Photo by Karsten Winegeart / Unsplash

Training vs Trying

leadership May 4, 2023

Stop trying to lead. Trying means there's an out. A failure route. An excuse. Rather you should be training to lead. The only failure of training is NOT DOING IT. When you're training, you progress. You put in the work. You do the things that move you forward. And that's just discipline.

So then, what are the things you're training? First, you must identify what a leader is. There are multitudes of leadership models out there and we even have our own here at Improving (which I won't dive into right now) so I'll just select a few qualities as examples.

Positivity is one of the core traits of a leader. Not that you're expected to be Pollyanna, but you certainly can't be Eeyore; no one wants to follow someone like that. One of the easiest things to implement in this regard is daily gratitude. It can be a journal, or it can be a text chain with a trusted friend or group. Start your day by listing just 3 things you're grateful for (and don't repeat the same things for at least 30 days). It could be the job you have. Your family. The weather. That you have food to eat. That your shower was warm (or worked!). Or even that you woke up. Spending a few minutes each morning focusing on 3 things will set you up for seeing more of the abundance you are surrounded with than the lack you may have seen previously. Stop looking around and start looking in. "Comparison is the thief of joy".

Another of the core traits of a leader is resilience. It's difficult to lead and you won't always be popular with the decisions you make (if you are always the good guy, you're likely not doing a good job or someone is blowing smoke). Hearing that from people you care about and lead is rough. And it's rough knowing you may make decisions that impact them, their career, or even their family. That takes some grit. Having a positive outlook is one thing that builds this. Additionally, taking care of yourself by paying attention to your mental and physical health is  important in this way. When you're exhausted or poorly nourished, you're more likely to be reactive. Exercise at least a couple times a week for 30 minutes. Go for walks between meetings. There's any number of ways to move your body during the day so just pick 1 and start there. Also, pay attention to what you eat. Carbs and sugar are more likely to leave you fatigued and emotional. The last practice I'd recommend is meditating. It doesn't have to be long, just 10 minutes daily makes a difference. The calming effect will also help you weather the emotional storm that leaders often face.