The Holidays: Reflect,
Rejoice, Renew!

Amidst all the festivity and frivolity this season, there’s still an element of stress, and for many of us, the pressures of the holiday can become overwhelming, taking over our feelings of joy.

The holidays are a perfect time to give a gift of renewal to yourself.


 

Picture your happiest holiday, your most idyllic scene. Whether it’s Kwanzaa, Chanukah, Christmas or the New Year…close your eyes for a moment and envision what the “perfect holiday” would be for you.

Does it look like a serene scene right out of your favorite holiday movie? Or maybe it looks like a Norman Rockwell painting…?

We all have an idea of what the “ideal” holiday looks like. Just like a fairytale romance, this scene has been ingrained into our minds by thousands of similar Hollywood tropes, saying, “This is what the holidays should be. This is what a perfect holiday looks like.” In Hollywood, even the stressful holiday moments are part of the storyline—they always work out with a laugh and a happy ending.

You may be feeling a certain amount of stress or pressure to live up to these expectations, so when the holiday doesn’t turn out exactly as you planned or when it feels less meaningful than you’d hoped, it can feel defeating and disappointing…even depressing. Compound these expectations with the additional stressors of the season, like end-of-year work pressures, time management issues, dark days, cold weather, financial strain—it’s no wonder you might be feeling more “bah humbug” than “fa-la-la-la-la.”

According to the APA, at least 69% of people are stressed out over the holidays! Yet, what do we do? We repeat the process every year! We take on the same expectations and ideals. We set the bar higher and higher to find the perfect tree, cook the perfect dinner, hold the most festive party, or give the most amazing gift.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret—it’s not about reaching the singular pinnacle of the “perfect moment,” it’s about finding the joy in all of the moments throughout the season!

Give Yourself the Gift of Self-Care

Don’t stretch yourself so thin this holiday season that you lose sight of the things that make you feel healthy and strong. Ensuring your basic needs are met is crucial to keeping yourself in the game and feeling great. Get plenty of sleep. Get exercise.

Sure, enjoy culinary delights and drink eggnog, but don’t approach it as a way to numb yourself or escape from your stress. Don’t zone out in front of the television or fixate on social media. When we use these soft addictions to “feel better” or cope, we’re simply prolonging the stress.

Instead, give yourself a gift by getting outdoors to revel in the beauty of the season. Commune with nature and appreciate the wonders of the world around us. A brisk walk or outdoor activity can do wonders for your mental well-being. Take your partner along or undertake a winter sport, like snowshoeing, skiing or another opportunity to connect with your partner, get some exercise, and move your body. Bask in the awe and joy of the winter world.

An important part of self-care is giving yourself forgiveness and understanding where you need to set appropriate boundaries. While you may feel you need to say yes to every invitation or opportunity that comes your way, it’s perfectly okay to say no, especially if obligations feel like a weight or a chore. Give yourself some flextime to enjoy the time you have with friends and family, rather than trying to pack in a full schedule.

Find Wonder in the Season

Ever wonder why Christmas, New Year’s or other holidays lose some of their luster when we get older? Those feelings of excitement, happiness and discovery get lost along the wayside, and things might seem empty, ho-hum, lonely or even obligatory, rather than fun.

As children, the holidays are full of mystery, new experiences and opportunities to grow. When we’re young, we process each experience as something new. We sense the potential and the possibilities. It can seem almost magical at times, as we wait to unwrap presents and revel in the excitement of the holidays. From a scientific point of view, our brains are growing and mapping each new experience. We’re forming our matrix and our neuropathways.

When we are older, however, we forget how to savor these moments and feel that same sense of mystery and wonder. Experiences aren’t as new or fresh or filled with the unknown. To get back to that state of bliss, we must learn how to grow and stretch ourselves further. We must open ourselves to new experiences and feel the awe of the season.

Our brains have neuroplasticity—the ability to grow and form new neuropathways and connections—throughout our entire life. It’s through this new stimuli we feel alive, awake and energized. Rather than focusing on the future or fixating on the past, we need to learn to be mindful in the moment and aware of the value of each experience.

This can be a challenge when we’re faced with the “same old” family situations, getting sucked into family drama and stress. We might go home to discover that we fall into patterns we’ve experienced since we were very young. We might feel disappointment and frustration when we return to these familiar routines.

