Overcoming Doubt and Maximizing Your Leadership Potential with Robin Pou
Jul 24, 2019
Ask any successful entrepreneur and they'll tell you.. mindset matters!
All leaders experience doubt. *Queue sigh of relief.
In order to alter the trajectory of your success journey and maximize your leadership potential, the narrative has to change. As w learn to identify and overcome doubt we can begin to use it to our advantage as a propellant.
- (03:12) The issue that I run into the most is that we as people and therefore leaders, leaders of ourselves, our teams and then our organizations, fall into the trap of making assumptions. We assume that things are true, when we don't actually have the facts. And typically it's in regard to the people that we're working with, either the teams that we're leading or our strategic partners or other individuals that are interacting with our business. We interpret their actions to actually be their intention.
- (05:51) There's a difference between conflict and confrontation. If I believe that you're undermining my leadership and the example that I gave you, I've got to confront you with that. Otherwise we're destined to have conflict. Just because I confront you doesn't mean that we're actually going to have conflict. People don't want to confront the situation for fear of the impending conflict. And we make it worse because we then make business decisions based on those assumptions
- (06:37) Feelings are real. They just don't always tell us the truth. It's great to have that gut instinct by way of appealing. But let's go get the facts.
- (07:46) All good relationships, business or otherwise are built on trust. When you as the leader really work hard to build a trusting relationship with your people, you're going to have a climate inside of that relationship where some of these things, these traps are obviated. Because if you have a big relationship through trust, you're going to be able to say, hey, I feel like you're undermining my leadership and I know I might be off base, but I need to be able to communicate that with you because you have a history and a pattern of this relationship through trust, being able to endure a lot of conversations, both positive and challenging.
- (11:43) Continuous improvement and lifelong learner are great attributes of a leader who's progressing. As you seek to gain more information and additional skills, you're going to be able to, as you rise, have your team and your organization rise.
- (13:06) What happens is we end up making an assumption about what our leadership role is without even knowing. Go to your people and say, "How would you like to be led?" And the information that you will get will be profound.
- (13:53) I get lots of comments from leaders about, oh my gosh, how much do I have to communicate? We just did an engagement survey and they want more and more communication. I told them, I've told them, I've told them. So we have this gap between the leader and what they believe they've communicated and the team and their need for information. What they're really saying is that they want that trusting relationship. And so when they feel like they don't have the information, it leaves open this opportunity to question and question turns to doubt and doubt may turn into full blown "I don't trust you". When you go to your team and you say, how would you like to be led? You're communicating a couple of things. One, I care enough about you to pause and find out what you actually need. I'm listening to what you have to say and I'm at least open by way of the question to modifying the way that I'm engaging with you to meet that need. Well, that's a step towards a trusting relationship. The other piece is that I encourage my leaders to narrate what they're doing and why they're doing it.
- (16:41) All leaders experienced doubt. We don't readily know that because leaders are not talking about the doubt that they are experiencing. So again, from the outside, we would make the assumption that that leader who operates that way and acts that way and talks that way and look so confident does not experience doubt. It's a myth. Every person, every leader experiences doubt, and these are successful people. And so they know what it means to be competent. So when they're experiencing doubt, it cannot exist inside of them. Meaning they are aware of it and they're doing everything in their power to actually eradicate it.
- (17:59) 70% confidence sounds very high but 70% confident is 30% doubtful and doubt changes your performance every single time. What does that look like? You're not performing your best or to your potential in that situation when you're only 70% confident. Now we're talking about high functioning leaders to the rest of the world that looks like their hundred percent to them on the inside. They know that it is not actually their best, their true potential because that doubt is causing them to hesitate or be tentative or not be fully in the fight because they doubt something about that situation. At that moment, successful leaders who are experiencing doubt will not talk about it and so they keep this doubt a secret, and yet a house divided against itself cannot stand. They are doing everything in their power to defeat that doubt, which would be listening to a Tedx or listening to a podcast or reading a book or doing anything that they can, they might even inquire gently to their peers.
- (20:10) Across all the years that I've been doing this, what I have discovered is that doubt is not doubt. There are actually four distinct types of doubt. When the leader knows that they have one of these four types of doubt, the good news is there is a very specific solution for each of these four types of doubt. And so now they can actually get on to a pathway to defeating that doubt because they've been able to identify it specifically and start moving in the direction of the specific solutions for that type of doubt. The first one is called "Go Getter". The second one is called "Scattered". The third one is called "Lost my Mojo". And the fourth one is called "Deer in the Headlights".
- (21:51) When I have a leader that tells me that they've lost their mojo, they are literally saying that there's something outside of them that they have misplaced that is the sole secret to their success. And I'm like, well, if we're relying that heavily on your Mojo, we better find it! And what they're really saying is I've been in the flow before, I've been in the zone and now I'm not in the zone. And so whatever caused me to be able to be in the zone, my "mojo", it's gone away. Frankly, what they're doing is they're outsourcing their success to something that's outside of them. What that tells me is that they don't really have a strong appreciation or definition of why they're successful.
