by Tony Richards
Christmas time is here this weekend and as always, there will be a lot of cheer and gift giving all around. As we’ve all heard, it is more of a blessing to give than to receive.
What if we can do both?
In other words, as leaders, what can we give ourselves this Christmas season that would be truly a blessing? After all, when we get better, everything around us gets better. Our businesses get better when we get better. Our families get better when we get better. Our communities get better when we get better. The organizations we serve get better when we get better. The key to helping others in to help yourself first. The best contribution you can give those around you is to increase the development of yourself. This puts you in a much better position to help and make everything around you better. You will not be of much assistance, if all your personal resources are used up and depleted.
Developing yourself to be the best version of you possible makes you a better model for those who need a better model to follow.
So, what would be the 10 best gifts you could give yourself this Christmas to increase your personal capacity as a leader and build the model that others love and from which they can draw?
1. Believe you can
Whatever your challenges are today, whatever adversity you are facing, the most important thing you can do is to keep believing in yourself and that you can. Can what? That you can win. That you can get through it. That you can be promoted. That you can achieve that goal or that dream. When your belief system becomes negative or contaminated with believing you can’t, the whole ballgame is over. Believe you can lose the weight, believe you can quit smoking, believe you can beat the cancer. You must maintain the ability to believe you can. Give this gift to yourself this year. Some of you already believe you can, you need to keep that going and some of you need to re-vitalize the belief that you can. You can!
2. Don’t Be Seduced By Results
The minute you start to think about the past results you have achieved, that’s when you stop thinking about producing results for the future. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the great year you may have had, but it’s in the books and there’s another year starting in a few weeks. Reflect, enjoy and NEXT! Do not get away from executing to the best of your ability in each step of your process. If you do, your skills diminish and you’ll not accomplish what you could have. Get in the habit of thinking “NEXT”! Execute with perfection and “NEXT”. Celebrate the excellent result and “NEXT”! Work your process the best you can every time you can.
3. Stop Sulking
The second worst thing you can do besides stop believing you can, is when you start thinking sulking when things aren’t going right is somehow going to help you. It’s not going to help you. See #2, if you are sulking and not executing the steps in your plan, you are losing focus and you will lose an opportunity to turn things around faster. You are not the first person to face some set-back and adversity, and you won’t be the last. You can always find someone who has it worse than you and fewer opportunity, so the faster you stop sulking, the faster to get to where you know inside you really should be.
4. Win With Patience
Give yourself some additional patience this Holiday Season. Knowledge is the biggest modifier of behavior, so if you know you need to exercise more patience, then start doing it. Everytime you feel yourself starting to feel more aggressive, stop….be more conservative in your behavior. The moment you get impatient…bad things happen. Give yourself the gift of having more good things happen by being more patient. A little at a time…
5. Ignore bad advice
Give yourself the gift of discernment this season for the coming year. How much bad advice do you really need? You don’t have to tell them off, you don’t have to get mad. If it’s really bad advice, here’s your process….listen…say “thank you”…and ignore. I can’t make it any more simple than that.
6. Embrace your authentic self
Have you worked with or known leaders who were trying too hard? They had this picture of what a leader should be and they were trying to do that rather than simply trying to be the best they could be? Example: Some people try to be General Patton, so they feel like they have to adapt that kind of persona or some such thing, and it just turns out terrible. The best thing you can do is be the best authentic version of yourself that you can be. Books can be a trap, because leaders try to emulate the book’s advice, rather than assimilating a few of the book’s principle into their own authenticity. The latter works so much better.
7. Have a process to lean on
Are you addicted to change? Do you have a process to help keep you on track or do you just “fly by the seat of your pants”? You know the difference. Give yourself the gift of developing processes for yourself to keep yourself focused on your priorities and give yourself at least a chance to keep part of what you’ve produced for the future.
8. Find peace
The Christmas and New Year holiday time can get hectic and crazy. Some people get totally caught up in it, because they are caught up in everything that comes along. They get the adrenaline rush and they like it. These constant emotional rushes are not good for your long term health and can cause real damage. Take some time to relax and reflect during the busy holiday time. What things did you accomplish this year that you were really proud of? Count your blessings. Who really influenced you this year? What things do you have to be thankful for? Stopping to reflect on these things can bring you some inner peace and give your body and mind a little happy break before the hustle and bustle of the New Year begins.
9. Tell those you love that you love them
And please. Be authentic. Take the time to slow down and share an authentic caring moment with those whom you really treasure. I promise it will give them joy and remove any regrets you may experience later. There are people on your mind right now as you are reading this you know you need to talk to. Just talk to them. Apologize. Forgive. Forget. Give yourself a break. It’ll be good. Really good.
10. Find someone who believes you can
We’ve come full circle. Not only do you believe you can, but you need to find at least one person, more if possible, who believes you can. The greatest thing I have always had going for me is that I believe in other people’s talents and gifts. Has it hurt me at times, yes. I wouldn’t trade that ability for anything. You may never have considered the fact that every leader needs someone who believes in them. Forget all the “lone wolf on the prarie” stuff. That’s not true leadership. Having confidence in yourself is important, but it helps to have someone who believes in you, too, whether it’s a spouse, friend, teacher, coach or consultant.