Instead, try something new. Go into each experience with an openness and renewed enthusiasm. Rather than telling yourself it will be the same problems you’ve faced in the past, instead “check your baggage at the door” and go into the moment with a sense of new possibilities and self-awareness.

Truly Feeling Joy All Season Long

When we put too much pressure on ourselves or build up an ideal scene in our minds, we might be removing the joy, wonder, and excitement from the other moments surrounding it.

Instead, practice mindfulness this holiday season. Wrapping gifts with your daughter, decorating the tree with your spouse, or lighting holiday candles might be just as satisfying as carving the turkey and raising a glass. The weeks before Christmas can be just as festive and filled with happiness as the moment you unwrap gifts from under the tree. They don’t have to be jam-packed with Santa and literal bells and whistles either. The quiet moments and connections can have the most meaning.

In fact, sometimes the anxiety over that pinnacle “perfect” moment can be built up so much that we can barely enjoy the moment itself. Brides and grooms often describe their wedding day as going by really fast or “a blur,” and it’s even common to feel a little letdown after. It’s for the same reasons: when we become narrow and singular in our vision, working on an ideal day or even a single moment for months, we take the joy and satisfaction out of the journey and the learning process.

Planning, shopping, cooking, preparing—these rituals of the holiday season can bring satisfaction, too. Engaging in a great conversation at a party or really connecting with a loved one over the season can be the true highlight. You might not have a Tiny Tim “God bless us, everyone” moment at your dinner table…and that’s okay. You can still have a wonderful holiday season.

Redefining the “Perfect” Holiday

Instead of picturing the single perfect holiday moment, try to picture what your ideal month would look like. Are there family members and friends with who you really want to engage and connect with? Are the activities you’d like to do to celebrate the season?

When you have the opportunity to see friends, really listen, and engage with them. Express your appreciation for them and make time for those who elevate you and bring out your best. Make these friends your priority, especially during times when you can otherwise brush off social engagements because of too many other commitments. These are the moments that will renew and revive you.

If holiday lights really give you the sense of magic you long for, make it a priority to take a winter walk with your spouse and enjoy the lights around your neighborhood. If you love the windows downtown, keep a place in your shopping schedule to take a walk by all the shops and really be present in the moment—take it in. Treat yourself to a sensory delight like a peppermint latte or a gingerbread tea, and really focus on the memories and feelings it conjures. Don’t worry about snapping the “perfect selfie” or documenting the “perfect” moment. Simply enjoy it!

During these busy days we can forget about self-care and giving ourselves little “gifts” of mindfulness and renewal. Listen to music, get outdoors and get some exercise. Don’t zone out with too much alcohol and food to quell your anxiety—enjoy a treat, and move forward. Keep yourself mindful and in the moment, getting plenty of rest and keeping your schedule from becoming too jam-packed.

Encouraging Meaningful Connections & Engagement

The best part of the holiday season is the opportunity to connect and engage with friends, family and those around us in a meaningful, deliberate and celebratory way. Make the most of it!

Rather than tackling baggage and confronting every issue when you go home, approach even strenuous situations with honesty. If you’re worried about a confrontation with a sibling or dreading criticism from your mother, set up the situation for success. Tell them, “I want to spend today appreciating each other and focusing on the joy of the moment. We have some things to talk about at a later time, but let’s enjoy each other’s company for now.”

Before you head into a particularly stressful family situation, take the time to think of, and even write down, what you appreciate about your family member. When you spend time with them mentally refer back to your list, tell them what you’ve discovered and what they mean to you. Make the holidays about appreciation and connection.

Does this mean you have to let go of rude behavior or become a punching bag? No way! You can express your emotions and feelings (and should)! Just know that once a year around the brisket, you’re probably not going to resolve deep-seated concerns and personality conflicts.

If there’s something eating away at you that needs to be addressed, or if a family member gets out of line or does something upsetting, step in and be the voice of reason. Let them know you’d like to discuss things after the New Year (if you feel it needs to be addressed and can be resolved), and for now, you’d like to focus on appreciation and building connections.

