E-Notes: On Taking Responsibility, Change and Possibility, and Resilience+

Leadership is taking responsibility…

If you’ve peeked at the Influences and Favorite Things page, you’ll notice that Brené Brown’s Unlocking Us and Dare to Lead podcasts were my #1 game changers for 2020-2021. She almost single-handedly narrated my weekly 7 hour commute (each way!) to Kansas and back from January to July 2021. I’d arrive at work each week with a treasure trove of ideas and insights to share with colleagues. When I wasn’t listening to her podcast episodes, I was listening to the audiobooks written by her guests. It was a fantastic experience and the only thing I miss about no longer commuting.

In this particular episode on Developing an Infinite Mindset, Brené interviewed Simon Sinek about his newest book, The Infinite Game. I haven’t read this book yet but I’m sure I will soon. I did enjoy his book Start with Why, and I’ve used that framework professionally for presentations on transfer student services and when leading a team in building a comprehensive assessment plan from the ground up.

In this episode, Brené asks, “What would you say to someone who doesn’t consider themselves a leader?” I loved Simon’s answer.

Every single one of us has the capacity to be the leader we wish we had. And the first criterion to be a leader is you have to want to be one. So if you want to be one, you are one. Now go practice, now go learn. I’ve never met anyone who’s a “great leader,” who’s an expert at leadership. We’re all students. Some more advanced, some less advanced. And you don’t have to be in a position of leadership to be a leader. Leadership is simply taking responsibility for the success of those around us. And so it has nothing to do with rank or seniority.

Simon Sinek, Dare to Lead podcast

You don’t have to be in charge of something or have direct reports to be a leader. You can lead from your current position by modeling reliability, empathy, integrity, and accountability to your coworkers. You can also practice leadership in any of your roles in life – at home as a spouse or parent, at work, school, church, sports, or elsewhere in your community. What are some ways that you will lead this week? Let me know in the comments below.

Change and Possibility

In The Knowledge Project episode, “Failing on Our Way to Mastery,” Seth Godin outlined these three pillars of change:

  1. The change you seek to make
  2. What possibility do you see
  3. How much emotional labor are you able and willing to expend to accomplish the thing you set out to do

When you explore the possibilities for the change you seek to make, do you have an idea and then hear a little voice in your head telling you why it won’t work or why you can’t do it? That’s “the resistance” and it tries to tell you to stay in your box, avoid change, don’t raise your hand. You have to work against it…every day…to create, to explore, to grow, and to ship great work into the world.

“The resistance” was introduced in The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (which is still on my list to read). In his excellent book, Linchpin, Seth Godin talks about “the Lizard brain” and “the resistance” in detail. Building upon Pressfield’s description Seth gave the following advice,

“Whichever way the wind of resistance is coming from, that’s the way to head. Directly into the resistance. And the closer you get to achieving the breakthrough your genius has in mind, the stronger the wind will blow and the harder the resistance will fight to stop you.”

Seth Godin, Linchpin

I am currently working through the Decision by Design course by Shane Parrish, host of The Knowledge Project podcast. As part of an exercise in the first lesson, I had to make a list of all of the decisions swirling around in my head. It was easy to write down things like “What should I cook for dinner tonight?” or “How can I fit yoga into my schedule?” Bigger decisions, like the changes Seth describes above, were much harder to put to paper. What are some of the decisions you’re pondering that wake up “the resistance” and make it push against your intentions and best efforts? What possibilities do you see for the changes you want to make in your life/office/the world?


Picture of a dirt trail going between tall redwood trees in northern California
Taken around mile 15 of my first 50k in the redwoods of Northern California.
Redwoods are one of my favorite reminders of resilience in the natural world. They’ve lived through so much in their lifetimes.
Photo Credit: Erin Shaw

Above Seth talked about the amount of emotional labor you are able to contribute to a change you want to make. Many people are struggling with the ability to keep going and to keep fighting for a better day in the future with such horrible things happening around us. Arianna Huffington looks to resilience to help us move forward.

Resilience is not, as so many of us thought in the early days of the pandemic, an end state we can reach. It’s a constant process of becoming. In the presence of endless uncertainty, apocalyptic weather events, political instability and new variants that upend the best-laid plans, Resilience+ is the on-demand quality we cannot do without – a constant process rather than a final destination. Not a marker to reach, but a mindset.

Arianna Huffington

In her December 22, 2021 On My Mind Newsletter, she announced Resilience+ (like Disney+) as her word of the year for 2022. She said, “Resilience+ is about refueling and replenishing so we can meet whatever challenges 2022 holds with less stress, more joy and endlessly renewable stores of resilience.”

How are you renewing and replenishing your stores of resilience? What are some ways you are taking time for yourself? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Be sure to check out the latest on The Repository. The newest items are always at the top. Do you have feedback about the blog in general? Get in touch!

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