Though Thanksgiving is behind us, taking an attitude of gratitude into our everyday lives pays great dividends – both personally and professionally. Gratitude allows us to see beyond life’s little (and big) trials and tribulations to find openings where we previously only saw obstacles. It allows us to move past annoyance and irritation to find something redeeming in people and situations. And it has the power to transform frustration into appreciation.
It’s scientifically proven…
There is scientific evidence that our thoughts and focus can influence our perception, behavior, and outcomes. When you consciously shift into a state of gratitude, your heightened level of focus will allow you to see solutions, opportunities, and possibilities you might otherwise miss – and act in ways that free you from constraints that previously held you back.
Notice what you’re focusing on.
Your brain allocates resources to process information more deeply about whatever you focus your attention on. And it will prioritize that information over other stimuli. The process is called selective perception. While it is natural to focus on things that exasperate us, allowing attention to linger there will likely lead you to continue to take in information that just further upsets you. And in that state, your ability to effectively respond is greatly diminished.
Focus on what you most want to see.
But you can turn that around with deliberate and conscious intention. The same principle applies, so taking in information that allows you to find something to be grateful for will allow you to see and focus more deeply on constructive elements things in situations and people that you can build on. It’ll lead you to place your attention on things you can positively impact.
Make an attitude of gratitude part of your neural network.
The more often you deliberately shift your attention from frustration to appreciation, the more your cognitive and behavioral patterns become hardwired in ways that increase your resourcefulness and ingenuity. This process, which involves adaptive structural and functional changes to the brain is called neuroplasticity.
So next time you find yourself annoyed by someone or something, find something (anything) to be grateful for – and watch how the way it leads you to respond provides you and everyone around you even more to be grateful for.
It’s pretty indisputable… to create and experience your desired future, you must overcome your limiting beliefs.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The future depends on those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. And according to Mahatma Gandhi, “The future depends on what we do in the present.”
I think they are both right.
The thing is, most of us are so busy running around fighting fires that we don’t give a whole lot of thought to what we’d like to create. And even when we do, those dreams and visions are sometimes accompanied by hesitation, doubt, and even resistance.
The good news is that when your most formidable obstacles are self-generated, you most certainly have the power to rise above them.
In this week’s video, I’ll share some tips on how you can overcome your limiting beliefs that might otherwise stop you in your tracks (or keep you from starting at all) – so that you can move confidently toward the future you most want to experience.
Here’s to the beauty of YOUR dream!
P.S. The content of this week’s video was drawn from a workshop for visionary and heart centered leaders I recently presented at a Board Retreat for a client. If you’re interested in bringing a workshop or webinar into your organization, contact us at support@DianeBolden.com.
Hi, Diane Bolden, executive coach and author of The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader – How to Unleash Genius in Yourself and Those You Lead.
A couple weeks ago, I facilitated a workshop for heart-centered and visionary leaders at a retreat for one of my clients. Retreats are such a great way to get a bigger perspective and to begin to connect the dots of where you’re at, where it is you most want to go, what you’re learning along the way, what’s beckoning to you.
But you know what? You don’t have to get away or go someplace fancy in order to have a retreat. You can start by doing that right here, right now.
And it is something that you have to make a conscious decision to do because often, we’re so busy running around, fighting fires, dealing with the crisis of the day that we don’t stop to think about what is it we most want and what we might need to do in order to get it.
Sometimes when you think about what it is that you want, you might experience a feeling of resistance or dread or heaviness – and that’s to be expected because anytime you endeavor to do something that goes beyond your comfort zone and requires that you do something that you haven’t done before, you’re going to be met with resistance.
Oftentimes though, the resistance that we feel is something that we associate with the task and our chances of actually being able to accomplish it, when, in reality, those feelings are really just a product of what we’re thinking about the vision that we’re entertaining in our minds. And that thinking, when you’re not aware of it, tends to run the show…
Thinking that goes something like this, ” I don’t have the time to do that.” When you’re not aware of that limiting belief, you’ll end up acting in ways that make it true because you won’t take the time or make the time.
