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The Big Secret All Great Leaders Know: One Just Has to Get On With It

Olivia Coleman, The Crown

It took a year for Rene Zellwegger to prepare for the role of Judy Garland in the movie Judy. She had to learn to sing Over the Rainbow, a classic that almost everyone remembers from their childhood, and then convincingly perform it in front of live audiences. There was no room for error. And it was terrifying. “At times, if I could have run away, I would have,” she told Vanity Fair.

Each of us has felt that way at some point in our career. And the temptation to run away can be overwhelming. I know I’m haunted by more than one moment from my past where I might have been able to put in a little more, but instead stopped.

One of my favorite quotes from The Unstuck Project came from a CEO I’ll call Andy. Andy’s company is growing so rapidly, I see him in the news at least once a week these days. But it wasn’t always so awesome for Andy. He’s fallen down many times. But he hasn’t let those times define him. “We’ve all had failures,” he told me. “I’m very good at embracing when things don’t go well. I’m not going to be too hard on myself. Nor am I going to think I was the sole cause of what went wrong. Sometimes life just doesn’t go your way.”

Andy believes that when we fail, we have only one job to do: Get up. And that’s a lot easier to do when we’re not telling ourselves that we’re losers. “People stop,” he told me. “That pause is what precludes them from awesome opportunities.”

Or, as the Queen, or rather Olivia Coleman playing the Queen in the latest season of The Crown puts it: “One just has to get on with it”.

God I love that quote. It’s on a sticky not on my computer. I kid you not.

So how does one just get on with it?

I like to follow the advice of spiritualist Caroline Myss.

She tells us to approach each day with no judgement, no expectation and to give up the need to know what happens tomorrow.

This may sound like an incredibly irresponsible way to live. What do you mean, “give up the need to know what happens tomorrow”? How else will a plan my life?

Well, as it turns out, tomorrow is an unpredictable thing. And judgement and expectation are a great way to introduce negativity into your life.

So just let them go. And then take a deep breath and just get on with it.

You’ll be surprised where you end up.

The Unstuck Leader book is now available.
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