When it’s all said and done, there may be family members that we just don’t get along or agree with…perhaps we can’t come together on our core beliefs or attitudes. During the holidays, however, we may end up in each other’s presence because we both care about the same people (other family members). Use this commonality as a platform for connection, and if worst comes to worst, you can both agree that no one wants to ruin Christmas for Grandma, and make the best of mutually appreciating and enjoying her.

Take time to give yourself a break when you need one. Go for a walk. Build your intimacy and bond with your partner by making them your ally. Turn a stressful moment into a challenge you can tackle and use to learn and grow from.

Throughout the holidays we’re given opportunities to stretch ourselves and really tap into our emotional intelligence. We can worry and stress out, or we can rise to the occasion and come through the holidays with a greater understanding of ourselves and those around us—building some great memories to boot!

This holiday season, commit to really engaging in those moments and learning opportunities. Stretch yourself emotionally and express appreciation for the people in your life. Listen, engage, and grow all season long. Look at this season as an opportunity to build your momentum and propel yourself into a successful New Year of transformation and connection!


For more on making the most of the season, please join us for a special Holiday Workshop this Thursday, December 8th—Home for the Holidays: Creating Meaningful Moments Throughout the Season. We’ll help you get the most out of your holidays!


About the Author

Dr. Bb Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University. Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

What Motivates You?
Here’s How To Find Your Spark!

Finding out what motivates you is an interesting process, especially seeing as we’re all driven for different reasons. It’s about finding that deep down stirring that pushes you.

It’s what makes you get up in the morning, put your pants on, and get out the door.

Maybe you’re motivated by a desire to nurture and care for those around you. Some of us want power or control. Some of us are motivated by praise from our colleagues or boss. Some of us are motivated by cold hard cash (or think we are). Deep inside of each of us, though, something drives us.

We’ve all had days when we just aren’t feeling it. We phone it in, trudge off to the office, and give less than our best. We ALL have days like that. Maybe you didn’t sleep well, maybe you’re coming down with something, or perhaps there’s a personal concern weighing on your mind. Whatever it is, you know your heart just isn’t in your work. Your mind is off, and you just don’t feel like being there.

Having one or two days of feeling unmotivated isn’t such a concern. It’s normal, and it happens to all of us. However, weeks of feeling unmotivated and lackluster can indicate a deeper problem—a loss of desire, a loss of drive, and a falling out of touch with our yearnings.

We’re designed to be driven—but we must find our authentic selves. Maslow saw our drive as the desire for self-actualization and the realization of our full potential.

So how do you find what motivates you? What would “make” us be our best and give it our all every day? Psychologists have determined it’s about finding the meaning in our lives and embarking on a path where we’re constantly improving and growing as people. So how can you get there?

 
Designed to Transform

Our brains are pretty amazing. Deep within our neural circuitry, we’ve developed neuroplasticity: the ability to build new circuits and form new neural pathways, allowing us to learn, adapt, engage and constantly grow—and love the process! We’re not simply creatures of habit, or driven only by our biological imperatives and instincts. We are constantly learning and growing from each experience. We’re adapting and changing.

We can literally change our brains and our minds, and what we believe, who we are, and how we live. We can transform.

The very fact that we have neuroplasticity lets us know that we possess these amazing capabilities. Our transformation circuits are only activated, however, with our conscious choice and intent, through the stimulation of novelty and focused attention, as well as through our yearnings and emotions, which signal to our brains, “Pay attention, this matters!” Such attention not only rewires the circuitry of our brains, but it also affects the expression of our genes.

We are designed to seek, to be curious, to discover. When we are thrilled about the world of ideas and divining meaning, our seeking circuits are firing, activating one of the pleasure centers in our brains. We are in a state of eagerness and directed purpose—a state we human beings love to be in. This thrill of anticipating reward motivates us to act…


…We are designed to be explorers, and when we explore, our brains light up with pleasure. It is the novelty, not the outcome, that most delights our brain and activates our neuroplasticity. Our brains are never “happier” than when we are learning new things, stretching just beyond our current capacities. This is where we build new circuitry and develop mastery.

Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


That transformational spirit and desire to explore, grow, engage and deepen our understanding keeps us moving. When we’re connecting with those around us, listening to what others want, and finding ways to work toward our goals and vision together, we’re going to feel that spark!