You might believe something like, ” I’m not really sure I’m cut out to do that,” or, “I don’t know what it is I would need to know” in order to pull that off,” or, “I would have to have everything all figured out, and I am nowhere near being able to do that.” When you believe those things, again, they stop you before you’ll ever even start because if you believe that you don’t have the ability to pull something off, why would you even bother trying?
You might believe something like, “I’m not really sure I can get people to support me.” And again, with that belief, you’re likely not to even ask because you feel like you already know what the answer will be.
The thing is, when you become conscious of what the limiting beliefs are that create that heaviness and tend to stop you in your tracks, you can begin to challenge them. Once you’re aware of limiting beliefs, they tend to lose their power over you. Awareness opens the door that allows you to overcome your limiting beliefs. Once you’re aware of a thought that isn’t serving you (and perhaps isn’t even true), you can replace it with something better.
If you think about a belief like, “I don’t really have the time to do that,” you might recognize, “You know what? I may not have the time to do all of it right away, but I do have the time to take a couple steps here and there – and I can make the time to do it regularly enough that I’ll actually make good progress.”
Something like, “I’m not sure I have what it takes in order to figure that out,” or even, “I need to have it all figured out before I can even start,” when you challenge it, can be shifted into a belief that actually supports you – a belief that says, “I don’t have to have everything all figured out. I just need to figure out the first few steps, and from that vantage point, I’ll know what I need to do next.”
A belief like, “I’m not really sure I could get people to support me” could become something more like, “I’m willing to approach a few people to see what it would take in order to get the support that I would need.”
In a few short months, we’ll be in a whole new year. It’s a great time to begin to take stock of what it is that’s beckoning to you and to create the space you need to incubate those kinds of visions, so that they are more likely to become reality. It’s also a great time to let go of anything that could get in the way of allowing you to achieve those visions and dreams.
The best time for you to recognize and overcome your limiting beliefs is now.
So, take some time to see if you can connect with what it is that you most want to create in the coming months and year, and what it is that you’re believing about that particular vision or dream that could potentially stop you. When you become aware of what those showstoppers are, they lose their power over you. And you can change them into something that actually can facilitate and increase the chances that you’ll meet with the success you desire.
If you’re interested in bringing a workshop or a webinar into your organization, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for watching, and here’s to your success.
Did you know that this is officially the first full week of fall? Every time of the year brings gifts that you can leverage to improve your work and your life. Four simple questions covered below can help you supercharge your success this season…
Fall marks the transition between the bright and dark halves of the year – and it brings with it opportunities that are easy to overlook in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives.
This week’s video will help you make the most of this auspicious time in a way that’ll help you get where you want to go in the coming months (and year ahead).
For more on how let go of the old to make room for the new, check out How to Soften the Pain of Growth.
Here’s to fall… and to leveraging its gifts to not only finish the year strong, but to setting yourself up for continued success in 2024 and beyond!
Hi, Diane Bolden, Executive Coach and Author of “The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader How to Unleash Genius in Yourself and Those You Lead.”
Can you believe it’s fall?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t know where the summer went. It seems like time is such a blur.
That’s why I love the changing seasons because they kind of jar us awake and you can’t help but notice because you can see it and you can feel it. The days get shorter, and the nights are longer. The temperature drops. The leaves start to change colors and fall from the trees, and even the air smells different.
It’s a time of letting go and preparing for regeneration. Animals start to hibernate. The leaves fall from the trees – but also, did you know, that the energy of plants actually moves from creating and growing new leaves and flowers to developing a really strong root system that’ll help it make it through the winter?
Fall perennials that are planted grow really strong roots so that in the spring they can burst forward with vigorous growth and a profusion of flowers.
And we can take our cues from nature also… slowing down long enough to just catch up with ourselves and connect the dots.
I don’t necessarily think we need to hibernate, but just being able to kind of reflect on where you’ve been, where you’re going, what’s most important to you, and how you can take good care of yourself is so important.
Here are four questions that can help you supercharge your success this season.
1) What is it that you’ve already accomplished over the year so far that you’re proud of, that you can celebrate? And what is it that’s calling to you in the future? What’s most important to you? What is it that you really want to focus your time and energy on?
