1. Believe That What You Do is Valuable
I work with execs, senior leaders and respected, long-lived professionals. I’ve coached millionaire CEOs and seen highly respected leaders at work and in private. The people reading this blog are not young twenty-somethings starting out in life, but are generally more seasoned individuals. Common to many, if not most, of professionals is that they suffer from a variation of what Clance and Imes first labelled the “Impostor Syndrome”: the belief, the feeling that someone would find out that at some level they are a fraud or not worthy of their status.
It is important to realise that you have something of value – your experience, your education, your integrity, your desire to serve and to lead in order to benefit others, the community and to achieve something worthwhile – and then to present that unabashedly in front of others.
Holding others in deep and high regard does not mean that you have to count your voice as unworthy and remain silent. In fact, holding them in high regard means that you will speak out when you need to and use your skills and talents to help achieve something valuable.
Just the other day, I was working with a client who was concerned about their circle in board-level meetings – others in the group are more ambitious or are more senior execs in their own organisations. Should the client defer to their judgements and not speak out? Absolutely not. In that environment, everyone is a peer and this client’s experience is no less valid and potentially more weighty than those of others, due to the client’s extensive experience within the organisation. My advice: Treat others’ opinions positively and respectfully and work together to guide them in initiatives that will be fruitful within the enterprise.
If you’re walking and talking and thinking, then you have more capacity than 99.99999% of life on this planet ever has. Use it!
2. Work & Live According to Your Deepest Beliefs
Leaders, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, high level professionals, you name it: They are assailed from all sides by the pressures of their work, ‘new’ approaches, so-called experts, by the pressure to compromise their integrity and adopt a “majority rules” approach. There are constant challenges to their values and core beliefs.
I’m not talking about empty clichés like “The Customer is Always Right” or “Build it and They Will Come” or “A Leader is One Who Sets the Path for Others to Follow”. I can’t begin to tell you how pointless it is for people speak to me of the “Law of Reciprocity” (My reaction: “I’m not Oprah. That’s not a law.” However, I’m too polite and usually just say, “Uh hum, okay” and move on.) I’m talking about your deepest and most cherished beliefs about life, the social order, the universe, God, community, respect for and service to others, family. Don’t abandon these beliefs for the exigency of the moment. Instead, work to these core beliefs, allowing them to fill out and motivate your direction and your achievements.
There are enough empty husks of people in the world around us. Don’t be one.
3. Find New Ways to Achieve Results
Innovation is the buzzword of the decade and we have more for 2015, with CES phrases like “The Internet of Things”, “Connectedness”, “Immersive”, “Responsive”, “Disruptive”, “Big Data”, blah blah blah.
But innovation is really creativity applied to a situation or problem in such a way that it creates a pragmatic, workable solution, process or product. Facebook was considered innovative, but there was absolutely nothing new about it or its technology. The old BBS boards of the 80s were doing the same thing. It’s just that Facebook and Zuckerberg ripped off some coding (from some “friends”) that applied to the new internet, new standards and greater mass market and then continued to leverage that by – oh, wow, advertising products on their pages. Nothing new: just applied some creativity to an existing set of circumstances.
Innovation does not mean you have to invent something brand new like applied portable nuclear fusion (we’re a bit behind in that department, according to the old ‘Back to the Future’ movies). Innovation means taking an approach that is outside the tried and tired. Thinking outside the box. Trying something you haven’t tried before. Being creative in your circumstances.
2015. Crush it!