As a business leader (or human being), you have things coming at you all day long: requests, demands, this call, that email, these 42 decisions, that permission slip, this contract, that field trip you've been asked to chaperone, this friendship that energizes you, that relationship that sucks the life out of you … You name it, it's likely coming for you. In what I call the blender, when you're in the midst of all this, it can be so easy to lose your space. Oh, so easy ... Unless you get really good at doing these five things that will help you hold your space, discern correct action, and keep your bliss so you be the leader you want and need to be.
- Say no: When something doesn't feel right, seems to lack integrity, will compromise your health and well-being, is literally impossible for you to do with your current bandwidth, or just is not in the best interest of you or your business, you get to say no. This may irritate the people who would have benefited and had their life made easier from a yes. That's OK. Saying no will open up way-more-productive space for a solid yes to the right things.
- Hold your boundaries: It's so easy to cave and to compromise boundaries in business and life: fear of disappointing others, wanting to please everyone, wanting to do it all, great intentions. But when you do, you're compromising your own well-being and bandwidth. Get clear on what your boundaries are (secret diagnostic tool: your body. That feeling of "ick" or resentment you feel in your gut is likely a sign of a boundary breached or about to be). Stay strong, stay open, and honor your boundaries. This may irritate people who would have benefited from a boundary-less you. That's OK. Your work and your spirit need your boundaries.
- Ask for 100 percent of what you want: You have something you want to get done, an initiative that needs attention, a request at the 11th hour that will require a bit extra from your team. Ask. Ask for 100 percent of what you want so that you can create the impact and results you know need to be created. This may irritate the people who like to keep things easy, or who don't like to be asked for the "extra mile." That's OK. Watch your assumptions. Often people are more than happy to lean in a bit extra (especially if you're awesome, and your request is in service of something bigger than all of you). Let your team say no, honor their own boundaries, etc., but don't assume how they'll respond to your request. Give them the opportunity to show up.
- Let things go: That "thing" that happened last week, that mess that was made, the project that went screwy, the person who hurt your feelings, let it go. Speak your peace as you wish, clean up what you need to clean up, do what you must, and then let it go. It's not worth the mental energetic suck of holding on to drama. Instead, learn from it, make the request you need to make to set it right, put it in your little red book of best practices to keep in mind moving forward, and let. it. go. This may irritate the people who love to drudge things out and get a charge out of drama. That's OK. Send them a bit of love and light, wish them well, take a deep breath, and let it go. You've got stuff to do, and being exhausted by drama will knock that stuff back.
- Go slow to go fast: You're on a roll, you want to get this thing done, you don't have a lot of time or patience for collaboration or due diligence, to bring that one guy on the team along, or even just to stop to ask a couple of extra good questions. Stop. Breathe. Check in. Go slow to go fast. An ounce of pro-activeness here is worth a thousand pounds of cleaning stuff up. This may irritate those (likely including you) who are high in execute energy who want to get stuff done fast. That's OK.
These five things can be game changers both logistically and energetically when it comes to leadership, creating impact, showing up well, and taking care of yourself. What's more, when you hold your space and honor what you know is right, you become contagious in the most meaningful of ways: helping others honor their own space, show up well, and become positively contagious. It's a ripple effect, and it's powerful.
What did I miss? What other leadership practices take care of you and give you more impact, even though they may not be loved by others? There are more, I promise you. I would love to hear yours below.
Psst ... There's more on holding boundaries, honoring your space, showing up well, and being positively contagious in my book Contagious Culture, out this fall! Take a peak. Happy Monday!