With help and coaching from my wonderful wife, for the past 6 months or so I have been working on being a “respectful leader”.   This is one of the daily affirmantions I have been repeting in my “5 minute journal” (highly recommend this, Ruowen blogged about it and the link is: http://www.intelligentchange.com.  I write it down each morning and then go about my day hoping to keep this top of mind.

This focus resonates with me because while I feel like a leader inside, I don’t think I often act like one.  At least not in a way that really inspires those I interact with on a consistent basis.    Sure, I have my ‘good days’ but often, I allow external challenges (or at least what I am perceiving to be challenges), to get me agrivated, frustrated and of course this is not the right mindset for leadership.    It might be traffic, technology not working as I expect it to, or many other things that I allow to annoy me.  The by-product of processing the world around me in this way is an “edgy” and “reactive” response pattern.  I.e. Not inspiring people with my reactive or aggressive words and thus not being a respectful leader.

The 5 minute journal and my daily morning walks listening to great podcasts have been a great help.  In a way the walks, which include a park and thus some nature, have been like a form or morning meditation.   In my 5 minute journal under “daily affirmations, I am….” I write:

“a respectful leader!  I pause before responding”.

When I think of ‘pausing’ before responding, it reminds me of a great book, The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey.   I read it quite a while ago however I do remember a key take away was learning to ‘pause’ before responding (he called it the space between stimulus and response to pause and respond based on your values and principles).   Reactive responses are my downfall.  The times I think or pause for even for a second before responding, can make a huge, positive difference.  I am a leader, and when I am responding in a non reactive and thoughtful way, I believe I’m a respectful one.

Yoga Man!  I have thought about Yoga for years but have been too lazy to start.   My wife bought me a groupon perhaps 2 years ago and I never got around to just starting.    I guess that is what New Year resolutions are good for.  I noticed all it took was the motivation of a goal and just “googling the schedule”.  Simply taking that small step to ‘get the schedule’ led to starting.   Well, it has only been 5 days and 4 Bikram hot yogas later, but in that time I have found a couple words have been coming to mind regularly and it has been helping!

I don’t think this was a concious effort but when those typical stressful or frustrating situations have come up over the past few days, I have this internal self talk that says “I am a Yoga Man now”.  Sounds corny so I haven’t told anyone but my wife about it, but I have this vision of those who do Yoga as being super calm and relaxed.  When you start to think of yourself with an “identity” (ie. respectful, relaxed, yoga man…. or whatever goal you may be working towards), this seems to be when a shift really starts to happen.  And if you are like me and reducing type A, edgy reactive responses could help you, consider all or any of the above.   For me the addition of the hot yoga has helped a lot because exercising and sweating like crazy really calms the mind.  That said, what helped evern more is how it naturally led to me creating a sort of identity for me in those situations that could be annoying (again, how I perceived them).  When this ‘yoga man’ pops into my head and I seem to process things differently; more positively.

Anyway, the journal, the walks, and in the past week, this new hot yoga have helped get me closer to being a ‘respectful leader’.  Thought I would share this with you.