“You gain courage and confidence from doing the things you think you cannot do” – Eleanor Roosevelt
My first impression having read the above quote by Oprah was….yeah right, easier said than done! I’d much rather revert to the blame game, feeling sorry for myself or asking the age old question…..why me? After all we are preconditioned to ‘negative thinking’ when you know what hits the fan. So why fight it? Why? Because if we live our lives with the expectation that we will never be hurt or let down, we are going to lead a life of stress and misery. And who wants that? Not me.
The more I thought about Oprah’s quote, the more it started to make sense. Problems (or wounds) created by others, can either make or break us and the experiences shape us into the people we become. Whether for better or worse, problems do create opportunities. Ultimately our attitudes are our driving force in how we choose to adapt and tackle these opportunities in order to help others.
Have a great week!
Regardless of the obstacles before you, do not let a system stop you from achieving your goals.
A system is only as good as the next person who comes along with a strong belief and determination to challenge it. By challenging it, they change the course of not only their destiny but the destiny of those around them. As a society we do our best to adapt to the various systems implemented either by our governments, organisations or individuals. Some with good merit and others with odds that just don’t stack up or are out of our control, such as the forces of nature. However what I don’t believe is that a process cannot or should not be challenged, just because those in authority made it so. So why do most people settle for “sorry but we can’t help you” routine? Because most people:
- Would rather walk away from a confrontation.
- Give up too easily and settle for the status quo.
- Lack confidence to challenge a system – due to lack of knowledge/information or prior experience/exposure.
What we all need more of is confidence, the belief that we can change the outcome. Whether it’s to buy a new car or home, improve your health, get that dream job or change careers. We might have to tackle a system from several angles but as long as we are determined to see it through, we will succeed in challenging the status quo and achieving our goals.
As W. E. Hickson famously quoted: if at first you don’t success, try, try, try again.
Having witnessed more than my fair share of self-entitlement from senior executives this particular director took it to another level……in fact she took the cake and the crown for her over the top self-entitled behaviour.
This director took the time to give me a lecture (boarder line verbal abuse) on how her time was extremely important. She went on to say she was not interested in appointments unless they were mid-morning and how dare I offend her with a request for a breakfast meeting at 8:00am. She reminded me that she was director and everyone needed to dance around her. Her time was precious, it was all about her. Can you believe this? A Board member responsible for making the million dollar decisions which affects thousands of employees did not have a humble bone in her body. She was not prepared to budge or be flexible, requested a certain five star restaurant, the list went on and on.
I was appalled to say the least but the sad truth is that this is happening all around me and I find myself fighting for others who are unable to deal with such awful, rude leaders who lack compassion and continuously belittle and intimidate those around them. This particular director didn’t stop for a second to think about nor empathise with me, she was so consumed with self-entitlement she could not move past her demeaning and inconsiderate ways. Rather than saying no sorry my schedule cannot accommodate a breakfast meeting could you please offer me another time, she had to go down the path of self-righteousness.
This director was clearly all for a work life balance when it came to her needs yet failed to reciprocate and share that compassionate, empathetic view towards me. In fact she failed to acknowledge me period. I was someone who was disrupting her walk in the park. How dare I.
Don’t get me wrong I’m no stranger to self-entitled senior executive behaviour and I’ve had my quota of office politics spanning 18 year but what is seriously starting to affect me on a human level is this lack of empathy and complete self-entitlement with no regard for others. This behaviour needs to stop. We need to start calling out such behaviour as it’s disgusting and far from the role models we are looking to lead our future generation.
Like any other 15 year old teenager, my one has had her fair share of good and bad decision-making. Whether these were influenced by peer pressure or a lack of balanced judgment is irrelevant as we all have choices and the choices we make shape our destiny. We can teach our children right from wrong but ultimately wrapping them up in cotton wool isn’t going to teach them the survival skills required to take on the world. Whilst we are there to guide them, they need to learn how to make their own decisions whether good or bad and understand the consequences in order to grow into responsible adults.
What is important however is the need to be continuously present in our children’s lives in order to share the lessons regardless of a good or bad experience encountered. This requires regular conversations with our children to check-in and understand their current challenges/pressures on both a personal and professional level. It’s not about never-ending lectures on how they could have done things better but more about letting our children open up and share their reasoning for doing so in a trusting and non-judgmental environment.
In order to improve relationships with our children, I believe parents and teachers must take accountability for regularly checking in with teachers to see how our children are progressing and offering support where needed. Parents cannot rely on teachers alone to ensure their children are on the right track nor can teachers expect the parents to know whether their child is struggling or not until they read the school report. By taking ownership and accountability together parents and teachers are more likely to develop well-mannered and considerate role models in our society as we demonstrate kindness, consideration and willingness to support each other regardless of the circumstances.
No matter how bleak your circumstances are right this moment, have faith in knowing that you can and will get through anything with the right attitude. Shift your focus on developing a confident attitude, one of determination and willpower to see tomorrow as a brand new day full of love and hope.
Organisations in which leaders continuously fail to uphold a united front through demonstrated action and by this I mean stand united in their decision making processes as opposed to voicing their personal biases, will struggle to gain their employees trust.
What does bring strong employee engagement (buy-in) is demonstrated alignment amongst the leadership team through one united voice and consistent language, instead of leadership teams continuously putting each other on the chopping block (dog eat dog mentality).
This kind of approach lacks credibility and influence to bring their employees on board their change initiatives which are supposedly there to better service the customers and the business holistically.
What leaders amid organisations need to realise is that they are representing a company and the company’s ethos and therefore leaders need to park their egos aside and focus on the bigger picture which does not concern their individual biases, especially if they are not in alignment with the company values.