I was talking to a mentor of mine this morning and he said something very interesting. He said “What I’m hearing is the word ‘position’ and if you’re trying to position yourself, then you are all up in your head trying to figure it all out.” Well, that’s the translation. He is Scottish and what it sounded like was “What um hairin’ is the waird possession.? and if yair tryin ta possession yairself, yair ull up in yair haid.” I LOVE his accent, but if I try to write in Scottish brogue, none of us will know what the heck is going on. He went on to say, “I want to give a different word. Instead of position, I want you to think of the word create.”
My first reaction was umm, ok. But, as I took a moment, I knew exactly what he meant. For over 2 years, I have been trying to get myself in the right position for this business. I’ve done tons of training, years of preparation and research and lots of experimentation to get everything right. It is very similar to when I got my doctorate in psychology in 2000. People are awarded doctorates because they have spent years in intense study in their field, and I am no exception to that. 4 years in undergraduate work, 2 years for a Master’s degree and 4 more years for the doctorate.
And you know what? All that work gave me skills and authority to practice as a psychologist.
Yet, when I sat down across from my first paying client, I created something new. What I have done over the past twenty plus years, first as counselor, then as a psychologist is create new, healing relationships with every client I interact with. Each relationship is different. Each person needs something unique from our time together. Sure, there can be common themes and patterns, but the core of what the person needs in the relationship is unique to them.
In the same way, leading is about creating, not positioning. Leaders (myself included) spend so much time trying to figure out what the “right way” to lead is, much as parents are often too focused on the “right” way to parent. Yet the core of leading is seeing where we are trying to go and figuring out how to get there with our team. We are moving toward something new and desirable. Really, what we need to do is learn the relational skills to create something new.
And that, my reader, is something I can help you with.