How to Find Freedom and Energy by Starting Again
The struggle to keep your head above water provides little opportunity to reflect, adapt, and start again.
Stress and frustration accumulate when you splash around today the same way you splashed yesterday.
Recurring struggle feels like constant undertow.
Find freedom and energy by starting again. But how to break the cycle of escalating frustration and stress?
Freedom by starting again:
Every year you have 365 opportunities to start again.
Every morning you have a new opportunity to…
#1. Set tone.
How do you want people to feel when they step into your environment? What will you do to move toward that environment?
#2. Reject failed strategies.
What didn’t work? What do you want to stop doing?
#3. Create new rhythm.
Establish a two-question end-of-day debrief with your team. What worked? What would you like to do differently tomorrow?
#4. Release offenses.
Forgiveness frees you.
#5. Embrace power.
Stop saying, “I can’t change anything.” Start asking, “What small change might I make today?”
Choose an imperfect path forward. Stop waiting for perfect solutions.
#6. Choose how you show up.
Today is your day to…
- Ask two questions before making one statement.
- Replace all complaints with expressions of gratitude for one hour.
- Notice what people are good at.
Create your own way to show up or choose from the list above.
#7. Choose responses to responsible failure.
The only way to avoid mistakes is to avoid doing anything.
Most people don’t intentionally screw up. Intentional screw ups earn correction and eventually termination.
5 types of responsible failure:
- Lack of training mistakes.
- Stress mistakes. Stress makes you stupid.
- Inexperience mistakes.
- Trying to help but causing harm mistakes.
- Misinformed mistakes. You heard the wrong thing.
Responding to responsible failure:
- What might you do the next time you’re uncertain about the best step forward?
- What are you learning?
- What will you do differently next time?
What prevents leaders from viewing a new day as an opportunity to start again?
What’s one simple way you might start again today?
#2. Reject failed strategies. What didn’t work? What do you want to stop doing? Oh how this one rings true. I am continually finding ways (the road less traveled) to NOT do what has failed in the past. Unfortunately I run into resistance because even if the past way produced failure some are just not up for a “new” way. They resist because they lack confidence, they have fear, they have doubt and they are uncertain.
Thanks Roger. Your comment reminds me of the saying about the devil you know. Our need for certainty seems to be so powerful that we choose certain frustration over uncertain/untested strategies or methods. In my head I know that choosing the devil I know is a formula for stagnation. But it seems so much simpler to hope that a failed strategy will start working if we just pedal the bike a little faster.
I like this thinking and call it “CTRL-ALT-DEL” reminding myself that if my PC needs it I likely do too. 🙂
Finding refreshment and perspective in the reset is very valuable. My wife is a great help, saying “you need to get out with your camera” (or anything that will allow me to focus in a different sphere.)
Thanks Ken. I see you have a hobby that helps you find refreshment. Sadly, we can feel like any activity that isn’t “productive” is a waste of time.
Love the reference to camera and “focus” in a different sphere. 🙂
Dan To cleanse his mind, my old CFO mentor George would do a simple task like personally reconciling the corporate payroll account. He told me that by doing something he knew he could get done himself it helped him tackle the bigger tasks. I would clear out old files in my desk to accomplish the same thing. Brad
Thanks Brad. Such a great suggestion. It seems that a “mindless” task give the mind chance to rejuvenate.
I’m liking #3… two questions, keep it simple.
Thanks Bob. According to Daniel Kahneman, we remember peaks and ends. We remember peak experiences and the end of an experience. We can’t control the peak. But we know when the end of the day is…that’s the time to engage in a memorable leadership activity.
I’d add one more type of “responsible failure.”
6. The action taken was not a good fit.
(e.g. not a good fit for the organization, the client, the market, the product, the suppliers, the time, etc. This loops back to your #2.) I think recognizing a bad fit, after a well-executed trial exemplifies responsible failure. And a leader’s response to it can be invigorating to ignite the team’s next idea to try.
Thanks Maciasac. It’s always interesting to learn from others. It’s possible to do the “right” thing at the wrong time or in the wrong context. (“wrong being it’s not a good fit.)
Dan – you’re the best. Love that each day can be new and redemptive.
No. 2, What didn’t work?
Years ago a fellow colleague and I were discussing what we believed to be an unfortunate direction a leader had taken. He was a good man, well-liked, and respected. Problems arose, causing disastrous results. My friend made the comment concerning that bad move, “We may not know what to do but we know what not to do”.
I think the thing that keeps leaders from viewing new days as a new start is that they get stuck in the minutia of business and want the people that work under them to learn from their mistakes, even if that means bringing up those mistakes more than they need to be. After reading this blog, I made small changes and it really changed my whole day at the office.