2) What are two or three things you’ve learned this year? Maybe it’s a skill that you’ve picked up, maybe it’s an insight as to what’s been getting in your way and how you might overcome that. Maybe it’s something that you’ve learned about yourself or even life.
3) How can you take care of your own root system? What is it that you need to do in order to strengthen yourself and prepare yourself to move forward with greater boldness, and ease, and momentum, and get where it is that you really want to go in the coming months – and perhaps, even the year ahead?
4) And finally, what is it that you can let go of? What is it that perhaps has run its course, and is no longer serving you? Maybe it’s a habit or a pattern, or something that you’ve done for a really long time that just really isn’t working for you.
Letting go of things can be hard, even when they no longer serve us because they’re comfortable and they’re familiar. I actually wrote an article about that a few years ago, which I’ll put a link to below. It’s called “How to Soften the Pain of Growth.”
But in the meantime, here’s to fall – to all the things that you’ve accomplished and have yet to accomplish; to taking the time to tend to your own root system; and to honoring the passage of seasons within your own work, and your life to supercharge your success this season!
Thanks for watching.
I’ve always been drawn to lighthouses. And this summer we traveled to visit one of my favorites…
But this trip was unlike previous visits – and it led me to some powerful insights about what lighthouses and leaders have in common.
We look to leaders to light the way. But sometimes even the mightiest lights begin to dim. What do you do when that happens?
This week’s video will give you some powerful tips on how you can live better and lead brighter.
You likely have a few of your own practices for refreshing and reviving yourself… I’d love to hear them! Leave a comment here so others can benefit as well.
Here’s to reigniting your light!
Hi, Diane Bolden, executive coach and author of the “Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader – How to Unleash Genius in Yourself and Those You Lead.” And I just wanted to tell you a quick story of something that happened over our summer vacation.
We went up to Northern California and one of our favorite places to visit up there is the Point Reyes Lighthouse. It was built in 1870 and back in its heyday, its light was so bright that it could be seen all the way to the horizon for 24 miles. The path to get there is beautiful. It takes a little while to get to the viewing point but once you do, it’s well worth the trip… …except for the time we were there.
It was so foggy you could barely even make out the lighthouse. I almost didn’t even snap a picture of it. But when I got home, I was really glad I did. Because I was reflecting on the whole nature of lighthouses and I realized that the fog doesn’t really matter.
The whole purpose of a lighthouse is to cut through the fog, to show a path for other people. And the lighthouse doesn’t change the fog… doesn’t take it away. It just shines its light so that other people can find their way. And I think that’s exactly what a leader does.
Regardless of your title, your vocation or your role, you have the ability to show other people a way through the thickest of challenges and to help yourself find your way too. But every once in a while, our lights as leaders start to flicker and dim and it’s really important when that happens that we tend to the light so that we can continue to help other people.
In fact, if your light’s starting to dim, one of the most generous things you can do as a leader is reignite it and do whatever you can to lead brighter. And maybe that just means slowing down long enough to catch your breath or connect the dots or reflect a little on what life’s trying to teach you. Maybe it’s about getting connected with what’s most important to you, what it is that you want, and how you can create more of that.
Maybe it’s about making the decision to recognize and release habits that are no longer serving you or just doing some things that bring you joy. Spending time with people that make you smile and laugh or doing whatever it is that lights you up. Maybe it’s taking a walk in nature or gardening or writing or listening to some great music or playing music.
I don’t know what it is for you, but you probably do. And if your light’s starting to dim a little, chances are you probably haven’t let yourself do it for a while. Regardless of how bright your light is, regularly tending to it will allow you to cut through the deepest of fog so that you can help other people find their path too.
Do you know somebody whose light could use a little brightening? Share this video with them and a little of your own light. And don’t forget to take good care of yourself – so that you too can live and lead brighter.
I’m excited to announce that I’ve recently been accepted as an Executive Contributor for Brainz Magazine! Over the coming months, I’ll be writing regular articles about leadership, business, and mindset for Brainz readers to enjoy – I’ll be sure to share them with you all here too.
WHAT IS BRAINZ MAGAZINE?
