It’s no secret that today’s most successful and productive women reach their goals by intentionally charting a path for themselves. As every woman is different, and as all life trajectories vary, it’s no wonder that these women craft their own unique road to success. However, what may not be known to many is that these flourishing women share very similar strategies in obtaining their desired goals. These strategies have been summarized by Joanna Barsh and Suzie Cranston (How Remarkable Women Lead) as having five critical elements: Meaning, Managing Energy, Positive Framing, Connecting, and Engaging.
Meaning: In essence, meaning means motivation and passion. What ignites us? What makes us want to get out of bed in the morning? According to positive psychologists, meaning is one of the key ingredients to happiness. What’s more, research has also determined that meaning has been linked to greater job satisfaction, lower turn-around, greater productivity and efficiency at work and home, and general overall wellbeing.
Managing Energy: Since 92% of women generally leave work to start their “second shift”—as mentioned by Barsh and Cranston—it’s no wonder that they find it difficult to establish a work/life balance. To counter this, Barsh and Cranston recommend re-evaluating your life to hone in on your priorities and values. These should guide your activities and the way you spend your energy. However, according to flow expert and positive psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, when people hone in on work that allows them to lose track of time, they also inadvertently rejuvenate themselves! For this to happen, however, you need to be conscious of the activities that allow you to get into the ultimate state of flow. It’s therefore critical that you make time every day to take a step back and reflect on these potential activities, as well as to be mindful of what activities relax and rejuvenate you. Shutting off technology and getting rid of other distracting white noise are also recommended.
Positive Framing: This is the professional outlook you adopt in your day-to-day work life. Although it helps to be an optimist, what is essential in positive framing is the ability to compartmentalize events and look at them objectively, with the goal of wanting to better the situation. For this to happen, you need to depersonalize and address the facts. Focus on solving problems productively and setting down a concrete plan and taking action. Once again, the key is self-awareness and a certain amount of emotional detachment.
Connecting: It’s no secret that many women shy away from networking; they fear being labelled as being self-interested, pushy, and inauthentic. Since it’s important to be surrounded by reliable mentors and sponsors, however, it’s imperative that women get in the game! According to Barsh and Cranston, men tend to have healthy and robust networks. Women, on the other hand, tend to seek out more meaningful and intimate networks. They see networking as extremely time consuming—especially given their other responsibilities (as mentioned above)—and always seem to put it on the back-burner. As a result, their networks are narrower than men’s, which disadvantages them. To counter this, Barsh and Cranston recommend making networking more interest-focused and finding common ground that does not necessarily relate to work. Time to think outside the box on this one!
Engaging: Last, but certainly not least, engaging is taking ownership of your passion and acting on it! It’s taking those first steps and having your voice heard! Of course, this is not easy and may be the scariest part of all! After all, this is where risk-taking comes in, as well as stepping outside your comfort zone! But, like anything else, when you get into the habit of pushing the limits a little bit at a time, the better you will become at embracing change and opportunities. As a result, your confidence and skills will grow and opportunities will present themselves!
So, there you have it! The five critical elements of centered leadership. Are you presently actively engaging in centered leadership? Is there one element that is stronger than another? What areas do you need to work on to fully engage in centered leadership? I would love to hear from you! Please feel free to share a comment below in the reply box!
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