Leadership Lessons: Cultivating Gratitude for Improved Soft Skills

We’re so busy with the daily grind, juggling 10,000 balls at a time – terrified of dropping one – that we forget to take the time to pause. That’s right. It’s a little of this, a lot of that, and then whatever else and go, go go. All. The. Time.

How many of you take time to pause?

And actually stop doing whatever you’re doing long enough to exhale and applaud what you have achieved instead of fixating on everything that you have left to do? This goes beyond time management and prioritization. It hovers in and around a few different concepts that we’ll dig into here.

One: busy culture. Somewhere along the way, perhaps within the last three to five years or so, being “busy” became a badge of honor. Founders, particularly the Silicon Valley sect, pride themselves in punishing schedules of 20 hour days, no vacation days for over a year, no weekends off and other astonishing work behaviors that causes more than a raised eyebrow by anyone outside of the Valley. Europeans do more than raise an eyebrow at the mere mention of insane work weeks; they value time off and recognize the importance of recharging emotionally more than any other culture. We should eschew busy culture and manage our days – and weekends – so that we allow for some down time, some family time and some social time. Even if we have to schedule it.

Two: an inability to say no. Oh boy! Mea culpa here for sure … as a people pleaser, as a freelancer and consultant, of course you want to make your clients happy. And to keep them happy. That’s customer satisfaction 101, a no-brainer there. However, this becomes challenging when you have multiple clients who ebb and flow. Some even disappear for up to a year and the resurface with an urgent need to get something done by tomorrow. You don’t want to let them down, so you, of course, say “yes,” and then start dancing while you’re now juggling 10,001 balls in the air. The world renowned life coach, Tony Robbins, demands that those of who can’t say no begin to do so immediately because we’re not only compromising ourselves, we’re compromising the part that we said yes to.

Three: distracted again. With so much going on, we think that the only solution is to embrace multi-tasking. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’ll just knock out a few emails and purge my inbox while my friend or boss is babbling on. I need to put my time to good use.” It’s not fair to whomever is on the other end of your distraction. Here, mindfulness matters. Be in the moment, be fully present, concentrate, focus your efforts and do whatever you have to get done quickly. Then move on to the next item. Mindfulness can lead to ruthless efficiency and increased productivity when done right. Developing your soft skills in areas such as communication, time management, and emotional intelligence can also help you stay focused and productive in today’s fast-paced workplace.

Four: the stress is killing us. Studies show that we’re more stressed than ever, often self-medicating with wine (sound familiar?) or food to create the sense of controlled calm that we crave yet eludes us. Recent research shows that Americans aged 45-65 are more stressed out than ever and at least 20% more stressed than they were back in the 1990s. So are our teenagers: 40-60% of 26,000 college students surveyed said that they had at least one anxiety attack in the past year. Fundamentally, we know that we need to chill out – but we’re not.

Five: not grateful enough. Renowned coaches like Chester Elton, co-author of a new best-seller, “Leading With Gratitude” highlights the importance of waking with a thought of thanks. Doing so queues up our day for a positive set of experiences. When leaders practice gratitude, their teams deliver greater productivity, leadership, and companies enjoy higher morale and revenues. Win-win!

So, with all of the above, where are we going with this rambling article? My point is that we get so caught up our To Do action items, mental checklists, strategic vision and drive to advance, that we forget that we need to pause. Even if it’s just for a moment to collect our thoughts and embrace life. 

Breathe it in – hold onto that moment as long as you can. Take it all in. Absorb it for all that it’s worth before you skip ahead into the next thing and forge to acknowledge a special moment that you all but missed.

And that’s what we’re doing here. STEERus has a long way to go to be sure, but we’ve also come a long way. Last week, we launched v.1.0 of our pilot on our new Navigator platform. Our team has grown – and shrunk – but together, we’ve created something magical. And we’re just getting started.

Thank you to everyone who has supported us on this journey so far. We are grateful. And proud to be part of something bigger than ourselves – something with a grand vision that aims to coach the world. 

But we’re here now. Today. At this moment. So we’ll park our grand vision for now and celebrate how far we’ve come! xoxo to everyone who’s been on our journey thus far!

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels

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