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Acceptance - leadership strategy often overlooked, Part 2

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Continued from Part One:

Stan went to his Executive Coach who asked the following questions:

Do you know for sure she CAN accomplish more?

Do you know if she WANTS to accomplish more?

What happens if she tries the new projects you have pushed her to do and she fails, how will that affect you both?

What is behind HAVING to see the world so positively?

What could you gain from JUST APPRECIATING and ACCEPTING who she is and where she is – without judgment?

What will happen for you – either way – if you push her and she fails – if you push her and she succeeds – if you just ACCEPT?

Stan considered how pulled he had felt. Often his stomach felt like it was split in many ill-fitting pieces held together by weak string.

Instead of being positive around her and his other staff, he snapped, he acted constantly disappointed. Logically he was 100% sure Rebecca could do better and be better. Emotionally, the coaching was taking its toll on him, and those around him.

Could he actually find peace and eventually some type of happiness by accepting Rebecca for where she was - including how she was – anxious, cynical?

Could he see ALL of her? Her intelligence, her ability to foresee conflict?

Stan realized that what he projected as her ability to be better was based on his view of her success potential. Granted, he did not want to be her – he could not enjoy the negative view she took with many things. He could however appreciate what that gave her and how it contributed to the team’s success – even if off-line it seemed to harm her personally.

When Stan answered the coach’s questions he had an epiphany. Her life was NOT his to judge or improve and that even his desire for her happiness was not in both her and his best interest - not now as she was either unwilling or more importanty unable to change. In fact - trying to understand whether she could or couldn't - would or wouldn't was not being mindful. It still included an element of judgement and opened the door to more frustration, disappointment and even sadness. With pure acceptance he could be a happier, healthier manager. And in the long run maybe that was just as well for Rebecca.

Yes, acceptance can be quitting in some situations. It is not the only solution. Yet in some instances it could be the most peace-producing strategy. You have probably heard the old adage, “you can’t be everything to all people.”

So perhaps we can’t always find success from pushing higher or further. Perhaps there is a different success that comes from the sometimes uncomfortable and awkward letting go that is a form of eventual freedom – the freedom of acceptance.

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