You know those moments when it happens. Say you’re in a meeting and you totally nail it. The words that come out of your mouth are confident and thought out. You have a clear picture of what you want. You’re listening to those around you and sharing in their vision as well as your own—there’s a dynamic atmosphere, a synchronicity that just can’t be denied.

Understand Your Yearnings, Find What Motivates You

So if you feel like you’ve lost your mojo, and you’re feeling down and just not reaching like you once did, it’s time to figure out how you can connect, grow and push yourself!

What does that mean for you? It means you need to get back in the game. Volunteer for a project you’re holding back on, sign up for professional development courses, or take classes and training to get you to the next level in your job. Even learning a new task or how to use new technology or software will give you a little bounce and boost.

As our brains learn and discover new things, we find out what we really want, and we become happier. Those neuropathways are formed and we start to feel more alert, more alive, and more motivated to achieve our goals.

Explore a deeper understanding of your yearnings. Our yearnings are more than simple wants or desires. They’re the very fabric of our motivation and they propel us forward toward our goals. Understanding the yearnings within our hearts can help us unlock the path to our goals. We can see what drives us and what accomplishments will give us the most pleasure and satisfaction.

To feel more motivated, we have to connect with those around us. We have to listen, hear them out, and gain an appreciation for their humanity. Does that mean you’re going to like everyone you work with? No, of course not, but you should be open to hearing everyone’s ideas around the table. When people know you’re listening, they’re more likely to share and find ways to reach a common consensus and goal.

Lastly, to stay motivated, we have to stay healthy. We can’t zone out in front of the television, check out by scanning social media, or get caught up in comparing ourselves to those around us. We have to care for ourselves by getting rest, exercise, and spending time doing the things that make us feel healthy, strong and ready to go.

Keeping up your motivation isn’t as difficult as it can feel on a Monday morning when your alarm goes off. Work to discover new things about yourself, make an effort to grow, and explore the inner workings of your heart—and you’ll find what motivates you, and get that spark back in your life.

For more on unlocking your motivation and discovering what you really want, visit us for an upcoming Foundations Training Weekend. Learn more at www.wrightliving.com.


About the Author

Judith

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.
Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Understanding Yearning:
The REAL Deep-Down Reasons We’re Always Fighting

How many times have you had a conversation (or all-out fight) with your spouse or partner and been left baffled? You may be wondering where their frustration even came from. (Because it certainly seems like it came out of nowhere!) Or sometimes, it seems like you’re always fighting over the SAME things.


Most of the time, you’d really like to know, “What the heck does he/she want from me?!?”

We’re talking (or yelling), but we’re not communicating. We’re not connecting. Chances are, we’re hearing but we’re not listening.

In your relationship, do you hear (or use) phrases like, “You never help around the house,” or “You’re always nagging me about money.”

Or…

“You’re just like your mother.”

“We never do what I want to do.”

When these phrases come up, there’s a disconnect. Someone’s not making contact, but neither of you know why. You’re fighting, but you’re not even sure what you’re fighting about.

To get to the heart of what you want AND what your significant other really wants, you need to look past the word want…you need to understand the word yearn.

Wanting vs. Yearning

Yearning isn’t a word we use often. In fact, it might seem antiquated or strange. “Yearning.” It sounds like something from a novel or a movie, not something normal, modern people do—right? It paints a picture of a maiden in distress with a handkerchief on a fainting couch…

True yearning is a feeling that comes from deep within. It’s beyond wanting, desiring or longing. It’s our deepest need. This isn’t wanting your husband to wash his dishes or even wanting your friend to return a phone call. Yearning comes from a deeper place.

Everyone in the world yearns for something. We yearn to love and to be loved, to matter, to be significant, to be seen, and to connect with each other and with a higher power. We might yearn to achieve mastery or to belong and to contribute. Our yearnings run deep from within us.

“Unmet yearnings are at the heart of every fight, and when they are met, they become the heart of our intimacy and satisfaction. Learn to unpack your fights to get to the yearning underneath. Actively pursue your yearning moment to moment, and you have set a solid cornerstone for intimacy.


Yearning is no soft, needy, touchy-feely, nice-if-you-like-that sort of thing. Each of us—all seven billion people on the planet—has been hardwired to yearn. Harness the power of yearning or you’ll be negating one of the things that brings you the most satisfaction and the most power to your relationships.”

