Yesterday, I hung out my dirty laundry. I blogged about five mistakes I made in 2016 as a leader. They were: focusing so much on outcomes that I missed some outcasts and outliers; assuming I could do more than possible in a day but less than possible in a year; becoming so enthralled with the new and novel that I dropped some essential habits; failing to balance my vision with my blind spots; and allowing some routines in my week to become ruts.
Today, I’d like to relay three actions that turned out to be hugely successful for me. They are all simple; they were all first conceived by others far smarter than I am. However, none of them are new. Yet, for me this past year, they became pillars of growth for myself and our non-profit organization. I submit them to you below.
1. Empower good people around me, allowing me to focus on my unique gifts.
Living in the second half of my career, I know the importance of “narrowing my wedge” and doing those things that only I can do. This past year, I enjoyed focusing on a handful of leadership tasks that I believe are my strengths. I really concentrated on creating, writing and offering direction to our team. I was able to do this because of an absolutely gifted team who is passionately engaged with our mission and who are gifted in complimentary ways.
2. Not sweat the small stuff, which allowed me to overcome some challenges.
As a Type 1 Diabetic, I had a few episodes with low blood sugars last year. I had to remember the importance of pacing myself, eating right, and getting rest. In addition, we had people coming and going on our staff, which meant I had to pay attention to onboarding new team members. This year, I stopped worrying about the trivial matters and focused on what mattered most. I made a conscious decision to not sweat the small stuff. It saved me time and energy and it gave me my peace of mind.
3. Establish boundaries in my life, enabling me to lead at home and work.
With bigger goals than ever, we not only grew our Growing Leaders team, but we set our sights on a global initiative called, “Onefluence.” We’re attempting to equip one percent of the youth population in the world to think and act like servant leaders. This forces me to think beyond the regular programming I do, like speaking at events, writing books and articles, and connecting with key people. And it was good for me. I was forced to establish boundaries (that remain in place today) and it enabled me to do what I must to lead at home and work.
In case you didn’t notice—all three items from the list above had to do with focusing my attention on what only I could do. It’s not a new concept but boy did it ring true for me in 2016. What’s more, I was able to see others flourish at the tasks I used to do. It was a win/win situation.
I’d love to hear from you. What were lessons you learned this past year? What did you do RIGHT that you’d like to celebrate? Please leave a comment below.
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