Brainz Magazine is a fast-growing global digital publication covering Business, Lifestyle, Mindset, Sustainability, and Leadership topics. The editorial teams have a strong understanding of what their readers are interested in, and the magazine reaches over 300,000 people every week, spanning over 65 countries!
Brainz Magazine is known for inviting top entrepreneurs, small and medium-sized companies, scientists, and influential leaders to contribute to the magazine, which they hand-pick for their expertise. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to join them – and to connect you with their work as well.
MY FIRST ARTICLE FOR BRAINZ MAGAZINE – ARE YOU FEELING THE BURN?
If you’re struggling to balance the demands of your busy life and feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Burnout is a serious issue that can have a negative impact on your health, well-being, and productivity. And research indicates it is affecting more of us than ever before.
My first article for Brainz Magazine, Can’t Afford to Slow Down? How to Stop Overwhelm and Prevent Burnout Before It Stops You, explores effective strategies to prevent burnout and manage overwhelm, so you can stay focused and energized. Click the link to read the full article and learn how to take control of your work and life – and better lead others to do the same.
I’ll continue to share future Brainz articles that I publish, as well as ongoing videos and posts I’ll keep creating just for you.
HOW CAN I BETTER SERVE YOU?
On that note, I’m curious… what questions, challenges, opportunities, or issues can I help you with? If there’s something you’d like to hear about, let me know and I’ll do my best to address it in an upcoming video, article, or post.
I look forward to hearing from you and am grateful for the chance to serve you.
Here’s to your success!
I’ve been thinking lately about how much time we all tend to spend stuck on autopilot. You know, that state where you’re going through the motions, checking boxes, running around doing things… but not really accomplishing all that much.
It’s a state of unconsciousness that leaves you wondering where the day went. Sometimes you may not even remember what you ate for lunch, or how the time just got sucked away.
And when you have a lot on your plate, being stuck in autopilot also means you’ll likely end your days in frustration about how little you got accomplished. And wake up the next day feeling like you’re already behind.
But what if there’s a way to break out of that rut and get back on a path that is not only productive, but enjoyable and satisfying as well?
This week’s video will give you some tips for consciously reclaiming your day and effectively accomplishing your most important tasks with ease and grace.
Hi there. Diane Bolden, executive coach and author of the Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader –How to Unleash Genius in Yourself and Those You Lead.
Have you ever gotten to the end of a day where you felt like you just didn’t do the things that you really wanted to get done? And then you wake up the next morning feeling like you’re already behind and perpetuating that same state of overwhelm, that frustration, that irritation that you had the day before.
Why autopilot is a problem
It’s really easy to get stuck in autopilot. And the problem with autopilot is whatever it is that you’re doing is going to be repeated on an ongoing basis. Checking boxes and trying to get through the day and feeling overwhelmed doesn’t necessarily bode itself well to high levels of productivity, to creativity, to ingenuity or to satisfaction and fulfillment.
But what if you could break through that? What if you could have an entirely different experience? What if you could interrupt that autopilot pattern and in its place access a zone where you’re productive or you’re enjoying the work that you’re doing or you’re able to access creativity and think outside of the box?
Well, today I want to share with you a tip that you can try to do just that.
The physical laws that contribute to autopilot and overwhelm
Autopilot is largely a product of the law of inertia which essentially states that an object will remain in motion or at rest unless acted upon by an external force in a way that changes the trajectory. So, if you need to change your trajectory, you’ve got to do a bit of a pattern interrupt.
And there’s another reason why this is so important and that is another law of physics, that basically states things that are similar attract each other. And it’s not necessarily just things, but also thoughts. So, when you’re in a state of overwhelm, when you’re in a state of frustration and irritation and worry and anxiety, chances are likely that you’re going to continue to think in ways that perpetuate that state and you’re going to continue to act in ways that perpetuate that state as well. And if you’re not getting results, you’re likely to continue not getting results and then fretting about having not achieved all the things you really wanted to do.
When you’re stuck in autopilot and overwhelm, try a pattern interrupt
When you do a pattern interrupt, essentially, the best thing to do is to flash forward and to start with the end in mind – to identify for yourself, what would it feel like if you were to get to the end of your day and actually accomplish what you set out to do? Can you imagine feeling that rush of gratitude, of satisfaction, of accomplishment? Can you imagine being able to end your workday and go on to spend time with your family or your friends in a way that you weren’t distracted by the things that were still gnawing at you from work?
