It can be so easy to give up when leaders feel defeated or frustrated. It can even feel like a sense of relief that we no longer need to hold onto an overwhelming workload or project. I recently worked with a leader who was eager to move on and not tackle an area of her career that would have allowed her to grow. She shared:
“I want to just continue doing what I have always done because this is where I am an expert. Staying in this lane feels comfortable and I am tired of swimming upstream trying to develop these new skills.”
After we spent time together it became apparent that what was really holding her back was fear of failing and taking the time to learn new aspects of her job. She was already successful in her niche area so taking a step outside of that circle seemed unnecessary. But what she came to realize was that working hard and staying open could bring her immense joy and energy in her career.
Five Rituals To Lead With Persistence:
1. Decide If The Leap Is Something You Really Want
Not all new lanes in our careers are equal and that means leaders must be honest if they really want to step out. Think about how adding that particular new dimension to your job would make you feel and if that is the direction you want to take. Don’t worry about getting there; just decide if you want to go.
2. Clarify How The Change Will Look
The next step is visualizing what your new additional knowledge and skills will do to your daily work life. Try to key into how the leap will alter your routines and interactions.
- Will you be connecting or collaborating with different people in the workplace? If so, who
- Which current responsibilities might you need to give up even if you have been doing them for a long time?
- How will the structure of your day change?
- Will you be spending more time outside the office?
To be persistent leaders need to be clear on what a change might look like in their career.
3. Take Failure and Dump It
Persistence requires leaders to look at failure as just another possible opportunity. Instead of dwelling on what might not work put your attention towards growing your leadership. Remind yourself that we all fail but if we don’t try we will never know our real potential.
Persistent leaders don’t allow fear of failure to derail their choices.
4. Carefully Map Out A Plan of Attack
As with any move an action plan is necessary for a leader’s success. Don’t be wimpy about it but write out how you will gain your new tools. Some suggestions might include:
- Set up meetings with colleagues already involved in the area you want to explore.
- Identify which new skills are critical and the best path to develop them.
- Don’t accept negative comments about your new choices but challenge their merit.
- Build in realistic timeframes for each objective.
5. Stay Focused, But Tweak It
One of the most difficult things for leaders to do when they are in the middle of a leap is remaining determined. They can become disillusioned when goals aren’t achieved as quickly as they thought. They can want to throw the towel in when it takes longer to master a new skill. A better approach to dealing with disappointment is to rework the overarching goal and change. Tweak it to meet it.
What Rituals have you used to lead with persistence?
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