When two people approach the same situation, they can walk away with very different conclusions. Is the glass half full or is it almost empty? The way that you interpret the glass of water depends on your mindset and previous experiences. And Halloween is no different.
It doesn't matter if Halloween is your favorite holiday because your favorite childhood memories involved dressing up like Power Rangers and getting high on sugar, or if you hate the holiday because it seems just like every other ridiculous excuse American's use to get intoxicated, play dress up, and revert to childlike behavior to escape the overwhelming responsibilities and stressors of adulthood.
No matter how you approach Halloween, there are vital life lessons you can learn from it if you choose. As a leader, one of the most important things you can do is approach every situation--even holidays, for example--as an opportunity to discover more about yourself, others, and the world.
The list below contains 10 truths about leadership--inspired by Halloween--that we all need to remember.
1. We all wear masks, so choose your character wisely.
How you choose to carry yourself--the way you dress, how you speak, the quality of your presence--all influence how you are perceived.
As a leader, it's important to make informed, conscious decisions about how you are influencing others. Ask someone you trust to give you honest feedback about how you come across and what they think of your behavior, so that you can become more aware of how your subtle movements and mannerisms influence others.
2. Never play hide and seek with your values.
No one can tell you how to live your life. But you need to discover what you truly value so that you can make the best decisions for you, your family, and your business. Constantly re-assess your behavior to make sure that your actions are aligned with your values.
3. Leadership isn't about conformity--it's about empowerment.
True leadership is about making everyone feel empowered to maximize the unique skills they bring to their work. Don't tell everyone to dress up in the same costume--just make sure they're moving as a group.
4. Ghosts only haunt you when you're not exploring important aspects of yourself.
Ghosts and other scary things from the past weigh on you if they aren't addressed. One way or another, your inner demons will influence your business and the people you love.
So instead of pretending they don't exist, start taking self-development seriously. The more you confront your challenges head-on, the less emotional baggage you carry with you throughout the day.
5. Candy is a temporary pleasure that doesn't create lasting happiness.
Knowing this is crucial: offering employees incentives can be helpful for temporary productivity boosts, but not for creating sustained success.
To build a successful team, you need to cultivate a culture of accountability, acceptance, and support by addressing the root-issue of all relationships--communication. Everything else is just a temporary fix.
6. Approach every situation expecting a trick and being surprised by treats.
Leaders need to always be thinking one step ahead. Instead of always putting out fires--start figuring out what's sparking the flames. If you can't figure that out, locate what's fanning the fire. Start thinking through challenges and then getting excited when you find things that are working well--both elements are vital to address.
7. People will always make assumptions about you based on your costume, but it's how you feel that matters.
The most important part about being a leader isn't looking the part. Or dressing up to look like someone else. Leadership, at its root, is about being comfortable in your own skin. Knowing who you are, who you aren't. And knowing what you're willing to sacrifice, and where you draw the line. You need to be responsible and comfortable with the decisions you make.
8. Just like carving a pumpkin, the details matter.
Have you tried to carve a pumpkin? It's far more difficult than it should be. It requires patience, persistence, and attention to detail. Big picture ideas are great in leadership, but execution involves detail. Spend extra time thinking through how to translate lofty goals into concrete steps that will help your team achieve your vision.
9. No matter how different we look on the outside, we're all skeletons on the inside.
We're all human. And when you're in business, it's easy to forget that. It's easy to look at people as pieces on a chess board instead of respecting all people--even if they make different life choices or have different values than you do. Take some time to practice humility by respecting and honoring the experience of others rather than using them or reducing them to fit your preconceived boxes.
10. Never allow your office to become a haunted house--always talk about the elephant in the room.
As a leader, you need to create an environment free of toxicity and secrets. Discuss difficult topics. Be proactive in scheduling programming to process current events. Stop pretending that your office is a vacuum. Each person you work with is a human with their own set of beliefs, experiences, and harsh realities.
Leaders need remain open to learning from all situations, people, and experiences. The more that you use external things--like holidays--to reflect on your inner life, the healthier and happier you'll become. And in doing so, you will inevitably become a better, more inspirational leader.