A Life Changing Experiment Anyone can Do
It might be slow, but complacency is death.
The danger of complacency is you don’t see your own smug self-satisfaction. In dying organizations, “I’ve got it all together and I don’t need to change,” is desired and admired.
Why do you look up to the dead?
Complacent leaders think of others, not themselves, when conversations turn to personal transformation. But growing leaders notice that as they change, the people around them change.
The ultimate leadership challenge:
Personal transformation precedes influencing change in others. If you want others to change, grow yourself. Gandhi said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” For leaders, personal transformation is the ultimate challenge.
Successful leaders grow and change first. Leaders who aren’t growing and changing are on a slow march to oblivion.
The ultimate life-changing experiment:
Ask someone you trust and who knows you, “What could I do this week to live a more meaningful life?” Before they respond, say, “I’ll do whatever you say.”
- Your advisor knows and understands your values and strengths.
- Your advisor has your best interest at heart. You don’t want someone projecting their life on you.
- Your advisor has a measure of success in the pursuit of a meaningful life.
- Your advisor understand constraints like time and money.
- Your advisor knows you’re looking for daily behaviors for one week only.
Craft a question centered on a specific topic. What could I do this week to:
- Develop new relationships?
- Deepen current relationships?
- Become a better leader? (Spouse, friend, boss.)
- Move my career forward?
- Encourage my team?
- Fulfill my vision for life?
- Serve you/my team?
Regardless of the question you craft, commit to do whatever they tell you, before they respond.
Advanced challenge: One week a month, ask someone a life-changing question and do whatever they say.
What life-changing questions might you suggest for this challenge?
If someone asked you, “How could I be a better leader this week,” what, in general, would you say?
Great thoughts Dan, and the “do whatever they say” moves me away from my comfort zones. As we age (not mature, age) I think we become resistant to advisors! (maybe it’s only me! :))
I would never say “I’m no longer teachable” yet when I step back and look at my behaviors, I find the caution light going on!
Thanks for pushing against my thoughts/behaviors.
Thanks Ken. I’m with you. I would hate to say that I’m complacent. But, I’m pretty uncomfortable with this experiment.
This exercise is also showing me who I trust. In addition, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is that the person you approach knows you and your values.
Best for the journey and thank you for your transparency.
Interesting list of qualities which you suggest be desired in such an advisor person whom one might trust.
Thanks Loulou. Frankly, I worked through who I would trust and made the list from that.
The other thing that is emerging as I move forward with this is how important humility is.
I have come out of retirement to join a small (11) team of 40 somethings and love their energy but feel, as the only 70 something, that what I do and what I say has a great affect on everyone. Hence, I believe that putting your suggestions into practice may proof an interesting and beneficial experiment. I’d you’d like, I will attempt to keep you informed as the results shown themselves.
Thanks for a great article.
Thanks David. Love your approach. I would LOVE to hear what you learn. Please email email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
You always make me think, Dan — this one really gets the ideas going — thanks!
I am excited to ask my staff these questions, yet scared to death at the same time. But I always want to grow and I believe this will surely make me step out of my comfort zone and keep the growth going!