The Heart of the Fight


The funny thing is, yearning isn’t something we naturally and readily identify. It actually takes practice to discover it first within ourselves, let alone in a partner. Part of the elusiveness of yearning comes from the immediate gratification we get from scratching our “wants” itch.

Think about it: when you want something—a piece of chocolate, a clean house, a new gadget—you might really focus until you get it. You might fixate on it, even. Once you get the thing you desire, you get a little buzz, a little boost. You feel good and you think, “Ooh, I got what I wanted.”

The buzz, however, is fleeting. It doesn’t last, and it’s not fulfilling. It’s great in the moment, but it fades when the next want comes along. We get upset when our wants aren’t met, but we’re not really upset because the house is messy or our partner threw socks on the floor (again).

We’re actually upset because it feels like our partner isn’t acknowledging us. They don’t see us, or we feel unsafe, unloved, or disconnected.

How to Get to the Heart of Your True Yearnings

If you’re having a hard time separating a want from a yearning, try applying the “so that” test.

For example:

“I want a promotion, so that…I can have more money.”

A promotion is a want is a want…is a want. Keep applying the “so that” until you can’t anymore. Like so:

 

“I want a promotion so that I can have more money.”
“I want more money so I can be able to have more fun and skydive more.”
“I want to skydive so that I feel the thrill.”
“I want to feel the thrill of skydiving so that I can feel alive.”

“I want to feel alive … I yearn to feel alive.”

-7 Relationship Myths eBook

 

It takes a good deal of practice and some work, but eventually you’ll start to unlock the true, deep-down yearnings of your heart. Once you know these truths about yourself, you can start to articulate and express them clearly. Yearning is the first step to bliss.

Battling Towards Bliss

When you start to acknowledge the underlying yearnings in your fights and figure out what you’re really looking for, a light goes off and fights suddenly become a lot more productive and a lot less destructive.

Suddenly you’re fighting FOR the relationship, rather than against each other. You’re fighting to meet each other’s yearnings, rather than yelling about unfulfilled wants. You’re not saying, “You never pick up the house.” You’re saying, “I yearn to be acknowledged.”

For couples, fights revolve around unmet yearnings. We either expect our partner to be fulfilling our yearnings for us, or we don’t know how to fill them for ourselves. When we do the work and start to discover who we really are, what drives us and what speaks to our heart, we become better communicators.

We stop expecting our partner to “fix it” or “make us happy” (a big relationship myth) and realize the happiness and the fix comes from within ourselves.

Figuring out your yearnings is the first step to greater understanding and more open communication with your partner. We go into more detail about how to use conflict to strengthen your relationship in our book The Heart of the Fight.

Please join us for an upcoming More Life Training, where you can start to unlock your yearnings and discover what’s really inside your heart. Visit us at www.wrightliving.com for more details.

 


About the Author

Dr. Judith Wright

 

Dr. Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


Loving the content and want more? Follow Judith on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

 

 


 

What is the
MORE Life Training
Weekend?

Think about what it might mean to have “limitless potential.” If you could have or be anything you wanted right now, today, what would it be?


Would you want to be the greatest husband or wife? Would you want to be the top salesperson in your department—or better yet, CEO of your own company? Would you want to help the world, heal the world, and/or help others around you find their own potential and path for growth?

No matter what your dreams are, they have one thing in common: YOU. To reach your aspirations, you’ll need a solid foundation built by developing core social intelligence and emotional intelligence skills. This foundation allows you to explore who you can become, unlock and map out your ideal self, and envision the path to get there.

Living Life to the Fullest

We often get asked about our MORE Life Training—what it is, what it means, and what it can do for you. It’s not simply a seminar, professional development, or a “leadership class.” It’s more than that. It’s a unique transformational weekend, where you will learn more about yourself than ever before.

At the Wright Foundation, we’re always offering new ways to help you bring out your best and live life to the fullest—whether it’s through personal and career coaching, seminars, group work, or helping you earn your graduate degree so you can go out into the world and help others.

MORE Life Training is the first step. If you’ve read our website or checked out one of our books or courses, chances are you have some questions about how you can start to apply the principles of transformational leadership and growth to your own life.

