This week sees the start of the Christian time of Lent. Of note, this isn’t a religious post. It’s a post about being more effective as a leader and/or person.
What is Lent?
Lent is the 6 weeks leading up to Easter. Lent is observed in many ways depending on someone’s personal beliefs/convictions. Some people give up a luxury/treat item like alcohol, chocolate, meat etc. More traditional observers might follow stricter fasting of giving up meat, fish, eggs and fats. That’s why Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent starts, is celebrated with as Pancake Tuesday – pancakes use up eggs and fats you might have before abstaining.
What to Give Up?
For those who don’t follow the Christian observances, Lent still offers an opportunity of how to be effective, for you to give something up that would help you be more effective.
To get feedback on your performance, one question I suggest in my book, Soft Skills HARD RESULTS, is: What should I stop doing? Often, we get in our own way. This question will invite people to tell you things you are doing that don’t serve you well. As an aside, it’s partnered with two other questions to round out the feedback you get:
What should I start doing?
What should I stop doing?
What should I continue doing?
To declutter your home, I’m giving up an “item” a day for the 40 days of Lent. Each day I will find something in my home that can be thrown out, donated to charity, re-gifted to someone who would love that item. It’s easy to do – when you open a drawer or closet each day just identify something that can go. For me decluttering makes me feel lighter and more spacious. Not sure I’ll go into my wardrobe this time though, as there are many pieces I haven’t worn in almost a year with the various lockdowns.
To clear your head, what are the repetitive thoughts you have that disempower you? Identify the reoccurring thoughts you have about yourself. We all have internal scripts that run underneath the surface that we don’t even realize how often we talk to ourselves. Notice what you say to yourself when something happens, especially things that are disappointing or frustrating. For example, I don’t have time. I’m stressed. I have too much to do. I screwed that up. I’m not good enough. Notice what your self-critical thoughts are and then reframe them. For instance “I don’t have time” becomes “I choose how I spend my time.”
To change a bad habit don’t stop it, change it. It’s hard to stop a bad habit so can be easier to change the habit rather than trying to abolish it. Instead of giving up drinking, substitute a sparkling water in a crystal glass with a slice of lime instead of alcohol. If you bite or pick your nails, chew on a toothpick instead.
What could you give up that would improve your effectiveness as a person or leader?
Don’t jump over that question – answer it. This is your chance to let go of something that’s holding you back. This will improve your leadership and potentially your daily life. Sometimes it’s even easier to let something go then to start something entirely new.
The 40 days of Lent gives you the chance to reboot your initiative each day for 40 days. Even if you “fail” one day, you have the next day to try again. Be kind to yourself depending of what you are giving up.
Book a COMPLIMENTARY coaching session with me here to help you identify what you could give up that’s holding you back. What would make you more effective?
Photo by Sydney Troxell from Pexels