These holiday thoughts come with my best wishes to all readers of Letting Go. Stepping Up.
In reflecting on the past year, what I continue to learn from working with my clients, and what might be ahead, five of my most popular posts capture many of the insights. It’s a privilege to share them with you.
Never good enough
There are up- and downsides to being a perfectionist. The irony is that the very fact of striving for perfection all too often becomes a cause of failure. Striving for absolute perfection is a certain recipe for failure; it can’t be attained. It only results in guilt, self-deprecation, exhaustion, burn-out and frustration. The great irony of perfectionism is that while it is characterized by an intense drive to succeed, it is the very thing that prevents success. The first step to overcoming perfectionism is to recognize it. I wrote ‘Never good enough’ as a parody on perfectionism; it struck a cord with many.
In this post I observed that knowledge and command of your content are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions for having executive presence. Too few understand executive presence is a multi-faceted, mental and physical state in which you are attuned to your true thoughts and feelings and able to spontaneously express them comfortably and convincingly. It is the inner self showing up. Three inter-dependent factors are required to improve your executive presence: Using your body in unison with your mind, believing your story, and avoiding self-doubt.
Are you an expendable or an indispensable member of your organisation? Do you know what it takes to become indispensable? There’s no need to ask if you know the difference between being indispensable and expendable! Indispensability is not achieved by hard work, a ‘can do’ attitude and displays of loyalty to the organisation. Being indispensable reaches well beyond fulfilling a social contract with your organisation, making an earnest contribution, adding value in a variety of ways, and being loyal and fully engaged. It is about truly giving of yourself, heart, body, mind to a cause, and higher purpose of your organisation’s raison d’être.
Isn’t saying ‘Don’t be afraid to fail’ just a cliché, I hear you ask? It may be, but more importantly, there is excellent research evidence to show if you actually embrace failure, you are more likely to be more successful than those who succumb to being afraid to fail. Understanding why some people reach their potential while others who are just as talented don’t. Her work shows us talented people who find success have a growth mindset, in contrast with a fixed mindset. Trust yourself. Being willing to embrace failure.
Being a high achiever is all very well, but not when the cost exceeds the returns. In your current role and in the rest of your career, you, your colleagues, and your organisation will be better off if you work less and in a more balanced manner. The law of diminishing returns is not an inexorable truth. You can work smarter. This means you can work less – and produce more. It’s really a law of virtuous returns for those who are determined and clever enough to learn to work differently and avoid diminishing returns.
Compliments of the season