Start with the end in mind
Take that feeling a step further. Try and identify – what are the most critical things that you need to have done today? And try to pick no more than three to five things that are really, really important to you. Now take some time to do a little writing – not about the tasks that have yet to be done but see if you can flash forward to the end of your day. See if you can envision that you’ve time traveled and that you’re already the version of yourself that has achieved those critical things you identified that are on your list.
See if you can write a note back to the current version of yourself, sharing with yourself how grateful you are that you were able to accomplish what really needed to be done and how much easier it was than you thought it would be, how relaxed and relieved you feel that you actually accomplished what needed to be done, and how grateful you are for the experience. See if you can capture that. Have fun with it, embellish it a little bit.
And when you’re done, go back to consciously starting your day from a whole different mindset and see what happens.
Bonus tip for when you’re stuck on autopilot
I can give you a tip that will help you to continue to perpetuate this new state of conscious intentional visioning all through your day. I encourage you to work in 50-minute spurts. Set a timer if you need to. Work for 50 minutes. See if you can focus yourself intently on whatever it is that you’re about to do. And at the end of 50 minutes, take at least 5 to 10 minutes to give yourself a little bit of a break. Get up and stretch. Walk around, maybe go outside, take some deep breaths, grab a glass of water, listen to some music, whatever it is that you need to do to give yourself a little bit of a rest and then to come back to your task feeling a little more refreshed.
And before you jump in for another 50 minutes, take a moment and review what you wrote to yourself – that letter from your future self talking about how great you felt after you accomplished all those things and get into that state of feeling. Get into that state of having already accomplished it so that now when you go back to actually doing it, it’s almost as though you’re reliving the memory of what it took in order to get there.
Try it for yourself
As I always tell people, don’t believe what I’m saying because I’m telling you. Try it for yourself and see what happens. I can almost guarantee you that you’ll accomplish a lot more than you thought you could just by starting with the end in mind, interrupting that pattern of autopilot so that you can be more conscious and intentional with your day.
Is there something you’ve been wanting to do that you just can’t get yourself to take action on? You may dream and scheme and even have a plan for moving forward. But for whatever reason you just haven’t been able to execute it. Overcoming inertia is a common challenge, and it can keep you from living your dreams. But it doesn’t have to.
You’re probably familiar with the law of inertia. According to Merriam Webster, inertia is “…the inherent property of a body that makes it oppose a force that would cause a change in its motion. A body at rest and a body in motion both oppose forces that might cause acceleration.”
So, anytime you aspire to do something different, whether changing a habit or behavior, beginning a new endeavor, or creating anything – overcoming inertia is going to be a necessary and unavoidable part of the process.
It’s a powerful force. Because it’ll lead you to believe that whatever you are about to do is going to be hard. And you may end up telling yourself stories that’ll keep you stuck. You might convince yourself that whatever you are about to do is too complicated. Or that it’ll require too much work. Or that you don’t have the talent, energy, or wherewithal to endure it.
But what if the secret to overcoming inertia is to actually use the principle of inertia itself?
What if all you had to do to launch your new endeavor, habit, behavior, creation – or whatever you aspire to do – is just take some small action?
What if you don’t need to have it all figured out? …all your ducks in a row? …a multi-phase plan that maps every requirement, every step, and every contingency?
What if all you need to do is just START something?
Open a word doc and start writing. Pick up the phone and make a call. Go for a walk. Just get into action – and create new momentum – that is in alignment with whatever you ultimately want to accomplish.
If inertia is a force that leads us to continue doing what we’ve done before, by definition even the tiniest change in trajectory will begin to create a new force in a different direction.
Perhaps in this way, the smallest of actions can ultimately lead to the biggest of changes.
I experienced the power of this myself a few weeks ago, on a cold February day. And on a whim, I filmed a little video to capture my epiphany…
Hi, Diane Bolden, executive coach and author of “The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader.” And I just finished my morning ride. The thought hit me to shoot a video.
