What does introspection have to do with building a thriving business? Everything! . Leadership is inside-out work, so the more you build the internal muscle for reflection and meta-cognitive skills, the better off will be those around you. Approach this new year of 2019 by applying the 3 R's: Review, Reclaim and Renew. Here are three short inspirational perspectives to guide you.
While browsing John Maeda's blog, Design.co, I found a reference to a speech by John W. Gardner- a social activist, scholar & former Secretary of Health, Education & Welfare under President Lyndon B. Johnson. The speech was delivered to a group of McKinsey associates in 1990. Elements of the speech were related to Gardner's book Self Renewal. In addressing those chief counselors to corporate America, Gardner stressed the importance of self-reflection in the process of advising organizations. A passage most relevant to the need to review:
"Life is an endless unfolding, and if we wish it to be, an endless process of self-discovery, an endless and unpredictable dialogue between our own potentialities and the life situations in which we find ourselves."
The phrase "endless unfolding" underlies the value in review, in order to understand the interconnection of life's experiences.
The writings of the Stoics are handy here when thinking about what you may need to reclaim as a leader. Stoics value being steadfast in the face of uncertainty, and their writings are especially helpful in riding the waves of failure. Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180) wrote:
"Revere your capacity for making decisions. Everything depends on this alone, so that your guiding part does not make a decision that is contrary to ... your makeup as a being endowed with reason. This demands freedom from rash judgments [and] fellowship with others..."
Reclaiming is about action, something that the Stoics were all about. Interestingly, the Latin etymology of the word decide is about "cutting off"; i.e. cutting off certain choices in order to make room for other options and define purpose.
Creativity is an act of renewal- and the primary engine for innovation. Use the New Year as an opportunity to commit to creative practice on a regular basis. And remember this admonition from the modern dancer Twyla Tharp:
"The thing about creativity is, people are going to laugh at it. Get over it."