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  • Donna Lim

One Thing Can Change It All

Note from Donna… I’m going to be authentic for a moment. I do not always feel like a great leader. January is a busy time of year for my business and this past January was exceptionally hard. I felt as if I had let my team down in big ways. The entire team was stressed, overwhelmed and the plague of burn out was contagious. What do you do when the stress of your business seems to bubble over the top? I head to wise counsel. I am apart of a couple coaching programs, mastermind groups and I read incessantly. It took me some soul searching, but I did find an answer to relieve the tension that was building at an alarming rate.

Maybe leadership comes naturally for you, but it’s been a long-twisted road that at times feels like a roller coaster for me. I thought I’d share my journey of this past January with you.

The stress was already building in the month of December. Tensions were high and patience were bubbling at a all time low. Voices of great leaders started to fill my head. A great business coach friend of mine use to quote John C Maxwell a lot and it stayed with me – Everything rises and falls on Leadership.

I’m aware that what you fill your mind with is what will be with you as you face the challenges of the day. I started to fill my mind with books on leadership. Here’s a list of what I listen to in that dark month.

· Good Leaders Ask Great Questions – John C Maxwell

· The New Leadership Literacies – Bob Johansen

· Think Again – Adam Grant

· Entreleadership – Dave Ramsey

· Who Not How – Dan Sullivan

· Delight in the Limelight – Linda Ugelow

I used those books to give me perspective and guidance on what to ask the great coaches and mentors in my life. I began to show up to a lot of Q&A hours and booking office hours with the wise counsel that I surround myself with.

Ask and you shall receiveseek to understand before being understood.

One late Wednesday afternoon at the end of January a truly wise mentor of mine said these words to me. “Donna – it’s your job to give your team Capacity. What is one thing – just one thing that you can do that will give capacity and relief to your Operations Manager that will trickle down to the team?”

I spent time pondering that – What was one thing? Instead of trying to fix all the things … what’s one thing that would give relief and restore some stability to my team.

The next morning, I had my answer. There was a project we had taken on that wasn’t in our wheelhouse. It was taking up more time and resources than we thought it would. The stress and anxiety around this project were toxic to my team.

Even though I knew it could open up many doors in the future, I knew it was the “one thing” that I could eliminate that would restore stability. I knew it might create a bit more friction as team members may feel like they failed or that something that could be great someday was being taken away. I handled each team member separately. Then did the hard part and disengaged with the project.

I learned that Great Leadership is sometimes doing just one thing that brings the whole dizzy situation into focus. We are now back to what we do best, and my team feels like a burden has been lifted.

If you are struggling in the leadership department today, I challenge you to ponder – What is one thing you can do that brings stability back into the situation. You may have to say good-bye to a pet project. You may have to say good-bye to some revenue that’s not producing profit. You may have to quiet your ego. All is better than allow burn-out stress and anxiety to eat away at your team.


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