Tag Archives: expectations

What Does Leadership Mean To You?

24 Feb

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. -John Quincy Adams

I had lunch with a former colleague the other day and when I asked him about how things were going at work he launched into a story about how his manager – who is very concerned with perceptions – has been reprimanding him for his out-spokenness. Apparently, the manager did not perceive voicing a dissenting opinion during a meeting as good leadership. Now I thought this was a major crock of BS. Being strong enough to share an unfavorable outlook is, in my opinion, a great leadership trait. But what really bothered me was that my friend was being forced into someone else’s idea of what leadership truly means.

I believe leadership is one of those terms that is bandied about quite loosely. Everywhere you turn you hear about which leadership qualities we should be working on and which leaders we should admire. However, I believe that leadership and how one defines it is a completely personal thing and can totally vary from person to person. By attempting to squeeze into a narrow “leadership” box, we’re trying to live up to someone else’s expectations. And we all know how I feel about living up to other people’s expectations.

Here’s an exercise. Get a blank piece of paper and bullet out what being a leader means to you. Does it mean only working on projects you find interesting and noble? Does it mean being an inspiration to others by following your heart? Does it mean always being honest and out-spoken? Or maybe it means always taking risks and being bold. Remember you don’t have to have a fancy job title and a company car to be a leader. There are probably at least 3 people right now who already think of you as a leader. Identify what leadership means for you and then harness it. Strive to perform your specific leadership qualities everyday. By being in touch with your true leadership qualities, you’ll be much better off than those who are simply trying to fit into someone else’s idea of leadership.

Until Next Time,

Nailah

Just Say No!

4 Feb

“Your only obligation in any lifetime is to be true to yourself.” -Richard Bach

As kids of the 80’s we’re all familiar with the anti-drug campaign “Just Say No!” And it’s so simple right – if it’s something you don’t want or better yet is harmful for you, you should simply say No. But in reality how many of us end up doing things that we’d rather not be doing because we just have a hard time saying no. I cannot tell you the countless committees I’ve signed up for, lunches I’ve attended and money I’ve spent because I agreed to something against my better judgment. Why do we do this to ourselves? We are just piling on extra work  or spending extra money which in the end just brings extra stress. And when we are driven to do something simply because we believe that we should, it often breeds resentment. Think about it: Are you more likely to accomplish a goal when you truly want to or when you are doing it for someone else? It’s much easier to feel content and productive when you have internal inspiration driving you. No one likes doing something just because they think they should. The next time you are faced with accepting or declining an offer, think through these 3 questions:

  1. Is this something I want to do – This is pretty simple. If you ask yourself if you truly want to do something and all you hear back is a resounding ‘NO!’ then you have your answer
  2. Is this something I have the ability to do – Sometimes we may want to do something but financial or time constraints may be holding us back.  If doing something for someone else will break the bank or add unwanted stress to your life, don’t do it.
  3. What is the outcome if I perform the request –  Will you feel annoyed with yourself for allowing yourself to be talked into something once again? Then you may have to politely decline.

Take “I should” or “I have to” out of your vocabulary and replace it with “I want to.” Don’t feel guilty for being selfish with your time and energy. You need to spend your time and energy doing the things that you want. You are fully within your right to just say No.

Until Next Time,

Nailah

Is Your Competitive Nature Leading to Discontent?

24 Jan

Wherever you are right now is exactly where you should be.

My yoga instructor is a little kooky. Once he literally mistook his reflection in the mirror for a new student in the back of the class. Nevertheless, every so often he’ll say something so simple that it’s actually quite profound. His latest gem came a couple of weeks ago as we all struggled with a new yoga pose – one of those real bendy, twisty balancing poses that we all know and love. As we grunted and contorted our faces with discomfort he said “Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Wherever you are right now is exactly where you should be.” I was blown away.

I’ve always been a competitive person and practicing yoga has helped me to bring this quality to light so that I can address it. After my first yoga class, I went home bragging to my fiance that I was among the most flexible people in the class. I had held the poses the longest and I could touch the floor when everyone else struggled to touch their shins. Comparing myself to everyone else in the class did nothing to bring me closer to quieting my mind or becoming one with my breath, it just ensured that I was slightly better than the person next to me.

I was being a competitive jerk.

I had somehow turned yoga into some crazy competition which is so not the point of yoga. It’s not the point of life either. As 20-somethings, we’re taught to be uber competitive with ourselves and each other. We push ourselves to stack up to our peers in terms of jobs, cars, homes, clothes and wedding rings. This fierce competitiveness often breeds discontent and self doubt, particularly when we do not believe we are measuring up to the others in our peer group. It’s one of the biggest factors of the quarter life crisis. We set out to keep up with the Joneses and set expectations that are not in line with where we are and where we are going.We’re only hurting ourselves by constantly comparing ourselves to the person next to us. Our feelings of self worth cannot be aligned with someone else’s expectations. We focus so much of our energy externally. Instead we should recognize that where we are at right now is precisely where we should be.

How about you? Have you found yourself competing with others? How has this affected your life?

Nailah

Oh, and I am happy to say that I have been able to focus on myself during yoga rather than others in the class and I have never felt more at peace. 🙂