- (26:47) All of my work is based on the principles of sports psychology brought to the business world. Deep science simple at its core. Thoughts lead to actions, actions lead to results. Write the vision plain on tablets. So she who runs may read it, not on paper, not on papyrus, but like edge it into the tablets so that when you read it, you can run or as you're running, you read it to be reminded that that's where you're going. We don't know all the details about how you're going to get from here to there, but that's your vision. Know what you want, know how to ask for it. So there your results. Now if thoughts lead to actions, actions lead to results. We got to look at our thoughts and we have to look at our actions because sports psychology or what I call it in the business world, "performance intelligence" says that when your thoughts and your actions are in alignment, you can get consistent elite performance results, consistent meaning day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year. Elite meaning the best that you have to offer.
- (28:47) Outsource your weaknesses. Pull people into the team who do the things that you don't do well. That's your genius is to assemble the team that knows how to do all of those things. Then on the thinking piece, that thinking piece precedes the action. There's no action that you take that is not otherwise preceded by a thought. So you have a thought and you do an action or you fail to act as the case may be in some instances. So now we're looking at your professional thought life. So everybody that's listening to the podcast and if you want to take the challenge, get a journal and write down your professional thinking for the next seven days because every thought you have either moves you closer to your vision or further away. You will readily be able to see which thoughts move you closer to that eight figure business or further away. The best part about your thinking is that you can change it.
- (30:38) Deer in the headlights is when someone is suffering from not knowing what their next strategic move is. They come to the end of the paved road. They're individuals who kind of know what they need to do and they get to a certain level of success and they get to the mountain top, the peak, they realize, oh my gosh, there are all these other peaks that I couldn't see when I was down at the base of this mountain. So there's nothing to lose when I'm climbing that mountain. But now that you're at the top of the peak, you've got something. You've got an organization, you've got 20 people that are reporting to you, you have stature, reputation, a couple of nickles in the bank, whatever it may be. And you don't want to lose those things. So in order to take a step in the next phase of your business, your leadership, your growth, your development, you're putting all those things that you currently have at risk. And people pause. The "deer in the headlights" is a type of paralysis where they're like, I don't know what my next strategic move is. It could be fear of failure, it could be fear of success at a particular level. It could be fear of loss of what they've been able to build up to this point. I mean, to me it all comes back to doubt. There's some doubt element which could manifest in a bunch of different ways about their next strategic move. And so their solution is to align themselves with people or organizations or ideas that will help them pull towards the next creative strategic idea because they're not quite as paralyzed, literally like a deer in the headlight.
- (33:11) Somebody who's listening to this podcast who is just a solopreneur is thinking, well I'm not a leader. Well, yes you are because you are leading yourself and you are called in some way to make an impact in the world.
None of us is immune from experiencing doubt. It's what we do in the face of that doubt.
- (34:38) Doubt is a gift. Doubt tells you everything that you need to know about the thinking that needs to change and this skill that needs to be developed in order to achieve your results. Thoughts lead to actions. Actions lead to results. When you've gotten the end of the paved road, when you're called to make a pretty significant impact in the world, chances are good you have not traversed that path before. You've got doubt. So we run from doubt, we cower in the shadows of doubt. We ignore doubt. But the doubt is the signal. It tells us the thinking that needs to change and the skill that needs to be developed in order to have consistent elite performance results.
- (35:44) Embrace the doubt. Be aware that you are experiencing doubt. You have to pause long enough to think about your thinking. And the challenge of today and the leaders who are running their businesses is that we do not allow time to think. The "pace of play" is so fast and the competition is so great and the sense of urgency is overwhelming that we do not allow ourselves to think about our thinking.
- (37:42) Every leader who's interested in this topic can and should benefit from spending 10 to 15 minutes a day, literally journaling their thinking. What thinking will reveal is those things about which you have the most doubt. I doubt my vision for the future of the company. I doubt my ability to actually achieve an eight figure business. I doubt my leadership of my team. Once I've identified that I'm doubtful in this area I'm wanting to embrace that doubt because I can change the way that I think.
- (39:42) Then what skills do you need? You already, through reading and doing other things where you're continually educating yourself, you're growing in your skills that you think you need to have in order to lead your business over the next journey that you're on. That's the process.
- (40:28) I believe that the time component is a function of priorities. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. And we can't do everything. And if we're motivated to do everything because we're trying to please everyone else, then we will fail. But if we are not trying to please everybody, we just have a really big appetite for priorities. My thought is what are your top priorities? What are your top initiatives? And then be so committed to those, so believing that that's where you need to spend your time, that you will happily celebrate the tradeoffs.
"The old cliche is I'll show you your priorities if you show me your checkbook and your calendar, how your spending your time and your money. So I flipped it around and said, if I want to achieve these things as priorities, then they have to make it to my calendar and I have to be prepared to spend some money on it."