Leading with Confidence and True to Self

I started working with Trent (name and company name changed for privacy) after he accepted a new VP role. The company change required a move to a new state. He wanted to balance his new company role while keeping close relationship to his family. Family was very important to Trent so he got that side of life settled quickly. Our coaching then started to focus on integrating with the new lead team he would be working with.

The team has strong personalities and Trent wanted to make sure he fit well with the team. He talked about asserting with confidence and staking out his ground, making plans that would be sure people knew who he was. Trent is confident in his ability to work and direct a team.

He made a plan with some check points along the way and would look for opportunities that would showcase his talent and value to the company. He wanted the lead team to know him and trust him. He wanted the CEO to see him as a solid hire and someone the company could trust.

“That’s who I need to be so I can be successful. That’s what I need to do to prove my worth to the CEO.” As I tend to do, I challenged his thinking with questions like – How is that being true to who you are? Where is there a disconnect with you? With the company culture?

He was establishing his position and decision making when possible. The trouble was, he seemed to be pushing people away rather than drawing them in. Something was missing.

As we talked one day, Trent was feeling dejected and that he was on the outside of lead team ‘hallway’ conversations. Coaching is about walking with a client rather than leading a client. There are moments though when a good coach has an intuition about a client. Finding the moment to lean into my instinct about Trent came at this moment. I asked, “How is this person of assertion your true self? What other area of life are you living this way?”

What I know and love about Trent is his confident humility. He talked about serving his wife and family. At his former position he talked of helping his team. Trent has a strong belief in himself. The problem was he was putting his belief in his pride, rather than his humility. When leaders show their confidence in a way that is not genuine, it will show.

Trent had an insight moment. He realized his mindset was counter to who he is. He was trying to be someone he is not. When his mindset shifted, he knew what he needed to do and how to do it. He made the changes and started to live true to himself… and he flourished.

People started to see the real Trent. Not surprisingly, they loved working with him and started to see what a great asset he was to the team. Pride and asserting ‘my’ expertise rarely works in the long run.

Most people think ‘I must assert myself in a new role’. But the truth is humility will get you farther, quicker.

If you feel stuck imitating someone that is not the real you, there is time to make a change. A couple things to keep in mind:

Have confidence in who you are. But make sure it is really you. Confidence works best when you live true to yourself.

Confidence means knowing who you are and what you are about. Do you know who you are?

Know your purpose? Not just your purpose for the company, but the purpose for your life too. A life of purpose is a more fulfilling life.

Do something about the change you want to make. Take one step. It doesn’t have to be huge or 180 degrees from where you are now. Just one small step, one micro-shift will get you moving towards becoming – you.

This quote by Andres Zuzunaga is powerful –

“Know yourself, know your purpose, and do something about it.”
Andres Zuzunaga
Do you know your purpose? What will you do about it?

Cultivating the Mind

In the springtime we love to get our garden put in. the garden means new growth is just around the corner. The plants for our garden start to grow indoors, since winter lasts quite a while here. The growth of our plants always gets me thinking about the garden of my mind. Whatever I plant and tend in my physical garden, is what will grow and that is the fruit that will be produced. If I plant a tomato, I will get tomatoes. Plant carrots, then carrots. That’s how it works.

Fruit is the reason we plant a garden. Sure, the plants look nice, but what we want is the fruit. Enjoy the process, watch the plants grow, but… it’s the fruit that I wait for. I want to enjoy the strawberries, tomatoes, and yes, even the kale..

‘Fruit’ is what we want out of life too. We plant seeds in our life because of the fruit that
could come. If we plant good seeds of serving others with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness etc. then we will harvest those things as a natural reciprocation in our life. The opposite is also true, that if we plant anger, hate, anxiety, panic, and chaos then we will harvest these. 

So, if I am anxious, then I will produce concern, restlessness and mistrust as my fruit. If I am joyful, then I will produce cheer, elation, and fun-loving fruit. No one else controls my emotions. They are mine. I have to accept Ownership for what I produce.

Take some time to look through the garden of your mind.

As we come to the end of this year, take some time to look through the garden of your mind. Reflect on who you are and whether that is the ‘You’, that you want to be.

Over the past few months:

      • Have you planted love or hate?
      • Have you given off a sense of anxiety or confidence?
      • Are you living with a sense of patience or fear?

Our world is constantly in flux. But that doesn’t mean you have to be…

If you’re reading this, you are probably leading in some capacity. Leading yourself is of first importance. Self-leadership is key. Take Ownership (absolute accountability) for your mind today. Is there anything you don’t want to growing? Get rid of it and plant something else.

Self-leadership means pursuing your best self for the benefit of those you love, lead, and serve.
Jason rhoads

Plant the garden you want today. Tend to your mind regularly. Create the habit of thinking you want. Our minds have to be cultivated, weeds have to be removed so we can allow the fruit we want to enjoy to grow. What action will you take?

Change What You Can Control

“My life sucks.” These words were said to me by a friend a while back. To be fair,
he wasn’t wrong. He made a decent income but had several kids to support that
did not live with him. He battled addiction on and off. He had been to jail a
few times. His life was not ideal and he knew it.

We met on occasion for encouragement and accountability. As we talked I would ask questions to get him thinking about his life, the choices he makes, what he would change in his life and how the change might take place. His responses consistently centered around his circumstances like his parole officer, mother of his children, his boss, etc.

From his perspective, life was happening to him and he had no control over it. He wanted relief from the nagging, the demands of his time and what he viewed as an invasion of privacy. He wanted his circumstances to change without him having to change. 

Life is about choices every day

That is not how life works. My experience with life has centered around making internal changes that can have an outward effect on the relationships around me. So I was reminded of this quote by James Allen:

"Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound."
James Allen

I am sure this fits for women too. Humans are anxious even desperate to change anyone and anything outside our control (our circumstances) because the only other option is that we are the problem. 

 It’s either us or everyone else. I believe the truth is that you and I are our own worst problem, but we also have the solution. Instead of focusing on what we cannot control (our circumstances), we need to focus on changing our behaviors and actions.

So we remain stuck, just like my friend. Looking outside of ourselves to blame and point a finger and desire for others to make changes to their life. If you want your life to be different, then make the change in yourself first. No matter what that looks
like, get help, call a friend, get counseling, go back to school, workout, lose
weight, eat better. The choice is yours. There is always time for what you want
to do, even make changes that are challenging.

This requires discipline which I define for myself as: Making the right choices when the path of least resistance calls.

The path of least resistance says everyone else should change and that the problem is never with me. In my experience, that is almost never the case. As the king of pop said, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” What about you?

Will you stay stuck in your circumstances, unwilling to look in the mirror, make changes in your life to improve your relationships and outlook on life? Or will you choose to improve yourself by walking a path that has resistance? What change do you want to make? Who will you give permission to speak into your life to guide you toward the life you want?