Are You an Inspirational Self-Boss?

Key Point: Are you an inspirational or demotivating boss, to yourself? If we lead ourselves then we can assume we are responsible for our personal level of engagement. There is a ton of evidence suggesting that the most effective leaders show personal care for their employees. They thoughtfully coach and build on their strengths, cultivate strong working relationships, and instill a sense of purpose and hope. There is an abundance of research that shows employees quit their bosses, not their jobs. Most ineffective leaders overload employees with responsibilities, then micromanage, do not connect at a personal level, communicate poorly, and fail to inspire a sense of purpose. 

So, if you (as your own boss) treat yourself with appropriate care and support, will you be positive and engaged? And conversely, if you (as your own boss) treat yourself with disdain and negativity, will you be totally disengaged? Will you essentially quit on yourself?  

Leading Yourself Begins With Self-Talk

I really like the argument on this matter put forth by psychologist, Brett Steenbarger, in a recent “Self-Leadership and Respect” Forbes post.

“Think of the stream of conscious thought as a conversation: It is our way of talking to ourselves. Self-talk shapes our relationship to ourselves; it is also our way of managing ourselves. This perspective leads to an interesting question: Would you want your boss to talk to you the way you speak to yourself?

All too often, our self-talk is filled with frustration (‘How can I possibly get this done?’); disgust (‘I can’t wait to get through this!’); pessimism (‘Nothing works out!’); and apathy (‘Whatever!’). Think of the self-talk of the perfectionist: Nothing is ever good enough and any falling short of (lofty) goals is failure. Some of the most damaging self-talk I’ve heard is from perfectionists: ‘I’m such an idiot!’ and ‘I can’t do anything right!’.

Of course, none of us would want to hear such things from a supervisor. Exposed to that verbal abuse and negativity daily, we would quickly disengage from the workplace and start to look for new employment. But what if we are our own bosses and that is how we talk to ourselves? The result is not so different: We disengage… When we talk to ourselves in ways that leave us disengaged, the loss of energy and optimism is palpable. Conversely, when we challenge ourselves constructively and immerse ourselves in meaningful activity, we become spiritually and emotionally charged.”

Psychologists refer to positive self-engagement as moral elevation while negative self talk leads to moral deflation. And our propensity to treat and talk to ourselves in certain ways may manifest in our daily experience:

*  Emotionally – As optimism versus. Pessimism.

*  Socially – As attachment versus. Detachment.

*  Physically – As vitality versus. Fatigue.

As Steenbarger notes, “Across the board, positive self-management is energizing; self-management grounded in negative self-talk robs us of energy. In many ways, the state of our bodies reflects our mind state.” 

Character Moves: 

  1. Do you like what your self-boss is saying about you? Are you an engaging, inspirational self-boss or are you disengaged and looking for new “employment?” 
  2. The challenge with being a very negative self-boss is that when you quit and become disengaged, your self-boss is still there… Yup, that’s you!  
  3. As always, engagement comes from leadership. In this case, how are you leading yourself? Take the simple test: Are you optimistic? Attached? Vital? If not, your self-boss can get better with intentional help and practice.
  4. If you need to help your self-boss, don’t be afraid to get him/her a coach (in some cases a therapist) so they might learn. You and your self-boss are both (hopefully without sounding schizophrenic) worth it. 

Your self-boss in The Triangle,

Lorne  

One Millennial View: Millennials might be some of the best self-bosses out there. I’ve seen self-bosses my age switch careers, follow opportunities, relocate, start businesses, and even say, “screw this, I’m traveling to Fiji and I don’t have a return flight yet.” It seems we’re our worst self-bosses when we’re stuck, hesitant, or without ANY plan. I like to remind myself that these are my “no wife, no dog, no mortgage” years… My self-boss is never going to be able to have as much corporate freedom as he does right now, might as well make the best of it, and be positive. But my “company” (me) has to be in a good enough place to offer those benefits.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

Change Agents in the Spirit of Mandela

“I believe that in the end it is kindness and generous accommodation that are the catalysts for real change” – Nelson Mandela at the launch of The Elders on July 18, 2007.

Key Point: Though Mandela’s health was failing for the past few years, his recent death was still met with an emotional response throughout the world. Tata, or “Father” as Mandela was also known, will be remembered as a true leader and human of incredible greatness and justice. “We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this Earth. He no longer belongs to us—he belongs to the ages,” said President Barack Obama in a speech following Mandela’s passing.

