Part of being a leader requires you to be open and ready for change and growth. As the world changes, leaders need to adjust and be prepared to lead others in that change. This requires us to be curious and to be open to making a mistake every now and then. The acid test is how you handle those moments. If we become defensive we close ourselves off to the lessons, but we also communicate that risking it is unsafe and that failing is shameful, this is not true. Failure is just feedback, stop, listen and learn, then move forward with the new knowledge and experience. Easy to say, hard to live. ;-)
One of the key things to stay at the top of my game is making sure I am learning and developing my skills regularly, so I recently joined ChangeMakers in Wellington, which is a program for people who are intent on making a dent, a difference, who want to create a good impact. It is a 6-month program.
It has been awesome rubbing shoulders with some incredible people, learning how they think, and being stretched and challenged. We get to work with some thought-provoking tools and models and although it can be challenging, I am really loving it.
We get to work with a Mentor and mine is awesome and just a little scary, in a good way. As we go through the next few months, we get to run a few experiments between workouts, and I have had a big “Aha” from my first experiment.
At the end of the first get-together, we had to commit to our first experiment. I decided to ease into it but choosing a simple one, I would declutter my home, the assumption was that as I cleared the clutter, it would make me feel less distracted and I would feel more organised. And I started off really well, I got home from Welly, and threw a chipped mug away the first night, then each day I put clothes I don’t use in the donate bag and even sorted out the shoe and coat rack by the front door and then slowly but surely, I started to miss days.
I realised two things, one: I had been experimenting for a while, I just didn’t formalise it and record the data from it, so although I was getting lessons from it, I wasn’t recording it.
And two: I realised that I have a pattern of not completing things. Now this didn’t surprise me because Tenacity is my Working Frustration. And Activator is a dominant Strength, which means I am a great initiator.
In my Mentor session, I mentioned the pattern, but as we chatted, we realised that there have been times in my life that I kept on doing stuff even well past their “sell-by date”. So, I had the ability to persevere sometimes…… hmmm, interesting.
Then I watched one of the online videos of a champion experimenter and boom, the penny dropped (it was a big penny ;-))
Experiments had to be meaningful!
My first experiment was anything but meaningful. It was a safe experiment, to “set myself up for success” I reasoned, only problem was it wasn’t meaningful, so I lost interest and failed to follow through, which shred my confidence. “If I couldn’t do the simple things, how on earth was I going to do the big stuff”. Except the truth of it was, when it mattered and was meaningful, I had the ability to dig deep and persevere no matter how tough it got.
So, the real pattern has been that I choose safe problems to solve to prevent myself from being disappointed only to give up on them because they are meaningless, which leads me to be disappointed anyway. And so, the disempowering pattern persisted, deteriorating my confidence that I can do great things.
Conclusion of my experiment: Choose experiments that are meaningful, not safe! So, I have decided to experiment or go after the big and meaningful things in my life, because safe isn’t safe anyway and if you are going to risk disappointment it might as well be something that is worthy.
Is there an area in your life where you are playing it safe?