“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T.S. Elliot
At certain times in the career of a leader, you may find yourself feeling a bit lost or a little confused.
Maybe you’re bored with your work and find yourself simply going through the motions. Maybe you’re just worn down and weary after an extremely challenging year, both personally and/or professionally. Or maybe you achieved the goals you set out at the beginning of your career and never took the time to re-calibrate a new direction or goals that inspire you again.
When this happens, a lot of leaders have a propensity to tough it out. They push harder and faster, thinking more effort will help them get back on track. Unfortunately, pushing harder doesn’t always work!
Better to Unplug?
Sometimes the best thing a leader can do is unplug and allow themselves to sit in the ambiguity. Allowing oneself the space and time to look inside and self-reflect can prevent them from forcing a solution that may end up being a temporary band-aid on a more serious ailment.
Sitting in the ambiguity requires an enormous amount of Self-awareness, Self-regulation, and Empathy (for oneself), 3 critical components of Emotional Intelligence (EQ).
If you can give yourself permission to not know, to wait, to not rush, you may find that you gain clarity on the direction you need to go or the decision you need to make.
Rushing into a decision without clarity will cause you to lose focus and could send you down a path to a series of missteps which may have been avoided with time and a little more self-reflection. With the Holidays being right around the corner, this might be a good time to unplug and reflect back on this passing year. It may also be a great time to get clarity on your goals and purpose for next year!
So the next time you find yourself feeling a bit lost, off-course, or in need of some clarity, maybe the smartest thing you can do is just step back and sit in the unknowingness long enough to gain clarity.
Whether it is a few hours, a few days , or yes, even a few months. You may find that when you arrive at a conclusion, you will have arrived at a familiar place and know it for the first time.