During MORE Life Training, you’ll have the opportunity to roll up your sleeves and do some real hands-on work to discover your purpose and bring to light some of the hidden dynamics behind WHY you do what you do…and perhaps why you haven’t yet tapped into who you could become. This is the first step in starting to work on your social and emotional intelligence and growth, and the path to unlocking your full potential. It’s all about discovering the core beliefs underneath who you are so you can envision and move toward who you can become.

“I want MORE out of life!”

Sound familiar? Time and time again, we talk to people who aren’t quite satisfied. Their life is basically good, but they’re feeling less-than-fulfilled. They’re working hard, they’re successful—even to the point of running their own company or organization—and yet, they still have an itch they just can’t scratch. Their relationships are lacking a connection and they feel like they’re “going through the motions” rather than fully engaging in life.

Look at MORE Life Training as a launchpad. You’ll develop the foundation and background you need to start a life of unlimited potential, meaning, and satisfaction. This in-depth weekend experience can help you figure out how to reach further, grow stronger, and stretch yourself as a person.


Want more? If you’re ready to take the steps to get more out of life, to become more fulfilled, to find a greater purpose, then MORE Life Training will help you start that process.


You’ll work with an amazing group of people who all want MORE—just like you. As you work on unlocking your own potential, you’ll meet people who are asking the same questions and working on the same goals. You’ll form friendships and partnerships, but more importantly, you’ll discover how to partner with yourself to push your own boundaries and be your own ally.

Our methodologies are based on the latest neuroscience and leadership theory. We explore the connection of psychology, leadership and entrepreneurship, and the neuroscience of engagement. We use social-emotional growth strategies to help you learn how to stand out from the crowd and lead wherever you are. You’ll learn how to be more dynamic, more engaging, and more transformative with every person you meet.

How Hard is MORE Life Training?

This weekend of training is intensive. It’s not a simple “weekend class on goal setting” that you might take or a
professional development course. This is about changing your life for the better. MORE Life Training will give you the tools to strengthen your relationships, to get more out of your work, and to bring more of yourself to your spouse, your children, and your friends.

You’ll explore your personality, and rather than taking a class to learn a skill, you’ll be working internally to unlock the deeper aspects of who YOU are. You’ll discover your social and emotional core and the things that drive you.

Once you start to reveal these inner workings of your personal psychology, you’ll learn how to understand your yearnings and create your personal vision. You’ll create concrete steps to work toward that vision and explore your own limiting beliefs and the things holding you back from grabbing the life you want to live.

Click to learn more with life training.

Join us for our next MORE Life Weekend to learn how you can apply the principles of transformation to your life. Learn how you can unlock your true potential, live the life you want, and achieve your goals.


Learn more about Wright Living’s Career & Leadership Coaching in Chicago & Career Coaching Courses in Chicago.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Inspire and Ignite :
How to Be a Better Leader

 

When you talk, do the people you’re working with perk up and listen…or do your words fall on deaf ears? Do you feel like you’re constantly yelling or frustrated by the “attitude of apathy” your coworkers or subordinates direct your way?


Maybe it’s time to reconsider your approach and learn how to be a better leader.

Many so-called “leaders” talk and give lip service; they drive through fear and threats of scarcity. They bully, they pout—essentially, they act like big babies, whining until they get their way. Or they act like big toddlers, bossing around their peers and threatening to take things away and punish if they don’t get the results they want.

Don’t believe me? Look at our current political climate (or take a step back and look at the climate in your own office). Are all the people in charge inspiring confidence or are they fearmongering? This climate of fear and stress is an epidemic in many workplaces throughout our country and it’s taking a toll on both workers and leaders alike. People in positions of authority are making themselves miserable and they don’t know how to fix it.

This mismanagement and bossy leadership is particularly rampant in middle management. It’s indicative of people in positions of supervision, but without the autonomy to really affect the change and inspire the kind of work they need to extract from their team. It’s a sign of someone losing his or her grip on control—control they often didn’t need to grasp onto to begin with.

Bully management and demeaning bossiness isn’t real leadership. You might get your team to perform, but inside you know they aren’t fulfilled and they won’t embrace the work as their own. They’ll perform on a mediocre level, phoning it in and doing what you demand, but never taking any steps to go above and beyond.