Over the last few days I have read and listened to what people who knew Mandela have been saying in tribute. So many adjectives apply, but the one word that seems to be at or near the top of every list is KINDNESS. It was unconditional love that allowed him to save and transform South Africa after it easily could have burned to the ground during the dangerous transition from apartheid.

Mandela teaches us that the truest freedoms and the greatest liberation are deeply connected to an endless love for humanity. In his own words, as seen in the above quote, “in the end it is kindness.”

There are so many examples of how Mandela lived kindness and how he lit up a room with it. The following story exemplifies this value in a very basic way:

Eddie Daniels was a close friend of Mandela, and he served a 15-year prison sentence on Robben Island while Mandela was incarcerated there. Shortly after Daniels arrived at the prison, he was assigned a duty to empty the chamber pots, or “buckets” of other prisoners. Daniels, a man who was skilled at disabling electrical power grids and thus was considered a dangerous terrorist by the apartheid government, could not bring himself to accept toilet duty. Daniels was desperately struggling with his situation. That’s when Mandela, who did not know Daniels at the time, walked over to the newly arrived prisoner, put an arm around him and told him that he would help him perform the duty. Daniels said he could only marvel and stand in awe at the gesture. Mandela understood his angst and anger. But he also understood the valuable role that Daniels had played in the fight for freedom for black and colored South Africans. Mandela came to his rescue and in this basic act revealed KINDNESS, compassion – and love.” As Mandela notes, this is perhaps the most powerful form of LEADERSHIP.

Character Moves:

  1. How about you and I just work a little more at acting with intentional kindness on a daily basis? We can get so caught up self-judging whether we are really getting the results of a life worth living, etc… We can forget that every day provides so much opportunity for our KIND behavior to contribute. As Marshall McLuhan so aptly said, “the medium is the message.”
  2. Rather than limit ourselves to thinking about acting kindly as a “cute and cuddly” discretionary approach for those attracted to mush headed soft skills, or for people who like websites and YouTube videos involving kittens, how about applying KIND behavior as a catalyst for REAL CHANGE? Kind does NOT mean weak or soft. It is a constructive weapon for change agents.
  3. Do you and I light up a room because people know that we are naturally kind and well intentioned? Do we behave with kindness because that is part of our life’s purpose rather than thinking about it as an “event?” Hey, our individual chances of impacting the world like Mandela are unlikely, but if we collectively breathe in his spirit? Well that is how sustainable change happens.

Mandela is The Triangle (and more),

Lorne

P.S. On the notion of kindness and Respect, Mandela was affectionately known as Madiba by family, close friends, and dedicated South African supporters.

 

Why People Love Dodge’s “Farmer” Commercial

Key Point: Most of us really want to celebrate virtues like those displayed by the authentic, genuine, hard working farming community. The most popular 2013 Super Bowl commercial was Dodge‘s celebration of the American farmer and what they stand for. Pundits like the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan, have positively commented on Dodge’s connection to RESPECT for this group of people; something we don’t hear much of these days. If you haven’t seen the commercial, please watch it here.

Of course Dodge wants to sell its products to farmers. But talking about the value provided by their customers rather than transmission torque is refreshing. What does this have to do with you and me?

I was born a farm kid. I watched my parents live the Character Triangle every day. There is no doubt where my value set comes from. If you lived on the farm, self-accountability meant putting food on the table. You essentially survived based on what YOU did, not what you felt entitled to receive. No one auto-deposited a check to your bank account. A farmer also learns to respect everything around him/her. The environment and farmer must work towards mutually reinforcing goals. It is amazing how much grain and animals have to say (not literally of course), but through how the cycle of life works. If you are not present and attentive, something dies or gets damaged. That’s why many farmers who have rarely travelled out of their county know so much about the world at large. Nature teaches them every day. And if you aren’t abundant thinking as a farmer, you will be the ultimate victim. The very essence of farming is about growing and sharing. But the weather, commodity pricing, disease, trade wars, etc. are out there teaching the meaning of humility daily. A farmer has to give back and pay forward because always being on the take will suck the nutrients out of future growth.

