commitments that were truly WHY I was doing what I was doing. Having that your WHY as your North Star is critically important for days like that. Remember, life is still out there….the life where you committed yourself to making a difference.
How do you break through a fog of issues and challenges? Any suggestions? Please feel free to share in the comments below
Here are this week’s 5 for 5 articles:
Don’t Build Cars. Build Spaceships – by David Clarke – via LinkedIn
- SO WHAT: “There is no roadmap to building a spaceship.” <- for leaders, we need to think about what we are building.
- Tags: Leadership, Creativity
The Key to a Life that Matters – by John Maxwell – via johnmaxwell.com
- SO WHAT: A great reminder – It is a choice for each of us to live interntionally
- Tags: Leadership
15 Habits That Will Totally Transform Your Productivity – by Stephanie Vozza – via Fast Company
- SO WHAT: Fast Company was featuring pieces on different productivity styles all week. This article caught my ete….and I am totally going to try #5.
- Tags: Productivity
The Question That Steve Jobs Used to Ask Jony Ive Every Day – by Jillian D’Onfro – via INC
- SO WHAT: This ability was the path for Jobs and Ive to achieving laser like focus.
- Tags: Leadership
3 Amazing Mind Tricks That Will Help You Remember Small Details – by John Brandon – via Muse (via INC)
- SO WHAT: I’ll try anything…….but saying someone’s name back to them 5-6 times may get awkward.
- Tags: Memory
All the best, kevin