Monday, March 26, 2012

Humble Warrior

Do you ever get the feeling that your sense of what is right is warring with your ego? Like when you make an embarrassing mistake.  You know you should admit it, but ignoring it is easier. Or when your peer has a major success but gloats about it.  You just don’t want to give her the additional satisfaction of your acknowledgment.  Maybe it is something as small as not wanting to give anyone else a platform to talk during a meeting because you are too busy describing your great idea.

We know the right thing to do, but it is hard.  Often, we think of leadership in very black and white terms:  the best leaders are always strong, always right, always in the lead.   Consequently, giving power to someone else, admitting errors and letting others shine can feel like weakness.

Mastering your sense of self is crucial to successful leadership.  You have to be comfortable enough with yourself to know that admitting error, giving praise and sharing do not diminish your standing.  On the contrary, these qualities enhance your standing.  Only someone well-rounded and comfortable in their own skin can do these things. 

It reminds me of a yoga pose my wife described.  I looked it up (see photo).  The pose is called Humble Warrior.  The strong warrior is placed in a submissive position of leaning forward and bowing almost to the ground.  But on closer inspection, you can see that entire body is strong.  The pose uses the entire body:  strong, lunged legs; hands clasped behind; arms straight, thrust overhead; body cantilevered over; shoulder next to--but not touching--the knee; head hovering over the ground.  There is power in the humble pose. 

We need to tap into our internal strength to do that which may seem weak, but which actually makes us strong. 

What is your Humble Warrior moment?

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