This blog has been writing itself in my head so I thought it was time I sat down and wrote it on paper as it keeps coming up in conversations with friends, colleagues, clients and even with my own coach. The topic: Upleveling Your leadership. Wondering what it is? Well as I define it, it means kicking your leadership up a notch. Moving up the bar on what’s comfortable and what you are good at in the spirit of your own growth and development.
You may have seen a video that has circulated social media every now and again by Dr. Abraham Twerski where he talks about how do lobsters grow? If you haven’t check it out, here it is. In it, Twerski reminds us that the stimulus for the lobster to grow is that it has to get uncomfortable. It has to get so uncomfortable to shed its shell and be super vulnerable for a bit to then grow a new shell. In that same way the stimulus for us to up level our leadership is to get uncomfortable.
It may be difficult to conceive because after all who wants to be uncomfortable. Naturally, most people shun the experience, it’s not something most folks wake up and consciously seek out. Some of it is conditioning. We spend our whole lives perfecting our game. Somewhere in between our upbringing and our early school years or career we take notice of our environments and begin to understand what is valued around us. What we notice gets valued from an early age begins to shape our secret sauce for success. As an example, maybe as a kid you noticed that whenever you did your homework and got good grades you were rewarded with a toy or an allowance. This noticing, innocent as it may be, starts to shape your belief that doing what’s asked of you, gets rewarded. Working hard = Success and Reward. If only I work hard I will be successful and get rewarded. As you read this, please do not think I am saying that hard work does not pay off. That’s not the point of this. What I am saying is that it becomes the thing you always do to get you the results you have always achieved in life. Everybody has their version of it. That thing that you do that has yielded you success time and time again. In the Last Word on Power, Tracy Goss refers to that as our winning strategy. “A winning strategy is a lifelong, unconscious formula for achieving success.” You have it. I have it. We all have one. I am no different. I just assert that I am recognizing that up leveling my own leadership means that I have to get out of my comfort zone. To use the example above, it would mean going beyond working hard. Go beyond my winning strategy. It would take making a leap and then once I have reached that mark and that start’s getting comfortable, leap again.
Nobody gets from good to great by staying exactly where they are. To uplevel your leadership you have to uplevel your game. Change it up. Do something different.
Imagine what might be possible from jumping outside of your comfort zone? What might be possible for you if you:
- Opened yourself up to receive feedback?
- Engaged in that long overdue conversation with your boss?
- Took that class that you have been putting off?
- Created a stretch assignment that is going to build the skills you know you need?
- Volunteered/requested to lead the next team meeting?
- Lead that project/workgroup/committee?
- Asked all of the questions you had about that project?
- Spoke up at the meeting you are always quiet at?
- Applied to be the keynote at the conference?
- Started writing the book?
- Finished up your dissertation?
- Raised your hand and said I am the one?
Just imagine what might be possible for you if you practiced doing something completely different this week? Outside of your comfort zone. What kind of leader would you be on your path to becoming?
Try it. I invite you to practice upleveling your leadership this week. Practice taking the risk. Practice taking on that thing that is completely outside of your comfort zone. That thing you might be resisting. You know what that is for you. And keep practicing it again until it no longer is scary.
This is how transformational leaders develop by taking on a New and Different and Scary Game and little by little you will begin to notice how you too have outgrown your shell and are breaking new ground. Make the Leap!
The Last Word on Power:Executive Re-Invention For Leaders Who Must Make The Impossible Happen
By: Tracy Goss
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