Welcome to the Deploy Yourself Newsletter, where I share what impactful leadership looks like to show your own power. I also share the most insightful lessons and stories I encountered in the last two weeks. You can also read this issue online.
We all know the power of gratitude. But do you know the power of thanking yourself?
When researcher Erin Westgate returned to her office for the first time after lockdown, she opened her desk drawer to find a pleasant surprise: a Reese’s peanut butter cup.
“She texted me like, ‘Oh my gosh, my past self left my future self a Reese’s,’” recalled her colleague Matt Baldwin. “I was like, ‘Wait a second. You’re expressing gratitude towards something your past self had done. We have to study this.’”
Baldwin and his colleague Samantha Zaw asked people to write letters of gratitude. One group was asked to thank someone else, while another group thanked themselves. A third control group simply wrote about a positive experience.
After the exercise, the people who wrote letters of gratitude to themselves had an increase in feelings of clarity, authenticity and connectedness.
“Being appreciative of ourselves carries an added benefit of truly understanding who we are and feeling connected to ourselves,” said Zaw.
We all know the power of gratitude in increasing the energy and elevating the mood of a team. As a leader, it is a very simple and powerful practice to “just say thanks”; and yet many of us often forget or find it difficult to express gratitude to ourselves.
Take a moment to ask yourself – What can you thank yourself for right now? What is that about you that is worth acknowledging and celebrating?
Write yourself a small note of gratitude for the leader, the employee, the citizen, the parent, or the spouse that you are.
Research shows that embracing gratitude as a regular practice can actually make us happier.
Gratitude leads to happiness, authenticity, and satisfaction on a personal level and when practised with a team, it leads to courage, empathy, teamwork, and creativity.
If you are a leader in any capacity, what are you waiting for? What stops you from expressing gratitude towards yourself and others?
Can you start small and just express gratitude – right now – either to yourself or to someone else on your mind?
Reply back and share any new results or behaviours you noticed after expressing gratitude. I read and respond to every reply.
Articles and Stories Which Have Fascinated Me
Autonomy is absolutely critical for 21st-century work
Work hasn’t been “normal” for more than a few years now. Many leaders remain worried about employee productivity, while many employees have thrived with the increased autonomy of working remotely. They don’t want to give that up.
Autonomy is a key driver of human behavior, and research shows that even a little can go a long way.
Whatever you decide, know that increasing employee autonomy, even a little, is likely to increase their productivity.
Find an article titled “Autonomy is the absolute key to getting “the new world of work” right”
How I Taught the ‘Team from Hell’ to Trust Each Other
Many leaders, however, are ambivalent about teams. They fear overt and covert conflict, uneven participation, tunnel vision, lack of accountability and indifference to the interests of the organisation as a whole.
In this article, the author states the importance of team coaching to help a team learn how to work together better and faster than if they were to do it on their own.
It is very liberating to tell our life stories to a coach/leader, and while doing so, give our team members a sense of what we are all about. When listening to the life stories of others, we also come to realise that we are not alone in our confusion.
Many problems are universal and seeing that our team members struggle with similar issues can bring a great sense of relief and help us both accept and provide peer guidance. In addition, it creates hope that something can be done about whatever problem we are up against.
Returning to the “team from hell” I coached, the mood among the group had changed remarkably at the end of our session. They seemed more trusting and connected. Many admitted it was the first time they had had an open and honest conversation. There was a greater willingness to make commitments.
From an article on INSEAD Blog titled How I Taught the ‘Team from Hell’ to Trust Each Other
Courage book reviews, and Humble Inquiries on the podcast
I am sharing reviews and notes of my favourite leadership books on courage below. Enjoy and share what you learn.
- Brave by Margie Warrell
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz
- The Fearless Organization by Amy Edmonson
In addition, I have launched a new series called Humble Inquiries on the Choosing Leadership podcast. I will be co-hosting this series with Leslie Wireback, and the first episode on Change, Pressure and Uncertainty is just out. Listen to it, and watch out for more episodes in the coming weeks. If you want to know what humble inquiry is all about, listen to the intro episode here.
How Your Ego Controls Your Life (And How to Stop It)
Loch Kelly explains the role the ego plays in your life. Instead of thinking of the ego as one “person”, Kelly explains that it’s more like different pieces of you that react to situations in different ways.
Loch is an author and leader in meditation and psychotherapy. He talks about mindfulness, awareness, and being an observer of your behaviour, ego, and patterns. And it doesn’t need to be the driver of YOU.
From an interview on The Knowledge Project hosted by Shane Parrish
That’s it for now. If you have any questions or feedback, or just want to introduce yourself, hit reply. I read and respond to every reply. All the best,