Self Reflection – The Challenge of Being A Leader
Being a leader is not easy. It is, as I have described to many others, the equivalent to “whistling in the wind.“
There are days when it feels as if there is no answer on the horizon, those around you are struggling and others still, need you to come up with an answer there and then.
Even your sounding boards are nowhere to be found. You start to have visions of Edward Teach being more than happy to help you walk the plank in this situation (or would he?).
In short, you are left to your own devices. Those who normally interfere and try and tell you what to do, suddenly disappear. It is all left up to you and matters quickly become a case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t !
Self doubt in this situation is very real. Leaders are not perfect. However, when they act, their ability to galvanise others into action is formidable.
Whenever I have found myself “whistling in the wind,” or that feeling of loneliness and images of the wind howling across a desolate plain, a rocky outcrop, or stormy ocean, I take time out to look at what I need to do to address such a feeling.
The key I have always found (once it occurs to me) is giving myself permission to take time out and think. This means putting all those biting issues to one side, grabbing a cup of tea to encourage self reflection. However, it might be going for a walk, taking a bike ride, playing the guitar, reading a book or an article, or undertaking some yoga instead (well okay, I have been known to watch a kdrama or two in this situation), and sifting through what has worked previously to develop a course of action (or not).
So, how did I reach this conclusion? A long time ago I was captivated by the thoughts of Albert Einstein. We know Einstein was a great thinker. However, his thought process probably differs to what many would expect. The Evernote Team in their blog regarding Albert’s creative thought process describe it as follows:
He viewed taking music breaks as an important part of his creative process. In addition to music, he was a proponent of ‘combinatory play’ — taking seemingly unrelated things outside the realms of science (art, ideas, music, thoughts), and blending them together to come up with new ideas. It’s how he came up with his most famous equation, E=mc2.
Self reflection is critical a leader’s sense of purpose and also their survival. Taking time out of a busy schedule is the right thing to do. Don’t worry about what you see in the movies and tv shows or even how some experts describe successful leaders. Remember: driving yourself into the ground or becoming a “legend in your own mind,” (as Dirty Harry would say), doesn’t achieve anything. However, a moment’s reflection will provide you with a lifetime of opportunity that wasn’t there at the start of the day!
Please feel free to share your thoughts…
Image courtesy of Wallpaper Access – https://wallpaperaccess.com/dirty-harry