The Superhero in the Lego Bucket
When my first grandson was born 10 years ago, our toy collection was quite small. Just a few stray toys from my own kids that I’d never managed to donate all those years ago.
A decade later, that toy collection has grown quite a bit as has the number of grandkids enjoying them. When they’re all at our house, it’s fun; it’s loud; it’s chaotic; and it’s messy. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
My husband and I are blessed that our kids and grandkids do much of the straightening up after ‘toy chaos’ happens at our house. That job is often left for the last few minutes of their visit. Toys are swept into bins, containers, and buckets before the little ones are then swept up by parents and buckled into car seats.
Later when I find stray toys under the couch or in a random cabinet, I bring them to their ‘container home’ and smile when I see a superhero swimming in the Lego bucket or a puzzle piece plunked on top of race cars.
I smile at the memories that run through my mind– memories from my grandkids playing the weekend before all the way back to my own kids playing twenty-five plus years ago.
I also smile because those stray toys—the ones in ‘homes’ where they don’t belong—remind me of the leadership work I get to do with my clients.
The Stray Belief That Holds You Back
Allow me to explain.
Think for a moment of how leadership shows up in your life. Perhaps:
- You lead a team at work.
- You lead in your role as a parent.
- You lead the business you started.
- You lead volunteer efforts for a cause that’s close to your heart.
- You lead yourself in the life you truly want to live.
Now think of beliefs you have about who you are as a leader. You might see yourself as a remarkable listener. Or maybe you’re a visionary who plans for how you/the business/your team can improve and grow. Perhaps you believe you’re innovative, organized, honest, people-oriented, reliable, courageous, empathetic, focused, a problem solver.
That feels good, doesn’t it? Bringing your leadership strengths into focus.
And if you’re like many people—myself included—right about the time you’re in the ‘I AM an incredible leader!’ zone, another belief pops up. One you don’t like quite as much.
That’s the stray superhero swimming in a Lego bucket. One belief that isn’t like the others.
It could be the belief that you’re not always clear in your communication which has caused people to ‘quit’ on you. It could be the belief that you’re too detail-oriented. Or organized to a fault. Or too focused on goals and results and not enough on people and relationships.
You get it, right? It’s that nagging belief that you carry with you even though you don’t like it. It’s the belief that holds you back.
And it’s optional.
Time to Refocus and Reframe
Yes, you heard that right. Beliefs are optional. All of them.
A belief is simply a thought that you think over and over again so when you have one that doesn’t feel in alignment with who you are and who you’re becoming, you have the option of replacing it with a belief that does go along with your leadership self-concept.
Taking that superhero out of the Lego bucket—or replacing the belief that may be holding you back— is as simple as 1, 2, 3:
- Choose curiosity. When you’re stuck in a belief cycle that doesn’t serve you well, confusion sets in. And confusion keeps you stuck right where you’re at. The solution? Add curiosity to your belief work. Want to believe you excel with conflict management? Get curious. Learn about the various conflict management styles . Read articles about what to do and say the next time conflict rears its ugly head. Watch videos to learn from the pros in this area. Practice with a friend or colleague. And then put all that curious energy into the actual management of the next conflict that comes up.
- Create a fact list. This can be handwritten or digital and includes facts that challenge the negative belief you want to replace. The goal is to continually add facts to the list so you can’t ignore reality. For example, your current belief may be that you’re disorganized, but organization is very important to you. When you easily find the phone number you saved last week or when your colleague mentions how organized your work area is, add those facts to the list. When you hire a VA to manage your appointments and email communication, your decision to utilize a resource to help you stay organized is another fact to add to the list. As the list gets longer, the evidence builds, and so does your belief.
- Breathe. When your focus is on the belief that doesn’t serve you well, emotions can spin out of control. This makes it difficult to know what to do next. Make it easy on yourself. Focus on your breathing, slow down, and give yourself time to shift your perspective. If you believe you’ll never be a good listener, for example, reel that thought in with some deep breathing. Inhale for a count of four. Exhale for a count of four. And then again. And again. As you give yourself this time to reflect, you also give yourself the opportunity to develop a new belief, one that is focused on the listener you want to be and the steps to help you get there. Slow down to speed up your new belief about who you are as a leader.
Three tips to refocus and reframe your leadership beliefs. Doing so is available for you and me both, and it can be as simple as moving that superhero from the Lego bucket to the superhero bin.
My belief is that it’s worth it. Because improving my leadership game benefits those I lead as well as myself. And I’m ready for all of that. How about you?