If there was one thing that I most want people to understand, right down in their bones, it’s that they will get through tough, difficult and challenging situations.
Sometimes, the noise of self-doubt in people’s heads is so loud that it can drown out everything else; including their sense of perspective (how difficult, really, is this thing?), and their memory of just how resourceful they’ve been in the past, and can be again now.
At those times I can see the noise of self-doubt as a little flicker behind their eyes, or a sag of their shoulders, a drop in their chin, or a reduction in their spirit.
At other times, people don’t realise how loud the self-doubt noise is. Instead of hearing it for what it is, they’re compelled by it to fight their way out or to sprint away. For those people, it’s not a loss of spirit, but a loss of reasoning and balance that the noise of self-doubt can lead to. I notice this if I find myself asking why they approached something in a strange, irrational or sub-optimal way.
As a leader or a coach, it can sometimes take you a while to grasp just how important it is to tell people really, really simple things like:
“You’ll be fine,” “I know you’ve got this,” “You’ve come through before, you can do it now.”
Saying this in the right way literally can make all the difference to someone.
It has to be said in a way that has significance:
- First, you have to mean it; you have to ‘see’ just how resourceful and capable people are. And if you can’t see how amazing any one person is, then you’re not looking (or leading or coaching) properly.
- Second, you have to believe it about yourself too. Perhaps this is the hardest part, because the right to tell others that they’ll be fine has to be earned by doing your own development work; properly hearing your own self-doubts for what they are and not being ruled or directed by them.
If you can do that, if you can say to others in their difficult moments, “You’ll be fine,” and say it with significance and meaning and self-belief, it’s a fantastic gift to both of you. You can help silence the noise of the self-doubt and help return someone to their full power. That’s proper leadership.
Let me know if you’ve noticed any of this too please – or what you’re discovering about how important it is to remind others of their brilliance?.
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