You’ve got to put the heart and soul back into your team. It’s likely they don’t understand their purpose or share your vision, which are the keys to great performance. Unlocking our purpose inspires us to greatness.

As leaders we will either instill confidence, or we will instill fear and doubt.

Which kind of leader do you want to be?

Taking the Steps to Be a Better Leader

If you’re wondering how to be a better leader, the first step is realizing leadership requires more than simply a loud mouth and cockiness or making a list of demands. You don’t have to be bossy to be a boss.

Leaders don’t have to know it all (or even half). I know many great leaders, CEOs and directors who don’t know half of the technical stuff their staff knows. Yet, they inspire them to perform at a high level, and they get results. They understand the importance of a team. They hire people who know what they’re doing and take pride in their work. They don’t micromanage or nitpick, but they step back and give employees the chance to rise to greatness.

The secret of how to be a better leader is to have a solid grasp on what makes people tick. If we look at great leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Vince Lombardi and John F. Kennedy, we can see they were great because they understood their audience. They had a great deal of social and emotional intelligence.

They lead by inspiration, not by force.

Does inspiring leadership come naturally? No, of course not! Leadership is a skill that’s learned and built upon. It comes from learning how to help people evolve and transform; leadership grows from helping people find their own greatness within and discovering ways to extract that greatness and apply it.

Unless you directly report to the CEO (or are the CEO), chances are you report to someone, and they report to someone above them. In this chain of reporting and accountability, we all strive to make ourselves appear important. We’re longing for the acknowledgment, praise, and reception of our work indicating we’re special, unique and indispensable.

The real secret to great leadership isn’t in letting go of this longing or yearning to be special and important. The real secret in how to be a great leader is the realization that if your team looks great, YOU look great. If your team succeeds, you all succeed! So rather than focusing on climbing up the ladder by stepping on those below you, you must focus on how to lift up everyone—how to elevate the entire office.

Raising Your E.Q.

Where does the ability to engage with others, transform and elevate those around you come from? It’s a direct result of your social and emotional intelligence. You might have a PhD from MIT or an MBA from Harvard, but if you don’t have the emotional intelligence you need, you’ll never be an effective leader.

Transformational leaders understand this and they work to evoke their empathy in all their interactions. They share their vision with the team—not the vision they want for themselves or the way they want the company to grow for their own personal gain—but the vision they have for everyone involved. They find ways to bring out the success in every single member of their office, from the intern and the entry-level clerk to the CFO and the Chairman of the Board. They listen and they learn. It’s not about the money, the power or the fame—it’s about making a difference in the lives they touch.

No matter what you do in your business—whether you’re a teacher, an artist, a software developer or a lawyer, you can lead others by exploring what makes them tick. You can find success by figuring out where the overlap happens in the Venn diagram of your success and vision, and the vision of your customers, clients, and coworkers. How does the widget you make or the service you perform make the world a better place?

Understanding things on an intellectual level isn’t enough. You have to connect with the emotions, the empowerment—the heart of what you’re doing. You have to engage with others.


“Many people, including some very smart people, have a lot going on in their minds but are unable to translate all this mental activity into action. Or they take action, but only within the confines of their regular routines, rarely doing or saying anything that varies from what they’ve always done or said. In these situations, it’s very difficult to take action in ways that are congruent with their yearning, to experience emotional involvement in their words and deeds and to learn and grow.

If you need further evidence that real engaging is worth the effort, consider that prominent scientists offer highly motivating evidence that you have to engage in two distinct areas—feeling and doing. They make it clear that intellectual engagement is insufficient. You have to recognize and honor your emotions and get off your kiester and act!” from Transformed! The Science of Spectacular Living


In other words, you can’t lead, inspire or bring forth your vision by reasoning it to death. You have to bring others on board and explore things with them on an emotional level. You have to ignite, excite, impassion and get them involved to take things to knock your entire team up a notch (or several)!

For more on how you can bring out your best leadership skills and become a stronger leader wherever you are, please visit www.wrightliving.com. Go forth and make the world a better place! Join us for our next More Life Training to jumpstart your social and emotional intelligence.

 


About the Author

Dr. Bob Wright

Dr. Bob Wright is an internationally recognized visionary, educator, program developer, leadership and sales executive, best-selling author and speaker. He is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.


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Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.