In a recent article I spoke about why a new mindset is required for business success today. Focusing on eight important skills, with curiosity, the glue that holds these eight together is essential. Furthermore, reflective thinking, a recent skill we now recognise as critically important. Moreover, in another article relating to this topic, I highlight the key ingredient which sits at the core of a high performance mindset. Now, in this article, I share what I believe are the essential and powerful lenses we require in addition to the other key skills for stepping up to become a new leader in today’s world.
When you embrace these two lenses, you have an aspect of vision for becoming an even smarter leader and wiser human being. Importantly, these lenses are vital keys in our quest to enhance our wellbeing and live healthier and happier lives.
Finally, with all the changes and necessity to adapt, it’s helpful to relook at the why, what and how we do things, as well as how we show up as a person. Marshall Goldsmith, a highly respected executive coach and author, sums it up well:
‘What got you here, won’t get you there.’
To get you ‘there’, wherever there is, you will have to embrace change, challenges innovate and thrive. There will be people to manage, new ideas to bring to fruition, software to consider, emerging technology to embrace and staff to support both in their current place of work – home and office. Moreover, higher awareness, excellent communication skills and the ability to have a collaborative mindset are vital. While there is no one size that fits all, the lenses form a vital view point for the new leader to emerge and operate from.
The first lens for the new leader today is Be Kind
The words, ‘be kinder’, cover a broad array of meaning. However, when you embrace this lens from the perspective below, I guarantee it has the power to change your life.
The definition of kind, from the Oxford Dictionary is: ‘Caring about others; gentle, friendly and generous. A very kind and helpful person.’
The most important point here is to show some kindness to yourself first. One of the most common problems and issues which plagues so many people and ultimately erodes results, is people being unkind to themselves. Furthermore, I witness this in my coaching practice frequently. Your words have immense power and whatever you say to yourself over and over, your mind and body will seek to make true. Moreover, when you tell yourself what a lousy job you did, how stupid you are, how you don’t know enough or are not being smart enough, you damage your inner world.
Importantly, you are planting toxic seeds that your mind seeks to grow. This is because your mind does its best to find evidence in the outer world for your words and whispers. Moreover, negative and toxic thoughts diminish your self-worth and confidence. Self-worth and confidence are critical for ensuring you create a positive and new mindset. Finally, toxic or unkind words are a perfect breeding ground for ‘The Imposter Syndrome,’ which afflicts many a leader today.
Treat yourself as you would your best friend
When you become aware of how unkind you are to yourself, you have the power to change. Decide now to treat yourself like your best friend. Learn to support and champion yourself. Furthermore, pick yourself up when you fall down and forgive yourself for making a mistake. From this point, you are ready to look through the second lens for creating a successful new mindset. However, before we do, it’s worth noting the first of the ‘Four Agreements.’ in the book of the same name, by Don Miguel Ruiz:
‘Be Impeccable with Your Word’
And, avoid using the word to speak against yourself. Your words have great power, and I also mention the second agreement in an article discussing rules of the mind. Moreover, we are all emotional beings, and our bodies respond to words. This means to be a great new leader today, empathy and compassion for others is also a vital skill to develop.
Finally, the end result of your thoughts is an emotion. If your words are kind, you create chemicals that will help you feel good. They will match the energy of the words. When you are kind to yourself and extend it out to others by being impeccable and kind with your words, you embrace this powerful lens for the new mindset required today. Moreover, your energy shifts positively and your influence and impact increase.
To be a great leader today you must monitor your thoughts diligently
When I was competing in the Hawaiian Ironman and battling the intense winds on the lava fields in Kona, this was the perfect environment for doubts to creep in. Consequently, I began to think negative thoughts which left me feeling deflated and unconfident. However, as this was not helpful to my goal. I chose to change my story. ‘The wind is my friend,’ became my mantra. Moreover, when you imagine the wind is your friend, it ceases to be the enemy and becomes an ally.
Another example of the power of shifting words comes from Herve Barmasse, a mountaineer, talking about his view on Nanga Parbat. This mountain, in Pakistan is known as the ‘killer mountain’ because of the number of climbers who have died on it. However, instead of fearing it, Barmasse says:
‘We don’t see the mountain as an assassin but a friend. In that way it will be more benevolent with us.’
Be Better is the second lens for becoming an effective new leader
Your ‘Be better’ lens is not about being better compared to others, as this only minimises your self-worth and personal power. Being better is referring specifically to choosing to be a tiny bit better next time. Understanding the term, aggregate of marginal gains, is helpful to understand this. David Brailsford, who famously led Team Sky, the UK Cycling Team to phenomenal success, illustrates the power of this lens brilliantly. Brailsford looked at every aspect of the team, from equipment, nutrition, sleep habits, massage and more. Focusing on tiny improvements in every area, which created massive gains in overall results was a key to their success.
Try asking yourself the following questions.
- How can I be one percent better at this task tomorrow?
- What could I do to improve this tomorrow?
- Is there a way that I can be better at this next time?
Ensure you always do your best
Another example of the power of reflection to improve our results, Marshall Goldsmith in his book, Triggers, poses a set of questions to ask each day. They all begin with ‘Did I do my best to’, and are carefully crafted for maximum impact.
When we ask this question, ‘Did I do my best?, it helps us honestly reflect on our performance and builds a great new mindset. Furthermore, it embraces the key skill of curiosity and helps us identify patterns. From here, we can easily see areas that we can improve on as well as maintain.
Focus on incremental improvements
Focusing on incremental improvements, or the term ‘kaizen,’ helps create a critical skill and key ingredient in creating the new mindset we need today. When you focus on the small details, collect feedback, fix and tweak, over time results compound and we achieve our goals. Furthermore, this new mindset also involves being curious, a wonderful positive energy to embrace and operate through.
A lesser known benefit to focus on small improvements is that they help us feel accomplished. Moreover, accomplishments are one of the key ingredients in Martin Seligman’s PERMA Model of Wellbeing and Happiness. Furthermore, in Dr Lustig’s 5 C’s to increase happiness. Additionally, when we are kind to ourselves, we feel better and this ticks a second ingredient in the above model, Positive Emotions.
Improving how we feel is of paramount importance today due to the catastrophic impacts of social isolation and lockdowns on people’s mental health and general feelings of loneliness. Indeed, In surveys undertaken since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, just over half (54%) of respondents reported that they felt more lonely since the start of the pandemic (Lim et al. 2020).
Finally, when you commit to using these lenses, ‘be better’ and ‘be kinder’ to everything you do in your life, your vision expands. You see the good in more things, embrace a possibility mindset and this is where opportunities and solutions sit. Furthermore, a positive attitude is contagious. After all, being a great new leader is about encouraging and influencing others to perform at their best and together, achieve extraordinary things.
About the Author
Mandy Napier is a Global High Performance Mindset Coach. who is dedicated to supporting high achievers fulfil their potential and achieve extraordinary results professionally and personally. Transformations are the norm, and results guaranteed.
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