On leadership and love

Two of my favorite questions to ask millennial leaders are, “If you just ran an event and two newspaper articles came out, one saying it was the best event ever, and the other saying it kind of sucked, which article would be on your mind”


“If you just did something and 20 people told you it was amazing, while only one told you it sucked, which would you focus on more?”

Literally every young leader I’ve asked claims that they would focus on the negative article and the negative comment.

I believe them because I’m the same way.

Young leaders tend to be perfectionists, forever slightly dis-satisfied with themselves and their work.

This is a serious flaw. Not only is it seriously disconnected to focus on the negatives when they are outweighed by the positives, it’s also miserable.

To be the best leader you can you need to focus on the great things that you do and not allow the occasional misstep to throw you off and dominate your attention.

You need to ground your leadership in loving yourself. Learning to love yourself generally takes baby steps. It requires changing your self talk and being more compassionate to yourself.

As you begin to like, and then love, yourself, you’ll notice that your work gets better and that people follow you more enthusiastically. You become magnetic.

Here are a few ideas for leaders looking to up their game:

1) Mirror affirmations – write down 10 things you’re proud of, and then stare at yourself in the eyes and with tons of energy behind your voice, read that list to yourself, (yes, this is awkward, but boy does it work). Do this every day.

2) Remix yourself talk – for a moment, be very quiet. Listen to the inner monologue going through your head. Chances are it’s critical of you. Here is how to remix it: begin by listening to it until it’s done saying whatever it has to say, then tell yourself (either silently or out loud), “Actually, I’m really awesome.” Repeat this process a few times a day until your inner voice becomes less of a jerk.

3) Go easy on yourself – give yourself an hour (or a day) off just because, stay up late reading, watching movies, or going out with friends, buy yourself a gift, take yourself out for dinner, blow off a boring meeting (I promise the world won’t end). Millennial leaders tend to be disciplined. This is a positive attribute, but sometimes the right thing to do is to release yourself from discipline.

If you can learn to love yourself now while you’re still young, you will be absolutely unstoppable when you’re older. If you’re already older, then what are you waiting for? Either way, the time to start improving your leadership is now. It’s always now.


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