Step Off the Stage
If you want to take control of your results and your life, get off the stage, get out of character, and get into the director’s chair.
More often that not, we are so immersed in the show called life that we forget we own the script rights. We become lost in our character, allowing emotions and circumstances to direct us.
To author and neuroleadership expert David Rock,
“the director is a metaphor for the part of your awareness that can…watch the show that is your life, make decisions about how your brain will respond, and even sometimes alter the script. Without self-awareness, you would have little ability to moderate and direct your behavior moment to moment.”
“Without a director you are a mere automaton, driven by greed, fear, or habit.” David Rock, Your Brain at Work
Re-cut Your Results
Directors design films and stage-productions to evoke certain emotions and reactions from the audience.
We can similarly direct ourselves. For example:
- When people aggravate us we can change the angle and try to see things from their point of view. We can get curious about why they differ so strongly and what stress they may be experiencing.
- When asking questions we can change the metaphorical lighting from cold, interrogating spotlight to something more diffuse and warm.
- When giving feedback we can replace the Halloween III soundtrack to something less terrifying.
- When we attempt to motivate others, we can be less like Sue Sylvester and more like Mr. Schuester. (Don’t miss the gift link to Sue’s soundtrack at the end of this post!)
1. Observe yourself daily as though watching a stranger through a camera.
- What do you notice about how this person interacts with the world?
- What’s the tone/genre of this movie: Horror? Suspense? Comedy? Love Story? Tragedy? Farce?
- What soundtrack would best suit when this person enters a room? Darth Vader’s theme? Mary Poppins?
- How could you edit your character’s thoughts, tone, actions, to improve the tone?
2. Poll the audience.
- Instead of sending out a dry, data-driven 360-degree feedback survey, ask your staff what movie and/or music best describes your leadership. And encourage them to be honest and creative. Perhaps you are more Psycho before your morning coffee and more Sound of Music after lunch. Consider having a trusted neutral party collect the anonymous responses and give awards for most honest and useful. While you’re at it, ask your family, friends, love-interest.
We can go through life passively unaware or as objective directors making intentional decisions about the mood we want to convey and the results we want to elicit. Not everyone will like your version of the movie, but at least you won’t be a puppet to your thoughts and emotions.
Enjoy the show!