A critical and intentionally discreet part of my business is coaching C-Suite women and men; high level folks who have made a splash in the workplace as an executive or part of a successfully run business. It’s fun on many levels. Fun, because I am awed by their trust, humbled by what they share and learn from them every time we chat.
As a keynote speaker, I deliver powerful presentations that are customized for each event. However, comparing entry level to high level folks I’m surprised how much we have in common. If you strip away money and title we’re left with individuals that, by name, are regular everyday folks. With every individual, I spoke with and listened to, I grew to understand more about myself. Each leader had a specific trait that, when boiled down, showed me a common denominator that was nurtured for years. I had done something similar.
“Believing in themselves – believing in something bigger than themselves.”
Somewhere around aged 20-30, they individually developed a mindset that pushed them to heights they weren’t sure they’d reach. They did. They thought big, believed in themselves (although most have said that there have been “dark days” along the way) and fought to stay focused. I, could certainly relate to the dark days.
When you reach a high level in business there are fewer people you can vent with and share all types of items, including frustrations. It’s not shallow to say that these folks need to collaborate, brainstorm and get direction just like you and me. Their spouses, partners and significant others get an earful. A trusted friend may be allowed inside, but there remains an integral place where coaching, counseling and bouncing ideas takes place that is essential to their life, their work and the lives of their employees.
These “Whisper Sessions” are designed to be a safe place to share, spill, and get engaged, mad and overjoyed. I’m not a trained psychologist. I’m a guy with empathy, insight, and lots of experience. Plus, I’m told that I listen well.
This leads me to you. I wanted you to know that you’re not alone. That willful decision to place your feet on the floor every morning, put on a persona to match your day and leave the safety of your home ain’t always easy. C-Suite folks were once “new hires” and had a lot to prove. Belief, not being cocky, just strong enough to propel themselves forward, was a big difference maker. They were like you and I and continued to take chances-both calculated and spur of the moment as they were moved to or promoted.
Yes, we talk about life and life in leadership, but that’s not what I wanted to share with you. To that point, you matter, your ideas matter and the something “big” you’re looking for is you! We’re always wondering if we are good enough, deserving and ready. Yes, you are ready!
That is what I learned. That’s my #1 takeaway. That’s what these folks believe sustained, nurtured and eventually led them to where they are today.
As leaders, we need to make sure that this belief, this confidence is shared and directed to all of our team members. With it we’re stronger, more successful and usually happier. Without it, well, it opens the door for a lot of grief, job dissatisfaction and slower growth professionally and personally.
What is something big that you believe in? Who needs your assistance? What are you waiting for? We need you!