I’M STARTING WITH THE (WO)MAN IN THE MIRROR
LEADERSHIP BEGINS WITH YOU.
Call me crazy but I love Mondays. I get excited about new beginnings: the start of the day, the week, the month, the season, and the year.
I am especially eager when the fall arrives because it always symbolizes the season of launching and learning with the return of routine. So when fall rolled around, I was surprised to find my usual energy and enthusiasm waning. Like a tire with a slow leak, I felt flat and uninspired.
It was a busy summer, and I spent most of it doing the dance of insanity. I am still in the early years of a thriving new business and plenty of opportunities coming my way. All very exciting! However, it also means burning the candle at both ends physically, mentally and financially. With too many balls in the air, too many people to please, too many rabbit trails to follow, I found myself buried in a tsunami of my own making. But the real tsunami was the story inside my head. I indulged the bad habit of repeating a selfdefeating message of overwhelm and I was starting to believe it.
Habits are a redundant set of thoughts, behaviors, and patterns that get repeated over and over again. They
either serve us or they don't. I like my habits to serve me. In order to get back on track, my habits need to be intentional.
Philosopher Morpheus said “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path”. If you truly want to be a leader, then you better lead your own life first. Leading your own life means embracing the notion that your primary and ultimate responsibility is to intentionally take charge of self. That means your habits. I preach it, I teach it and I believe it. I knew I had to look myself in the mirror, and gently give myself some of my own advice! This fall, I needed to ADAPT. Maybe you do too?
It may mean going back to the basics:
Be the curious scientist in your own life. Ask yourself lots of questions. Honest inquiry uncovers your current reality. What beliefs are you tolerating that don't serve you? What needs to change? What is your super power? When do you feel like your best self? What do people thank you for?
The power of aspiration is greater than the power of desperation. Now that you know yourself, what do you want? Not what does your mother want or your children want or your world expect. Get clear about what you want and set your intention. When you know what you want, you have what Danielle Laporte calls ‘goals with soul'.
Does your behavior match your intention? Do your actions align with your goals? Create an action plan by reverse engineering it. A key piece to playing at your absolute best is to ensure that your daily habits, rituals and activities reflect your intention. What are the steps needed to move you toward what you desire? Break them down and write them out.
Do those things first before anything else, and when you are doing them – be fully engaged. Push back against busyness because you can be busy or you can be intentional but you can't be both. As Robin Sharma reminds us, ‘Rather than doing many things at mediocrity, do just a few things with mastery'.
Be patient and let go of your need for instant gratification. Trust that it is the small incremental steps that will move you forward. Life is not a race, it is not meant to be conquered. Life is a journey and it is meant to be savored, to be experienced, to be embraced. Sometimes you get to learn the same thing over and over, and that is OK. And there you have it. My cheesy acronym ADAPT is going on my bathroom mirror to remind me that my powerful rituals are what support my health and fitness, business and personal goals. Most importantly, it brings me back to alignment with myself and my belief that leadership is an inside job.
When I look in the mirror, I want to be the kind of leader that I want to follow.