5 Things To Stop
As we head toward the home stretch of 2021, we tend to cast an eye on the past year in celebration of our accomplishments and lessons.
And, in equal parts, we’re looking forward to clarifying what we intend to create and cultivate in the year ahead.
Among the most potent questions that I help leaders think through is what to focus on and what to say “no” to.
You see, the more mature your organization, the more successful you become, the more opportunities you’ll have. More opportunity leads to more complexity. More complexity leads to more grey areas around the decisions you’re faced with.
I’ve found that saying “no” is among our most potent tools to lean into. But, what should you quit doing and say “no” to?
Here are the five most common things I encourage leaders and entrepreneurs to stop doing.
1. Stop ignoring your fears.
As a business leader, you’re constantly faced with tough decisions. The right choices aren’t always clear and evident. What drives those decisions comes down to two things: the rational and the emotional. The rational includes data, inputs, and perspectives, and it’s what helps us to decide. The emotional is more complex and it’s what makes us act.
As I write in my new book The Beautiful Business, as leaders, we need to be self-aware enough to know our deepest fears that often — consciously, or not — drive our decisions. Fear of failure, a scarcity soundtrack, fears that come with imposter syndrome, worries about the uncontrollable future, all can color our decisions.
The remedy here is to know your fears, name them, and remove them from the drivers’ seat, the navigation system, and even the radio soundtrack of your business leadership, entrepreneurial, and vocational road trip.
Instead of deciding by fear, let love encourage your decisions.
2. Stop resisting change.
When we resist change, we close the door on the unforeseen elements that will flourish in our future. By pushing against change, we deny the opportunity for more innovation, more growth, more love at the core of what we do in our lives.
Change must happen if you want to realize a goal. It must happen if you want to advance in your business, life, and career. So, stop resisting the inevitable. By embracing change, we embrace the necessary parts of progress, growth, and fulfillment.
3. Stop thinking you can control everything.
If the Pandemic reminded us of anything (repeatedly) it’s that much of life and this world is out of our control. This is connected to “stop resisting change” because it allows us to be more clear about what we can change, and cannot.
What you can always control are your thoughts and actions. By controlling your thoughts and actions, you will progress in improving yourself, your leadership approach, your organization, your focus, and your commitments.
You can’t control the weather, the COVID rates, or the beliefs of those around you. By controlling what you can, you live with the truths that surround you. From there, you can trust that everything else around you will fall in line.
4. Stop needing to have all the answers and to be right all the time.
The perch of the leader and entrepreneur is a public one. We’re expected to have most or all the answers and be seen as having it together all the time. This is an unlivable myth that I wish more businesses would create remedies for.
The need to have all the answers and to be right, is a function of ego. Trying to be right minimizes our ability to learn, be curious and work in a state of wonder. Trying to be seen as having all the answers doesn’t allow for space for others around you to have answers, too — ones that might even be more right than your answers.
By freeing yourself from the need to be seen as right and having all the answers, you open more space to be and be seen as a human leader. A leader that’s perfectly imperfect, and allows room to grow and learn from those around you.
5. Stop living your life for other people.
You and I and everyone we know has been blessed with the gift of life. While others may look at us with an eye of expectations, we only have ourselves to answer to at the end of the day, the year, or our life. As such, the precious gift of your life is an act of your doing. This gift is laced with the fusion of how you imagine and shape the world that you live in, called your reality.
Your beliefs, views, actions, passions, cares, and loves are for you to shape into a new future. Your human artistry is to shape your life, as you see it, in a way that serves you and the humankind you surround yourself with.
Stop living the life that others expect of you. Instead live the life you were put on this beautiful planet to live to the fullest.
As Mary Oliver reminds us in the opening of her poem Wild Geese:
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves…”
So, if you’re looking to focus, minimize your stress and maximize your quality of work and life, stop doing what no longer serves you.
P.S. If you haven’t ordered The Beautiful Business, you can do so here.
Steve can help you create an integrated belief-driven business that can reach and align with more of the right people —employees, customers, donors and investors—in a sustainable and meaningful way.