Character Moves:

  1. Even if you’re a city slicker like I am now, why not think and practice the essence of being a great farmer? What are you growing and giving back to the community? How do you live “farmer’s values” in the work you do?
  2. Farmer’s aren’t perfect. As an group, they can be notorious complainers, but of course we are not about perfection. What we care most about is purpose, adding value, living with character, having an impact, and inspiring others.
  3. Summing up a solid farmer: Do it now, be nice and give more. And that is the Character Triangle. And while Paul Harvey, the voice of the Farmer commercial, has long passed; his words and their meaning are eternal. And so are the values of the Character Triangle.

Farming in The Triangle,

Lorne

 

THE CHARACTER TRIANGLE COMPANION: A 30-DAY KICKSTART TO BUILD AN EVEN BETTER YOU

For the past few weeks my blogs have addressed some key ways to set your 2013 on the right path – from exploring the notion of Eudaimonia to avoiding burnout at work. Much like the one-off, annual strategic planning of yesteryear, I appreciate that New Year’s Resolutions have evolved into a more dynamic and on-going process.

Sure, January is always an excellent time to focus on our health and wellbeing, especially if the holiday season involved some overindulging. Naturally, the beginning of the year is a great time to think about personal and professional goals for the months ahead. Unfortunately, if you are like 25 percent of the population, you may have given up already. Check out this nifty infographic from via Mediabistro.

The good news is that if you’ve faltered a bit over the past few weeks, you’re certainly not alone. And don’t be discouraged because personal growth opportunities don’t end in Jan. In fact, now is the time to revisit what you want to accomplish. Take a moment to check in and identify what is going well and what isn’t. Would you welcome an approach to a personal development system that is sustainable? Read on.

 One of the biggest reasons people fail on the resolution front is that they haven’t established a foundation for success. Studies show that long lasting changes occur when we shift our habits. You may recall that I wrote about the importance of building keystone habits a few months ago. Making a resolution alone isn’t enough to achieve results; you must turn those goals into positive new habits. When you understand that an effective resolution is a behavior change and a process, you can see how this, along with benchmarks and measurements along the way, become crucial. So this year, I want to give you a reliable method to drive continuous, sustainable, personal improvement.

I am pleased to announce the launch of my new eBook, The Character Triangle Companion: A 30-Day Character Kick Start to an Even Better You. It is designed to help you focus on one of the key principles (Accountability, Respect or Abundance) for 30 days, providing you with the framework to refresh your outlook, improve your relationships and get things done. The best part about it is that you can apply it continuously.

Even better and exclusively on Amazon, it is FREE to you, friends and family BUT ONLY until Feb. 6. After that it will be widely available and retail for $8.99. Click here to download the FREE eBook and get started today.

If you choose to accept this challenge, best of luck to you! Enjoy your 30 days and if you can make the time, let me know how it’s going by emailing me, lorne@lornerubis.com, Tweet @LorneRubis, and/or post to my Facebook page. Here’s to making 2013 a year of sustainable personal character development for an even better you.

Resolution Evolution in the Triangle,

Lorne

 

Lorne Rubis

Lorne Rubis

The constant in Lorne’s diverse career is his ability to successfully lead organizations through significant change. At US West, where he served as a Vice President / Company Officer, Lorne was one of only seven direct reports ...
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Listen to Lorne's latest podcasts

Confidence, Patti Smith and Dylan: Failing authentically

Breathe fire: Leading and inspiring ourselves

Asking for feedback: The why

Taking on a new role: Lorne's journey

Lessons from Dot: Integrating technology into workplace culture

 

The Character Triangle Companion

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The Character Triangle

Character Triangle Book CoverBuild Character, Have an Impact, and Inspire Others

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Character Triangle

Our character is exclusively ours. We define it by how we think and what we do. I believe that acting with Character is driven by what I call the Character Triangle.

What, exactly, is the Character Triangle (CT)?

The CT describes and emphasizes three distinct but interdependent values:

Be Accountable: first person action to make things better, avoiding blame.
Be Respectful: being present, listening, looking again, focusing on the process.
Be Abundant: generous in spirit, moving forward, minimizing the lack of.

Read more about the Character Triangle

 

Be Accountable

Be Respectful

Be Abundant

Free Resources

Tools

The Character Triangle Companion Worksheet

NEW! The Character Triangle Companion Worksheet – Google Docs Version

Podcasts

Mind Your Own Business Radio – with Debi Davis, WLOB 1310 AM, 3/10/12 radio interview of Lorne Rubis

Videos

Would you like to view videos I reference in my blogs?  You can find them by subscribing to my channel on YouTube