Sometimes the greatest restrictions we face are the limitations we put on ourselves, often without us being consciously aware of them.
Examples of this were very apparent last week in my first face-to-face Fearless Leadership® workshop (socially distanced of course) since the week before lockdown. The focus of the day was Creating Our New Normal, and the leadership team was exploring the culture they wanted, and how they would run the company in a post COVID-19 world.
Here’s a few examples of self-imposed limitations that might resonate with you too. The belief that…
- … work is to be prioritized first leads to guilt about school drop offs/pick-ups, regardless of work outcomes and flexible working arrangements in place.
- … email needs to be attended to quickly means that valuable deep work is interrupted for the empty calories of email response.
- … customer service can only be delivered from the office has impacted work design and people’s ability to work flexibly.
- … international clients need to frequently see us in person has resulted in large travel budgets, high stress and hours of lost time.
- … I can’t take timeout during the workday for exercise or meditation leads to reduced afternoon effectiveness in the short-term, and burnout in the long term.
No committee sat down and worked out these ‘rules’. The CEO did not issue an edict about email. Clients had never overtly described the type of interaction they wanted with the company. Until COVID-19, there have been no conversations about alternative delivery models for customer service. And yet these beliefs were lived as rules – just as constraining as any documented and enforced company policy.
The most dangerous things about beliefs is that we often don’t even know they are there. They lurk unnoticed below our conscious attention, all the while driving our behaviour and sapping our energy.
As we shape our new normal, it’s time to identify the beliefs we are holding that don’t serve us and banish the dangerous limitations we put on ourselves and our people.
What belief could you let go of today?