On Leadership, Winning and Losing

Winning and Losing

There are many components to classical effective leadership. But today I want to discuss just a single critical part of effective leadership through the sharing two stories with you.

One: I got a funny comment of one of my blog posts this week. After reading one of my articles discussing one of the areas where I struggle as a leader, the commenter said this:

Gutsy post, it must take a lot of courage to be that open about your faults. I would never do that as a consultant.”

Two: I published a post on LinkedIn this week that after two days had received over 13,000 views. By far this has been my post popular article of all time and the only post I’ve written that has ever gone “viral.” I felt like a semi-celebrity as the LinkedIn number of shares crossed 700…800…900 and up.

My Million Dollar Question

As these situations were simultaneously circulating around me, I couldn’t help but ask myself the million dollar question:

“Am I a failure as a writer because of all the times my posts have just sat there and done nothing? Or am I a success because of this most recent mind-blowing success?”

On one hand, people didn’t like my writing style, while on the other hand people did.

What was I to think? Was a good writer or not?

Your Emotional Connections

The reason why I share these two stories is because I want to spend a few minutes talking about why it is so important as a leader to not get emotionally attached to the outcomes of our efforts.

I once heard an expression at a conference one time that sums up how to do this:

“Don’t take anything personally – the good or the bad”

I thought it was interesting. The speaker was trying to explain that if we interpret our successes to mean that “Yay, I’m great, they like me!” then we are equally as likely to internalize the negative feedback that comes at us when things aren’t going so well.

He painted a picture of us being on a teeter-totter where our emotional health and was totally dependent on the results we were achieving (or not achieving).

  • Feedback is good? We’re happy.
  • Feedback is less than great? We’re depressed because we obviously suck.

Are either of those assumptions true? No. Am I a failure because some people don’t like my material? No. Am I a success because I hit a home-run? No. The truth is we are not our losses or our victories – we are all a big combination of ups and downs and all incredibly valuable just as we are.

Keeping On Track

How then do we know if we’re on the right track if we’re not using our outside results as our primary “success” gauge? Three things I ask myself when facing self-worth questions:

  1. Am I being obedient to what I feel God is calling me to do? Really His opinion is the only one that matters to me.
  2. What do I think? Personally I felt great about the articles I had written and didn’t base my work satisfaction on something I had little to no control over (in this case the feedback to each article). I had done my best and for me, that was enough.
  3. Does my inner circle think I’m on the right track? We each have a few people in our lives that know us well and will hold us accountable to becoming our best selves. Listen to them for feedback if you’re feeling unsure.

In closing I write this as a reminder to those of us who get a huge high from a victory yet also reel just as much from a supposed loss.

Don’t identify either way:

  • Don’t deflate when you lose.
  • Don’t get puffed-up when you win.

The truth is that you’re amazing just the way you are: We are all a work in progress.

Breath when you lose, breath when you win, and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

**********

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Natasha Golinsky

Natasha Golinsky is the Founder of Next Level Nonprofits
She helps nonprofit CEO’s take their leadership skills to the next level
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook Web

Image Sources: idlehearts.com

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