I think a lot about leadership these days. I can generally identify common themes emerging in different seasons of my life depending on where my thoughts take me in the mornings before I have a chance to harness it all in and focus.
These days, how to be a good leader is one of the most common themes running through my head. I’m very conscious that, right now, I’m working in a lot of different spaces that require me to speak my mind, to make decisions and to work closely with people. Because of this, I’m always trying to refine myself as a leader, a listener, and a team member.
One weird paradox about me is that I’m a little chaotic and casual on the outside, but I also have very high standards and a nagging perfectionism within. I generally have a very clear vision of what I want in life, whether that is a long-term goal or a smaller project, and I usually don’t quit until I have accomplished it.
At school, we produce a broadcast news show- Sheridan Sun TV– every Wednesday. We rotate through roles every week and this week I’m entertainment producer, which means figuring out content, scheduling interviews, coordinating schedules, and generally overseeing the entertainment section of the show.
It has been one of those weeks where achieving the goal- in this case, a reporter package- has not been easy. It started to feel like every time we problem solved our way to one victory, a seam would pull loose in another area of the project and it would start to unravel in a new place.
I got an email this morning that said one of our key interviews fell through. I don’t admit defeat, but when I saw that email I paused for a second. At first, I felt a little panicked and discouraged. Then, because I had no other options at that point, I got really quiet and tried to zoom out in my mind to a bird’s eye view of the situation. Why was this so hard?
I mentally sifted through my box of leftover ideas. None of them seemed ideal or workable. We were stuck. However, since I sincerely believe that you can problem solve your way out of any situation, I knew there must be something I wasn’t seeing.
I sat there for a couple minutes, thinking. Then, suddenly, I realized that I needed to let go of my version of perfect if this project was going to happen at all.
I was letting perfect get in the way of growth and letting it blind me to a new perspective. I’ve been in this space enough times before to recognize it as familiar ground. I always ask myself the same question, here: “what is the worst that can happen?”
In this case, the worst really wasn’t that bad in the grand scheme of things. I texted the entertainment reporter for this week, telling her the situation and asking her what she thought we could do. She had some awesome ideas about how to get around the problem. They were ideas I wouldn’t have thought of because I was sidetracked by the nitty gritty background stuff. I wasn’t allowing for space or collaboration or a different route to the end goal.
What I learned:
- Use your team. It’s what they are there for.
- My ideas aren’t always the best ideas.
- Perfect can be relative.
- Relax, but don’t stop working
I see the function of this blog as an extension of what I’m learning, as well as a way to document it. I want to be able to look back through the archives and see how I’ve grown and changed day to day. In order to do that, I have to give up the idea that every blog post will be a sparkling display of perfection. With that kind of standard, the fun drains out of it and I don’t write.
Ultimately, this is what I know: real and honest is better than an image of perfect.
Let it go.