The Distorted Lens

It was almost the same day.

Three separate conversations.

Three inspiring people.

One common theme: the distorted lens.

The distorted lens is similar to the Hubble’s Mirror Problem that resulted in distorted and out of focus images, but in this case the distorted and out of focus images were how each of these people viewed themselves.

The distorted lens is subtle, because you can still see yourself. Like Hubble’s problem, the flaw is so slight and happens so early that it may go unnoticed. Unnoticed until someone else looks through the distorted lens. Images that were supposed to be accurate and clear are blurry and fuzzy. That is when we find the problem.

The distorted lens convinced one of these people that they were incompetent, instead of realizing that their prior job was just the wrong behavioral fit.

The distorted lens continually interferes with another’s ability to see themselves as inspiring to others despite their accomplishments and people gravitating towards them to be coached/trained.

The distorted lens downplays the impact that the third person is having on others in their workplace, and caused real surprise that they were voted MVP amongst their peers for the positive influence they have on others, both personally and professionally.

All three of these conversations illustrate how the distorted lens interferes with our ability to view the impact we have on others, and how others view us.

The distorted lens is flawed for a host of reasons, one of which is our own fears, insecurities, Our Narrator, and baggage. The distorted lens tries for force us to view today through our past failures, struggles, and pain as if those events disqualified us, instead of making us who we are today.

The bad news: the more I work with amazing and talented people, the more I realize the distorted lens is pretty universal.

The good news: like an optometrist who can measure your eye’s distortion and prescribe corrective lenses, we have a few tools to measure the distorted lens of your own self-view.

Measuring your “Sense of Self” is the first step. We can see if the distorted lens is slightly off, or requires more assistance. Since you have been viewing your life through the distorted lens for so long, you may not even notice how blurry and out of focus life has become.

If you need help with the distorted lens, reach out and contact us. We are happy to help fit you for some “corrective lenses” or at least help you understand the level of distortion.

If nothing else, remember that the distorted lens is out there, and the next time you are tempted to view yourself in a negative light, or discount your achievements, pause for a moment and ask yourself,

“What if my view is through the distorted lens?”

The Leadership Crockpot

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(Images courtesy of Family Fresh Meals)

“Leadership is a lot like cooking in a crockpot.”

“What do you mean?”

“You put all these little things together, but it takes time for them to connect and combine. Eventually you have something.”

The Leadership Recipe is not a quick stir fry.

You don’t become a great leader by reading one book.

You don’t become a great leader by applying one principle.

You don’t become a great leader by learning a little about yourself.

You don’t become a great leader because you own a business.

You don’t become a great leader when you have people to supervise.

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Leadership is a long slow process.

Becoming a great leader is the result of many individual items, when combined over time creates something new.

Below is a partial Leadership ingredient list:

  1. Continual reflection on your style: when does it work, and when does it need to be modified.
  2. BPTT even when, or especially when you are busy.
  3. Overcoming Fear and overcoming Fear.
  4. Combating your Narrator.
  5. Understanding differences between people.
  6. Daily discipline.

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As these items simmer, you add a few more.

Eventually you have something.

But unlike soup, the Leadership Recipe continually requires additional ingredients.

A dash of understanding.

A pinch of flexibility.

A little spice – to make it interesting.

A healthy few cups of feedback.

Do you want to be a great leader?

Be prepared for a lifetime in the Leadership Crockpot.

P.S. Leave a comment on the key ingredients in your Leadership Crockpot.

Cross-Examine the Narrator

That Narrator.

That voice.

The one who cuts you down.

The one who seems to have a job description to regularly review your faults and past failures and bring a case against you.

We can try to silence the Narrator, but simply recognizing and trying to ignore that voice is not always enough.

During a coaching session we talked about the Narrator, and how often it reminds us of faults or short-comings. And, how when we silence that voice in one area or approach, the Narrator seems to find another angle, another strategy, another way to try to disrupt us.

But there is another way.

Cross-Examine the Narrator.

Instead of just taking in these words, these accusations, maybe it is time for us to examine the evidence, and take issue with these old approaches and rehashing of past failures.

Maybe it is time we put the Narrator on the stand after each statement or accusation that is leveled against us.

“Well you are not very consistent, if you were, you would be more successful. Look at the time you have wasted, and where you could be today.”

Hold on a second, now it is my turn and in my best pretend courtroomy lawyerly voice.

“I may not always be consistent, but part of my behavioral style allows me to be flexible and move quickly which is a strong quality. And as far as success, I am successful and here are the areas that I have had great success. [list of the evidence]”

“Yes, but…”

“So, you agree that I have had successes, but you keep insisting on bringing up old news, or old events. Your honor, I move to dismiss all charges.”

“I object!”

“Object all you want. You have no case. You have no relevant facts, and your accusations are groundless and are more of a distraction. Case dismissed!”

Don’t let the Narrator’s voice go unchallenged.

Speak up and Cross-Examine the Narrator.

Present the evidence.

Be tough on that voice that has been tough on you.

Dismiss the case against you.

Move forward and be free.