Thinking Partner Notes
What’s the fiction: Carefully curating your public persona is an essential leadership activity.
What's really true: Without taming your ego, you spend significant energy identifying and defending your construct of the self that you want the world to see, not living and growing.
Example: Amanda was a fiercely-driven art director who was known for making rapid decisions and resolving issues quickly. She knew what she wanted, where she wanted to go, and what needed to be done to get there...quickly. Her team admired and also feared her. She had the highest turnover rate of any department. This cost her time, money and energy she didn't have to constantly re-train staff. When one of her favorite people, Justin, gave his notice, she lost her shit, first on him, then HR. She offered Justin a salary increase. He told her what no one else had: "It's not the money, Amanda, it's you. I think you're amazing at what you do, but there is no room for me, my ideas, or anyone else's. I execute and get things done for you, but I never feel valued. I want to work where I actually have input." She was stunned, though deep down she knew it was true. The next four months she made it her top priority to learn to involve and value others, let go of some control, and still deliver. She disclosed that writing her dissertation and delivering two kids was easier, but this was far more rewarding, and made her a better mom too!
Things to try: 1) Practice looking at your ego from a distance, questioning how your fears, ambitions, and desires have informed your actions; 2) Practice minimizing your need to control, look good, and fit in; 3) Practice accepting setbacks and mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow.
Next steps: 1) For the next week, as you go about your daily routine, jot down the negative and positive thoughts about yourself whenever you notice them; 2) At the end of each day, spend a few minutes reviewing and reflecting on the observed thoughts and associated patterns; 3) At the end of the week, see if you can associate your feelings with the events, conditions or situations that triggered them.