This gem of a quote says a lot about leading humans. It’s instructive. It’s patient. It’s fundamental. It might be the best cultural statement never used.
“Once we believe in ourselves…” What a powerful place to start a meeting. What a wonderful place to begin quarterly planning. Or a difficult decision process.
The power to reveal the human spirit comes because we are curious and begin asking new questions outside the box.
Immediately we set the table for an interesting conversation where we might learn about ourselves and about the other. With this new information, we can make discoveries and decisions based on new information that can move our teams and companies toward their goals.
When I ask myself this question, as to whether I believe in myself, I gain a feeling of grounding. I’m located. And when I find that I do in fact believe in myself, I feel settled and clear. My breath lengthens and my shoulders relax. I engage with the world around me with a keen sense of interest, of wonder. I can risk being curious.
And if I check in with myself and notice that I don’t believe in myself, then I have the opportunity to investigate why. I remember someone asking me, “If you don’t trust in yourself, then who can you trust?” That’s a dangerous spot to find ourselves.
Do you believe in yourself? If we are going to have any conversations about authentic or transformational leadership, then let’s start with the basics. Be absolutely honest about our current level of self-belief. We all run up and down the spectrum of belief. Some moments we have it, other times we don’t.
If I fake it and act falsely, others will smell it. That smell comes through our words, our tone, our body language. Overcompensation to make up for a lack of belief is unnerving.
A lack of self-belief is accompanied by anxiety. Anxiety is a physical response to perceived threat. We perceive something bad will happen in the future. When we are anxious, neuroscience shows, we lose our ability to think innovatively. Flow expert Steven Kotler says we can’t make the big leaps between ideas that allow for out of the box thinking. We listen through a limited filter that’s simply attempting to mitigate threat.