Lessons From Leaders. Part 2.
“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” – Mother Theresa
At Leadercast 2012, I learned a lot about the importance of being authentic and transparent. I have to say that transparency has never really been an issue for me. Those closest to me know exactly what I’m talking about. If you ask me a question, usually, I’ll give you a “no holds barred” answer. Quite possibly, I’ll tell you more than what you wanted to know when you asked the question in the first place. I’ll openly admit my weaknesses, mistakes, and lessons learned. But the thing about me that I most often struggle with is how incredibly hard I am on myself. When I screw up (which seems to happen a lot these days, see what I mean?!?) I allow it to eat at me. I analyze and then I analyze that which I’ve just analyzed. Even worse, I have a habit of looking to others to tell me where I messed up, when I know full well myself exactly what the answer is. And while, I’m learning and working on this, a part of me realizes that it is just who I am. It’s a part of what makes me…well…. me.
That said, I did learn a few things at Leadercast that are helping me with my “issues.” For example, one of my favorite speakers, Tim Tebow, spoke about how he doesn’t let the media scrutiny affect him. He talked about knowing who he is, and why he’s here, and how if the can just keep that at the forefront of his mind, then nothing else really matters. I actually didn’t arrive at Leadercast as a Tebow fan but I sure did leave as one. I am so inspired by the work that Tim is doing with his foundation. The “ah-ha” that I took away most from hearing Tim speak was knowing that at the end of the day how important it is to stay true to who you are no matter what others think of who that person is. It’s so important to be discerning about our energy and attention and where it goes. Let’s not focus it on things we can’t control. Pick what you’re passionate about. And direct the majority of your attention there. To quote Tim: “Don’t worry about what you can’t control,” “There’s a lot of things we can’t control. We can’t control what people write about us, what they say about us, but we can control a few things: our attitude, our effort, our focus and how we go about treating our teammates.”
The other important thing I learned was in regards to transparency. I do a decent job of being transparent. However, I spend way too much time wondering whether or not doing so was the right thing to do. You see, often times being transparent means being vulnerable. And to be honest it’s damn hard work being vulnerable. Because the truth is, that’s it’s easy to go through life holding others at a distance. It’s safe. If we don’t let people close enough to see our flaws, to see that we’re human, the good news is, they’ll never get close enough to hurt us or let us down. The irony here, and the bad news is, they’ll also never get close enough to help us either. Below, I’m sharing a few principles I’ve learned, which will allow me to become a little more of who I was meant to be, each day.
- Be open and willing to share. Allow those who know you to see you for who you really are. Share the lessons you learn. For example, it always gets me how no one really talks about how hard it is to
bestay married. Now, I’m not saying that all marriages are difficult. But I am saying and I will readily admit that being married is the single hardest challenge I’ve ever taken on. Not having a baby at 14, not growing up without a mom or a dad in my life, not moving from place to place 25,000 times. No, you heard that right. For me, it’s being (and staying!) married. And quite honestly I’ve already failed at it once. The thing that gets me though is how rarely our culture talks about the struggles of beingstaying married. It’s hard, hard work. Even in the best of marriages. Marriage necessitates (and magnifies!) that you be authentic, transparent, and vulnerable. The willingness to learn (and learn again and again and again!) this lesson is the reason I believe we’re nearing our 10th anniversary. That and a whole lot of compromise. :)
- Resist being stagnant. Commit to learning something new about yourself as often as possible. Be willing to ask yourself tough questions without committing to doing something about them. This is often the easiest way arrive at a conclusion.
- Always know the answer to this question:“What are you working on right now that’s BIG?” Having a “calling” and/or knowing your purpose will be what gets you through. This and faith. I’ll let you in on what I’m working on: myself. All I really want at the end of the day (my purpose) is to know that someone had a better day because I was a part of it. While my influence right now may be on a fairly small scale, I know that to make difference in the way that really I want to, I must get better. Then and only then will my audience and level of influence grow.
How about you? What are you working on that’s BIG?!?
“I want to make someone’s life better because I’m here. If you have that attitude it will change your day and change your life.” – Tim Tebow