Sitting in an Italian restaurant David Sedaris was having lunch with a woman named Lesley. As she pushed back her sleeve to reach for an olive he noticed a rubber bracelet on her wrist.
“Is that a watch?”
“No, it’s a Fitbit. Sync it with your computer and it tracks your physical activity.”
With a tap the thickest part turned into a dazzling show of glowing dots, “Its like a pedometer, but updated and better. The goal is to take 10,000 steps per day. Once you do, it vibrates.”
A few weeks later, David’s journey with Fitbit began. He soon learned that 10,000 steps were a bit more than four miles… pretty easy to do on an average day.
Motivating you beyond average…
But once Fitbit finds out your average, it begins setting new goals…
“During the first few weeks, I’d return to my hotel at the end of the day,” Dawn says, “and when I discovered that I’d taken a total of, say, 12,000 steps, I’d go out for another 3,000.”
“But why?” her friend asked, “Why isn’t 12,000 enough?”
“Because,” I told him, “my Fitbit thinks I can do better.”
David tells the same story. “I look back on the days I averaged only 30,000 steps and think, honestly, how lazy can you get? When I hit 35,000 steps a day, Fitbit sent me an e-badge, and then one for 40,000, and 45,000. Now I’m up to 60,000, which is 25.5 miles.”
If it’s only external motivation…
Then David’s Fitbit died.
“I was devastated when I tapped it and the little dots failed to appear. Then I felt a great sense of freedom. It seemed that my life was now my own again. But was it? Walking 25 miles, or even running up the stairs and back, suddenly seemed pointless, since, without the steps being counted and registered, what use were they?”
“I lasted five hours before I ordered a replacement, express delivery.”
From Fitbit to self-managed leaders
Fitbit’s magic little device just happens to utilize the same qualities that self-managed leaders harness on their own every day.
Richard Boyatzis calls it resonant leadership, consisting of these 3 major components: mindfulness, hope, and compassion.
- Mindfulness – aware and alert to what’s going on.
The goal is 10,000 steps a day. Steps are counted and registered; there is accountability.
“Fitbit sent me an e-badge.”
- Hope – faith and confidence that something significant can happen.
“Fitbit believes I can do better…”
- Compassion – wanting the best for others, you act in a way that is true to that desire.
You can lead a healthier, more active life.
How much resonant leadership do you give?
Think about the people you influence. On a scale of 1 – 6 how would you rate yourself as a resonant leader?
1. Mindfulness 1 2 3 4 5 6
Are you aware and alert to what’s going on in your own life and the lives of those you lead?
2. Hope 1 2 3 4 5 6
Do you have faith and confidence that something significant can and will happen for the better?
3. Compassion 1 2 3 4 5 6
Are you acting in a way that wants the best for others?
Now, which leadership quality do you want to improve?
Don’t try to fix all of them at once. Just start with one.
What one thing can you start or stop doing to be more mindful, hopeful, or compassionate?
Time to put the Fitbit on…
When David’s replacement Fitbit arrived, excitement overtook him…
“My hands shook as I tore open the box. Ten minutes later, my new master strapped securely around my left wrist, I was out the door, racing, practically running, to make up for lost time.”
You haven’t lost time. You’re about to engage in self-managed leadership. Put on your internal Fitbit. Don’t settle for average. I know you’ve got what it takes. Take one step into mindfulness, hope or compassion.
Here’s to your next level,
PS: Improving performance is what happens in Next Generation Leaders team-based coaching. If you’d like to see more details of how we develop self-managed teams and leaders, see the team-based coaching page.