Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting Out of Our Own Way

Flying to Akron, Ohio to work with a business on leadership, I'm stuck pondering why we get in our own way to greatness. Jan, my business partner, had a session with business leaders in Chicago. Despite having research to show how moving toward a positive work environment was more productive, the group argued about why they would want to recognize someone for good work or even be positive. Says a lot about the state of business these days. More importantly these leaders requested the session because things are not going well. Yet presented with well-researched methods to improve their performance as well as their employees, they steadfastly refused to change their behavior.
Rather than spend my time berating these leaders, I also have to admit that change does not come easily to me either. I have my ways of thinking and doing that I've developed over the past 52 years. And when push comes to shove I'm tempted to push and shove new ideas out of my way rather than change. So how do we get out of our own way? I think we need help. On our own we can remain steadfast in denial that anything needs to change. When there are those we trust, who we listen to, they can call us to greater things.
Call them coach, mentor, colleague, or simply friend, we need people in our lives who push us out of our own way. These are people who remind us of who we can be when we are either too blind to see the next step or too stubborn to take it. That old adage “behind every successful man, there’s a woman” is mostly true. But perhaps we can make it more inclusive to say that behind every successful person there is someone who encourages them. I’m lucky enough to have begun with one person who I trusted very much. Now I’m willing to listen to others and so my circle of “encouragers” has expanded.
Who do you listen to, talk to, share your ideas with? If you can’t name someone, get someone. It is easy to become lost in our own thoughts, behaviors, habits, and actions. We need others to push us out of our own way, to help us achieve our greatness.

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