I was promoted to manage my first medical imaging clinic in my early 20’s and it didn’t take me long to realise that being a leader was about more than just being handed a title and a set of keys.
In fact, I spent my first three years DROWNING in that role. I was just waiting for the day that someone would tap me on the shoulder and tell me that I actually had NO IDEA what I was doing… and then one day it actually happened!
Let me give you some insight in to my leadership approach at the time.
In my first year in management I knew that I needed some help, so I went off to do some further study and obtain a tertiary qualification in Leadership and Management. On the first day that I walked in to the training room, this was up on the Power Point display.
'MY JOB WOULD BE SO MUCH EASIER IF "______________" DIDN’T EXIST'
Well… how stoked was I?! I very quickly popped a couple of names in to that space and I was feeling like I’d found my place. These people really understood me and I wasn’t alone!
There was a problem though...
While it was great to know that I wasn’t the only one feeling this way, this message further reinforced the one line of thinking that I needed to change in order to really make it as a leader - that the problem was external to myself.
I obtained my qualification and trotted proudly back in to the clinics ready to use my new skills and knowledge to really wow the place.
And then... NOTHING CHANGED.
I felt like I was in prison. I felt like I was just bashing my head against a brick wall and that there was no way out. This feeling was further reinforced by the fact that I was able to have just one phone call with the facilitator of that program.
That phone call went a little like this…
F – “Tamsin! How are things going?!”
I knew that this was my one opportunity to reach out so, on the verge of tears, I responded.
T – “Terribly. How am I ever meant to gain the respect of these people and motivate and inspire my team when some of these people have been in the industry for longer than I’ve been alive?!”
Are you ready to be blown away by his response??
F – “ You’re young… It’ll just take time…”
As you could imagine this left me feeling pretty deflated. My only way out was to get older… yet as I got older, so did everyone else. As I got more experienced, so did everyone else. Not to mention the pain, burnout and heartache that I was suffering in the meantime.
I was at a cross road. Either I needed to leave and realise that I ‘just wasn’t cut out for management’ (which someone so kindly told me once!) OR I needed to find out what it really took to thrive in an environment in which I was barely surviving.
Thankfully I chose the latter and so began my journey in Performance Psychology and Human Behaviour.
Within twelve months I went from drowning managing one medical imaging clinic to thriving managing a group of eight clinics and around 150 staff from across the state.
Here are three key insights in to how I learnt to THRIVE, not just SURVIVE, in leadership and life.
1. The 100/0 Principle
There’s a great book called the 100/0 principle by Al Ritter. In his book, Al Ritter says that we need to be taking 100% responsibility for absolutely everything that happens in our lives.
That can be difficult to wrap your head around, right? Because not everything’s your fault?!
But what if it was?
The wonderful thing that happened when I began to take 100% responsibility is that I kept 100% of the power. I was in control. No more wishing and hoping that external things would be different, no more pushing and frustration waiting for others to pull their heads in and change. It became about what I could do to make things better.
It’s a seemingly small shift, but a powerful one.
2. Confidence and the dreaded imposter syndrome
Now this could be a book in itself!
I (along with many of my clients, from CEO’s and business owners to emerging leaders) was thinking that confidence was a personality trait. Something that others had but I simply wasn’t blessed with.
I now know that a lack of confidence is simply a symptom of a much bigger picture. A picture that begins within and runs deep. I also now know that it is very much changeable and within our control.
In fact, in a recent workshop that I ran with a group of women in leadership and business, 100% of the participants cited a lack of confidence as the reason they weren’t achieving their goals. At the end of that workshop every participant indicated that confidence was no longer an issue for them. They knew they had the power and ability to power on toward their full potential (if you'd like to know more about how to get in on this, click here).
These are the key areas we covered to demolish the confidence blockers:
COURAGE vs Confidence
Language (internal dialogue and external)
Resistance to change - fear of the unknown
"Stuff" you're filling your brain with
The people you surround yourself with
Health and Nutrition
The wheel of 12 contributing factors to a healthy state of mind
Clarity of direction
Limiting stories and beliefs
It could be one of these, or the whole list! But what’s not on there is ‘it’s in your DNA’. It can be changed!
3. Achievement vs Alignment
Many driven, smart and talented individuals get stuck in the trap of achievement rather than alignment. That is, they know that they’re capable of more and they’re addicted to the feeling of ‘climbing the ladder’, but they forget to check in with whether they actually have their ladder propped against the right wall!
Gaining clarity about what matters to you, what you value, what lights you up and what you really want to achieve is key to being able to live in alignment rather than simply pushing for achievement.
Once you gain this clarity it becomes easier to know when to say yes and, more importantly, when to say NO!
This really is the path to a meaningful and fulfilling life.
If you’re ready to enhance your leadership and increase your impact with clarity and confidence, I have just launched my 2019 membership program for Women in Leadership and Business. This is an intimate and exclusive group of just 10 women and will run in Adelaide and Hills, the Barossa Valley and Riverland.
Get in quick to secure your spot!