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How Not Winning the Game Caused My Leadership To Grow

Listen to the Podcast Here

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Podcast: How Not Winning the Game Caused My Leadership to Grow

How often have you read or heard something that inspired you, but you took no action from that information?
How often have you allowed limiting beliefs to hold you back?

This is a story about a game that changed my life.

I am a person who reads many leadership and self help books. I have had a passion for personal growth and self development since high school. This content as well as information about health and wellness is my favourite.

It is always interesting to me though, despite the fact that I would label myself as a person who takes a fair amount of action in life, how rarely I act on the lessons I feel inspired by in books, podcasts or videos. I consume the information but it obviously doesn’t impact me deeply enough to cause me to behave in a new way.

Why is that??

For myself, I believe that the emotional connection to the content must strike a deeper cord in order to inspire action. Otherwise life simply takes over.

This is why I am such a proponent for attending in person events or working with coaches.

One of my conclusions with this, and my own personal truth around this is simple. Perhaps it may provide some clarity for you as well.

When I have EXPERIENCED the lesson first hand, (versus consuming the content on my own without an experience) it has propelled me to take more action.

One example of this happened in the end of 2015.
I will preface this by sharing that I have read/watched many leadership resources by John Maxwell, Darren Hardy, Brendan Burchard etc. However, this moment in my life impacted me so deeply that it caused a dramatic enough shift which propelled me to take massive action.

I was attending a session called the Art of Leadership by a coach I greatly admire. The content was excellent, but it was one experiential activity that impacted me the most.

After a 9 hour day of learning, we were asked to participate in a ‘game’. Our group was divided in two and given the task.

Thus far in the event, I had not shown up as the leader I could be (or in my business) because of limiting beliefs mostly around not feeling enough.

I recognized the activity, having led it in a former career. However at that point in time my self confidence, belief in myself and my experience was so low . Despite knowing how to ‘win’ the game I ignored my intuition. I dismissed my experience and knowledge. I ignored the voice of leadership within.

All of this happened because I had this belief that the others around the table were better than me, smarter than me, that their leadership level in a particular organization qualified their opinions more.

This was all a bunch of baloney.

Baloney that many people believe.
I know I am not alone.

The story of how I believe I came to this place of low confidence and self belief is for another time.

We proceeded to play the game.
Everything inside of me was telling me to speak up and share my opinion. 
Finally I made a suggestion, but my confidence impacted the level of influence I had on the discussion and few listened. This was on me. Not them.

When we show up with confidence, our ability to influence dramatically increases. 

We proceeded to play the game and following the game the two teams were brought back together for the results and debrief.

What happened next is the turning point.
It actually turned out to be a TSN turning point in my life and business as well.

We learned that our team had lost the game by alot. As a competitive person, I was bummed.
But more significantly, I felt as though I had let everyone down. I felt this in the pit of my stomach. 

I put my hand up to share my experience and thoughts.

This is what I shared.

I shared that I recognized the game having used it in a team building session in a former career. I shared that despite knowing how to win the game, I kept quiet.
What I said out loud was that I didn’t want to ruin the experience for others. What really was going on inside my head was that I couldn’t possibly be right, I wasn’t a good enough leader like ‘them’ to have the answer and they wouldn’t listen to someone like me who hadn’t achieved a particular rank.

Again, all a bunch of baloney that was holding me back and ultimately held my team back from achieving the win.

Luckily, the facilitators could see and read between the lines that my limiting beliefs were in control of my behaviors and my ability to speak up during the game.

Luckily for me the facilitators had the courage to call me out on it because it was a tremendous gift.

The one facilitator looked me right in the eye after my share and said “Amy, you are the worst one in this room. (Harsh but impactful). This is because you knew the answer and didn’t step up as a leader to help your team. You had an opportunity to make a difference but allowed the voices in your head to win out. Where else is your leadership suffering because of this behavior?”

It may sound like something very harsh to say to someone. But it was a great gift.

It was the wake up call I needed to propel me to step up as the leader I knew I could be and the leader I had been in the past.

That experience of losing changed my life.

I share this story in hopes that you don’t need to feel like the ‘worst person in the room’ in order to learn the lesson.

I am here to show that even in losing the game we can learn.

This is important because on the outside I often appear to be a confident woman.

But we all have limiting beliefs.

I am grateful to have had this experience. It reminded me of who I want to be and how I want to show up in my business and life.

Have you had an experience that caused a great shift in your life or business journey? I would love to hear it!