There’s nothing quite like proven, reliable experience to help a leader navigate through the toughest of challenges.
But effective leaders have a curious, and vital, counter-balance to such experience. It’s a counter-intuitive, almost contradictory perspective that prevents reliable experience from turning into simply tired and obsolete.
It’s the ability to see the world through ‘young eyes’.
Such a viewpoint sees the world as having endless possibilities. It is a positive, perspective, full of energy and a sense of hope. And when leaders develop such a perspective, it’s a sure-fire way to ensure that all of one’s years of experience doesn’t descend into predictable patterns which can render a leader stale and even obsolete.
But the ability to view the world through young eyes is all about choice; it’s a rigorous discipline of constant renewal. It’s a daily choice to develop an almost child-like sense of awe and wonder.
The older one gets, the more challenging this can be. But the leadership payoff is worth it. Here are three ways to keep your leadership fresh and powerful:
1. Develop an exuberant optimism
Along with wisdom and perspective, longevity in leadership can also sometimes bring with it a certain jaded cynicism.
But when you see the world through young eyes you continue to see possibilities in any situation. Always maintain your optimism.
2. Develop endless curiosity
Years of experience can have the unfortunate side effect of causing a leader to view certain outcomes as inevitable.
But choosing to see the world through young eyes creates within you an insatiable curiosity to understand why things are the way they are, and then a refusal to believe things have to stay that way.
3. Develop stubborn resiliency
Spending years in the trenches of leadership can yield invaluable perspective and understanding.
But with young eyes you can add to this an uncanny ability to rebound from failed attempts.
The paradox is that the more experience you attain in your leadership, the more discipline may be required to maintain this youthful outlook.
So start each day by declaring the choice to view the world today through young eyes. Because if you do, you really can prevent “wise and experienced” from turning into simply “old and tired.”