BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH DISCOMFORT
“Awareness is not a giver of solace—it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. They are not seekers after solace. They have their own inner serenity.”
—Robert K. Greenleaf
Leading from our center doesn’t mean we always know what we are doing or won’t make mistakes. It also doesn’t mean we will be in total alignment with our values at all times. What it does mean is that we commit to ourselves and those we serve that we will be as aware as possible of our inner and outer environment and, when necessary, make course corrections to get things back on track.
When we do make mistakes, we admit them and learn from them, which adds to our wisdom as leaders. It also models for those we lead that it is OK for them to take risks and make mistakes. This attitude helps people relax and focus on succeeding instead of being fearful of failing. It also unleashes creativity and evokes an “entrepreneurial spirit” that is contagious throughout the organization.
Commit to Personal Growth
It often takes a heroic level of courage to honestly examine whether we are really operating and leading from our center in all that we do. It may require us to go deeper into our self-compassion and self-forgiveness, as we see the reality of ourselves, flaws and all. To do this we need to get comfortable with discomfort. As Virginia Marie "Ginni" Rometty, CEO of IBM, said, “Growth and comfort don’t co-exist. That’s true for people, companies, nations.”
A commitment to our personal growth and that of others inevitably brings discomfort. This discomfort tends to jolt us out of our complacency and challenges us to create new ways of being. As we become comfortable with discomfort, we more quickly recognize discomfort as a sign that it is time once again to examine possible “transformational opportunities” to make another growth spurt for ourselves and our organizations.
Our comfort with discomfort as a leader gives permission to those we lead to be honest with themselves about their own discomfort. By encouraging them to respectfully express what they are feeling, we support their personal development and enroll them in helping make the collective course corrections needed to move the organization forward. This type of leadership encourages everyone to grow from their work experiences and develop the confidence to make their own course corrections along the way.
To lead ourselves, while leading others, we will be repeatedly challenged to lead from our center, while simultaneously being pulled in different directions by the demands of our bosses, colleagues and those we serve. The action called for is to lean into the discomfort, knowing it will ultimately help us and our organizations grow in some profound way.
WE’RE HERE TO SUPPORT YOU
While you have a unique heroic path to follow in life, you don’t have to do it alone. We support you through Life Guidance Mentoring and Leadership Development Mentoring.