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3 Practical Steps to Shift the Spotlight

As a leader, influencer and/or human being, have you paused to reflect on where you place the spotlight?

Before I became a certified Sherpa Executive Coach, I went through the Sherpa coaching process when I worked at the National Cancer Institute. One of the activities that my coach had me complete was a drawing of my current reality (before) pic above and my desired reality (after) pic above. I kicked and screamed every minute when she gave me this assignment. Draw a picture, really??

This activity transformed the way that I viewed myself, experiences, and life in general.

Let me break down the before picture for you. What you are looking at above in the before picture is me standing up in front of other people (represented by little lines) with the spotlight shining directly on ME and a paper in my hand with a lot of words. WOW! Everything was about me. What an EGO. You can see by my drawing that I took up most of the space on the paper.

Relating with people by using this approach was exhausting and I am sure that I was not even being heard with all the words I was trying to spew out. It also created a lot of anxiety and pressure for me to perform.

My after picture slowly started to become my new norm. In the after picture above you can see that I shrunk myself down in size and that the spotlight shifted from me to others. The paper that I held had bullet points and was concise. The relief that resulted from completing this activity was AMAZING. This was nearly 6 years ago and I still refer to this picture daily.

By completing the dreaded picture drawing activity for my coach, I learned 3 things about leadership and where the spotlight should be focused.

  1. When you focus on other people as a leader, you gain respect and trust. Your EGO shrinks and you begin to put other’s needs before your own. You have their developmental interests and progress front and center and not just your own.
  2. When the spotlight shifts to others your communication becomes more effective. You can stop and think how the individual you are communicating with might like to receive information. When you talk with someone else is it a dialog or a monologue? As a Sherpa Coach, we use the 3 sentence rule and we teach others how to use the 3 sentence rule. In order to engage with others are you asking questions to get their thoughts and opinions?
  3. When the spotlight is off you, you can take a deep breath and not get as stressed out! As a facilitator and public speaker, when you keep this illustration in your head before stepping on stage or in front of others, it takes the pressure off of you to perform. I often think of this image and remind myself that the spotlight in on the participants. I ask myself the coaching question, ‘What do they need from me?’ Is the spotlight on you or on your direct reports? When it is on you, it becomes difficult and exhausting to maintain.

My challenge for you would be to complete the same activity. Your before and after pictures will look different than mine. I have had my coaching clients complete this activity numerous times. Don’t worry about your artistic talent.

What is your before (current reality) and your after (desired reality). I would love to see your image and hear from you on this topic!

Here is what one of my clients recently shared with me.

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