To consistently find and live in the MIDDLE.
If you were anything like me, you were doing a little checking in this past year. I was checking out my accounts (I know, I know…. “they” advise against that) this past year and was feeling good. Real good.
And then this week hit. I logged on and as I told my financial guy “My account dropped more overnight than I used to have in the bank a decade ago”. Damn.
As I was being present with my unease about the markets I remembered a moment I had with my very first paying coaching client almost 8 years ago.
He engaged in coaching to talk about his leadership and his personal life. Unfortunately, he was having some marital problems. In just about every session I had with him he would end on recapping the events that took place in his home. The good and the bad. I listened and coached back to this for about two months. But then, at the end of one of our sessions I leaned towards him and said, “You have to stop fighting or f$$$$$$….or else your marriage is done”.
My apologies if you find that to be a bit crass. Sometimes you have to say it like you mean it in hopes that it lands. This landed with my man in a big way. And, I could see the light bulb go off in his head. I went on to explain that a long term marriage, or any relationship, will sustain itself in the middle.
Life can be pretty damn confusing. We have some really great days….some freaking cool stuff happens to us. Only to turn around and get smacked down. The question is do we allow these high and low events to dictate our “norm”? They should not.
This applies to life and leadership in similar ways.
At home, if we are “fighting or f$$$$$$” or either yelling at our kids or all smiles, we are creating a world of uncertainty and lack of trust. If I took my family on a great vacation and we were all love and laughs only to return home to me being a piss ant, how do you think everyone would feel. Probably like, “let’s go on our next vacation”…not reasonable, sustainable or any way to live….always seeking that next high but living consistently in the low in between the highs.
In the same light, I often find myself coaching leaders to find their middle in their approach to leadership. Think about this for a second. Have you ever worked for someone that either was patting you on the back or biting your head off? Did you stay working for that person for years? I hope not. You worked in an unhealthy and ambiguous environment that needed some consistency in leadership approach.
A better question may be, are you that leader just mentioned?
In life and leadership, we will find sustained happiness and success if we seek the middle more than the highs and lows. I can guarantee to you that you will experience big highs and big lows in your life time. Will you chase the next high or get stuck in the low? Or will you see that the middle is a glorious place to waddle….full of true emotion on both sides.
Now don’t going taking this to the extreme. Meaning that, I am not saying you shouldn’t celebrate the big wins in your life or allow true grief to take a hold of you when it needs to. You should do both. And, you should put true intention on finding happiness, sadness and “just being” in your middle.
I love the statement, short term intensity will always be trumped by long term consistency. Such truth….for me at least.
I attempt to live mostly in the middle. In my work. In my marriage. As a father. As a businessman. With my finances. With my emotions.
I didn’t always put real intent around residing in the middle. Nor do I always…still. I catch a high or fall victim to the low. And with both cases I come up short. I have found that a week or a month of a consistent good middle, with all the good and bad emotions that come with it, sustains me and the people around me. I settle into the good and I allow myself to feel the bad without sinking.
So, as for my unease for the market…I’ll stay in the middle, stay the course, and be grateful that I actually had money to lose. And on top of that, I am grateful for the push to reflect and settle in to my wonderful middle.