By Paul Yung
One of my favorite analogies on leadership and life in general is one of the window and the mirror. In business as in life, we are bound to have ups and downs, how we handle ourselves during those times defines our legacy. When times are good, we tend to pat ourselves on the back, after all, we are enjoying the fruits of our labor and sacrifice. The time we spent building to where we are today, the long miles we ran when no one was looking, the time away from friends and family has paid off! We have achieved a milestone and of course we should credit ourselves. I call this looking in the mirror, reflecting on all the obstacles and hardships we had to endure and giving ourselves a good pat on the back.
What we tend to forget is to credit others who have gotten us there. There’s a quote that goes “there is no such thing as a self-made millionaire”. However insignificant the contribution from someone that brought our success today, we must remember to show our appreciation. This doesn’t have to be a big public recognition. A phone call, WhatsApp or handwritten card to thank our family, friends and customers for their contribution is important for us to stay grounded and be grateful. This is called looking out the window. We look out the window when we show sincere appreciation to others for helping us to get where we are.
Ordinary leaders look in the mirror when times are good and out the window when times are bad. The credit is theirs when things go well, and the blame is on others when things go down the toilet. Here’s the reality, just as it’s not all your fault when things go bad, it’s not all your credit when things go well either. To think otherwise is to let our ego get in the way. Exceptional leaders look out the window when times are good and, in the mirror, when times are bad.
This doesn’t mean exceptional leaders self-blame. To the contrary, looking in the mirror when things are bad is a chance for growth. When things don’t go well and we have the discipline to remain calm and reflect, we can avoid situations like this in future instead of just laying blame and justifying away the bad situation. Not only does laying blame on others burn bridges and decrease morale, but it also shows poor leadership and character.
Giving others credit and appreciation when times are good strengthens relationships and builds our self-confidence as giving praise comes from a position of strength and humility.
The window and the mirror apply to business, life, family, and friendships. As we put 2021 behind us, a turbulent year to say the least, may we spread more positivity in the coming year and grow to be self-confident leaders.
Never underestimate the power a backhanded comment or a sincere show of appreciation. We do not know what’s in store for us in 2022, but I am confident that if we approach the year with courage and kindness, we will be able to conquer the New Year and seize new opportunities.
I wish you all the happiness and success in the world. You are worthy and you absolutely deserve it. I wish all of you who celebrate a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!