This week I have been attending the SXSW conference, which is annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, music festivals and conferences in Austin, Texas. Basically it is a ton of incredible speakers and programs to inspire, inform and entertain. I have learned so much and I’ll do a summary of it all in my coaches corner this weekend, but today I wanted to share something with you that really resonated with me.
Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Obama, was interviewed and asked about President Trump as well as some other candidates who may be throwing their hat in the ring for the next election. It felt like the interviewer and the audience wanted her to start speaking poorly about the current President or potential candidates.
But she did not. She handled the question with so much grace.
Here’s how she answered (I’m paraphrasing): We all need to clarify what makes a good leader. One of the characteristics of a good leader is they do not bash their opponents. It is easy to talk poorly or gossip about someone else. It is more difficult to clearly communicate what you are going to do, explain how you are going to do it, and enroll people in that vision. Anyone can talk about someone else, good leaders talk about and to the people they are leading.
I LOVE THIS. For a few reasons . . .
First, it’s a great reminder of how disempowering gossip is. Talking poorly about others is a waste and downgrade of our energy. Second, it is a great lesson on leadership. To be leaders with integrity, we must have clarity about our vision and not get distracted by anyone else. Finally, leadership is not about comparison, competition, or trying to be the “best”. It is about integrity, vision, and commitment.
You are the leader of your life. Are you clearly looking at your path and what you can change or are you pointing the finger at others waiting for them to change? Are you focusing on what you can do or are you comparing yourself to others?
I also encourage you to examine the leaders you follow. Are they gossiping? Bringing down others as a way to lift their own platform? Talking more about what another person is doing wrong than how they are going to create improvement?
Good leaders are way too busy coming up with ideas and taking action to create positive change to engage in gossip or comparison.
Be a better leader to yourself by doing the same in your daily life. Stop gossiping. Stop comparing. Stop competing (well unless it’s on game night, I freaking love game night and I slay it!!).
We all can be better by focusing on what we can do even better.
p.s. In this week’s podcast episode I coach Melissa on how to amp up her self-worth as she is going through a divorce. It is a powerful episode with lots of take-away’s on how to bring healing to unhealthy patterns in relationships. Go here to listen.
p.p.s. Want to join me for an epic retreat in Hawaii??? Enrollment is now open to women and men. Details here.