It’s cold here in Phoenix, which is crazy. I know. Wa, wa. But it was 35 degrees this morning, which is cold in Phoenix in February. And I did not want to get out of bed. And I did not want to ride the exercise bike. But I did it.
And I had an insight while I was riding that I wanted to share with you. What I realized is that it was hard to get on the bike because I was cold and I had to push through that resistance.
But now I’m warm. I’m actually kind of hot.
And I was thinking about how this is kind of like a metaphor for life… because whenever you start something new, you feel kind of cold. And you don’t want to. And there’s a lot of resistance.
[NOTE: Starting something new requires overcoming inertia – the momentum of whatever you were doing before that may be keeping you from doing what you’d like to do next. But… you can use the force of inertial to overcome inertia.]
And the more you give yourself to it – the more you allow yourself to kind of be in the game and push, (and I don’t mean push in a negative way, I just mean to get warm, to get your feet wet, to start something somewhere), what’s interesting is the environment doesn’t change…
It’s still very cold outside, and in here, but my body’s warmer and I have the ability to do things that I couldn’t do when I first woke up. And isn’t that just the same thing with life?
We start off and we’re cold. The environment doesn’t change, the circumstances don’t change. But if you allow yourself to get in the game and to get a little warm, and to move a little bit, you might find that you change.
And when you do, you’re capable of doing things you maybe didn’t think you could.
A third of your time on the planet is spent at work. Why would you do something that makes you feel… dead before your time?
So many of us feel like work is a chore, which Merriam Webster defines as “an unpleasant but necessary task”. It gets lumped in there with all the other things we dread but make ourselves do anyway – washing dishes, picking up the dog (or cat) poop, taking out the trash.
It’s interesting that Webster’s definition of the word “work’ has a similar connotation: “a task or tasks to be undertaken; something a person has to do”.
So, you could argue that the words “work” and “chore” go hand in hand. And if your previous experiences validate a belief that work is a chore the association will be even stronger. So strong that it leads to a common expectation that work is a necessary evil, a thing to be endured, something laborious and heavy.
Neuroscientific research has shown us that it is often our expectations themselves that shape our experience of reality. And that can keep you stuck in a perpetual loop of believing that work is a chore and a resulting experience that proves it to be true.
Over time, perpetual loops feel a lot like hamster wheels – you’ll expend a ton of energy, feel a lot of frustration, and not really get anywhere.
(And if you are a leader, you may be unintentionally setting that tone for your whole organization.)
But you can turn that all around and change your world for the better. It doesn’t require a lobotomy. And it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to quit your job. This video will give you a glimpse of just how easy that simple shift could be.
If you want more on revitalizing your work from the inside out, consider enrolling in the spring session of The Pinocchio Principle Unleashed: The Real Leader’s Guide to Accessing the Freedom & Flow of Your Authentic Genius. This exclusive 12-week leadership development program is now in its 7th year, with over a hundred happy alumni.
Participants for this video-based, small group coaching program are carefully selected and capped at no more than ten. Registration will open on February 15th, and priority will be given to those on the waiting list. For more information or to be considered for enrollment, go to www.UnleashtheExtraordinary.com.
Are you familiar with what’s being called The Great Resignation? With resignations and job openings at an all time high, companies are competing to hire and retain top talent. But much of that talent is feeling overwhelmed, overextended and burned out.
Because THE WAY WE’VE BEEN WORKING ISN’T WORKING ANY MORE.
We are at an unprecedented time with regard to work/life integration challenges. Telecommuting allowed us more time at home, but for many it blurred the lines between our work and personal lives, skewing it toward work and leaving many feeling chewed up and spit out.
While it’s becoming clear we cannot go back to the way things were, we must find a way to chart a path that’ll get us where we really want to go – and redesign the way we work from the inside out.
There has never been a better opportunity for leaders to rise up and blaze a new trail. But before they can lead others, they must first do it for themselves. This video was created for those who feel compelled to answer that call.
Are you one of them?
Watch the video to find out, then visit www.UnleashtheExtraordinary.com for more details.
I have always been amazed by the number of people who think of work as a necessary evil — simply what must be done to earn a paycheck. For so many who toil through their workday, the primary goal is to make it to the weekend so they can really live.
