How to Practice Leading the Leader – Full Stop

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I offer three resources today for leading the leader.  Yes, you leading you.

Jennifer and I ran a half marathon on Saturday.  The field was sparse. Jen had literally left me in the dust, and I was on my own. I, poorly conditioned, heard the usual chorus of voices in my head pointing out what hurt, how far I still had to go, how tired I was, and how slow I have become.

One crazy inner voice said, “close your eyes for a few strides.”  I did.  For four or five strides.  And I was surprised, because I felt an ease come over me. It was different. I felt clearer. Calmer. The negative trance subsided . . . for a while.

Resource 1:  That afternoon I was listening to the podcast “Where Should We Begin?” In this remarkable podcast series, the marriage counselor Esther Perel plays long excerpts of live sessions with real clients.  In this particular episode, she invited the wife to wear a blindfold, so that she could see her husband more clearly. Read that crazy paradoxical sentence again: to wear a blindfold to see more clearly.

With our usual sight, what we see is heavily blurred by what we expect to see, the stories we have. We see our boss’ arrogance before he has uttered a word. We don’t hear our wife’s exhaustion but instead an(other) accusation against us. We hear our child’s push back as rebellion, rather than as a plea for respect. We hear our own inner nagging voices on a run – or in the middle of a tough project – and completely lose sight of our strength, determination, the resources around us, or the sheer wonder of being able to do a tough project.

With a blindfold we can hear tone of voice, feel our breath, and be open to new sounds. We slow down.

The older I get the more I see CLARITY and CURIOSITY as great gifts flowing from those who lead. And I can think of no greater way to develop these awesome skills than through meditation.  Meditation simplifies.  Meditation helps you step away from your crazy brain and slow it just a little.  Meditation is like a blindfold – as indeed many practitioners recommend closing your eyes – that lets you come into reality with clearer eyes.

For the past few years I have been a daily user and admirer of the guided meditations of two brilliant women, Linda Hall and Tara Brach, resources 2 and 3.  Their meditations – some as short as ten minutes – offer a new sight with which to see.

Ten minutes of meditation on a break or at lunch might make a Labor Day week – which you likely see  as five-days-of-work-in-a-four-day week – clearer than you might expect as you otherwise inevitably tune into those old mental tapes that slow you down.

Slow down for real

to lead with your best self.