06 September 2022 |

The stories we tell ourselves about ourselves end up coming true


The stories we tell about ourselves end up coming true.

“I don’t have enough experience.”

“I’m not the right person to lead this team.”

“There is no way we will recover from this.”

“Something is wrong with me.”

Ryan Holiday’s book The Obstacle is the Way provides a framework all leaders should understand as they face adversity.

  • Perception: How we see the problem
  • Action: How we address the problem
  • Will: Our resilience in attacking the problem

Being aware of your mindset is crucial because it directly impacts how we approach a problem.

If we feel like a problem is impossible, and no matter what we do, we will fail, and we won’t be committed to finding a solution. 

Why work hard when the result will be a failure?

This is why I love this message from Susan David, author of the book Emotional Agility.

The thoughts we have don’t define us. They are just thoughts. 

It only has as much power as you decide to give it.

As a leader, you need to be aware of the thoughts you are having about yourself and the people around you.

If you think your team is hopeless, you will act like they are hopeless. This leads to a lack of urgency in providing feedback, micromanaging, and no focused development for your team. 

When you change your perspective about the team and start focusing on the value they bring, it is much easier to bring out the best in people. When we start talking about the value they bring to the team, it’s much easier for them to start seeing their own potential. 

Your thoughts only have the power you give them. So take time to be aware of where they are leading you.

People want the result but not the process.

On the sidelines, everyone’s a critic. 

It takes years of sacrifice to become an “overnight success.” But you don’t see the strategy, risk, sacrifice, and resilience needed to bring it to life unless you take the time to dig deeper and try to understand.

The mindset of believing a person is either “lucky” or “unlucky” is not only how people look at the lives of the people around them, but also how they see their own results. 

The reality is some people are born with more advantages than others. But a mentality focused on doing the most with what you have is the only way to progress.

As leaders, we can help our people create change and improve by encouraging them to do more of the things they are good. 

Great leaders take the time to connect the dots between their daily actions and the results they get.

This is why being specific with recognition is so important. When you recognize strengths, let your team know exactly what they did and how it positively impacted the team.

There are two places we focus our energy:

  1. Things in our control
  2. Things out of our control

When a teammate is unable to see how their actions lead to results, they will put their effort into focusing on things out of their control. 

This is a complete waste of energy, time, and resources.

During hard times, your goal is to empathize with struggles without enabling excuses.

Complaining will never lead to positive change. 

Leadership is the art of acknowledging the pain and finding a path forward.

Luck will always play a role in success, and you’ll give yourself the best chance of getting lucky when you focus on the things within your control.