As I write this blog, I am sitting on an airplane staring outside the window. It’s a beautiful day, but I guess when you are flying above the clouds, it is always beautiful up here.
I sit within inches next to a person beside me, but yet I feel so alone. I feels like it’s just me and my own thoughts.
My mind relaxes and wanders – finally finding a thought to settle on. I find myself reflecting on the past week.
I was invited to join our Senior Leadership Team’s, yearly planning session. The main objective of this meeting is to focus on our priorities for 2016 and beyond and develop ourselves into better leaders.
The sessions are in-depth, yet fast paced. They are long, yet action-packed.
As I sit on the plane, I realize that the most magical moments of the week are the moments right after the planning session ends. Only then do I get a chance to zoom out and reflect in silence about all the lessons that I learned.
Lesson 1: I am still playing too small in life
As much as I would like to think that I am the type of person who is brave, fearless and always pushing the envelope, I left the meeting knowing that deep down inside I could do so much more.
Sometimes when things get hard, I make excuses of why I can’t complete the task.
Sometimes when I am asked to change, I hold myself back, by gripping onto the past, which I know cannot last.
Sometimes when I get a new opportunity, I am too scared to take it. Scared of what? Maybe it’s of failure, maybe it’s of success, or maybe it’s because I don’t want to be disliked. Most of the time I am not brave enough to find the answer.
Where are you playing small in life? Where are you playing small in your career? Where are you holding yourself back?
You can start playing bigger in life by simply writing down 4 things you want to start doing, stop doing and continue doing. And commit yourself to that list every day.
Lesson 2: I leave impact through my actions not my words
Every day during my trip I committed myself to going for a jog and a workout at 6AM in the morning. It didn’t matter what the weather was like, or when I went to bed the previous night. When I make a promise to myself, I try my best not to break it.
Ultimately, every time I say I will do something and don’t do it – I let myself down. The more times this happens the lower my self-esteem becomes.
To my surprise, one other fellow leader joined me every single morning. A couple of days later, another two members joined me for a workout session.
I gave an open invitation for anyone to join me if they wanted to. But it didn’t matter what I said, all that mattered was my commitment to action. Waiting in the hotel lobby at 6AM each morning was enough to motivate others.
You too can become a leader. You don’t need a title, you don’t need direct reports, and you don’t even need to say anything. All you need to do is to lead by example and showcase the behaviors you wish to see in others – every single day. Eventually others will follow.
Lesson 3: Face to face is still the best form of communication
I have mixed feelings about technology. In some ways we have become more efficient, but in others we have become more unproductive. In some ways, communication has become more convenient, but in others less impactful.
Spending an entire week together as a team, talking, laughing, shaking hands made us 100x stronger.
Nothing replaces face to face communication.
In your own office, have you caught “instant messaging syndrome?” In your own life, have you caught “Facebook-itis?” These are diseases that slowly eats away at your personal relationships. The more you use instant messaging or text messaging or email to communicate the more you are waste your greatest relationship building asset – face to face communication.
At every opportunity you have, get out of your seat and spend time talking to your colleagues and friends.
As your relationships improve and deepen, your happiness levels also increases. And we all know how important happiness is to our own personal success.
Working in a big company means that you cannot always meet face to face, however the next best option is to use video conferencing. Skype, Face Time, web cameras, etc. Through video conferencing you still have the opportunity to see the other person’s body language which allows you to use your intuition to decipher what your colleague is really trying to say.
The next time you go to a training or planning meeting, make sure you take the time to reflect. Only when you reflect can you deepen when you just learnt. .
Special Note: I put all of my blogs into a downloadable pdf book and added a couple of extra unpublished blogs that I will release only to my newsletter subscribers.
The two extra blogs talk about the process I go through to build strong lasting routines and my final "secret" ingredient to my morning routine which energizes me and gets me ready to rock the day.
My newsletter subscribers will also get access to my Top 5 most recommended books to induce massive self-improvement. Click this link to subscribe.