It’s been a while since a song stuck with me as a theme for a blog. As the title for this would indicate I’m thinking about a tune from Paolo Nutini, a brilliant young artist from Scotland (although obviously of Italian descent). I love the wisdom that this young man demonstrates. He is an amazing lyricist who hits a cord with many generations.
He has a number of commercial successes as singles, but it is this song “Rewind” that comes to mind. There is a line in this song that often reminds me of stressful times … “No I’m not sleeping at night”. Aside from that and the title of the song the rest of the lyrics aren’t meaningful from a leadership perspective, but hey … that’s what artistic license is about!
How many times do we say or hear those words over the course of a week, a month, a year? Maybe not exactly those but something like:
“I keep waking up thinking of what I have to do at work.”
“I worry too much at night about my family, my friends, even me.”
“I dwell on things that happened over the day so much they keep me awake.”
“I have to keep a pad of paper beside my bed to write down things I can’t forget to do.”
I wrote last week about my colleague Dan Sottile that passed away suddenly. One of the creative ideas that Dan is famous for, and something he swore he would patent, was something he called the “Headboard Whiteboard” that would replace the pad beside the bed.
What’s all this about? Sleep isn’t optional … we need it to live and to live well. Why is it that we deprive ourselves of it to deal with problems from our waking life? I’ve heard many variations on the theme. Some people hate saying no to someone so they take on more work than they can handle. Others feel uncomfortable if they leave the office with anything left to do on their desk. Others don’t focus on the workload but think about what has happened, what others have done or what they themselves have done over the last day or more and how it might make them appear imperfect, inadequate, unimportant, disrespected, lazy, etc.
Why don’t we wake up in the middle of the night so excited that we can’t sleep because we blew someone away with our talents, because we are so excited about an accomplishment, that our support to someone helped them past a personal roadblock, or any other of the amazing deeds we each contribute to our community of connections every day? That rarely happens to me … perhaps on the nights before big vacations … but even that is likely related to the anxiety of what I forgot to pack!
Why all this angst? My personal opinion is that we’ve all got a hidden part of us that believes we are “not enough” in some way.
“I’m not perfect”
“I don’t matter”
“I’m not important”
“I’m not good enough”
As Paolo Nutini says … “Why don’t we just rewind?”
What if we did hit rewind on this tape that plays in our head? What if we stepped back and examined everything this inner part of us says and asked ourselves simply “is this true for me”? Am I, for example, truly not good enough? I think we will find, if we are in a calm place and being kinds to ourselves, that these thoughts are not true, and while they have driven us forward in terms of achievement, they don’t always serve us as well in an overall sense. These voices which whisper to us continue to drive us until we come to terms with them and let them know that we understand them and are taking charge.
As leaders, this isn’t an easy space. We are tasked with the well-being of our team, but we are also tasked with results. These two sets of objectives are almost always in conflict, and we also have a hidden part inside of us that is whispering its story to us. So it is easy for us to slip over to results and say to ourselves “I’ll make it up to them next week”.
The truth here is that almost all people want to do a great job. What they don’t truly know is what a great job is … Unless their leaders tell them authentically. Even that may not be enough. Do we seek to understand what drives each of our teammates forward and once we know, work to ensure that they know they truly are enough?
Back to my inspiration for this post! I know its only the title and one lie that got me thinking, but I love the song and the artist nonetheless. Why can’t we just Rewind.