The life-changing magic of gratitude and GONE
CEOs aren’t superheroes
I read an interesting column the other day and the writer made the case that CEOs aren’t superheroes!
The case she was making came from a piece of research which identified that in many organisations, if the CEO left, it would have no material impact on the organisation.
It begged the question: if CEOs aren’t superheroes, what are they?
I want to share a few thoughts on this. If you’re a CEO I hope this resonates with you and that it’s helpful.
The notion that the CEO has to have all the answers is a very dangerous notion.
I think what a CEO has to do early on is position themselves as a questioner more than an answerer!
His role is to question the organisation about its vision and direction, to question the team about their competence, commitment and accountability and to hold the organisation accountable.
This doesn’t mean that he has to have all the answers.
All it means is that he has to be in a position where he asks lots of questions. Most CEOs think that they’re supposed to have all the answers, and in fact most of their compensation is based on this notion!
Really think about this. Should you be asking more questions?
Eisenhower’s 3 skills
Anybody that has watched any of my clips or anybody who knows me will know how much I believe in what I’m going to tell you next.
I was reading Philip Humbert’s blog on the weekend and he was talking about Eisenhower, the American president, and how he was only a B student or even a C student in the military academy.
Even though he was only an average student, he was a very successful president and a very successful man.
He attributed it to three things that I believe in to my toenails:
1. Hard work. He got up early and finished late.
2. He had the ability to identify what actually mattered and he focused on those things.
3. He surrounded himself with the very best people he could find and he trusted them.
I think that these are things that we could all work on, particularly the second point. It can be difficult to establish our priority at times, but to become truly successful, this is a skill we must master.
So, practice working hard and smart while trusting the capabilities of the talented people around you.
I have practised the principle of gratitude for a long time.
It’s a simple principle where you acknowledge all the things you have in your life.
It’s where you say ‘I’m grateful for my health, I’m grateful for my children, I’m grateful for the roof over my head’ or whatever it happens to be.
By acknowledging these small things it gives you a sense of perspective in life, as opposed to always thinking about the things you don’t have.
I have been reading Tim Ferriss’ book ‘Tools of Titans’ over the last couple of days.
There are two things that he does that I’ve been practising. I’d like to share them with you.
The first is this idea of happiness. He suggests that as you pass by strangers, you wish them happiness in your own mind.
He says that this brings on a sense of wellbeing, and I’ve found this to be true – it really gives you a lift.
It’s interesting how the very act of wishing people well can have a powerful psychological impact on you.
The other tool that struck me in his book was this concept of ‘GONE’.
When I started meditating many years ago I used to just practise the pause, and I still do it today.
A couple of times a day I pause, let everything go and I start again.
The idea is to close down what you’re doing, put it aside and come into the present moment. One of the ideas in it is this: what’s done is done.
Tim Ferriss’ concept of GONE is very similar. I’ve been practising this as well and it works.
Here’s how you do it. Anytime you finish something, remind yourself that it’s gone.
‘I’ve finished something and now it’s gone, it’s done’.
What it allows you to do is to close something down.
So I’ve started doing it right through my history. I’ve been looking back over mistakes I’ve made and I just say ‘it’s gone’.
This seems to allow you to let it go and move on back into the present moment.
These two tips of GONE and wishing people well seem to work for me. You might like to try them too.
What you resist persists
I want to talk to you about something that I find very interesting.
I was reading an article in The Irish Times on the weekend and Dermot Desmond was mentioned in it.
He quoted his mum, who always told him that ‘what we resist persists’.
He was talking in the context of a development he’s doing in the Caribbean where he’s trying to bring everybody on board – the local people on the island, the developers, the investors, etc.
It was playing on my mind and it reminded me of an incident that happened a few years ago and something that happened yesterday.
The incident that happened a few years ago was that I was overtaking a car at speed and in a dangerous place.
The car pulled up beside me and the driver asked me to roll down my window, which I did. The guy in the car said ‘good afternoon sir, may I ask you a question? Is it in you to acknowledge that what you did was dangerous?’
I was taken aback by the lack of confrontation.
So then yesterday a friend asked me to retrieve something that was stolen from him.
I went to the place where the stolen item was and, sure enough, the people there denied knowing anything about it.
After a while, some kids came in. I asked them if they had seen the item, to which one of them replied ‘yeah, there’s one in our yard, I’ll show you!’
The adults were embarrassed and asked me not to judge them. I assured them that I wasn’t, that somebody had stolen it and put it there without their knowledge.
I took it back and there was no confrontation.
There has been interesting learning in this for me about letting things go and not resisting, and I hope there has been something in it for you too.
CEOs are no superheroes, despite what people may think. They don’t know all the answers.
Instead, the best ask lots of questions about how they can continuously improve themselves, their leadership and their organisations.
I highly recommend practising gratitude in order to gain perspective on your life and all the blessings that you have.
The concept of ‘GONE’ is practised by reminding yourself that the past is done and over with. After all, as the saying goes, ‘what we resist persists’!
So, is there something that you need to let go of?
Have a great weekend.
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