The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just in! Moving beyond the day-to-day struggle

March 8th, 2018

What’s Hot?

I know too many people who are struggling right now—working harder with increased responsibilities in organizations that are doing more and more with fewer and fewer resources. When that happens, people tend to go to super human lengths to recreate what once was.  They go head down, nostrils flaring, uber-determined with stress hormones raging and emotional intelligence capacities taxed.  The result:  stress, angst, strained relationships, and less than ideal results despite the heroic effort.









So What?

In an attempt to recreate the old, recapture the past, or repair the present, we miss opportunities to explore the future, to create a new or experience the emergent.  Our biggest challenge when times get tough is to not become tough in the process, but to stay true to a few core principles of learning, transformation and change.

What To Do?

  1. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Stop kicking yourself about what you could have done, did or didn’t do.  Instead ask what do I need to learn from this experience?  Perhaps it’s self-compassion, forgiveness of others, the need to let go of ego, to learn a new skill/career, or to find the courage to otherwise move forward.
  2. You can put yourself down or you can lift yourself up. Lifting yourself up is not suggesting that superhuman efforts are the key nor does it suggest that you deny reality.  Instead ask what do I have going for me right now?  What core strengths/beliefs/relationships will get me through?
  3. Remember working harder does not equate to working smarter. Remember this when the work or the demands seem insurmountable:  You’ve reached a liminal space (a place where you don’t have the answers and the old ways just don’t cut it).  It’s good news!  It is the birthplace of the capacity to let go, of insight, significant aha’s, and new ideas.  What messages are you not hearing?  What do you need to do to silence the unhelpful messages that you are sending yourself so that the future can speak?
  4. Lean back. Recent research has found that distance makes a task seem easier.  Physical distance from a complex task increases psychological distance and makes the task at hand seem less difficult.   In what way can you distance yourself from the current challenges while still keeping your thinking about the future and how to make it happen on the agenda?  A vacation? Meditation? A night away? A walk in the park?
  5. Experiment. Play with new choices, do something different, act on a dream. Why not? All-consuming dedication to any task tires the mind, body and soul.  Novelty does the opposite; it helps to recharge.  And attention to novel experiences can help uncover new ways of seeing the world, which spark new ideas, which just might open up new avenues.

Make something new, different and exciting happen today.  You owe it to yourself.

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