What’s the main stumbling block in the life of a senior leader? After doing hundreds of coaching sessions, I believe the biggest hindrance is making assumptions and judgment. To that point, I’d like to share a quote from “The Four Agreements,” a book I highly recommend by Don Miguel Ruiz:
“We make the assumption that everyone sees life the way that we do. We assume that others think the way we think, feel the way we feel, judge the way we judge, and abuse the way we abuse. This is the biggest assumption that humans make, and this is why we have a fear of being ourselves around others. Because we think everyone else will judge us, victimize us, abuse us, and blame us as we do ourselves. So even before others have a chance to reject us, we have already rejected ourselves. That is the way the human mind works.”
The judgments we make about ourselves, others, and our circumstances are often made in the image of our worst thoughts. Catch those assumptions, criticisms, and judgments in the moment as often as you can. There’s no shame there— with continual practice, we can get skillful at replacing assumptions with curiosity, and ask great questions like “What don’t I know?” or “What’s missing or needs clarifying?” The skill of curiosity sits at the crux of effective leadership and helps to transform us to a better version of our self.
If you have comments, questions or experiences related to this topic that you want to share with others, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to hear from you and keep the conversation of great leadership alive!