The Case for Something New

I’m fresh off of vacation right now, which is not something I’ve historically done well. While I’ve always loved working, it can be too easy to find my identity there and to struggle with separating who I am with what I do. 

There are lots of reasons vacations can be hard for leaders. What makes them good at their work roles are often the same things that make it difficult for them to slow down.

Fear of stopping or getting behind.

Fear of not accomplishing something.

Fear of separating from an identity they think defines them.

We know that these don’t just affect vacation. These very things are getting in the way of growth. And there’s something else. 

Leaders can have a harder time doing new things. 

Leaders are often perfectionists and high-achievers. One of the stats we discuss in our group coaching is that high-achievers, while successful at pushing through tasks and roles they know well, aren’t as inclined to step out into new territory for fear of failure or short term gain.

Grinding through the same tasks and goals over and over again is one of the reasons so many leaders are currently disengaged and on the edge of burnout.

We’re failing to recover, retool and re-engage. 

When was the last time you did something new?

There was a period of my life where I sat on the sidelines, watching other people do new things. I let perfectionism and fear of a wrong decision or not achieving something get in the way of learning or veering outside my comfort zone. I hear leaders in our communities struggling with that very thing every day.

They feel stuck in a rut, and they’re not sure how to get out. And trying something new? Not even on the radar, because the cyclical nature of being stuck doesn’t have capacity for that.

So what can you do? 

I was recently inspired by the quote by Mary Schmich: Do one thing every day that scares you. (See last week’s blog post for how that went for me.)

And let’s face it, doing a cold plunge is easier when it’s 86 degrees. But it would also be easy to sit by the pool, while deep down wishing I could climb the stairs to see the view from the top of the cliff, or learn about birds, get on a horse again, or snorkel with the jellyfish.

Whatever living means to you, I know you’ll want to have done it. Whatever leading is to you right now, I know you want to do it well.

We first have to get unstuck. 

To get momentum, make this a practice with the following steps:

  1. Set the intention in your daily morning routine: Ask: what can I try that is new for me today? Don’t start big or overthink it. 
  2. Share it with a trusted peer or family member. Make it real and accountable.
  3. Calendar it. Your calendar is proof of what matters to you.  
  4. Celebrate it. Track these. Write them down. Tell someone! Over time you build evidence for the person you want to be.

My daughter turned 10 last week – double digits! To symbolize this new beginning, we bought a painting of a robin from an antique market.

This is exactly where most of us are right now – right in the middle of a new beginning.

What will you do about it? It’s time to re-engage with yourself. 

Need someone to walk this out with? This is my favorite subject and I know what it’s like to navigate the ups and downs. Book a call with me to connect.