Going through the motions, working day after day with others whose hearts and minds they seldom truly connect with, they withhold the very parts of themselves that make them come alive.
For some it wasn’t always this way. Many began their careers ignited with passion and optimism, only to find that their flames began to flicker as they encountered obstacle after obstacle that kept them from achieving what they believed would be success.
Succumbing to the unwritten rules of the organizations and other environments they found themselves in, which suggested they needed to act or think in a certain way to get ahead, they may have slowly sold out on their dreams and relegated themselves to quiet complacency.
Many of us were not brought up to expect that work would be fun or gratifying in any way – nor should it be. That’s why they call it work, you may have been told. As a result, you may have never really expected much from your career or professional life. And as the saying goes, life has a way of living up to your expectations.
Most of us have learned how to turn ourselves on and off at will, in an effort to spare ourselves the pain of disappointment or frustration — or to maintain what we have come to believe is a professional demeanor. It is not uncommon to hear people say that they are very different at work than they are at home.
Those golden parts of yourself that you think you are protecting suffer when you don’t let them breathe and interact in the very realms that allow you to learn who you are and what you are here to do in the world.
You miss the chance to become a part of something greater than yourself. And the organizations and communities you are a part of miss out on the unique contribution you have the potential to make.
You can no longer afford to fragment yourself in this way, denying the fulfillment of your secret dreams and talents and downplaying the insights you have about what you can do to make life better — for yourself, and everyone around you.
As more and more of us feel the pain that accompanies the denial of our spirits, we have begun to realize that the time has come for us to bring the totality of who we are to what we do, no matter our vocation, title or role.
There are people among us who have the ability to snap us out of our trances — our states of quiet desperation — and help us bring more of who we truly are to everything that we do.
They can do this for others because they have done it for themselves. They are called “real leaders”. And they exist at all levels of organizations, regardless of their titles or roles.
Real Leaders inspire others to perform at their very best,
because they themselves are inspired.
When was the last time you felt inspired in your work? When was the last time you had passion for your career? What is it that allows you to feel a sense of wonder and contribution to something bigger?
If you have lost touch with that, do yourself and everyone around you a favor and take some time to reconnect with it. You have something deep inside that you are uniquely qualified and put on this earth to create or do.
When you were young, the energy of your dreams likely propelled you along your path — sometimes blindly, but it gets you off your duff and into action.
You’ve likely experienced hardships along the way and it may have felt at times as though you were failing again and again. Life throws you curve balls and you can find yourself feeling beaten down and doing what you can to just get by, running from one crisis to another and sometimes going in circles.
At some point, you will be tempted to check out and take an easier path – one that allows you to go numb and somewhat unconscious. It may work for a while, but over time you’ll begin to feel the misery that comes along with abandoning your dreams and letting your passion take the back seat.
What would it take for you to get excited about what you are doing right now? What is the bigger why of the work you do every day? Who does it serve, and how?
If you can’t answer that question, do some digging. When you can connect those dots to a bigger picture, you may find that what you thought was insignificant is quite meaningful – and a vital piece of a larger puzzle you are meant to help assemble.
As you recognize your part and the value you provide, perhaps you’ll be inspired to bring a little more of who you are to what you do by playing more fully, being more present, and connecting more deeply with those who rely on you.
Your passion is like a hidden well with unlimited reserves – tapping that well will allow it to grow exponentially. And as you unleash it in your work, you will draw out something extraordinary in every human being that comes into contact with it. That is the essence of real leadership.
We are beginning to awaken to our unique calls to service, creativity and innovation. As you find ways to unleash your distinctive talents and passions at work, you will significantly increase the quality of your own life, as well as the lives of everyone around you.
If you are interested in learning more about how to revitalize your life – both on and off the job, I encourage you to consider enrolling for the fall session of The Pinocchio Principle Unleashed: The Real Leader’s Guide to Accessing the Freedom & Flow of Your Authentic Genius, kicking off the week of April 18th.
This 13-week leadership development program is designed to help high achieving professionals bring out their very best performance in such a way that fills them up rather than depleting them – and allows them to make a bigger impact doing meaningful, inspiring work while leading others to do the same.