What reminds YOU to put a spotlight on self-improvement in your leadership journey? My first executive coach was very focused on who you were from the inside out and on personal branding. She really jump started me into understanding who I was, who I wanted to be and how that was perceived by anyone who interacted with me in any situation. One of my big areas of improvement (and remains a big focus for me today) is how to harness my energy and approach into something that appears more calm and confident in key situations. Hard to believe it I know, but I have made tremendous strides in this area and I will continue to work on it. One of her tag lines with me was to always remember to...
“wear your most confident underwear”
Now…before this gets any further…I have no intention in oversharing on the intimate details of my wardrobe…but...I need to tell you that the sentiment behind this statement is really critical. What it represents in a nutshell is….
- Find something that reminds you to be confident…not cocky.
- Helps you feel more confident than you really are in situations where your insecurities or lack of confidence may cause you to come across in a bad light (the opposite of what you are trying to achieve).
- Something that can put you in the right frame of mind to enable you to be the best you can be…to bring all that you have learned together so you can showcase your brand in the best possible way.
- Something that only YOU know about, that is not visible to others but makes you relaxed and even makes you smile or feel special.
In the Leadership Challenge (by James Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner), it talks about when a leader is “in the flow.” In the past few months – that may be a good description of how I am feeling. I still have a lot to learn, and I don’t always do it right but I feel confident enough to try to do what needs to be done.
Lastly…I will give you two examples of things I do that help reinforce the “confident underwear” concept that may help YOU figure out what YOURs could be….
1) Thumb Ring:
I wear a pewter thumb ring that was originally inscribed with “inspiration” on it. I bought it to remind me to inspire others by asking more questions and allowing them to come to their own conclusion rather than trying to tell them what I think the conclusion should be. I find myself twisting it in meetings or in conversations and it prompts me to try and rephrase what I am about to say. I am far from cured but the fact that the ring is so worn that the word has rubbed off and only I know what it originally said…means that I am making progress. It also gives me more confidence and makes me feel cooler than I really am!
2) Pebble Beach Golf Hat:
I wear a hat that my friend Dave Cristal brought me back from Pebble Beach every time I go to the gym. I am proud to say that the hat is battered…beaten…and has a lot of miles on it from the last 5 years or so. It gives me courage to finish, reminds me to push through and try to be at the top of my game. It also makes me smile from the inside out to have it on my head and see it in the reflection of the gym mirrors while I run.
I live a very blessed life to know such great people, to experience so many great moments, and to have so many reminders around me (beyond just wearing my most confident underwear) to be the best I can be.
Leadership questions of the week for YOU:
- How important is it for us as leaders to have things that remind us to be confident, not cocky?
- What is YOUR “most confident underwear” item(s) that help YOU adjust your behavior or approach to things?
- What are some of the things that happened to you this week that highlight that you were “in the flow” or “confident, not cocky” state of mind?
Thanks for reading and remember....YOU make a difference!
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