When it comes to success in business, we often focus on the external things that we feel will lead us there. There are things like strategy, budgets, tactics, goals, an emphasis on service, etc. that can take the business in the right direction. And while all of these things are necessary for accomplishing a great deal of work and may even lead to financial success, it’s a wonder that we still find ourselves not quite as happy as we would have liked.
And there is a very good reason that we find ourselves unfulfilled despite our material success: Leaders often ignore the key relationships that they need for true success; the relationship to the self, to time, to money, to friendship and to the unknown.
How leaders relate to these five dynamics of life drives their intention and motivation, and thus the outcome of their actions.
Our identities, time, money, friendship, and the unknown can be related to from either trust or fear. And for the most part, we often don’t realize how we are relating to each of them.
So what is it that makes it so difficult to see how we are relating? Let’s use a glass of water as an example.
I can give you a glass of water because I know you’re thirsty and you like water and it’s hot outside.
I can give it to you because I care about you.
I can also give you a glass of water because I know you need it and if I give it to you, you will owe me one.
I can give it to you to manipulate you later.
And I can give you a glass of water out of fear. Maybe you’ve been abusing me, and I give it to you because I want you to leave me alone.
Or maybe, I don’t really like you and I know you’d rather have something else to drink, like tea or coffee.
The actions all look the same; I’m giving you a glass of water, but the intention behind each action is very different. And so the outcome will be as well.
When leaders take a close look at how they are relating to the five key relationships, they become aware of the many ways they are create their own suffering and how their intentions become more about controlling from fear.
For example, when relating from fear with the self, we may believe that we are a person who is supposed to achieve a great deal of success and make a lot of money. Therefore, there may be no rest or concern for other areas of our lives. As well, we may relate to time from fear by believing that we never have enough. Therefore, we may often feel stressed and impatient with life and the people in it. We may also, despite our earning of a great deal of wealth, now find ourselves relating to money from fear and being overly concerned with losing it all. Friendships based on fear become grounded in our need to gain approval and have it all together to keep up appearances. And lastly, a relationship to the unknown that comes from fear, drives leaders to stay where they’ve always been and kills any form of innovation and creativity.
So, how are you relating to these five key relationships? From fear or from trust?
The Leadership Weekly
Weekly wisdom from the DS Leadership Life team.