I had an argument with an individual last week. The argument was not important, but it struck me afterwards that his position was, “I am just doing what I think is right!” This comment could be perfectly fine if we are able to listen to opposing views and discuss possible differences in opinion. But when we decide we no longer care what others think, and consider our opinion right without listening… well that leads to conflict.
Major conflicts throughout history were the result of people doing what they thought was right. Family arguments result when people do what they think is right without considering how it impacts others.
I have written a lot about the importance of knowing yourself and knowing your values. It is your guide to living a life of significance. I have also written a lot about the skill of listening. If you care about others you will listen to them. These two things, knowing your values and listening, are not meant to be segregated.
After the argument, I also reflected on multiple occasions in the work environment where people believe they are right and stop listening. This brings to a quick halt the opportunities for improvement, innovation, and change.
The lesson I reflected on this week is that even when you feel you are right, you have to consider the possibility that you are not. Stop and listen. How good are you at temporarily putting aside your opinion, and actively listening?
If you can master a task in less than thirty minutes, at best it will provide very short term satisfaction. But when we spend our time, money, and effort to master a skill over years, the satisfaction that it brings can be life long.
Why can we be so impatient when it comes to achievement? At times I wonder if the pace that we demand achievement has damaged some of our foundational values.Know what you want to achieve.
1. Know your yourself and your achievement goals. Do you have the right goal, and are you equipped to achieve it? Where can you grow yourself and your knowledge to increase your ability to achieve?
2. Invest the time. Make time every day to take one step closer. Twenty minutes a day of effort is over 120 hours a year. If you spent this time dedicated to growing yourself towards your goal, what would be the impact? What if you spent twenty minutes a day for ten years? Do you have the commitment to yourself?
3. Enjoy the process. Be happy about the time you spend growing yourself. Find an alignment that makes it enjoyable, not a chore. Make it fun, and it will become a journey that fills you with satisfaction.
Make a difference in your environment by linking your foundational values with your achievement goals. What are you working on today that brings you satisfaction?
Round three of things you need to know about leadership. Becoming a leader is a journey, and here are another five things you really need to consider in your leadership.
1. Coachable. You are coachable if you remain humble are open to continual learning, and never lose the adventure of discovery.
2. Self-Discipline. Leadership is about taking people to a new place, but also keeping the standards that are put in place. If you want your team to be disciplined and responsible, then you must show the same qualities.
3. Generosity. You must be generous with the one thing that everyone wants… your time.
4. Initiative. As a leader you are expected to create momentum with the group. Get them started. You can only do that if you have the initiative to get yourself started.
5. Focus. With all the chaos and demands of the day, you must have focus on the outcome you desire. You must continually keep the focus on the future you want to create, and not hesitate to move towards it.
I think fifteen things about leadership are enough to keep you thinking. Leadership is a journey. What steps are you taking today?
Life has a way of becoming complicated, and it is only through great effort that we can keep it simple. How do you keep things simple?
Lao Tzu has said, “In dwelling, live close to the ground. In thinking, keep to the simple. In conflict, be fair and generous. In governing, don’t try to control. In work, do what you enjoy. In family life, be completely present.”
I think much of life’s complexity resides in our mind. It is the thinking process that creates a list of “what if” scenarios and creates complexity in our decisions. Some people struggle making decisions when the projected outcome is not clear. It is the unknown that also adds to complexity. So what can we do to keep it simple?
Know yourself. Know your values. Know your priorities. Know your goals. Don’t let perfect get in the way of better. Be willing to make mistakes. Be willing to learn from your experiences. Be bold.
Keeping things simple is not easy. It takes work. But the result is usually more clarity.