Leadership Tool: Success Notebook

“Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become a person of value.” - Albert Einstein

Recently I was working with a leader who was starting to suffer burnout from too much consistent stress, pressure, and activity. He’s an executive in the healthcare industry, and that area has been pummeled with dynamic new changes, demands, and needs over the past several years. After some conversation, we discovered that one of the factors contributing to his stress was that he and his teams were not achieving the vision they had set out for themselves. Not only were they seemingly not getting closer, but he himself was starting to lose faith in what that future would be. He typically is quite a visionary in his field, and for him to lose his sense of what ‘could be’ made things bleak for him. He didn’t know if he could trust his aspirations because they weren’t manifesting themselves in the way he envisioned. Setting certain expectations and then not hitting them created a loss of faith in his greater vision. This loss of faith deteriorated his motivation and was starting to affect his energy. Needless to say, his loss of faith and energy also had an impact on what his team deemed possible.

These despondent moments are a common pattern among Guru Archetypal Blueprint™ types. People running this pattern are used to having ideas flow, being inspired, and seeing possibilities & future visions. When they run into some of the realities of creating results, those ‘devil in the details’ mundane actions or undesired results, they can get discouraged. It is important in these moments to step out of the expectation cycle and start gathering different data, feedback, and evidence so energy can be redirected. These moments are perfect times for a leader to innovate and refresh his or her personal definition of success.

One of the things I did with my client to help him refresh his sense of accomplishment was to have him start a Success Notebook. The purpose of the notebook is to create a record of acknowledgements, affirmations, validations, good luck, and blessings. Every day, he was to take 5 minutes to pause and think of what he could write down in this journal. This act of recording different evidence of success was important because his perceptions were getting limited. He wasn’t paying attention, and by discounting important information, he was losing steam. Once he had the notebook assignment, and knew I was going to be asking about it in our next session, different things start coming to his attention. Someone gave him a compliment on his presentation, he got an email from a former employee telling him of his new job and how he had to give him credit for helping him with his career. One of the C-suite leaders asked to grab a coffee together, and a peer wanted to meet and pick his brain about a new project he was working on.

After two weeks of keeping the notebook, he noticed that every day he was of value to someone. In fact, he discovered that he had more influence than he thought and was a creative force for others. Every day he was making some contribution to the greater results the company was producing. If he hadn’t stopped to literally search for a different perspective, his pending burnout may have had more serious consequences. More importantly, he started to get his visionary mojo back. That not only inspired him, but his team as well.

So I invite you, if you find yourself struggling with feeling achievements, try the Success Notebook for a few weeks. And please, let me know what you discover.