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Welcome to YOU Make a Difference.  Stories...observations and reflection on our Leadership Journey!

Discover Your Inner Strength to be a Better Leader

Discover Your Inner Strength to be a Better Leader

“If you think a minute goes by really fast you’ve never done a plank” - Anonymous

I know it may sound obvious but I have come to the conclusion that life is a mental game…it really is all in your head.  Your ability….to succeed or fail….to complete something or to walk away….your belief in self or gnawing self-doubt. I have tested this theory over and over again throughout the years (as many of us do) in small ways that I believe has paid off in bigger dividends for me.  When I say bigger dividends – I don’t mean in terms of money or visible success, I mean for my strength from within.

For example, recently I started back at the gym after an embarrassingly long hiatus of…gulp…2 years!. As part of my routine I have incorporated planks into my workout.  The planks have helped with my core strength and lower back so that the other exercise is easier. .  I would share with you that each time I go through the plank I have to fight for it.  So I picked a consistent song, “Let it Be” by the Beatles to listen to while I hold the prone position.  I try each time to get myself into a Zen moment as I contemplate the lyrics of the song.  I also try to push through the discomfort, pain and voice in my head to just give up…lay down…you can’t do it.  The self-talk that goes on is something like this….

  • Just “Let it Be”…relax you can do this…you got this…
  • There are a lot of other people who push through a lot more than this…don’t be a wimp
  • You have to have courage
  • It’s worth fighting for…if you can’t fight through this how do you have a hope of pushing through other obstacles that come your way
  • Think about how good it will feel if you can fight through this and post a good number

When I first started doing the planks many years ago I could only hold it for a minute and found myself giving up the second I started to feel uncomfortable.  Every time I walked away from it, I felt that I had given up too easily and that it was more of my head getting in the way of what I was physically capable of.  So, I now know I am capable of holding a plank for 4 minutes, even though I haven’t done that in a long time.  The days that I do not hold it that long- I know that it was all in my head because physically I am capable of more…I just let myself off the hook.

“Don’t Stop When it Hurts, Stop When YOU are Done” - Anonymous

What does this have to do with our Leadership journey? The net is that as leaders or individual contributors we cannot let our heads get in the way of what we are truly capable of.  This is not only for ourselves but for those around us.  That doesn’t mean that we still will not fail or have set backs, but we cannot let that stop us from trying again and again to achieve the results.  Too often I think, we let our heads psych us out.  This belief needs to be authentic and with elements of confidence not arrogance.  Often it is a simple matter of pushing through the uncomfortable and not giving up when we think we have nothing left to give.  We are capable of much more than we give ourselves credit for if we just try.  Once you push through and set the new standard for what success looks like….we owe it to ourselves to see how we can not only maintain it but to see how much further we can go!

Leadership questions of the week for YOU:  “Can you name an example in the last week where your head almost got in the way of what you were truly capable of or did you see it happen to someone else?”  “What are the three things that you have learned, or that you did to ensure that your head did not get in the way of what you were capable of?”  “Do you agree that life is a head game and that as leaders we need to find the way forward, not only for ourselves but also to motivate our teams through the ups and downs of the situations that we face?”

Thanks for reading….and remember…YOU make a difference!

Please continue the conversation by liking…commenting or sharing this article. You can also follow me on twitter @marciedwhite

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Put YOUR Oxygen Mask on First

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