One day I had the opportunity to listen to Marshall Goldsmith, one of America’s finest executive coaches speak. Though the man has a number of incredibly insightful things to say on any given moment, one thing he said that day made an impact on me that I still feel years later. The audience was eager to benefit from his wisdom. He took the stage and paused a moment before speaking. Then he told us to hold onto our seats while he told us something we probably didn’t want to hear.
“Those ‘to do’ lists you are carrying around – your inboxes and piles of papers – all those thing you seek to get to the bottom of,” he said. “You need to realize right now THAT YOU WILL NEVER EVER FINISH THEM ALL.”
I remember my heart sinking when I heard that news, though I knew in my soul what he was saying was true. He went on to explain that once we grasp this little piece of knowledge we will be so much more productive, effective and creative.
His wise words echo in my mind when I feel I have become a slave to my productivity principles. How many times did you feel that everything had to be in its place before you could really move forward – start on that project you have been putting off, write that book, return those calls, launch that campaign? And how many times did you allow your need for perfection to keep you from acting at all?
Now, don’t get me wrong – I do believe order is important. But it must be in service to our larger purposes, not a substitute for them. Perhaps there is wisdom in a bit of chaos. Maybe if we weren’t so preoccupied about planning out every little detail and needing to feel “in control” of it all, we could let go and allow our inner knowing to cut through the piles and tell us exactly what we need to focus on in each moment, whether that be a project or a person. Perhaps there is inspiration just waiting for us to create enough space for it to get through. We cannot do this by becoming busier, hunkering down and trying harder to do that which may not even need to be done at all.
The inspiring, confident, courageous voice of a leader often starts as a small still voice that competes for our attention among all the other things we think we need to be doing. How will you quiet yourself for a few moments today to hear what it is telling you?
“It is always amazing how many of the things we do will never be missed. And nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all.”
~ Peter F. Drucker
Implications for Real Leaders
The Real Leader Revolution is bringing to a head the need for businesses to better tap the power and potential that exists within the people who are the lifeblood of their organizations. This energy, when properly catalyzed and harnessed, will create the kind of value that earns loyal customers, increased market share and strong, sustainable profitability.
To find out more about how you can unleash this talent, energy and potential in your own organization (starting with yourself), sign up below to receive your copy of The Real Leader Revolution Manifesto as soon as it is released.
Sometimes despite our best efforts, things go awry.
Be the source that raises the level of energy of those around you. Utilize Desire, focus and courage to help yourself and others.
Watch this video for tips on becoming the light in darkness for those around you.
If you would like to learn more about building confidence, being authentic, and moving beyond old patterns that keep you from fully enjoying your life, check out my book, The Pinocchio Principle: Becoming a Real Leader, available at Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.
Have you ever found yourself stuck in a lousy place, just not sure how to pull yourself back up? When we get that way, often times we tend to focus on things that will just bring us further down – evidence that supports why we have good reason to feel lousy. But every once in awhile, we open our eyes to find simple gifts that have the power to snap us out of it and bring us back to a better place. This week’s video is about my experience with a dear friend, who did just that for me many years ago – in a way that I will never forget.
Here’s what I said in the video…
There was a time in college I remember coming home just so down – in a really bad place. I had just taken an exam and I was sure I just totally blew it. And I think I was behind on several papers… and the guy I had a crush on didn’t even know I was alive… and I just felt terrible!
I came back and my roommate was there and I thought “oh this is great – I have somebody to unload on”. So I just pounced.
“Oh listen to what happened to me today, and then I did this, etc., etc., etc.” And I was just in my thing.
My roommate turned around – and I wasn’t sure what she was doing, so I just kept talking at her. And she turned around [with a hanger wrapped around her head and a perfectly serious face] and just said “oh yeah, I’m sure that was really hard, yeah…”.
To this day, when I get all hung up in my stuff, I think back to my little hanger head roommate and I realize that when we think everything is falling apart and nothing’s going to get better, there’s always something somewhere that will make us smile – and sometimes it’s just right in front of us.