How to Begin Again for the First Time
Meaningful contribution always includes beginning again.
Begin again for the first time:
#1. Begin with reflection.
- How do I aspire to contribute?
- What is true of me that enables my highest contribution in this moment?
- What type of relationships enable me to provide my highest contribution?
- What will it look like while I’m making my highest contribution in this moment?
- What might prevent me from making my highest contribution right now?
Reflect on yourself and past performance with painful candor.
#2. Begin by shifting from THEM to ME.
When people perform poorly, ask the Ben Zander question. “Who am I being that my players eyes are not shining?” (Ben is the Director of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra. Go to 9:25 on the video to see the question.)
You can read about the important leadership shift from ME to WE. But the essential shift for leaders is from THEM to ME – toward personal ownership.
Leadership ends when we expect more from others than we expect from ourselves.
- What are your commitments regardless of anyone else’s?
- What attitude will you bring to work regardless of others?
- How might you, “Be the change”?
- How might you expect more from others than you expect from yourself?
- How might you be contributing to the environment or relationships that hold you back?
“The toughest person to lead is always yourself.” John Maxwell (PDF)
Leadership begins when we obsess over OUR responsibility.
Blaming is self-affirmation and other-accusation. What’s wrong with this team? If only I had better team members.
Others help solve leadership challenges, but nothing changes until you change. I worked with a leader who remarked that every change in his organization is reflected in changes that happened in his own life first.
You have the team you have. NOW WHAT?
What prevents people from beginning again?
How would you encourage someone to begin again?
What prevents people from beginning again? They give up, the have chosen to remain stagnated. Others holing them back fearing they will be replaced by those under them. No encouragement to move forward.
How would you encourage someone to begin again? I like to give them examples of myself or others I associate with who have become aspiring people in their lifetimes. I like to challenge them with haw far do you want to go? What do you really want out of life?
What is your dream for a perfect lifestyle? We typically held back by ourselves, fearful of the wrong choices, staying safe than venturing on a new journey.
Happy Friday everyone!
Happy Friday, Tim. Your comment about holding ourselves back speaks to me. It’s so true. We can be our own worst enemy. Stop making choices that don’t take you where you want to go.
Every day we wake up breathing presents an opportunity to begin again…with people relationships, job goals and objectives and Teamwork, and personal issues and meanings. Never give up! Keep going, make positive things happen and create outstanding memories for you and all the other people in your life.
Thanks Sam. Your idea of looking at the beginning of a new day as a new beginning makes perfect sense. 🙂
What attitude will you bring to work regardless of others? That is the key for me. I strive to come to everything with a Positive attitude regardless of the challenges or even pain I might endure. I can thank my Maternal Grandmother Elizabeth for this. She was a devout Christian woman who endured much (including losing her Mother and Twin Brother to the Spanish Flu in 1920). She taught me by example and her attitude to be positive. In addition she always had all of Norman Vincent Peales “Positive Books” and magazines around for me to read. I would not be the man, husband, father and grandfather I am if not for her impact on my life. It pains me to see others not engaging in positive attitudes through life.
Thanks Roger. The people around us help to mold us. It’s so valuable to choose our close friends intentionally. How do they contribute to us. How do they contribute to us?
One of the things I like about being a college teacher is that the start of each semester represents a new beginning–a fresh start.
To have a fresh start, you need to have an ending to what happened previously.
So figure out how you can have a formal ending to let go of the past so you can begin with a clean sheet of paper.
Thanks Paul. Sometimes I think the ending is more difficult than the beginning and more necessary. Without an ending we accumulate baggage and baggage hinders.
Dan you are absolutely correct. Ending can be tough.
Ending the semester is a forced ending where I must turn in final grades and say goodbye to those students.
Dan my Italian Mother Dot always told us that you can only make a first impression once. I advise people that each time you meet a new person or go into a new group or role you can make whatever first impression you want and you can change or improve what people think of you! Brad
Thanks Brad. I’m glad you brought up first impressions. Every new person we meet, is in a small way a new beginning…. an opportunity.
I can’t tell you how many times this has come to life for me. Always starting with a request from Them that forced me to reflect & think about how I can approach the situation in a constructive and positive way. We often joke about turning problems into opportunities, but in truth, that is usually the case and it often starts with me and my attitude. I have a couple of recent examples where I was a bit whiny in my mind when asked to jump in, yet it turned out successfully when I was able to approach the situation with my team in a positive and supportive way. It’s amazing how other folks will rise to the occasion and do great things when they see that the leader of the effort is fully engaged, asking (not demanding) their participation & supporting them when they bring innovative ideas to the table!
Thanks Bob. Very encouraging. Thanks for being both vulnerable and forward-facing. It’s too easy and common to adopt destructive behaviors.
Very few of us are the same person we were five years ago. Even if we have the same job title, our job is no longer the same. So everyone is already beginning again on a regular basis. The next step is to make that a conscious choice: I am not going to be the same person in five years, so here is what I have to do today to get me started on that journey so that I am in control of who I become.
One of the most painful moments in our personal development is when our most respected mentors tells us, when we have exhausted our Selves beyond our capacity, “Now, then, we begin again.”
Planning precedes perfection is an approach that has worked for me- something to a fault (non-starter), but the majority of the time, the yield is far greater than simply jumping-in. I had a class in Business School with a group of experienced professionals. The class was Team Environment- one that initially I thought as ‘easy’ being a life long team athlete and a somewhat experienced Corporate Manager/Director. However, I quickly learned my frame of mind and approach to ‘team’ was not as impactful as it could be. I was missing the first step.
An eye-opener for me has been falling into a comfort trap in working with my ‘normal’ teams of people. Roles are essentially designated by title and day-to-day work in a Corporate setting, however, the upside is in redefining the who does what and when on a project, regardless of title, role, authority, etc. in the day-to-day management of the business. Redefining at the beginning of a project allows growth for those that may not typically get an opportunity to play a bigger role. It also allows leaders (by title) to be more approachable and have the time to coach when the results of the project are not solely on their shoulders. It’s an interesting shake-up when roles are redefined.
It’s hard to do the first time, but I wouldn’t go-back to simply assuming roles in a project given titles and historical norms. The change-of-pace allows others to empathize the the challenges teammates face in project management after having played the role!
What prevents people from beginning again?
In my experience there are two very different reasons why people do not want to begin again. First, is the fear of failure (either again or for the first time). The second is a comfort factor, perhaps they are content in their current stagnant life and fear a change could ruin that.
I would encourage people to start again by reminding them that it took Thomas Edison 1,000 unsuccessful attempts to finally make a lightbulb that works.