I'll be the first to admit, "I can be difficult." But, one thing I know, once I get it, I'm good. It's not that I intentionally mean to be stubborn or difficult. I have the best intentions in mind. But as good as my intentions are, I still harm myself in ways I never imagined or intended.
A recent example to explain. Please stay with me, there is a leadership point in all of this, I promise.
For the last year and a half, I've been seeing a new stylist for my hair.
On the first visit I shared:
- my goals for my hair
- my dream style
- I'm not, nor ever should be a blond
- whatever we ended up with, it has to flip up
- please, don't say, "your hair is thinning"
To me, we had begun a great relationship and for a while, all was good. Until, I began to show signs of frustration at the sight of her scissors. Not that she cut too much, but my sides were not growing and I was frustrated. I didn't want to see scissors. She assured me that some people's sides just don't grow that fast. I felt comforted.
What she didn't know was, I was cutting the sides. They would get frizzy. I couldn't sit across the table from a client with frizzy. I continued to cut them. Never did I put two and two together. My sides weren't where they should be, because of me.
Several months ago, before I confessed to her what I was doing. She shared with me about using hair oil to just lightly smooth my hair. I already had some, but tried it once and used too much. She went into detail on what not to do, use too much. What to do to get the benefits of using the oil. She was so convincing, I couldn't wait to try it. Even though I tried it before, this time I felt I had the knowledge around how to use it the right way.
I used the oil and low and behold, I no longer felt a need to cut my sides. She couldn't believe how my hair was growing. Back again for another visit, it was still growing. The sides looked great. I was dumb founded.
Why couldn't I see it was me, doing the damage?
I share about my hair awareness experience, because its a real life example. Awareness isn't everything, but it sure makes life so much better. My stylist, on the other hand was an expert at hair and wouldn't stop until she figured out what was going on. Her prompting and questioning, brought me to my knees to confess. I didn't even know there was anything to confess. Without her, I might still be in darkness.
Awareness comes to us when we align ourselves with experts. Lots of them.
Lately I can't help but wonder, "What else am I doing that I'm not even aware I'm doing?"
As leaders, it is vital to partner with individuals to formulate trusting relationships. Those who will not stop until they get to the answer or find a solution to your situation or problem. People you trust and who trust you, because they really like you and look forward to seeing you. People you can be vulnerable and honest with and they will dig deeper into the relationship to help you.
Individuals who help bring greater awareness to your life and you do the same for them.
I believe there are experts on every corner. For some reason leaders feel and think, they need to know everything or at least pretend to know. Wise leaders know it's not just what you know, but also the experts you know.
I thought I was doing myself a big favor trimming my hair. It didn't even need to be trimmed, according to my expert. I thought I knew better. I didn't. I'm learning to yield to those who have the experience and the knowledge in areas I don't. Even if I think I do. I'm learning to fess up about what I've been doing to fix things the wrong way. I'm learning greater awareness helps me adjust my thinking, feeling, and my behavior about something.
Maybe you have been your own worst enemy lately? At some point we all are. If it ushers in greater learning, it's really a win in the long run. What have you discovered that you didn't even realize you were doing and it was hurting your leadership presence? I'd love to hear about it...
Have you ever tried to fix something, but you were doing it the wrong way? Don't be afraid to share your experience. Leaders let others learn from their bumps in the road. They care about saving others from the bumps in the road.